Stephen Fordham



Stephen Fordham was the son of Stephen and Hannah Fordham, born in January of 1754. He married Sarah Crane, the daughter of William and Mary Wheeler Crane, sister of Zadoc and Oliver Crane (among others).

During the Revolution, Fordham was a private in Captain Lyon’s company of the Essex County Militia and Seely’s Regiment of Van Courtlandt’s Battalion.

After the war, Fordham was active in civil affairs. In 1783, he was elected one of 9 constables for the City of Newark for that year. In 1802, he was a member of a committee that compiled important information relating to land ownership in the city.

He and his wife lived in Cranetown. He seems to have been involved in different businesses in the area. Either he or his father, of the same name, was reported to be the owner of the first hotel in Cranetown, located on Valley Road. It was occupied as a headquarters for General Washington for several days during the Revolution. (An Historical Sketch of Montclair, 1876). In 1792, he was one of the heaviest shippers of goods on the Orange parish sloop, which transported goods for parishioners and others in the area for years after the Revolution. (History of the Oranges to 1921, 1922).

Fordham was also very active in his church, donating and raising funds for the building of the “Old Church on the Green”, now The First Presbyterian Church of Bloomfield. He worked closely with Oliver and Nathanial Crane and others on the project in the late 1790s. A story is told of Fordham being asked to acquire silk for the purpose of dressing the new pulpit. He went into New York City and searched unsuccessfully. Finally, he was told that there was an “ancient lady” with a gown “done up in the highest style of ancient days”, that might work for his purposes. He acquired the item for $30 and delivered it up to the ladies of the church, who had enough silk to make 2 dresses for the pulpit! (Origin and Annals of the “Old Church on the Green:” the First Presbyterian Church of Bloomfield; … 1901)

Stephen Fordham and his wife, left their congregation in Bloomfield in 1812, due to a “controversy over polity” and joined the church in Caldwell. Among the others to leave with them were Oliver and Zadoc Crane and their wives. (Bloomfield Old and New: an Historical Symposium, p52).

Sarah Fordham died on August 16, 1825 at the age of 70 and was laid to rest in the Old Burying Ground at Caldwell. A few weeks after her death Stephen wrote a new Will leaving everything to his “beloved friend” Stephen Fordham Crane and his wife Matilda. He was the son of Oliver Crane and the grandson of William Crane of Cranetown.

Stephen Fordham died on the 29th of November, 1829 and rejoined his Sarah in the Old Burying Ground.