History of Tewksbury Township

Hunterdon County, New Jersey

Farmersville, Fairmount, Pottersville, Mountainville (unincorporated), Oldwick (unincorporated), Bissell

Located in the northeastern corner of Hunterdon County.


1708 – George Willocks purchased land from the Native Americans in the southeastern third of present Tewksbury Township.

1710 – the West Jersey Society purchased 100,000 acres stretching from the Willocks’ purchase to the Delaware River (which included the remaining two thirds of the Township).

Between 1710 & 1720 – German emigrant John Peter Fox (Fuchs) was the earliest settler in the future upper Fairmount and the man for who Fox Hill is named.

1716 – James Logan and John Budd assume ownership of Willocks’ purchase.

1727 – squatters settle on West Jersey Society land.

1735 – an agent for the West Jersey Society discovered 98 squatter families on Society land. The squatters were forced to take leases.

1739 & 1740 – James Logan quit-rent leased his Tewksbury holdings in farms of about 200 acres each.

1742-1743 (winter) – Logan’s local agent, Ralph Smith, acquired the farm of Tunis Melick, an early settler, situated on what is now Vliettown Road near Cold Brook Road. Smith parceled his land into lots and leased to tenants. These lots formed the core of ‘Smithfield.’

1747 – documented visits by itinerant ministers established the existence of a nascent German Reformed congregation at Fox Hill.

1748 – documented visits by itinerant ministers established the existence of a nascent German Lutheran congregation at Fox Hill. A log church built at Fox Hill

1749 – part of the Ralph Smith land came to comprise the village of New Germantown (now Oldwick) sold to the Zion Lutheran Church.

1754 – the name Germantown, used alternately with New Germantown, appeared. The named probably came from James Logan home being in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

1755 (March 11) – Tewksbury Township separated from Lebanon Township and incorporated. The name of the new township is thought to have arisen from a connection with Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, England.

1750s – the settlement of Pottersville, an early milling center, begun as an extension of development along the Lamington River.

1760  --  Philip Philhower built his home on now Longview Road

By 1760 – a shingle-clad church located near the site of the present Presbyterian Church replaced the old log church at Fox Hill. (James Parker is thought to have provided the land and the area started being called ‘Parkersville’ instead of Fox Hill.)

1775-1782 – the Revolutionary War.

By the time of the Revolutionary War – a feed and flour mill, also known as the lower mill, and a filling mill (called the upper mill) and sawmill operated on the Lamington River.

1783 – the Sering Potter family acquired the mills, hence the name "Potter’s Mills."

1788 – Adam Teets settled along the Rockaway Creek. This was the start of the future community of Mountainville, so named because it sits at the base of Hell Mountai.

Late 1700s – a tavern established in the future Cokesbury.

1803 – in the developing Mountainville, a portion of Adam Teets’s land sold and a sawmill constructed.

1807  --  Barnet Hall Academy, Oldwick's fourth school, erected on Main Street. 

Well after 1814 – the village of Cokesbury did not coalesce until the Methodist congregation organized and built a church. The church derived its name from Methodist missionaries Bishop Francis Asbury and Bishop Dr. Thomas Coke. Dr. Coke gave the locality its name.

1830’s and 1840’s – in Mountainville, two grist mills, a school, and a blacksmith shop established.

1840 – a post office established and the name change to "Pottersville" completed.

before the middle of the 18th century – the village of Cokesbury settled.

By the middle of the 19th century – Cokesbury had a general store, post office, wheelwright/blacksmith shop, school, and about a dozen dwellings.

1890 photo  --  the descendants of Philip Philhower still living in the Philhower homestead posed for a photo.

late 1800s  -- the baskets of the Califon Basket Company were needed for shipping peaches to New York City. 

1929  --  one of Philip Philhower's descendants, William Philhower, operated a grocery store on Califon's Main Street.

1950 photo  -- a photo of Main Street, Califon shows it to be one block long (and it still is).  Califon's name once was California but that name was just too long to fit on the new railroad station sign.   

1951  --  the old Barnet Hall Academy closed when a new school (now the Oldwick Community Center) was built.


Shaun C. Van Doren Tewksbury Township Historian, 2002. Township of Tewksbury. Tewksbury History. http://www.tewksburytwp.net/256446.html

Sally A. Freedman. 1994.  Images of America: Clinton, Flemington, and Lambertville.  Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.