New Jersey’s Warren County offers many options for camping and taking that perfect picture of a rural wooded wonderland but few state forests have as dubious a history as the 4,466 acre Jenny Jump State Forest located in the town of Great Meadows.
While there are some vaguer legends as to the origin of the strangely evocative name, according to several accounts, the forest earned its straightforward name from an unfortunate incident involving a woman named Jenny Lee, her fiancé Dr. Frank Landis, and the man who wanted Jenny for his own, Arthur Moreland. As the story goes, on the morning of her wedding to Landis, Lee ran into Moreland while taking a walk in the woods. Moreland again asked for Lee to marry him instead but the frightened Jenny backed up to a cliff, threatening to jump. When Moreland said she would be killed she replied “Death would be preferable to dishonor. If you come one step nearer....” Moreland stepped closer and Jenny kept her promise, promptly jumping off the precipice.
Remarkbly, as is reflected in the rather bloodless name of today’s Jenny Jump Forest, the girl survived the jump. However she was badly injured in the incident and was carried home by her fiancé Dr. Landis. Whether or not this tale is the true origin of the forest’s strange moniker, the story seems to stand out as the most popular, and simply most likely reason.