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By Gavin Mazzaglia | 

Abandoned shack in Hillsborough, right outside of the hamlet of Zion/Rock Mill. Taken in the fall of 2016

Despite some of the names still being referenced today on the map, the many hamlets and villages of the Sourlands are often forgotten about. Quite honestly, they are incredibly easy to drive through without realizing that one has just passed through an old town with a ton of rich and vital history to the region. Today, most of them are unincorporated communities that span the seven municipalities within the three counties of the Sourland Mountain region.

Starting on the Northeastern corner of the Sourlands is the village of Neshanic in Hillsborough Township. Its most distinguishable landmark would be the mid-18th century Neshanic Reformed Church building. Neshanic could be best described as the gateway to the Sourlands from the East, especially when accessing the region from New Brunswick during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Montgomery, sitting towards the Western end of Hillsborough Township, is at the intersection of Montgomery and Wertsville Roads. Not to be confused with Montgomery Township, which is right up the mountain, just south. The most notable features of the village include the 19th-century Thomas Huff Farmstead on Wertsville Road, and Otto’s Farm Park, a small but incredibly picturesque trail with sweeping views of the Cushetunk Mountains to the North. 

Zion, formerly known as Rock Mill, is a community that straddles the border of Hillsborough and Montgomery Townships right on Rock Brook. The Mt. Zion Methodist Church dates back to 1880 as its current stone structure, though the congregation is much older than that.

Stoutsburg sits at the Southern base of the Sourlands on the border of Montgomery and Hopewell Townships. Slightly up the mountain off of Province Line Road, you can find the historic Stoutsburg Cemetery, the resting place for many prominent African Americans of the Sourland region, including members of Revolutionary and Civil War militias.

The village of Wertsville is located on the corner of Wertsville Road and Lindbergh Road in East Amwell Township. Named after the Wert family that settled there, its most notable member was Betty Wert, who served as an American spy during the Revolutionary War. A general store dating back to the mid-19th century was a vital part of the community. It was most recently known as Peacock’s General Store until it burned down in 2014.

Minnietown was an African American community within present-day Hopewell Township. Several residences remain today, right behind Hillbilly Hall.

The Mt Airy Historic District is located in West Amwell Township, on the Northwestern edge of the Sourlands. A few historic buildings remain, including the Mt Airy Presbyterian Church. Today, the West Amwell Police Department is found right in the village.

Furman’s Corner is right at the intersection of Wertsville and North Hill Roads on the Eastern edge of East Amwell Township. The brand-new Rainbow Hill Preserve has trailheads right in Furman’s Corner.

Buttonwood Corners in East Amwell Township includes some of the highest peaks in the Sourlands outside of the Hillsborough preserve. It stretches Lindbergh Road from its intersection with Burd Lane to South Hill Road.

Rileyville is a lost hamlet within East Amwell Township and its present-day location sits right around the corner from the Hunterdon County Sourland Mountain Preserve.

Linvale, formerly known as New Market, is right at the intersection of Linvale Road and Route 31 in East Amwell Township. After a post office opened in the late 19th century, the name was changed to Linvale to prevent confusion from the village of New Market in Piscataway Township.

The village of Rocktown sits right at the intersection of Rocktown-Lambertville Road and Route 31 on the border of East Amwell and West Amwell Townships. Not far, heading East across Route 31 is where you can find Unionville Vineyards, the beautiful home of the Sourland Mountain Festival!

Stone structure in East Amwell, right outside of the hamlet of Rocktown. Taken in the winter of 2017.