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


Harmony was formed in 1839 from parts of Greenwich and Oxford, but lost a portion of its territOry on the formation of Phillipsburg (now Lopatcong) in 1851. It takes its name from a town of the same name, which hovered between the choice of Concord or Harmony as the proper title.

Harmony is about equally divided between the fertile low land of the Delaware Valley and a mountainous portion consisting of Marble Mountain and Ragged Ridge, which are separated by the peaceful valley of the Lopatcong Creek, the upper part of which is called Harker’s Hollow, from the main body of Scott’s Mountain, which rises at Montana to a height of 1,259 feet.

Montana is a village in the extreme eastern part of Harmony, and is also a name applied indefinitely to a region several miles in area and extending into Oxford, Washington and Franklin. It is situated twelve hundred feet above sea level, and is thus more elevated than any other town in the county. The village was called Springtown until about 1860, when it became Springville, to distinguish it from another Springtown. It has beencalled Montana for forty years and befàre the days of rural delivery it had a post office.

During the Revolution all of this region was filled with Tory sympathizers, who depended on the inaccessibility of the region for their safety.

Early settlers in this vicinity were named Blair, Inslee, Beers, Rush, Prall, Burd and Lambertson.

A Baptist church was, built here as early as 1827 by a Mr. Chamberlain. An old burying ground yet marks the spot. A new church was later erected in the village, but it has been without a pastor for many years.

The Scott's Mountain Presbyterian Church was organized at this place in 1815, and a building was erected the same year. The first pastor was the Rev. Garner A. Hunt. It was later known as the Presbyterian Church of Montana. A new building was erected in 1870, but it had no pastor for many years and was finally torn down.

The Methodist Episcopal Church has been more successful, owing to the vicinity of Summerfield, and a church building was erected in 1887, at which services are regularly held by supplies.

All bearing the name Rush in Warren County are descended from Jacob Rush, who settled on the farm now occupied by Catherine Rush, which was formerly the homestead of the Blairs. Jacob Rush had a son, Jacob, who was father of Jacob, William, Henry, John and Isaac, and another son, Peter, who was father of Hiram Rush, who had five boys, named Peter, John, Bartley, of Montana; Hiram, who was killed at the battle of Bull Run, and Abraham.

Three miles from Montana, on the road to New Village, is an old forgotten grave yard, said to be that of a Quaker settlement at this point. The tombstones are of sandstone, with no lettering visible.

One of the first settlers of Harmony Township was Harmon Shipman, who came from Germany about 1740. He owned 200 acres of land, which came in possession of his son, Harmon, while another son, Abraham, in 1807 bought a farm near Asbury, where his descendants have lived since.

Harmony is a name applied to two villages a mile apart, on the macadamized road running through the township between Belvidere and Phillipsburg. The earliest remembered resident of Upper Harmony was Adam Ramsay. Other early settlers were Morgan Hineline and Charles Carhart.

The Presbyterian Church at Upper Harmony was formed from members in part from the Greenwich church, and in part from the old Oxford church. Supplies preached here as early as 1807 and even before this services were held in various houses. The present building was erected in 1840, taking the place of a stone edifice erected in 1807, on land presented by William Gardner.

Lower Harmony’s earliest settler was Godfrey Person, who erected a clover mill and owned a tavern. Dr. A. O. Stiles located here in 1828 as a practicing physician. Later Dr. James DeWitt practiced here for many years.

The first of the name DeWitt in Warren County were three brothers—Peter, Abram and Isaac—who settled not far from each other, along the Delaware River, in Harmony and Lopatcong. Peter and Isaac DeWitt settled in Harmony, and Abram in Lopatcong. Several of the family were in the Continental army, among them Peter’s son, Barnett, who was in charge of prisoners confined in the old forge at Bloomsbury. Peter DeWitt was the father of Levi, Peter, Isaac, John P., Alexander, Paul, and four daughters, descendants of most of whom are now in the county. - -

The first church edifice in Lower Harmony was known as “the Old Red Church,” and in it both Lutherans and Methodists worshipped for many years. The Methodists erected their present structure in 1856.

On October 11, 1716, there were surveyed to Joseph Kirkbride a tract of land amounting with allowances to more than 1,300 acres, situated in the heart of the township and extending from the river to the mountain. This was sold by his heirs in 1851 to Thomas Shipley, who transferred 168 acres of it in 1762 to William Phillips, who was the first local owner. He sold it in 1763 to John Van Nest, and he to John Hendershott in 1772.

A tract of 1,735 acres was surveyed to William Penn, extending from the foot of Foul Rift to Hutchison’s. This was sold by Penn’s heirs December 30, 1740, to Jacobus Vanetta, who divided it with his five brothers. It comprised all the fertile valley farms in the township north of Hutchison’s.

On August 8, 1759, 600 acres of land in the valley were surveyed to Joseph Hollingshead, who sold parts of it in 1775 to Andrew Sheep, and in 1777 to John Hendershot.

The Vannattas of Warren County are descended from a family that came from Holland to Raritan and from there to this township, where they bought 1,735 acres from William Penn’s heirs. Five of the brothers were named Jacobus, Johannes, Benjamin, Thomas and Peter. The name is also spelled in old deeds Van Etten, Vanatto and Vanetta. It is believed that all the Vannattas in this township are descended from John, while Hamilton Vannatta, formerly of Jackson Valley, is from one of the other brothers. Johannes Vanatto owned the farm at the foot of Foul Rift, by the large spring, and gave a deed for one acre in 1744 to Jonathan Robeson for use as a wharf. John Vannatta was a soldier in the Revolution, and late in life moved from Harmony to Ohio. Some of his sons seem to have been named Samuel, William, Isaac and George W.

Samuel Vannatta, a son of John was born about 1785, and died in 1855. In 1803 he purchased 160 acres of land at Brainard’s, including the Snyder ferry, which he and his son, Silas, after him ran successfully for many years. It is now operated by Stewart Fry, for a company that owns it. The children of Samuel Vannatta were John, Henry, of Wisconsin; Aaron, of Wisconsin; Moses, of Wisconsin; Samuel, Silas, and six daughters.

John Vannatta, a son of Samuel, was born in i8oi, and purchased a farm in Jackson Valley in 1832, on which he built a substantial stone house in 1837, and lived, to be over eighty years of age. His children were John R. Vanatta, a step-father to J. Wesley Scott, of Belvidere; Samuel, of Pennville; Joseph, of Hackettstown Moses, of Anderson; Lemuel, of Washington; Morris, of Martin’s Creek, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Mary Ann Gardner, of Jackson Valley, and Elias, of Philadelphia. The children of Samuel Vannatta, of Rocksburg, the son of Samuel, are: Kennedy Vannatta, station agent at Madison; Mrs. John H. Young, of Roxburg; Mrs. Robert Petty, of Washington; Mrs. Ed. Hill, of Easton; Mrs. Josephine Young, of Rocksburg; Roderick Vannatta, and JamesVannatta, of Rocksburg.

Rocksburg was settled by John Young, and was known as Youngsville for many years. He conducted a foundry for forty years., in which he manufactured plows, etc.

The excellent water power on a brook early caused a grist mill to be built, which is now operated - by Leo Lomasson, who recently bought it of Bowiby.

The site of Rocksburg was part of the Vannata tract, this particular part being owned by Peter Vannetta, who sold the 200 acres to Jacob Sigler in 1793.

The railway station on the Pennsylvania Railroad is one mile from the village near the Delaware River, where some cottages and tents accommodate many nature lovers on both sides of the river.

Martin’s Creek is a name applied to a locality partly in Pennsylvania and partly in New Jersey, at the mouth of a stream of the same name. In Pennsylvania it is also known as the Three Churches, - from the Presbyterian, Lutheran and Reformed churches that have been there so long; or as Howells, from David Howell, for many years the main property holder there. In New Jersey the railway station is Martin’s Creek, and the post office is Brainards’ in honor of the missionary brothers, David and John Brainerd, who had their cabin within half a mile of this point, across the river.

David Brainerd was born at Haddam, Connecticut, in 1718. He was educated at Yale, licensed to preach in 1742, and was appointed missionary to the Indians within the Forks of the Delaware by the “Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge.” He began his missionary labors among the Indians in the Forks of the Delaware early in the summer of 1744. On the 13th of May, 1744, he came to Sakhauwotung (Martin’s Creek) within the forks, and was respectfully received by the Indian king, who permitted him to preach most of the summer at his house. This was near the settlements of Hunter, at Mt. Bethel. Brainerd built his own house in the Forks of the Delaware. According to Junkin: “That house was a wide cabin, and stood about one half a mile south by west of where the church of Lower Mt. Bethel now stands, near the banks of Martin’s Creek—the Indian name of which was Sakhauwotung.” In Brainerd’s diary we read, “Lord’s Day, Dec. 9.—Preached both parts of the day in a place called Greenwich, in New Jersey, about ten miles from my own house,” and for Lord’s Day, February 17, 1745, the following record is found: “Preached in the wilderness on the sunny side of a hill to a considerable number of white people, many of whom came near twenty miles, from Kreidersville to Martin’s Creek.”

Totamy was Brainerd’s interpreter whenpreaching tothe Indians, and with his aid he translated into the Lenapé language some simple prayers. Brainerd spent about three years preaching to the “Irish, High Dutch and Low Dutch” and Indians in the wilderness, when his health failed and he went back to New England and died in 1747. He was succeeded-by his brother, John, who arrived in 1749, made the cabin his home, and labored here among the whites and Indians for several years. He was a chaplain in the army in 1759, and had charge of Indian schools here and at Brotherton, New Jersey. He died in 1781.

There is a tradition that Moses Totamy, the Delaware sachem, father of William Totamy, who was Brainerd’s interpreter, lived at “Totamy Plantation,” at Marble - Mountain, three and a half miles from Phillipsburg. - Totamy Falls in the Delaware are near the place. Moses Totamy was present at the great Indian council at Easton in 1758, where he was one of the interpreters and represented the mountain Indians.

Martin’s Creek is the junction point of the Pennsylvania railroad with the Bangor and Portland railroad, and with the Lehigh and New England railroad. Martin’s Creek, or Brainards, owes its present importance entirely to the presence of mills Nos. 3 and 4 of the Alpha Cement Company, which are located one on either side of the- mouth of Martin’s Creek, in Pennsylvania. Twelve years ago there was no town here. There are several old stone houses in the vicinity, built about one hundred years ago. One at the station was owned by Silas Vannatta until recently, when it was sold, and on the lot adjoining it have been built several concrete houses and the store of the Alpha Supply Company, of which John Wilson is the manager.

The stone house one-eighth of a mile south of the station was owned by Hampton Teel until about 1850, when George Depue bought it and owned it until his death in 1897. His widow still owns it. Some of the Alpha company’s houses are on property formerly a part of this lot. Still further south is a third stone house, owned for many years by John Oberly, and by hisson, Anthony, and now by his grand-daughter, Mrs. George Vannatta.

At Martin’s Creek occurred the worst disaster in the history of the county, on April 29, 1911, when an. excursion train of teachers from Utica, New York, jumped the track and was completely destroyed by fire, causing the death of thirteen of those on the train, eight of whom were burned to ashes.

Silas Vannatta and later George Vannatta were station agents here from the completion of the railroad until 1900. The Botel Warren is conducted by Melville W. Smith; Karabinus Brothers have a meat market, and Szlaboczny and Pordan sell drygoods and groceries.

For many years the village across the river was called Howell’s Mills, or Howells, as the main property owner there was David Howell, who recently died. It is now called Martin’s Creek, from the stream of that name, which is so called from David Martin, who, in 1739, owned the ferry privileges along the river between this point and Phillipsburg. A tannery was early operated at Howells and a grist mill. The railrdad bridge across the river, which also accommodates pedestrians, was built on the completion of the Bangor and Portland railroad, and rebuilt in 1907.

The vicinity across the river was known as early as I 734 as Hunter’s Settlement. It was composed of Scotch-Irish immigrants, who in 1738 sent to the New Brunswick Presbytery a request for supplies, and the Rev. Gilbert Tennent was directed to go there the same year.

The Belvidere division of the Pennsylvania railroad parallels the Delaware River in this township, having, stations that accommodate Harmony, Martin’s Creek, Hutchisons and Roxburg.

At a point a mile or so north of Hutchisons, on the Pennsylvania side of the river, was born Mrs. William J. Bryan, of Nebraska.

An early settler between Harmony and the Delaware River was Barney Raub, who is buried in the Presbyterian church-yard He had several children, of whom Philip settled in Oxford Township and was the father of Dr. Joseph M., George, Jacob, James and Samuel J.

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