Who is Joseph Woolston Brick?
Gene Donatiello

           On February 15,1850, when the 74th New Jersey Legislature created Ocean County, they also created Brick Township from parts of Howell and Dover Townships. Brick Township in 1850 included all the land from the eastern boundary of Jackson Township to the Atlantic Ocean.

            The new township was named after its most prominent citizen Joseph Woolston Brick. Joseph W. Brick was the industrious and successful owner of Bergen Iron Works. Brick and his future father-in-law Riley Allen formed the Brick-Allen Enterprise and purchased the old Washington Furnace on the south branch of the Metedeconk River and renamed it Bergen Iron Works. Brick selected the name Bergen because it represented  quality iron from the town of Bergen.[1] Later Riley Allen sold his share of the business back to Brick for a sizable profit. Joseph Brick’s holdings included Bergen Iron Works and about six mile of woodlands along the south branch of the Metedeconk River

            Brick had learned iron making techniques while working for Jessie Richards at Batsto Furnace, in Atlantic County. He worked at Batsto Furnace starting in 1826 as a hired hand in the company store and quickly rose to clerk of the works.

            Paying  great attention to managing details and using strict accounting methods, he restored the old Washington Furnace to profitability. The Works used local bog iron to produce a variety of water pipes, ornamental and plain columns, and casting made to order. The majority of Bricks sales were in New York City. The iron was transported from Bergen Iron Works over a sand road to a landing at Cedar Bridge where schooners transported his products to New York City. In the1850’s, this sand road was improved to a plank road, presently Cedarbridge Road.

            A village grew up around the Works and by 1844 had a population of 200. Bergen Iron Works consisted of fourteen buildings including a company store and a post office which opened on June 22, 1848[2]. The Company Store was essential in this isolated area; it provided the necessary items that any good general store would carry, brown sugar, muslin, plug tobacco, household supplies, clothing, etc.

            Joseph Brick, was born about 1805 in Lumberton, Burlington County and married Margaret Allen on November 5, 1834[3]. The Bricks when first married lived in New York City where they could take part in the social activities and Joseph could be near the market for his iron products.

            In 1835, the Bricks had a house built on Madison Avenue in the Village of Bergen Iron Works. The house became known as “The Old Homestead” or “The Mansion House.” Joseph and Margaret had five children; Caroline,  Riley, George, Sarah, and Josephine. Lake Carasaljo in Lakewood gets its name from the three girls.

            Joseph Brick died at the age of 42 on February 1, 1847 leaving an estate of  $47,000 not including land. He left the business to his children: Caroline Virginia, age 12: Riley Allen, age 10: George Edgar, age 8; Sarah Agusta, age 5; and Josephine, age 3 in the care of the executors of his estate until Riley Allen turned 21 years old.


[1] Lakewood In The Pines, Paul Axel-Lute, p.14

[2] Ibid p164

[3] Axel-Lute p. 14


            In 1848, Margaret Brick married Robert Campbell and in 1854, the executors of Joseph Brick’s estate, Margaret Brick Campbell, Joseph W. Pharo and Robert Campbell  moved the smelting operations to Perth Amboy, New Jersey while the foundry remained in Brick Township. Upon graduation from Harvard in 1858, Riley Brick took over management of the foundry.

            By 1865 all of Brick’s children had reached the age of 21 and the executors no longer had to act as trustees for minor children. The children renamed the Village of Bergen Iron Works, Bricksburg in honor of their father. The foundry continued to operate and the land holdings were sold off for farmland.

            In 1892, the area that was once Bricksburg broke away from Brick Township and became the Township of Lakewood.




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 P.O. Box 160
 Brick, NJ 08723

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