CITY, VILLAGE AND TOWNSHIP HISTORIES, PEQUANNOCK TOWNSHIP.
BY HON. JOHN L. KANOUSE.
THIS is one of the oldest townships in Morris county; it has existed since 1740, though now greatly reduced in extent by the formation of other townships. From 1790 to 1844 it included more territory than any other township in the county, and in area was nearly equal to the whole of Essex county. Rockaway was set off in 1844. From that time to 1867 Pequannock included all the territory embraced in the present townships of Pequannock, Montville and Boonton.
The formation of Pequannock township, in 1740, is referred to on page 21. From the bounds as there given it is evident that Pequannock township in the beginning included territory afterward set off to Jefferson. It appears from the records that in the beginning our county court exercised the authority not only of subdividing the county into townships, but also at first of appointing constables and other township officers, and that the court continued to exercise authority in setting off new townships as late as 1751; for we find entered in the minutes in that year a petition from the people in that part of the county now included in Sussex, asking to have a township set off, to be called "Newtown."
Pequannock township contained in 1830 a total population of 4,355, and in 1840 5,227. Rockaway township being set off from it in 1844, in 1850 Pequannock had a population of 4,118, which in 1855 had increased to 4,919, and in 1860 to 5,440, including 5,306 white and 134 colored. In 1865 the total population was 5,611, including 80 colored. In 1867 Pequannock was made into three townships, Boonton, Montville and Pequannock. In 1870 the census showed that Pequannock had a total population of 1,539, including 37 colored. In 1875 the total population was 1,693, including 44 colored, and in 1880 the population had run up to 2,239, showing an increase in ten years of 700, and in the last five years of 546. This increase of population is the result mainly of two causes, an increase of manufacturing industry and railroad facilities.
The assessors in 1881 reported the valuation, taxes, etc., as follows: Acres, 20,942; valuation of real estate, $632,604; personal property, $108,220; debt, $25,825; polls, 476; State school tax, $1,820; county tax, $1,699; bounty tax, $1,983.61; road tax, $1,500.
FIRST PURCHASES AND SETTLEMENT.
The English claim to the soil of New Jersey, and the acquisition of title by the "proprietors," are elsewhere treated of. The proprietors had a common seal, and under that seal they issued to individual purchasers warrants to locate lands, which were in effect simply written permissions to locate a stated number of acres of unappropriated land wherever they saw fit in their section of the province. Under these warrants lands were taken up and sold to some for actual settlement, and to others for investment. It was in this way that the first purchases of land were made in this and other townships throughout the State; subject, however, to the Indian right of possession, which was always obtained by purchase from them, either by individuals or by the proprietors. The greater part of all tillable land in Pequannock, as it was when it included territory now in Montville and Boonton townships, was covered by several large tracts taken up at a very early date, and a few at a period fifty years later.
As to the beginning of settlement in this township by the whites, we have evidence found in the county records, the records of the proprietors, kept at Amboy and at Burlington, and also in old documents--such as deeds, wills, agreements, etc.--some of which date back as far as 1695, 1696, 1712 and 1714. The southeastern portion of Pequannock township was first settled by the whites about the year 1700. The settlement was commenced by a few families of Hollanders, who came from Bergen and New York and from the early settlements at Kingston and Albany on the Hudson River, and purchased from the proprietors of the eastern division of New Jersey a tract of land lying in the vicinity of what is now called the Pompton Iron Works, and extending down toward the Passaic River. This whole region was a wilderness and the home of the Indians, who were numerous here at that time and claimed the whole of this valley. As a preparatory step to the purchase from the proprietors it was doubtless deemed advisable to first secure the Indian right, which was done by purchase made by Arent Schuyler on June 6th 1695. This deed is mentioned in the Morris county record of deeds, and on the part of the Indians was signed by "Onageponck," "Hielawith of Pequannock," and "Sajapogh, sachem of Minising." As stated in the deed this Indian purchase began at the mouth of a small brook, in the Indian language called "Singeck," "which falls into the Passaic River;" it extended north and east to the hills, and was on the easterly side of the Pequannock River.
In the description of the location of this tract given in the deed from the Indians to Schuyler it is stated that there was an Indian path that led from the brook called "Singeck" toward Pompton, called the "Minising path;" this path, it is believed, led from Pompton to the Delaware River, which was the headquarters of the Minsi Indians. The Indians here at the time were called the Pompton tribe. From the nature of the adjoining lands it is altogether probable that this Indian path mentioned in the deed led up along the valley of the Pequannock River. One of the signatures to that deed on the part of the Indians is stated as "Hielawith of Pequannock," which would seem to justify the inference that the tribe of Indians having their hunting grounds up through the valley of the Pequannock River, and on the adjoining hills, were called "Pequannocks," and that from them the name of the river was derived. The tribe called Pomptons had their hunting grounds about the junction of the Pompton River, as then called (which is now known as the Ramapo), with the Pequannock, and thence up the valley of the Pompton River.
In 1695 Arent Schuyler, Anthony Brockholst, Samuel Bayard, George Ryerson, John Mead, Samuel Berrie and David Mandeville entered into an agreement to purchase from the proprietors of the eastern division of New Jersey 5,500 acres of land just east of and bordering on the Pequannock River, a tract covered by the Indian purchase made in June of that year. Accordingly Schuyler and Brockholst obtained a patent, as it was called, or an agreement of bargain and sale, from the proprietors on the 11th of November 1695 for such tract.
The next movement made by Schuyler and Brockholst in the further purchase of land bears date December 2nd 1696. It appears from recitals in deeds afterward given by them to others, and which are found in the records of Morris county, that Schuyler and Brockholst became legally possessed, by reason of a deed of patent from the proprietors of East New Jersey, under the public seal of the province, dated December 2nd 1696, as also by virtue of a certain indenture of bargain and sale from William Biddle and George Huchison, of Burlington, dated September 22nd 1696, of a certain tract of land on the west side of Pequannock River, beginning where the Ramapo runs into it, and thence up the Pequannock "to the great turn in said river;" thence west six chains, and thence to the Passaic River, and thence down the same to the Pequannock River, and up the Pequannock to the place of beginning; and also all that tract of bog valley on the west of the first mentioned tract, and up to the foot of the hills; "and all that strip of land from the great turn in Pequannock River in length to where the river comes out of the hills, and fifteen chains back to the hills in breadth, 1,500 acres more or less." This purchase covered all of Pompton Plains and down to the Passaic at or near the Two Bridges, and also all that tract of black soil then called the bog valley, from which its present name "Bog and Fly" was derived; as well as a strip of land extending up the slope of the hills on the west. This was the first purchase of land for a settlement in Pequannock township, and such settlement was commenced at Pompton and Pompton Plains about the year 1700; possibly a few families may have settled on the east side of the Pequannock River as early as 1697 or 1698.
It would seem that the purchasers, to make sure of an undisputed title to their land, procured an indenture of bargain and sale from the proprietors of both East and West Jersey, and that they had previously secured by purchase the Indian right. Schuyler and Brockholst were probably at the time residents of New Barbadoes, which was on the east side of the Passaic River, just above the present town of Belleville. It is believed that they were among the pioneers in the settlement in this region, and that they settled near each other, but on the east side of the Pequannock River, near where the late Dr. William Colfax lived, and that they settled there possibly about 1698 or 1700. It appears from the records that by a writing of bargain and sale, dated March 20th 1696, they had agreed, in anticipation of their contemplated purchase, to dispose of one-third of the tract on the west side of Pequannock River to Nicholas Bayard; and also that by a writing dated March 5th 1702 they agreed to sell a part of this tract (the lower end, next the Passaic River) to Maurice Mourison. The bounds are stated as follows: "On the south by the Passaic River, east by the Pequannock, north to the hill or mountain lying over or against the lowermost part of the lowlands of Pequannock, and to the west upon the meadows along the Passaic." It appears that on the 15th of April 1710, in the ninth year of Queen Anne, Arent Schuyler deeded to "Symon Vanness," Isaac Le Maitre and John Comelytse a portion of this land; and that on the 27th of May 1717 Arent Schuyler conveyed one-third part of the lands bought by Schuyler and Brockholst, and lying west of the Pequannock River (excepting that part sold to Maurice Mourison and the bog valley), to Simon Vanness and John Le Maitre for £210, equal to $525. This last conveyance was recorded September 11th 1815.
Adjoining the southern part of the Schuyler and Brockholst purchase on the west, and bordering on and extending up the Passaic River, a tract of 2,000 acres was taken up by George Willocks on the 6th of October 1699; this tract lay between the Hook Mountain range and the Passaic, and took in a considerable part of what is now known as Passaic Valley. About 1712 William Penn took up a large tract, covering the Pine Brook neighborhood and nearly the whole of the southern part of what is now Montville township and extending over into Hanover township.
Who first explored this section of country and brought the desirability of the land to the notice of the whites settled east of the Passaic River is not certainly known; but there is some reason to believe that it was Arent Schuyler, who had been sent from New York on some business with the Indians up at Minisink. Tradition, and the fact that mention is made of this journey in the historical documents of the State of New York, go to warrant this belief; and it is still farther strengthened by the fact that in the deed from the Indians to Schuyler June 6th 1695, in describing the location of the tract, mention is made of an old Indian path leading from the settlement east of the Passaic at New Barbadoes, through the Notch, to Pompton, and thence up the Pequannock Valley to Minisink on the Delaware, and the country on either hand renders impossible the existence of any other direct route. It is believed that Schuyler in passing through this valley--where he found a few cleared spots used by the Indians in raising corn and tobacco, and also an Indian orchard near what is now called Pacquanack--was so impressed with the idea of its natural advantages that he soon took measures to secure the title to a large portion of it. Such is substantially the statement made some years ago by the Rev. Garret C. Schanck, who for years was pastor of the Pompton Plains church, while many of the old people were living, and when he had a better opportunity of tracing out the truth of traditions. Prominent among the names of those who first settled on Pompton Plains and in the vicinity are Brockholst, Schuyler, Vanderbeck, Vanness, Ryerson, Bayard, Berry, Mandeville, Rycker, Mead, Roome, Vangelder, Slingerland, De Bow, De Mott, and Jones.
The following is taken from a statement furnished by Rev. Garret C. Schanck above mentioned to the Rev. John Van Nest Schenck, pastor in 1871, who was preparing an historical discourse to be delivered on the occasion of reopening and dedicating the church there, which had been undergoing extensive repairs and alterations in that year. He says:
"It may be well to notice the fact why it was that certain families were of those who first settled at Pacquanack and at the Plains. The larger number of these were related to each other by marriage; thus the wife of Samuel Berry was Catharine Ryerson, sister of Josis, who on the death of her first husband, in 1702, married Paulus Vanderbeck, in 1703. The mother of the Jones family who first settled here was a sister to Susanna Schriek, the wife of Anthony Brockholst. Ann Schouten, the wife of Josis Ryerson, was the widow of Tunis Dey, and Sarah Schouten (probably sister of Ann) married Jan Ricker. Jan Mead, the first of the name who settled here, married Margaret Mandeville, sister of Hendrick, one of the first settlers. The wife of Peter Roome, the first of that family who settled here, was Anna Berry, daughter of Samuel Berry and Catharine Ryerson; this Peter Roome was a son of Peter Williamse Roome and Hester Van Gelder, thus allying these two families.
"The Mandeville family is descended from Giles Jansen Mandeville, who fled from Normandy, in France, to Holland, and there married a Dutch woman, Elsje Hendricks, and came from Guelderland to New York in 1647. His son Hendrick married first, on July 18th 1680, Anetje Pierterse School, and lived some time at Hempstead, L. I.; and on her death married, the second time, April 21st 1699, Elizabeth Jane Berry, and about that time removed to and settled at Pacquanack. He died between 1709 and 1714 and left sons, by the first marriage David, and by the second, Hendrick, Johannis, and Giles. The second wife after his death married Brand Jacobus and had two sons, James and Abraham, the forefathers of the Jacobus family in this section.
"The first of the Slingerland family, Nicholas, it is said, came from up the North River and became connected with the Roome family by marrying Catalyntje, daughter of Peter Roome and Anna Berry.
"The Vanness family of this section of country are descended from Simon Vanness. His first wife was probably Rachel Van Deusen and they were living in Schenectady in 1689-90, when that place was destroyed by the Indians; and that child had a child born, Annetje, who subsequently married James Jacobus, and lived to the age of ninety-eight years and nine months. On the death of his first wife Mr Vanness married (on December 19th 1700) Hester De Lachater, and about the date of his second marriage he settled at Fairfield, Essex county, New Jersey. He had sons--Hendrick, who settled on Pompton Plains, Isaac at Fairfield, Evert at Little Falls, N. J., and Simon, who settled at Pompton, or that part of the upper end of the plains called Pompton. It is probable that this Simon Vanness is the same person to whom, with Isaac Le Maitre and John Comelytse, Arent Schuyler on the 15th of April 1710 sold a tract of land, and the same who with John Le Maitre on May 27th 1717 bought a tract of land situated on the west side of Pequannock River at the upper end of Pompton Plains.
"The De Bow family came from New York at a later day; probably about 1727, as in that year, on the 23d of May, Garret De Bow married Maria, the second daughter of Paulus Van Derbeck, and probably soon after settled on the upper end of Pompton Plains.
"The De Mott family came from Bergen, and at a later date still; in 1740 Hendrick De Mott or his father Michael purchased land on the plains, and soon after that settled there.
"The Doremus family were not among the original settlers here, and what was the name of the forefather in this country we cannot state; but as far as we can ascertain they came from Middlebury, on the island of Zealand, in Holland, about the year 1685, and settled at Acquackanonk. There appear to have been four brothers--Johannis, Thomas, Hendrick, and Josis; Johannis was born in Holland, and the others in this country at Acquackanonk. Johannis married (August 9th 1710) Elizabeth Ackerman; Thomas (October 4th 1712) married Anneke Abrahamse Ackerman; Hendrick (April 14th 1714) married Annete Essels; Josis (March 16th 1717) married Maritze Berdan. Johannis lived at Preakness, and died between 1754-8, leaving a son Cornelius, who is probably the one who lived at Parsippany, Morris county, and from whom probably the greater part of that name in this valley are descended."
The foregoing statement presents the names of those who took the lead in opening and clearing this vast region, once an unbroken wilderness and the home of the savage.
There are but few men now living in Pequannock whose memory covers events more than seventy years ago. To Paul B. De Bow, aged 84, a descendant of one of the oldest families that settled in this township, we are indebted for some items of information embraced in the history of Pequannock. Mr. De Bow was born and has always lived in Pequannock; has for many years been one of its leading citizens; has been honored by the people with positions of trust; has always pursued the calling of a farmer; has acquired a comfortable competence, and now at an advanced age is living in the enjoyment of health and the merited esteem of his fellow citizens.
Benjamin Roome, also a descendant of one of the oldest families, and who for many years has followed surveying, has been one of the deputy surveyors of the proprietors, and has surveyed much for the Rutherfords and other holders of large landed estates, which has enabled him so collect many important data as to old locations, ancient maps, deeds, etc. He is still in the possession of health and strength and has recently assisted in some surveying, although aged 83 years. His son William succeeds to the active business of surveying, having the aid not only of the valuable stock of papers, maps, etc., collected by his father, but a large addition which he has been industriously engaged in obtaining for himself. To him we are indebted for valuable information concerning the location of the first purchases of land in Pequannock.
Prominent among those who first settled on the lower part of this valley--what is known as Beavertown, and thence to the Passaic River--were men named De Hart, Dod, Post, Mourison, Cook, Vanness, Young, Mead, Mandeville, Terhune and Van Riper. The mountain range just back of what is known as Passaic Valley, bordering on the Passaic, was early in the settlement of this region known as Mourison Mountain, because Maurice Mourison at an early date (1702) bought and owned a large tract here, and some of his descendants by name have until within a few years owned land on this range. Hartman Vreeland also owned a tract of land on this mountain. In those early days lands were frequently changing hands, some buying for speculation and others for settlement. The records show at a period much later, in 1798, that Johannis and Simon Vrooman, residents of Schenectady, N. Y., conveyed to Cornelius P. Doremus, of Pequannock, for £160 ($415), 82 3/4 acres of land at what is known as Beavertown, adjoining land of Casparus Dodd, James Jacobus and John De Hart, and next to the Passaic River on the south.
The valley along the Passaic River as far up as Pine Brook was in the beginning taken up principally by families of the names of Mandeville, Mead, Vreeland, Vanduyne, Young, Vanness, Kerris, Van Riper and Low, and has continued to the present day mainly in the possession of the descendants of these first families, with the exception of the names of Low and Kerris, which have disappeared.
The early settlers in the neighborhood of Pine Brook were of the names of Vanduyne, Vreeland, Sisco, Vanness, Miller, Young, and at a later date Baldwin, Sandford, Stagg, Crane, Gaines and Dod.
Proceeding north of this we come to a neighborhood settled in the beginning principally by families of the name of Baldwin, Courter, Jacobus and Stiles. Indeed, there were so many in this vicinity of the name of Stiles that the neighborhood was called Stiles Town, which name it retained for many years; and even now it is so called by some old persons, although among the present families living there that name has disappeared, with the exception of one Levi Stiles, aged 85 years. Those of the names of Crane, Dod, Baldwin, Gaines and Stiles were of English descent, and came originally from Connecticut; the others were of Dutch descent, and came mostly from Bergen, New York city and the early Dutch settlements on the Hudson River.
The neighborhood next north of this, known as Lower Montville, was first settled by families of the names of Davenport, Hyler, Parlaman, Gould, Kool, Eelsler (or Estler as it is now called), Millege and Dod. Among the first of those settling in this neighborhood was Humphrey Davenport, who came from Kingston on the Hudson River and bought through Thomas Stevenson from the proprietors of West Jersey a tract of 750 acres of land; the allowance made in those days of ten acres to the hundred for roads would really make this tract contain 825 acres. The deed bears date October 2nd 1714, and the survey as stated was made by virtue of a warrant in favor of Thomas Stevenson, approved by the council of proprietors in 1712. This tract commenced at a white oak tree standing on the east bank of the Rockaway River about where the southeast corner of Zabriskie's grist-mill now stands, and ran in a straight course easterly 382 perches, to or near the top of the mountain; then southerly 300 perches, and thence westerly 444 perches, to the Rockaway River, and thence up the same to the place of beginning. Humphrey Davenport built on this tract, nearly opposite the present residence of Dr. Richard S. Farrand. He must have brought with him from Kingston quite a family of children, and some of them pretty well grown; as we find by the church records at Acquackanonk (now Passaic) that on the 31st of October 1728 his daughter Sarah married Jacob Kool; and that another daughter, Helena, on July 4th 1729 married James Millege; and that June 14th 1733 Nicholas Hyler married Rachel Davenport, another daughter. The Davenport and Hyler families became further connected by intermarriage, as Humphrey Davenport jr., July 3d 1731, married Elizabeth Hyler, a sister of Nicholas. John Parlaman married Mary Hyler, a sister of Nicholas. The Hyler, Davenport, and Parlaman families were probably of those who first settled in this vicinity.
When Humphrey Davenport bought his tract Joseph Kirkbride and Richard Bull owned land just north and northwesterly of it. Immediately north of the "Davenport tract," and partly bounded by the river on the south, Richard Bull and Uriah Roe in 1715 took up a tract of 650 acres, extending north nearly to the village of Upper Montville.
In 1715 John Scott, a merchant of Newport, Rhode Island, by virtue of a warrant from the council of proprietors, had surveyed for him a tract of 1,000 acres of land lying westward and extending up the river to a point just above where the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad crosses the stream at Boonton. Scott lived and died at Newport, and doubtless bought this tract of land on speculation; he died possessed of it and it descended to his heirs. The heirs it appears owned it in 1745, as on the 23d of April that year they sold the whole tract, for £400 York currency ($1,000), to Jacob Piere and John Vreeland, of Newark. Piere and Vreeland no doubt bought this land intending to settle upon it, as they came here at once, and with them came a number of relatives of the same name, to whom they disposed of one half of the whole tract; they divided the whole tract into four parts and numbered them 1, 2, 3 and 4. The third tract they sold to Simon Vreeland, who sold it to Abraham Low September 25th 1749; in 1765 Low sold 150 acres of it to Edmund Kingsland. The first and second quarters Jacob Piere and John Vreeland divided between themselves. The fourth tract, the most westward, extending to Old Boonton and up the river to a point near the Boonton iron works, in the present town of Boonton, they sold to Thomas Piere. This fourth tract has remained in the possession of the descendants of Thomas Piere (now spelled Peer) to the present time, with the exception of a small part sold about 1829 and 1830 for the use of the New Jersey Iron Company, and some since disposed of for building sites.
As a considerable part of the town of Boonton is built upon a part of the fourth tract above mentioned it may be of interest to state more particularly the exact location of this thousand acres purchased by John Scott in 1715, and sold by his heirs to Jacob Piere and John Vreeland in 1745, and give the description of the boundaries thereof. The beginning corner of this whole tract is at a point where once stood a white oak tree, on the north bank of the Rockaway River, in the line of lands now owned by William G. Lathrop and the sons of Henry Banta. We copy from the original map and survey made by John Reading jr., deputy surveyor, May 5th 1715, the following description:
"By virtue of a warrant from ye coun'l of prop'trs bearing date ye 10th of March 1715 surveyed this Tract of land unto John Scott in ye last Indian purchases made by ye s'd coun'l, above ye branch of Rarington, between ye river Delaware, ye bounds of ye Eastern Division of ye s'd Province, fronting upon Rockaway River; beginning at a white oak tree, corner of Richard Bull's land, thence along said Bull's line N. eastwardly forty-two degrees, ninety-seven chains to a white oak tree, corner of Jacob Kirkbride's land; thence along his line N. easterly eighty degrees, sixty-nine chains to a black oak corner tree; thence S. westwardly fifty degrees, one hundred and forty-five chains to a gum tree standing by ye side of ye aforesaid River; thence down ye River ye several courses thereof to ye first mentioned corner; containing one thousand acres, besides ye usual allowance for highways."
This was approved by the council of proprietors and ordered to be recorded August 23d 1715. This original John Scott tract was resurveyed and mapped by Lemuel Cobb in 1796, and reported by him to contain 1,115 acres; this gave each of the four divisions a little over 275 acres.
Abraham Low paid Simon Vreeland £200, equal to $500, for one-quarter of the whole tract. Edmund Kingsland married for his second wife Anna Low, a daughter of Abraham Low. In 1816 Edmund Kingsland sold to John Low, for $750, 25 of the 150 acres that he purchased from Abraham Low. This serves to give some idea of the appreciation of desirable lands in those days. North of and adjoining the 1,000-acre tract of John Scott a tract of 3,650 acres was taken up by William Burnett and Courtlandt Skinner; this included a part of Rockaway Valley, and extended on the west side of Rockaway River into Hanover township. On the 31st day of October 1765 Burnett and Skinner conveyed this tract to David Ogden, who a few years before had come into possession of an adjoining tract further down and on the west side of the river, including the iron works at Old Boonton. This latter with the 3,650-acre tract made a tract of 4,066 acres, afterward known as the "great Boonton tract."
East of and adjoining the 1,000-acre tract which was divided as above related, in 1715 Joseph Kirkbride, of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, and John Job, of Middletown, Monmouth county, N. J., took up a tract of 1,250 acres, extending eastward toward the bog valley on the west of Pompton Plains. On the 14th of April 1718 John Job conveyed his interest to Joseph Kirkbride, and on the 5th of May 1719 Joseph Kirkbride sold out to John Koarta. In 1722 John Koarta sold 288 acres to Jacob Demouth, who sold the same in 1730 to Martin Vanduyne. These and other similar facts as they appear upon the records show conclusively that families of the names of Demouth (or "Demoudt," as originally spelled), Miller, Hoppler and others had settled in what is known as Rockaway Valley at an early date--some time prior to 1722; and that the purchase made by Martin Vanduyne as above stated marks the settlement of that family in the neighborhood of Montville. The name "Koarta" is probably the same as that now spelled Courter, which is a name quite common in the township.
Montville and its vicinity were first settled by a few families probably about the year 1716. Prominent among those who first located in this neighborhood were the names of Hyler, Vanduyne, Miller and Parlaman. The forefather of the Hylers was probably one Peter Hyler who came from Holland; he had sons Nicholas and Philip, and daughters Mary and Elizabeth. Nicholas married Rachel Davenport in 1733, Humphrey Davenport jr. married Elizabeth Hyler in 1731, and Mary Hyler married John Parlaman.
Among those who first settled in Rockaway Valley and what is now the upper part of Boonton and Montville townships were persons named Miller, Hoppler, Demouth, Van Riper, and a little later Kanouse, Tucker, Fredericks, Ockabock, and Stickle; many of them were of Dutch descent, some English.
The Kanouse family were of German origin, the name being originally spelled "Knauss." All of that name in this vicinity and in the vicinity of Newfoundland are traceable to two brothers who came from Wurtemburg, Germany, about 1750. One, Jacob, settled in Rockaway Valley, near Powerville, and the other, called "Honiery," settled in Bergen county (now Passaic), near John P. Brown's hotel at Newfoundland; his old homestead farm is now the property of John P. Brown, who is his greatgrandson. There is a well authenticated tradition pertaining to these two brothers that they emigrated to America before they had attained to full age, and were accompanied by a half brother who was older, a son of their mother by her first marriage; that they were provided with a moderate amount of means, enough to give them a start in the world and pay their expenses. When the vessel arrived in New York their half brother, in whose keeping the funds had been placed, under some plausible excuse, but possibly in collusion with the captain, went ashore first, and failed to return. They were then told that their passage had not been paid, and that they would have to be sold to service to pay their expenses, which the captain proceeded to do. Such it appears was the practice with captains of ships in those days. The brother Honiery was sold to Luke Ryerson, who resided on the east side of Pequannock River near Pompton Plains. While serving there he became acquainted with a German girl working with the same family, and who had been bought by Ryerson under like circumstances. Honiery after serving out his term also served for the balance of the girl's term, and took her for his wife. There are descendants of Luke Ryerson living, who distinctly recollect hearing their ancestors speak of this circumstance of young "Knauss" and the German girl, and that after they were married they went away and settled near Newfoundland, where in after years he became the owner of a nice farm. Jacob after serving his term settled prior to 1766 at Rockaway Valley, near Powerville, in Pequannock township. The records of Pequannock township show that in 1766 a stray heifer was posted by him, and the county records show that he bought land in 1768, in the description of which mention is made of a brook running near the house of Jacob Kanouse, thus warranting the inference that he had previously bought land and built a house. That homestead, an old-fashioned frame building, is standing and occupied by the widow and children of Daniel Kanouse, who was a grandson. Jacob Kanouse died in 1821, at an advanced age.
Peter Kanouse, his oldest son by his last marriage, was born August 20th 1784, at Rockaway Valley, in Pequannock township. He learned the trade of a blacksmith and for several years worked at it in the upper part of Rockaway Valley, near Denville and Rockaway. He also at the same time owned and cultivated a small farm. While at work at his trade he had indulged a wish to study for the ministry, and after the death of his wife he set himself resolutely to the realization of his purpose; he pursued a limited course of study at Bloomfield Academy, under the charge of Amzi Armstrong. His theological studies were pursued under Dr. James Richards at Newark, and with Gideon N. Judd at Bloomfield. In 1818 he was licensed by the presbytery to preach. In the latter part of the year 1818, accompanied by his youngest brother, John G., then just married to Miss Elizabeth Dod, and the Rev. Mr. Jewell of Newark, he sailed from New York for the country of the Choctaw Indians, via New Orleans. John George Kanouse and Miss Dod, the first aged 19 and the latter 16, were married at the house of her stepfather, Judge Harrison, at Caldwell, Essex county, N. J., and started the next day upon this hazardous journey into the country of uncivilized Indians. Two months were occupied in reaching their destination, on the Yazoo River near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Rev. Peter Kanouse and the Rev. Mr. Jewell went to labor as missionaries. John George Kanouse, who had learned the trade of a carpenter, went to have the supervision of business in the erection of mission buildings. They remained about two years and returned. These Choctaw mission buildings were within the late battle ground before Vicksburg, and some who were with Grant in 1863 reported these buildings as then standing, and an object of interest, evincing the substantial manner in which they had been erected.
After his return from the Indian mission John G. Kanouse removed to Newark, Wayne county, N. Y., where he pursued his trade several years. He too cherished a desire to enter the ministry, and after pursuing a course of preparatory study was licensed. For several years he was pastor of a church at Saline, Mich. He then removed to Wisconsin, near Madison, where he resided until his death, which occurred a few years prior to the death of his brother Peter.
The Rev. Peter Kanouse was settled as pastor of the Presbyterian church at Succasunna Plains, Morris county, January 23d 1823. He labored here with success until June 1828, and then went to Wantage church, Sussex county. Here his preaching was wonderfully successful. He next accepted a call to the Clinton Street Free Presbyterian Church, Newark; afterward he officiated as pastor at Beemerville, Sussex county; at Unionville, on the borders of Sussex, and at Poughkeepsie; then he removed to Wisconsin, where he remained but a short time. The larger part of his public career was spent in Sussex county, N. J. He returned from Wisconsin to Deckertown, N. J., where he was settled as pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Wantage. Here he built a house and resided until his death, which occurred May 30th 1864. We quote in regard to him the language of Rev. Joseph F. Tuttle, president of Wabash College, Indiana: "In person he was tall and very comely; his face was a fine one, and when lighted up with preaching or conversation was not to be forgotten. He was a most attractive conversationist; he was, in his best mood, a very eloquent preacher--logical, scriptural, tender, vehement, grand. He was a noble Christian man, and for once at least proved that a good blacksmith may become a good preacher."
EARLY CUSTOMS OF THE PEOPLE.
One hundred years ago and fifty years prior thereto most of the people in this region were engaged in clearing and tilling the land. Up to 1760 there were few roads adapted to easy transportation and travel; consequently very few visited the neighboring towns, and there were many who did not leave their own township from one year's end to another. The liberalizing influence of social intercourse was little felt or appreciated, except so far as regarded the occasional meeting of residents in the vicinity for mutual aid. When a building was about to be erected, and the frame was ready, people for a number of miles around would come to the "raising," as it was called; and such aid was the more necessary then, when frames were made of larger and heavier timbers, which required the help of many strong arms to put them in place. The smallness of the demand for the surplus produce of the farm made money scarce, and the people, generally unable to hire, were compelled to rely mainly upon helping themselves in their farming work, except at times when they would invite the people in the vicinity to come to a "bee," or "frolic," as it was called, to effect a speedy accomplishment of certain kinds of work. Thus they had their "stone frolics," which were to pick up and haul off stones from a lot; frolics for drawing out manure; frolics for plowing, and mowing frolics, at which there would often be a strife among the young and strong men to see who could mow the best and the most. From 1760 to about 1830, a period of seventy years, the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage was quite general among the people of all classes. It was then the prevalent opinion that harvesting could not be done without a pail of water and a bottle of whiskey in the field, for quenching the thirst and supporting the strength of the reapers and mowers. It often happened that some among the mowers or reapers, whose thirst led them to imbibe too freely from the bottle, became so dizzy and weary that they were obliged to seek rest for a while under the shade of some bush; and hence no doubt the origin of the saying, "Look out or you will get bushed before night."
The custom in those days as regarded the corn crop was, when the grain began to glaze, to "top" the corn by cutting off the stalks just above the setting of the ears; these tops were tied in bundles, and when dried were stored for winter fodder. When the ears remaining on the standing stalks were thoroughly ripened and dried in the husks the farmer went through with his wagon, plucked the ears and put them under shelter. Then would come an invitation to his neighbors to a "husking frolic," as it was called; old men, the middle aged, young men and young maidens would respond, and coming together at an early hour in the afternoon would proceed to work. A strife often sprung up among the workers to see who could husk the most or find the greatest number of red ears of corn; and thus, with some indulgence in gossip, or merry song, the hours sped pleasantly, and in a short time hundreds of bushels of ears of corn were stripped of their husks, and made ready for the owner to crib the next day. When darkness approached an adjournment was made to the house, where the good wife had prepared and spread upon her tables a bountiful supper, in which that most popular dish of the day, a chicken potpie, formed the chief item, accompanied by a liberal supply of pumpkin pies. Supper over, the young people would amuse themselves by singing or dancing, or in some kind of games for a time, and then the young men would see the young maidens safely to their homes; and thus ended the "husking frolic" of those days.
Beside those already mentioned there were apple-paring "bees" or "frolics," at which young people would meet and have a pleasant time in aiding to peel, core and slice apples, to be dried for future use. Young women of an industrious and persevering turn would often dry apples enough to bring quite a number of dollars, which they were allowed to apply to their own use. Then there were quilting bees, at which neighboring women would meet to quilt blankets for family use. Thus it was that much tedious and hard work was accomplished by a system of mutual aid and combined effort. Those who participated in it were none the poorer for it, and had the satisfaction of contributing to the comfort and prosperity of their neighbors. Such neighborhood gatherings constituted the principal social intercourse of the people, not only during the early days of the settlement, but for a long period thereafter.
The habits of the people as regarded the keeping of cattle in the early days of the settlement here, and for about a hundred years subsequent, were widely different from the practice of the present day. Then the prevailing idea appeared to be that horned cattle required no shelter, that to house them would have the effect to weaken and degenerate them; consequently no shelter was provided save perhaps a small barricade of logs or brush, or a board fence to break the force of the wind and thus afford a little protection from the cold of winter. At length some improvement was made on this by the erection of an attachment to the barn, so constructed as to afford storage for hay above, while the lower story was left open on one side, facing to the south or east, for cattle to go under. This was called a cow-house, and to some extent answered a good purpose; but where the stock kept was numerous the room was monopolized by a part, while the more timid animals were crowded out. The more observent among the people were not slow to discover the good effect of better shelter upon their stock; that it tended not only to a general improvement in appearance and condition, but as regarded cows to increase the yield of milk and butter. The rapid and great increase in the population of neighboring cities and towns has made an increased demand for milk and butter, milk being in brisk demand at five or six times the price seventy-five years ago, and butter readily bringing from one to three hundred per cent. more. One consequence is that cattle are now stabled and better fed. This change has been found not only conducive to economy in provender, but to give more remunerative results.
In those early days no butcher drove up to the farmer's door with a supply of fresh meats; salted meats were the almost universal food during the greater part of the year. Now and then a calf, a sheep, or a lamb fell a victim to the necessity for a change. To make use of fresh meat thus procured, it was the custom for a farmer, when he wished to kill a calf, sheep or lamb, to go to his neighbors and see who would take a part; to be repaid in kind when a neighbor might wish to kill one of his own. To keep meat fresh as long as possible resort was had to suspending a piece by a rope in the well.
Salted mackerel were not known in the market in those days. It was the prevailing custom for a long time for farmers to make a trip to Newark or New York in the spring, taking with them such produce as they had for sale, and procure a supply of fresh shad, which were salted down in barrels for summer use.
In the beginning of the settlements here and for seventy-five years thereafter most of the clothing used was of domestic manufacture. It is true that among the more wealthy there were some who had their extras of silk and satin, fine linen and laces, jewelry etc., but generally the material used was of a substantial kind and both hand and home made. Every farmer raised his patch of flax, which when cured and properly dressed was spun with a greater or less degree of fineness according to the purpose for which intended, and then woven into cloth and bleached on the grass in the sun. This made a very substantial linen cloth, that was used for under garments, sheets, pillow-cases, table-cloths and toweling. The tow, the coarser part of the flax, was in part used for making ropes for harness and other purposes, and a part was spun and woven into a coarser cloth, suitable for grain bags and for pantaloons for summer wear. Considerable taste and ingenuity was shown by some in making a kind of duck striped with two colors, for men's wear. The cloth called "linsey woolsey" was made of linen and wool, with various patterns of stripes, and used for women's wear. It was the practice of almost every farmer to keep sheep, not only for the meat but for a supply of wool. In making cloth for men's wear the general practice was to first color the wool by means of a dye made with butternut bark, after which it was carded, spun, and woven into cloth, and then taken to a fulling-mill and napped and dressed. This made a cloth of a peculiar shade of brown, literally dyed in the wool, durable in wear and lasting in color. It is certain there was no "shoddy" in those cloths, and it is quite sure, as events proved, that there was, so to speak, very little shoddy about the men of those days.
The men generally wore knee breeches, long stockings, and shoes, the breeches buckling just below the knees; long pantaloons were not much in use until after the Revolutionary war. Many took pains to have both knee and shoe buckles made of solid silver, which were kept bright to be used on Sundays and dress-up occasions.
Woman's dress, especially among the Dutch families, consisted of the linsey woolsey petticoat and short gown, with a handkerchief pinned over the shoulders; and also of a colored pressed flannel of domestic make, resembling somewhat the pressed flannels and cloths now in use except as to fineness of fabric and color.
In those days there were no stores for the sale of ready-made shoes. The general custom was to employ an itinerant tailoress, who would come to the house and make up clothes for the whole family; and as regarded shoes, to employ a shoemaker who went from house to house making up shoes for the family.
In the early days of our colonial ancestors fashion had her freaks, but not so marked and varied as in modern times. The people, trained by circumstances, were plain in their manners and simple in their habits; and in the matter of apparel paid more attention to durability and comfort than to finery and show. Ladies' bonnets then, in form and substance, were designed more for protection than ornament. Women and children generally wore substantial leather shoes, and every prudent farmer took care to keep a stock of leather on hand for family use. Tanning in the colonies, although an individual industry, was sufficient to supply local demands for leather and shoemaking. The township of Pequannock from the abundance of its forests furnished hooppoles and bark for market, and by many farmers these were greatly relied upon as means of raising money; hence in 1790, when owing to the increased demand the price of bark rose from $3.00 to $4.50 per cord, there was great rejoicing and encouragement throughout the township. In the early days overshoes were little used ; there were a few made of leather, some of carpet or stout cloth with leather bottoms, and others of soft dressed buckskin, after the style of the Indian moccasin except that they were fitted with leather bottoms. India rubber overshoes were not introduced until after 1825, and at first were in a very unsightly form compared to the present style.
These domestic manufactures doubtless were in the beginning largely the prompting of urgent necessity; in the absence of demand there was not an adequate supply of foreign fabrics; the people were generally unable to buy, because they produced but little to sell. But from 1750 to 1765 there was a change in the situation. The people, through the improved condition of their farms, had a surplus of produce to sell, and thereby were able to purchase. Considerable commerce had sprung up at New York; foreign goods were imported in larger quantities, and sold and distributed through the country. But the attention of the people had been attracted to the policy manifested by Great Britain in taxing the imports of the colonies as well as the exports, and in an act of Parliament forbidding the manufacture of iron in America except in the form of bars or pigs, and prohibiting the manufacture of some other articles; all showing a purpose not only to create a monopoly for English manufactories, but to tax the people of the colonies for the benefit of the mother country without their consent. When in 1765 she attempted to enforce the stamp act public indignation could no longer be restrained. Tradition informs us that the citizens of Pequannock were aroused, and active and decided then, as they ever have been since whenever anything threatened liberty or infringed upon right; that they were earnest in their determination to forego the use of foreign goods, and to unite in a mutual compact throughout all the colonies to that end. Then it was that domestic manufactures were turned to with renewed interest, being regarded not only as a matter of necessity but a duty, and consequently carding, spinning, weaving and knitting became the daily employment alike of the common people and of ladies of fashion. It is said that the people in Pequannock, in conformity with the action of the people elsewhere, enjoined it upon themselves to abstain as far as possible from using mutton that there might be a full supply of wool. So true were the people in adhering to their mutual compact that in a short time leading citizens, doctors, lawyers, ministers and judges, considered it an honor to appear in homemade apparel; and it became the habit of ladies of education, wealth and refinement, in visiting their neighbors to take with them some kind of work, so that while their tongues were engaged their fingers might also be employed. Thus events showed that the policy pursued by Great Britain was urging the colonists to study and practice self-reliance, and bringing them gradually to a condition of self-dependence, which was the most important step toward their independence. A great majority of the people upon mature consideration had come to the conclusion, and so declared, that the measures of Parliament for taxing the colonies were groundless and unjust. In this respect they showed ability to think more rationally on a matter of public concern than some of the statesmen of Great Britain who then had control of that government.
The records of this township present some facts that enable us to form a conception of the prevailing moral sentiment of the people at an early day. We find it recorded that in 1773 fines were collected for profane swearing, that in 1779 fines of one pound each were collected for tippling and Sabbath-breaking, and that tavern keepers paid a license fee to the township. This goes to show that the early settlers and their descendants entertained some views similar to those of the Puritans who settled the New England States. Facts within the recollection of many persons still living go to show that forty or fifty years later the tone of public moral sentiment had become lowered. At that period the use of intoxicating liquors had become quite general, not only in this township but throughout the county and State; so much so that it had fastened upon many prominent men in the community the vice of drunkenness. There was scarcely a family of any standing that did not have its decanter of liquor, if not for its own use yet to be offered to friends and neighbors when calling, as a mark of politeness and kindly regard. There is a tradition, well authenticated, that several of the ministers of the churches became addicted to drinking, and the one who officiated occasionally at Old Boonton church, and also one who officiated at the Pompton Plains church, were accustomed to exhort their people by saying, "Do as I tell you, not as I do;" thus evincing a consciousness that their example did not at all times accord with their precepts. It is recorded that some of these erring ministers became so enslaved to this vicious appetite that they were on that account ultimately deposed from the ministry.
ORIGIN OF NAMES OF PLACES.
There has been much speculation as to the origin of the name of Boonton, which at first was spelled Boonetown, as it appears in old documents. From the facts that David Ogden came into possession of this property, having on it iron works and a number of dwellings and other buildings, in 1759, and in 1760 Thomas Boone was the newly appointed provincial governor, and had visited Ogden at these iron works (known then as the Old Forge), the most reasonable conclusion appears to be that David Ogden named the place after the governor, and called it "Boonetown." This continued to be the way of spelling the name for many years. The first postoffice in this vicinity was established at Boonetown in 1795, and Rodolphus Kent was postmaster until 1798, when Richard B. Faesch was appointed. He served to February 3d 1817, when the office was changed to Parsippany, a place two miles farther west, and George D. Brinkerhoff became postmaster. In 1829, when the New Jersey Iron Company commenced the erection of their great iron works at a point about one mile further up, and just below the falls in the Rockaway River, the name adopted for that locality was Booneton Falls; this name continued in use for about seventeen years. When, in 1846, the first post-office was established here the name was abbreviated by omitting e and Falls, making it Boonton, and after that the name Old Boonton was applied to the locality of the old forge a mile below.
The locality known as Montville was first called Uylekill, which was a conformity to the Dutch pronunciation of Owl Kill, the name given to the creek and the valley through which it runs for about a mile and a half to its junction with the river. About the close of the last century Elijah Dod and John Pierson were joint owners of the grist-mill and other property there; and it is said they substituted the name Montville, from a place in Connecticut.
The name "Waughaw," applied to the valley three miles east of Montville, is of Indian origin, and in old documents is sometimes found written "Ta Waughaw."
The locality northeast of this, known as Jacksonville, containing eight or ten dwellings and a school-house, is said to have derived its name from the fact that fifty years ago all the people there were politically Jackson men, and voted for General Jackson for President.
Beavertown (now a station on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, called Lincoln Park) took its name from the fact that in the early settlement of the place great numbers of beavers were found frequenting a creek passing through, then called Beaver Dam Brook.
Pompton and Pequannock are both names derived from Indian tribes.
Whitehall, a station on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, derived its name fifty years ago from the circumstance that a man who kept a store there had his house and store painted white, and two or three small buildings near by whitewashed, and called the place White Hall.
In some old deeds, in the description of property at the upper end of Pompton Plains and the vicinity, mention is made of the village of "New Greenwich." It appears that about 1790 this name was given to the little settlement on the Paterson and Hamburg turnpike where Judge Robert Colfax lived, where Peter Jackson and afterward his son James kept a store, and where Slater's woolen factory is; but, a village failing to grow up, the name was dropped and has been forgotten by the oldest inhabitants now living.
The first mode of conducting town meetings, as to the election of officers and the decision of questions to be submitted, was by what is called a "viva voce" vote. This method continued without interruption for over one hundred years, to 1853, when the law was made requiring a vote by ballot as at State and county elections. The old method was a true democratic mode, and some believe it tended to keep the people generally better informed as to township matters, and gave them a better opportunity to exercise a free choice. Under the present system the experience of more than twenty-five years has shown that too often a caucus of a dozen or less, frequently controlled by two or three, selects the candidates; and the result is that the masses are led to the polls to ratify the dictation of a few. Many believe that under the old system the caucus would have less power, and interested wire-pullers less opportunity to exercise their cunning.
While the first system was in use party lines were not strictly adhered to in the selection of township officers, but good men were selected from both parties for township committees and some other positions. Since the change to ballot party lines have been more closely drawn.
At the first town meeting held in Pequannock, on the 10th of March 1741, Martin Vanduyne was chosen town clerk, Peter Roome assessor, Paulus Vanderbeck collector, Abraham Vanduyne and Henry Vanness freeholders. There were not in those days as many town offices as at present. The officers were town clerk, assessor, collector, two freeholders, two surveyors of highway, two overseers of the poor, and overseers of the highway. At the first meeting only two overseers of the highway were chosen. Fourteen years later only four were chosen; at the end of twenty years there were only seven, and five years later, in 1766, only ten overseers of the highway were chosen at town meeting. Most of the territory in Pequannock was then yet a wilderness, with very few roads passable with wagons; to the first forges built in the vicinity iron ore was transported in leather bags on the backs of horses. Farmers generally in those days carried their grain in bags on horses' backs to mill because there were so few roads.
The accounts of the overseers of the poor and the collector were examined by two chosen freeholders and the justice of the peace, and this practice continued about forty years. In 1777 a committee was appointed to determine as to unjust assessments, and in 1780 a committee of three was chosen for that purpose, called commissioners of appeals. In 1778 a committee of three was chosen to settle with the overseers of the poor, but in 1786 a committee of five was appointed to settle with the overseers of the poor and the collectors. This was the first of what is now the township committee. From 1841 to 1849 two constables were elected for each year, but after that for about twenty-seven years the town books show no record of the election of constables. The county court it appears exercised the right of appointing the constables up to the time of the Revolution. For many years it was the practice to decide at town meetings what the pay should be to the overseers of the poor and the justices of the peace for attending to the poor, and the allowance made was fifty cents, or four shillings, per day for each.
POPULAR SENTIMENT IN 1776.
The beginning of the American Revolution found the people of this county divided in sentiment. It not infrequently happened that such division was found not only in the same neighborhood, but among the members of the same family, which tended to estrangement and to create a general sense of insecurity, that rendered great caution and watchfulness necessary for public safety. Consequently we find the people in Pequannock township, fearing such dangers, at an early period in 1776 prepared to protect themselves by organizing committees of safety, vigilance committees and minute men, as they were styled. As to this we have not only the authority of tradition, but unquestioned documentary evidence. Although there doubtless were in this township some who openly favored the cause of the king, and many who, dreading the great power of England, and the possible confiscation of property, feared to openly declare their position, yet there is evidence that a majority of the leading citizens of the township, early in 1776, took a most decided stand in support of the measures of the Continental Congress. The township record shows that public action was taken at a town meeting on the 12th of March 1776, and Joseph Hoff, Joseph Conger, William Ross, Stephen Jackson, Job Allen, Anthony Mandeville, Phineas Farrand, Hendrick Doremus, Robert Gould jr., and John Parlaman were appointed to be a committee of observation. They were selected from the western, eastern and middle parts of the township, for the purpose of watching closely those who were active in favoring the cause of the king. Subsequently a committee of safety was formed, composed of Robert Gaston, Moses Tuttle, Stephen Jackson, Abraham Kitchel and Job Allen. An article of agreement was also drawn up and numerously signed, which was in the keeping of Stephen Jackson, a member of that committee. From him that paper came down to Colonel Joseph Jackson, his son, late of Rockaway, and a copy of it was taken by Rev. Joseph F. Tuttle. The terms of the agreement are not only of interest, but the names of the subscribers. The paper is as follows:
We, the subscribers, freeholders and inhabitants of the township of Pequannock, in the county of Morris and province of New Jersey, having long viewed with concern the avowed design of the ministry of Great Britain to raise a revenue in America, being deeply affected with the cruel hostilities already commenced in Massachusetts Bay for carrying that arbitrary design into execution, convinced that the preservation of the rights and privileges of America depends, under God, on the firm union of its inhabitants, do, with hearts abhorring slavery, and ardently wishing for a reconciliation with our parent state on constitutional principles, solemnly associate and resolve under the sacred ties of virtue, honor and love of our country, that we will personally, and so far as our influence extends, endeavor to support and carry into execution whatever measures may be recommended by the Continental and Provincial Congresses for defending our constitution and preserving the same inviolate, according to the resolutions of the aforesaid Continental and Provincial Congresses, firmly determined by all means in our power to guard against the disorders and confusions to which the peculiar circumstances of the times may ex pose us.
"We do also further associate and agree, as far as shall be consistent with the measures adopted for the preservation of American freedom, to support the magistrates and other civil officers in the execution of their duty agreeable to the laws of the colony, and to observe the directions of our committee acting.
"Robert Gaston, John Munson, Moses Tuttle, John Gould, Joseph Conger, Edward Jackson, Elijah Leonard, Benajah Danels, Samuel Martin, Joseph Hoff, Garrett Hoff, John Hoff, Charles Hoff jr., Robert Wilson, Samuel Blair, Alexander Bates, John Reynolds, Benjamin Fairchild, James Coulter, Jonathan Johnson, John Cardy, Charles Crawley, John Robeson sen., John Robeson jr., David Vanderpool, Peter Johnson, Eliphalet Lyon, William Cough, Gershom Wiggins, James Nox, John DeBow, John White, William Upham, John Wilson, John Galloway, Richard Van Cock, James Cardiff, Joseph Holmes, Gillis McPherson, James Ronal, Thomas Price, George G. Barr, John Magie, James Norton, William Edwards, John Browne, John Wilson, Isaac Miller, Peter Little, Edward McRank, Jonathan Salsbury, Hugh Quigg, Charles Stuart, John Lee, Samuel Harris, Christian Hoffman, John Biard, John Davis, Ada Showen, J. Jackson, William Rose, Louis Demorest Dunzoy, James McUrdy, James Mitchel, James Daily, Henry Stock, Hugh Davis, John Richardson, Henry Link, Jan Bigelow, James Tharp, Daniel Talmage, Jonathan Carrington, John Wilson, Joshua Moore, Mark Walton, William Ross, David Beman, Isaac Vanduyne, Joseph Harriman, Richard Harriman, Josias Goldsmith, William Drummon, John King, Samuel Lindley, Joseph Porter, Aaron Willis, Job Allen, Stephen Jackson, Israel Youngs, Ebenezer Tuttle, Jabez Biglow, David Allen, Henry Berry jr., Joseph Rogers, Seth Mahurin, Silas Hathaway, Joseph Hull, Aaron Biglow, John Harriman, Aaron Hedden, Joseph Bedford, Isaac Ross, John Pierson, Daniel Jackson, William Fisher, Josiah Biglow, John Miller, Michael Montgomery, John McConnel, Peter Hyler, Josiah Beman, William Price, Daniel Biglow, Josiah Beman, Isaac Kelly, William Howard, Helmer Kent, Hiram Howard, James Hindes, Arthur Young, Jacob Lyon, John Peer, Luman Robeards, Benjamin Wankle, John Marinus, Daniel Hayward, Moses Stiles, Phineas Farrand, Philip Price jr., Peter Francisco, Philip Dorman, John Doremus, Philip Hiler, Samuel Farrand, Jake Harrison, Henry Young, Samuel Price, Humphrey Davenport, Thomas Welshear, Martin Frederick, Abraham Loughenner, John Esseler, Mouris Mourison, Peter Hiler jr., Brant Jacobus, Philip Holenkous, Abraham Jacobus, Cornelius A. Jacobus, Henry Hennion, John Cone, Martin Frederick sen., Hinery Mourisson, James Jacobus, Nathan Cone, Coon Vreeland, Henery Van Houten, John Pear, John Parlaman, Abraham Peer, Nicholas Hiler, Edmund Kingsland, John Hiler, Henry Lowerus, Cornelius Jacobus, James Jennings, Peter Tice, John Nix, Conrod Esler, Martin Young, Jacob Vanduyne, Jacob Hoppon, James Shane, Garret Farrall, Peter Roburds, Jacob Hiler, John Miller jr. of jrs."
Mr. Tuttle says that this paper is signed by one hundred and seventy-seven names, that some of these names are splendid specimens of penmanship, but others are scarcely legible; that eighteen signers made their mark. Doubtless, as Mr. Tuttle remarked, "many of these signers knew better how to hold a musket than a pen." It is said that "Colonel Joseph Jackson had the fact from his father that this association of Whigs in this township had 400 signers." It is believed that each member of the "committee of safety" had a copy of the foregoing agreement, and that if all those papers could be obtained we would find the names of over two hundred more signed thereto. But the foregoing is sufficient to show that a large majority of the leading citizens were openly pronounced in their determination to support the measures of the Continental and Provincial Congresses, and to stand firmly together for self-protection amid the perilous circumstances in which they were placed.
As the war progressed many of the tories left their homes, some joining the British forces and some joining marauding bands; others, remaining at home, were often in secret communication with such, and acting as spies and informers. A great feeling of insecurity both as to life and property prevailed among the people in consequence of the outrages committed by these freebooters, who, keeping themselves concealed in the forests and swamps by day, would come upon the victims in the darkness of night. Robberies and murders were committed within the bounds of this township, it is believed, by a party under the leadership of the notorious tory brigand Claudius Smith, who had his headquarters in the mountains near Ramapo, on the northern boundary of the State, and made frequent incursions into the upper part of New Jersey. There appears to be good reason to believe that a robbery of the family of Charles Hoff while manager of the furnace at Hibernia was committed by a party of tories disguised with paint, and under the lead of this Claudius Smith, and that at the time these robbers told Hoff they intended to scour the whole county. The Ringwood and Ramapo Mountains, the hiding place of these freebooters, were distant only from 15 to 17 miles from Pompton; consequently the fertile farms about Pompton and Pompton Plains, as well as other parts of Pequannock, naturally attracted these hungry bands, and traditional accounts go to show that such raids were frequent. It is related that an armed band of six one day in the dusk of early evening suddenly entered a farm house, seemingly in the pursuit of provisions; while two stood guard at the doors some went into the cellar, and others went through the rooms, hastily gathering what they could find and easily carry, and all speedily departed. After they had gone the family discovered that the dead body of a colored infant was missing, which had the same day been placed upon a stand in a room and covered with a cloth; doubtless in their hurry the robbers did not stop to examine closely what they seized upon. At one time an armed company of these tory robbers in the daytime entered the residence of John Parlaman, near Montville, when no men were about, and, hastily gathering what provisions they could find, compelled Mrs. Parlaman to surrender her jewelry, threatening her life and tearing her ear-rings from her ears. It was believed they had designs upon John Parlaman himself had he been found, for he was one of the one hundred and seventy who signed the agreement to support Congress in its measures against the king. Parlaman was a man of some note and influence in this vicinity; the records of Pequannock township show that for more than twenty years he had been elected and had served as town clerk, and was chosen to other important offices, and his penmanship indicates that he was a man of some education. This John Parlaman had a son John, who succeeded to his father's farm, where now resides the widow of the late James Doremus, who is a daughter of the latter John Parlaman.
The list of names signed to the agreement to support the American Congress contains between thirty and forty of those well known to have been residents at the time in the vicinity of Pompton Plains, Montville and Boonton. John Pierson lived at Montville and was part owner of the grist-mill there; Phineas Farrand, a nailer by trade, also lived there, but afterward removed to Hanover township. Edmund Kingsland, the forefather of the Kingslands in this township, lived near Boonton. His stone house, built in 1776 in the Dutch cottage style, with the date of its erection in large iron figures fastened on the front wall, is still standing, in good repair, at the corner of the roads near the residence of William G. Lathrop. Abraham Peer lived near Kingsland. The Hilers, Vanduynes, Stileses, Davenports, Marinuses, Mourisons, Eelslers and Prices were residents of Montville Valley, then called "Uylekill," and on the Hook Mountain. De Bow, Vandercook, Doremus, Vreeland, Fredericks, Jacobus and others were residents of Pompton Plains and the lands west of there. Some persons who had become conspicuous in closely watching or in sharp pursuit of tory spies and tory bands became obnoxious to them, and the tories would put a price on their heads; such were obliged for their own safety to keep away from their homes, and lodge at night in secret and out-of-the-way places.
The inhabitants of Morris, Sussex and Bergen counties during the Revolutionary war suffered severely from the depredations of the tories, and the people of Pequannock, being on the northern border of the county and near the hiding places of these desperadoes, were subject to frequent and annoying alarms. It is no wonder therefore, when living in constant fear and anxiety not only as to the open enemy but secret spies and informers in their midst, that they were active in forming committees of safety and enrolling minute men.
In those days it was no uncommon thing for men to take their guns with them to church, to town meetings, and to the fields where they were at work; indeed, it was expected of the minute men and enjoined upon them that they should always have their arms near at hand, to be ready at a moment's warning. These minute men were the dread of the tories and a great check upon their operations. As a result of the constant danger to which the early settlers were exposed, a custom then prevailed and continued many years after the close of the war of keeping loaded guns deposited in racks on the side of the beams overhead, which were six and a half to seven feet above the floor, out of the way of children but readily accessible. Repeating rifles and percussion locks were unknown at that time. The guns then in use had flint locks, and were mostly muskets that would carry an ounce ball. When the men went out, taking their guns with them, they generally left one well loaded and the means of reloading it for the use of the family, for it is well known that many of the mothers and grown-up daughters of that day not only knew how to spin, weave, make bread, and attend to other household duties, but in case of emergency were capable of using effectively a loaded musket. The great annoyance occasioned by the tories created a bitterness of feeling that lasted for years after the close of the war, and which led to considerable additions to the population of Nova Scotia and Canada.
In the neighborhood known as Pacquanack in Passaic county, bordering on Pompton Plains, families of the name of Ryerson (at first spelled Ryerse) settled at a very early date, some of whom intermarried with families on the Plains and settled in Pequannock township. In one of these families there were several brothers of full age, who were divided in sentiment as to the war; some sided with the king and others with the American Congress; some joined the British forces, while others remained at home. It is said that one of these, Samuel Ryerson, became a subordinate officer in the king's service, and was at the battle of Cowpens, in South Carolina, January 17th 1781, when the American army under General Morgan was victorious over the British army under Colonel Tarleton. At one time when Washington and his army were at Morristown a small force of provincial soldiers was quartered at a place in Parsippany near Fox Hill, about three miles west of Boonton. The commander of the British forces at New York detailed a company of soldiers and put them under command of this Samuel Ryerson, with orders to proceed to Parsippany and capture or kill this company of provincials. While on his way, and when on the mountain northwest of Bloomfield, Ryerson met and captured a man on horseback, going in the direction of Newark. It turned out that this man (who resided at Parsippany) and Ryerson were personally acquainted; and Ryerson, knowing that the expedition in which he was engaged was bringing him too near home, and if successful might result in the capture or killing of some of his old neighbors or his own kin, confidentially informed the captured man of the destination and object of the detachment under his command; and then, under some plausible explanation to satisfy his company, he allowed the man on horseback to proceed on his way. As soon as the latter got out of sight he turned and went back to Parsippany, where he arrived just in time to allow the company of provincial soldiers to escape.
After the close of the war this Samuel Ryerson returned to his native place and bought land at Beavertown, in Pequannock, near where David Benjamin lives; but he remained there only a short time. The bitterness of an indignant public sentiment rendered it so uncomfortable for him that he went to Canada and settled near Toronto; some of his brothers, who likewise had joined their fortunes with the cause of George the Third, after their return found it so uncomfortable to live here that they emigrated to Nova Scotia. Thus it was in many similar cases, and hence it came to pass that so many in the States had relatives in Nova Scotia and Canada. These emigrants to those places no doubt sought to better their condition, but their going in that direction was not altogether the prompting of a free choice.
African slavery was introduced among the Dutch colonists in New Jersey at a very early date. Many of the first settlers came to this colony under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company, the object of that company being to open and establish a trade in furs with the Indians. The States General of Holland especially charged that company to take care to have ready at hand a supply of good merchantable slaves for the use of the colonists. Many of the early settlers in Pequannock bought and owned slaves, but never to any great extent--seldom more than from one to four in any one family; probably because the masters were comparatively small landholders and had no use for a larger number. But the records show that slaves were pretty generally distributed among the leading families on Pompton Plains and in that vicinity, such as the Roome, Vanness, Berry, Colfax, DeBow, Mandeville, Mead, Cook, Schuyler, Terhune, Ryerson, Doremus, Jacobus, Vreeland and Fredericks families, and (in the central and western parts) those of Vanduyne, Duryea, Dod, Miller and others. As appears by the records, the first person who manumitted his slaves in Pequannock was Adam Miller, who lived in Rockaway Valley, the same at whose house town meetings were held. He freed his slaves May 5th 1776, and gives as his reason that "he is persuaded they by nature have a right to their freedom, and ought not to be deprived of it." From that time the opinion expressed by Adam Miller appears to have been a growing public sentiment as regarded slavery, and manumissions continued to be made, some from a sense of justice, and others by the force of sheer necessity in order to free the owners from the impoverishing burden of increasing numbers. When a master wished to free a slave, and clear himself from future responsibility for the support of such slave should he become a public charge, he must take the slave before the overseers of the poor and two justices of the peace of the township, and if upon examination they were satisfied that the person intended to be freed was over 21 and under 35 years of age, and free from any mental or physical disability that would prevent him from earning his own support, the manumission would be allowed upon a proper certificate and declaration signed by the master and approved by the overseers and the justices, and when duly acknowledged would be admitted to record.
Agriculture was the chief employment of those who settled in the eastern, middle and southern parts of Pequannock, and is so to-day except at a few points where in later years some branches of manufacture have been established.
The character and purpose of the men who first came to settle in the wilds of this western world are doubtless familiar to the mind of almost every intelligent person. They came principally from Holland, Germany, Switzerland, England and Ireland, countries considerably advanced in civilization and where the lands were perhaps better cultivated than any others in the world. They came to settle and establish homes, under many circumstances entirely new to them and with a climate and soil unlike any which they had known before; amidst many difficulties they found themselves compelled to commence, as it were, life anew. They entered into a vast wilderness, the home of the savage Indians; the natives were to be conciliated, the land was to be cleared of the heavy forest trees to prepare the way for cultivation. Here and there was found a small opening which had been used by the Indians in their rude way in cultivating corn, beans and tobacco, and some few apple trees called an Indian orchard were found in such openings near the east shore of the Pequannock River at what is called Pacquanack, near where some of the name of Ryerson first settled.
The rigors of the northern winter, the wilderness state of the land, the danger of attacks and depredations not only from the savages but from the wild beasts of the forest, ready to prey upon their livestock or destroy their crops, the want of roads for safe transportation and travel, and the absence of many comforts and conveniences enjoyed in their native countries were serious embarrassments to the pioneers, under which it is no wonder progress in agriculture was slow. Hard work was the order of the day. The soil it is true was naturally rich in mould, the accumulation of ages of decay of vegetable matter, and therefore at first did not require the most careful cultivation to give an abundant return of crops; but it had to be cleared of the heavy forest trees and to be broken up amid the remaining stumps for the first planting. That in those early days the prevailing ideas and practices in farming were of a rude and primitive order there is no doubt; the wants of the early settlers were too many and pressing, and required too vigorous exertions to provide what was indispensable, to allow time for experiment or searching out and applying new principles to farming. That was a work reserved for their descendants many years afterward and under circumstances far more favorable.
In this township, as well as in the county generally, agriculture, so far as regards any marked improvement in farming implements or the general manner of cultivation, was in a state of depression for more than one hundred and twenty-five years after the first settlements here. Owing to the imperfect provision for schools for the masses of the people, during the first hundred years the boys generally were trained up to a narrow routine of labor; many grew up unable to read or write; there were few books in those days and scarcely any papers that circulated among the people, consequently there was little mental activity and much obstinate adherence to prejudice. The chief aim of the young farmer in those early days and for many years after appeared to be to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, to plant and to sow at just such a time, and in many of his operations to be governed by the old and the new of the moon. He appeared to know nothing of the rotation of crops, and to have little regard for the use of manure; and that man who was bold enough to step outside of the old rut, do a little thinking for himself, try some experiment or adopt some new implement or different mode of culture, was derided and hooted at as a visionary. We recollect a manifestation of this stupid prejudice that occurred in our State Legislature as late as 1850, when a resolution was under consideration to accept the invitation of Professor Mapes to attend his lectures on agriculture, especially on the value and use of fertilizers. A member from one of the oldest counties rose in his place and objected to the resolution, because he said it was of no use to spend time in listening to these "visionary schemes of book farming." Notwithstanding his objection the resolution was adopted with few dissenting votes. Within fifty years past a vast change has taken place; it has been truly said that now "obstinate adherence to prejudice of any kind is generally regarded as a mark of ignorance and stupidity," while less than a hundred years ago the reverse was the case.
In the early settlements here as well as elsewhere cattle were scarce and commanded comparatively high prices; cows were small, and the ox of that day was diminutive and ill-shaped compared with those we find now. But when we consider that very little attention was given in those days to the cultivation of grasses, that the main dependence was on natural coarse grass, and that but few if any of the vegetables now so much used as food for stock were then known or had been introduced here, we can easily understand why it was that the cattle of the early settlers were ill-shaped, and their average weight was only about four hundred pounds, while now, with improved agriculture and better treatment, the average weight is over eight hundred pounds. Notwithstanding the comparative scarcity and high price of cattle one hundred years ago, it is said a quart of milk could then be had for a penny, and four eggs for a like sum, while now, with all the increase in number and quality of stock, milk commands six or eight times as much and eggs in like proportion.
As regards farming implements in use among the early settlers, and even up to the beginning of the present century, it is said a strong man could carry on his back all the farming tools generally in use on an ordinary farm save the wagon, or cart, and plow. The first settlers in the eastern part of Pequannock were of Dutch origin, and the harness first used by them was principally made with a Dutch collar of leather, rope traces and rope lines. Bridles were used without blinds, and were made with bits attached to headstalls of rope. With this simple and cheap rig they did their work, and when Sunday came the same kind of harness served to attach the horses to the farm wagon, which, swept out clean and with chairs placed in for seats, furnished the conveyance for the family to church. There were few good roads, and horseback riding was largely practiced, the same horse often carrying two at once to church. All kinds of spring wagons were unknown in those days, and indeed it was many years after the beginning of this century that spring wagons were brought into use.
The farming implements consisted almost wholly of the shovel, spade, plow, wooden fork, and hoe of rude and clumsy form, made by a common blacksmith. The plows in use in the last century were mostly made by blacksmiths, and had a clumsy wrought-iron share, a landside and standard made of wood and a wooden mouldboard. The handle was a single upright, held by two pins, and a strong man was required to hold it. With it they managed to tear up the ground, but could rarely turn a smooth furrow. This style of plow continued quite generally in use, with but little improvement, until about twenty years after the beginning of this century.
The harrow was a rude frame with wooden teeth, but generally a stout limb with the brush attached was used in place of a harrow, because more convenient and effective about the numerous stumps for a long time remaining after the removal of the heavy timber.
For cutting the grain the sickle was the only tool used for a long time, until the grain cradle was brought into use. Mowing is one of the severest labors of the farm, and the only instrument used for that purpose by the first settlers and their descendants during a hundred years or more was the common scythe, made in a rude form by some of the more skillful blacksmiths, in finish nothing like those made at the present day; yet it appears that in quality and durability they were suited to the work. Levi Stiles, now 85 years old, living in Montville township, says that when he was a young man he went to Thomas Conger, a blacksmith at Rockaway, to get a scythe; that he got one for which he paid three dollars, and Conger warranted it for six years; that he used it every season for five years, and then sold it for two dollars and a half; showing that in those early days there were workers in metal who understood their business.
The axes made in those early times by some of the more skillful blacksmiths, although not so slightly as those now in use, were well suited for their purpose. There were many who followed wood chopping as a business, being paid at the rate of 2s. 6d. to 3s. per cord. To prepare land for tillage the forest must be cleared away, and large quantities of logs were rolled into heaps and burned. The ashes found a ready market at potash manufactories, of which there was one at Charlotteburgh and another at Ringwood, carried on by the London Company, an association of capitalists in England formed for smelting iron ores, raising hemp and making potash in America. In the first growth of heavy timber wood-chopping was a kind of work that required a great amount of muscular power. But as those were days of hard work, and the people were simple in their habits and accustomed to a plain and substantial diet, the boys grew into vigorous men. It is said that George Stickle, the forefather of the Stickles in this region, who lived and died in Rockaway Valley within the present limits of Boonton township, when he was a young man could cut and put up a cord of wood before breakfast. We venture to say it would be difficult to find now a young man capable of doing the like.
MILLS AND FACTORIES.
There are in Pequannock township four saw-mills, one grist-mill, one paper-mill, two rubber factories, one bark-mill, one woolen factory, one factory for turning and engraving rolls for printing calicoes and cloths, and one distillery. The first mills erected were grist-mills and saw-mills. The first grist-mill was built at Pompton, where now stands Slater's woolen factory. When it was built and by whom we are unable to state, but it appears by the township records that in 1757 a public road was laid in the vicinity, "running along lands of Henry and Giles Mandeville, Paul Vanderbeck and Garret De Bow, to the road that goes to Nathaniel Foard's mill." Foard and Simon Vanness owned lands adjoining. It is said this mill was owned at one time by Garret De Bow, and also by Robert Colfax, who lived near by. There were also here at an early day a saw-mill and a carding and fulling-mill. It is probable that a saw-mill and a grist-mill were built here as early as 1712.
About a mile west there is a lot called the millstone lot, on which there is a quarry from which millstones were taken in the early days of the settlement that served in the place of the French burr stones. About the beginning of the present century this property was purchased by Peter Jackson, who kept a store there and bought hooppoles; he sold the property to his son James, who held it until 1844, when all the mills, store and dwelling were burned. The mill site was then purchased by James Pewtner and Apollos Terris, who put up another grist-mill, which they operated a few years and then disposed of it to Joseph Slater, who converted it into a woolen factory.
About a mile below Slater's woolen factory, on the same stream, are a saw-mill and a bark-mill, where bark is ground, which is sold principally to tanners in Newark. On this site once stood a grist-mill, a carding-mill and a distillery, probably erected between 1780 and 1790 by Simon Vanness. In 1807 they were sold by the sheriff to pay a judgment of $400 in favor of Robert and William Colfax. This property changed hands frequently, and in the course of thirty years the mills became dilapidated, and by sheriff's sale came into the possession of the State Bank of Morris. In 1843 they were purchased from the bank by John T. Speer, who erected a bark-mill on the site of the old grist-mill. In 1850 Speer sold this property to his son and son-in-law, Richard Speer and Stephen Post; these mills, now belonging to the estate of Stephen Post, are operated by his son John F. Post.
About a mile up the river from Slater's woolen factory is a grist-mill built many years ago; the exact date we are unable to state. This, the only grist-mill within the present bounds of Pequannock township, was a few years ago owned by the late Samuel Vanness, sheriff of Morris county. Here also was formerly a saw-mill.
About a mile farther up, opposite the village of Bloomingdale, a small stream called Stone House or Trout Brook, the outlet of Stickle's Pond, empties into the Pequannock River. A tract of one hundred acres was surveyed to George Ryerson on the 20th of November 1745, and from this ten acres, including a mill seat on this brook, were sold in 1810 to John Taylor, who erected a grist-mill there, which was sold to T. R. Hill in 1822; by him to Jacob A. N. De Baun, and by him to Peter De Baun his son, who sold the same to the Newbrough Hard Rubber Company August 16th 1869, to which time it continued in use as a grist-mill.
A mile higher up on the Pequannock River is an old paper-mill, now owned by James White & Son. This was the first paper-mill in Pequannock township. Paper was made here by hand probably as early as 1810. The mill was enlarged and machinery added in 1845 by John Logan. After passing through a number of hands the manufactory came into the possession of James White in 1862, and in 1880 his son Fred. S. White was taken into partnership.
About eighty rods below this paper-mill the New-brough Hard Rubber Company built a dam, having purchased a large strip of the land lying along both sides of the river, but mostly on the west, for about one mile. About fifty rods from the site of the old grist-mill this company erected a rubber factory, which is driven by water taken from the dam above through a canal and emptied into Trout Brook below. Hard rubber goods, such as combs and other small wares, are manufactured, and a large number of hands are employed in the business. In 1873 the old grist-mill seat was sold as the site for a paper-mill, which was started in August 1874, under the management of the Pequannock Paper Company; this mill was in part destroyed by fire June 24th 1881. Just below on the same stream and near its mouth Mr. Robinson purchased a site and built a mill for manufacturing soft rubber goods.
These manufacturing industries have caused quite a village to grow up within ten years past on the Pequannock side of the river, opposite the old village of Bloomingdale on the east side. This new village contains perhaps sixty dwellings, with about 300 inhabitants, two stores and several shops. It has a post-office and has assumed the name of Butler. The Midland Railroad passes through it.
A short distance above on Trout Brook is a saw-mill that was built many years ago and is one of the four in Pequannock now in use; there is another near the west side of Pompton Plains, and one at Beavertown. At the lower end of Pompton Plains James Comley has erected a small factory for turning and engraving rolls used in printing calicoes and cloths.
The paper-mill at Bloomingdale was established for the manufacture of roofing felt in 1874 by A. Robinson and others. In 1878 F. J. & H. W. Mather purchased the business and they have since conducted it. The capital is about $30,000. These parties employ twelve or fourteen hands. The capacity of the mill is about three tons per day. Messrs. Mather have another mill in Stanley, about a mile from Chatham, where they began business early in 1880.
Demorest & Russell erected a manufactory and commenced the manufacture of excelsior in the spring of 1881. They employ about fifteen men and are doing a business of about three tons per day. This is the first and only excelsior manufactory in New Jersey.
In the northern part of this township, a little south of Charlotteburgh, is quite a large pond, known as Stickle's Pond, once owned by Hubbard Stickle, who drove a bloomary forge here about sixty-five years ago. His brother Adam Stickle about 1842 built a forge on the outlet of this pond a short distance below, but both of these forges were long since abandoned and have disappeared.
Uriah Roe located a tract on the west side of the river in 1715, and Joseph Helby located a tract here in 1716. It is possible that either one or both of these tracts included the grounds where the iron works were at Old Boonton, and that such iron works were in existence some time before David Ogden came into possession of them, which was about 1759. David Ogden sold the Boonton tract to his son Samuel, who in 1770 bought from Thomas Peer about six acres of land lying on the east side of the river and in Pequannock township. On this he erected a rolling and slitting-mill, said to have been the first or one of the first mills of the kind built in this country; it was probably put in operation in 1772 or 1773. As the laws of England did not allow iron to be manufactured in that form in the colonies the work was carried on secretly in the basement of the mill, while the upper part was fitted up ostensibly for a grist-mill. The bloom iron was taken from the forge to this mill, and when heated was rolled into plate, and then slit into rods, which were used for making nails of different kinds by hand; these were wrought nails, and there are some old buildings yet standing in the erection of which this kind of nail was used. Although there were several hands employed in shops at Old Boonton making nails, the nail rods were not all used there ; in those days the trade of a nailer was almost as common as that of a blacksmith, and these nail rods commanded a ready sale. We find in books of account kept at Old Boonton for Samuel Ogden in 1775 and 1780 that nailers were credited with shingle nails at one shilling per pound, and with clapboard nails at one shilling and two pence per pound, the retail price being 1s. 4d. to 1s. 6d. per pound.
After the American colonies were free from English control there was no longer necessity for having a grist-mill on the first floor to conceal the rolling and slitting of iron in the basement. In 1792 Samuel Ogden purchased from Th. Peer about an acre of ground lying along the northeast bank of the river and immediately below the slitting-mill lot. About fifty rods below the slitting-mill Ogden proceeded to build a dam across the river, and below it on the southwest side of the river erected a grist-mill. About ten years after the completion of this mill there came a great freshet and breaking up of ice in the spring, which swept away this dam. The impracticability of maintaining a dam at this point secure against similar freshets led to its abandonment, and another grist-mill was built higher up the stream, by the side of the old forge. It has been the prevalent belief that Samuel Ogden was the sole owner of the slitting-mill and the only person interested in operating it, but the county records show to the contrary. In book A of deeds,. page 21 etc., we find the copy of a deed dated May 1st 1784, from Abraham Kitchel, agent of Morris county, to Samuel Ogden, and we copy from the record the following, which explains itself:
"In the term of June 1779, in the court of common pleas held at Newark for Essex county, final judgment was entered in favor of the State of New Jersey pursuant to law, against Isaac Ogden, late of the township of Newark in the county of Essex, on an inquisition found against the said Isaac Ogden for that the said Ogden did on or about the first day of January 1777 join the army of the king of Great Britain, contrary to the form of his allegiance to this State; and in execution of the judgment Abraham Kitchel, agent, was by a law of the State of New Jersey commanded to seize, sell and dispose of all the lands, tenements, and hereditaments and all other the estate of whatever kind soever of the said Isaac Ogden."
Kitchel sold to Samuel Ogden, for £30 proclamation money, one equal sixth part of the slitting-mill lot and slitting-mill and all his interest in the buildings and stock of coal and iron. It is quite probable that Isaac Ogden was a brother of Samuel. And further the record shows that in the court of common pleas in Morris county final judgment was entered against Nicholas Hoffman, "late of Newark," on an inquisition found against him "for that on the 21st of September 1777 he joined the army of the king of Great Britain; and in execution of said judgment Abraham Kitchel as agent seizes and conveys to Samuel Ogden for £30 proclamation money one eighth part of this slitting-mill lot and rolling and slitting-mill, and all the interest of said Hoffman in the buildings and stock of coal and iron." This deed also bears date May 1st 1784. In 1805 Samuel Ogden sold to John Jacob and Richard B. Faesch the Boonton tract, including rolling and slitting mill, forge and grist-mill, and 2,500 acres of land, for $10,000, and took a mortgage upon the property for $9,000 of the purchase money. John Jacob Faesch died in 1809 intestate and without issue, leaving as his sole heirs Richard B. Faesch his brother, and Catharine and Eliza his sisters, the latter being the wife of William H. Robinson of New York. The rolling and slitting-mill continued in operation till about the middle of March 1820, when a great freshet swept away the dam. Shortly after, in the same year, Richard B. Faesch died, insolvent, and all the real estate, including forge and grist-mill, was sold to Israel Crane and William Scott. They constructed a large dam across the river just above the old forge, for the purpose of conducting the water through a dugout race-way on the Pequannock side of the river to a point opposite the ruins of the old slitting-mill, which would give a water power of about forty feet fall. Shortly after the completion of this dam a freshet broke away a portion of it, which was repaired and a saw-mill built at the end of the race-way. A few years later another freshet broke away the dam so effectually that the rebuilding of it was never attempted. Scott and Crane, under the direction of Thomas Hood, an Englishman, introduced a new kind of furnace intended for refining iron. In view of the losses and expenses Crane became desirous of selling his interest, and for that purpose they divided the property, Crane taking the lower part, including Old Boonton and the forge and mill, which he sold to John Righter, Scott retaining the upper portion of the tract lying on both sides of the river. Two hundred acres of this tract lying on the Pequannock side of the river, and opposite Boonton Falls, Scott sold in the latter part of 1829 to David W. Wetmore, who in 1831 conveyed it with other tracts to the New Jersey Iron Company; on a part of that 200 acres a portion of the Boonton iron works and the northern part of the town of Boonton stand.
Pertaining to the family of Faesch, who lived at Old Boonton, Mrs. Mary King of Newark, now 77 years old, daughter of Elijah Dod and the youngest sister of the first wife of William Scott, relates some matters of interest. She says that shortly after the death of his wife, in 1823, William Scott removed from Powerville to the mansion at Old Boonton, and that she, then just from the Moravian school at Bethlehem, Pa., accompanied him and remained there for a time as his housekeeper; that she has in her possession a steel (found in the garret of the old mansion) such as was used in old times to kindle a fire by striking a flint and catching the spark in a tinder box; that this steel has on it the figures 1752 and the letters H. I. F., which she was told stood for Henry I. Faesch, the father of John Jacob Faesch sen., who came to this country in the employ of the London Company, to superintend their iron works at Charlotteburgh and Hibernia. She says she also has a painting on glass, finely executed and in a good state of preservation (found in the same garret), representing a monk bending under the weight of a large bundle of straw he is carrying on his back, which on close inspection reveals at one end the head of a female and her feet at the other, the monk also bearing in one hand a basket on the side of which are the words "Supplies for the convent." Mrs. King says this relic has been examined with a great deal of interest by several noted artists, who praised the execution of the work and said that kind of painting is among the lost arts. She further says she has in her possession an ancient black walnut bureau in a state of good preservation, once the property of Faesch, and which was probably made in Switzerland more than 125 years ago.
The flint and steel were long almost the only means of getting fire; it is within fifty years past that a knowledge of chemistry has enabled us to make a long step in advance in the production of that small but useful article the friction match. In old times stoves were unknown, and fires were made with wood in open fireplaces; when bedtime came enough live coals were buried in the embers to serve for re-kindling fire in the morning, but in case the fire thus buried should die before morning resort must be had to the steel, flint and tinder box; in the absence of them the musket was used by placing powder in the pan of the lock and flashing it against a bunch of tow (an article found in every house in those flax-spinning days). Where there were none of these means recourse must be had to fetching fire in an iron pot from a neighbor's.
The first churches organized in this section were of the Dutch Reformed denomination, and their services for many years were conducted in the Dutch language, by ministers who were mostly licentiates from the Holland schools. The first church at Pompton was organized in 1736, and the church edifice stood on the east side of Pequannock River, in what was Bergen county (now Passaic). It was called "the Reformed Dutch Church at Pompton," and Paulus Vanderbeck and Peter Post were ordained elders, and Johannis Henyon and Martin Berry deacons; two years afterward it contained seventy-two members.
The first church in Pequannock township was organized at Pompton Plains, in 1760, under the ministry of the Rev. David Marinus, and resulted from a division of the church organized at Pompton in 1736. This division grew out of a difference of opinion; one party, called the "Conferentie," held to the necessity of obtaining as ministers only such as had been educated and licensed by the Holland schools; the other party, called the "Coetus," held to the belief that there was no impropriety in settling as pastors those who had been educated and licensed in the schools of this country. In 1752 Rev. David Marinus had been called to Acquackanonk in conjunction with Pompton; he had been educated in Pennsylvania, and licensed the same year by the "Coetus," consequently he belonged to that party. The controversy over this matter grew so fierce that for a time it is said to have affected the whole denomination, and divided this congregation. The "Conferentie" party, gaining possession of the church building, excluded Marinus, and hence his friends erected for him a church building on Pompton Plains in 1760, which stood for about twelve years. It is said Marinus continued to preach here for a few years only, that he fell into bad habits through the free use of intoxicating liquors, and that his life became so inconsistent that his services were dispensed with; he was suspended from the ministry in 1778 and deposed in 1780. He afterward sought employment at teaching school, and taught at Lower Montville, in which neighborhood he remained until about the year 1800; while there he occasionally officiated at religious meetings, but at times gave way to his old habits.
About the year 1756 churches of this denomination were organized at Totowa and Fairfield in the county of Essex, and at Old Boonton in Hanover township near the borders of Pequannock. These three churches united with the "Conferentie," who held the original church edifice on the east side of the river at Pompton, in calling as their pastor Rev. Cornelius Blaw, who came from Holland and was said to be a good preacher; he was inducted into the pastorate October 24th 1762, and lived in the parsonage house at what is called the Two Bridges. He served these four churches about five years, when like Marinus he fell into irregular habits and was removed.
A church of this denomination existed at Acquackanonk (now Passaic) many years before that organized at Pompton in 1736; Jonas Ryerson, a resident on the east side of the Pequannock River and near to it, was a deacon in the church at Acquackanonk in 1716, and Paulus Vanderbeck, one of the early settlers on Pompton Plains, was an officer in the same church; and the presumption is that the early settlers on Pompton Plains and in other parts of Pequannock as far up as Boonton occasionally attended this church at Acquackanonk. The early records of that church, kept in the Dutch language, contain entries of marriages of persons from Pequannock living in the vicinity of Montville and Boonton as far back as 1728. We find in the church records at Pompton and Pompton Plains entries of baptisms from 1736 to about 1800, of persons connected with families who resided in the southern part of Pequannock township and as far west as Boonton.
After the removal of Rev. Mr. Blaw efforts were made to reconcile and unite the two parties, and to build a new church for the accommodation of all. These efforts appeared to meet with success, and in 1769 it was ret solved to build a new church, 40 by 50 feet. The next year an acre of ground was purchased for the purpose, the same on which the present church stands. The original church edifice on this ground was built in 1771, with a barrack-shaped roof and a steeple in the center; the name adopted was the "First Reformed Dutch Church of Pompton Plains," as appears by the public records. In 1772 this church united with the churches at Fairfield and Totowa in calling as pastor the Rev. Hermanus Meyer, who was installed in 1773. He served the three churches about two years, when Fairfield was relinquished and he continued to serve at the Plains and at Totowa, and a part of the time at Boonton. Mr. Meyer was born in Germany, educated in one of the Dutch universities, and came to this country in 1762; he was a man of great learning, of a mild temper, and unaffected in his manner, and stood high in the opinion of the churches at large. He served this church about eighteen years, until his death, which occurred October 27th 1791; he was buried beneath the church at the Plains, and his epitaph is inscribed on a marble slab in the floor immediately in front of the pulpit.
After the death of Mr. Meyer there was a vacancy of about three years. This church united with the church at Old Boonton in 1794 in calling the Rev. Stephen Ostrander, who was twenty-five years old and had just been licensed to preach. He served fifteen years between the two churches, preaching one-quarter of the time at Old Boonton. Soon after his settlement the congregation provided a parsonage for him on the present site. During his pastorate 93 were added to his church. It is said of him that "he was a faithful pastor, unobtrusive and unassuming in his deportment, conscientious and exact in the performance of all his duties, and unwearied in directing his efforts with a view to usefulness." About the year 1809 a dispute arose in the neighborhood of Pompton Plains in regard to the public schools, which led to considerable disturbance. It is said that Ostrander, becoming involved in this, refused to baptize the children of such as differed from him; this it appears impaired his usefulness as pastor and led to his removal.
That the dispute about the public schools was not the only disturbing element in this congregation at that time we are led to believe from what we find in a deed dated January 5th 1796, from Luke John Kiersted to Samuel Roomer and Philip Schuyler, church wardens or trustees of the Reformed Dutch church at Pompton Plains, conveying half an acre of ground on the east side of the road for church purposes. It is therein recited that "whereas the said trustees, being desirous to settle a minister of the gospel who shall preach for the congregation at Pompton Plains the true doctrine of the Christian religion, and uphold and follow the rules and church orders, according as they are established by the national synod at Dordrecht (or Dort) in the years 1618 and 1619, have for that purpose purchased of the said Luke John Kiersted all that lot," etc.
From 1809 to 1813 the pulpit in this church was again vacant. On the 19th of September 1813 the Rev. Jacob T. Field was installed as pastor. It is said of him that he was a "faithful, active and fearless minister, and that the fruits he was permitted to gather testify to the fidelity of his ministry." A short time after Mr. Field was settled here a meeting of the congregation was held to determine as to rebuilding and enlarging the church edifice. It was resolved "that the church be extended 16 feet toward the road, with a steeple in the east end, the walls to be raised in due proportion and the windows raised so as to cover the galleries, and that the inside of the church be altered and finished in such manner as the trustees may deem proper."
Previous to the settlement of Mr. Field over the Plains church a part of the congregation residing at the upper end of the Plains, at Pompton, in Wynockie Valley and Boardville, feeling the need of better accommodations for holding religious services, at a meeting called for the purpose in February 1812 decided to build a church in the neighborhood of Pompton, to be styled the "Pompton and Wynockie Church." As the result a church was built, and in a month after Mr. Field had been installed at the Plains this edifice was dedicated by him. He preached there every third Sabbath, the people of that section paying one third of his salary.
The people at Pompton, feeling the need of more services, applied to the consistory of the Plains church for a separation; this being conceded, application was made to the Classis of Bergen for a separate organization. This was granted, and the organization effected June 26th 1815; the two congregations being unable to effect a satisfactory arrangement as to the joint services of Mr. Field, the church at Pompton gave him a separate call, which he accepted, his pastorate at the Plains lasting a little over two years. The church at the Plains is the only one within the present bounds of Pequannock township. A portion of the people on the upper end of the Plains and in the northern part of the township are attached to the congregation of the church at Pompton; others attend the Baptist and Methodist churches at Bloomingdale, and the Methodist church at Pompton.
There was then a vacancy at the Plains for about two years after Mr. Field's departure. February 9th 1817 Rev. Ava Neal was installed as pastor. He served this church and the one at Fairfield about six years, preaching one-third of the time at the latter. Then the Fairfield church released him, and he was retained by the Plains alone until July 1828. In 1829 he was suspended from the ministry, but was restored in 1833 and died in 1839.
In 1829 this church united with the one at Montville in calling the Rev. Abraham Messler; he served about three and a half years, when he accepted a call from the church of Raritan, at Somerville, where he still continues.
A few months after the removal of Mr. Mesler this church called the Rev. James R. Talmage, who was installed on the 20th of February 1833; his pastorate continued about four years, when he accepted a call from the church at Blawenburg, N. J.
After about eight months vacancy this church secured as pastor Rev. Garret C. Schanck. He served the people here about fifteen years, in which time 120 were added to the membership. During his pastorate the parsonage was rebuilt and made into a neat and commodious house. In March 1853 he resigned.
The same year a call was extended to Rev. Charles I. Shepard, and he was ordained and installed in September. His pastorate continued five years, when, it is said, "for providential reasons Mr. Shepard felt constrained to ask for a dissolution of the pastoral relation," and on January 15th 1858 he was dismissed by the Classis of Passaic to the church of Linlithgow.
The next pastor was Rev. John F. Harris, who was installed March 27th 1858. He served nine years. During his pastorate the church building was greatly improved by refurnishing it and frescoing the walls.
The Rev. John Van Neste Schenk, of Owasco Outlet, near Auburn, N. Y., was next called. He began his labors here on the first Sabbath in October 1867, and was installed on the 23d of the same month. He served this congregation about four years, when he died after a short illness, September 28th 1871, aged twenty-nine years. During his pastorate here 78 were added to the church membership. Mr. Schenk was born near South Branch, Somerset county, N. J., February 21st 1842; was educated at the classical institute at Ovid, Seneca county, N. Y., and at Rutgers College. His labors in the church at Pompton Plains were marked with great success; possessing a generous nature and winning ways, he made many friends, especially among the young, and was held in high esteem generally by the people; his early death was greatly lamented. The renewed interest awakened under his ministry led the congregation to desire to further enlarge the church edifice and subject it to general and extensive repairs, which purpose was carried into effect early in 1871.
On the 19th of May 1871 the following resolution was passed by the consistory: "Resolved, That our pastor be requested to prepare a historical discourse in connection with the completion of the first century of our house of worship, to be delivered at its reopening."
In compliance with this request Mr. Schenk with considerable labor and research prepared such a discourse, containing much valuable information, which he intended to deliver at the reopening of the edifice on the 22nd of November 1871. To it we are indebted for much that is contained in the history which we have given of this church. As a matter of interest and appropriate in this connection, we copy the following from a report of the dedicatory services :
"The church building has been lengthened by the addition of thirteen and one half feet, with the pulpit in a recess. Thirty new pews were thus formed; the whole interior was tastefully frescoed, painted, and refurnished. On the 22nd of November 1871 the church, appropriately draped in mourning, was filled with deeply interested worshipers at the reopening exercises. The devotional services was conducted by Rev. John N. Jansen of Pompton, Rev. Charles I. Shepard of Newtown, L. I., Rev. J. F. Harris of Hurley, N. Y., Rev. Garret C. Schanck of Monmouth, N. J., and Rev. Paul D. Van Cleef of Jersey City, N. J. By request of the consistory of the church Rev. George J. Van Neste, of Little Falls, read the historical discourse prepared by the late pastor."
Rev. J. H. Whitehead succeeded next in the pastorate, where he is still laboring.
The records of this church present a total membership of 808 enrolled during the one hundred and thirty-five years of its existence up to 1871.
It is said "the first child baptized in the church on the Plains on its present site was Lena, daughter of Anthony Mandeville." She married Cornelius T. Doremus, who owned the farm and lived in a house that stood on the site of the present parsonage of the Montville church. They had two children, a son Thomas C. and a daughter Elma. Thomas C. Doremus was for many years a prominent merchant in New York, of the firm of Doremus & Nixon; he married a sister of the late Daniel Haines, formerly governor of this State. Professor Ogden Doremus, well known for his lectures on science and his knowledge of analytical chemistry, is a son of Thomas C. Doremus. The daughter Elma married Rev. Abraham Mesler, who served about three and a half years as pastor at the Plains and at Montville, and who since 1832 has been pastor of the church at Somerville, N. J., where he is now pastor emeritus.
There is evidence that the first immigrants coming from Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and England generally possessed a rudimental education, and there is little doubt that the instruction of their children at first received some attention in the family, until the increase of population and the improved condition of the land and the people enabled them by concerted effort to establish and support neighborhood schools. Tradition informs us that the first school buildings, like the first dwellings, were built of logs; that their internal arrangements were of the cheapest and plainest order, and that the teachers employed were not generally of a high grade either as to ability or character. The eastern portion of Pequannock was first settled almost exclusively by Hollanders, who came from Bergen, New York, Kingston, Albany and Schenectady. Many brought with them books printed in the Dutch language. Those who at first settled in the southern and middle portions of this township were also principally of the same nationality, and the Holland Dutch was the language mostly used among these early settlers and their descendants for more than sixty years. The services in the first churches of the Dutch Reformed denomination were conducted in that language, and the records of such churches were kept principally in that language up to the close of the Revolutionary war, and in some cases later. For many years in churches of this denomination there was manifested a strong objection to employing any one as a pastor who had not been regularly educated and licensed in the schools of Holland. Tradition informs us that the public schools were taught in the English language for some years prior to the Revolutionary war, but the Holland Dutch continued to be the language mainly used in many families of the descendants of the first Holland settlers, and was so used quite generally up to 1790 and 1800, and in some families 18 to 30 years later. There are a few persons still living who recollect that their parents were, as late as 1815 to 1820, accustomed to read from their old Dutch Bibles, and that they expressed regret that their church services were no longer conducted in the Dutch language, as they could understand it so much better than the English. Some of these old Dutch Bibles still remain in the hands of descendants unable to read them, kept as cherished relics of former times. One in the possession of the writer was printed at the Hague in Holland in 1647, measures 10 by 16 1/2 inches, and contains 1,200 pages and several illustrations.
The oldest record of Pequannock township that we find, which is in the keeping of the township clerk of Boonton township, bears date 1741, which was in the fourteenth year of the reign of King George II. of England; and is no doubt the first record of township proceedings after the setting off of Pequannock from Hanover township in 1740.
We find no record in the township books pertaining to educational matters until 1830, when the school system established by an act of the Legislature in 1829 went into effect. But that the early settlers were not unmindful of their duty to establish schools and maintain them we have reliable testimony, brought down to us by tradition. Very few if any of the public schools in those early days, or for seventy-five years following, were kept open for more than one or two quarters in the year. Funds to support a school were sometimes raised by subscription. Generally a contract was made with the teacher at from eight to ten shillings per scholar for a quarter, the teacher to have his board and lodging found by boarding around among the patrons of the school. This method of employing and paying a teacher prevailed about a hundred years, and did not entirely disappear in Pequannock township until about 1853.
From 1790 to 1830 many persons employed as teachers in the public schools were occasionally addicted to intemperance. During that period many thus employed were of foreign birth, either Englishmen or Irishmen. The short and uncertain periods of keeping schools open tended to make the teacher's calling one of an itinerant character and led to frequent changes, and as a consequence there were many applicants for teachers' positions not of the best character either for learning or morality. Owing to the demoralized state of public sentiment persons of questionable qualifications, simply because they offered to work for a low price, would often succeed in obtaining the position of teachers, to the exclusion of others of better character and higher ability. A few facts and circumstances yet fresh in the recollection of some of our older people will serve to illustrate.
About the year 1820 an Englishman was engaged as a teacher for the Montville school. He appeared to be a gentleman and well educated, and was considered in the district as quite an acquisition because of his ability to write a very pretty hand, as shown by the copies he made for the children in their writing books. It was at first his custom to open his school in the morning with prayer. One morning, when the children as usual assembled at the school-house a little before 9 o'clock, the teacher was sitting in his chair behind his desk, with his arms crossed and resting on it, and his head resting on his arms. The children thought he was asleep, but 9 o'clock came and still he slept, and continued to sleep as soundly as ever. In about half an hour a gentleman living near by, seeing the children about the door, came up to inquire what was the matter. Looking in he saw the condition of the teacher, and calling on some of the larger boys to assist him he laid him on the floor and placed some books under his head; then told the children their teacher had been taking too much apple whiskey, and they must go home and return the next morning, when all would probably be right. This was not the only instance of interruption in the school caused by such indulgence on the part of their teacher, yet he was retained for several quarters. Some few years after that a teacher was employed in this school who appeared to have been well educated, and withal was something of a dandy in his manner and dress. The school had been under his charge but a few weeks when it began to be whispered that he was too fond of strong drink; soon there was unmistakable evidence of the fact, for at times he would be absent several days in consequence of his indulgence. Yet this man was retained as a teacher for two quarters without being fined for tippling, or even very seriously reprimanded for his vicious habit, thus showing that public sentiment had changed in some respects, and certainly not for the better as regarded sobriety. It is true many of the teachers employed from time to time in this as well as other schools in the township were persons of upright character and fair literary attainments; yet it was too true that some were employed who turned out to be not only immoral, but deficient in literary attainments, and not a few who were more or less addicted to tippling. Persons now living in the township recollect that men addicted to intemperate habits were employed to teach at Pompton Plains, Beavertown and Pine Brook, as well as at Montville, and these were the places where schools were first established in the township. Nor were these evils peculiar to this township; other townships throughout the whole State were suffering more or less from like inflictions.
A convention of the friends of education was held at the State-house in Trenton in the summer of 1828, to take into consideration the state of education in the several counties of this State, and to ascertain what should be done for the encouragement and proper support of schools. At this convention a general committee was appointed, consisting of Charles Ewing, John N. Simpson and Theodore Frelinghuysen, and sub-committees for each county authorized to make a thorough investigation of the situation in each township, and report at a future meeting. On the 11th of November 1828 that report was made. Only a partial statement was made in regard to Pequannock. The result of this public investigation was action taken by our Legislature at the session of February 1829, by which was established the first system of public instruction in the State of New Jersey.
Westerly of Montville village there was no school in Pequannock short of Rockaway Valley; where the present town of Boonton stands was then a wilderness. At this time the school-house at Montville was probably the third erected there. It was built about 1806, a frame building 18 by 24 feet, a few rods south of the present site, at the corner of two roads, and directly on the edge of the street. There was not a foot of playground attached, the only place available to the children for such purpose being the public road. No paint had ever been applied to this building externally or internally. The arrangements for heating consisted of a large open fireplace at one end of the room; the wood was furnished by the patrons of the school in proportion to the number of scholars sent by each. The desks consisted of boards attached in an inclined position to the sides of the room; in front of these were placed long and rudely constructed benches made from slabs having holes bored through near the ends and sharpened sticks thrust in as legs to support them. In the center of the room were benches similarly constructed, and without back supports, for the use of the smaller children; besides these there was a roughly made desk without stain or paint, and a splint-bottomed chair, for the use of the teacher. These constituted the total of school furniture; such things as black-boards, maps, or charts were not found in country district schools at that time, and in fact were then scarcely thought of as articles necessary for the school-room. The pens used for writing were made from quills, the writing books were common foolscap paper folded, and it was the duty of the teacher to make and sharpen all the pens, and to write the copies. The text books then in use were Webster's spelling book, the Scholar's Companion, the Child's Instructor, the Monitor, the Testament, the English Reader (more recently introduced) and Dillworth's and Daboll's Arithmetics. No attention was paid to the study of geography, and very little if any to the study of English grammar.
There were no recitations in classes in arithmetic, except as to the different tables; each scholar was expected to do "as many sums" as he could, and if the answer obtained was the same as that given in the book the operation was supposed to be right; the why and the wherefore were seldom if ever inquired into. The older pupils in arithmetic were encouraged to write out in detail in a book prepared for the purpose the working of each example, with a view to having it as a book of reference to aid them when they should go into business; these were called "cyphering books." The idea of imparting to his pupils a thorough understanding of the principles of the science, as the best means of preparation to solve all practical problems as they were presented in the business of life, did not enter the head of the average common school teacher of that day. Then the amount that could be retained in the memory and repeated in the words of the book, whether the meaning was thoroughly understood or not, was considered the measure of learning in most of our public schools.
After opening school the teacher generally proceeded to take his whip in hand as the ox-driver does when he proceeds to his work, and he would continue to carry it about nearly the whole of school hours, frequently using it in touching up one and another for whispering, not sitting up straight, neglecting to study, or looking out of the window; and sometimes it was most severely and cruelly used. Yet but little complaint on that account was heard among the people; the prevailing idea of a teacher appeared to be that if he could whip he was smart and would make the children behave and learn. The popular idea of school government at that time appeared to be that brute force was the only proper controlling power. Seldom was a teacher found who would as a rule resort to gentle means, kind and encouraging words and moral suasion to maintain order and subjection.
It was about the year 1826 that a building was erected and a store opened immediately opposite the old school-house at Montville; the business of this store for years consisted mainly in buying in wood to be shipped by canal to Newark. In the stock kept at this store, as was generally the case in most stores at that time, was whiskey in its various forms. Many of the customers, being considerably under its influence, would loiter about there for hours; as a consequence very much, both in manners and language, that was improper and demoralizing was brought directly to the notice of the pupils at that school. From 1820 to 1840 it was the practice of a neighboring clergyman to visit the different schools within the circuit of several miles about once a quarter, and sometimes oftener, to catechise the children in the old Calvinistic catechism, and he would generally take the opportunity to try to impress upon the youthful minds "that in Adam all sinned, and that without repentance for the sin of Adam all would be condemned to eternal woe and suffering in the lake of fire and brimstone," as he graphically expressed it.
Since 1820 circumstances have greatly changed. The old school-house at Montville that stood at the corner of the roads, and the whiskey store opposite, have long since passed away. Many years ago a new school-house, larger and with seats and desks somewhat improved, was erected on the site of the present one, which did service some twenty-five years for larger and better conducted schools, and was torn down about fifteen years ago to give place to the present brick structure, which is a neat looking and commodious building, with the most improved modern furniture. The condition of the public school at Montville fifty years ago may have been as regards its immediate surroundings rather exceptional, but in other respects it may be taken as a truthful representation of the average country district school of that day; and as such we present it, to give an idea of the general condition of the schools in the township at that period, for we have not space for a history in detail of each district.
In Pequannock township ( speaking without reference to such part of it as was set off to the new township of Rockaway in 1844 ) the first places where district schools were established were Pompton Plains, Pine Brook, Montville, Beavertown and Lower Montville; subsequently they were opened at Waughaw, Jacksonville, Stony Brook, Pompton and Upper Bloomingdale; in 1831 at Boonton; in 1844 a district was formed near Boonton known as No. 6, and another at Taylortown in 1849.
The first school-house on Pompton Plains of which we have any authentic account was built some years prior to 1800, and stood on the opposite side of the street from the present school-house and near to the present church edifice. About 1807 or 1808 a portion of the people, becoming dissatisfied with the school as kept in this building, united in building a house about half a mile north of the church, in which a school was opened under David Provost as teacher. About 1824 a new school building two stories high was erected on the opposite side of the street from the church, which for many years served to accommodate a much larger school under teachers of far superior ability; this school from 1840 to 1855 ranked among the first in the township. In 1872 this building, which had become old and dilapidated, was removed, and on the same site the present one was erected, which though less roomy is more modern in style and comfortable in its internal arrangements.
The first school-house at Beavertown of which we have any account was a log building and stood a few hundred yards east of the present hotel site; it was probably built before 1776 and continued to be used as a school-house until 1806. The second one stood on the east side of the road leading to Pompton Plains, about a quarter of a mile north of the present railroad station. It was a frame building erected about 1809, and was used there several years, and then removed into Passaic Valley, about a mile south of Beavertown corner, a majority of the inhabitants residing in that part of the district. It was used there only a few years, and was then sold, and another was built in a more central spot, near the site of the present building. This second building, erected in 1838, served the district until 1872, when it was removed to make room for the present one, which is a neat edifice of the modern style, having a cupola and bell and furnished with improved desks and seats.
At Pine Brook the first house known to have been built for school purposes was a log building about half a mile north of the present one, on the road leading toward Boonton; this was probably erected about 1760. The next, a frame building, was erected about 1785, and stood perhaps a quarter of a mile south of the present one. This second building was used a number of years, until an effort was made by the people of this district (a portion of whom reside on the Hanover township side), which resulted in a new school-house in Hanover township, near the present residence of Caleb W. Edwards. This location was not central, and after a trial of a few years the school proved a failure for want of support. A majority of the people desiring a building more centrally located, and of a size suited to accommodate the neighborhood for holding religious meetings on Sundays, the building in Hanover was abandoned, and a larger one was built on the northwest corner of the roads, nearly opposite the present school building. This was erected about the year 1816 and served the district until 1852, when the present one was erected, which has sufficient room and comfortable internal arrangements. David Young, who for so many years made the calculations for the "Farmer's Almanac," and who signed his name "David Young, Philom.," taught school in this district about 1820 or a little prior to that time. He was naturally gifted with great mathematical ability, and a love for the study of astronomy, but was rather eccentric and not very popular as a teacher. For many years he lived in this vicinity, at Hanover Neck, and was relied on by the people in this district to examine teachers applying for their school. Ezra Fairchild, who in 1827 had established a select school at Mendham, was induced by the great fame of Mr. Young as a natural mathematician to engage him as a special teacher in that branch of study; Mr. Young, although a perfect master of the subject in all its branches, was not successful as a teacher, because of his want of ability to impart his knowledge to his pupils.
In the Lower Montville neighborhood we are able to trace the location of six school buildings within the past hundred years. The first, a log building, was probably erected prior to 1769, and stood on the west slope of Horse Neck Mountain, nearly opposite the present residence of Azariah Crane. Levi Stiles, an octogenarian, says he has a distinct recollection of hearing his father tell that he went to school in this building to a teacher by the name of Marinus, who was a man of learning and ability and who occasionally preached, but that at times he would tipple, and that he used to say to the people, "You must do as I say, and not as I do." Mr. Stiles says his father was old enough to enlist, and did enlist in the war of the Revolution before its close; and hence we infer that it was about 1767 or 1768 when he attended this school taught by Marinus, and that the teacher was the first minister who officiated at the Pompton Plains church, and whose ministerial relation to that church was dissolved on account of his intemperate habits.
The next school building was also a log house, and stood about half a mile south of the present school-house, on the road leading to Pine Brook.
The third school-house, which was also of logs, with its broad open fireplace and clay and stick chimney, stood about 175 feet south of the present residence of Levi Stiles, and it was at this place, under a teacher named Simon Basco, that Mr. Stiles learned his letters; this school-house must have been in use from about 1790 to 1808.
The next one was a frame building which had been used as a store-house, and was purchased by the people of the district and moved on to a lot of ground leased for fourteen years from Dr. George Wurts. This house stood on the road leading to Pine Brook, about a quarter of a mile south of the present school-house. It served the district until the expiration of the ground lease, about 1824, when it was sold. For a few years after this the district was without a school-house and without a school. The first teacher employed in the first frame school-house in this district was Patrick Caffrey, who continued to teach till 1812. Mr. Stiles says he went to school to him, and has now in his possession a "cyphering book," which is well preserved and contains some fine specimens of chirography executed by this teacher. Mr. Stiles relates an incident which goes to show the natural hatred of the Irish race for the English government. One day Caffrey came from his school to Mrs. Stiles's, where he was then boarding, and taking the newspaper, which had just been brought in, began to read; in a few minutes he broke out very excitedly with the exclamation, "Glorious news! Glorious news!" and continued thus exclaiming until Mrs. Stiles asked him if he was crazy. "No, no," said he, "I am not crazy, but America has declared war against England, and that is really glorious news, and I am going to help the Americans fight the British;" and he did at once leave his school and enlist in the service of the United States.
About 1828 a lot of ground was obtained on the road leading across the Horse Neck Mountain, and on it a school-house was erected which served the district until 1872, when it was removed to make room for the present building, which is of sufficient size, neatly finished and provided with the improved school furniture.
The first building used for school purposes at Waughaw was of stone and stood at the corner of the roads a few hundred yards north from the Whitehall Methodist church. The second building was erected about the year 1830, at a point about a mile northwesterly from the first, and continued to serve the district until 1873, when the present building, neat and convenient in its arrangements, was erected on a spot more central in the district.
At Jacksonville there have been two school buildings on the same site; the first erected about 1825, and the second about the year 1854.
At Stony Brook, as far as we have been able to ascertain, there have been within the past ninety-six years three school-houses. The first was built of logs about 1785, a mile and a half south of the present one; the second, which was also a log building, stood near the site of the present house, and was erected about 1815; and the third, a frame buidling, was put up about the year 1834. In 1875 this house was thoroughly repaired and rendered almost as good as new.
At Pompton, since the establishment of a public school system, there have been two school-houses; the first, an old stone house, which was in use from the commencement of this district until 1855, when the present frame building was erected.
At Upper Bloomingdale the first school-house was built about the year 1839. It served until 1873, when a new house, of larger size, more modern style and better arrangements, both internally and externally, was erected.
CARE OF THE POOR.
We have no means of ascertaining exactly how the poor were cared for from the beginning of the settlement here up to the time when Pequannock township was formed, in 1740, and a record was started, in 1741. It is probable that the method of relief was similar to that found in use in 1745, and for eighty years subsequent which was to farm them out by selling them annually to the lowest bidder, who would agree to keep them for a definite sum and sustain all expense save the doctor's bill. The record of the first town meeting in Pequannock, in 1741, shows that two persons, Abraham Vanduyne and Henry Mandeville, were elected overseers of the poor. There is no record of any amount voted for the relief of the poor in that year or for several succeeding years; but there is some record of the making up of the accounts of the overseers of the poor at the end of the year. The amount of their accounts was small, and even as far along as 1760 the records show the amount of such accounts for the year was £10 4s. 1d., equal to $25.51. In that same year it was voted to raise £15 ($37.50) for the relief of the poor; in 1762 £30 was voted for the relief of the poor; in 1769 £30, in 1770 £50, in 1771 £100, and in 1780 £1,000 proclamation money. This seems a large increase, but when we consider that this proclamation money was current at only about one sixth of its face the advance in the poor rate will be seen to have been comparatively small. In 1782 the sum of £130 was voted for the support of the poor, showing that in the filling up of the settlements in this township, embracing so large an area, in the space of forty-one years the increase in the poor rate was only about $300. In 1788 it was voted that the poor be sold all in one place, and that the dog tax be for the use of the poor; the town records show that the town poor that year were sold to Casper Dod for £69 10s. ($173.75).
In 1812 it was voted that the paupers be sold all together to the lowest bidder, the person taking them to be entitled to the money arising from the sale of all estrays, and all fines that might be forfeited in the town that year, and required to relieve the town from all expense for paupers for one year, excepting the doctor's bill. The next year the town voted that the poor be sold separately to the lowest bidder, and that all of them able to be moved be brought to the place where they were to be sold on the Saturday next following town meeting. The plan of selling the poor all to one person not proving satisfactory it was abandoned, and the old method again adopted of selling the keeping of the poor to different individuals, the lowest responsible bidders. This method was continued for many years, until the people, impressed with more enlightened views, came to regard with abhorrence this plan of selling the poor, and concluded that some better method might be found of dealing with pauperism; at least more humane if not more economical. Accordingly in 1823, at town meeting, a resolution was adopted authorizing the town committee to receive written proposals for the purchase of a farm for the poor, and to report at the next meeting; and to advertise for that purpose in the county paper, the Palladium of Liberty.
This movement in Pequannock induced Hanover township, where a like project was under consideration, to invite Pequannock to join with it in purchasing a farm and erecting a poor-house. This offer of Hanover, being submitted to the people in Pequannock at the annual town meeting in 1824, was declined. At the same meeting the town committee was authorized to purchase a farm, not to exceed in cost for farm and utensils $3,000, and a resolution was passed to the effect that in case the township should be divided one half the purchase money was to be paid by the party holding the farm to the part of the township set off, provided an agreement should not be entered into to support the poor equally. That year the committee purchased a farm of about 163 acres belonging to the estate of William Alger, situated in Rockaway Valley, for $2,400. This farm had upon it an old-fashioned but quite roomy house, and the paupers were at once removed to it and placed under the care of a keeper. This was the end of "farming out" or "selling the poor" in Pequannock township. In 1825 at the annual town meeting a resolution was adopted vesting the whole charge of the township poor-house and farm in the overseers of the poor, who were authorized to appoint a keeper.
This continued to be the mode of providing for the maintenance and care of the poor in Pequannock township for about thirteen years. In 1837 the board of freeholders of the county resolved to purchase a farm and erect thereon suitable buildings to be used as a county poor-house, whereat should be kept all the paupers from the several townships in the county. This resulted in the purchase by the county of the farm and poor-house of Hanover township at Old Boonton, together with some additional tracts of land, in all about 240 acres, on which a building was erected specially for the purpose, which was opened for the reception of inmates in 1838. The total first cost of the lands, buildings and fixtures, farming stock and utensils, was about $17,000; since that the poor of the different townships have been supported and cared for at this establishment, and maintained by a county tax, assessed not according to the number of paupers from each township, but upon the taxable property. In consequence of this step taken by the county Pequannock township resolved to sell its poor-house and farm and send its paupers to the county house; and the township committee was authorized to that effect, and to execute a sufficient deed to the purchaser, and also to sell the moveable property upon the farm at auction. Accordingly on the 11th of April 1838, and at an adjourned sale, May 26th, the movable property on the farm was sold, amounting to $783.11, and the farm was sold to James Dixon for $3,000. Pequannock township at this time embraced a large extent of territory, nearly all of what is now Rockaway township, and all of what is now Boonton, Montville and Pequannock. After settling up all bills against the township, there was left on hand a balance of funds of $2,261.80. The people of the township voted to apply each year a portion of this fund toward the amount voted for the support of schools, and thus lessen the taxes. In this way after many years this surplus was used. At the time of setting off Rockaway township from Pequannock in 1844 there was yet a considerable amount of the surplus remaing, for the records show that in May of that year $1,157.91 of it was paid to Rockaway as its proportionate share
PATRIOTISM IN THE CIVIL WAR.
In the early part of 1861, when the southern States were organizing for open rebellion, had declared their purpose of setting up another government, and were preparing to fire on Fort Sumter, the people of Pequannock were not slow to manifest their loyalty to the republic and the unity of the nation. On every prominent corner and at every hamlet poles were erected and the national banner, that emblem of unity and liberty, was floated to the breeze. When President Lincoln after the fall of Fort Sumter issued his proclamation on the 15th of April 1861 for 75,000 troops to defend the national capital, the quota of Pequannock was promptly filled by volunteers. Proof of the great alacrity with which the people of New Jersey responded to this call for troops is found in the fact that Govenor Olden's proclamation was issued on April 17th and the state's quota of four regiments, was filled and reported ready within thirteen days ; and this was before bounties was offered for enlistment. Indeed, so great was the desire to enlist at the first call, and immediately after the filling of the first quota, that that many enlisted in regiments in New York and Pennsylvania. At each subsequent call for troops Pequannock township was prompt to respond in volunteers, and consequently was not subjected to a draft.
When the war was ended and volunteers were returning to their homes the people of Pequannock were not unmindful of their honored dead. About the first of June 1865 a meeting was called at Washington Hall in Boonton to consider what action should be taken in order to erect a suitable monument to the memory of those from Pequannock who volunteered and perished in the war. It was decided to have a grand and suitable celebration of the Fourth of July and to devote the proceeds toward a monument, and to that end a committee was appointed to canvass the township and ascertain the public mind. Everywhere throughout the township that committee met with a favorable reception and found an earnest willingness on the part of the people to aid in the success of the object. The committee reported at an adjourned meeting, and immediate action was taken to fully organize, to effect the necessary arrangements. It was decided to add to the interest of the occasion by the representation of a sham battle, and for that purpose to secure the aid of the returned soldiers, and for their use to procure from the State arsenal six pieces of artillery. The day was propitious, and at an early hour a large concourse of people, estimated at 5,000 or more, had assembled to witness the proceedings and participate in the enjoyments of the day. The exercises opened with the battle scene, representing the bombardment, the storming and capture of the rebel fort, which was executed entirely by the soldiers who had just returned from the real battle field, and so successfully in all its parts that it proved very pleasing and instructive to the multitude of spectators. Immediately after this the people assembled in a grove near by and listened attentively to an able and eloquent address by Major Z. K. Pangborn, of Jersey City. The day was pleasant throughout, the multitude orderly and pleased, and the celebration was eminently a success. The result financially amounted to over $2,500, from which deducting expenses--a little over $1,200--there remained a balance of $1,300 to be devoted to the erection of the soldiers' monument. This was at once invested in township and government bonds at six per cent., and the interest together with other additional sums kept invested until 1876, when it was found that enough had accumulated for the purpose, and a contract was made for the erection of the monument. A site was selected for it at an elevated point on the west side of Main street in the town of Boonton; the work was completed and the monument in position in time to be unvailed and dedicated with suitable exercises on the 4th day of July 1876.
The monument was designed and built by H. H. Davis, of Morristown, at a total cost, including foundation and inclosure, of $3,600. It is of Quincy granite and stands thirty-three feet high above the foundation. On the base, which is seven feet ten inches square, is the date of its erection, and above on the face of the die the following inscription: "Erected by the people of Old Pequannock in grateful remembrance of their fellow citizens who volunteered in defense of the Union in the war of 1861-1865."
During the late war Pequannock township furnished 888 men for the Union army, of whom 547 were volunteers and 341 substitutes. At first no bounties were paid, but toward the last bounties ranging from $300 to $600 were paid for recruits, which in this township made a large debt, amounting to $120,950, for which the township by act of the Legislature was authorized to issue coupon bonds. These bonds with the interest have been promptly paid as they became due. There now (1881) remains a balance of $19,950 of the principal unpaid, and the last bonds will become due in 1884. The act of 1867 dividing old Pequannock into three townships provided that the bounty debt should be under the control of a joint committee of those townships, and the necessary tax to meet the bonds and interest as they became due should be apportioned each year among the three.
We are unable to find any record of the number of those from Pequannock who enlisted and were killed in battle or died from wounds received or disability incurred in the service, but it is estimated that the number of such was equal to 6 per cent. of the number furnished, and that fully 6 per cent. more returned to their homes in a greater or less degree disabled. It is well known that after the war ended there were vacant chairs in many family circles, and numerous widows and children were thrown upon the government as pensioners. There were some families in which all the able bodied male members of suitable age enlisted in the service. The accounts of extreme suffering to which some taken prisoners by the rebels were subjected would seem almost beyond belief were it not that they had been fully corroborated by credible living witnesses. Charles F. Hopkins, now a prominent citizen of Boonton, enlisted early in the war, was wounded, taken prisoner and confined in the notorious Andersonville prison, from which after a term of great suffering he was released, reduced to a mere skeleton. Under careful treatment in a hospital, by reason of the remaining vitality of a naturally strong constitution he recuperated, and lives to tell of the horrid scenes of suffering he witnessed, where hundreds were crowded in that stockade amidst the greatest filth, obliged to sleep in the open air without covering, or for protection to burrow like beasts in the ground, and where some of his fellow townsmen suffered a lingering death from sickness and starvation.
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