Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Newark (2.)
NEWARK, the principal city of the State of New Jersey, United States, is situated in Essex county, on the west bank of the Passaic river, 4 miles above Newark Bay, and covers an area of about 18 square miles. The original site was a crescent-shaped ridge, or double chain of low hills, extending from north-east to south-west, now much changed by levelling and cutting. The main part of the city is on the lower ground which stretches east and south towards the Newark and Hackensack Meadows (salt marshes). The surface is, in general, well adapted for drainage and sewage. The climate is mild, tempered by the proximity of Newark Bay and the Atlantic (12 miles distant), and the place bears a good reputation for healthfulness. The water-supply comes from the Passaic. There are about 130 miles of streets, generally wide and well-shaded, one-fifth of which are paved. The principal thoroughfare, Broad Street (120 feet wide), is lined throughout a good part of its length with fine old elms, and where not occupied by business premises is fronted by numerous handsome residences. There are several small parks, the principal of which are Military and Washington Parks, bordering on Broad Street. The public buildings are for the most part unsightly and unsuitable; on the other hand, the city is not overburdened by debt or by heavy taxation.
Notwithstanding that the central portion of Newark is but 9 miles distant from the general post-office in New York city,—being considerably nearer that point than are the northern portions of New York city proper—Newark has more the character of an independent city than a suburb. This it owes in part to its situation within another State, but still more to its independent and distinctive manufacturing interests. Even prior to 1872 it was called “the Birmingham of America.” In that year a very successful exhibition, consisting of the manufactures of Newark, greatly stimulated the investment of capital.
The principal industries are—jewellery, tanning and currying, celluloid (a substitute for ivory, coral, &c.) and celluloid goods, hat-making, boot and shoe making, trunk and valise making, saddlery hardware, harness-making, breweries (mostly lager beer) and malt-houses, building, carriage and waggon making, clothing, chemical works, cigar and tobacco factories, edge tools, hammers, &c., cabinetmaking, and iron and steel works. There are also large cotton, woollen, and silk-thread factories, and an extensive sewing-machine factory, together employing about 3000 hands.
Plan of Newark.
In 1810 the population of Newark was 6000; in 1836, when the town became a city, it was 19,732; in 1840 it was 17,290, shortly after which began a stream of immigration which has continued almost uninterruptedly since. In 1850 the population had more than doubled, reaching 38,894; in 1860 it was 71,941, having again almost doubled; during the next decade, including the period of the civil war, it increased to 105,059, and it has since grown in like ratio, being 136,508 in 1880. This had risen to 145,000 (estimated) in 1883. In 1880 there were 17,628 persons of German, 13,451 of Irish, 4478 of English, and 1090 of Scotch birth, together with Italians, French, Swedes, Swiss, and other nationalities in numbers which bring the total of foreign-born population up to 40,330. Those of German and Irish birth, together with their children (minors) born within the United States, constitute fully three-fifths of the entire population.
History.—On or about May 17, 1666—the exact date cannot be determined—there anchored in the Passaic river, opposite what is now Newark, a small vessel from Milford, Connecticut, having on board a company of thirty persons, Puritans, who had come to form a new settlement in the New Jersey wilderness. Before the landing was completed, the Hackensack Indians demanded compensation from the new comers, which they finally received. The price then paid for the land upon which Newark and the adjacent towns and villages of Essex county are built being “fifty double hands of powder, one hundred bars of lead, twenty axes, twenty coats, ten guns, twenty pistols, ten kettles, ten swords, four blankets, four barrels of beer, ten pairs of breeches, fifty knives, twenty horses, eighteen hundred and fifty fathoms of wampum, two ankers of liquor (or something equivalent), and three troopers’ coats.” Subsequently another vessel arrived from Connecticut containing a somewhat larger party, but both together numbered, all told, less than seventy persons. Their chief desire was to establish a community whose spiritual and temporal affairs would be controlled and directed “according to God and a godly government.” Their pastor was Abraham Pierson, originally from Newark-on-Trent, in whose honour the name of the settlement was changed from Milford to Newark. The town was laid out in lots, and everything was ordered and governed mainly according to Mosaic law. The foremost among the settlers was Captain Robert Treat, a brave, resolute, wise, and kindly man, who, after remaining long enough to see the new settlement fairly established, returned to Connecticut, and became governor of the colony. He had previously been deputy-governor for thirty-two years. The dream of Pierson and his Puritan followers was not realized. Before many years the Mosaic bars had to be removed one by one, and gradually the townspeople broadened their ideas of government. But even to this day, despite the cosmopolitan character of the population, the old Puritan leaven is still at work, largely leavening the whole lump.
The first occurrence of special interest in the history of the town after its settlement was a schism in the old church. Colonel Josiah Ogden, a rich and influential member, and a man of strong individuality, saved his wheat one dry Sunday, in a wet season. He maintained that it was a work of necessity; the church declared it to be a violation of God’s law. The immediate result was the withdrawal of Ogden and his followers, and the founding of the first Episcopal or Church of England Society in Newark,—Trinity Church. The affair led also to an exacerbating controversy which lasted from 1734 until long after the Revolutionary war which closed in 1783. Newark was, from 1748 to 1756, the seat of the college of New Jersey, thereafter permanently established at Princeton, founded by the Rev. Aaron Burr, father of the more celebrated American of the same name; the latter was born in Newark. During the war of independence, the great majority of the thousand inhabitants of Newark sided with the Americans; the town suffered severely from the ravages of the British and marauding parties of American loyalists; on the other hand the American revolutionists drove out all loyalists, and confiscated their property. After the war, manufactures began to prosper, and have continued to do so ever since. At one time chair-making was carried on extensively, and it is stated that among those who worked at it in Newark was the famous Talleyrand.