The Horseneck Tract was an area in present-day Essex County, New Jersey, United States, that consisted of what are now the municipalities of Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Fairfield, Verona, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Roseland, and portions of Livingston and West Orange.
On May 1, 1701, Simon Van Ness, Gerebrand Clawson, Hans Spier, Elias Franson, Christopher Steinmets, Andrese Louwrentz, Garret Vanderhoof, Hessell Pieters and Jan Spier bought from the Indians a large tract of land at Horseneck.
In 1702, settlers purchased the 14,000 acre (57 km2) Horseneck Tract from the Lenape Native Americans for goods equal to $325. This purchase encompassed much of western Essex County, from the First Mountain to the Passaic River. Settlement began about 1740 by Thomas Gould and Saunders Sanders. The reason for calling the region "Horse Neck" has never been determined, but is not because of its shape.
The area was referred to as the Horseneck Tract until February 17, 1787, when the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church at Horseneck voted to change the name of their parish to Caldwell, in honor of Reverend James Caldwell who helped them organize the church. After this date the church became known as the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell. In 1798 the westernmost portion of Newark Township, including the Parish of Caldwell, was renamed Caldwell Township.
Caldwell Borough contained what is today the towns of West Caldwell and Caldwell. Soon after, the area of Caldwell Township just to the east of Caldwell Borough between Caldwell Borough and Montclair (present-day Verona and Cedar Grove) decided to follow Caldwell's lead and incorporated itself as its own borough, Verona. Some of the already-developed eastern neighborhoods of Caldwell Township chose to become part of Montclair, as it was a rapidly developing suburb of Newark and Paterson. At around the same time, the area north of Caldwell Borough became its own town, North Caldwell. The wooded area directly to the southeast of downtown Caldwell Borough became Essex Fells, while the farmland to the south of Caldwell township was briefly called South Caldwell. This area underwent other changes when the towns of Livingston and West Orange expanded. The South Caldwell region, still part of Caldwell Township became Roseland.
At this point, all that remained of the original Caldwell Township was a large piece of undeveloped land in the northwesternmost part of Essex County; eventually, in the early 1960s, Caldwell Township changed its name to Fairfield in order to avoid being confused with Caldwell Borough.
- N.J. Secretary of State, Deeds, Surveys, and Commissions. Symon Vanness, et al. from Indians Deed Book O, p. 149+ Date: 5-1-1701 - Essex County