To the editor,

For those who live on Molasses Hill Road in Clinton Township or who frequently notice the sign on Route 31, have you ever wondered how a road in there or in Hunterdon County could ever get such a name? Why “molasses?”

I have frequently thought about it since it’s the road I lived on as a small child and have driven past on occasion.

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I think I found a highly plausible explanation, which I recently heard from my two older brothers. They were 8 and 9 years old when we moved away in 1943 from the 101-acre farm near the end of Molasses Hill Road, just before it hits the Stanton-Lebanon Road near the base of the dam for the Round Valley Reservoir. My brothers still distinctly remember that my father used to add molasses to the silage as it was being chopped and blown up into the silo. The molasses was used then, and still is, to help with the fermentation of the silage. My brothers both vividly remember smelling the strong odor of the molasses of the silage, a smell that could likely engulf anyone passing by on the road. That smell could likely have been present for days, weeks or perhaps even months or years afterward. The barn and silo, now long gone, stood right next to the road at the crest of the first hill coming up from the direction of the Stanton-Lebanon Road. Thus, this is likely what came to be known locally as the “Molasses Hill” itself.

The deeds of transfer of the farm property mention this name in a deed transfer in 1960, which is the first transfer deed referring to the road as “sometimes known as the Molasses Hill Road.” Prior to that 1960 transfer, the location of the farm was simply identified by its rural delivery route number. Though my father had long since sold the farm by 1960, the “molasses hill” name seemed to have “stuck.”

I’d love to know if anyone with a memory back to the 1940s up to the 1960s can either corroborate or invalidate this theory. Unless I hear anything to the contrary, henceforth I’ll enjoy thinking of the name as a reminder of my father as I pass the “Molasses Hill Road” sign.

Ron Campbell

Pennington