Scenic Lawrence Brook - History

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The 1677 Indian Bill of Sale

This document  states that Mr. Thomas Lawrence, a New York Baker,  'purchased'  the land around the Lawrence Brook from several local  Indians named  QuerameckKesyacs, IsarickMetapis, Peckawan , and Turantecas. Nothing  indicates what was given in exchange. The brook, then the Piscopeek,  appeared later as   Lawrence's  Brook, then  Lawrence Brook  Although the extend of the property  is  unclear, this  bill of sale is a significant historical document for East Brunswick and New Brunswick. The original document  is  preserved in the  New Jersey State Museum, in Trenton, NJ.

Piscopeek :  Former name of the  Lawrence Brook, possibly  "capacious pond"other sources  consider it possibly related  to 'piske' ("dark, "it is dark", "light goes down"), also found in the name of the nearby Piscataway township (note that the ground is rich in dark-red Jurassic shale). 
Raritan :  'sweet water'
Ramawon : 'right-hand side' ,  land south  of the Raritan River,, its right  bank.

OLD MAPS :  Source :

1777 Map of the Trenton-New Brunswick Turnpike Road (today's Route 27). The Lawrence brook appears, simplified, at the bottom of the map.

Click to  enlarge, then click in the  bottom right corner to  enlarge again.

1917 Map of North Brunswick, bordered in the south (right hand side) by the Lawrence Brook..

Click to  enlarge, then click in the  bottom right corner to  enlarge again.


On several red shale outcropings  (Triassic period) along the Lawrence brook  are engraved the following  enigmatic inscriptions : ' 1876  Centennial Year',     skull-and-crossbones ,     'Red Rover' ,     'Elias Suydam   M. Danbury' , and mysterious  characters that nobody has ever deciphered.  Can you decipher them?

The name Suydam appears near the  Lawrence Brook on old maps. 'The Red Rover' is a fiction pirate story written in 1839 by James Fennimore Cooper. The actual  pirates Captain Kidd, Captain Morgan and Blackbeard used to roam the  waters of the  Raritan River.

Note:  Part of the inscriptions have been vandalized just  after the Home News published an article on the subject.

1907 plaque under  the  RRRR (Raritan River Railroad) bridge over the  Lawrence brook, in Milltown.  This railroad branch used to  service  the Michelin Factory, which closed in 1930.

Text: "American Bridge Company  of New York USA 1907"

1965 plaque on Burnet Street bridge, over the Lawrence Brook.

Text: "New Jersey 1965"

1874 plaque on the front  of the Water works  building.

"New Brunswick Water Works
Erected by  the  water commissioners 1874
M.N. Oviatt  Supt."

1987   Bridge on Riva Avenue, over the Ireland Brook
Related links: Davidsons Mill Pond Park history (1938-1968)