Joseph F. (Joseph Fulford) Folsom.

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Nathaniel, Lawrence, Jacob, Caleb, Matthias, and
Samuel, all coming from the early settlers.

Jacob Ward, who died aged 73, on September 27,
1811, kept the public house on the point opposite the
old Academy, now the German Theological Seminary.
In this tavern the elections were held before Bloomfield
separated from Newark. The Bloomfield elections
were held there subsequently. The building was re-
moved to its present location on Franklin Street when
William K. Peters built the house now on the point.


Jacob was a brother of the Samuel who opened Broad
Street. Caleb, a son of Jacob, was an artist. Caleb's
sons Charles V. and Jacob C. were among the first in
New Jersey to engage in daguerreotyplng. Jacob C.
was an artist whose pictures were frequently exhibited
in New York, and were widely reproduced in steel en-
gravings to illustrate the popular annuals, or gift
books, of the nineteenth century.

The Ward line from John the "turner" to Jacob and
Samuel appears to be as follows: John (1) will, 1684;
Josiad (2) will, 1713; Lawrence, born 1710, died April
4, 1793 ; and the sons named in his will, made in 1776,
were Samuel, Jacob, Jonathan, Stephen and Cornelius.
The father, Lawrence, and his two sons, Jacob and
Stephen, made claims for damages by the British in

Thomas Morris, whose name appears among the Mil-
ford group at Newark in 1666, was the forefather of
the Morris family of Bloomfield. He died at New Haven
in 1673, and it is possible that the original records read
"John" instead of "Thomas," and that Thomas never
left Connecticut. John (2) and his wife Elizabeth,
said in 1668 to have been "late of New Haven," had
two sons, John and Philip. The father, John (2), died
about 1675. John (3), born the year Newark was
settled, was the actual founder of the family, his
brother Philip having had no children. He is called
"Captain" in the records and arose from "sergeant."
John cleared the land and settled personally on the
tract to be later called the Morris Neighborhood. He
was at one time sheriff of Essex County. He lived to the
ripe age of eighty-three years, and saw great develop-
ments in this region. His deed from the Proprietors of


East Jersey for this tract and others in detail has been
preserved by his descendants, and is one of the exhibits
at the present centennial. The document in part reads
as follows:

"This indenture made the twentie fifth day January
Anno Dom ; one Thousand six hundred and ninetie five,
and in the seaventh yeare of the reigne of William the
Third over England ye King, between the Proprietors
of the Province of East New Jersey of the one part,
and John Morris of Newark, in the Countye of Essex,
Yeoman, of the other, — First, A Plot of Land one the
East side of the Third River, Beginning at a chestnutt
tree markt on foure sides, by the river side, thence run-
ning east twenty chains in breadth to a Hill, thence
South fouretie five chains in Lenghth as the river runs,
Also a tract on the first Branch of the Second River,
Beginning at a white Oake markt on four sides, thence
East fifteen chaines to another markt tree, thence South
South west eight chaines as the swamp runs to another
markt tree thence west f — y chaines to the white oake
markt as above, thence to where it began, bounded east
by land unsurveyed, south by the highway, west by John
Pridden, North by Thomas Davis."

This indenture bears the signatures of Governor
Andrew Hamilton, whose first term, in which he was
governor of both East and West Jersey, ran from 1692
to 1697, and by five members of his council — Samuel
Dennis, David Mudie, James Dundas, John Bishop and
Lsaac Kingsland. Hamilton was also the first Post-
master-General of America, serving from 1693 to 1703.

Thus ran the old deeds, or patents, conveying to
settlers lands inarkcd out by lines from tree to tree, and
following the fitful windings of the streams. Frequently


the tracts thus obtained lay in the midst of unsurveyed

John Morris (3) testified in the land controversies
about 1740 that he had occupied his lands for many
years, showing that he personally settled on his planta-
tion near Third River. His sons were Stephen (4),
who was born in 1706, and died in 1781 ; and John, Jr.,
whose will is dated 1729. Ephraim (5), the son of
Stephen, married Joanna Davis, and his son Stephen (6)
married in 1799 Catharine Smith. Their children were
Ephraim (7), Jacob, James, Joseph, Mary, Emeline
Hulin and Albert. Ephraim (7), born August 27,
1800, invented the incline planes in use on the Morris
Canal, and was the original partner in the Morris and
Cummings Dredging Company. His son Augustus T.
succeeded him. Other children were Mary Collins, John,
Stephen S. and Charles. The Morris-Haskell house,
on Morris Place, remodeled somewhat by Benjamin
Haskell, was the home of Jacob Morris (7), the son of
Stephen (6). Two doors north is the Stephen Morris (6)
house, occupied by the daughters of Ephraim's (7) sis-
ter, Emeline Hulin. Ephraim (5) was "Deacon Grumbo
the Miller" in Wilson's humorous poem.

The foregoing were the families, briefly sketched,
which began the settling of Bloomfield. There were
others who followed them ; among them the Balls and
the Cadmuses, but they came later. The Balls were
descendants of Edward Ball, of Branford, one of the
prominent men in the Newark settlement. One of his
descendants was Joseph of Bloomfield. One of Joseph's
sons was Isaac, buried December 25, 1825, the father of
Mark Washington Ball of Newark, now aged ninety-
three years. Isaac gave the first five acres of the present


Bloomfield Cemetery to the Presbyterian Society about
1796. The Cadmus line in this region begins with
Thomas, bom May 7, 1707, who came from Bergen
(Jersey Citj^) to Second River (Belleville), and married
there Cornelia Jeralemon on June 30, 1733. His son
Thomas, the "Colonel," who was the builder of the old
stone house on Washington Street, married at Second
River, on June 29, 1760, Pietertie Cadmus, and they
probably built their new house in Bloomfield soon after
marriage, or at least within the first ten years. Colonel
Cadmus was born January 16, 1736, and died 1821.
He was the head of the Bloomfield military company
that paraded at the reception in 1797 to General Bloom-
field. He is mentioned by Stephen Dodd as having taken
part in the ceremonies at the laying of the water table
around the old church in 1797. His children were
Elizabeth, bom April 9, 1761 ; John, born April 8,
1763; Gitty, born August 26, 1765; Cornelia, born
July 17, 1767, died September 15, 1802; Abraham,
born May 15, 1770; Thomas, born July 20, 1772,
married November 29, 1794, died June 9, 1826;
Herman, born December 7, 1774, married December 3,
1798, died March 5, 1869; Abraham, born March 24,
1777, married November 29, 1794; Peter, born March
26, 1778 ; Maria, born October 26, 1780 ; Gitty, bora
July 10, 1783, died March 2, 1861, mother of Thomas

A true picture of the life lived by these forefathers
of the hamlets along Watsesson Plain would be greatly
appreciated if such could be portrayed. We can for the
most go only by analogy. It was a settlement built
mostly on one long road. This highway, though at
first a wood road, as appears from the Morris deed,


must have run as far as Stone House Plains long previ-
ous to 1695.

Here and there along its course stood later a log
house or frame Flemish cottage, facing almost invari-
ably south, with such barns and outhouses as the owner
needed or could afford. Before 1750 these houses were
not many, and even after the Revolutionary War there
were only about thirty between Watsesson Hill and the
Morris Neighborhood.

At first they took their grist to the older mills below
Second River, or possibly to Wigwam Brook, beyond
Doddtown, Orange. When the growth of population
and produce warranted mills in the neighborhood, such
were built. John Morris built a saw mill in 1702, and
he or his son Stephen, probably soon after, erected a
grist mill.

Previous to the Revolution began the era of stone
houses. The local quarries yielded a very durable free-
stone. Some of these Flemish brownstone houses still
remain as quaint and picturesque features of the town,
but most of them have been allowed to decay. The
Thomas Cadmus house on Washington Street is a fine
specimen of the larger type. It was probably built
some ten years before the Revolution. The old Morta
Winne house on the Newtown road was also a good speci-
men, and was dated 1766 in iron numerals. The Joseph
Davis house on Franklin Street was another stone edi-
fice of that early period.

The roads of the neighborhood were few. The road
to Cranetown was the present Park Avenue, and the
road to Newtown and Second River was Belleville Ave-
nue. Another road to Cranetown led westward from the
Morris grist mill to Cranetown. Washington Avenue


was then Samuel Ward's Lane, and ran westward till it
reached the Valley Road in Orange.

It must be remembered that westward there had been
made earlier settlements than those at Bloomfield, but
they were not many, and the settlers who went to Orange,
Cranetown and Speertown preceded the Bloomfielders
by but a few years at the most.

There is a distinction to be noted between the Dutch,
who came in to the northern end of the town, and the
English from Newark. The Dutch had no dread of
loneliness, and probably were settled on their solitary
clearings earlier than the Newarkers, who were more
attached to the village life. Doubtless the settling by
the Newark families had been more gradual. Probably
the land was very gradually cleared, the woods cut, and
the buildings erected while the owners still clung to their
homesteads near the Passaic. As late as 1740 they still
kept up the common fence of that town, and there was
still talk about Indian attacks. From time to time some
family would move out and occupy their plantation be-
yond the Second River.

Sometime after the discovery of copper in 1719 on
the Arent Schuyler property, in the present Arlington,
there seems to have been an attempt to mine copper
within the territory of Watsesson Plain. There is a
record made on December 18, 1735, in the town records
of Newark of a vote to allow mining for copper on the
"common lands" of the township, and that action may
have had reference to this neighborhood. Anyway there
was later extensive copper mining undertaken in Chest-
nut Hill west of the village, and just south of the
cemetery. Some years ago while quarrying out the
abundant freestone found at the corner of Bloomfield


:and Hillside avenues, the workmen came upon a great
drift of this ancient mine. Some of the discarded tools
of the workmen were discovered. The vertical shaft was
northward toward the cemetery, and it was thought the
<3rift had originally run as far as Toney's brook nearby.

When and by whose enterprise these mines were so
painstakingly hollowed out and shored up with great
timbers, no one seems able to state. The only docu-
mentary reference to them of an early date is that of
the schoolmaster, Alexander Wilson, who wrote on Au-
gust 7, 1801, to his friend, Charles Orr, at Milestown
that "There is a copper mine about 300 yards from
my school-house which was lately wrought and many
tons of ore obtained from it. It is now neglected." It
is possible that these mines were opened by the New
Jersey Copper Mine Association, organized about 1793
by Jacob Mark, Philip A. Schuyler and Nicholas I.
Roosevelt and others.

During the eighteenth century the inhabitants of the
Watsesson region were not altogether in a state of
peace and quiet. In 1745 and 1746 occurred the famous
Newark riots, which caused widespread excitement, not
to mention voluminous reports and papers sent home by
the authorities to England. Watsesson Plain was near
the front in these troubles. Many of the rioters came
from this locality and some were men of honored families.
The rioters passed through the neighborhood on their
way to Newark from Horse Neck, Cranetown, and Stone
House Plain. They were a determined lot of folks,
and they meant business, however vulnerable may have
been their cause legally.

An examination of the documentary material touching
the riots brings out the following particulars.


When the first settlers arrived at Newark they were
encouraged by the Proprietors, and especially by Car-
teret, to purchase their lands in fair dealings from the
Indians. This they did, and it has always been a matter
of pride that the English settlers of Jersey knew no
Indian massacres or wars.

After gradually taking up much of the land, as we
have seen, on this side of the First Mountain, they, or
their descendants, began to cast longing eyes toward the
rich timber and meadow lands westward to the Passaic
River. The broad acres called to-day "The Great
Piece" and "Little Piece" meadows, lying each side of
the Passaic River, and consisting of miles of hay land,
were especially valuable to the settlers. Forests covered
the high ground and on the lowlands nature had spread
a table of rich grass to be had for the cutting, and every
spring the river inundated the meadows and prepared
the fertile soil for another crop. These desirable bot-
tom lands, it was alleged, were bought from the Indians,
and when the Proprietors later disposed of them to
others it made those who occupied them feel like fight-
ing. In a statement of their case a committee of so-
called rioters of Essex County explicitly say that Horse
Neck, together with other places under consideration,
was purchased before the passing of the act of 1703,
which forbids thenceforth any individual purchases of
land from the "heathen" without the sanction of the
crown proprietors. The date of that transaction was
September 3, 1701.

Unfortunately for the settlers, their Indian deed was
gone. It had been burned' up in the fire that con-
sumed on March 7, 1744, the home of Jonathan Pierson
in Newark. They found some Indians, however, who


duplicated the deed March 14, 1744, and this they
claimed re-established their rights.

It was claimed on the part of the Proprietors that the
Horse Neck claimants had dug up the only Indian
within forty miles of Newark, namely one Andrew, a
bad Indian who had been forbidden to remain at Cran-
berry, Middlesex County, and was forced to live, along
with another redman named Peter, on the north side of
the Cranberry Creek. Andrew, it was alleged, had been
hired by the squatters to assume the roll of a big chief,
and with a few others to convey the lands anew to the
settlers. It also appears that Nehemiah Baldwin, prob-
ably of Orange, who had been cutting down timber in
the disputed territory and sawing the same in his mill,
was arrested and jailed in Newark. A band of rioters
from "the back settlement," among them men of good
reputation, released him from jail and were subsequently
indicted. The inhabitants of Watsesson beheld with
mixed feelings these movements of armed men, and some
of them were among the 300 engaged in the disturbances.
The riots, it should be said, were almost bloodless, and
nobody in this region was badly hurt. They^ were
demonstrations rather than attacks, for the men engaged
were capable of restraint as well as firmness. Many of
the Watsesson people attended the Orange church, whose
pastor. Rev. Daniel Taylor, opposed the Proprietors,
and wrote a tract in defense of the rioters. Among
them were a number of his parishoners, and several were

Various bits of data found in many scattered records
throw light upon the years intervening between the ad-
vent of the first settlers and the Revolutionary War.
They help to locate roads, mill sites and homesteads,


as well as to reveal the habite and occupations of the
people. Our space will permit of but a few additional
items concerning this period.

One of the earliest sawmills of Bloomfield was that
owned in 1743 b}'^ George Harrison, It is mentioned in
the Newark town records as being one of the points on
a line to divide the inhabitants of the "body of Newark'*^
from those of "Second River." The line ran "north
west to Second River, thence up the same to the Saw
Mill belonging to George Harrison, thence a direct line
to the North East Corner of the Plantation of Stephen
Morris," and so on to the mountain at Great Notch.

Harrison's mill, located near the present Harrison
Street and the Morris Canal, has gone through many
changes. It became a mahogany sawmill for logs re-
ceived from San Domingo, and was then transformed
into Van Dyck's chocolate mill. Later Hugh F. Ran-
dolph re-established mahogany sawing, and in time sold
the plant to a man named Gwinn, who turned it into a
paper mill and let it to William Frame of Bloomfield,
and also built another mill close by. Steam power was
introduced in these two paper mills. The Gwinns built
a handsome residence near the mills, which was de-
stroyed by fire. Two little children were burned to
death. The boxwood path leading to the site of the
Gwinn house was long a sad memorial of the former
beauty of the place.

The Harrisons, Farrands and Baldwins were the chief
families numerically along the old road to Watsesson
before the Revolution. Moses Farrand gave land for
the school in that neighborhood, probably the Franklin
school of 1758.

On the Caleb Baldwin place, long occupied by the


Kimball family, there is a handsome stone well-curb. It
contains the following legend:

"Caleb Harrison did the work of this stone in ye
year 1760."

Local tradition says that Caleb Harrison dwelt near
Soho. It is probable that this earnest stonecutter who
wrought so lastingly was a relative of the Caleb of that
name who used to see visions, and who, it is said, con-
structed a horseless carriage of some kind which failed
to move, and was thenceforth known as "Caleb Harri-
son's Vision."

The plant long known as Black's mill, which was
operated by the water of the great pond that once ex-
tended all the way to the Bloomfield Turnpike, began
its existence in the early part of the eighteenth century.
On January 2, 1730, Jasper Crane, of the third genera-
tion, and Joshua Miller, entered into an agreement "to
erect and sett up a turning mill on a branch of the
Second River, in the road that leads to Watsesson, on
the land of him the said Jasper Crane, the same mill and
damm to be erected and sett up and maintained at the
equal charge of them." Crane was to allow "the privi-
lege of getting what timber and stones shall be neces-

Early in the nineteenth century Dury Bromley and
Thomas Oakes of Bloomfield built on this site a grist-
mill for Joseph Black of Newark. Later the little
stream was called Darling's Brook from James G.
Darling and his brother, who succeeded Black. The last
name for the plant was Brady's Mill, and to-day noth-
ing remains of the mill or the pond.

THE *'1776" PERIOD
By Joseph F. Folsom

During the Revolutionary War there were no battles
fought on Watsesson Plain. This quiet neighborhood,
being off the important military highways, escaped the
greater woes of warfare. It is true there were several
incursions by the enemy. These resulted in some finan-
cial losses and more or less humor, but little bloodshed.
Of course there were many worries and privations.

Bloomfield came nearest to the horrors of war in
1776. Washington's troops crossed the Acquackan-
nonck bridge on the 21st of November, and marched
down the west bank of the Passaic. They were en route
from Fort Lee to Trenton in the memorable retreat,
and were closely followed by the British. Washington
did not find time to visit personally Watsesson Plain,
nor probably did many of his troops. His army stayed
five days at Newark, however, and this section may have
provided some forage or supplies. The British, though
somewhat in a hurry to overtake the Americans, had a
little more leisure for seeing the country. Detachments
went visiting among the villages off the main road, and,
though not very cordially welcomed, made themselves
at home. However picturesque may have been the scen-
ery of this neighborhood at the time, notliing quite
equalled the sight of a string of corn-cured hams or a
shoulder of beef. The Tommy Atkins of 1776 and his
Hessian ally were both hungry, and with or without
thanks took what they could get. They seem to have
come to Bloomfield over the Newtown road, now Belle-


ville Avenue, and perhaps also by the old road over
Franklin Hill.

One of the calls made by the British foragers on the
Newtown road was at the substantial stone dwelling
owned by Morta Winne, located where at present the
lawns of the Essex County Isolation Hospital at Soho
touch the street. This fine old house was built in 1766,
and great iron numerals across its front declared the
fact. The numerals are preserved in the museum of
the New Jersey Historical Society. The house was left
unguarded and allowed to burn down on April 7, 1908,
though the county authorities had proposed to preserve
it for use as an oiRce.

As we have said, the British called at the Winne
house, but evidently the door did not swing back with
sufficient hospitality, for one of the troopers passed
around to the rear of the house and poked his bayonet
through a little window over the door leading into the
back of the hallway. As one of the inmates happened to
be hastening up the winding stairway at the time, the
bayonet narrowly missed sticking into somebody and
caused considerable fright. However, they did not burn
the house, and Morta Winne lived to buy after the war
with Continental money a big piece of swamp lying back
of the house and along the Third River, which he named
the Continental Woods. The Isolation Hospital is built
on a part of the swamp.

The Bergen farm in the Newtown neighborhood was
also visited. Tradition says that when farmer Bergen
saw the British approaching he led out his finest horse,
and giving that surprised animal a vigorous kick, sent
it flying toward the woods. It was his plan for saving
his valuable steed. He found it later.


There dwelt in the same locahty a sensible housewife
» named King, probably INIrs. John King, in the stone
house still standing at the corner of Belleville Avenue
and Willett Street, opposite the site of the Captain
Kidne}' house. One party of hungry Britons called
upon this good woman for a bite to eat, and Mrs. King,
thinking thereby to put the raiders in good humor and
to save her neighbors fromi annoyance, prepared as
lavish a repast as her larder could afford. No record
of the bill of fare remains, and tradition is dumb as to
the final effect produced by this conciliatory banquet.

The British seem to have reached Watsesson and to
have visited most every house in the village. They
carted off wearing apparel, household goods, farm
produce, and silverware. Stories of how the neighbors
hid their silver spoons in the well, or buried them in the
garden, are still told by descendants.

A tradition that has come down through the Ward
family informs us that Jacob Ward, who kept the tavern
at the point where Broad and Franklin streets now
converge, and whose place previous to 1812 is frequently
designated in the Newark "Town Records" as the voting
place for the northern section of Newark, was also raided
by the British. He had an unpleasant experience.

Word came to the neighborhood that the enemy was
approaching, and preparations for flight were made.
Ward owned property near the spot where the Essex
County Penitentiary at Caldwell is now located, and he
prepared to take his family and movable effects to that
remote fastness. He had sent off several loads, and had
the last one, which contained furniture, and was drawn
by oxen, ready to start when the raiders arrived. They
captured the cart, but the owner made his escape and


hid himself for some time in the underbrush along
Toney's Brook. It is also said that the delay was caused
by the family returning to get a child that had been
forgotten in the excitement. It is presumed that the
family reached the mountain in safety, and that the
father joined them later.

When the war was over, and there was some hope that

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Online LibraryJoseph F. (Joseph Fulford) FolsomBloomfield, old and new; an historical symposium → online text (page 2 of 13)