Spotswood, NJ History

Time Line

Time Line
Weequehela - Sachem
The Leonards
The Johnstons
Indian Deed at the Mills
From Revolution to Spotswood Mills
Books for Sale
Guest Book

Forge Company Map, ca 1760. South is at the top.
Closeup showing bridge over stream adjacent to Weequehela's plantation to the right (west).


Spotswood, NJ in 2005.  Erickson Ave. on this map makes a sharp bend over a stream emptying into DeVoe Lake.  That stream has been known historically as both Indian Brook and Gulph Brook.  The historic map at the top of this page, drawn circa 1760, but oriented with South at the top, shows the same road.  The house to the right of the bridge in the historic map exactly matches the deed and survey references to Weequehela's house.  Deeds continued to refer to his house well into the late 1700s.  It was no longer standing by 1850.  The site is now part of a modern subdivision, however elements of the house and outbuildings may still be extant within the area.



Weequehela, Indian sachem resides at Quainheetquas, which may be the site of his plantation identified by deeds and surveys as being in Spotswood, just west of Indian Brook. A copy of the Forge Company Map, originally drawn in the 1760s, shows a large building at this site which conforms to deed and survey descriptions of Weequehela’s plantation.


The Leonards of Monmouth County purchase large tracts of land immediately to the east of Weequehela’s plantation. By 1717 , Captain John Leonard is operating a public house at the South River Bridge along the road from Amboy to Burlington.


Weequehela shoots Leonard for having cheated him out of his lands. In less than a week, a special court is held in Perth Amboy, Weequehela found guilty in one day, and sentenced to death one week later.


Leonard’s widow sells his property along the Manalapan to Andrew & Lewis Johnston, the site then becoming known as Johnston’s Mills.


Andrew Woolley, successor to Weequehela, and others sell land at the mills from the Wading Place, westward along the South River and Manalapan.


Location of what was to become Spotswood village, referred to as Manalapan (Road Return of 1744)


Andrew & Lewis Johnston advertise mill seat for sale. 1757 road return refers to this area as Mr. Johnston’s Mills.

1762 May

Andrew & Lewis Johnston sell the Spotswood mill site and adjoining lands to Peter Ten Eick, "late of Somerset."

1762 October

Lewis Johnston sells to Peter Corne land along the Manalapan, excepting the mill seat already in operation by Peter Ten Eick

1762 December

Peter Ten Eick and wife, sell 2408 acres, including the upper forge site, to Derick Brinckerhoff, merchant of New York.


Peter Corne enters into business agreement with James Perry and Thomas Hayes of England to operate Penkridge (forge and mills).


Ten Eick advertises his one-half interest in the mills to be sold, and later he flees his creditors, abandoning his property.


Brinckerhoff & Company advertise the Manalapan Forge, also known as the South River Forge, for sale; this is the upper forge (Old Forge Road site).


Peter Corne and wife sell of his interest in the extensive land holdings and mill operations along the Manalapan, to Perry and Hayes of England.  Corne moves to Peekskill, NY - although considered a Loyalist during the Revolution, his grand daughter marries Staats Dyckman of Boscobel.  Corne had been a sea captain, slave trader and successful merchant.


Brinckerhoff sells to Jeston Homfray, agent of Perry & Hayes, the site of Swin Forge and other properties.


Paper mill at Spotswood is referred to in newspaper notice. This mill was located on the Matchaponix, near the crossing of Greystone Road (now Mundy Ave.).


Penkridge is abandoned by Samuel Smyth, manager of the mills and forge and Loyalist. January, 1777 the site is raided by Col. John Neilson of the Middlesex County militia and vast stores of materiel are taken by the Continentals.


Paper mill to be abandoned due to lack of financial support of its owner and the vagaries of war.


The paper mill is under new management, and continues for the next twenty years.


One-third interest in Penkridge and Swin Forge, owned by Miles Sherbrooke, agent for Perry & Hayes, is confiscated and sold by New Jersey authorities.


Col. Joseph Haight offers mills for rent or sale. Similar notice appears in 1781.


Fire destroys mills, but they are rebuilt (except for the lower forge).


Ongoing litigation amongst alleged owners of the mill property due to clouded title stemming from sale of a portion of the property belonging to Miles Sherbrooke, agent for Perry & Hayes.  Miles Sherbrooke works relentlessly for compensation of the property and materiel seized at Spotswood. The United States Congress finally rules in 1798 that the claim has no merit.


The Spotswood mills are sold at auction to Daniel Lott and eventually acquired by John H. Disborough (Disbrow), which marks the beginning of the 19th century transformation of the mills into snuff manufacturing.


John D. Outcalt, of New York, acquires from the Trustees of Rutgers College, the land which was the site of Weequehela’s Upper Saw Mill and begins a tobacco mill. In the mid 1800s, the mill becomes a hominy, or grist mill. Financial difficulties lead to the end of Outcalt’s Mill by the late 1800s, and the purchase by Bernard McFadden of the property for the development of the Physical Culture City, and the establishment of the neighborhood of Outcalt in Spotswood, Helmetta and Monroe.

Forge Company map showing the Johnstons Mill complex ca. 1760. St. Peter's Church is at lower left.

For more information:
Native American Historical Research


For information on the Bethel Indian Mission on the Manalapan

For information on the Indian Company of 1778

For information on the Gnadenhutten Massacre (including Jersey Indians)