James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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Snaketown, Pa., in September, 1727. This was done,
we are told, by the Minsies, who were the subjects of
Kindassowa, the chief who " resided at the Forks of
the Susquehanna."

The settlers appear to have purchased their lands
of the Indians and to have insured the safety and
quiet of the settlements by fair and equitable dealing
and by according to their red neighbors the privileges
of hunting and fishing, which were so essential to their
existence. The titles, however, obtained of the Indians
were never recognized as valid by any of the colonial
governments unless afterwards confirmed by grants
from the proprietors or from the provinces or States
in which they were located, the principle everywhere
involved being the right of the State or province, not
of individuals or private corporations, to the treaty-
making or land-purchasing power as respects the
aborigines, who were held by all the European na-
tions having claims in America as having only a pos-
sessory right, and no real title in fee simple, to the
soil. Hence they could make no valid conveyance of
the soil, no matter if their ancestors had fished and
hunted and buried the generations of the past upon
it from time immemorial. Neither their long posses-
sion, their dearest associations, nor the sacred ashes of
their fathers were any guarantee against the arbitrary
and assumed right of civilized nations to deal with
them as troublesome occupants only, to be got rid of
on the easiest terms practicable. Hence the whole
matter of the extinguishment of Indian claims, so
called, has proceeded upon the assumption that dis-
covery or conquest gave right to the soil, and that
the native inhabitants were to be treated as wards or
subjects, having no rights which the white man was
bound to respect further than his interest or his cu-
pidity might dictate. The instances in which justice
and humanity have ruled in these negotiations have
been the exceptions, not the rule. It has never been
sufficiently considered, in dealing with the aborigines
of this country, how strongly they were attached to
their old hunting-grounds, burial-places, and the
scenes of their altars and council-fires. Reverence
for the graves of their fathers and worship of ancestry
were parts of their religion. Hence it was peculiarly
hard for them to be driven away from their posses-
sions, and it is not to be wondered at that they fre-
quently shed the blood of those whom they regarded
as intruders upon their soil.

" Minisink was the favorite home and the delight of
the native red man, the river ' Fish Kill' abounding
in its wealth offish; within its shallow water they
became an easy prey to his rude traps and methods
of capture, and upon the Minisink flats, lying be-
tween Minisink and Namenock Island on the south,
he was wont to cultivate his patches, and thus pro-
duce the material for his ' succotash' and other favor-
ite dishes. Just opposite, upon the Pennsylvania side



of the river, on a flat elevated table-land called by

tin: first Dutch settlers ' Puiv-imw Dill,' almost with-
in the shadow of the falls of the Eta] mond'e Kill and
overlooking his cherished possessions, be buried his
dead and met kindred braves in council from time

" From the easy fords of the Minisink, Indian trails
diverged, — west, beyond 'Pocono,' to the Wyoming
Valley, along the Susquehanna Eiver; north, by a
cut aero-, the peninsula of Piki Count \ to tin' mouth
of the Lackawaxon, on the Delaware; south, through
Culver's Gap to the ponds and hunting-grounds of
(ireat Kittatinny Valley, beyond the Shawangunk;
and northeast, by way of the Delaware River, to
Machackemack and corresponding valleys. Thus sur-
rounded with all the facilities essential to savage com-
fort, with game and fish near at hand and in over-
flowing abundance, and intercourse with neighboring
and friendly tribes, it is no wonder that the first set-
tlers who located in the valley esteemed it almost a
perfect paradise for the savage Indian. Thus did
the first wdiite settlers find the natives of this vail. \,
and of them they obtained the peaceable possession
of its lands by satisfactory purchase; otherwise, their
titles were a subject of dispute through the claim of
tin' proprietors of East Jersey upon the one side, and
through tin' imposition of the holders of the alleged
'.Mini-ink patent' upon the other. The Uncertainty
as to the title only terminated with the action of the
boundary commission, which established the present
State line in 1772.*


The settlement in Montague township first known
by this name was located opposite the lower end of
Great Minisink Island, "fipon the higher portion of
the Minisink Hat-, and just at the foot of the lime-
stone ridge on the south running parallel with the
river and overlooking the surrounding Country. This
settlement took the name of 'Mini-ink.' A small
grist-mill was erected upon the stream, which here
discharges its waters into the Bena Kill, between the

residences of Daniel 1>. Everitt and Jacob Westbrook,

Ivsij., the former residence lieinu within the town-hip
of Montague and the latter in that Of Sandy-Ion. as
tlii- -I ream here forms the boundary-line between the

townships for a short distance from the river. Johan-
nes Westbrook settled upon one side of this stream of

water, and (Simon?) We. Hall (said to have been his
son-in-law!) upon the opposite bank, where Mr.
Everitt now resides. Others settled above, and -till

others below , the first settlers all placing their dwell-
ings near the old EsopUS or mine-road. The pl.ee

until a gen, ration or two back had its country store,

• Soo " Boundary-Lino OontroYerey," in another chapter.

t Probably Si Weetluol.aehe vaatheflnl of thai name married who

liv...i at Mini-i,,k ; he waa united to"JanneUe Woetbroack"

Kuyi kendal, Justice of the peace,'' April 17, 1713.— fieootrfi .,/ tlmUUk

I ''en, tA.

tavern, and blacksmith-shop, and when the old
Machackemack church \v;is erected to take the place
of the one destroyed by Brant, at the present village
of Port Jervis, near Mr. Eli Van Inwegen's residence,
the contractor was obliged to come here to have man-
ufactured the nails and fastenings necessary in its
construction, the present site of that town at the time
being owned and occupied by two or three small

"In 1731, Johannes Westbrook, of Minisink, deeded
to Anthony Westbrook, Col. Abraham Van Campen,
GerritVan Campen, John Cortright, Jacob Koyken-

dal, and Jacob Van Etten a tract of land lying below
and near his residence for aburying-"r >un 1 ami lor a
school-house, for the use of all the inhabitant- of
Minisink."} "In 1737 the principal men along the
Machackemack (Neversink), from Walpack ami from

tin lower cud of the valley to the Water Gap, met

Dominie Mancius, of Kingston, accompanied by his
/in>ti : t/i'. young Fryenmoet, with the principal men of
Mini-ink, and together at the latter plat I

plan 1 and laid the foundations of the lour Low

Dutch churches of the Delaware and Neversink val-
leys. . . . The parsonage first used by the Rev. Jo-
hannes Casparus Fryenmoet. and last by the Rev.
Cornelius C. Elting before his purchase of a farm at
Carpenter's Point, occupied a fine elevated plat of
ground within a -tone's throw of Noinaunck fort, and
directly above the old road, overlooking the beautiful
island of that name; which circumstance accounts
for several of his church papers being dated ' Noma-
nock.' The parsonage was taken from the farm of
Cornelius Westbrook, who was sexton and supervisor,
by appointment of the churches, over the pai
and church of Minisink, near by."'<


The first municipal organization within the territory

of Sussex and Warren Counties wa- the "Precinct of

Mini-ink." claimed as a part of Orange Co., N. V.,

ami erected by the i tonera! Assembly of that province.

It extended along the Delaware River from Carpen-
ter'- Point to the lower end of ( Ireat Mini-ink [aland,
and into the country eastward till it joined the pre-
cinct of Co-Inn, having it- assessor, clerk, justice of

the peace, and other local officers. The original tax-
warrant, levying the proportion of tax assessed upon
the inhabitant- of this ancient precinct under the
provincial authority of New York, to he used in
building the first jail at < loshen, i- -till extant and in

the possession of Benjamin Van Fleet, of Deerpark,

N. Y. The warrant i- issued under the seals of the

justices of the peace of the several precincts of

c t\ . including among tin- number Anthony West-
brook, of Minisink.

We give below the tax-roll, furnished by Mr. Ben-
jamin Van Fleet, and published in the l'ort Jervis

-~ - i ii .>r Mr John s. Jagger, el

ik, bq ,..f Montague.



Gazette. This tax-roll evidently accompanies the
warrant referred to above, and is especially valuable
as showing the names of all the inhabitants of the
territory embraced in the precinct of Minisink in
1739, as well as the valuation of property. Among
these names will be recognized the ancestors of many
of the families in the valleys of the Neversink and
Delaware. The document is well worthy of publica-
tion and preservation. Below are the names and also
the valuation and tax in pounds, shillings, pence, and



Samel Swartwnut 3 5

Willem Codcbek 5 5

GerardiB Van Nimwege 2 5

Pietcr Gemaer 5

Jacobis Swartwout 28 5

Klaes Westlael 9 10

Cornells da Duytser 10 15

Evert Iloiinbeck 11

Jolianis Wostblook, Junior 13 15

Anrvi! Docker 20 15

Barint Jlollin 5

Pettis Docker 1 10

Jacob Decker 1 5

Abraham Van Aken 22 10

win™ Coni l? 10

PielerCuykindal 13 5

Hemlrik Cuvkindal 5

Do Staet van Ilillitye Conner 10 5

Jolianis Jacobso Dockor 5

Jan Van Vliet 11 5

Jacob West fael 14 15

David Cooll 5

Solomon Davis


£. s. a. f.

13 3

14 S
17 6


Thomas Porker

Hondrik Ilendrikse Coitregt..

A brahs


1 10

1(1 5
11 10
6 10


1 15
1 10

11 11
2 3
1 11

i Cuykiudal


Jacob Bujrert

Willem Tielsoort 5 10

Jacobis Decker (i

Hermanns Van Garden 11 10

Hendiik Decker 6 5

Willetll Provoost 15

Samel Provoost 10

Jacobis Codebek 1 10

Jolianis Hoogtyling 2 10

StifanisTietsoort 12 15

Liimhart Brink 5 15

Adries Pecker 3

Huge Piute 1 10

Allebert Van Garden 1

Jacob Meeker, Junior 5

Dilik Quik 1 5

Thomas SchoonhoveD 5

Tsaak Van Aken 22 10

Pieter Lamerse Brink 10 6

Uornelis Brink

Gvsbert Van Gar.lou 10

Ary Corlregt 8 15

AntonvWmtbroek 26 5

Johauis WcBtlael 1 10

MarvtyoWestfael 12 5

Jolianis Westbroek IX

Willem Odrtregt 12 5

CiiBparis Timber 1 6

Heudrik Coitregt 2 5

Abraham Louw 1

Do nuwe lyst by ons na gehen en in eon Regte form gestelt.

JonANis W J< Westrkoek.

Jan Van vt eh.

On a paper corresponding to the above appears the

Hendrik Ianso Cortregt '#20 15 £1 10

AcrtMldag 2 2

18 4

On obverse side:

1 13 7
1 11

15 8

" 8 Septbr 1730 Dan onfangi
de taks by myn.

i .J . , 1 1 : 1 1 1

Decker £1 4 7 overshot va
" Solomon Davis."
Which, rendered in English, reads:

od of Jolianis Decker £14 7 residu
"Solomon Davis."

" September 8, 1739, tl
of the tax, by me.

" Anthony Westbrook, of M inisink Precinct, County
of Orange and Province of New York," lived in what
is now Montague, Sussex Co., N. J., just opposite
Milford, in Pennsylvania, and, together with Peter
Lambertus Brinck, owned the Jersey flats adjoining,
and a large tract of land extending from the flats
towards the mountains. Here he lived and died, and
was buried in the Minisink burying-ground. Accord-
ing to the returns indorsed upon the said warrant, the
inhabitants of New Jersey residing upon the Delaware
in the present county of Sussex contributed towards
the erection of the original jail at Goshen the sum of
twenty-nine pounds New York currency. The return
is dated June 30, 1739."


Our purpose is to give under this head a brief sum-
mary of the first settlements in Sussex and Warren
Counties outside of the Minisink valley.

While the latter portion of our territory was being
peopled, as we have described, immigrants were com-
ing in to the southward from quite a different direction.
Lands were patented and settled near Phillipsburgby
Messrs. Lane and Morrill, from Ireland, about the be-
ginning of the eighteenth century. In 1735 three
brothers named Green settled in that part of old
Greenwich now known as Oxford township. They
were soon followed by the McKees, McMurtrys,
McCrackens, Axfords, Robesons, Shippins, Ander-
sons, Kennedys, Stewarts, Loders, Hulls, Brands,
Bowlbys, Swayzes, Scotts, Shackletons, and Arm-
strongs, all of whom were Scotch-Irish Presbyte-
rians, with the exception of Robeson, the Greens,
and possibly one or two others. Here, as a conse-
quence of this unanimity of religious faith and nation-
ality, the first Presbyterian church in the two coun-
ties was erected, in 1744, following the old Dutch
Reformed churches of the Minisink within a very
few years of their date. It may be mentioned in this
general chapter that the first pastor of the Presby-
terian Church of Greenwich was Rev. James Camp-
bell, and that he was followed by David Brainerd, the
celebrated missionary to the Indians, whose labors
called him frequently into the vicinity. He lived for
some time at the " Irish settlement" in Pennsylvania,
now known as Lower Mount Bethel, about five miles
from Belvidcre, where the site of his ancient cabin is
still pointed out to the curious traveler. In speaking
of Brainerd it may be well to notice a singular mis-
take made by Rev. Peter Kanouse in his " Historical
Sermon." Hcspeaks of the Neversink "emptying
into the Delaware and constituting what in D. Brain-



ard'a time was called 'The Forks of the Delaware,'
and where waa the field of his labors in an Indian set-
tlement named Shakhawotung, now known us Carpen-
ter's Point." [t is well known that "the Forks of the

Delaware," where Braincnl had liis chid' minion, waa

at Bast the forks being formed by the Delaware

and the Lehigh, which fi a confluence at that

point. "Shakhawotung," the name of the In. linn
town, signifies " where a sinalliT stream duplies i ■ ■ t • >

I hi or the iillllel," almhiul: l.riiej lie ■_: • ■ 1 1 . i.il

Delaware won] for "the month of a river."*

"The first furnace for the manufacture of iron in
Sussex County was erected by Jonathan Robeson, in

the then township of Greenwich. It was imen I

in 1741. but iron was not run till March 9, 1748. lie
called this ' Oxford Furnace,' in compliment to An-
drew Robeson, his father, who had been Bent to Eng-
land ami educated in Oxford University. From this

furnace the town oft Ixford- -which was fori I twenty

years afterwards— took its name. Jonathan Robeson

was one of the first judges of Sussex Comity. His
father and grandfather both wore the ermine before
him in Pennsylvania, while his -on, grand- in, and

great-grandson, each in his turn, occupied seats on
the judicial bench. William I'. Robeson, of Warren
County, was the sixth judge in regular de-cent from
hi- ancestor, Andrew liolieson, who came to America
with William 1'enn and was a member of G ivernoi
Marl, ham's Privy Council. In this country, where
the accident of birth confers no special righi to sta-
tions Of honor, and where ability and bonesty are

oi ought to be the only passports to public distinc-
tion, this remarkable si ission of offices in one

family affords a rare example of hereditary merit,

and is, so far as we know, without a parallel in our

judicial annals."

Another of the lir-t -etilcnients ill Sussex and War-
ren was made b_\ members of the Society of Friends
in that pari of ancient I lard wick called "the Quaker
settlement." The pioneers in this locality came from

Maiden Creek (now UtleborOUgh), Pa., 1 from

Crosswicks, V J., from 1785 to 1740. They were
the Wil-ons, Lundys, and others, ami must be Bet
down as among the very first settlers of ancient Sard-
wick. The settlers here were so few iii number that

when the first frame hoii-e in the settlement was

erected they were obliged to secure help from lime
terdon County. The heavy timbers then put into
franc, required a greater force to lifl them to their

place than is needed ill raising modern frame struc-
tures, and this may account for the fact th it this lir-t

frame building erected in the settlement stood the

blasts of more than a century and a half without

Inning been seriously impaired.

The deed for the ground on which the Friends'
meeting-house in this place waa built was given by

I I'enu, a grandson Of William IVuii. in 1752,
• Sea Heckewcl lei

• us to the erection ■ifa mill iii this neighbor-

h 1 the people took their grain to Kingw 1, in

Hunterdon County, to be ground.

Mr. Kd-all, from reliable data furnished him. ha-

-mimed up the settlements in other portions of Sus-
sex and Warren as follows ;

" 111 that part of ancient Newton known as Vernon
township there were some early -etl lenient-, princi-
pally consisting Of those Who had lir-t tried their for-
tunes in Orange County. Oni Joseph Perry, who
had prepared for the erection of a house there about

the year 1740, could not raise the timbers without

procuring help from New Windsor. Col. De Kay

settled in New York, upon th Ige of this township,

in 1711 : some of his lands, which he then held under
a Nefl York patent, now lie this side the hoiindary-

line. Tin- McComlys, Campbells, Edsalls, Winan-.

llynard-, S'mionsons, etc., did not come in until ju-t

before the Revolution, at which period a considerable

amount of population had spread not "illy over Ver-
non, hut throughout Hardyston. Joseph Sharp. —
the lather, I believe, of the late veiieralde Joseph

sharp, of Vernon, — who had obtained a proprietary
right to a large body of land stretching from Decker-
town to the -oiirces of the Wallkill, came from Salem

( lounty a few j ears before the Revolution ami i
a furnace and forge about one mile south oi' Ham-
burgh, which were known for some years a- tie
' Sharpsborough Iron-Work-.' This was the -
furnace erected in Sussex County, sharp lost a great
deal from this enterprise ; ami, particularly from the

annoyance which he met with from the -herilf of the

county,— who, under certain circumstances, is well
known to he a most unwelcome visitor, he aban-
doned the works."! Robert Ogden removed fr

Kli/ahethtow n and settled ill Vernon in lTlloor 1766.
lie was long one of the judges of tin- courts of the
county, and one of its ino-t prominent and patriotic
citizens. Thr f his Bona fought in the war for in-
dependence, ami one 'I. Laron ' Igden -

■ imanded the honored regiment known as Qen.

Washington's Life-( luard.

•• Peter Deckel built the tir-t house in Deckertown,
in 1784. lie was tho son of John Decker, of Mini-
sink, and was among the earliest of the pioneers who

crossed tin' mountains ami founded the township "f
Wantage, lie was a man of enterprise and energy,

and -• rved hi- country for many year- a- a uui. i

The early settler* upon the land- -oiithea-t of the

Mini-ink Mountain and west of the Wallkill, in the

section now known a- Wantage, were regarded as of

close kin to the inhabitants of Mini-ink. Their nam. -
are identical with tho f the Delaware and N

sink borders, and they unquestionably, by kindred

and association, constituted one community, i

th.- earliest settlements east of the Bine Mountains

ipemtloni In mlulng «t ilii- ntn i «lll It

foiiD I deKribed andn the liMd "I u»' tu« u»Ulp bbturiea.



was in the Popakating valley, and was made by
Messrs. Colt, Price, and Gustin, who were originally
from New England. Many of this class of emigrants,
in their progress westward from the land of the Puri-
tans, had first settled upon Long Island, but, hoping
to better their condition, they removed to Orange Co.,
N. Y., and Bergen, Somerset, Hunterdon, and other
counties in New Jersey. About the year 1700 a great
many of the settlers on Long Island removed to the
places indicated, because the land was cheaper and
better than that which they tilled upon the island.
Hunterdon and Orange were the favorite counties of
this class of immigrants ; in these they established
homes, but their own cosmopolitan disposition was
transmitted to their children, who in their turn
plunged also into the wilderness, and, entering Sus-
sex at her northern and southern extremities, ex-
plored the various rivulets to their sources, and upon
the lands drained alike by the tributaries of the Hud-
son and the Delaware kin met with kin in the heart
of the county, and their blood, separated for from fifty
to seventy years, again commingled. Of this class
were the Greens, Hunts, Blackwells, Blanes, Browns,
Brokaws, Howells, Hopkins, Beegles, Townsends,
Stileses, Ketchams, Collards, Millses, Havens, Trus-
dells, Moores, Hills, Dentons, Cases, Knapps, Coes,
Smiths, Johnsons, Pettits, Wallings, and others.
Many of these settlers were not far behind those of
Minisink in the date of their advent into the county.
" From the year 1740 to the close of the Revolu-
tion there was a considerable immigration of Ger-
mans. Among the first of this class were John
Bernhardt and Casper Shafer, his son-in-law. They
had purchased lands where Stillwater village now is,
of persons in Philadelphia, and in the year 1742, by
the Delaware and the valley of the Paulinskill, they
journeyed to their destination and took possession of
the tracts indicated by their title-deeds. They were
followed in a few years by the Wintermutes, the Sno-
vers, Swartswelders, Staleys, Merkels, Schmucks,
Snooks, Mains, Couses, and a large number of other
Germans, who settled principally in the valley of the
Paulinskill, although a portion branched off in other
directions. Mr. Bernhardt lived only a few years after
his arrival. He died in 1748, and was the first per-
son buried in the cemetery of the old German church,
the cemetery having been used before the church was
built, which was not erected till 1771. In the be-
ginning of his life in the backwoods, Mr. Shafer found
it necessary to cross the Pahaqualin Mountain to get
his grist ground ; the mode adopted was that of lead-
ing a horse along an Indian trail, upon whose back
the bag of grain was borne. This inconvenience sug-
gested to him the expedient of constructing a mill
upon his own property, which he did in the following
primitive manner : First, he built a low dam of cobble-
stones, filled in with gravel, across the kill, to create
a water-power; he then drove piles into the ground,
forming a foundation for his building to rest upon;

then upon these he built a small frame or log mill-
house, furnishing it with one small run of stones and
other equally simple and primitive machinery. His
mill, being thus furnished and put in operation, was
capable of grinding about five bushels a day ; yet it
was a great convenience and was resorted to from far
and near. ' In a few years he built a better mill and
commenced shipping flour to Philadelphia,' loading-
it on a fiat-boat and running it down the Paulinskill
and the Delaware to its place of destination. ' Mr.
Shafer was the first man in this region to open a
business intercourse with Elizabethtown ; he heard
from the Indians in his vicinity that there was a large
place far away to the southeast which they called
" Tespatone," and he determined to ascertain the truth
of this assertion. He traveled over mountains and
through bogs and forests, and after a rough journey
of some fifty miles he arrived at the veritable " Old
Borough." He opened a traffic in a moderate way at
this time, and thus laid the foundation of that profit-
able intercourse between the southeastern towns and
cities and Northern New Jersey which has augmented
from that time to the present, and almost entirely ex-
cluded Philadelphia from participation in the trade
of this section of the State.'

" Robert Paterson was the first settler at Belvidere,
according to the ' Historical Collections,' about the
year 1755. 'Shortly after, a block-house was erected
on the north side of the Pequest, some thirty or forty
yards east of the toll-house of the Belvidere Delaware

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 7 of 190)