History

Contents: Boundaries Early Industries First Settlers Geology and Geography Green Brook Township Native Americans Quaker Influence Resident Profiles Revolutionary War Years Roads and Transportation Schools

Green Brook Township has a rich and colorful history that has been heavily influenced by its natural resources and geographic location. Situated between the "Blue Hills" and Green Brook, the land was sheltered from the cold winter winds by the mountains and blessed with thick forests, fertile soil, and abundant springs. The area offered an ideal habitat for Native Americans, as well as for the early settlers as they moved inland from the coast.

During the Revolutionary War, the mountains above Green Brook Township played an important role in determining the direction of the war - and perhaps even its outcome. The mountains provided a natural strategic fortress for an occupying force - a fact that was recognized by both General Washington and General Howe. By holding the mountains, Washington prevented the British from attacking the Continental Army in the spring of 1777, and Washington was able to set the terms of any potential engagement rather than leaving the initiative with Howe. The mountains of Green Brook Township also provided Washington an observation point for spying on the British troops as well as platform for signaling his troops. 

During the spring of 1777, Washington rock was visited by the General, and was almost certainly used by General Anthony Wayne and General Benjamin Lincoln whose brigades were camped on top of the ridge. When Washington returned to the area in 1778-79, the mountains were again fortified and used for observation and early warning. Under Washington's order, Lord Stirling directed that a series of signal beacons be constructed in March of 1779 to warn of British attack. The beacons played an important role during the Spring of 1780 during the battle of Connecticut Farms and the battle of Springfield. On both occasions, the militia used the beacons as a call-to-arms as soon as the invasion was spotted. 

As a means of transportation, Green Brook was important for both the Native Americans and early settlers since it provided access to the Raritan River and to the Atlantic Ocean. The early settlers used the brook to move supplies upstream and goods downstream, and they also used the flowing water as a source of power for their lumber mills and gristmills, and later, to power other early industries.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the area between the brook and the mountains became one of the main corridors for railroads and highways connecting New York and Pennsylvania. As the traffic through the corridor expanded, Green Brook Township developed from a quiet farming community, which it had been for nearly two hundred years, into the suburban community that it is today. 

This following history has been taken from "A History of Green Brook Township" published by the Green Brook Bicentennial Committee in August 1976, and from many other sources as noted. For more information, see Foreword,  Acknowledgements, and Bibliography