18 May 2009

Millstone Boro - 115 Years Young

I couldn't let another May 18 pass without acknowledging the anniversary of the formation of Millstone Boro, which officially seceded from Hillsborough Township on this day in 1894.

As one of the leading villages of Hillsborough, Millstone played a significant part in the township's, and Somerset County's, history for 150 years. As the county seat during the American Revolution and a center for commerce right up through the industrial revolution, Millstone's importance to the region has been estimable.

Yet - unlike the plentiful information regarding Manville's secession in 1929, an admittedly unsuccessful search of contemporary and historical accounts has turned up no clues regarding the reasons for Millstone's separation. Why split from Hillsborough? And why in 1894?

East Millstone, by comparison, broke away from Franklin Township in 1873. At that time, the Delaware and Raritan Canal had been well established for forty years, and was at the peak of its importance. There was also a thriving railroad and railroad works in the hamlet. Millstone benefited from the canal and railroad also, but by 1894 Millstone's railroad, the Mercer & Somerset, had been gone for 15 years, and the canal was already entering its decline.

So what was it?

I still don't know - but I know one thing. East Millstone was an independent borough for less than 75 years, rejoining Franklin in 1949. Millstone is at 115 and counting.

What do you think Hillsborough people? Is it time for Millstone to come home?

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