My roots in Walpack Township go back to the late 1940s. Beginning as a small child and into mid-adulthood, I spent many days in Flatbrookville, a town that doesn’t exist anymore… and hardly did way back when. My grandfather, Jacob Potofsky, had a vacation home just outside of town, surrounded by 96 acres of undeveloped land. I spent many a weekend and summer at his house and environs – hiking, fishing, hunting, exploring and getting to know the neighbors. I had a particularly unusual connection to the area. My father, William Gottlieb, published many children’s books… they were illustrated with photographs; in a couple of those books I was his featured “model”. “Farmyard Friends” and “Four Seasons” were mostly shot in Walpack Township.
Given my deep connection to the area, I chose to get married there, in our backyard. To preside over the ceremony, we imported the nearest minister, who was from Branchville. As things turned out, I got divorced 10 years later. For reasons I cannot recall, I needed to provide someone with official evidence of the marriage.
So I contacted the Township clerk by phone, and the following dialogue ensued:
“I need some kind of certificate indicating that I was married in Flatbrookville over ten years ago.”
“Oh, I know who you are,” she replied.
“How could you,” I said, “I haven’t told you my name?”
“You’re the only person that was married in Flatbrookville in the past ten years.”
When I tell people that story, I often add that I’ve heard that Walpack Township had fewer people living there in the 50s and 60s than during the Revolutionary War period.
I always loved the peace and solitude of this truly remote corner of New Jersey. I often return, walk the grounds and reminisce. My original home was lifted off its foundation and move to the Rosencrantz property down apiece on Old Mine Road where it is rented during the summer. My fondest childhood memories are of that place.
– Steven Gottlieb