Horseneck Tract

Variant name of place

Horse Neck

Geographic position

40.8392° N, 74.2770° W


Berry, Charles T. An Historical Survey of the First Presbyterian Church, Caldwell, NJ. Newark, NJ: Daily Advertiser Office, 1871; "History of West Caldwell." The Township of West Caldwell, 2015. Web.; "Introduction to the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware Indians." Penn Treaty Museum, 2015. Web.; Pichat, Ellen. "Historical Society: The Horseneck Riots." Livingston Patch. Mar. 19th, 2013. Web.; Vorwerk, Max. A History of the Horseneck Riots. Caldwell: Caldwell Bicentennial Committee, 1948; "Zenas C. Crane." Find a Grave. Feb. 22, 2002. Web.; Geo coordinates at

General note

Horseneck Tract was a 13,500-acre parcel of land bordered by the Passaic River and the Watchung Mountains in what is now northern New Jersey's Essex County. Originally, the Algonquin-speaking Lenni Lenape lived in the area, but by the end of the 1600s, they were devastated by disease and warfare with both European settlers and the Haudenosaunee tribes from the north. European interest in what would become Horseneck Tract began in 1699, when Puritans who had come to nearby Newark from New Haven Colony wanted more land. The area's Lenape Indians sold these Puritans Horseneck Tract for a small sum in March 1702. The settlers' purchase, however, did not receive the necessary approval from the Lord Proprietors of East Jersey who saw themselves as owning the land. This oversight eventually resulted in the Horseneck Riots of the 1740s, a major challenge to English authority a full 30 years before the Revolution. By the Revolutionary War, Horseneck Tract was littered with small hamlets whose residents wanted a church, but its construction was delayed by fighting in the area. Horseneck Tract's most famous patriot was Rev. James Caldwell, also known as the Fighting Parson. The Tract's first Presbyterian Congregation named themselves in his honor in 1787. Occom visited Horseneck around this time while on preaching tours of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He often stayed with Mr. Crane, a member of the area's prominent Crane family that helped found Newark. In 1798, a large area of Horseneck Tract became Caldwell Township, which also took its name from the Fighting Parson. Other New Jersey towns in what was formerly Horseneck Tract include Essex Falls, Verona, Livingston, West Orange, and Fairfield.