The Quakers of Randolph Township, Morris County, New Jersey
This perhaps should start with the understanding that James Jackson and Rebecca Hallett of 'Nashau Island' were Quakers who raised their 20 children as Quakers. This article follows their son John as he migrated to the wilderness of New Jersey to become the founder of Dover, Morris County, New Jersey.
The basis for this article is material copied from the book "Dover Dates 1722-1922" , pages 46 - //. Other material may be added as one finds it pertinent. http://doverhistoricalsociety.com/library/pdfs/doverhistory1922.pdf http://archive.org/details/cu31924028828774
THE FRIENDS' MEETING HOUSE IN RANDOLPH
The following new members were admitted at this meeting:—Fred Hance, of East Orange; Dr. A. L. L. Baker and Mrs. Ellen B. Baker, of Dover; Mrs. Phoebe J. Corwin; Mrs. Laura C. Alwood, and Charlotte H. Meeker, of Succasunna, and E. Bertram Mott, of Rockaway.
The following brief history, compiled by the late James W. Brotherton, will perhaps prove of interest to the public.
As early as 1740 several families of Friends, most of them from Woodbridge Township, settled in Randolph (then Mendham) Township, and meetings were held at their homes. Among these early settlers were William Schooley, James Brotherton, Robert Schooley, Jacob Laing, and Hartshorne Fitz Randolph, with their families. In 1740 meetings for worship were being held on first days at the home of William Schooley, a log house about three-quarters of a mile east of the present meeting house.
On 8th Mo., 15th, 1758, one acre of land, the site of this house, was deeded by Robert Schooley for four pounds of the current money of the Province of New Jersey, to Jacob Laing and James Brotherton, trustees, who are to hold the land in trust as a place to bury the dead of the people called Quakers, "then residing in the vicinity, but members of the monthly meeting at Woodbridge, N. J."
In 1758 the sum of seventy-three pounds was raised and the present structure was built and a regular meeting was established, subordinate to the Woodbridge Monthly Meeting. For many years meetings were held regularly on the first and fifth days of the week at 11 A. M. In pleasant weather the meeting house was on first days well filled both above and below, people driving in or coming on horseback several miles to attend. Richard Dell and others ministered acceptably to their spiritual needs.
During the years from 1820 to 1830 or thereabouts, many valued members of this meeting, with their families, migrated to Western New York State and settled there. This so depleted the home meeting that it began rapidly to decline. Mid-week meetings were dropped and in 1864 meetings for worship, except by appointment, were discontinued altogether.
About the year 1870, John Hance, Isaac Alwood Vail, and others whose ancestors and relatives were buried in the graveyard, contributed money to build a stone wall to enclose the grounds. The wall was repaired and completed in 1880-1 by Isaac Alward, and an iron fence constructed across the front by subscriptions raised by John Alwood Vail and John Hance. A row of sheds at the rear of the meeting house formerly sheltered the horses in unpleasant weather, but this fell into decay and was not rebuilt. By the will of Edward Dell $500 was left in trust, the interest to be used in caring for the graveyard.
The year 1897 found the building and grounds sadly neglected. James W. Brotherton and Rachel B. Vail, the only surviving members, 48 residinq in the vicinity, requested of the Rahway and Plainfield- (formerly Woodbridge) Monthly Meeting, that the property belonging to the Randolph Meeting be deeded to them, promising to provide for the care and oversight thereof, that the property should be kept in suitable condition for the purposes for which it was intended. On 10th Mo., 14th, 1897, the trustees of Rahway and Plainfield Monthly Meeting deeded the Randolph Meeting property for $1 to James W. Brotherton and Rachel B. Vail under the above agreement.
On the 6th Mo., 28th, 1898, there convened a number of those whose ancestors of years ago or relatives of more recent date had been laid at rest in the old burying grounds. These interested persons, taking the necessary legal steps, formed themselves into an association to be known as The Friends' Meeting House and Cemetery Association of Randolph Township. On October 22, 1898, James W. Brotherton and Rachel B. Vail deeded the property for $1 to the aforesaid association, which association agrees to carry out the promises made by them.
The members of the Friends' Meeting House and Cemetery Association of Randolph Township at this time were : President, James W. Brotherton, Dover, N. J. ; secretary, Edward S. Hance, Wharton, N. J.; treasurer, William H. Baker, Dover, N. J. ; Eugene A. Carrell, Morristown, N. J. ; Henry Alward, Succasunna, N. J. ; Elias B. Mott, Rockaway, N. J.—From "The Index," June 12, 1914.
THE QUAKERS When John Jackson sold out his Dover property in 1753, it is said that he went to the Western part of Virginia and started something there. You will find a town named "Jackson" in Jackson County on the map of West Virginia. He must have been then over fifty years old. [Janie: Later research has shown that John settled in Anson County, South Carolina in close proximity to his youngers brothers, Benjamin and Stephen Jackson.] John's property was sold in two portions. The forge and the land on which his dwelling stood in Dover went to Josiah Beman, "Bloomer." A bloomer was one who made rough blooms of iron at such a forge as Jackson's. A bloom of iron is the rough ball or lump of iron obtained by roasting the ore on a charcoal fire in the forge oven. The extended farm lands which Jackson had acquired in 1722, situated now in Mine Hill, adjacent to Jackson's brook, were sold to a Quaker named Hartshorne Fitz Randolph**, who afterwards added to this property until he had an estate of about 1,000 acres. At this point, therefore, the history forks—one fork leading to the continuance of the iron works in Dover and the other fork leading to the Quakers of Mine Hill, Randolph and Millbrook.
William Penn was one who early located large "returns" of land in this region, taking up with the Kirkbrides some thousands of acres. Leonard Elliott's house, once known as the Munson Homestead, was in the Penn Return of 1715 (Dover History, page 473). Thus we see that Dover touched the hem of William Penn's garment, so to speak.
The Richard Brotherton farm, it is said, was bought from William Penn and has stayed in the family ever since. Richard Brotherton married Mary Wilson, a great-great-granddaughter of the Robert and Ann Wilson who came over from Yorkshire, England, 1683, in the same ship with William Penn. In 1681-82, Lady Elizabeth Carteret sold the Province of East Jersey to an Association of twelve persons, mostly of the Society of Friends, among them being William Penn.
William Penn's object in taking up so much land appears to have been to provide a place of refuge for the Quakers who were persecuted in the Old Country. He gathered them together and led them out of the land of persecution into the wilderness of Pennsylvania and New Jersey —a regular exodus into a new Promised Land. Randolph and Millbrook, then, were parts of this Promised Land in the New World. Perhaps the present inhabitants have forgotten that fact. Some of the country schools in the vicinity of Dover might get up excellent historical programs based upon their interesting past and it would be a good lesson in American history. Morris County is full of historical interest.
A volume might be written about the Quaker settlement, and much about these Quakers may be found scattered through the pages of Dover History. They were strong for the Abolition of Slavery. From 1800 on the Quakers were agitating in a peaceful way for the emancipation of the slaves, and felt it their duty to assist runaway slaves in their escape to Canada. The "Underground Railway," as it was called, had one station at Randolph.
Let me conclude this article with a brief sketch of Richard Brotherton, a typical saint of the Quaker faith. Although following the butcher's trade, not now regarded as a suitable setting for a moving picture hero, he ennobled his calling. The poet George Herbert says, in one of his religious poems:
"Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws Makes that and the action fine."
It was in this spirit that Richard Brotherton followed his humble calling and became a lighthouse on the hills of Morris County. In the same spirit other men of those early days followed the necessary callings of village baker, blacksmith, preacher, carpenter, farmer, wagon-maker, ironmaster, and many of them—not all—shine as stars in the spiritual firmament of these iron-bearing hills. In our Dover History studies we are trying to "follow the gleam of that light."
It can be noted here that Randolph Township was named for Hartshorne Fitz Randolph and he had many connections with several of the Jackson family who descended from James Jackson and Rebecca Hallett of Flushing, New York. Several of James and Rebecca's sons migrated "to the wilds of New Jersey": Joseph who was said to have founded Morristown; John who founded Dover, and James Jr. who was found in the Rahway-Plainfield Quaker records. Hartshorne was a witness to Joseph's will; he married the sister of James Jr's wife; he purchased John's forge at Sheriff's sale when English law against manufacturing iron products forced John to bankruptcy.