Stiles Family of America
Settlement of New Jersey*

      Like Delaware, the early European settlement of New Jersey was a contest between the Dutch and the Swedes. The Dutch West India Company worked to stimulate settlement in the area by granting patroon ships, land grants in which the grantee was given proprietary and manorial rights over settlers he sponsored. In 1620, a trading post was established at the site of Bergen, New Jersey, which would later be developed as the first permanent white settlement in the area. Other Dutch enclaves followed at Fort Nassau and at Jersey City.

      Swedish settlements began in southern New Jersey in 1638, which touched off a rivalry between the two powers over the fur trade. The Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant successfully evicted the Swedes in 1655.This was the termination of the Swedish authority here.

      In 1664 Charles II. of England sent a force under Sir Robert Carr and Colonel , Richard Nicoll to dispossess the Dutch of their territory in the New World. Governor Stuyvesant, of New Amsterdam, was by reason of his defenseless condition compelled to surrender without resistance, and the conquest of the colony on the Delaware was accomplished by Sir Robert Carr "with the expenditure of two barrels of powder and twenty shot." At this time an extensive grant of territory was made by King Charles to his brother, the Duke of York, on the 23d of June 1664 conveyed to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret the territory now comprising New Jersey.

The Move

      From 1710 to 1715 the proprietors of West New Jersey, attracted by the richness of this new country, began to allot to themselves large tracts of its land consisting of 1,200 acres or more.

      Those coming to a Morris County in the beginning were principally families of the name of Baldwin, Courter, Jacobus and Stiles. Indeed, there were so many in this vicinity of the name of Stiles that the neighborhood was called Stiles Town, which name it retained for many years; and even now it is so called by some old persons, although among the present families living there that name has disappeared, with the exception of one Levi Stiles, aged 85 years. Those of the names of Crane, Dod, Baldwin, Gaines and Stiles were of English descent, and came originally from Connecticut; the others were of Dutch descent, and came mostly from Bergen, New York city and the early Dutch settlements on the Hudson River.

      Recorders indicate Jonathan (Long) Stiles moved his wife (Rebecca) and family to Morris County sometime between 1710-1715, leaving Connecticut obtaining one of these large tracts and developing the homestead Most of the houses in the area were of Dutch design and made of mostly stone but Jonathan being from a long line of carpenters designed several frame houses which were build over the years establishing the design of the American style homes in Morristown.

      Jonathan and Rebecca had a total of ten children before Rebecca died in 1731. Their children were Joseph, John (Capt), Thomas, Phebe, Jonathan, Thankful, Ephraim, Ebenezer, and Hannah. : Having a large family and needing help, Jonathan married Elizabeth Taylor in 1732. From this marriage he and Elizabeth had three children: Isaac, Stephen, and Thomas..

Morris County
The forming of Morris County, New Jersey

      The earliest town meeting of which we have any account was that of March 14th 1726, and the record of it is as follows: "It being the General Town Meeting appointed by Law for Electing their Town Officers, and the Inhabitants of our Said County being met, proceeded to chose as follows: John Morehouse, assessor for the Govenor's Tax; Joseph Lindsley, Collector; Morris Morrison and Joseph Coe, Freeholders; Abraham Vandine and Jonathan Stiles, commissioners for laying out roads; Benjamin Beach and Matthew Van Dine, Thomas Huntington, Nathaniel Cogswell and John Courter, overseers of the Highways; John Morehouse, Town clerk and Jonathan Stiles, was also appointed overseers of the poor. The act creating the county of Morris was passed by the Legislature March 15th 1738. Morris County was named for Colonel Lewis Morris, the governor of New Jersey. Jonathan remained very active in the development of Morris County, and lived in the area later to known as “Stiles Town” due to the number of Stiles families living there.

      Recorded in Morris County records Jonathan Stiles sold what appears to have been land he had received when coming to Morris County. This tract was located under proprietary authority by Daniel Cox as early as 1715, contained 1,250 acres, and was conveyed by one Jonathan Stiles to Joseph Tuttle in 1734. No water power is available upon the sluggish streams of this vicinity, and the spot must have been located with an eye to agricultural advantages readily discerned in the rich and easily subdued soils of these bottom lands.

      Jonathan must have lived in the city of Morris Town because there are records of him building at least two houses in the city of Morris Town and one is still standing and occupied in 1992. Jonathan Stiles (Jr) picked up from his father and was educated in the practice of law. He became a Judge and is noted presiding over courts in Morris County. Prior to the Revolution sheriffs were appointed by the governor and held their office during his pleasure. The appointments, so far as they can now be ascertained, were as follows: Jonathan Stiles (in office), 1771; Johathan Stiles; March 18 1775 and Jonathan Stiles, 1782. Jonathan Stiles (resigned January 10th 1779).

      Jonathan's son Ebenezer Stiles built a home in Stiles Town (Morris Plains) modeled on the design of his father's houses which was occupied and used by the Revolutionary Army during the War. The house stills stands and is presently used by the city of Morris Plains as a library. A plaque placed at the site reads: GLENBROOK Original Dwelling built by Ebenezer Stiles about 1752, Lighthorsemen quartered here during the Revolution. House enlarged 1868 by Jonathan Roberts, Founder of Liberary Association, 1881.

      Ephraim Price Stiles, son of Elijah, grandson of John (Capt) Stiles, and great grandson of Jonathan Stiles served in the New Jersey after the War of 1812, in 1818.

      Children and grand children were involved in the war of Revolution which included his son John Stiles Capt, son Stephen Stiles Sgt., grandsons Job Stiles, and Aaron. Job and Aaron were the sons of Stephen Stiles. Many families in Morris County including other Stiles family were involved in the Revolution War and the War of 1812. It appears that they were some on both sides of the war. Both patriots and also British sympathizers.

      Jonathan was one in many Stiles family members that felt the desire for adventure and explorations to new places. Stephen Stiles (son of Jonathan) born in Stiles Town on September 5, 1738 married first to Lydia (Catherine) Taler and from this marriage they had two sons, Job and Aaron. Shortly after the birth of their second son Lydia passed away. Short after that Stephen left Stiles Town, NJ and moved west to western Pennsylvania. Here Stephen married prior to 1770 to Bethena (possible last name of Cross). They settle on on a large tract of land (1000+ acres), Soon after the birth of their first son, William, Stephen sold his holdings in Pennsylvania and bought 1000 acres just across the Mason Dixon Line in Virginia (WV). While living there they had 5 more children: Jonathan, Lydia, Thomas, Elizabeth, and Ruth. More information on the West Virginia Stiles family can be found on the Web Site www.rwilt.com.

      The next family member to move from Stiles Town was David, son of Thomas Stiles, born in 1740, Jonathan's third son of his second marriage to Elizabeth Taylor. The first son born to Thomas and Abigail Ogden was David born in 1762. He first traveled for a short time to the same area of his uncle Stephen but later moved down the Ohio River and settled in Kentucky in the area near Bardstown, KY. More information can be found about the Kentucky Stiles family in a book by the name of “The Ten Tribes of David , the Stiles family”


Ref: Prominent Citizens and Pioneers of Morris County, NJ by W.W. Munsell & Co. NYC 1882

Books to read to learn more about the Stiles family.

The Stiles Family of America by Henry Reed Stiles.
The Family of Jonathan Stiles of Guernsey County Ohio by Jesse Vernan Stiles
The Ten Mile Country and Its Pioneer Families by Leckey
The Ten Tribes of the House of David, Stiles Family of Kentucky by Lewis Ogden
The Stiles Family of West Virginia by Richard R. Wilt

Web Sites
Stiles Family of America.
Stiles Family of West Virginia
Return to Main Page
Return to Archives