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A Guide To Its Present And Past
Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey
American Guide Series

Originally published in 1939
Some of this information may no longer be current and in that case is presented for historical interest only.

Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Tour 6
South from the Northwest Corner – Newton

NEWTON, 21.1 m. (670 alt., 5,401 pop.), called by the Indians Chinchewunska (side bill town), is the county seat of Sussex County and largest dairy center of northern New Jersey. Most of its business section is grouped around the town square on the hill, known as CITY HALL PARK, a typical Civil War oasis, complete with monument and trees and flanked by three- and four-story brick blocks between the county buildings. The architecture is prevailingly Victorian. Newton was settled prior to 1761 by Henry Harelocker, a Dutch colonist and tavern keeper.

The old COURTHOUSE facing the square was built in 1847 and is a graceful example of late Classic Revival architecture with a severely plain pediment and Doric columns. The most famous building in Newton is the old COCHRAN HOUSE, also facing the square, at Main and Spring Sts. The inn has been rebuilt and modernized until now none of the original Colonial tavern of 1753 remains. General Washington and his staff were entertained here July 26, 1782, on their way to Newburgh, N. Y. Every spring the Sussex County Octogenarian Society, a playful group of 80-year-old boys, has its annual dinner at the Cochran House. Since 1929 men with white hair and men with no hair (or hardly any) have gamboled and cavorted and pirouetted and posed for a full page of pictures in the Sunday rotogravure section of the New York Times. They owe it all to the wonderful air of Sussex County, they say. The OLD ACADEMY (private), Academy St., is a Victorian landmark. Once known as Newton Academy, it is still a private school.

Southward on US 206 at 23.1 miles is (R) a handsome graystone build- ing, the LITTLE FLOWER SHRINE, the home of Benedictine monks who operate a farm and gardens. The original structure, built 1840, was matched perfectly when the long central portion and the left wing were added in 1932. The land here is rocky, with outcroppings of scrub pine and bush and occasional bogs and swamps.

At 23.9 miles is the junction with a dirt road. 463 Right on this road to the CAREY FARMHOUSE, 0.6 miles (R), where directions will be given to MOODY'S ROCK (accessible on foot), the hiding place of James (Bonnel) Moody, leader of a Tory band that plundered the countryside during the Revolution. From a "plain, contented farmer" Moody rose by a series of bold exploits to a lieutenancy in the British army. Many of his ventures failed because of betrayal by his aides, but he did succeed in releasing several captured Tories from Newton jail, terrifying the inhabitants by simulating an Indian raid, and intercepting important dispatches to Washington. His failures included attempts to kidnap Governor Livingston, rob the archives of Congress, and blow up the powder magazine at Succasunna. In 1783, while a guest of Sir Henry Clinton in London, Moody wrote the story of his adventures. The Tory chief's hiding place was beneath a huge ledge that hangs 25 feet out from the face of a low cliff to form an inverted L. The tip of the overhanging ledge is about 25 feet above the ground. Earlier visitors have painted their marks on the smooth rock or hacked their initials into it. Muckshaw Swamp, which offered additional protection to Moody, is now almost dry at this spot.

At 25.8 miles US 206 is macadamized.

At 26.4 miles, close to the road (L), are the ruins of a Revolutionary relic, the OLD FORT, built of local bluestone. The walls are crumbling, and what remains of the roof is a skeleton of sagging timbers. It was built in 1764, probably as a barn and storehouse for the iron from the Andover Furnace and Forge nearby. The Old Fort, however, served well as a defense against Moody's raids.

Opposite the fort a marker indicates the SITE OF ANDOVER FORGE, built in 1760 by William Turner and Joseph Allen of Philadelphia, both Loyalists. The Continental Board of War seized the forge in 1777 and replaced it under the direction of Col. Thomas Maybury, who supplied much of the iron needed by Washington. An old GRISTMILL (not open) is 100 yards south of the fort and l00 yards L. of the road.

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