CITY, VILLAGE AND TOWNSHIP HISTORIES, CHATHAM TOWNSHIP.
BY REV. ROBERT AIKMAN, D. D.
CHATHAM TOWNSHIP(*) was formed from Morris and Hanover, in the year 1806. It is in the shape of a wedge, about six miles in length and four broad, and contains twenty-three and a half square miles or 14,712 acres. It is bounded north by Hanover; on the east and south by the Passaic River, which separates it from parts of Essex and Union counties; and on the west by Morris and Passaic townships.
(*) The author of the history of Chatham township desires to express his obligations to the Rev. J. F. Tuttle, D. D., president of Wabash College, and to Rev. Samuel L. Tuttle, for a number of years pastor of the Presbyterian church of Madison. To both these gentlemen every one who gains much knowledge of the early history of this part of New Jersey will have to confess indebtedness. Both were settled pastors in Morris county, and with genuine antiquarian enthusiasm improved their opportunities to gain information while yet there remained among the living aged men and women who remembered old historic scenes, or could repeat the recollections of their fathers or mothers. Rev. S. L. Tuttle has left a large manuscript volume, of nearly five hundred pages, filled with facts and anecdotes of the early days of the township, and especially of the old Bottle Hill church. His address delivered July 4th 1855, entitled "Bottle Hill during the Revolution," much enlarged, was published in the Historical Magazine in 1871. Each of these is a thesaurus of information, and has been largely drawn upon for the early portions of this history.
The population of the township at the several census dates has been as follows: 1810, 2,019; 1820, 1,832; 1830, 1,874; 1840, 2,138; 1850, 2,436; 1860, 2,968 (105 colored); 1870, 3,715 (130 colored); 1875, 4,440 (148 colored); 1880, 4,277. The population of the villages in the township at the last date was: Madison, 1,756; Chatham, 738; Afton, 279.
The assessors' statistics for 1881 were as follows: Acres, 12,418; valuation of real estate, $2,127,089; personal property, $574,735; debt, $87,680; total taxable property, $2,614,144; polls, 891; State school tax, $6,654.59; county tax, $6,212.19; road tax, $6,000; poor tax, $300.
In the southern corner of the township is a portion of the Great Swamp a remarkable formation, probably the bed of an ancient lake or pond, whose description more properly belongs to the account of Passaic township, within which it mainly lies. The whole swamp was until recently covered with a heavy timber growth, but it is now largely cleared and drained, the upland portions well tilled, and much of it excellent meadow land, producing large crops of lowland hay. About 2,560 acres of the Great Swamp lie in Chatham township. It is drained by the Lowantica River, or Black Brook.
On the southeast of the township is a fine elevation of land, called Long Hill, running parallel to the Passaic River, of the valley of which it here forms the northern and eastern crests, affording picturesque and beautiful views of one of the most charming portions of the State.
The principal settlements of the township are Columbia, Madison, East Madison, Chatham and Stanley.
One of the earliest settlers at Columbia was Thomas Eckley, an English gentleman, who came here about the year 1750. He purchased 500 acres of ground, and built a house of considerable elegance, in the midst of a fine park. He died in 1793, and with his wife was buried in the Hanover graveyard. The house passed into other hands, and was subsequently burned down. A portion of the grounds is now owned and occupied by C. B. Meeker and W. J. Meeker.
Columbia has for a year or two borne the name of Afton, the change having been made to distinguish it from another village of the same name in the State. It is a beautiful part of the township, delightful for residences, and the land fruitful and well cultivated.
THE ORIGINAL SETTLERS
of this region were New Englanders, mainly Connecticut men and women, whose first New Jersey homes had been made in Elizabeth and Newark, as is shown by the coincidence of names among the earlier inhabitants of these places with our own. Rumors of vast quantities of iron ore imbedded in the hills beyond reached the ears of these men, and attracted them. This ore had been long known to the Indians, and had been worked by them in their rude way into implements of industry and war. Probably also the fine rolling country, with its well-watered valleys and promise of fruitful harvests, drew them on.
Large purchases of land were made from the old " New Jersey proprietors;" and about twenty-two years after the purchase of Elizabeth by Carteret--that is, about the year 1685--a few men crossed the Newark Mountain, then called the " Great Watchung Mountain," and brought civilization into these hills and valleys.
The central settlement for some time was on the Whippanong River; called so for the tribe of Indians living hereabouts, of whom, however, as of other indigenous Indians, there have come down to us no historical accounts, and almost no traditions. This indicates that between the whites and the Indians there were, happily, no serious conflicts, to leave, as in many other places, bloody way-marks on the early records. The histories of peace have usually been written in few pages. In the language of one of New Jersey's distinguished sons, "It is a proud fact in her history that every foot of her soil has been obtained from the Indians by fair and voluntary purchase and transfer--a fact that no other State in the Union, not even the land which bears the name of Penn, can boast of."
The township of Whippanong was constituted in the year 1700, and included all the territory now embraced in the townships of Morris, Chatham and Hanover.
The names of many of the earliest settlers have a familiar sound to-day--such as Carter, Genung, Miller, Potter, Burnet, Thompson, Marsh, Muchmore, Roberts, Day, Lum, Bruen, Lindsley, Halsey, Bonnel, Cook, Ward and others. Of these settlers Benjamin Carter seems to have been the largest landholder, owning most of the land now occupied by the village of Madison. His residence was a few rods south of where the Presbyterian church now stands. The first grist-mill here was built by him, and stood in the valley opposite his house; the mill dam being thrown across the valley and flooding the land to the north, making a considerable stream part of the year, but quite dry in the summer.
The original blacksmith appears to have been Ellis Cook, whose shop occupied the site of the old and now forsaken academy building. Aaron Burnet settled on the spot owned by the late John B. Miller, and died there at the age of 100 years; the house has disappeared. His four sons, James, Matthias, William and Aaron, lived to advanced age, the last of them being the late Matthias L. Burnet, who passed away recently in his 93d year. David Bruen came from Newark and built upon the spot occupied by the late Captain Mallaby.
For many years the settlements were mere hamlets, while the entire surrounding region was an unbroken wilderness, whose only inhabitants were wild beasts and Indians. Here and there a more enterprising or adventurous settler erected a dwelling and cleared a space for a future civilization.
When, about the year 1718, the old church in Whippanong was formed, Morristown had hardly begun to be a village, and not until sixty years afterward did it number two hundred and fifty inhabitants. Newark had been settled forty years, and had a population of less than three hundred. Elizabethtown was the center of trade for the whole region, and although small was yet the most influential of all these settlements. What is now Springfield contained but three dwelling houses. Bloomfield, Orange and Belleville were mere outskirts belonging to Newark, while the villages of Parsippany, Hanover and Chatham were not yet in existence.
For many years after the first settlers came the country filled up very slowly. The farmers were few, houses were widely distributed and of the humblest character, and of course the religious and educational advantages were extremely limited. No marked changes seemed to have occurred for many years.
PRODUCTION AND TRANSPORTATION.
As has been said, the iron ore abounding in the hills of Morris county was a principal incentive to immigration. Upon the tracts of land purchased of the New Jersey proprietors forges were erected in various places, One of these stood near the present grist-mill in Green Village, another near the grist-mill in Chatham village, and the region hereabouts came to be known for many years by the name of "The Old Forges."
The ore was carried from the mines in stout leathern bags on the backs of horses, and after being manufactured into iron the bars were carried in the same way to Elizabeth and Newark, and thence forwarded in boats to New York. This business not only had much to do with the early settlement of the region, but soon led to the opening of roads. The earliest highway leading through Chatham to the seaboard was that long known as "the old road," which, coming down from Morristown by the residence of Judge Lathrop, passed from thence to the corner of the road leading to the convent, now occupied by Mr. Vernier; then, by the site of the old academy, down the hill, past the lecture room of the Presbyterian church, along the present track of the railroad, in front of the house now occupied as a home for invalids by Mrs. Van Pelt, down toward Chatham by the house of Mrs. George Ebling; thence over the Passaic River and Short Hills, through Springfield and Connecticut Farms to Elizabethtown, striking the seaboard at the Kill von Kull. Communication with New York from there was by means of row boats and small sailing craft, two days being frequently consumed in going from Chatham township to New York.
Other thoroughfares were opened gradually and later, but may as well be designated here. The main road toward the south was the one now leading to Green Village, and thence to Basking Ridge, Pluckamin and the Delaware. The road leading northward was that which passes by the old academy, through Columbia, Whippany, Troy and Pompton, and on to Fort Lee and the Highlands of the Hudson. These roads formed a direct route between the Delaware and the Hudson for persons traveling on this side of the Newark Mountain, as well as for those coming from the west toward the ocean. These roads also had more or less to do with the early development of this region, and had special historic bearings. Geographically, Bottle Hill was so located that during the Revolutionary war it became from necessity a witness of many of the operations and a large sharer in the embarrassments and trials of that eventful struggle.
The history of the roads of a country gives a pretty fair indication of the intellectual and social life and progress of that country. Chatham township, as indeed Morris county generally, is at least a partial illustration of this rule. The early roads of course were rough, and at certain seasons of the year almost impassable. Yet they were important avenues from the interior to great emporiums. The travel from the up-country, the transportation of produce and manufactures was by stage and by large four-horse baggage wagons. Two four-horse stages passed up and down daily. Rev. Dr. Ogden states that he has himself counted twenty four-horse covered wagons coming one after the other over the hills. These would usually stop over night in Chatham village as a half-way house, coming and going; making the village lively, and the business of the two leading public houses very profitable. To reach New York and return required two days, with a probable third day for the transaction of business. The increasing travel as the country filled up made it necessary to keep the roads in passable condition; but the improvements within a few years have been very great, and there is probably no part of New Jersey where better roads invite to finer drives than throughout this portion of the State, and perhaps none where such advantages are put to better use.
This part of New Jersey can hardly be said to have been really known to the rest of the country until October 1837, when the Morris and Essex Railroad was opened, bringing into connection with Newark and New York these hilly and picturesque regions on the line of the road, and giving easy access to romantic lake and mountain scenery in other parts of Morris county. This was at first quite an unpretentious road as to all its appointments, but changes came with later days. Among these was the great improvement made around the depot at Madison about twenty-five years ago. What is now the square was then a mere roadway. On the north side of the road stood the town hall, the M. E. church, and several private houses. The grounds on which these buildings stood were purchased, the buildings moved back and the square well filled in. The cost of this improvement was $12,000, one half of which was raised among the citizens and one half borne by the railroad company, which also built new passenger and freight depots. The former of these was burnt down on Sabbath evening October 21st 1877, and the present comely and commodious building has been built in its place.
The railroad is very circuitous, but all the more pleasant for that; and in certain seasons of the year, particularly in the early fall, presents a picture of great beauty to the eye, as the train passes under the slope of fine hills, through rich rolling lands, with such views as open from the Short Hills and other points. These advantages soon became known to the world without, and these hills and valleys began to lose their loneliness; until now from Newark to Morristown, and even beyond, there is a continuous line of rural residences, many of them the convenient homes of well-to-do men whose means are limited, and also many of them the elegant and costly mansions of men of wealth. The writer well remembers his first impressions of Chatham township, and especially the sight of so many beautiful knolls of land where houses could be placed to fine advantage. Many of these knolls are now occupied, but many others invite the occupancy of those who love good views and the sweep of healthful winds.
For some years past it has been the growing practice of intelligent physicians to commend to invalids these hills. The elevation of the township, its freedom from malarious influences, and the purity of its air have of late years been making it the resort of many who once were sent to distant places with less advantage; and indeed all parts of Morris county during the summer are more or less filled up with residents for the season, or temporary boarders who wish to be within easy distance of the city.
One who at any season of the year watches the wellfilled trains which move so frequently through these towns and villages will be impressed with the new life which railroads bring to such regions; no inconsiderable portion of the people being men whose homes are here with their families, but whose daily toil is in Newark or New York. That this has made a vast change even in the external aspects of the country, and a greater one in the aspects of society, the condition of the churches, the educational influences abroad, and in other ways, is manifest, whatever some may think of the bearings of all these changes.
A wonderful result of this railroad opening has been the rise in value of property all over the region; and especially the appreciation of the choicer sites, so many of which have been purchased for costly houses. There are acres here, which forty years ago would not have brought fifty dollars, which to day several thousand dollars would not purchase. A great deal of money has been expended in the improvement of grounds, in tasteful architecture, in the outward adornment of lawns, exquisite beds of plants and flowers, and rich shrubbery which beautify the dwellings on every road; while the roads themselves, growing better every year, invite to beautiful drives in every direction--indeed the drives all through Chatham township are not among the least of the attractions of the region.
EDUCATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS BEGINNINGS.
It is not known how early provision was made for public education, but no doubt the pioneers, who came from the Puritan stock, followed the example of New England and "near the school-house built the church." The Rev. Jacob Green at the time of the Revolutionary war was fulfilling his long and able ministry in the Hanover church. His son, Ashbel Green, about the year 1780 was a teacher in the district school of Bottle Hill, while continuing the course of studies which, followed out, fitted him afterward for the position of president of the College of New Jersey.
At this point it will be in order to speak of the original church in Chatham township, because in New Jersey, as in New England, the history of any of our ancient churches is largely the history of the community up to a certain stage.
As to the earliest religious ordinances, where the people met, how their Sabbbath services were conducted, who preached for them, we are left to conjecture. But we risk nothing in believing that from the beginning the public worship of God was maintained; that in private houses and in barns the fathers and mothers gathered their families together on the Lord's day, to hear the glad tidings of Christ and to offer public thanksgiving and prayer.
For about thirty years after the first settlers crossed the mountains there was no church edifice, nor, so far as is known, any church organization in all this region. The old Presbyterian church at Whippanong had the honor of precedence. We say had; for the old church is not in existence now, and is not to be confounded with the present church of Whippany, whose edifice stands on quite another site, and the organization of which did not take place for more than a century afterward. The original deed by which three and a half acres were given " for a meeting-house, school-house, burying ground and training field," begins with the words: "I, John Burroughs, of Whippanong, in the county of Hunterdon," and bears date September 2nd 1718. This was twenty years before the organization of the first church in Morristown, which is the eldest child of this old mother.
The building stood on the present burying ground, a little northwest of the gate. It was a much smaller and humbler structure than either of the very plain churches subsequently built on Hanover Neck or Bottle Hill; a little shingled house, without cupola or spire, with outside stairways up to the galleries. It has long since passed away; but fifty years ago its foundation walls could be plainly traced, and twenty years later there "was a hollow which clearly marked the place of the old edifice." Surely the spot is worthy of an enduring monument.
To this primitive church, from all the wide extent of territory round about, came the worshipers of that early day. The villages of Hanover Neck, Parsippany, New Vernon, Mendham, Boonton and Chatham were not yet in existence, and there was no house of worship of any order in Rockaway, Morristown, Green Village or Bottle Hill.
CHATHAM IN THE REVOLUTION.
Such, as we have described them, were the general aspects of this region during the period which preceded the war of the Revolution. The people, being either directly or remotely of New England origin, maintained the love for civil and religious treedom which brought the Pilgrim fathers from the old world to the new. They entered with enthusiasm into the great national struggle, and during the long years of the war bore at least their full share in its sacrifices, as their descendants have shared in its great and benign results.
President Tuttle calls attention to the "singular fact that in a national work, Sparks's ` Writings of Washington,' on the map of military movements in New Jersey Bottle Hill is not even put down, nor any reference made to the main encampment that winter of 1776-7 near Bottle Hill, in the Lowantica Valley. Nor is any allusion made to it in that other great national book Lossing's `Field Book of the Revolution.'"
Lowantica Valley, so called from the Indian name of the brook which runs through it, begins near Morristown, and runs southeast for about five miles toward Green Village. It is now more commonly called Spring Valley. It is beautiful and well watered, and was then heavily timbered. Of the stream itself Mr. Tuttle says: "It is an unusually clear stream, formed from the springs which abound in the valley, and which gush forth in all their natural purity at almost every step. Flowing down in the general direction of the valley it empties into the Passaic, and constitutes thus one of the principal sources of that river." This valley was chosen by Washington for the winter quarters of the army during the winter of 1776-77. For this purpose the valley and the whole region round about were admirably adapted. Among the ranges of mountains extending from the Delaware to the Hudson, it had easy communication with the posts upon those rivers; several prominent peaks enabled the patriots to kindle beacon fires from Short Hills to Bottle Hill, to Morristown and beyond Denville, so that the movements of the British troops were again and again frustrated as the fires on the mountain top and the signal guns from point to point roused the inhabitants and called the troops to arms. This whole region also was well cultivated, abounding in supplies for the troops, and, perhaps more than all, the patriotism of the inhabitants of Morris county burned clear and high, giving to Washington and the American army true sympathy and invaluable practical aid.
It was early in the war, and at a critical time, when the army came here. The great and unexpected successes at Trenton and Princeton had encouraged the hearts of the people, but the troops were in a very wretched condition, in need of food and rest, of ammunition and of clothes.
We will quote here at some length the words of Rev. Samuel L. Tuttle, as we are indebted almost solely to him for all these interesting facts, which he gathered with great care and labor. If they should be put into other words, still the narrative would be his:
"The American forces were in fine spirits, and, the winter having set in, Washington determined to conduct them into winter quarters. He led them from Princeton, through Pluckamin, Basking Ridge, New Vernon, thence by the grist-mill belonging to Mr. Beauplain Boisaubin, near Green Village, thence around the corner occupied by Moses Lindsley, thence along the road from Green Village to Morristown; and thence over to the ground which had been selected for the encampment in the valley on the farms now belonging to A. M. Tredwell and W. M. Kitchel. The number of the troops is nowhere stated, but we have reason to believe that it was about three thousand. The weather at the time was exceedingly cold. Pitching their tents at first wherever they could find places for them, they continued to occupy them until they were able to construct more substantial and comfortable accommodations. The center of the ground marked out for the encampment was not far from the present mansion of Mr. A. M. Tredwell. The ground at that point gradually desends toward the southeast, and is shielded by the crown of hill back of it from the severe winds and storms from north, northeast and west. A little south of it runs the Lowantica, and still nearer are several large and excellent springs. The encampment began on the slope, west of the spot occupied by Mr. Tredwell's residence. One principal street, between four and five rods wide, was laid out in the middle, in the center of which stood the flagstaff, which by this time had come to be called the `liberty pole,' from the top of which floated our national banner. This street was kept in excellent condition, and was used as a parade ground, although there is reason to believe that the fine level space on the hill, north of the camp, was used for this purpose on special occasions, such as general parades and reviews. The general direction of the main street was northwest and southeast. On this were constructed the cabins of the officers, which were somewhat larger than those which were put up for the soldiers. On either side of this leading avenue were one or two other streets running in the same general direction, and about forty feet in width. On these the cabins of the soldiers were built, in some cases single, but oftener in blocks of three, four and five together; whilst outside of them, especially on the northern side, others were constructed without any special reference to streets, but rather in reference to the character of the ground, the side hill there being indented with several deep gullies. The cabins--of which all the aged people in the vicinity agree there were a large number, probably as many as three hundred in all--were made of unhewn logs and covered with rough clapboards split out of the forest. In one end of each cabin a rough stone fireplace was thrown up, surmounted by a plastered stick chimney, while in the other end of each structure a board bunk was erected which reached across the entire end of the cabin, and, filled with straw, accommodated ten or twelve soldiers. Huge fires were kept continually blazing day and night. Several very large cabins were erected for the accommodation of the commissary department, and camp stores; and these are believed to have been located on the southern borders of the camp, in the vicinity of the springs referred to. In that part of the camp were also the cabins of the sutlers, who drove a brisk trade in various groceries, especially in whiskey. A little farther down toward the stream rude sheds were built for the shelter of the horses, and here too the baggage and artillery wagons were drawn up in lines. On the outermost limits of the encampment several log guard-houses were built for the sentinels, whose duty it was, in regular beats, to pass back and forth, along the four sides of the camp, day and night."
This minute account was derived, by the author of it, from several aged people who had resided all their lives in or near the valley, and who distinctly remembered the camp from having often been in it during the winter when it was occupied. It will be interesting to the present inhabitants of this region, who can easily identify the spots where lay the main army of the new republic through all that dismal winter.
In addition to these forces three regiments of New England troops were posted near by, to be in readiness, if need be, for action on the Delaware. These were for the most part billeted in private houses through this township. Here again we quote the words of Mr. Tuttle, whose information came from aged eye witnesses, and who gives us an animated picture of the times:
"Every house throughout this region was filled to its utmost capacity with either officers or soldiers. Persons appointed by the commander-in-chief passed through the towns and examined the houses, and, without much consultation with the owners, decided how many and who should be quartered in each; often without even going into the house, these persons would ride up to the door and write: `Col. Ogden's headquarters,' `Major Eaton's headquarters,' `twelve privates to be billeted here,' `six officers to be quartered here,' &c., and generally without much regard to the convenience or wishes of the occupants the arrangements of these commissioners were carried out. In many cases the best rooms were placed at the disposal of the troops, while the families owning them retired into their kitchens and garrets. Boards were set up on the floor, across the side of the room opposite to the hearth, just far enough from the wall to admit of a person lying down at full length. This space was then filled with good wholesome straw, and there all the soldiers billeted in a house, numbering sometimes six, sometimes twelve and sometimes even twenty, crowded in together, and, covering themselves each with a single blanket, while the fires were kept burning, defended themselves as best they could from the severities of those stern winter nights. In some cases the soldiers had their meals provided by the families with which they were quartered, while in others they drew their rations and prepared them for themselves, as is generally done in camp."
As is known to all, Washington's headquarters were in Morristown, the general himself being housed in the hotel kept by Colonel Jacob Arnold, the famous "light horse" commander, as related on page 115, and with him there or in other houses near by were some of his most eminent generals and his military family; but a number of the leading officers of the army had their homes in the residences of the best families in Chatham township; among these were General Wayne, General Maxwell, Colonel Ogden, Colonel Barbour and others. "In some cases the families of the officers were with them, and in this way a very pleasant society was kept up here during the winter."
These burdens seem to have been cheerfully borne by these families. "Aaron Kitchel and his father, Joseph Kitchel, of Hanover, gave up the larger of their two houses, on condition that the old people might have the other, required only to take care of three sick English prisoners. The late Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green remembered that his father's family consisted of nine individuals; and, as well as can be recollected, fourteen officers and soldiers were quartered in the same building. The Sayres, Richards, Ely, Beach, Kitchel, Smith, Tuttle and other families were served in the same way; making no complaint." Dr. J. F. Tuttle, who gives the above particulars, makes mention of Mrs. Anna Kitchel, a devout Christian and patriot who, having rooms and free provisions for at least twelve soldiers, did indeed protest when an officer attempted to billet forty hungry fellows upon them; for whom however they hung over the fire the large kettle holding half a barrel, filled with meat and potatoes and other vegetables.
Among the good men who performed high service here of another kind were certain clergymen who officiated as army chaplains. It is well known that the general orders of Washington to the army, as well as all his public papers, breathe the spirit of humble reverence to Almighty God.
No commander would be more sure to provide religious services for his troops. There can be no reasonable doubt that the Rev. Mr. Horton was called to this service, well known as he was for his sturdy patriotism and courage. The minister whose services there were best known was, however, the famous James Caldwell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth. Dr. Tuttle says that "on the Sabbath when the weather would admit of it he preached to the soldiers on the parade ground, from a temporary platform; at other times discharging his high office in the cabins of both officers and privates, in conversing with individuals, in ministering consolation and instruction to the sick and dying, and in performing the last rites of religion at the graves of those who had died.
Here it may be said that such ministrations as these were greatly needed during that long and dreadful winter. Added to the many hard trials of the camp, that dread scourge smallpox broke out among the troops. That benign discovery vaccination was not then known, and Washington (February 5th 1777) writes to Congress: "The smallpox has made such head in every quarter that I find it impossible to keep it from spreading through the whole army in the natural way. I have therefore determined not only to inoculate all the troops here that have not had it, but I shall order Dr. Shippen to inoculate the recruits also, as fast as they come to Philadelphia." Dr. Ashbel Green, who was then a youth of about seventeen years, says in his autobiography: "The troops were distributed in the dwellings of the inhabitants, and the surgeons of the army inoculated both soldiers and citizens free of charge. The disease by inoculation was so light that there was not, probably, a day in which the army could not have been marched against the enemy if it had been necessary."
Nevertheless the deaths among the soldiers must have been many. One or two churches appear to have been occupied as smallpox hospitals, and a number of private houses were set apart for the purpose of inoculation and as smallpox hospitals. One of these was a house on the Green Village road leading from Morristown and passing along the camp ground; the house was then owned by James Brookfield, whose devoted wife, as Mr. Tuttle says, "is deserving of a monument for the self-sacrificing efforts which she put forth to relieve the sufferings and comfort the last hours of our patriotic soldiers who were placed under her roof." All the rooms in this house were kept full of the sick, many of whom died and were buried in the orchard about five hundred yards northwest of the house. "Nothing now remains to mark the place of their burial, but there must have been a very considerable number interred there during that fearful winter."
The following extract from Mr. Tuttle's address possesses great interest:
"The principal hospital in the vicinity of the camp was a large house which belonged at that time to a German gentleman of the name of Harperee, on the farm which now belongs to Mr. J. J. Scofield, on the old road from this place to Morristown. The house stood about a quarter of a mile south of the above thoroughfare, and on ground which sloped toward the south, so that it could not be seen from the road. It was a one-and-a-half-story house, having four rooms on the lower floor and a greater number on the upper, about one and a half miles northwest of the center of the camp; and in many respects admirably adapted to the object for which it was used. Here large numbers of soldiers at different times saw the last of earth. The place where they were buried, it is said, is still to be seen, in the southwest corner of the Harperee farm. A triangular piece of ground containing at least three-quarters of an acre, surrounded by an old-fashioned worm fence, and filled with mounds as closely as they could be placed, in regular rows, was the place where these unfortunate men, unblest with the sympathy of wives or sisters or mothers, were committed to the dust."
During all this winter the inhabitants of this region were kept in a continual state of commotion. A company of armed sentinels were kept stationed night and day on Prospect Hill, a crest of the Short Hills, a little off the main road leading to Springfield and nearly in front of the "Hobart mansion." This point commands a view of the whole region east of the mountain, including New York Bay, Staten Island, Newark, Elizabeth and Springfield, so that all the movements of the enemy in all these directions could be at once seen. It also commands a view of the whole region west of the mountain to the hills behind Morristown, embracing Basking Ridge and the hills on the south, and over to Whippany, and across the State line to the mountains of Orange county, N. Y. These sentinals had here an eighteen pounder cannon, known everywhere then by the name of "the old sow," which was fired as an alarm gun; here also they constructed a beacon light of dry rails, built around a high pole and surmounted by a tar barrel. Aged people relate how their fathers hurried forth, hastily arming themselves, when the report of the old cannon shook the hills, or when the beacon light blazed from the peak and was answered from hill to hill far up the country. All eyes at night would be cast toward the Short Hill summit ere the people went to sleep.
Mr. Tuttle draws another animated picture, thus:
"There was continual excitement and solicitude. The alarm gun was firing, or the beacon light was burning, or the sounds of the fife and drum were heard, or companies of soldiers were passing and repassing, or the minute men of the vicinity were hurrying back and forth, or the commander in chief and his suite and life-guards were going from or returning to headquarters, or some general parade was taking place upon the camp ground, or some tory spies were seen prowling about, or some company of the enemy's troops under the conduct of tory guides was committing depredations in various parts of the country, or some other thing of a similar character was continually occurring to keep those who resided here in a state of excitement and fear. And it was no unusual thing to see General Washington and his accomplished lady, mounted on bay horses, and accompanied by their faithful mulatto `Bill,' and fifty or sixty mounted guards, passing through the village, with all eyes upon them."
Army life is no friend to good morals. The encampment of the American army here was no exception to this rule. The autobiography of Dr. Ashbel Green gives sad proof of the corruption of the army, both officers and men. Gambling was almost universal in the camp, and prevailed also in the private houses where the soldiers were billeted. Young Green, who early imbibed the spirit of his father, became a patriot and was enrolled among the minute men, although the highest office to which he attained was that of orderly sergeant in the militia. Being remarkably intelligent, and connected as he was, he became familiar with many officers of rank in the American army. He testifies that infidelity prevailed extensively among them, and indeed we know from other sources that it was well nigh universal. Green himself caught the skeptical spirit and was not rescued from his infidelity for several years. Dissatisfied with his state of mind, after reading some of the ablest defenses of Christianity, it occurred to him that the fairest way to settle the question was by an examination of the Bible itself. Accordingly he took up the New Testament as if it were a new book, with candor and with that vigor of thought for which he was always remarkable, and he had not gone through with the four Evangelists before he abandoned his skepticism, and gave his life to the high ends which occupied all his subsequent years.
But not all were thus led who came under these hostile influences of the day. The effect of that winter's encampment was disastrous to the social and religious condition of the whole region: not more fatal was the smallpox, against which such barriers were erected, than the spirit of infidelity and general wickedness which seems to have spread among all classes of the people.
Other evils were experienced. In various ways many lives were lost, some of them those of valuable citizens. "It is a fact that does honor to our ancestors dwelling in this township that, while they were doing so much to promote the welfare of the country, by opening their doors and their granaries to the American forces, all of them who were able to bear arms were engaged in one way or another, in actively opposing the movements of the enemy. A large number of our most valuable citizens enlisted in the army at the very commencement of the war, and continued with it through all its various stages, to its close." Others enlisted as "minute men," ready for service at a moment's warning, and were often called to service. Mr. Tuttle in his Fourth of July address gives the names of some of these men; and it seems fitting that in this history of Chatham township, which will be read by some of the descendants of these men, their names should be handed down.
"Among them were Lieutenant Silas Hand, John Miller, Samuel Denman, John Cook, George Minthorn, Jabez Tichenor, Lieutenant Noadiah Wade, Surgeon Peter Smith, Captain Benjamin Carter, Lieutenant John Roberts, Luke Miller, Josiah Burner, Jeremiah Carter, Cornelius Genung, Captain Thompson of the New Jersey artillery (who had both legs shot off at the battle of Springfield, and who died urging his company never to give up to the enemy), Captain Eliakim Little, also of the New Jersey artillery (whose company by desperate fighting held the enemy at bay for two hours, until they were relieved and the enemy routed), Samuel, Paul and John Bonnel, Robert Pollard (who was shot through the body at Connecticut Farms, and yet survived many years after the war was concluded), Ephraim Sayre, James Brookfield, Samuel Day, Ellis Cook, Caleb Horton (son of the first pastor of this village), Joseph Bruen, Benjamin Harris, Captain William Day, Benjamin Bonnel (who assisted in carting the guns which were captured by our troops in a British sloop which was grounded in the Elizabethtown Creek, to the armory at Morristown), Lieutenent Stephen Day, Captain John Howell, Colonel Seeley, and others. Of the famous company of lifeguards which accompanied Washington through all his movements during the war, four, at least, are known to have been residents of Bottle Hill, their names being Samuel Pierson, Benjamin Bonnel, Nathaniel Crane and Daniel Vreeland, all of whom lived several years after the war in this vicinity."
Of these men, Samuel Pierson was a fine horseman, and a man of great courage and strength, whom Washington intrusted with several important and perilous commissions. In carrying out one of these during the battle of Monmouth Pierson was compelled to ride right in front of the enemy's line of battle, and in full range of their guns; two horses were shot under him, one of which in falling injured the rider's leg, but he was mounted on a third horse, and carried out the commander's orders. Washington warmly commended him, and said, "I feared when you set out with the orders that I should never see you again."
In this important and bloody engagement a number of the leading men of this town took part, among whom was Ephraim Sayre, a deacon of the church, who at this time was an officer in the commissary department. When the news of the battle was received here there was great rejoicing, the young men of Rev. Ebenezer Bradford's classical school leading the demonstration by the burning of tar-barrels, firing of guns, and illuminations.
The courage and privations of the women of Chatham township deserve lasting record. Besides the burdens of which we have spoken, and the anxiety and sorrow over husbands and sons in battle and camp, exposed or dead, many of them all through the war actually performed the labors of men upon the farm. They plowed and harrowed the fields, sowed and cut the grain and the grass, threshed out the grain, and took it to the mill ; nobly enduring these hard toils to support the large families dependent on them while husbands, fathers, brothers and sons were far off in camp or field.
The assessments made for provisions for the army were burdensome, and sometimes were made somewhat imperiously. The late J. H. Woodruff, of Columbia, tells of an account given by his grandmother, "when an officer came to their house and went through it from cellar to garret, inspecting all their provision; and after calculating how much the family would need before the next crop came in informed them that an officer would be there soon, to whom they must give so much of this and so much of that, or he would take it by force.
While the winter of 1776-7 was the last in which there was a regular encampment of the army in this town, yet the inhabitants were by no means free from the sights and sounds of war. During the next winter headquarters were at Middle Brook, about ten miles northwest of New Brunswick. Many officers and privates were, however, located here: some of them perhaps in the cabins which remained on the Lowantica, but the greater number billeted as before in private houses, and put into the best rooms. Several of the distinguished officers of the army made their headquarters here.
In the fall of this, the opening year of the war, the New Jersey Journal--the first newspaper ever published in the State--was removed from Elizabethtown to Chatham. Its editor, Sheppard Kollock, was a bold and earnest patriot, and neither he nor his journal was safe after the British entered Elizabethtown. Mr. Kollock judged that Chatham was as safe a place as any, and a place from which he could make his influence felt abroad. Hither he brought his types and presses, and occupied the west end of the old tavern house; in the garden of which, until recent years, old types used to be dug up,which had been swept out by the printer boys. After about three years Mr. Kollock purchased the building in Bottle Hill where Rev. Mr. Bradford's famous classical school had been held, Mr. Bradford having removed from the place. This building was carried down to Chatham village, was turned into a printing and press room, and from it was issued that staunch old paper which went out into all parts of the land, exerting a powerful influence in upholding the cause of independence and strengthening the hands of Washington. At the close of the war Mr. Kollock removed back to Elizabethtown, where the old paper still lives in pristine vigor. The old edifice which was put to such honored uses by Bradford and Kollock is still standing in Chatham, opposite the Presbyterian church, and is occupied as a dwelling house. Its connection with Methodism in Chatham will be mentioned on a future page.
In the year 1779, on the 13th of December, a large detachment of our army passed through Chatham up toward Bottle Hill, and pitched their tents for the night on either side of the road, reaching from the old meeting-house on the hills to the grounds now occupied by Mr. Seaman. Mrs. Sarah Richards, who is remembered by many here, used to describe the scene as she saw it the next morning, when the soldiers were preparing breakfast, and the smoke curled through the valley and over the hills. A large number of officers took breakfast at her father's house. In an hour or two they struck their tents and marched toward Kimball Hill, where they were joined by the main body of the army, coming down from the north, and where they all went into winter quarters.
During that winter also a number of officers and many privates were quartered here as before; and Washington, having resumed his headquarters at Morristown, was seen often to pass through Bottle Hill and Chatham, to take his stand on Prospect Hill, where with his glass in hand he would spend hours in taking observations. On one of these occasions he was seen to be accompanied by America's distinguished friend the Marquis de la Fayette. The signals were kept in readiness, and the bridge over the Passaic at Chatham was kept well guarded. This bridge was an important pass, and trusty men were placed there to know the plans and purposes of all who passed over--for the times were perilous, and there were traitors and tories all about. Young Ashbel Green was sentinel there at one time, and there is record of one man who was summarily shot down in attempting to pass the guard.
The mention of Lafayette recalls a bright episode of those dark days. Lieutenant D'Anteroche, one of the aids of the marquis, fell in love with Miss Vanderpool, of Chatham. The country was in such a distracted state, and the inhabitants here were so closely watched, that there could be no large gatherings of any kind, and so they could have no home wedding, but came with their friends to the parsonage at Bottle Hill and were there married, by Rev. Mr. Bradford. The country between Chatham and New York was so annoyed by the enemy that no purchases could be made for the bride's trousseau, and so it was sent to her from France by the lieutenant's friends.
It was while the army was encamped on Kimball Hill that the daring attempt was made to capture General Washington. On a dark and stormy night a party of British cavalry, landing at Elizabeth Point, started toward Morristown, which is but about seventeen miles' ride. They evaded the sentries at Short Hills, crossed the Passaic unperceived, and reached Bottle Hill; but by that time the storm had increased, and a crust of ice covering the snow cut their horses' feet, and compelled an unwilling and hasty return. They were guided by an American, but who he was, and whether he was a traitor or was compelled to this ignoble service is not known. The attempt when it became known startled the army and the people.
It was during this winter that gallant Lord Stirling made his partially successful raid on the enemy on Staten Island, passing on his way to and from Green Village, Bottle Hill and Chatham by daylight, and crossing from Elizabethport in the night.
The winter of 1779-80 was a dark period of the war. Part of the American army was stationed at West Point, but the principal division was again in this part of New Jersey,with Washington at his well known "headquarters" in Morristown. The winter set in early, and was excessively severe, the cold increasing until the bay of New York was frozen over. It is said to have been the severest winter ever experienced in this part of the country. Speaking of this time Irving says: "The dreary encampment at Valley Forge has become proverbial for its hardships; yet they were scarcely more severe than those suffered by Washington's army while hutted among the heights of Morristown. The transportation of supplies was obstructed, the magazines were exhausted and there was neither money nor credit to replenish them. The men were sometimes without meat, sometimes without bread, sometimes without both. Clothing and blankets were scarce, and Washington writes: `Both officers and men have been almost perishing with want.'"
At one time, when the deep snows obstructed the main routes, the army was wholly subsisted by local help. "Provisions came in with hearty good will from the farmers in Mendham, Chatham, Hanover and other places, together with stockings, shoes, coats and blankets, while the women met together to knit and sew for the soldiers." A venerable matron of Green Village used to tell how "on winter mornings the ordinary work of the family would often be suspended, and the time spent in baking buckwheat cakes for the soldiers, who would come and beg for a warm breakfast." It is such a picture as this that brings up to our eyes and hearts the sad yet grateful memories of those old days.
The winter passed and the summer opened with great excitement and alarm to this region. Lieutenant General Knyphausen was in command in New York, while Sir Henry Clinton was absent with the army and the fleet in the south. A recent outbreak in the American camp had come to his ears, and encouraged him with the hope that with a superior force he could push out to Morristown, capture the main depot of army supplies, and drive "the rebels" out of the Jerseys. He calculated also on "the general discontent among the people of New Jersey, and expected to rally back the inhabitants to their allegiance to the crown." On the night of June 5th, with five thousand men, part of them the famous Coldstream guards, all splendidly appointed, with a fine supply of light artillery, Knyphausen, having sailed down the bay to Staten Island, crossed the Kill von Kull and landed at Elizabethport. Before dawn they were on their way, and had come to the forks of the road leading into the town when a solitary American sentinel challenged the dark mass approaching, and, receiving no answer, fired. That shot was a fatal omen, for it unhorsed Brigadier General Sterling, who was in advance and who was carried to the rear mortally wounded. The delay caused by this gave a little time for the alarm to spread, and for Colonel Dayton with his hastily armed militia to come together and begin to harass the advancing army, firing at them from behind walls, thickets and fences. Swift news came up to the Short Hills, the old eighteenpounder began to thunder, the ready tar barrel was presently in a blaze, and signals went from hill to hill. The whole country was at once intensely excited, and the minute men and the militia flocked together under command of General Maxwell, a ready and able officer.
Washington at once set his forces in motion to secure the passes of the Short Hills. Maxwell pushed forward to Connecticut Farms, and was joined by Colonel Dayton, who was retreating and annoying the enemy step by step. The British artillery, however, came to the front, and our forces were pushed backward until Springfield was nearly reached, and Knyphausen paused to reconnoitre. He found the village occupied by Maxwell, who had rallied his forces there, the militia drawn up to dispute his passage over the river, and Washington with his whole force strongly posted among the passes of the Short Hills. It was now toward evening, and this great array of disciplined troops had been held in check and delayed by less than two thousand hastily armed militia till it was too late and very perilous to advance farther. A halt was called, ground chosen for the night and pickets sent out. Washington expected an attack in the morning, but, as a British officer with the army wrote, "about 10 o'clock the whole army got in motion and moved off." He describes the retreat as a very wretched one. "It was the darkest night I ever remember, with the heaviest rain, thunder and lightning known for years; the horses were frightened and the whole army had once or twice to be halted. Nothing can be imagined more awful. The terrible thunder, the darkness, the houses of Connecticut Farms in a blaze, dead bodies on the road, and the dread of the enemy completed the scene of horror."
The whole vaunted expedition was a wretched failure. Its main trophies were the ashes of the houses and church of Connecticut Farms, first pillaged and then burned; and the dead body of the courageous and accomplished wife of Chaplain Caldwell, deliberately shot through the breast by a British soldier, as she was sitting with two little children and a maid in an inner room of the house. She was connected with the choicest families of New Jersey, and universally and deservedly loved. Caldwell was with Washington that night in the Short Hills. His wife had remained in the village against his advice. Next morning he hastened to Connecticut Farms and found the village in ashes and his wife dead. The most reliable account of this sad affair says that Mrs. Caldwell was sitting on the bed, her youngest son (Elias Boudinot, a two-year-old boy) playing on the floor, and the babe (Maria) in the arms of the nurse. The nurse, looking out of the window, said, "A red-coat soldier has jumped over the fence, and is coming with a gun." The little boy called out, "Let me see!" and ran toward the window. Mrs. Caldwell rose from the bed, and at that moment the soldier fired his musket at her through the window; it was loaded with two balls, which both passed through her body. She died instantly. The babe, Maria, grew to maturity, married a New York merchant, died in a good old age, and was buried in the old graveyard of the First Presbyterian church in Elizabeth, beside her father and mother.
Knyphausen was greatly stung by his defeat, and lingered a few days on Staten Island. Just then Sir Henry Clinton, returning from the south with his fleet and army, sailed up the harbor and landed his troops upon the island. Sir Henry determined on a second attempt, "hoping to get possession of the difficult passes and defiles among which Washington's army was so securely posted, and which constituted the strength of that part of the county." On the 23d of June, with a force five thousand strong, a large body of cavalry and fifteen or twenty pieces of artillery, his army crossed the Kill von Kull, and by early morning had pushed up toward Springfield. Washington, two days before, having reason to fear for the safety of West Point, had moved with the main body of his troops toward Pompton; but, suspicious that the threat upon West Point was a feint, moved warily and slowly, and took the precaution to leave General Greene in force at Short Hills. When about eleven miles beyond Morristown, at Rockaway Bridge, he learned that Knyphausen was again advancing toward Morristown. He detached a brigade to Greene's help and fell back himself, so as to be in supporting distance. As the morning broke the British approach was seen, and again the eighteen-pounder and the tar barrel on Prospect Hill were fired, and again the whole country was aroused as before. The burning of Connecticut Farms and the brutal murder of Mrs. Caldwell had exasperated the people almost to fury, so that in greater numbers and under better discipline, and flushed with their recent success, the militia and minute men joined the force under Greene. The issue was as before. The British entering Springfield found the continentals strongly posted, with the militia guarding all the passes, and learned also from their scouts of the approach of Washington. There was some severe fighting before and in the village, when the enemy took up their line of retreat, burning Springfield as they passed through and the Presbyterian church, the only one in the place. They were pursued by a portion of the regulars and the maddened militia, who hung upon their rear, galling them until they reached Elizabethtown.
It was in the heat of the engagement here that a well known incident occurred, with a touch of humor. Parson Caldwell found that wadding had failed some of the troops; rushing into the church he ran out again with his arms full of hymn books, and, flinging them among the troops, shouted out, "Put Watts into them, boys!" A very good use of the hymn books, since "the battle was no doubt the Lord's." During that night the British forces crossed the creek and passed to Staten Island; then destroyed their bridge of boats, and never made another attempt to occupy New Jersey. These years of trial had been a school of war indeed, had made veterans out of farmers, and stirred all patriotic hearts to their depths.
Alexander Hamilton, speaking of the close of the campaign of 1777, and of the way in which Washington held the greatly superior forces of Cornwallis in severe check, says: "There was presented the extraordinary spectacle of a powerful army straitened within narrow limits by the phantom of a military force, and never permitted to transgress those limits with impunity." Irving speaks of the British army as "held in check by Washington and his handful of men, castled among the heights of Morristown;" and in closing his account of these memorable days, writes thus: "These ineffectual attempts of a veteran general to penetrate these fastnesses, though at the head of a veteran force, which would once have been deemed capable of sweeping the whole continent before it, were a lasting theme of triumph to the inhabitants; and it is still the honest boast among the people of Morris county that `the enemy were never able to get a footing among our hills.'"
The reminiscences of these battles, of course, were many. Hundreds who were not called to take arms rushed down to the summit of Short Hills to witness the engagements, among them old Parson Green, of Hanover. The late Deacon Ichabod Bruen, who died at a very advanced age, used to relate how when he was six years of age the alarm gun was heard one morning in Mr. Bradford's school, and the school was at once dismissed. The little boy ran home--the home was the house that stands on the hill, next east of the residence of E. W. Samson, now owned and occupied by Henry Brunz--and found that his father, who was a minute man, had gone to Springfield, and his mother was busy loading up a wagon at the door with their best articles of furniture, fearing it might be necessary to carry them to a place of safety.
Many of the men of this township were in these battles. Some of them were killed and more of them were wounded. It was here that Captain Thomas of the artillery had both legs shot off, and, lifting himself upon his mangled limbs, waved his sword, and cried as he sunk down to die, "Fight on, my boys! never give it up!" It was here that Eliakim Little, with his small company and a few pieces of artillery, held at bay a large body of the enemy for two mortal hours, until the general retreat. Many others died, or carried the wounds of that hot fight all the rest of their days. Several of our wounded men died at the tavern on the east side of the Passaic, opposite Chatham. British officers and soldiers, prisoners, were taken to Morristown, on their way stopping at the tavern here near the liberty pole, where old Mrs. Richards said she saw the "red coats" moving in and out.
The gallant conduct of Parson Caldwell in this battle, and his great loss, endeared him to the troops and the people more than ever. Whenever he came here he had a glad welcome. His home was apt to be that of his beloved friend Deacon Ephraim Sayre, in whose front room, on the south end of the house, he used to preach. "standing in the southwest corner of the room, the people of the whole neighborhood gathering there to hear him." The house of Deacon Sayre referred to is the one now occupied by D. S. Evans, on Academy Hill, the property being still owned by the descendants of the old Christian patriot. Mr. Tuttle narrates that once when Caldwell was about to preach in the open air, in Chatham, while a stage was in process of erection, an old soldier crowded through the throng, and said, "Let me have the honor of being his platform; let him stand on my body; nothing is too good for Parson Caldwell." His popularity indeed with all the patriots throughout this region was unbounded; while no man was more feared and hated by the tories and the British, unless it were his parishioner Governor Livingston, for whose capture or whose assassination the British authorities offered a reward. Those who would know more of Rev. James Caldwell will find further particulars in Dr. Murray's "Notes Concerning Elizabethtown," but much fuller information in Dr. E. F. Hatfield's "History of Elizabeth." He was a remarkable man, whether viewed as preacher, pastor or patriot; of fine ability, of most unselfish aims, fearless courage and trust in God, and of great and valuable service to his country. He was murdered at Elizabeth Point, by a man named Morgan, "one of the rebel twelve-months men." When the news of Caldwell's death reached this place his faithful friend Deacon Sayre hastened to Elizabethtown, and brought up to Bottle Hill and to his own house six children of these murdered parents. Here they were provided for until permanent provision was made for them elsewhere. These children cherished a great reverence for their father's friend, calling him their foster father.
General Anthony Wayne, who was in command at the time of the mutiny of the New Jersey troops, in January 1781, had his headquarters at the house of Deacon Ephraim Sayre. "The general's life-guards were stationed in the kitchen in the rear of the main house; while the room occupied by the general was the front room on the north end of the house. A small mulatto servant accompanied him to wait upon him; and in order to encourage in him the martial spirit the boy was fully armed and equipped with a keen wooden sword, which he took great pride in flourishing on all proper occasions."
In August 1781 Washington was about to close up the war, having cooped up Lord Cornwallis and the main British army in Yorktown, Va. Orders were given to a French regiment and a New Jersey brigade stationed at West Point to move southward to Virginia and unite there with the main army of America in that final struggle. In order to deceive Sir Henry Clinton, then holding New York, these troops were ordered to form an encampment on the east side of the Passaic, opposite Chatham, and in every way to assume the appearance of being permanently quartered there, and with the probable design to an attack on Staten Island, which was a great depot of stores for the British army. Accordingly these troops came down from the north with all their artillery and baggage wagons, and made a regular encampment on the land immediately in front of the old tavern, on the south side of the road leading over Short Hills to the seaboard. Here they set up their tents, built ovens, and made all necessary arrangements for a great force of men; so that the impression was everywhere made that not these troops alone but a much larger body would be permanently here. The enemy's spies were around, and these things were soon carried to the British camp, creating the desired impression. On a certain evening the camp looked as usual; fires were lighted, sentries were set and the soldiers ready for the night. In the morning every soldier had disappeared, the artillery and baggage were gone, and nothing was left behind except a long wooden shed under which the ovens had been built. The troops passed up Union Hill, through Green Village and Basking Ridge and on to Yorktown, and gave large help in that last act of the war. For years after the close of the war the ovens stood, as mementoes of this military ruse. This was the last time that Chatham township saw any considerable army, although after the capture of Cornwallis, and while negotiations were pending, a few troops and a number of officers were here. The old parsonage was rented and occupied by Colonel Barbour; Colonel Matthias Ogden resided with Major Luke Miller, in the old Miller homestead which is still standing, and Major Woodruff took up his abode with Deacon Sayre.
So the winter of 1782 passed away, the sounds of war dying out, with only an occasional reminder as some express-rider would dash through with dispatches, or a company of soldiers returned north or south, or baggage wagons were driven along these roads leading to the great centers.
On the 19th of April 1783, exactly eight years after the battle of Lexington, the news was announced that articles of peace had been signed. Six weeks after that the American army was disbanded, and the New Jersey soldiers came home. The old log cabins in Lowantica Valley were sold at auction, many of them being taken down and set up for various uses in the vicinity; occupied, some of them, for half a century afterward. How few who ride through the beautiful valley and cross its stream think of the old scenes enacted there; of the anxiety, sorrow and pain, and of the deaths witnessed there a hundred years ago. Time, which has obliterated the mounds where so many were buried, has long since blotted out the names of nearly all of these unknown patriots.
"On Fame's eternal camping ground
It has seemed to the writer that the Revolutionary days of Chatham township deserved and demanded the extended notice he has thus given them. Then was the special historic era of this whole region, the period of its highest honor, and also of its greatest sacrifices; those were the days unto which the inhabitants of this place, and especially the descendants of the men and women who lived and suffered then, will look back with interest and pride to the latest generations; as also they will long continue to inherit the blessings so painfully secured.
Another reason for an extended record in these pages exists in the fact that, while this local Revolutionary history is among the most interesting of all connected with the war, and not by any means the least important, yet no general history of the war gives any adequate account of these events; indeed, such account could hardly be expected from writers who have to survey a wide national field; this puts us under deeper obligations to such men as Dr. J. F. Tuttle and his lamented brother, to whose labors we are so much indebted, and also makes it obligatory on us in these pages to enter into these events with some fullness of detail.
When the war was ended this part of the State bore many marks of the great conflict. Indeed, deeper traces were left on hardly any other section of the country; and here as elsewhere society emerged but slowly out of the disasters of the long strife. This was true throughout the land, of the whole period during the Revolutionary war, and for many years after it. Society was unhinged, uncertainty and dismay were abroad, young men were in the army, family ties were unloosed, and the churches partook of the calamities of the times. It is distressing to look over the ancient church records of those times, and to see how constant is the recurrence of cases of discipline for the grosser forms of sin; and this continues, with diminishing frequency, down to the memory of many who are yet living.
The early physicians here were men of note. The earliest of whom there is record was Rev. Jacob Green, of Hanover. As is well known not a few clergymen of that day were also among the best physicians. The distinguished Rev. Jonathan Dickinson, of Elizabeth, contemporary with Green, "studied and practiced medicine and acquired a high reputation as a physician." Green was a careful student and practitioner of medicine. His salary being small his people encouraged him, saying that country congregations could not have ministers unless ministers would take some care to provide and help support their own families; and voting that "Mr. Green practice physick if he can bair it and the presbytery approve it." He practiced all through this region, with much reputation and success, for thirty years.
Dr. Berne (Bernardus) Budd was an early and distinguished practitioner here. His father and grandfather were men of high position in New Jersey, and of great landed estates, the former owning the lands contiguous to and including Budd's Lake. The Budd family was quite famous for the number of medical men it produced. Dr. Berne Budd had a wide reputation as a physician, as well as high social position. Both failed to save him from "the crime of counterfeiting the bills of credit of the province of New Jersey." For this, with four others, also men of high social position, the doctor was convicted and sentenced to be hung; but through the efforts of influential friends these were all reprieved on the morning appointed for their execution, and were subsequently pardoned. His reputation as a physician still kept him in large practice. In 1777 he was army surgeon in a brigade of State troops, and he died in December of that year. He was buried at Columbia Bridge, but his grave has no stone.
Dr. John C. Budd succeeded his father, Berne, and practiced here for many years, living in Chatham, in what is known as Budd's lane. He was born in 1762 and lived to a great age, dying in his eighty-fourth year. He is very well remembered by many of the people here, and is usually spoken of as "old Doctor Budd." His skill was in high repute and his practice was widely extended, although he lacked gentleness of manner, and was profane in speech.
Dr. John Darcy (who married a granddaughter of Rev. Dr. Johnes of Morristown) was surgeon's mate in Spencer's regiment of the continental army in 1777. This regiment was under the immediate command of Washington, of whom and of Lafayette Dr. Darcy was full of anecdotes. After the war he settled in Hanover, practicing in Chatham township, especially as a surgeon, in which department he stood very high, his services being in requisition in distant places. He was a man of most estimable qualities, held in esteem by all men. He died in 1822.
During the latter days of "old Dr. Budd" Dr. Jephtha B. Munn practiced medicine here, and also Dr. Nathan Bishop, the former residing in Chatham, the latter in Madison. Dr. Bishop's failing health induced him to invite into partnership Dr. Henry P. Green, who came here in 1828. After a few years the former suffered from a stroke of paralysis and returned to Connecticut, his native state, where he died. This left Dr. Green with a large and laborious practice, which he maintained for thirty years, dying October 15th 1858. In addition to his medical cares he took a foremost place in all public plans, being an active member of the Presbyterian church and for many years the president of its board of trustees, and greatly interested in the educational interests of the town, and in the cause of temperance. He was always a courageous and outspoken man, and his influence abides.
ST. ELIZABETH'S ACADEMY,
Convent Station, is the mother house of the sisters of charity in the diocese of Newark.
This community of sisters of charity was established in Newark in September 1859, by the Rt. Rev. J. R. Bayley, who applied to the superiors of Mt. St. Vincent for sisters to begin the foundation. The two members chosen for this important work were Rev. Mother M. Xavier, the present superioress, and Sister M. Catherine, the mother assistant. To the former we are indebted for this account of the institution:
The building selected for their residence was the old "Ward mansion" on Washington street, of which the two foundresses, with five novices, who had been preparing for this foundation by a novitiate with the sisters of charity at Cedar Grove, Cincinnati, O., took possession on the feast of St. Jerome, September 30th 1859.
Here they labored some time, but finding the building too small and ill adapted for the purpose of novitiate and boarding school, the latter of which was necessary for the support of the novitiate, they were anxious to obtain a larger and more suitable one; and they finally succeeded in purchasing from Bishop Bayley the "Chegaray mansion," on the Madison and Whippany road. This property, which had been bought four years previous by Bishop Bayley for a college and diocesan seminary, was vacated in June 1860 and the pupils transferred to South Orange, where the present college of Seton Hall is located.
On the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, July 2nd 1860, Rev. Mother M. Xavier and five sisters took formal possession of the Chegaray mansion, which has ever since borne the title of "St. Elizabeth's Academy," a boarding school for young ladies.
The number of pupils rapidly increasing it was found necessary to erect a separate building solely for educational purposes, the old mansion to be exclusively used for the community. In 186- a commodious brick edifice 100 feet long, 50 feet wide and 60 feet high was erected to meet the exigencies. In about two years thereafter it became necessary to build a chapel, which was placed on the south side of the "mansion." The sisters then opened a school for young boys, known as "St. Joseph's Preparatory Boarding School for Boys," in a building erected for the purpose at some distance from the convent. Here boys from the age of three to thirteen years are taught the requisites for admission into college. This also proved a decided success, and it is to-day in a flourishing condition.
Finding the distance from the railroad station to be a disadvantage to the schools, the sisters built at their own expense a neat frame building known as Convent Station (since removed several hundred yards nearer Morristown and considerably enlarged by the railroad company), at which nearly all the trains stop daily. The distance from the station to their academy was thus reduced to fifteen minutes' walk.
The "mansion," with its additions, spacious and large though they were, proved in course of time totally inadequate to the growing wants both of sisters and pupils; hence they selected a site on higher ground, commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country, and within five minutes' easy walk from Convent Station, where they began in 1878 the erection of the new St. Elizabeth's Academy, of which the following is a general description:
The building is of brown stone, granite and Philadelphia pressed brick. It has a frontage of 476 feet, the depth to the rear of the chapel being 176 feet, and from its size and fine architectural proportions it is a striking object of view from many sections of the surrounding country. The main building, seven stories high, is 150 feet in height and has two lateral wings, the depth of each of which is 156 feet, and height 112. The wings are five stories high.
The northern wing contains an auditorium 90 feet long, 50 feet wide and 30 feet high. The other stories of this wing are reserved for the novitiate of the sisterhood.
The southern wing contains the school. The basement serves as a recreation hall; it is 90 feet long, 50 feet wide and 15 feet high. The first story is for the study hall, being of the same dimensions as the last, but 18 feet high. The third story serves for class rooms and the fourth is utilized as dormitories.
The interior of the main building is grand and beautiful. The building is heated throughout by steam, and nothing that could tend to the comfort of the pupils has been forgotten.
Across the corridor, almost opposite the landing of the grand stairway, is the door which opens into the beautiful chapel, which is of modern Gothic architecture and is 130 feet deep by 45 in width, and 40 feet in height. The windows are beautifully stained, with life-size representations of religious subjects. The most noteworthy paintings on the ceiling are the representation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, of the annunciation, and of St. Michael the archangel. Upon the walls within the sanctuary are represented the ascension of our Lord and His resurrection.
Within the sanctuary three marble altars are seen. The high or center altar is 18 feet in height and is a perfect specimen of architectural beauty. The side altars, that of St. Joseph on the right, and that of the Blessed Virgin on the left, are each 12 feet high and are in general keeping with the main one. The ornamental mosaic work of the altars is composed of six species of Italian marble of the most beautiful and costly kind. The pillars and ornaments are of Mexican onyx and Egyptian porphyry. The different species and colors of the marble used form a rare combination and produce a grand and imposing general effect.
The style of architecture is florid ornamental gothic, and the altar, entire, is said to be the most costly and elegant in America. During the twenty-two years since its inception the sisterhood has been gradually increasing, and it now numbers over 350 members, scattered over the State of New Jersey.
The early history of the village of Chatham forms, of course, part of the general history and settlement of the township, which has been given. The part of the town lying upon the Passaic took the name of the town, as the upper part was called Bottle Hill and afterward Madison. Bonneltown was that portion lying between the village proper and New Providence. Chatham early contained a grist-mill and a fulling-mill. It had also a two-story academy building, in which, besides the district school, public religious services were held on week days, and occasional Sabbath services, there being no church building. The early settlers of Chatham, being nearly all Presbyterians, attended church in Bottle Hill; some also in New Providence at a later day, and a few in Hanover and Springfield. On the 23d of October 1823 a
was organized, and a building fitted up for worship, standing near the Passaic River, and the Rev. Asa Lyman, of Morristown, became its stated supply. Under the labors of Mr. Lyman the small building was soon filled, and the village began to assume a new and better aspect. In 1827 Mr. Lyman was compelled by ill health to withdraw, and in 1828 the Rev. Joseph M. Ogden began his labors, being installed pastor in November 1828.
In this field, as his own earliest pastorate, and being himself the first pastor of the church, Dr. Ogden continued his uninterrupted and successful labors for the next forty-five years, resigning his charge September 23d 1873. The original house of worship soon became too strait for the increasing congregation, and in the spring of 1832 the foundations were laid of a larger building, which was completed and dedicated in the winter following. This building, 38 by 56 feet, it has since been found necessary to enlarge, and it has now a seating capacity for four or five hundred persons.
Dr. Ogden was succeeded by the Rev. A. V. C. Johnson, who was installed November 6th 1873, and resigned on account of ill health November 12th 1877. Rev. William F. Anderson was ordained to this charge July 15th 1879, and resigned his pastorate September 20th 1881. It is an interesting fact that each of these pastors began his ministry with this people.
The church has long possessed a commodious parsonage, and a few years ago it added a handsome chapel, which will accommodate about two hundred persons. The church numbers about 150 members, with a flourishing Sunday-school of over 100 teachers and scholars.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
About the time when the present Presbyterian church edifice was erected measures were taken to build a Methodist Episcopal church. In this enterprise Rev. John Hancock took much interest. The building was dedicated in 1832, and, the congregation steadily increasing, it was enlarged and otherwise improved. It is now a firmly established church of about 70 members, with a Sunday-school of about 100 teachers and scholars. Its present pastor is Rev. Samuel Sargent, a graduate of Drew Theological Seminary.
In this connection a fact may be recalled which is not without historic interest. Mr. Tuttle, when giving the account of the building occupied by the Rev. Mr. Bradford, in Bottle Hill, for his classical school, and removed to Chatham by Sheppard Kollock, says: "I have been told by Mr. Enos Bonnel, an aged man now living near Chatham, that the first Methodist Episcopal service that was ever held in the township was held in that building, just after it had been vacated by Mr. Kollock as a printing office and a little after the proclamation of peace with Great Britain. The clergymen who officiated were the Rev. Messrs. Haggerty and Lynch." In this building Methodist services were held afterward, but only occasionally, the first systematic effort was as given above.
ST. PATRICK'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
was built in 1872, at a cost of somewhat over $4,000. The land on which it is built was purchased in 1871 for $500. It is a brick building. It was used as a school-house until 1875, when additional land was bought at a cost of $800, and a frame school-house was built thereon, at a cost of almost $1,000. The congregation numbers about 200, and the school children about 35 or 40. The average annual cost of conducting the school was about $600.
Chatham has taken upon it new aspects and exhibits marks of improvement on every hand. It has 700 inhabitants and grows steadily. Old buildings are being rebuilt, and new ones of fine proportions and beautiful surroundings are being put up. There has recently been erected a large and well arranged and furnished academy, giving excellent educational advantages. In the center of the village is a large and commodious boarding-house, with accommodations for seventy or more boarders. The house is a few minutes walk from the depot, with spacious and beautiful grounds; it stands well in from the road and is every way finely adapted to its purposes. There are found two flouring mills, a paper manufactory, three blacksmiths' shops, two harness factories, and two greenhouses, doing a prosperous business.
Stanley, which is an outgrowth and suburb of Chatham, has of late years been largely developed by the business and religious enterprise of George Shepard Page. A mill property was purchased by him and an active business established, which has been continued until today, with the intermission of a year or two after the mill buildings had been burned down. Mr. Page at once engaged in zealous Sabbath-school work, and on August 5th 1867 organized a school in a grove on the hillside, which in the winter was removed to the upper loft of an old store near by. The school grew, and steadily became a power for good in the neighborhood, and, it being in much need of larger and better quarters, Mr. Page built and furnished for its accommodation "Stanley Hall," so naming it after the maiden name of his mother. The very natural although unanticipated outcome of the school and its various adjunct services was, first (in 1872) a regular Sabbath evening service in the hall, and on August 15th 1873 the organization of the "Congregational Church of Stanley;" the district, the post-office and the church all associating with themselves the name and the work of the Sunday-school and its founder.
The Congregational Church.--The first pastor of this church was Rev. S. F. Palmer, who remained two years and resigned October 1st 1875. Twenty-five members were added during his ministry. Rev. E. H. Pearce, who succeeded, declining a call, continued as acting pastor nearly a year; and twenty-one persons were received into the church in that time. Rev. J. O. Wilson, professor of elocution in Drew Theological Seminary, then served the church as acting pastor for nearly two years, under his ministry fourteen members being added to the church, Mr. Wilson withdrawing from the charge in November 1878. Rev. Rollin S. Stone, of the New York and Brooklyn Association, was installed pastor of the church April 25th 1879, and he now remains in charge. The growth of the church compelled wider plans, and the people determined to build a church edifice. This important work has been carried through, and on the 9th of October 1881 "Stanley Chapel" was dedicated. The building stands near the center of population, on the corner of the turnpike and Hillside avenue; it is a most comely and comfortable house of worship and was dedicated free of debt.
The village now called Madison was early and long known as Bottle Hill. The name indeed yet lingers, for occasionally an aged man has said to the writer of this sketch, "You are pastor, then, of the old Bottle Hill church." Of the origin of this name several accounts have been given, of which the following is no doubt the correct one: The first tavern in the place, which must have been a very rude affair, was located on Academy Hill, and on the spot where now stands the residence of the late Miss Lillys Cook. A very uncertain tradition says that it was kept by an Indian. Its sign was a bottle suspended from a corner sign post. It was no doubt an honest sign, indicating the main business done within. The frankness of "mine host" in that old day is to be commended, and ought to be imitated in our own times, This debated point, the origin of the old name, seems to be settled by Mr. Tuttle, who in his manuscript notes says: "The first tavern in this place was located on the Cook corner, by the academy, and this was designated by a bottle suspended on a sign post at the corner. Major Miller, who died here about three years since, at the advanced age of 90 years, stated repeatedly that he had himself seen the above sign. This has been corroborated to me by Mr. John B. Miller, a son of Major Luke Miller, and other aged inhabitants of this region." So, whatever other more dignified accounts have been given, it is to be feared that the Madisonians must humbly submit to the truth of history.
How early that old tavern passed away is not known. The "New Jersey Historical Collections," published in 1844, says that "the first public house in the place was kept by David Brant in a house then standing where now is Mr. Sherrill's garden [that is, the spot at present occupied by the houses and grounds of Caleb Sniffen and Charles C. Force]; and as that went down Ananias Halsey commenced where Mr. Robert Albright now lives." The house of Robert Albright was burned in 1871. It was on the site of the residence of Dr. Calvin Anderson. We have the authority of Mr. Tuttle for saying that when the war of the Revolution began "the village tavern stood where the house of Mr. Robert Albright now stands, and was kept by Daniel Brown." It is very likely that both statements are correct, and that Brown succeeded Halsey in the occupancy of the hotel.
This continued to be the tavern of the place for many years. The late J. H. Woodruff, of Columbia, in the Jerseyman gives reminiscences of it as late as the war of 1812: "All the drafted men of Morris and Sussex counties were required to assemble at Madison, to be mustered in. The place of meeting was the old Albright tavern. There was a large open space in front of the house, in the rear of which stood the sheds and stables. The men came in farm wagons, and these wagons were to convey the drafted men to Jersey City. At that time every able-bodied man between 18 and 25 was enrolled and obliged to train three times a day."
The village flagstaff, a straight tree cut from the forest, stood opposite the tavern and in front of where the Presbyterian lecture room now stands; and from it floated for many years the English flag, until that was replaced by our own stars and stripes. Near the staff, and underneath the flag, stood the village whipping post; the emblem of loyalty above, that of justice below. Some of our aged citizens remember when certain offenders received their condign stripes at the old post.
The only village store a hundred years ago was kept by Mrs. Horton, the energetic wife of the pastor of the Presbyterian church. It was in a very humble building, about fifteen feet square, put up on the corner of the parsonage lot, and standing on the spot now occupied by the dwelling of J. A. Webb. Azariah Carter, who died in 1855, remembered having been sent by his mother to make purchases there, and used to say that Mrs. Horton or one of her children always waited on him from behind the counter. The times were hard, and thus this excellent helpmeet eked out her husband's scanty stipend. After Mrs. Horton gave up storekeeping the little building was used for a school; the late Deacon Ichabod Bruen remembered to have gone there in his early childhood.
In the year 1804 the turnpike, or principal avenue through the village of Madison, was made. About seventy years ago a blacksmith's shop stood on the site of the academy and an old storehouse occupied the site of the Presbyterian lecture room.
As to the change in the name of the village the facts seem to be that the people had long been tired of it and its distasteful associations, so that a change had been determined on early in the present century; and when the academy was built in 1809 it was called the Madison Academy, as now appears on the marble tablet in front. Another proof of this accepted change is seen in that familiar and unique landmark "the hickory tree," standing erect and tall at the junction of four principal roads-In front of the tree, nailed to two uprights, is a board tablet on which may be read as a heading, "South Madison"; and under this the words, "This tree was transplanted in the year 1813; for the inauguration of James Madison, second term, as President of the United States." Then follow directions: "To Stanley and Summit, east; to Madison and Chatham, N. E.; to New Providence, south; to Morristown, west; to Green Village, S. W." But it was not until several years later that the people met and unanimously resolved to drop this odious appellation and substitute for it the name of Madison, in honor of the fourth president of the United States. It may be added that a strong sentiment pervaded the community in behalf of temperance, and this gave zest to the public resolve.
THE OLD BURIAL GROUND.
The most ancient feature of the place then as now was the old burial ground on the hill, the property of the Presbyterian church. Its picturesque situation is a credit to the taste of the early inhabitants of Chatham township, for thither for many years they came from all points to bury their dead. The old church stood on the crown of the hill, and the graves of the old parishioners were all around it, according to the old custom, which is slowly passing away, but which will always have so many beautiful and tender associations to commend and perpetuate it.
It is impossible to tell when the first interments were made. The inscription upon the tomb of Rev. M. Horton is among the earliest which can be deciphered, but there are stones older than 1777, whose dates cannot be made out, while there are many ancient stones broken or decayed, suggesting but not perpetuating older memories.
Many of these stones are mere fragments of what must have been very rude monuments at first, such as the poverty of those times could only afford. As the town grew, this continuing to be the only cemetery for years, graves were multiplied, and more stately monuments began to be erected, and in due time the removal of the old church enlarged the area. This city of the dead has become populous in the lapse of nearly two centuries, so that for many years it has been difficult to dig anywhere a grave without running the risk of disturbing ancient bones. Two years ago J. A. Webb and S. W. Burnet purchased the property immediately in front of and lying against the old ground, and laid out new grounds, giving to the whole added beauty and convenience.
In the year 1861, at the suggestion of Rev. Mr. Tuttle, the appearance of the cemetery was greatly improved. A new fence was made, a handsome iron gateway put up, a stone-arch bridge over the brook took the place of the ruder wooden bridge, and a massive stone wall was built to protect the slope on the railroad cut. The cost of this improvement was $2,250. It was made under the direction of the parish, but the whole community joined in bearing the expense.
SCHOOLS AT MADISON.
In the year 1809 the old academy in Madison, on the hill, was erected by a joint-stock company, by whom, or their representatives, it is still owned. Within its walls have been taught a very large proportion of all the inhabitants of this immediate region, but its day is past, and shrinking, in its modest proportions and plain appearance, before its large and well appointed successor, it meekly awaits its demolition.
The first public school-house in the township was on the corner where J. A. Webb lives; and seems to have been the little building which Mrs. Horton had used as a store. Among those who taught school on that spot was Dr. Ashbel Green. Miss Eliza Schenck, granddaughter of Seth Crowell of Green Village, says that she had often heard her mother tell of attending the school in Bottle Hill kept by Ashbel Green. It was very difficult to keep up a school in the outlying districts, even for a few months in a year, and few could learn to write. She and some others, determined to learn, used to walk daily three miles from Green Village to Bottle Hill to acquire that accomplishment. She also added that "pins were sometimes so scarce that they used thorns to hold their clothing together instead of pins."
When that little building was disused a school-house was built on the lot nearly opposite the Catholic church, where stood the house of Mrs. Hunting, which was burned to the ground a few months ago. That building was moved over to the corner occupied then by Christian Weiss, and it stands there to-day, occupied by Simon Miller. From thence the school was removed to the academy building in 1809.
There are three district schools, with excellent school buildings, one of which, near the center of the village, was erected a year ago, at a cost of about $17,000, and is in every way a complete and admirable building. All these schools are well managed, and all have well selected district libraries connected with them. There is a well appointed select school for young ladies, with a new and convenient school-house, recently enlarged, and with ground inclosed. It is popular, and successfully managed, and, in addition to the usual English studies, teaches Latin and French, with drawing and painting. There is also a recently organized kindergarten, which bids fair to be popular; and there are other smaller schools for boys and girls in private houses.
THE FRENCH ELEMENT.
In the year 1793 there came hither a French gentleman, who, followed by others in subsequent years, and by his own descendants, became a most welcome addition to our population. Mr. Vincent Boisaubin was an officer in the body-guard of Louis XVI. Not being in sympathy with the changes then threatening the institutions of France, he obtained leave of absence, and went to the Isle of Guadaloupe. There he married, and bidding France adieu he came with his wife to America and found his home here. The families of Boisaubin and Beaupland now here are his descendents; his own immediate family numbering nine sons and daughters. The memory of Vincent Boisaubin is gratefully and pleasantly cherished among all the older people. He was a man of fine cultivation, of most urbane and courteous bearing, and of unbounded benevolence. He was the original in the following story, which has appeared in several shapes: When a group of neighbors were sympathizing with a poor man on the sudden death of his cow, Mr. Boisaubin, putting his hand into his pocket, said, "I am sorry for him five dollars;" and at once the poor man's loss was made up. The writer recently was mentioning his name to one of the oldest citizens, who said with earnestness, "Old Vincent Boisaubin! He was one of the best men in the whole country;" and went on to tell of the way in which this French gentleman of the old time had given him generous aid in his early business life, loaning money and refusing interest; with many similar acts of kindness to others. Mr. Tuttle says: "For many years previous to the erection of the Catholic church here both he and his family, with other French families, owned seats and were frequent worshipers in the Presbyterian church.
Mr. Boisaubin purchased and resided on what is now the Tredwell property, owning also large tracts of land additional. He died in 1834; his wife died before him, and they lie side by side in the old burial ground of the First. Presbyterian Church in Morristown.
The French families who once resided in this township formed for a while an important element in its social life. Laville Duberceau lived where E. V. Thebaud lately resided; Dureste Blanchet in the house now owned by Rev. Mr. Windeyer; Louis Paubel, father-in-law of Mr. Blanchet, on the opposite corner, now owned by Mr. Calmyer; Mrs. Sargent and afterward Mr. Leclere where Mr. Webb now resides; Mr. Souillard and afterward Mr. Le Berton where Mr. Selmser now lives; Eugene Dupuy lived next to the Presbyterian church, on a part of what is now the property of Mr. Thebaud. A French family by the name of Roche lived where Dr. Albright now resides and Mr. Cipriault where C. T. B. Keep resides. Madame Boisaubin, the second wife and widow of Beusant Boisaubin, lived in the house owned, and until recently occupied, by J. S. Paulmier; this lady was the mother of Laville Duberceau. Other French families there were; but most of these thus named returned at different times to France, or the isles of Gaudaloupe or Martinique.
THE NEGRO POPULATION.
A number of colored families came here with these French immigrants as servants, and some of their descendants are living here now, intermarried with the other colored population. Among the people of this part of New Jersey the colored population has always formed a pretty distinct class. Bancroft says: "Of the two Jerseys, slavery had struck deeper root in East, from the original policy of its proprietors; the humane spirit of the Society of Friends ruled opinion in West Jersey." In proof, however, that the type of slavery must always have been mild here, and the negro regarded as not unworthy of trust, we may recall his free enlistment in the army of the Revolution--at least among northern soldiers. Speaking of the famous battle of Monmouth, Bancroft says: "Nor may history omit to record that of the Revolutionary patriots who on that day periled life for their country more than seven hundred black Americans fought side by side with the white." Since many men from Chatham township fought on that field it is quite probable that some of the seven hundred blacks were from here. Slavery being gradually abolished, many not being freed until reaching twenty-one years, the relics of the old days linger even yet. Of the aged black people now living here nearly all were born in slavery; and it is pleasant to the writer to say that, having several of these old slaves among his parishioners, and having conversed at times with most of the others yet living, he has almost uniformly heard them speak in terms of affection and respect of their old masters and mistresses. These old servants are usually in comfortable though humble circumstances, can generally read and are very apt to be members of the churches. Their descendants have free access to the public schools and libraries, and with freer openings to the various industries could uplift themselves to the planes of life occupied by their white fellow citizens.
DREW THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.
In the year 1833 William Gibbons of Elizabethtown purchased the large tract of upland lying on the road to Morristown and called "The Forest." He soon after began to build, and in the year 1836 occupied the spacious and noble mansion which was his home for the next eighteen years. Its massive appearance and generous proportions, with its large surroundings of ground, fitted it for the abode of wealth, but even more for the wider purposes to which in divine providence it was destined.
In the year 1852 Mr. Gibbons died, leaving this particular property to his son of the same name, by whom it was sold in the year 1867 to the late Daniel Drew. The subsequent history of this property is now given under the head of the Drew Theological Seminary.
This institution is one of the chief educational results of the great centenary movement in the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1866. Daniel Drew, who had long been thinking of making an offering to the church, then announced his intention of founding a theological school. For this purpose he devoted half a million of dollars, one half of which was to be expended upon ground, buildings, etc., while the other was to constitute a permanent endowment. The school is located on the property known as "The Forest." The mansion, known as Mead Hall, 150 feet long and 100 feet wide, contains the chapel, library, reading room and the offices and lecture rooms of the professors. Asbury Hall is devoted as a dormitory to the students, each room being tastefully fitted up, and supplied with every necessity for the comfort of the occupant. Embury Hall contains the society room, dining hall, residence of matron, and a number of additional rooms for students. Mr. Drew caused four houses to be erected for the use of the professors, at a cost of $20,000 each. The school was formally opened in November 1867, with the Rev. J. McClintock, D. D., as president and professor of practical theology, and the Rev. D. H. Nadal, D. D., as professor of historical theology. Shortly afterward the other professorial chairs were filled; that of systematic theology by R. S. Foster, D. D.; of exegetical theology by James Strong, S. T. D.; of New Testament exegesis by H. A. Buttz, D. D. Early in the year 1870 Dr. McClintock died, and was succeeded in the presidency by R. S. Foster, D. D., and in the chair of practical theology by D. P. Kidder, D. D. J. F. Hurst, D. D., was elected to fill the chair made vacant by the death of Dr. Nadal. Dr. Foster having been elected bishop in 1872, Dr. Hurst was chosen president, and John Miley, D.D., was elected to the vacant chair of systematic theology. In May 1880 Dr. Hurst was elected bishop, and his chair is now filled by G. H. Crooks, D. D. Dr. Kidder resigned his position in the faculty in the early part of 1881, and S. F. Upham, D. D., was elected to fill his place. At the same time Dr. Buttz was made president.
In 1876 Daniel Drew failed, and being unable to meet the interest on $250,000, the endowment being held by himself, the institution was without any income. The trustees resolved to appeal to the church for an endowment fund, and Dr. Hurst was requested to take charge of subscriptions. Through his efforts, and the co-operation of his colleagues, not only has the original amount been secured, but subscriptions have been received for upward of $300,000.
The number of students whose names are found in the first catalogue is 18, while in that for 1880-81 there are 84. The total number of graduates, from 1869 to 1881, is 258, and they are found in nearly all the conferences in the United States, while many others are doing efficient work in foreign mission fields.
The course of study, embraces the five departments indicated by the above professorships, and corresponds to that of other Protestant theological seminaries of this country. It occupies three years, and is adapted to the literary status of college graduates. The instruction is communicated by recitations and lectures, which are held on four days of the week, Saturday, Sunday and Monday being left free to enable the students to engage in preaching and other evangelical work in the vicinity. The yearly term of study is from the third Thursday in September to the third Thursday in May, with a fortnight's recess at the Christmas holidays. Tuition and the use of the rooms and of the library are free to all students intending the ministry; and pecuniary assistance, in the form of a loan, not exceeding $100 a year to any individual, is offered to meritorious students who depend upon their own exertions for an education. The students board together in a club managed by themselves, one of their number being appointed commissary. The cost has averaged about $2.50 per week.
Madison Lodge F. and A. M. was organized (under dispensation) July 9th 1868. It was regularly chartered as No. 93, February 4th 1869. There were seven charter members. The first officers were as follows: James W. Tuttle, W. M.; A. H. Tuttle, S. W.; George H. Hancock, J. W.; Rev. James M. Tuttle, treasurer; Wilbur F. Morrow, secretary; William H. Gardiner, S. D.; John Simpson, J. D.; Peter J. Hiltmann, tyler.
The following named persons have since served as W. M.: James H. Bunting, Richard H. Travis, Nick. M. Goble, Charles L. Chovy (2 years), Henry C. Ohlen, William H. Byram (2 years), Charles B. Frost, Samuel Brant and Stephen V. Ohlen.
The present officers of the lodge are as follows; Charles A. Hoyt, W. M.; Charles Yeager, S. W; James Helm, J. W.; Horace S. Van Wagner, treasuer; James A. Post, secretary; W. H. Byram, P. M., S. D.; Charles B. Gee, J. D.; Charles E. Garrison, chaplain; Samuel H. Cook, S. M. of C.; Benjamin F. Knapp, J. M. of C.; John Wilson, tyler.
The present membership is sixty-three. The regular meetings of the lodge are on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.
A Young Men's Christian Association was established by members of several of the churches in the year 1873. It has been sustained with vigor during the years which have followed. It rents a large and commodious room for its public and prayer meetings, and also a very convenient reading room, and has a library of several hundred volumes. It has done much good.
THE BUSINESS OF THE PLACE
has been steadily growing. The mechanical trades are well represented. Carriage and wagon making, blacksmithing and iron work of other kinds and tin work are carried on, and there are masons and carpenters of excellent repute, and other mechanics. The stores are well stocked with dry goods and millinery, groceries, feed, hardware and shoes, and there are two well appointed drug stores, bakeries, etc.
Within a few years a specialty has been made of the cultivation of flowers, particularly of roses, for which the soil and climate here are said to be especially favorable. A number of gardens have been established, which send to New York immense numbers of flowers, bringing large returns of money. That of T. J. Slaughter is probably the most extensive and complete in the whole county.
The increase of capital and the needs of trade have recently created a bank. The First National Bank of Madison was organized in August and went into operation September 1st 1881. It has a capital of $50,000, all taken up. Its president is Jacob S. Paulmier, and cashier W. F. Morrow, with a well known and substantial board of directors.
There has also been established here a weekly newspaper, the Madison Journal, a convenient vehicle of local news and advertising, and now in the fifth year of its existence.
There is a roomy and well kept hotel, the Madison House, within a stone's throw of the depot, and a large and popular boarding-house--the Ridgedale--with a number of private boarding-houses in the village and its outskirts, all which are in demand for summer boarders.
THE MADISON CHURCHES.
The first church organized in what is now Chatham township was the present Presbyterian church of Madison. It began its existence in troublous circumstances, in opposition to the judgment of the Presbytery of Newark, within whose ecclesiastical bounds it lay, and against the wishes of Rev. Jacob Green, the pastor of the old Whippanong church, who did all in his power to arrest the new movement, and from whose congregation the new church was formed. Doubtless the poor shepherd could ill spare any part of his flock in that day of small things; and then, but a few years before, those members of the old church who resided in West Hanover (as Morristown was then called) had withdrawn and formed their feeble church against the same strenuous opposition--although, indeed, Mr. Green was not concerned in this, not having yet come to Whippanong. The distances were long, many of the people being obliged to travel six, eight and even ten miles to attend church.
What is now the township of Chatham was then part of Hanover, and the church in Bottle Hill was organized under the name of the "Presbyterian Church of South Hanover," which was its ecclesiastical designation for the succeeding seventy years. The exact date of its organization cannot be stated, nor is there known to exist any account of any services connected with its new life. This is no doubt owing to the loss and probable destruction of the church records for the first forty years of its existence. There is no doubt, however, that the movement began in the year 1746, and that the church was organized some time in the year 1747. In 1817 the name wrs changed to "The First Presbyterian Church of the Township of Chatham," which name it bore until 1846, since when it has been called "The Presbyterian Church of Madison," the name Madison having been officially given to the place about fifteen years before.
Its first elders were Paul Day, Joseph Wood and John Pierson. Its members were few and nearly all of them in very limited circumstances, and able to do little toward the maintenance of the church. For nearly two years they worshiped in private houses, or in barns, and in pleasant weather in the open air. In 1749 they began to build, but were not able to finish, and became so utterly disheartened that the work for a time quite ceased. Then Luke Carter (son of Benjamin Carter) declared that if the congregation would not complete the work he would do it himself; whereupon a rally was made, the building enclosed, furnished with a plain pulpit, and very rudely seated with boards and slabs. It might perhaps have a happy effect upon modern worshipers here to be transferred a century or so back to those primitive seats, where neither cushions nor sloping backs invited to repose, and when sermons were by no means briefer than they are now.
In this incomplete state the building remained fifteen years, when "a committee was appointed to superintend the finishing of the meeting-house," and certain persons had permission to construct pews for their own accommodation in different parts of the church, and instead of the original slab seats, it was furnished with high-backed slips. This was about the year 1765. That old building was a very simple affair; covered on all sides with shingles, and without spire or cupola, and, except the sounding board over the pulpit, which was deep blue, wholly destitute of paint within and without. It looked not unlike a large, old-fashioned farm-house. Here and there, in remote parts of New Jersey and the contiguous States, there yet linger a few of these old-time structures, suggestive both of the poverty and the piety of the men and women who built their unpretending walls in troublous times.
That primitive building was situated on the crown of our burial ground hill, two or three rods east of the spot now occupied by the Gibbons monument. It was for the next seventy years the only house of public worship within the township, and its history is the main source of information that comes down to us of the years immediately preceding the Revolution, whose events gather largely around the old church.
A cut of this old building, drawn by Rev. Samuel L. Tuttle, and engraved for him on wood, is pasted into his manuscript "notes," and is seen in his printed history of the church.
For several years the society had no preacher, depending upon the presbytery or upon some occasional young man who received no pay, and not seldom upon the services of its own elders and leading members. Its first regular preacher was Nathaniel Greenman, a young licentiate, who was not installed, and of whose two years' work here no record has come down to us, although he had a long and honorable record in other parts of the church.
The first pastorate over the church and the longest of all was that of Azariah Horton, beginning about 1751 and ending in November 1776, covering all the stormy period which preceded the war of the Revolution, and closing just as the war itself began to throw churches and society into dire confusion. For the reason given before no particulars of Mr. Horton's pastorate have come down to us, but the present writer has been enabled to gather some interesting particulars of his personal history--and he was a man of influence and power in the early days of this place. He was born on Long Island, in 1715, came early with his parents to New Jersey, graduated from Yale College in 1735, and, declining a call to a promising parish on Long Island, devoted himself to labors among the Indians on the east end of the island. Mr. Horton was the first missionary sent to the heathen by the Presbyterian church, being commissioned to this work by the New York presbytery, but supported (as were David and John Brainerd) by "the Scottish Society for the Propagation of the Gospel." His labors were blessed at the outset, and he soon baptized thirty-five Indians. The fruit of his work remained for many years, in two Indian churches, one at Poosepatuck and a larger one at Shinnecock, which churches had until 1812 a succession of Indian pastors in the well known Rev. Samuel Occum, of the Mohegan tribe, and Revs. John and Paul Cuffee, of the Shinnecock tribe.
Mr. Horton came to Bottle Hill in 1751, and at once took rank among the men of influence, as a member of the Synod of New York, which he helped to organize, and doing much for the College of New Jersey, which had recently been founded.
The old church witnessed many memorable scenes as the dark Revolutionary days drew on, and during all their progress. Its first pastor was an earnest patriot, and, like his intimate friend and compatriot Caldwell of Elizabethtown, maintained from his pulpit the civil and religious rights of the people. Among the honored ministers of that day, whose influence was so potent in awakening and maintaining the sentiment of liberty, Azariah Horton was not the least. Under the old sounding board Caldwell himself often preached, and it was a common thing to see the soldier's uniform in the gallery, "That old meeting-house and its pioneer minister did not a little to prepare those who dwelt here for the honors as well as the trials which divine providence had in store for them."
Mr. Horton was a man of uncommon force of character, of marked ability, and a fearless opponent of tyranny whether it were civil or ecclesiastical, for there were both in his day. He is described to us as "a plain, short, stout and very benignant man." When about sixty years of age he withdrew from the pastorate, and about a year after, while still residing here, was seized with smallpox, then prevalent among the American troops quartered here, and died. Of the two sons of Mr. Horton one gave his life for the country, being killed in the Revolutionary war.
Of the way Mrs. Horton helped her husband, and purchased a farm besides, by keeping a corner store in the village, we have already spoken. The remains of this admirable couple lie in the old cemetery, the grave covered with a brown freestone slab raised on pillars, and upon the stone is inscribed: "In Memory of the Rev. Azariah Horton, for 25 years pastor of this church. Died March 27th 1777, aged 62 years. Also Eunice, his wife, who died August 14th 1778, aged 56 years." The monument stands on the crown of the hill, just at the rear of the old foundation walls, and but a few feet from where stood the pulpit from which the old pastor preached. The church was located between that spot and the ravine through which the railroad now passes.
In the year 1795 occurred the loss of all the records of the old church. covering its whole former history from 1747. As Mr. Tuttle says, "the loss will never cease to excite the regrets of this community." By it have for ever gone, for the most part, the names and history of all the early members, throwing darkness upon the internal and spiritual history of the church, and also obliterating much which concerned the whole neighborhood, the state of society, family histories, and affairs in general; for, as we have said, here and in New England the history of an ancient church is largely the early history of the community. How this loss occurred can never now be satisfactorily known. The lapse of over four score years leaves us in the dark, and leaves also in oblivion much that would have been interesting for us to know and to hand down to those who are to come after us. It is greatly to be regretted that such a man as Rev. Asa Hillyer did not gather up all that was then known; for not only were the records of the old session extant in his day--lost or destroyed while he was pastor--but there were then living men and women whose memories extended to the very organization of the church.
The present writer has in his possession, as the pastor of the church, a quaint old folio book of parish records--or records of the annual business meetings of the society or congregation. It is bound in heavy parchment, and, although a century and a quarter old, is in excellent condition. The opening record is as follows:
"South hanover Wednesday ye 7th of September, An-"no D 1757. at a meating appointed and met at the "meating house and proceaded In the folowing manor By "way of Voats. Aaron Burnet modarator Stephen Morehouse Clark." At this "meating" it was "voated that Mr. Horton shall have seventy pounds Sallery;" also, collectors were appointed "to endeavour that all old rearages in Mr horton's rats [rates] Be made good to him." Next year we read that "Benjamin Ladner was appointed to Leade psalm tune." In 1759 it was "voated to have pues Bult all round this house and Seats in ye midle." The report of the meeting in 1759 gives an interesting proof of the intimate connection of church and State then existing. The moderator, clerk, and "Thomas genung, assessor," with two other persons, were appointed "Collectors;" and it is added, "the Assessor is to Take the Rateable Estats from the towne's Booke." This would apparently secure the application of the Master's rule, "Every man according to his several ability."
The succeeding year saw the appointment of five men "to stand as a committee to have the care of seating the meating house, and all other afares relating to this parish."
These yearly records are usually extremely brief, many of them occupying but four or five lines of writing; and for the first fifty years not one of them has granted to it the dignity of a full page of the book. Many of the entries are very suggestive of the poverty of the people, and illustrate somewhat the general habits and social life of those who came from wide surroundings to worship in the old church on the hill. There was not money to furnish the little building with pews. "Josiah Broadwell and Jacob Morrall are permitted to build a pue at the west end of the meeting house and Josiah hand and william Burnet a pue in the frontt gallery over the men's stairs." In 1770 it was voted "that the last piece of land purchased of James Burnet for a parsonage be sold to pay for what the parish is in arrears." In 1772 Josiah Broadwell and Paul Day are appointed a committee "to go to Mr. Horton and tell him we will do our utmost to raise your salary for this year, but see no prospect of raising a salary for another year." Next year this faithful man is asked if he would be willing to stay another year "for what salary we can raise for him," and he consented to stay that year and several more. In 1774 a lottery helped the financial situation; and there was a vote that certain "contribution money now on hand go to purchase fencing timber for the parsonage." That year also occurs this curious and suggestive record: "At a town meeting held this 7th day of September 1774 at ye South Meeting House, chose assessors to carry subscriptions to raise Mr. Horton's salary for another year." In 1776 a committee was appointed to go to the "prisbittery" with Mr. Horton upon parish affairs, and with this ended the pastoral troubles and labors of Azariah Horton, after he had nursed the languid infancy of the church, and guided and guarded its precarious early life for nearly twenty-five years.
After the dismission of Mr. Horton, and for about fifteen years, the church seems to have been in an enfeebled and distressed condition. It had two pastors and one stated supply in that time, while there were long intervals, making over five years in all, during which it was without any settled ministry of the word. The church and the community were either suffering amidst or slowly emerging from the disasters of the war. Of these pastors one was the Rev. Ebenezer Bradford, a man of fine literary attainments and uncommon ability. In addition to his pastoral charge he conducted a classical school, which gained quite a reputation in its day, the school building standing on the spot now occupied by the railroad depot. Mr. Bradford was brother-in-law to Dr. Ashbel Green, president of the College of New Jersey, and several of his sons were men of distinguished ability and position.
In the year 1785 a committee was appointed to wait upon Rev. Alexander Miller (a native of Scotland and graduate of the College of New Jersey, who succeeded Mr. Bradford after an interval of about a year), "to see if he would not take one hundred pounds for his salary; if not, the people desire he may be dismissed, for they will not subscribe toward his farther support." Mr. Miller's trials and the people's culminated in 1786, when a committee was appointed to inform him that "he must give up his present obligation and begin on a new footing, or the people will carry an application to the presbytery for his dismission."
During the three years succeeding the ministry of Mr. Miller the church seems to have sunk to its lowest condition. It had no pastor, and depended for its pulpit supplies on the presbytery of New York, with which it was at that time connected. It is evidence, however, of the Christian vigor which must have characterized its leading members that the regular ministrations of the Lord's house were duly maintained through all those dark days.
It was at this time, in the year 1789, that the church in the good providence of God came under the pastoral charge of Rev. Asa Hillyer. And by a providence not less kind his ministry of twelve years was succeeded by that of Matthew La Rue Perrine, lasting nearly ten years; which was followed by the sixteen years of the labors of John G. Bergen. These were all men of eminent piety, of wisdom and ability, and consecrated to their work. Their pastorates, covering nearly thirty-nine years, were blessed with powerful revivals, and careful, vigorous administration, and the church came to have an established character and position.
During the pastorate of Dr. Hillyer, and about the year 1790, the Tuesday evening prayer meeting was established; held at first in the house of Deacon Ephraim Sayre, then in the old school-house, and afterward in the upper room of the academy, where it continued for more than forty years, when, the present lecture room being built, it was removed thither. The Tuesday evening prayer meeting is thus well nigh a century old.
In the year 1817 the first Sunday-school was established here. Elder William Thompson had been perusing a tract on the subject of Sunday-schools; he read it aloud in the prayer meeting, greatly interested the people and immediately the school was begun. Mr. Thompson was the first superintendent. The first teachers were Amelia Bruen, Lucinda Bruen, Lillys Cook, Priscilla Sayre and Nancy Cook--no men.
In 1819, by "a formal and well considered vote of the parish, the first stove was introduced into the sanctuary," a committee of four discreet men being appointed to attend to this matter; for nearly seventy years our hardy ancestry depended on the heat of the pulpit for all the warmth they felt.
The most memorable events of these years of which we now speak were the great religious awakenings which occurred. One of the most remarkable of these took place during the ministry of Mr. Perrine, in 1806. "A great concourse of people assembled in and around the church from all parts of the surrounding country." Arrangements, therefore, were made for meetings in the open air, in the valley in the rear of the church. A large farm wagon formed a convenient pulpit, and the multitudes were grouped around on the hill slopes. About a dozen ministers were present as preachers, among whom were Drs. Richards of Morristown, Hillyer of Orange, and McWhorter and Griffin of Newark. Rev. Jacob Tuttle, father of Joseph F. and Samuel L. Tuttle, who was an eye witness, says: "It was in Madison that I witnessed the largest religious concourse that I ever witnessed anywhere. The ground north of the old church was admirably fitted for the occasion. It was a hollow, surrounded by rising ground on all sides. It was the first week in July, and notice was given of the meetings for several weeks previously." He speaks then of the earnest preaching and the listening multitudes, and adds: "I look back to that time with admiration and wonder at the manifestations of divine power which were seen and felt at that time through all that region. Many thousands were turned to God, a large number of whom have gone home to glory."
The sixteen years of Mr. Bergen's ministry were also years of great results. At the close of the first year a revival commenced, during which sixty-nine persons made public confession of the Lord Jesus. The year 1819 witnessed another work of grace. During 1821-22 (that wonderful season of divine power in the land) nearly one hundred souls were added to this church. This last revival had been preceded by a season of declension and apathy, which induced the Presbytery of Jersey to appoint a day of inquiry, fasting and prayer, with meetings to be held in the church of Madison. After this presbyterial meeting services were held in different parts of the parish for about four months, from November to March, when the interest developed in a sudden way, and became so great and extensive that from five to seven hundred persons assembled night after night, and this continued through the summer, and the meetings were kept up during the haying and harvest time. About ninety united with this church as the fruits of that gracious visitation.
The revival of 1822 gave the impulse that led to the erection of a new house of worship, although the subject of enlarged accommodations had been before the people for more than a dozen years. The long conflict between the people of Chatham and Madison about the site of the proposed building and the compromise which placed it where it stands have become traditional. The truth seems to be that each village needed a church; and if this fact had been recognized each would now have its church edifice at the true center of its population.
The corner stone of the new building, with Mr. Bergen's name upon it, was laid May 18th 1824, and the church was dedicated on the 18th of May 1825. Of the demolition of the old historic church on the hills Mr. Tuttle gives a vivid and touching account in his unpublished manuscript, and his church history contains an account of the completion and dedication of the present one.
The church attained to a high prosperity under Mr. Bergen. He was quite a remarkable man. His earliest known ancestor was a Norwegian who came over in one of Hendrick Hudson's ships in 1621. This ancestor married the first white woman born on Manhattan Island, and she was a child of Huguenot parents who fled from France on account of religious persecution there. Mr. Bergen's own mother was a Scottish Covenanter, who came to this country fleeing, with others, from such swords as that of Claverhouse. His early religious life was quite remarkable; so was his work here, and so also his long subsequent life. A few years after the opening of the new church some internal troubles arose, and, to the great grief of nearly all his people, Mr. Bergen resigned his pastorate. The opening attractions of the "great west" also drew him toward new and illimitable fields, and "he took up his westward line of march on the 22nd of September 1828, in presence of a multitude of his people, many of whom accompanied him for ten miles on his way; his mother and her husband in their own dearborn, he and his wife and one child in a new gig, and his other children in a traveling carriage. They were forty days in actual travel on their westward way. Springfield, Sangamon county, Ill., was then a little place of two hundred people, with about forty houses, mainly log houses." He became the first pastor of the First Presbyterian church in Springfield, the church being a child of his own. In that region he lived and labored, much of the time in pioneer work, until he came to be known as the "Old Man of the Prairie"; and his serene and venerable aspect grew familiar in every hamlet of the surrounding country. He died suddenly, January 10th 1872, having completed his 81st year. His last words were, "Great grace!" and "Blessed!" Although it was then forty-four years since Dr. Bergen resigned the pastorate of this church, he had yet survived all who succeeded him, except the present pastor.
In the year 1804, Mr. Tuttle tells us, the entire village of Madison, still called Bottle Hill, consisted of not more than twenty dwelling houses, all of which were standing on the old road. Some of these have passed away; among them the old parsonage, which stood where now is the middle of Green avenue, in front of the spot where now stands the house of Mrs. John R. Mulford.
The history of this old parsonage is not without interest. As early as 1763 the people in their poverty voted to purchase a "piece of parssonnage land, for the use of the minister of this parrish." The land was purchased, probably with a dwelling of some kind upon it, which "was put into a state of repair for the minister." Mr. Horton seems to have occupied it; and here did he and his successors continue to reside until the year 1810; when, the pastor, Rev. Mr. Perrine, having built a house for himself on the beautiful knoll now occupied by Edgar Beaupland, the old parsonage was sold for $2,350. It was built upon a generous scale; a large double house, originally shingled on all sides, with the front eaves high, while the back ones were so low that they could easily be reached from the ground. A large kitchen stood on the south end of the house, and it had the immense old fireplace and chimney of that day, with the heavy beams in the ceiling left uncovered. Fifty acres of land, with a barn, were attached to it. It stood with its end to the street; the front yard was over a hundred feet in depth, and the back yard was also large, and both were full of trees. Some of these are still standing in the grounds of Mrs. Mulford. It came into the hands of Dr. Reuben Bishop, from whom in 1829 it was purchased by Dr. H. P. Green. In 1867, when Green avenue was about to be opened, the house was sold by the daughters of Dr. Green. It was divided into three parts, of which the main part is now the large white house in the lumber yard; another part was moved across the street and has since been torn down, and the third part was moved to Green Village. It was so well built that in moving the larger part to the lumber yard the plastering on the walls did not crack.
The parish was without a parsonage for the next forty-four years. Other houses yet remain--as the house of E. U. Samson, that of Mr. Brunz (late that of Ichabod Bruen), the house on Academy Hill (the residence of the late Miss Lillys Cook), the houses owned and occupied by the late John B. Miller and his son David L. Miller, and others still, carefully designated by Mr. Tuttle--as they were in the year 1855.
The old Presbyterian church of Madison has, on the whole, had a prosperous life since the period when it ceased to be alone. The Rev. Clifford S. Arms became pastor in 1832 and remained such for nearly nineteen years, closing a fruitful ministry in 1851. His pastorate was blessed with several powerful revivals of religion, the most remarkable of which occurred at the commencement of his labors here.
To Mr. Arms succeeded Rev. Samuel L. Tuttle, after an interregnum in the pastorate of nearly three years. To Mr. Tuttle the church and the town are indebted more than to any other man living or dead, for those labors which have rescued from oblivion and embalmed in memory so much of the history of this whole township. He was greatly interested in the general affairs of the village; some of the most important public improvements being due to his suggestion or largely indebted to him for their success. Extensive alterations in the church were made during his pastorate, the ladies bearing the burden of the expense. The extensive improvements made in the old cemetery were first suggested by Mr. Tuttle. His purchase of property on the hill, where the cottage built by him still stands, led to the great changes and improvements in that part of the town. In the costly and important changes which have made the depot square what it now is he led the way, giving liberally himself and using his whole personal influence. Mr. Tuttle resigned his pastorate in 1862 and entered at once into the service of the American Bible Society as assistant secretary. He died April 16th 1866. In the old burial ground lie the remains of Azariah Horton, Clifford S. Arms and Samuel L. Tuttle; around them lie the generations to whom they preached. Rev. Albert Mandell became pastor October 1st 1862, and after a ministry of seven useful years, during most of which he was a courageous invalid, doing his work, he resigned his charge, and died in October 1871 in his 43d year.
The present pastor, Rev. Robert Aikman, was installed June 2nd 1869, and he is now in the thirteenth year of his ministry in Madison. He is the only one living of all who have been pastors of the old church. The membership of the church is about 300.
The church which is next in the order of age is St. Vincent's Roman Catholic church of Madison, for the following account of which we are indebted to the courtesy of Rev. W. M. Wigger, D. D., for many years its incumbent as priest, and who has recently been appointed bishop of the diocese of Newark.
ST. VINCENT'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF MADISON.
The first mass said in Madison was celebrated in 1810, in the old Duberceau house (now occupied by Mr. Kelly), on the convent road. The priest was Father Viennet, then stationed at St. Peter's Church, Barclay street, New York. Father Viennet remained some days in Madison, having come on a visit to Mr. Bamon, who at that time was the owner of the Duberceau house.
The property on which the old parochial house formerly stood was bought from John Miller by a French gentleman, Lachapelle, and afterward sold by him to six persons, who bought it for the purpose of having a residence for a priest, and a chapel. For some years the parlor and sitting-room of the old parsonage formed the chapel, the clergyman occupying the upper part of the house. The clergymen who officiated previous to the erection of the church were Messrs. Erard, Donohue, Ryder and J. B. Chabert. When there was talk of building a church, four of the original purchasers transferred their rights to Messrs. Amedie Boisaubin and V. S. K. Beaupland, as trustees. The two latter made an agreement with each other to build the church, sharing equally the expenses over and above the amounts collected otherwise. Before the church was built the lot adjoining the parsonage, and on which the church now stends, was purchased.
The present St. Vincent's church was commenced in 1838, and was dedicated in 1839, by Bishop Dubois, of New York, under the invocation of St. Vincent, Martyr. It cost $4,050. The first pastor of the church was Father Richard Newell, who remained till the close of the year 1842. In the beginning of 1843 the Rev. Dr. Monahan was appointed to succeed Father Newell, and he remained till the middle of April 1844. During the latter part of August 1844 the Rev. P. Kenny was sent to Madison by Bishop Hughes. In the beginning of the following year, however, Father Kenny was obliged to go south on account of his health, and he died in Charleston in March 1845. He was succeeded by Father Senez (the present pastor of St. Mary's church, Jersey City), who remained till April 1848. The Rev. B. J. McQuaid (the present bishop of Rochester, N. Y.), who in January 1848 had come to Madison as assistant to Father Senez, was then appointed pastor.
He continued in charge of the parish till October 1853, when good Father Madden, well remembered by the inhabitants of Madison for his genial and kindly disposition, came to Madison. He was pastor of St. Vincent's for almost 15 years, He died of apoplexy, May 17th 1868, and was succeeded by the Rev. J. A. D'Arcy. After the death of the latter, April 24th 1869, the present incumbent, the Rev. W. M. Wigger, was appointed, and he remained in Madison till May 29th 1873, when he took charge of St. John's Church, Orange, and subsequently of St. Theresa's, Summit. In the interim St. Vincent's parish was in charge of the Rev. P. E. Smyth, the present pastor of St. Bridget's church, Jersey City. A few months after the return of the Rev. Dr. Wigger to Madison (January 10th 1876) an addition of 25 feet was built to St. Vincent's church, at a cost of over $2,000. In 1878 the old parsonage was sold to Brittin Brothers, and the present parochial house was built at a cost of almost $5,000.
The number of parishioners is about 700.
A school in the basement of St. Vincent's church was commenced in 1846, during the ministration of Father Senez. The first teacher was a certain Mr. Howell. The number of pupils at that time was about thirty. In 1866 Father Madden purchased of William H. Gibbons a tract of land on the convent road for $1,000, and soon after had the present beautiful brick school-house built thereon, at a cost of $6,000. The number of pupils at present is 135. The teachers are Mr. E. F. McCarthy and Miss S. Doyle.
METHODISM IN MADISON.
In the year 1844 the foundations of the Methodist Episcopal church of Madison were laid. The congregation at that time belonged to the same circuit as those of Whippany, Chatham and Green Village, and the ministers in charge were the Rev. Messrs. Lewis R. Dunn and Israel S. Corbit. For several years before this occasional religious services had been held in the upper room of the school-house in East Madison, or Genungtown, as it was then called. The first regular Methodist service, however, was held in a long, two-storied building on the corner of Railroad avenue and Prospect street, opposite to the dwelling of Henry Keep. It is still there, although now divided into several houses. It was then used by Mr. Keep as a manufactory of straw hats and umbrellas,
the lower story being a long room where the work went on and where twenty or more girls were employed, and the upper story being divided into sleeping rooms for the employes. Mr. Keep was an Englishman, who had made his home here; a man of enterprise, indomitable energy and a large-hearted piety. He was an influential member of the Presbyterian church, but freely opened the large room for the services of the Methodist church. Every Saturday evening the room was cleared and put in order for Sunday service, and here the gospel was preached under Methodist auspices for years.
Among many others who preached in this room, as also in the East Madison Academy, was a well remembered and unique man of Chatham township, John Hancock by name; a man whose character may be summed up in the words which describe Barnabas--"a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith." He was born in Springfield in 1776; left fatherless when eight months old, he was carried in his mother's arms when she left the blackened ruins of the village, burned by the British, and was brought here by her. His advantages were few, but his diligence was great. The first book he ever owned was "A new Geographical, Historical and Commercial Grammar, and Present State of the Several Kingdoms of the World." This he bought for $6, all obtained by selling hazel nuts gathered in the evening when his work was done; he was then an apprentice in Columbia. This book he mastered.
He early began to write, and all through his long life his thoughts flowed into rhyme as easily as into prose, his works having some of the rude quaintness of Bunyan's. His early religious exercises were genuine and deep. He joined the M. E. church in 1801. In the class meeting he learned to speak, and he soon went forth into school-houses, private dwellings and wherever a door was open, publishing the glad tidings. In 1803 he was licensed as a local preacher, in 1814 ordained as deacon and in 1833 ordained as elder by Bishop Hedding. His own house, as soon as it was completed in 1803,was opened for a regular preaching place, and continued to be such until 1832. For the rest of his life, while still supporting his family by his business and farm, he preached in the circuit formed by Flanders, Paterson, Newark, Rahway and New Providence; in heat and cold, in sunshine and storm, his expenses generally more than his receipts, but the traveler ever fulfilling the injunction "as ye go, preach." He had a great fund of humor, which, however, he kept within bounds. He died in great peace, in full possession of his faculties, in his 78th year, leaving blessed memories behind him in all these neighborhoods. Close by his dwelling Mr. Hancock had set apart a portion of land for a family cemetery, which in his will he made a "public burial place." Near the entrance, and in full view of all who pass by, may still be seen a square board tablet, sustained by two tall posts, on which were painted in large yellow letters, now partly obliterated, some homely but practical lines, written by himself and commencing thus:
"Ye travelers through this vale of strife,
The influence of John Hancock was very great in the early life of Methodism in this township.
The first church building was a wooden structure 50 feet by 36, which stood on the northeast side of the depot square, and which was dedicated February 20th 1845. Here public worship was maintained for the next twenty-six years, when the lot and building were sold for $7,600. The building now forms the upper stories of the store of Day, Searing & Co., who purchased the church edifice and made the changes now to be seen.
In the year 1870 a lot adjacent to the seminary grounds was presented to the church by Daniel Drew, upon which was erected the present Methodist Episcopal church. The building is of brick, in Romanesque style, with towers and stained windows; the spire not yet finished. The dedication took place May 20th 1871. The dimensions are 80 by 52 feet, with a front of 60 feet, and the estimated cost is about thirty thousand dollars. The church here is the natural place of Subbath worship for the faculty and students of Drew Theological Seminary, which adds to the importance and responsibility of the charge. The people own a parsonage, which was built in 1853 and enlarged in 1879, a commodious and comfortable house. The present incumbent is Rev. W. J. Gill.
The parish of Grace church, Madison, was organized in September 1854, in conformity with the constitution and canons of the Protestant Episcopal church, and of the diocese. The Rev. John A. Jerome received and accepted a call to take charge of the parish for one year from the first of October 1854. The first religious services in the parish, as so organized, were held in the building known as "Odd Fellows' Hall," on Sunday the 8th of October, the Rev. Mr. Jerome officiating.
Measures were soon after taken for the purchase of land and the erection of a church building upon it; and through the liberality and exertions of Judge F. S. Lathrop, the late Alfred M. Tredwell and other gentlemen of the parish, the present building was erected, and it was ready for divine service on Sunday, April 13th 1856.
In December 1855 the Rev. Samuel Randall received a call to the rectorship, which was accepted by him in February 1856, and on the third Sunday after Easter--the 13th of April--he entered on its duties, the first service being held in the church on that day. Mr. Randall served as rector of the church until his death, on Easter Sunday, April 20th 1862.
He was succeeded in February 1863 by the Rev. Walter Windeyer, who remained rector until the first of January 1867, when the Rev. John Henry Hobart, D. D., was called to the rectorship; he retained the position until his resignation, on the first of October 1871.
In November 1871 the Rev. Abbot Brown received and accepted a call to the parish, and he resigned in November 1872.
In April 1873 the Rev. D. C. Weston, D. D., was called to the rectorship, and he entered upon his duties on the first Sunday in June of that year. The rectory was begun in the fall and completed in 1874. Dr. Weston remained rector until the 1st of December 1878, when he resigned on account of ill health. He was succeeded in April 1879 by the Rev. R. C. Rogers, the present rector.
In the fall of that year the walls of the new chapel were laid, and the building was completed in the following year. A large portion of the funds for the new building had been already provided during the rectorship of the Rev. Dr. Weston.
This page was last modified on: 01 January, 2014
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