Joseph F. (Joseph Fulford) Folsom.

Bloomfield, old and new; an historical symposium online

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/V, 7.

Copyright, 1912,
Br Bloomfield Cektennial Historical Committee.



Foreword 7

The Beginnings. Joseph F. Folsom ... 11

The "1776" Period. Joseph F. Folsom . . 32

After the Revolution. Joseph F. Folsom , 43

Incorporation and Subsequent Government.

Raymond F. Davis 69

The Schools and Schoolmasters. William

A. Baldwin 78

Transportation. Charles C. Ferguson . . 101

The History of the Churches. George Louis

Curtis 118

Municipal Development. William P. Sutphen 140

The Annals of Stone House Plains (Brook-
dale). James E. Brooks 162

An Afternoon Walk. Maud Parsons . . 180


Board of Trade Resolution 184

Act of Incorporation (1812) 186

Centennial Celebration and Committee . 188

Sub-Committees of the Centennial Celebra-
tion 189

Index 191


General Joseph Bloomfield, Fobmeb Gov-
ernor OF New Jersey .... Frontispiece

Facing Page

Daniel Dodd House (1719) 18

Thomas Cadmus House ....... 40

Joseph Davis House 48

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument (1912) . . 68

Madame Cooke's School (1856) .... 84

Bloomfield High School (1912) .... 98

Presbyterian Church, Lecture Room and

Stone Schoolhouse (1840) 120

Along the Yantecaw or Third River . . 140

Jarvie Memorial Library 167

The "Stone House" of the "Plains" . . 168

Map of Bloomfield in 1830 184


This book, though brief, adds many facts about
Bloomfield hitherto unpubhshed. It also brings together
much scattered material previously printed. Of neces-
sity, because of time and space limitations, it leaves out
many good things already in book form. It is a con-
tribution to the materials for a history of the town.

This historical sketch very strikingly differs from
previous ventures. It is a symposium of narratives by
different authors to whom special departments were as-
signed. What it lacks in unity it makes up in data. It
is a compendium of annals rather than an essay in his-
tory. For the sake of future historical accuracy the
names of the authors are prefixed to the respective

The idea of preparing this volume originated in the
Historical Committee appointed by the Executive Com-
mittee of the Bloomfield Board of Trade, the latter
committee having been created to arrange for the cele-
brating of the centennial anniversary of the incorpora-
tion in 1812 of Bloomfield. The Historical Committee
was constituted as follows: Benjamin Haskell, Chair-
man, William A. Baldwin, Secretary, Charles C. Fergu-
son, Rev. George L. Curtis, D.D., Rev. Joseph F. Fol-
som, William P. Sutphen and Raymond F. Davis. The
purpose in view was a souvenir that might have histori-
cal value, and also help to conserve the spirit and senti-
ment of the celebration.

Many things that ought to be said are of necessity
omitted. Every political, military, social and benevolent



organization might furnish materials for a long chap-
ter, but to find the room has been impossible. Much
material of this kind appears in the souvenir publica-
tion of the Executive Committee, and more, let us hope,
will appear when in the course of time the next history
of Bloomfield shall go to press.

Those who have prepared the articles desire to ac-
knowledge their indebtedness to previous compilers of
material on Bloomfield, and to the many interested
friends who have furnished information and suffices-
tion. Previous books and general sketches on Bloom-
field, all of which have been directly or indirectly help-
ful, are listed as follows :

"Plea for the Old Foundations," by Rev. James M.
Sherwood, an historical sermon on the "Old First"
Presbyterian Church of Bloomfield, with an appendix
by Rev. Stephen Dodd, published by M. W. Dodd, New
York, 1854.

"The Church on the Green," by Rev. Charles E.
Knox, D.D., an historical sermon on the "Old First,"
delivered in 1896, in connection with its centennial cele-
bration, and pubhshed by Stephen Morris Hulin, Bloom-
field, 1901.

"Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Baptist Church,
Bloomfield, N. J.," compiled by David G. Garabrant,
an account of the exercises and the historical addresses
dehvered in 1901 on that occasion, and printed later by
the Avil Printing Company, Philadelphia.

"Real and Ideal Bloomfield," by Stephen Morris
Hulin, a copiously illustrated volume telling the story
of "Cliurch-Town, Township and Incorporated Town
of To-day," published at Bloomfield, printed by Groebe-
McGovem Co., Newark, 1902.


"Bloomfield Township," by Rev. Charles E. Knox, an
article in Shaw's "History of Essex and Hudson Coun-
ties," published in two volumes by Everts and Peck,
Philadelphia, 1884.

Four manuals, or directories, of the "Old First"
church have been published, and each, with the exception
of that dated 1889, contains an historical sketch of the
town and church. The dates of these publications are
1835, 1860, 1889 and 1906. The last mentioned of
these pamphlets contains an excellent sketch of the in-
ception and organization of the church during the years
1794 to 1800. It was carefully prepared by Hon.
Amzi Dodd, and is the best account extant of* that in-
teresting ecclesiastical period.

There have been many other sources ; literary, docu-
mentary, and word of mouth. Some of the Revolution-
ary and other stories have appeared previously in va-
rious articles prepared by the editor of this book some
years ago for the Newark Evening News, one of which,
under the caption "Historic Bloomfield," was reprinted
in the Bloomfield Citizen, on September 1, 1900.

The compiler of the chapter on schools expresses in-
debtedness to William E. Chancellor, formerly the su-
perintendent of the local schools, and the compiler of
the annals of Stone House Plains, to William Nelson
of Paterson, and Lewis Cockefair of Bloomfield. Mr.
Nelson's unpublished "History of Paterson and Pas-
saic County," and the reminiscences of Mr. Cockefair
were especially helpful.

The compiler of the sketches of the churches desires
to thank also the various pastors for their kindness in
providing the required materials.

Two other names must here be included, those of the


late John Oakes, and his still living friend, Mark W.
Ball, of Newark. Many facts 3^ears ago furnished by
Mr. Oakes to the writer of this foreword have been
added to the various articles, particularly to those of
the Revolutionary and the early nineteenth century
period. The inserted map of Bloomfield in the year
1830, inscribed with the names of the residents of that
period, was originally di'afted by Mr. Oakes, and
through the courtesy of John F. Capen prepared for
this volume. Mr. Ball at the age of ninety-three is still
clear in mind, and his reminiscences have been of much

Whatever the limitations and defects of this latest
contribution to local annals, they cannot lessen our love
and respect for the old town and the new town whose
centennial we unite to celebrate. We ma}'^ take upon
our lips the lines of the poet Henry Kirke White, writ-
ten to celebrate the fame of a brother poet, and apply
them with equal homage to our town of the same name:

"Bloomfield, thy happy-omen'd name
Ensures continuance to thy fame ;
Both sense and truth this verdict give,

While fields shall bloom, thy name shall live."

J. F. F.

May, 1912.


By Joseph F. Folsom

About the year 1700 a sturdy race of people began
to settle the region now called Bloomfield. The lay of
the land was inviting. Here was a fertile plain covered
with virgin forests and flanked by tillable uplands. Two
small rivers, by name Second and Third, watered the
region and gave promise of numerous mill sites. To
clear the land, saw the timber, and break the soil was an
attractive task. It suited well the type of men who
undertook it. These founders labored in hope. They
worked for not only themselves but for their descend-
ants. They were not quitters. They came to stay.

These first settlers were mostly young men. They
were the sons and the grandsons of the Connecticut men
who, in 1666 and the years following, had landed on
the bank of the Passaic River and founded the town
of Newark. The boundaries of Newark extended from
Elizabeth on the south to Acquackanonk on the north,
with the Passaic River on one side and the Watchung
Mountain on the other. The region destined to become
Bloomfield was the northern section of the tract. For
some years it lay for the most part an unbroken wilder-
ness. The original Newark men knew that these out-
lands were securely in their possession. They had
enough on their hands developing the section near their
home lots by the river. Their heirs and descendants
might occupy the outlands in due time. Their immediate
task was big enough for one lifetime. They willingly
left further conquests to the younger men.



The older men, however, did not leave the future
settling of these outlands wholly to chance. There were
many who with prudence and foresight reached out and
secured individual possession of tracts of land they in-
tended never personally to occupy. They might cut off
the timber, and erect saw mills, or they might use avail-
able spaces for grazing their cattle ; but age and com-
munity instincts held them to the village life by the
Passaic. When in time their six-acre lots became in-
adequate to support their growing families, their sons
struck out to make homes for themselves in the wilder-
ness. The grants in this region obtained by the older
men thus determined to a great extent who should be the
future inhabitants of Bloomfield. The same principle,
of course, operated in other outlying sections.

Another cause to have delayed somewhat the settling
of this region was the vague fear of Indians which
naturally clung to the early settlers. Long after New-
ark was settled the inhabitants kept watch and ward
against possible attack. As late as 1689 a committee
of safety was appointed by the town. This fear had
no reference to the nearby remnants of savage tribes,
but to possible incursions of warriors from beyond the
Delaware. The Hackensack Indians, from whom the
Newark men purchased their township, were a feeble
remnant. They had once been troublesome, but on Feb-
ruary 25, 1613, the Dutch of Manhattan had crossed
the Hudson and cruelly massacred Indian men, women
and children at Pavonia. Eighty souls were that bloody
night set free by the command of Governor William
Kieft, so that David Dc Vries, waiting in the governor's
house in New Amsterdam, heard the shooting and the
wailing on the New Jersey side, and called it butchery.


All this took place a quarter of a century before New-
ark was settled.

The ancestors of the young men who settled Bloom-
field came from Connecticut. The first group to reach
the Passaic came from the town of Milford. Then
followed the Branford people, and later others from
Guilford and New Haven. They were a sturdy lot of
men and women, who had known privation and difficult
enterprises. They had been in Indian wars, and some
of the Branford group had, in 1640, attempted to
form a settlement at Southampton on Long Island, but
had abandoned the project and returned to Connecticut.
When the opportunity to establish a new home in New
Jersey presented itself they again bravely packed their
goods and emigrated. Their reasons for desiring a
change were mainly religious, though the economic ele-
ment was not wholly absent. The Newark settlers gen-
erally desired a community in which full citizenship
should be granted only to members of the church, and
such communities had ceased to exist in the New Haven
Colony. The Newark settlement has been characterized
as the last attempt on the American continent to estab-
lish a theocracy. The principle was doubtless narrow,
and could not operate permanently, but the men who
held it had broad brains and plenty of backbone. They
were capable of widening their intellectual horizon.

It is important to know who among this band of early
settlers took up lands in the section now Bloomfield.
Such knowledge, as far as it goes, helps us to under-
stand why certain families increased in this region. In
this matter we shall not consider the early settlers of
Belleville, once a part of Bloomfield, or generally of
Montclair, once West Bloomfield. Also we shall pass


over the founders of Stone House Plains, for the reason
that the}' will be fully considered in a later chapter.

The Crane family, which peopled the locality called
Cranetown, and later West Bloomfield and Montclair,
cannot be passed over. Members of this stock during
almost two centuries were influential in the aiFairs of
Bloomfield. Their common ancestor was Jasper Crane
of Newark. Next to Captain Robert Treat he was the
leading figure of the colony. He was a Branford man,
and his name stands first on the list of those who signed
the two fundamental agreements underlying the Newark
government, namely church membership in order to full
citizenship, and diligent maintenance of the religion
professed in the Congregational church. Jasper Crane
was an inveterate emigrant. He was one of the found-
ers of the New Haven Colony in 1639. He probably
was among the number who settled Branford in 1644.
He made plans in 1651 to establish a colony on the
Delaware River, but was prevented by the Dutch. He
came to Newark in the fall of 1666, and in 1675, among
other scattered properties, he secured twenty acres "at
the head of a branch of the Second River." This tract
was doubtless near the center of the present Montclair.
Jasper died in 1681, and his will, drawn in 1678, men-
tions his children as John, Azariah, Jasper and Hannah.
Azariah was living "at the Mountain" as early as 1715,
and it is thought that he and his brother Jasper were
the first settlers of that part of Bloomfield. One of the
descendants of Azariah was Major Nathaniel Crane,
who gave to the Bloomfield church its first bell, strong-
toned enough to be heard to the mountain. He gave
generously toward building the Bloomfield Academy in
1810, and left a fund for the education of young men


for the ministry which is still in use. Among the five
Cranes who gave liberally toward the erection of the
Bloomfield "Old First" Church and the thirteen of that
stock who were charter members, was Israel Crane, the
famous road-builder. He was interested in many social,
religious, commercial and philanthropic movements in

The settlement of that part of Bloomfield formerly
called Watsesson Plain, including the whole section from
Watsesson Hill to the Morris Neighborhood, was begun
by the Baldwin, Davis, Dodd, Morris and Ward families.
Taking as a guide the "Old Road," said to have been
an ancient Indian trail to the interior, we find along the
route, even as late as 1800, quite well-defined areas in
which these early families had become fixed. The earliest
Baldwin property lay between the "Old Road" and the
Second River, and on the eastern slope of Watsesson
HiU. Then came the Dodd tracts, running east and
west of the road, along the course of the Second River.
The Dodd influence extended to Doddtown. To the west
of the road, and embracing what is now the business
center of Bloomfield, was next the Ward area, running
at least as far as Toney's Brook. East of the road,
and opposite the Ward tract, was the Davis property,
extending from the present Montgomery Street to Belle-
ville Avenue, formerly including the Green and the
church and the school properties. Above Belleville Ave-
nue, on both sides of the road, was more of the Baldwin
influence, running up to the Morris area. The Morris
influence was along the Yanticaw, or Third River, in the
neighborhood of Bay Lane.

Benjamin Baldwin, the weaver, was the founder an-
cestor of most of the Baldwins of Bloomfield. He came


from Milford, Connecticut, and was in Newark in the
fall of 1666, a 3^oung man aged twenty-six years. There
was given him a home lot in Newark, located west of the
present Washington Avenue, near Warren Street. He
took up land between the Second and Third rivers, and
north of the highway leading over Watsesson Hill.
Among his descendants was David Baldwin, born about
1715, from whom most of the family who located near
the Third River and Morris Neighborhood are descended.
When David was eighty-five years old he could still
drive his team to a swamp by the river and bring home
a load of wood. David and his sons owned three mill
sites on Third River, and most of the farms between
the church and Morris Neighborhood. He was a charter
member of the old church, and his wife and eight chil-
dren had the same honor. The children were Zophar,
David, Silas, Jesse, Ichabod, Eunice, Sarah, and Simeon.
Jesse was a quartermaster in the Continental Army. It
was Simeon who opposed the project to build a frame
church, and vigorously declared for a permanent struc-
ture of stone. He operated a grist and fulling mill.
He died September 7, 1806. Caleb Dodd Baldwin, a
grandson of David, enlisted at the age of seventeen
years — in the War of 1812. He prepared for Princeton
but did not enter. He later was in partnership with
Ira Dodd, and the firm constructed at the old mill site
near Bay Lane the mechanical parts for the Morris
Canal. They built the stone aqueduct carrying the
canal over the Passaic River at Little Falls, and also the
Morris and Essex Railroad from Newark to Summit.
Warren S. Baldwin, another great-grandson of David,
was a well-known merchant and public man in Bloom-
field. He was frequently a member of the Township


Committee from 1851 to 1871, and aided in securing the
State School Law of 1849. The Baldwin line to David
and his large family runs as follows: Joseph, Benjamin,
Benjamin, David-
Daniel Dodd of Newark was the ancestor of the
Dodds of Bloomfield and Doddtown, East Orange. He
came from Branford about 1668. He was appointed in
March, 1678, with Edward Ball, to run the northern
line of the town from the Passaic to the First Mountain.
The land looked fair to the young man, and he soon
thereafter surveyed a tract upon Watsesson Plain, in
the valley of the Second River. The Elizabeth Town
Bill in Chancery states the fact of his having secured
this land. Li January 18, 1697, this property and much
more in various localities was confirmed to him by the
East Jersey proprietors. He was chosen a deputy to
the Provincial Assembly in 1692. His children, Daniel,
Stephen, John and Dorcas, are said to have estabhshed
homes on various tracts of the Watsesson grant. It was
a grandson, Daniel, who with his wife Sarah built the
well-known Dodd house at the corner of the present
Franklin and Race streets in Bloomfield. The inscrip-
tion on the corner-stone reads as follows : "D. S. D.
Noum. 10 1719." The initials stand for "Daniel (and)
Sarah Dodd." The couple held possession of their home-
stead in Newark, on the present Orange Street, until
September 16, 1735, when they sold it to Thomas Davis
for one hundred pounds. Daniel died in 1767, his wife
having preceded him several years. During the Revo-
lutionary War his son Daniel occupied the Bloomfield
house, and later it came into the possession of Amos
Dodd, who dwelt there until after 1830, as the Oakes
map in this volume will show. The descendants of


Daniel Dodd are numerous. Moses Dodd, whose home-
stead in 17T6 was near Toney's Brook, and Deacon
Isaac Dodd, one of the first deacons of the Bloomfield
Presbyterian Church, who Uved between the present
Park Street and Park Avenue, were descendants. Gen-
eral John Dodd, the village surveyor, who was succeeded
by Joseph K. Oakes, and who lived in a brick house at
the southwest corner of the Turnpike and Washington
Avenue, was another of the family. His son. Dr. Joseph
S. Dodd, whose house still stands on the high terrace
opposite the Glen Ridge school, at Ridgewood and
Bloomfield avenues, was the father of former Vice-Chan-
cellor Amzi Dodd, honorary chairman of the Executive
Committee of the present (1912) centennial.

Stephen Davis of the Milford group was the Davis
ancestor. No record appears concerning any grant
to him of land in Bloomfield. There are many records
showing that Thomas Davis, his son, had acquired a
number of tracts in this neighborhood near the Second
and Third rivers previous to 1700. A deed in the pos-
session of the Davis family of Bloomfield, dated Novem-
ber 7, 1711, in the reign of Queen Anne, conveys 111
acres in the Eastern Division of New Jersey from
Thomas Wall of Middletown, Monmouth County, to
Thomas Davis of Newark. Which descendant of
Stephen Davis was the first to make his home on Watses-
son Plain we are unable to state. Caleb, the father of
Deacon Joseph Davis, died in 1783, aged sixty-six years,
and his wife, Ruth, in 1793. The fine stone house
occupied by Joseph Davis is still standing. It is located
on Franklin Street, opposite the Baptist church. There
the preliminary meetings to form the Presbyterian
organization were held previous to 1800. There Gen-



eral Joseph Bloomfield and his wife were entertained
at the time of their memorable visit in 1797. According
to Dr. Charles E. Knox, in his article in Shaw's "His-
tory of Essex and Hudson Counties," a Thomas Davis
gave land for a school-house "near the house of Cap-
tain John Ogden" on Franklin Street, near the present
Montgomery Street, sometime before 1780, and this, he
stated, was afterward exchanged by Caleb and Joseph
Davis for the present school property near the First

The Davis line in Bloomfield appears to run as fol-
lows: Stephen, the founder, died in 1691. His sons
were John, Thomas and Jonathan. Thomas (2), who
was born in 1660 and died January 26, 1738, acquired
much land in different parts of Essex County, and one
of his deeds for property further away has been men-
tioned. He had seven children: Thomas, Jonathan,
Stephen, James, Apphia, Sarah Ball, and Mary. From
Thomas (3) descended James (4), whose will in 1748
mentions Thomas (4), who died in Bloomfield in 1780,
and four daughters. It is this Thomas who gave the
lot for the school. From Jonathan (3), who died in
1690, descended Caleb (4), born 1717 and died in
Bloomfield 1783; and Deacon Joseph (5), born 1753,
died June 5, 1827. The children of Deacon Joseph
were Caleb, Charles, Joseph Austin, Henrietta, Abigail,
Martha and Mary. Henrietta was the last of children
to occupy the old homestead, and later a grandson,
Charles M., the son of Caleb (6), resided there. Joseph
Austin was the well-known physician, who is still re-
membered by hundreds of his former patients. Another
line comes from Moses Davis, sons of whom were John,
Joseph and Henry.


John Ward, called the "dishturner," and more fre-
quently "turner," was the founder ancestor of the Wards
of Watsesson Plain. He came to Newark in 1666 with
the Branford group. His uncle Lawrence, the first of
the settlers to be mentioned as deacon, also came at that
time, but died cliildless four years later. Elizabeth,
widow of Lawrence, owned land here in 1675. John,
the turner, in 1675 had confirmed to him by the East
Jersey Proprietors, forty-four acres beyond Second
River, bounded on the north by property owned by his
aunt, Ehzabeth. Upon this land, now the center of
Bloomfield, the descendants of John in time settled.
Who was the first to clear the woods and build a house
cannot be stated. Nathaniel, the son of John, owned
property here in 1697. About 1795 Washington Ave-
nue was called "Samuel Ward's lane." When in 1806
the turnpike was built, Samuel L. Ward, born 1748,
died 1814, opened through his farm what is now a part
of Broad Street. It made a short cut from the center
to the Green and church. The building of the turn-
pike and the opening of this street determined the loca-
tion of the business center of the town. The character-
istic names of the Wards have been John, Josiah,

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