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Montville Township Celebrates 150th Anniversary at April 11 Ceremony

Comm Mbr Richard Cook, Assemblyman Jay Webber, Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney, Comm Mbr Richard Conklin, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, Mayor J Sandham, State Sen Joseph Pennacchio, Comm Mbr Deb Nielson Credits: Melissa Benno
Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney, Mayor Jim Sandham, Committee Members Deb Nielson, Richard Conklin and Richard Cook Credits: Melissa Benno
Amanda Rosado sings the National Anthem Credits: Melissa Benno
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, Assemblyman Jay Webber, and state Senator Joseph Pennacchio Credits: Melissa Benno
Father Dominick Credits: Melissa Benno
Freeholder Hank Lyon Credits: Melissa Benno
Jason Jones reads a history of Montville Township Credits: Melissa Benno
Jean Bader Credits: Melissa Benno
Joe O'Dowd, Sandy Purnell and Doc Purnell Credits: Melissa Benno
Mayor Jim Sandham Credits: Melissa Benno
Russ Lipari John Rosselini, Dan Grant Credits: Melissa Benno
St. Pius kids sing Credits: Melissa Benno
St. Pius Children's Choir sings Credits: Melissa Benno
Pastor Tom Henion Credits: Melissa Benno
Township Clerk Trudy Atkinson, Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney, Twp Attorney Fred Semrau, Mayor Jim Sandham, Committee Members Deb Nielson, Richard Conklin and Richard Cook Credits: Melissa Benno
Township Administrator Victor Canning, Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney, Mayor Jim Sandham, Committee Members Richard Conklin and Richard Cook; (seated) Asst Admin. June Hercek, Comm. Member Deb Nielson Credits: Melissa Benno
Kenny Ferris and Francesca Gonzalez of St. Pius X School opened the celebration by presenting the colors. Credits: Melissa Benno
St. Pius Children's Choir Credits: Melissa Benno
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, Assemblyman Jay Webber and state Senator Joseph Pennacchio Credits: Melissa Benno

MONTVILLE, NJ – Dignitaries, children and residents helped the Montville Township Committee celebrate the anniversary of Montville Township’s charter-signing on April 11 at the Municipal Building.

Kenny Ferris and Francesca Gonzalez of St. Pius X School opened the celebration by presenting the colors. Cassidy Davis, also of St. Pius, led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Rev. Dominick Bakowski of St. Pius gave the opening prayer. Amanda Rosado, of Montville Township High School’s School of Rock, sang the National Anthem. The St. Pius Choir then sang God Bless America and America the Beautiful.

See videos of the songs here:

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Mayor Jim Sandham then introduced the many local dignitaries in attendance, including former Mayor John Rosselini, former Committee Members Dan Grant and Jean Bader, and Russ Lipari, Joseph O’Dowd and “Doc” Purnell, who had volunteered for various boards. Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar attended, as well as Board President Matthew Kayne and Board Member Charles Grau. Several members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders were also in attendance.

Jason Jones of the Historic Preservation Review Commission then read a history of Montville Township.

He described how Dutch colonists, including Hendrick and David Mandeville, which is pronounced MONdeville, purchased land titles from the Lenni Lenape and from British land owners known as the East Jersey Proprietors in 1694 to form current Montville. Main Road was laid out in 1745. The Mandeville family began operating an inn in 1770, and people would have mail addressed to the inn instead of to their homes.

“Over time, the Mandeville Inn and the family name morphed into ‘Montville,’ and our town’s name was born,” Jones said. “Today’s current Montville Inn is located at the site of the old Mandeville Inn.”

Jones discussed some historic landmarks in the town, and important citizens, such as Marietta Huntoon Crane Woodruff, who was born in Pine Brook and went on to become the first female physician in Morris County.

To see video of the history of Montville, as presented by Jones, click here:

Committee Member Deb Nielson read a letter from Senator Cory Booker, congratulating the town on the event.

“Through the dedicated service of municipal employees, elected leaders, and local volunteers, the Township of Montville has grown and prospered over the past century and a half,” his letter says. “As you gather to celebrate the history and people that have shaped your community, I wish you a memorable event.”

State Senator Joseph Pennacchio, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, and Assemblyman Jay Webber were on hand to present a resolution from the New Jersey Legislature.

Pennacchio, who has lived in the township for 30 years, said that “Montville carved out a piece of my heart.”

“Anyone who lives in Montville always, if they have to leave, tries to leave it a little better than what they found,” Pennacchio said.

The proclamation described how, in 1867, the township was incorporated and separated from Pequannock Township. It was largely a rural and agricultural community until the early 1900s, when “vacationers and commuters moved into Montville’s scenic northern hills,” the resolution states. The resolution says that the township is noted for its architectural heritage, including “superb examples of 18th century Dutch stone houses, several of which are on the NJ Register of Historic Places, and the National Register.” The combined state Senate and General Assembly “honors and congratulates” the citizens of Montville, according to the resolution that Webber and DeCroce read to the assembly.

To hear the complete resolution click on this video:

Mayor Jim Sandham then addressed the group, stating, “In my role as a township committeeman, I’ve tried to remember where I came from and how I got here. It keeps me grounded as I recognize that many, many people helped me along my path and the township’s along its path. […] Our history was important in shaping our today and our tomorrow. Based on that history, and our great community, I can tell you this: our best days are still ahead!”

To see the video of Sandham’s entire speech, click here:

Committee Member Richard Cook said he was proud to continue the proud tradition of the Cook family serving the Montville community. Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney thanked the community for electing him to his position on the committee and allowing him to serve.

“I’m only 46, so maybe I’ll make it to the 200th anniversary,” he joked.

Committee Member Richard Conklin said many had contributed to making Montville Township such a special place. Committee Member Deb Nielson said Montville is not just a zip code but home.

“If I had to pick one word to describe Montville Township – and it would be really hard – it would be ‘community,’” she said. “The residents and dedicated employees of Montville Township are dedicated to the well-being of this town and of their fellow residents. They embody the true definition of community.”

To see video of the committee members’ remarks, click here:

Committee Member Deb Nielson announced a township-wide poster contest for children. Prizes include wristbands for the 4th of July carnival. Details are here: Poster contest

Pastor Tom Henion, Jr. of the Montville Reformed Church gave the Benediction before adjournment. The committee gave the township staff an employee appreciation luncheon.


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