History of Rockaway Township

Morris County, New Jersey

Villages of::

Green Pond

Lake Telemark



White Meadow Lake

Mount Hope



Mount Pleasant.


Pre-colonial period – the Lenni Lenape (Delaware Indians) lived in the area.

c. 1710 – along with the Dickerson Mine of Mine Hill, the Mount Hope Mine was the oldest iron mine in the United States.

1715 – the Dutch settlers came to the lower or eastern part of Rockaway Township. The settlers named the village based on the Indian word, "Rechouwakie," meaning, "the place of sands."

1715 – land grant between William Penn and the Delaware Indians.

as early as 1722 – iron ore was mined from the Hibernia deposit.

1730 – Job Allen in Rockaway Village (today’s Rockaway Boro) built an early forge later known as the Stephen Jackson Forge.

1740 – forges were operating along the Rockaway River.

Rockaway was the first district in America to actively work and mine iron ore. . There were three blast furnaces located in Hibernia, Mount Hope and Split Rock. The Spilt Rock Furnace (the only furnace still standing) is located below the dam of the Spilt Rock Reservoir.

1749 – the Middle or Aetna Forge, located on the Burnt Meadow Branch of the Rockaway River on land that is now the Picatinny Arsenal, built.

1750 – the Lenni Lenapes disappeared from Morris County.

1763 or 1764 – Samuel Ford built the Hibernia Iron Works on the Whippany River, "about four miles north of Rockaway," in the hills of northern Morris County. The Hibernia Mine got its iron ore from the Loswer Wood, Glendon, Scott, DeCamp, Upper Wood, Willis and Wharton mines working on the Hibernia deposit. (The ore extended from the Beach mine, near New Road, northeast under the Hibernia Brook into the hill on the east).

1765 – the "Adventure Furnace," later known as the Hibernia Furnace, was built.

1767 – Samuel Ford sold his share of Hibernia to William Alexander, Lord Stirling, thereby making James Anderson, Benjamin Cooper, and Lord Stirling equal co-owners. Ford himself got involved in counterfeiting.

1772 – John Jacob Faesch, one of the most prominent men of Morristown and leading ironmaster of his day, erected the Mount Hope Furnace. Mount Hope Mine is located in Mount Hope, three miles north of Dover. Iron ore was located on Mount Hope Hill, Hickory Hill and Mount Teabo Hill. It was the largest producer of iron ore in New Jersey.

Revolutionary War (1775-1782) – the forges and furnaces at Hibernia and Mount Hope furnished the Continental Army with all kinds of iron implements along with cannon and cannon balls.

By 1776 – Morris County was the principle smelting center of the United States.

1777 (October 7) – because the need for iron was so crucial, the New Jersey Legislature adopted a resolution exempting fifty men at Mount Hope and twenty-five men a Hibernia from entering the military service.

1792 – Jacob Faesch acquired land that later came to be mined in the Teabo, Allen and Richard Mines. The land was southwest of the Mount Hope Mine and northeast of the Baker Mine.

1803 – iron ore found on the Jacob Faesch property. Jacob gave 28 acres to his son Richard who opened what became known as the Richard Mine.

1809 – Richard Faesch sold the Richard Mine. (Later the Colorado Fuel & Iron Corporation operated the Richard Mine.)

18l0 – the Federal Government bought the Aetna Forge.

1831 – the Morris Canal began operating from Dover to Newark to the benefit of the local iron industry.

By 1832 – the Morris Canal canal linked Newark to Easton, Pennsylvania. Anthracite coal from Pennsylvania breathed new life into the local iron industry.

1844 – Morris County divided some of its larger townships. Rockaway Township was formed. (It included both today’s Rockaway Township and Rockaway Boro and Denville.) Sections of Pequannock and Hanover Township were split off to form Rockaway Township.

1850 – some ore was mined from Hibernia to supply the furnaces as Powerville and Beach Glen; the Hibernia furnace at that time being in ruins.

1850-1875 – Swedes Mine (located off Swedes Mine Road) was one of the more important mines of this year. The mine was operated continuously until 1875.

1855-1884 – the Allen Mine (northeast of the Richard Mine) worked.

1856–1950s – the Richard Mine was operated nearly continuously.

Civil War Period (1861-1865) – the Hibernia Railroad built linking the Morris Canal at Rockaway Village with the mines at Hibernia.

After the Civil War – the Mount Hope Railway carried an immense ore freight. There was also the Green Pond Railway travelling from Charolotteburgh to Green Pond.

The lakes of Rockaway Township made possible the development of Green Pond, Lake Telemark, and White Meadow Lake as resorts.

before 1868 – the Cobb Mine (a.k.a. the Spilt Rock Mine), located east of Split Rock Road, opened.

1873-1878 – the Cobb Mine was inactive.

1876 – vast deposits of cheap surface iron ore were discovered in the Mesabi region near Lake Superior, Minnesota causing a decline in the Morris County iron industry.

1878-1881 – the Cobb Mine’s last tour of duty.

1879 – Picatinny Arsenal established.

c. 1890 – Joseph Wharton began a program of consolidation.

1891 – the Navy Ordinance Depot established at Picatinny Arsenal.

1894 – Rockaway Boro incorporated.

1901 – Wharton secured control of the entire Hibernia mines. The property was then passed on to Warren Foundry & Pipe Corp. and the Shamoon Industries.

early 1900s – Joseph Wharton built the Wharton and Northern Railroad, which included a branch from Lake Denmark into Upper Hibernia.

1907 – the first powder factory at the Picatinny Arsenal opened.

1907 – the Teabo mine. northeast of the Allen mine, started being operated by Richard Mine operators.

1913 – the Hibernia mine was finally abandoned.

1913 – Denville incorporated.

1940 – the population of Rockaway Township was 2,423.

1946 – the Mount Hope Mine was reopened with Hungarian workers.

1950 – the population of Rockaway Township was 4,418.

By 1959 – both the Richard and Mt. Hope mines closed.

1960 – the population of Rockaway Township was 10,356.

1970 – the population of Rockaway Township was 18,955.

the 1970's – Shire National (successor to Shamoon Industries) sold the northeast section of the Hibernia deposit.

1980 – the population of Rockaway Township was 19,850.

1990 – the population of Rockaway Township was 19,5720.

1994 – the Township celebrated its seisquecentennial, 150 years.

1994 – Rockaway Boro celebrated its centennial.


About Rockaway Township - History & Geography http://www.gti.net/rocktwp/rthist.html#history