69 Blaw's Mill

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

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Many of our life experiences occur by happenstance. Circumstances can lead us to random places where unpredicted things happen, and these unplanned events or encounters can have a profound effect on our lives. As you will see in this blog, had it not been for a turn of events, Blawenburg might have a different name.

When the Dutch arrived in the New World, they settled on an island that the Lenape Native Americans living there called Manhatta (hilly island). They renamed it New Amsterdam. There was plenty of land to go around, and the Dutch and Lenape got along fine at first. They shared the land, and the Lenape helped the Dutch learn how to survive. There was good farming in New Amsterdam and surrounding communities such as Brooklyn and Long Island. As the population grew and the Dutch became more accustomed to farming the land, friction grew between the two cultures. The Dutch engaged in fighting with the Lenape and many Native Americans were killed. Meanwhile, the British had their eyes on Manhatta. In 1664, the British took over Manhatta in a bloodless coup. This circumstance led Native Americans and the Dutch to leave New Amsterdam. Central New Jersey, with its rich farmland, became a popular destination for Dutch emigrants.

This map shows the “Lenapehoking” or The Dwelling Place of the Lenape

Out of Manhatta

When the Dutch migrated from Manhatta, they moved into areas where the Lenape Native American tribes had lived for more than 10,000 years. The Lenape did not believe in individual land ownership; instead, they shared the land among their tribe members. The Dutch felt that they could lay claim to lands where ownership was not clear. There were many disputes and Dutch takeovers of Lenape land.

In 1664, when the British took over New Amsterdam, James, the Duke of York, granted the lands between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. They divided the area, which would later become New Jersey, into two provinces—East and West. The Western province was sold off to the Quakers, Swedes, Finns, and others. The Dutch lived throughout the eastern section, which is shown in white on the map below.