[This document was scanned from an undated booklet (borrowed from the Colts Neck Library). Judging from the text, the booklet covers Colts Neck's history until 1964, and was probably written circa 1965.]
The Historical Committee presents for your perusal this History of Colts Neck. Time, space and budget have limited the production. Our chief problem consisted of boiling down a surprisingly large amount of information. If there are errors and omissions, we apologize. Perhaps in some future time we will expand many of the details into a larger volume that will really give credit to our community.
Our thanks is extended to many citizens who helped by gladly giving us the needed information. We especially would wish to name Frank Richdale of Mt. Dora, Florida for his collection on the North American Phalanx, Samuel Smith, Monmouth County Historian, Father Henry C. Beck, New Jersey Folklorist, John Mills for reproducing photographs and Mrs. Jean Faszcezewski, our more than superb artist.
(The compiling editor wishes to thank Mrs. William H. Miles who has devoted weeks of service to this labor of love.)
The Committee consisted of Mrs. Miles, Chairman; Donald John Peck, cartographer-writer; Frank Cahir, Werner Ulrich, writers; John S. Grauel, compiler; and Rev. Samuel La Penta who created the group and inspired its labors.
WE BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING. Certainly there is no better place to start a history. Before the advent of man and perhaps even before the advent of the greater creatures of the earth, this lovely area in which we reside was an ancient sea. Verily, it could have been waters over which the Spirit brooded because, geologically speaking, our homes are situated in one of the oldest established spots on the globe. For those who would dig in our marl deposits, all sorts of fascinating petrified remains of sea creatures can be brought to light. As eons moved into eras, the great sea receded, exposing to the nourishing rays of the prehistoric sun the gentle rolling uplands and setting in their courses the headwaters, those quiet brooks and streams, of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers.
The appearance of man in the fair reaches of the land is certainly not set down with definity and mostly lost in the primeval haze of a forgotten dawn. But, though dates are missing, the artifacts remain. Many evidences, mistakenly traced to our known Indians, far precede their appearance on the scene. Anthropologists are convinced, beyond doubt, that flint, jasper and argillite objects are the results of production long before the advent of the Red Man. The remains of the Great Hairy Mastodon and other prehistoric creatures have been found in the locale in juxtaposition to weapons which were produced in Neolithic and Paleolithic times. The argillite or clay products are foregone conclusions as we still possess the potential deposits for ceramics and bricks. Surely we can argue that every stick and stone speaks out and here in this gracious spot the pages of man's history turn gently or violently depending only on the winds of time.
However, good reader, lest you determine that we have covered our ignorance
of the past with a flight into poetic imagination, we redeem ourselves now
by setting down the more accurate recorded facts.
One of the earliest descriptions of the area tells us of the abundance of wild life. It is fascinating to learn that in addition to the creatures that still abound in our fields and woodlands, Colts Neck had its share of wolves, bears and panthers. As an aside, it is amazing to learn that our deer population today far exceeds that of Indian days. We have also acquired, perhaps due to a warming trend, numerous possum, the only American marsupial and a creature usually found further south. One happy improvement is the absence of the once plentiful rattlesnakes.
Civilization drove the greater beasts from our midst. There were those who had sought them for food and clothing only, and they too are gone forever; but their spirits linger around us, and many a lad has sensed the shades of the red man on a warm autumn evening when our golden corn is in the shock, and the pumpkins are orange in the fields and there is a "haze on the far horizon of the infinite tender sky." Colts Neck was the rendezvous for tens of thousands of moccasined feet for many centuries. Through the heart of this present community moved some of the greatest trails of the aborigines. Here converged from the three points of the compass to their meeting by the sea the highways of the great Indian nations. One vast camp site near present Obrey Road yielded for many decades the relics of the conclaves of the Chiefs and their braves. They had come to parleys and for fellowship and contest but also for the practical aspect of gathering shells to make wampum, belts used in monetary exchange. This area was the heart of Scheyichbi, Long Land Water, which the whites would eventually call New Jersey.
The Indians of the area were known as the Lenni Lenape. They apparently originated in Labrador and were a sub-division of the Delawares, who under Algonquin nomenclature were one of the great nations. In immediate residence were the Unami or Turtle Clan. The name Lenni, in Delaware language means original. Len means our and ape means man. The phrase thus means "original of our people."
The four great Indian trails were the Achkinkeshacky (Hackensack) Trail from the headwaters of the Hudson River; the Minisink Trail from the region embracing the Great Lakes; the Raritan-Lopotcong Trail from the west; and the Crossweeksung Trail from the southwest. All of these terminated at the Navesink River. The Crossweeksung Trail entered the State at Trenton and eventually passed through Freehold to the Yellow Brook at Colts Neck. Two paths branched off at this point. The upper one passed through Tinton Falls to Red Bank. The Southern path led from Colts Neck through the Indian Field at the head of Shark River and thence to Manasquan.
Here is located the traditional Horse Pound. It was so named because the Indians had constructed an arrangement to capture the horses and the cattle of the early settlers which had reverted to their wild state. The aborigines built a fence of brush, triangular in shape, the apex being located at a point where the ground was extremely swampy. A drive forced the animals into the wide mouth. Eventually they reached the bog where they were captured, having become mired in the muck.
A curious story that has survived the period of Indian decline in Colts Neck concerns one Indian Will. Most of the Red Men had emigrated to Crosswicks and Cranbury as so-called civilization advanced. Will however remained and made his home either in a wigwam between Tinton Falls and Swimming River or, as some old-timers believe, in certain caves no longer opened to public traffic. Circa 1695 Indian Will had as his breakfast guest a white man who was astounded to find himself served with a fine silver spoon. The curious diner was informed by Will that he could furnish him many more of these precious items. A deal was made. The clever white got his spoons and Indian Will was turned out in a red coat and a cocked hat. The spoons were, in the light of that day's economy, priceless. From whence did they come? The only explanation is that some Dutch Burgher had hidden them with the approach of British Rule a few years before. In the general convulsion that followed, the owner disappeared and Will found them and enriched the good settler because of his generous offer of the brilliant garments.
There are some Romantics who insist the spoons may have been part of the treasure of Captain Kidd, who did bury treasure somewhere in the area. Your present historian must discount this version as Kidd did not start his nefarious operations until several years after the aforesaid incident. But we, are always open to suggestion, and we also are in possession of a sturdy shovel.
In the final analysis, the treatment of the Indians in this community was no better than that of other areas where the good white man had settled. In the beginning the Indians were prepared to trust the settlers, and what could have been a demonstration of brotherhood was dissolved in bitter enmity.
The records show that "the people were afraid to live outside of town because of wild beasts and Indians." In 1670 Shrewsbury which at that point included Colts Neck lamented "the weakness of the towne to withstand the rage and fury of the numerable Indian."
By 1750, decimated by disease, gun and general disaffection, the original owners of this locale were pitifully few in number. In the year 1801 the last battered remnants gathered their few rags and time honored utensils and rusty guns and went "to eat out of the dish of the Manhekunnuk on Oneida Lake." As we said a few lines ago, they are with us now only in the gentle breeze through our rustling corn or occasionally, if you are swift enough, you can see certain dark figures move across the soft fall of pure white snow on a moonlit winter's night.
Within a period of 112 years, 1497-1609, four European explorers claimed this land for their sponsors: John Cabot, 1497, for England; Giovanni de Verrazano, 1524, for France; Estevan Gomez, 1525, for Spain, Henry Hudson, 1609, for Holland. Then for 50 years, 1614-1664, Monmouth County came under the influence of the Dutch, but it was not settled until English rule in 1664.
On the 12th of March 1664, King Charles II of England granted to his brother, James, Duke of York, all New Jersey. On April 2, the British appointed Richard Nicolls Deputy Governor of New
York and New Jersey. One year later, April 8, 1665 Nicolls issued "The Monmouth Patent" to twelve men who had come from Western Long Island and New England seeking permanent stability for religious and civil freedom as well as the prospect of improving their estates. Nicolls was unaware that in June, 1664, James had given a lease and release for New Jersey to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret thus invalidating the grant to the Monmouth Patentees.
In 1676 Colts Neck Township area was included in the division of East Jersey. With the death of Sir George Carteret his lease rights were sold to 12 proprietors, soon increased to 24 with many more added later on, who then established a Board of Proprietors to administer their lands and rights in 1684.
The Board, in order to establish their claim to previous grants under Nicolls
and Carteret and to exact "quit-rents" (an annual sum of money assessed settlers
for each acre of land), insisted that all claims prior to March 25, 1682,
were required to secure an Indian title for their land showing purchase from
How Colts Neck got its name has been lost to the ages, we have found no document which positively tells us this. Yet if you but follow Yellow Brook and Mine Brook, it forms a neck of land very much like a colt's neck. This we believe is a reasonable explanation as to the name Colts Neck. It was known as Colts Neck as early as 1675, long before the Revolution. On June 15, 1676 there is recorded in the minutes of Board of Proprietors of Eastern Division of New Jersey a Bill of Sale by two Indians (Almeseke and Lamasand) for a certain neck of land lying in Monmouth County, called Colts Neck. It was noted that 450 acres were sold to Henry Leonard Sr., 240 acres to Samuel Leonard, 120 acres each to Nathanial, Thomas, John and Henry Jr., all Leonard's, at Colts Neck.
Early settlers of Shrewsbury (biggest section of Colts Neck was Shrewsbury till 1847) were the English. Among the first ( about 1664-5) were John Hance, Richard Stout, John Tilton, James Grover, Obadiah Holmes, John and Job Throckmorton, Taylor, Smith, Wardell and Hartshorne families.
The Leonards owned vast tracts of land in our area, among them lands on Mine Brook. From the Shrewsbury Christ Church records we learned that Henry Leonard was buried in 1739 near his house at Colts Neck. One of New Jersey's first fulling mills (perhaps the oldest) was run and owned by William Lawrence on Hop Brook. Fulling was a process of cleansing or thickening cloth by beating or washing. William Lawrence died in 1701 and willed the mill, house and properties to one of his sons, James who later moved to Crosswicks. This mill, we believe, was on Long Bridge Road, the site where once stood Bray's Saw Mill and now the property of Arthur Jones. Col. Lewis Morris' original grant in 1678 encompassed Tinton Falls and a great part of Colts Neck, 1500 acres in all, James Grover also took up lands around Tinton Falls (Falls of Shrewsbury.) These lands contained iron ore. We know, too, that the Matthews families were early settlers, owning vast tracts in the Hominy Hills and around the present village of Colts Neck. The Matthews made charcoal and transported it by boat to New York. The early Matthews lay buried in forgotten sites in the Hominy Hills - later ones were buried near the present site of the motel on Highway 34.
About 15 years after the English, the Scots came to Shrewsbury, Colts Neck, Marlboro and Freehold areas. Among them were the Thompsons, Bownes, Johnstones, Crawfords, Hardys, Kers and Barclays. John Reid and George Kieth were also among this group - they were surveyors, their maps a collectors dream. By 1685 there were over 100 Scotch families in Monmouth County.
The Dutch migration didn't begin till around 1690. Many of Colts Neck's Dutch families appear in the Old Brick Church (Marlboro) records, which begin in 1709 (well preserved in the Monmouth County Historical Association Library. ) The Dutch homes were large, taking pride in building their barns, just as huge. Many are still scattered in this area. A few of our Dutch settlers were, Schancks, Conovers, (Van Kowenhoven), Barriclo, Van Mater, Van Dorn and Vanderveers.
From the township death records and various family cemeteries we know of other families that lived in Colts Neck in the 1700's, among them: Probasco, Sickles, Bennett, Laird, Brower, Heyers, Holsart, Statesir, Wainright, Van Clief, Stoutenburg, Holmes, Golden, Emans, Scobey, Williams, Polhemus, Lefferts, Wickoff, Smock and Logan. As you will note many of these early families are still represented here today.
That Colts Neck has been noted for its horse breeding farms since the 1700's is fact. From a newspaper of 1780 this item appeared, "The ensuing season, at Colt's Neck, county of Monmouth at the farm of Captain Van Mater, the beautiful full blooded horse LIBERTY. At 4 pounds in gold or silver, continental at the exchange, ready cash will be expected; good pasture will be procured for mares. It would be needless to say any thing of his pedigree or performances, as it bath been so often ascertained here to fore, and established through the state."
The early pioneers, for a very short time, lived much as the Indians. Dwellings were located near water with natural protection sought against chilling winds of winter. Very often the stable was built first and used as a dwelling until a better structure could be raised. The earliest huts were made by twisting and tying the tops of young saplings together and covering them with strips of bark, modeled after the larger Indian wigwams.
Very soon square cellar like excavations were dug - this was floored and lined with riven plank and roofed over "A" fashion by poles running to a peak and covered by bark or sod. These were succeeded by log cabins. Many of these homes were one story (two rooms and lean-to.) The chimneys were built of cribbed sticks of wood, plastered with clay. Roofs were thatched. Most of the baking was done in outside ovens built of brick. One of the more pretentious houses of this period was 30 x 18 x 8 boarded and thatched, with chimney, staircase, closet, built in bedstead, mantle and front and rear doors. It cost about $150.00.
Then began the English type architecture, like the Richard Hartshorne house (1702) in Middletown. And the Dutch style, like the Cornelius Covenhoven (Conover) house (about 1702) on Matawan-Holmdel Road. Most of the houses of the Provincial period were shingled on the outside by cedar shingles and roofed with the same material. They were, generally, filled in with mud, sometimes worked up with chopped straw. The front doors were often ornamented with heavy and elaborate knockers of iron or brass. The doors themselves were large and in the Dutch buildings, usually divided horizontally into two at the middle. Windows were usually small. Floors were of very broad planks (sometimes two feet wide) laid directly on the heavy hand-hewn oak beams. The Dutch built homes were noted for their low-hanging eaves and recessed porches.
Chimneys became larger, some being twelve feet wide, needing logs so large and heavy that they had to be drawn within the kitchen by a horse. Ovens were no longer detached, but built in one of the side-walls of the kitchen chimney (such as that in the Fredericks home on Laird Road.) Vegetables were sometimes stored in outside root-cellars. Ice was preserved in deep pits, lined with logs and covered by a peaked roof (much like the one on the Camarata property on County road 537.)
In any discussion of dwelling places and their development in our township, it would be absolutely presumptuous of us to try to specify too exactly. Coincidental with this publication and our celebration we are having a house tour with but a small sampling of types and styles of residences. There is such a wealth of beauty in the many old places that dot the landscape that we are restricting ourselves to a brief review of general characteristics. Lucky are the owners of the fine old Dutch farmhouses. Many of them still have the wide floors, the magnificent brickwork, and the intriguing split doors. In some of the old "horning" rooms still exist and the funeral exits are obvious. You don't have to search too hard for the hand split shingles and the enormous barn beams which stagger the imagination of a latter day contractor. One beam in the barn of Cwm Rhondda on Hockhockson Road would take thirty men to raise it into place. The same residence, along with that of the Veirman's, has a marvelously wrought arched support under the fireplace hearth, a feature known to some of the earliest houses in New England Thus age is indicated and age is ever evident. The beautiful Fred cricks home dates at least to 1709. Shiman's residence at least goes back to 1800. Many others are much older but destruction by fire of some of the early records at the County Courthouse make it impossible to do more than surmise age. Some fine features we would like to note are: the cranberry glass and the carved marble fire places of the Crine home, the ancient mill stone that serves as a front step at the Shimans', the copper arch and brick kitchen in the Allen Henderson house, the old wall oven at the Fredericks', the gracious beauty of the Victorian styling of the Wood home, the Joseph Henderson house whose evident doorway facing south and other features reveal its ancestry to be Dutch, the Robert Cookes' truly ancestral home because it is the home of their ancestors, the Chinese styling of the Newbold home, many of its treasures already reposing in the museums at Freehold and in Philadelphia, and most impressive of all, the homes set mostly in the far reaches of the beautiful acreage, thus enhancing not only their beauty but giving an outlander the feeling that here we breathe God's fresh air without the peculiar contamination of urban life.
In this springtime we are conscious of our heritage. The fields are green with young corn, potatoes and garden goodness. The orchards begin the ripeness of the apples. Hundreds of foals feed on the rich forage and from upland to lowland we know that snug in these fine houses, rich with the history of this land, we are at home.
Historians generally concede that no state among the old thirteen suffered during the Revolutionary War more than New Jersey, and that no county in New Jersey suffered more than Monmouth. In addition to the outrages from the regular British army, our citizens were continually harassed by organized bands of refugees and by a set of outcasts known as "The Pine Woods Robbers" who pretended to be Royalist yet if the opportunity arose, robbed Royalist as well as Americans.
The Refugees (or Loyalists) were renegade Americans, organized in 1779 with officers commissioned by the "Board of Associated Loyalists" at New York to aid the Royal cause. Here follows a few accounts of their raids which occurred in and around the Colts Neck area
April 1779 an expedition consisting of 700 or 800 men under Colonel Hyde went to Middletown, Red Bank, Tinton Falls and Shrewsbury; robbing and burning as they went. They took Justice Covenhoven (Conover) and others prisoners, also carried off horses, cattle and other plunder.
June 1779 about 50 Refugees landed in Monmouth and marched to Tinton Falls where they took prisoners, among them Colonel Hendrickson, Colonel Wyckoff, and drove off sheep and cattle.
April 1780 another raid to Tinton Falls.
June 1780 the noted Colonel Tye, an escaped slave, carried off prisoners Captain Barney Smock and Gilbert Van Mater and took horses.
October 1781 a party of refugees from Sandy Hook, landed at night at Shrewsbury and marched to Colts Neck - took 6 prisoners.
February 1782 about 40 refugees came across Sandy Hook to Pleasant Valley. They took 20 horses, 5 sleighs and several prisoners: Hendrick Hendrickson, and his two sons; Peter Covenhoven (Conover); Garret Hendrickson; Samuel Bowne and son and Jacques Denise. At one of the homes a young man, William Thompson, got up slyly and went to inform Captain John Schenck of Colonel Holmes regiment, who collected his men in pursuit. They overtook the refugees after a few skirmishes, retook 19 horses and 21 prisoners.
Captain Joshua Huddy, the hero martyr of old Monmouth, should ever occupy a conspicuous place in the memory of Jerseymen. Yet when we remember his patriotic efforts and sacrifices, his unfortunate end, it is doubtful if less justice has been done to the memory of any other hero of his day. Though his name at one time, was a household word, not only throughout this country but at the courts of England and France, and through his unfortunate death and its consequences, for a time, caused the most intense excitement on both sides of the Atlantic, yet in the substance of the language of a report adopted by congress in 1837, "It is fearful to state that after a lapse of 50 years, while the services of others of so much less merit have been made the theme of biographer and the poet, the memory of Huddy has not been honored with an epitaph. His country, it would seem, has outlived the recollection of his services' and forgotten that such a victim was sacrificed for American liberty."
Captain Joshua Huddy was appointed by act of Legislature September 24, 1777 to the command of a company of artillery, to be raised from the militia of the state. Huddy as a resident of Colts Neck (home burned, site on property now owned by Tom Camarata on County road 537 next to Colts Neck Inn.)
Here is an account of the attack on his home (September 1780) which can be found in almost every New Jersey History-this account was taken from Howes Historical Collection of New Jersey published in 1842 and gathered from persons then still living who were involved in the incident.
In September 1780 a party of about 60 refugees, commanded by Colonel Tye, attacked Captain Huddy's home in Colts Neck. Huddy assisted by a young servant girl (Lucretia Emmons, later Mrs. Chambers) defended it for some time but finally when the refugees set fire to the house, Huddy agreed to surrender, provided they would put the fire out. This they did, carrying off Huddy and several cattle and sheep from the neighborhood, but lost them fording the creeks By this time our militia had gathered, killing several of them on their retreat. Captain Huddy was able to escape when the refugees boarded their boats near Black Point (between Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers.) When Captain Huddy's former home was visited in 1842 (then owned by Thomas G. Haight) marks of the fire could still be seen and several bullet holes on the eastern end of the house.
Captain Huddy was finally captured while defending the fort at Toms River on March 24, 1782. He was taken to New York, first placed in a New York military prison, then moved on board the British warship "Britannia." On Friday, April 12, 1782 Captain Richard Lippencott, a neighbor of Huddy's, took him off this ship and accused him of the murder of Philip White, a Loyalist and half brother of Lippencott's wife. Huddy claimed that White had been killed almost a week after his own capture, (according to a report in April 15, 1782 issue of the NEW JERSEY GAZETTE, White had been killed on March 30, while resisting arrest and while trying to escape after being captured by a party of revolutionary soldiers.)
Apparently, the British were planning to exchange Huddy for another prisoner, but Lippencott, possibly in retaliation for White's death, succeeded in having Huddy hanged, one of the outstanding events of the period.
After Captain Huddy's murder his body was left hanging until afternoon when the Americans came and took it to Freehold to the house of Captain James Greene. He was buried with the honors of War. His funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. John Woodhull, pastor of The First Presbyterian Church of Freehold.
This was not the end of the incident. A great outcry was raised against the injustice of Huddy's execution. A commission reported to Washington its views that Huddy had been murdered by Lippincott. Washington passed this report on to Congress, indicating his intention to retaliate unless Lippincott were surrendered to a Revolutionary court-martial. Sir Henry Clinton, the British Commander in Chief, possibly acting under Loyalist pressure, did not give up Lippincott, but indicated that a court-martial would investigate the case.
In retaliation for the murder of Huddy, a British captain, chosen by lot from among the prisoners of war, was to be executed by the revolutionary forces. Captain Charles Asgill was selected. His mother, Lady Teresa Asgill, put up a very strong fight against his execution, and managed to obtain first the sympathy of the Count of Vergennes, then through him, the sympathy and help of the King and Queen of France, who were able to intercede with Congress and Washington.
Washington sent Asgill a passport, allowing him to go to the British forces in New York. He expressed his profound relief at having been spared the killing of an innocent man as a retaliatory measure. For once, blood was not answered with blood.
Captain Huddy made his will under the gallows, signing it on the barrel from which he was hung a few moments later. The following is a copy of the will: "In the name of God, Amen: I, Joshua Huddy, of Middletown, in the county of Monmouth, being of sound mind and memory, but expecting shortly to depart this life, do declare this my last will and testament:" First: I commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God, hoping, He may receive it in mercy; and next I commit my body to the earth. I do also appoint my trusty friend, Samuel Forman, to be my lawful executor, and after all my just debts are paid, I desire that he do divide the rest of my substance whether by book, debts, notes or any effects whatever belonging to me, equally between my two children, Elizabeth and Martha Huddy.
"In witness whereof I have here unto signed my name this twelfth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two. "Joshua Huddy."
The will was written on half a sheet of foolscap paper, on the back of which was the following endorsement, evidently written shortly after the will was executed: "The will of Captain Joshua Huddy, made and executed the same day the refugees murdered him April 12th, 1782."
The will was found years later among the papers of his executor, Colonel Samuel Forman. It was signed by Captain Huddy, but was apparently written by another person. Captain Huddy's daughters became Elizabeth Green and Martha Piatt. Martha moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 1836 Martha Piatt presented a petition to Congress (she was then 70 years old, her mother and sister deceased.) She was granted a sum that would have been given Captain Huddy had he been a Continental officer and had continued in the service until the close of the war.
The Battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778, was set up by the British decision to abandon Philadelphia. Philadelphia, the capital and seat of the Continental Congress, had been captured in September, 1777. When France recognized the revolutionary regime, and sent a naval force to help the revolutionary forces, a threat was created to the British supply route. It was therefore decided to abandon Philadelphia and join with the British forces in New York; there the concentrated British fleet could more easily guarantee the free access of British supply ships. The British forces which had been so much more powerful than the forces under Washington before the winter of 1777-8, had been somewhat reduced, while Washington's forces had been reinforced by new enlistments of Patriots who had been heartened by the successes at Trenton, Princeton, and above all, Saratoga, with the consequent French entry into the war. In addition, the British Forces under Sir Henry Clinton were badly burdened by enormous supply trains which contained not only the army supplies, but a large amount of baggage belonging to Loyalists who were fleeing Philadelphia for the protection of New York. Clinton decided to go via Monmouth County, there to be picked up by the British fleet at Sandy Hook.
After extensive, if somewhat confused, fighting on June 28, the British retreated during the night of June 28-29 via Dutch Lane Road to Middletown. A number of small skirmishes were fought in Colts Neck; these were attacks on the retreating baggage train and soldiers. Michael Field, whose grave is still preserved, was killed during one of these skirmishes.
The Township has its ghosts. For years during the Twenties, the then vacant Newbold House was reported to be the scene of peculiar manifestations, notably the clanking of chains. Several of our noble citizens, fortified amply by the usual distillation of the goodness of our apples, decided to investigate. The night was dark and the house was darker. The chains began to clank. Courageously they charged toward the attic, yelling exorcisms and waving their arms. In the glimmer of the lantern the ghosts were revealed. Several large rats were foraging in a collection of very real chains.
Such practical deduction however, does not account for a recent story. Now, we do not swear to the fact of this account as even known and proven history is sometimes enhanced by retelling. We set down the information for the record and can only insist that our informant is a pious, respectable citizen whose only aberration is an occasional bout with our justly famous applejack. This good squire tells us, that, on a recent foggy night, he was driving past the wooded section near the revolutionary grave on Heyer's Mill Road, when, out of nowhere, a figure in colonial costume appeared directly in front of the car. He swears he hit him. Our informant stopped immediately and went back. There was nothing to be found. Next morning he, troubled in spirit, went back to the spot. There, lying in some brambles, he found a tricorned hat. He rushed to a friend with the discovery and the story. His confident, who prefers, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous, disclaimed the whole affair with the assertion that the hat looked like a Williamsburg souvenir. A quick telephone call proved that the aforesaid argument was invalid. The tri-corn hats under question were of felt. Our good citizen pointed out that, this ha' was made of Beaver! Even as they argued the first light of morning reached the disputed object. Before their stunned gaze it slowly reduced to dust.
We have shown on the map the earliest paths in Colts Neck. The Indian trails, Burlington and Minisink Paths. As the settlers increased so did the need for more roads. Old records tell us their beginnings but it is almost impossible to ascertain their exact location unless one goes through 250 years of land ownership, step by step to understand its terminology. This would take many months of research, we have been able to decipher four of the early roads enough to know that they lay in parts of the Township.
From Middletown the usual way to get to Shrewsbury was by the road leading through "haunted" Balm Hollow to Ogden's Corner, through Morrisville turning easterly to near Middletown Episcopal Church farm, from there to Swimming River, then to Tinton Falls and to Shrewsbury. This road avoided all meadows, bogs and streams except Swimming River. This river was bridged at a very early day as is evidenced by a record of the Monmouth Court in September 1679 which directs the bridge over Swimming River to be made new-from this it is evident that a bridge existed perhaps as early as 1667 (a long enough period for the bridge to become old.)
The Highway from Middletown to Freehold-followed the road to Shrewsbury as far as the house owned by R. P. Smock, then turning southwesterly, crossing the stream near the brick house built by David Williamson, then following to Barnes Smock farm, thence across Hop Brook, so up the hill by the old Van Mater Race track and over to the road running to Phalanx, then southwesterly past S. W. Jones house, thence by the road now closed to the south of Edinburgh (Vanderburg) so over to the old Barrentown Road then following the general course of Dutch Lane Road to Freehold.
From the records of March 1709 - A road from the highway that goeth along ye rear of Joseph Lawrence's land, to Hochocson Swamp; then to the line that parts Morris and Thomas Leonards, thence along said line to the brook, thence down brook to bridge, then to place where bridge was made over, below the Sawmill, then to William Lawrence's Mill.
Records of June 1710 - Beginning on top of the hill where the path now goes, up over part of Swimming River, that leads up to Henry Leonard's Sawmill (1st) where road that comes from William Lawrence's to Shrewsbury crosses said river, then running southwest to a small black oak tree, being corner tree of Johannes Polhemus (on Laird Road, Fredericks property) and Auka Leffers (Lefferts), then along line of said Johannes Polhemus and Auka Leffers to lie and remain upon Polhemus' land, until it comes to where aforesaid road crosses said Polhemus and Leffers land.
On February 18, 1847 an act of the Legislature of the State of New Jersey set the Township of Atlantic (now Colts Neck Township) from the Townships of Shrewsbury, Middletown and Freehold. The First Town Meeting was held at the Hotel of Samuel Laird on March 9, 1847. This practice of annual Town Meeting and election of officers continued each year till about 1890 when officials were elected for longer terms.
Those that first served as officials were: Moderator, Thomas G. Haight; Town Clerk, Tunis Statesir; Judge of Election, Samuel W. Jones; Freeholders, De La Fayette Schanck, and Thomas G. Haight; Assessor, John Statesir; Surveyors of Highways, Elias Vanderveer and Thomas W. Sherman; Collector, John Van Mater; Commissioners of Appeal, Peter S. Conover, Arthur Vanderveer and Isaac G. Smock; Town Committee, Thomas Guest, James Van Mater, John Polhemus, Daniel P. Smock and John Wyckoff; Constable, Daniel Lawrance; Superintendent of Schools, James Martin; Overseer of Poor, Charles Sears; Overseers of Highways, Daniel Polhemus, Charles T. Matthews, Elias Sickles and John B. Wardon; Pound Keeper John Robinson.
Dog taxes were levied at $1.00 - females $5.00, a year later this was changed to .50 cents and $3.00 for females. Apparently townsmen felt the tax on female dogs too steep for again in 1849 they were lowered to $1.00.
The wage for road work was 75 cents per day and $1.75 for a team of horses. At the March 15, 1847 committee meeting the roads were districted in the following manner: Number 1 Commencing at the south east corner of the township, thence northerly to Swimming River Bridge, thence westerly up Swimming River to Sawmill Brook, thence up said brook to a small stream near Thomas G. Haight's saw mill, thence southerly up said stream to the bridge near Thomas W. Sherman, thence continuing southerly to the Howell line, thence easterly along said line to the place of beginning. Number 2 Commencing at Number 1 on the Howell line thence westerly to the southwest corner of Atlantic Township, thence northerly along said line to a small stream back of William Sickles house, thence easterly down said stream to Saw Mill Brook, thence down said brook to Number 1, thence southerly to the place of beginning. Number 3 Commencing at number 2 at the small stream back of William Sickles running northerly to the north west corner of township, thence easterly to John Ely's Mill, thence down Middle Hop Brook to the Old Womans Bridge, thence southerly along the road leading to Colts Neck to the Saw Mill Brook, thence up said brook to place of beginning. Number 4 Commencing at the Old Womans Bridge running easterly along Middle Hop Brook until it strikes Swimming River, thence up Swimming River to Saw Mill Brook, thence up said brook to number 3, thence along the road leading to Holmdel to the Old Womans Bridge.
Township residents were levied a road tax - in 1854 records show Charles Bray's assessment for running road through his lands at $50.00. John Laird's road tax was $94.08.
Records show tax deductions paid in 1849 to North American Phalanx for $2.77. To Michael Mack for .50 cents and to Charles T. Matthews over payment of .42-1/2 cents. Records also show in 1849 the township was to be surveyed and mapped by James K. Van Mater, John Wyckoff and Henry Buck. Thomas Fields did some surveying in 1848 (Thomas was the father of our former tax collector the late Walter D. Fields.)
Various other expenditures were shown in the minutes. For example: Samuel Holmes was paid $3.00 in 1849 for making a coffin; $1.00 paid for digging a grave; Benjamin Brower was paid $5.00 for making a coffin; William Sickles $1.00 for same service; Hendrick Sickles paid .18-1/4 cents for mending shoes; Joseph P. Probasco was paid in 1854 for covering of Water Wheel; First mention of repairing a bridge was made in 1856 for $2.07; Buying a cart scoop and road: scraper for township in 1854. At various times money was spent for planks and timber for the roads to Edward Ryall, Benjamin T. Matthews, Thomas Sherman, De Witt Sickles and Garrit Rezeau Conover. A public pound was built by Charles Scobey in 1851.
In February and October 1852 appears first payment for recording birth, marriages and deaths at .10 each, paid to Tunis Statesir. The first marriage recorded was in December 15, 1850 Charles D. Bray, son of David Sr. and Elenor V. Schanck, daughter of Garrit R. both of Atlantic Township. The first death recorded was that of Phoebe Probasco, daughter of Abraham and Catherine Van Neste, who died June 2, 1851 at 70, a widow. Among the first births recorded were: a son in October 1851 to John Rogers a blacksmith, a daughter born January 1852 to Garrit Thompson, a blacksmith, a son in January 1852 to Gideon Crawford, a shoemaker.
By 1890 there were 9 road districts with equipment amounting to 7 South Bend plows-with wheel, 7 drag scrapers on wheels, 1 iron scoop and 1 grader. In 1891 the Township Committee assumed the care and management of public roads and divided the roads into 2 districts, paying team and driver $3.00 per day and $1.25 per day for laborer, (10 hours constituting a days work.) Two Superintendents were chosen, Henry H. Matthews and George Cross Jr., to be paid $2.00 per day. In 1895 one of the road superintendents was William C. Buck, grandfather of present committeeman William S. Buck. In 1897 Schanck Van Dorn (father of Newell Van Dorn, Mrs. Al Buck and Mrs. Charles Flock) was Surveyor of the Highways.
From the very beginning one big and continual expense was "Sheep Bills." Apparently many wild dogs roamed the countryside, (still a problem) damages paid in 1854 and 1855 were $271.00 and $561.25-a tremendous amount in those days! Some of those reimbursed were: Jacob Polhemus, John Cook, Isaac Smock, Charles Bray and Christopher Probasco. The dog count for 1854 was 116.
Another large expense, each year, was the caring of the poor or temporary relief. A typical year 1852 paid out $268.90.
We found one most interesting item recorded in the records for April 15, 16 and 17, 1854. "Three days we had severest northeast snow storm ever remembered by oldest inhabitants. Some snow banks were 7 feet in depth and some 300 lives were lost by ship-wreck near Absecum by loss of ship Powhatten and others."
In 1856 the township bought one sixth interest in the Old County Farm (in township of Ocean at Shark River) for keeping of the poor. Other township co-owners were: Brick, Middletown, Dover, Wall and Howell. In 1883 and again in 1896 a portion of this land was sold. By 1911 it was finally all sold.
During the Civil War the officials resolved (October 31, 1863) that a Bounty (of stated amount) for each volunteer be raised by taxation to fill the quota of the township. This move had to be sanctioned by the State. After many trips to Trenton, the act was passed (March 14, 1865) authorizing the township to issue Bonds to raise the money to pay volunteers or substitutes. Bonds were prepared in due course. In December 1864 the township resolved to pay $30.00 subscription of men who were drafted under the March call of the President for troops and those who furnished substitutes be refunded to them. Township again resolved to raise money (in addition to that raised by county) to procure volunteers or substitutes to fill township quota under the last call of the President for troops. Sum of $200.00 be raised.
Early in 1899 the New York and New Jersey Telephone Company began erecting poles particularly east to west, to be part of a through line from Freehold to Asbury Park, along road known as Bradley Road. In 1903 telephone service was available to those living from Montrose School House to Phalanx and the road from Colts Neck to Holmdel. Other sections gradually were added.
First mention of a firewarden for the township was in 1906 with Theodore Snedeker appointed (father of Warne Snedeker.) In 1908 two signs were painted to limit the speed of autos to 6 miles per hour erected at each end of the village on the county road.
The erection of the old town hall on the county road in the village was done in 1909, furniture was bought, tables, chairs, blinds and fixtures. Some of these items were bought by Everett Matthews for the township. The telephone was installed in 1909. The safe was bought in 1911. A janitor was hired in 1910 for $15.00 per year.
As the township officials helped in the war effort during the Civil War so did they during World War I, buying Liberty Bonds.
Electricity was realized in parts of the township by 1927, when the township hall was wired and a few street lights added shortly after.
Thus we have presented to you some of the statistics. We would however note a condition which would be hard to define in the sense of numbers or hard facts. That involves the spirit of our community. Newcomers and the oldest families alike share a deep love for this island of beauty in the almost rapacious activity of some of our neighbors. The will of the community is expressed in the resolves that, future building and expansion must continue to preserve our special blessing of space and bucolic atmosphere. We set down some of the more tangible evidences of our history and heritage.
As part of this anniversary we look to the dedication of our fine new Town Hall. It will be much more efficient and provide the badly needed space for the proper functioning of government. Here again. we present our compliments to our Town Fathers who have seen fit to create a building, functional, but still reflecting beauty and a sense of history.
Colts Neck Tavern is believed to have been erected in 1717. In 1812 Samuel Laird became proprietor of the Inn, and continued such until he died in 1859.
During that time, the Tavern gained fame as the training place of the greatest race horse America had then produced, "Fashion," and Joseph Laird, son of the Inn Keeper, gained renown as the rider of "Fashion" in the most spirited track contest that had been staged up to that time.
Joe, however, despite the racing crowd with which he associated, despite his success as a trainer of speedy horses at the famous Colts Neck stables, and also despite his success as a jockey apparently had a desire to enter mercantile life, and in 1846 became a partner with his uncle, Elisha Laird in a general merchandise business.
Stirring days had the old Inn witnessed, but unfortunately little of its history has been handed down to posterity. In 1778 after the battle of Monmouth, a column of Clinton's retreating British troops swept through and levied tribute upon the surrounding farms and probably refreshed themselves at the old bar.
Situated near what was once known as the Burlington Trail, the footway through the forest first used by the Indians and later adopted by the white man, the Inn was the stopping point for dispatch riders and stage coaches that ran between inland and shore points.
Another familiar landmark is the Colts Neck General Store which even today reflects the all inclusive merchandising of a business peculiarly American. The store was originally founded in 1858 by Levi Scobey and has served successive generations of townspeople. It passed from one owner to the other but maintained the charm of being "all things to all men." Whether a man needed chewing tobacco or rubber boots ,fishing gear or an alarm clock, ad infinitum through all his daily needs, the "store" met his desires. Time and the advent of the mail order catalogue reduced some required stock but the "little" things are always there. It is our hope that with the approach of the soulless shopping centers this bit of nostalgia will not be lost to us.
Laird and company is the oldest operating distillery in the country (hence oldest business in township.) It produces about 95 percent of all applejack, apple brandy sold in this county and is still made by the original family from its 184 year old recipe. According to a letter, now in possession of the Monmouth County Historical Association at Freehold, George Washington asked for and received the Laird Applejack recipe in 1780 from the father of the Laird organization Samuel E. Laird. In 1698 William Laird, a county Fyfe Scotchman, settled in Monmouth County and began making applejack for their own consumption. In all these 266 years the Laird family have been associated with "Jack." Applejack was one of the main drinks of the colonies. In George Washington's diary for 1760 and succeeding years, shows allusions to cider being distilled into Applejack.
In Robert Laird's account book of 1784 there are entries referring to the sale of "1 gallon-spirits, 4 shillings, 6 pence. Other entries refer to "cyder spirits." There is also in possession of the family an account book of the second Robert Laird in 1869- 1872 for grinding apples, carting coal, reaping rye and records of liqueur and cider paid to farmers for their apples. After 1915 the distillery was closed and remained closed till after the repeal of Prohibition (18th Amendment.) During the Second World War Laird's converted their Scobeyville plant to the drying and dehydration of apple pomace for pectin and other products to aid in the war effort. The Laird plant, a mixture of old and new buildings set off by a water tower, lies off highway 537 on Laird Road at Scobeyville.
John E. Laird Jr., the 8th generation is now the company's president and Chairman of the Board.
During the apple season it is not rare to see fifteen or twenty trucks lined up to unload their cargo of red, yellow and green fruit. From a funnel-shaped receiving bin the apples are passed into a moving belt which takes them into the press room. Here they are washed, chopped and gravity-fed into large accordion-type pressers. From the presses the golden cider flows into revolving filters which remove solid and waste matters.
After filtering, the cider goes via pipe line to fermentation vats where natural fermentation get underway. After fermentation, but before it goes into vinegar, the "hard stuff" is fed into a measuring tank for pre-heating, from here it goes to the still house where it comes to rest in two 2,750 cider stills. The distilling process goes like this: the stills heat the cider to a piping 216 degrees Fahrenheit, then draws off the vapor, condenses it in a series of coils spiraling through cold water. "Singling" or once-cooked cider, is cooked a second time to remove impurities, then the mixture is drawn off until the proof, or roughly, the alcoholic content of the cider, drops below 100. At that point the flow of the receiving tank is halted, and the below 100 proof cider is recooked, and the cycle repeated, with the addition of fermented cider to replace the run-off each time. The finished product, at the time it's fed to the receiving tanks for sealing into oak barrels is about 130 proof, much finer than the backwoods still variety of yesteryear, but hardly anything you'd serve. At this point the government steps in for its share of revenue.
While the barrels are filled and the weight of the contents weighed and recorded, a check is made out for tax roughly $10.00 per every gallon of "jack." Then the bung is driven, the barrel labeled and stored a four year average aging period. This aging period truly imparts the regal flavor. The oak barrels are charcoal lined, this acts as a mellowing agent. The barrel loses up to a third of its contents by evaporation after 7 years of storage and while losing weight, the barrel will put on an additional twenty or twenty five pounds.
When the applejack is sufficiently aged, it's sent to the bottling plant, reduced in proof with pure water and fed into a series of machines which bottles it and labels it - ready for the consumer.
There are over two hundred known places of burial in Monmouth County. Many of Monmouth's old cemeteries are family burial grounds - Colts Neck is no exception.
The Atlantic Cemetery (next to and in the rear of the Reformed Church) is the only one now used, dating back to 1865. The lands were purchased from Mrs. E. A. Haight for church and burial purposes.
All the rest of our burial grounds are family ones, very hard to find and known but to a few. The Polhemus grounds are on Laird road on property now owned by Lovetts Nursery as is the so-called Bennett-Logan family grounds. In the Polhemus resting place we find the earliest stone reading, Mary wife of Aukey Lefferts, who died in 1732 at about 50. Its latest burial was that of Sarah, wife of Daniel T. Polhemus who died in 1857 at 88. There are about 40 stones remaining though more have been buried there without doubt. In the Bennet-Logan family plot we find the oldest burial to be that of Caty Logan wife of Stophel who died in 1806 at 69. Its latest burial that of Mary Holmes, wife of Logan Bennet who died in 1868 at 88.
The Van Mater burying ground is on Long Bridge Road on property now owned by D. O. Evans. It stands in back of a big barn, one of the few that are well kept. Its oldest known grave is that of Chrinyonce Van Mater who died in 1720, about 70 - the latest that of Caty Bennett Van Mater, wife of Henry who died in 1882 at 83.
There were two burial grounds at Phalanx. One without stones will soon be forgotten. The other is called Angell - surrounded by an iron fence with an inscription on the gate "Thomson-Angel! 1873." Only one monument stands with the following inscribed: John Thomson 1802-1844, Eliza Ann Angell 1808-1873, Anna Darrow 17761858 and John B. Angell 1806-1895.
There are also two known Negro Cemeteries in Colts Neck. One is now on Hillsdale road, its original setting was on property now owned by Hoffman-La Roche. Few stones remain - two of them are for Minkerson children buried in 1856-57. The other on Laird road: Caesar Bennett died circa 1826 at 9 years.
The most noted burial site is that of Michael Fields, a young Revolutionary War soldier (Private in 1st Reg. N. J. Militia) who died June 28, 1778. Wounded and captured by the British in their retreat after the Battle of Monmouth, either killed or died of his wounds and probably buried where he lay by our American troops. Tradition also says that there are Revolutionary soldiers buried on Laird road.
We have found another lone soldier's grave, forgotten save to those whose property it is on. A Civil War soldier Johnson (Joseph) Williams Co. B-22 Reg. Inf. U. S. C. T. In looking through the list of Civil War soldiers we find that Joseph Williams enlisted for a period of three years on December 14, 1863 and was discharged at Balfour U. S. Army General Hospital at Porstmouth, Va. on June 5, 1865. Township and Church records tell us he was married in 1867 to Elizabeth Harvey and children were born in 1869 and 1870 - the grave does not tell us when he died.
THE NORTH AMERICAN PHALANX
Francois Marie Charles Fourier was a French social economist. He was born in 1772 and died in Paris in 1837. From his experiences in the French Revolution and directly there after, he developed his own social theory known as Fourierism. In this system industry was to be carried on by phalanxes. All were to live in a common building. The phalanxes were to be divided into series, and the series combined in groups; each work. and each series of group was to have charge of one kind of one special branch of that work. Each member of the society was to have their assigned tasks.
Fourierism was introduced into the United States by Albert Brisbane, (father of Arthur Brisbane.) An organization was formed with a view for establishment of phalanxes. Horace Greely became president and George Riply secretary. About 34 communities were organized of which the most important were Brook Farm near West Roxbury, Mass. and the North American Phalanx in Colts Neck Township.
The Brook Farm was organized in 1841 adhering even then to many of the views of Fourierism which were adopted in 1843, under the influence of Albert Brisbane. The community prospered until 1846 when disastrous fires helped to dissolve it. Several of its members joined those at North American Phalanx.
In the summer of 1843 a commission was appointed consisting of Albert Brisbane and Allan Warden to explore the country, particularly near N. Y. and Philadelphia, for a suitable site upon which to begin the foundations of a phalanx.
A site was chosen in Monmouth County at Colts Neck. On August 13,1843 at the Albany (N. Y.) Exchange the North American Phalanx was organized. The land chosen was the old Van Mater farm, containing 673 acres, which was bought by Allen Warden, Thomas Guest and Nathan French from Hendrick Longstreet and Daniel Holmes for 14,000 dollars.
A description given in the bill of sale printed in the Monmouth Democrat enumerates, "the great natural advantages and resources, such as arable uplands, about 315 acres, well adapted to farming, natural meadows from which 2 crops a year can be cut, about 70 acres, woodlands well timbered with oak, hickory, chestnut and locust, about 220 acres; - all bountifully watered by springs and brooks, together with extensive marl beds (Hop Brook and Dry Bank)." Horace Greely was Vice President and owned the largest shares of the N. A. Phalanx.
By September, 1843 a few families took possession of the land crowding the two farmhouses on the place, but in most cases the men preceded their families. They began at once to build a temporary home 40 x 80 feet, 3 stories high, for those who would follow in the spring. The new building had long corridors on each side of which were suites of rooms for families; the 3rd floor was reserved for bachelors. The two old buildings were connected with the new building and used as dining room and kitchen. There was a fine old barn on the place, built before the Revolution.
Since farming was to be the chief industry, the men set to work at once to put the land in condition. The farm had previously been worked by slave labor (slavery was abolished in N. J. in 1846.) The tradition was that Van Mater (a bachelor) had always wanted to own 100 slaves but that deaths always prevented him from reaching that goal. In his will he freed all his slaves and, stories handed down, tell us they wandered up and down Phalanx road for days, lost and forlorn.
The soil was found to be poor and the workers proceeded to enrich it by spreading marl on it. Three distinct beds of marl were found on Hop Brook furnishing the Phalanx with an inexhaustible supply; excavations 40 feet deep failed to reach the bottom of the vein.
Concerning the early experiences of the pioneers, Mrs. Giles (she was a child and young adult at Phalanx) says: "Day after day these philosophers and reformers who had never until this time performed any manual labor, worked with shovels and pick-axes from daylight till dark, hoisting with derricks the marl which was carried in carts and spread over the land. The work which would have seemed drudgery under other conditions was hardly felt to be so, by those earnest workers who, in their enthusiasm, with a spirit of unity, lightened the burden." The first two years of the little co-operative group proved arduous and discouraging, few had much experience in farming and their efforts were often misdirected and futile. Returns from their labor at first were small, payments on the property had to be met and money was scarce. Nathan French, one of the pioneers, when recounting in after years the early experiences of the Association, often remarked that during the first winter he and other Phalanxers lived on buckwheat cakes and sorghum, and during the second winter they lived mostly on buckwheat cakes without sorghum.
In time the fortunes of the colony improved. New members joined, good farmers and mechanics, among them Andrew Coleman and John B. Coleman. During the year 1844 the population numbered about ninety persons, including at one time nearly forty children. Crops were planted, teams and implements were bought, the building of shops and mills begun, business organization was systemized, and co-operative living was soon going at full swing. The products of the Phalanx Mills wheat, rye, buckwheat flour, mustard, cornmeal, hominy and samp came, in time to be widely and favorably known. The North American Phalanx marketed the first boxed cereal. All these products, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm, found a good market in New York. Later, dried fruits, prepared in a kiln, and bottled fruits and tomatoes also found a ready sale. The trade-mark N. A. P. was a stamp of excellence, and dealers vied with each other to secure the products. The New York markets were reached by water, the Phalanx owning part interest in one steamboat that ran from Red Bank and another that ran from Keyport.
After the community was fairly under way, there were numerous applications for membership, but the applicants were obliged to wait until the industries warranted their admission. By requiring credentials and a long term of probation, the North American Phalanx avoided what had been one of the chief causes of disaster in other such communities. Approved applicants were invited to come as visitors for thirty days; after that, they might be admitted as probationers for one year. During that period they were given opportunity to try the various kinds of work, and at the same time the members with whom they worked side by side were able to Judge their eligibility for membership. At the end of their probation a vote of the entire membership was taken.
Perhaps in the matter of labor, the theory and practice of the members of the Phalanx is of the greatest interest to us today. The workers were divided according to Fourier's plan into series with a chief at the head, and each series was divided into groups with a head for each group. The Agricultural Series was divided into the market garden, the marling, the farming, and the orchard groups; the Domestic Series was divided into groups in charge of cooking, the dishwashing, dining-room, dormitory halls, lamps, dairy, sewing, dressmaking, millinery. The Manufacturing Series was composed of millers, carpenters, iron-workers, tin-workers and woodmen. The Live Stock Series looked after the horses ,cows and oxen. The Festal Series had charge of music, dancing and dramatics. The chiefs of the groups formed what was known as the industrial council. They met every evening to map out the work for the next day and each worker read his assignment on the bulletin board in the saloon before retiring. Every able-bodied person, including the children who had reached a proper age, had his or her appointed task. Because of careful planning and supervision there was no confusion, loss of time or idleness.
It was Fourier's idea that men should be happy at work as at play; in order to avoid monotony, a worker should be allowed to change from one kind of work to another before it became tiresome. Working days were to be short. (Workers at Phalanx were encouraged to work longer hours only while the community was making its beginning.) There always seemed to be an atmosphere of joy among the workers.
There was no exploitation of one class by another. Charles Sears (one of the pioneers) in his history, says, "We have abolished the servile character of labor and the servile relations of employer and employee - everyone becoming his own employer, doing that which he is best qualified to do." Wages were paid on the principal that the least agreeable and the most exhausting jobs be paid for at the highest rate. There was no distinction regarding age or sex. The wages ranged from six to ten cents an hour - the heads received about ten cents a day additional for planning and supervision, a very low pay but everything was furnished the members at wholesales prices, most items being produced at the farm.
Mrs. Giles records that in 1852 the profit from the farm, exclusive of the orchard was over 2500 dollars. In this year the property which originally cost $14,000 was valued at 80,000 dollars.
By 1847 conditions seemed to warrant the building of a phalanstery, the realization of a three year's dream. It was the building which still stands today, crumbling away and described by Alexander Woollcott, in "While Rome Burns," (Woollcott was born at Phalanx in 1887, a grandson of John Bucklin, one of the pioneers.) On the first floor were office, library, reception room and the "grand saloon"; on the floor above were suites of rooms for families; several distinct cottages formed a wing for families and the refectory covered the entire basement. The saloon was large; at one end was the musicians' gallery under which stood a grand piano, at the other end was a large fireplace. The room was lighted by windows on both sides and decorated with historical scenes, and busts and portraits of famous men. This room served as a dining-room, lecture room and ballroom. The refectory had all the labor-saving devices then known, including running water, steam for cooking, heating and washing.
The dining-room was arranged with small tables on each side of the room. At each table was a bill of fare printed on the Phalanx press. The young women served as waitresses, dressed in bloomer costume, consisting of a sort of Turkish trouser over which was worn a full skirt falling just below the knee. In 1852 some of the prices of food were: Coffee 1/2 cent a cup, bread 1 cent a plate, butter 1/2 cent, meat 2 cents and pie 2 cents. Breakfast usually would average 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 cents, dinner 4 1/2 to 9 cents and supper 4 1/2 to 8 cents. Living expenses, including laundry, amounted to 2 or 2.50 dollars a week.
Recreation, planned and provided for by the Festal Series, filled an important place in the life of Phalanx. Mrs. Giles says that it was the custom for all to join in a social meeting in the big hall at the close of the day, both old and young taking part-in the singing and dancing. A dancing class was a regular feature of the community life. Dramatic ability was encouraged and several plays were given each winter. In the summer canoeing on the lake and strolls along the shaded avenue were enjoyed by all. Work and play were often happily mingled. When the farmers brought baskets of peas from the fields, they gathered in the kitchen and sang together as they shelled peas.
Formal education was by no means neglected. School was kept with modern methods of instruction. Pupils were given an insight into the real business of life, the actual production and distribution of wealth, the science of accounts, the administration of affairs. Industries, arts, sciences were demonstrated to the children. They knew the miller and the mill, the farmer and the products of the farm, the blacksmith and his forge, the tailor at work on his clothes. In one of the small houses very near the main building, there was a day nursery; there was an evening school, the branches taught included common and higher mathematics, music and the languages. Many distinguished lecturers were brought to the Phalanx.
The North American Phalanx was non-sectarian but not nonreligious. Members represented every religious denomination and everyone was free to follow his own teachings. The hall was at the disposal of any group who cared to worship. Several clergymen were members of the community. Religious services were held every Sunday, and a Sunday School was established.
In the fall of 1854 a disastrous fire occurred which completely destroyed the flour mill, saw mill, blacksmith, tin shop and valuable machinery. The Insurance Company went into bankruptcy and the loss, estimated at about 10,000 dollars was complete. The fire was the immediate cause of the dissolution. In the spring of 1853 a few members withdrew taking their share of capital with them, forming an association at Perth Amboy called Raritan Bay Union. In the fall of 1853 there arose public discussion of religious dogmas and lack of inner conviction on the part of the leaders; all these were factors in the final selling of the North Ameriacn Phalanx domain in the winter of 1855-56. Some of the former members bought these lands and their descendants still live there today.
Other names which appear in various records, otherwise not mentioned, that were members or associated with the North American Phalanx were: James H. Martin, George B: Arnold, Dr. E. Guillaudeau (teacher), J. Warren, John B. Angell, Charles Chapin, Benjamin Urner, James Bray, Burrows Walling, Parke Goodwin, Saurwein (Artist), and Richdale.
Well known names who were all at one time associated with or guests at the Phalanx were: Frederika Brener, leading Swedish feminist and authoress of her day; William A. Hinds, author; Charles A. Dana, editor of the N. Y. Sun and Asst. Secretary of war (who frequently wrote about Phalanx in his paper); A. J. Mac Donald, a Scotchman interested in social re-adjustment in Egland; Emmerson and Hawthorne are said to have also visited.
Looking back it has been said the members of the Colony were 40 years ahead of their time in their ideas. This is not an exaggeration, they established profit-sharing, the thirty hour week, a place for women in industry with equal pay to men, planned recreation, a day nursery, an all-day school which provided both work and play, a night school, economy through co-operation and religious toleration.
Through out the New Jersey country side on most every stream there was at one time a mill. Very few are in evidence today. As is indicated on our map this township had its quota of mills.
One of the best examples of a grist mill in Monmouth County is Bucks Mill. This mill was built in 1854 for Joseph R. Probasco (on the site of a former mill) by Abram Cottrell of Matawan, known as "Boss Abe" Cottrell. It is built of hewn timbers cut from the woods of Colts Neck, and has a foundation of peanut stones, two feet thick and twenty feet in depth . Four stories high, it stands out in the neighborhood; its plain appearance adds to its attractiveness. In 1871 the mill was sold to William C. Buck, and was in continuous use until recently. Coincidental with our Tercentenary Celebration, George Dittmar is in the process of having this fine structure restored to some degree of operational condition. The building will thus stand as a fine demonstration for our young people, of a period of American history, all but lost, in a swift-moving technology of the present age. The Historical Committee is grateful for the restoration and hopes that such noteworthy projects may continue.
Snyder's Mill was built before 1806 by Cornelius Barriclo, later owned by Charles Parker, father of Joel Parker, one time governor of New Jersey. By 1864 it was run by Thomas Snyder. Nothing remains of it today.
Muhlenbrink Mill was also built by Cornelius Barriclo, later owned by William Haight and John Van Mater. Ruins of this mill could be seen until the recent diggings of the Water Company. It is believed that the present barns on the Le Roy Hunt property were at one time down the hill along side of the mill.
One of the oldest Saw Mills of the area was that of Frank Heyer (whose daughter some of you may remember as Mrs. Jack Lawrence, now living in Englishtown.) John Hendrickson Heyer (father of Frank) bought the mill in 1859. It is believed this mill was built around the turn of the nineteenth century, remodeled from time to time and finally converted into a house about 1925.
This mill pond was the scene of a great tragedy in February, 1902. A cloudburst, pouring tons of water into a country brook already flooded by the rains, thawing snow and ice caused an avalanche to come tumbling down onto the dam which crumbled like paper. Men were trying to save the mill dam when it broke sending them down stream battered against ice cakes and debris. Four men were killed,: Henry Bennett, James King, Chrineyoence Conover (grandfather of Arnold Conover) and Fred Hertoert. Half a dozen more miraculously escaped. Here is a poem published in 1904 - author unknown:
Oh you who see me grinding
When you bring your grist to me;
Think the miller's lot is easy
And from care he's always free,
You should see me in the winter
When the ice begins to break;
Standing on the gates at midnight,
Breaking up each monstrous cake.
Oft you see me idly standing,
While the burrs do all the work;
And you think I am in clover
And hard work I would shirk;
But come to me at midnight,
Standing in the pouring rain,
Breaking up those monstrous ice cakes,
Which against the gates do strain.
Should I falter for a moment
And allow the ice to jam,
It is goodbye to the flood gates,
It is goodbye to the dam,
And perhaps the miller also
Goes a floating with the wreck.
(Just recall the sad calamity
That winter at Colts Neck)
So be patient with the miller,
And don't envy him his lot,
For he's on the gates at midnight
While your dreaming on your cot.
But he's always smiling, ready,
When you bring your grist to him,
And he grinds it for you cheerfully,
For the miller's full of vim.
Somewhere between 1813 and 1820 there were 3 schools in Colts Neck Township; in Colts Neck village, Vanderburg and Scobeyville. There appears in the Township records school expenditures. District clerks or trustees took care of each district's account books and they in turn were responsible to the township collector. In 1852 the number of children between 5 and 18 in the various school districts were: Colts Neck 152, Edinburgh 134, Scobeyville 124, North American Phalanx 20, Tinton Falls 10, Holmdel 23, and Marlboro 16 - totaling 479, at a cost of nearly $2.66 per child. By 1865 there were 532 children at a cost of $1.94 per child.
By 1873 there were 6 school districts in the Township. No. 1 Colts Neck-this stood one quarter mile west of the village (now the second building from the Reformed Church.) This school was constructed in 1856 and was converted into a dwelling circa 1922. At the present time it is the home of the Bania family.
No. 2 Edinburgh (now called Vanderburg.) This school was erected in 1865. It is now also a home, owned by Mrs. Lydia Miles, and stands on the east corner of the intersection of Heyer's Mill and Conover Roads.
No. 3 Scobeyville. In 1820 this schoolhouse stood on lands owned by Daniel Polhemus on the west corner of Route 537 and Hockhockson Road. In 1851 another school building for this district replaced the old one and was built on the Thomas Guest property (now Dorbrook Farm.) This structure burned in 1929.
No. 4 Hillside. Prior to the establishment of a schoolhouse at the Phalanx, the children of this district attended Scobeyville. The Phalanx school was then utilized from 1844 until the fire put them out of business. The school escaped the flames and is presently preserved as the kitchen wing of the Veirman Farm. In 1865 another schoolhouse was built on the northeast corner of Laird and Phalanx Roads. This building is now the home of the Binns Family.
No. 5 Montrose. The last remaining schoolhouse still intact but deserted and in disrepair, stands on a point of land at Montrose Road and Cedar Drive. It was built during the Civil War. Although shabby in appearance, it is still structurally sound, and under the inspiration of our concern for a gracious and fading past, an effort will be made shortly to raise funds privately to have this example of the "one room" schoolhouse preserved for posterity. It would be a welcome addition to the effort to maintain our fine old homes and such sites as Buck's Mill.
"Still sits our Schoolhouse by the road, a ragged beggar sunning, Around it still the sumacs grow and blackberry vines are running." With gentle thanks to John Greenleaf Whittier.
No. 6 Robbins This building was erected in 1873 and stood on the Southwest corner of Stonehill and Fivepoints Roads. In 1934 it was moved and is presently occupied by the Malyszka family.
The present Atlantic Elementary School was built in 1922. All other school districts were then discontinued. Additions were added in 1951 and 1955.- A library was created in 1961. A new school is now under construction on Cedar Drive and is to be dedicated in February 1965.
RELIGION and CHURCHES
The history of faith and religion in Colts Neck mirrored the history of religion throughout greater New Jersey. At various periods the Quakers, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Baptists were represented in the community although their spiritual needs were administered to in Shrewsbury, Freehold or Marlboro. The Negro Baptist Church is known to have existed many years ago in the vicinity of Obrey Road. An unusual name on old maps places a location near Scobeyville of Jewtown. The records show that the Probasco family lived in the area and were of Sefardic or Spanish-Jewish origin. Actual church structures were present under the inspiration of the Dutch Reformed, Methodist and Catholic fellowships. Today the Catholic and Dutch Reformed Churches have the only functioning houses of worship.
The history of the Methodist church is of unusual interest. It functioned as an "independent." The church was organized in February of 1808, and the house utilized for worship stood on a location between the present houses of Edgar Throckmorton and Charles Crine. In the Reformed Church minutes book, the building was described as, "Thirty-five by twenty seven feet and twenty feet high, with board and shingle roof and no walls or ceiling. Furnishings consisted of a pulpit on a rough board platform, and seats made of boards resting on upended logs. Rough stone steps led up to the structure.
It is not known just when this church was abandoned (sometime after 1825) but by 1856 it was no longer in use; the building and lot were sold and the house moved to the property now owned by George Baita. Today it stands as a barn. There was also a cemetery on this church property-several burials were made, stones did stand, but today they are gone, and there are no records of those who were buried there.
One of the families associated with the Methodist movement in the township were the Barkalows. They were of Dutch origin but had been "converted" to the teachings of Wesley. There is a long list of marriages and funerals officiated over by Elder John Barkalow and some of them were performed for township people. The greatest interest however, is in Matthias Barkalow, a brother of John. He was associated in the 1820's with the Colts Neck Methodist Church. There is in the possession of a member of the Historical Committee a hymnbook personally compiled, published and paid for by him in 1827. It has two curious features. First, it is for all churches, an interesting dedication in the light of the present day ecumenical movement, and secondly, to insure remembrance for himself and his wife, Matthias made the last two hymns in the book spell out in acrostic fashion their several names.
The history of the Reformed Church in Monmouth County goes back to the earliest settling by the Dutch. Services began in 1699 with preachers coming across the great bay in small boats from Long Island. This church was known as the Freehold-Middletown Dutch Congregation (now Old Brick Church, Marlboro.) Our Dutch residents attended this church. Their names appear in the early records dating from 1709 (early ones written in the Dutch language.) Gradually the need for more churches was felt (Holmdel officially separated in 1825.) Preaching was held in Colts Neck area by 1826 - sometimes in a barn on the old Stoutenburgh farm (the big house on 537 with the iron fence - the barn was moved and converted into a house, standing on Crusius Place), sometimes at Statesir's (next to firehouse) and also at the Scobeyville Schoolhouse. From the diary of Rev. Garret Schanck we have learned that services were also held in the homes of the Hulsarts, Jacob Probasco, John Van Mater and the Sickles.
The Colts Neck Reformed Church was built in 1855 by Ebenezer Goltra of Long Branch. The land was a gift from the children of Hon. Thomas G. Haight. The church was dedicated to the worship of God in December 1855-pews sold and organization took place April 22, 1856. The Parsonage was built in 1857. The ground bought from Tunis Statesir. The Church Bell (600 lb. steel composition) was hung in 1867. The Sunday School rooms were added in 1906. The present pews were bought in 1910. The stained glass windows were installed in 1911. The Church steeple was lowered in 1900, due to being struck by lightning a number of times, otherwise the outward appearance is much the same as it was when built.
St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church was founded in the year 1871 by the Right Reverend Monsignor Frederick Kivelitz of St. Rose of Lima Church in Freehold.
At that time Monsignor Kivelitz's parish covered 125 square miles. He traveled by horse-back to Jamesburg, Bradevelt, Colts Neck, Farmingdale, Manalapan, Englishtown, Perrineville, Lakewood,, Manchester and Hightstown to administer to the spiritual needs of his flock.
Once a month Monsignor Kivelitz traveled to Colts Neck to say Mass in the Guire home which was located at the juncture of the present routes 34 and 537. Religious instructions were given to the children once a week in this same house.
In 1879, one half acre of land was bought from Robert Kelsey for $150.00 and the present brick church with a seating capacity of 150 was built. Members of the parish among whom were George Cross, Patrick Dugan, Edward Hoey, Dan Leahy, Mike Reardon and some of their neighbors, carted the brick from Perth Amboy by horse and wagon. After the completion of the church, Mass was celebrated every second Sunday. The first wedding solemnized, was that of Ann Farrell and Thomas Cooney.
On April 24, 1930, Monsignor Kivelitz passed away at the age of 86. He had been pastor of St. Rose of Lima's parish for 59 years.
About 1940 and up to the present time, the administration of St. Mary's Church was transferred to St. Catherine's Church, Farmingdale.
In 1960 St. Mary's Church acquired about 25 acres of land at the corner of Route 34 and Phalanx Road from Mr. G. Rezeau-Conover for $35,000.00. This will be for the future expansion of the parish.
The Colts Neck Township Fire Company Number 1 (formerly Atlantic Township Fire Company Number 1) was organized December 8, 1926 with the following elected as officers: President, Louis Snyder; Vice President, Jack Lawrence; Secretary, Frank Hyatt; Financial Secretary, Walter Fields; Treasurer, George Hance; Sgt. at Arms George Hoey, Trustees, Patrick Me Cue, James Higgins and Richard Cladder; Forman (now called Fire Chief) Chriney Conover; 1st Asst. Forman (1st Asst. Chief) Conrad Decher; 2nd Asst. Forman Windsor Heulett (at the following meeting Mr. Conover and Mr. Decher exchanged positions.)
In February 1927 the old blacksmith shop (see picture) and barn were bought from the Culver's which was to be the fire house for 26 years. The first fire truck was purchased in March 1927 and delivered that summer. In the fall of that year a siren was bought (electric was installed the same year,) tower purchased and installed by January, 1928. This siren was used till a few years ago. Another truck was added in late 1938. The first recorded fire call was in July 29, 1927, a truck fire on county road west of Colts Neck.
As the town grew so did the needs of the firemen - in 1953 the present firehouse was dedicated and other trucks have been added *om time to time. There is now a newly formed fire company - Colts Neck Fire Company Number 2.
The Ladies Auxiliary of Colts Neck Fire Company Number 1 was organized in November, 1938. These women assist the firemen at public affairs and are ever on call to serve hot coffee and sandwiches during a big fire. Their first officers were: President, Mrs. Harold Gunther; Vice President, Mrs. John Weir: Secretary, Mrs. John Sutphin; Treasurer, Mrs. Harry Sagotsky.
The Boy Scouts were organized in the mid 1930's with the late David Timidaiski as Scout Master. Mr. Timidaiski continued as leader for over 20 years. Today troop 90 comprises 29 boys with Walter Voorhees as Scout Master and Albert Neihaus, Assistant.
The Girl Scouts were first begun about 1940 with Mrs. John Congell (nee Leona Timidaiski) as leader and Mrs. Louis Padbelski (nee Agnes Timidaiski) as assistant. This troop disbanded shortly after World War II due to transportation problems. In 1952 it was reorganized under the direction of Mrs. Franklin Decher. Today it has grown into two troops: 539, Mrs. R. J. Jeager, leader and coleader Mrs. Charles Jessup. Troop 515, Mrs. John Schanck, leader and Mrs. R. C. Shaw, co-leader.
Cub Pack 153, was begun in March 1957 with Charles Buck as their first cub master. Now it has grown to 68 boys with Herbert Zander, Cub Master and Commander Paul Gardner as Asst.
The Brownies were organized shortly after 1952 with Mrs. Jeanette Seaman as leader. Today it has grown to about 80 girls with four troops: 443, Mrs. Thomas Smith, leader with Mrs. Jesse Boyle, co-leader; 253, Mrs. Joan Nickerson, leader with Mrs. Sanford Davis and Mrs. Donald Matthews as co-leaders; 704, Mrs. Ralph Nelson leader and Mrs. Vincent Stewart and Mrs. J. Mc Carrell as co-leaders; 663, Mrs. William McCulloh, leader and Mrs. Donald Nash as co-leader.
Atlantic Grange 216 was organized in December, 1931. Of the original 50 charter members 7 are still active: Mrs. Lewis Snyder, Mrs. Harold Gunther, Mr. and Mrs .Warne Snedeker, Mr. and Mrs. Winsor Heulit and Mrs. Herman Holling . The first Master was Russell D. Heulitt who died in 1963.
In June 1939 the present property was purchased, lot cleared ground breaking ceremonies held and so began the work of building, done by members and friends which was completed in October, 1955. The Grange was responsible for the installation of the traffic light on the corner of highway 34 and county road 537. At present the hall is being used as a Kindergarten classroom.
The Parents-Teachers Association was organized on September 30, 1949. Its first officers were: Mrs. William H. Miles, President Mrs. Edward Flannigan, Vice President; Mrs. Harold Gunther, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. Lester Richens, Recording Secretary and Mr. John Thompson as Treasurer. Through its 15 years of existence it has continued to nourish the concern of its members for the welfare of children and pupils.
The 4H Club is represented in Colts Neck with the "Village Yardstick" (a sewing club) under the guidance of Mrs. Louise Whitney and the Free Colt Riders under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Ross Clayton.
Two other organizations have recently been organized: A Women's Club and a Garden Club.
Rev. Garret C. Schanck, a resident of Colts Neck, made a machine that would draw water by the weight of his body in 1831.
In 1857 Rev. Schanck had a potato plough made for him which was tested by the Monmouth County Agriculture Association and claimed more successful than any other single plough.
In 1863 a Professor Meeks of the Smithsonian Institute (Wash., D. C.) gathered fossils from marl pits in Big Brook area.
The old name for Hominy Hills was Manhomony Hills.
The value of real estate in 1877 for Colts Neck Township was $1,112,900.
In 1857 a company was formed for building of a road from Freehold to Shrewsbury by way of Tinton Falls and Colts Neck. This became a toll road, charging so much per mile and so much per horse. There were four toll stations between Freehold and Tinton Falls -two in Colts Neck, one by the home of Mrs. Laura Mitchell (on 537 across the street from the present firehouse and to the east) the second across the street from the corner of 537 and Muhlenbrink Road.) The toll was done away with about 1900.
A resident of Colts Neck, Margaret Layton died in 1878 at the great age of 115.
Hominy Hill Road was called Airport Road and earlier Van Du Bois Road.
Five Point Road was called Wilkins Road.
Revolutionary Road was known as old Regulars Road.
The road leading from Freehold to Vanderburg was known as Barrentown Road.
Creamery Road was once Snyders Mill Road.
Vanderburg was once known as Edinburgh.
The Old Womans Bridge was on Long Bridge Road.
In 1884 there was a private school in Colts Neck known as Mrs. Mc Chestney's.
The Laird Distillery was on property of Colts Neck Inn. The distillery burned in 1850 at which time it was moved to Scobeyville.
At one time there were four Post Offices in the Township: Phalanx, Vanderburg, Scobeyville and Colts Neck.
Jake's Hollow was on Laird Road now flooded by the reservoir and was once the site of the Boy Scout Camp.
There was once a shoemaker shop and a drugstore by the present general store.
The Water Company began their reservoir in 1901.
Band concerts were held in the early 1900's at the home of Thomas Ryall (now the home of Wood family on 537.)
Griffins Hill is in Big Woods section of township.
NAD Earle took over about 2500 acres of our lands about 1945.
Captain Joshua Huddy's home was used as a refuge for residents whose homes had been plundered and burned by the British.
Black Gate Corner was the corner of Woods End Road and Conover Road.
In 1878 Colts Neck had two stage routes and three mails a day.
The name Monmouth was not officially given to the county until 1683 though the name was used for some years previous.
Justice of the Peace Squire John Hulsart married many of the couples of Colts Neck between 1820 and 1837, his record book is still preserved by the family.
Black silk stocks were also manufactured at The North American Phalanx.
Charles Chapin, one of the Phalanx pioneers, invented a sewing machine hemmer.
After Phalanx failed, the Phalanxery was used as a hotel; stage coaches ran between there and Red Bank. Plays were still the main attraction for the guests.
There are 31.60 square miles in Colts Neck Township and 41.20 miles of roads.
Burrows Walling Mill was at the foot of the hill on Phalanx Road on Hop Brook.
New Jersey was the first state to apply for space at the 1964 Worlds Fair.
John Reid, the surveyor, received from the King of England a grant of land in 1689 extending from Hop Creek to Yellow Brook - this is part of the J. A. Henderson Farm on Laird Road.
First Indian Reservation of 3,258 acres was in Burlington County, New Jersey in 1758 called Brotherton or Indian Mills. In 1801 this tract was sold and the Lenape forever left the lands of Scheyichbi.
The chief of the Unami, or Turtle clan, (this was of our area) was traditionally the great chief of all the Lenni Lenape.
An early deed refers to "the chief sachems or leaders of Toponemus." The land described lies between Pine and Hockhockson Brooks and Yellow Brook. "Toponemus" were a sub-clan of the Unami. Their main village was near Wickatunk, Marlboro Township.
Our horse breeders will appreciate this clipping:
"September 17,1767-(N. Y.) We hear from Shrewsbury, in New Jersey that upwards of 40 horses have lately died in that township very suddenly, of a disorder not before known here. They were seized with trembling in their hind legs and die almost immediately. It was observed that the dews in those parts have been very copious, and the grass in a morning would be almost covered with spiders' webs, and it was supposed that some pernicious quality in the dew or those webs and small spiders taken in with their food, might have occasioned this mortality."
Finally, for the record we present the text of the Enactment of the Boundaries of our township as presented in 1847.
Where as a number of the inhabitants of the township of Shrewsbury, Freehold and Middletown, believing that a new township, set off from parts of the above townships would greatly facilitate their township business we, petitioned the Legislature for an act embracing the above object which received the sanction of that body and was passed February 18, 1847.
An act to set off from the townships of Shrewsbury, Freehold and Middletown in the county of Monmouth a new township to be called township of Atlantic.
Boundaries of Township: Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey that all that part of the townships of Shrewsbury, Freehold and Middletown in the county of Monmouth, lying within the following boundaries, that is to say; beginning at the southwest corner of the township of Shrewsbury, where the Freehold, Shrewsbury and Howell Township lines meet; thence running northerly until it comes to the mouth of the road that leads through Jacob Conover's farm; thence northerly, following the middle of said road, until it comes to the road near Hulse's house, which road leads to John Ely's mills; thence easterly, following the middle of said road, until it strikes Middle Hop Brook; thence easterly, down said brook, its various courses, until it comes to Swimming River Bridge; thence southerly, along the middle of the main road leading to Tinton Falls, until it comes to Haggerty's corner, thence southerly until it strikes the Tinton Falls mill-pond brook; thence up the said brook, its various courses, until it comes to Pine Brook; thence up the said Pine Brook, until it strikes the Howell Township line; thence westerly along the line dividing the Townships of Howell and Shrewsbury to the Freehold Line, the place of beginning, is hereby set off from the said Townships of Shrewsbury, Freehold and Middletown, and erected into a separate township, to be called and known by the name of "Township of Atlantic."
The course marked down by the Surveyor Hendrick Wyckoff, from the beginning of the Township of Atlantic, to the mouth of the road that leads through Jacob Conover's farm, is north ten degrees East, as the needle pointed 16th March, 1847. The course from Haggerty's corner as marked down on the same map, to the Tinton Falls mill pond brook, is south thirty degrees east. Pine Brook stream does not, as supposed reach quite up to the Howell line; the course as run by the surveyor, from the head of the said Pine brook stream (under the direction of the town committee) is south fifty-five degrees west to the Howell line (being a corner of Howell and Shrewsbury) at a place called the Horse Pound.