CITY, VILLAGE AND TOWNSHIP HISTORIES, HANOVER TOWNSHIP.
BY MONROE HOWELL.
THE territory now known as Hanover township was formerly included within the boundaries of a far larger extent of country, which under the old colonial government was organized into a township bearing the name of Whippanong, and at that time constituted a part of the county of Hunterdon.
Whippanong, now changed to Whippany, and Parsippanong, now changed to Parsippany, are doubtless names of aboriginal origin, the exact signification of which is uncertain; although it may safely be assumed, upon evidence contained in the old deed for the Whippany burying ground, that both these names have some reference to the rather important streams known as Whippany River and Parsippany Brook. The township received the name of Hanover in the year 1740, and at that time comprised a far greater than its present extent of territory. The final touches to its present contour were given about the year 1844, at the organization of Rockaway township. It is bounded on the north by the townships of Boonton and Rockaway, on the east by Montville and the county of Essex, on the south by Chatham and Morris, and on the west by Morris and Rockaway. The Rockaway River forms the boundary from the extreme northerly point to its junction with the Passaic at or near Pine Brook, and from thence it has the Passaic for its boundary to the confines of Chatham.
The assessors' statistics for 1881 were as follows: Area, 29,747 acres; valuation of real estate, $1,742,641; personal property, $373,050; debt, $113,975; total valuation, $2,001,715; polls, 828; State school tax, $5,095.58; county tax, $4,756.83; road tax, $4,003.
This section, as indicated by the watercourses, has a general though slight inclination to the east, is somewhat hilly in the northwest, gently undulating in the middle, and consists in the east and southeast of bottom lands along the Passaic and its tributaries. Hydrographically considered, this township belongs to the basin of the Passaic, which important river receives all its streams, of which the most important are the Whippany River and Parsippany and Stony brooks. The first of the above named streams enters the township from Morris, flows through it in a northeasterly direction, and empties into the Rockaway River, about a mile above the confluence of that stream with the Passaic. Its volume of water is considerable, and the slope of its bed is such as to afford numerous mill sites, advantage of which has been taken since the earliest settlement of the region. The second is a beautiful rivulet, having its rise in the highlands in the northeastern part of the township; and, being fed mostly by springs, is of perennial and equable flow. Its continuous though gentle fall affords several mill sites, which were early economized. The third takes its rise in a locality known as Wheeler Swamp, pursues a short and rapid course, and empties into Whippany River at or near the Caledonia paper-mill. This stream is of constant and equal flow, affords a number of mill sites, and was the seat of ancient manufacture.
On the steep banks of the Rockaway River, in a formation of red sandstone, may be seen fossil impressions of fishes of various kinds. This point is well worthy the attentions of geologists and other specimen-seekers, as well as of those who enjoy the romantic and picturesque in nature.
This township was in former years relatively much better supplied with means of transportation than at present. In the days of turnpikes it had the advantage of being traversed by two such thoroughfares, and a heavy team transit was effected over them to and from the great market of New York; but with the advent of railroads the course of transportation was so changed as to barely touch at only two points the very borders of its territory, and its relative distance from the great markets was materially lengthened. The speedy opening of this region to the advantages of railroad transportation would effect a surprising advance in the already high valuation of real estate.
Although, from the lack of positive evidence in the matter, the exact date of the settlement of this region cannot be ascertained, yet, from scattered documents, as well as from reliable tradition, we are safe in setting it down as a little antecedent to the year 1700; and the first settlement was undoubtedly at Whippany, which place was also the first settled in the county of Morris. The first settlers were from Newark, Elizabeth, New England and England, drawn hither by the proximity of ores of iron, in the manufacture of which they at once engaged. Upon the Whippany River and its confluents at least five forges were erected at an early date; and in the earliest documents relating to the matter the locality is referred to as the "Old Forge;" but to which of these old sites can be awarded the palm of prior occupancy is uncertain--evidence, however, would seem to point to Whippany. However this may be, many years could not have intervened between the erection of the first and last of these, as all of them were at work at an early date in the settlement, and all appeared of equal age. The whole region around these localities bears traces of this early industry. In recent clearings of forests which must have stood a century or more the black soil of coal-pit bottoms is frequently found, and long-buried cinders are often exhumed in the vicinity of the old manufactories.
Doubtless after the forests had been cleared and burned into charcoal other settlers were soon attracted to this locality by the fertility of the soil and the advantages of a genial climate. So early as the year 1718 a church edifice was erected at Whippany, in the old burying ground, this plot having been deeded for that purpose by one John Richards, a schoolmaster. The facts that a schoolmaster was already a resident among them and that a permanent church organization was contemplated must lead us to infer the existence of a somewhat extended and localized population even at that date. Indeed, that agricultural enterprise early manifested itself would seem evident from an old deed for a large part of Hanover Neck, a narrow strip of land lying between the lower portion of the Whippany River and the Passaic. This tract was located under proprietary authority by Daniel Cox as early as 1715, contained 1,250 acres, and was conveyed by one Jonathan Stiles to Joseph Tuttle in 1734. No water power is available upon the sluggish streams of this vicinity, and the spot must have been located with an eye to agricultural advantages readily discerned in the rich and easily subdued soils of these bottom lands.
The fact that large manorial estates were purchased and occupied at least a quarter of a century before the Revolution indicates a state of society compatible only with somewhat continued and advanced civilization. Of these manorial seats the most noted, and perhaps at that time the most sumptuous establishments in the county, were Irish Lot, near Whippany, the residence of Captain Michael Kearney of His Britannic Majesty's navy; the Beaverwick, near Troy, owned by Lucas Von Beaverhoudt, and the Mansion House domain at Old Boonton. The dwellers upon these famous seats kept up a constant interchange of high-life civilities, rode in chariots, gave costly entertainments, and were the talk of the whole country about. The Kearney mansion, now occupied by Mahlon Hubbard, was in those days substantially what it is at present with the exception of the numerous outbuildings attached to these lordly abodes. The Beaverwick mansion has been modernized into the comely residence of B. S. Condit, but the long rows of servants' lodges which skirted either side of the ample lawn, and from their color gave to the place the Revolutionary title of the "Red Barracks," have long since disappeared. Of the Mansion House at Old Boonton but a small portion, in a very dilapidated state, now remains. The family names of all the former owners of those abodes have faded from the locality; nothing is left to perpetuate them saving two freestone slabs lying in a neglected spot at Irish Lot, and another in a lonely corner of the graveyard at Parsippany. Sic transit gloria mundi.
Captain Michael Kearney, according to tradition, was of a genial and jovial disposition and a high liver, as might be expected of a captain in the British navy. His domain, well stocked with choice fruit, was so accessible to the less favored dwellers upon the surrounding farms as to seem almost a common possession. Upon a wide uncultivated portion of his estate whortleberries abounded, and at the season of their gathering it was his custom to give a sort of out-of-door reception to the whole neighborhood. A table was set profusely spread with substantial edibles, and liquors indigenous to the locality were bountifully supplied. These seasons were further enlivened by music and dancing, and were long remembered and talked of by the participants therein.
The manor of Beaverwick contained more than a thousand acres, and was purchased by Mr. Beaverhoudt about the year 1742. The estate was under cultivation when he purchased it, and while in his possession was worked by numerous slaves brought from the West Indies, who became the progenitors of quite a numerous colored population, of whom some remain in the locality at the present day. During the Revolution this seat was much resorted to by the officers of the continental and British armies, it being at one time held as neutral ground. We have it upon good authority that Washington, Hamilton and other notables of that period were often entertained under its hospitable roof; and further we have it, that the father of his country and the hero of the hatchet did most dignifiedly dance a minuet with one of the belles of the neighborhood. We also have it upon tolerably good authority that Major Andre, the British spy, managed here to catch sight of the great leader of the rebel army, possibly with an evil eye to his entrapment; which affair was brought about in this wise: The officers of the contending armies being admitted upon equal footing to the hospitalities of the Red Barracks, it so happened that Major Andre was there visiting. Washington and some members of his staff also drew up for entertainment, and upon Andre's solicitation he was permitted to feast his eyes upon the most imposing presence of the age.
The following items from the New Jersey Gazette at the dates given may prove interesting to readers:
"Lost, between Princeton and Beaverwick, eight miles from Morristown, a dress sword, the hilt chased work and of solid silver, a red belt with swivels, one half of shell broken off. Whosoever will leave said sword with Mr. Lott at Beaverwick, or with Mrs. Livingston at Princeton, shall receive ten dollars reward. July 10th 1778."
HON. ANDREW B. COBB.
Col. Lemuel Cobb, the father of Andrew B., was born at his father's home near Parsippany, May 15th 1762. He did not in early life enjoy even ordinary advantages for obtaining an education; but his thirst for practical knowledge and the indomitable energy of his character supplied the place of these facilities. It is said that he pursued the study of his profession (that of a civil engineer and surveyor) while attending a saw-mill. In thus surmounting the obstacles which were in the way of his early advancement he developed those qualities which fitted him for his subsequent successful career and which were inherited by his son. Prominent in military affairs and in politics he took lively interest in the development of the locality, was long one of the judges of the court, and filled other places of trust. He was thrice married. His first wife was Mary, daughter of Benjamin Smith, whose only surviving child, Elizabeth, became the wife of Benjamin Howell, of Troy. His second wife was Susan Farrand, daughter of Ebenezer Farrand, by whom he had six children, of whom two only survived him, Julia A., wife of W. C. H. Waddell, and Andrew B. His third wife was Elizabeth Shaw, by whom he had no children. He died April 1st 1830. He was a member of the board of proprietors of the eastern division of the State, and for many years the surveyor general of that division. In the practice of his profession he availed himself of his opportunities for acquiring land, and he left an estate of more than ten thousand acres, which he devised to his son Andrew B. Cobb; to Benjamin Howell, who was the husband of his daughter Elizabeth; to his daughter Maria, whose husband was Walter Kirkpatrick; and to his daughter Julia Ann, the wife of William Coventry H. Waddell. Mrs. Kirkpatrick and her son Eugene died before her father and the property was divided between the other three children.
Andrew Bell Cobb was born on the 7th of June 1804, at Parsippany, Hanover township, in the house where he resided till his death. He received a fine academic education. His youth was passed in assisting his father in the care of his landed estate. On the death of the latter, April 1st 1831, he came in possession of a large portion of that estate, including the homestead at Parsippany, and commenced the active career which he followed through the rest of his life. His attention was mainly devoted to the management and improvement of his landed possessions, which steadily increased with the lapse of time. Incidentally he was engaged in agriculture, and he engaged to some extent in mining. He evinced a deep interest in the development of the iron interest in the county, and was at a late period in his life an iron manufacturer. He erected a charcoal blast furnace at "Split Rock." He was always active in the promotion of local improvements.
In public and political affairs Mr. Cobb took an active part. He was a Whig till about 1853, after which he acted with the Democratic party. In 1838 he was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Morris county, which office he held about five years. In 1849 and 1850 he was a member of the General Assembly from this county, and was again elected in 1853, though his party was not in the majority in his district. He was a leading member of the House in the session of 1854, and was active in promoting the legislation of that session which resulted in the limitation of the monopoly of the "Joint Companies" to the 1st of January 1869. In 1856 he was elected to the State Senate where he served efficiently during three sessions. He was during many years a member of the board of proprietors of East New Jersey.
Judge Cobb had much individuality, was warm and earnest in his friendships, and very decided in the manifestation of his dislikes and aversions. He had many devoted and zealous friends, and his unquestionable integrity, his manly honor and the generosity of his nature compelled the respect of his enemies. He was a man of extensive information and a good citizen.
He was twice married. His first wife was Elizabeth F., daughter of Captain David Kirkpatrick. She died December 11th 1857, leaving a daughter, now the widow of Frederick A. De Mott. His second wife was Frances E., daughter of Nathaniel Ogden Condit. Their children are Andrew Lemuel, and Elizabeth.
In 1871 he became affected with paralysis, which gradually increased till his death, which occurred January 31st 1873.
"Old Jamaica spirit and Barbadoes rum by the hogshead or less quantity; best London lump white lead; black horn buttons; and an excellent farm of about 500 acres lying at Raritan. To be sold by Abraham Lott at Beaverwick, near Morristown; from whom may also be had in exchange for all kinds of country produce the very best rock salt. August 29th 1778."
"Rod and Sheet Iron of all sizes to be sold by Samuel Ogden at Boonton, Morris county, New Jersey. November 1778."
The manor of Old Boonton was also during "the time that tried men's souls" a place of frequent resort to the officers of the Revolutionary army, and undoubtedly camp kettles and other necessities in that line were there manufactured for the continental army. The place, at that time in the possession of the Ogdens, was, as afterward, appointed with reference to a considerable degree of state, as will appear from the following description by one who remembered it in its palmy days: "Serpentine pleasure walks studded on either side by fragrant shrubbery extended along the hillsides even as far as the main road. The gardens were extensive, handsomely laid out, and filled with choice fruit and blooming shrubbery. Gushing fountains and vineclad arbors were interspersed throughout all these richly embellished grounds, giving to this enchanting place a novel and fairy-like appearance." These incidents and reminiscences are given to show the degree of civilization to which the locality had attained even at that early date.
Some of the early settlers whose descendants still remain in the township were: Samuel and Joseph Tuttle, from the north of England, near the river Tweed; Joseph and Abraham Kitchel, brothers, and Francis Lindsley, all from England. In addition to these might be mentioned the Baldwins, Bowlsbys, Stileses, Thomases, Cobbs and Howells. The Baldwins and Bowlsbys were, doubtless, among the very first settlers in the township, and held possession of large tracts of land, as is evident from old deeds, and some portions of these large possessions still remain in the direct and collateral branches of these races.
The present seat of John L. Baldwin is doubtless a portion of the old domain, still held not only in the family but in the name. The ancient residence of his immediate ancestors stood a short distance southwest of his residence, and traces of garden culture, together with an old well, mark the spot.
Hannah Woodruff Baldwin, wife of Elder Job Baldwin, and grandmother of John L., was a woman of strong practical judgment and kindly disposition, and moreover of a genial temper, and the mother of a large family. Her decease, at a good old age, was the occasion of general sorrow, and in the old churchyard is erected a suitable memorial, bearing the following epitaph, written by her eccentric but somewhat gifted son Job:
"A benefactress to the poor,
The faultless cadence of this couplet indicates the possession of the more than ordinary musical taste which was largely inherent in the family, as evinced by the said Job, several of his sisters, and their descendants. The Baldwins emigrated from the Puritan settlement of Newark, as did the Howells and Thomases.
The Cobbs were from New England direct, and became possessors of large tracts of land, held by their descendants to this day. This family has in several instances produced men of uncommon business ability, among whom may be enumerated the late George T. Cobb, of Morristown, and the late Colonel Lemuel Cobb, of Parsippany, of the last of whom a sketch is given in connection with the biography of his son Andrew B.
The Kitchel family, some of which still hold possession of portions of the primitive family purchase, has produced several instances of marked ability, of whom may be mentioned Prof. William Kitchel, who preceded Prof. George H. Cook as State geologist, and Aaron Kitchel, member of the United States Senate from 1807 to 1811, of whom a short biographical sketch is here given.
He was born at Hanover in 1744. Bred to a farmer's life, with only the scanty education to be picked up at home, his enterprising spirit craved a more active and congenial field of labor, and of all such within his reach none seemed more congenial and promising than the life and work of a blacksmith. To this trade he was duly apprenticed, but his master proved to be an unthrifty person, and, absconding, left the business and his family on the hands of his trusty apprentice, who nobly assumed the care of the forsaken family and paid off the debts. During his struggle with these adverse circumstances he, by reading and study, enlarged his field of knowledge and rapidly rose in public esteem and confidence. In the Revolutionary struggle he early espoused the cause of freedom, and was among the first volunteers in the patriot army. After the close of the war he was for some years in the State Legislature. In 1799 he was elected representative in Congress, which trust he held by successive elections until 1807. He was then chosen United States senator, in which capacity he served four years, being compelled to resign on account of ill health. He died June 25th 1820, and lies buried in Hanover churchyard.
David Young, Philom., was born January 27th 1781, at the point of Hook Mountain, on what is known as the Miller place. While yet a mere lad he exhibited a decided inclination toward those studies in which he was afterward to excel, and many anecdotes are current illustrative of this bent of his genius. He soon outstripped his preceptors in mathematical pursuits, and commenced a course of independent study. With his little savings he would purchase books and instruments to aid him in the gratification of a desire for learning which in him was a passion. He wrote articles for the New York papers which attracted such general attention among the learned that a French savan wrote requesting him to undertake some very difficult problem which had long puzzled the best scholars in the department of mathematics. He solved the problem satisfactorily, and set the price of his long labor at the modest sum of $50. He received several solicitations to go abroad, but strenuously persisted in remaining at Hanover. He prepared the manuscript for the Farmer's Almanac published by Benjamin Olds in Newark, which popular work brought him sufficient to supply his humble wants. He also wrote the original account of the Morristown Ghost, a rare work, as the issue was suppressed with deference to the feelings of some of the dupes in that famous affair. About the year 1825 Mr. Young delivered in many places in New Jersey a lecture on the laws of motion, which was published in pamphlet, copies of which are still extant. He was singularly childlike in his manner, absent minded and of extremely tender feelings. He died February 13th 1852, and lies buried in the graveyard at Hanover. A marble slab marks his place of rest, bearing his name, the date of birth and death, and the following simple epitaph:
"Farewell, my wife, whose tender care
Rev. John Ford was born at Monroe in this township in 1787. While still a lad he was apprenticed to the trade of tanner and currier. From childhood he had evinced an insatiable thirst for books and study. His hours for recreation and often his hours for rest were devoted to reading. In his nineteenth year he was hopefully converted to Christ, and his employer, knowing his studious habits, gave him the remainder of his time, and encouraged him to enter upon a course of study preparatory to the work of the ministry. He entered Princeton College, having prepared for the senior class; graduated with high honors, and entered into active life as a teacher in Bloomfield, where he was eminently successful. In conjunction with the duties of his calling he pursued the study of theology and Hebrew. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Newark, and in 1815, not having had any previous experience in the ministry, he was called and ordained to the duties of the pastorate of the Presbyterian church at Parsippany, in which position he remained forty years, performing all its duties with Christian zeal and earnestness. He died December 31st 1872.
Dr. John Darby, or "old Dr. Darby," who owned the premises lately in the possession of John S. Smith, of Parsippany, and of whom mention is made in the review of the Presbyterian church of that village, was a native of Elizabeth in this State, born about 1725. He studied for the ministry, was licensed, and afterward prepared himself for the practice of medicine. About the year 1772 he located himself at Parsippany, practiced medicine, and supplied the pulpit of the old church when required. He was twice married, and was the father of six children. His oldest daughter by the first wife, Hester by name, was married about 1755 to John Troupe, a member of the family after whom Troupe's bridge in Lower Whippany is named, which family resided on the spot now owned and occupied by the Misses Elizabeth and Phebe Johnson. When the war of the Revolution broke out this Troupe enlisted in the king's service, and was sent to the south, accompanied by his wife. He was mortally wounded at the battle of Eutaw Springs, and died in Charleston. The widow afterward married a man by the name of Ross, and with him went to reside in Canada, where Ross died. After the death of her second husband she contracted a third marriage, with a Canadian by the name of Guion. Where this man Guion died is not certain, but about 1800 Mrs. Guion married one John Fox, a soldier of the Revolutionary army, who held a captain's commission and was at the battle of Monmouth. Fox seems to have been a very versatile creature--was by turns a preacher, teacher and merchant; but, not proving much of a success in these pursuits, he at last became a farmer, and settled on a small tract of land at the foot of the hill which bears his name. He seems to have sought this secluded spot with reference to its fitness for conducting the contraband business of counterfeiting, in which he there engaged. His abode was, however, discovered, and he was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to serve seven years in State prison. After the expiration of his term he returned to his farm, lived poor, and died in 1815. His wife survived until 1824. She died in the receipt of a pension from the British government. The Foxes were buried in the old graveyard at Parsippany, but no slab marks the spot where they lie. The above sketch is given upon the authority of reliable documents, now in the hands of Justice William H. Grimes, of Parsippany.
TITLE TO LANDS.
Shortly before the grant of King Charles II. to the Duke of York, which was made on the 22nd day of October 1664, John Bailey, Luke Watson and Daniel Denton of Jamaica, Long Island, purchased of certain Indian chiefs on Staten Island large tracts of wild lands, which tracts probably embraced lands in Hanover township. Subsequently the proprietors of New Jersey, who claimed these tracts under the grant to the Duke of York, resisted these claims under the Indian title, and a long litigation was the consequence. This suit was finally decided in favor of the proprietors, and those who had purchased lands under Bailey & Co. were either compelled to renew their claim under the proprietors or relinquish their lands. Probably some of the first purchasers of lands in this township were implicated in this lawsuit, but to what extent is uncertain. All records of conveyance previous to the organization of the county of Morris were kept at Burlington or Perth Amboy, and the curious in these matters can, no doubt, avail themselves of much information by consulting those records.
CHARACTERISTICS OF POPULATION.
The population of this township at the several census dates has been as follows: 1810, 3,843; 1820, 3,503; 1830, 3,718; 1840, 3,908; 1850, 3,608; 1860, 3,476 (95 colored); 1870, 3,624 (109 colored); 1880, 4,138 (Littleton 338, Whippany 504).
The inhabitants of this township are chiefly the offspring of the primitive settlers, who, as before stated, were mainly from the New Englandish settlements of Newark and Elizabeth, and, like their ancestors, present in strong relief all the peculiar characteristics of the stock from which they sprang. The sturdy moral and religious character of these primitive settlers, evinced in the prominence given to religious and mental culture, has been faithfully transmitted to their offspring of the present time, and Hanover township may be set down as one of the best church-going communities of the State. The cause of education, likewise, has not been lost sight of, and it may safely be asserted that there are more collegebred farmers within its boundaries than be found in any other township in the county. As a result of these characteristics, it will be found that no person from this township has ever been convicted in our court for a capital offence or very exalted crime. In physical development the people of this township vie with those of the more rugged mountain townships; and, indeed, in the gigantic stature of six feet seven, attained by one of our ex-sheriffs, we may fairly challenge competition with any region of our country. Strong local attachment, rendered stronger by the fertility of the soil and a pleasant climate, prompts the Hanoverians to cling to the homesteads of their fathers. Many families can be found holding estates through three generations, and in one instance an estate is held which belonged to all four of the owner's great-grandfathers. During the Revolution the loyalty of this portion of the county was unmistakably expressed, as was attested by the numerous pensioners formerly resident here. The first military company in Morris county was formed at Whippany, in 1775, under the command of Captain Morris, and in the subsequent conflict with the mother country in 1812 the same attachment to our country's cause was evinced. The Rev. Samuel M. Phelps, pastor of the Presbyterian congregation at Parsippany, at the head of about 180 men from this locality volunteered to aid in the erection of temporary defenses on Long Island. In the Mexican war Captain Yard's company of infantry was largely made up of volunteers from Hanover township, and in the late rebellion the same region was handsomely represented in the Union army.
Whippany, the most important settlement in the township, is located on both sides of the river which gives it a name, is well built and contains about 500 inhabitants. The larger part of the population find employment in the paper-mills and cotton-mill there located. A Presbyterian, a Methodist and a Roman Catholic church furnish facilities for religious culture, and a well conducted public school of two departments affords adequate means of secular instruction. Five stores, several blacksmiths' and a wheelwright shop minister in their several spheres to the necessities of the community, and when the mills are in full operation the village presents an animated and thrifty appearance. A post-office is located here.
Parsippany, the second village in size, is about three miles north of Whippany on the Parsippany Brook. It is a rambling settlement of about 300 inhabitants, and contains two churches, Presbyterian and Methodist, both situated on commanding eminences; two blacksmith and two wheelwright shops, two stores, and a two-story public school-house located upon a third eminence. It is a post village, contains several handsome residences, and all together presents an air of quiet thrift and refinement.
Troy, which constitutes a part of the Presbyterian parish of Parsippany, is situated upon the highlands bordering the meadows. It consists of a long succession of well built residences of the thrifty farmers of the locality. It contains a saw-mill, a grist-mill, blacksmith and wheelwright shops, a public school-house and a general store. T. O. Smith's milk depot is located here on the flowing well. It sends from fifty to seventy-five cans of milk and cream a day by mule teams direct to his store in New York.
In the spring of 1842, while a well was being dug on the slope of an eminence which rose about twenty feet in fifty rods, and when the excavation had reached the depth of 22 feet, a roaring noise was heard by the person at the bottom, who in his fright requested to be raised from his perilous position. This was speedily done, as he was followed by a gush of water, which has ever since been running over the top, and now supplies the large creamery of Mr. Smith with an abundance of pure cold water.
Littleton, also a post village, can boast of several first-class country seats, and has a store, public school-house, etc.
Hanover, another post village, boasts the oldest church organization in the county. It is a cleanly, agricultural place; has a neat church building (Presbyterian), a public school-house and several fine residences.
SOIL AND AGRICULTURE.
The soil of a great part of the township is somewhat clayey and tenacious, retains for a great length of time the fertilizing elements applied, and where properly drained is of unsurpassed fertility. Bordering upon the Passaic and its tributaries there is an extent of lowland containing 3,000 acres, exceedingly valuable as meadows, although, being subject to overflow, the crop is in wet seasons liable to considerable damage. These lands, however, furnish the main supply of manure for the uplands, and of a most suitable quality. The hay which they produce is used profusely as a litter, and, becoming saturated with barnyard deposit, is in the spring plowed into the furrows of the stiff upland soils, thus promoting drainage, as well as supplying during its decay many needed elements to the growing crop. Moreover, in dry seasons, the grass, then being of a more edible quality, compensates for the diminished crop of the upland, and serves to keep the scales of the farmer's income and outgo measurably balanced. If the measures for draining this large tract of land are ever carried out, as recommended in the report of our State geologist in 1869, all the advantages therein set forth would no doubt be fully realized.
This township ranks as a decided dairy region. In this respect, however, it does not take rank, either in extent or richness, with the southeastern portions of the State of New York. Perhaps it would better be classed as a stock-raising locality. Formerly, indeed, the fattening of cattle was one of the main sources of safe income among farmers. Large quantities of upland hay were formerly carried to the markets of Newark and Paterson, but of late much of this product has been utilized at home in maintaining stock for the production of milk. As to the rotation of crops best calculated to promote the largest production of upland grass of the first quality, some little difference of opinion prevails, but it is admitted on all sides that exhaustion of the soil in cereals of any kind is a poor policy.
The rapid growth of the milk trade in this part of the county, and the extent of that enterprise, demand particular notice. This business is the growth of the last quarter of a century The first can of milk sent to the New York market from this section was produced about the year 1840 on the farm of William F. Smith of Parsippany, who shipped it directly to the retailer. Finding the demand on the increase he associated himself with some of his neighbors, still shipping directly to the retailer. This was the humble beginning of what is now, perhaps, the leading agricultural pursuit of the township. This pursuit as now developed is conducted through some dozen firms, who daily ship about 200 cans of milk to the cities of the seaboard, realizing in return about $80,000 per annum. Whether the production of milk will long continue to be the chief agricultural aim of this region, or whether there will be a return to the old dealing in hay, depends much upon the facilities for transportation which may be hereafter developed. One thing, however, is certain; the high average value of lands in this township, $60 per acre, taken in connection with the fact that they are held exclusively for farming purposes, indicates no ordinary agricultural advantages.
THE IRON ERA.
As has been before stated, the people of Hanover township were at an early date engaged in the manufacture of iron. The proximity of iron ore, to be had by simply picking it up on the surface of the earth; streams of gentle declivity, flowing through a rolling country and offering power sites at little cost; a country well stocked with forests from which to make charcoal, and needy markets in a new and developing colony, were inducements which this region presented to hardy and adventurous men at the date of its settlement. We who live in this day of steam transportation may smile at the idea of an important manufacture being conducted in such manner as that in which tradition assures us the business of this locality was conducted by those old colonists. "The ore obtained at Succasunna," says tradition, "was conveyed in leathern bags on horses' backs to the forges, and the manufactured article carried in the same primitive way to the markets of Newark and New York." Notwithstanding all this the business was so renumerative as to induce the erection of at least three forges upon the Whippany River and two others upon its tributaries, one at Troy and another at Malapardis, while a sixth was located on the Hanover side of the Rockaway River at Old Boonton. Indeed, notwithstanding the tedious transportation of ore from the mines above Rockaway and Dover, and the further cost of conveying charcoal from at least as great a distance, the last of these "old forges," that at Troy, hammered its last bar only a few years before the late rebellion, and remains of the ponderous timbers which entered into its construction may still be seen upon the site; unused implements there lie rusting amid wild briars and ailanthus trees, while the gentle stream upon which it was built, still restrained by the ancient dam, expands into a sheet of water that forms a lovely feature in a beautiful woodland scene.
The works at Old Boonton assumed at an early date a pre-eminence among these manufactories on account of the superior strength of the water power at that place; but the headlong and destructive waters of the river have, in a succession of freshets, swept away almost every vestige of the old manufactories there located. Bar iron was undoubtedly the exclusive product of these establishments with the exception of Old Boonton, but of the extent, in capital, of this industry, and of the returns there from to the locality, no reliable statistics are available.
Silas Tuttle, of Whippany, aged 90 years, has in his possession a lease dated A. D. 1765, from Garret Rapelyea, of New York, to John and Joseph Tuttle, for the forges, without specifying number or location.
Joseph Mount, also of Whippany, lately deceased, said: "I was born in 1778. I have seen old timbers said to have been a part of the old forge at Whippany. It stood at the west end of the cotton-mill dam, between the river and the road. A saw-mill and a grist-mill were built upon the same ground after the forge went down. I have heard that there was a forge where the ruins of the Jefferson paper-mill now stand. There was one at or near the Halsey place, near Horse Hill, and another at Malapardis where the water is now drawn from the pond to supply the woolen-mill of E. R. Fairchild. The pond for the use of this forge covered 500 acres of land, and there were a great many pine trees standing in it. The Newark and Mt. Pleasant turnpike was laid out nearly through the middle of this pond. When a small boy I saw some of these forges in operation. They belonged to the family of the late ex-Governors Mahlon and Philemon Dickerson."
E. R. Fairchild, owner and operator of the woolen-mill at Malapardis, now 74 years old, says: "I have always resided in this vicinity. My grandfather, Abraham Fairchild, has often told me that he carried iron made at Stony Brook forge (Malapardis) to Newark on horseback, and in the same manner returned with a load of rye flour, there being at that time (1780) no road fit for heavy draught."
Isaac S. Lyon, in his discourses, gives some interesting scraps of history relating to Old Boonton. He says: "Our earliest authentic information with respect to this matter places the possession of the Boonton tract in David Ogden, Esq., an eminent lawyer of Newark, as early as 1759;" and that the place probably received its name from said Ogden, in compliment to Thomas Boone, once a colonial governor of New Jersey. The site came into possession of Colonel Samuel Ogden about 1765. In the year 1766 or perhaps 1767 he came to Old Boonton to take charge of iron works already established there, and considerably enlarged operations by erecting a rolling and slitting-mill. These branches of manufacture, being forbidden in the colonies by act of Parliament, were of course conducted clandestinely. With relation to this matter the Rev. Joseph F. Tuttle, late of Rockaway, writes: "The slitting-mill was carried on with great secrecy. The upper part was said to be a small grist-mill, which was put in operation to blind the eyes of the suspicious." Further particulars of this establishment may be found on pages 56 and 57.
Old Boonton was a post village as early as 1795, one Rodolphus Kent being at that time postmaster; but the office was in 1817 changed to Parsippany.
MODERN MANUFACTURES AND TRADE.
The manufacture of iron slowly retreated mountainward, driven thither by the scarcity of charcoal and the cost of ore carriage, and in the places once occupied by it gradually sprang up lighter manufactures more or less dependent upon water power. About the year 1810 Abraham Fairchild, Esq., the grandfather of E. R. Fairchild of Malapardis, set up the first carding and spinning machines in the township. They were brought from the State prison of New York, and were put into operation on the premises at present occupied as a woolen-mill by E. R. Fairchild and sons. This establishment has been enlarged from time to time, until it has reached its present dimensions. Power looms and other modern accessories have been added, and a good line of wares is produced, which are much in demand for serviceable and respectable suits such as are preferred by farmers and their work hands. This is the only woolen-mill in the township.
About the beginning of the present century Jacob Gray and Cornelius Voorhees purchased of a Mr. Maher the paper-mill standing on the site of the present Caledonia mill, which site had previously been occupied by a grist-mill. Shortly thereafter the property was sold to Joseph Blything, who by introducing the best machines then known soon raised the business to deserved prominence, having about 1830 put up the first "Foudinier" machine started in New Jersey. In 1843 Gaunt & Derrickson purchased this site and that of the Phoenix mill, just above, rebuilt them and operated them until they were purchased by the late Daniel Coghlan in 1847. In 1855 Mr. Coghlan also purchased the Jefferson mill, near Monroe, and he operated it until it was burned down in 1861.
From 1860 to 1870 the Caledonia mill produced yearly about two hundred tons of paper, chiefly of dark buff envelope. The Phoenix mill, which was at its rebuilding called the Eden mill, produced during the above named years from eight to ten tons weekly of white paper for Frank Leslie's pictorial, the Ledger and other journals. These mills are now in the possession of A. J. & R. Coghlan.
In the year 1880 the site at Old Boonton formerly occupied by the forge and grist-mill of Charles A. Righter, deceased, was purchased by a New York company, who erected thereon an extensive building and commenced the manufacture of paper. This enterprise is of too recent a date to have permitted its full development. It is now running chiefly on strawboard, of which it produces from three to five tons daily. A small quantity of white and colored paper has of late been made. This establishment is now in the hands of Fitzgibbons, Messer & Co., of 65 and 67 Crosby street, New York.
The manufacture of cotton goods was a few years since quite an important field of enterprise. This business was first introduced into the locality by Noadiah P. Thomas, a prominent citizen of Whippany, sprung from one of the oldest families of the place. As early as the year 1830 there were under his supervision three cottonspinning establishments, placed at intervals along the Whippany River from a point above Eden mill to the present cotton-mill dam. One of these having been destroyed by fire about the year 1835, he projected and carried into effect the erection and fitting up of a part of the present spacious building, now used a cotton-mill, to which subsequent additions were made until it attained its present dimensions. This mill is at present in operation, making yarn, having recently been purchased by a Mr. Hunt from Hanning & Gosling, who had held it idle for a long time.
Flouring mills were formerly somewhat more numerous than at present, several of the ancient buildings having been suffered to go to decay. Early in the present century Colonel Lemuel Cobb, a prominent citizen of Parsipanny, constructed a raceway at considerable cost from the old academy lot, leading the waters of Parsippany Brook to a point near the road east of the residence of Mrs. Mary Board. Here he erected a grist-mill, which was successfully operated for a few years, but at the date of the earliest memories of those now past middle age was only a romantic ruin. Traces of the old raceway still exist, and its embankment, studded with ancient trees, stretching along the bank of a sylvan rivulet, is a pleasant resort of a summer afternoon. One erected by the late John Righter in 1842 at Old Boonton was burned in 1872, and was never rebuilt. The decay of the flouring business is attributable to the greater profitableness of the milk and hay business as compared with the production of grain. Two of these establishments, however, are in successful operation; one at Troy, the property of A. J. Smith, and one at Whippany, owned by William H. Howell.
In the beginning of the present century saw-mills were frequent along the streams of the township, and their sites may be readily detected by remains of dams. At present there are but four in operation; one at Whippany, owned by B. F. Howell; one at Troy, operated and owned by A. J. Smith; a third at Malapardis, owned by the Messrs. Young, and a fourth at Powerville, belonging to the Scott heirs. Within the recollection of men living a saw-mill was run by Abraham Doremus at Fox Hill, another by Peter Righter near the old graveyard at Parsippany, another by Edward Cobb half a mile below, near the residence of S. S. Barton, another a few hundred yards below, by John B. Cobb, and still another by Benjamin Howell, at Troy, all on Parsippany Brook, the first on the head waters, and the last on the edge of the lowland, below the grist-mill.
The distilling of cider spirits was formerly a considerable pursuit, but the distilleries have faded from the locality, the old building at Henry Ball's place near Powerville being the only remaining vestige of a once profitable business.
The manufacture of shoes, introduced into the township about 1800 by Josiah Quinby, was once a very considerable source of profit to the region, and many fine farms are still owned by the descendants of those who bought them with the proceeds of this industry.
In Whippany, Troy, and other places there was formerly a large business carried on in tanning leather; but not one of the tanneries is now in existence in the township.
The slow but sure growth of these higher manufactures, which have succeeded that of iron, indicates clearly that with larger facilities of ready transport by steam their growth would be greatly augmented, and the many now unused power sites would be called into requisition. The expenditure of capital in constructing such facilities of transportation would be by no means a hazardous investment.
The mercantile operations of the township are conducted through several stores in the various villages, most numerously of course where manufactures are located. Under the old iron regime these were generally in the hands of the manufacturers themselves, they being the only men of sufficient capital for the undertaking; but, in obedience to the law which enforces division of labor, these gradually became separate establishments, depending on the manufacturing interests so far only as good will was concerned.
There are in Whippany five well stocked and thriving stores; in Parsippany two, that of Melvin S. Condit holding the rank of a first class country store, as does also that of Monroe Howell at Troy. Hanover and Littleton have each a store, but these, being nearer to large centers of trade (Newark and Morristown), have by no means so large a patronage as the others mentioned.
Within the limits of this township there are eight buildings erected for the public worship of God. These belong to the respective societies as follows: Presbyterians, four; Methodists, three, inclusive of the tabernacle at Mt. Tabor; Roman Catholics, one, at Whippany.
WHIPPANY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
The first religious organization in the county was formed and the first church edifice erected at Whippany. In the year 1718 one John Richards, a schoolmaster, donated a tract of land to the village by a conveyance from which the following is an extract: "I, John Richards, of Whippanong, in the county of Hunterdon, schoolmaster, for and in consideration of the love and affection I have for my Christian friends and neighbors in Whippanong, and for a desire to promote and advance the public interest, and especially for those who shall covenant and agree to erect a suitable meeting-house for the worship of God, give three and a half acres of land, situate and being in the township of Whippanong on that part called Percipponong, on the northwestward side of Whippanong river; only for public use and benefit, for a meeting-house, school-house, burying yard and training field, and such like uses, and no other." The church building, which must have been erected shortly after the date of the deed, stood on the northwest corner of the ground deeded as aforesaid. Mr. Richards, the philanthropic donor, died in December of the year set forth in the deed, and the stone which marks his grave is the oldest one in the burying ground.
The first pastor was the Rev. Nathaniel Hubbel, from Massachusetts and a graduate of Yale College.
He was succeeded by the Rev. John Nutman, also a graduate of Yale College. The congregation at this time (1730) extended over a wide range of country, embracing the territory now covered by Hanover, Whippany, Chatham, Madison, Parsippany and Morristown, and even reaching beyond the limits of these places. Not long after the settlement of Mr. Nutman a movement was made toward the erection of a new place of worship, as the building in which the society then convened was so dilapidated as to be unfit for use; and a sharp contention arose among the people of the different sections as to the location of the new building, should one be erected. This religious body being Presbyterian, the matter was referred and re-referred from synod to presbytery, but this procedure did not effect a reconciliation. Morristown persisted in demanding a separate organization, which was granted in 1735.
The Rev. Mr. Nutman was succeeded by the Rev. Jacob Green. Early in Mr. Green's ministry (1755) it was decided that the old meeting-house should be abandoned; and to accommodate the widespread congregation two houses were erected, one at Hanover, near where the present church stands, and the other at Parsippany, in the old burying ground of that place. By order of the presbytery, Mr. Green was to officiate at both these places, which he did until 1760, when the organization at Parsippany was permitted to seek a minister for itself. Mr. Green's ministry continued until his death, which occurred May 24th 1790. He was a man of large and varied acquirements, learned as well in law and medicine as in theology. His salary being small be engaged quite largely in secular pursuits, at one time being interested in a grist-mill and a distillery. A letter was once received by him addressed as follows:
To the Rev. Jacob Green, Preacher,
He was buried near the church in which he officiated for so many years, and over his grave is place a horizontal tablet bearing the following inscription:
"Under this stone are deposited the remains of the Rev'd Jacob Green, A. M., first pastor of this church; who died May 24th 1790, aged 68 years, of which 44 were spent in the gospel ministry in this place. He was a man of temper even, firm and resolute; of affections temperately steady and benevolent; of genius solid, inquisitive and penetrating; of industry active and unwearied; of learning curious and accurate; of manners simple and reserved; of piety humble, enlightened, fervent, eminent. As a preacher he was instructive, plain, searching, practical. As a pastor, watchful, laborious, ever intent upon some plan for the glory of God and the salvation of his flock, and by the divine blessing happily and eminently successful."
Mr. Green was succeeded in the ministry as follows: Rev. Calvin White, 1790-95; Rev. Aaron Condit, 1796-1830; Rev. William Tobey, 1830-33; Rev. Samuel Mandeville, 1834-38; Rev. Thomas Ward, 1839-41; Rev. John M. Johnson, 1841-49, 1855-68; Rev. George I. King, 1849-55; Rev. J. A. Ferguson, from 1869 to date.
The present neat and commodious church edifice was erected during the pastorate of the Rev. S. Mandeville, about the year 1835.
PARSIPPANY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
In point of age the next congregation in the township is that of the Presbyterians in Parsippany, erected into a distinct organization in 1760. A church edifice had been built in 1755 in the old burying ground of the village. This lot had been deeded for the purpose in the year 1745, by George Bowlsby, and contained two and a quarter acres. The following extract from the body of this old conveyance, still in the archives of the church, exhibits somewhat of the religious feeling of the age and the community:
"To have and to hold the said piece of land, containing two acres and one quarter &c., unto said Ichabod Tompkins &c., to the use and uses hereinafter mentioned and expressed, and to no other use, intent or purpose whatsoever; that is to say, to the use and uses, benefit and behoof of the people belonging to the religious society of people commonly called Presbyterians in the township of Hanover aforesaid and parts adjacent, forever, and for a place for the erecting a meeting-house upon, and for a burying place for the use and service of the people called Presbyterians which are or shall be and continue in unity and society of those Presbyterians in Hanover aforesaid and parts adjacent, who shall meet and assemble themselves together on the premises above mentioned to worship God in the Presbyterian manner. Provided always, and it is the intention and meaning hereof and of all the said parties hereto, that no person or persons who shall not belong to said society, or join with the major part of them that shall meet together at the place aforesaid, shall have any rights or interest in the said piece of land, meeting-house or any part thereof, while they shall remain out of the said society of Presbyterians, or shall not in a constant and common way meet at the place aforesaid with them and join with them in their public worship."
Tradition informs us that the first building erected was of logs and quite small. Somewhere between 1755 and 1773, probably but a little prior to the last date, a new meeting-house was built, which stood near the front of the present graveyard, and was still standing within the memory of some of the oldest citizens of the place.
After the separation of this body from that at Hanover, in 1769, Dr. Darby, who was both a theologian and a physician, supplied the pulpit of the church until 1767, when Rev. James Tuttle was called and installed as pastor of the church at Parsippany and that at Rockaway. His ministry lasted until his death, in 1770. After an interval of three years he was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Grover, who continued in the pastorate until 1799, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Samuel M. Phelps, who remained until 1815. Rev. John Ford then commenced his ministry, which extended over the long period intervening between that date and 1857. During his pastorate, in 1828, the present substantial brick house of worship was erected.
In the early part of the ministry of Mr. Ford the people were startled one Sunday morning to find, upon entering church, that the walls of the sacred edifice had during the week been decorated with ludicrous caricatures of the prominent members of the society. The religious feeling of the place was, of course, greatly shocked, and surmises were abundant as to who might be the perpetrators of the outrage. No reliable solution was arrived at until nearly a quarter of a century after, when it transpired that two mischievous medical students, then under the care of the late Dr. Stephen Fairchild, had perpetrated the rather unjustifiable joke upon the congregation. The two lads at the time took their seats demurely with other churchgoers, and listened attentively to the discourse, which was delivered by the Rev. Barnabas King, who in the course of his remarks illustrated the emptiness of earthly aims by referring to the "shadows on the wall."
After the resignation of Mr. Ford Rev. J. F. Sutton officiated as pastor for a short time. During his ministry, and owing to strong opposition to his installation and settlement, a dissension arose, which resulted in the withdrawal of a portion of the congregation, who were organized under the name of the First Presbyterian Church of Parsippany--the older organization bearing the title of the Second Presbyterian Church of Hanover.
The seceding body, after building a church near the post office in Parsippany, finding themselves unable to support a minister, finally disposed of their church building, which was purchased by the Reformed Church of Boonton, removed thither, and is now occupied by that body. After the separation the pulpit of the primitive church was successfully filled by the following pastors: Rev. A. R. Wolfe, Rev. F. F. Judd, Rev. A. M. F. Brown, Rev. Mr. Board, Rev. L. Boutelier, and Rev. Dr. C. C. Parker, who died in the ministry in February 1880.
In 1859 and 1860 the church edifice of this congregation was much improved by a general alteration in its internal arrangements, and in 1876 a handsome parsonage was built near it, on a piece of land donated for that purpose by Colonel I. Condit Smith, of Troy. In 1863 the stone walls in the rear and the iron fence along the front of the graveyard were erected. The stone posts were from Yost's quarry at Bloomfield and were put in position by Christian Stanford. In 1870 the fence of cedar posts and iron rails along the old road was put up by Simms & De Hart, of Boonton, and the elm and maple trees were planted by R. D. Mattoon.
The Presbyterian church at Whippany was organized May 1st 1833, and immediately erected the present house of worship, much resembling the one at Hanover. Several ministers of marked ability have successively occupied the pulpit. The present incumbent, Rev. Mr. Bardwell, has been in the pastorate about ten years, and has by his earnestness and Christian simplicity won the affections of all his parishioners.
The society of this denomination at Morris Plains, whose chapel is just finished, is of too recent origin to have a history.
The Methodist society at Whippany was organized a little before the year 1825, at which date the present chapel was built. The ministrations at this place are conducted by students from Drew Seminary, at Madison.
The church of this denomination at Parsippany was built in 1830. Regular appointments to this post are made by the bishop presiding over the Newark Conference, the Rev. John Faul being the present pastor.
The most noted place of Methodist worship in this township, and perhaps the most noted in the State, is Camp Tabor, near Denville. The camp meeting association of the Newark Conference was chartered March 17th 1869, and on the 26th of the same month purchased some thirty acres of land near Denville. In April of the same year the work of laying out the ground was commenced, and the first camp meeting was held in August. In 1872 a still further purchase of 100 acres was made, and the whole tract, comprising 130 acres, has been laid out in large lots with reference to the purposes for which it was bought. Upon these lots, sold to different persons, about 150 cottages have been built, varying in expensiveness from $300 to $2.500. These are generally occupied from about the 1st of June to about the 1st of September. The place is supplied by pure water pumped from a neighboring spring into a reservoir located upon an eminence. Elegant saloons and airy tents are placed at intervals, where edibles of the choicest preparation can be procured, and bazaars stocked with fancy goods may be found when occasion requires. The tabernacle, from whose portico the sermons are delivered, is a tastefully planned and richly painted structure, which, together with the light and tent-like buildings for prayer meetings, gives an almost oriental aspect to the place. During camp meeting seasons good sermons may here be heard daily, and bursts of song, with well executed cornet and organ accompaniments, reverberating through the leafy arches, lift the soul of the listener into the regions of highest religious feeling. The grounds are under the control of twelve trustees elected for a term of three years; the terms of four trustees expire annually, and their places are filled by yearly elections by lot owners. Camp meetings are held yearly in August, and the services are under the control of a committee appointed by the conference.
The Roman Catholic chapel at Whippany, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was erected only a few years since. It is of a neat gothic design, with rose windows and belfry. The services are conducted by the resident priest at Madison.
At Irish Lot, the residence of Mahlon Hubbard, formerly the seat of Captain Michael Kearney, lying among a heap of stones which once formed a well-laid wall inclosing a small spot of ground, is a broad, horizontal slab, bearing the following inscription:
"Sacred to the memory of Captain Michael Kearney, of his Britannic Majesty's Navy. He departed this life at the Irish Lott, the seat of his residence in Hanover, on the 5th day of April A. D. 1797, aged 71 years, 6 months and 28 days. In the naval service he was a brave and intrepid officer, which secured to him several marks of distinguished respect and confidence. In private life he exhibited the virtues of benevolence, hospitality and genteel urbanity."
In the old graveyard at Parsippany, engraved on vertical slabs of brown stone, are the following epitaphs:
"Here lies the body of Margaret, wife of Daniel Bauldwin and only child of John and Anna Wilson, who, to the inexpressible grief of her husband and all that knew her, bid adieu to this world November 20th 1772, being married 10 days; aged 19 years."
"You readers of this tomb,
"Here lies the body of Noahdiah Thomas, who died Aprl ye 4th 1777, aged 21 ye'rs & 10 months."
"Here lies a young man who in his prime
"Delicioe ehu fugaces! Conjugis amabilis et amatoe, prudentia eximioe, officiisque omnibus filioe, uxoris matrisque praestantis, morte subita et inopinata abreptoe, valde defletoe. Filii parvuli, precari, multo meritoque delecti, docilis, alacris, solertis, spei eximioe, oequo subito derepti amore conjugis parentisq. superstitis memorioe consecratum."
"Maria Caroline, wife of Walter Kirkpatrick, Esq., born Oct. 12th 1798, died Oct. 6th 1826. Eugene Walter Kirkpatrick, born May 2d 1825, died July 23d 1828."
It is not often that the home affections are expressed in inscriptions of so classical a character, and a brief history of this case may not be out of place. Walter Kirkpatrick was a native of Somerset county, a graduate of Princeton, a lawyer by profession and a surveyor, in the practice of which last calling he became acquainted with the late Colonel Lemuel Cobb, of Parsippany, a frequent visitor at the colonel's abode, and the successful suitor for the hand of Maria Caroline, his young, lovely and accomplished daughter. Among other suitors for the fair hand of the maiden was the celebrated Sylvester Graham, who, being something of a poet, chronicled his disappointment in this matter in an allegorical burst of rhyme which was printed, and formerly quite largely read in the vicinity. After a brief married life the lady died, and the grief-stricken husband indited the above inscription for her memorial, which, however, was not erected until within the last few years, and long after the death of both husband and wife.
In the burying ground at Hanover is the following:
"Here lies interred the body of Eleanor Troupe, who died October 26th 1769, in the 59th year of her age."
This inscription becomes somewhat interesting in connection with the history of a relative's widow, the daughter of Dr. Darby of Parsippany. In the same graveyard may also be read the inscription to the memory of David Young, which is given in connection with a biographical sketch of that notable man.
The township under the public school laws of the State is divided into districts, the names and school population of which are given in the annexed extract from the report of the State superintendent for the year 1880: Monroe, 77; Littleton, 89; Malapardis, 60; Whippany, 111; Hanover, 58; Hanover Neck, 49; Troy, 87; Parsippany, 76; North Parsippany, 34; Old Boonton, 41; Powerville, 97; total 779. Average number of months the schools have been kept open, 9.6. Value of school property in the township, $9,950.
Of the buildings in which these several schools are convened, those of Whippany, Parsippany and Troy occupy the sites which have been longest held for the purposes of education, and around each of them cling many associations of "auld lang syne." The building at Whippany is a long two-story frame structure, which has been enlarged by several additions. The upper story was formerly used as a masonic lodge, by the organization which was the parent of the lodge in Morristown. The old altar, and rude engravings of the mystic emblems emblazoned upon the walls, were objects of mixed curiosity and awe to the youngsters of fifty years ago. The building at Troy was erected in 1807, and thoroughly repaired about 1846. It is two stories in height, and has two assembly rooms, the lower one now used for the public school, and the upper one occupied by the select school of B. S. Condit. The building at Parsippany, which stands on a commanding eminence at the western extremity of the village, is of wood, two stories in height. It was built in 1871, upon the site previously occupied by the old brick academy, which was burned about the year 1859.
The destruction of this substantial edifice caused quite a commotion in the community. The mastership was at that time held by a man from Connecticut by the name of Pease, who afterward became a somewhat prominent post-bellum politician at the south, and was appointed to fill an unexpired term in the United States Senate. The fire was discovered about midnight, and upon the arrival of those first on the ground had made such progress that entry into the building was found to be impossible. The discovery in the morning that certain personal property of the teacher was lying secreted in a neighboring fence led to the suspicion that the building had been purposely fired by the master; a suspicion strengthened by the fact that a long standing contention existed as to the right to hold the premises as public school property. Upon Mr. Pease's appointment to the United States Senate the opposition papers seized upon the now almost forgotten imputation, and it became a subject of extended newspaper comment throughout the land, and Mr. Pease was compelled to leave his lofty place at Washington, and apply to his obscure quondam employers for a vindication of his character. In this he succeeded so well as to secure a strong vindication from several who at the time of the burning showered denunciations upon his head. Whether this was the result of excessive powers of persuasion acquired in the exalted body of which he was a member, or of afterthought on the part of the vindicators, will perhaps never transpire; but it will be a subject of regret with the older citizens of the place that the old substantial structure has disappeared from the site it so long occupied.
The buildings of the other districts in the township are of comparatively recent date, and in general poorly located.
Close upon the hill country in the western part of this township, on the part known as Morris Plains, is situated one of the noblest structures of the age, the Insane Asylum. The committee appointed by the State authorities, after thoroughly canvassing the matter, selected this locality as the best suited for the purpose in view. The loveliness of the surrounding landscape, the purity of the atmosphere, the mildness of the climate and excellence of the water furnished by the numerous springs in the vicinity, irresistibly recommended this point to their favorable consideration, and finally decided their choice. A full statement of the cost of the building and of the later management of this great charity may be found in the annual reports to the Legislature. It is a source of extreme gratification to the people of the township of Hanover that a portion of its territory should have been considered the best suited for so noble an object, and they derive great pleasure from the universal admiration bestowed upon the scenery in the midst of which it is placed.
The buildings erected for the county poor-house stand upon a farm purchased for the purpose near old Boonton, in the northern part of the township. The principal building, which surrounds a quadrangular court, has been from time to time enlarged until it has attained its present extent. The farm is extremely fertile, contains 240 acres, and is so managed as to bring in no small part of the supplies needed for the maintenance of the unfortunates who seek its favors. The establishment is under the supervision of a steward appointed by the board of chosen freeholders, to whom reports are annually made. The number of inmates is from 100 to 150.
THE FAIRCHILD FAMILY.
Dr. Stephen Fairchild, youngest son of Jonathan Fairchild and Sarah Howell, was born in Littleton, Morris township, N. J., October 28th 1792. At an early age he showed a decided thirst for knowledge, and after a common school education prepared himself for the study of medicine. He studied with Drs. Ebenezer and Charles E. Pierson, of Morristown, and attended medical lectures in Philadelphia. He practiced medicine about a year in New York; then, upon urgent solicitation, he came to Parsippany in 1816, to succeed Dr. Hartwell, who had lately been removed by death. In 1818 he married Euphemia M., daughter of George D. Brinckerhoff and Euphemia Ashfield.
Dr. Fairchild followed his profession with high approbation and success for fifty-six years. His last sickness was one of intense suffering, but his faith never wavered. He died surrounded by his family, July 13th 1872, and was buried at Parsippany. Dr. Fairchild was not merely a skillful physician, but an earnest and devout Christian; bringing not only healing remedies but the consolation of the gospel to the chambers of the sick and dying. Very few physicians were ever more honored and loved than Dr. Stephen Fairchild.
Dr. Richard Van Wyck Fairchild, only son of Dr. Stephen Fairchild and Euphemia M. Brinckerhoff, was born February 22nd 1819. He was prepared for college at the classical school of Ezra Fairchild, at Mendham, N. J., entered the junior class at Princeton College, N. J., in 1837, and graduated in 1839. He studied medicine with his father, and subsequently with Dr. McClellan, of Philadelphia, and Dr. Mott, of New York. Dr. Fairchild entered upon his practice with his father in 1843. He had unquestioned skill as a physician and surgeon. As a friend he was true and steadfast, and generous and kind to the poor. At Princeton he was the college wit, and through life his keen sense of the ludicrous, his abounding humor and powers of imitation and representation, together with his wide and varied information, made him a most agreeable companion. He was a man of fine physique, a very able writer, of a poetic mind; nor was he deficient in music, having a well cultivated voice and ear.
In November 1852 Dr. Fairchild married Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin Howell, of Troy, N. J., who lived but a few years. June 13th 1866 he married Ruth E., daughter of James H. Tichenor and Lydia T. Nuttmann, of Newark, N. J. He died suddenly February 24th 1874, and was buried with his maternal grandparents and his father in the burial ground at Parsippany, N. J. Dr. Fairchild survived his father scarcely two years; they were loving in their lives and in death not long divided.
Mrs. Ephemia M. Fairchild, daughter of George D. Brinckerhoff and Euphemia Ashfield, was born at Mount Hope, N. J., in September 1796. Her father, George D. Brinckerhoff, retiring from business, purchased a residence in Parsippany, N. J., to which he moved his family in 1797. It had been a tavern in the Revolutionary times. The old homestead, the birthplace of Dr. Richard V. W. Fairchild, was burned in November 1874, but another house was built in the spring of 1875 by Mrs. R. V. W. Fairchild, on the old site, where Mrs. Euphemia Fairchild is passing her remaining days.
Mrs. Fairchild is a lady of the old school, amiable, educated, refined and a Christian.
This page was last modified on: 01 January, 2013
Copyright ©1999-2013 by Brianne Kelly-Bly, all rights reserved.