History of Franklin Township

Somerset County, New Jersey

Communities include:

Blackwells Mills
East Millstone
Franklin Park
Ten Mile Run

Pre-colonial days – the Raritan Indians (of the Lenni-Lenape) were the first inhabitants of the area.

c. 1650 – Dutch settlers came to the Raritan Valley.

1664 – English take over from the Dutch. He parceled out New Jersey to Lord John Berkeley and Sir Philly Carteret.

1710 – a Dutch company acquired the central portion of Franklin.

1772-1776 – William Franklin (son of Benjamin Franklin) served as the last Royal Governor of New Jersey.

1776 & 1777 –- during the Revolutionary War, raiding parties ravaged the Franklin area.

Early 1777 – following the Battle of Princeton, General George Washington withdrew his troops along the Millstone River and encamped overnight in Millstone.

1777 (June 14) – two divisions of General Howe's British Soldiers (about 15,000 men) marched along Amwell Road between Millstone and New Brunswick. They entrenched themselves at East Millstone and Middlebush under Generals Cornwallis and DeHeister and tried to burn the places down.

They hoped to lure the Americans into battle, but the Americans stayed in the safety of their positions at Chimney Rock. General Howe then had to return his forces to Staten Island.

In Griggstown John Honeyman (with a home that still stands at the foot of Bunker Hill Road and Canal Road) posed as a cattle-trader sympathetic to the British in order to spy on them. Honeyman’s information helped Washington plan the surprise attack on Trenton.

1798 – Franklin Township incorporated into Somerset County. The township was probably named for William Franklin,.

1834 – the Delaware and Raritan Canals through Franklin completed.

During the Civil War – as much as 200,000 tons of freight were hauled each year by mule-drawn barges down the D&R Canal.

1932 – the D&R Canal finally abandoned for commercial purposes.


Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce. The History of Franklin Township, Somerset, New Jersey; http://www.franklinchamber.com/history.html#top