The Schanck Farm in Cream Ridge

Reprinted from the Allentown Messenger dated July 20, 1911:


The farm dwelling of Charles Schanck, situated near Cream Ridge station, has the unique distinction of having concealed within its walls an entire log cabin. This original building was erected by one Harrison, a pioneer farmer, in the latter part of the Seventeenth Century, and it was probably the first dwelling erected in that neighborhood.


In course of time, this humble abode of the farmer becoming too small for his growing family, an addition was made by joining it to the wagon house, a building of similar construction to the dwelling. About the year 1700 this farm of over 500 acres passed into possession of Anthony Woodward, and it has been held by his descendants, the present owner and occupant, the said Charles Schanck, being of the seventh generation.


During the period up to 1870 the old house had received from time to time additions and improvements by the various occupants; but in the year last noted Mr. Schanck completed the improvements whereby all traces of the ancient log structure were concealed from sight and which resulted in the present appearance of this finely situated residence.


It is of interest to the citizens of this community to know that the first reaping machine ever made was tested on this Schank farm, a relative of this family, Ferdinand Woodward, having invented and built one in 1840. One of the most important parts of the mechanism in this machine was afterwards incorporated in another of a western man’s invention, and the combination soon resulted in the noted machine known as the McCormick reaper and binder.


The family of Mr. Schanck is an old one in Monmouth county history, his ancestors being Hollanders who came from Flatlands, Long Island, in 1695 and settled near Holmdel. His great-grandfather was John Schanck, of Pleasant Valley. He was a captain in the Monmouth militia during the Revolutionary War and appears to have been a man of prominence and influence, as the British military authorities had a standing reward of 50 guineas to be paid for that officer’s body, dead or alive. This information was conveyed to the captain by his sister in New York, who overheard a conversation there between some British officers as to the fate that might befall her brother should he be taken alive. After receiving this warning he had some narrow escapes, but always succeeded in evading attempts at his capture.


Captain Schanck was an intimate friend of General LaFayette, the latter standing as god-father at the baptism of his friend’s young son, the first LaFayette Schanck. Since that date there have been several in the long family line who have been named for the noted general, on of whom is now resident on the homestead farm.


Mr. Schanck’s maternal ancestors, the Woodwards above named, were early settlers in Monmouth county, Anthony Woodward (1), the founder of the family in New Jersey, having come from England and settled here previous to 1700.


The genealogy of the Schank family of Holland, compiled by one of the greatest genealogical authorities in the Netherlands, is an immense folio volume, handsomely bound and clasped, a copy of which is now in possession of a member of the family.


The farm of Mr. Schanck is one of great fertility, a portion of it being underlaid with an excellent quality of marl. In past years this was much used by farmers in the surrounding country, some of whom traveled many miles to obtain this valuable fertilizer.


Across this farm, and passing just north of the present dwelling, formerly ran the “Burlington Path,” which led from the Delaware river at that point to the seashore at the mouth of the Shrewsbury river. The trial also crossed the present Abbott, Woodward, Holmes and Howard farms. In after years this was followed in many localities for laying out the original highways in Burlington and Monmouth counties.