Pequannock Township is a township in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 15,540, reflecting an increase of 1,652 (+11.9%) from the 13,888 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,044 (+8.1%) from the 12,844 counted in the 1990 Census.
Pequannock Township includes neighborhoods known as Pequannock and Pompton Plains, each of which is served by a separate branch of the United States Postal Service.
The name "Pequannock", as used in the name of the Township and of the Pequannock River, is thought to have been derived from the Lenni Lenape Native American word "Paquettahhnuake", meaning, "cleared land ready or being readied for cultivation". Pompton has been cited by some sources to mean "a place where they catch soft fish".
New Jersey Monthly ranked Pequannock Township as the best value for towns in New Jersey and 9th overall in its 2011 edition of "Best Places to Live" in New Jersey.
The name for the area goes back at least as far as March 1, 1720, when it was referred to as "Poquanick", a precinct in Hunterdon County. Formed as "Poquanock Township" on March 25, 1740 as one of the largest townships in the region, this bedroom community composed of Pompton Plains in its northern portion and old Pequannock in its southern was once a vast region of rural farmland settled by the Dutch after its purchase by Arent Schuyler and associates in 1695 and 1696. The township was incorporated by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature as one of New Jersey's initial group of 104 townships on February 21, 1798.
Over time, several municipalities were split off from the township: Jefferson Township on February 11, 1804; Rockaway Township on April 8, 1844; Boonton Township on April 11, 1867; Montville Township on April 11, 1867; Butler Borough on March 13, 1901; Kinnelon Borough on March 21, 1922; Lincoln Park Borough on April 25, 1922; and Riverdale Borough on April 17, 1923.
During the American Revolutionary War, both Comte de Rochambeau and George Washington's troops camped on what is now the site of the Pequannock Valley Middle School. While Washington stayed at the Schuyler-Colfax House in nearby Pompton, unproven oral history states that he attended church services in the First Reformed Church located in Pompton Plains, also known as the Pompton Meeting House, which had been constructed in 1771. The Mandeville Inn, located on the site of where the soldiers had camped during the war, was built in 1788 and was once owned by Garret Hobart, later Vice President of the United States. The stone with the engraved date is now located inside the Pequannock Valley Middle School when the Inn was demolished and replaced with the school in 1950.
During the Civil War, Pequannock was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The Giles Mandeville House (also built in 1788), a field and quarry-stone structure located at 515 Newark-Pompton Turnpike, which is believed to have served as a waypoint for many runaway slaves, still stands today in use as the Manse of the adjacent First Reformed Church since 1953.