The History of Fairfield, NJ

The personal injury attorneys in Fairfield, NJ, at Garden State Justice Group kindly sponsor the following look into the town's history.


The township of Fairfield is located in the most northern region of Essex County, New Jersey. This 6624-acre area contains 1,170 acres of the Great Piece Meadows. This swampy area separates the township from Lincoln Park and Wayne to its north. The Passaic River forms the majority of the area's border. Christopher Columbus Highway and Route 46 travel through the town. 


The first European settlers were the Dutch. The Dutch purchased 14,000 acres of land at the base of the Passaic River from the Native Americans. The Native Americans of the Lenape tribe had dwelled there for years. The stretch of land would come to be known as the Horseneck Tract. 

The area was originally named Gansegat, but in 1798 the Caldwell Township was formed. This township included portions of Acquackanonk Township and Newark Township. It was renamed in 1963, and the next year was incorporated into a borough. However, in 1978 it converted into a township to take advantage of more government aid benefits. 


The area is home to the historical Van Ness House, located on Little Falls Road. The house was constructed in 1740 by Peter Van Ness. The Van Ness family date back to the original purchase of the Horseneck Tract that consisted of nine Dutch settlers. These settlers included Simon Van Ness and the following:

  • Gerebrand Clawson
  • Hans Spier
  • Elias Franson
  • Christopher Steinmets
  • Andrese Louwrentz
  • Garret Vanderhoof
  • Hessell Pieters 
  • Jan Spier

When the land was purchased for $325, Van Ness received 300 acres in the area of present-day Fairfield. He encountered issues with the Lords of Proprietor and was forced to get a deed in 1744. After his passing in 1749, the land was divided up between his four children and two sons-in-law. Isaac Reyken became the heir to the area's land and passed it down to Peter Van Ness in 1768, where he built his house that can still be visited today. 

Another landmark in the area is the Claremont Distillery. Founded in 2014, the distillery has become an award-winning addition to the area. Located off of Commerce Road, the attraction is the largest craft distillery in the state. They take advantage of New Jersey's abundance of fruits, such as blueberries and peaches, and incorporate these flavors into their products. The distillery not only hosts 1,000 gallons of distillation capacity but serves the area as a unique party venue. 


According to the 2010 census, the township's population was 7,466. This count consisted of 2,645 households and 2,103 families. There was a 5.7% increase from the 2000 count of 7,063 residents. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was the following:

  • 94.84% white 
  • 0.68% African American
  • 5.14% Hispanic or Latino
  • 2.53% Asian
  • 0.28% Native American
  • 0.74% other races
  • 0.92% two or more races

The annual household income averaged $97,361 in 2010, an increase from $83,120 in 2000. The occupational breakdown of the community's working class was the following:

  • 21.28% office and administrative support occupations
  • 14.86% management and executive positions
  • 10.11% teaching and educational roles

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Date Published: May 7, 2021
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This website is by DiLeonardo Law LLC d/b/a Garden State Justice Group. We have offices throughout the state of New Jersey with attorneys licensed to practice law in New Jersey. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel for prosecuting cases. Results may vary from case to case depending on the specific circumstances of the case. This website has not been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
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