Washington Valley plotted from earliest available deeds

A History of Washington Valley New Jersey

Nestled within the embrace of New Jersey’s verdant landscapes, Washington Valley unfolds its story across three square miles of Morris and Mendham Townships. This picturesque valley, cradled by the Whippany River and sheltered by Ludlow Mountain, Snake Hill, Roundtop, and Cooper’s Hill, presents a living canvas of nature’s enduring beauty. The changing seasons transform the valley, from the lush greenery of summer to the striking colors of autumn, revealing a landscape rich in natural splendor and historical significance.

Washington Valley’s transformation from a serene rural enclave to a burgeoning suburban community marks a pivotal chapter in its storied past. Once a haven for New York commuters seeking solace in the countryside, the valley was home to pastoral scenes of farming life, where the sounds of livestock and the sight of wildflowers defined the essence of rural tranquility. Yet, as the twentieth century progressed, the valley witnessed a gradual shift, with the once-dominant agricultural lifestyle giving way to the increasing encroachment of suburban development.

The year 1959 stands as a testament to this transition, signaling the end of an era and the onset of modernity. Amidst this change, the valley retains echoes of its past, from the melodious chimes of the Benedictine Monastery to the vibrant bird songs that fill the air. However, the barnyard symphonies and the leisurely strolls along country roads now belong to the realm of memory, replaced by the swift pace of contemporary life.

It is against this backdrop of change that this volume seeks to uncover and preserve the rich tapestry of Washington Valley’s history. From its origins as a settlement in 1749 through the pivotal moments of the Revolutionary War and into the nineteenth century, they delve into the lives of the early families who once called this valley home. Despite the challenges of piecing together a fragmented historical record, their endeavor aims to illuminate the valley’s heritage, drawing on a diverse array of sources, from land deeds and wills to personal anecdotes and genealogical research.

This journey into the past was made possible through the collective efforts of community members, historians, and local organizations, all united by a shared commitment to capturing the essence of Washington Valley’s legacy. As we navigate through the pages of history, we are reminded of the importance of preserving our collective memory, ensuring that the story of Washington Valley endures for future generations to contemplate and appreciate.

Table of Contents

Part One—The Record

The source material of the text has been found in many places: in the Morris County Hall of Records where deeds to land titles are recorded; in the Surrogate’s Office where wills and inventories are filed; in the Morristown Library . where genealogical information is available; at the Morris | County Road Commission which has information on “road : returns;” in the Mendham Township Hall where old Township Minutes can be found. Old minute and account books have provided excellent source material. In addition, visits to old graveyards have yielded facts, letters have been written to old residents, and long talks have been held with those who could give from their memories clues to the history desired.

  1. Indians And The Minisink Trail, page 1
  2. Proprietors, page 5
  3. Early Settlers, page 13
  4. Roads, page 29
  5. American Revolution, page 37
  6. Arnold Tavern, page 61
  7. After The Revolution, page 69
  8. The Schoolhouse, page 77
  9. The Railroad, page 103
  10. Home Economics Club, page 107

Part Two—Old Houses And Families

Introduction to Part 2, page 113

  1. The Arnold Homestead, page 119
  2. The Condict-Whitehead Families, page 137
  3. Job Loree, French Huguenot, page 149
  4. The Loree House, page 153
  5. The Axtell Farm, page 163
  6. The Beach Farm, page 169
  7. The Lum Family, page 173
  8. The Pierson House, page 177
  9. The Ludlow Farm, page 179
  10. Jonas Goble, page 185
  11. Samuel Roberts Farm, page 189
  12. Foster Farms, page 199
  13. Elias Hedges, page 227
  14. The Gaston House, page 231
  15. The Guerin Farm, page 241
  16. Ebenezer Condict House, page 247
  17. Reubon Wood, page 253
  18. Samuel Alward Plantation, page 257
  19. The John Alward House, page 265
  20. Phineas Chidester House, page 269
  21. Robert Roff Farm, page 275
  22. John Smith House, page 281
  23. Jacob Smith House, page 287
  24. The “Distillery Lott”, page 295
  25. John Morris House, page 303
  26. Zenas Smith Gould House, page 307
  27. William Gould House, page 311
  28. Samuel A. Loree, page 315
  29. Rebecca Van Syckle, page 319
  30. Jonathan Raynor Farm, page 323
  31. Ezra Halsey, page 325

Bibliography, page 327


Barbara Hoskins, Caroline Foster, Dorothea Roberts, Gladys Foster, Washington Valley: an informal history, Morris County, New Jersey, Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers, 1960.

Genealogy, History,


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