History of Pequannock NJ

Pequannock Township with its nothern portion, Pompton Plains, is one of the oldest European settlements in northwestern New Jersey. It was incorporated in 1740, making it at the time the largest township in Morris County.

Recent evidence reports tool-making and hunting activity by Paleo-Indian hunters as early as 3000 B.C.E. Later it was occupied by Lenni Lenape Indians who camped, hunted, settled and tilled the fertile lands along the river plains formed by the confluence of the Ramapo, Pompton and Pequannock Rivers. The latter name is derived

from the Lenape name, "Paquettahhnuake", meaning, "cleared land ready or being readied for cultivation". Pompton, possibly means, from one source, a "place where they catch soft fish". After being purchased by Arent Schuyler and associates from the Lenni Lenape and East Jersey Proprietors between 1695-1696, Dutch farmers began to farm its green plains.

Once encompassing a sprawling 176 square miles, it is now a compact 6.95 square mile suburban community 35 miles west of New York City. It has within its confines one of the remaining historic turnpikes (called the Newark-Pompton Turnpike) built out of the City of Newark between 1806 and 1811; remnants of the long extinct glacial "Lake Passaic"; wooded walking and future horse-riding paths overlooking a feeder dam of the 1827 Morris Canal - an engineering marvel of its day; a river for fishing and canoeing; the 1736 First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains with its striking Christopher Wren-style steeple and historic Church cemetery containing graves of Revolutionary War veterans; a Victorian era general store; and many privately owned historic homes dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

During the Revolutionary War Pequannock Township was an important interior travel route and convenient rest stop for George Washington's troops, and "Poquanic" Knob was a site of a patriot lookout during British Gen. Cornwall's occupation of New York City.

The soldiers of Washington and French General Comte de Rochambeau camped here on their march from Rhode Island to the Yorktown Battlefield in 1781. General Lafayette passed through Pequannock to Virginia to hunt down Benedict Arnold. In June of 1782 General Von Steuben held a review of Troops on the "flat fields" of Pompton Plains.

Pequannock residents also participated in the "underground railroad" before the Civil War. Numerous "Old Pequannoc" Township residents served in the war - one even won the Congressional Metal of Honor. The graves of six Civil War veterans are found in the Cemetery of the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains.

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