That Ancient Trail by Amelia Stickney Decker


A classic book about the Old Mine Road.



Beautifully bound and reproduced as it was originally published in 1942 (Pre Tocks Island), this locally popular book by Amelia Decker explores the discovery, settling and early life along the Old Mine Road. This is the 2003 Jostens reprint. It captures in text and photographs some of the homes, churches, cemeteries and genealogies of some of the earliest settlers in this area, in addition to narratives on the Native Americans of the region.

The second part of the book takes the reader on a tour of some of the connecting roads and “Century Old Houses” in Walpack, Sandyston and Montague Townships. An Index to family and place names is also included.

From “The Bell House” – That Ancient Trail, p. 111

“The Bell House, now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Burson Bell is situated on the Old Mine Road about three miles south of Brick House Hotel. It is marked by a bronze marker, erected by the Sussex County Historical Society and Chinckchewunska Chapter D.A.R. which stands along this old highway at the entrance to the land leading to the house. It is one of three houses now standing that were a part of the ancient village of Minisink… The Westbrook farm located at the Village of Minisink, on which Clementina Westbrook, her son Burson Bell and grandchildren now reside, has been in the Westbrook family over 200 years. The ancestors of this family were living there, owned the farm and voted there in 1701. Their votes were counted in Ulster County, N.Y. as appears in documentary evidence….The house has all kinds of illumination from the pine fagot, animal oils, tallow candles, kerosene lamp to its present system, electricity”

“The Ennis House”, p. 113

“We find this stone house standing on the Old Mine Road in Sandyston Township, Sussex County, about three miles south of the Brick House Hotel. According to the date cut between the door and window in front of the house, it was erected in 1751 not far from the site of the ancient village of Minisink. The initials T.B. are to be found inscribed with the date. It was the house of William Ennis who came down the Delaware Valley from Esopus (Kingston, N.Y.) about 1734 and was one of the first teachers of Sussex County…

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