You’ve probably seen his name countless times and may have even said it a hundred times or so. Maybe you stayed in a room at the hotel that bears his name on Park Street. Maybe you partied the night away downstairs at Maize Lounge. Maybe you attended a swanky function upstairs at the rooftop bar.
But who is, or more accurately, who was Robert Treat? Was he some hotel tycoon? Was he America’s version of Willy Wonka, famous for giving out treats to school kids? Mayor of Newark, maybe? Nope. None of those.
He was actually a Puritan settler, originally from England who came over to the Americas with his family when he was fifteen. Settling in Connecticut, he led a group of colonialists to New Jersey in 1666 and purchased land there from the natives of the Hackensack tribe.
Treat actually wanted the community to be called Milford, named after the area in Connecticut that they had left, but his partner preferred the name New Ark, and eventually the city was named Newark. Robert Treat eventually moved back to Milford, CT and lived there until his death in 1710.
Believe it or not, Robert Treat’s descendants include Stephen Crane and Thomas Edison, and his great-grandson, Robert Treat Paine, signed the Declaration of Independence.