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Newark History, New Jersey

Newark, NJ US - History: How a Colony’s Disagreement Paved the Way for a City?

In 1662, Newark, NJ’s history began in Connecticut. It was during this period when New Haven Colony got absorbed by Connecticut Colony following orders from King Charles II. Puritans, founders of the New Haven colony, were displeased with this forced merger to their neighbors. Their colonists believed that members of Puritan’s church should be the only ones allowed for voting. Again, they felt that church members’ children could also be baptized. However, these rules were not a part of the constitution of this new colony.

Determined for pursuing their theocracy, Puritans sent John Gregory & Robert Treat for meeting New Jersey’s new Royal Governor, Philip Carteret. They came up with a site near Elizabethtown and along Passaic River for their new location. In 1666, Treat and other Puritan settlers purchased that land directly from Hackensack Indians in exchange to goods, which mainly comprised of arms and ammunitions like gunpowder, axes, coats, pistols, guns, knives, swords, blankets, beers and breeches valued around $750. A portion of this payment was assessed on every family, which arrived to settle in this new colony within first year of the settlement.

This was followed by the creation of Market & Broad Streets, 2 major thoroughfares, and division of village into 6-acre plots. Initially, the town was named Milford, which was the place in Connecticut from where most settlers migrated. However, it was renamed ‘Newark’ once the first formal government was established.

First hotel of the town opened on Broad & Walnut Streets in 1920 at Thomas Johnson’s home, who was the city’s first constable. College of New Jersey, which later on became Princeton University, got shifted to Newark from Elizabethtown in 1747. In 1756, the University finally got settled in Princeton. While she was in Newark, Ewarth, wife of Rev Aaron Burr (second President of the college and man behind the important decision of its move), gave birth to Aaron Burr, Jr. (United States’ 3rd Vice President).

Church & government of Newark were initially inseparable. Anyone, not a church member, was deprived of Newark Government’s benefits. Church was, in fact, first public building of Newark. It stood on Broad Street. For the first forty years of the village's inception, First Church, now known as Old First Presbyterian, was actually the scene for worship, military proceedings and town meetings.

Now, city has changed a lot since the earlier times. Still, what remains is the beautiful architecture having historical significance. Every year, tourists from every corner of the globe come to see these wonderful sights.

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