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Sussex County, New Jersey

Sussex County, New Jersey
Looking east from the ridge of Kittatinny Mountain in Walpack Township
Flag of Sussex County, New Jersey
Seal of Sussex County, New Jersey
Map of New Jersey highlighting Sussex County
Location in the state of New Jersey
Map of the United States highlighting New Jersey
New Jersey's location in the U.S.
Founded June 8, 1753[1]
Named for Sussex, England
Seat Newton[2]
Largest city Vernon Township (population and area)
 • Total 535.74 sq mi (1,388 km2)
 • Land 519.01 sq mi (1,344 km2)
 • Water 16.73 sq mi (43 km2), 3.12%
 • (2010) 149,265[3]
 • Density 286.4/sq mi (110.6/km²)
Congressional districts 5th, 11th
Website .us.nj.sussexwww

Sussex County is the northernmost county in the State of New Jersey. Its county seat is Newton.[2][4] It is part of the New York City Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the county had 149,265 residents, an increase of 5,099 (3.5%) over the 144,166 persons enumerated in the 2000 Census, retaining its position as the 17th-most populous county among the state's 21 counties.[5] Based on 2010 Census data, Vernon Township was the county's largest in both population and area, with a population of 23,943 and covering an area of 70.59 square miles (182.8 km2).[6] As of 2010 The Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the county as having the 131st-highest per capita income ($49,207) of all 3,113 counties in the United States (and the ninth-highest in New Jersey).[7]

The county was established in 1753 and named for the historic county of Sussex in England.[8][9]

Because of its topography, Sussex County has remained relatively rural and forested area. The county is part of the Skylands Region, a term promoted by the New Jersey Commerce, Economic Growth, & Tourism Commission to encourage tourism. In the western half of the county, several state and federal parks have kept the large tracts of land undeveloped and in their natural state. The eastern half of the county has had more suburban development because of its proximity to more populated areas and commercial development zones.

Most of Sussex County's economy had been based on agriculture (chiefly dairy farming) and the mining industry. With the decline of these industries in the 1960s, Sussex County was transformed into a bedroom community that absorbed population shifts from New Jersey's urban areas. Recent studies estimate that 60% of Sussex County residents work outside of the county, many seeking or maintaining employment in New York City or New Jersey's more suburban and urban areas.


  • History 1
  • Geology 2
    • Physiographic provinces 2.1
    • Mountains and valleys 2.2
    • Rivers and watersheds 2.3
    • Soils 2.4
  • Geography 3
    • Municipalities 3.1
    • Adjacent counties 3.2
    • State and federal protected areas 3.3
  • Climate and weather 4
  • Demographics 5
    • Population statistics 5.1
      • Census 2010 5.1.1
      • Census 2000 5.1.2
    • Affluence and poverty 5.2
    • Employment and labor force 5.3
  • Economy 6
    • Agricultural production 6.1
    • Industry and manufacturing 6.2
    • Taxes 6.3
  • Government and politics 7
    • Board of Chosen Freeholders 7.1
    • Constitutional officers 7.2
    • State and federal representation 7.3
    • Politics 7.4
  • Law enforcement 8
    • Police and public safety 8.1
    • Crime 8.2
  • Media and communications 9
    • Newspapers 9.1
    • Television 9.2
    • Radio 9.3
  • Transportation 10
    • Roadways 10.1
    • Commuter rail service 10.2
    • Bus service 10.3
    • Airports 10.4
  • Education 11
    • Primary and secondary schools 11.1
    • Higher education 11.2
  • Tourism and recreation 12
    • Agritourism 12.1
    • Sussex County Fairgrounds 12.2
    • Outdoor recreation 12.3
    • Skiing and winter sports 12.4
    • Sports franchises 12.5
  • See also 13
  • References 14
    • Endnotes 14.1
    • Further reading 14.2
  • External links 15


The area of Sussex County and its surrounding region was occupied for approximately 8,000-10,000 years by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples.[10] At the time of European encounter, the Lenape (or Lenni Lenape), a Native American people also called "Delaware Indians" after their historic territory along the Delaware River. The Lenape inhabited the mid-Atlantic coastal areas and inland along the Hudson and Delaware rivers.[11] The Munsee spoke a very distinct dialect of the Lenape and inhabited a region bounded by the Hudson River, the head waters of the Delaware River and the Susquehanna River, and south to the Lehigh River and Conewago Creek.[12][13] As a result of disruption following the French and Indian War (1756–1763) the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and later Indian removals from the eastern United States, the main Lenape groups now live in Ontario in Canada, and in Wisconsin and Oklahoma in the United States.[14][15]

The Westbrook-Bell House in Sandyston Township is the oldest house still-standing in Sussex County, built by Dutch settler Johannes Westbrook in the early 18th century.

As early as 1690, Dutch and French Huguenot colonists from towns along the Hudson River Valley in New York began permanently settling in the Upper Delaware Valley (known as the "Minisink"). The route these Dutch settlers had taken was the path of an old Indian trail and became the route of the Old Mine Road and stretches of present-date U.S. Route 209.[16] These Dutch settlers penetrated the Minisink Valley and settled as far south as the Delaware Water Gap, by 1731 this valley had been incorporated as Walpack Precinct. Throughout the 18th century, immigrants from the Rheinland Palatinate in Germany and Switzerland fled religious wars and poverty to arrive in Philadelphia and New York City. Several German families began leaving Philadelphia to settle along river valleys in Northwestern New Jersey and Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley in the 1720s, spreading north into Sussex County in the 1740s and 1750s as additional German emigrants arrived.[17][18] Also during this time, Scottish settlers from Elizabethtown and Perth Amboy, and English settlers from these cities, Long Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, came to New Jersey and moved up the tributaries of the Passaic and Raritan rivers, settling in the eastern sections of present-day Sussex and Warren counties.[18]

By the 1750s, residents of this area began to petition colonial authorities for a new county to be formed; they complained of the inconvenience of long travel to conduct business with the government and the courts. By this time, four large townships had been created in this sparsely populated Northwestern region: Walpack Township (before 1731), Greenwich Township (before 1738), Hardwick Township (1750) and Newtown Township (1751). On June 8, 1753, Sussex County was created from these four municipalities, which had been part of Morris County when Morris stretched over all of northwestern New Jersey.[1] Sussex County at this time encompassed present-day Sussex and Warren Counties and its boundaries were drawn by the New York-New Jersey border to the north, the Delaware River to the west, and the Musconetcong River to the south and east.[19] After several decades of debate over where to hold the sessions of the county's courts, the state legislature eventually voted to divide Sussex County in two, using a line drawn from the juncture of the Flat Brook and Delaware River in a southeasterly direction to the Musconetcong River running through the Yellow Frame Presbyterian Church in present-day Fredon Township (then part of Hardwick).[20] On November 20, 1824, Warren County was created from the southern territory of the Sussex County.[20]

Newton Station, built 1873, was one of the first stations on the Sussex Railroad.
A 1905 postcard view from "Jefferson Dunn's Farm" along the Paulins Kill in the Baleville section of Hampton Township. The Kittatinny Valley supported significant agriculture including dairy farms, and the Paulins Kill powered many grist mills.

Throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, Sussex County's economy was largely centered around agriculture and the mining of iron and zinc ores. Early settlers established farms whose operations were chiefly focused towards subsistence agriculture. Because of geological constraints, Sussex County's agricultural production was centered around dairy farming. Several farms had orchards—typically apples and peaches—and surplus fruit and grains were often distilled or brewed into alcoholic beverages (hard ciders, applejack and fruit brandies). This was the economic model until the mid-19th century when advances in food preservation and the introduction of railroads (e.g. the Sussex Railroad) into the area allowed Sussex County to transport farm products throughout the region. Railroads also promoted the building of factories as companies relocated to the area at the end of the 19th century—including that of the H.W. Merriam Shoe Company (1873) in Newton.[21]

The Highlands Region of Northwestern New Jersey has proven to possess rich deposits of rails and the country's first structural steel, which and led to the building of railroads and commercial development in the county. Iron from the Andover mines was fashioned into cable wire for the bridge built at Niagara Falls and for the beams used to rebuild Princeton University's Nassau Hall in Princeton, New Jersey after a fire undermined the structure in 1855. During the American Civil War, Andover iron found its way into rifle barrels and cannonballs just as it had during the Revolution years before.

As deposits were depleted, the iron mining industry began to diminish by the mid-19th century. During the late 19th century, prolific American inventor Thomas Edison began to explore the commercial opportunities of processing poor-quality low-grade iron ore to combat the growing scarcity of iron deposits in the United States.[22] He began to purchase mining companies in Sussex County in the 1880s and consolidating their assets.[23] He developed a process of crushing and milling iron-bearing minerals and separating iron ore from the material through large electromagnets, and built one of the world's largest ore-crushing mills near Ogdensburg. Completed in 1889, the factory contained three giant electromagnets and was intended to process up to 1200 tons of iron ore every day. However, technical difficulties repeatedly thwarted production.[24][25] However, in the 1890s, richer soft-grade iron ore deposits located in Minnesota's Iron Range rendered Edison's Ogdensburg operation unprofitable and he closed the works in 1900.[24][25] Edison adapted the process and machinery for the cement industry and invested in producing Portland Cement in other locations.[26][27]

The Franklin Furnace mines and processing plant of the New Jersey Zinc Company in Franklin Borough (circa 1890-1901). Zinc mining brought thousands of Irish, South American, and Eastern European immigrants to Sussex County in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the early 19th century, Samuel Fowler (1779–1844) settled in Franklin Furnace (now Franklin) to open up a medical practice, but is largely known for his interest in mineralogy which led to his developing commercial uses for zinc and for discovery of several rare minerals (chiefly various ores of zinc).[28][29] Many of these zinc minerals are known for fluorescing in vivid colors when exposed to ultraviolet light.[29][30] Because of both the rich deposits and many of these minerals are not found anywhere else on earth, Franklin is known as the "Fluorescent Mineral Capitol of the World."[30][31][32] Fowler, who later briefly served in elected political office, operated the local iron works and bought several abandoned zinc and iron mines in the area.[28][29] Shortly after his death, two companies were created to exploit the iron and zinc deposits in this region; they acquired the rights to Fowler's holdings in Franklin and nearby Sterling Hill. These companies later merged to form the New Jersey Zinc Corporation (today known as Horsehead Industries).[29] At this time, Russian, Chilean, British, Irish, Hungarian and Polish immigrants came to Franklin to work in the mines, and the population of Franklin swelled from 500 (in 1897) to over 3,000 (in 1913).[33] Declining deposits in the Franklin area, the expense of pumping groundwater from mine shafts, tax disputes and misdirected investments by the company led to the abandonment of the mines.[29][34] Today, both the Franklin and Sterling Hill mines are operated as museums.[34]

Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, construction or improvements of Interstate 80, Route 181 and Route 23 triggered rapid growth to Sussex County. Since 1950, the population has increased from 34,423 people to 130,943 people in 1990.[35] This has caused Sussex County to begin developing into a light suburban atmosphere, instead of the sparsely populated rural region it once was, especially in the eastern half of the county.


Around 450 million years ago the Martinsburg Shale was uplifted when a chain of volcanic islands collided with proto North America. These islands slid over the North American plate, and deposited rock on top of plate, forming the Highlands and Kittatinny Valley. At that time the western part of Sussex County was under a shallow inland sea. Fossils can be found west of the Kittatinny ridge. Then approximately 400 million years ago, a small, narrow continent collided with North America. Pressure from the collision folded and faulted the Silurian Shawangunk Conglomerate that was under the shallow sea. The pressure created heat, melted the quartzite, and allowed it to bend and cement the quartz pebbles and conglomerate together. This is how the Kittatinny Ridge was created. The strike from the other continent was from the south east, this is why the Kittatinny ridge is on a northeast-southwest axis. The Wisconsin glacier which covered the entire county from 23,000B.C to 12,000 B.C. created many lakes and streams. The county is drained by the Paulinskill River, the Flatbrook, which drain into the Delaware River, the Wallkill River which flows north to the Hudson River. There are many smaller creeks that drain into these water sheds.

High Point Monument as seen from Lake Marcia in Montague Township, Sussex County. High Point is the highest elevation in New Jersey at 1803 feet above sea level.[36]

According to the 2010 Census, the county had a total area of 535.74 square miles (1,387.6 km2), including 519.01 square miles (1,344.2 km2) of land (96.9%) and 16.73 square miles (43.3 km2) of water (3.1%).[6][37] It is the fourth-largest of the state's 21 counties in terms of area.[38]

High Point, located at the northernmost tip of New Jersey in Montague Township, is the highest natural elevation in the state at 1,803 feet (549.5 m) above sea level.[36][39][40] Nearby, Sunrise Mountain in Stokes State Forest has an elevation of 1,653 feet (504 m). Many mountains in the Highlands region range between 1000 and 1500 feet (375–450 m).[41]:p.3 Officially, the county's lowest elevation is approximately 300 feet (90 m) above sea level along the Delaware River near Flatbrookville.[42] However, local authorities claim that the mine adit descending 2,675 feet (815 m) at the Sterling Hill Mine in Ogdensburg is unofficially the lowest elevation in New Jersey.[39]

Physiographic provinces

Sussex County is located within two of New Jersey's physiographic provinces: (1) The Ridge and Valley Appalachians, and (2) the New York-New Jersey Highlands regions.[43]

The features of the Ridge and Valley province were created approximately 300–400 million years ago during the Ordovician period and Appalachian orogeny—a period of tremendous pressure and rock thrusting that caused the creation of the Appalachian Mountains.[44][45] This physiographic province occupies approximately two-thirds of the county's area (the county's western and central sections) dominated by Kittatinny Mountain and the Kittatinny Valley. This province's contour is characterized by long, even ridges with long, continuous valleys in between that generally run parallel from southwest to northeast. This region is largely formed by sedimentary rock.[43][46]

The New York-New Jersey Highlands, or Highlands region, located in the county's eastern section is older. An extension of the Reading Prong formation stretching from Pennsylvania to Connecticut, the Highlands were created from geological forces applied towards Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rock approximately 500 million to 1.15 billion years ago.[43][47] The watersheds within the Highlands provide fresh water resources for millions of residents in New Jersey and the New York City Metropolitan Area.[48] Because of this, the region was protected by the New Jersey Legislature and Governor Jim McGreevey under the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act enacted in 2004.[49] This act sought to protect these water resources from development by promoting open space and farmland preservation, creating new recreational parks, and consolidating the regulatory authority over land use planning in a regional planning commission known as the Highlands Council.[50][51]

Mountains and valleys

As seen from the Appalachian Trail in Vernon Township, Wawayanda Mountain rises to an elevation 1,448 feet (441 m) above the watershed of Pochuck Creek (also known as Vernon Valley)

The Delaware River forms the western and northwestern boundary of Sussex County. This region is known as the Upper Delaware Valley and historically as the Minisink or Minisink Valley. Elevations in the regions along the river range from 300 to 500 feet.[41]:p.3

Kittatinny Mountain is the dominant geological feature in the western section of the county. It is part of the Appalachian Mountains, and part of a ridge that continues as the Blue Ridge or Blue Mountain in Eastern Pennsylvania, and as Shawangunk Ridge in New York. It begins in New Jersey as the eastern half of the Delaware Water Gap, and runs northeast to southwest along the Delaware River. Elevations range from 1,200 feet (370 m) to 1,800 feet (550 m) and attains a maximum elevation of 1,803 feet (550 m) at High Point, in Montague Township.[41]:p.3 Between Kittatinny Mountain and the Delaware River is the Wallpack Ridge, a smaller, narrow ridge spanning 25 miles (40 km) in length from the Walpack Bend near Flatbrookville north to Port Jervis, New York. Wallpack Ridge encloses the watershed of the Flat Brook and its two main tributaries Little Flat Brook and Big Flat Brook, and ranges in elevation from 500 feet (150 m) to 900 feet (270 m) and reaching its highest elevation at 928 feet (283 m).[41]:p.3 [52]

The Kittatinny Valley lies to the east of Kittatinny Mountain and ends with the Highlands in the east. It is largely a region of rolling hills and flat valley floors. Elevations in this valley range from 400 to 1,000 feet.[41]:p.3 It is part of the Great Appalachian Valley running from eastern Canada to northern Alabama. This valley is shared by three major watersheds—the Wallkill River, with its tributaries Pochuck Creek and Papakating Creek flowing north; and the Paulins Kill watershed and Pequest River watershed flowing southwest. This valley floor consists of shale and slate (part of the Ordovician Martinsburg Formation) and of limestone (part of the Jacksonburg Formation). Several parties have argued about the possibility of natural gas extraction in the region's Martinsburg and Utica shale formations, similar to the Marcellus Shale formations to the West in Pennsylvania and New York.[53] Of special interest is Rutan Hill, a 440-million-year-old patch of igneous rock known as nepheline syenite. This site, north of Beemerville in Wantage Township, was once an ancient volcano—the only extant dormant volcano sites in the state.[54]

Dividing the Kittatinny Valley (and the Ridge and Valley Province) from the Highlands region is a narrow fault of Hardyston Quartzite. Many of the mountains in the Highlands are not part of a solid, linear ridge and tend to randomly rise from the surrounding land as the result of folds, faults and intrusions. Elevations in the Highlands region range from 1,000 to 1,500 feet.[41]:p.3 The more prominent mountains in this area are Hamburg Mountain (elevation: 1,495 feet (456 m)), Wawayanda Mountain (elevation 1,448 feet (441 m)), Sparta Mountain (elevation: 1,232 feet (376 m)) and Pochuck Mountain (elevation: 1,194 feet (364 m)) which form a ridge along the county's eastern flank.

Rivers and watersheds

The Wallkill River at floodstage, September 2006. The Wallkill River in northeastern Sussex County flows 88.3 miles (142.1 km) from Lake Mohawk in Sparta Township before joining the Rondout Creek near Kingston, New York.

Sussex County's rivers and watersheds flow in three directions; north to the Hudson River, west and south to the Delaware River, and east toward Newark Bay.

  • Wallkill River is an 88.3-mile-long (142.1 km) river starting at its source at Lake Mohawk in Sparta Township drains north into Rondout Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River.[55] The Wallkill River drains a 785 square miles (2,030 km2) watershed.[56]
  • Pochuck Creek is an 8.1-mile-long (13.0 km) creek flowing north into the Wallkill River.[55]
  • Papakating Creek is a 20.1-mile-long (32.3 km) creek in the north central region of the county beginning in Frankford Township also drains into the Wallkill.[55]
  • Clove Creek is a 12.0-mile-long (19.3 km) creek that flows into the Papakating Creek near Lewisburg in Wantage Township.[55]
  • The Flat Brook is a 11.6-mile-long (18.7 km) creek flowing through Walpack and Sandyston Townships, joins the Delaware River at the Walpack Bend. It has two main tributaries: the Little Flat Brook whose length is 12.6-mile-long (20.3 km) and Big Flat Brook whose length is 16.5-mile-long (26.6 km).[55]
  • The Paulins Kill (or, incorrectly, Paulinskill) is a 41.6-mile-long (66.9 km) river with its two branches: the West Branch is fed by Bear Swamp, Lake Owassa, Culver's Lake, and the Dry Brook in Frankford Township, the Main or East Branch starting at Newton combining near Augusta to flow southwest through Hampton, Stillwater, Hardwick, Blairstown, and Knowlton townships to join the Delaware River near the Delaware Water Gap.[55] The Paulins Kill drains a 176.85 square miles (458.0 km2) watershed.[57]
  • The Pequest River is a 35.7-mile-long (57.5 km) beginning near Newton and Springdale and flowing through in Andover and Green Township, then through Warren County before joining the Delaware near Belvidere.[55]
  • The Musconetcong River is a 45.7-mile-long (73.5 km) river beginning at Lake Hopatcong, forms the eastern border between Warren County and Morris and Hunterdon Counties.[55] Its main tributaries are Lubbers Run and Punkhorn Creek.
  • Small sections of eastern Sussex County drain into the watersheds of the Pequannock River, Passaic River, and Rockaway River which end in Newark Bay.

Historically, these rivers and streams were used to power various types of mills (i.e. grist mills, fulling mills, etc.), transport goods to market, and later to generate electric power (after 1880). Today, these rivers are chiefly used in local recreational activities—including canoeing and fishing. The Fish Culture Unit of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife stocks these waterways each year with various species of trout.[58] Some of these rivers—especially the Flat Brook, Paulins Kill and Pequest—have become well known as trout streams and for their suitability for fly-fishing.[59] The Flat Brook and its tributary the Big Flat Brook are regarded as the state's premiere trout stream.[60]


The "Black Dirt Region" is a 26,000-acre (10,400 ha) area shared by Sussex County and Orange County, New York along the banks of Wallkill River. Known as the "Drowned Lands" in the 19th century, this region's highly organic muck soil supports local vegetable and sod farming, and onion farming at its height reported crop yields of 30,000 pounds per acre (4,800 kg/ha).

According the

  • Sussex County (official webpage)
  • Sussex County Community College
  • Sussex County Technical School
  • Sussex County Historical Society
  • Detailed 1860 map of Sussex County, showing resident's names, churches, schoolhouses and businesses such as mines, grist mills, saw mills, wheel wright shops, blacksmith shops, paint shops, and lime kilns. From the collections of the Morristown & Morris Township Library, North Jersey History & Genealogy Center.

External links

  • Armstrong, William C. Pioneer Families of Northwestern New Jersey (Lambertville, New Jersey: Hunterdon House, 1979).
  • Cawley, James S. and Cawley, Margaret. Exploring the Little Rivers of New Jersey (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1942, 1961, 1971, 1993). ISBN 0-8135-0684-0
  • Chambers, Theodore Frelinghuysen. The Early Germans of New Jersey: Their History, Churches, and Genealogies (Dover, New Jersey, Dover Printing Company, 1895), passim.
  • Cummings, Warren D. Sussex County: A History (Newton, New Jersey: Newton Rotary Club, 1964). NO ISBN
  • Cunningham, John T. Railroad Wonder: The Lackawanna Cut-Off (Newark, New Jersey: Newark Sunday News, 1961). NO ISBN
  • Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey [Title Varies]. Archives of the State of New Jersey, 1st–2nd series. 47 volumes. (Newark, New Jersey: 1880–1949). NO ISBN
  • Honeyman, A. Van Doren (ed.). Northwestern New Jersey—A History of Somerset, Morris, Hunterdon, Warren, and Sussex Counties Volume 1. (Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York, 1927).
  • Hopkins, Griffith Morgan. Map of Sussex County, New Jersey. (1860) [Reprinted by the Sussex County Historical Society: Netcong, New Jersey: Esposito (Jostens), 2004.]
  • Schaeffer, Casper M.D. (and Johnson, William M.). Memoirs and Reminiscences: Together with Sketches of the Early History of Sussex County, New Jersey. (Hackensack, New Jersey: Privately Printed, 1907). NO ISBN
  • Schrabisch, Max. Indian habitations in Sussex County, New Jersey Geological Survey of New Jersey, Bulletin No. 13. (Union Hill, New Jersey: Dispatch Printing Company, 1915). NO ISBN
  • Snell, James P. History of Sussex and Warren Counties, New Jersey, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. (Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1881). NO ISBN
  • Snyder, John P. The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries 1606–1968 (Trenton, New Jersey: Bureau of Geology and Topography, 1969). No ISBN
  • Stickney, Charles E. Old Sussex County families of the Minisink Region from articles in the Wantage Recorder (compiled by Virginia Alleman Brown) (Washington, New Jersey: Genealogical Researchers, 1988).

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c Snyder, John P. The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606–1968, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 229. Accessed May 31, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Sussex County, NJ, National Association of Counties. Accessed January 21, 2013.
  3. ^ DP1 - Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2,010 Demographic Profile Data for Sussex County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 30, 2,013.
  4. ^
  5. ^ NJ Labor Market Views, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, March 15, 2011. Accessed October 1, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d New Jersey: 2010 - Population and Housing Unit Counts; 2010 Census of Population and Housing, p. 6, CPH-2-32. United States Census Bureau, August 2012, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 31, 2013. Accessed June 28, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c 250 Highest Per Capita Personal Incomes of the 3113 Counties in the United States, 2010, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Accessed July 16, 2012.
  8. ^ Hutchinson, Viola L. The Origin of New Jersey Place Names, New Jersey Public Library Commission, May 1945. Accessed October 11, 2015.
  9. ^ Gannett, Henry. The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States, p. 294. United States Government Printing Office, 1905. Accessed October 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Kraft, Herbert C. The Lenape-Delaware Indian Heritage: 10,000 B.C. to A.D. 2000. (Stanhope, New Jersey: Lenape Books, 2001).
  11. ^ Goddard, Ives; and Trigger, Bruce G. (1978) “Delaware” in Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 15: Northeast. Washington. 213–239
  12. ^ Grumet, Robert Steven. The Munsee Indians: A History from Civilization of the American Indian 262 (series). (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009).
  13. ^ Otto, Paul. The Dutch-Munsee Encounter in America: The Struggle for Sovereignty in the Hudson Valley. (New York: Berghahn Books, 2006).
  14. ^ Keenan, Jerry. Encyclopedia of American Indian Wars, 1492–1890. (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1999), 234; Moore, Charles. The Northwest Under Three Flags, 1635–1796. (New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1900), 151.
  15. ^ Weslager, Clinton A. The Delaware Indians: A History. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1972).
  16. ^ Decker, Amelia Stickney. That Ancient Trail. (Trenton, NJ: Privately published, 1942, reprinted Newton, NJ: Sussex County Historical Society, 2003).
  17. ^ Chambers, Theodore Frelinghuysen. The Early Germans of New Jersey: Their History, Churches, and Genealogies (Dover, New Jersey, Dover Printing Company, 1895), passim.
  18. ^ a b Armstrong, William C. Pioneer Families of Northwestern New Jersey (Lambertville, New Jersey: Hunterdon House, 1979).
  19. ^ Paterson, William. Laws of the State of New Jersey (Newark, NJ: Matthias Day, 1800), 15. Note: the "great pond" referenced in the legal boundaries of the act is an 18th-century reference to Lake Hopatcong.
  20. ^ a b State of New Jersey. Acts of the Legislature of the State of New Jersey, (1824), 146–147. The landmark used for drawing the boundary through Yellow Frame was the Presbyterian Church edifice torn down in 1898.
  21. ^ Ricord, Frederick W. (editor). Biographical Encyclopedia: Successful Men of New Jersey. (New York: New Jersey Historical Publishing Co., 1896), 1:47.
  22. ^ Woodside, Martin. Thomas A. Edison: The Man Who Lit Up the World. (New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2007), 73–74.
  23. ^ Edison Companies: Mining in The Thomas Edison Papers. Rutgers University. Accessed August 3, 2013.
  24. ^ a b Peterson, M. "Thomas Edison, Failure", in American Heritage of Invention & Technology (Winter 1991), 6(3):8-14.
  25. ^ a b "Edison and Ore Refining". Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Global History Network. August 3, 2009. Accessed September 24, 2011.
  26. ^ "Thomas Alva Edison And The Concrete Piano" in American Heritage (August/September 1980), 31(5). Accessed August 3, 2013.
  27. ^ "Cement" in The Thomas Edison Papers. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Accessed August 3, 2013.
  28. ^ a b United States Congress. FOWLER, Samuel, (1779–1844) in Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–present. Accessed August 3, 2013.
  29. ^ a b c d e Dunn, Pete J. Mine Hill in Franklin, and Sterling Hill in Ogdensburg, Sussex County, New Jersey: Mining history, 1765-1900: Final Report. 4 volumes. (Alexandria, Virginia: Smithsonian Institution, 2002).
  30. ^ a b Jones, Robert W., Jr. Nature's Hidden Rainbows : The Fluorescent Minerals of Franklin, New Jersey. (San Gabriel, California: Ultra-Violet Products, Inc., 1964).
  31. ^ New Jersey State Legislature. Resolution declaring Franklin Borough as "Fluorescent Mineral Capitol of the World." (September 13, 1968).
  32. ^ The Fluorescent Mineral Society. "Fluorescent Minerals". Accessed August 3, 2013.
  33. ^ Truran, William R. Images of America: Franklin, Hamburg, Ogdensburg, and Hardyston. (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2004).
  34. ^ a b Squires, Patricia. "OGDENSBURG JOURNAL; Old Mine Transformed Into Museum" in The New York Times (9 December 1990). Accessed August 3, 2013.
  35. ^ a b Forstall, Richard L. Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 from the Twenty-one Decennial Censuses, pp. 108-109. United States Census Bureau, March 1996. ISBN 9780934213486. Accessed October 6, 2013.
  36. ^ a b "Elevations and Distances in the United States", United States Geological Survey. Accessed August 28, 2012.
  37. ^ Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files: New Jersey Counties, United States Census Bureau, Backed up by the Internet Archive as of June 11, 2012. Accessed October 6, 2013.
  38. ^ Only three counties are larger in terms of area: Ocean County (916 square miles/2,372 square kilometers) Burlington County (805 square miles/2,085 square kilometers), Atlantic County (561 square miles/1,453 square kilometers). See List of counties in New Jersey for a comparison.
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  158. ^ Kittatinny Regional High School (1997-1998), Fredon Township Elementary School (2000-2001) and High Point Regional High School (1997-1998) received the award. See: Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982–1983 Through 1999–2002, 52–53. Accessed August 2, 2013.
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See also

With the rise of professional minor league baseball in the 1990s, Sussex County became the home to the New Jersey Cardinals, a short-season Class-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals franchise in 1994. The Cardinals, previously the Glens Falls Redbirds (1981–1993) from upstate New York, won the New York-Penn League's championship in their 1994 inaugural season. They had one other winning season (in 2002) and in 2005 the owners sold the team—which was then moved to University Park, Pennsylvania and renamed the State College Spikes.[182] They are now affiliated with MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates franchise.[183] In 2006, Skylands Park became the home of the Sussex Skyhawks an affiliate of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball (or Can-Am League). The team were League Champions during the 2008 season. The team ceased operations after the 2010 season.[184]

Sussex County has one large venue for professional sports, Skylands Park, a 4,200-seat baseball stadium located in the Augusta section of Frankford Township near the intersection of U.S. Route 206, New Jersey Route 15, and County Route 565.[179] While it was home to two minor league baseball teams and one semi-professional football team, and briefly hosted other franchises, it has been vacant for several years. In 2013, Skylands Park was acquired by investor Mark Roscioli, Jr., of 17 Mile, LLC for $950,000.[180] Roscioli who admits a lack of experience in sports management, was negotiating to bring a baseball team to the park but sold the facility to an unknown buyer.[179][181]

Sports franchises

In the 1960s, Vernon Township became a location for skiing and winter sports.

Skiing and winter sports

There are nine wildlife management areas located in Sussex County for hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, covering more than 15,000 acres (6,100 ha). There are also several state forests and state parks.

The Paulins Kill (shown here, near Stillwater), is a popular destination for fly-fishermen in pursuit of trout.

Outdoor recreation

The Sussex County Farm and Horse Show which has operated since 1918 is now the New Jersey State Fair.

Sussex County Fairgrounds

New Jersey's wine industry has benefited from the recent easing of state alcohol licensing laws and from new promotional and marketing programs offered by the state's Department of Agriculture. Of the state's 46 licensed wineries, Sussex County is home to three: Cava Winery & Vineyard in Hamburg, Ventimiglia Vineyard in Wantage Township, and Westfall Winery in Montague Township.[88]

Local dairy farmers have had to adapt to a declining milk and dairy industry and reacclimate to changing economic conditions by seeking new sources of revenue.[84] Combining their agricultural production while promoting tourism, "Agritourism" has created opportunities for farmers. Many Sussex County farms offer corn field mazes, "u-pick" or "pick your own" fruits and vegetables—especially for apples, strawberries, pumpkins and Christmas trees during their respective harvest seasons.[178]


Sussex County is part of the Skylands Region, a term promoted by the New Jersey Commerce, Economic Growth, & Tourism Commission to encourage regional tourism. New Jersey currently ranks fifth in the nation in revenues generated from tourism.

The Mountain Creek resort in Vernon Township offers skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports activities in the Vernon Valley.

Tourism and recreation

Before it closed in 1995, Upsala College, a Lutheran-affiliated college in East Orange, New Jersey, operated a 245-acre (99 ha) satellite campus in Wantage Township which it named the "Wirth Campus." In 1978, the land known as "Twin Ponds Farm" had been donated by Wallace "Wally" Wirths (1921–2002), a former Westinghouse Corporation executive, author, local newspaper columnist and radio commentator.[172][173][174] The school had considered moving to Sussex County as East Orange's crime problem and social conditions deteriorated in the 1970s. However, declining enrollment and financial difficulties forced the school to close.[175][176] The Wirths family bought back the farm for $75,000.[174][177]

SCCC was authorized as a "college commission" in 1981 and began operations the following year. It became fully accredited in 1993 by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[166][167] SCCC offers 40 associate degree and 16 post-secondary professional and health science certificate programs available both at traditional classes at its campus, through hybrid and online classes, and through distance learning.[167][168][169] Many students who attend SCCC transfer to pursue the completion of their undergraduate college education at a four-year college or university.[168][170] The college also offers programs for advanced high school students, community education courses, and programs in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.[171] As of 2012, SCCC reported an enrollment of 3,403 students of which 56% attend full-time and 44% attended part-time.[166]

Sussex County Community College (commonly referred to as SCCC) is a accredited, co-educational, two-year, public, community college located on a 167-acre (68 ha) campus in Newton. The SCCC campus was formerly the site of Don Bosco College, a Roman Catholic seminary operated by the Salesian Order from 1928 until it was closed in the early 1980s and its campus sold to the Sussex County government on 22 June 1989 for US$4,209,800.[164][165]

Formerly a Roman Catholic seminary, the county purchased the school facilities on the outskirts of Newton from the diocese in 1989 for the use of Sussex County Community College, founded in 1981.

Higher education

Sussex County's 10 high schools compete in interscholastic sports and other athletic activities sanctioned by the Sussex County Interscholastic League (SCIL), a now-defunct county-wide conference affiliated with NJSIAA.[162] SCIL and other Morris and Warren County high schools compete under the NJSIAA's Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference.[163]

There are several other private schools in the county. [160]

The public school system in Sussex County offers a "thorough and efficient" education for children between the ages of five and eighteen years (grades K–12), as required by state constitution,[157] through nine local and regional public high school districts, and twenty public primary or elementary school districts. Because of its distance from other county high schools and the higher costs of busing students one of those locations, Montague Township (the northernmost municipality in the state) currently sends most of their middle school (grades 7–8) and high school students (grades 9–12) to Port Jervis, New York for schooling. However, in 2013, Montague began exploring alternatives that would involve keeping their students in-state by sending them to High Point Regional High School in neighboring Wantage Township. Several of the county's schools are highly ranked by both state and federal education departments; some of which have achieved the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School Award.[158] The county's Board of Chosen Freeholders oversees the Sussex County Technical School (formerly the Sussex County Vocational-Technical School), a county-wide technical high school in Sparta Township.[159]

Before 1942, Sussex County had over 100 school districts. Most of these districts were in rural townships that each had several districts—each district operating a one-room schoolhouse that served their small neighborhoods. During the forty-year tenure (1903–1942) of County School Superintendent Ralph Decker, the local government began to consolidate these small districts into larger municipality-wide or regional school districts.[156]

Fredon Elementary School in Fredon Township offers a comprehensive K-6 education. The school was awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education in 2001.[155]

Primary and secondary schools


There are four general aviation public-use airports in Sussex County that cater to recreational pilots. They include:


Lakeland Bus Lines, a privately operated commuter bus company based in Dover, in Morris County offers service under contract with New Jersey Transit between Newton and Sparta to New York City's Midtown Port Authority Bus Terminal.[134][148][149]

New Jersey Transit in partnership with the county government offers bus service in Sussex County, limited to weekday service on the "Skylands Connect" route.[146] The county government's Office of Transit also operates a ParaTransit bus service on weekdays to local senior citizens, veterans, people with disabilities, and the general public. It offers service within the county for local errands (nutrition, medical appointments, shopping, hairdresser appointments, banking, community services, education/training, and employment) and outside the county for non-emergency medical appointments (dialysis, therapy, radiation treatment, mental health, specialized hospitals, and Veterans facilities).[147]

Bus service

New Jersey Transit is planning to re-open commuter service through the Lackawanna Cut-Off route which passes through Andover and Green Townships in the southern part of the county. Service from a planned station in Andover into New York City and Hoboken is scheduled to begin in 2016.[145] The portion of the Cut-Off route west of Andover heading toward Scranton, Pennsylvania has not been funded or scheduled.[145]

As of 2012, Sussex County's sole currently operating railroad line is dedicated to freight service in Sparta, Vernon and Hardyston townships. It is operated by the New York, Susquehanna & Western railroad and CSX Transportation.[141] Commuter rail service has not been offered in the county since the 1960s.[142] However, commuter rail service is available from nearby stations along New Jersey Transit's Morris and Essex Lines in Hackettstown, Mount Olive, Netcong, Lake Hopatcong, Mount Arlington and Dover, which are easily accessible to Sussex County residents by driving or through bus services contracted by New Jersey Transit.[143] This line was part of the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad system.[144] Service is available directly to Hoboken Terminal or via the Kearny Connection (opened in 1996) to Secaucus Junction and Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan.[143] Passengers can transfer at Newark Broad Street Station or Summit to reach either New York or Hoboken.[143]

Former Reading Company 4-8-4 locomotive #2102 travels eastward to Hoboken after exiting the Roseville Tunnel in Byram Township (from June 1973). Closed in the 1970s, the Lackawanna Cut-Off route is scheduled to be reopened by New Jersey Transit in 2014 for commuter service.

Commuter rail service

Sussex County has two toll-bridge crossings over the Delaware River. Operated by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, the Milford-Montague Toll Bridge (also known as the US 206 Toll Bridge) carries U.S. Route 206 over the Delaware connecting Montague Township and Milford, Pennsylvania. The current bridge was opened in 1954, replacing a series of bridges located here beginning in 1826.[139]:p.73–85 Route 206 merges with U.S. Route 209 a mile south of the village center. Tolls are collected only from motorists traveling westbound, into Pennsylvania. The Dingman's Ferry Bridge is the last privately owned toll bridge on the Delaware River and one of the last few in the United States.[139]:p.93–102[140] It is owned and operated by the Dingmans Choice and Delaware Bridge Company which has operated bridges here since 1836.[139]:p.93–102[140] The bridge connects the village of Dingmans in Delaware Township in Pike County, Pennsylvania and State Route 2019 with County Route 560 and the Old Mine Road in Sandyston Township, New Jersey.

As of 2010, the county had a total of 1,313.67 miles (2,114.15 km) of roadways, of which 888.54 miles (1,429.97 km) were maintained by the local municipality, 313.29 miles (504.19 km) by Sussex County and 111.35 miles (179.20 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 0.49 miles (0.79 km) by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.[138]

Sussex County is served by a number of roads connecting it to the rest of the state and to both Pennsylvania and New York. According to the county government, "a vast majority of residents who use single occupant vehicles to travel outside the county for employment. Thus, the demand for public transportation in the county is minimal."[134] Interstate 80 passes through the extreme southern tip of Sussex County solely in Byram.[135] Interstate 84 passes just yards north of Sussex County, but never enters New Jersey. New Jersey's Route 15, Route 23, Route 94, Route 181, Route 183, and Route 284 pass through the County, as does U.S. Route 206.[136][137]

County Route 515 connects New Jersey State Route 23 and Route 94 in Hardyston and Vernon townships.



New Jersey Public Radio (NJN), affiliated with National Public Radio and American Public Media, operates two stations in the region: 88.5 FM WNJP in Sussex, and 89.3 FM WNJY in Netcong.

Stations nearby include 91.9 FM WNTI broadcast from Centenary College in Hackettstown (Warren County) with a public radio and progressive music format and 1110 AM WTBQ in Warwick, New York with a NewsTalk and Sports format.

Sussex County is served largely by radio stations in the New York City metropolitan area. Stations from Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania; Hudson Valley in New York; and from the Philadelphia metropolitan area can also be heard. Clear Channel Radio owns a cluster of four stations in the county, including: 102.3 FM WSUS in Franklin (Format: Adult Contemporary), 103.7 FM WNNJ in Newton (Format: Classic Rock), 106.3 FM WHCY in Franklin (Format: Adult Contemporary Hits); and 1360 AM WTOC in Newton (Format: Oldies).


The Public Media NJ.

WMBC-TV an independent television station owned by Mountain Broadcasting Corporation, is licensed to operate in Newton. It is recognized for providing Korean language programming in the New York metropolitan area but also offers English-language programs. Its studios are located in West Caldwell, New Jersey and its transmitter near Lake Hopatcong. Before 2009, it operated an analog transmission on virtual channel 63 (UHF-63) but has converted to broadcasting its signal on digital channel 18.

[132] Sussex County is served by


It was for most of its existence published once per week. It's Sunday edition, the New Jersey Sunday Herald, was first published on June 11, 1962, and for the next few years it was published twice weekly. In 1969, after a sale to American Newspapers, Inc., a daily edition was planned which began publication on March 16, 1970. American Newspapers, Inc., sold the New Jersey Herald to Quincy Newspapers (its current owner) in March 1980. Today, its content includes coverage of local news and sporting events (chiefly those in Sussex County) and printing selected articles from the Associated Press covering state, national and international events.[130]

Sussex County has one daily newspaper, the New Jersey Herald, which is published six days each week (Sunday through Friday). Established in 1829 by Grant Fitch, the Herald is one of the oldest continuing newspapers in the state with distribution throughout Sussex County and into neighboring Morris and Warren counties in New Jersey, Orange County, New York and Pike County, Pennsylvania. Its headquarters, and production facilities are located in Newton, New Jersey.[128] Its printing facilities were formerly located in Newton, as well, but in 2012 the newspaper's printing was outsourced to North Jersey Media Group, located in Rockaway, New Jersey.[129]


The front page of The New Jersey Herald—founded in 1829, it is one of the oldest currently published newspapers in the state.

Media and communications

The above arrest data includes both minor and adult arrests.

  • Murder: 1
  • Rape: 1
  • Robbery: 16
  • Aggravated Assault: 50
  • Burglary: 115
  • Larceny - Theft: 348
  • Motor Vehicle Theft: 5
  • Total: 536

In the 2012 New Jersey Uniform Crime Report, Sussex County reported the following arrests:[127]

Crime is relatively low in Sussex County.


Municipalities that do not have their own police departments have services provided by the New Jersey State Police. One of the primary responsibilities of the New Jersey State Police is to provide police services to these rural towns, for which the municipality is assessed an annual fee paid to the state government[126] The New Jersey State Police are located on Route 206 in Augusta. Less than half of the county's municipalities have a local police department. Police Departments are located in the municipalities of Vernon, Hardyston, Sparta, Byram, Hopatcong, Stanhope, Andover, Newton, Ogdensburg, Franklin, and Hamburg. The other 13 municipalities are rural and rely on State Police coverage. Stillwater disbanded its police department in 2010. The New Jersey State Park Police has jurisdiction throughout the state, but patrol primarily in Stokes State Forest and other local state parks.

The current Sussex County Courthouse (left), built in the 1990s, and the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility (right), the county jail.

Police and public safety

Law enforcement

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 31,749 votes here (63.3%), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 12,870 votes (25.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 4,563 votes (9.1%) and other candidates with 663 votes (1.3%), among the 50,137 ballots cast by the county's 95,941 registered voters, yielding a 52.3% turnout.[125]

In the John Kerry with 23,990 votes (34.4%) and other candidates with 900 votes (1.3%), among the 69,649 ballots cast by the county's 89,679 registered voters, for a turnout of 77.7%.[124]

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 98,158 registered voters in Sussex, of which 16,150 (16.5% vs. 16.5% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 38,583 (39.3% vs. 39.3%) were registered as Republicans and 43,311 (44.1% vs. 44.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 114 voters registered to other parties.[118] Among the county's 2010 Census population, 65.8% were registered to vote, including 86.5% of those ages 18 and over.[118][121]

In the John Kerry, the largest margin for Bush in any county in New Jersey, with Kerry carrying the state by 6.7% over Bush.[119] In 2008, John McCain carried Sussex County by a 20.6% margin over Barack Obama, McCain's best showing in New Jersey, with Obama winning statewide by 15.5% over McCain.[120] Sussex County is the home county of Scott Garrett, who is by far the most conservative congressman from New Jersey. He represents almost all of Sussex County along with Warren County, northern Passaic County, and northern Bergen County. The southeast corner of Sussex County is represented by Rodney Frelinghuysen.

Sussex County is a predominantly Republican area, as among registered voters, affiliations with the Republican Party outpace those of the Democratic Party by a ratio of about five to two.[118] All five members of the county board of Chosen Freeholders, all three county-wide constitutional officers, and all except a few of the 108 municipal offices among the county's 24 municipalities are held by Republicans.


All of Sussex County is in the 24th Legislative District, along with portions of Morris and Warren counties.[114][115] For the 2014-2015 Session, the 24th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Steve Oroho (R, Franklin) and in the General Assembly by Alison Littell McHose (R, Franklin) and Parker Space (R, Wantage Township).[116][117]

New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021)[111] and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).[112][113]

Sussex County is part of two congressional districts:[107][108]

State and federal representation

The County Surrogate is both a constitutional officer and judge with jurisdiction over estate and probate matters (wills, guardianships, trusteeships), and in processing adoptions.[105] The County Surrogate is Gary R. Chiusano (R).[106]

The County Sheriff is responsible for law enforcement, protection of the courts, administering the county jail, and the delivery and service of court documents. The current County Sheriff is Michael F. Strada (R, 2016).[104]

The County Clerk is responsible for certifying notaries; processing and recording deeds, mortgages, and real estate documents; business trade names, processing petitions from candidate for elective office, drawing up ballots, overseeing elections and counting ballots, and many other tasks.[102] The County Clerk is Jeffrey M. Parrott (R, 2016).[103]

Pursuant to Article VII Section II of the New Jersey State Constitution, each county in New Jersey is required to have three elected administrative officials known as "constitutional officers." These officers are the County Clerk (elected for a five-year term), the County Surrogate (elected for a five-year term) and the County Sheriff (elected for a three-year term).[101]

Sussex County's administrative offices are located in downtown Newton, New Jersey across the street from the historic county courthouse.
Before 1911, two freeholders from each township were elected annually to serve on the board. However, as this became unwieldy in the late 19th Century during the era of

  • Environmental and Public Health Services
  • Mosquito Control
  • The Medical Examiner's Office
  • The County Jail and Juvenile Detention Center
  • Farmland and Open Space Preservation
  • Economic Development
  • The Maintenance and repair of County Roads and Bridges
  • The Para Transit System and Transportation Planning
  • Solid Waste Planning (The county dump in Lafayette Township)
  • The County Master Plan (including Water Resource Planning)[89]
Many services overseen by the county government overlap with those provided at the municipal level. The County government oversees and administers the following areas of responsibility: [100]The freeholders appoint a County Administrator to oversee the day-to-day management of the county by both "implementing the policy directives set forth by the Board of Chosen Freeholders" and "directing, managing, or guiding the County's administrative departments, divisions and agencies." The Administrator is John Eskilson.

As of 2014, Sussex County's Freeholders are:[89][90][91][92][93]

[89] Sussex County is governed by a five-member

The old Sussex County Courthouse (right) and the Newton Town Green (left) were surveyed in 1761 by Jonathan Hampton who donated land to the new county. The original stone building, erected in 1762-1765, was expanded to its current size in 1844. Today it houses the offices and court of the County Surrogate.

Board of Chosen Freeholders

Government and politics

Because of its lower population, large amount of land area preserved by state and federal parks and open space preservation programs, and conservative politics, Sussex County has lower spending on education (through regional school districts) and government services and thus has lower taxes than its neighboring counties. Most municipalities do not have police departments or paid firemen—instead relying on the rural service of the New Jersey State Police and volunteer fire departments. In several municipalities, taxes on an acre of land, depending on the condition and size of the house, could be as low as $1,500 a year. Typical property taxes in the county are in the $4,000–$8,000 a year range.


Sussex County's industrial and manufacturing base is no longer towards heavy industry and mining. Today, companies like Thorlabs, are located here.

Industry and manufacturing

With the repeal of several prohibition-era alcohol laws in 1981, 43 wineries have become licensed and are presently operating in the state. New Jersey wines have grown in stature due to increased marketing and quality, recent successes and awards in competitions, and appreciation by critics. Sussex County is home to three established and operating wineries and three more are in development.[88]

According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, Sussex County has 1,060 farms totaling 65,242 acres (26,403 ha; 101.941 sq mi) out of New Jersey's total 10,327 farms managing 773,450 acres (313,000 ha; 1,208.52 sq mi). This is up from 1,029 farms in the 2002 Census. However, acreage dedicated to agriculture declined by 13.6% from 75,496 acres (30,552 ha; 117.963 sq mi) in 2002.[86] Note though that 102,547 acres—roughly 30% of the county's land area—are under farmland assessment for the purpose of calculating property tax levies.[87] This decrease is total acreage is due, in large part, to "suburban sprawl" as farmers capitalized by converting to commercial and residential development. The average size of a farm in 2007 was 62 acres (25 ha) acres, down from 73 acres (30 ha).[86] The 2007 acreage dedicated to agriculture is roughly 19.6% of the county's land area. The county-wide total agricultural product sales in 2007 was $21,242,000, up from $14,756,000 in 2002.[86] Total county market value of land and buildings in 2007 was $888,955,000, an increase from $520,997,000 in 2002. The average market value per farm was $838,636 (2007), up from $505,823 (2002). This results in a per acre price of $13,625 (2007), up from $7,136 (2002).[86]

According to county agricultural statistics, 17.3% of all crop sales ($1.4 million in 2002) were in hay. Nearly 80% of tilled farmland, or 21,195 acres (8,577 ha), on 43% of the farms in the county is dedicated to hay production. Much of hay is grown for feed on livestock farms — especially dairy farms — and never makes it to market and is therefore not included in federal agricultural census data.[85] In 2002, 4,059 acres (1,643 ha) were dedicated to corn cultivation, the majority of it used for feed on the same farms.[85]

Despite the decline of dairy farming, it is still the largest contributor to the county's annual agricultural revenues. According to the Sussex County Comprehensive Farmland Preservation Plan (2008):

Although Sussex County's dairy farming industry has declined significantly in the last 50 years it is still the majority of agricultural production in the region.[84] Trucking has replaced railroads in the transportation of milk products to regional production facilities and markets. Rising taxes, regulation and decreasing profitability in dairy farming have forced farmers to adapt by growing other products or converting their farms to other uses.[84] Many farmers have sold their properties to real estate developers who have built residential housing. Many Sussex County farms are nursery farms producing ornamental trees, plants and flowers used in horticulture, floristry or landscaping. Christmas trees and nursery and greenhouse plants contribute to 51% of the county's annual crop revenues but account for 30% of crop production.[84]

Agricultural production

Early industry and commerce chiefly centered on agriculture, milling, and iron mining. As iron deposits were exhausted, mining shifted toward zinc deposits near Franklin and Ogdensburg during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The local economy expanded due to the introduction of railroads and shortly after the Civil War, the town centers hosted factories. However, the factories, railroads and mining declined by the late 1960s. Today, Sussex County features a mix of rural farmland, forests and suburban development. Because agriculture (chiefly dairy farming) has decreased and that the county hosts little industry, Sussex County is considered a "bedroom community" as most residents commute to neighboring counties (Bergen, Essex and Morris counties) or to New York City for work.


Industry in Sussex County, New Jersey, 2010.
Category Persons employed Percentage of labor force
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining 674 0.9%
Construction 5,495 7.5%
Manufacturing 7,922 10.8%
Wholesale trade 2,303 3.1%
Retail trade 8,536 11.6%
Transportation and warehousing, and utilities 3,791 5.2%
Information 2,074 2.8%
Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing 6,642 9.1%
Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services 7,963 10.9%
Educational services, and health care and social assistance 16,268 22.2%
Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services 6,629 9.0%
Other services, except public administration 2,033 2.8%
Public administration 3,013 4.1%
TOTAL 73,343
Occupations in Sussex County, New Jersey, 2010.
Category Persons employed Percentage of labor force
Management, business, science, and arts occupations 29,443 40.1%
Service occupations 11,689 15.9%
Sales and office occupations 18,712 25.5%
Natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations 6,715 9.2%
Production, transportation, and material moving occupations 6,784 9.2%
TOTAL 73,343

As of the 2010 Census, the county's unemployment rate was 11.0%. The Census Bureau reported a population of 118,420 persons (above age 16) available for the labor force of which 82,449 (69.6%) were actively employed in civilian labor, and 35,971 (30.4%) were not in the labor force.

Employment and labor force

As of the 2006–2010 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 3.6% of county residents were living below the poverty line which the government defined as an annual household income under $22,350 for a family of four.[83] However, recent surveys indicate that in the county's town centers, Sussex Borough (15.1%), Newton (12.8%) and Andover Borough (12.7%), poverty levels reach double-digits.[83] Of these poverty-level residents, an estimated 44% are employed, many of them underemployed despite working multiple jobs.[83]

Income and benefits in Sussex County, New Jersey, 2010
Household income Number of households Percentage of households
Less than $10,000 1,754 3.2%
$10,000 to $14,999 1,136 2.1%
$15,000 to $24,999 2,771 5.0%
$25,000 to $34,999 4,026 7.3%
$35,000 to $49,999 5,872 10.7%
$50,000 to $74,999 9,365 17.1%
$75,000 to $99,999 8,209 15.0%
$100,000 to $149,999 12,927 23.6%
$150,000 to $199,999 4,714 8.6%
$200,000 or more 4,107 7.5%

As of 2010, there were a total of 54,881 households enumerated in the 2010 census, with a reported median household income of $84,115, or mean household income of $96,527. Males had a median income of $50,395 versus $33,750 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,992. About 2.8% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2000 Census, the median household income was $65,266 and the median family income was $73,335. Males had a median income of $44,544 compared with $32,487 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,992. About 6.30% of families and 8.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.50% of those under age 18 and 8.00% of those age 65 or over.[80][82]

Sussex County is considered an affluent area as many of its residents are college-educated, employed in professional or service jobs, and earn above the state's average per capita income and household income statistics. As of 2010, the Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the county as having the 131st-highest per capita income of all 3,113 counties in the United States (and the ninth-highest in New Jersey).[7] Average per capita income was $49,207 and was 23.2% above the national average.[7]

Affluence and poverty

In the county the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.[76]

In 2000 there were 50,831 households out of which 39.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.0% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.7% were non-families. 18.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.24.[76]

As of the 2000 United States Census[79] there were 144,166 people, 50,831 households, and 38,784 families residing in the county. The population density was 277 people per square mile (107/km²). There were 56,528 housing units at an average density of 108 per square mile (42/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.70% White, 1.0% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.74% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. 3.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[76][80] Among those residents listing their ancestry, 24.5% were of Italian, 22.9% German, 22.2% Irish, 10.7% English, 8.1% Polish and 5.2% Dutch ancestry according to Census 2000.[80][81]

Census 2000

In the county, 24% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 32.6% from 45 to 64, and 12% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.8 years. For every 100 females there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.[77]

There were 54,752 households, of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61% were married couples living together, 9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.8% were non-families. 21% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.14.[77]

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 149,265 people, 54,752 households, and 40,626 families residing in the county. The population density was 287.6 per square mile (111.0/km2). There were 62,057 housing units at an average density of 119.6 per square mile (46.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.46% (139,504) White, 1.79% (2,677) Black or African American, 0.16% (234) Native American, 1.77% (2,642) Asian, 0.02% (36) Pacific Islander, 1.19% (1,783) from other races, and 1.60% (2,389) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 6.44% (9,617) of the population.[77]

Census 2010

Population statistics


Climate data for Sussex, New Jersey (1981–2010 normals) — NOAA-SUSSEX 2 NW (288644)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 71
Average high °F (°C) 34.1
Average low °F (°C) 15.8
Record low °F (°C) −29
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.19
Average snowfall inches (cm) 13.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.6 8.6 11.1 12.4 12.6 11.0 10.9 10.7 9.1 10.1 9.9 10.7 127.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.4 3.7 2.6 .5 0 0 0 0 0 .1 .6 3.2 16.1
Source: NOAA (extremes 1893–present)[73]

According to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service soil survey, the area receives sunshine approximately 62% of the time in summer and 48% in winter. Prevailing winds are typically from the southwest for most of year; but in late winter and early spring come from the northwest. The lowest recorded temperature was −26 °F on January 21, 1994. The highest recorded temperature was 104 °F (40 °C) on September 3, 1953. The heaviest one-day snowfall was 24 inches recorded on January 8, 1996 (combined with the next day, total snowfall was 40 inches). The heaviest one-day rainfall—6.70 inches— was recorded on August 19, 1955.[41]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Newton have ranged from a low of 17 °F (−8 °C) in January to a high of 84 °F (29 °C) in July. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.86 inches (73 mm) in February to 4.76 inches (121 mm) in June.[72]

During winter and early spring, New Jersey in some years is subject to "nor'easters"—significant storm systems that have proven capable of causing blizzards or flooding throughout the northeastern United States. Hurricanes and tropical storms, tornadoes, and earthquakes are relatively rare. The Kittatinny Valley to the north of Newton, part of the Great Appalachian Valley, experiences a snowbelt phenomenon and has been categorized as a microclimate region known as the "Sussex County Snow Belt." This region receives approximately forty to fifty inches of snow per year and generally more snowfall that the rest of Northern New Jersey and the Northern Climate Zone.[70] This phenomenon is attributed to the orographic lift of the Kittatinny Ridge which impacts local weather patterns by increasing humidity and precipitation, providing the ski resorts of Vernon Valley in the northeastern part of this region with increased snowfall.[71]

Because of its location in the higher elevations of northwestern New Jersey's Appalachian mountains, Sussex County has a cooler humid continental climate or microthermal climate (Köppen Dfb) which indicates patterns of significant precipitation in all seasons and at least four months where the average temperature rises above 10 °C (50 °F)[65][66] This differs from the rest of the state which is generally a humid mesothermal climate, in which temperatures range between -3 °C (27 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F) during the year's coldest month.[66][67] Sussex County is part of USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6.[68][69]

Climate and weather

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife[64]
Under the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry
Under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Under the National Park Service

A large percentage of Sussex County is undeveloped because it has been reserved as one of 11 federal or state parks or as part of several wildlife management areas.

Operated by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, Stokes State Forest covers 16,025 acres (64.85 km2) on Kittatinny Mountain in Montague, Sandyston, and Frankford townships. It was created by a donation of land to the state by New Jersey Governor Edward C. Stokes in 1907.

State and federal protected areas

The following counties are adjacent and contiguous to Sussex County (in order starting with the northernmost and rotating clockwise):

With its location at the top of New Jersey, Sussex County is bordered by counties in New Jersey, and neighboring New York and Pennsylvania. Because it is shaped roughly like a diamond or rhombus with its point matching the cardinal points of the compass, its boundary lines are roughly oriented along the ordinal or intercardinal directions.

Adjacent counties

[63][62][6] (CDPs) listed within their parent municipalities and 2010 Census populations shown for some places):census-designated placesThe following are Sussex County's 24 incorporated municipalities (with
Index map of Sussex County municipalities (click to see index key)




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