PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY OF HUNTERDON coUXTY.
must accessible. Much of it i- arable and under good
Northeast of Bicklo's Mountain, at the distance of
five miles, is another group of eminences. The lofti-
est of these eminences is known as Silver Hill. Upon
its top and north slope it is quite rugged and stony.
Upon its southern slope the surface is more uniform
and freer from stone. Towards the southeast, at a little
distance away, Silver Hill is environed by a semi-
circular ridge of some prominence.
In many places between the several ridges thai ex-
tend across the county are valley- of more or less
local importance. But those demanding a place in a
general description id' the county are the Red Shale,
South Branch, Hound, ( icrman, I'.unn, Muscunclcong,
and the Delaware valleys.
RED SHALE \ LLLE1
Between the Sourland Bulge on the southeast, the
Hunterdon table-land, the crescentic ridge, the Foj
Hills, and the semicircular ridge on the northwest,
from the Delaware River to the elevations known a-
First and Second Mountain, extends a plain that
varies in width from six to ten mile-. Across this
plain, from Fisher's Peak northwest to the J [unterdon
table-land, extends a water-shed that divide- it into
That part west of this water-shed is known a- the
Bed Shah' Valley. The term red shale is applied to
this region because almost every where the soil thereof
is formed from the disintegration of the subjacent red
shale rock. This valley is a pail of (lie basin of the
The Bed Shale Valley is gently rolling, i- every-
where well drained, and is very well adapted to agri-
culture. The fertility of the soil, the ease of tillage,
and its capabilities to withstand the vicissitudes of
rainfall make it a most desirable section for the agri-
culturist. Nor ha- it been neglected. Perhaps in the
Atlantic States there is not another area so well
suited to the culture of inai/c wheal, and gra-s. and
perhaps there is not another area of equal size that IS
-o well tilled and -o productive.
SOUTH BRANCH VALLEY.
This valley embraces the lowland- that lie along
the South Branch of the Baritan from tin- narrows
between Bound Mountain and the Hunterdon table-
land northward to the narrow - between the Musconet-
i-ong Mountain and tin' Fox Hill-. In outline it i-
# \ery irregular. Its surface is gently rolling ami well
drained, its -oil i- well -uited to agriculture, and it is
BOUND \ Ml I V
This is a small area of laud parti] encompassed by
Cushetong and Pickle's mountain. Ii- situation is
singular, and. a- viewed from the crest of Pickle's
fountain, ii is a beautiful factor in a delightful land-
scape. Towards the northwest it communicates with
the South Branch Valley; towards the north with the
Bed shah- Valley.
That area of lowland extending along the South
Branch northwest ward between the Fox Hill- and
Schooley's Mountain is known as the ( icrman Valley.
At the lower extremity it is narrow. Indeed, at this
end it terminates in a deep ravine. Towards the
northwest it widens out, until at the distance of some
six miles above the ravine it is about two miles wide.
That part of this valley that lie- within the limits
Of Hunterdon County is well drained and Well suited
to agriculture. In it is an abundance of lime-tone,
which is extensively used as a dressing to the farm-
lands. The fertility of German Valley is far famed.
This valley consists of the lowlands extending along
the Mll-cnllctcollg Bi\er lietWeell the M ll-Colll ! c. il I g
Mountain on the southeast and the PohatCOng Moun-
tain on the northwest. This valley i- narrow, rolling,
well drained, abounding in limestone, well suited tO
agriculture, and is well tilled. This valley is cele-
brated for the excellency of its crops of wheat and
Along each side of the Delaware Biver from the
Falls of Trenton to the north limit of the Allegheny
(fountain is a narrow border of land but a few feal
above the surface of the river. These strips, a little
way from the river, are skirted by hills or mountains
that rise up more or less abruptly to the height, in
some places, of a hundred feet, in some place- a thou-
sand feet, in some places Still higher. In many places
i hi escarpments are mural, cliff-bike, Or craggy. In a
few places the strip of lowland extends hack from the
river to the di-tanee of a mile or more, gradually ris-
ing as it extends away.
The narrow and deep trough forming the bed of the
Delaware, its contiguous lowland borders, and the
slope Of the bills and mountains that skirt these
borders constitute the Delaware Valley.
That part of the Delaware Valley that lies within
the Hunts of Hunterdon County consists of a low,
narrow, irregular strip of land that extends along the
ea-t -ide of the river between Coat Hill on the south
and the mouth of the Mu-couetcong Biver on the
north. As a rule, tin- -oil i- sandj . loose, easy of till-
age, and very fertile.
I.I NS \ \ I 1 IV.
At the mouth of the llakihokake Bivulet the Dela-
ware Valley widens out and extends hack from the
rher to the distance of about -ix miles. '['his exten-
sion of the lowlands of the Delaware is known as
ft: \t\ LGB.
The main streams that serve as tin' drainage of the
surface of Hunterdon County are the Delaware,
HUNTERDON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.
which flows along its western border, and the branches
of the Raritan, that ramify like a network all the
central and eastern part of the county.
RIVERS AND RIVULETS.
THE DELAWARE RIVEB.
That part of the Delaware which flows along the
western border of our county abounds in rifts, is
swift, shallow, rocky, subject to great extremes of
depth, and in every way ill suited to navigation. In
it are numerous small islands, some of which are
tillable. In it, also, are numerous shoals.
Near the southern limit of our county is Wells'
Falls. This consists of a rapid and dangerous current
swiftly flowing over ledges of indurated shale that,
with interruptions, extend quite across the stream.
From the earliest times this site has been a terror to
the raft-men, and to such others as have at times sub-
sisted by managing crafts upon this stream. How-
ever, at last art has lent some aid, and now these
falls are much less to be dreaded than they were a
few years ago.
Some six miles above Wells' Falls is another shoal,
known as the Sow and Pigs. When the stream is
low this site is said to be dangerous, but during high
water this shoal can hardly be seen.
At Point Pleasant another ledge of indurated shale
extends across the river, rendering navigation danger-
ous, excepting during a freshet.
Near Ridge's Island is another ledge extending
across the stream, which from the earliest times has
been considered a place of danger. This is known
as Tumbling Dam.
Tributaries of the Delaware. â€” The Alexsocken is a
small rivulet draining a small basin by the same
name in the southwestern part of the county. It flows
into the Delaware near Lambertville. In the upper
part of its course it is a very rapid stream. It is fa-
mous for that species of fish known as sucker.
Vandolah' s Bill is a rapid and important little stream
that flows into the canal a little north of the rocky
knob called G-ilbo. It affords excellent mill-seats.
Wickecheoche is a strong, rapidly-flowing rivulet
that rises along the counter-brow of the eastern
part of the table-land and the southern slope of
Quaker Ridge and flows southwestward into the Del-
aware and Raritan Canal just south of the southern
terminus of the table-land. In the upper part of its
course it flows very sluggishly. Through the brow
of the table-land it has eroded a very deep ravine.
From this ravine to its terminus it is very strong and
flows very rapidly,
Lockatong is a rivulet that rises neat- the central
part of that district known as the swamp. It Hows
almost south into the Delaware River, a little north
of Huffnagle'B Island. It drains the western part of
the swamp. R has eroded a deep and dark ravine,
possessing many features of interest, through the brow
of the table-land.
Watford's Sill is a small stream that flows into the
Delaware opposite Ridge Island.
Copper Hill flows from the western part of the
table-land into the Delaware.
Little Nishisakawick and the Greater Nishisakawiek
are rills that flow into the Delaware at Frenchtown.
Harihohake is a rivulet that flows from the cen-
tral part of the barrens southwestward into the Dela-
Hakihokake is a rivulet that flows from the south-
ern slope of the Muscouetcong Mountain into the
Delaware at Milford.
Musconetcong is a small river that flows from Lake
Hopatcong southwestward into the Delaware. The
water of this stream is noted for clearness. It is the
home of the trout. In flow the Musconetcong is rapid.
Propelled by it are numerous mills, factories, etc.
This stream is the northern boundary of Hunterdon
BRANCHES OF THE RARITAN RIVER.
The Lamington is a small river that flows along the
eastern border of our county. Gold Brook is a rill
that is tributary to the Lamington.
North Bockaway rises in the highlands in Tewks-
bury township, and flows southward into the Laming-
South Bockawatj rises on the southern slope of the
Fox Hills, and flows eastward into the North Rocka-
Chambers' Brook flows from the eastern slope of
Pickle's Mountain into the North Branch of the Rari-
Hollands' Brook flows from the southeast slope of
Pickle's Mountain into the South Branch.
Campbell's Brook flows from the southern slope of
Pickle's Mountain southeastward into the South
The South Branch flows from Budd's Lake, in
Schooley's Mountain, southwestward, then southeast-
ward, then northeastward, till it joins the North
Branch to form the Raritan. It is a river of great
importance. Along it, and propelled by its waters,
are numerous flouring-mills, saw-mills, factories, and
the like. The flow of this stream is so gentle that it
is controlled with the greatest ease.
Spruce Rivulet flows from the southwestern slope of
Schooley's Mountain southward into the South
Mulhockaway is a rivulet that rises upon Jug Moun-
tain and flows westward into Spruce Run.
Cakepoulin flows from the barrens eastward into
the South Branch. ,
Bush Kill is a rill that is tributary to the South
Neshanic is a rivulet that rises upon the water-shed
that divides the Rod Shale Valley from the Delaware
Valley, and flows eastward into the South Branch.
Its flow is gentle. Its waters propel numerous mills,
etc. It has several important tributaries.
PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY OF BUNTERDON COUNTY.
Mine Brook flows from the eastern slope of the table-
land southward i the Neshanic, which also receives
the waters of Walnut and Sand brooks and Malard
As a rule, the rivulet- thai discharge into the Rari-
ian flow gently. Those thai discharge into the Dela-
ware flow slowly in the upper and longer part, but
very rapidly through the lasl part of the coursi I
a bed each has excavated a ravine, which in some
cases is rerydeep. This happens from the circum-
stance that the table-lands drained by the rivulets
flowing into the Delaware are skirted byslopes thai
are very steep. The Alexsocken in its course de-
scends about four hundred feet, although the length
of the stream is only about nine mil.-. The Neshanic
descends onlj aboul one hundred and fifty feel â–
though its course is over twenty mile- long.
'I'hi' permanent springs "I Hunterdon County arc'
numerous and excellent. The most famous, so tar as
known, are :
Martindale's Spring, mar I'.a-ultie Clilf, is not
affected hy the severest drought. The temperature of
the water is very little influenced by tie' heat of sum-
mer: in August a thermometer plunged into ii -i I
ai ..1 Fahr.
Spring on Basaltic Cliff farm is not affected per-
ceptibly bj th" severest drought; temperature in
August, 56Â° Fahr.
Spring near Fisher's Peak is not atl'eeted liy drought ;
temperature in \ ugnst, 60 Fahr.
The water of these springs is famous. In quality
i here i- very little difference.
Spring from which Vandolah's Kill flows is not af-
fected b) drought; temperature in August, 57 Fahr.
Spring in the h Is on it. Larison's farm i- perma-
nent; temperature in August, 56 Fahr.
Spring in J. S. Wilson's milk-house, above Head-
quarters, is permanent; temperature in Augu
Spring in tin- w Is below Headquarters, mar the
roadside, is permanent; temperature in August, 54Â°
Cold Spring, ai the still-house near Sand I '.rook, i-
permanent ; temperature in August, â€¢''-â€¢' Fahr.
The above springs all flow from sandy soils. In
everj case the water i- -oft and free from ferruginous
properties. The springs found in the loamy soils of
the Red Shale Vallej are generally much affected by
drought, f heir water is generally hard, and during
the summer ii becomes quite warm. I know of no
"spring surrounded by loamy orclayej -oil in the led
Shale Valley that in August has :1 temperature a- low
a- 6 1 Fahr.
In the swamp permanent springs are numerous.
The wain- of them i- generall] sofl ami somewhat
colored, ami vei\ much affected bj the heat of Bum-
1'pon the table-land north of the Quaker Ridge
the water of the spring- is general!) -oft, i 1, anil
clear. Indeed, this region is famed for the excellency
id' it- springs ami well-.
Although BUbjed tii great extremes in temperature
and humidity, the climate of Hunterdon County is
salubrious. The prevailing wind Mows from a point
a little south of west. At the beginning of a storm
the wind usually blows from the southeast. Although
this is the rule, to it there are many exceptions.
Sometimes during the whole time of a storm the wind
blows from the south. Indeed, our heaviest rainfalls
Often OCCUr when tin- wind i- blowing from this quar-
ter. An east wind without variation as to direction
frequently attends a storm. A northeasl wind is uol
common, but when it occurs it is usual!) very severe.
The wind- ni.i-l dreaded in Hunterdon an- th.-e
blowing from the SOUth ami tho-e blowing from the
In the main, tin' winds pass over the -urfaec of
Hunterdon County in such a way as to keep the at-
mosphere of each valley in proper commotion. To
this rule, however, there is one marked exception:
this is the valley of the Delaware. From the mouth
of the Earihohake Creek to Poinl Pleasant the river
flows al -t directly south ; from Point Pleasan! to
Brookville it flows east-southeast; from Brookvilb to
Well's falls ii flows south-southeast. Of this valley,
then, there are two section- w Inch are SO situated that
our most salubrious wind- (the westerlj i meet them
at almost right angles. It happens, too, that through-
out these sections the valley is deep, t >u both -ides
the surface rises up abruptly into bills ranging in
height from one hundred and fifty to three hundred
and fiftj feet. Hence, in its course the westerly
wind, passing from hilltop to hilltop, sweeps over this
narrow deep valley in such a wa) as to leave that
volume of air beneath the level of the hilltops undi -
turbed. In this quiet air of these sections of this
valle\ accumulate the ctlluvia of the aniiuaK both
living and dead, and the malaria incident to growing
plant-, a- well a^ to BUCh a> are undergoing decompo.
sitdon. Here then are lit habitats for bacteria and
spores, the germs of disease.
1 1 cue,-, in these valleys prevail epidemics,â€” malarial
[\\,r. scarlatina, diphtheria, and the like.
The atmosphere of these set tions of this valley is
Bubjecl i" greal extremes. During Bevert |
weather the thermometers ai Lambert* illeand French-
town shots a temperature Beveral degrees lower than
that upon the neighboring bill-. During extremely
hoi weather this i- reversed, and the temperature al
ib.-, iwo places is notably higher than ii is on the
upland- adjacent. This may be learned by examin-
ing the following figures, which -how the temperature
a i Lambert \i lie. ai Ringos, and ai Cherrj ville during
the cold morning of Jan. 29, 187 8. \t Lambertville
HUNTERDON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.
the mercury stood at sixteen degrees below zero ; at
Ringos it was ten degrees below ; while at Cherry -
ville it was only two degrees below.
The amount of pluvial water is not constant in
Hunterdon. From year to year it varies within nar-
row limits. To exhibit the status of rainfall as ac-
curately as possible, I will subjoin a table compiled
from the records kept at the Academy of Science and
Art at Ringos since the 1st of January, 1876 :
Depth in Inches.
1876. 1877. 1878.
January 1.16 3.09 4.34
B'ebruary 4.57 1.79 2.48
March 8.19 5.73 2.61
April 2.19 2.90 1.52
May 2.75 .95 3.98
June 1.77 4.85 3.89
July 4.99 6.03 3.94
August 1.36 6.37 4.54
September 6.22 2.99 6.52
October 94 8.46 4.50
November 5.44 6.61 3.46
December 2.53 1.04 6.00
42.11 50.81 47.78
GEOLOGY OF HUNTERDON COUNTY.
The rocks of Hunterdon County belong either to the
Archaean Age, to the Potsdam Epoch of the primor-
dial period of the Silurian Age, to the calciferous
epoch of the Canadian period of the Silurian Age,
to the triassic period of the Reptilian Age, to the
glacial period of the Quaternary Age, or to the mod-
ern era of the recent period of the Quaternary Age.
In Hunterdon County the area occupied by rocks
of the Archaean Age extends from the Delaware River,
a little south of the confluence of the Musconetcong
River with the Delaware, northeastward to the county
line. The northern border of this area is in the Mus-
conetcong Valley. At the Delaware the area is not
more than two miles wide ; at Spruce Run it is about
lour miles wide; east of this stream the southern
boundary extends southeast to Round Valley, making
the area between this valley on the south and the
Musconetcong on the north not less than eight miles
wide. From this point eastward to the county line it
Within the limits above cited there is an area of
limestone, a part of the German Valley limestone
formation. Along the northwestern border, except-
ing a short span, is the limestone of the Musconetcong
Valley. Upon the southern side is the Triassic area,
the Little York area of limestone, and the Clinton
area of limestone.
To this formation belong the Musconetcong Moun-
tain, Schooley's Mountain, and the Fox Hills. These
elevations form a part of that group of hills and
mountains that is usually called tin' Highlands. The
term Archaean, signifying " tin' beginning," as relates
to the time when the ' mountains were made, is more
expressive, and is the appellation by which we shall
call the group or system.
The rocks existing in this area are all stratified.
They are nowhere horizontal ; on the contrary, they
are very much inclined. Nor is the inclination regular.
At some places they are almost horizontal ; at others
they are almost vertical. In short, we may say that
the dip ranges from 0Â° to 90Â°. Of the Archaean rocks,
the strike in general is northeast and southwest ; the
Composition of the rocks. â€” The strata of the Archaean
area in Hunterdon County consist of gneiss and mag-
netic iron ore. A very lucid description of these rocks
is given by Prof. Cook, in the " Geology of New Jer-
sey, 1868," from which the following extracts are
"The term gneiss, in accordance with the usage of the country, is ap-
plied to any crystalline and stratified rock which is composed of feldspar
and quartz, with small quantities of mica, hornblende, magnetite, or other
simple mineral. Syenite and syenitic gneiss are the names frequently
and properly applied to this kind of rock. The gneiss of the Highlands
(Archaean mountains) is characterized by the almost entire absence of
mica. Feldspar makes up from two-thirds to three-fourths of the rock,
and the rest is mainly quartz. Hornblende is usually found in it in suf-
ficient quantity to affect the color, and sometimes it makes up the largest
portion of the rocky mass ; this, however, is not common. The quartz ia
generally in grains, which are flattened in the direction of the stratifica-
tion, and which in size range from an eighth to a half inch in the plane
of the stratum, and from one-sixteenth to an eighth of an inch in thick-
ness. In some coarse-grained specimens the grains of quartz are larger,
and not so much flattened. The feldspar varies in color and ease of de-
composition, and these peculiarities give tire prominent characters of the
rocks throughout the whole region. In some specimens the feldspar iB
so hard and unchangeable that it can easily be mistaken for quartz; in
others it isopaque, har6h to the touch, and crumbling; and in others still
it is entirely decomposed, and only a mass of soft earth, with the quartz
grains and the stratification, remains. The color of the feldspar varies
from the bluish and translucent to flesh-colored, white, and opaque, and
specimens of a greenish tinge are sometimes seen.
" No better idea of the varieties to be found in this rock can be given
than by a description of the species met with in passing across the for-
mation from one side to the other. The following specimens collected on
these sections will illustrate the point mentioned :
11 Delaware Ewer Section. â€” In the ledges exposed in the southwest end
of the Musconetcong Mountain the rock is generally a light-colored
mixture of feldspar and quartz, with a little hornblende. A few beds of
coarsely crystalline gneiss or gneissoid granite occur in the series. Of
ten specimens selected as representatives of the mountain, live are very
fine-grained, compact, grayish in color, and consist of feldspar, quartz,
and hornblende. Three specimens have the same mineral composition
and shade of color as the preceding, but are more coarsely granular. The
remaining two specimens are made up of quartz and flesh-colored feld-
spar in quite large masses. These, like the first-described rocks, are
compact and hard. Nearer Riegelsville a low cut along the railroad ex-
poses a greenish-gray gneiss, consisting of feldspar and quartz intimately
" Section along the Central and Warren Railroads, â€” Three specimens from
railroad cut west of Lebanon : (1) One feldspar and hornblende in equal
proportions, with scarcely any quartz ; (2) One (prevailing typo) feldspar,
with small percentage of quartz and very little hornblende; (3) One
hornblendic, fine-grained, with considerable plumbago. These aro all
friable, and known commonly as 'rotten rock.'
" Central Railroad Out emit of High Bridge : four specimensâ€” One a gran-
itold mass of coarsely crystalline feldspar and quartz, with scales of gra-
phite: this is firm and solid; one hornblende and feldspar in Bmall
grains, crumbling; one (type specimen) feldspar and quartz, hard and
tough; one feldspar, quartz, and hornblende, coarsely crystalline, and
compact, witli scales of graphite through it.
"In railroad cut next west of High Bridge the common variety of
rock is a mixture of quartz, feldspar, and hornblende in small graiuB,
disintegrated. From the cut about one milo northwest of High Bridge
PHYSICAL GEOGBAPHY AND GEOLOGY OF HUNTERDON COI'NTV.
two specimens: one light colored and Bne-gnUned, feldspar and bom-
hhndi', lln- foriuci in f\Â«'i - - ; ..m>' .lark- ..[..Â« .-I ami fi n â– _ i ..i'i< >i h-ld-pai
Mid hoi ablende, but with the latter In excess. Both specimens In Beams,
Hi tu and solid, another specimen contained magnetite, i" thecal near
Clarksvllle one specimen, consulting of a greenish feldspar, with quartz
in irerj imall grains, almost amorphous ; rocli tough and toT the common
" North of the railroad, at Bnnghart*a Copper ttlne, tlio rocl I â– <â– â– 'â–
colored and rerj fine-grained, and contains copper pyrites scattered In
small strings through It, At the cul aost of Hampton Junction two
varieties were obtained,â€” one a coarsely crystalline mass of feldspar and
qui abb ode, light-colored and slightly decayed ; the feldspar i* chalky ;
â– feldspar, hornblende, and a little quartz, ;< : I; In this