History of Mansfield, NJ
From History of Warren County, NJ
By George Wyckoff Cummins, Ph. D., M. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company 1911


CHAPTER XXVI
MANSFIELD.


Mansfield Township derives its name from the Presbyterian log church built in the old burying ground at the fork in the roads, below the new Washington Cemetery. The church was called the Mansfield Wood House, and this was the name given to the township when it was formed from Greenwich in 1754. The name became Mansfield when Warren County was separated from Sussex in 1824. Washington was formed from the western part of the township in 1849, leaving Mansfield with its present boundaries

A splendid macadamized road runs from east to west through the township, from Hackettstown past Newburg, Beattystown, Penwell, Stephensburg and Anderson to Washington. It was completed in 1911.

The Morris and Essex division of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad runs east and west through the township and closely paralleling it are the Morris Canal and a trolley line.

The Musconetcong Creek supplies excellent water powers at Beattystown, Stephensburg and Penwell.

The school houses in Mansfield are at Karrsville, Port Murray, Anderson, Egberts, Rockport and Beattystown.

Beattystown was long known as Beatty’s Mills, from the owner of the first mill built here, and run by the excellent water power furnished by the Musconetcong. The mill Was later owned for many years by J. B. Fisher, later by Judge White, and is now owned by L. T. Labar.

Stewart Martin was tavern keeper here at the time of the Revolution, and fed some of the captured soldiers of General Burgoyne’s army, who were on their way from Saratoga to the South.

The turnpike running through Beattystown was built in 1812, and on it three hundred men, drafted for the war of 1812, were led by Captain Jacob Henry after being fed at the public house then kept by Benjamin Leek. The road is now finely macadamized. Ziba Osmun, Sr., built in Beattystown the first distillery in Mansfield, which distilled only pure apple jack. A grain distillery was operated before 1825 by Elisha and Edward Bird.

James Fisher was the first postmaster of the office established in 1835, which is now in charge of Jacob Skinner.

Mr. Williamson gave the land for the first school house, in which religious services were held on alternate Sabbaths by Presbyterian and Methodist preachers. The Beattystown Presbyterian Church was built in 1893, and a fine manse added in 1910. Rev. Dr. Richardson Gray is the pastor of this and of the church at Rockport. Dr. Gray served ten years as a medical missionary in India, and in this county was pastor at Broadway and at Port Murray before being called to his present charge.

The ancestors of the Marlatt family in. Warren County were two brothers, John and William. The latter had a blacksmith shop at Beattystown, and had nine sons and five daughters. Their descendants are scattered widely over the county.

The Shield’s hematite mines near Beattystown have produced some very valuable ore, but are not worked at present. They were opened in 1870 by Thomas Shields, John C. Miller and John Fisher. They are now owned by L. T. Labar and Mrs. Rittner. The Shields homestead is owned and occupied by L. T. Labar, who married a daughter of Thomas Shields. Mr. L.abar is the most extensive property holder in the vicinity, owning the grist mill with its fine water power; a limestone quarry, at which Reed & Son burn a fine quality of lime, and a wood working plant employing a dozen hands. Mr. Labar supplies the town with excellent soft water from a spring on the hillside. L. T. Labar is a member of the family of that name, three brothers of which, Peter, Charles and Abraham, came from France to Philadelphia before 1730, and shortly afterward made their way to within two miles of the Water Gap, where they settled and were the first to clear land between the Lehigh River and the Water Gap. Peter’s son, George, died in 1874, aged over one hundred and eleven years.

Karrsville is situated near the center of Mansfield, on the Pohatcong. It is named from the Karrs, who were early settlers here.

Industries that have flourished here were McCrea.’s tannery, Ketchum’s saw mill, William Johnson’s saw mill and factory, E. G. Barber’s distillery and Mitchell’s distillery. A half mile down the Pohatcong from Karrsville was a grist mill known for many years as Larison’s Mill. It was previously owned by G. H. Taylor. It was destroyed by fire a few years ago and was not rebuilt.

Timberswamp is a name applied to the Pohatcong Valley between Mt. Bethel and Karrsville. It is noted for being the stoniest place in the county. The valley is paved with large bowiders, deposited here by the great glacier, the icy streams from which washed away the finer sand and gravel.

Jacksonvalley is the name of the Pohatcong Valley between Karrsyule and Washington. Early settlers in it were the Wyckoffs, Gardners, Wellers, Winters and Vanattas. Vannest’s Gap, in the extreme northwest corner of Mansfield, allowed passage to the D., L. & W. railroad for some years while the Oxford tunnel was building. The Oxford tunnel is a single opening 3,500 feet long for a double track, but through it only one train is allowed to pass at a time. The engineer in charge of its construction was James Archibald. General Robert McAllister was one of the contractors, and it was finished in 1862.

Port Murray is situated on the Morris Canal and D., L. & W. railroad, and until 1911 was the terminus of the trolley line from Phillipsburg. It has the only railroad station in the township. The town dates from the completion of the canal in 1834. Aaron Bryant
built the first house, Moore Furman the first store, and William Morton the first hotel. The principal industry is the terra cotta tile works operated by the National Fire Proofing Company, on a deposit of clay that is unexcelled for quality and inexhaustible in extent. Mr. J. Ford Henry is the manager. It is now manufacturing mainly bricks.

The Mansfield Baptist Church was organized in 1842. The present pastor is the Rev. Robert Chew.

The Methodist Episcopal Church has as its present pastor the Rev. W. L. Hadsell, who also serves the Mt. Bethel church.

Dr. H. M. Cox was for many years the only physician in the township. He later practiced in Washington. Dr. J. H. Smith was here for a time and, now Dr. Funk, at Port Murray, is the only practicing physician in Mansfield.

One of the first settlers in the vicinity of Port Murray was Samuel Ramsay, who came here before 1800 from Hunterdon County. His children were Thomas, John, Samuel, Betsey, Mary and Robert. His son, Samuel, and grandson, William, followed him in possession of the old homestead.

Anderson, formerly called Andersontown, is so called from its first settler, Joseph Anderson, who came here in 1787. In 1790 he built, the hotel which he, James Anderson and son, Joseph, conducted for many years. They were succeeded by Jonathan Pidcock, and he by Mr. Hann. Joseph Anderson built here a distillery that was operated from 1810 to 1852.

Peter Weller, son of Peter and grandson of George Weller, all of Washington Township, came to Anderson in 1812 and purchased the land ever since known as the Weller farm. His son, Abraham W. G. Weller, was born in 1814, and lived there until his death. The Morris Canal, the D., L. & W. railroad and the trolley line pass through the. farm.

The Methodist Episcopal Church at Anderson was built in 1859. At present it is connected with Mt. Lebanon, and J. L. Brooks is the supply.

William Little built a grist mill here in 1798. Dr. Beavers began practice in Anderson in 1790, and Dr. John Ball practiced here for a year before his death in 1838.

Rockport is on the Morris Canal, and, while the D., L. & W. rail-S road passes through the town, it never had a station here. The trolley line from Phillipsburg to Hackettstown is expected to reach here shortly. The Davis, White, Husselton, Osmun and Stewart families have long been identified with this locality, which is mainly agricultural. At present there are ten houses in the village. Twenty years ago many fine peach orchards could be seen in this vicinity, but they have all disappeared.

The Rockport, or Second Mansfield Presbyterian Church, was built in 1845, on land given by David C. Davis. Rev. Mr. Hunt, of Schooley’s Mountain, was the first pastor. Rev. Richardson Gray is the present pastor of this church and also of the Beattystown Presbyterian Church.

Mount Bethel is so named from the Methodist Episcopal Church of that name. The first settler that we know of at this place was Dr. Robert Cummins, a surgeon’ in the Continental army in 1776, who settled here right after the war. He and Dr. Kennedy, of Johnsonsburg, were the only two physicians in the county at that time, and they frequently traveled twenty or thirty miles making professional calls. They traveled, as did every one else, on horseback, with their crude drugs in saddlebags. Dr. Cummins was a member of the Scotch-Irish family of that name in Montour County, Pennsylvania. He owned large tracts of land in this neighborhood. He died leaving no children, and is buried in the Mt. Bethel churchyard.

Residents in Mt. Bethel before 1800 were Andrew Bray, Martin Ryerson and Richard Gardner, who had the land at this place suryeyed to him on a warrant from the proprietors of West Jersey.

Dr. Cummins induced James Egbert to come to Mount Bethel in 1790 from Staten Island. He was a tanner by trade, and built a tannery here and bought a great deal of land. He built the handsome stone church and owned it personally, but finally gave it to the Methodist Episcopal Conference. Hence it was known for many years as Egbert’s Church, and the name Egberts has about supplanted the earlier name of Mount Bethel for the place. James Egbert died in Morristown in 1846.

A Baptist church was built here at some time before 1810, when it was bought by Mr. Egbert and used for Methodist Episcopal services until the stone church was built. Bishop Asbury says in his journal on May 11, 1811; “Friday to James Egbert’s. Bethel Chapel has been bought and refitted for the Methodists. I preached in it.”

Penwell, or Pennville, is largely south of the Musconetcong, and hence out of Warren County.

Andrew Miller was the first of the Miller family to settle in Warren County. He came from Newton, New Jersey, and settled on 1,000 acres of land near Penwell, where he kept an inn before the Revolution. It is said that General Washington and his army encamped on this farm for a night. The children of Andrew Miller were Daniel, Polly, Susan, Philip and Henry. One of Henry’s children was Jacob H. Miller, father of Sarah Ann, Henry, Mary, Jacob, William H., Emeline, Stewart B. and Maude Alice. ‘Another son of Henry Miller was John C. Miller, father of Edwin Miller.

One of the first directors of the County House was Daniel Axford, who had a fine farm in the vicinity of the Poor Farm. The Axford family is one of the very oldest in Warren County, and the first of the family, John Axford, located i,6oo acres of land in the valley between the County House and Oxford. Daniel Axford was a great-grandson of the first settler, and always took an active interest in the affairs of the county. He was twice elected to the Legislature, and as Sheriff from 1836 to 1839 he inflicted the last penalty of a public whipping in the county. He was one of the founders of the Belvidere Bank, and of the Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company. His children were Mrs. William Drake, Margaret, wife of Rev. R. Van Home, and Mrs. Isaac S. Dill.

The County House, or Poor Farm, of Warren County was purchased in 1830 of Nathan Sutton for $8,950. It contains 396 acres of the finest land in the county. Large buildings, steam heated, give every comfort to the inmates. It is supplied with water piped from a reservoir fed by springs in the neighboring mountains. The stewards of the County House have been William McDonald, Samuel Lowder, T. H. Tunison, L. H. Martenis, J. R. Teal, Samuel Frome, H. R. Tunison, Mr. Raisley and Goodward Leida.

Among the earliest settlers in this part of the township was James Bird, the father of Elisha and Edward Bird. A daughter of Elisha Bird married James Fisher, who came here from Virginia in 1809, and is the father of John B. Fisher, and grandfather of James Fisher, Esq., of Hackettstown.

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