Historical Notes for Millburn Poor Farm -- in Essex County
|Extracted and Submitted
by: David Wilson
This was taken from an article of "The Guide" a historical article publication for Millburn, NJ. It was on page 8 in the July 13th edition but I do not know the year because it was not written at the top when I received this. It is titled "Once Upon a Time...Park was Poor Farm"
"Editors Note: The Guide would like to thank Jesse Bole for the following description of Millburn's Poor Farm which was located on the site of the present Gero Park. Mr. Bole served for 42 years as Township Welfare Director."
The first paragraph is from "History of Essex & Hudson Counties", compiled by William H. Shaw, published in 1884.
According to an article printed in the January 1939 edition of the Millburn paper, mention is made of an article which appeared in the "Arrow" an early township newspaper, the purchase price of the Poor Farm in 1879 was $2,500.00 plus $102.37 for counsel fees. This information obtained from Mrs. Phillip A. Ross, daughter and wife of two of the lessees of the early part of the 1900's.
Potter's Field, a burial ground, is located down over the hill where Kennedy Parkway and Parsonage Hill Road intersect. Graves were marked by small white birch trees. Other old residents think some graves were marked with a field stone. As far as could be remembered,
the last body was interred in about 1904.
1914, the town found the farm too expensive to maintain
The dormitory building, the converted old wooden school house , was moved from up along the front of the property at White oak Ridge Road about 1913, when the new White Oak Ridge School was built. The old school faced the lane leading down to the farm house.
April 1, 1914 George Trowbridge (1868-1940) rented the farm with the obligation to take in any indigent persons the town saw fit to send up. The farm remained as such until November 1, 1924, when it was rented by Mr. & Mrs. Phillip A. Ross under the same conditions and remained as such until January 1, 1934. Farming operations were sub-let to James Wratchford of Farley Road.
The old school house was used during the Trowbridge tenancy as a milk house, containing steam equipment for sterilization, bottling and refrigeration. At one time during the James tenancy the dormitory was leased out to a Mrs. H. Kellington and her family.
In June 1919, the farm was used as a setting for the motion picture "The Stream of Life" produced by Paramount Pictures then located in Yonkers, New York. The story was written by Reverend James K. Shields of Maplewood. Several of the local children had parts in the picture.
On January 1, 1934,
the township rented the premises
In 1925, the Fin, Fur, Feather Skeet Club was established on the property. Officers of the club were Mr. William Conway, Eugene Connett Jr., and Marshall Greer.
After the James and
the Mummas left the property was leased to Eugene Meeker. During
this time the barns and pastures were probably sublet to a person who kept
and boarded horses.