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"New Jersey's Great Northwest"
The northernmost county of New Jersey, Sussex County has an area of 70.59 square miles and a population of approximately 149,200. The county seat is Newton.
Dutch and French Huguenots from the Hudson River Valley began moving into the Upper Delaware River Valley around 1690, and by 1730 they had established settlements as far south as the Delaware Water Gap. Immigrants from the Palatine region of what is now Germany and Switzerland began moving into the area in the 1720's, about the same time that Scottish and English settlers began moving up the tributaries of the Passaic and Raritan rivers.
By 1751 the area between the Delaware and Musconetcong rivers had been divided into four townships -- Walpack, Greenwich, Hardwick, and Newton. On June 8, 1753, Sussex County was created from these four municipalities, with its boundaries drawn by the New York-New Jersey border to the north, the Delaware River to the west, and the Musconetcong River to the south and east. After several decades of debate over where to hold the sessions of the county's courts, the state legislature eventually voted to divide Sussex County in two, using a line drawn from the juncture of the Flat Brook and Delaware River in a southeasterly direction to the Musconetcong River, and, on November 20, 1824, Warren County was created from the southern territory of Sussex County.
Untouched by combat during the Revolutionary War, Sussex County's role during the conflict was primarily limited to providing soldiers, although the region's then rich iron ore deposits did get used in the manufacture of American munitions. That iron ore also found its way into the nation's early railroad networks, into the steel cable used on the first steel bridge across Niagara Falls, and into Civil War munitions.
Most of the region's iron ore and other mineral deposits had been depleted by the end of the 19th century, leaving agriculture as the prinicpal sector of the economy. Tourism is also important, with small businesses and manufacturers contributing most of the remaining income.
Sussex County is governed by a five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, the members of which are elected at large to serve three-year terms. The Freeholder Board sets policies for the operation of five main departments, twelve divisions, and a number of boards, commissions, authorities and committees. Members of the Freeholder Board also serve on the Boards of School Estimate for the Sussex County Technical School and the Sussex County Community College. Actual day-to-day operations are overseen by the County Administrator, who is appointed by, and reports to, the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
The public school system in Sussex County consists of nine local and regional public high school districts, and twenty public primary or elementary school districts.
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This page was last updated on June 19, 2017.