Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Reformed Church

— The Holland people in the northern part of the town were no doubt connected with the neighboring Dutch congregations at a day quite as early as the Puritans of the town with their own. The Dutch Churches were on the west at Horseneck, on the north at Totowa, on the northeast at Acquackanonck, and on the southeast at Second River. While such men as Bertholf, at Acquackanonck and Second River, were abounding in apostolic missionary journeys, and the learned and humble-minded Meyer was at Totowa and Horseneck, and their associates or successors, Coens, Van Sanvoord, Hoeghoort, Marinus, Leydt and Schoonmaker were caring for the Holland people all the way down to 1794, the Holland farmers of the Franklin, Stone House Plain and Speertown neighborhoods found attractive churches and pastors at hand. Their natural affinity was at Acquackanonek and Second River. However early the school-house was erected, there was the preacher in an occasional service in the Dutch tongue and later in the English. It is probable that Stone House Plains was first a regular preaching-station under the Rev. Peter Stryker, who came to Second River in 1794. Under him the Reformed Church at Stone House Plain was organized in 1801. The first church edifice was erected in 1802. The present edifice, built of freestone and ten feet longer than the first, was built on the old site in 1857, the spire completed in 1860—61. The Rev. Mr. Stryker served both churches for some years. The Rev. Staats Van Sanvoord seems to have succeeded him as pastor of the two churches, and the two churches continued together until 1826.
A good number of the Holland people, such as the Cadmus, Joralemon and Kidney families, residing among the Puritan population, were also connected with the church at Second River.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


The second subscription, in 1798, "for the use of the meeting-house" amounted to L737 12s., or $1844. It was a large enterprise, and there was little wealth. All were workmen,— Samuel Laurence Ward was the architect, and Josiah James, of Newark, also superintendent of construction; Aury King, chief mason, associated with Henry Cadmus and Henry King. The managers of the building were Simeon Baldwin, Nathaniel Crane and Joseph Davis. The trustees in 1797 were Samuel Ward, Ephraim Morris, Oliver Crane and Joseph Davis. Gen. Bloomfield made a visit in 1797 in recognition of the honor done him in giving his name to the town, was publicly welcomed by the people, and contributed one hundred and forty dollars to help on the building. Mrs. Bloomfield presented a pulpit Bible and psalm-book. The services began in the edifice in 1799, before the windows were in or the floors were laid, and the first Sunday of the new century opened with the new pastor. The building has since been twice enlarged. Fifteen feet were added in length in 1853, and a handsome transept Sunday-school room was completed in 1883.
The original elders and deacons in 1798 were Simeon Baldwin, Ephraim Morris, Isaac Dodd and Joseph Crane; the original membership, eighty-three persons.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Later History from the time of the Revolution

— Patriotism, education and religion were the passions of the Puritans. Each of these passions took form in unusually bold expression in Bloomfield. The "Common," the parading-ground of citizen soldiers, was spacious and central. It was laid in front of the church lot, which was already occupied with material for the new edifice. The academy, which soon followed the church, was a massive edifice for a rural community in the early century. It included in its plan of education, in connection with neighboring pastors, missionary and theological training, and sent many young men into the ministry. It was the culmination of the excellent common schools long before established and of the catechetical instruction of the Puritans.

The stone church, far larger than their present need, with foundations and walls wisely laid for successive enlargement and for modern adornment, was the concrete symbol of their value of religion.

The Presbyterian Church wsas identified with the name of the town and with the larger body of the people. The Reformed Dutch Church at Stone House Plains was identified with only a section of the town. The Bloomfield Church became the Third Presbyterian Church of Newark; the congregation organized in 1794, the civil society in 1796 and the ecclesiastical body in 1798.

A parchment subscription in October, 1796, contains fifty-nine names with five subscriptions of one hundred pounds each and other subscriptions all the way down to one pound. The Baldwins, Cranes, Dodds, Morrises, Wards, Balls, and Davises constituted about three-fifths of the population in the Puritan part of the town at that time. The Vincents, Cadmuses, Cockefairs, Uriances and Garrabrants were the principal Holland names among the Puritans. The sum of the parchment subscription in 1796 was £1615 4s., or $4038.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Revolution and its Traditions

Compiled by William H. Shaw. Everts & Peck, Philadelphia. 1884.
— When the Third Battalion was called for by Congress, and by the State, in 1776, Joseph Bloomfield, then from Bridgeton, appears as the captain of the Seventh Company.

The larger part of the enlistments from the northern part of Newark were in the militia rather than in the regular service. The following officers from Essex County, in 1777, were quite likely from this territory: Lieutenant Colonels, Jacob Crane, Mathias Ward and Thomas Cadmus; Major, Caleb Dodd; Captains, Amos Dodd, Henry Joralemon, Abraham Speer and Cornelius Speer.

The following officers are without date of enlistment: James Joralemon, (wounded afterwards at Springfield,) John Kidney, Josiah Pierson, Samuel Pierson, Thomas Seigler, Isaac Smith, Henry Speer, Jonas Ward; Jesse Baldwin at first ensign, then lieutenant, then quartermaster, then quartermaster in the regular army; Second Lieutenants, John and Joseph Crane and James Spear; Sergeants, Obadiah Crane, Joseph Crowell, Samuel Jones, who host a leg in Newark in 1782; Musicians, Benjamin and David D. Crane.

There are among the privates from the county thirty Baldwins, among them Daniel, David, Ichabod, Israel, Jabez, Jesse, Jonathan, Matthias, Lewis, Silas, Simson and Zophar; fourteen Balls, among them Daniel and Joseph; four Cadmuses, Henry, Isaac, John and Peter; twenty-nine Cranes, among them Aaron, Amos, Elias, Israel, James, John, Mathias, Moses, Nathanael and Phineas; eight Davises, among them John, Jonathan, Joseph and Peter; twenty-two Dodds, among them Abiel, Abijah, David, Ebenezer, Isaac, John, Joseph, Moses, Parmenas, Thomas, Timothy and Uzal; Thomas Doremus; three Franciscos, Anthony, John and Peter; eight Freelands and three Vreelands; four Freemans; Garrabrant Garrabrants and two others of the name; fifteen Harrisons; four Jacobuses; three Joralemons, one of them Halmock; five Kings, among them Aury; six Kingslands; David and Davis Morris; seven Ogdens, among them John; thirteen Osborns, Osbornes and Osburns; Richard Powelson; Isaac and Peter Riker; six Spears and Spiers; eleven Taylors; two Van Houtens; five Van-Rikers, among them Cornelius, Gerrit and Morris; four Van Winkles; John and Levi Vincent; and seventeen Wards, among them Bethuel, Caleb, Caleb, Jr., Jacob, Joseph, Nathaniel, Samuel, Timothy and Zebina.

A large share of these persons whose names are selected from the rosters were from this outlying part of Newark. They took their place, some as minutemen, some in the regular troops and many as militia, ready for an emergency, such as they were called to face in the battle of Springfield.

The Declaration of Independence, it is said, was first read in this region at the school-house on Watsessing Hill.

There were two campaigns of the Revolution which touched this region,— the retreat of Washington through New Jersey in 1776, and the attempts of the British on Washington’s position at Morristown through Connecticut Farms and Springfield, in 1780.

When, after the battle on Long Island, in September, 1776, Washington’s army retreated across the Hudson to Acquackanonck, and then fell down to Newark, Newark as a township is no doubt meant. The army in rapid retreat marched, no doubt, on parallel roads, and the old road over Watsessing Hill and Plain was probably one of these roads. The tradition is that when Washington came to the Joseph Davis house he found it occupied by Gen. Knox and sick soldiers, and refused to displace them in order to make it his quarters. It is quite likely that he went on over the hill, and took temporary quarters at the Moses Farrand house. When the army swept on to Newark village, and a detachment moved through Orange, both portions of the army pursued by the enemy, the people fled over the mountains and into Stone House Plains.

The two pastors of the people, Dr. Alexander MacWhorter and Rev. Jedediah Chapman were zealous patriots, and were compelled to flee: Dr. MacWhorter in the council of Washington. The posts on the mountain crest were filled with watchmen, the rear of the mountain with refugees. The whole region was ravaged for plunder. The Hessians swept through Watseson and East Orange. When the reaction came, on Washington’s return through Trenton, Princeton and Monmouth to Morristown, the people returned to their desolated fields and plundered houses. "Whiskey Lane" still remains as the name given to one of the roads where whiskey was seized by a British company, or where whiskey itself seized the raiders.

At the battles of Connecticut Farms and of Springfield, in 1780, the militia of the whole region seized firelock and sword. The captains, the major, the lieutenant-colonel from this region were among them; and Washington was delighted with the patriotism and bravery of the people. He was just then on the march from Morristown to the Hudson, but he moved slowly, and was temporarily in Bloomfield, at the Thomas Cadmus and the Stephen Fordham houses.

The Hollanders were patriots equally with the Puritans, as the names of the officers have shown. The adventure of Capt. John Kidney, Capt. Henry Joralemon, Jacob Garlon and Halmock Joralemon shows them in the raids which shot back and forth across the marshes and the sound. The story is that with fleet horses and a common wood-sled, on a wild wintry night, they crossed the marshes to Bergen, proceeded to a school-house where British officers and soldiers were making merry, surrounded and took the house, with their mighty force of four, muffled and secured an officer and a refugee, regained the meadows before the alarm-gun fired, took the prisoners to the Morristown jail, and returned the heroes of the day among their old neighbors.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Glen Ridge

From Bloomfield's First Baptist Church historical website:
When Bloomfield seceded from Newark in 1812, Glen Ridge was a section "on the hill" composed mostly of farms and woodlands with the exception of a thriving industrial area along the Toney's brook in the Glen. For most of the nineteenth century, three water-powered mills produced lumber, calico, pasteboard boxes and brass fittings. A Cooper, a sandstone quarry and mine were nearby. With the arrival of the Newark and Bloomfield Railroad in 1856 and the New York, Montclair and Greenwood Lake Railroad in 1872, Glen Ridge began its transition to a suburban residential community. Stately homes slowly replaced orchards and wooded fields.

Residents "on the hill" became unhappy with their representation on the Bloomfield Council. In spite of repeated requests to Bloomfield officials, roads remained unpaved, water and sewer systems were nonexistent, and schools were miles away. In early 1895, the stage was set for succession. Several men met on the third floor of the Robert Rudd's home on Ridgewood Avenue. They marked out the boundaries of a 1.45 square mile area to secede from Bloomfield. At the February 12, 1895 election, the decision to secede passed by only twenty-three votes. Robert Rudd was elected the first mayor of Glen Ridge.

If you're reading this today (Feb. 16th), head on up the hill for tonight's slide presentation: "When We were Bloomfield."