James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 61 of 190)
Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 61 of 190)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


wesl ii joins the crystalline limestone. The boundary
along the mountains on the east runs nearly in the
same direction as the road from West Vernon to Ver-
non and New Milford. South of Vernon it is at most
points a short distance above the road, the limestone
showing itself at intervals above it. It is over an
eighth of a mile east of Vernon on the side hill, and
continues about that distance from the Warwick road



for two miles. Gradually approaching, it crosses this
road near a large spring, and then for half a mile
northeastward keeps on that side of it. Again cross-
ing to the east side, it runs to the State line a short
distance southeast of New Milford. Throughout most
of the area embraced within these bounds the surface
consists of meadow and drift hills and ridges. The
actual limestone surface is considerably less than that
of a more recent age.

The southeastern portion of the Kittatinny valley is
occupied by a belt of limestone bounded on the south-
east by the Azoic formation, and on the west by the
slate. The latter rock is also found within this belt,
forming a narrow ridge east of Lafayette and Newton,
and a shorter range of outcrop in Green township,
terminating near Johnsonsburg. This limestone belt
crosses the State line and terminates near Mapes
Corners, south of the New York and Erie Railroad,
in Orange County. In New Jersey its length from
the New York line to the southwest end of Jenny
Jump Mountain is thirty-eight miles. Its breadth
varies from a scant half-mile to nearly five miles, in-
eluding the slate ridge. The outcrops of the rock are
very frequent, excepting in those portions occupied
by wet meadows and the alluvial district known as
German Flats; these comprise a large proportion of
the whole area. The remainder of the surface shows
many ledges and upturned edges of the limestone; so
that the determination of its boundaries is compara-
tively easy. The marked contrast between the rough
and uneven limestone surface and the smooth, rounded
slate hills assists very materially in tracing the lines
of their separation.

The valley of the Paulinskill is a long anticlinal
limestone valley, extending from near Branchville to
the Delaware River at Columbia, — a distance of twenty-
five miles. Its breadth varies from one to two and a
half miles, and it is bounded on all sides by the slate
formation. The limestone of this valley dips from a
central axis each way towards the slate, the latter
forming the higher grounds which border the valley.

FOSSILIFEROUS LIMESTONE.

This is known in the New York system as the
Trenton limestone. It lies between the magnesian
limestone and the Hudson River slate. It is found
only in one particular belt in New Jersey, which
stretches across the counties of Warren and Sussex
from near Belvidere to the New York State line.
There is no one place known where its meeting with
the limestone below or the slate above it can be plainly
shown, and it probably shades into them gradually.
The rock is thin and rough-bedded, and readily breaks
into small pieces ; so that it is difficult to obtain it in
large masses. The stone is dark-colored, crystalline
in fracture, and full of indistinct fossils.

West of Stillwater, near the slate, there is a hill of
this fossiliferous limestone. The outcrop is crossed
by the road from Stillwater to Millbrook. The stone






PHYSICAL FEATURES OF SUSSEX COUNTY.



241



hi re i- grayish blue in color and thin-bedded in its
upper portion. About a mile north-northeast of this
locality occurs another area of this rock, very similar
in character and position ; and it is also seen on the
farm of Oil. William Babbitt, southwest of Newton,
and "ii that of Jesse G. Roe, half a mile n irtheasl of
Branchville.

in DSOS MVEB SLATE.

This rock occupies the northwestern half of the
Kittatinny vallc, , and also the middle part of some of
tin- limestone valleys farther southeast. It is seen
very close to the magnesian limestone and overlying
ii at Columbia, on the Delaware, at Newton, and at
many other places, though no locality has been ob-
served where they were in actual contact. The most
perfect of the slate rock is soft and free from grit,
and possesses in a wonderful degree the property of
cleavage, or of splitting up into slates. When in a
moist state, as first taken from the quarry, the rock
can be split into sheets so thin as scarcely to bi
handling, but this capability disappears with the
evaporation of the moisture. It is remarkable that
this cleavage does not follow the lines of stratification
as they appear in the bed or quarry, but passes directly
across tin-in. There are som • beds in this slate forma-
tion which show no lines of stratification. Such is
tin' one at the quarries of Asa Carr, north of Decker-
town, where the formation is remarkably even and
has j iilded flags of enormous size. The area of the
great slate belt of the Kittatinny valley is thus des-

cril.nl :

The slate constitutes the rock of all that portion of
this valhy bordering the Blue or Kittatinny Moun-
tain, and, excepting the Paulinskill limestone, all of
ntral portion also, in addition to the ranges
which lie in the southeastern portions of this great

valley. The belt now to lie described embrace-; all

that part of the valley lying weal of a line drawn
from Belvidere through Sarepta, I [ope, Johnsonsburg,
Newton, Lower Lafayette, and east of Deckertown
to the State line, near the Wallkill. The western
boundary of this great slate belt follows the general
trend of the Kittatinny .Mountain, running on its
southeast slope from the Delaware ftiver its whole
length in this State. Through Warren County and
In Sussex to Culver's Gap this limit of the slate and
overlying conglomerate is at a moderate elevation
above the valley, while north of this gap the bound-
ary is near the top of the mountain. At thi
line and in ( (range County to Otisville the slate forms
tin' main ridge or crest of the mountain, and the con-
glomerate occupies its western slope. The southeast-
tan slope of the mountain is characterized throughout
touch of its length across New Jersej by a bold escarp-
ment of conglomerate, with its talus or fallen d6bris
below resting on the more gradual declivity ..1' the
lower portion of the mountain. The line of demar-
cation between th iglomerate and the slate is very

distinct and decided.



OK] Ii' A CONGLOMERATE.
This rock, incidentally referred to above, has its
position directly on the Hudson River slate. It isa

-rate or sandstone, the lower part beinj

■ 1 1 • of quartz pebbles from a fourth to three-fourths

of an inch in diameter, cemented by a light-colored

quartzose paste. The well-known Esopus millstones

.is variety of the rock ; but near the top
of the formation the pebbly Composition disappear-,
and it Inc. mie- a firm, compact quartzose, easily dis-
tinguished from the Green Pond Mountain rock by
its lighter color.

This rock has furnished no fossils, hut portions
of it are pyritous and have been worked lor gold,

yielding about eleven dollars to the ton, though

siipiini' miners have estimated it much higher. The
occurrence of iron pyrites is so common in it that lo-
calities need not be specified. Galena or lead ore
was found in it at an early day, and the Ellenville
and other mines in New York were at one time ex-
tensively worked, but are now abandoned. The
thickness of the conglomerate, by measurement at

Otisville and -thwesl of Newton, on the Walpack

mad, was found to be between eight hundred and
nine hundred feet.

MEDINA SANDSTONE.

This rock is named from Medina, in New Y'ork,
Where it lir.-t attract id the attention of geologists and
practical ipiarryuieii. In this county it lies uin.il the
Western slope of the Kittatinny and it- subordinate
ridges, apparently not extending west of the Dela-
ware or of Flatbrook, Little Flatbrook, or Millbrook.
These Streams follow the valley, which lies between
the outer ip .0 i In sandstone and the ridges of water-
lime and Lower Eelderberg rocks west of it. The

thickness of this sandstone can be only approximately

measured, being estimated at eighteen hundred feet
at Walpack Bend.
The more slialy members of this formation are

traversed by cleavage plains, which give the rock in

some places the appearance of red slate. These

planes of cleavage dip generally at a Steep angle to

thi' southeast. They can be seen along the road at

the bank of the Delaware between the Pahaquarry
copper-mine and Brotzmansville; also wesl of Mill-
brook, near Flathrookville, and wherever the rock i-
argillaceous. At th.- Pahaquarry copper-mine the

rock is of a grayish shade. The texture varies greatly
near the bottom; the rock IS generally an arenaceous
sandstone, made up of quartz grains, with smile beds

tabling small pebbles of white quartz, the upper

members being nearly all a reddish shale very lunch

split up by the cleavage. The rock i- not properly a

i. . and has never been much used for build-
in.', t 'upper and iron pyrites have been found in it

at different places.

WATEB-I i Mi

The rocks of this formation are well exposed a mile
north of Walpack Centre; on the Peters' Valley road;



242



SUSSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.






at Walpack Centre ; on the road towards the Dela-
ware; at Stoll's limestone-quarry, half a mile south
of Walpack Centre ; and along the hrook below Flat-
brookville. Its thickness is estimated at from forty
to sixty feet. Fossils are rarely found in this forma-
tion, although in this State it has not been very thor-
oughly examined. Professor Cook says, in his work
of 1868,—

" It would be of much scientific interest to have the
place of the water-lime examined in our State, and
there are locations where the examination could be
made at moderate expense."

LOWER HELDEUBERG LIMESTONE.

This limestone is well developed in Sussex County.
It forms the middle and upper part of the eastern face
of the entire range of hills along the Delaware from
Carpenter's Point to Walpack Bend. In this group
is included the fire-stone, a thick-bedded and solid
limestone full of indistinct fossils of a crystalline
substance, which is seen three-fourths of a mile south
of Peters' Valley, half a mile north of Walpack Cen-
tre, at Walpack Centre, at Platbrookville, and in
many other places. This rock, on account of its
capability for standing a high degree of heat, is used
for building lime-kilns. Its color is a dark blue,
sometimes streaked with red. When burned it makes
a dark-colored but very strong lime.

ORISKANY SANDSTONE.

This group lies between the Lower Helderberg and
the cauda-galli, and is quite extensive in the Dela-
ware valley. It can be seen almost everywhere from
the State line to Walpack Bend.

"A fine locality for examining rocks and included
fossils is along Chambers' mill-brook, northwest of
Isaac Bunnell's residence. Here the rock forms a
perpendicular wall along the brook for some distance.
At an old quarry on the south or left bank a large
number of casts were found. Half a mile west of
Centreville, on the Dingman's Ferry road, at the
corner, calcareous and shaly beds are seen. Some
layers close under the grit rock are crowded with
casts of Spirifers, Platyostoma, etc. West of Wal-
pack Centre the same shaly beds are seen. . . . West
of Flatbrookville it forms the face of the ridge, look-
ing towards the village."

CAUDA-GALLI GEIT.

The rocks of this epoch are quite largely developed
in Sussex County between the State line and Walpack
Bend. They occupy the top and part of the western
slope of the hills west of Millbrook and Flatbrook,
being bounded by the Oriskany sandstone on the east
and by the Onondaga limestone on the west.

" It is the most persistent member of the series of
rocks which compose this range of hills or ridges.
The outcrops are very numerous, and the intervals
where it does not appear are not of groat length.
This frequency of exposure and its superior hardness



make the dividing line between it and the shales of
the Oriskany period very distinct ; the latter rapidly
crumble to a soil and are mostly tilled, while the sur-
face of the former is broken by projecting knobs and
ridges of hard rock."

This rock is remarkably uniform in character
throughout its outcrop. It is a compact, hard, gritty
slate, fine grained and dark gray, verging to black.
It is split up nearly everywhere by cleavage planes,
its dip being towards the southeast, — in some places
nearly vertical.

ONONDAGA AND CORNIFEROUS LIMESTONE.

These limestones belong to the Upper Helderberg
series. In this county they are exposed along the
Delaware River, occupying a breadth of about two
hundred yards west of the grit formation, and be-
tween that and the Delaware, with the exception of
one point near Shabacong Island. At Milford and at
Dingman's Ferry the breadth is not more than one
hundred yards.

" The dip is uniformly towards the northwest. The
rock may be seen with this dip in Laurel-Grove Cem-
etery, near Carpenter's Point; at Montague (ferry to
Milford), and intermediate points along the river; at
Dingman's Ferry; and so on to Walpack Bend. . . .
This limestone is of a light bluish color, very fine
grained, and in beds remarkably uniform in thickness.
The chert occurs in certain beds, sometimes composing
half of the rock.

"The Onondaga limestone is barely recognized by
an eucrinite and a cyatho-phylloid coral, and two
other fossil specimens found in a road about one and
a half miles northwest of Dingman's, and about four
hundred yards south of Duseubury's distillery." \,

This rock has been used for lime, and to some ex-
tent for building purposes.

MARCELLUS SHALE.

The only place where this rock occurs in New Jersey
is in this county, and that in a very small area oppo-
site the south end of Shabacong Island, on lands of
Abram Van Noy. It is seen for about three hun-
dred yards along a bank about twenty feet above the
water, and forms the bottom of the river for some
distance out from the shore. It contains iron pyrites,
the fossils in it are quite abundant, it is colored by
hydrous oxide of iron, and it is very dark, — almost a
jet black.

SURFACE GEOLOGY.

Drift. — According to Professor Cook, the drift in
the Kittatinny valley belongs more to the Champlain
than to the glacial epoch. The glacial drift, however,
is found undisturbed ou the higher grounds. On the
slate ridges it is thin, and in many places there are
but few widely-scattered, small bowlders. This is
particularly the case in many of the high slate hills
of Sussex County. On the western side of the valley,
near the Kittatinny Mountain, the drift increases in
thickness, and this, together with the circumstance of



PHYSICAL FEATURES OF SUSSEX COUNTY.



243



tl,,. „Mt unfrequenl appearance of fossiliferona rocks
from the Delaware valley, makes it evident that the
Biovemenl of the materials was towards the southeast.
At the northeast, along the Wallkill, the drift and
Ither formations are covered by the Drowned I

On the summits of the Kittatinny Mountain the

[lacier for the -t part simply ground down and

bolished the more prominent ledges, without leaving
nuK-li deposit of materials. Indeed, much of the ma-
terials carried to the lower portions of the country
of the debris of these summits, ground down
anil carried along by the ice. At Culver'- Gap tin-
elevation of the drifl is aboul one thousand fe it, and
:it the Water Gap it is from seven hundred to nine
hundred feet, above tide-level.

Many of the smaller lakes and ponds of E
County weret'onneil by the glacial dehris choking the
outlets and making basins, which were not subse-
quently filled in the distribution of materials by the

n i ol the I lhamplain epoch. The old glacial

dams were not disturbed beyond a leveling of their
surface and a sorting of the materials at the top.

In tin- valley of the Delaware and those of Flat-
brook and Millbrook the drift is so thick that there
are no outcrops within a breadth of one-seventh of a
mile from the New York line to Walpack Bend.

"In the Kittatinny and Wallkill valleys deposits
of marl are numerous. They are found, several
in thickness, at the bottom of the lakes and ponds,
marshes and meadow-lands, so abundant in these dis-
tricts. A very common name for the- dloction- of

water i- ' White I '•mil.' of which several are so called
In the district. This name is given to them on BjC-
aount of the deposit of shells distinctly visible al their

hottoin."

MINI'S AND OIIES.

Zinc Ores. — The only zinc ores which have been
found In workable quantities in the state are in Sus-
mnty. One of the mines is at Stirling Hill,
near Ogdensburg, in the township of Sparta; the
other is on Mine Hill, at Franklin Furnace, Hardys-
fa ii township. The Stirling Hill ore has it- outcrop
at a hoi -lit of one hundred feet above the valley of
the Wallkill. The largest proportion of mineral mat-
ter in the vein is a variety of oaleite, hi which the

oarbonate of lime is replaced by the carbonate of
manganese. Disseminated through this rock are the
1 . which contain the zinc. The i I impor-
tant of these are franklinite, red oxide of zinc, and
willeinite.

"Franklinite is a mineral of iron-black color. -

tallie lustre, and aboul as hard as feldspar. It is

Blightly magnetic, and mighl easily be mi-taken for
magnetic iron ore. . . . It- crystals are regular octa-
hedrons." The following analysis of this mineral is

from Professor Cook's " Urology of New .IcrsOJ \"

Buqnloxldo of Iron



Bod oxide "i mnugnnoM iu >

108.0



Red Oxide of Zinc— "This mineral is of a deep red
color, varying in some specimens to orange-yellow."
Its lustre i- not metallic, i Iccasionally specimens arc
found which an- partially transparent, but generally
the -iih-tanee is quite opaque."

Wdlemite, troostUe, or anhydrous silicate of zinc is a
name given to a mineral found in abundance at both
Stirling Hill and Mine Mill. "It is of various color-,
iV on an apple-green to flesh-red and to grayish white,

and when weathered it isofa luangain-o-hrown color.
Tt is not quite as hard as feldspar, but very nearly so."

ll;o\ MIXES.*

The iron mines in Sussex County arc :

1. 77c- Franklin Mines, in Hardyston township, near
Franklin Furnace.

2. Andover Mine, in Andover township, three and a
half miles from the Roseville mines.

:i. Wawayanda Mine, in Vernon town-hip.

4. Qreen Mine, in Vernon township.

5. Oi/'/'" Mine, in the township of Sparta.

6. Eoseuille Mine, at Roseville, in Byram township.

7. Qlendon or Chopin Mine, in Green township.

V.— DROWNED LANDS OF THE WAI.I.KILL.

"The valley of the Wallkill from Hamburg, Sussex

i o., NT. J., to Denton, Orange Co., N. Y., is unlike

that of any other stream in the State. The Wallkill

River rises iii Sussex County and has a somewhat

rapid How until it reaches Hamburg. Then for twenty

miles the bed of the stream is a -in ee-iou of limestone

reefs IV live to ten feet high.

"The Wallkill is one of the crookedest streams in
the state, and it- fall from Hamburg to Denton is

only eleven feet. For twelve mile- west of Denton
the valley of the Wallkill is four mile- wide and on a
level with the river. The northern extremity of the
Pochunk Mountain protrude- into the valley there,
and divide- the low-lying country into two -trips.

The portion on the eastern base of the mountain is
six mile- Ion"; and about a mile wide. It is drained
by the Pochunk and Wawayanda ('reek-. The west-
ern -trip is eight mile- long and nearly two wide, and

coursed by the Wallkill. Pochunk Creek enters the

Wallkill from the southwest, Rutgers Creek (lows into
it from tin- northwest, and Quaker Creek enter- the
river from the east, between Denton and Hamburg.

The I, ,|- ,,f the-c tributaries are of the sane
character as that of the main stream, hut their fall is

heavier and their currents rapid. They cuter the

Wallkill at abmpl angles, and their water- are I. need
both up and down the river, the current of the latter

being insufficient to carry them off. Besides the ob-
struction to the How of the Wallkill eau-ed by it- ir-
regular bed and almost imperceptible tall, a high wall
of granite bowlders and drill -Intel,,- across the val-

Mll 1..^ IbUIld Mi - : • •0VCt»l

lowinlilpi In will i, ■

t From llio Sow Tork - supd and ro-cn-

gmvo.1 Iqr tho publUhcn of till



244



SUSSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.



ley at Denton and forms an impregnable dam. This
deposit must have been carried here on glaciers from
the Shawangunk Mountains, twenty-five miles dis-
tant, in the ages of which only geology furnishes any
record. Of insufficient force to cut a passage through
this rocky impediment, — as the Delaware Eiver did
through the opposing wall of the Kittatinny Mountain
at the Water Gap, — the accumulated waters of the
"Wallkill were forced back over the low country bor-
dering its course and that of its tributaries, the sur-
plus water pouring over the crest of the wall and con-
tinuing then in uninterrupted flow to the Hudson at
Kingston. Thirty thousand acres of land in Orange
County and ten thousand in Sussex were thus con-
verted into an impenetrable marsh covered with rank
vegetation. In time of freshets the entire valley from
Denton to Hamburg became a lake from eight to
twenty feet deep. The following outline of the im-
mediate country will explain, it being understood that
the shaded lines indicate the condition of the ' Drowned
Lands' prior to the construction of the canal :



eoi//«'D




"The country surrounding this great swamp was
settled at a very early day. The settlers called the
submerged tract ' The Drowned Lands of the Wall-
kill.' The tract was all taken up in the course of a
few years. During the dry season the islands were
reached without great difficulty, and the wild grass
that grew on the marshy meadows afforded excellent
pasturage for cattle. Owners of drowned land derived
considerable revenue by letting out pasturage to the
cows of neighboring farmers. Through the summer
season thousands of cows were turned upon the waste
acres. Sudden freshets frequently came, and the water
rose so rapidly that many cattle were annually lost
before the herdsmen, in boats, could drive them to the
uplands. The cows that reached the islands were
kept there until the water had subsided. The main
duty of the farmers' boys in the early-days was to
watch the cattle feeding among the treacherous
meadows of the Drowned Lands.

" As early as 1804 the Drowned Lands proprietors
in Orange County, believing that by altering the
course of the Wallkill River, and removing certain
of the obstructions in its bed, the lands could be
drained to a great extent and large portions of them
made tillable, began the laying of plans to accom-
plish the work. In 1807 they secured the passage of
an act of the Legislature authorizing the raising of
money 'to drain the Drowned Lands of the Wallkill.'
The expenses of the work were to be defrayed by as-
sessing the owners of the lands. A board of commis-
sioners was named in the act to apportion assessments.
From that year up to 1826 forty thousand dollars had
been expended by the proprietors in efforts to drain
the lands, but with little success. Ditches were dug
along the bed of the stream. About the only result
of the work was the starting of eels down the stream
in unusual quantities. The fall of 1807 was remark-
able for the numbers of eels that came down the
ditches. Eel-weirs were plenty, but there was hardly
a night that season in which every one was not filled
to overflowing with eels, some of which weighed eight
pounds apiece. One weir in Hampton milldam
captured over two thousand in one night. George
Phillips salted down twenty barrels. He bought the
first four-wheeled wagon ever seen in this region for
the express purpose of peddling eels in the surround-
ing country. The wagon was the wonder of western
Orange County, and made a sale for thousands of eels.
The Wallkill yielded abundantly of eels until 1826,
when a law prohibited the i^lacing of weirs in the
stream.

" In April, 1826, the Legislature again came to the
aid of the Drowned Lands owners by authorizing the
construction of a canal to bo dug from the river at Horse
Island around the great obstruction at Denton, and
to enter the river again below New Hampton, — a
distance of three miles. The water of the Wallkill
that found its way over the rocky dam at Denton had
a fall of twenty-four feet in about two miles. This



Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 61 of 190)