Wickatunk, New Jersey

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Wickatunk, New Jersey
Unincorporated community
Wickatunk from Pleasant Valley Road approaching Route 79
Wickatunk from Pleasant Valley Road approaching Route 79
Wickatunk, New Jersey is located in Monmouth County, New Jersey
Wickatunk, New Jersey
Wickatunk, New Jersey
Wickatunk, New Jersey is located in New Jersey
Wickatunk, New Jersey
Wickatunk, New Jersey
Wickatunk, New Jersey is located in the US
Wickatunk, New Jersey
Wickatunk, New Jersey
Location of Wickatunk in Monmouth County Inset: Location of county within the state of New Jersey
Coordinates: 40°21′00″N 74°14′53″W / 40.35000°N 74.24806°W / 40.35000; -74.24806Coordinates: 40°21′00″N 74°14′53″W / 40.35000°N 74.24806°W / 40.35000; -74.24806
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Monmouth
Township Marlboro
Elevation[1] 174 ft (53 m)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
GNIS feature ID 881818[1]

Wickatunk is an unincorporated community located within Marlboro Township in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States.[2] Elevation above sea level is 180 feet (55 m). It was founded in 1695 by three Scottish servants from the community of Toponemus (no longer in existence in Marlboro Township). Originally surveyed by George Keith, in a letter he states:

"After some time I may give thee a particular account of all thy land I have surveyed for thee and what I reckon dew for it. John Laing and his family are well and lyke to do well, and so John Sym and his family. Also thou hast thy share laid out at Wickington (Wickatunk).[3]

After the initial settlement, the plan in the early 1700s called for a village center with small town lots surrounded by plantations. However, that plan was not workable as it did not allow for townspeople to have farming land.[4]

Research suggests the name derives from the Delaware (Algonquian) "wikwetung", meaning "the fishing place".[5]

Farming and produce[edit]

Known for the potato harvest from nearby farms,[6] in 1923 the town hosted Representatives from "all the potato seed raising sections of the country" and Canada.[7] In addition to the potatoes, the area was also well known for Stayman and Rome apples - winning state awards[8] and registered Holstein Friesian cattle.[9] The area was also known for manufacturing liquor and many area farms were raided for violations of the Volstead Act in the late 20's and early 30's.[10][11][12]

Transportation[edit]

Railroad[edit]

A central feature of the community for years was the Wickatunk shipping point, part of a single track 12-mile (19 km) railroad line from Matawan to Freehold, New Jersey.[6] Having been included on the list of most dangerous railroad crossings by the Automobile Club of America in 1908[13] the station and crossing were demolished in the 1970s. The rail station was on tracks formally owned by the Central Railroad of New Jersey.[14] Currently, the Henry Hudson Trail uses this right of way and passes through Wickatunk.

Roads and Highways[edit]

The major state road passing through the center of Wickatunk is Route 79. County Routes 3 and 520 also serve as major roads around Wickatunk.

Points of interest[edit]

Old Scots Cemetery[edit]

On the list of historic places, the town has a cemetery dating back to 1685.[15][16] At that time the Presbyterians built the oldest Presbyterian church,[17] starting with a crude structure of logs in 1692. By 1705[18] a refined church was reconstructed and by 1730 the congregation had grown and the church was removed to Freehold Township.[19] Adjacent to the church was the Old Scots Burial Ground. The cemetery has at least 100 known graves.[20] In 1895, seven hundred pilgrimages of the Presbyterian Synod came to the burial ground grave location of the first Pastor of the church (Rev. John Boyd) at Old Scots Cemetery to commemorate his life and the start of church at that location.[21] A defining feature of the cemetery is the tall monument of Scottish and Vermont granite and Irish Graystone,[22] surrounded by Scottish thistle carved in the granite[15] With a 5-foot (1.5 m) spire which was lost in the 1950s. The spire was refurbished in 2002.[23] The monument was erected in memory of Rev. John Boyd, the first pastor of the church.[24] In 1915, The Presbyterian Synod added John Tennent's name to the monument.[25]

Robert Collier Estate[edit]

In 1901, Robert J. Collier built his summer home in Wickatunk, bought from State Assemblyman John D. Honce.[26] Used for many years as the location of personal parties and celebrations including the township Decoration Day celebrations,[27] it was later donated and eventually became the Collier High School. Spanning many farms and properties, the area was also widely used for an annual fox hunt of the "Monmouth County Hounds" which started in East Freehold and ended at the Collier Estate.[28][29][30]

General Store and Post Office[edit]

In the late 1920s, a general store and post office was constructed on Route 79. Passing through many hands since then it is currently a bike store.[31] The Post Office obtained some notoriety when the Post mistress, Sadie S. Smock died in February 1928. Her husband "carried on the business for over a year" before an issue developed which brought a postal inspector who discovered the situation.[32] William T. Smock was later sentenced to 60 days in jail for embezzling postal funds.[33]

Yellowstone Buffalo[edit]

In the early 1900s, a buffalo brought from Yellowstone National Park by Richard W. Herbert was kept on his farm for all to see.[34]

Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital[edit]

Starting in 1928, 509 acres (206 ha) were eventually purchased by the State of New Jersey. Some of the land was in Wickatunk for the construction of Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital.[35] The hospital's original working name was "Hillsdale asylum at Wickatunk".[36] It was later known as "The Hilldale Development" before becoming known as "Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital".[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Wickatunk". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ Locality Search, State of New Jersey. Accessed March 13, 2015.
  3. ^ Proceeding of the New Jersey Historical Society - Volume VI, 1921, page 120
  4. ^ Scotland and its First American Colony 1683-1765, Ned C. Landsman, Princeton NJ, 1985, Pg 140 et al.
  5. ^ Bright, William: Native American Place names of the United States, 2004. Page 566
  6. ^ a b "Monmouth Farmers Have a Banner Year", Asbury Park Press, September 24, 1914, Page 2
  7. ^ "Potato Experts in County Tour", Asbury Park Press, June 20, 1923, Page 2
  8. ^ "Wins Apple Award", Asbury Park Press, December 12, 1923, Page 2
  9. ^ Holstein Heard-Breed, Holstein Breeders Association of America, Volume VIII, 1885, Page 88
  10. ^ "Held on Liquor Charge", Asbury Park Press, December 12, 1928, Page 3
  11. ^ "Distilling Plant Seized and Five Arrested", Asbury Park Press, June 4, 1931, Page 1
  12. ^ "2 Stills Seized by Federal Men", Asbury Park Press, July 6, 1933, Page 3
  13. ^ Staff. "MOTORISTS WARNED OF PERILS OF ROAD; Automobile Club Sends List of Dangerous Railroad Crossings to Members. TO MOVE FOR PROTECTION Club to Take Action to Compel Railroads to Do Away With or Safeguard Grade Crossings.", The New York Times, August 6, 1908. Accessed December 15, 2016. "Between Matawan and Freehold, at Wickatunk, on the Central Railroad of New Jersey."
  14. ^ New Jersey Encyclopedia 2008-2009 edition - Volume One, 2008, Page 384
  15. ^ a b "Scottish Clans to Gather to Play Highland Games", Asbury Park Press, September 3, 1936, Page 21
  16. ^ "Halloween Activity Ancient Pagan Rites", Asbury Park Press, October 30, 1983, Page 20
  17. ^ "Middletown, Most Ancient of Settlements, was Cradle of Monmouth County History", Asbury Park Press, Nov 14 1948, Page 5
  18. ^ "Old Tennent to Celebrate 250th Year As Congregation with Ceremonies", Asbury Park Press', June 14, 1942, Page 11
  19. ^ "Historic old Tennent Church, Asbury Park Press, May 2, 1986, Page 93
  20. ^ "Work is Completed on Old Scots Cemetery", Asbury Park Press, March 12, 1951, Page 1
  21. ^ "Latter Day Pilgrimage", New York Times, Jume 5, 1895
  22. ^ "Old Scots Monument", New York Times, June 4, 1899
  23. ^ "Historic Monument Honors Minister", Asbury Park Press, November 7, 2002, Page 48
  24. ^ "Little Known Today of History of Pre-Revolution Topanemus", Asbury Park Press, December 25, 1949, Page 5
  25. ^ "Memorial Tablet For Rev. John Tennent", Asbury Park Press, February 25, 1915, Page 6
  26. ^ "Notables Attend the Honce Funeral", Asbury Park Press, November 24, 1915, Page 1
  27. ^ "Decoration Day Meet", Asbury Park Press, May 29, 1912, Page 12
  28. ^ Staff. "Robert J. Collier Comes a Cropper.", The New York Times, October 29, 1909. Accessed December 15, 2016.
  29. ^ "Three Tumble in Monmouth Hunt", Asbury Park Press, October 15, 1912, Page 4
  30. ^ "Fox Eludes Hunters", Asbury Park Press, November 28, 1913, Page 2
  31. ^ Images of America - Marlboro Township, 1990, Randall Gabrielan, Page 102
  32. ^ "Bare Situation and Government Acts", Asbury Park Press, May 31, 1929, Page 1
  33. ^ "Smock Sentenced", Asbury Park Press, October 21, 1930, Page 3
  34. ^ "Brought Back Little Buffalo", Asbury Park Press, October 29, 1909, Page 11
  35. ^ Hospital to be Built in County, Asbury Park Press, December 26, 1928, Page 1
  36. ^ "County Backs Hoover Business Aid Plan", Asbury Park Press, November 25, 1929, Page 2
  37. ^ "New State Hospital", Red Bank Register, June 19 1929, page 29