In the year 1756 a young Scot left Edinburgh for the American colonies. He carried with him a large supply of books, for it was his intention to establish a book store in New York City. He was only 21 years of age, but already had had some experience in his chosen field, as his grandfather, headmaster of St. Andrews Grammar School in Edinburgh, was associated with one of the large publishing firms of Scotland, and the young emigrant had been raised in a bookish atmosphere.
It would have been impossible for him to have guessed, the morning he set sail, that the future of a small corner of the new world would be materially changed by his coming; that he would provide a name for his adopted homesite, and that he would set in motion the machinery which for more than a hundred years would dominate the New Jersey township which he would help to establish. The name of the young man was Samuel Campbell.
After the usual vicissitudes of the long journey by sailing ship to New York, Samuel Campbell and his books arrived safely, and the next thing we know about him he was engaged in the book publishing and selling business in Wall Street in New York, with Evert Duychinck who later became his nephew by marriage.
Some time after his arrival in the new world Samuel Campbell married Euphemia Duychinck, member of an old Dutch family, long time members of old St. Paul's Church at Broadway and Wall Street. They were married by Bishop Moore, President of the young Columbia University. His son, Clement Moore, Professor of Oriental Literature, was destined to become better known through a poem he wrote to amuse his children, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."
As the owners of a prosperous book publishing aid selling business, the young Campbells were popular and prominent members of literary circles in New York City, but memories of Scotland must have been always with young Samuel, and also the advantages of owning his own papermill must have occupied a great deal of his thoughts, for some time before the Revolution he made a momentous journey to the Province of New Jersey, seeking land suitable for a papermill and a summer home for his rapidly increasing family.
Paper, of course, was a necessary and very expensive part of his business. It was made from linen rags by a laborious hand operation. Although experiments had been going on in Holland and France for several years in an attempt to make paper by machine, the first really successful machine was not produced until 1802 by Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier, in England, and there was little significant development in the use of wood pulp for paper until 1840, so that the paper eventually produced by Samuel Campbell in his papermill on the burn in New Jersey must have been the beautiful and almost indestructible paper on which even to this day has been preserved for us some of the written wisdom and follies of the 18th century.
It was a hazardous journey on which Mr. Campbell embarked from the foot of Wall Street to Elizabethtown. It was not unusual for ships to go down with all hands on board on that journey, or for a vessel to be moved far off course by storm and tide. Even several years later, Elias Boudinot reported in his diary that it took him three hours to make the trip from Jersey City to New York, and then his ship had to land in Brooklyn as the weather did not permit its swinging into its wharf in lower Manhattan.
In Elizabethtown, transportation had to be arranged to carry him into the country to inspect possible sites. At last, in the shadow of the Newark Mountains, in the northeast section of Elizabethtown, known as the "Springfield Ward", he found what he was seeking. It was the nearest thing to Scotland he had seen and there on the site of an old waterwheel and forge, built by one of the first settlers, he chose the spot for his mill. He saw the swift water for his raceway, the small lake for his millpond, the fertile land rising up from the water's edge for his new home, and Samuel Campbell knew that he had found all he wanted. Here his children would be safe from the epidemics of yellow fever constantly plaguing New York, and here he and his children's children would dwell for generations, for whether he knew it or not at the time, Samuel Campbell had come to stay.
On his return to New York, he set in motion the red tape which would obtain for him a grant of more than 120 acres of field, river, hill, and valley from the reigning monarch, George III of England, and in due course of time the grant was received and Samuel Campbell became the owner. Brookside Drive now runs through the Campbell domain. Once Brookside Drive was called simply "the valley road"; on a map of 1850 it appears as "the hollow road", but by 1880 Brookside Avenue was its official name, and a few years later "Drive" was substituted for Avenue. On the early maps, a road, which was probably only a cart path through the woods, connected Campbell's Pond with Old Short Hills Road, and during the Revolution it furnished a rear line of maneuvre and supply for the American watchers on the heights. Today this road is known as "Old Hollow Road", and part of it has been developed for modern living. The Campbell home stood at what would be the corner of "Old Hollow Road", if prolongated, and Brookside Drive.
The Grant also included several acres of meadowland in the Newark meadows bordering on Newark Bay, for the purpose of cutting salt hay there. This practice was very common, and portions of salt meadow were often included in purchases of upland property. Title to tracts of meadowland has in many instances remained in the presentday heirs of the original purchasers ? a situation which has caused this land to become the subject of much litigation in recent years, due to its increasing value for airport and terminal uses.
However, Mr. Campbell was not to take actual possession of his lands for a long time to come. A war for independence from his Majesty, the grantor of his deed, and a few years of readjustment to a new economy and life were to intervene, until that day in 1790 when at last the large millwheel began its revolutions round and round, moving the water into ever widening circles, and showing the way for other men to come and take advantage of those luxuriant waters.
We do not know what part Samuel Campbell played in the war of the Revolution. As a native of Scotland he certainly had no love for the English ruler, and at least one member of his wife's family, Major John Duychinck was an ardent patriot?a leader of the Middlesex Militia on whom fell some of the first shots of the war from an English man-o-war cruising in the waters off Paulus Hook where Duychinck and his men were stationed. Also, as another evidence of his good standing with the young government, one of his first important contracts for his papermill on the mill burn, came from the Treasury Department?an order for sorely needed banknotes, and the mill on the Raw Way River was soon turning in full production, under government inspection, producing new paper money bearing the imprint of the seal of the Government of the United States of America. The water mark of the paper was the national flower of Scotland?the thistle and for many years the mill was known as "Thistle Mill".
Across the street from his mill Campbell erected his stately home which over a hundred years later (1896) was razed to make room for a public recreation area which we know as "South Mountain Reservation".
By 1790 when Samuel Campbell reached here, the direful consequences of the long war were gradually being settled, and some return to normal living was evident. The great problems of government, money, trade, transportation, education, and the everyday living of ordinary human beings were finding adjustment. Many old familiar faces were gone. The Rev. James Caldwell had been killed by a hasty bullet from a "trigger happy" sentinel guarding the flagboat wharf at the foot of Elizabeth Avenue in Elizabethtown, and his nine children were scattered in foster homes. One, John Edwards Caldwell, had been adopted by the Marquis de Lafayette and was living with him in France. Other wellknown figures had been, as the newspapers of the day said, "decently interred in their graves", and their children and grandchildren were the mature men and women of the community. Many newcomers were seeking homes and work beyond the centers of population of Newark and Elizabeth. The great American habit of moving on was gaining momentum, and by oxcart and muleteam, horsedrawn barrows, chairs, and chaises, the young nation was on wheels. A chair was a popular two-wheeled passenger cart drawn by one horse; a chaise was a chair with a leather top. In advertisements of Millburn property for sale in the late 1700's, one often reads "together with chair house", which translated into modern language would simply be "together with garage."
So the Campbells came to Millburn and settled down, and catapulted Millburn from an agricultural community into the new Industrial Age which would dominate its life until the close of the first great war of the 20th Century. It is possible that if Samuel Campbell had not been the motivating spirit, someone else would have been, for in New Jersey, everywhere, industry was beginning to boom, and foremost among the new industries were those run by water power.
Richard P. McCormick, in his "Experiment in Independence", (Rutgers Press, 1950), states that in existence in New Jersey at that time (1784-1800), were more than 300 saw mills, 500 grist mills, 40 fulling mills, 80 forges, 8 iron furnaces, several nail factories, slitting mills, and iron and steel mills, but the manufacture of paper was an infant industry for New Jersey. Although some books credit Campbell's with being the first of its kind in the United States, a little further research shows that it was not the first, but was undoubtedly one of the pioneers. After the death of Samuel Campbell, his mill was operated by his son, John, but later was leased to James Clark and Oliver E. Bailey who operated it until it was burned down in the late 1860's.
However, if the Thistle Mill was not the first in the country, it was first for Millburn, but soon it was not the only one. Other men were attracted to the natural resources of this area. By 1800 at least three other papermills were established here, one of which, the Fandango Mill only recently stopped operating.
Exactly who built the Fandango, and when, is not now known, but it is said that a man named Tyler may have built it around the end of the 18th century. That there was a man named Tyler operating a mill along the river here, is borne out by the fact that in the New Jersey (Elizabeth) Journal, in several issues, in 1800, advertisements by Samuel Tyler appear. He operated a fulling mill and advertised, to use his own words,
"The public is informed that the subscriber has put his fulling mill and all things appertaining to it, in better condition than is usually found in this State, and that he has sufficient water at all times, and is now ready to receive the orders of his friends and the public in the line of his business ... assuring them that nothing will be wanting to give satisfaction ... as to neatness, cheapness, and dispatch ... All kinds of blue dyed on linen, or woolen. Springfield, August 11, 1800."
A fulling mill, for the benefit of moderns, was a mill where handwoven cloth could be put in condition for use, blocked, pressed, dyed, etc. Sam Tyler's apprentice boy, Jonathan Winants, ran away from him in June, 1801, and the usual warning appeared in the paper against anyone harboring or employing the boy. Indentured apprentices were better than slaves, in that their servitude would last only for a specified period, but during the time of their indenture their masters had full ownership of them.
In 1810 the Fandango Mill was run by Captain Jonas Wade. Jonas Wade in 1800 was operating a grist mill here, and offered for sale to the public 800 bushels of Indian corn and plaster paris by the ton, or smaller quantity, ground and fine for use. It is possible that his grist mill might have been part of Tyler's mill, as a fulling and grist mill appears at this location on the map of 1764. The name of the Fandango Mill has long been a subject of interest and speculation. One explanation is that on its being reopened in 1895 after a destructive fire, a dance was held in its spacious first floor, and probably the "Fandango" was danced there. However, the name was used by Shaw in his "History of Essex and Hudson Counties", published in 1884, so that the name may go back to another and earlier festivity to celebrate a new ownership.
A mill known as "Columbia Papermill" was for sale in 1800. It is now unidentified, except that it was said to contain the "best head of water and the most extensive privileges of any in that flourishing village," which description would seem to place it along the Rahway River also.
The first structure of the mill we now know as the "Paper Mill Playhouse" was burned, and the site was acquired by Samuel Campbell. A few years later it was purchased and rebuilt by Abraham Parkhurst and his son, Jonathan. It was next owned by Israel D. Condit, but was eventually acquired by the Diamond Mills Paper Co. which ran it until a few years before the theatre took over.
The third very old mill was the one which came to be known as "The Short Hills Paper Mill", or "Wellington Campbell's Mill" which stood on Millburn Avenue near the present Chanticler. However, this home has been extensively remodeled recently, and no longer bears resemblance to the original house. In fact, the Chanticler is now housed in Wellington Campbell's home. The mill was built by John Clark to manufacture all kinds of paper, but was sold in 1817 to Thomas Campbell who operated it until his son, Wellington, took it over, first as a lessee in 1839, and later as the heir in 1848. These Campbells were not related to Samuel Campbell. Wellington Campbell married Mary T. Wade in 1844, thus uniting two old mill owner families, the Wades having been millers for many generations. In the 1840's, Mr. Campbell brought over from England an experienced papermill operator-John Hogan. His great grandson, Edward F. Longergan, was until recently Millburn's senior merchant. His store is now operated by his son, John Longergan.
John Clerk's ownership had a tragic ending. On Thursday evening, April 30, 1800 the entire mill, with all its paperstock, was completely consumed by flames and the New Jersey Journal of May 5, 1800, dutifully reported "by this accident, an industrious and good citizen lost his all, his earnings, and his many years of toil." The paper called on "every philanthropic bosom to expand and contribute to him this aid that their circumstances will admit of."
Another mill, long since destroyed by fire, and its passing unrecorded, is supposed to have been in Millburn near the Springfield line, and is said to have been purchased by Shepard Kollock, of Elizabeth, to supply paper for his many publishing enterprises. Mr. Kollock, a fiery patriot, revolutionary army officer, writer and publisher, kept alive the literary interests of the inhabitants for more than 50 years, beginning about 1775. During the war he started to publish New Jersey's first continuously published newspaper, the "New Jersey Journal and Political Intelligencer", now "The Elizabeth Daily Journal". The paper was first printed on a press in Chatham well hidden from British hands. After the war Mr. Kollock engaged in many literary enterprises, including the "New York Gazeteer", or "Daily Evening Post", and "The Christian's Scholar's, and Farmer's Magazine, Calculated in an Eminent Degree to Promote Religion, to Disseminate Useful Knowledge, to Afford Literary Pleasure and Amusement, and to Advance the Interests of Agriculture, by a Number of Gentlemen."
Whether the magazine accomplished all its ends, is not recorded, but in a day when any literary material was scarce, it no doubt had many avid readers. Many of Mr. Kollock's books, of course, were of a highly religious nature, such as "Dr. Watts' Psalms", "Sermons for Children", and the Rev. Jonathan Dickinson's "Five Points". In all, Mr. Kollock is said to have published about 165 books and pamphlets. In his lateryears, Mr. Kollock was the Elizabeth Postmaster, appointed by Thomas Jefferson, and for 35 years was Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Essex County which at that time included Union County. He died at the age of 88 years, "full", as his epitaph in the Presbyterian Cemetery, Elizabeth, reads "of assurance of a glorious resurrection and blessed immortality." He was certainly one of the important figures of his day, but has now been almost forgotten. In giving him his place among the papermill owners of Millburn we are happy to bring him back from oblivion for this brief moment.
These, then, were the first mills of Millburn. Our history has brought into focus some important names. We have dealt with the Campbells, Parkhursts, Smiths, and some others heretofore. Two others had such a direct influence on Millburn's history that they deserve more than a passing glance?Wooldridge Eaglesfield and Israel D. Condit.
Wooldridge Eaglesfield or "Captain" Eaglesfield, as he is sometimes called, was born in England, but came here as a youth. He married Phoebe Cooper of Springfield, and died here, a very old man, in 1858. It is said that his was the final say in the choice of his township's name, the name that Samuel Campbell had first called it by?Millburn.
Israel Dodd Condit was born in 1802, the son of Mary Dodd and John Condit of Orange. He began work at the age of 10, and among his first jobs was carrying the mail on horseback from Orange to Newark twice a week. In 1822 he came to Millburn to help his brother, Wicklffe, who was ill, and here he remained throughout the rest of his long life which almost spanned the century. In recent years in Millburn people still remembered him ? a picturesque figure in old age, wearing a long black cape and carrying an ivory-headed cane. He died in 1897.
Four years after Mr. Condit came here he married Mr. Eaglesfield's daughter, Caroline, and sometime later with his brother-in-law, Elijah Smith, purchased the papermill from Mr. Eaglesfield. The young couple, Israel and Caroline, became the progenitors of numerous Millburn citizens. Descendants of almost all of the early settlers married into the Condit family at one time or another, and many are still living here today.
The Eaglesfield-Condit combine was a strong one. The papermill was very successful. They manufactured the large sheets of paper which were used by the New York newspapers, and they also made paper upon which the American edition of the Edinburgh Encyclopedia was published. They acquired title to large tracts of land, some of which remained in their descendants names until recent years. Mr. Condit's later contributions to his community will be dealt with hereafter. His influence on the industrial life of the times was tremendous. In his spectacular career he accumulated great wealth and held many offices in various fields of business, and in State politics, but the severe financial panic of 1873, and the total destruction by fire and flood of his mill, valued at $100,000, caused him great financial loss, from which he never entirely recovered.
Either Captain Eaglesfield or Mr. Condit, or perhaps both of them, acquired exclusive ownership of the "Wells" patent, a revolutionary method of manufacturing fur hat bodies by machinery, and eventually felt hat making became even more important here than papermaking, and brought many other wellknown names, such as William Pettigrew, Albert D. Traphagen, William Bodwell, and Charles A. Lighthipe, into our history.
Under Mr. Condit's ownership the Eaglesfield-Condit mill changed to fur hat bodies; William Pettigrew's mill, built in 1849, at Church and Main Streets, later known as Graves, produced 30 dozen felt hats daily at the height of its business. Butler's Hat Factory, started by William Bodwell in 1861, at the corner of Spring and Church Streets; Summer's Hat Factory, erected by Stephen A. Meeker on Spring Street in 1870, later conducted by O.H. Summers; Wickman's near the Springfield line; Edwards on Main Street; William Dillon's on Main Street; Shaw and Duffy's on Ocean Street; Brown's on Main Street, and Fouratt's on Mechanic Street, employed hundreds of people and turned out more than 300 dozen hats or hat bodies a day. The Lighthipe Hat Body Factory once turned out 1800 hats a day. Many of these mills started with water power, but later converted to steam. one more mill should be mentioned to complete the story of Millburn's mills. Reeve's Saw Mill on the Canoe Brook was an important institution since Colonial days. Started by Ezra Baldwin, it descended to Daniel Baldwin, and from him purchased by Abner D. Reeve who built it further downstream. For a while, later, a Mr. E. S. Hidden, operated it as "Canoe Brook Leather Mill", and produced leather boards there, but reverted to its original use under its last owner, George W. Reeve, son of Abner.
In searching into the histories of Millburn's Mills one Thursday evening, April 30, 1800, the entire mill, with all its paper stock was entirely consumed by flames, and the New Jersey Journal of May 5, 1800, dutifully reported that
"by this accident, an industrious and good citizen lost his all, his earnings, and his many years of toil."
The paper called on
"every philanthropic bosom to expand and contribute to him that aid that their circumstances will admit of."
Wade's Binderboard Mill off Main Street at the Springfield line was also built around 1804. It was first a calico mill, then a woolen mill, but was converted to paper by Daniel Denman and Samuel Miller. It passed through a succession of owners until purchased by W. N. Wade in 1871. It was twice burned and rebuilt. Another mill, later known as "Lighthipe's" was also built around 1804 as a cotton mill. It was burned in 1812, but Samuel Parkhurst began manufacturing binderboard there in 1820. Under Israel D. Condit's ownership it became a hat factory, and continued as such by Charles A. Lighthipe, until it was completely destroyed by fire in 1906 and never rebuilt. The Lighthipe Mill was near the present easterly intersection of Main and Essex Streets. Essex Street was not then in existence.
In 1810 Wooldridge Eaglesfield was manufacturing paper in his mill on the Rahway River, a short distance below the present Taylor Park Lake. It is not certain when this mill was built, or by whom, but was later known as "Condit's Hat Factory."
Smith's Binderboard Mill was established about 1822 by the Smith Brothers and stood where the High School Athletic Field now lies. The first Smith, Walter Smith, came here during the first half of the 18th century. His son, William, born in 1754, had 16 children, three of whom?Joseph, John and William?started this mill. Walter was the ancestor of Charles Smith, owner of Smith's Hotel, which stood until the 1930's at the northwest corner of Millburn Avenue and Main Street. Smith's mill was discontinued in 1872. A photograph of it, in its extreme old age, appears in the Centennial History of Millburn.
New Jersey Journal,
years 1799 to 1810