at the Bowlsby / DeGelleke House
The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills was incorporated on May 9, 1928 after separating from the larger township of Hanover. Its history began as early as 6,000 years ago with the summer occupation by Native Americans who hunted and fished in the area. The name Parsippany derives from the Lenni-Lenape Dealware term “Parseponong”, which means where the waters come together. Evidence of this early occupation of the Township is found at the Dale Road rockshelter and Petroclyph sites.
The abundant land and hardwood forest as well as access to waterpower led to the founding of Troy Village by 1720, in the area along Troy Brook downstream from South Beverwyck Road. By 1755, the First Presbyterian Church, then a log building, and burying ground was erected on the present day Route 46 West, now known as Vail Cemetery. Seventy years later, a newer, larger church was built across the street.
Several large estates were present throughout the Township during the Revolutionary War period, including Beverwyck, the 2000-acre plantation of Lucas Von Beverhoudt, a Dutch merchant from the West Indies. During the two Continental Army encampments in Morristown, many balls were given for the officers, including General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. The house, formerly at the corner of Route 46 east and South Beverwyck Road, was burned to the ground in 1971. Many of the other estates were subdivided after the Revolutionary War in to smaller family farms.
During the 19th century, dairy farming became the main occupation of the Township residents, producing milk and milk products for the Newark and New York City markets. In the early 20th century, many of the lake communities were formed as vacation spots and became permanent communities after World War II. Many of the farms were subdivided for housing developments in the mid-20th century to accommodate the Township’s growing population.