James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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Revolution, and was employed by Bowdewine Decker
as a tanner and currier. He later occupied a (arm,
now owned by James I "\. in the southern |>ortion of
the township, where he conducted a tannery. Mr.
Shelley afterwards purchased the property now owned
by Simon Wilson, and :it a later date moved upon the
farm at present occupied by Mrs. Samuel Van DrufT.
Ilr was a man of migratory habits, and made a final
removal to the farm now owned by lii- son, .Tames
Shelley, in this township. His death occurred in
Sparta, in his one hundred and second year. But two
children, a sun and a daughter, now reside in the

The progenitorof tin- Ayres family in Wantage was
Levi Ayres, whocamefrom Basking Ridge and located
in the township, where Enoch Ayres now lives. He
erected, about 1755, a dwelling one Btory in height,
filled in with chinking, with boards fur ceiling and a
fireplace cijrht feel wide It also had two large Stone

chimneys, and hand-made nails were used in it- con-
struction. Here the family have for year- resided.
This structure was demolished in L864, and a modern
dwelling erected by Enoch Ayres in its stead, which
is his presenl residence. Levi Ayres had four sons,—
Levi, Edward, Israel, and Enoch, — all of whom lived

and died ill the township. The sons of Levi were I —
rael, Levi, Isaac, David, Edward, and Caleb. The
sons of Edward were Enoch (one of the lay judges of
the county), John, .Teliisil. and Edward. The sons of
Israel wen.' Elisha. Selah, and Israel. The -on- of
Enoch were John, William, Thomas, Squire, I

and Jefferson. Each had daughters, most of whom
married. There are now living in Wantage William
and Enoch Ayres, the sons of David, and the children
of Levi and William.

Charles Roloson, 01 f the early Bettlers of Wan-
tage, was of Dutch descent, and resided on the farm
occupied by his son, the late Isaiah Rolosrta. He was

the paiviil of a numerous family of children, whose

descendants are now residents of the township. John
V. Roloson, the boh of Henry, resides at Beemerville,
and others of the family arc located near Mount

The Hombeck family an- of Dutch extraction, and
early SOUghl a holm' in Susses Coiinlv. Tin- pioneer

to Wantage was Philip Horabeck, whose -on Jacob

v. 1- on.- . I the earl", ami prominent phyoi: I ins of tin

township ind resided during s portion cf hie hi in
Sandyston, and also in Montague. He was also a
member of the Legislature, Jacob married F.-thcr,
daughter of Capt. John L Westbrook. Their children
who reached mature years were John W., Maria.
Elizabeth, Cornelius, Margaret, and Jacob 1". Tin-
latter is a prominent citizen of Deckertown.

Tin' Shepherd family were earlj residents of tin"
Mini-ink region. Abram Shepherd fell a victim to
the Indian depredation- in 1766. His -on James, an
early blacksmith at Deckertown, purchased later a



tract of land 2J miles southeast of the village, where
he pursued his vocation, and also became a tiller of
the soil. He was the grandfather of George Shep-
herd, the present occupant of the homestead, which
was erected in 1S06 and occupied for years by Henry,
father of the latter gentleman. The children of Henry
are Jesse, George, Fanny, Lavinia, Lydia Ann, and
Mary. The latter two reside at Unionville.

Petrus Swarts was of Holland lineage, and settled
in Ulster Co., N. Y., near Kingston, where he died in
1735, leaving five sons and six daughters. One of the
sons, Baltus by name, came to Sussex County about
1780, and engaged in farming pursuits, which were
followed until his death. Of his large family of chil-
dren, Jacob Swarts was the eldest. He resided during
his lifetime in Montague, where his death occurred in

AVilliam Mott came from Monmouth Co., N. J., in
1755, and, having purchased a tract of land, erected a
log cabin. He was an industrious and successful
farmer and a skillful hunter and trapper. Mr. Mott
had two daughters, whose children, together with an
adopted son, inherited the property which was after-
wards purchased by Simeon McCoy.

The Cooke family, though not among the oldest set-
tlers in Wantage, merit, from their prominence, a word
in this history. Rev. Sylvester Cooke was born in
Massachusetts, Aug. 25, 1799, was graduated at Am-
herst College, and ordained to the ministry in 1829.
In 1843 he received a call to the Clove Church, where
he remained until 1871, when increasing infirmities
rendered his retirement necessary after a pastorate of
twenty-eight years.

Mr. Cooke had five sons, all of whom entered the
service of the government during the war, and two of
whom are buried in the cemetery of the Clove Church.
Frederick A. died in the service, June 13, 1864, at
the age of twenty-six, while an officer of the Second
New Jersey Cavalry. Edwin F. rose to the rank of
colonel and brevet brigadier-general, and died at San-
tiago, Chili, Aug. 6, 1867, while secretary of the United
States legation under Gen. Kilpatrick, from disease
contracted while confined a prisoner in Libby Prison ;
he was thirty-two years of age.

Rev. Sylvanus Cooke was one of the respected citi-
zens of Wantage who have left their mark upon the
religious, moral, and educational interests of the town-


Little information is obtainable regarding the ear-
liest schools opened in the township. That portion
of the population who were able to incur the attendant
expense educated their sons and daughters at the pop-
ular classical and boarding schools of the day. The
common schools of the township were not of a high
grade, and comparatively little was done at an early
day to foster education.

The most widely known of the public schools of
the township was that opened in the Pond school-

house. Many of the children within a radius of
several miles received their first lessons here, under
the dictation of one Master Gunn. Another school
building was located on the site of the present hotel
of Benjamin Smith, at Deckertown. It was 20 by 24
feet in dimensions, and was also taught by Master
Gunn, or "the old Gunn who shot the boys every
time," as he was facetiously described by the scholars.
His terms were $1 per scholar for a period of three
months. He was followed by Masters Hammill,
Wheeler, and Loomis.

At this time the school-houses in some localities
of the township were built of logs, though that known
as the union school-house, near the Wantage Meth-
odist Episcopal church, was more pretentious in its


In 1833, William Rankin, having realized the lack
of opportunities for education in the township, de-
termined to open a select school at Deckertown. So
little interest was felt in the enterprise that he with
difficulty obtained a room 14 feet square for the pur-
pose. This he rented, and began his first term with
a single scholar, — Mr. John A. Whitaker, still a resi-
dent of Deckertown.

Mr. Rankin was esteemed as a classical instructor,
but the undertaking was regarded by the community
as an impracticable one. The school continued for
some time with but a single pupil, though the num-
ber gradually increased, until the ensuing spring it
numbered twenty scholars. From this small begin-
ning it grew to be a power for good, and with its suc-
cess dawned a new era in educational matters in
Sussex County. At the end of ten years over a
thousand pupils had sat under his instruction.

Mr. Rankin subsequently taught in Amity, N. Y.,
after which he removed to Morris County. His later
efforts were at Mendham, in that county, where the
school he established enjoyed a prosperity fully equal
to that of former years.


The school familiarly known as Mount Retirement
Seminary was established by Edward A. Stiles, whose
parents removed from Morris County to Vernon when
he was but two years of age. During 1819 they
located upon a farm in Wantage, on which their son
spent the greater portion of his life as principal of
the seminary above named. This school arose from
the humblest beginnings. In 1833 half a dozen boys
were instructed in a room of the farmhouse, and made
such decided progress as to have very soon established
the character of Mr. Stiles as a successful teacher.
The school soon increased to a size and reputation
far beyond his early hopes. For many years it en-
joyed an average patronage of seventy-five pupils,
and the enterprise was in full vigor when its control
was relinquished, in 1865. The graduates of this
seminary are to be found in every part of the coun-



try, many of tin-in having filled high and responsible
public positions.

The education of Mr. Stiles \va- thoroughly prac-
tieal in its system, and marked by a considerate kind-
ness that made every pupil his friend. In 1869 he
was appointed snpi rintc ndi-nt of the i-diools of tin-
county, which position was filled by bim with marked


The post-office address of Hartwell's School is
fjnionville, Orange Co., X. V., from which it is dis- |
tant one mile, bul it is on the New Jersej Bide of the
Boundary line between the States, which is also the [

I iel.-irv line of the school premises. It was cstab-

Bshed in 1867 al Cornwall-on-Hudson, N. Y., by S
s. Bartwell, the present principal and proprietor, and
teas removed to its present location two years later.

This school owe- its origin to the discontinuance of
Mount Kctiremcnt Seminary, with which Mr. Hart-
well, son-in-law of its founder, Mr. E. A. Stiles, had
been for several years connected.

The design was to establish a smaller school than
that excellent institution had been, and one to be
conducted more upon the plan of a well-regulated
family than is possible with a large number of pupils,

thus offering the advantages of a thorough prepara-
tory school without some of the objections which

parents, desiring to send their sons away, sometimes
make to large schools; but, as in the case of that
seminary, a retired situation, free from the interrup-
tions and dangers of a town, and eminent for its
healthfulness ami for the general attractiveness Of the
surrounding country, was chosen.

It has always been well patronized, drawing its
pupils from the near-by counties, from New York City
and vicinity, ami not infrequently from distant parts
of the country, occasionally also from foreign coun-
tries. Several young men have been prepared here
for Yale and other colleges.

The school territory of the township is divided into
eighteen districts, over whom the following teachers
preside :

1 Valo, No. 82, Charles .1. Coopei : I'minings, No. 83, Mia M. \.

HcHlckle; Woll Pit, Ho. 84, Me Marl, | H mnl - I

86, MIm Surah i:. Bald ; Jai i rule, Ho, 80, U D. Coyl

Colevillo, Ho. ST, ; Clovo, No. 88, T. I.. Slr.mu ; I.

il.Qrant J.Boe;
town, Ho. '.'-'. it. A. Hatstod principal), ttlm Charlotte E.
Howell, Mtos tana U n ii ->,' rles Armstrong;

\ inSli kti - Ho. u. VJ llllun ii Beomoi . « odb mrni . Ho
i Bon Ii; Li C, I

i ■ , No, , HI \,,,,, Ui Coj ; I nto -
K.T. smiih; Beemorville, No, 100, D, A. ltou.

The total amount received b> Wantage town-hip.

from all sources, for the Bupporl of the above-named

eighteen Bchools, during the scl 1 3 ear ending Aug.

Bl, 1879, was $634 L85, — which may be taken as a fair
average of other recent years. The estimated value
pf school property in the township is given at $14,650.

Boa po m 169-1'


The township of Wantage was erected as an inde-
pendent town-hip in May. 17">1. It originally ex-
tended to the Delaware Kiver, and included the north-

wesl corner of the State, now embraced in the town-
ship of Montague.

VI.— civil. LIST.
The succeeding li>t is as complete as the records of
the town-hip enable the historian to make it:

1852-53, Win. J. Shorter, June! l\,\ ; 1864, James C.jx, J.,lin Ii. A.l.nn-;
- ,. Vmoa Mm, -.11, William Elston; 1868-68, Martin Wilson, Wil-
liam J. Shorter; 1859-61, Axarlab Lewis, Jacob W. Dewltl
,i Smalley, Jacob W.Dewitt; 1864-66, T/i Van Ankin, James

Smaller; I860, 1/ Van Auk-ii, William J. Shorter ; 1867, William

J. Shorter, Joshua Y. Coleman; 1868-60, William v. Cole, W. J.
Shorter; 1870, William P. Oolo, Thonias Cay; 1871-72, Isaac P.
Meat], Thorn us Gray; ls7.'., /.■>,,,- Stanabai k, Eeaac P. bead; 1874,
Poter J. Swarts, Jndson J. Wlckham; 1*75, Ju«l5on J, Wickhnm,
Oron J. Richards; 1876-77, John M. Cox, James Smalley; 1
0. Deavenport, John H. Cox ; 1879, Jacob II I l',-a\.-n-

port; 1880, Benjamin II. Smith, Ja i Bwartwout


1852-53, James Decker; 1864, M VI . Elston : 1866, B. W. De ker; 1856-
58, Hordccai Wilson, Jr.. I860, Jamea Decker; 1860-62, C. F. De-
wilt; 1863, Charles A. Wilson; 1864-66, George W. Cue; 1867-79,
William T. Wright; 1880, Humphrey Martin, Jr.

". 1111am Elaton 1864, Madison Coykendall; 1866, William Ben-
jamiii; 1866-67, William Van Sirklo; 1858-6", John T. Dcuuls; 1861-
63, William V. Cole; 1864-66, Edward A. SUlcs; 1867-72, James
Sinullc.y; IsT:: 7 ■. M,,», Si, ,11; l-7„, N.I-,, i, l,,«iu; 1 - ", William
9. Vandmff.

Is:,. ",:;, .lam,- .1. Mai i in: is.", I, .la.-,. I, I,at-,-r; is.-,:., William Wlckham;
l - ,, 68, Peter S. Decker; 1860-61, John N. Smith; 1862, Samuel
Wlckham; 1863-66, G. Iteuks Dunning; 1867, William Elston; 1868-
70, George P. Cole; 1S71-7G, William W. Cox; ls77, William S.
Vai„inni, 1878, William S. Little; 1879-80, Jacob B. Horhbeck.


1852, John B. Case; 1853-54, Moses Stoll ; 1855, Joseph Winters ; 1856-
81, Moses Stoll; 1862, Asa li. Oolo; 1863-64, Charles Monro

, 6, i i. Bennett.

JUSTIci - oi i -i •-

1853, Ira D. Huffman; 1855, Matthew Westfall, William Qrigar, Jacob
II. Beerner, Ira D. Huffman; I860, Enoch Ayres, Mordecal
James Decker, Abnini Bl ' Decker t Ini 1'. Huffman,

M ,i, Wll ,n, Levi lleemel . 18711, Goorge W. Co*, Klia- F. M,,r-

row, lot I'. Iliiiiiii.u], l.- Van Auki-n; I876,8amne] I'- mil-, George
w. ('.,,-. Da Van Auk, ii, Ira D. Huffman; 1880, Samuel n- 1

oon M. Stoddard, [hi odqre Marthls, Ellas Hockenbeny,

Lndrew \ in Sickle, William Van Sickle; 1864, William Van

B ,ii, mi .1 Shoit i : 1866, Daniel Bo :.

r; 1860, Darld si ins, Androu Van Sickle; 1867-68, David

Mil,,,- Pbllotus WUi in;

1861 • , Jam, W. Crlgar, Phllel v. n; 1863 64, Phlletus Wil-
son. Orowi IE.Eymer;1865, Samuel 0. Wolle,Phil I

.i.i rdowtne

a T. I i mathan Wright; 1870, no
I Van a, ik, ii . i -
i Van taken; 1873-78, Noah T.Woodruff,! Van Auken; 1870,
John N Smith, William Dowltt; 1880, Si ill I ,Wi Iruff.WUUam


lhi enterprising village -the pnn ipal business

centre of a territory many miles in extent — i- situ-



ated 15 miles northeast of the county-seat. The Mid-
land Railroad passes within its limits, and since its
construction has aided greatly in the development of
the place.

. The settlement of the village recalls a period as
early as 17-10, and possibly earlier, though no authen-
tic facts prior to that date are obtainable. In the
latter part of the seventeenth century a band of
French Protestants who had, on account of their re-
ligious faith, suffered exile and chosen a refuge among
the hospitable Hollanders, emigrated to America.
They explored the Hudson River, and chose a settle-
ment at the mouth of the Wallkill, where they
founded a small colony near the present site of King-
ston. Years later some of the emigrants who formed
this colony, which had since been increased in num-
bers by fresh arrivals from Holland, explored the
Mamakating valley to the Delaware River, and formed
a settlement at the mouth of the Neversink.

One of their number, by descent a Hollander, whose
name was Peter Decker, passed over the Blue Moun-
tain range on a pilgrimage in search of fertile land
upon which to settle, having determined to leave the
Neversink colony and form the nucleus of an inde-
pendent colony. He descended into the valley now
the township of Wantage, and, selecting an eligible
site, built a log house where the village now stands.
This log structure is described by an early resident
and descendant of Peter Decker as located on ground
formerly the garden of Dr. Vibbert's hotel, and which
occupied the site of the present Dickerson Block.
The log house was later occupied by Samuel Decker,
a son of the first settler, and still later by another
son. It has long since been demolished.

The hamlet made but tardy progress for a series of
years, and little is known of its history. A grandson
of Peter Decker, Samuel by name, early during the
present century built a log tavern near the present
location of Andrew Quick's blacksmith-shop, and of
which the present Warner House is the offspring.
Peter Decker later built a tavern on the site now oc-
cupied by the Dickerson Block. It was a frame build-
ing, and was afterwards purchased by Soferein West-
fall ; and Dr. Vibbert, a man of considerable enter-
prise in his day, finally became owner, after which it
was sold, but was consumed by fire the night previous
to the purchaser's intended occupancy. Samuel
Decker then built the present Warner House, which
has since its erection been frequently remodeled and
had many landlords.

James Sayre and Michael McMann were among the
early merchants, though little is known of the prog-
ress of business enterprise in the place. Gabriel Coy-
kcndall and John Miracle erected a store, tailor-shop,
and dwelling, which was later converted into a public-
house, and is the present Union Hotel.

Advantage was taken of the fine water-power which
passed through the place, and mills were erected, the
later of which are described.

■ The advent of the railroad brought both enterprise
and capital to the place, which has since that time
made such steady advancement as to rival its larger
adjacent villages in commercial enterprise.

The Farmers' . National Bank of Deckertown. — A
charter for the organization of this bank was obtained
in 1848, aud the bank established Jan. 1, 1850, under
the State banking system, the institution having then
been known as the " Farmers' Bank of Wantage." Its
first board of directors were James C. Havens, Samuel
Whitaker, Levi Shepherd, John Loomis, Thomas D.
Edsall, Levi Dunn, Charles A. Cooper, G. L. Dun-
ning, John B. Decker, and Charles Roe. James C.
Havens was chosen president and Thomas D. Arm-
strong cashier. It was originally organized with a
capital of $50,000.

In July, 1865, the bank embraced the national sys-
tem, and increased its capital to $100,000, it having
been previously raised from the original amount to

Mr. Armstrong having resigned the cashiership,
Mr. J. A. Whitaker succeeded to the position, which
he filled until 1874, when the present cashier, J. F.
Marjoram, was chosen as his successor. Mr. Havens
resigned the presidency April 9, 1859, and Jonathan
Whitaker was elected to the office, which again be-
came vacant by his death, in 1873, since which time
J. A. Whitaker has filled the office.

The present board of directors are Richard E. Ed-
sall, John P. Brown, John B. Decker, Charles A. Wil-
son, Marcus S. Hayle, J. A. Whitaker, T. F. Marjo-
ram, Lewis J. Martin, N. H. Marjoram, John Loomis,
Charles A. Cooper. But three of the original di-
rectors are members of the present board.

Deckertown Mill. — The Deckertown Mill, which is
now owned by I. E. Hornbeck, was originally built in
1844 by Dr. Vibbert. It is located in the village,
upon the Clove Creek, and depends for its supply of
water upon the Sand Pond, in the northwest portion
of the township. It was at an early date purchased
by Matthew Cooper, after which Mahlon Cooper be-
came owner, and at a subsequent date Joshua Cole
controlled it. It was purchased by the present owner
in 1868, at sheriff's sale, and has since been controlled
by him. It has during his ownership undergone a
thorough renovation, having been equipped with a
new water-wheel and other machinery, which changed
it completely. It has now four run of stone, and, with
an adequate supply of water, may be driven to a ca-
pacity of 500 bushels per day. The average business
is 30,000 bushels per year. The grain consumed in
the mill is purchased in the immediate vicinity and in
New York, and a market for the flour is found princi-
pally at points along the Midland Railroad.

O. J. Little's Plow-Factory. — This establishment was
first started by Odell & Little, who in 1866 erected
the building for the manufacture of plows. It passed
later into the hands of Odell & Coe, after which
George W. Coe became sole proprietor. The firm



subsequently became Cox & Coe, when the latter sold
his interest to 0. J. Little, and the firm became Cox
& Little. Mr. Little is now sole owner. He is prin-
cipally engaged in the manufacture of a [intent plow,

which i- eery popular in the county and known as
the "Sussex Plow." A corn plow known as the

" Wantage l'lnw" is also manufactured to a consider-
tent, as are plows of other patterns. The fac-
tory is furnished with an engine of ten-horse power,
which enables it to do an extensive jobbing buaini - .
The market for these implements is found principally
in Sussex County, Orange Co., N. Y., and .Monroe Co.,

Lafayette Fuller's Qrist-Mill. — This mill, which is
located in the auburbsof Deckertown, upon the Clove
('reck, was liuilt by John L. Adams in h:':', and was
at an early day the scene of mnch business enterprise.
Mr. Adams also erected on the site a fulling-mill,
earding-mill, and a clover-mill, all of which were ac-
tively employed. The grist-mill was furnished with

two run of -lone, and had an average capacity of LOO
bushels per day. Mr. Adams' death occurred in 1840,
when the mill passed into the hands of John Loomis,
who conducted it for some years, and ultimately made
an exchange with .Matthew II. Cooper for other prop-
erty. He managed it for some years, and sold to
Robert T. Shafer, who in turn sold to < 'up I leeker, of
whom it was purchased by the present owner. The

capacity of the mill has not been greatly changed
-inee its erection.

W'oiil'ii- Mill. — ( In the -ile of Wright's -aw-mill,
located upon the Clove ("'reek, and familiarly known
as the Evans property, John Loomis, in 18-"i<>. erected
a woolen-factory for the manufacture of cloths, yarns,

satinets, etc. This mill was furnished with 12 looms,

BOO spindles, and much valuable machinery. It was
sold by Mr. Loomis to Thomas Tatum, and consumed

by lire iii 1868 while owned by him. The mill was
never rebuilt, the site being now occupied as a saw-
mill. James Evans at an early da; erected a grist-
mill upon i he aame location.

Pulaski Lodge, No. 103, /. 0. of <>. /•'.— This lodge
Toe organized Feb, 6, I s ">l, with the following charter
members: Oliver G. Millspaugh, V <*.; Samuel T.
Overhiser, V. G.; James Evans, R. S. ; I". McComly
Souse, A. S.J .lame- Coe, Treas. The lodge for a
period declined, but was resuscitated March 7, 1 S 7I.

The names of its PasI Grands are George M.

toe, William S. Vandcrhutf, Frederick I.. Heater.
Vincent II. Lane, David A. Eddy, William N.
Meeker, Nelson W. Heater, David A. Benjamin,

John I). Potter, James Lawrence. John 1'. Lautz,
Moses Stern, Mcrrit 0. ( 'arpcnler. Charles Suhr.

The present elected officers are Nathaniel P. West-
fall. N.G.; Oscar Hough, V. G.; aJanson s. Cole,
Sec.; William \ . M eckcr. Trca-. It- present mem-
bership is 66, its place- of meeting Deckertown, and
time of convocation every Thursday night
Samaritan Lodge, No. 'J s , Free <tml Accepted Masons.

— This lodge was organized under a warrant granted
by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, in January, 1869.

The charter members were Sim i M. Stoddard.

Thomas A. Rogers, Thomas Gray, Charles A. Wilson,
Thomas Armstrong, John W. Vought, Carlos M.
Noble, George W. Rhodes, The lodge was consti-
tuted and formally ope I Feb. 19, L869, by Robert

Rusling, I >i put v (ii'and .Master of New Jer.-ey, as-

sisted by other grand officers, after which Rev.
Charles Coit delivered an address. The Masters of

tic- lodge since its organization to the pic-ent time
have been as follow- :

1869, Thomas A. Rogers; 1870-73, Simeon M.Stoddard; 1874, lieorgeW.
Bhodea; 1876, Jamej H. Dunning; 1870-77, Albert C. Nobl

7:i, J..si-|.h W. Kl»l..i: ; I"" - 1. I., u i- .1. Mm tin.

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 74 of 190)