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Millburn: 1857 - 1957
. . . And Then Peace

By the Millburn Centennial Committee

Originally appeared in 1957
This Web version, copyright 2004

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  • First Morris and Essex Railroad Timetable

  • Samuel Campbell, First Mill Owner

  • Israel D. Condit, Millowner

  • Wooldridge Eaglesfield
  • With the coming of peace, the little hamlet settled down to a new era in which farming was no longer the principal occupation of its inhabitants. The establishment of the mills, as described in more detail in a separate section, brought many changes; in population, in the demands of its industries, and, in fact, in the whole way of life for most residents. Besides paper and binder board, wall paper, and even calico and woolen goods, were manufactured. The products of the mills were hauled over the rough roads to Elizabethport and there shipped by sloop to New York. Later, the Morris Turnpike, chartered in 1801, provided comparatively easy travel to Elizabeth. Springfield Avenue was cut through in 1806.

    By 1800 Millburn was a regular stop on the stage coach route from Morristown to New York. Millburn Avenue was called Washington Street west of the centre, and Vauxhall Road, east thereof. For a few years during the late 19th century it was called Springfield Avenue. The stage coach stop was undoubtedly made at Colonel Aaron Hand's hotel and tavern, located on the northwest corner of Millburn Avenue and Main Street. There the social life of the community was lived for many years.

    By 1857, the foundations of the destiny of the little community on the mill burn were securely in place. It had its homes, churches of different denominations, schools, stores, and railroad station, and had received in tolerance the infusion of new blood and religion to entitle it to its place in the democracy of American cities. It was on the threshold of becoming a municipality of the State of New Jersey.

    The population was almost 1500; William A. Newell was Governor of New Jersey; James L. Buchanan was President of the United States.

    On March 20, 1857, by P.L. 1857, Chapter CXXXVI, page 379, an Act was passed:

    1. BE IT ENACTED, By the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey that all that part of the township of Springfield, in the County of Essex, lying north of the north line of the County of Union shall be, and the same is hereby made a new township, to be called and known by the name of the township of Millburn.
    How much of the news of the outside world reached the newly created Township on that 20th day of March, 1857, we can only surmise. The year 1857 was a year of unrest and panic. Buchanan was President by an uneasy majority. The Dred Scott decision was only 14 days old; in Kansas Territory a miniature civil war was raging, and John Brown had just led his first raid. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was a best seller and its dramatization was appearing everywhere.

    West branch of Rahway River, Brookside Drive, looking north, now part of South Mountain Reservation.


    Millburn: 1857 - 1957 Main Page

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