History of Boonton Township

Morris County, New Jersey


 rolling hills and fields of the Rockaway Valley

History:  (for history about Booton Town see Grace Lord Park (Morris Canal) )

1710 --  William Penn had 1,430 acres in the area.

1715  --  James Bollen was a neighbor of Penn's who had a 1,507 acre "plantation" on the Rockaway River and stretching south toward the Tourne.

1758  --  the first known settler was French Huguenot Frederick DeMouth who had a 672-acre Rockaway Valley plantation within the Penn Lot.  (Much later this land would be the farms of Stickle, Bott and Kincaid).

1765 --  David Ogden purchased from Burnet and Skinner the Great Boonton Tract of 3,6597 acres.

?  --  German Palatine Frederick Miller bought extensive lands (later day Dixon acres) within the Bollen property. 

?  --  other founding families were followed by the Hoplers, Van Winkles, Cooks, Scotts, Peers, Stickles and Kanouses.

By 1766 Jacob Kanouse had settled in the Rockaway Valley, near the present town of Boonton.

1767  --  Samuel Ogden of the Great Boonton Tract built the oldest thoroughfare in the area, McCaffrey Lane.

1768 Jacob Kanouse bought land and built a large frame house at Powerville. The house has remained with his direct descendants for over 230 years.

as early as 1783 --  eight schools built.

1785  --  Jacob DeMouth organized a Rockaway Valley Methodist Church. 

c. 1816  --  iron ore masters explored for iron ore on the Mine Ridge.

1822 --  North Main Street constructed along the proposed Morris Canal route.

1831 -- Morris Canal completed.

1824 --  the Morris Canal and Banking Company chartered with John Scott of Powerville as one of the commissioners. Lock Nos. 9, 10 and 11 were constructed in newly named Powerville. The Powerville Hotel, still standing, built near Lock No. 11 to the canal traffic.

1825  --  John Morris McCarty (1800-1865) established his home in Rockaway. He was superintendent of forges at Hibernia and Powerville.

1842   --  Rockaway Valley Methodist Church built.

prior to the Civil War  --  Born in a rural section of New Hope, Warren County and reared in Ledgewood, Charles Fern Hopkins (1842 - 1934) was an abolitionist, humanitarian, soldier, and public official (state assemblyman, mayor, postmaster, and fire chief of Boonton). He aided his father in the work of the underground railroad. His father owned the Powerville Hotel, which served as an underground railroad station.

1861-1865  --  Civil War

1867  --  Township of Boonton carved out of Pequannoc and comprised of land from mentioned lands of Penn, Bollen. and Ogden.

1870  --  William Scott DeCamp made five mine openings in pursuit of iron ore.

1873  --  the Panic of this year forced the closing of the five mines.

1879-1880  --  the mines reopened (but they only took out some 500 tons before the project was abandoned). The mine ore was sent to the Stanhope and Hoboken furnaces.

1918  --   the Mt. Zion Baptist congregation founded by Reverend David R. Russell.

1929 --  dedication of  the Radio Frequency Laboratories, Inc. (complete with a hangar and flying field in the Valley, and its old laboratory in Boonton).

1929  --  Jimmy Doolittle hangered his Consolidated trainer plane at the Aircraft Radio Corporation and made his famous "under-the-hood" landing at Mitchel Field.

1945  --  the Johanson Manufacturing Corp. founded.

1959  -- founding of the Boonton Historical Society and Museum.


Town of Boonton Historic Preservation Commission
100 Washington Street, Boonton, NJ 

This organization is dedicated to the preservation of Boonton's historic heritage. 

Boonton Historical Society and Museum
210 Main Street, Boonton, NJ 

This organization is committed to: 1) preserve and protect the town of Boonton's unique cultural, architectural, and industrial history; 2) preserve and share the area's rich history, folklore, arts, and humanities of the past and present; 3) encourage preservation and restoration of local historic landmarks; 4) protect and display the museum's collections; 5) provide educational programs, guided history tours, and exhibitions to a diverse population.

Boonton Township, Historical Society of
540 Powerville Road, Boonton; located at 591 Powerville Road, Boonton Township

This organization promotes and facilitates the discovery, collection, and preservation of the township's unique historical treasures including records, artifacts, historic sites, buildings, monuments, markers, and other materials. It emphasizes the importance of historic preservation and it encourages an interest in the heritage of the local community and the state of New Jersey.


Jean Ricker. Boonton Township Official Web Site. http://www.boontontownship.com/about.htm

New Jersey Historical Commission.  Steal away, steal away: A Guide to the Underground Railroad in New Jersey.