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Skylands: History of Pequannock and Pompton Plains NJ
This mission takes us to the sprawling towns of Pequannock and Pompton Plains located in Northwestern NJ. These lands were once occupied by the Lenni Lenape Native American Tribe prior to 1695. After which, in 1696, it was sold to the Dutch and English settlers where they started farming the plains in the Pompton valley.

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FUN FACT: did you know that Pequannock has a collection of Paleolithic tools used for hunting by the Paleo-Indians that dates back to 3000BC? Pequannock was originally called PACH-QUA-KOCK which means cleared land ready for cultivation. And the name Pompton means a place where there is a crook in the river. Here’s another FUN FACT…The township is made up of the remains of a glacial lake named “Lake Passaic”, that has long been extinct.

Pequannock Township was an important travel route and rest stop for George Washington and his generals during the American Revolution. Pequannock township and Pompton Plains have lots of great historical landmarks such as The Pompton Liberty Bell, and The Morris Canal Pompton feeder Lock that’s built into the dam. Today I’m going to tell you a story of one of these historical landmarks called The Giles Mandeville House. The Giles Mandeville house dates back to 1788 when it was given as a wedding present to Giles and Sarah Mandeville by Sarah’s father. It is one of the remaining small stone houses in existence today.

On the east side of the house, above the windows, there are rods of wrought iron with the number 1-1-7-8-8, to indicate that is was built in January 1788. During this time, slavery was pervelant in all of the united states including New Jersey. Sarah Mandeville had an enslaved Afrcan American woman named Massy. Records show that Sarah and Massy were close and the house was used as a branch in the Underground Railroad. There are also records of african american woman giving birth at the home while traveling the underground railroad. Today it stands as part of the dutch reformed church, and is part of the fabric of the neighborhood.

Sources: Giles Mandeville House – 1788 – New Jersey Historical Markers on, “ Pequannock Twsp_275thAnniversary.Pdf.”

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