MAHLON DICKERSON
Jefferson Township, Morris County, NJ
3,200 acres


Directions:

From New York City, take Route 80 west to exit 34B (Sparta exit); this becomes Route 15 North. In about four miles, there is a Texaco station on the right; immediately after it there is a double exit. Take the second exit, Weldon Road, also marked as Milton-Oak Ridge. Continue on Weldon Road about four miles to the Saffin Pond parking lot on the right. This large parking lot is highly visible from the road.


Geology:

Weldon Brook is held to be the source of the Musconetcong River. (Wacker, 1968:3)


History:

The reservation was named in honor of Mahlon Dickerson. 1770 -- born in Hanover Neck, Morris County, first child of Jonathan and Mary (Coe) Dickerson.

1780-1800 -- Jonathan or Silas Dickerson builds a forge on the Musconetcong River at Stanhope.

1789 --One of 20 members of the class of 1789 of the College of NJ (later Princeton University) when John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was president.

1793 -- admitted to the NJ bar (studied with former tutor Caleb Russell).

1794 -- volunteer cavalryman in the NJ militia during Whiskey Rebellion.

1797-1810 -- practiced law in Philadelphia. Develops a close friendship with Meriwether Lewis, later of Lewis and Clark. He became recorder of the city of Philadelphia and adjutant general of the state of Pennsylvania.

1810 -- moves back to NJ. Takes over his deceased father's iron mine. He builds a mansion on a hilltop in Succasunna, named Ferromonte, (Mountain of Iron).

1811 -- orphans' court judge in Morris County.

1811-1813 -- assemblyman from Morris.

1813 -- justice of the state supreme court.

1815 -- elected governor of NJ.

Deeply involved in the state's iron industry. He became one of the leading pro-tariff spokesmen in the nation. He stressed the need for a canal across the state between the Raritan and Delaware Rivers. (Not built until 1830.)

1816 -- "the year without a summer"

1817 -- U.S. Senator from NJ. Served a total of 16 years.

Secretary of the Navy under President Andrew Jackson for 4 years.

1836-37 -- his brother, Philemon, governor of NJ.

1846 -- elected president of the protectionist American Institute.

1853 -- dies; buried in the Presbyterian churchyard in Succasunna, NJ.

Mahlon Dickerson Reservation was dedicated in 1967, the largest facility of the Morris County Park System.

Stanhope's history is routed in the production of iron. The Musconetcong River which runs along the edge of the town made the location a favorable one for iron manufacture. In addition to the source of water power, several other vital ingredients were close at hand. Great quantities of iron ore were available at the nearby Stanhope or Hude Mine (near present-day Pennyton Homes), at the Roseville Mines in Byram Township, and in Morris County at the Dickerson Mine on Mine Hill. Wood supply, which was essential for producing charcoal to fire the early forges and furnaces, was also conveniently nearby. The early iron companies at Stanhope owned large tracts of forested land and included all of present-day Stanhope, Netcong, Port Morris, parts of Byram Township, as well as at least a dozen iron mines in surrounding Morris, Sussex and Warren Counties. One final necessary ingredient, limestone, was also within close proximity. Andover and its surrounding areas had considerable limestone deposits that yielded the all-important flux required for separating the iron from the impurities in the ore. For all of the above reasons, it was not surprising that early iron concerns were attracted to Stanhope.

The earliest records indicate that the first iron production at Stanhope occurred about 1794. The Dickersons, a very prominent family from Morris County, were the founders of this early industry. Silas Dickerson, brother of the future state governor and U. S. Senator Mahlon Dickerson, erected the first forge and nail factory on the Musconetcong River in Stanhope. The nail factory was one of the earliest in the state. By about 1800, another forge, a gristmill and a sawmill, were erected in town, just a little further downstream. As is the case with most early New Jersey iron manufacturing enterprises, the Stanhope iron companies alternately prospered and faced financial reverses until about 1830 when the wood supply for charcoal was exhausted and the works were forced to shut down. It was at this time that the Morris Canal was completed through the center of Stanhope and across northern New Jersey. A link was thus opened to a new type of fuel, Pennsylvania anthracite coal. Now the failing iron economy of New Jersey could be revitalized.

http://westfieldnj.com/whs/history/stanhope.htm


Trails:

One of the outstanding features of the reservation is the 1,300 feet elevation, Headley Overlook, one of the highest points in the Morris County Park System. The Saffin-Rock Rill Reservation provides for fishing and ice skating at Saffin Pond, as well as space for educational programs.

The Farny Highlands Trail Network is a greenway that links large undeveloped areas -- a state park and natural area, two wildlife management areas, watershed lands, county and municipal parks and private lands. The planned Farny Highlands Trail Network will consist of 50 miles of hiking trails that connect with the 150-mile Highlands Trail.

Currently, the Network consists of 3 hiking only trails. The 19-mile Four Birds Trail travels from Hibernia north, along the west side of the Split Rock Reservoir, to Route 23. The Split Rock Loop Trail connects with the Four Birds Trail and circles the east side of Split Rock Reservoir. This trail is closed until the State DEP develops a management plan for the area. The Beaver Brook Trail is located in Jefferson Township. The trail travels through the new Rockaway River Wildlife Management Area, beginning at Berkshire Valley Road, and connects with the NY-NJ Highlands Trail in Mahlon Dickerson County Park.
(Source: http://www.morrislandconservancy.org/FarnyTrailNetwork.html)


PLANT LIST:
Charlotte and Ed Newstead


Trees:
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Castanea dentata (American chestnut)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus grandidentata (big toothed aspen)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Salix nigra (black willow)
Salix sp. (willow)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea) 6/29/96
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Chimaphila maculata (spotted wintergreen)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood) 6/29/96
Corylus cornuta (beaked hazelnut)
Diervilla lonicera bush honeysuckle 6/29/96
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) 6/29/96 found one in bloom
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lyonia ligustrina (maleberry) 6/29/96
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea) 6/29/96
Ribes americanum (wild black currant)
Ribes rotundifolia (round-leaved wild gooseberry) 6/29/96
Rosa carolina (pasture rose) 6/29/96
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rosa palustris (swamp rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus odoratus (purple flowering raspberry) 6/29/96
Rubus sp. (black berry) 6/29/96
Sambucus canadensis (common elderberry) 6/29/96
Spiraea alba v. latifolia (meadowsweet) 6/29/96
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum v. lucidum (arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum)
Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw viburnum)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Clematis virginiana (virgin's bower)
Cuscuta sp. (dodder)
Lonicera dioica (glaucous honeysuckle)
Mikania scandens (climbing hempweed)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia creeper
Rubus flagellaris (dewberry)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade) 6/29/96
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis labrusca (fox grape)

Herbs:
Achillea millefolium (yarrow) 6/29/96
Actaea alba (doll's eyes)
Alisma sp. (water plantain)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) 6/29/96
Allium sp. (garlic)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Anagallis arvensis (scarlet pimpernel) 6/29/96
Anaphalis margaritacea (pearly everlasting)
Anemone quinquefolia (wood anemone)
Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed) 6/29/96 soon
Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantain-leaved pussytoes)
Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane)
Aquilegia canadensis (columbine) 6/29/96
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Aralia racemosa (spikenard)
Arisaema triphyllum (jack-in-the-pulpit)
Artemisia vulgaris common mugwort
Asclepias exaltata (poke milkweed) 6/29/96
Aster linariifolius stiff aster
Aster paternus (toothed white-topped aster) 6/29/96 soon
Aster undulatus (wavy-leaved aster)
Aureolaria flava (smooth false foxglove)
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)
Cardamine pensylvanica (Pennsylvania bittercress)
Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh)
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)
Cerastium vulgatum (mouse-ear chickweed) 6/29/96
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy) 6/29/96
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade) 6/29/96
Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle) 6/29/96
Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)
Collinsonia canadensis (horsebalm)
Coronilla varia (crown vetch) 6/29/96
Corydalis sempervirens (pale corydalis) 6/29/96
Cryptotaenia canadensis (honewort) 6/29/96
Cypripedium acaule (pink lady's slipper)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink) 6/29/96
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 6/29/96
Eupatorium dubium (eastern joe-pye-weed)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset)
Euphorbia esula (leafy spurge) 6/29/96
Galium circaezens (wild licorice) 6/29/96
Geranium maculatum wild geranium 6/29/96
Geum canadense (white avens) 6/29/96
Goodyera pubescens (rattlesnake plantain)
Helianthus annuus (woodland sunflower)
Hepatica americana (round-lobed hepatica)
Heuchera americana (alumroot)
Hieracium piloseloides (hawkweed) 6/29/96
Hieracium venosum (rattlesnake weed)
Hydrocotyle americana (water pennywort) 6/29/96
Hypericum perforatum common St. Johnswort 6/29/96
Hypoxis hirsuta (yellow stargrass) 6/29/96
Iris versicolor (blue flag)
Lepidium virginicum (wild peppergrass) 6/29/96
Lilium canadense (Canada lily) 6/29/96
Linaria vulgaris (butter-and-eggs) 6/29/96
Liparis lilifolia (large twayblade)
Ludwigia palustris (marsh purslane)
Lycopus americanus (water horehound)
Lycopus virginicus (Virginia bugleweed)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife) 6/29/96
Lysimachia quadrifolia (whorled loosestrife) 6/29/96
Lysimachia terrestris (swamp candles) 6/29/96
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) 6/29/96
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Matricaria matricarioides (pineapple weed) 6/29/96
Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumberroot)
Medicago lupulina (black medick) 6/29/96
Melampyrum officinale (cowwheat) 6/29/96
Myosotis laxa (smaller forget-me-not) 6/29/96
Nuphar variegata (spatterdock) 6/29/96
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely)
Oxalis stricta (yellow wood sorrel) 6/29/96
Paronychia canadensis (forked chickweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 6/29/96
Plantago majus (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose knotweed) 6/29/96
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
Polygonum hydropiperoides (mild water pepper)
Potentilla recta (rough-fruited cinquefoil) 6/29/96
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil) 6/29/96
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 6/29/96
Pyrola elliptica (shinleaf)
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup) 6/29/96
Ranunculus recurvatus (hooked crowfoot)
Rudbeckia hirta v. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan) 6/29/96
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Rumex obtusifolius (broad-leaved dock)
Sanicula marilandica (black snakeroot)
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil) 6/29/96
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion) 6/29/96
Sisyrinchium angustifolium (stout blue-eyed grass)
Smilacina racemosa (Solomon's plume)
Smilax herbacea (carrion flower)
Solidago arguta (sharp-leaved goldenrod)
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod)
Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)
Sonchus arvensis (field sow thistle) 6/29/96
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) 6/29/96
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue) 6/29/96
Trifolium aureum (yellow clover) 6/29/96
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 6/29/96
Trifolium repens (white clover) 6/29/96
Trillium cernuum (nodding trillium)
Triodanis perfoliata (Venus's looking glass) 6/29/96
Tussilago farfara (colt's foot)
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Utricularia vulgaris (common bladderwort) 6/29/96
Vallisneria americana? (water celery?)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein) 6/29/96
Vicia cracca (cow vetch) 6/29/96


Rushes and Sedges:
Carex crinita (sedge)
Carex cristatella (sedge)
Carex gracilima (sedge)
Carex intumescens (sedge)
Carex laxiflora (sedge)
Carex lupulina (sedge)
Carex rosea (sedge)
Carex scoparia (sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (sedge)
Eleocharis ovata (blunt spike-rush)
Juncus canadensis (Canada rush)
Juncus effusus (soft rush)
Juncus marginatus (marginate rush)
Juncus tenuis (path rush) 6/29/96
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)

Grasses:
Agrostis stolonifera (creeping bentgrass)
Agrostis gigantea (red top grass)
Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Brachyelytrum erectum (long-awned woodgrass)
Bromus inermis (Hungarian broom grass) 6/29/96
Bromus pubescens (hairy broom grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Elymus hystrix (bottlebrush grass)
Festuca rubra (red fescue grass)
Festuca subverticillata (nodding fescue) f.k.a. F. obtusa
Holcus lanatus (velvet grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Panicum dichotomum (panic grass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass) 6/29/96
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)
Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine)
Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern)
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)
Athyrium filix-femina (northern lady fern)
Botrychium virginianum (rattlesnake fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris intermedia (fancy woodfern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polypodium virginianum (Virginia rock cap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Osmunda claytoniana (interrupted fern)
Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
Woodsia obtusa or Cystopteris tenuis?