MONTVILLE, NJ – As Montville Township celebrates its 150th anniversary, residents paused to look back at how it all started at a lecture given by Historical Society President Kathy Fisher on Jan. 9.
The township began from land purchased by the Dutch in 1694, when it was part of the area called New Netherland, Fisher said, and was originally part of Pequannock. The land was rich in natural resources, she said. The Dutch settlers lived near the Indians – in holes.
“First they had to get their crops going,” Fisher said.
Those who wanted to buy land not only had to pay the native Americans with goods such as blankets, axes and wampum, but also from the separate owners such as the Baldwins, Youngs and Piersons, who had acquired the land from the English, Fisher said.
After the initial wooden houses were built as shelter, stone houses were built.
“New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are the only states where stone houses were built,” Fisher said. Montville has 17 such stone houses.
Examples of the Dutch architecture features are the flat fireplace on the outside of the house, Fisher said, and random windows which were placed where they would maximize light coming into the house.
“They were practical,” Fisher said of the Dutch.
In 1800, Montville was officially named Montville and boundaries were established, which are pretty much the same as now, Fisher said, but the town did not grow very quickly.
At first, there was no mayor, but a clerk and committees, such as the committee of safety and the committee of observation. There was also someone who took care of the poor, Fisher said. The Dutch were very good about providing for the poor, she said.
The Montville Township Historical Society is sponsoring a special series of lectures in honor of Montville Township’s 150th anniversary. All meetings are at the Senior House, 356 Route 202/Main Road, at 7:30 p.m.
- February: The Morris Canal
- March: Lake Valhalla
- April: "Famous persons in Montville"
- May: "Montville in the American Revolution: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and General Rochambeau come to Montville"