200 Years of History
By R. Richard Willis
As we look back two hundred years, we would see a very different
Jefferson Township. The native Americans, the Lenape's had
lived on this land for hundreds of years. They hunted, fished,
and raised their food. Still today many artifacts can be found
of their life in the area that now is the Township of Jefferson.
With the signing of the Charter, Jefferson Township was created.
The first meeting took place at “Seward’s Tavern”
located on the Union Turnpike, now Route 15 South. The vast
forests were being cut for charcoal, which would power the
iron furnaces. Great bodies of iron, zinc and other ores lay
beneath our soil. Water is abundant, for transportation, recreation,
and running the mills. Thomas Jefferson was president, our
U.S. Flag had 15 Stars and Stripes and Lewis & Clark were
heading west in the exploration of the new territories.
The Township of Jefferson was created out of Pequanack and
Roxbury Townships. The township is shaped like a parallelogram.
It contains approximately 45 square miles and lies between
the Sussex County Line on the Lake Hopatcong side, with Mount
Arlington to the south. The Rockaway River flows through almost
the whole length of the Township between Green Pond and Bowling
Green Mountain ranges and in the North by Passaic County.
Jefferson contains many lakes, including Lake Hopatcong,
which affected the early history very greatly. The Lake, Morris
Canal, Ogden Mine Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey,
and to some extent the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western,
provided easy transportation for the ores that were being
mined and for ice that was harvested. There were many boat
lines on the Lake that transported goods and people when the
great tourism era arrived.
In the upcoming months we will see different areas of our