James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 166 of 190)
Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 166 of 190)
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The family »a- early represi uted in this country in
the person of several eminenl divines and educational
instructors, who, bred in the sturdy faith oftheScotch
Pr< ibj terian I Ihurch, with all the breadth of thought
and scholastic learning thai is bo frequently mani-
fested by their race, full of aspirations alter libertj
of thought and action and complete religions free-
dom, sought the shun- of America as an asylum and
a home. They broughl in their hearts the hive of
. k)d, and camearmed with thai indomitable ambition,
perseverance, and energy that has stamped the im-
press of their individuality bo indelibly on the institu-
tions of America. The date of the firsl coming of
the family to this country was aboul 1720, and from
that period onward the Blairs and their relativ. • i on-
timie.l to come from Scotland and North of Ireland to
establish themselves on our shores. Bev. Samuel and
Rev. John Blair wereearly and prominently identified
with Presbyterian institutions in the United States,
and were both among the early mbers of the board

of tru.-lec- ..f the College ..I New .lei-. v. at Princeton.

The latter taught a classical school al Neshaminj
at an early period, was acting presidenl ol the Colleg.
ofNen Jersej in l7o7.pieee.liic.' Dr.Witherspoon, and
was the firsl professor of theology and \ ice-presidenl "i
iln college. Kev. Samuel Blair was elected president,
and resigned in favor of Dr. Witherspoon. Elizabeth
Blair, sister of Rev. Samuel and Bev. John Blair,
married Bev. Dr. Roberl Smith, an emigrant from In
land, and for many year- pastor of the Presbyterian
Church of Fequea, Pa., and was the mother of Rev.
Dr. Samuel s. Smith, the seventh president of the

College of New Jersey, and the grandfather of Hon.
John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky.

Hon. John 1. Blair was born on the banks of the
Delaware Biver, mar Belvidere, N. J., on Aug. 22,
1802, Hi- great-grandfather was Samuel Blair, and
his grandfather, who emigrated to this country some
tween the years L730 and L740, was John
Blair. Samuel Blair married into the family of Dr.

Shippen, of Philadelphia, wl wned a large tract of

land in Warren Co., N. J., including the mineral
lands at Oxford Furnace. Near this tracl John Blair
located and passed his life. He was a man of force
and character, engaged somewhat in lay-preaching,
taught school, and became the owner of much land

in the nei-hborl I of his re.si.h in e. He owned the

Beaver Brook property, aear Hope, of about five
hundred acres, lived on Scott's Mountain, near Ox-
ford Furnace, and married Mary Kline, of Greenwich,
N. J., of whom w.re born five sons, — namely, John,
Samuel. Jumes, William, and Robert. John Blair,
Sr., died in 1798, aged eighty-four years.

.lames the father of Hon. John I. Blair, was horn

a, Oxford, V.I.. on ing. 5, 1769. He passed his life
in tilling the soil, living principally on the Beaver
Brook property, where he owned a large tract of land.
anf j where he died on A.ug. 5, 1816. His wife was
Rachel, daughter of John In.-I.y. of Greenwich town-
ship, N. •!., who l.oie him Beven sons and three daugh-
ters,— namely, Samuel, now living at an advanced
< age at Chicago, 111.; William; John Lj Robert, a
merchant at Johnsonsburg, N. J. ; Jam.-, a leading
man at Scranton, Pa. ; Jacob M., who resides in Wis-
consin; David B., who died at St. Augustine, Fla.;
Mary, who married Benjamin Titman ; Catharine,
wife of John M. Fair, of Michigan; and Elizabeth,
who married Aaron H. K.-1-ey.a leading merchant of

Sussex County. Mrs. Blair died on Aug. 23, L857.

The life of John 1. Blair is n striking example of
how many and ureal things can l"' accomplished by
the youth of the country, even in the absence of aca-
demic or collegiate instruction, by the exercise of
industry, perseverance, and integrity in business life.
Born on a farm in Warren County, Ids life, until the
age of eleven year-, consisted of the ordinary routine

Of a farmer hoy- experience, working on the farm in

the summer season, and drinking in knowledge at the
neighboring district school in the colder month-.
Hi- school training ended at the age of eleven, at
which peri..,! he entered the store of his cousin,

Judge Blair, al Hope, N. J., to learn the mercantile

business. He remained there a number of years,
when, owing to the demise of his father, he returned

home for a time and assisted On the paternal farm.
In a Short time he returned tO mercantile life in

Hope, where he remained until about the year 1821.
During this time he passed one year in the store of
Squire Ji - De Witt, where he made himself espe-
cially useful, and where, being brought into close

contact with the form- and proceedings of law. the



method of collecting debts, compromising suits, and
the drawing of legal papers, he derived much prac-
tical knowledge of business life. At the age of only
nineteen he located at Blairstown, N. J., then known
as "Gravel Hill," and established a general country
store at that point, in connection with his cousin,
John Blair. After two years the partnership was dis-
solved, and trade continued alone by John I. Blair
before he was of lawful age. Here he remained for
forty years, attending closely to business and con-
stantly extending his trade. During this time he had
stores also at Marksboro', Paulina, Huntsville, and
Johnsonsburg, N. J., in some of which his brothers,
James and Robert, and his brothers-in-law, Aaron H.
Kelsey and John M. Fair, who were all successful
merchants, were partners.

During this long period of mercantile life Mr. Blair
was constantly enlarging his business connections
and unconsciously laying the foundation of his fu-
ture extensive and far-reaching business life. He
was largely interested in flour-mills, the manufacture
of cotton, in the general produce of the country
around, and wholesaled a great many goods to other
stores. He was postmaster at Blairstown for nearly
forty years.

It is not surprising that the growing business rela-
tions of Mr. Blair to the general commercial world
should gradually have drawn him into intimate busi-
ness connection with some of the largest enterprises
of the country. His acquaintance with Col. George
W. Scranton and Seldon T. Scranton commenced as
early as 1833 or 1834, when he assisted those gentle-
men to lease the mines at Oxford Furnace, N. J.,
which had been operated before the Revolutionary
war. Circumstances made it necessary for both to
remove to Slocum's Hollow, now Scranton, Pa., where,
on Oct. 1, 1846, was organized the Lackawanna Coal
and Iron Company, of whose mills Mr. Blair was one
of the proprietors, the others being the Scranton
Brothers, Wm. E. Dodge, Anson G. Phelps, Roswell
Sprague, L. L. Sturges, Dater & Miller, and George
Buckley. From that day, when these men of strength
laid the foundation of Scranton and set in operation
the furnaces and railroad mills there, until now they
have continued to be among the largest and most suc-
cessful works of their kind in the country. The same
company bought and rebuilt the road from Owego to
Ithaca, N. Y., and opened it for business on the 18th
of December, 1849. In 1850-51 they built the road
from Scranton to Great Bend, then called the Legget's
Gap Railroad, which was opened for business in Octo-
ber, 1851, thus securing by means of their New York
and Erie connection an outlet for their coal and iron.

In the fall of 1852, Mr. Blair and Col. Scranton
had a conference of several days' length at Scranton,
during which a plan was formed to separate the Log-
get's ( Jap or western division of their road from the
iron company and consolidate the former with a new
company, to be organized, and which was to construct

a road to the Delaware River. The latter was called
the Cobb's Gap Railroad. At the suggestion of Mr.
Blair, the appropriate and characteristic designation
of the " Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Rail-
road" was given to the consolidated road. Mr. Blair
located and procured the right of way for the road,
and the entire line, including the Warren Road with
its Delaware River bridge, the Vass Gap tunnel, and
a temporary track through Van Ness Gap, was opened
for business May 16, 1856. The Warren Road and
the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
now own the Morris and Essex Railroad, which, hav-
ing been double-tracked and improved as to grades
and curves, and almost entirely rebuilt by the pur-
chasers, is doing a business such as was never dreamed
of by its projectors. It is a part of a chain of roads
nearly seven hundred miles long operated by one
company, and reaching from New York City to Lake
Ontario, with branches to various points in New York
and Pennsylvania, the combined capital and cost of
which is probably one hundred millions of dollars,
and which transports nearly four millions of tons of
coal every year.

The organization and construction of the Warren
Railroad in 1853, in the face of strong opposition by
the Morris and Essex Railroad, evinces the great busi-
ness capacity and tact of Mr. Blair as a railroad man-
ager. Books of subscription were opened by the com-
missioners ; the requisite amount of stock subscribed
for ; directors and officers chosen ; the survey of the
route adopted, and the president authorized to file it
in the office of the Secretary of State ; full power
delegated to the president to construct the road,
and to make contracts or leases for connecting with
other roads ; and the right of way through important
gaps secured ; all within the space of two hours. Mr.
Blair was chosen president, and the next day but one
found him in Trenton filing his survey about one hour
in advance of the agents of the Morris and Essex
Railroad. The succeeding day saw him on the Dela-
ware securing the passes. One day later the engineers
and agents of the Morris and Essex Railroad came to
the same place on the same errand. The former had
already secured all the passes below the Water Gap.
The latter struck for those in and above the Gap, on
the New Jersey side, and paid exorbitant prices for
farms, right of way, and two river crossings. Their
vigilant competitor, however, caused the Delaware,
Lackawanna and Western Railroad to be constructed
through the Gap on the Pennsylvania side, and, cross-
ing the river several miles below, cut them off with
their high-priced passes and crossings on their hands.
A contest in the courts and Legislature of New Jersey
resulted in sustaining the Warren Road.

It would be beyond the scope and limits of a work
of this kind to pursue in further detail the various
railroad and business enterprises of Mr. Blair, who is
to-day one of the railroad magnates of America and
the controlling owner in a large number of wealthy



corporations. He i- the president of the Warren, the

Sussex, and tin- Blairstown I t:i i 1 r< >:i<l- of New J( rsi

and a large stockholder in the Delaware, Lackawanna
and Western Railroad. He is the main stockholder
of ten different railroads in Nebraska, Iowa, and Wis-
consin, comprising about two thousand miles in extent,
and is the veritable railroad king of the West. He has
obtained two million acres of land from the govern-
ment for railroads in that Bection, and is a director of
six land and town-lot companies in the West. He
was a member of the firsl board of directors of the
Union Pacific Railroad, and a mher of the execu-
tive and finance c nittees, and constructed the firsl

railroad through tin- State of Iowa to connect with

the Union Paeilir al < linalia. employing ten thousand

men for eight n ths. He has recently purchased

the Green Bay Railroad, to Winona, some two hun-
dred miles long, for two million dollars. He is a di-
rector of. the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Company,
lias been president of tie' Bclvideie N. .1. National
liank almost since its organization, in 1830, is the
main stockholder of the h'irsl National BankofCedar
Rapids, Iowa, and a director in the Scranton Savings
Institution, besides being inter sted in different direc-
tions in Bilver-mining and smaller business ventures.
In all his business transactions, comprising millions
of dollars, no one lias ever questioned the integrity of
Mr. Blair, nor successfully challenged his honesty ,,f
motive and purpose. He has ever manifested great
concern I'or the interests and rights of others, and has
been the donor of large gifts to private' and public
institutions. His personal donations have been sim-
ply enormous, including the sum of about seventy
thousand dollars to the College Of New Jersey, at

Princeton, of which he is one of the trustee-, includ-
ing the first endowment of a profi — or-hip. and fifty-
seven thousand dollars to Lafayette College. La-ton.

Pa., including the en. low nt of the chair of the

president. The Blair Presbj terial Academj . of Blair—
town, N. .1., has cost, including both buildings, about

one hundred thousand dollars, and was donated by

Mr. Blair to the Presbytery of Newton. The build-
ing is oi i the handsomest of its kind in the State,

i- heated throughout by steam, and is supplied
throughout with pure spring water and ha- every

modern convenience. Provision is made in the en-
dowment of the institution for the education of the
-on- ami daughters of ministers of the Presbytery
lice of charge for hoard and tuition. Mr. Blair's
other contributions to the cause of education and re-
ligion throughout the country have t prised thou-
sands of dollars. He bias ever assisted liberally in
supporting church institutions of various denomina-
tions, and in the eighty towns that he has laid out in

the West more than one hundred churches have been

erected largely through his liberality.

In politics Mr. Blair is a staunch supporter of
Republican principle-, but has found but little leisure
to indulge in political office-holding or to miic.de in
the affairs of political life. His sphere has been a
higher one, ministering alike to the prosperity of the

whole people and to the material and commercial

growth of the country. He was the candidate of the
Republican party for Governor of New Jersey in

In his domestic relations Mr. Blair is especially

happy, and his p lea-ant home at l!Iair-towii is the
abode of hospitality and comfort. He was married
on Sept. 27, 1827, to Ann, daughter of John I
of Frelinghuysen town-hip, N. J., and granddaughter
of a Revolutionary patriot. Capt. Locke, who lost his
life in the struggle for national independence, at the
battle of Springfield, N..I. The issue of the union

were four children, of whom De Witt Clinton Blair,

ol Belvidere, N. J., is the sole survivor. The others
were Marcus ],. Blair, Emma E., wife of Charles
Scribner, the publisher, of New York, and Aurelia
A., wife of Clarence G. Mitchell, of New York.

Perhaps it will not be deemed out of place to insert
In-rc the following published opinion of Mr. Blair in

regard to the Hon. Oakes Ames, it indicating alike

the warm regard of Mr. Blair for his friends and his

i in 1' pendence of judgment :

" I cannot close without expressing the high respect

I entertain for the memory of my late friend, the
Hon. (lake- Ames, now deceased. My dealings or
business connections with him amounted to millions
of dollars. A more In si man never lived. I was

on the Mis-ouri River when the new- of his death
leached that distant region. I left everything and
reached his place in time to take a final look at his
remains. He was the main pillar that carried the

Union Pacific Railroad through and made it a suc-
cess and a highway for the nations Of the earth to

pass over for all time. The patriotism of the nation
ought to raise a monument to hi- memorj on the
highest peak of the Rocky Mountains, in sight of the
line, to remind them of a second Samson, who died, as
Samson ol old, under the approbation of Providenci ."
Mr. Blair has M ow attained the ripe age of seventy-
eight years, but is -till hale and hearty, and still pur-
suing the busy round of his duties with all the energy

and force of hi- hard] Scotch nature. IB- i- still ex-
tending hi- business connection-, and is now a lead-
ing direct. .r in -.\.nl, en railroad- and president of
line,., besides many other companies, in active charge

ofaJlof Ms private affaire, and daily adding to his ben-
efactions. When he Bhall have passed away no man
in the country will have erected to himself more last-

ing ami imperishable monuments. The impress of

his individuality will he left for centuries on the land-
mark- and institution- of the eoiintrv.


This is one of the interior townships of the county,
and derived its name from the Moravian pioneers who
located here in 1769 and gave that name to the locality
in which they settled, which subsequently became
the village of Hope ; when the township was taken
from Oxford, in 1839, it was named Hope. It is
bounded on the east by Frelinghuysen and Independ-
ence, on the southeast by Mansfield, on the southwest
by Oxford and Knowlton, on the northwest by Knowl-
ton and Blairstown, and on the north by Blairstown,
and embraces 30.17 square miles, or 19,309 acres of
land. The population of Hope, according to the
census of 1880, was 1570.


The surface of this township is what might be termed
mountainous, instead of hilly. The Jenny Jump Moun-
tains cross it in a southwesterly direction, leaving its
territory in a little northwest of Green's Pond. Mount
Hermon, on its northwest border, is of such prom-
inence that the post-office at that place was named
in honor of it. All over the township may be seen
knobs of limestone lending their ill looks to the other-
wise beautiful landscapes and mountain scenery.

The soil along the valleys of the Pequest River,
Beaver and Muddy Brooks, and Honey Kun is very
fertile, while that upon the mountain-sides is of a
quality not to be highly recommended for its fertility.

Green's Pond is a beautiful sheet of water, one mile
long by half or three-quarters of a mile wide, and
named from the first settler in this township. It is
located in its southwest part, in School District No. 66.

Silver Lake, so named from the clear, silvery ap-
pearance of its waters, covers about 100 acres in the
northeast corner of the township. Reed Pond is a
small body of water a short distance south of Silver

Pequest River enters Hope at its southeast corner,
flows northwest a short distance, when it turns to the
southwest, and runs nearly parallel with the south-
east line of the township, and flows into Oxford.

Beaver Brook rises near the north border and flows
southwesterly through the village of Hope, thence
into Oxford.

Honey Run rises in Knowlton, flows southeasterly,
and empties into Beaver Brook a short distance above
Beatty's grist-mill.

■ By w. ii. Shaw.

Muddy Brook rises in Blairstown township, flows
southerly, and empties into Honey Run in the north
part of School District No. 68. Upon all these
streams are good mill-sites, some of which are occu-

North of Hope village, and along the Beaver Brook,
are 557 acres of what is known as "wet meadow."

About one mile southwest of Hope village, along
Muddy Brook, is a marl deposit, where it is said to be
four feet thick, under from two to four feet of muck.
An isolated slate locality is a hill west of the Hope
and Belvidere road, south of Honey Run. It is sur-
rounded by low meadow-land, in which, on the north
and east, the limestone crops out in occasional knobs.
In the meadow south of the hill no rocks are seen in
place, but south of the meadows the slate appears in
the high hills south of the road.


The pioneer settler of what is now the township of
Hope is supposed to be Samuel Green and family,
who came from Long Island about the commence-
ment of the French and Indian war. Just where
Mr. Green located is not positively known, hut is sup-
posed to be in the best, or what he considered to be
the best, part of the township, as he was a deputy
surveyor for the West Jersey proprietors, and was
supposed to know where the best locations were. It
is supposed by some that he located near Green's
Pond, from the fact of that sheet of water bearing
his name. It is presumed by others that he located
near what is now Hope village. Whichever place
it was, he was the owner of a large tract of land cover-
ing nearly or quite the whole of the present town-
ship. His family, being on friendly terms with the
Indians, who, being grateful (for once) for kindness
received at the hands of the Green family, warned
them of coming danger at the near approach of hos-
tilities ; so that they temporarily removed until the
war was over.

The next white settler of which we have any ac-
count was Sampson Howell, who in 1767 or 1768
came in and settled at the foot of Jenny Jump Moun-
tain, on the farm now owned by Jonah Howell, where
he built a saw-mill, and subsequently supplied the
Moravians with what lumber they required for their
buildings at Hope village. He was a man of great
versatility. He drove his farm and saw-mill, preached
when occasion required, and yet withal was a "mighty



hunter." He is said to have killed mure bears,
deer, wild turkeys, and other small game than any
other man in all this region of country, and has a
larger number of descendants in Warren < lounty than
any other one pioneer.

The next white settlers were the Moravian Brethren,
who came here in 1 7H'i from Bethlehem, Pa., and pur-
chased of Samuel ( Jrei'ii 1.VJI.I acres of land, for which
they paid £563, or about $1500, and founded the
ijie. Tlie \fora\ ians were a remarkably
honest sel of pec, pic, and wen- to be relied upon at all
times; but by trusting too much to the hone-t\ of
those with whom they transacted business they suf-
fered in their pecuniary affairs, and in
abandoned their Hope enterprise and returned to
Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pa.

The house and lan w on tied bj I reorge Scheiner

were the property of the -Moravians, and lie is helie\ ed

to be their only descendant left in this vicinity. He
ii lure in 1808, in the house where he uow
lives, which is one of the original and probably the
first house they built, a- this was their farm-house,
and his grandfather, Heinrich Scheiner, was the fore-
man on ilc farm and kept the accounts with farm-
bands or those that in any way had dealings with the
farm. Hi- old account-book is in possession of his
grandson, through whose kindness we are permitted

to copy the names of nearly or quite all the pi

against whom he had charges. The accounts were all
kept in German, and the amounts carried out in
pounds, shillings, and pence. The following are the

if t In- debtors :

Uloolm Dealer, Hal H ,J ibann Ilartiimiui,

Adolph li.itiimuiii, Elizabeth Dugycon, Abraham Belnke, John

loamec Brands,

Bonjaiiilu Decow, John Partner, Frederick

Lelnbach, Christian Till, John Bothe, Jacob Waltoweber, Jacob

Waan), David Walters, I B

Jobannus Oshnie, Jeamei Johnson, Petel Rixekker, Da»Id Haun,

William Howell, John! w, Stephen SI k Boliler,

James Hagenbnrg, Julm Weluland

Bamatelu, Jobau B I ! Helndck, Peter

1 i ner, Jr.

I he stone house of ( reorge Scheiner has tl riginal

front door, lock, ami key. The lock is rather an an-
cient-looking machine for fastening a door. It is of
wood, about 8 bj 12 inches square, - inches thick,
and bolted to the inside of the dom. and the key is
eight inches long. The house, like all the Moravian
houses built over .one hundred years ago, is on

high, with tWO windows and door in front and the

same in real, door in One end ami Iwo windows in the

other end, and a small window in each gable to admit
light and air n> the attic. The old-fashioned oven for
baking is built between the kitchen and front room,
facing the kitchen and protruding into the front room
or parlor, occupying about one-third of the room.
Mr. Scheiner has the original furniture, much of
which was brought from Germany in about iT-'iu or
17 1". Among the articles of furniture i~ a rocking-

chair of mammoth dimensions, yet is as comfortable

a- those of more modern architecture.

The farm of George II. Beatty is a part of a tract
of 9(J0 acres formerly owned by the Moravian-, and
Sold i" a man by the name of Kirkulf. of whom Mr.

Beatty's father purchased. The farm of Sarah Cook,
adjoining Mr. Beattj '-. i- also a part of the 960-acre

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 166 of 190)