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Millburn: 1857 - 1957
They Built Homes

By the Millburn Centennial Committee

Originally appeared in 1957
This Web version, copyright 2004

Suburban Essex County Real Estate Ads – great schools, wonderful atmosphere and only 37 minutes by train to NYC!

  • Parsil Family Cemetery

  • The "Ross" House

  • The Francis R. Condit House

  • Brison Farmhouse / Millburn Inn

  • The John Hogan House

  • The Pettigrew House

  • The Wood House

  • The Brant House

  • The Reeve House

  • The Horace Park House

  • The Hessian House

  • Stewart Hartshorn's House No. 1

  • Dr. David E. English House

  • The Albert E. Traphagen House

  • A Bailey House

  • The Herbert Marshall House

  • The Hack Estate
  • Thomas Parsil's home built on a grant from Queen Anne stands at 365 White Oak Ridge Road.

    Before all of the legal arguments and negotiations were over, pioneers moved out from Elizabethtown and New Ark and settled in the short hills and around what was to become the center of Millburn. They were attracted here by the fertile soil, the natural beauty, and particularly by the abundant water supply provided by the many brooks interlacing the country, filled with clear water, filtered and purified in its journey through the loose gravel of the glacial moraine. Here they built their homes and soon many saw mills, grist mills, and forges were in operation.
    Here rests Nicholas Parsil, victim of a Revolutionary skirmish, June 10, 1780
    Whether because of the fact that the Indians and white men both respected the deeds given, or because of the fact that the Indians had no permanent encampments in this vicinity, and so the usual causes of inter-racial colonial wars were absent, there is no record of any conflict between the settlers of the short hills and the natives. If the natives were not friendly, at least they were indifferent.

    As a matter of fact, the colonists had much more to fear from the wild animals which roamed the countryside. Wolves, bears, panthers, elk, deer, raccoons, beavers, and otters were plentiful, and some were so troublesome that bounties were paid for bears and wolves.

    The first house of which there is a record, was built by Thomas Parsil, at what is now No. 365 White Oak Ridge Road. The house is still standing, and the date – 1709 – is carved in the chimney stone. His brother, Nicholas Parsil, built a house nearby. Some of the other early pioneers were named Ross, Parkhurst, Denman, Morehouse, Dean, Meeker, Brant, Thomas, Nichols, and Drew.

    Unfortunately, these early settlers left few written records, and we must glean our knowledge of their names and lives from old maps, gravestones, and a few tales, gathered mostly from hearsay. They were simple people, farmers, artisans, and craftsmen, for the most part homogeneous in race, religion, and economic status. Sheltered behind their mountain, in a land flowing with many brooks, plentiful game, and gentle slopes covered with fine stands of oak, chestnut, ash, hickory, walnut, elm, birch, beech, flowering dogwood, tulip, and many others, the busy world outside must have seemed far away.


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