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This article is about the Town of Morristown in New Jersey. Other places in New Jersey with similar names are Morris Townshipmarker, Morris Plainsmarker, and Moorestown Townshipmarker.


Morristown is a town in Morris Countymarker, New Jerseymarker, United Statesmarker. As of the United States 2000 Census, the town population was 18,544. Its estimated population in 2004 was 18,842. It is the county seat of Morris Countymarker. Morristown became characterized as "the military capital of the American Revolution" because of its strategic role in the war for independence from Great Britain.

The area was inhabited by Native Americans for more than 2,800 years prior to exploration by Europeans. The first European settlements in this portion of New Jersey were established by the Swedes and Dutch in the early 1600s where a significant trade in furs existed between the natives and the Europeans at temporary posts. It became part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, but the English seized control of the region in 1664, which was granted to Sir George Carteret and John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, as the Province of New Jersey. In British colonial records, the first permanent European settlement at Morristown occurred in 1715, when a village was founded as New Hanover by migrants from New York and Connecticut. Morris County was created on March 15, 1739, from portions of Hunterdon County. The county was named for the popular Governor of the Province, Lewis Morris, who championed benefits for the colonists.

Following the American Revolution the former colony became the state of New Jersey and almost one hundred years after the American Revolution began, Morristown was incorporated as a town by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 6, 1865, within Morris Townshipmarker, and it was formally set off from the township in 1895.

History

Eighteenth century

Morristown was settled around 1715 by English Presbyterians from Southold, New Yorkmarker on Long Islandmarker and New Haven, Connecticutmarker as the village of New Hanover. The town became the seat of the new Morris Countymarker shortly after its separation from Hunterdon Countymarker on March 15, 1739. The village and county were named for Lewis Morris, the first and then sitting royal governor of a united colony of New Jerseymarker.

By the mid-century the two hundred and fifty people shared the village which had two churches, a courthouse, two taverns, two schools, several stores, and numerous mills and farms nearby.

George Washington first came to Morristown in May of 1773, two years before the Revolutionary War. He, his stepson, John Parke Custis and an aide traveled through Morristown on the way to New York.

In 1777, General George Washington and the Continental Army marched from the victories at Trenton and Princeton to encamp near Morristown from January to May. Washington had his headquarters during that first encampment at Jacob Arnold's Tavern located at the Morristown Green in the center of the town. Morristown was selected for its extremely strategic location (between Philadelphia and New York and near New England). It was also chosen for the skills and trades of the residents, local industries and natural resources to provide arms, and what was thought to be the ability of the community to provide enough food to support the army.

The churches were used for inoculations for smallpox. That first Headquarters, Arnold's Tavern, was eventually moved a half mile south of the green onto Mount Kemble Avenue to become All Souls Hospital in the late 1800s. It suffered a fire in 1918, and the original structure was demolished, but new buildings for the hospital were built directly across the street.

From December 1779 to June 1780 the Continental Army's second encampment at Morristown was at Jockey Hollowmarker. Then, Washington's headquarters in Morristown was located at the Ford Mansionmarker, a large mansion near what was then the 'edge of town.' Ford's widow and children shared the house with Martha Washington and officers of the Continental Army.

The winter of 1780 was the worst winter of the Revolutionary War. The starvation was complicated by extreme inflation of money and lack of pay for the army. The entire Pennsylvania contingent successfully mutinied and later, 200 New Jersey soldiers attempted to emulate them (unsuccessfully).

During Washington's second stay, in March 1780, he declared St. Patrick's Day a holiday to honor his many Irish troops.

Martha Washington traveled from Virginia and was loyally present with George each winter throughout the war.

The Marquis de Lafayette brought good news here in 1780 of aid from France.

The Ford Mansion, Jockey Hollow, and Fort Nonsense are all preserved as part of Morristown National Historical Parkmarker managed by the National Park Service, which has the distinction among historic preservationists of being the first National Historical Park established in the United States.

During Washington's stay, Benedict Arnold was court-martialed at Dickerson's Tavern on Spring Street in Morristown, for charges related to profiteering from military supplies at Philadelphia. His admonishment was made public, but Washington quietly promised the hero, Arnold, to make it up to him.

Alexander Hamilton courted and wed Betsy Schuyler at the residence used by Washington's personal physician. The home on Olyphant Place is owned and operated by the Daughters of the American Revolution as the Schuyler-Hamilton House.

The Morristown Green has a statue commemorating the meeting of George Washington, the young Marquis de LaFayette, and young Alexander Hamilton depicting them discussing aid of French tall ships and troops being sent by King Louis XVI of France as support for the budding nation. Benjamin Franklin and LaFayette had much to do with this critical alliance.

Morristown's Burnham Park has a statue of the "Father of the American Revolution", Thomas Paine, who wrote the best selling booklet Common Sense, which urged a complete break from British rule. The bronze statue, by sculptor Georg J. Lober, shows Paine in 1776 (using a drum as a table during the withdrawal of the army across New Jersey) composing Crisis 1. He wrote These are the times that try men's souls .... The statue was dedicated on July 4, 1950.

Nineteenth century

The idea for constructing the Morris Canal is credited to Morristown businessman George P. Macculloch. In 1822, Macculloch brought together a group of interested citizens at Morristown to discuss the idea. The canal was used for a century.

The Marquis de Lafayette returned to Morristown in July 1825 on his return tour of the United States, where a ball was held in his honor at the 1807 Sansay House on DeHart Street, which still stands.

Antoine le Blanc, a French immigrant laborer murdered the Sayre family and their servant (or possibly slave), Phoebe. He was tried and convicted of murder of the Sayres (but not of Phoebe) on August 13, 1833. On September 6, 1833, Le Blanc became the last person hanged on the Morristown Green. Until late 2006, the house where the murders were committed was known as "Jimmy's Haunt," which is purported to be haunted by Phoebe's ghost because her murder never saw justice. In 2007 Jimmy's Haunt was torn down to make way for a bank.

Samuel F. B. Morse and Alfred Vail built the first telegraph at the Speedwell Ironworksmarker in Morristown on January 6, 1838. The first telegraph message was A patient waiter is no loser. The first public demonstration of the invention occurred eleven days later as the first step toward the information age we enjoy today.

Jacob Arnold's Tavern, the first headquarters for Washington in Morristown, was purchased by the Colles family to save it from demolition in 1886. It was moved by horse-power in the winter of 1887 from "the green" (after being stuck on Bank Street for about six weeks) to a site south on Mount Kemble Avenue at what is now a parking lot for the Atlantic RIMM Rehabilitation Hospital. It became a boarding house for four years until it was converted by the Grey Nuns from Montrealmarker into All Souls Hospital, the first general hospital in Morris County. George and Martha Washington's second floor ballroom became a chapel and the first floor tavern became a ward for patients. The building was lost to a fire in 1918. The entire organization, nurses, doctors, and patients of All Souls Hospital were then moved across Mount Kemble Avenue, U.S. Route 202, to a newly-built brick hospital building. All Souls' was set to close because of financial difficulties in the late 1960s. In 1973, it became Community Medical Center. In 1977, the center became bankrupt and was purchased by the then new and larger Morristown Memorial Hospital.

Twenty-first century

The Morristown Madams were an amateur women's flat track roller derby team based in Morristown. They disbanded in 2009.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.00 square miles (7.78 km2), of which, 2.94 square miles (7.62 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) or 2.1% is water.

The word "Morristown" is sometimes confused, in conversation, with Moorestownmarker, a township in southern New Jersey.

Climate

Morristown has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa).

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 18,544 people, 7,252 households, and 3,698 families residing in the town. The population density was 6,303.9 people per square mile (2,435.3/km2). There were 7,615 housing units at an average density of 2,588.7/sq mi (1,000.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 67.63% White, 16.95% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 3.77% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 8.48% from other races, and 3.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.15% of the population.

7.98% of Morristown residents identified themselves as being of Colombian American ancestry in the 2000 Census, the eighth highest percentage of the population of any municipality in the United States

3.44% of Morristown residents identified themselves as being of Honduran American ancestry in the 2000 Census, the sixth highest percentage of the population of any municipality in the United States.

There were 7,252 households out of which 22.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.4% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.0% were non-families. 38.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the town the population was spread out with 18.4% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 40.4% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $57,563, and the median income for a family was $66,419. Males had a median income of $42,363 versus $37,045 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,086. About 7.1% of families and 11.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 14.3% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Local government

Morristown is governed under a Plan F Mayor-Council system of New Jersey municipal government under the Faulkner Act, which went into effect on January 1, 1974. The Morristown Town Council consists of seven members: three members elected at-large representing the entire town; and four members representing each of the town's four wards. Members are elected to four-year terms of office on a staggered basis; there is an election every two years, either for the four ward seats or for the at-large and mayoral seats. As the legislative arm of the government, the council is responsible for making and setting policy for the town.

The current mayor of Morristown is Donald Cresitello (Democratic), elected in November 2005 to office for a four-year term that ends December 31, 2009.

Members of the Morristown Town Council are:
  • Anthony Cattano, Council-at-Large and Council President (term ends December 31, 2009)
  • John Cryan, Council-at-Large (2009)
  • Michelle Harris-King, Council-at-Large (2011)
  • Rebecca Feldman, First Ward (2011)
  • Raline Smith-Reid, Second Ward (2011)
  • James E. Smith, Third Ward (2011)
  • Alison Deeb, Fourth Ward (2011)


The budget for 2007 was $35.4 million.

Federal, state, and county representation

Morristown is in the Eleventh Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 25th Legislative District.

Education

The Morris School District is a regional public school district that serves the communities of Morristown and Morris Townshipmarker (for grades K-12), along with students of Morris Plainsmarker for grades 9-12 only, as part of a sending-receiving relationship. The district provides a supportive and challenging educational environment for a student population of approximately 4,700. Within the district there are three primary schools (K-2), three intermediate schools (3-5), one multi-age magnet school (K-5), one middle school (6-8), and one high school, Morristown High Schoolmarker. The school serves students from Morristown and Morris Townshipmarker, along with students from Morris Plainsmarker, who attend the district's high school as part of a sending/receiving relationship.

In addition to a public school system, there are several private schools. Primary and elementary schools include The Red Oaks School, a Montessori school serving students from pre-school through grade six, Assumption Roman Catholic grade school (K-8), and The Peck School, a private day school which serves approximately three hundred students in kindergarten through grade eight. There are several private junior and senior high schools. The Delbarton Schoolmarker, an all-boys Roman Catholic school serving approximately five hundred and forty students in grades seven through twelve is located here. So is the Morristown-Beard Schoolmarker, a private co-ed school formed from the merger of two previously existing institutions, Morristown Preparatory School and Miss Beard's School. The combined institution serves grades 6 through 12. In addition, Villa Walsh Academymarker, a private Catholic college preparatory school conducted by the Religious Teachers Filippini, is located in Morristown.

The Academy of Saint Elizabethmarker was founded at Morristown in 1860 by the Sisters of Charity.It was the first secondary school for young women in the state. When the religious order founded the academy, they moved their mother house and convent from Newark onto a massive parcel that was located on the developing "Millionaires Row" that stretched from Lonataka Parkway to the center of Morristown (described popularly as the "inland Newport" because of the many wealthy families who built grand homes along the route). In 1865, Morristown changed its incorporation to the new "town" category with a boundary that then excluded their large land holdings. Thirty years later, that boundary line officially delineated two governmental jurisdictions in 1895 when Morristown was formally set off from the rest of Morris Township. The College of Saint Elizabethmarker was founded in 1899 as part of the complex and, notably, it is the oldest women's college in New Jersey and one of the first Catholic colleges in the United States to award degrees to women. After the new boundary delineated the governmental jurisdiction of Morristown as a smaller area, a community eventually grew up between Morristown and Madison as a separate entity that eventually took its name from the railway station built on the extensive Saint Elizabeth's property.

The Rabbinical College of Americamarker in Morristown has trained hundreds of young Lubavitch rabbis. It is one of the largest Chabad Lubavitch Chasidic yeshivas in the world. Many prominent Chabad Rabbis and Emissaries attended the Rabbinical College of America. The Rabbinical College of America also has a Baal Teshuva yeshiva for students of diverse Jewish backgrounds, named Yeshiva Tiferes Bachurim. The New Jersey Regional Headquarters for the worldwide Chabad Lubavitch movement is located on the campus.

Transit-oriented development

Morristown has attempted to implement transit-oriented development. Morristown was one of the first five “transit villages” designated in New Jersey in 2000. In 1999, Morristown changed its zoning code to designate the area around the train station as a “Transit Village Core” for mixed-use. The designation was at least partly responsible for development plans for several mixed-use condominium developments with asking prices ranging from $600,000 to over $1,000,000 per unit. As a town with New Jersey Transit rail service at the Morristownmarker station, it benefited from shortened commuting times to New York City due to the "Midtown Direct" service New Jersey Transit instituted in the 1990s.

Local media

WMTR is an AM radio station at 1250 kHz is licensed to Morristown. The station features an oldies format.

WJSVmarker radio and television (90.5 FM) also exists in Morristown, the nonprofit radio station of Morristown High School, which also has a television show which airs on cable television, Colonial Corner.

The Morristown Daily Record is published locally.

Hometown Tales, a public access TV show and podcast chronicling stories and urban legends from around the world, is loosely based in Morristown.

Sports

The New Jersey Minutemen are a professional inline hockey team that competes in the Eastern Conference of the Professional Inline Hockey Association.

Morristown has a cricketing club, the first in North America.

The Morristown 1776 Association Football Club is a soccer club that competes in the North Jersey Soccer League and MCSSA

Interesting facts

  • The largest statue of Thomas Paine is located in Morristown.
  • Morristown was the home of Thomas Nast for more than twenty years.
  • Morristown & Erie Railway, a local short-line freight railway, has its main office, yard, and shop in Morristown.
  • The Seeing Eye, a guide dog school, has been based in Morristown since 1929. It was the first such school in the nation.
  • The United States Equestrian Team, USET, the international equestrian team for the United States, was founded in 1950 at the Coates estate on van Beuren Road in Morristown.
  • One of the few statues depicting an unblindfolded Lady Justice adorns the facade of the Courthouse.
  • On January 5, 2009, five red lights were spotted in the Morristown area night skies. The event was a staged hoax using helium balloons and flares, but became nationally known as the Morristown UFO


Notable natives and residents

Some noted current and former residents:

References

  1. "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 195.
  2. Whatever happened to Washington's 1777 HQ in Morristown?, accessed May 7, 2006.
  3. The "Hard" Winter of 1779—80, National Park Service. Accessed March 17, 2006.
  4. Northwest Skylands: Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey Skylands. Accessed September 17, 2006.
  5. Staff. "Paine Statue Unveiled; 3,000 at Morristown Ceremony in Memory of Patriot", The New York Times, July 5, 1950. Accessed October 7, 2008.
  6. Staff. "'Recycling' a Hospital that was Underused, The New York Times, December 1, 1985. Accessed September 18, 2009.
  7. U.S. 2000 Census places datafile
  8. Colmbian Communities, Epodunk. Accessed August 23, 2006.
  9. 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 116.
  10. Morris County Manual 2006: Town of Morristown, Morris County, New Jersey, accessed April 17, 2007.
  11. Morristown Town Council, accessed August 2, 2007.
  12. John Cryan, Morristown official website
  13. Michelle Harris-King, Morristown official website
  14. Raline Smith-Reid, Morristown official website
  15. James E. Smith, Morristown official website
  16. Morristown official website pdf accessed March 6, 2008
  17. 2008 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government, New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 61. Accessed September 30, 2009.
  18. Morristown High School 2007 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed February 23, 2008. "It is composed of 1503 ethnically diverse students representing more than 31 different languages from Morristown, Morris Township, and Morris Plains."
  19. Morris County Elementary / Secondary Schools, Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson. Accessed July 26, 2008.
  20. Yeshiva Tiferes
  21. Indoor Cricket USA - Bringing Tradition Inside
  22. Virtual Walking Tour of Historic Morristown, Morristown partnership. Accessed August 4, 2008. "Above the front entrance to the courthouse stands a wooden statue of Justice. She holds a scale to symbolize the balanced judicial system, and a sword to represent the protection of individual rights. Morristown´s statue of Justice is unlike most others because she is not blindfolded."
  23. Wcbstv.com
  24. "Blake Transferred To County Jail As He Awaits Murder Charges", WMAQ-TV, April 19, 2002. Accessed October 15, 2007. "The Morristown, N.J., native had a criminal record for a 1989 drug-related arrest in Tennessee, where she associated herself with singer Jerry Lee Lewis and his sister."
  25. Bio: Brendan Buckley, RhythmTech. Accessed November 28, 2007. "Brendan Buckley grew up in the New Jersey area (Morristown and Mount Arlington) before moving to Miami to attend the University of Miami's School of Music."
  26. Rohan, Virginia. "The Monster on the Doodle Pad -- Lincoln Child's 'The Relic' is the Product", The Record , January 28, 1997. Accessed December 5, 2007. "When Lincoln Child was just a lad, his mother handed him a big black notebook. First, he doodled in the front. Then, the Morristown novelist recalls, 'I turned to the back, and I drew something so frightening I could never look at it again.'"
  27. George T. Cobb Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 18, 2007.
  28. Augustus W. Cutler Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed July 24, 2007.
  29. Meoli, Daria. "That’s Entertainment", New Jersey Monthly, October 2005. Accessed December 26, 2007. "Find Me Guilty, shot in Newark, Bayonne, and Hoboken, stars tough guy Vin Diesel as Giacomo “Fat Jack” DiNorscio, in the true story of New Jersey’s notorious mob family the Lucchesis. Morristown native Peter Dinklage plays a defense attorney."
  30. Staff. "Report: Brett Favre, family now living in Morristown", The Star-Ledger, September 4, 2008. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  31. Caroline Carmichael McIntosh Fillmore, Buffalo Architecture and History. Accessed November 23, 2008. "Caroline Carmichael was the daughter of Charles Carmichael and Temperance Blachley Carmichael. She was born in Morristown, New Jersey, 10/21/1813."
  32. Robbins, Liz. "Tennis: Notebook; Gimelstob Says Fine For Spitting Is Low", The New York Times, August 31, 2001. Accessed June 1, 2008. "Gimelstob was so disturbed that he threatened to find Tabara in the locker room afterward. Yesterday, Gimelstob, from Morristown, N.J., was even more angry."
  33. Rae, John W. & John W. Rae Jr. (1980). Morristown's Forgotten Past "The Gilded Age." Morristown, NJ, John W. Rae.
  34. Morris, Bob. "At Lunch with: Fran Lebowitz; Words Are Easy, Books Are Not", The New York Times, August 10, 1994. Accessed June 1, 2008. "Ms. Lebowitz grew up in Morristown, N.J., where her parents owned a furniture store."
  35. Dave Moore profile, National Football League Players Association. Accessed July 24, 2007. "Hometown: Morristown, NJ...Attended Roxbury High School in Succasunna, New Jersey, lettering in football, basketball, baseball and track… High school All-America as a senior."
  36. Youngmisuk, Ohm. "Doherty's Putting the 'Fight' Back in Fighting Irish", New York Daily News, March 30, 2000. Accessed June 1, 2008. "'You can consider him a player's coach,' said Troy Murphy, a Morristown native and Big East Player of the Year."
  37. Thomas Nast: America's Image Maker, Macculloch Hall Museum. Accessed July 24, 2007. "Thomas Nast moved his family to Morristown, NJ in 1870, believing it to be a safe distance from his political enemy, William "Boss" Tweed of New York. Although his work for Harper's took him weekly to New York for overnight stays, Nast was a full-fledged resident of Morristown."
  38. Ante, Stephen E. "The Net's Free Force: Craig Newmark's craigslist is an online grapevine that generates 1.5 billion page views a month", Business Week, August 15, 2005. "A 52-year-old native of Morristown, N.J., Newmark began craigslist while working as a freelance software developer in San Francisco."
  39. Nakamura, David. "O'Donnell Bracing for Media Blitz; Quarterback Jumps From Pittsburgh's Frying Pan to New York's Firing Line", The Washington Post, August 13, 1996. Accessed February 26, 2008. "Since joining the Jets -- and returning to play near his home in Morristown, N.J. -- O'Donnell has tried to quash talk that he is more interested in getting paid..."
  40. Wise, Brian. "Eclectic Sounds of New Jersey, Echoing From Coast to Coast", The New York Times, February 8, 2004. Accessed November 22, 2007.
  41. Garrett E. Reisman, NASA. Accessed October 7, 2008.
  42. Gene Shalit, The Today Show, December 10, 2004. Accessed January 27, 2008. "In six years he fled to Morristown, New Jersey, where he was columnist for the high school paper and narrowly escaped expulsion."
  43. Jyles Tucker, San Diego Chargers. Accessed November 21, 2007.
  44. Alfred Vail, World of Invention. Accessed June 1, 2008. "Alfred Vail was born on September 25, 1807, in Morristown, New Jersey, where his father, Stephen, operated the Speedwell Iron Works."
  45. New Jersey Governor George Theodore Werts, National Governors Association. Accessed August 1, 2007.
  46. Biography, Nancy Zeltsman. Accessed November 23, 2008.


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