THE POMPTON FURNACE
On June 6, 1695, Captain Arnet Schuyler purchased 5,500 acre of land in the Pompton area from the indian owners. On November 11, 1695 he and Major Anthony Brockholst purchased the same land from the East Jersey Proprietors. The north portion of 1,250 acres was called the Pompton Patient. The town of Pompton Lakes lies within this patient.
Both Schuyler and Brockholst settled there in 1697. In 1710 Arnet Schuyler moved to New Barbadoes Neck while his son Philip stayed in Pompton. No clear evidence ties either Schuyler to the furnace which is mentioned in the survey of 1726 as an ironworks "now building". "Tradition has it that the Pompton works supplied ball and shot for the French and Indian War." (Ransom - P. 108.)
We have more than tradition to support the importance of the Pompton works during the Revolutionary War. In December, 1774, Casparus Schuyler, son of Philip sold the ironworks to Gabriel Ogdon. By the winter of 1776-77 the ironworks was filling an order from General Henry Knox for 7000 cannonballs.
Correspondence between General Knox and Major Sebastian Bauman of the artillery testifies to the importance of the Pompton furnace in supplying the Continental Army. James Ransom, in his book, Vanishing Ironworks of the Ramapos quotes another, more important figure. On may 2, 1777, Tench Tilgham, aid to Washington, sent the following to General Nathaniel Heard stationed at Pompton:
"Mr. Gabriel Ogdon of Pompton is employed to cast Cannon Ball and Grape Shot for the public use; but from the great Scarcity of hands he is not able to go on as briskly, as the Service requires. His Excellency therefore desires that you would permit him to employ about forty of your men upon such terms as he and they can agree. As the Works are at Pompton, these Men can, upon any alarm, take up their arms and be useful as soldiers." (Ransom: P. 110)
Much more documentary evidence exists describing the importance of this ironworks during the Revolution.
The furnace was sold to Martin Ryerson in April 1797. The operation expanded and was again an active source of military supplies during the War of 1812.
In 1837 Peter Ryerson built a charcoal blast furnace on his father's property and, in 1838, a rolling mill. The expansion was made possible in part by the completion of the Pompton Feeder which connected the main line of the Morris Canal in Wayne with the Pompton Furnace landing. This made it possible to replace charcoal with anthracite coal shipped directly from the mines of Pennsylvania and to ship finished products west and east along the canal route.
A series of owners operated what soon became a large steelworks complete in every detail including housing for the workers. Among the many owners were: James Horner and Co. (1854); Horner and Ludlum (1864); Pompton Steel and Iron Company (1875) and Ludlum Steel and Spring Company (1898).
It was under this name that it ended its days in Pompton Lakes. The great flood of October, 1903 destroyed the mill dam. It was rebuilt but the mill no longer used water power. Erastus Corning took control of the company and on September 25, 1907 moved the operation to Watervliet, New York.
Joe Hannan, Chairman
Pompton Lakes Historic Preservation Commission
Rebuilt 1837. Survery of L & " mentions ironworks "Now building" at Pompton.
Produced needed ordinance as well as utensils for inhabitants. In 1776-1777
filled orders for over 7000 cannonballs and 10 tons of grape shot for General
Henry Knox. Copy among 32 photographs in permanent collection in rotunda of
Passaic County Courthouse.
Photographed by Victor Peorert, July 13, 1854