A Brief History of Sandyston
The "Ennis Schoolmaster's House" Built 1751
Patte Haggerty Frato, Sandyston Township Historian, has family which dates back to the Revolutionary Era in Sandyston. Patte is in the process of collecting pictures of people and memorbilia pertaining to Sandyston Township. This can be old photographs, family bibles and/or family genealogy. Please check our website regularly for new stories and information on upcoming Sandyston Township Historical Society events! Patte is eager to talk with you about your family or help you research your roots in Sandyston Township. You may contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-948-7443.
Sandyston Township is located in the northwestern section of Sussex County. Natural beauty abounds here with the Historic Delaware River running full length of the township on the west, and the picturesque Blue Mountain range on the eastern side which creates an almost isolated area from the rest of Sussex County. Sandyston Township measures only 42 square miles and includes Stokes State Forest and the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area, which renders 70 percent of the township tax exempt.
By Royal Patent in 1762 Sandyston Township was established. Prior to this it was part of Walpack Township, one of the four original Sussex County municipalities.
The area along the Delaware River is rich in Minisink Indian culture. The Minisink was a tribe of the Lenni-Lenape Indians. As the early settlers came to our area from Europe, the Indian lands were purchased and settlements were created. All seemed to run smoothly until the Indian's were cheated in dealings with the white man and uprisings developed.
The Old Mine Road runs full length of Sandyston and follows the Delaware River. This road is thought to have nothing more than an Indian path, improved by Dutch miners between the years of 1632 and 1650 to transport copper ore from the Pahaquarry copper mines in Warren County to Kingston, NY on the Hudson River. This road has been known over the years by many names: "King's Highway", "Queen's Highway", "The Trade Path", in 1682 it was "The Path of the Great Valley", in 1731 "The Old Mine Road", and in 1770 "The Good Esopus Road". During the Revolution it was called, "The Road Behind the Mountains", which was used by General Horatio Gates to move his troops from Sarasota, NY to Trenton, NJ to help in the Christmas Eve Battle of General George Washington. This battle helped turn the tide of the war in favor of the colonists. Sandyston Township contains many sections. The names of these sections for the most part were derived from the people that settled there, other places were named for the area in which they were settled.
Hainesville was originally known as "Sandyston". Settled by Simon Cortright, son-in-law of William Ennis (this area's first schoolmaster) before the Revolutionary War. The name was changed to honor the ex-governor Daniel Haines in 1845. Layton was first known as Centreville and was considered the hub of Sandyston Township. John Layton settled in the area in the 1800's and in 1850 petitioned the postal service for mail delivery. Since the State of New Jersey already had a known town called Centreville, it was decided to name the area Laytons, which later became known as Layton. Bevans was first known as Peter's Valley. This area was also known as "Hen's Foot" and "The Corner's". The name Bevans was for the Bevans Family. This name was used until the 1970's when the Federal Government took this area over in the Tocks Island Project.. The area of Bevans became a craftsman center and they took back the original name of the area calling it Peter's Valley Craftsmen Center. This center still exists there today. Kittatinny Lake is located just north of the Culver Gap in Sandyston Township. This is a man made lake named after the Kittatinny Mountain Range. Other sections of Sandyston Township go by the names of Shaytown, Hiram's Grove, Forty Acres, Stokes State Forest, The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Abertown and Tuttle's Corner.