Written by Ed Zindel, former Oakland resident
When I reflect on the impressive list of local angling opportunities that I enjoyed in my youth, the finest warm water fishery was undoubtedly in an impoundment known as Rotten Pond; located on the Oakland – Wanaque border. Furthermore, due to the abundance of large fish in this lake, it was also the most exciting fishing resource that was accessible to me during those cherished years. From the time I overheard the first whispers about this mountaintop fishing hot spot, the origin of the name “Rotten Pond” (as it was referred to by locals) was a mystery to me. After I witnessed the rugged surrounding beauty and the clarity of the water, the notion that something could be rotten here became an even greater conundrum.
As I began to document the many experiences I enjoyed at this lake, it occurred to me that every reader would be asking themselves this very question, and it was this consideration that provided me with the incentive to investigate the long standing mystery.
Although this subject represents a very obscure part of the region’s significant past, a review of the existing literature demonstrates that, like myself, every author who created an informative document on this area, for the past 100 years, felt a responsibility to explain how this pond got such an odd name.
In a document entitled “The Paterson Ramblers at Oakland”, dated June 9, 1907, I found the earliest and strangest example. This account credits an English Geologist who found “the soil on certain approaches to the lake of such a porous or rotten nature that it was unsafe to venture on it”; thus the pond became known as “Rotten Pond”. If I were the land owner during those years, I might have started such a rumor to keep the local delinquents from catching my fish.
Humor aside, a wide variety of facts, errors, omissions, and misinformation, regarding the history of this pond, has been offered to recreational enthusiasts by more than a dozen authors.
Several decades after I first contemplated the source of this unbecoming moniker, I read The Valley of Homes: A book authored by Ryerson Vervaet whose father Clifford MacEvoy owned Rotten Pond (then Ramapo Lake) and built an elegant granite manor he named Ryecliff on a bluff overlooking the lake.
Included in Ms. Vervaet’s book, which documented the history of Oakland from 1695 to 1952, were two interesting theories concerning the origin of the name “Rotten Pond”. One credited the early Dutch with naming the pond, while the other suggested it was the English. Based on this fundamental contradiction, I decided to investigate the merits of both theories before passing them along to readers who could then decide for themselves.
The first was: “The Dutch are said to have called the lake Ratten Pond because of the many muskrats who made it their home and eventually the name was corrupted to “Rotten Pond”.
This theory, which I traced back to the early 1900’s, remained both obscure and unchanged for decades. With the arrival of the internet, however, it has become so widespread that many authors now quote it as a historical fact. Additionally, the Dutch name “Ratten Pond”, which was essential to the theory, has evolved into: “Roten Pond”, “Rote Pond”, “Ratten Poel”, “Rat Pond”, and several other variations that support the notion that muskrats and colonial Dutchmen were complicit in the origin of the name. On that thought, my investigation begins.
Due to the fact that muskrats prefer shallow marshes with plentiful aquatic vegetation, I first questioned whether the historic pond provided these furbearers with the required habitat. Surprisingly, an 1891 United States Geological Survey Map (USGS) confirmed the natural pond was indeed shallow and had a significant amount of wetlands on the northeast and western shores. While this map provided no evidence of aquatic plants, it indicated the depth and shoreline profile was well suited for muskrats.
I next explored the question of whether the Dutch word “ratten” (rats) was used as an abbreviation for muskrats in the Netherlands. The surprising answer was the muskrat was a native of North America; not Europe and as a consequence, it was an unknown and nameless creature to the colonists. In spite of this, settlers quickly learned this small attractive furbearer had a thick lustrous pelt that made warm clothing and was valuable to fur traders.
A subsequent investigation of the word “muskrat” indicated the earliest settlers of New England first called them “musquash”, after an Algonquin word, but by 1680–1690 the new name “muskrat” had been coined.
Along the Ramapo River corridor the matter was a bit different, as the local Lenape Indians called the muskrats “temuskwas”, but it is highly probable the new word muskrat had reached the settlers as a consequence of the brisk colonial fur trade. The unanswered question, however, is whether the Dutch adopted the local Indian name temuskwus, learned the new English word “muskrat”, or used the word “ratten” after an unwelcome and unattractive form of pestilence they knew only too well.
It is the author’s opinion that if the Dutch named the pond after this valued furbearer, they would have called it Temuskwus Pond” or “Muskrat Pond” and neither would have been corrupted to “Rotten Pond”.
The second theory documented in Ms. Vervaet’s book is: “The Lake was once used for “retting” or soaking of flax, to loosen the textile fiber from the woody part of the stalk before the plant was spread in the sun to bleach and dry. Wild flax in the neighborhood lends some credence to this theory, and the transition from “Retting Pond” to “Rotten Pond” is an easy one”. As “retting” is an English verb, this theory suggests that the English named the pond, and it was subsequently changed to a second English name.
As part of my investigation, I learned that flax grew well in colonial New Jersey, and settlers raised an average of ¼ acre per family member annually for their clothing and other linen needs. Of further interest is the fact that no native specie of flax grew in New Jersey before the settlers arrived. This is particularly important as Ms. Vervaet’s reference to wild flax in the neighborhood suggests there was once a remnant population near the pond that may have been carried there by the settlers. While absent today, the possibility that flax once grew there is corroborated by the fact that a flax variety from Europe (Linum perenne) was cultivated by the Colonists and scatterings are still found growing in the wild across the US.
Additional linguistic research indicates the English word “retting”, defined as: "to soak stems of fibrous plants (flax, hemp, jute, etc.) to soften them through partial rotting”, translates to the Dutch word “roting”. In addition, Dutch for rotten is “rotte” and rotting is “rottende”.
Further support for the theory that Rotten Pond may have been suitable for soaking flax can be found in the description of the water retting process which follows: “Water retting is best accomplished in stagnant or slowly-moving waters, like ponds, bogs and streams.
As a rule, the more stagnant the water source, the more abundant the bacterial fauna and the faster the retting process. Flax bundles weighted down in ponds and bogs generally ret in anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on water temperature”.
During this natural degumming process, butyric acid, methane gas, and hydrogen sulfide are created. This chemical reaction not only generates a particularly rotten smell, but as a further negative consequence, the water can become seriously polluted as sediment accumulates in a rettery.
These details neatly link the bacterial breakdown (or partial rotting) of flax with the Dutch words “roting” and “rottende”. Similarly, the foul smell and the resulting water pollution are a perfect match for the English word “rotten”.
A review of early maps indicates that the settlers along the Ramapo River corridor had two ponds that were suitable for retting. One was Crooked Pond (now Hopper Pond), near the intersection of today’s Long Hill Road and Breakneck Road in Oakland, and the other was Rotten Pond. An indication of how many settlers might have used these ponds appeared on Robert Erskine’s 1769 map, which marked each home in the area with a black square.
A count indicates that 13 families were closer to Crooked Pond and twenty homes, located on a parcel called the Ramopock Tract (see note below), were nearer to Rotten Pond.
While the total number of homes in the valley was very small, the average colonial family included parents and 7 children. This indicates a population of approximately 297 people that required ¼ acre of flax each to meet their annual linen needs. Depending on the actual number of settlers who grew flax in the valley, up to 74 acres of plants would have required retting.
Three methods typically used by colonists were pond retting, river retting, or dew retting. The fastest and most reliable was pond retting, which was also known to produce a high quality fiber. River retting took up to 2 weeks longer, exposed the crop to loss during high water events, and worked best with slow, deep water; not typical of the undammed Ramapo. Dew retting, (or field retting) was accomplished by spreading the plants thinly over a field, where they would be moistened by rainfall and/or dew. This method, which typically took 4-6 weeks, was problematic; as it only worked if the moisture and temperature requirements were satisfied. Furthermore, the crop could be spoiled by mold and mildew if the weather became too wet.
It is therefore apparent that while remote, Roten Pond provided settlers with the quickest and most reliable option for processing their flax.
Another point of interest is that early Bergen County maps clearly show historic mountain roads which connected the nearby towns of Pompton, Wanaque, and Oakland to a point just north of Rotten Pond. While these were undoubtedly parts of the Revolutionary War era “Cannonball Road”, used to transport iron products from the forges at Pompton and Ringwood to the continental army, it would not be unreasonable to assume they may have been used well before the war as a means of hauling flax to the pond.
More exciting evidence relating to the origin of the name “Rotten Pond” was documented in an historic treasure that was tucked away in the archives of the Bolger Heritage Center at the Ridgewood Library.
Circa April 4, 1765. “in a separate conveyance, (Peter) Hasenclever also bought land in the vicinity of Ringwood of Joseph Wilcox and Walter Erwin the same year, also a tract of 68 acres of David Ogden, lying in the mountains between two rivers, Ramopock on the east and Wanque on the west, at a place called Rotten Pond, in the County of Bergen”.
Following this vital discovery, my wife and I traveled to the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton, to search the colonial records for the original deed. While we were excited to locate this archival document, the author failed to include the customary “recital”, which referenced the former land owner and the original survey. An assistant at the archives informed this would make it difficult, if not impossible to find additional information.
Not to be deterred, we took the meets and bounds described in the deed and created a drawing of the property. When this was compared to a modern map, it became apparent that some of the land was in present day Passaic County. Based on this observation, we visited the Passaic County hall of records to review the colonial documents that were transferred there from Perth Amboy (the first Bergen County seat) after Passaic County was formed in 1837.
A careful search of the archives revealed a series of archaic journals which included a record of all colonial era East New Jersey surveys; indexed by name and date. Among these was the Rotten Pond survey, prepared for David Ogden on March 30, 1764 by surveyor George Ryerson. Moreover, this document traced the source of the land to warrants administered by an English proprietor named William Alexander, Lord Stirling. To say this was an exciting moment would be an understatement.
It was now apparent that David Ogden was the first to own this parcel, which he acquired through Lord Stirling, from the original New Jersey land grants made by the Duke of York to John Lord Berkely and Sir George Carteret in 1664. Additionally, surveyor George Ryerson was the first to use the name “Rotten Pond” in a legal document.
In the 1700’s, much of New Jersey’s countryside was imperfectly known and poorly mapped. Furthermore, because latitude and longitude could not be accurately determined, a detailed verbal account was the only means a surveyor had to describe the location of a parcel. Toward that end, survey descriptions typically included several local place names and listed the county where the land was located. Next, a corner, which would serve as a starting point or “benchmark”, was verbally described.
The Ogden parcel was described as follows: “All that Tract of Land lying in the Mountains between the Two Rivers Ramopock on the East and Wanaque River on the West, at a place called the Rotten Pond in the County of Bergen Beginning at A White Oak Tree Free marked on four sides standing half a chain South Twenty degrees West from the Outlet of said Rotten Pond”.
The significant fact here is that Ryerson had to learn the name “Rotten Pond” from local settlers before he could record it as a place name on his completed survey. Of further importance is that George Ryerson (1703-1792) was the son of Joris Ryerson; a deacon in the Dutch Reformed Church; who lived in Pacquenac (Pequannock). This makes it obvious that George was fluent in Dutch and any corruption of Dutch pond names such as “Ratten”, “Roten”, “Rotte”, etc. never occurred.
Another interesting observation is that nearly all of the northern New Jersey ponds which appeared on the earliest maps (Robert Erskine, 1769 and Thomas Gordon, 1828) had English or Indian names. The exceptions are Dunker pond which is German, and Swartwent’s Pond (a probable misspelling) which cannot be determined.
The following is a list of these ponds in alphabetical order: Buck Pond, Budds Pond, Culver’s Pond, Dark Pond, Denmark Pond, Double Pond, Duck Pond, Dunker Pond, Grant’s Pond, Grass Pond, Green Pond, Hall’s Pond, Hank’s Pond, Hopatcong Pond, Hunt’s Pond, Hurd’s Pond, Long Pond (4), Little Pond, Lyon Pond, Mackepin Pond, Moses Pond, Mount Hope Pond, Mud Pond, Musconetconk, Pond, Norman’s Pond, Panther Pond, Perch Pond, Rice’s Pond, Rotten Pond, Ryerson’s Pond, Sand Pond, Shepherd Pond, Split Rock Pond, Sucker Pond, Swartwent ‘s Pond, West Meadow Pond, and White Ponds (2).
From this list, it becomes obvious that ponds with English names, such as Rotten Pond, were not the exception, but the overwhelming rule. The U.S. Bureau of the Census estimated that in 1776, 61% of the European settlers in New Jersey spoke English; yet it appears this group either owned or named nearly 100% of these highly desirable waters.
There also appears to be no logical reason why this mountain top pond would be described as “rotten”, other than by the actions of man. In its present form, Ramapo Lake has 120 acres of surface area and drains nearly one square mile of surrounding land. The resulting inflow from this watershed provides sufficient water exchange to maintain a healthy lake with a productive fishery and excellent water quality. In its natural state it was approximately 1/6 the size of the present day impoundment, which would have dramatically increased the exchange rate; resulting in more pristine water than exists today.
Colonial activities which could be associated with the word “rotten” included either the water retting process or a tannery. With respect to a tannery at Rotten Pond, the lack of archeological evidence including: buildings, vats, tanning boards, tree bark mills, fire pits, and hand tools, rules this out. By process of elimination this leaves the retting of flax.
Another subject which I considered is the fact that the two small tributaries that feed Rotten Pond created significant wetlands along the northeast and western shores of the original pond. Referred to today as swamps, marshes, or bogs, these links between land and water can be smelly when disturbed and difficult to cross. My question was whether these wetlands could have been a reason for calling the pond “rotten”?
A review of early Topographic maps indicated that wetlands surrounding natural ponds were a common occurrence in early New Jersey and didn’t change until the ponds were raised, or the shorelines were altered to accommodate lakefront development. Furthermore, there were significant wetlands along many rivers, brooks, and low lying areas. In summary, wetlands, especially near ponds and rivers, were a very familiar feature to the settlers and would not have provided justification for calling the pond “rotten”.
Based on compelling circumstantial evidence and a comprehensive process of elimination, it is the author’s opinion that “Rotten Pond” was the original name of this pond, which was so named by local settlers prior to 1764, due to the odor and decay associated with water retting. The possibility that surveyor George Ryerson translated “Rotte” to “Rotten” seems unlikely, but if so, the pond’s probable association with flax remains unchanged.
For the many readers who are familiar with the historic Peters Mine in Ringwood, NJ, it was named for Peter Hasenclever who, on behalf of the London Merchants, purchased the iron mining interests of the Ogden family in 1764. After this purchase, Hasenclever quickly acquired 50,000 acres of forested land to provide timbers for his mines and fuel for the furnaces he planned to build. Rotten Pond was one of the many parcels he chose to acquire.
David Ogden, the first owner of Rotten Pond, was a famous Newark lawyer who became one of the early judges on the New Jersey Supreme Court. When the Revolutionary war broke out, he chose to support the King and became an outspoken loyalist. As a consequence, his significant assets were confiscated when the war ended. He subsequently traveled to England where he represented other loyalists who were seeking reparations, and was reimbursed for his losses by the Crown.
William Alexander, Lord Stirling, who transferred the Rotten Pond parcel to Ogden, was one of George Washington's most loyal military subordinates during the American Revolution. He previously served as a supply officer during the French and Indian War, where he first met Washington. He was commissioned as a Brigadier General by Congress in 1776 and later became a Major General. He was also recognized as one of the bravest officers who served in the Revolutionary War.
Though not as impressive as the aforementioned personalities from the past, the following events, which chronicle the more recent history of Rotten Pond, are perhaps more fascinating.
Between 1872 and 1896, Jacob S. Rogers, locomotive engineer and owner of Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works of Paterson NJ, selectively acquired 1820 acres in the Ramapo Mountains which surrounded Rotten Pond. While the exact date is uncertain, Rogers vastly improved his mountain top estate by enlarging the pond with a dam he built across the Rotten Pond Outflow. The facts that Rogers completed his land acquisitions on June 2, 1896 and died on July 2, 1901, suggest the dam was completed during this 5 year period.
An engineer, who worked on the dam in 1991, informs it was built of stone and mortar and contained approximately 1670 cubic yards of materials. To put Roger’s 19th century project into perspective, the materials for this dam had to be hand loaded into wooden dump wagons and moved to the site with teams of horses. Moreover, materials such as mortar, sluice gates, valves, pipe, etc., had to be hauled to the dam over the mountain road that followed the Rotten Pond Brook. The dry mortar alone weighed approximately 100 tons, and the total weight of materials was estimated at 3340 tons.
In spite of the fact that Rogers was not a real estate developer, he recognized the potential of 20 acre Rotten Pond and committed nearly three decades of his life to developing it. Unfortunately for him, he was approaching eighty as the project neared completion, and he would not live to be rewarded for his insight, or the time and money he invested.
Upon his death in 1901 Rogers willed his estate, valued at $6,000,000, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1905, the MET transferred Rotten Pond to financier Howard Frothingham who renamed it LeGrande Lake after his wife Maud LeGrande Frothingham.[14} The sale price listed on the deed was ten dollars and other valuable considerations. Frothingham also purchased a lot named “The Rotten Pond Mountain Lot” which Rogers had been unable to acquire. This gave him exclusive ownership of all lands surrounding the lake.
The subsequent chain of deeds indicates Frothingham sold to another financier named Pliny Fisk in 1906, and Fisk passed his holdings to stock broker William Porter in 1908. Porter subsequently changed the name of the impoundment from LeGrande Lake to Ramapo Lake, and established two corporations (The Ramapo Club and Ramapo Park) which provided exclusive use of the lands and water to sportsmen who purchased shares in both Corporations. He also built the 3 mile long Pool Hollow Road entrance; which began at Colfax Ave in West Oakland and ended at his home site, north of the pond.
When the corporations were established in 1909, Porter transferred all of the land, except the lake, to Ramapo Park. Moreover, the land been laid out for subdivision using a unique Ramapo Park (RP) coordinate system. To the Ramapo club, Porter conveyed the lake (including a 15’ buffer strip), the hunting and fishing rights, the islands within the lake, and buildings and personal property on said islands. The buildings included a clubhouse, boathouse, and pump house; and the personal property included: gasoline powered boats, kitchen utensils, Club furniture, bedding, a cook stove, and other household effects.
In addition, Porter built the colossal granite mansion “Foxcroft” on the top of “Fox Hill”; selected for the commanding views it afforded. In 1911, while traveling back to New York after a weekend at Foxcroft, Porter was killed in an automobile accident. He was survived by his wife Ruth Halliwell Porter, who was returning from a European vacation aboard the Lusitania at the time of the crash.
In 1913, Ruth married Warren Van Slyke and renamed their part-time retreat the Van Slyke Castle. On February 8, 1914, Ruth filed a deed that merged the Ramapo Club with Ramapo Park, and simultaneously dissolved the Club. When Warren died in 1925, Ruth moved to the castle permanently and remained there until her death in 1940.
On March 1, 1949, the Castle was purchased by Celeste and Robin Mac Fadden, who subsequently sold to Suzanne S. Christie on July 2, 1951. Between 1951 and 1962, Suzanne S. Christie was to become Suzanne S. O’Sullivan then Suzanne Noyes Brussel. As strange as it may seem, Suzanne (who was the sole owner) abandoned the mansion between husbands, and left it to the mercy of the elements. In 1959, the magnificent structure was reduced to ruins in a fire of undetermined origin.
On August 18, 1978, Suzanne Brussel sold the ruins to Bruce Ademski of the Ademski and Van Saun Home Improvement Company. Ademski then subdivided the 15.9 acre parcel into three 5 acre lots. On February 22, 1980 the State of New Jersey filed a “Declaration of Taking”; which informed Ademski that his lots would soon be seized by the NJDEP at a non-negotiable price. Shortly after the receipt of this document, Ademski’s lots became part of Ramapo Mountain State Forest.
Bergen County deeds indicate that in 1925, Clifford and Bernice MacEvoy acquired four parcels from Ramapo Park then continued, over the following three decades, to acquire additional lands that would eventually comprise the 2236 acre MacEvoy Estate.
On July 11, 1939, the members of Ramapo Park, of which Clifford MacEvoy was President, filed a “Dissolution of Restrictions”, which modified certain restrictions placed upon the respective premises of the nine Ramapo Park shareholders. This was the last document we found that listed the private inholdings in what would become Ramapo Mountain State Forest. When the Ademski property was seized, the number was reduced by one, but any deeds or changes in ownership that occurred when the state purchased the land went unpublished.
In August of 1957 a dam inspection was conducted by state engineers and Mr. MacEvoy was informed: “The wall along the upstream face of the embankment has deteriorated to a point where the repair of this wall should be made without undue delay. You can readily realize that if a major storm overtops the roadway which forms the dam embankment, failure may occur which would release a tremendous volume of water in the small settlement in West Oakland downstream of the dam.” 
By October of that year, Mr. MacEvoy had completed the repairs as specified in a drawing prepared by the state.
In 1976, Ramapo Lake became the centerpiece of Ramapo Mountain State Forest, after the NJDEP acquired the MacEvoy Estate from trustee and former state assemblyman Arthur William Vervaet. After his death in 1999, Vervaet’s daughter stated: “He made it possible for that land to be acquired by the state”
In 1979, a dam inspection performed by the Army Corps of Engineers found the capacity of the spillway to be “seriously inadequate”, and soil erosion in the spillway channel threatened to undermine the dam. As a result, they reported: “if a severe storm were to occur, overtopping and failure of the dam could take place, significantly increasing the hazard potential to loss of life downstream from the dam”.
In 1980, follow-up inspections were performed to assess the structural integrity and operational adequacy of the dam. In a subsequent report, it was recommended that the NJDEP establish a flood warning system for downstream communities until these problems could be addressed.
A major reconstruction of the Ramapo Lake Dam was completed in 1991, which upgraded it to the latest safety standards.
Anecdotal information indicates that in addition to Jacob Rogers and William Porter, Pliny Fisk also purchased this exclusive property with plans of developing it. As fate would have it, none were able to carry out their vision.
It has now been 250 years since William Alexander, Lord Stirling transferred Rotten Pond to David Ogden of Newark. Astoundingly, the tract of land described by surveyor George Ryerson as lying in the mountains between two rivers, the Ramopock on the east and the Wanaque River on the west; remains much the same as it was at that time.
While the pond has been enlarged by a dam and there is a scattering of homes, visitors can still walk for miles in the expansive surrounding forests and enjoy wild and scenic views from ledges and rocky outcroppings. Saved from development largely by fate, this 6.7 square mile tract is one of the most accessible natural areas remaining in New Jersey. State Park Superintendent Eric Pain reports that each year, approximately 90,000 visitors enjoy this unique State Forest land.
February 20, 2015
1 Native American Indian Muskrat Mythology, Laura Redish, Orrin Lewis
2. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/muskrat?s=t; (from the Random House
3. Flax to linen: Industry in the Colonies, Harry Schenawolf
4, Wildflowers of the United States from USDA Plants Database
5. How Linen Is Made: From Flax to Fabric, Deck Towel, LLC
6. Combined Treatment of Retting Flax Wastewater, I. Sohair
7. Perspective on Structure, Chemistry, and Enzymes for Retting Flax, Aiken (Dept of AG)
8. Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Volume 2, Part 4, 1870 – 1872
9. History of Morris County New Jersey, Vol. 2, Henry Cooper Pitney
10 Peter Hasenclever and the American iron Company, Lenik
11. The Judicial and Civil History of New Jersey Volume 1, 1897, Whitehead
12. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, James McIntyre
13. This Weekend In MET History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
14. Deed recorded in Bergen County hall of records from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
(grantor) to Howard Frothingham and Maud LeGrande Frothingham (grantees).
15. Deeds recorded in Bergen County hall of records showing the 1909 conveyance from
William Frothingham to the Park and Club; and the 1914 merging of the Park & Club.
16. Deeds obtained from the Borough of Wanaque tax office.
17. Informational provided by New Jersey Bureau of Dam Safety
18. The Record (Hackensack, NJ) – Tuesday, November 23, 1999
1. The historical maps referred to in the text were from the outstanding collection assembled by the Bolger Heritage Center in the Ridgewood Library.
2. A spectacular one-of-a-kind map of the Ramopock Tract, drawn on fine linen, can be seen upon request at the New Jersey State Archives. Dated 1768, this 5 color map shows the names of the settlers who leased or purchased land on the tract. Lots outlined in black ink were common leased lands; yellow indicated the lot was sold with deeds given; blue designated lots sold with no deeds given; green indicated lots that were sold by Peter Sonmans who made the original grants in 1709. This map also demonstrates that from the Van Allen House (206.6 acres) north to southern NY was part of this 43,000 acre tract.
This map was transferred to the archives when the East Jersey Proprietors donated their remaining unsold land (from the original 1664 land grants) to Green Acres and closed their Perth Amboy offices in 1998. Of further interest is the fact that the West Jersey Proprietors, exist today and continue to control “unappropriated land” in the western part of the state.