Our Towns

South Branch

 

The Village of South Branch goes back to 1750 and was also known as Branchville. It is situated on the South Branch River near its junction with the Raritan. The Narticong Tribe of the Lenni-Lanape lived there and called it “Tucca-Ramma Hocking.” It was here that the Dutch who made their way up the Raritan to bargain for land made their deal in exchange for beads, guns, blankets, powder and jugs of rum.

The only governor in New Jersey history from Somerset County was born in South Branch, Peter D. Vroom. Diamond Jim Brady once lived in the house known as the South Branch Hotel, which he purchased for his mistress, Edna Maculey in 1903 paying $68,000 for it and altering it to suit his taste, “Going down to Bradys Farm” became the fashionable thing to do and Anna Held, Flo Ziegfeld, Lillian Russell and other famous personalities of the days were frequent guests.

In stagecoach days, young sports from New York stopping at nearby inns would challenge the country boys. A young man from South Branch named Van Middlesworth was often hauled out of bed on cold winter nights to fight in the middle of the road, with high powered betting on the outcome. At the conclusion, the whole crowd would retire to the nearest bar where the winner paid for the drinks.

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