The Original Purchase
Green Brook Township had its beginning in the Original Indian Purchase made May 4, 1681, when English settlers purchased it from two Raritan Indians named Konackama and Quereomak, presumably Indian chiefs. This large roughly outlined tract of land extended from the mouth of the stream now known as Bound Brook (called by the Indians Sacunk) thence along the Raritan River on the north side to a brook called Raweighweros (now Middlebrook) and thence northward to a certain Stony Hill; thence easterly to Metape's wigwam, at the mouth of Cedar Brook, to where it unites with Green Brook, and thence southerly along Bound Brook to the place of beginning. This tract - called by the natives Rakahovawalaby - included the site of the present village of Bound Brook, thence west to Middlebrook, and north to the mountain. The price paid to the Indians was one hundred pounds in goods.
The purchasers named in the deed were Philip Carteret; John Palmer, of Staten Island, Gent.; Gabriel Minville; Thomas Codrington; Johri White; John Delaville; Richard Hall; and John Royce, of the City of New York. The tract thus purchased "was divided into five portions. John Royce had eight hundred and seventy-seven acres; Thomas Codrington eight hundred and seventy-seven acres next to him; the proprietors, eleven hundred and seventy acres next to Bound Brook; Thomas Codrington, one thousand acres on the rear next to Chimney Rock and the mountain. The remainder, north of the plot belonging to the proprietors, was not surveyed immediately."
Part of the present Township of Green Brook was included in a tract of land which the Indians seem to have sold three different times. Rather than a scheme to cheat the white settlers, it is thought to have been due to a miscalculation of boundaries.
Erection, Organization, and Boundaries of Somerset County The province of East Jersey was first divided into counties in 1683. The Provincial Assembly, which was in session for the first time on the first of March in that year, passed an act which divided the province into four counties. A high sheriff was appointed for each. The four counties were Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, and Monmouth. Somerset County was set off from the territory of Middlesex and separately erected, by the Provincial Assembly, at a session which was commenced at Amboy on May 14, 1688. The act provided and declared that a certain tract of country,
"Beginning at the mouth of the Bound Brook, where it empties into the Raritan River, and to run up to said brook to the meeting of Bound Brook with Green Brook, and from the said beginning or meeting to run a northwest line into the hills; and upon the southwest side of the Raritan River, to begin at a small brook, where it empties itself into the Raritan about seventy chains below the Bound Brook, and from thence to run up a southwest line to the uttermost line of the province, be divided from the said county of Middlesex, and hereafter to be deemed, taken, and be a county of this province; and that the same county to be called the County of Somerset, and statute, law, or usage to the contrary nothwithstanding.
The reasons which moved the Legislature to set off the new county were declared in the preamble to the act, to be: "The uppermost part of the Raritan River is settled by persons, whom in their husbandry and manuring their lands, are forced upon quite different ways and methods from the other farmers and inhabitants of Middlesex County. Because of the frequent floods that carry away their fences on the meadows the only arable land they have, and so, by consequence of their interests, are divided from the other inhabitants of the said county."
In 1692, nine years after the province was divided into counties, an act was passed to divide each county into townships. The existence of towns, hamlets, and divisions was recognized, but their bounds had never been legally fixed. It was necessary to do this for the proper choosing of deputies, constables, the levying of taxes, etc. Some of these towns, such as Woodbridge and Piscataway, already existed by independent charters. The constable of Piscataway took charge of the out-plantations on the south side of the Raritan as far east as South River and to the recently enacted borders of Somerset.
In 1693, an act was passed dividing the four counties of the province into townships. Somerset County, being yet sparse in population, was not divided, but the act provided that "The County of Somerset, as it is already bounded by a former act of Assembly", shall be a township. This included the whole county according to the bounds of 1688. The township of Piscataway, in Middlesex, extended westward to the bounds of Somerset County.
The western boundary of Somerset County was much the same as at the present time, though the other boundaries have been frequently changed. Parts of all counties bordering on Somerset have at one time or other been embraced within it. In 1876 the line between Union and Somerset was fixed along the Green Brook. Since that time there have been no changes in the boundaries although a commission fixed a disputed line between Somerset and Middlesex in the vicinity of Sebring's Mill a few years ago.
The following is a copy of the Act showing the boundaries:
ASSEMBLY NO. 113
AN ACT TO CREATE A NEW TOWNSHIP IN THE COUNTY OF SOMERSET, TO BE CALLED THE TOWNSHIP OF NORTH PLAINFIELD.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE SENATE AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, THAT ALL THAT PORTION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, THAT ALL THAT PORTION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF WARREN, IN THE COUNTY OF SOMERSET, LYING WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES AND DESCRIPTIONS FOLLOWING, TO WIT: BEGINNING AT A POINT IN THE CENTER OF GREEN BROOK, NEAR SEBRING'S GRIST MILL, AND CORNER OF WARREN AND BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIPS; FROM THENCE ALONG THE BRIDGEWATER LINE AND WARREN, TO THE CENTRE OF THE PUBLIC ROAD LEADING FROM BOUND BROOK TO WASHINGTON VALLEY: FROM THENCE, A STRAIGHT LINE IN A NORTHEASTERLY COURSE, TO A POINT IN THE LINE OF UNION COUNTY, ON THE FARM OF THOMAS ROGERS, AND IS THE CORNER OF NEW PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP, FROM THENCE ALONG THE LINE OF NEW PROVIDENCE AND WARREN TOWNSHIPS, TO A POINT IN THE LINE OF WESTFIELD TOWNSHIP: THENCE ALONG THAT LINE AND THE LINE OF WEST-FIELD TOWNSHIP; THENCE ALONG THAT LINE AND THE LINE OF PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, TO THE LINE OF PISCATAWAY TOWNSHIP, IN THE COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX, THENCE ALONG THE LINE OF SAID PISCATAWAY TOWNSHIP TO THE AFORE-SAID POINT IN THE CENTER OF GREEN BROOK, AND PLACE OF BEGINNING, BE AND THE SAME IS HEREBY SET OFF FROM THE SAID TOWNSHIP OF WARREN AND CREATED INTO A NEW TOWNSHIP TO BE CALLED AND KNOWN BY THE NAME OF THE "TOWNSHIP OF NORTH PLAINFIELD".
In 1885, the Borough of North Plainfield was set off from North Plainfield Township and incorporated.
The Green Brook end of the township was then known as the pauper section. The part which is now known as the Borough of Watchung was prosperous because of the valuable stone quarries. As time went on, the people of Watchung felt more and more the burden of the part of the township now known as Green Brook so they separated in 1926, and formed what is now called the Borough of Watchung.
The only part of North Plainfield Township left was Green Brook, so in November, 1932 the name was changed to the Township of Green Brook.
Northern New Jersey Indian Period
New Jersey 1609-1680
Northern New Jersey 1700
New Jersey 1710
New Jersey 1714-1775
Northern New Jersey 1775
Northern New Jersey 1834
New Jersey 1775-1845
New Jersey 1845-1965