Quondam Exploration


  Discovering The Past In The Present  . . .               

Window Into Old Andover New Jersey In Colonial Times 

Old Andover New Jersey - by Robert G
Iron - While sitting at his fire, the man noted that the black rock around his fire had melted. He made a small crude furnace, produced some poor quality iron, and made a small tool from it. Eventually, the news got back to Philadelphia, since the Delaware was the nearest and easiest means of transport and communications. No one can say how long this hypothetical story took, but happen it did. And into the area came the exploiters to get the riches from the ground. They followed the tributary rivers such as the Pequest and the Muscanetcong to their headwaters. They found forests with game, lakes for fish, and streams to supply power. The iron rich veins were located, and they were surrounded by an abundant supply of wood to make charcoal for the smelting operation. Sand and limestone for processing were also readily available.

English Rule - In 1664, the early settlements around Newark Bay were brought under English rule (the Dutch dispute this for the next five years). King Charles II granted this territory to his brother, James, the Duke of York. He in turn conveyed what is now New Jersey (Nova Caeseria) to Lord Berklev and Sir Ceore Carteret. Berkley sold his holdings to two Quakers, Edward Byllinge and John Fenwick for a thousand pounds Sterling. Byllinge was in financial trouble in 1676 and sold to William Penn. It was in 1676 that the boundary line establishing East and West Jersey was agreed upon, placing most of what is now Sussex County in West Jersey. In 1694, the Assembly of West Jersey assigned its western section to the jurisdiction of Burlington County. In 1709, all the present area of Sussex came under Burlington when the General Assembly redefined the boundaries of all existing counties. The Sussex region was a part of Hunterdon, when it was created in 1714. In 1739, the northern section of Hunterdon, including Sussex, was set off as Morris County. In 1753, all the land north of the Musconetcong River was set off as Sussex County. The severance of Warren County in 1824 completed the current county of Sussex.

"Andover" - It isn't clear where the name Andover came from. However, the name had been applied to this entire area of the state at one time. The Penns and their company referred to it as such, and all the early accounts are derived from the Penns.

Allen & Turner - By a deed dated September 1, 1749, at a Court forced public sale, William Allen and Joseph Turner acquired 21,363 acres, which included our area. They paid 3000 pounds, Proclamation money of the Province of New Jersey for the property. This huge tract included the “well known Andover mine and the village of Andover with its forges and furnaces”. In this case, the village of Andover referred as, is now the place we know as Waterloo. Waterloo is also referred to as Old Andover and Andover Forge. Since 1674, this "Old Andover" had been supplying Philadelphia with iron of superior quality.

The Furnace - In 1760, Allen and Turner of Philadelphia built a blast furnace and forge on a branch of the Pequest River, in the present Andover Borough. It is not known when operations really began at this location. An inscribed date of 1761 on one of the buildings does not mean that a previous operation had not been there. Colonel John Hackett managed the operation, until his death in 1766.

FOR RENT - An advertisement on October 4, 1770 in the PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE included the following description of Andover Furnace:

To be LETT for a Term of YEARS Andover Furnace, situate in the County of Sussex, in West New-Jersey, on a Branch of Paquest River, together with an elegant Stone Dwelling-house, Stables, Smith's Shop, Springhouse, and a Number of Outhouses for Workmen; a large Coal-house in which there is at least 7 Week's Stock of Coals for the next Blast; also 5000 acres of well timbered Land to accommodate the Furnace, . . . Scarcely a Mile from the Furnace is an inexhaustible Body of Ore, which may be raised at the easy Expense of 2s, per Ton, and makes Iron of a superior Quality to any other in America, particularly for the Manufacture of Steel . . . . For the Terms, apply to Mr. ARCHIBALD STEWART, who lives at the said Furnace, or to Messieurs ALLEN and TURNER, in Philadelphia.

Iron for Sale - The ore processed was from the Andover Mine and the Tar Hill Mine. Andover pig and bar iron had a very good reputation and was sold extensively under its brand name as can be seen by the following advertisement in the NEW YORK GAZETTE and THE WEEKLY MERCURY, March 1 1773: ANDOVER PIG METAL, to be sold by the subscriber, at Elizabeth-Town. Gentlemen in New York may be supplied with any quantity, on giving the shortest notice to JOHN BLANCHARD. ANDOVER BAR IRON TO BE SOLD By James and Alexander Stewart, On Cruger's Wharf. In the PENNSYLVAMA GAZETTE for the date June 29, 1774: JAMES AND ALEXANDER STEWART, On Cruger’s Wharf, have for sale, Andover bar - iron, neatly drawn and warranted genuine; likewise Andover pig iron, any quantity of which can be delivered on the shortest notice.


LABOR - Working conditions were probably not the best at the Andover Iron Works, which included the Mine, the Furnace, and the Forge (Waterloo). Hardly an issue of the New York or Philadelphia newspapers in the 1760's and 1770's was printed that did not have reference to runaway indentured servants. They offered rewards plus all expenses for the return of the fugitives.

William Kirby, a deserter from the British army during the French and Indian War tells us what the times were like. In 1762, while passing through Sussex County, and stopping at Sussex Court House (Newton), he sold a pair of stockings for seven shillings. "There," he said "we bought a bottle of rum and on our march we met an old woman and gave her a dram." As he went by Colonel Hackett's house, he saw the Colonel sitting on his porch. Hackett immediately thought that the man was a deserter from the army, and told him so plainly, but he said that he would keep his secret if Kirby would work for him at the Andover mine. Kirby agreed to do so, and remained for some time. He later went to the Ringwood mine. He tells how the men tried to cheat each other. The woodchopper piled his wood so as to cheat the collier. The collier put his charcoal into baskets in such a manner as to deceive the Iron Master. And he, not to loose out, sold his provisions to the men at an extortionate price. As a result, said Kirby, “when they had worked six months, if they had anything coming, they may perhaps get a few rags to cover their nakedness at a very dear price, but as for money they will get none though they have ever so much need of it.”

In the issue of July 5, 1762, THE NEW YORK MERCURY tells of the robbery "of a peddler near the Andover Iron Works, county of Sussex, and Province of New Jersey".

LAND STRIPPED OR CHARCOAL - Even the land was stripped bare for the forges. All of the iron ore was smelted with charcoal and all the forges burned it. Except for the steepest slopes and rockiest ledges, every acre of Sussex County was cut over. Coming on old stonewalls in the forest; we wonder how the farmers cleared all the land. Well, they didn't. Every desirable tree had a dollar sign and the charcoal burners had taken every tree worth cutting, especially the hard woods.

It took skilled hands to make charcoal and not ashes. It was big business and the air of Sussex County was blue with smoke. The earliest forest was probably more attractive than our current forest. What we see is probably the third growth, since the land was again cut over for lumber after the charcoal burners went away.

REVOLUTION - William Allen and Joseph Turner were staunch loyalists, and, to save their properties, they transferred much of their holdings to other members of the family, or to friends. Since most of the iron produced was shipped chiefly to England, near the end of 1777, the Quartermaster's Department of the American Army began to have difficulties in securing satisfactory iron for its artificers. Congress in Philadelphia adopted the following resolution on January 5, 1778:

Resolved, That the Board of War be authorized to direct Col. Flower to make a Contract with Mr. Whitehead Humphrey’s on the terms of the former agreement or such other as Coll. Flower shall deem equitable, for making a quantity of Steel for the supply of the Continental artificers and works with that necessary article; and as the Iron made at the Andover Works only with Certainty answer the purpose of making Steel, Coll. Flower be directed to apply to the Government of New Jersey to put a proper person in possession of these works (the same belonging to persons who adhere to the enemies of these States) upon such terms as the Government of the State of New Jersey shall think proper; and that Col. Flower contract with the said person for such quantity of iron as he shall think the service requires.

Governor Livingston, in transmitting this resolution to the General Assembly, made the following comments: “

As good steel is an article so indispensably necessary not only for the purpose of war, but those of internal husbandry, and it is said that Andover iron is better suited to this business than any other in America, I doubt not you will readily comply with the expectations of the Congress in this respect, I cannot upon this occasion help remarking that as no articles whatsoever can with less difficulty be dispensed with in military operations than iron and steel, you will find upon the slightest recollection, that none of our citizens are more generally disaffected than those who are interested or employed in the manufacturing of iron. A strong presumption that the enemy had been particularly industrious in corrupting these men, with a view to distress us in a most essential point”.

OWNERS IMPOSSIBLE - New Jersey Gazette, March 4, 1778: It was found impossible to treat with the owners, and the following appeal was made to the Governor to obtain possession of the works.

War Office, May 25, 1778: The Board not having thought proper to agree with Col. John Patton for the carrying on the Andover Iron Works, have instructed Col. Flower to apply to the government of your state and procure possession of the Works for Col. Thomas Maybury, with whom the terms of the contract are settled, on condition of his getting the possession agreeable to the resolution of Congress. As we find it absolutely necessary to put these works in blast, the Board beg the favor of your Excellency to assist Col. Flower or Col. Maybury in the business; they will necessarily have to have such, relative to these works with the government of your state.

I have the honor to be, with great esteem, your very obed't serv't, By order of the Board Richard Peters, His Excellency, Gov. Livingston.

NATIONALIZED - Colonel Thomas Maybury was put in charge of the furnace, and under his supervision considerable quantities of pig iron were furnished the American ironworkers.

The Colonel Benjamin Flower referred as Commissary of Military Stores under the Board of War and was in command of a regiment of artillery artificers whose duties were to cast cannon, bore guns, and prepare ammunition for the army. He was with General Washington at Morristown in January 1777, re-equipping the Continental troops encamped there.

It is also said that from Andover came part of the "Great Chain” or “West Point Chain”, which kept the British from coming up the Hudson River during the Revolution.

FOR RENT AGAIN - The war drew to a close. Just how long the Andover Iron Works operated under the Board of War is not known. However, all work discontinued about 1780, and it was offered for rent in the PENNSYLVANIA PACKET on December 2, 1780:

Situate in County of Sussex, New Jersey. They are now in good repair, and may be entered upon immediately: And a large QUANTITY of WOOD ready cut, For terms apply to ARCHIBALD STEWART at Hacket’s town, or to JOHN LARDNER in Philadelphia N.B. Some NEGROES belonging to said Works, to be SOLD.

COOPER & HEWITT - The Andover Mine lay idle from about 1800 to 1848. In that year, Cooper & Hewitt acquired the property in the name of the Andover Iron Company. Under Edward Cooper and Abram S Hewitt, the mine produced at the rate of 50, 000 tons of ore annually, at a time when all production of Sussex and Warren mines was only 143,000 tons.

To transport this load they "steel-shod” the old mule road to the Morris canal at Waterloo, and this became the first “rail” road in Sussex Co. It later became known as the Sussex Mine Railroad.


RAILS - A shrewd businessman, Abe Hewitt built, at Phillipsburg, the largest blast furnace seen in America at the time. He roamed the hills of north Jersey, visiting old forges and furnaces, testing and sampling. In 1847, he found what he wanted at the old Andover Mine. When he tested some fragments of pigs he found in the underbrush, his eyes shown. In his hands, he held the whole railroad rail business of the United States. Early rails would split frequently, and Hewitt knew if he could get good quality ore, he could make rails that wouldn1t split.

Playing the role of the reluctant buyer, he stole the mine for $2, 500.00. From this Andover ore, he was able to make not only his rails, but also the first structural steel. In 1855, Nassau Hall at Princeton University was gutted by fire. It was rebuilt inside with Hewitt1s railroad rails for I-beams. They are still there today.

Cable wire for the bridge at Niagara Falls came from the Andover Mine. And later, during the Civil War, Andover iron made rifle barrels that could be relied on.

The Andover Mine was really the source of our development up to this time. Today, this mine is an 850- foot long trough-shaped pit, 70 feet deep and about that wide on the western edge of the hills. The ore was hematite, a metamorphosed type of limonite, and formed on an old land surface existing over 500 million years ago. That is why it is hematite; limonite as old as that turns to hematite. There is also some magnetite in the mine. The ore pitched underground to the north and was followed to a distance of 2OO feet or more eventually. The ore ran 40 to 57% iron. Pure hematite would have run 70% iron, the rest oxygen. There is a pig on view at the Sussex County Historical Society in Newton. It came from the old charcoal furnace. It assays about 89% iron, 5% carbon and 6% manganese. It was the manganese that made the iron hard, and the demand for it was great, as shown above.

No battles of the Revolution were fought in the county. However, supplies from this area were extremely important during Washington's two winters at Morristown. Broken-down cavalry horses were distributed to local farms to be nursed back to health. This operation was so successful that the county became the leading convalescent center for the horseflesh of the Continental Army.

A last reference about the Revolution period must include Lt. James Moody. The Tory raider has emerged as our most romantic figure in the Revolution. Headquartered at “Moody’s Rock” at the Big Muckshaw Pond, on our border with Fredon, the legend of his exploits may contain a grain of truth, but not much more than that. What is known for sure is that he did operate in the county for about a year, early 1780 to early 1781. His purpose here was to recruit for His Majesty’s New Jersey Volunteers. Some of these legends stretch credibility.

DEVELOPMENT - Iron men, farmers, and indentured servants had been flocking into northwestern New Jersey since 1740. Most movement was north from Philadelphia, the metropolis of the day and the center of Quakerism. All of this section, northwestern New Jersey, was claimed by and parceled out by the Penns.

GERMANY FLATS - One of the earlier settlements in Andover Township is Germany Flats, in our northeastern section. The name was given due to the nationality of the settlers farming here before and after the Revolution.

Among the first in this vicinity were John Sheeler, Jacob Maines, Peter Washer, Frederick Arvis, and John Blair.

John Blair occupied a farm in the vicinity of the railroad crossing on Mulford Creamery Road. After this, the farm was occupied be Fred Arvis. In 1820, it was purchased by Annanias and Elisha Mulford. On part of the farm, they erected a log cabin that they converted into a tavern to accommodate weary travelers on the stagecoach between Newton and Sparta. The tavern was a rather shabby place, but it did a good business.

A few years after the tavern was established, a Miss Bunnell came to teach a private school in the Mulford house. In a short time, she and Elisha Mulford were married. The brothers broke up their partnership, Annanias moving to Ohio, and Elisha to Illinois.

PINKNEYVILLE - Pinkneyville is a community along the old road to Sparta, on the northeast edge of the Township Some early references to this area have been found, and they are offered for your informatlo' William McDevitt, an early resident of the area now called Pinkneyvifle, moved to Andover Village in 1812 to work for Joseph Northrup. He later moved to a farm near the village and operated a sawmill for his employer.

Other early settlers at Pinkneyville were Peter and John Maines, and George Haggerty. Richard and Jonathan McPeake also lived in this area about 1800. Merritt Pinkney opened a store and blacksmith shop at the settlement that was later to bear his name.

In the 1872 HISTORICAL SKERTCH OF THE COUNTY, Pinkneyville is described as “a little mining village, with only a few small cottages.”

MERRITT PINKELY - One of the oldest houses in the Township is the Pinkney House now owned by Mr. and Mrs. John R. Reed III. .Merritt Pinkney, built he center section of the house in 1834. Much of the earliest history of this house is hidden in the almost undecipherable archives at the Hall of Records in Newton, the Public Records Office in Trenton, and in the actions of the General Assembly.

In 1769, when William Allen Esq. (the Allen of Allen & Turner who purchased 21,363 acres at the public sale) drew up his will, he was owner of 5/6 interest in the enterprise. In 1784, Mary Allen, widow of John Allen, son of William Allen Esq., petitioned the legislature of New Jersey to enact a law granting her the right to sell the interests of her minor children in the Andover Iron Works. In the petition, it is stated that 5/16 interest was divised by William Allen Esq. to his grandsons John and William. She received permission, but it was not until an act of the General Assembly, passed November 21, 1808, authorized the appointment of a commission to divide the lands.

Lot #1, Share #1 came to grandson John1s daughter Mary. This tract, including the location of the house was sold to Richard R. Morris and David Ryerson on May 1, 1830. They sold to Annanias and Elisha Mulford on July 7, 1831, and they sold to Merritt Pinkney on June 24, 1834. On that day, for $4, 960.09, Pinkney purchased 291 acres.

Merritt was born October 15, 1800, at North Salem, Westchester County, New York, the son of poor parents, John and Anna. One of eight children, he came to Newton at the age of 19, married Miss Eliza, daughter of Abram Merritt, Esq. He was hard working and energetic as a business man, and acquired a great deal of property. At the time of his death, February 16, 1884, he was one of the wealthiest men in Sussex County.

Almost immediately after acquiring the property, he built a general store that remained open until around 1900, and a blacksmith shop. He also farmed his land as can be seen by the large barn still on the property. At one point, he operated a shoe shop in the site that is now the home of Mrs. Joseph Haas.

On what was then called in succession, “The Mountain Tract”, ”The Allen Tract”, and now called “The Homestead Tract”, there stood a small two room house. As yet, no records have been found indicating who built it, but is said to be post-Revolution, about 1790.

Pinkney used this as the nucleus of a new and larger and more elegant home that he built after acquiring the property. The date of its completion is not recorded, but as it took longer then than now to build a home, it is doubtful whether it was completed before 1835. No doubt he lived in the small house while the larger was being built. The new part is Greek revival, with Georgian overtones. Both parts of the house are of solid brick, inside and out, with the hard plaster of the time applied directly over the inside brick walls and stucco on the outside walls. Even the room partitions were built in this manner. The house still retains the wide floorboards, elaborately carved mantels and trim, much of the original window glass, and fireplaces. The bake oven's characteristic beehive shape can still be seen on the outside wall of what used to be the kitchen. The front portico is said to be one of the most beautiful in Sussex County. The bricks for this house most likely came from the brickyard along the Springdale-Greendell Road, as it was the only known brickyard in the area. Around the turn of the century, the Pinkney's had reduced in number to Annie F., daughter of Merritt's son William. Living in Newton, she rented the farm to various local families including the Hooeys and the Current The present owners purchased the last remaining acres including the house and barn in 1969 Other parts of the original farm are now found to include Sussex Park Homes, Lenape Trucking, Florence M. Byrd School, and private owners.

ANDOVER MINE - On Limecrest Road, just north of Old Creamery Road is the entrance to the site of the Andover Mine. This site has been reported on extensively in the beginning of this book. This site is Andover Township1s only site of national historic significance. It is now the property of the Aeroflex Corporation

OTHER EARLY NAMES - Michael Onsted came from Germany to a farm in Germany Flats prior to 1800, and lived there until his death in 1820. His son George carried on the farm work after that.

Michael Onsted Jr. settled on a farm about two miles north of Andover Village, and died there in 1815. His widow married Andrew Slockbower, who worked at the furnace. He afterward bought a tract of 400 acres north of the village, and lived there until he died.

John Onsted, another son of Michael went to Andover Village and became a clerk for John Northrup. In 1810, John Northrup purchased about 700 acres of land at the side of Andover Village, including the furnace and other buildings of Allen and Turner. In 1828, he built a distillery adjoining his store, and was engaged in milling, farming, trading, and distilling until his death in 1840.

In 1817, John Onstead left the employ of Northrup, and built a wayside inn along the Union Turnpike, about a mile north of Andover. He operated it until his death in 1835. His widow married Zachariah Stickles, who was landlord of the hostelry for many years.

Another early settler in the township was Samuel Harding, who purchased property from Jessy Hall prior to 1800. Hall had made a small clear mg in the wilderness and erected a small cabin. Sam Harding finished clearing the tract and lived there until he died in 1834. His sons Thomas, John, and Samuel lived in the township for a time. Thomas died young. Samuel moved to Pennsylvania. John moved to Andover Village.

Neighbors of Sam Harding Sr. who came about the same time he settled were: Anthony Longcor, Andrew Slockbower, Conrad Misner, David Wilson, Albert Ammerman, William McKinley, Jacob Lance, John Ebers, and Benjamin Hines. Benjamin Hines was in the naval service during the Revolution, and at the close of the war he settled in what is now Sparta Township. His son, Benjamin Jr. moved to a farm in Andover Township about 1800, and remained there until the time of his death in 1865, at the age of 85.


“History of Sussex & Warren Counties”, J. P. Snell, 1881, Everts & Peck, Philadelphia
Edsall's “Centennial Address”, 1853
Swayze’s “Historical Address”, 1903
"Early Forges & Furnaces in New Jersey”, Boyer
“300 Years of Mining in Sussex County, New Jersey”, John L. Baum, 1973, Sussex Co. Historical Society
"Historical Sketch of the County”, 1872
“Gazetteer and History of New Jersey", Cordon, 1834”
"The New Jersey Herald"
"The Sussex Register"
"Archives of the State of New Jersey”