Chapter 21
Morris Co. Up




THIS county is located in what is known as the Highlands of New Jersey. The surface is quite irregular, varying from 175 feet above the sea level in the southeastern part to over 1,200 feet in the northern.

Commencing at the southeasterly boundary, the change in elevation of the surface is gradual until the bases of the mountain ranges running near Morristown and Boonton are reached, beyond which the surface is very much broken. The distinction is drawn between the terms "mountains" and "mountain ranges," the "ranges" being made up of a series of partially detached mountains. The ranges run generally in a northeasterly and southwesterly direction, while the mountains themselves follow a more northerly course. The mountains are peculiar in the fact that they rise gradually at the northeastern end, and, running with undulating crests, fall abruptly at the southwestern extremity.

In point of size the chief mountain ranges are Schooley's and Green Pond, but by far the most important in an economic point of view is the range of hills that lies next to and to the southeast of the Green Pond mountain range. This belt bears nearly all the iron ore deposits of the county. A few deposits are worked in the mountains immediately west of the Green Pond range, of which the Hurd and Ford mines are the most important.

The geological structure is not very complicated; for, while the different formations are divided by great periods of time, the members of the geological column are but few, as many of the intervening groups have no representatives among the rocks of this county. The greater portion of the county is underlain by rocks that belong to the oldest geological formation known in the world. This formation is termed the "Azoic"--meaning "absence of life"--and includes all the syenites, gneiss, or granitic rocks, the crystalline limestones, and the magnetic iron ores. The magnetic iron ores constitute but an extremely small percentage of the Azoic rocks, yet they are the most important member of the group, and occur in beds that are truly conformable to the inclosing rocks. These bodies of ore are not veins, according to the modern definition of the term, but are of sedimentary origin. Generally they are lenticular in shape. They are not continuous horizontally, and their extent vertically is uncertain. Considerable difference of opinion has long existed as to the origin of these deposits. Some experts believe that the beds are true veins of igneous origin, having been formed by the injection of mineral matter, while in a melted condition, between the walls of gneiss. It is true that there are evidences of the action of heat, but most geologists at the present day hold that these ores are as sedimentary in origin as the rocks in which they are found.

A brief description of the probable process by which these ore beds were formed will not be without interest. Protoxide of iron exists in many rocks, and when brought in contact with carbonic acid or some organic acid it combines with it, forming what chemists call proto-salts of iron. These salts are readily soluble in water, which by leaching them out carries them to some pond hole where the current of the stream is checked. Continued exposure of these salts to the atmosphere causes them by chemical affinity to take up or combine with more oxygen, forming sesqui-oxide of iron, which is insoluble in water. This action takes place at the surface of the water and betrays its presence by a metallic film, showing the prismatic colors, which floats until the accumulation becomes so great as to sink to the bottom in the form of a yellow precipitate of sesqui-oxide of iron or, commonly speaking, iron rust. An ironmaster would call it bog ore or brown hematite; a mineralogist, limonite. Chemically pure limonite consists of 59.92 per cent. metallic iron, 25.68 per cent. oxygen, and 14.40 per cent. water. As soon as a film of sesqui-oxide of iron settles another begins to form, and this action goes on continually. After this product the description of the process must necessarily become somewhat hypothetical. It is supposed that a great mass of this limonite has been deposited on the bottom of some large sheet of water, and through some action of nature such as a subsidence of the surface, or an elevation of the surrounding country, or violent storms, the process of deposition ceases and an influx of mud and sand takes place, covering the limonite with material many feet in thickness. The weight of this covering would solidify the ore and force the greater part of the free water from it. Limonite in this condition occurs at Beattystown, N. J.

The 14.40 per cent. of water that is in chemical combination with the iron cannot be expelled by pressure alone, but another agent now acts in concert with pressure, namely heat. The source of this heat is uncertain, but its presence is proven by the products of fusion, found with the ore. Pressure and heat together expel the last traces of water from the limonite, and leave a residue that is an anhydrous sesqui-oxide of iron. This is true hematite, and if pure consists of 70 per cent. of metallic iron and 30 per cent. of oxygen. It is an important ore, but is not found in this county in paying quantities. If while the ore is subjected to the above mentioned agencies some element like carbon--having a greater affinity for oxygen than the iron has--be present, a partial reduction takes place; the ore yields a small percentage of its oxygen to the carbon, becoming richer in metallic iron, and is then called magnetic iron ore, or magnetite--a name given on account of the property it has of influencing a magnetic needle or compass. Pure magnetite can contain but 72.4 per cent. of metallic iron ore and 27.6 per cent. of oxygen.

The extent and importance of this ore to this county will be treated under a special heading.

While all of the above mentioned reactions and transformations are taking place, the mud and sand that were above and below the ore have been subjected to the influence of the same agencies, and what once existed in layers of soft material becomes a hard stratified rock. The cooling of the earth causes it to shrink, and the crust, being hardened by more rapid cooling, cannot contract sufficiently without forming wrinkles or folds on the surface. This throws the horizontal strata of rock and ore up on edge or in a partially inclined position, so that what once formed the bottom of a lake may have become a hill or mountain.

The Azoic rocks of this county are almost without exception stratified, with a general strike from the northeast to the southwest, and generally with a dip to the southeast, the dip varying from horizontal to perpendicular. The term "strike" means the direction of the edges of the strata with reference to the points of the compass, and in most cases it corresponds with the axes of the mountains. The term "dip" is applied to the vertical angle formed by the plane of the strata with a horizontal plane, and is always taken at right angles to the strike. The southeastern boundary of the Azoic rocks, after keeping a very direct course from the Hudson River, crosses Passaic county nearly on the line of the Ramapo River, and enters Morris county near Pompton; keeping the same course, it passes just east of Boonton and west of Morris Plains. A short distance west of the latter place the line makes a short turn to the east, then runs due south until it reaches Morristown, where it bends to the southwest and, resuming its general course, passes into Somerset county in the direction of Bernardsville. A description of this boundary is necessarily somewhat inaccurate, and the line appears more regular than it probably is; in fact it is but a description of the bases of the mountains and hills on the eastern border of the formation. This indefiniteness exists because of the great burden of earth that covers the lower part of this formation.

Following the line between the counties of Morris and Somerset in a westerly direction from the point where the eastern border of the gneiss leaves the county, no break in the formation occurs until a small patch of the magnesian limestone and a spur of Triassic sandstone are reached near the stream that flows through Peapack. This gap is a little more than two miles in width. On the west side the gneiss appears again, and may be followed continuously on the line between Morris and Hunterdon counties almost to the Warren county line, with the single exception of a bed of limestone, about half a mile in width, lying immediately west of the foot of Fox Hill, in German Valley. The Musconetcong River forms the boundary between Morris and Warren counties from a point just south of Stephensburg to Waterloo, and runs the entire distance on a narrow belt of blue limestone, which separates the county line from the northwestern border of the Azoic rocks by a fraction of a mile. The line between Morris and Sussex counties is formed by the Musconetcong River from Waterloo to Lake Hopatcong, and by the lake to Woodport, from which place an arbitrary line runs straight to a point near Snufftown, where it meets the head waters of the Pequannock River. This entire distance is underlain by Azoic rocks. The Pequannock River forms the division line between Morris and Passaic counties, and flows in a southeasterly direction. For a short distance after it becomes the county line the river passes over Azoic rocks, and then crosses a belt of more modern rocks that belong to the Lower Silurian period. These are known as Potsdam sandstone or Green Pond Mountain rock and Hudson River slate. This belt of Paleozoic rocks is about four miles wide. The stream leaves the sandstone just north of Charlotteburgh and, continuing its southeasterly course, flows over gneissic rocks until it reaches their eastern boundary near Pompton. The territory included in the boundaries that have just been described covers nearly three quarters of the total area of the county, and, after excepting a few deposits all of which are comparatively small, the entire surface is underlain with gneiss or syenite.

The last member of the Azoic rocks is the white limestone, which occurs sparingly in two places. One deposit is near Montville, where it is associated with asbestos, fibrous (chysotile) and massive serpentine. This bed is worked by the Boonton Iron Company for limestone for the company's furnaces. The other deposit is on the Sanders farm near Mendham.

Rising in the geological column, the next period repre sented by the rocks of this county is the Lower Silurian, which includes the Potsdam sandstone, the Hudson River slate and all of the remaining limestones.

The sandstones, being the lowest, should be considered first. This material varies greatly in structure and texture. In some places it consists of an extremely hard conglomerate made up of large pebbles, giving it a beautiful mottled appearance, and would make a fine building stone if it were less difficult to dress. Sometimes it occurs in large thin slabs, with fine grain and free from pebbles, and makes a fair substitute for rough flagging. This rock is also found in the form of sand. This formation, rising near Cornwall, Orange county, N. Y., runs in a southwesterly direction across that county, enters New Jersey just west of Greenwood Lake, crosses Passaic county, and passes into Morris county at Newfoundland. At this point the formation is about two miles wide and of low elevation, being crossed by the Pequannock River. The formation rises rapidly as it proceeds toward the southwest. Three miles from Newfoundland it forms two high ridges known as Green Pond Mountain and Copperas Mountain. The latter is parallel to and east of the former. Green Pond lies between them, at an elevation of 1,069 feet above sea level.

Copperas Mountain rises just west of Charlotteburgh and runs about six miles, to Denmark, where it falls precipitously, allowing the passage of Green Pond Brook. The sides of the mountain are very steep, being often perpendicular cliffs or ledges of rock. It takes its name from the iron mines near its base, which were formerly worked for copperas--a sulphate of iron. Green Pond Mountain rises near Newfoundland, and continues without interruption until it reaches Baker's Mill, where it disappears below the level of the valley of the Rockaway River, which crosses the formation at this place. The west side of this mountain is very steep, being impassable in places. At Petersburg and Milton there is a spur or offshoot of conglomerate on the west side of the valley. This forms what is known as Bowling Green Mountain, and is separated on the surface from Green Pond Mountain by a bed of slate, under which the formation is continuous. South of the Rockaway River at Baker's Mill the sandstones are found in four isolated deposits. The first deposit makes its appearance between Duck Pond and the bridge where the Chester Railroad crosses the Morris Canal, extends in a southerly direction, and gradually rising forms a low hill, steep toward the east and sloping gently westward. The Morris Canal and the public highway follow the base of the hill closely as far as McCainsville, where the formation falls suddenly below the plain, allowing the passage of the Morris Canal, Black River, and a branch of the Longwood Valley Railroad. At this extremity the stratification is strongly marked, and quarries yielding good building stones have been opened. Fine specimens of curved slabs, formed by the folding of the rocks, are found here. To the northwest of the first deposit lies the second, on the foot of Brookland Mountain. The Morris and Essex Railroad crosses it a short distance below the Drakesville depot, by an excavation commonly known as the "White Rock cut," the name being suggested by the color of the stone. At this place the rock appears as a typical sandstone, being fine-grained and friable. The third deposit forms the hill which rises near the canal, west of McCainsville. It forms the western boundary of Succasunna Plains, to a point a short distance south of the road leading to Drakesville, and here it is lost under a heavy burden of earth. About a mile further south it reappears, forming the fourth deposit, the outlines of which are traced with great difficulty, as the outcrops are rare. The fourth deposit stops at Flanders, and is the last of this series that is found in the county. In this deposit the last traces of a rocky texture have disappeared, and the material occurs in the form of white sand. Large quantities have been dug and sent away by the Boonton Iron Company and by private individuals, to be used as a lining for furnaces, as it is very refractory.

Boulders of Potsdam sandstone occur near German Valley, and, although never found in situ, it may exist underneath the limestones of the valley.

All of these deposits may be connected with one another, but the burden of earth which divides the outcrops is so great that the question of the continuity of the formation will always be an open one.

Mount Paul, near Mendham, is an isolated peak of this sandstone.

Immediately above the Potsdam sandstone comes the Magnesian limestone--a name given on account of an important constituent, it being nearly half carbonate of magnesia, pure limestone containing carbonate of lime only. The magnesian limestones of this county are generally hard, compact and fine-grained, and are free from fossils. Their color varies from almost black to gray; generally it is of a bluish tint. The color is due to the presence of organic matter, as the limestone burns white.

The largest deposit in the county is in German Valley, which place it underlies from the foot of Fox Hill to the foot of Schooley's Mountain. This bed is elongated, with an axis parallel to and nearly coincident with the prolonged axis of the Potsdam sandstones just described. It extends from about a mile northeast of Naughrightville to about a mile southwest of California in Hunterdon county, crossing the county line at Middle Valley. The extremities are about nine miles apart; its greatest width is about half a mile. It is extensively worked for lime for farming purposes, and considerable quantities are used in the blast furnaces at Chester and Boonton.

The second bed of this variety of limestone in point of size is part of a large deposit which extends from southwest of Bloomsbury, in Hunterdon county, to Waterloo in Sussex county, a distance of some twenty-five miles along the valley of the Musconetcong River. The part which is in Morris county lies between the river and the foot of Schooley's Mountain. The brown hematite mined at Beattystown is found in this formation.

The next in the scale of importance is the deposit that, rising a short distance south of Peapack, in Somerset county, runs northerly and enters the county just west of the line between Mendham and Chester townships. In crossing the county line it bends suddenly to the northeast, occupies the valley east of Mount Paul, skirts along the base of the mountain, crosses the valley of Indian Brook, and disappears about three-fourths of a mile northwest of the village of Mendham. The greatest length of the deposit is about six miles--four and a half of which are in this county--and the greatest breadth about half a mile. It is partially bounded on the west and northwest by Triassic shales and Potsdam sandstones, while the remaining boundaries are gneiss. Quarries on this deposit have yielded large quantities of lime for fertilizing and building purposes.

The remaining deposits are those at Middle Forge. Two of these have been worked; both are small and lie on the conglomerate. One is near the forge pond, on the side next the Green Pond Mountain, and is about 450 feet long. The other, farther south, lies at the foot of the same mountain, near the place where the highway from Berkshire Valley to Mount Hope turns to the east to cross the valley. These quarries were the source of the limestone used in the furnaces that were formerly operated at Mount Hope. The small deposit of magnesian limestone lying on the west side of the road leading from Stanhope to Budd's Lake is not in place, but is merely a boulder.

Fossiliferous limestone lies above the magnesian limestone and below the Hudson River slate, and, while existing in large deposits in other parts of New Jersey, it occurs but sparingly in this county. Its presence is worthy of note, as it is a member of the rocks of this period. The only deposits are found scattered along the western base of the Green Pond Mountain, from Upper Longwood to Woodstock, and along the eastern base between Newfoundland and Green Pond. The rock is very friable and full of indistinct fossils, and is generally too impure to be of much economic value.

Hudson River slate is another rock noteworthy only on account of its representing a formation that has greater importance elsewhere in the State. Instead of appearing as a typical slate, valuable for roofing purposes, it occurs as a hard, dark colored rock, with crooked seams, which cause it to break in irregular masses. It is refractory, and resists the action of time to a great degree. The sole deposit of slate in Morris county rises at the State line, between Greenwood Lake and Bearfort Mountain; runs parallel to the mountain side, contracting on its approach to the town of West Milford; and thence gradually expanding to near the county line, spreads out and divides about the north end of the Green Pond Mountain formation. The eastern branch is narrow, and after crossing the county line ends, after following for about a mile the valley of the stream that rises near Green Pond and flows into the Pequannock River. The western branch is also narrow until it passes Newfoundland, when it suddenly expands to the west and enters the county with a width of about two miles. It holds this width as far as Russia, and then commences to diminish in breadth; at Milton its western boundary jumps suddenly to the east, being crowded over by the sandstone of Bowling Green Mountain, until it is only half a mile wide. From Petersburg it follows the valley of the Rockaway River, gradually growing narrower and disappearing at Upper Longwood. The eastern boundary is nearly straight, being formed by the foot of Green Pond Mountain, on which this deposit lies.

A great break in the geological column now presents itself. None of the rocks belonging to the Upper Silurian, to the Devonian or Old Red Sandstone, to the Carboniferous with its coal measures, nor to the Permian period, have been found in the county. The next formation to be considered is the Triassic or New Red Sandstone. This is the age in which reptiles first made their appearance, fishes being the highest order of life that had existed heretofore. This name is given to the period because in Germany this formation is composed of three kinds of rock, viz.: Bunter Sandstein, Muschelkalk and Keuper.

In geographical extent the Triassic rocks of the county are exceeded only by those of the Azoic period. The northwestern border of the formation crosses Passaic county nearly on the line of the Ramapo River, and enters Morris county at Pompton; thence running on a very direct southwesterly course it passes through the city of Boonton, and on to Morris Plains; there it turns to the south and swings around the foot of Trowbridge Mountain, resumes at Morristown its former course, and follows the road to Bernardsville until it crosses the county line. This it will be seen is the eastern boundary of the gneiss. The sandstones lie upon the older rocks throughout the entire distance. There are no other boundaries to this formation in the county, as the county line cuts off but a fragment, as it were, of a belt of sandstone which is from twenty to twenty-five miles wide, and which, rising near Cornwall, N. Y., crosses New Jersey, and passes into Pennsylvania. The materials composing this formation are either red shales or red sandstones, the latter being largely used for building purposes under the name of "freestone." A black shale is found at Boonton, which furnishes fine specimens of fossil fish, and small layers of bituminous matter resembling coal. Below the town and near the river slabs of rock may be obtained bearing tracks or the imprints of the feet of extinct reptiles. These remains correspond exactly with those found in the Triassic rocks of Connecticut.

Trap rocks in the form of dykes or ridges are characteristic of the Triassic formation. The largest outcrop of this material found in the county is the ridge which rises near the village of Chatham, runs southwesterly to Myersville, where it turns more to the westward, crosses the county line near Millington, and disappears at Liberty Corner. This ridge is known as "Long Hill." Its length is about eleven miles (eight of which are in this county) and the average width is about onethird of a mile.

The outcrop of trap second in importance is part of a formation which rises near Pine Brook, and running north forms Hook Mountain; keeps this course for four miles, then turns with a large sweep to the east, and leaves the county at Mead's Basin.

The only other deposits are two short ridges located in the southwestern part of the county; the larger, rising near Green Village, runs northwesterly for a short distance, then turns due west and, widening gradually for two miles to about half a mile in breadth, continues on the same course for about another mile, widens rapidly to one and a half miles and then disappears. The other outcrop runs northerly from the same town for three miles; the southerly half is about half a mile in width, the other part swings to the west and narrows rapidly until it disappears.

This ends the description of the fixed rocks, as none of the rocks of the later geological periods are found in this county.

The remaining feature to be described is the structure of the surface, and in preparing this part of the geology of Morris county liberal drafts have been made on the State Geological Report for the year 1880. This report describes the results of glacial action throughout the entire State, and treats of the subject exhaustively. It is highly recommended to the reader who may desire a more detailed account than the following.

Disregarding the ledges or outcrops of a rocky nature, the surface is made up of earth, clays, sands, gravels, and boulders. The earths may be the result of the decomposition and disintegration of the rocks lying in place underneath, and such earths can readily be distinguished by the presence of rocky fragments having rough surfaces and sharp edges; or they are made up from materials brought from a distance and redeposited through the agency of water and ice.

It is impossible to determine the time when the decomposition began from which the earths now in place are derived; probably as soon as the rocks were thrown into their present positions. The action of air, water and frost has never ceased, but goes on continually, and it is to this feature that the sustained fertility of the soil is greatly due. Certain elements essential to plant life are constantly set free and offered to the plant in such a condition that they may be readily absorbed. These earths may be termed "native," and are found only where the surface was not exposed to glacial action.

The transported materials belong to what is known as the glacial period, and are included in the term "drift." During the glacial period the ice field now found in the extreme northern latitudes extended southward until it covered the northern part of New Jersey to a depth of nearly one thousand feet, but leaving the highest mountains bare. Farther north it reached a depth of several thousand feet. This field of ice moved from north to south with a creeping motion, the front part constantly melting away as it was pushed forward by the mass of material behind, and any movable object was irresistably carried along by the flow. By this means a vast quantity of rock was torn from its place and transported greater or less distances, often many miles. The action being a grinding one the corners and edges of the rocks were soon broken and worn off, forming boulders, and the fragments exposed to the same influence were ground into pebbles, gravels or sands. The surface of the rocks in situ suffered accordingly, and in many places in the county the summits of the mountains are worn and rounded, often showing grooves and scratches as evidences of the grinding action. The term "glacial drift" may be applied to all the debris resulting from the glacial action, but for convenience its use is confined to such materials as are thoroughly intermingled, while the term "modified glacial drift" is used to denote such materials as have been subjected to the action of water, and by it have been rearranged in the form of stratified beds. There is no distinction made in regard to the materials composing the two kinds of drift; sometimes the two formations lie side by side.

As the glacier melted away at the south and retreated northward it left the materials that it carried or pushed forward, depositing them somewhat as they had been grouped on or under the ice. The southern limit of the drift deposits is marked by a line of ridges, heaps, or mounds, which is known as the "terminal moraine."

The most southerly point of the terminal moraine found in New Jersey is at Perth Amboy, from whence it takes a north-northwesterly course to the trap ridges near Scotch Plains; there it turns to the northeast, and keeps this course as far as Summit; turns at this point to the west and northwest, and crossing the Passaic River enters this county at Stanley. Hugging the northeastern end of Long Hill it now swings to the northwest, turns at Morristown to the north, and follows the line of the gneiss and red sandstone as far as Morris Plains; thence it runs on the west side and near the track of the Morris and Essex Railroad as far as Denville. At Denville the line is broken, but from deposits of drift found near Ninkey and Shongum it would appear that the glacier had extended up the valley of Den Brook for several miles. From Denville to Dover the line of drift follows the contours of the hills, but not connectedly, the deposits being isolated in many cases. At Dover the formation is shown in the little tableland on which the Orchard street cemetery is located. Rounding the high hill west of Dover the line of drift follows up the valley of Jackson Brook from the silk mill to the lower part of Irondale, and from here again turns to the north and swings by Port Oram and around Dunham's Hill as far as the Scrub Oak mine; thence runs across the north end of Succasunna Plains to a point near where the Chester Railroad crosses the canal, and thence swinging around by Duck Pond passes on to a point near the Drakesville depot. From here the course of the moraine passes by a tortuous route by Budd's Lake to Hackettstown, and there leaves the county.

The limits of this article are too confined to allow more than a brief notice of the more striking features of this formation. The ridge from Long Hill to Morristown is quite level on top, and being of a light, porous soil, free from large rocks, it is well suited for building sites. These advantages have already attracted a large amount of wealth. Morristown and Madison are partly on this ridge. It forms the divide between the watersheds of the Whippany and the west branch of the Passaic River. Its average height above sea level is about 375 feet.

Mount Tabor is also composed of drift material. The gravel pit at the intersection of Clinton and McFarlan streets in the city of Dover affords a fine section of drift. The tableland west of Dover on which St. Mary's church is built belongs to this formation. The moraine hill which extends from Dunham's hill toward Duck Pond forms the divide between the head waters of the Passaic and Raritan Rivers. The finest examples of moraine hills are found in Berkshire Valley.

A noteworthy feature of the effect of glacial action on the topography of the county is seen in the changes that it has made in the drainage of the streams by reversing the direction of the flow. The original Green Pond Brook ran northeast to the Pequannock River, but a glacial dam prevents this and forces the water to make its escape at the opposite end of the lake. The natural outlet of Lake Hopatcong was through the Raritan River, but a bed of drift near Hopatcong station closed this channel and raised the water till it found an exit by the way of the Musconetcong Valley to the Delaware. Canfield Island was formed at the same time. The original outlet of Budd's Lake fed a stream which ran into the Musconetcong near Stanhope; a dam of drift shut this passage, and now the surplus water escapes to the Raritan. The drainage of Succasunna Plains was in pre-glacial times to the northeast to the Rockaway River, but the moraine above referred to turned the water into the Raritan. Burnt Meadow Brook once flowed into the Rockaway near Baker's Mill, but, being turned by a mass of drift, it passes over the lowest part of the dam at Mount Pleasant and meets the same river below Port Oram.

This reversal of the water courses is easily explained when the condition of things during the glacial epoch is understood. The flow of the ice fields came from the north, and on reaching a river acted as a dam, and backing the water up forced it to find a passage in some other direction, which was necessarily to the southwest, the mountain ranges preventing its escape elsewhere. As the ice retreated it left behind the vast deposits of drift, which, though smaller than the glaciers, were sufficient to control the flow of the streams, and in many cases made permanent the changes effected by the ice.

Morris county is well supplied with water; three of the largest streams in the State find their sources here, and with their tributaries so subdivide the surface that there are no large areas unprovided for. The system of watercourses may be divided into three parts, viz.: the watersheds of the Musconetcong, the Raritan and the Passaic Rivers.

The Musconetcong rises near the Ford mine, in Jefferson township, and there bears the name of Weldon Brook. It flows into Lake Hopatcong, and thus becomes a feeder to the Morris Canal, which draws its supply from this lake. The Musconetcong receives the drainage of the west slope of Brookland and Schooley's Mountains, flows to the southwest and empties into the Delaware.

The Raritan is split into three parts, viz.: the "south branch," Black or Lamington River, and the "north branch." The first flows through Flanders and German Valley; the second, or middle branch, flows through Succasunna Plains and Hacklebarney; and the third, or north branch, rising near Mount Freedom, flows through Calais and Roxiticus. All of these streams leave the county before they come together.

The third system is that of the Passaic River, which may be divided into the Passaic River proper, the Whippany, the Rockaway and the Pequannock Rivers. The Passaic rises near Mendham, flows south for about two miles to the county line, which it forms from this point to Two Bridges, a distance of over forty miles, and receives directly all the drainage south of Morristown and as far east as Madison. The country north and east of Morristown forms the watershed of the Whippany, which, rising near Mount Freedom, flows through Brookside, Morristown and Whippany, drains the Troy Meadows and empties into the Rockaway River at Hanover Neck. The Rockaway rises in Sussex county, enters this county near Hopewell, flows southwest through Longwood and Berkshire Valleys, following the west base of Green Pond Mountain, around which it turns at Baker's Mill, and taking a southeasterly course empties into the Passaic River at Hanover Neck. It receives the Burnt Meadow Brook and Jackson Brook near Dover, and the Whippany River about half a mile from its junction with the Passaic, and flows through Dover, Rockaway, Powerville and Boonton, furnishing valuable water power at these places. The Pequannock River rises in the Waywayanda Mountains, in Sussex county, and does not enter Morris county, but forms the boundary line from a point near Snufftown to Two Bridges, where it meets the Passaic, a distance of nearly thirty miles. This river receives the drainage of all the northeastern part of the county, and is largely used for manufacturing purposes at Bloomingdale and Pompton.

The soils of this county are generally very productive, especially on the hills that furnish native earth, as this material seems to have the power of resuscitating itself if allowed to rest from time to time, and properly worked in the meantime. The yield of the limestone soils will compare favorably with that of any other part of the State. The open and porous soils are more easily exhausted, and require the renewal of fertilizers from year to year, which if furnished render the soil very productive.

This page was last modified on:  01 January, 2014

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