The Great Minisink Trail in 1747 ~ Navesink to Minisink Island

While browsing the engravings in the New York Public Library Digital Collections this set of three 1747 maps came to light, Map I, II & III to accompany A bill in the chancery of New Jersey, at the suit of John [Dalrymple], Earl of Stair ... against Benjamin Bond, which were intended as an aid in presenting the issues of land purchases in the lawsuit which subsequently became known as the Elizabethtown Bill in Chancery.

Map no. I* cover the seaboard from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina; Map no. II covers central New Jersey's then Morris county, present day Sussex & Warren Counties; Map no. III covers the area around Elizabeth, New Jersey, between the Raritan and the Passaic Rivers. The maps were engraved by James Turner and "Printed by James Parker, and a few Copies are to be Sold by him, and Benjamin Franklin, in Philadelphia."

The illustration of Map no. II, click here to enlarge, includes the Muskonetcunk River, Hupatkong Pond, the 17th century "in the Dutch time" Upper and Lower Roads from the Zuidt River to Nieuw Amsterdam, and the ancient "Indian Path", the Great Minisink Trail, from near Clay Pit Creek in Navesink on New Jersey's seaboard  to the Council Fire of Minisink Island on the Delaware River.

Cartouche of Map no. I, 1747

"A persistent tradition among the descendants of the old settlers of New Jersey states that the Indians lived most of the year in the valley of the Delaware, and came to the coast only at certain seasons to hunt and fish.  The results of our survey, while only preliminary, tends to confirm this.  Along the shores of the great bays of east New Jersey from Navesink to Cape May there are a few traces of permanent settlements.  The shell heaps and camp sites that abound betoken frequent use of the same spot during the fishing season, but not continuous occupation.  Village sites and burial grounds are few and far between, Tuckerton and Beesleys Point being notable exceptions.  The great mass of villages and cemeteries, with their countless variey of relics, are along the Delaware River and its tributaries." ~  A Preliminary Report of the Archaeological Survey of the State of New Jersey, Skinner & Schrabisch, 1913, p 16.

John R. Giles in The Story of Waterloo Village, notes:  "Around 1750, a businessman from New York City, Garret Rapalje, [1730-1796], built a dam at the outflow of the Great Pond.  This initial reshaping of the water's course raised the water level behind the dam by about six feet.  This increased water depth resulted in the Great Pond and the Little Pond being merged into one ... this early version of Lake Hopatcong....Mr. Rapalje then built an iron forge, called the Brookland Forge, just below the new dam.  This forge operated for over thirty years."

For more recent maps of the Lenape trails in New Jersey see: The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries 1606 - 1968, by John P. Snyder, reprinted by the New Jersey Geological Survey, 2004, plates 2 & 3.

* Note: We've reported a bug to the NYPL on Map no I, which fails to enlarge to the correct map.

"A Quaint Old Document of the Machackemech Church"

The Evening Gazette, Sept. 3, 1897

A Quaint Old Document Of The
Machackemech Church

How the People of the Neversink Valley Provided to Pay for the Services of Occasional Preachers - What a Trunk in a Dutch Farm House Revealed.  (From Church Life).

    "Mr. Benjamin C. Swartwout, of Huguenot, N.Y., has in his possession an old trunk which belonged to his great-great-grandfather, Philip Swartwout, and which contains some very interesting documents pertaining to the Revolutionary period, and before that event.  Among these papers was found one written in Low Dutch on a single sheet of paper water marked with the Crown of England, to indicate that the stamp duties on the sheet prescribed by the English Government had been paid, known as the Stamp Act, and which led to the revolt of the colonies and the final separation from the Mother Country.

This quaint old document purports to be a subscription list to pay for the services of the minister who should come to preach in the Machackemech (now Port Jervis) church, which was then without a pastor.  Although this paper bears no date, it is evident that it was issued just prior to or during the Revolutionary War, and could not have been later because some of the persons whose signatures appear on it, perished in that war.

Rev. Thomas Romein, who was the second minister in charge of the Minisink Valley churches, resigned in 1772, and for a period of 13 years thereafter, until 1785, when the services of Rev. Elias Van Bunschooten were secured, the Machackemech congregation, (and presumably the churches lower down the valley), was supplied occasionally by ministers from Marbletown and elsewhere, who married the people during such visitations, baptized children, and on Sunday preached to the inhabitants from the pulpit of the old log Machackemech church.

By the terms of this salary list, which is the oldest paper of its kind in all this region, the subscribers were to pay at the church when the domine had performed his service the sum set opposite their respective names. ... This ancient subscription list is interesting and valuable as denoting the heads of families who composed the Machackemech congregation at the  beginning of the Revolution.  Anthony Van Etten, who heads the list, was Justice of the Peace, ancestor of the Neversink Valley Van Ettens, and was killed toward the close of the war. Philip Swartwout was Justice of the Peace and Chairman of the Committee of Safety.  It is owing to his careful filing of the papers containing his official acts and relating to the church that much of the unwritten history of the Revolutionary period in this section has been preserved.  He was killed in 1779.

Sketches of many of the names in the list below have been already published in Church Life and need not now be repeated.  Thomas Kyte was the school master; Johannes Westbrook was a Captain of militia, who lived on the farm of the late Abram J. Cuddeback, near the Driving Park, and Jacob R. Dewitt, Captain of a company of rangers for gruarding the frontier, and brother of Mary Dewitt, who was wife of James Clinton and mother of New York's famous Governor, Dewitt Clinton.  Space will not permit further mention of the names contained in the document in Low Dutch, which is as follows:

The Evening Gazette, Sept. 3, 1897

Anthony van Etten, Philip Swartwoud, Thos Kyte, Benjn Depuy, Hrramus VanInwegen, Johannis Wasbroek (Westbrook), Jacob R. Deweidt (Dewitt), Samuel Depew, John Wallis, John Parw, Cornelus Vaninwagen, Bangemin Coddeback, Jacobus Swartwoud, Jacob Grammar (Gumaer), Deies Grammawr (Gumaer), Petrus Grammawr (Gumaer), Josap Drack, Ezegel Gumaer, Moses Depew, Henderick Daccor (Decker), Anthony Bunscoten, Jacobus Daiwes (Davis), Johannis Quick, Isack van Whe.

 The following is a free translation of the text of the foregoing document:  " We, the underwritten, promise to pay to the Consistory of Magagemeck for the salary of the preacher who ministers to us, every time that he serves us, each to subscribe with his hand to pay at the church the day the service is performed." 

~ Transcription of "An Ancient Salary List" The Evening Gazette, Port Jervis N.Y., September 3, 1897.

Minisink Valley Reformed Dutch Church Records, 1745 "Church Members" p 281.

Machackemeck Gravestone Inscriptions

Many of the signatories of this document and/or their next generation descendants are buried in the Gumaer Cemetery, Godeffroy, NY and the Machackemeck Burying Ground in Port Jervis, NY. 

The present location of the "Quaint Old Document" is unknown by us at this time.  One can only hope a scan or film digital version, with fresh translation, will appear online at some point in the future. The 1897 commentary on the document may contain errors, please verify any historical or genealogical leads it may offer. Special thanks to Thomas M. Tryniski's Fulton History for the newspaper clipping snapshots. Please consider donating to Tom Tryniski or any of the local Tri-State NJ, NY & PA historical societies faithfully working to preserve the Minisink Valley heritage. 

See also our compilation ~  "Most Wretchedly Spelled" ~ Variants of Maghagh-kamieck.