SOME EARLY FAMILIES OF
BLOOMFIELD, NEW JERSEY

Baldwin || Davis || Dodd || Morris || Ward

This page contains short sketches of five founding families of Bloomfield, NJ and is
excerpted from "Bloomfield, Old & New", An Historical Symposium by Several Authors,
Published by the Centennial Historical Committee, Bloomfield, New Jersey 1912

The early membership of First Baptist Church of Bloomfield, NJ contained descendants
of the Baldwin, Dodd and Ward families.


BALDWIN

Benjamin, the weaver, was the founder ancestor of most of the Baldwins of Bloomfield. He came from Milford, Connecticut, and was in Newark in the fall of 1666, a young man aged twenty-six years. There was given him a home lot in Newark, located west of the present Washington Avenue, near Warren Street. He took up land between the Second and Third rivers, and north of the highway leading over Watsesson Hill. Among his descendants was David Baldwin, born about 1715, from whom most of the family who located near the Third River and Morris Neighborhood are descended. When David was eighty-five years old he could still drive his team to a swamp by the river and bring home a load of wood. David and his sons owned three mill sites on Third River, and most of the farms between the church and Morris Neighborhood. He was a charter member of the old church, and his wife and eight children had the same honor. The children were Zophar, David, Silas, Jesse, Ichabod, Eunice, Sarah and Simeon. Jesse was a quartermaster in the Continental Army. It was Simeon who opposed the project to build a frame church, and vigorously declared for a permanent structure of stone. He operated a grist and fulling mill. He died September 7, 1806. The Baldwin line to David and his large family runs as follows: Joseph, Benjamin, Benjamin, David.


DAVIS

Steven Davis of the Milford group was the Davis ancestor. No record appears concerning any grant to him of land in Bloomfield. There are many records showing that Thomas Davis, his son, had acquired a number of tracts in this neighborhood near the Second and Third rivers previous to 1700. A deed in the possession of the Davis family of Bloomfield, dated November 7, 1711, in the reign of Queen Anne, conveys 111 acres in the Eastern Division of New Jersey from Thomas Wall of Middletown, Monmouth Co., to Thomas Davis of Newark. Which descendant of Stephen Davis was the first to make his home on Watsesson Plain we are unable to state. Caleb, the father of Deacon Joseph Davis, died in 1783, aged sixty-six years and his wife, Ruth, in 1793. The Davis line in Bloomfield appears to run as follows: Stephen, the founder, died in 1691. His sons were John, Thomas and Jonathan. Thomas (2) who was born in 1660 and died January 26, 1738, acquired much land in different parts of Essex County, and one of his deeds for property further away has been mentioned. He had seven children: Thomas, Jonathan, Stephen, James, Apphia, Sarah Ball, and Mary. From Thomas (3) descended James (4), whose will in 1748 mentions Thomas (4), who died in Bloomfield in 1780 and four daughters. It is this Thomas who gave the lot for the school. From Jonathan (3), who died in 1690, descended Caleb (4), born 1717 and died in Bloomfield 1783; and Deacon Joseph (5), born 1753, died June 5, 1827. The children of Deacon Joseph were Caleb, Charles, Joseph Austin, Henrietta, Abigail, Martha and Mary. Henrietta was the last of children to occupy the old homestead, and later a grandson, Charles M., the son of Caleb (6), resided there. Joseph Austin was the well-known physician, who is still remembered by hundreds of his former patients. Another line comes from Moses Davis, sons of whom were John, Joseph and Henry.


DODD

Daniel Dodd of Newark was the ancestor of the Dodds of Bloomfield and Doddtown, East Orange. He came from Branford about 1668. He was appointed in March, 1678, with Edward Ball, the run the northern line of the town from the Passaic to the First Mountain. The land looked fair to the young man, and he soon thereafter surveyed a tract upon Watsesson Plain, in the valley of the Second River. The Elizabeth Town Bill in Chancery states the fact of his having secured this land. In January 18, 1697, this property and much more in various localities was confirmed to him by the East Jersey proprietors. He was chosen a deputy to the Provincial Assembly in 1692. His children, Daniel, Stephen, John and Dorcas are said to have established homes on various tracts of the Watsesson grant.


MORRIS

Thomas Morris, whose name appears among the Milford group at Newark in 1666, was the forefather of the Morris family of Bloomfield. He died at New Haven in 1673, and it is possible that the original records read "John" instead of "Thomas," and that Thomas never left Connecticut. John (2) and his wife Elizabeth, said in 1668 to have been "late of Neww Haven," had two sons, John and Philip. The father, John (2), died about 1675. John (3), born the year Newark was settled, was the actual founder of the family, his brother Philip having no children. He is called "Captain" in the records and arose from "Sergeant." John cleared the land and settled personally on the tract to be later called the Morris Neighborhood. He was at one time sheriff of Essex County. He lived to the ripe age of eighty-three years, and saw great developments in this region. John Morris (3) testified in the land controversies about 1740 that he had occupied his lands for many years, showing that he personally settled on his plantation near Third River. His sons were Stephen (4), who was born in 1706, and died in 1781; and John, Jr., whose will is dated 1729. Ephraim (5), the son of Stephen, married Joanna Davis, and his son Stephen (6) married in 1799 Catharine Smith. Their children were Ephraim (7), Jacob, James, Joseph, Mary, Emeline, Hulin and Albert.


WARD

John Ward, called the "dishturner" and more frequently "turner," was the founder ancestor of the Wards of Watsesson Plain. He came to Newark in 1666 with the Branford Group. His uncle Lawrence, the first of the settlers to be mentioned as deacon, also came at that time, but died childless four years later. Elizabeth, widow of Lawrence, owned land here in 1675. John, the turner, in 1675 had confirmed to him by the East Jersey Proprietors, forty-four acres beyond Second River, bounded on the north by property owned by his aunt, Elizabeth. Upon this land, now the center of Bloomfield, the descendants of John in time settled. Who was the first to clear the woods and build a house cannot be stated. Nathaniel, the son of John, owned property here in 1697. About 1795 Washington Avenue was called "Samuel Ward's lane." The characteristic names of the Wards have been John, Josiah, Nathaniel, Lawrence, Jacob, Caleb, Matthias and Samuel, all coming from the early settlers. The Ward line from John the "turner" appears to be as follows: John (1) will, 1684; Josiah (2) will, 1713; Lawrence, born 1710, died April 4, 1783; and the sons named in his will, made in 1776, were Samuel, Jacob, Jonathan, Stephen and Cornelius. The foregoing were the families, briefly sketched, which began the settling of Bloomfield. There were others who followed them; among them the Balls and Cadmuses, but they came later. The Balls were descendants of Edward Ball, of Branford, one of the descendants was Joseph of Bloomfield. The Cadmus line in this region begins with Thomas, born May 7, 1707, who came from Bergen (Jersey City) to Second River (Belleville), and married there Cornelia Jeralemon on June 30, 1733.

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