Sussex County was established in 1753 and named for the historic county of Sussex in England.3 This particular New Jersey county is where the vast majority of my branch of the Van Blarcom family chose to live and work. Towns such as Newton, Franklin, Sandyston, Hardyston and Lafayette became home. While some started their own businesses, others worked in the mines or worked as farmers.


In about 1875, Andrew J Van Blarcom established himself in business in partnership with John Huston. Their firm, known as Huston & Van Blarcom, engaged in the wholesale and retail grocery business. The partnership lasted 16 years until John Huston's retirement. At that time Andrew J purchased John's interest and continued business for two more years under the name A.J. Van Blarcom & Company.2

Huston & Van Blarcom was located on the Excelsior Block, Spring Street, Newton. The photo shows three styles of custom bottles from the store. In addition to wholesale and retail groceries, Huston & Van Blarcom were also manufacturers of mineral waters.

After 1895, Andrew J Van Blarcom went on to erect the Park Block at Newton where he also made his offices. Additionally, he was director of the Sussex National Bank, a charter member of both the Newton Club and the Newtown board of trade and a member of the Harmony Lodge No. 8, Free and Accepted Masons.2

Lewis Van Blarcom, brother of Andrew J, also set up his law practice in Newton, NJ. According to the New York Times in 1904, "Capt. Lewis Van Blarcom, a prominent lawyer of this place, died yesterday from paralysis. he was born at Sparta, this county, July 19, 1835. He served in the civil war in the Fifteenth Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers. He was wounded and captured, and spent four months in Libby Prison. He was admitted to the bar in 1865, and in 1869 formed a partnership with Joseph Colt, now of Newark. Capt. Van Blarcom served five years as Prosecutor of the Pleas and for two years as a Chosen Freeholder. He is survived by a widow, two sons, and a daughter."1

1Death of Capt. Lewis Van Blarcom, Newton, New Jersey, "The New York Times", 2 February 1904.

2Honeyman, A. Van Doren. 1927. Northwestern New Jersey: A History of Somerset, Morris, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex Counties. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company.

3Sussex County, New Jersey.,_New_Jersey. Accessed February 2016.


Franklin was a popular area around the turn of the century because of the Furnace mine, which was the center of a large iron making operation. The population of Franklin swelled from 500 in 1897 to over 3,000 in 1913.1 Franklin is known as the "Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World." The rich ore body on which Franklin sits contains more than 150 minerals, many of them fluorescent and 25 which are found nowhere else on earth.2

William A Van Blarcom spent several years working in the mines here prior to joining the Navy and shipping out for WWI. Many members of the Edwards family lived, worked and went to school in Franklin Furnace. The photo is of the mine in the early 1900s.

1Franklin Furnace. Accessed February 2016.

2Franklin, New Jersey.,_New_Jersey.