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


Pohatcong Township was the last of the civil divisions of Warren County to be organized. It was formed in 1881 from that part of Greenwich lying in the extreme southwestern corner of the county. It was named from the creek whose beautiful valley forms so much of its territory.

The New Brunswick turnpike crosses the northern part of the township, and a road that it replaced is shown as early as 1769 on a may which also - mentions the names Hughes and Roper's Ferry, the latter on the site of Carpentersville. Three railroads pass through the township. The Belvidere division of the Pennsylvania railroad was built through this township in 1854, along the Delaware River, and has stations at Riegelsville and Carpentersville, giving good connections north and south. The Lehigh Valley railroad and the Central Railroad of New Jersey, on their way from Phillipsburg to New York, pass through the northern part of. the township and give excellent freight accommodations to the great cement industries there located.

The six schools in the township employ twelve teachers and are at Finesville, Hughesville, Carpentersville, Springtown, Shimers and Alpha, the last with five teachers.

An important industry in this township is the raising of peaches, where the orchards produce a very fine grade of fruit. Among the extensive growers are J. S. Hunt, Isaac Laubach, J. M. Crouse and Sheriff Wieder.

The earliest land taken up in this region was by a survey made in January, 1714, and approved November 13, 1717, of atract of land to Thomas Byerly, containing 9,009 acres on both sides of the Musconetcong, and bordering on the Delaware. This was sold at public sale September 1, 1749, to William Allen and Joseph Turner, of Philadelphia, for £3,000 proclamation money. There were 1,701 acres of this north of the Musconetcong in the present Pohatcong Township.

Riegelsville is the southernmost town in Warren County, at the mouth of the Musconetcong, where is available a fine water power, which is'used by John W. Riegel for a grist mill, and by the Warren Manufacturing Company for the manufacture of manila paper. R. A. Shimer has an excellent general store. A large town of the same name lies across the river, which is connected by trolley with Easton and Philadelphia. The town was settled by the Hunt family before the Revolution, who are still residents of the township, but was named after Benjamin Riegel, who came from Northampton County in 1818.

In 1797 Thomas Pursell built a mill at the mouth of the Musconetcong. He died at Finesville in 1821. Before 1800 three brothers named Shank occupied a log house on the other side of the river and operated a ferry. Benjamin Riegel bought their property in 1807. The bridge across the Delaware was built in 1838. Mr. G. W. Snyder has a wheelwright shop, in which he manufactures delivery wagons and the like.

The Laubach family has lived in the vicinity of Riegelsville since 1738. The original ancestor of the family in America was Rhinehart L.aubach, a native of the Palatinate on the Rhine, who came to Philadelphia in 1738, on the ship "Queen Elizabeth." He settled with his family in Bucks County, and ever since members of the family have been prominent in the history of that and Warren County.

Carpentersville is named from Jacob Carpenter, who came here from Switzerland in 1748. His two sons, Jacob and John, passed their lives in this vicinity. Jacob left two sons, Jacob and Charles, and John two sons named Isaac and William. The- Carpenter family is inter-married with the Kennedy, Stewarts and other' prominent families of this and adjoining townships. Carpentersville is a station on the Pennsylvania railroad, which reached this point in 1854. Roper's Feiry was operated here as early as 1769.

Alpha is the newest and most active town in Warren County. Here are situated the Great Alpha and Vulcanite cement plants. The eastern part of Alpha is a Hungarian settlement, called the Klondike. Although Alpha is barely a dozen years old, it has a school with five teachers, while a Greek and Hungarian Presbyterian and a Catholic church supply the spiritual wants of the population. Dr. William H. Albright and Dr. Isaac Borts are located here. Alpha will soon be incorporated and enjoy the advantages that its size justifies. -

Warren Paper Mills is a town on the Musconetcong, three and a half miles above its mouth. It has about 350 inhabitants, and its principal industry is conducted by the Warren Manufacturing Company, which has at this point one of its mills for the manufacture of manila paper. It was formerly called "The Forge," and even yet the name is often heard, although no forge has been in operation at this point for many years.

Hughesville-Long before the Revolution, a Welshman named Hugh Hughes bought a large tract of land and built a forge three miles from the mouth of the Musconetcong. In 1769 the town at this place was called Greenwich. Hugh Hughes was a lawyer from Philadelphih. He married Miss Mary Beckenridge, and had two daughters and three Sons: Dr. John S. Hughes, born in 1770; Isaac, and Bracelidge. All of the sons passed their long lives in this vicinity. Isaac had seven sons, one of whom was Henry G., whose son, Samuel, occupied the old homestead. The forge long since was turned into a grist mill, which burned down.

Dr. John S. Hughes attended Princeton, studied medicine, and practiced medicine here from 1792 until his death in 1825. Two of his sons were physicians- Dr. John S. Hughes, practicing at Bloomsbury until 1856, and John Beatty Hughes, at Hughesville, until 1858, when he died. His children all settled near Finesville.

Finesville is on the Musconetcong, one mile from its mouth. It is named from the Fine family, two members of which, Philip and John, came from Germany and settled at this place. Philip and his sons, Philip, Christopher and John, ran an oil mill, a grist mill, a saw mill and a store, while John Fine built a hotel. At present C. C. Fine has a general store here and W. I. Jacoby, a grist mill. The Musconetcong at this point furnishes good water power, which as measured by Taylor, Stiles & Company, manufacturers of knives, is ten horse-power for each foot of fall. The total fall between Bloomsbury and the Delaware River is 130 feet, giving a total of 1,300 horse power, nearly all of which is in use. The total available water power on the Musconetcong in Warren County is more than two thousand horse power.

The old Chelsea forge was situated at Finesville, and obtained its pig iron from Durham Furnace, which made iron as early as 1727, by way of Stillwell's or Brinker's ferry, across the river, opposite Durham. Messrs. I. F. and W. B. Laubach carry on an extensive business in burning. lime.

The Methodist Episcopal Church at Finesville dates from 1835 or earlier. At that time a Union Church was built for the use of Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Christians. It was bought by the Methodists in 1879. Among the preachers who have served here are Revs. Carhart, Tuttle, George Banghart, Van Horne, Dedrick, Haggerty and Decker. The present pastor is Rev. C. B. Hankins.

The Christian Church at Finesville was erected in i 877, previous to which this -congregation, which was formed in 1835, worshipped in the Union Church, now the Methodist Church. The present pastor is Rev. John Blood.

Siegletown, of Middleville, was formerly the site of a grist mill, a clover mill, and a pottery conducted by members of the Siegle family, the first one of the name being Benjamin Siegle, who came from Germany, and had four daughters and three sons-Abram, Thomas and William. It is now a part of Finesville.

Springtown, on the Pohatcong, sixty years ago had two distilleries and three grist mills, one of which was run by J. Hixson, whose family were the earliest settlers at this place. Dr. William Shipman practiced near from 1836 till 1885. A Christian church was built here before 1850.

The Straw Church, called also Lopatcong, is now really a suburb of Phillipsburg. It is named from the fact that the first Lutheran church here, built of logs, was thatched with straw. This was about 1760. A second church, built of stone, replaced the Straw Church in 1790, and the present St. James Church was built in 1834. The cemetery is across the road, in Greenwich Township. The old Straw Church may be called the mother of the churches at Stewartsville and Riegelsyule, and of Grace Chapel at Phillipsburg.

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