Newark and back. That was a great day. You should have seen the folks
turn out in their carriages !
In those days we used to spin and knit. After a while folks would go
to Mill Brook and get cards to spin, instead of carding the wool at home.
The women would make broadcloth of wool at their homes, then take it to
the fulling mill at Mill Brook to be finished. They took the cloth home and
tailors would come and make it up into suits. Mr. Folliet from Connecticut
was a tailor who married a sister of John O. Hill. He would go and stay
at a house a day or two or a week and do their tailoring. Then he would
visit another family. This was called "whipping the cat." Things were
diflFerent in those days. Here is something that my mother used to repeat
to us. She was quite a scholar, said Mrs. Fichter.
Alas to me! how times has changed since I was sweet sixteen,
When all the girls wore homespun frocks and aprons neat and clean !
Their bonnets made of braided straw were tied beneath the chm.
And shawls lav neatly on their neck and fastened with a pin.
Bnt now-a-davs voung ladies wear French gloves and Leghorn hats
That takes up half a yard of sky in coalhod's shape or flats.
And when the men w^as out to work, as sure as Vm a sinner.
I've jumped upon the horse, bareback, and carried them their dmner.
But now young ladies are so shy they'd almost faint away
To think of riding all alone in wagon, shay, or sleigh.
And if the storm grew bleak and cold, the boys and girls together
Would meet and have most glorious fun, but never mmd the weather.
In these days bread thev do not make, they will not knead the dough
For fear 'twould soil their lily hands, but sometimes they make cake.
Note: Who can make the last two lines rhyme?
I suppose you never went to High School when you were young?
When did your school days end? I stopped going to school when I was
about 14 or 15 What did vou do thenâ€” helped mother, I suppose. Yes,
there was plenty to do. Tell me all the things you learned to doafter you
left school Well, there was sewing, and I could spm and knit, besides
milking, churning, darning, feeding the chickens. I could wash and iron
and starch the clothes, make pies and cakes, bake, make bread, and break
the heifers to milking. One spring I broke three heifers to milking, so that
thev were quiet and gentle. Then I would feed the calves and hens gather
berries in their season and dry them. We didn't have any canned fruits
MORRIS COUNTY 409
then. We made preserves and dried fruit. We had splendid applies, nuts to
crack, the best of everything. We lived just as well then as we do now or
better. My father never kept less than five cows and he would keep thirty
sheep besides. Sometimes dogs would kill half the sheep in one night.
There were a good many sheep around here. Everybody kept sheep and
used the wool to make clothing and blankets. When any one killed a sheep
for the meat he would quarter it, and the neighbors would each take a
quarter. Then when a neighbor killed a sheep he would pay back.
In the spring they used to have clam classes and shad classes, didn't
you ever hear of them? No, I've heard of a good many kinds of classes,
but never heard tell of a clam class. Why, it was this way. When father
carted a load of charcoal from Dover to Newark, sometime when farm
work was slack â€” Did they make charcoal in those days? Yes, they used
a great deal of charcoal for forges, in making iron, and farmers would
burn a lot of charcoal and stack it up and then take it to Newark, as I was
saying. My father often took a load to Newark and brought twenty dollars
back. On the trip home he would bring back a thousand clams or two or
three bushels of oysters or a load of shad. He would sell some along the
road on his way home and then divide with the neighbors. When one of
the neighbors took his charcoal to town he would do the same and pay back
for what he had received. In this way a few neighbors would make a clam
class. They would help each other in this way.
And when any one wanted to build a house, a log house, the neighbors
would all come, bringing logs already cut to the right size and length, haul-
ing them in with their ox teams, and in three days they would have a house
built and the family living in it. Generally there wasn't any cellar. The
floor was a little above the ground.
Winter evenings you would go over and spend the evening with a
neighbor, and then they would take their turn visiting you. Folks used to
have these neighborly ways and be friendly.
Once a family left their house for a day. When they came back it
was burnt to the ground. They never knew who did it. The dog had been
left chained at the house. After that when a certain man came to the house
that dog would fly at him as if he wanted to tear him to pieces. They al-
ways thought that the dog had a reason: perhaps he knew who set the
house on fire. No fire companies then. When there was a fire every neigh-
bor snatched up a pail, filled it with water at the spring and ran with it to
the fire. There might be twenty pails of water carried to the fire. But the
house generally burned down. There were very few fires in those days.
Cows used to graze on the common. What do you mean by the com-
mon? Why, any land that wasn't fenced in. People would only fence in
what they used. One man at Longwood had 1.800 acres, but he only
fenced in 400 acres. The rest was common, for cattle to graze.
Mrs. Fichter sang me a political song that she remembered. I cannot
report the music. The words were as follows:
When young Democracy awoke
They called for Dallas and for Polk,
The people all, from hut and palace,
Responded" â€” Give us Polk and Dallas.
Hurrah! hurrah for Young Hickory
Tennessee 'will win the victory!
4IO NEW JERSEY
(Prest. Jackson was called Old Hickory for fighting in a hickory wood at New
Orleans. Hickory poles were set up by the Democrats as their sj-mbol and ash
poles by the Whigs.)
Our wheel has gained another spoke
By nominating James K. Polk;
Now we'll drive o'er hills and valleys
And win the race for Polk and Dallas.
The Great White House we have bespoke
The next four years for James K. Polk;
John Tyler must vacate that palace.
Gold spoons and all, for Polk and Dallas.
Mrs. Fichter's grandfather, Daniel Ayres, and his wife both sang in
the choir of the church at Rockaway. Daniel Ayres's mother was Annie
The familiar story of General Winds and the sheep was then narrated.
The place where General W^inds turned and called to Hiram to "hold his
hand" was by John O. Hill's place on Pigeon Hill.
When she briefly referred to Dicky Brotherton, Mrs. Fichter quoted
his words in a serious voice, just as if she heard him speaking, "We must
do right." Once she attended a Quaker funeral. It was the funeral of
Aunt Katie Forgus who lived on the hills above Dover. Aunt Kate was
a sister of John O. Hill's mother. The Quaker women were there in their
Quaker bonnets. They sat quietly and moved their lips as if they were
praying. Dicky Brotherton was there. After sitting quietly for a time,
Dicky Brotherton rose up and said, "It's time we're going," and they all
rose and left the house.
The old house at East Dover at the cross roads was the Conger house.
David Conger was a soldier in the Revolution. Squire Stephen Conger
lived there. People used to come here to get married. Bride and groom
would ride up, both seated on one horse, as the custom was. They would
alight and ask the Squire to marry them. Once it was so late that he had
to look at the clock to see whether it was today or the next day, so as to
get the date right on the wedding certificate. And once the bride, on ar-
riving at the door, refused to go in and be married, although the roast
turkey was ready for the guests and the wedding banquet prepared. The
guests made away with the banquet, just the same.
One of Mrs. Fichter's schoolmates at the Union School was Thornas
Crittenden, who later became a physician. He used to be up to boyish
tricks, such as egging on her brother to wrestle with another boy, much to
her distress, when she was a little girl. She would rush in between the
legs of the contestants and rescue her brother's straw hat, so that it should
not be trampled on. People had to make their own straw hats in those days.
She reminded the doctor of this one day when he attended her in later
years. Yes, said he ; you were a good little girl, and I was a bad boy. This
he said gravely without attempting to argue the question.
Did you ever hear of an oven on stilts? This is how folks used to
make them anywhere in the open air, except in the road. They were used
chiefly in summer, and would be used by all the neighbors around, in turn.
First four crotched sticks were set up. 2. Put sticks across, making a sup-
port for what follows. 3. Put sods on these sticks. 4. Put three inches of
MORRIS COUNTY 4"
earth on the sods. 5. Put flat stones on this. 6. Build an oven of loose
stones, daubed with clay, making an arched top, covered over and closed
in, with an opening or mouth and a hole opposite to make a draft through.
7. Make a wood fire in the oven. 8. When the oven is hot take out the
ashes. 9. Put in bread to bake or roast pig or what you will. 10. Bake for
an hour or more. The walls of the oven are made ten or twelve inches
thick and it retains the heat very well, in summer. They used rye bread.
Another way that they had for baking in the house and in winter was
to use what they called a pie pan. This was set on the hearth of the large
open fireplace, and consisted of a large iron plate set up on legs about as
long as your fingers. There was a rim about four inches high around this
plate and a lid was made to fit on this. The lid had a rim raised about three
inches and in this lid were put the coals of a wood fire. Coals were also
put under the pan and around it. In this way bread could be baked in the
pan, pie or cake was baked, or whatever you wanted. This was very much
used in the days before Richardson and Boynton located their stove works
in Dover and began to turn out the Perfect Cooking Range.
There was once a wedding at Schooley"s Mountain and an oven on
stilts was made to prepare the wedding feast. The roast turkey was placed
in the oven and other goodies, to be baked for the occasion, but some rude
fellows put poles under the oven and carried it away. They helped them-
selves to what they wanted and then brought it back again.
John Gordon Fichter, the husband of Mrs. Sarah A. Fichter, was born
in 1821. The Morris Canal went through here in 1823, when he was a baby.
The first Fichter to come over from the old country was Friedrich
Fichter, from Elsko, near France. He was thirteen weeks on the voyage.
His wife stepped on a nail which pierced her foot on shipboard and she
suft'ered terribly. He took his handkerchief and gathered some fresh cow's
dung (they had a cow on the ship) and applied it warm to his wife's foot.
This at once relieved her pain. She fell asleep and was cured.
John Jacob Faesch (Fesh) was a great man out here in Morris county.
He used to go to New York on business and while there would visit the
ships that came in with passengers. He left word with a man who kept a
lodging house for the new comers from the old country to let him know
when anyone came over from Germany as he wished to help his country-
men to find work and settle down in the New World. When Friedrich
Fichter landed this inn-keeper informed Mr. Faesch. Fichter was a forge
man and John J. Faesch had work for such. He brought Fichter and his
wife to his works in Morris county. Fichter's wife died soon after and her
newly born child died. At this Fichter was very much downcast and
wished to return to Germany. He felt like a stranger among people of a
strange language. Mr. Faesch begged him to stay and offered him an in-
crease of wages if he would stay three months even. He stayed three
months. Again Mr. Faesch raised his wages and got him to stay three
months longer. Meantime some of the men took him over to a German
dance where he could meet persons who spoke his language. He met a
young woman, about sixteen years old and they advised him to ask her to be
his wife. She, however, would not allow a stranger to say anything to her
on that subject. He still thought of her. One day he went on horseback
to attend another dance where she might be present. He had to pass through
a toll gate. This young woman was stopping at the toll keeper's and the
wife of the toll keeper, being busy with her children asked this girl to go
down and attend the toll gate for her. Just then this Friedrich Fichter
412 NEW JERSEY
came along on horseback and spoke to her when he recognized his new
acquaintance. This time she spoke to him in his own language. They
saw each other more frequently and he soon married her. She became the
mother of the Fichters, a tribe that now stretches from ocean to ocean in
The Spinning Visit was one of the neighborly customs of Mrs. Fichter's
younger days. One year one neighbor would raise a field of flax, another
year some one else would do so. This flax had bolls or seeds on it. These
had to be removed. They could be used to sow for another crop. They
could also be boiled and used to feed to calves. The flax stalks had to be
crackled or broken and dressed. The stalks were then put to rot under
snow and water, which softened the stalk and loosened the inner part from
the coating. The flax was then knocked or struck on an upright board in
such a way that the inside of the stalk would break and drop out, leaving
the flax fibres in the hand. These fibres were used to spin into linen thread
and make clothing. In the spring of the year the neighbors would come
to the house of the one who had raised a field of flax the previous season.
They would come and spin with glee on an afternoon and have a dance at
night, when the men joined them. Where could they find a room suitable
for dancing in those days? They did. There was one large house that
was a favorite for this purpose, Cornelius Blanchard's, near the Asylum. It
stands there yet. This is a large house and it had a big garret that was not
divided by partitions. Here the young people would gather and dance by
candle light to the inspiring music of the fiddler, probably some neighbor
who excelled in this art. They danced the old fashioned dances and were
very orderly about it. If any one undertook to be rude or unmannerly to
the girls there were always plenty of brothers and friends at hand to see
that they were treated with due respect. What were the names of these
old fashioned dances? Oh, there was Straight Fours, and Now I'm March-
ing to Quebec, and the Virginny Reel, and Zep Coon, the Romp, a regular
breakdown in which everybody joined and danced around in a circle quite
There were no pianos. People used to line out the hymns and sing
without an organ. Henry Extell used to be a school teacher and he was
also a very good singing teacher and taught singing school in these parts.
Sometimes there were exhibitions in which pieces were spoken, often funny
pieces, and the people enjoyed the simple wit of a Robin Rough Head who
proclaimed that were he lord of the land he would have no more work.
Everybody should have plenty of money and just enjoy himself without
working. Then this was acted out on the stage. Or some one who said
he had traveled around the world would tell of the wonders he had seen.
Mr. Traveler would tell how they were sailing on the Red Sea and when the
anchor was let down it hooked up one of the wheels of Pharaoh's chariot
when they hoisted anchor. The old lady in the play said she could believe
this, for she had read about Pharaoh's chariots in the Bible and knew they
were lost in the bottom of the sea; but when the traveler went on to tell
about the Flying Fish that he had seen, she put him down at once as a
liar, for she had never heard of anything like that.
It is said that Mrs. Fichter has a number of stories about Morris
county in the Revolutionary War, which have been handed down in the
family. She has a very lively memory and has an intelligent grasp of the
Where the Josiah Hurd Home once stood
View in front of the Josiah Hurd Home
Courtesy of Kussfll T. Westlirook
MORRIS COUNTY 413
About the Hurds :
603 Coronado St., Los Angeles, Calif., October 14, I9i3-
My dear Mr. Piatt : The information given you by Mr. James Hurd in regard
to the Hurd family is authentic. Josiah Hurd, the first Hurd to settle in Dover,
had a large family of children, one of them was the Moses Hurd you speak of.
There must be some mistake about the date of his working the Jackson forge. My
mother's father was Josiah Hurd Jr., being the youngest son of Josiah Hurd. The
original Hurd homestead is still standing in the field on the left hand side of
Blackwell St. as you go west, just above the Ross place. The original John Hurd
house was built by another son of Josiah Hurd Sr.
I remember hearing that the house now standing was built where the old house
that was burned had stood. My mother said that Dover was first called "Old Tye."
How the story originated that a Hurd from Dover, N. H., named or changed the
name to Dover, I never heard her say. I am sorry now that I did not pay more
attention to the things my mother used to tell in regard to the early days of the
place, for she remembered many interesting things she had heard of the history of
the village. I do recollect mother's saying that when she was a child the road from
Dover to Mine Hill ran in front of her home and not in the rear, as it now does.
My grandfather, Josiah Hurd Jr., inherited the homestead and a hundred acres
with it. I presume you have read the articles that Rev. Joseph Tuttle of Rockaway
wrote about Morris County. * * *
Harriet A. Breese.
The Chrystal House :
28 Franklin Place, Summit, N. J.
Mr. Chas. D. Piatt: I don't know as I can tell you very much about the
Chrvstal family, but will do the best I can. My mother-in-law came when a bride
to the old homestead which now stands on Penn. Ave. and all her children were
born there â€” four boys and one girl. John, Lawrence, William and Nancy. Nancy
married Chas. Lamson. None of the children are now living, but there are eight
Mv husband's name was George Chrystal. I have three childrenâ€” two boys and
one girl. John left two children â€” both of whom are living. â€” John in Chicago and
Martha in Wheeling, West Virginia. William has one girl living in Oak Ridgeâ€” Mrs.
Later, Patrick Chrystal built the new house on Morris St., now owned by John
Spargo. After his death, his widow returned to the old home that now stands on
Penn. Ave., the new house having been sold to Jifr. John Hoagland, and afterwards
to Mrs. Byram. Patrick Chrystal did not live more than three or four years in the
new house. This is about all that I can tell you.
LovDiE F. Chrystal.
Note: Major Byram tells me that the first street signs erected had
"Pennsylvatiia Ave." on them, afterwards shortened to "Penn Ave."
THE DOVER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
A series of interesting papers from the pen of Miss L. B. Magie, from
the Dover Index, Friday, March 8, 1895.
First .Article from the Dover Church News for March :
For one hundred and thirteen years after the first settler built his house and
his forge within the limits of what is now the city of Dover there was no church
organization here. This does not mean, however, that the inhabitants were wholly
deprived of religious privileges. The Presbyterian Church of Hanover, the first
church in Morris County, was established at Whippany as early as 1718; and during
the next fifty years several other churches were built within riding distance, and
some within walking distance f'om this place.
The Quaker meeting-house near Millbrook, the Presbyterian Churches of Succa-
sunna. Rockaway, Mendham, Chester, Parsippany, Morristown and Madison were all
organized before 1765. The Baptists at Morristown. the Congregationalists at
Chester, and the Lutherans at German Valley also erected houses of worship during
this time. .,,,,. â€¢ â€¢ t â€¢
In the latter half of the eighteenth century the Methodists were active in this
county, their headquarters being'at Flanders. They went about preaching the Gospel
and holding meetings wherever they found opportunity; but as late as the year 1800
thev appear to have made no impression except an unfavorable one in Randolph
414 NEW JERSEY
township, judging from the testimony of the Rev. Thomas Smith, a preacher stationed
on the Flanders Circuit. He tells his story in the Christian Advocate, many years
after the incidents occurred. It is substantially as follows: Mr. Smith and his
colleague, the Rev. Aaron Owens, made several attempts to hold meetings in Dover,
but without success, except that Mr. Smith did, on one occasion, obtain a room in
an old house, where he preached one sermon to a few elderly ladies. An attack
was made on the life of Mr. Owens. He was "mobbed" on the road, and "treated
In December, 1799, a gentleman of Dover invited Mr. Smith to make him a visit,
and to preach. The appointment was made, and in January of the year 1800 Mr.
Smith once more entered the little hamlet. He was met by his friend,' who told him
that there could be no preaching; any attempt of the kind would cause a riot, and
the house would probably be pulled down. Others came up and confirmed this
statement. Mr. Smith assured the people of Dover that they should see his face
no more until they met at the judgment seat of Christ. Although the weather was
extremely cold he left the place at dusk, and rode to his next appointment, sixteen
The beginning of the present century brought many changes. In 1792, just
before the rolling mill was erected, there were but four dwefling houses and a
forge in the village; in 1808, the place was of sufficient importance to warrant
the opening of a hotel, or tavern, as it was then called. There was also a black-
smith shop, and several stores were opened before the century was far advanced.
In 1826 the village was incorporated, and it has continued to grow rapidly ever
since that time. The completion of the Morris canal in 1831, and the establishment
of a bank in 1832, greatly aided the growth of the town.
When Barriabas King was installed pastor of the church of Rockaway and Sparta,
in 1805, his parish included Berkshire Valley and Dover. He had a preaching appoint-
ment here once in four weeks; and through his influence a Sabbath school was organ-
ized in 1816, which has continued without interruption until the present day. The
importance of this work can hardly be over-estimated, considering that it was under-
taken nineteen years before any church organization was formed, in a village just
beginning to show signs of rapid growth.
The first article of the constitution of this "Society for Promoting Religious
Knowledge" was: Every adult person becomes a member by subscribing to pay
semi-annually one cent a week. And every child, or minor, becomes a member by
subscribing to pay half a cent a week.
The money raised in this way was to be used for the purchase of tickets and
books for the school, and to buy religious tracts for general distribution. This was
four years before there was any post office in Dover. Tracts and other reading
matter being not easily obtained were more highly prized than at present.
After the lapse of nearly eighty years it is not to be wondered at that none of
the founders of the Sabbath school are left on earth. Their names are known to
us in their descendants, and some of them may be given here: Benjamin Lamson,
Stephen Conger, Charles Hicks. Titus Berry, (grandfather of the present elder),
Harriet Canfield. Moses Hurd, Elizabeth Hoagland, John Vail ("afterward mis-
sionary to the Cherokees), John Seeley (afterward a minister), Jacob Lawrence,
Thomas Coe. Hila S, Hurd (afterward Mrs. Breese). Mrs. Breese continued to take
an active part in this good work for more than sixty years, and her interest in it
was strong until her death.
Second Article from the Dover Church News for April :
The Sunday-school and the prayer-meeting went hand-in-hand, steadily doing
their work. Young people who grew up under these influences knew their value, and
were ready to give time and money to extend their powers. We find that in 1836,
with a population of about three hundred, Dover had in the Sunday-school one