“40 Horses”

Morgan Mystery – “40 Horses”

South Amboy from “40 Horses”, aka “Big Suey”, Circa 1955.

Looking North from “40 Horses”, aka “Big Suey”, Circa Summer 1955. Photographer Unknown. In the View is a 12-Car Passenger Train Pulled by a Pennsylvania Railroad K4 4-6-2 “Pacific” Locomotive, “The Moon” at the Base, Partially Completed Landfill Dredged from the Raritan Bay Channels, South Amboy Coal Docks and Unloaders.

Here is what was originally posted on September 12, 2009:

A number of people have asked what “40 Horses” was.  I have no idea.  Does anyone know?

This was one of the early topics on this Morgan-NJ.org web site and related to the name of something I don’t recall ever having heard in my few decades in Morgan.  Readers very quickly responded to my question.  Unfortunately all of that banter was lost when this web site was destroyed.  Fortunately, I do still remember what the answer was though no one knew for certain precisely why it was named as such.

According to the readers of this web site, present or previous Morgan residents, “Big Suey” was another name for “40 Horses”.  Great, so what was “Big Suey?”  Big Suey was one of the hills – more like a small peninsula – which went from the top of the bluff, through the red/orange walled soil, down to the railroad tracks.  You were able to access Big Suey via a number of ways: pathways from Midland Avenue (next to my aunt & uncle’s house) or Dodd Place, climbing up Big Suey from the railroad tracks, or a narrow foot path etched in the side of the hill from “Little Suey” the top of which was located at the cemetery.

Some thought the name “40 Horses” represented the number of horses which would have fit side by side on the hill.  At this time, I really don’t know for certain but remain hopeful that someone will turn up something definitive sometime on this (as well as a picture).  Thirty years ago, Big Suey was away from the houses and streets and provided an unobstructed view of the bay all the way from South Amboy to Sandy Hook. At the base, I believe, was an area which was called something like “The Moon” due to the mounds of dirt.  Today, according to HistoricalAerials.com, what was once known as “Big Suey” or “40 Horses” is now a yard with a built-in pool which overlooks the circle at the north end of the Cliff Avenue extension.  That’s progress, baby. I guess.

Originally posted on September 12, 2009, then October 1, 2013. Image added on October 2, 2016.

7 thoughts on ““40 Horses”

  1. Paul During

    Thanks for featuring this addition Verne. – In speaking of ’40 Horses,’ I had recently purchased a CD from a local South Amboy musician [Dan Toye], and, one of the songs [“Let it Ride”] is about the immediate area. There is mention of ’40 Horses’ in the lyrical content—it’s a very good song, and a very good compilation. – — Anyway, I wish there was something archived about the pig farm and the horse corral to prove that they did exist. I do remember back in the 1960’s, there was remnants of a small foundation in between the aforementioned bluffs. At the base of Little Suey about 50 yards off to the left (going west) there was definitely a small foundation—it was only about the size of an average shed. It consisted of some type of brick, or, stone blocks. And, they were at ground level. Makes me wonder if they’re still there. I believe that is when I was told that’s how the names ‘Big Suey’ and ‘Little Suey’ were derived—the foundation was probably part of the pig farm back in the 1800’s. Later, I was told that there was also a horse coral below the bluffs. During a storm, the horses (40 of them) escaped and were either killed or lost. Hence, the name. ’40 Horses.’ – Again, thanks for all your hard work on this site!

  2. Bloodgood

    I lived next to the Cemetery. My entire childhood was spent on little suey, the cemetery and Big suey… it’s unfortunate that they build and fill old landmarks. Great memories of tarzans, forts, sleigh riding and playing army.
    It was also a great vantage point for the Lenape…… And poor Abe Mussey.

      1. morgannjadmin Post author

        There is a Captain James Morgan, Sr. buried there. He isn’t the same Capt. Morgan as in the rum though. This web site has numerous references to him under the Morgan Family sections and the Revolutionary War sections.

  3. Catherine During Alvarez

    I also spent my childhood in the woods there with the Bloodgoods, Dianne McVay, The Engleharts, Clunes, Scott McCormick & so many more, I seem to remember another structure to the left of the path right before you got to Big Suey. I loved growing up there, never thought it would one day be gone. When we hung out in those woods I don’t think we ever gave much thought to it’s history, we just had lots of fun!!!

  4. William Garnett

    Turtle hill, 40 horses and applegate’s pond were great places. My father would take me hiking there as a kid from the water works. Wish there was pictures of 40 horses to see if it looks lIke the way I can picture it in my mind.

  5. Dennis Clarke

    None of those places exist anymore…i recently went there to take my dog for a walk and there is no way to go from Morgan avenue to the water works anymore unless you walk along the tracks….applegate pond is just a swamp that extends all the way to the tracks now and there are no paths that we used to walk thru the woods….little suey and 40 horses are gone and houses are built on top of big suey


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