THE MANVILLE FARMS (CIRCA 1860)

mnville-diagram-map
A PORTION OF THE HILLSBOROUGH FARMS MAP FROM 1860. THE HIGHLIGHTED AREA IS OUR ESTIMATION OF THE CURRENT MANVILLE CITY LIMITS. IF YOU CLICK ON THE MAP IT WILL OPEN UP TO A FULL GORGEOUS EXPANDABLE MAP OF HILLSBOROUGH, COMPLETE WITH ILLUSTRATIONS OF PROPERTIES FROM THE DAY.

Prior to Manville’s inception as an independent borough in 1929, the land on which the town currently rests was part of Hillsborough, New Jersey. An intricate patchwork of farmlands—which occupied this same portion of Hillsborough—can be seen on the above map from 1860. We have estimated Manville’s current boundaries on the 1860 map, by shading the areas around the town. We then compared the 1860 map to a current map of Manville, which revealed a number of interesting discoveries about the land prior to the existence of the town.

One of the most interesting discoveries was the diversity of farmland ownership that existed on such a small portion of land. We counted around 50 individually owed parcels of farmland. Isaac C. Higgins owned the largest of the properties, and you can see an illustration of his farm below. The names on the map are irrelevant; nevertheless, it was exciting to see all the farms that occupied the land on which Manville was built. In addition, these farms conceivably played a role in bolstering New Jersey’s reputation as the “Garden State.” Perhaps the foodstuffs produced on this land went to places like New York City, Philadelphia, and beyond. Yet,  in order for such produce to make it to market, these farms had to be situated near railroads, canals, and roads.

The borough of Manville utilized the same roads once used by farmers in the 19th century. After comparing the two maps, we noticed that a number of the roads in Manville (e.g. Camplain Road, Main Street, Duke’s Parkway, and JFK Boulevard, formally known as Weston Road.) were built upon preexisting roads; however, Weston Road (JFK Boulevard) may have been rerouted to accommodate the railroad. We are unsure as to how old some of these roads are, but it is a fair assumption that a few of the roads—particularly Main Street—predate the Revolutionary War. (We are quite certain that the Main Street passes along, or directly on, the same road that becomes Millstone River Road in Millstone, which is one of the oldest roads in the area. However, since we lack definitive proof, we can only make an educated guess by comparing the 1860 map and he current map of Manville.) It was interesting to discover that the current loci of the roads in Manville are similar to those in 1860, and that these  roads may have played a vital role in local agrarian commerce.

higgins farm

A 1860 ILLUSTRATION OF THE RESIDENCE OF ISAAC C. HIGGINS REPRINTED FROM THE 1860 HILLBOROUGH FARM MAP.

CLICK ON THE PHOTO FOR A LARGER IMAGE!

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14 thoughts on “THE MANVILLE FARMS (CIRCA 1860)

  1. Excellent site! Thw Weston station burnd down in the late 70’s or VERY early 80’s. It was arson. Also the first station painting you have posted is not Weston, but rather Manville-Finderne, which was on teh Jersey Cnetral Railroad. As you leave Manville after you pass National Starch the station was to you left as you cross the bridge over the tracks.

  2. Mike is right about the station painting. That is the Manville-Finderne station. Ranulph Bye did do a painting of the Weston-Manville station also. The painting can be seen here.

    Also, the second school picture is Main Street school. I attended that school from K through 4th grade.

    Great site.

    • Thanks a lot guys… I have that photo updateted with correct one. I guess it was just labeled wrong somewhere.

  3. You noted under the first photo that it was taken by Bob Pennisi who runs the Big Little Railroad shop in Somerville. Bob is does not own that shop.

    Here is another postcard of the Weston-Manville station.

    • hmmm. that’s where I bought the photo from. I guess I just assumed. Is Bob affiliated with the owner there?

  4. John F.Kennedy Boulevard was once called Railroad Avenue-until the new underpass was completed.

    I wonder if all the deeds were corrected with the new name?

  5. I noticed the picture of Blackwell’s Mill in the zoomed picture of the map has the Millstone flowing backwards.It also has the dam (weir) on the wrong side of the inlet !

    And this map is 145 years old. I wonder how many of the other pictures are
    drawn to the artist’s remembrance.

    I fished and swam there many a day & night.Didn’t cost nuthin’.If Old Man Smith caught you in there he would yell (there were no Hillsboro Cops to call)

  6. This farm map of Hillsborough can be viewed in person — it’s on display in the lobby of the Hillsborough municipal building on S Branch Rd (an “old” section of Amwell before the re-routing), outside the doors into the public library.

  7. Pingback: Manville Gardens (Weston) & The Veghte Farm « Manville, NJ … Revolution on the Millstone

  8. I have a print of Bye’s painting in my house here in Brighton, Colorado. I found it at a furniture in the mid 70’s, in Denver. I had to buy, and I am sure glad I did. I was born in a farm house along the canal, about a third of the way towards Bound Brook, and lived in a farm house along Manville Causeway. Love this site. Keep the pictures, stories, and comments coming.

  9. i have two of Mr. Bye’s paintings two views of the train STATION, I THINK. I AM 85 AND DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM. WOULD ANYBODY BUY THEM.

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