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nmhttlixntt Monntyi, 










Entered aooording to the Act of Congress in the year one thousand 
eight hundred and sixty-nine, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the Distriot Court of the District of New Jersey. 


These sketches of the early history of Cumberland County were 
prepared a few years ago for the columns of a newspaper. Many 
of the facts detailed, relating to the first settlers and proprietors, 
came to the knowledge of the writer in the course of a somewhat 
protracted career as a lawyer. Although of no great importance, 
it has been thought they were worth preserving in a more perma- 
nent and accessible form. Having been born in Bridgeton, when 
it contained only three hundred inhabitants, and always resided 
there, he has witnessed, and had the opportunity of minutely 
stating, its growth into a city of no mean importance. • 

The chapter giving a history of the money of account and of 
circulation, in this and the adjoining colonies, from their begin- 
nings to a recent date, it is believed embraces facts not to be found 
in any of our histories, which were fast passing into oblivion, but 
which are too curious and instructive to be entirely lost. 

Bbidoetoi^, May, 1869. . 






Cumberland County was set oflf from the county of Salem, and 
erected into a new county, by an act of assembly passed January 
19, 1747-8. The Duke of Cumberland, who had not long before 
gained the victory of Culloden, and thereby established the house 
of Hanover permanently on the throne of Great Britain, was the 
great hero of the day, and the new county was named after him. 

The first settlers of this part of West Jersey were probably 
Dutch and Swedes. Gabriel Thomas, a Friend, who lived for a few 
years in Pennsylvania, on his return to England in 1698, published 
an account of that province and of West New Jersey. Describing 
the rivers, he names Prince Maurice Eiver, " where the Swedes used 
to kill the geese in great numbers for their feathers only, leaving 
their carcasses behind them." Quite a number of Swedes settled 
in the neighborhood of this river, and engaged in hunting and cut- 
ting lumber, without, however, obtaining a title to the soil, until 
some of them purchased of the English. About the year 1743, a 
Swedish church was built on the east side of Maurice Eiver, nearly 
opposite Buckshootem, where missionaries were accustomed to 
preach until after the Eevolution. The graveyard with a few 
stones still remains. Many of the Swedish names have beea cour 
tinued in the neighborhood. 

A few of the New Haven people, who as early as 1641 made a 
settlement on the creek called by the Dutch Varcken's Kill (now 
Salem Creek), may have wandered into the limits of Cumberland,. 


and thus become the pioneers of the considerable number, who 
about fifty years later came from Connecticut, Ehode Island, and 
Long Island. 

The Indians do not appear to have been numerous, consisting 
mostly of wandering tribes, having n6 permanent settlements, and 
no principal sachem or chief. There was a considerable tribe 
which generally resided in Stow Creek and Greenwich, where 
many of their stone hatchets and other relics have been found. At 
the place still called Indian Fields, about a mile northeast of 
Bridgeton, they had a settlement before 1697, the place being refer- 
red to by that name in a survey of that date. Another contempo- 
raneous survey referred to a settlement on the Cohansey, in Upper 
Hopewell, about a quarter of a mile below the mill known as 
Seeley's Mill. There was also a settlement on the west side of the 
same river, just above Bridgeton, on the property now belonging to 
the iron and nail works ; and the tradition is that an Indian chief 
was buried, or, as some accounts say, placed in a box or coflSn, on the 
limbs of a tree,' on the point of land opposite North Street, since 
from that tradition called " CoflSn Point." Other places of settle- 
ment or occasional places of resort are known to have existed 
near Fairton, and on Maurice Eiver. 

Fenwick purchased the land of these, and to the fair and reason- 
ble treatment they received from the Friends, who were the first 
English settlers, may probably be ascribed the absence of those 
desolating wars which prevailed in New England. But this cir- 
cumstance has prevented much notice being taken of the aborigines 
in the early accounts of West Jersey. James Daniels, a minister 
among the Friends, whose father settled in the forks of Stow Creek, 
near the place now called Canton, in Salem County, in 1690, when 
he was about five years old, learned the Indian language, and says 
in his memoirs, " the white people were few, and the natives a mul- 
titude ; they were a sober, grave, and temperate people, and used 
no manner of oath in their speech ; but as the country grew older 
the people grew worse, and had corrupted the natives in their 
morals, teaching them bad words, and the excessive use of strong 
djink." Thomas, in his account of West Jersey before referred to, 
says "the Dutch and Swedes inform us that they greatly decreased 
in numbers to what they were when they came into this country, 
and the Indians themselves say that two of them die to every one 
sChristian that comes in here." The minutes of the justices and 


freeholders of Cumberland County for the year 1754, state that a 
charge of £4, 85. 4rf. was brought by Deerfield Township, for 
taking care of an old Indian who died in said precinct, which was 
allowed. At a conference held by commissioners appointed by the 
legislature with the Indians in 1758, one Eobert Kecot claimed 
"the township of Deerfield, in the county of Cumberland, where 
the Presbyterian meeting-house stands, and also the tracts of James 
Wasse, Joseph Peck, and Stephen Chesup." After this, all the 
Indian claims were fully paid for and relinquished. A few of the 
descendants of these original inhabitants lingered within the 
county until after the Kevolution, earning their subsistence princi- 
pally by making baskets. Soon after the commencement of the 
present century they had all removed or died. 

All vacant lands being — according to the law of Great Britain — 
vested in the crown, and it being the established principle of Euro- 
pean law that countries uninhabited, or inhabited only by savages, 
became the property of the nation taking possession. King Charles 
II. granted all that territory, called by the Dutch New Nether- 
lands, including part of the State of New York, and all New 
Jersey, to his brother, the Duke of York, afterwards James II., 
March 12, 1663-4. The duke conveyed New Jersey to Lord 
Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, June 24, 1664. In 1672, the 
Dutch reconquered the province; but in 1673 it was restored, and 
new grants were executed. Berkley, in 1673, conveyed his half to 
John Fenwick, and shortly afterwards Fenwick conveyed nine-tenth 
parts of his half to William Penn, Gawen Lawrie, and Nicholas 
Lucas, in trust for the creditors of Edward Billing. The above- 
named persons had all become followers of George Fox, and were 
then called Quakers, adopting themselves the name of Friends. 
Fenwick had been a member of a church of Independents, whereof 
John Goodwin was the pastor. He held a commission as major of 
cavalry, which Johnson, in his History of SaUmy says was written 
in Cromwell's own hand. 

In 1676, the province was divided, Fenwick, Penn, Lawrie, and 
Lucas becoming proprietors of the half called West Jersey. Bil- 
ling — who was a London merchant — having failed, his nine-tenths, 
held by Penn and others, was conveyed to his creditors and others 
in hundredth parts, or, as the deeds made in England set it forth, 
in nineteenth parts of ninety hundredth parts, so that a full pro- 
prietary interest came to be reckoned a hundredth part. Lesser 



^^^H parts of tlie hundredths, or a definite number of acres therein, were 
^^^1 also frequently coDveyed to individuals. Fenwick, and EldridgS/ 
^^^P and Warner, to whom he executed a long lease in England, for the 
^^^B purpose of raising money, were recognized as owning ten propria- 
^^^B taries, or one-tenth of the province: It would seem that each par- 
^^H ticular hundredth was at first in some way designated, and the 
^^H respective owners drew lots for their several shares; but this 
^^^P designation was never fully carried out, and it is not known how 
^^^P the parts were owned, Fenwiek's ten proprietaries, however, were 
^^B all considered to be contained in what was called the Salem tenth, 
[^^^ extending from Berkeley River (now Oldman'a Creek) to a creek 
little east of the Cohansey, originally called the Tweed, which, 

I having a wide mouth where it empties into the Delaware, was sup- 
posed to be a stream commencing far up to the north, but which 
proved to be confined to the marsh, and has since been called Back 
Fenwick came into the Delaware in June, 1675, with his family 
and servants, consisting of two daughters and their husbands, one 
unmarried daughter, and two servants. His wife remained in Eng- 
land, and never came to America, Edward Champney, one of bis 
sons-in-law, brought with him three servants, one of whom was 
Mark Keeve, who settled at Greenwich, and built a house not far 
from the Cohansey, near the house where John Sheppard long 
lived. The servants, as is remarked by Smith, in his Sistory of 
Ntw Jersey, being accustomed to work, and willing to encounter 
the hardships and privations incident to the settlement of a new 
country, succeeded much better than their masters. Mark Reeve, 
among others, became a considerable proprietor, and is still repre- 
sented by numerous respectable descendants. 
So far as is now known, the Dutch and Swedes never took any 
steps to secure a permanent title to the land upon which they set- 
tled, and did not even take deeds from the Indians. Whatever 
title they may have claimed as the first settlers and improvers, 
was ignored by the English, although there is reason to believe 
they were, in many cases, permitted to become purchasers at the 
usual price for the unimproved land. A few names apparently not. 
English are found among the early freeholders. 

Fenn and the other legal proprietors of West Jersey, in 1676.. 
signed an agreement the original of which, well engrossed on, 
vtJlum, in a bound quarto volume, is preserved in the laud office' 



at Burlington, regulating the government and the mode of dis- 
posing of the lands. It provided for dividing the territwy into 
tenths, originally intended to take the place of counties, and the 
tenths were to be divided into hundredths. Fenwick did not sign 
this agreement, but assumed to act independently of the other 
proprietors, which was the occasion of much contention. Salem, 
however, was always recognized as one of the tenths, and Fenwick, 
or his grantees, as the owners of t§n proprietaries. During part 
of his life he claimed to be sole or chief proprietor of the moiety 
of New Jersey, and established his government at the place he 
called New Salem, now the city of Salem. He appointed a 
Secretary and Surveyor General, the latter being at first Eichard 
Hancock, who came over with him. In 1678 James Nevill was 
appointed Secretary, and his son-in-law, Samuel Hedge, Surveyor 
General, Hancock having favored the claims of the other proprie- 
tors, and acted under them. 

In 1682 Fenwick conveyed all his interest in New Jersey to 
William Penn, except the part which was called Fenwick's colony, 
containing, as was supposed, 150,000 acres. When he died in the 
latter part ot 1683, he appointed Penn and others his executors, 
giving them "full power to lett, sett, sell and dispose" of his whole 
estate, for the paying of his debts and improving his estate, for his 
heirs during their non age. By virtue of the aforesaid deed and 
will, Penn and the other executors made conveyances of large 
parcels of land, besides what Fenwick had himself conveyed, by 
virtue of which surveys were made, and under which the titles are 

There seems to have been for several years after Fen wick's 
arrival, a constant conflict between him and the Assembly, which 
at length occasioned his deed to Penn in 1682. In May, 1683, he 
appeared himself as a member of the Assembly, and it was then 
enacted as a law that the lands and marsh or meadow formerly 
laid out for Salem Town bounds, by agreement of John Fenwick 
and the people of Salem Liberty, shall stand and be forever to and 
for the only use of the freeholders and inhabitants of said town. 
It was then agreed nem, con,, " only John Fenwick excepted his 
tenth, which he said then at that time was not under the same 
circumstances, but now freely consenteth thereunto," that the con- 
cessions agreed on in 1676, should be the fundamentals and ground 
of the government of West Jersey. 


This assent, however, does not seem to have been understood by 
Fenwick as hindering him from disposing of his land, without 
regard to the agreements or concessions or laws. His will, an 
ancient copy of which is before me, dated August 7, 1683, made 
on his sick bed at Fenwick's Grove, professes to dispose of large 
manors and tracts of land to his grand-children. It contains this 
clause: "Item: I give and bequeath to my three grand -children and 
their heirs male forever, all that tract of land laying near the river 
heretofore called Cohansey, which I will /have hereafter called 
Caesaria Eiver, and which is known by the name of the Town Neck; 
and my will is that it, together with the land on the other side which 
is called Shrewsbury Neck, and other the lands thereunto belong- 
ing, which is contained in my Indian purchase, and so up the bay 
to the mouth of Monmouth Eiver (AUoway's Creek was then so 
called), and up Monmouth Eiver to the head or farthest branch 
thereof, and so in a straight line to the head of Caesaria Eiver, all 
which I will to be called the manor of Caesaria, and that there 
shall be a city erected, and marshes and land allowed as my exe- 
cutors shall see convenient, which I en^power them to do and 
to name the land ; further, my will is that out of the residue of the 
land and marshes shall be divided equally among my said heirs, 
and that Fenwick's dividend shall join to the town and Bacon's 
Creek, where, my will is, there shall be ^ house erected and called 
the Manor house, for keeping of courts." This manor, it will be 
seen, embraced the present townships of Greenwich, Hopewell, 
Cohansey and Stow Creek in Cumberland, Lower Alio way's Creek, 
and part of Upper Alloway's Creek Townships in Salem ; but, like 
many other magnificent projects, it was never carried out. None 
of his grants or devises of specific parcels of land, except Salem 
Town, have been recognized as valid ; and no titles under them are 
good, unless regular surveys have been made and recorded, or 
such a length of actual possession has been had as to bar a rival 

Directly after Fenwick's arrival, he provided for laying out a neck 
of land for a town at Cohansey, one-half for the chief proprietor (him- 
self), and one half for the purchasers, the lots to be sixteen acres 
each. The town thus projected was called by the settlers Green- 
wich, although it continued for many years to be also called Cohan- 
sey. A memorial of the proprietors of East and West Jersey to the 
crown, dated in 1701, prays that the port of Perth Amboy, in East 


Jersey, and the ports of Burlington and Cobansey, in West Jersey, 
may be established ports of those respective provinces forever. An 
act of the Assembly of West Jersey, in 1695, recites that a conside- 
rable number of people are settled on or about Cohansey, alias 
Csesaria Eiver, within the county of Salem, and enacts that there 
shall be twp fairs kept yearly at the town of Greenwich at Co- 
hansey aforesaid ; the first on the 24th and 25th days of April, and 
the second on the 16th and 17th days of October. These fairs were 
continued and were largely attended until 1765, when a law was 
enacted reciting that fairs in the town of Greenwich had been found 
inconvenient and unnecessary, and that therefore no fairs should be 
hereafter held there. Ebenezer Miller, a Friend, who resided at 
Greenwich, was a member of the Assembly this year, and doubt- 
less procured this act. By this time fairs had become much less 
important than they had been, by the increase of regular retail 
stores, whose proprietors were anxious to get rid of the fairs. One 
of the provisions of the original concessions and agreements of the 
freeholders of West Jersey was that the streets in cities, towns, 
and villages should not be under one hundred feet wide. In pur- 
suance of this, a street was laid out at Greenwich, from the wharf 
to where the Presbyterian church was afterwards built, of that 
width, but by whom is not known. It is quite probable that Fen- 
wick himself visited the .place in his barge, which he particularly 
mentions in his will ; but it does not appear that he sold any lots 
there. His will provides " that Martha Smith, my Xtian friend, 
to have two lots of land at Cohansey, at the town intended on the 
river Caesaria."* 

* The foUowing extract from an interesting account of the Ewing family, printed 
only foir the use of the family, will give us a "very good idea of the situation and 
habits of a well-to-do pious Presbyterian family in the county of Cumberland, 
about the middle of the eighteenth century. It is a part of the biography of the 
wife of Maskell Ewing, who married Mary Pagett, in 1743. 

'* His wife was a woman of plain manners, though lady-like, and very sensible. 
She was remarkable for her powers as a housekeeper. With the exception of her 
husband's Sunday- coat, which was the one that had served at his wedding, and 
which lasted for a good part of after life, she had on hand the making of his and 
their children's garments from the flax and the wool. All the bedding and house 
linen must be made, and geese kept to find materials for beds ; some thousand 
weight of cheese to be prepared annually for market ; poultry and calves to be 
raised ; gardening to be done ; the work of butchering-time to be attended to (this 
included the putting up of pork and salt meat to last the whole year, besides sau- 
sages for winter, and the making of candles) ; herbs to be gathered and dried, and 


Penn and the executors of Fenwick made several conveyances 
of sixteen acre lots on the east side of the street ; one to Mark 
Reeve, describes him as of Csesaria River, and is dated August 9, 
1686. It contains the lot at the corner near the wharf, on which 
he had built a house. In December of the same year Reeve, in 
consideration of £80, conveyed it to Joseph Browne, late of Phila- 
delphia, "reserving to himself and his heirs a free egress and re- 
gress to and from a certain piece of ground, containing 24 square 
feet, where the said Mark Reeve's wife lies buried." Browne con- 
veyed it to Chalkley, a Friend, in 1738, and he to John Butler. 
Butler conveyed it to Thomas Mulford, and he to William Conover, 
who conveyed it to John Sheppard, December 16, 1760, in whose 
family it has remained ever since. No survey under the proprie- 
tors appears to have been recorded for this lot. Chalkley, in 1739, 
laid a survey on half an acre adjoining it, including the wharf, 
and in 1743 another for 15^ acres, thus making up a sixteen acre 

One Zachariah Barrow possessed a farni held under Fenwick con- 
siderably further north, on the east side of the street, above the 
Friends' school-house, and by his will made in 1725 devised it " for 
the benefit of a free school for the town of Greenwich forever." In 
1749, just after Cumberland County was established, to perfect the 
title — no survey having been before recorded — Ebenezer Miller pro- 
cured a survey to be duly laid on this farm to himself and two others, 
attorneys duly constituted by the town of Greenwich, and they exe- 
cuted a conveyance to David Sheppard, subject to a yearly rent of 
thirteen pounds, for the use of a free school to the inhabitants of 
the town of Greenwich, within certain bounds set forth in the deed. 
From this and other circumstances, it is known that Greenwich was 
made a township at an early day, and probably with the bounda- 

ointments compounded ; besides aU the ordinary honse-work of washing, ironing, 
patching, darning, knitting, scrubbing, baking, cooking, and manj other avoca- 
tions, which a farmer's wife now-a-dajs would be apt to think entirely out of her 
line. And all this without any * help,' other than that afforded bj her own little 
daughters, as they became able ; and for the first twenty-two years, with a baby 
always to be nursed. This afforded no time for any reading but the best ; but 
many a good book she contrived to read by laying it on her lap, whilst her hands 
plied the knitting-needles, or to hear read by the husband or one of the children, 
while she and the rest spent the evening in sewing. On the Sabbath, a folio 
Flavel, the Institutes of Calvin, and, above all, the Bible, were the treasures in 
which her soul delighted." 


ries contained in the deed. The act establishing the county divides 
it into six townships, the bounds of Greenwich containing conside- 
rably more territory than is described in the deed. In New Eng- 
land what we call townships are usually called towns. The reserved 
rent continues to be paid, and by a decree of the Court of Chancery, 
to and for the benefit of the public schools within the bounds of 
the town, as described in the deed. 

Fenwick's will, before quoted, mentions a creek called Bacon's 
Creek. There is still extant a deed from two Indians to John 
NichoUs of NichoUs Hartford, near Cohansey, dated 25th of 4th 
month (June of the old style), 1683, whereby, in consideration of 
one blanket, one double handful of powder, two bars of lead, three 
pennyworths of paint, one hoe, one axe, one looking-glass, one pair 
of scissors, one shirt, and one breech cloth, they sell and convey to 
him a parcel of land containing, by estimation, one hundred acres, 
beginning at a tree near the creek called the Great Tree Creek, and 
bounding on Cohansey Eiver and land of Henry Jennings, George 
Hazlewood, and Samuel Bacon, who are believed to have been of 
the early Baptist settlers. This deed was approved by Richard 
Grey and James Nevill, in accordance with a law passed the same 
year, which forbade the purchase of land from Indians without 
their sanction. A somewhat similar deed is in the possession of 
the Bacon family. "Whether a title was also obtained by survey 
under the proprietors is unknown. Unless there was, the legal 
title of the present possessors rests upon the possession, and not 
upon the Indian deeds. 

Before the Revolutionary War it can hardly be said that there 
were any towns in the county. Greenwich was the place of most 
business up to the beginning of the present century. The stores 
there contained the largest assortment of goods. A young lady 
who visited Bridgeton in 1786, mentions, in a journal which has 
been preserved, going to Greenwich " to get her broken watch crys- 
tal replaced, but the man had not received any from Philadelphia 
as he expected." She mentions going to Wood and Sheppard's 
store to get a few trifles. They transacted so large a business as 
to make it worth while to have bonds printed payable to them. 
The river forming an excellent harbor, vessels traded direct to the 
West Indies and other places ; but as New York overshadowed 
Perth Amboy, so Philadelphia overshadowed Greenwich or Cohan- 
sie. There was a regular ferry kept up over the river, and much 


intercourse between Fairfield and Greenwich. In 1767, after John 
Sheppard came there, a law was passed establishing the ferry, and 
in pursuance of its provisions, he bound himself to keep good and 
sufficient boats, fit for ferrying travellers and carriages for 999 
years, and to keep and amend the roads, and bound his property 
to make good his agreement. About 1810, and again in 1820, 
eflforts were made to have a draw-bridge built at the expense of the 
county ; but this project was strenuously resisted by those living 
on the river above, and being defeated, caused much rejoicing. For 
several years a horse-boat was in constant use ; but as other towns 
grew, and capital increased, Greenwich lost its relative importance, 
and the ferry had but little business, so that in 1888 Mr. Sheppard, 
in consideration of paying $800, was released from his engage- 
ment. Like other parts of the county, it has since greatly im- 
proved, but it is now only the depot of a rich agricultural region 
in its immediate neighborhood.* 

Those familiar with the history of the English colonies in North 
America, will remember that it was the persistence of the British 
government in taxing the people^, without allowing them to be 
represented in Parliament, that brought on the Eevolution, and 
hastened their Independence. In 1773, all those taxes were re- 
pealed but the duty on tea, which our forefathers not only resolved 
not to use, but which they would not suffer to be landed and oflfered 
for sale. The East India Company, which then had the monopoly 
of this commodity, was encouraged to send it to this country, and 
was allowed a drawback of all the duties paid in England, it being 
supposed that the cheapness of the article would tempt our people 
to purchase largely. Cargoes were sent to all the large seaports ; 
but at some places the tea was not permitted to be landed, and at 
others it was stored, but not allowed to be sold. In December, a 
party disguised as Indians boarded one of the ships in Boston har- 
bor, and threw the tea into the water. 

A brig called the Greyhound, bound to Philadelphia, with a 
cargo of tea, the captain of which was afraid to proceed to his place 
of destination, in the summer of 1774 came into the Cohansey, 
landed his tea, and had it stored in the cellar of a house standing 
in front of the then open market-square. This house is not now 
standing, and the market-square has been inclosed as private pro- 

* V7hen DOt otherwise stated, the time referred to as "now'' is the year 1865. 


perty. Imitating the example of the Bostonians, a company of 
near forty men was organized, with the concurrence of the commit- 
tee of safety of the county, of which Jonathan Elmer, the royal 
sheriff* was an active member, who disguised themselves as Indians, 
and on the night of November 22, 1774, broke into the store-house, 
took out the boxes of tea, and burned them in a neighboring field. 
The writer remembers to have known in his boyhood one of the 
party, a man named Stacks, who, it was said, tied strings round his 
pantaloons at his ankles, and stuffed them with tea, which he car- 
ried home to his family, and thus got the name of Tea-Stacks. 

The owners of the tea commenced actions of trespass against 
such of the disguised Indians as they thought they could identify, 
in the Supreme Court of the State, Joseph Eeed of Philadelphia, 
and Mr. Petit of Burlington, being their lawyers. Money for the 
defence was raised by subscription, and Joseph Bloomfield, then 
residing at Bridgeton, George Eead of New Castle, Elias Boudinot 
of Elizabethtown, and Jonathan D. Serjeant of Philadelphia, all 
eminent counsellors, were employed on behalf of the defendants. 
No trial, however, ever took place. The plaintiffs were ruled to 
enter security for the costs, which being neglected, a judgment of 
non pros was entered at May Term, 1776, but at the succeeding 
term security was filed, and the non pros set aside. The new 
constitution of the State, adopted in July, having displaced the 
Eoyal Judges, and their places being filled in the succeeding win- 
ter with Whigs, the actions were dropped, and no further proceed- 
ings took place on either side. 

Ebenezer Elmer, who was one of the Indians, enters in a journal 
he kept during the year 1775, under the date "Die Jovis 25 mo" 
(Thursday, May 25, 1775), "Came up to Bridge (from his nephew 
Daniel Elmer's, who lived at Cedarville) just before court, being 
Supreme Court. Judge Smith gave very large charge to the grand 
jury concerning the times, and the burning of the tea the fall 
before, but the jury came in without doing anything, and the court 
broke up." Under the date of September 7, he enters, " Expected 
as Sheriff' Bowen had got a jury of Tories, we should be indicted 
for burning the tea and taking Wheaton, but they could not make 
it out." Wheaton had been arrested by order of the committee of 
safety, as a dangerous Tory, but, nothing appearing against him, 
had been discharged. The grand jury, to whom he complained, 
did make a presentment against the journalist and others, for an 



assault and battery, and false imprisonment, which is now on file, 
but the court did not think proper to order a formal indictment to 
be presented, and nothing was done. 

The Judge Smyth mentioned in the journal was Chief Justice 
Frederick Smyth, the last of the Royal judges who presided in the 
Oyer and Terminer of this .county. His charge fell on very dull 
ears, the Whig sheriflf, whoknew all about the tea burning, having 
taken care to summon a Whig jury, the foreman of which was his 
nephew, Daniel Elmer. Before the ensuing September term 
this Whig sheriff, who held his office at the pleasure of Governor 
Franklin, who was not superseded until arrested by order of the 
Provincial Congress of New Jersey in the following June, was 
displaced, and David Bowen, who was supposed to be more loyal, 
was appointed in his place. He held the office of sheriff a little 
more than a year, being superseded in the fall of 1776 by Joel 
Fithian, who was elected pursuant to the new constitution. 

The place now called Roadstown, surrounded by a fertile region, 
was settled at an early date, and until Cohansey Bridge was 
established as the county town, was the place next in importance 
to New England town, and Greenwich. It is called Kingstown in 
an old mortgage on record, but if it was ever generally known by 
that name, which is doubtful, that designation was wiped out by 
the Declaration of Independence. Prior to, and for some time 
after the Revolution, it was called Sayre's Cross Roads, Ananias 
Sayre, originally from Fairfield, who was a prominent citizen, and 
at one time sheriff, having settled there, and built the house at the 
northwest corner of the cross roads. 

The first proprietors of the land within the bounds of what is 
now Cumberland, were principally, but not exclusively. Friends. 
But few of the actual settlers were Friends, that people being 
principally confined to Greenwich, and at a later day a few on 
Maurice River. Richard Hancock, who was Fenwick's first Sur- 
veyor General, after his falling out with him came to the place 
now called Bridgeton, and before 1686 erected a saw-mill on the 
stream then and since called Mill Creek, at the place where Pine 
Street now crosses the dam, then first made to form the pond. The 
low ground adjoining this creek was then covered with cedar trees, 
and pine and other large trees covered the hills. What title 
Hancock had to the land does not appear. It was included within 
the 11,000 acre survey, about this time located for the West Jersey 


Society, formed by several large proprietors living partly in Lon- 
don and partly in the province. Probably he held under them. 
It does not appear that he ever lived here, his residence being at 
the place in Salem County named after him, Hancock's Bridge, 
where there still remain some of his descendants. Thomas savs, 
" a goodly store of lumber went out of the Cohansey to Philadel- 

It was an early regulation that surveys should not extend on 
both sides of navigable streams. Surveyors, of whom John Wor- 
lidge was one, are said to have come from Burlington in a boat. 
The rights west of the Cohansey seem all to have been purchased 
of Fenwick or his executors. Mo^t of the land was covered by 
surveys before 1700. James Wasse, Joshua Barkstead, E. Hutch- 
inson, George Hazlewood, John Budd, Cornelius Mason, and Ed- 
mund Gibbon made large surveys, which extended nearly from 
the Cohansey to the Salem line. 

Edmund Gibbon, an English merchant residing in New York, 
in the year 1677, to secure a debt due to him by Edward Duke and. 
Thomas Duke, took from them a conveyance of 6000 acres of land 
in West Jersey which had been conveyed to them by Fenwick in 
England. Gibbon, by virtue of this deed, had a tract of 5500 
acres surveyed for him by Eichard Hancock in 1682. It was re- 
surveyed by Benj. Acton in 1703, and included within its bounds 
Boadstown, the east line running between the present Baptist 
meeting-house and the cross-roads, and extending southward to 
Pine Mount Branch, and westward to the Delaware. He devised 
this tract to his grandson Edmund, who devised it to Francis 
Gibbon of Bennensdere, England. In 1700 Francis devised it to 
his two kinsmen, Leonard and Nicholas Gibbon, of Gravesend in 
Kent, described as "all that -part of lands called Mount Gibbon, 
upon the branches of unknown creek, near Cohansey in West New 
Jersey," provided they go and settle upon it. They both came 
over and erected the mill formerly owned by Eichard Seeley, who 
was a descendant of Nicholas, and now by his daughter, the pro- 
perty having continued in the family to this time. This was pro- 
bably the first mill erected for grinding grain, unless the tide mill, 
which was situate on the stream a little east of Greenwich Street, 
and has been many years gone, preceded it. A fulling mill was 
erected at an early day on Pine Mount (as Mount Gibbon is now 
called) Eun. The mills of John S. Wood and of Benjamin Shep- 


pard are also of old date. Wood's Mill was for a long time owned 
by John Brick, the tradition being that he also owned large tracts 
in Lower Pittsgrove, and that through his influence the line between 
Cumberland and Salem was so run as to leave them in the latter 
county. Leonard and Nicholas Gibbon divided their tract in 1730, 
Nicholas taking the southern part, including the mill, and 2000 
acres of land. Nicholas built a good brick house in the town of 
Greenwich, where he resided until 1740, when he removed to 
Salem. Leonard built a stone house about two miles north of 
Greenwich. Both these buildings remain, but have long since 
gone out of the family, of whom there are still very respectable 
descendants, residing principally in Salem. 

On the east side of the Cohansey a large tract of 11,000 acres 
was surveyed by Woriidge and Budd for the West Jersey Society 
in 1686, and re-surveyed and recorded in 1716. East of that tract 
a large survey was made for the heirs of Penn, which extended to 
Maurice Eiver. On the west side of that river, and bounding on 
the Delaware, a large survey was made for Wasse. In 1691 a 
large survey was laid on the east side of Maurice River for Thomas 
Byerly. Indeed, it may be safely said that four-fifths of the land 
included in Cumberland County was covered by surveys before 

Surveys for Helby and John Bellers, creditors of Billing, living 
in England, covered most of Fairfield. The Helby surveys were 
sold out to settlers at an early day, but the Bellers title was the 
occasion of much difficulty. It extended from Mill Creek, at 
Fairton, to the Tweed or Back Creek. His agent, Thomas Budd, 
had a power of attorney to sell 400 acres, which he deeded to 
Ephriam Seeley.* But he made leases to the Connecticut settlers, 

* Thomas Budd became a Friend in England, oame over to Bnrlington in West 
Jersey, in 1678, and held several important offices in the province. In 1681, he 
was chosen, by the Assembly, a commissioner for " settling and regulation of 
lands, and was afterward a member of the Assembly. In 1684 he went to Eng- 
land, and there published a pamphlet entitled, ** Good order established in Penn- 
sylvania and New Jersey, in America, being a true account of the country." 
Probably he had not at this time visited South Jersey, as he couflnes his descrip- 
tion to the parts in the vicinity of Burlington. This pamphlet has been recently 
published with very copious and interesting historical notes, by Edward Arm- 
strong, Esq., of Philadelphia. 

Budd appears to have returned to Bnrlington the same year, and soon after- 
wards removed to Philadelphia, where he owned considerable property, took an 


reserving small quit-rents, and entered into bonds that a good title 
should be made, or their improvements paid for. Under these 
leases most of the tract was parcelled out to the settlers, and the 
land improved. But Sellers appears to have been ambitious of 
being lord of a manor in America, and upon his death in 1724 
entailed this property so that it could not be sold. The Rev. 
Daniel Elmer procured the semblance of a title to the 400 acres of 
Seeley's heirs, and in 1745 located part of this right so as to include 
the farm on which he resided and had built himself a house, and 
the adjoining meeting-house lot and burial ground lying on Co- 
hansey River, below Fairton. About the same time he and his son 
Daniel, who was a surveyor, laid out a town, which was never built, 
on the bank of the river, extending eastwardly so as to include 
part of the present sight of Fairton, which it was proposed to call 
Fairfield. Could the title have been secured, it would probably 
have become an important town and the county seat. In 1750 the 
settlers sent over Capt. Thomas Harris to England with money to 
purchase the Bellers title; but, not succeeding, he laid out the 
money in Bibles, Watts' Psalms and Hymns, then just coming into 
use, a folio edition of Flavel, and pewter dishes, which were dis- 
tributed among those willing to take them. The pewter dishes 
took the place of wooden trenchers for those able to indulge in 
such a luxury. Some of them and some copies of Flavel still 

It was not until about 1811 that this Bellers title was extin- 
guished. When about ten years before this time the late Benja- 
min Chew, of Philadelphia, became the agent of the English 
proprietors, the occupants refused to purchase, and resisted the 
surveyors who attempted to run out the tract, and cut ofi* the tail 
of the agent's horse. Suits were brought, and the Supreme Court 
of this State made a special order, requiring the sheriff to call out 
the posse comitatus and protect the surveyors, who pointed out the 
land to a jury of view. One case was tried, and a verdict rendered 
for the plaintiffl A compromise then took place, by which three 
persons from the adjoining counties were selected to determine 
how much the occupants should pay. They awarded two dollars 

active part in disputes that arose among tlie Friends, and died in the year 1698. 
His descendants, and those of his brother William, who resided in Burlington 
County and was an Episcopalian, are numerous and very respectable, in Pennsyl- 
yauia and New Jersey. 


and fifty cents per acre, and seventy-five cents per acre for the 
costs, which was eventually paid, and deeds made to each occupant. 
A small part of it remains nominally in Chew's heirs. 

A similar difficulty occurred when the proprietors of the Penn 
tract commenced selling. A gentleman now living remembers 
when, about the year 1804, the squatters thereon threatened to hang 
the agent, who had some difficulty in effecting his escape, which 
he was enabled to do by the swiftness of his horse that carried hira 
safely over Maurice River bridge at Millville before his pursuers 
could overtake him. 

A map annexed to Thomas's description of Pennsylvania and 
West Jersey, before referred to, contains on it the names of two 
towns, viz: Dorchester, on the east side of Maurice River, and 
Antioch, on the south side of Oohansey, the only towns within the 
bounds of Cumberland which are named. Dorchester was surveyed 
and returned as a town plat of 2500 acres, and although no town 
was built until after 1800, it retains the name. Antioch was pro- 
bably surveyed in a similar manner, but never recorded, unless, as 
is most probable, the map places it on the wrong side of the river. 
The original map of Hancock's survey for Gibbon, refers to the 
boundaries of Antioch or Greenwich town. No town called Antioch 
ever existed in the county. 

The Connecticut immigrants called the place most thickly settled 
New England Town, by which name, or that of New England Town 
Cross-roads, it was long known. The first road from Salem to Maurice 
River was laid out in 1705, through Greenwich, crossing the river 
there, and then along by the meeting-house at New England Town, 
up to the neighborhood of the present Fairton, and then through 
the woods towards Maurice River, without stating precisely where it 
was to go or where to end. The road from New England Town to 
Burlington — the seat of government of West Jersey — Was no doubt 
the first road used in the county. It passed over the north branch 
of the Cohansey, called Mill Creek, at a place where the mill was 
first erected, somewhat below the present mill-dam, and then along 
the Indian path about a mile east of Bridgeton, through the Indian 
fields, passing by the Pine Tavern, then over to the road from Salem, 
near the present Clarksboro in Gloucester County, then through 
"Woodbury and Haddonfield. The bridge and road at Carpenter's 
Landing were not made until the forepart of the present century. 

Fairton was not so called until the post-office was established, 


about tbe year 1812. It was previously called by tbe nickname 
Bumbridge, a name said to bave originated from tbe circumstance 
tbat a constable — tben often called a Bum-bailiiF, whicb is a cor- 
ruption of the word bound bailiff, tbat is, a bailiff bound with a 
security — in attempting to arrest a person, fell into the water^ owing 
to some defect in the bridge over Eattlesnake Eun, and thus occa- 
sioned the bridge to be rebuilt, and to acquire a name. For many 
years the road over this run crossed considerably above where the 
bridge was made. When the country was first settled, what is 
now called Mill Creek, at Fairton, was known as the north branch 
of the Cohansey. 

Cedarville became a place of some local importance directly 
after the Revolution, but was not known by this name until the 
post-office was established. It was settled at an early period ; but 
when the mill was erected is not known. 

Gouldtown — partly in the northern part of Fairfield, and partly 
in Bridgeton townships — although never more than a settlement of 
mulattoes principally bearing the names of Gould and Pierce, scat- 
tered over a considerable territory, is of quite ancient date. The 
tradition is that they are descendants of Fen wick. His will con- 
tains the following clause : " Item, I do except against Elizabeth 
Adams (who was a granddaughter), of having any the least part 
of my estate, unless the Lord open her eyes to see her abominable 
transgression against him, me, and her good father, by giving her 
true repentance, and forsaking that Black that hath been the ruin 
of her, and becoming penitent for her sins ; upon- that condition 
only I do will and require my executors to settle five hundred 
acres of land upon her." 





.The government of New Jersey was at first assumed by the 
proprietors. After the partition into two provinces, West Jersey 
was intended to be divided into Tenths, fronting on the Delaware, 
but only three or four were defined, and these were soon super- 
•seded by regular counties; and indeed the tenths seem to have 
been designed rather for the purpose of apportioning the land 
among the different proprietors than for the purposes of govern- 
ment. The General Assembly which convened at Burlington May 
2, 1682, appointed Justices, Sheriff, and Clerk for the jurisdiction 
of Burlington, and others for the jurisdiction of Salem, and Courts 
of Sessions were directed to be held four times a year at each 
place. No definite limits were assigned to these "jurisdictions," it 
being probably the design that the officers designated should have 
power to act in all parts of the province. In 1688 the members of 
Assembly were elected separately, in the First, Second, and Salem 
Tenths, and the justices and sheriffs appointed as before. In 1685 
an act was passed establishing the county of Cape May, and bound- 
ing it on the west by Maurice Eiver, authorizing justices to try 
causes under forty shillings, but other, actions, civil and criminal, to 
be tried in Salem County. This act states that the province had 
been formerly divided into three counties, but no act for that pur- 
pose is in print; indeed none of the acts passed in West Jersey 
were printed until such as could be found were published by Lea- 
rning and Spicer in 1750. 

In 1692 the boundary between Gloucester and Burlington was 
altered, but the next year the act was repealed. In 1693 Cape 
May was authorized to have a county court. In 1694 the boun- 
daries of Burlington and Gloucester were established ; and it was 
enacted that the jurisdiction of Salem court should extend from 
Berkeley Eiver (now called Oldman's Creek) on the north, to the 
Tweed (now called Back Creek) on the south. The district between 
the Tweed and Maurice Eiver was not included in any county. 


To remedy tbis it was enacted in 1700 that all persons inhabiting 
on the river Tweed, and all settlements below, unto the bounds of 
the county of Cape May* should from thenceforth be annexed to, 
and be subject to the jurisdiction of the* court and county of Sa- 
lem, After the union of the two provinces by the surrender of 
the government to Queen Anne, an act was passed in January, 
1T09-10, still partly in force, ascertaining the boundaries of all the 
counties in the province of New Jersey, which reduced Cape May 
to its present dimensions, and extended Salem to the western boun- 
dary of Cape May. 

The act establishing the county provided that whenever the free- 
holders and justices should judge it necessary to build a court- 
house and jail, an election to determine the place should be held 
at John Butler's in the town of Greenwich, on a day to be fixed 
by three of the justices, one of whom should be of the quorum. 
It being the prerogative of the governor to appoint the time of 
holding the courts, he issued an ordinance directing them to be 
held in the meantime at Greenwich, four times a year. A small 
wooden jail was built in that place, and the courts were held for a 
time in the Presbyterian meeting-house and the tavern. 

An election was held in 1748, by which a majority of those who 
voted declared in favor of Cohansey Bridge, and to this place the 
court held in December of that year adjourned. When the jus- 
tices and freeholders met there in July of that year, the minutes 
state that " it was proposed to raise money for a jail and court- 
house ; but the major part of the justices and freeholders present 
were not so disposed — as to the location of the place where the 
said jail and court-house shall be built, and thought proper to set- 
tle the point first, before they consent to raise money for that pur- 
pose ; but in order to settle the affair of the election, there was a 
motion made for to examine the voters by purging them by their 
respective oaths and affirmations, but the freeholders of the south 
side of Cohansey refused to comply with said offer. There being 
no business to do, the meeting adjourned." In 1749, a dispute 
arose as to the election of the freeholders in Hopewell. In 1750, 
there was a full board, and it was agreed that " there shall be a deed 
drafted and delivered to Eichard "Wood and Ebenezer Miller to 
peruse, and upon.their approbation, then they, or more of the jus- 
tices, are to summons magistrates and freeholders to proceed upon 
raising money to build a court-house and jail." In 1751 and 1752, 


money was ordered raised. Wood and Miller both.lived at Green- 
wich, but the latter had become largely interested in the property 
at Cohansey Bridge, and joined the soufh siders. The lot was a 
part of his survey, including the present jail, and extending across 
Broad Street; and a question being raised about the title, a number 
of the most prominent freeholders on the south side, as the eastern . 
part of the county was then designated, including Miller, joined in 
a bond in the penal sum of two hundred pounds, to several of the 
freeholders at Greenwich, to guarantee the title. 

The bridge over the Cohansey was built, resting on cribs sunk 
in the water, as early as 1716, it being referred to in a survey of 
that date.; but whether it was then passable for carriages may be 
doubted, as probably there were no four-wheeled wagons at that 
time, or for long afterwards, in the county. Lumber was floated by 
water, or, when necessary, drawn for short distances on sleds. A 
very old man, named Murray, said forty years ago, that he remem- 
bered whei^ there was a small store on the west side of the river, 
near the water, and a bridge for foot-passengers only. When the 
tide was out the stream was fordable, and an old survey made in 
1686, mentions the going-over place to Eichard Hancock's mill. 
A road for use when the tide was in used to cross the stream 
about half way up the present pond, the marks of which were 
not long since visible. 

When the courts were first held at Cohansey Bridge, it is sup- 
posed there were no more than eight or ten houses in the imme- 
diate vicinity. The road from Salem passed a little south of where 
the old Presbyterian Church stands, at the west end of the town, 
and entea*ing Broad Street, passed down the same to near the cor- 
ner of Franklin Street, then came down the hill a northeast course, 
past the corner of the large stone house, which stands a little back 
from and west of Atlantic Street, and thence to the foot of the bridge ; 
passing the bridge, it ran nearly the present course of Commerce 
Street to uear Pearl Street, and then a northeast course, a little 
south of the stone Presbyterian church, and so on through what 
was then woodland, to near the comer of East Avenue and Irving 
Street, and thence through the Indian Fields, over the Beaver Dam 
£Lt Lebanon Eun to Maurice Eiver. A house stood on the brow of 
th<e hill, a little west of the run that crosses this^road, next east of 
the railroad station, where there was at one time a tavern ; and 
between that and the railroad, about opposite to East Avenue, there 


was a graveyard. At or near the place where Pearl Street crosses 
Commerce Street, the roads forked, one branch running north- 
wardly to Deerfield. It was necessary to go thus far east of the 
bridge before turning northwardly, to avoid going up Laurel Hill, 
then impassable, without the outlay of much labor and expense. 
At the Indian Fields the road then and now running north and 
south, originally an Indian path, became the king's highway from 
Fairfield to the seat of government at Burlington. It is the most 
ancient road in the county, and is even yet known to the old in- 
habitants as the old Burlington road, and in 1769 was laid out as 
a public road, four rods wide. 

The mill-pond, now owned by Jonathan Elmer, was in 1748 
owned by Ephraim Seeley, commonly called Col. Seeley. The 
mill stood in the low ground back of the house occupied by Mrs. 
Du Bois, and the dam crossed above from the hill diagonally to 
the point where there is now a brick kiln. The old mansion house 
stood on the hill northeast of Mrs. Du Bois, near the pond, and the 
road from the bridge over Cohansey, to the house arid mill, ran 
iabout where the back part of Jonathan Elmer's house now stands. 
There was a bridge across the saw-mill pond, back of the Metho- 
dist meeting-house lot, over which the road to Fairfield passed, 
which was laid out as a public road in 1763. This road crossed 
Mill Creek near Fairton, at Joseph Ogden's mill-dam, which was 
lower down the stream than the present dam. 

Seeley's mill was erected at an early date, but when or by whom 
has not been ascertained; but the writer recollects that fifty years 
ago the remains of an old fulling mill were visible near the mid- 
dle of the dam, and he has heard that Col. Seeley's wife was accus- 
tomed, in her youth, to ride on horseback as far as Cape May, 
carrying with her fulled cloth, and returning with a horse load of 
cloth to be dressed. At that time nearly all the clothing and the 
bedding used by the people was spun in the family, and often 
woven there adso, or by persons who followed the business. The 
straight road to Millville, now a turnpike, was laid out in 1805, 
commencing at the bridge; and in 1809 Jeremiah Buck erected 
the dam and flour and saw-mills now standing, and it may be 
mentioned that Mr. French, the millwright, fron^ near Bordentown, 
lost his life at the raising of the saw-mill, having been crushed by 
falling timbers. 

Besides Seeley's mill and house, the old Hancock mill still re- 


niained in 1748. It was removed to a site just below the presenl 
Btone bridge, and the existing race-way cut in 1772. Thia saw-mil] 
and the pond above, upon which the writer has often skated, n 
inained until 1S09, when Mr. Buck lowered the race-way and pOQ( 
as low as the tide would permit, to obtain a better head and fall aft' 
his mills above, and the mill was taken down. There was a house 
near this saw-mill on the northwest side of Pine Street, long owned 
and occupied by Col. Enog Sceley, a relative of Col. Ephraim, and . 
grandfather of the late Governor E. P. Seeley, which probablju 
stood there in 1748. It was long occupied by the widow Jay, anfl 
was taken down about 20 yeara ago. Col. Knos Seeley, in 1773jn. 
owned all the property where the glass-houses now are, his north- 
ern line being about where Jefi'erson Street now ia, adjoining 
Alexander Moore's line, and included a house standing whore Mrs. 
Buck's -boose now is, fronting Laurel Street. This house was 
there in 1748, and upon the creek, an old wharf, the first erected, 
called in old writings Smith's Wharf, used, probably, in connectioi 
with Hancock's mill. At this time the dam leading to the Btoi 
bridge was not made, but the tide flowed up the old channel 
Mill Creek to the neighborhood of the mill. Col, Enos Seeley pi 
up the dam about the year 1774. 

Nearly opposite Col. Seeley's house, now Mrs. Buck's, wad 
good house facing the south, in which a store was afterwards kept 
by Mr. Boyd and his widow. There were also two or three houses 
nearly opposite, on the east side of Laurel Street. These are ba- 
lieved to have been all the houses on the east side of the riverJ 
until Alexander Moore built his dwelling-house, on the north sidd 
of Commerce Street, about half way between the hotel and th»' 
bridge. His store-house of cedar logs stood where Potter's store- 
house now is. Judge White told the writer he took it down, and 
found in it an old horn book; that is to say, a printed card contaia- 
ing the alphabet and a short lesson in spelling, which was 
a piece of board and covered with a horn pressed flat and sera] 
thin, so as to be transparent enough to leave the lessons visi 
the urchins who were to learn them, and thus protecting 
from being defaced. Such books, made however after dilTeroi 
patterns, were in common use a century ago. Moore is believ* 
to have settled here between 1730 and 1740. Ho married a 
ecendant of Mark Reeve. Most of tbe site of East Bridget 
north of Commerce Street, was an open woods in 1748, and 
continued until after the Revolutionary War, 




Oh the west side of the river, a good two-storied house, with 
what was commoQly called a hip roof, stood a little south of Com- 
merce Street, facing the east, the back part of which was about 
where the east side of Atlantic Street now is, in front of which 
was the road which ran a southwest course up the hill, having a 
south fork running down the river, and between the road and 
river was a garden. This was built about 1725, by Silas Parvin, 
and was; for several years licensed as a tavern, and stood there 
about one hundred years, when it was removed by the late Smith 
Bowen. South of this and near the river, a little north pf Broad 
Street, at the place now owned by James B. Potter and used as a 
ship-yard, stood a good house fronting the north, owned in 1748 
by Capt. Elias Cotting. It was afterwards for many years owned 
and occupied by Enoch Boon, and has been taken down some 
twenty years and more. When first erected it was a mansion of 
considerable pretension. Another house stood a little back of 
where the court-house now stands, on a road early used to the 
marshes, upon which the early settlers depended almost exclusively 
for hay, and belonged to one Jeremiah Sayre, cordwainer. Neither 
Broad Street nor Commerce Street was opened up the hill until 
many years after this period. These three dwelling-houses and a 
small store-house of cedar logs standing norjh of Parvin's house 
and a farm-house on the property above Muddy Branch, were all 
the buildings on the .west side of Cohansey Bridge. 

The Court was first held at. Isaac Smith's who probably kept a 
tavern in the Parvin house, in February 1748, old style, and gene- 
rally met at eight o'clock in the morning. Cotting was commis- 
sioned by the Governor as clerk, at first to hold during the plea- 
•sure of the Governor, but in 1755 he presented a commission to 
hold during good behavior, which continued the mode until 1776. 
He died in 1757, and was succeeded by Daniel Elmer, who died in 
1761, and was succeeded by Maskel Ewing, who, having taken an 
oath of allegiance to the king, declined to serve under the new 
government. In 1786 Jonathan Elmer presented a commission 
from Governor Livingston as clerk, and in the ensuing fall he was 
elected by the joint meeting for five years pursuant to the consti- 
tution-Alexander Moore and Ephraim Seeley appeared as judges. 
The September term does not appear to have been held. The 
terms were held four times in the year, and until 1752 the February 
term is always entered of the same year as the preceding Decem- 


ber term, it thus appearing that the old style was changed that 
year. According to theold style, the year commenced on the feast 
of the conception of Mary or Lady day, March 25th, which still' 
continues to be the customary day of commencing leases in thig 
county, although in other parts of the State it is the first day oP 
April according to the Pennsylvania usage, and in some places tho' 
first day of May agreeably to the New York usage. 

Cohansey Bridge is mentioned in the minutes until 1765, whea- 
Bridgetown is first named. Constables for the town were first ap-' 
pointed by the court in 1768, It may be noticed that the wholet 
region from the source of the river near Friesburgh, to its mouth, 
at the Delaware Bay, was commonly called Cohansey, up to and 
even after the Revolution, It was common to write Fairfield in 
Cohansey, or Greenwich Cohansey. -Upon the establiahment ( 
the Bank in 1816, its first president, Gen, Giles, had the name c 
the town printed Bridgeton on the notes, and this soon became tho^ 
adopted name, Bridgetown, however, still remains the of&cial o 
of the port, under the laws of the United States, 

The following named persons have been the clerks, after thoso 
above named, from 1776 appointed by joint meeting fur five yeara,- 
vacancieg filled by Governor, until 18-16, and since by election in 
the county : — , 

James Oiles, appointed id 
Dr. Azel Piersou, " 

Jomtthsn Uolmes,b7Cioyen 
Dr. Edo Ogden, appointed i 
Ebuneier Elmer, by Goveni. 
Ebenezer Beelay, appointed 
Samuel Beeley, " 

17S9 Joaiah Fithian, appointed in 1838 died_ 

1804 died Eno9 BeBl«y, by GoTernor 1842 

[]rl812 D. M. Woodj-aff, appointud in 1S4^ 
I 1S13 died " Bleiited 1647 

r 1813 Bphraim E. Sheppard, " 1653 

a 1814 died Providence Lu din ni, " 1857 

1833 Thao. G, Complon, " I8li3 

The following named persona have been surrogates, appointed 
until 1822 by the Governor to hold at hia pleasure; then until 
1846 by the joint meeting of the legislature, to hold for five yeara^ 
vacancies happening being filled by the Governor to hold until 
the legislature met; since 1846 by election in the county: — 

Elias Cottiog, appointed 1748 
Daniel Elmer, " 1757 

Mask el Ewing, 
Jonathan Elmer, 
George Bnrgin 


1804 died 1810 

■r Elm. 

Jonathan E 


Sam'l M. Sbute, app'ted 1813 

Timothy Elmer, " 16IS died 183Si 

Wm, 8. Bowen, " 163G 

H. R. Marseilles, " 1837 

Joseph Mnore, elected ISS^i 

11, R, MeraeiMes, " 1857 died 

Alphonao Woodrol^" 16til 


At a session of the Assembly in 1690, an act was passed "that 
the tract of land in Cohansey purchased by several people, lately 
inhabitants of Fairfield, in New England, be erected into a town- 
ship." One of the vessels containing these immigrants came up 
the creek now called Back Creek, and gave it the name of the 
Tweed. Their tract was at the head of this stream, and between 
it anfi the Cohansey, which probably occasioned the extension of 
Salem County, so as to include them. The precise date of the 
arrival of these New Englanders is unknown, but it was probably 
from 1682 to 1690. The Sellers tract was first surveyed in 1686, 
and it was from Thomas Budd, agent of that proprietor, they 
leased. No records of the town-meetings — prior to the early part 
of the present century — are extant, but there can be no doubt that 
these inhabitants, isolated as they then were, instituted a local 
government sufficient for their immediate purposes, after the 
model of the towns of Connecticut — from which province most of 
these came — in which the aflfairs of church and state were curi- 
ously blended, with a most happy eflfect. Several of them — con- 
sisting of Congregationalists, or Presbyterians and Baptists — 
crossed the river to Greenwich, and were joined there by settlers 
from England, Scotland, and Ireland, mostly of the Presbyterian 

It appears by the court records at Salem that at least as early 
as 1720 Fairfield and Greenwich were recognized as regular town- 
ships. The inhabitants in other neighborhoods, not considered as 
belonging to those townships, were provided with precinct officers 
appointed by the Court" of Quarter Sessions. In 1709, the grand 
jury ordered a tax of 75 pounds to be levied, for county purposes, 
and appointed an assessor and collector for the north side of the 
Cohansey, and the same for the south side. In 1720, officers were 
first appointed for the precinct, of Maurice Eiver, and afterwards 
they were appointed in like manner yearly, until the. county was 
organized. The Quarter Sessions in England were ace,ustomed to 
appoint constables, where they were considered necessary, to pre- 
vent a failure of justice, and the same custom prevailed in New 
Jersey, except where townships were regularly organized and em- 
powered to choose them. 

Much inconvenience being experienced by the inhabitants living 
remote from Salerh Town, several unsuccessful efforts were made 
to obtain a new county, which were rendered the more difficult by 


the desire of the royal governors to keep up the equality of repre- 
sentation in the Assembly, between East and West Jersey. In 
January, 1747-8, the attempt succeeded, but with the condition 
that members of Assembly should continue to be elected in con- 
junction with Salem. It was not until 1768 that two members 
"V^rere allowed to be chosen in Cumberland, which were balanced by 
two chosen in Morris County. It was not, however, until 1772 
that writs were issued for a new election. 

The act divided the new county into six townships, assigning to 
them their respective boundaries — three on the west, or north side 
of Cohansey, and three on the east, or south side. At least half 
the inhabitants then resided west of Cohansey, although the terri- 
tory east of that river is about fiVe times larger. Only Deerfield 
and a part of Fairfield contained more than a few settlers. Fair- 
field at first included all the present township of Downe. This 
township was set oflF by letters patent granted by Governor Frank- 
lin, in the year 1772, recorded in the Secretary of State's oflBlce at 
Trenton. This power was occasionally exercised by the governors 
of the province as a part of the royal prerogative, delegated to 
them by their commissions. His wife's maiden name was Eliza-' 
beth Downes, and the new township was named in compliment to 
her. It is spelled Downes in the record, but by a clerical or typo- 
graphical error, the name was printed, in the law passed in 1798 
incorporating the township, Downe, and has been so printed in all 
the laws since. 

Some of the old surveys call for the line of the township of Pam- 
phylia, at or near the place where the line between Fairfield and 
Deerfield was established ; but this old Grecian name is retained 
only by the spring so called on the banks of the Cohansey, about 
a mile below the bridge. Maurice Eiver contained originally all 
the large territory east of the river so called. Millville was set off 
from it, including parts of Deerfield and Fairfield, on the west of 
the river by a law passed in the year 1801. Bridgeton was set off 
from Deerfield by law, in 1845; and Cohansey from Hopewell by 
law, in 1848. 

The legislature of the colony was convened, adjourned, and dis- 
solved at the pleasure of the Governor and his Council, and the 
members of the Assembly were elected by virtue of writs .under 
the great seal of the colony, directed to the sheriffs. By a law 
passed in 1725, the sheriff was required to give notice of the day 


and place of election, and then to proceed by reading his writ; and 
he was not to declare the choice by the view (that is, merely from 
a vote by holding up of hands), nor adjourn without the consent 
of the candidates ; but if a poll was required, proceed from day 
to day, until all the electors present be polled ; and he was required 
to appoint a clerk, who should set down the names of the electors, 
and the persons they voted for. There was, of course, but one 
place of election — generally the court-house in the county — and 
the election commonly closed the first day, but was occasionally 
kept open several days or even weeks. The voting was, of 
course, viva voce, ballots not being introduced until about 1790. 

This power of the candidates to control the election, in some 
respects, gave rise to the system of making nominations in writing, 
which prevailed from 1790 until 1839, and was, it is supposed, 
peculiar to this State. At first the names of candidates were re- 
quired to be posted up in some conspicuous place the first day ; 
then they were required to be nominated on the election day before 
three o'clock, by some person entitled to vote ; the name was then 
enrolled by the clerk, and fixed up in full view at the door of the 
house where the election was held. Elections being required to be 
held in each township in the year 1790, the clerk of the county 
was required to attend at the court-house on the first Monday in 
September, and there receive, from any person, entitled to vote, a 
list of the persons proposed as candidates, and the clerk then made 
a general list of all the candidates nominated, a certified copy of 
which was sent to each of the township clerks, and no person could 
be voted for unless he had been thus nominated. Of course, many 
were nominated who were not expected to be voted for, but occa- 
sionally the person who would have been preferred was found to 
have been omitted. After newspapers became common, it was cus- 
tomary to publish the list of nominations, often containing many 
names of low and vicious characters, nominated by way of joke 
by foolish persons, and the names of those who declined were so 

In the journal of Ebenezer Elmer, he enters under the date of 
September 21, 1776, " County met to choose two delegates and a 
county committee. Delegates chosen by poll, when Theophilus 
Elmer had a great majority, and next highest Esq. Jona. Ayres." 
Theophilus Elmer had been previously elected in 1772. To en- 
title a person to a seat in the Assembly at this time, he was required 




to have 1000 acres of land in his own right, to be wortb X500 of 
■ real and personal estate. A voter must be a freeholder, and have 
100 acres of land in his'owD right, or be worth £50 in real and per- 
sonal estate. The members chosen for Salein and Cumberland iq 
1749 were William Hancock and John Brick, In 1751, Williani 
Hancock and Richard Wood. In 1754, Hancock and Ebenezar 
Miller. In 1761, the same. In 1769, Ebenezer Miller and laaaa 
Sharp. In 1772, for Cumberland, John Sheppard and Theophiloi 
Elmer. Afterwards ooe member of Council, and three memberfl 
of Assembly, were chosen annually. For 1776, they were Theo« 
philus Elmer, Council, Ephraira Harris, Jonathan Bowen, and Johtt 
Brick, Assembly. In 177S, Ephraim Hiirris, Council, Buck, Bowenji 
and James Ewing, Assembly, In 1779, Buck, Council, Jas, Ewinft 
Joel Fithian, and Timothy Elmor, Assembly, In 1780, Jonathai| 
Elmer, Council, same members of Assembly. In 17S1, Samud 
Ogden, Council, Joshua Ewing, Joshua Brick, and Josiah Seeleyjj 
Assembly. In 1782, Theophilus Elmer, Council, Joshua Ewin® 
Ephraim Harris, Speaker, Jonathan Bowen, Assembly. Theophiloi 
Elmer was a member of the Council of Safety during most of the 

The following persons, residing in the county, have been mem-* 
bers of Congress : — 

Senate.— 17S9 to 1791, Jonathan Elmer; 1826 to 1827, wh^ 
he died, Ephraim Bateman, 

House.— 1776-7-81-82^83-87-88, Jonathan Elmer; 1801 tc 
1806, Ebenezer Elmer; 1815 to 1821, Ephraim Bateman; 1831 t« 
1835, Thomas Lee; 1843 to 1845, Lucius Q. C.Elmer; 1845 tc 
1849, James G. Hampton; 1859 to 1863, John T. Nixon. 

The Constitution, adopted in 1776, instead of requiring everj 
voter to be worth fifty pounds of real and personal estate, required 
only that he should be an inhabitant of the State, of full age, and 
worth fifty pounds clear estate. The word inhabitant was prob* 
bly atiopted instead of citizen, under the impression that as a neW* 
government was initiated it was proper to recognize all the inhabit- 
ants as citizens thereof. Under this broad provision, females aad 
colored persona were allowed to vote if worth the requisite sunij 
and cases occurred when the voter presented himself or herself " 
with fifty pounds, ^133 33 in hand in cash. No married females 
voted, and few others. Very few colored per.'ions were worth the 
requisite sum. In 1807 an act of the legislature was | 


citing that doubts had been raised, and great diversities of practice 
obtained throughout the State, in regard to the admission of aliens, 
females and persons of color, or negroes, to vote in elections, and 
also in regard to the mode of ascertaining the qualifications of 
voters in respect to estate, to remedy which it was provided that 
none but free white male citizens of the State should vote, and that 
every person who should have paid a tax, and whose name was 
enrolled on the tax list, should be adjudged to be worth fifty 
pounds. The late Dr. Lewis Condict, of Morristown, who recently 
died at a very advanced age, was at'the time an active member of 
the Assembly, and had the credit of bringing forward this measure, 
which, however questionable as to its strict accordance with the 
Constitution, met the views of a great majority of the people of all 
parties, and continued the law until the adoption of the present 
Constitution, which contained substantially the same provisions. 
It was, however, occasionally decided by officers of the election 
that the law was unconstitutional and void ; and it was under such 
a decision that at the contested election for the court-house, votes 
of aliens were admitted in one or more of the townships, and the 
same thing was done at a subsequent county and congregational 
election, which, with other circumstances, brought on what was 
called the broad seal war in 1837. 

From 1809 to 1845 the polls were kept open two days, and the 
town meetings, which then and now fixed the place of holding the 
elections, were accustomed, in the larger townships, to order that 
they should be held on the first day at one place, and on the second 
at another, much to the convenience of the voters. It may indeed 
be doubted whether as many evils have not grown out of the change 
as have been cured. No careful observer can have failed to per- 
ceive that the practice of bribing voters, by means of direct pay- 
ments of money, confined at first to a sufficient sum to defray the 
voter's expenses, but gradually enlarged until there are voters who 
are known regularly to sell their votes to the highest bidder, has 
greatly increased. Forty years ago a candidate for office was ex- 
pected to remain quietly at home ; now he would find favor with 
very few by such a course. 

The county business was transacted by a board consisting of two 
freeholders elected in each township, as provided for in an act 
passed in 1714, and all the justices of the peace of the county, or 
any three of them, one whereof being of the quorum. All the 



justices for each county were generally included in one commission, 
as is the practice in England, and one or more were designated as 
of the quorum, without whose presence no business could be done. 
In case any town or precinct should neglect to elect freeholders, 
the justices were authorized to appoint them. The name precinct 
appears to have been applied to neighborhoods, without definite 
boundaries, not included within a defined township. The justices 
were appointed by the Governor and Council, until 1776, and held 
their offices at their pleasure. A book containing the proceedings 
of the freeholders and justices is still extant. The boards of free- 
holders were incorporated and organized, as they now exist, in 

The following named persons have held the office of sheriflT. 
Before the Eevolution they were appointed by the Governor and 
Council, to hold for three years or during the pleasure of the 
Governor; and since they have been elected yearly, but can only 
hold the office three years in succession : — 

Ananias Sayre, 

appointed in 


William Rose, elected 


Samnel Fithian, 



John Sibley, 



Ananias Sajre, 



Dan. Simpkins, 



MaskeU Ewing, 



William R. Fithian, 



Silas Newcomb, 



John Lanning, jr.. 



Howel Powell, 



Robert S. Buck, 



Theophilus Elmer, 



Josiah Shaw, 



Thomas Maskell, 



Daniel M. Woodraflf, 



Jonathan Elmer, 



Cornelius Lupton, 



David Bowen, 



David Campbell, 



Joel Fithian, 



Levi T. Davis, 



William Kelsay, 



Harris B. Mattison, 



Daniel Maskell, 



Cornelius Lupton, 



Joseph Buck, 



Stephen Murphy, 



David Potter, 



Theophilus E. Harris, 



Reuben Bargin, 



James Stiles, 



George Bargin, 



Nathaniel Stratton, 



Jeremiah Bennett, 

jr., « 


Jonathan Fithian, 



Enoch Bargin, 



Lewis H. Dowdney, 



Timothy Elmer, 



Charles L. Watson, 



John Buck, 



Samuel Peacock. 



The first court-house and jail were small wooden buildings. In 
1753 money was raised for building a jail, to be of brick, 34 by 
24 feet, and also stocks and a pillory. In 1755 an account was 
allowed for digging a dungeon and for stone. Much complaint was 
made of the insecurity of the jail, so that in 1757 a petition was 


sent, to the Chief Justice, urging him to solicit the Governor to 
appoint a special oyer and terminer, the messenger being required 
to go and return in five days. Jeremiah Buck was the messenger, 
who of course made the journey on horseback, and was paid for. 
six days at five shillings per day. 

In 1759 it was agreed to build a new court-house of brick, two 
stories, 34 by 24 feet, with a cupola; Ebenezer Miller, David Shep- 
pard, and Samuel Fithian, all north-siders, were the committee. 
During the years 1760 and '61 this house was built, and stood in 
the middle of what is now Broad Street, opposite the dwelling- 
house of the jail keeper, and continued to be used until 1846, 
about eighty-four years. The bell was purchased by subscription, 
and for many years the house was used on Sundays and other 
days for religious meetings. Evening meetings continued to be 
held in it until but a few years before it was taken down. The 
jail yard was inclosed with the walls in 1765. In 1767 the town- 
ships of Greenwich and Stow Creek were authorized to have each 
a pair of stocks. In 1775 a fence was ordered to be put up at the 
west end of the court-house, and in 1777 one was ordered at the 
east end, to prevent ball being played there. In 1790 the present 
jail was built on the site of the old one. About 1809 a market 
house was built by private subscription, and by consent of the 
freeholders, at the west end of the court-house. It was never much 
used, except on training or other public days. The pump in the 
street was put there by private subscription, aided by a donation from 
the freeholders, the main purpose being to reach the Ipwer springs, 
which only, in that vicinity, furnish good water. A liberty pole 
was put up by the Democrats about 1802, near where the flag-staflf 
now stands, which remained for many years, and was sometimes 
degraded to a whipping-post, when that punishment was in vogue.^ 
Up to 1815 the clerks and surrogates kept their books and papers 
where they happened to live, which was not always in Bridgeton. 
In that year the fire-proof offices on Commerce Street were erected, 
being originally a low one-story building, more like a blacksmith 
shop than public offices. 

About the year 1830 there began to be a desire to have a better 

1 Since this was written the old jail has been taken down. It stood a little 
south of the existing brick sheriff's house and jail, erected in 1867. The street 
has been newly graded, and the flagstaff and pump have disappeared. 


nda was pt^^| 

storied lioaa^| 

court-house; and in 1836 the lot on which it now stands v 
chased, there being then standing on it a large three- storied 1: 
built and used for many years as a tavern, hut, after 1810, t 
pied by Rev. Jonathan Freeman, This produced an agitation to 
remove the county seat to Millville; and, in pursuance of a special 
law, an election was held July 25 and 26, 1837, to determine the 
question. After a warm contest, the result was 1284 votes for 
Bridgetoo, 1059 for Millville, and 214 for Fairton. When t hj_ 
battle began to was warm, and especially when it was found tb< 
the jealousy of some persons in Fairton would induce them i 
throw away their votes on that place, the people of Bridgeton wei 
frightened, and issued hand-bills to the purport that the expeU 
of a new building was useless, the old one being good enoug! 
The result was a long contest in the Board of Freeholders, thM 
being eight townships, four of which voted steadily against a nel 
house, and the other four not only voted for a new house, bt 
against selling the lot lately purchased. In 1843, by the eitbrta 4 
two or three individuals, a taw was passed establishing a nel 
township at Shiloh, under the plea that it was a political manceuvi 
and so skilfully was the matter managed, that the real object wa 
not suspected until it was too late. When the Board of Freeholdet 
met, five townships voted to build a new court-house, thus ovei 
powering the four who were opposed to it. Finding themselvfl 
thus caught, the freeholders of the four eastern townships cordiaU' 
united in building the present house, which was finished and firi 
occupied in 1845, The next year the fire-proof offices on Con) 
merce Street were raised and much improved. The existing flra 
proof record rooms in the rear were added in 1359, All diaputei 
about the court-house and offices being thus happily ended, tb 
inhabitants of the other parts of the county no longer opposed nei 
townships being created on both sides of the river, which v 
found important for the convenience of a rapidly growing towa 
The new township at Shiloh, called Columbia, existed but od 

The persons of all descriptions inhabiting Cumberland County 
when it was set off, did not number 3000, In 1745, there wer 
only 6347 inhabitants in the bounds of Salem, as it then existed] 
An act of Assembly passed in 1752, affords some means of ascei 
taining the relative positions of the two counties after the separaj 
tion. Of the sum of fifteen hundred and thirty pounds require^ 



for the state tax, the sum of one hundred and six pounds was re- 
quired to be raised by Salem, and a very little more than half as 
much, namely, fifty-four pounds by Cumberland ; and this propor- 
tion appears to. have been substantially maintained until after the 
Eevolution. In 1782, of ninety thousand pounds State tax, Salem 
was required to raise three thousand and fifty -seven pounds, and 
Cumberland about one-third less, namely, two thousand and twenty- 
five pounds. This last proportion still continues. The State tax 
of 1868 was 850,000 dollars, of which Salem raised 12,880 dollars, 
and Cumberland 8079 dollars. 

It appears from the census of the two counties taken at diflferent 
periods, that Cumberland has gained on Salem in population, but 
not in wealth. 

Censvg of Salem and Cumberland, 








Cumberland . . . 













Comberland . . . 









In 1754, Daniel Elmer, who was a surveyor, and the oldest son 
of Rev. Daniel Elmer, pastor of the Fairfield Presbyterian Church, 
laid out for Alexander Moore a town on the east side of the Oo- 
hansey, which it was proposed to call Cumberland. The streets 
were laid out at right angles, and the squares contained each 18 J 
square perches. It extended from what is now Jeflferson Street to 
a little north of the present iron works on the north, and from the 
river to about as far east as where Orange Street now is. Some of 
the old title-deeds refer to this plan, but the streets were never 
opened. Most of the site was then the original forest. 

The road to Deerfield was laid out in 1768, upon the old travel- 
led track from the bridge to near the corner of the present Com- 
merce and Pearl Streets, thence northerly, a little south of where 
Pearl Street now is. In 1785, the road to Fairfield was changed, 
and laid out to begin at John Westcott's stone house — then a low 
one-story stone house — standing at the southeast corner of the pre- 
sent Commerce and Pearl Streets, afterwards for years owned and 
occupied by Mark Eiley, the lot extending up to where Orange 
Street now is ; thence southward along the present Pearl Street, 
over the dam made by Col. Enos Seeley, and thence along what is 
now the left hand road to the brick-kiln corner, and thence south 
along the old road over Rocap's Run. 

John Moore White having been licensed to practise law, and 
married, camelo Bridgeton in 1791 and erected a handsome dwell- 
ing, now forming a part of the hotel at the corner of Commerce 
and Laurel Streets. He procured the road to be changed and 
to run as if does now, called Laurel Street. He laid out himself 
and fenced some of the other streets to correspond. His lot, in- 
closed with a handsome fence, and well improved with shade and 
fruit trees, and an extensive, well laid-out garden, extended on 
Commerce Street from the corner of Laurel to the present Water 
Street, and on Laurel Street from the corner to James Hood's line. 


The preseut livery stables were -his barn and stables, the tide in the 
river flowing up to near the building. North of him it was an 
open woods, in which the laurel was so conspicuous as to give the' 
name Laurel Hill to the elevated ground still called by that name. 
The present Pearl Street was by him called Middle Street. Bank 
was called Freemason Street, and Washington was called Point 
Street. The road to Deerfield, after passing the first run north of 
the town, was very crooked. It was made straight in 1796 about 
half way, and a few years later as the turnpike now runs. The 
turnpike was made in 1852. The straight road to Fairton was 
opened in 1799 ; that to Millville in 1805. In 1810, the road to 
Buckshootem was laid. The turnpike was made to Millville in 

The road from Greenwich to Bridgeton, through Bowentown, was 
in use by the early settlers. In 1769, it was regularly laid out as 
a four-rod road, and then passed the court-house, down the hill to 
Water Street (now Atlantic), thence a straight course to the foot 
of the bridge. The road, however, was a deep gully below the court- 
house until about 1802, when George Burgin, a prominent citizen, 
who had built the stone storehouse at the corner of Broad and 
Atlantic Streets, made the road passable for carriages, and caused 
the wharf it leads to to be erected. In 1800, the present Atlantic 
Street was laid as it now is ; but for several years the old road pass- 
ing in front of the Parvin House continued to be used by carriages, 
and was the foot-path until that house was taken away in 1825. 
The road from the foot of the bridge up the hill, and thence along 
what is now Franklin Street, was laid nearly as it now is in 1771. 
For many years, however, this road up the hill was a mere sandy 
track, but little used. In 1825, the late Dr. Ephraim Buck, having 
had the office of overseer imposed on him, put it in good order, at 
an expense much complained of by the tax-payers, but which soon 
made it the main thoroughfare of travel, and proved an excellent 
improvement. The old middle road down the hill, which was never 
regularly laid out, was shut up in 1815. The straight road to Eoads- 
toWn was, after several futile attempts, laid out and opened about 
1798. Broad Street was formerly called Main Street. Until after 
the Eevolution, Bridgeton was but an insignificant hamlet, having 
not more than from 150 to 200 inhabitants. The houses built up 
to that time were in the neighborhood of the court-house, and on 
Vine and Main Streets, and on Commerce and Laurel Streets, south 


of Commerce. The bridge had do draw, and was a subject of con- 
siderable contention. The Eev. Philip Fithian, then a tutor in Vir- 
•ginia, visited the place in 1774. He records in his journal under the 
date of April 26, "visited Nathan Leak (in Deerfield). He told me 
the beginning and continuation of the quarrel of the magistrates, free- 
holders, and other officers, about raising money for repairing Cohan- 
seyBridge." This quarrel grew out of a dispute about its location ; 
a strong party, headed by Col. Enos Seeley, owner of the property 
on the creek below Jefferson Street, being in favor of putting it 
opposite Broad Street, while Alexander Moore and his friends in- 
sisted upon retaining the old site. Nothing but indispensable 
repairs was done to the old bridge until after Mr. White took pos- 
session of his property. He was desirous of having a draw, so that 
he might erect wharves above; and to induce the freeholders to 
incur the necessary expense, agreed to defray the cost of the draw, 
and keep it in good repair five years; and he also deeded to trus- 
tees a lot of land on the river, where the roUitog and pipe-mills 
now are, to be used as a free public landing for wood and lumber. 
The lot was so used for many years, but becoming less and less 
important to the community, Mr. White — on the ground that the 
conditions of his grant had not been complied with — some twenty- 
five years ago took possession of it and sold it. The town is cer- 
tainly far more benefited by its present use than it could be if held 
for its original purpose. From 1799 to 1601, the present stone 
abutments were put up, and the bridge was built on piles, and 
raised much higher than it had been, and at this time the dispute 
about its location was renewed, George Burgin being desirous of 
having it placed opposite Broad Street.* Old inhabitants speak of 
the tide having risen above the floor in former times. The draw 
has been several times altered. For many years it was raised up; 
but it was a constant source of trouble and expense. There not 
having been any previous law authorizing this bridge, one was 
passed in 1834. The existing structure was built in 1849. The 
street on both sides of the bridge has been raised from five to eight 

An actual enumeration of the inhabitants made in 1792, found 
that they numbered 300. About this time General Giles built the 

* Now, iD 1869, arranfrements have been made for bailding a bridge at Broad 
Street, so that soou, iustead of oulj one, there will be three. 

BRIPGET037. 41 

house on Broad Street^ now occupied by Rev. Dr, Jones, and shortly 
after this, several pretty good houses were erected. That occupied 
by Mrs. Bead was built by Ebenezer Miller; but it has been en- 
larged and much improved. All the houses occupied in 1748 
have long ago disappeared. Among the early business men of the 
town was GoL David Potter. His wharf and store-house were on 
the west side of the river, next below the Mason line. His dwell* 
ing — a wooden structure at the northwest comer of Broad and 
Franklin Streets — ^was burned about the year 1780, and he then 
built the present brick dwelling and store at the same place. In 
his day, a considerable quantity of wheat, raised in Hopewell, 
I)eerfield, and Pittsgrove, was brought to this place and exported 
to Philadelphia, and the Brandywine Mills. He died in 1805. 
Next after him were Seeley and Merseilles, who had a store near 
the southeast comer of the bridge. Merseilles built the store-house 
at the southeast comer of Commerce and Laurel Streets. He also 
built a good dwelling-house opposite, now a part of Grosscup's 
building. The town being at the head of navigation, a considera- 
ble business in carrying wood and lumber to Philadelphia grew up; 
but up to the beginning of the present century not more than three 
or four vessels were owned in the place, nor did the stores fairly 
compete with those at Greenwich. In 1780, a letter-of-marque 
schooner, called Gov. Livingston, was built on the Cohansey, at the 
place now occupied ad a lumber yard by Messrs. Mulford, which 
made one successful trip. Upon her return from her second voy- 
age, with a valuable cargo, she was captured near the Delaware by 
a British frigate. 

The sons of Col. Potter first kept the store at the southwest cor- 
ner of Commerce and Laurel Streets. The most influential citizens 
in 1800 were Dr. Jonathan Elmer, Col. Potter, Ebenezer Seeley, 
Jonathan Bowen, Dr. Samuel M. Shute, James Burch, Zachariah 
Lawrence, Enoch Boon, John Moore White, and Gen. Giles. 
Ebenezer Elmer, who had been previously in practice as a physi- 
cian, and was a prominent public man, moved on to a farm at Bow- 
town in 1795, from whence he returned in 1807. Col. Enos Seeley 
had become disabled by disease, and Judge Ephraim Seeley, son 
of Col. Ephraim, died in 1 799, soon after finishing his house at the 
corner of Commerce and Bank Streets. 

We have no means of knowing what was the precise number of 
inhabitants at this epoch, but they may be estimated to have been 


about four hundred. Nearly every house then existing can be 
identified. On the east side was the old Seeley mansion at the mill, 
now gone ; a house on Commerce Street nearly opposite the 
Methodist meeting-house, built by Mr. Fauver, on a lot at the south- 
east corner of John Moore White's property; the house at the 
corner of Commerce and Bank Streets, built by Ephraim Seeley; 
the academy on Bank Street, having, as now, the Masonic lodge in 
the upper story, and the house on the north side of Irving, front- 
ing Bank, then owned by Ebenezer Seeley ; a house on the south 
side of Irving, west of Bank Street; the old stone house at the 
southeast corner of Commerce and Pearl Streets, long owned by 
Mark Riley; five houses on Pearl, south of Commerce; house near 
the saw-mill, then owned by Col. Enos Seeley, long known as the 
house of Widow Jay; the house of his son, David Seeley, now Mrs. 
Buck's, fronting on Laurel; the old Boyd mansion opposite; five 
houses on the east side of Laurel, south of Commerce ; one stone 
house on the west side; store-houses at the south comers of Com- 
merce and Laurel Streets ; a house and a shoemaker-shop a little 
west of it, built by James Burch, on the south side of Commerce 
Street (now James Potter's) ; a store-house near the southeast corner 
of the bridge ; the old mansion of Alexander Moore, then a tavern, 
and two houses near thereto; White's mansion house, now the hotel; 
the house of Eden M. Marseilles, now a part of Grosscup's build- 
ing; a house east of this built by Reuben Burgin; a blacksmith- 
shop at the corner of Commerce and Pearl ; a house on the east side 
of Pearl Street, now S. W. Seeley ^s; a house where the brick Pres- 
byterian church stands; one nearly opposite owned by James Hood, 
a Scotchman, then following his business of making wrought nails, 
and his shop ; a blacksmith-shop on Washington Street near the 
corner of Laurel ; the stone house on the side of Laurel, nearly 
opposite Irving Street; two small houses near thereto; three houses 
above on the same street, and a store-house at the northeast corner 
of Laurel and Irving. 

On the west side were the old Parvin House near the foot of the 
bridge and a stone house north of it, on Commerce Street, the old 
Cotting House, then Enoch Boon's ; four other houses on Atlantic 
Street; a house on Broad Street below the jail ; three houses on the 
north side of Broad neaf the court-house, one of which was then 
occupied as a tavern; two houses on the west side of Franklin 
Street; Col. Potter's house and store at the corner of Broad and 
Franklin ; two or three houses between that and Giles Street ; the 


mansion of Gen. Giles ; two or three houses above on the same side; 
six or seven houses on the south side of Broad Street ; three houses 
on the west side of Fayette Street; a large three-storied house 
where the court-house now stands, long occupied as a tavern, and 
five or six houses on Vine Street ; a one-story school house where 
the public school now is, and the old brick Presbyterian church. 
The court-house stood in the middle of Broad Street. The only 
wharves at this time were a small one just below the bridge on the 
west side, another of better construction lower down on the same 
side, belonging to Col. Potter, and one on the east side constructed 
by Seeley & Merseilles, about twenty rods below the bridge, with 
the remains of the old Smith Wharf on the property now Mrs. 
Buck's. The wharves above the bridge were not built until after 
the draw was made, so that masted vessels could pass through. 
Among the first were those of Laurel Hill, now disused. Goose 
Hill above got its name from the circumstance that the owner of 
the farm opposite accused Abraham Sayre, who lived at the 
northern end of the town, of plucking the feathers from some of 
his geese, and shortly afterwards some of his pigs happening to go 
astray, he set up advertisements oiFering a reward for them, and 
hoping that Squire Sayre had not mistaken them for geese and 
pulled off the hair. This brought on a suit for libel, about 1810. 
The suit was settled by an arbitration ; but the name Goose Hill 
became the popular usage. 

About the year 1800, Levi Leake, of Deerfield, brother of the 
eminent lawyer Samuel Leake, and a warm FederalL<<t, commenced 
building a new house on a lot he owned near where the pipe-mill 
stands. Before it was finished, Mr. Jefferson was elected President, 
which so displeased him that he made a vow that he would not 
complete the building until the Federalists came again into power. 
As this never happened, the building remained near twenty years 
unoccupied, until on his death it was sold and removed, standing 
now on the north side of Laurel Street, near to the comer of Wash- 

The following houses have at different times been occupied as 
taverns : A house on the west side of Laurel Street above Irving^ 
which was burnt in 1826 ; the hotel, the old Moore mansion, the 
old Parvin House, the double stone house on the west side of At- 
lantic Street, the house opposite the jail, the Cohansey Hotel, a 
large house standing on the present site of the court-house, the 


house of Dr. Hampton, on Vine Street, and the house at the south- 
west corner of Broad and Giles Streets. 

The number of families in 1829 was found to be 342, and the 
population 1736. Just previous to this the east side of the river 
began to outnumber the other side. There were then four taverns 
and ten stores. Twenty-five vessels belonging to the place were 
employed principally in the wood trade, besides several oyster 
boats. Upwards of 25,000 cords of wood were sent annually to 

In 1838, the number of inhabitants was found to be 2315, of 
whom 1513 were on the east side and 802 on the west. The 
growth during the preceding ten years had been almost exclusively 
on the east side. There were still four taverns and about twelve 
stores. At this time the streets were named as they are now 
known. The streets since opened are Orange, Pine, Walnut, 
Church, Cedar, and Elmer Streets on the east side, and Academy, 
Oak, and Hampton Streets on the west side. In 1850 the popula- 
tion of the town was 3303. In 1860 it had increased to fully 5000, 
which may be considered as the present population. — Two taverns 
are now found sufficient instead of the four maintained when there 
were not half so many inhabitants. 

The journal of a young lady who visited Bridgeton in 1786, 
before mentioned, gives the name of the place Cohansey, and it is 
to be regretted that this old Indian name was not adopted as the 
name of this town, instead of being only the name of one of the 
townships (and since dropped enftirely), containing hardly one 
third of the inhabitants. She mentions leaving Cooper's ferry 
(Camden) about 12 o'clock, part of the company in Mr. Potter's 
family wagon, Mr. Moore and I in his carriage, the latter being the 
old-fashioned one horse chaise, then lately introduced. They 
travelled through Gloucester, Woodbury, Greenwich, now Clarks- 
boro, to the Pine Tavern, where they passed the night. This was 
a well-known wayside inn, now disused, about four miles beyond 
the Pole Tavern, which was also a noted house of entertainment 
before the Revolution. It was cold, and she complained of the 
scanty clothing on the beds, and that the windows were not glazed, 
and had no shutters, only boards nailed up, and these an inch 
apart. They left at 6 A. M. and called at Dr. Harris', in Pitts- 
grove, who married a daughter of Alexander Moore, some of whose 
descendants are still living. She records frequent visits to Moore 


Hall. On Sunday went to church at New England Town. The 
next Sunday Mr. Grier preached in the court-house; visited Mrs. 
Boyd, mother of the then wife of Colonel Potter, where she was 
staying. " We strolled about in her garden ; it is situated along 
the creek, and is really beautiful. Well might a poet sit under 
the rural willows and contemplate the beauties of nature and art. 
There were many beautiful flowers. Three sloops came up whilst 
we stood there, and cast anchor." This dwelling and garden have 
long since disappeared. It was one of the old time mansions, 
which the writer remembers to have seen more than fifty years ago 
dilapidated and empty. It was just above where the new bridge 
from Broad Street is to cross. Mrs. Boyd was one of those excel- 
lent Christian women whose memory deserves to be perpetuated. 
Her husband, from the north of Ireland, cama over to this country 
about the year 1772, leaving his wife and three children in their 
native home. After following the occupation of a peddler for a short 
time, he succeeded in commencing a store at Cohansey Bridge, and 
then sent for his wife and children. They left Ireland in the fall 
of 1773, but on their arrival, found that Mr. Boyd had recently 
died. The widow took upon herself the charge of her husband's 
store, and aided by an excellent clerk, James Ewing, the father of 
the late Chief Justice Ewing, whose mother was her eldest daughter, 
she succeeded in maintaining her family in comfort. Her only 
son, at the time of his father's death about six years old, was a 
promising young man, but having entered into business in Phila- 
delphia, died of the yellow fever in 1795. The youngest daughter 
became the second wife of Colonel Potter, with whom her mother 
resided for some years before her death, ending her days in 1812 
at the good old age of 80 years. The margin of the creek, on the 
east side, with the exception of the wharf near the bridge, and that 
of Seeley & Merseilles' lower down, was a low meadow until within 
the last twenty years. 

Before the Eevolution very few covered carriages were in use. 
Travelling by men was almost exclusively on horseback, the women 
riding on side-saddles, and frequently behind their male friends on 
pillions. Sleighs and sleds were used in winter, before carriages 
were common. Philip Fithian, whose journal has been referred to, 
travelled to Virginia on horseback in 1773, crossing the ferry from 
Elsinborough to Port Penn, Delaware, which was then much in use, 
but has been long discontinued. Dr. Jonathan Elmer travelled the 



same route to take his seat in Congress at Baltimore, in November, 
1776, returning in February by wajr of Philadelphia, not being 
then able to cross the river lower down in consequence of the ice. 
A memorandum of bis expenses still remains, from which the 
following items are extracted : — 



27, Paid J. Hoasman, 





at Rogers', 



at Port Penn, 



at Bashtown, 



at Aiken's, 


at Back's, 



28, at Boid's, 

at Charlestown, 
at Stevenson's, 




at Rash's, (Bait.), 





1&, for keeping horse 


18 at Marcns Hook, 



in the country 



f at Indian Queen, 


five weeks, £1 






17, Rodger's ferry, 



at Sally Westcott's, 



at Stevenson's, 



at Cooper's ferry, 



at Bird's, 



at Haddonfield, 



at Christeen, 


at Eldridge's, 




18, at Newport, 
at Wilmington, 



at Pine Tavern, 



The Charlestown above mentioned was in Cecil County, Mary- 
land ; Eodger's ferry was over the Susquehanna ; Eldridge's is be- 
lieved to be the old death of the Fox Tavern in Gloucester County, 
near where Clarksboro' now is. The currency was the proclama- 
tion money at seven and sixpence the dollar. 

Another memorandum details the expenses of a horseback 
journey from Bridgeton to Morristown, the head-quarters of the 
American army, which he visited as one of the committee of 
Congress on Hospitals. It commenced March 12, 1777, the first 
item being at Champney's 28. This was at the Pole Tavern, then 
kept by the Widow Champney, mother of Dr. Champney; then 
comes Pine Tavern and Eldridge's ; 18th was spent in Philadel- 
phia ; 14th and 15th visit to Haddonfield, where some of our troops 
then were; 16th to Burlington; 17th at Rocky Hill (near Prince- 
ton), 18th at Col. Potter's quarters (he then had the command of a 
regiment of militia) ; 20th and 21st at Baskenridge and Morris- 
town, 22d to Trenton, and then to Philadelphia, which he left on 
the 31st, and home by Eldridge's, Pine Tavern, and Widow Champ- 
ney 's. The total expense of the trip was £7 lOs., or nearly $20. 
In April it is noted, paid Tybout for a hat (no doubt a beaver) 


XS 5s^ or 93.66. Such a hat of good qaalitj lasted on careful 
heads fiire or six^ and even ten years. 

The land titles in Bridgeton are held under foar different sar- 
veys. A tract caUed the eleven thousand acre survey was located 
for the West Jersey Society in 1686, but was not then recorded. 
In 1716 this tract was resurveyed. It begins at a pine tree on the 
northeast side of the Cohansey, about two miles below the bridge ; 
runs from thenoe east about two miles; then north, then west to 
the Cohansey, some two miles above the bridge, and then down 
the river to the beginning. Jeremiah Basse was for some time the 
agent of this Society, and seems to have had, or claimed to have, 
some right to the property; but the right of his heirs and devisees 
was released to Alexander Moore, including the old Hancock mill 
and adjoining property. 

One of the London proprietors of West Jersey was named John 
Bridges. The Rev. Thomas Bridges graduated at Harvard in 
1675, then went to England, and returned in 1682 with testimo- 
nials from Owen and other eminent dissenting ministers. He was 
for a time a merchant, but after he became a preacher went to the 
West Indies. He was probably a son or near relative of John 
Bridges. He came to Cohansey, and preached in the old Fairfield 
church. In 1697 Thomas Eevel made a deed to him reciting, 
"Whereas the Honorable West Jersey Society in England have, 
upon the consideration mentioned in their letter to Thomas 
Bridges, dated July 19, 1692, therein and thereby given, or pro- 
posed to give, to the said Thomas Bridges, in fee forever, 1000 
acres of land of and belonging to the said Society within the said 
province of West Jersey, in what situation he should please to 
take up the same," and that said Bevel being seized of 4000 acres 
by virtue of a deed from Jeremiah Basse, agent of said Society, he 
therefore conveys to him 1000 acres. By virtue of this deed a 
survey was at the same date made by Joshua Barkstead for 
Bridges, beginning at a pine tree standing on the north side of 
Mill Creek, about half way between the saw-mill and then going 
over across the run to the Indian Fields (which was a little above 
the present road to Milville); thence north 836 perches to a corner 
tree. The side lines run east and west, and the tract was surveyed 
for 1050 acreS; of which 50 acres were for one Collett, to bo held 
in common with Bridges, and he to have a proportional share of 
the Indian Fields. This tract was afterwards known as the Indian 


Fields tract, and was the first settled in the neighborhood, the titles 
being held under Bridges. The beginning corner was back of the 
Commerce Street Methodist meeting-house, the only part of the 
north line now marked being the fence between the graveyard and 
the parsonage lot, and it runs thence so as to strike the house 
fronting Bank Street, west of the railroad, and thence (it is sup- 
posed) to the tree so well known as the umbrella or sunset tree. 
Col. Ephraim Seeley for many years owned the land east of this 
line, up to Irving Street ; he devised it to his son Ephraim, from 
whom it descended to his children. Upon the division of the 
latter property in 1800, this line, which in 1697 was run due north, 
was runN. 4f W.; and in 1848 it was run N. 2^ W., thus showing 
the variation of the compass, as practically used, between those 
dates. Bridges had also a survey made for him on the Cohansey, 
bounding on Fuller Creek, since called Eocap's Eun. This survey 
calls also for the line of the township of Pamphylia. Such a town- 
ship was never formed, but it is probable there was a fulling-mill 
on the run, such a mill being almost as indispensable for the new 
settlement as a saw mill. 

Bridges' Indian Fiel.d tract appears to have been subdivided for 
him into tracts of fifty acres, which he sold out as purchasers and 
settlers offered. One William Dare, described as of Cohansey, in 
the county of Salem, who probably came into this regiou with the 
Fairfield people, had located a tract of 100 acres of cedar swamp 
on Lebanon, as early as March, 1695-6. About 1700 he beoame 
the owner of two fifty- acre tracts, as set off by Bridges, comprising 
a part of the farm northeast of Elmer's mill-pond, recently occu- 
pied by David Dare, one of his lineal descendants, who died April, 
1863. About 1753 William Dare, son of the William first above 
named, and Col. Ephraim Seeley, purchased of the agent of the West 
Jersey Society several hundred acres lying south of Bridge's tract, 
and east of the tract sold to Moore. Most of the Indian Field set- 
tlers, who were the first in the eastern part of Bridgeton, were from 
Fairfield. Among them, besides Dare, were Eiley and Loomis — 
or Lummis, as the name has been since written — and Hood. 
Hobert Hood's tract was a part of the Society land, purchased by 
him at an early date. 

In 1752 Alexander Moore, of Cohansey Bridge, purchased of 
the agents of the West Jersey Society 990 acres, part of their 
11,000 acre tract. This purchase begins on the Cohansey, a little 


above Pampbylia Spring, and runs several courses to Bridges' 
Indian Fields tract, striking it a little east of the beginning corner, 
thence along said tract, and several courses north of it to the 
Cohansey, something more than a mile above the town. By 
means of this deed, and of a release from one Pigeon, a claimant 
under Basse, of the tract connected with the Hancock mill, he 
became the owner of all that part of East Bridgeton lying west of 
Bridges' line. That line was probably so run in consequence of 
the mill tract being held by Hancock. Moore was of Irish de- 
scent, and was the first person who transacted much business at 
Cohansey Bridge. His grandson, the late Judge John Moore 
White, thought he came here about 1730, and married into the 
Reeve family. He accumulated a very handsome estate, built 
himself a good house near his store, on the north side of Commerce 
Street, near the corner of Water, in which a tavern was kept for 
many years after his death, and which was removed to make room 
for the. present brick building about 1830. He died at a good old 
age in 1786, on the farm now attached to the poor-house, where 
he, and his son after him, had an establishment known as Moore 
Hall. At his death there was a protracted lawsuit about the pro- 
bate of his will. It appears by the depositions on file, that he had 
been paid by several of his debtors in depreciated continental 
money, when it was a legal tender, and he used to carry about him, 
and very frequently show to others, what he called his rogues' list 
of these debtors. The will, however, was confirmed. He devised 
his Bridgeton and much other property to his three grandsons, 
the three children of his daughter, a beautiful woman, who mar- 
ried an Englishman, a merchant in Philadelphia, named John 
White, who, during the Revolutionary War, was aid to Gen. Sulli- 
van, and was killed in the attack on Chew's house in Germantown. 
Mrs. White died in 1770, leaving an infant, and lies buried with 
her father and mother in the graveyard at Greenwich. John 
Moore White, her youngest child, became of age in 1791, just pre- 
vious to which time the land, except that in Bridgeton, was divided 
between the three brothers, by order of the Orphans' Court. In 
the course of a few years the two elder brothers, Alexander and 
William, died without issue, so that the Bridgeton property be- 
came vested in John. All of the tract within the limits of the 
town, lying south of Commerce Street, appears to have been sold 
by Alexander. Moore in his lifetime, or released to persons who 


claimed it; but all the land north of that street became the pro- 
perty of John Moore White, who commenced selling lots in 1792, 
and in 1810 conveyed all the unsold residue to William Potter 
and Jeremiah Buck. 

The titles west of the Oohansey, are held under three different 
surveys. The first was made for Eobert Hutchinson, May 27th, 
1786, for 950 acres. The north line of this tract cornered at a 
white oak on the Cohansey, marked H, standing in the hollow near 
the river, above the place of going over to Eichard Hancock's milL 
Above this was a survey made for Cornelius Mason, in 1689, for 
5000 acres. As originally described it began at the bound tree of 
Eobert Hutchinson, standing in a valley by the west-northwest 
side of the north branch of the river Cohanzick, thence up the 
river, to a white oak tree standing upon a hill near the branch in 
an Indian old field, thence W. N. W. 800 perches. Mason, who 
was a London trader, called this tract " Winchcomb manor," after 
a manor of that name he owned in England. The original survey 
was taken to England and never recorded until 1764. The farm 
lying above Muddy Branch, as the stream, now a pond, just above 
the iron works was formerly called, appears to have been partially 
cleared by the Indians, who had a burial place on it, since called 
Coffin Point. As early as 1697 one John Garrison settled and 
built a house on it, and about 1715 built a house of cedar logs, 
near the bridge, in which Benjamin Seeley lived. About 1734 
Silas Parvin purchased the land of Garrison south of Muddy 
Branch, and in 1741 that lying north of the branch. But Parvin's 
right to the property was disputed by Mason, and about 1741 suits 
were commenced which were in some way compromised. After 
this the persons claiming to be Mason's heirs conveyed the whole 
tract to Israel Pemberton, a friend, residing in Philadelphia, and 
he commenced suits. In the progress of the controversy the land 
was resurveyed, and a jury of view settled the corner to be twenty 
perches south of the bridge, where it has been ever since held to 
be. The south line runs thence through at the middle of Oak 
Street, and a little south of the academy. It was supposed for a 
time that the Hutchinson survey cornered at the same place, and 
Cotting took a conveyance for a considerable tract under that title 
in 1739. It was, however, ascertained that the true corner of the 
Hutchinson survey was at the place formerly called the shipyard, 
now the lumber yard of Messrs. Mulford. This left a considerable 


tract of land between the two surveys unclaimed, which Ebenezer 
Miller, a deputy surveyor, residing in Greenwich, and a Friend, 
in 1749 covered with a survey containing 427 acres, under whom 
the titles of the land, from Oak Street on the north to a consider- 
able distance south of Vine Street are held. 

Silas Parvin laid a suf vey of 20 acres on the land where his 
house stood; and dying in 1779, his son Clarence remained in 
possession of the house, and set up a claim to all the land between 
Muddy Branch and the Mason line, a part of which he transferred 
to Dr. Jonathan Elmer. During the war of the Eevolution, Pember- 
ton, being ranked as a Tory, took no steps to vindicate his title ; 
but in 1783 he commenced an ejectment against Parvin, which 
does not appear to have been tried. In 1788 Parvin died insol- 
vent, and shortly afterwards Parvin died ; and his heir proving 
insolvent, his property was sold by the sheriff, and purchased by 
Jonathan Bowen, who released to Dr. Elmer the part lying west 
of Franklin Street, and these persons, or those claiming under 
them, have ever since been in possession of the property, now of * 
great value. It is probable that the Parvin title was also sold 
by the sheriff, but no deed is on record, or now known to exist. 
Jonathan Bow:en conveyed a part of the property, including the 
old Parvin house, to his son Smith in 1790, and, dying in 1804, 
devised the remainder retained by him, including the sites of the 
iron works and grist-mill, to his said son and to his grandchildren. 

It is probable that Ebenezer Miller laid out Broad Street its 
present width of 100 feet, like the Main street of Greenwich, but 
there is no record of either. No law having for a long time 
existed authorizing streets so wide, the overseers declined to keep 
them in order, and hence a section was inserted in the general 
road act, declaring these two streets to be lawful highways. Com- 
merce Street, above Franklin, was not opened until about 1805, 
when Dr. Elmer opened it. Since, it has been regularly laid out. An 
old plan, which was never carried out, proposed to lay out that 
part of the town west of the river into regular squares. 

The first notice of a stage to Philadelphia that has been disco- 
vered, occurs in the journal of Mr. Fithian, April 22, 1774 ; he re- 
cords: "Eode to the stage early for the papers." His father, at 
whose house he was then on a visit, lived in Greenwich, near to 
Sheppard's mill. It is supposed the stage stopped at Eoadstown. 
May 2, he records: "Very early I rode over to Mr. Hollinshead's 


(he was the minister at New England Town, and then lived on 
the parsonage in Sayre's Neck) at Miss Pratt's request, to carry 
her to Mr. Hoshel's, to be ready to-morrow morning for the stage. 
Dined at Mrs. Boyd's (Bridgeton), and after dinner we rode to Mr. 
Hoshel's. 3d, I conducted Miss Pratt to the stage this morning by 
5 o'clock." 

A letter from Martha Boyd, afterwards Mrs. Ewing, to her 
mother, dated AUentown, March 16, 1778, says: "We left Mr. 
Hoshel's at 12 o'clock night; we had eight passengers, middling 
clever, and arrived at Cooper's ferry at 8 o'clock in the afternoon. 
The next morning at nine o'clock, set sail in the stage boat for 
Bordentown where we arrived at noon." 

Mr. Hoshel lived in Upper Hopewell, not far from the Salem 
County line, and probably kept a tavern, and was the proprietor of 
the stage. During or not long after the Eevolution, this or some 
other stage line was started from Bridgeton, making two trips a 
week, at first by the way of Eoadstown, but afterwards one trip on 
that route, and one by the way of Deerfield ; and so it continued to 
go until about the year 1806, when it went up one day and down 
the next. In 1809, when Mr. White's house was changed to a 
hotel, a stage was started from there to run up and down on the 
alternate days, and to go through in a shorter time. — The two 
lines were afterwards consolidated, and there has always since been, 
until the opening of the railway, a daily stage both ways between 
this place and Philadelphia. For many years the time for starting 
was at sunrise. 

Until after the establishment of the federal government, all the 
correspondence in this part of the State had to depend upon private 
conveyances. There was indeed before this time no post-route in 
New Jersey, except the main road between Philadelphia and New 
York. In 1792, while Jonathan Elmer was senator, a post-route 
was established from Philadelphia to Salem, and thence to Bridge- 
town. Between the latter places the mail was carried once a week, 
on horseback or in a sulky, for ten years, the post-oflSce being 
kept by John Soulard, at his house on Broad, near the corner of 
Fayette Street. In 1802, after Ebenezer Elmer became a member 
of Congress, a mail-route was established from Woodbury to 
Bridgeton, Millville, Port Elizabeth and Cape May. The first 
carriers, beginning in 1804, were Benaiah Parvin and son, who 
kept a tavern in the old mansion house of Alexander Moore. 
James Burch, who built and owned the house opposite, now James 


B. Potter's, was the postmaster; and it is remembered that the letters 
were kept in the front parlor and handed from the window, then 
so high above the walk as to be barely reached by the raised hand. 
The mail was carried on Monday by way of Roadstown, and re- 
turned on Wednesday by the same route. On Thursday it was 
carried by way of Deerfield, returning on Saturday the same way. 
A daily mail commenced about 1816. The postmaster who suc- 
ceeded James Burch was Abijah Harris, who lived nearly opposite. 
After him, Stephen Lupton kept the office in his shoemaker shop, 
CO the north side of Washington Street, about half way between 
Laurel and Pearl. About 1818 he resigned, and was succeeded by 
Curtis Ogden, who held the office longer than any other incumbent, 
keeping it in his tailor shop, south side of Commerce Street, about 
where Brewster's store now is. Jeremiah Lupton superseded him 
in 1842, then Daniel B. Thompson from 1845 to 1850, then S. P. 
Kirkbride until 1854, then Henry Sheppard until 1861, when Geo. 
W. Johnson, the present incumbent, was appointed. 

A steamboat company was incorporated in 1845, and a fine 
steamboat, called the Cohansey, ran regularly to Philadelphia; but 
the length of the water route, about bO miles, made it difficult for 
a day boat to compete with the route by way of Salem, partly by 
stage and partly by boat, and with the regular daily stages, and it 
was soon found that the enterprise must be abandoned. The boat 
was therefore sold, and after running a year or two by private 
parties, was withdrawn. A night boat, which ran for two or three 
years recently, was more successful. 

The West Jersey Railroad Company was incorporated in 1853, 
and contemplated a road from Camden to Cape May; but owing 
to financial and other difficulties, it was at first completed and^ut 
in operation only to Woodbury. But in 1859 the road from Glass- 
boro' to Millville was made, and the impetus thus given to the 
original West Jersey Company, brought about the completion of 
their road from Woodbury to Bridgeton, which was opened in 
July, 1861. The terminus of this road, it is supposed, will always 
remain at Bridgeton, and the original design of connecting Phila- 
delphia with Cape May will be carried out by extending the road 
to the latter place from Millville, now nearly complete. 

A gas company was incorporated, and succeeded in completing 
the present works in November, 1858. Soon after this, the town- 
ship committees of the townships of Bridgeton and Cohansey were 


constituted a joint board, with power to raise money by tax for 
lighting the streets, which is now done, and also with power to 
grade and regulate the streets. A grade has accordingly been 
adopted, in accordance with which Commerce Street, west of the 
bridge, and other streets in Cohansey were graded in 1861, at an 
expense which has been much complained of, as was the first attempt 
at this kind of improvement, made by Dr. Buck, a quarter of a cen- 
tury sooner. 

In the year 1814 Messrs. Jaines Lee, then of Port Elizabeth, 
and Ebenezer Seeley, of Bridgeton, wbo had purchased from 
Abraham Sayre, Esq., the land lying on the east side of the main 
stream of the Cohansey, joined with Smith Bowen, who owned the 
property on the west side of the stream, in erecting the dam, thus 
forming the water power still in use. Bowen sold his half of the 
water power to Benjamin Beeves and David Beeves of Camden, 
who commenced the erection of the iron works the samcyear, and 
commenced making nails in 1815. They were cut for many years 
of the best Swedish iron, across the grain of the metal. The 
writer remembers to have seen, in the year 1805, the first machine 
for cutting and heading nails at one operation ever invented. It 
was on Crosswicks Creek, in Burlington County, and was compara- 
tively very complicated. The patent having been obtained by the 
Messrs. Beeves, was soon very much simplified. 

At first the nails sold for from 10 to 15 cents per pound, now 
they sell for 3| cents. Very soon the Cumberland nails obtained 
a preference in the market, which has never been lost. In 1824 a 
fire having consumed the building first erected, the works were 
rebuilt and enlarged and the whole establishment greatly im- 
proved. Seeley and Lee not having the capital to use their half 
of the water power to advantage, were obliged to reconvey it to 
Mr. Sayre. He erected a flour mill on the east side opposite Coffin 
Point, which was used as a grist-mill for a few years, but on his 
death in 1820 the mill and water power were purchased by Messrs. 
Beeves, who then became the owners of the whole water power. 
The grist-mill was taken down and removed to the works on the 
west side, where after a few years it was burned up. 

The rolling-mill operated by steam on the east side of the creek 
was erected in 1847 and in 1853 the building used for manufac- 
turing gas pipe was put up. About the year 1843 a great change 
was made in the mode of cutting the nails, by means of which a 


much superior nail can be made from inferior iron. The iron is 
rolled in sheets 12 or 15 inches wide, which are then slit into strips 
of a width, corresponding with the length of the nail to be pro- 
duced. Then the nails are cut lengthwise of the grain of the 
metal instead of crosswise as before. This establishment has 
always been well conducted and has been one of the principal 
means of advancing the growth and prosperity of the town. "When 
in full operation about 400 hands are employed, mostly heads of 
families, who have been profitably employed, and have contributed 
in their turn to the business of other mechanics and traders. There 
are twenty furnaces, two trains of rolls and 102 nail machines, the 
annual product, in favorable years, being 100,000 kegs of nails and 
1,500,000 feet of gas pipe. 

Benjamin Reeves, one of the original founders, died in 1844. 
Other partners have been from time to time admitted. In 1856 
the concern became an incorporated company, by the name of the 
Cumberland Nail and Iron Works, and is under the management 
of Robert C. Nichols, Esq. The value of its real estate, as assessed, 
is 266,000 dollars ; the capital of the company being 350,000 

About the year 1818 Benjamin Reeves conveyed to the late 
Daniel P. Stratton the undivided half part of a lot of land, where 
the grist-mill stands, and half a sufl&cient quantity of water to 
drive a first class merchant flour-mill, it being the intention that 
Mr. Stratton and Mr. David Reeves should erect the mill together 
as joint owners. But doubts soon arose whether water power for 
such a purpose could be safely spared, without endangering the 
irqn works, and Mr. Reeves declined to build the mill. Mr. Stratton 
then applied for a division of the lot, and one half being set oflf to 
him, he proceeded to erect the existing flour mill in 1822. The 
quantity of water he had a right to use was adjusted by an arbi- 

As the business of the iron works was from time to time 
increased, and as the quantity of water furnished by the seven 
distinct streams entering into and forming Cohansey River, dimi- 
nished, it was found that the water power sometimes failed. To 
remedy this it was at first proposed to increase the power by 
putting a dam across the river where the bridge now is that con- 
nects the works ; and for this purpose an act of the legislature 
was obtained in 1839. But before this purpose was carried into 


effect, the plan was devised of heating the boilers necessary to 
drive a powerful steam engine, by means of the same fires that 
heat the iron, which fully succeeded, so that the dam was never 
erected, and after a time the rolling of iron at the works on the 
west side, which required so great a supply of water, was aban- 

About the year 1825 those persons in the town who kept a 
horse were so much annoyed by applications to lend or hire him, 
that a livery stable was started by a joint stock company, and so 
carried on five or six years, until like most concerns of the kind 
it was found unprofitable and the stock was sold at a loss of more 
than half the original capital. This start, however, effected the 
object, one or more livery stables, kept by different individuals, 
have been continued ever since. For several years past the busi- 
ness has been rather overdone, there being now four. 

The glass works were established in 1836 by the firm of Stratton, 
Buck & Co. After the death of Mr. Buck, in 1841, the business 
was carried on by a joint stock company which did not succeed. 
For a time window glass was made. After passing through several 
hands it was enlarged, in 1855, and is now in successful operation, 
the yearly product being about $130,000. 

It may be remarked that for about twenty years the firm of 
Stratton & Buck carried on the largest business that was done in 
the county. This firm and that of Bowie and Shannon from 1812 
to 1836 in the stone store at the corner of Broad and Atlantic 
Streets, transacted a heavy retail business, and brought to the 
place customers from all the surrounding districts. 

It is doubtful whether any newspapers were regularly received in 
Bridge ton until after 1775. In that year an association was formed, 
of which Ebenezer Elmer, then a student of medicine, was the 
Secretary, by the members of which weekly papers on various 
topics were written, and these being copied, were left at the tavern 
Jcept by Matthew Potter (believed to have been the house next 
east of the present Cohansey Hotel), to be there perused by such 
as chose. Among the writers of those papers were Dr. Jonathan 
Elmer, Joseph Bloomfield, Dr. Lewis Howell, and his brother 
Bichard, afterwards Governor of the State. 

Previous to this time, about 1773, a society existed, which 
generally met in Bridgeton, but of which several young persons 
residing in Greenwich, Fithians and Ewings, who were then dis- 


tinguished for intelligence, and for the beauty of some of the fe- 
males, were members, called the Admonishing Society. Commu- 
nications were made to this society in writing, anonymously, 
admonishing members of faults, and on other subjects, which were 
read at the meetings. If the members admonished thought it 
necessary, they were allowed to defend themselves, or replies might 
be made in writing. Of this society, Eobert Patterson, from Ire- 
land, who then kept a store in Bridgeton, was a member. By way 
of enlivening the proceedings, he sent in written proposals for a 
wife, giving the requisite qualifications, which left one young lady, 
from whom, in her old age, this detail was received, who it was 
said had refused him, too young. Another lady, however, spor- 
tively answered the challenge, and what was thus begun in sport 
ended in marriage, and a long and happy union. The husband^ 
after studying medicine for a short time, and serving during the 
war for several years as an assistant surgeon in the army, and after 
settling for a short time on a farm at Carll Town in Hopewell 
Township, was in 1779 appointed Professor of Mathematics in the 
University of Philadelphia, and afterwards, by Mr^ Jefferson, 
Director of the Mint. In 1819, he was chosen President of the 
American Philosophical Society, ending a long and honored career 
in 1824, at the age of 82. The writer well remembers him, having 
had the benefit of his instruction in mathematics and philosophy 
more than fifty years ago. 

In 1794 James D. Westcott started a newspaper, which was 
called the Argus, and continued nearly two years. Afterwards 
his brother, John Westcott, tried another about 1803, but it did 
not succeed. In 1815 a political association, composed of Demo- 
crats, and called the Washington Whig Society, set up in opposi- 
tion to a Washington Benevolent Society formed by the Federalists, 
established a paper called the Washington Whig, published at first 
by Peter Hay, Esq., now an Alderman in Philadelphia, who was 
by profession a printer. It has been ever since continued, under 
different names and under the patronage of different parties. In 
1817 Mr. Hay sold to Wm. Shultz, who in 1821 sold to John 
Clark, during whose time the paper supported the administration 
of John Q. Adams. Clark sold in 1826 to J. J. McChesney. 

In 1822 S. Siegfried started a second paper, called The West 
Jersey Observer, In 1824 he sold out to Eobert Johnston, and in 


1826 he purchased the Whig and consolidated them into one paper, 
called The Whig and Observer. 

The Washington Whig was then revived, and after several changes, 
both being purchased by James M. Newell, he merged them in 
a new one, called The Bridgeton Chronicle^ about 1837. He carried 
it on until his death in 1851, and different proprietors and editors 
have published it until the present time. 

About 1846 another paper was started, called at first The 
West Jersey Telegraphy but it was soon changed to The West 
Jersey Pioneer, by which name it is still published. This paper 
and the Chronicle for several years have been conducted as 
neutral in politics. 

In 1862 Fayette Pierson, who was connected with the Wash- 
ington Whig in its early days, started the Aurora, now pub- 
lished as a democratic paper; so that there are three papers, where 
only one really good one can thrive, this being a case where, as in 
most of the towns of the State, too much competition has not 
tended to increase the value of the article produced. 

As the early settlers of Bridgeton were mostly of Puritan 
lineage, there was always a disposition among them to encourage 
education. The first school of which any notice remains, was one 
kept by John Wescott in 1773, in which mathematics were taught. 
About the year 1792 Mark Miller, heir of Ebenezer Miller, deeded 
to trustees the lot on Giles Street for school purposes. In 1795 
the Academy was erected on Bank Street, by a joint stock com- 
pany, and for many years a good classical school was taught in it. 
Eev. Andrew Hunter, father of the present Gen. Hunter, taught a 
classical school in the town about the years. 1780 to 1785. The 
public school-house on Bank Street was first erected in 1847. The 
nupiber of youths between the ages of 5 and 16 in the township 
of Bridgeton, was then 540. In 1851, the number between 5 and 
18 was 687. In 1862 there were between the same ages 9i7. The 
public school-house in Cohansey Township was built in 1848. 
Number of youths that year, 241. In 1853 the number was 301. 
In 1862 the number between the ages of 5 and 18 was 407. The 
school in Bridgeton employs 8 teachers, all females but one, and 
that in Cohansey one male and two females. 

The Presbyterian Academy was built in 1852-53, and first 
opened in 1854. It is an incorporated body, governed by trustees 


elected by the Presbytery of West Jersey. There is, besides, an 
excellent school for young ladies, conducted by Mrs. Sheppard. 

Cumberland Bank was first chartered in 1816, and commenced 
business in September of that year, with a capital of 52,000 
dollars; James Giles, President, and Charles Read, Cashier. 
Giles died in 1816, and was succeeded by Daniel Elmer, and he 
having resigned in 1841, James B. Potter was appointed President. 
Mr. Bead died in 1844, and was succeeded by the present Cashier, 
William G. Nixon. About 1857 the surplus earnings enabled the 
capital to be raised to 102,000 dollars, without the advance of any 
money by the stockholders ; and so well has the institution been 
managed from the first, that it has always deserved and obtained 
the entire confidence of the community, and maintained its notes 
par with those of Philadelphia, often continuing to pay specie when 
the banks in the city could not. During the first fifteen years the 
deposits averaged about 20,000 dollars ; then for the next fifteen 
they averaged about 30,000, while for the last fifteen they have 
averaged 50,000, often reaching 100,000 and 150,000 dollars. For 
the first thirty years there was a regular dividend of three per 
cent, half yearly, besides an extra dividend in 1844 of 24 per cent. 
Since that time 4, 4J, and 5 per cent, have been divided semi-an- 
nually. The surplus earnings, besides the regular dividends, have 
amounted to about 86,000 dollars, of which near 25,000 remains 

Until within the last twenty years there were but few foreigners 
in the place, and they were persons born in Ireland or Scotland, 
who came to America in their youth. One young German who 
deserted from a Hessian regiment is remembered, who married and 
raised a large family. A very considerable number of Germans 
came into the county before the Eevolution, and settled in the 
upper part of Hopewell, and in the adjoining part of Salem County, 
some of whose descendants took up their residence in Bridgeton. 
Most of these, it is believed, were glassblowers, who were employed 
to blow glass at the works early erected not far east of Allbways- 
town, said to have been one of the first established in America. 
Among these settlers was Jacob Fries, whose two sons, Philip of 
Friesburg, and John of Philadelphia, became men of considerable 
wealth. The writer remembers to have heard that when Inde- 
pen<J^ence was declared by the American colonies, old Jacob Fries 
was much concerned as to the possibility of getting along without 


a king, and advised that one should be brought over from Ger- 
many. That country, it is certain, has a plenty of rulers to spare, 
such as they are, but judging from the experience of the Grecians, 
it is doubtful whether one could be found worth a trial. An excel- 
lent teacher, a preceptor of the writer in his youth, was quite as 
much impressed with the impracticability of a republican govern- 
ment as Mr. Fries, and predicted that the writer would live to see 
a king inaugurated. The race of these doubters, it would seem, 
it not yet extinct. 

About 20 years ago a German butcher, named Christian Cook, 
came to this place from Salem, and still carries on the business. 
Since his arrival, the number of families from different parts of 
Germany has so increased, that it is quite a common thing to hear 
the language in the streets, and the total number of that nation is 
not less than four or five hundred. They are in general an indus- 
trious, frugal race, and adopting a different usage from that which 
so long prevailed in Pennsylvania, by encouraging their children 
to learn and use the American language, it is hoped they will be a 
valuable addition to the population. . 

Most of the original settlers in the region called Cohansey, were 
Baptist or Presbyterian from the New and Old England, and hap- 
pily their influence upon the religion and morals of the people was 
good, and is still apparent. Mr. Fithian enters in that journal, so 
frequently quoted, of the date June 26, 1776, while he was engaged 
in making a missionary tour up the Susquehanna River, in Penn- 
sylvania : " I met on the road a tinker, on the way to what is 
called the new purchase. He has been at Cohansey, knows many 
there, at Pittsgrove, Deerfield, and New England Town. He told me 
. that he had been acquainted in seven colonies, but never yet saw 
any place in which the inhabitants were so sober, uniform in their 
manner, and every way religious, as at New England Town, and 
Mr. Ramsey was his favorite preacher." While in Maryland he 
mentions a collection having been taken up, and says, " There were 
34 pieces of silver in cut money." His summing up of this tour 
is, " Wherever I have been their character is mean, dishonest, and 
irreligious. A Jerseyman, and an impertinent every way trouble- 
some scoundrel, seem to be words of nearly the same meaning." 
Under date of August 16, he writes: " I saw Mr. Farquar, a Scotch 
Presbyterian ; he pronounced one sentence from his observation 
which is a most solid truth, and which I will record, * I have dis- 



covered aiooe mr arriTal 'hss ume ar? &o> slanes la Amertv.\». bat 
the PresbyteTMn defgr/" la Apni ITT-k on his visit to Gn?en* 
wich, after he had spent sosne n^mihs in Virginia, he enters *^ The 
morning pleasant and Cn:«hans:e look? as delightsome as it n:s«ed to 
be, and I went to meetine. How nnlikeVirsrinia. Xo rins^ of beaux> 
chattering before and after sermon on gallantry : no assembling in 
crowds after serrioe to drire a bargain, no cool spiritless harangue 
from the pnlpit; minister and people here^ seem in some small 
degree to reverence the day : there neither do it.*^ In the suc- 
ceeding July, after his return, while residing as a tutor in the 
family of Mr. Carter, a wealthy gentleman, whose large mansion 
and possessions were on the west side of the Potomac in Westmore- 
land County, he enters : " A Sunday in Virginia don't seem to 
wear the same dress as our Sundays to the northward. Generally 
here by 5 o'clock on Saturday, every face, especially the negroes, 
looks festive and cheerful ; all the lower class of people and the 
servants and slaves consider Sunday as a day of pleasure and 
amusement, and spend it in diversions. The gentlemen go to church 
to be sure, but they make that itself a matter of convenience, and 
account the church a weekly resort to do business." 

Before dismissing this interesting journal, affording us so many 
glimpses of transactions in days long past, it may be interesting to 
make a few more extracts from it. His journey from home, on 
horseback, commenced October 20, 1773, when he left Greenwich 
by six, morning, rode to Michael Hoshel's, 8 miles, then to Quin- 
ton's Bridge, over toll bridge to Penn's Neck Ferry, then by North 
East to Baltimore. Then forded Patapsco to Bladensburgh, ferry 
at Georgetown, Alexandria, Colchester, ferry at Dumfries, Aquia, 
Stafford C. H., on the 28th arrived at Col. Carter's, Nomini Hall, 
"Westmoreland, in all 260 miles, expense £3 65. 6rf. Returning 
next spring, he crossed the Potomac to Port Tobacco in Maryland, 
and then to Annapolis, and from there in a boat 25 miles to Rock- 
hall, then to Chester Town and to Georgetown, Delaware. "Lodged 
at Mr. Voorhees ; had evening prayers; since I leftCohansie have 
not heard the like. By Port Penn and Elsenborough to Green- 
wich. Stopt to see the forsaken Mrs. "Ward." Her husband, Dr. 
Ward, had recently died. She was a Holmes, afterwards married 
Dr. Bloomfield, of Woodbridge, father of Gov. Bloom field, and 
upon his death came to Bridgeton, where she died, quite aged. 
" Many had died the past winter — a very mortal winter." May 4, 


" Last night fell a very considerable snow ; 5tli, last night was very 
cold, ice two inches thick ; 6th, still very cold, the leaves on the 
trees are grown black, the fruit must be past recovery." In Vir- 
ginia, he states, "the frost of May was very severe, killed the 
peaches, and in the upper counties the wheat and rye." May 11, 
"an ox killed to-day in Bridgeton which weighed upwards of 
1000 lbs., supposed to be the largest ever killed in the county." 

The poor of Cumberland have for a long time been mostly sup- 
ported in a poor-house, situate about a mile and a half westwardly 
from Bridgeton. The question of having an establishment of this 
kind began to be agitated as early as 1799, but it Was not until 
1809 that Moore Hall and the property belonging to it was pur- 
chased. The present building was erected in 1852. 

During the latter part of the last century it was quite common 
for persons in good circumstances to own one or two slaves, 
generally as house servants. Acts of the legislature passed as 
early as 1713 and from time to time until 1798 had sanctioned 
and regulated the owning and treatment of them. In 1804 an act 
was passed for the gradual abolition of slavery, which declared 
that those born after the 4th of July of that year should be held to 
service if a male until the age of 25 years, and if a female until 
the age of 21 years. After this some of those who were slaves for 
life, were manumitted. A few have remained nominally slaves 
until comparatively a recent period. The number in the county 
in 1790 was 120; in 1800 they had decreased to 75; in 1810 to 
42 ; in 1820 to 28 ; in 1830 there were only two. 

Very few newly-settled districts of country are healthy. The 
southern part of New Jersey was for many years an unhealthy 
region. Fever and ague were almost universal in the latter part 
of the summer and during the early part of the fall, generally dis- 
appearing after the nights became frosty. Until comparatively a 
recent period, scarcely a young person of either sex escaped the 
fever and ague. Ev^ry other day, and sometimes every third day, 
the person would be able to attend school or other avocation, 
but about the middle of the second or third day would be taken 
with a chill, which in the course of an hour or two would be fol- 
lowed by a hot fever. Often very violent intermittent or bilious 
fevers were epidemic. A healthy summer or fall was the excep- 
tion and not the rule. 

In a journal kept by Ephraim Harris, of Fairfield, who was born 


in 1732, and died in 1794, he enters: "That fatal and never to be 
forgotten year 1759, when the Lord sent the destroying angel to 
pass through this place, and removed many of our friends into 
eternity in a short space of time; not a house exempt, not a family 
spared from the calamity. So dreadful was it that it made every 
ear tingle, and every heart bleed; in which time I and my family 
was exercised with that dreadful disorder, the measles; but, blessed 
be God, our lives were spared." It is quite probable that the dis- 
order here called measles, was in fact the smallpox. 

Mr. Fithian enters in his journal under the date of July 4, 
1774, when he was in Virginia : " We have several showers to day ; 
the weather is warm, funky, very damp, and I fear will not turn 
out long to be healthful. With us in Jersey, wet weather about 
this time is generally thought, and I believe almost never fails 
being a forerunner of agues, fall fever, fluxes, and our horse dis- 
tempers." Under the date of August 9, 1775, when he was in 
Western Maryland, he enters : " News from below that many dis- 
orders, chiefly the flux (by which he means dysentery), are now 
raging in the lower counties, Chester, etc. I pray God Delaware 
may be a bar, and stop that painful and deadly disorder. Enough 
has it ravaged our poor Cohansians. Enough are we in Cohansey 
every autumn enfeebled and wasted with the ague and fever. Our 
children all grow pale, puny, and lifeless." The dysentery was 
very prevalent and fatal in Cumberland County in 1775, and again 
in 1806. 

After the enlargement of the mill-pond east of Bridgeton, in 
1809, and the raising of the new pond northward in 1814, inter- 
mittent and bilious fevers were common in Bridgeton for succes- 
sive years. In 1823 these diseases prevailed to a fearful extent; 
but after this, in the course of three or four years, they ceased to 
prevail either in the town or other parts of the county. This 
improvement has been ascribed to more perfect draining, and to 
the use of lime for agricultural purposes. But while it is proba- 
ble that these causes have had some effect, the change was too 
sudden, and has been too great to be ascribed mainly to them. 
Atmospheric, telluric, or other influences far more potent, must 
have occurred. What these are we do not know. The important 
fact, for which our people cannot be too thankful, is, that the pro- 
vidence of God has, for thirty years past, given us healthful 
seasons, instead of the sickness formerly so common. Our fall 


seasons are now as generally healthful as any other part of the 
year. In those years when the cholera was so fatal in many parts 
of the country, we were mostly exempt. Thirty years ago it could 
not be said with truth that Bridgeton was as healthy a place as 
most of the towns in the northern part of the State; but now this 
may be affirmed without fear of contradiction. 

But little is known of the early physicians in Bridgeton or its 
vicinity. The first of whom there is any notice was Elijah Bowen, 
who, in 1738, was one of the founders of the church at Shiloh, and 
who had considerable practice afterwards in that vicinity. He 
was of the Baptist family, which settled and gave their name to 
Bowentown. After and partly contemporaneous with him was 
James Johnson from Connecticut, who was a practitioner as early 
as 1745, and appears to have resided near Bowentown, and died in 
1759. It may be mentioned as characteristic of the habits of that 
time, that among the accounts of his executor are charges for wine 
for the use of the watchers, and of wine and rum for the funeral. 
After him was Dr. John Fithian, who in 1751 built the house on 
the south side of Broad Street, next above the residence of Charles 
E. Elmer, Esq. Dr. Jonathan Elmer commenced practice in 1768.* 

' Jonathan Elmer was son of Daniel Elmer second ; was born in 1745, and died 
in 1817. He was one of the first graduates of the Medical Department of the 
University of Pennsylvania, receiving the degree of M. B. (Bachelor of Medicine) 
in 1768, and of M. D. in 1771. In 1772 he was elected a member of the American 
Philosophical Society, of which Dr. Franklin was the President, and was con- 
sidered the equal in medical knowledge of any physician in the United States. 
His health being infirm, he turned his attention more to politics, and was much 
in office until the changes of parties in 1800. With all the family he was an 
ardent Whig, and entered earnestly into the measures of opposition to the en- 
croachments of the British Government on the rights of the people of America. 
Although not a military man, he took a commission as commander of a company 
of militia, and was active in organizing measures of defence. He was one of the 
Committee of Vigilance, which, in fact, was for some time the governing power of 
the county ; and in 1776 was a member of the Provincial Congress, and a member 
of the committee which framed the first constitution of the State. During most 
of the time the war lasted he was a member of Congress, and afterward one of the 
first senators. For many years he was the presiding judge of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas of the county, and was, in fact, a well-read lawyer. He became an 
elder of the Presbyterian church in Bridgeton. His descendants in the city /ure 
still numerous and highly respectable. 

Ebenezer Elmer was a brother of Dr. Jonathan, was bom in 1752, and died 
at the age of ninety-one in 1843. Having studied medicine with his brother, and 
when about to commence practice, the Revolutionary War broke out, and in January, 
1776, he was commissioned as an ensign, and shortly after as lieutenant in a oom- 


He was probably the first regularly educated physician in the 
county, unless Dr. Ward of Greenwich, from Connecticut, who 
died young in 1774, may have been of that class. Dr. Thomas 
Ewing studied under Ward, and after practising a short time in 
Cape May, returned to Greenwich, and was an officer in the conti- 
nental army. He died in 1782. His son, Dr. William B. Ewing, 
after a thorough education, settled as a physician in Greenwich in 
1799. Dr. Elmer graduated in the newly-established medical 
school of Philadelphia as a Bachelor of Medicine in 1768, and in 
1771 took the full degree of Doctor, his thesis in Latin having 
been printed. Dr. Rush said of him, that in medical erudition he 
was exceeded by no physician in the United States. He built, in 
1772, a dwelling on the site of Charles E. Elmer's house; but 
being of feeble health, and not able to endure the long horseback 
journeys to which a physician was then exposed, he turned his 
attention to political life, received the appointment of sheriff, and 
was a member of Congress, and afterwards of the Senate. His 
brother Ebenezer commenced studying with him in 1773, and in 
1775 began to visit patients in all parts of the county. He how- 
ever entered the army at the breaking out of the Eevolutionary 
War, and did not return to practice until it was over. In 1783, 
and for a few succeeding years, he was in full practice in Bridge- 
ton and the neighborhood ; but he soon became engaged in public 
life, and was afterwards only consulted in special cases and as a 

What physicians there were in other parts of the county, before 
the Revolution, is not known. There were probably very few. 
Jonathan Elmer, during the first year of his practice, appears to 
have gone to all parts of the county and more than once to the sea- 

paoj which soon joined the northern armj ; and in this oapaoitj he served more 
than a year. Daring the remainder of the war he served as a surgeon, having 
been in service altogether seven years and eight months. 

He was for a few years in business as a physician in Bridgeton, after the war, 
but soon relinquished it, and was much in public life as a member and Speaker 
of both branches of the legislature of New Jersey, a member of Congress, and 
supporter of Mr. Jefferson ; collector of the customs, clerk, surrogate, and magis- 
trate. In 1814 he commanded a brigade of militia called out for the defence of 
Philadelphia, and was usually known as General Elmer. In early life, as he has 
recorded in his journal, he " became a believer in the gospel plan of redemption 
by faith in Jesus Christ;" and afterwards was a member of the Presbyterian 
Church. He was the writer's father. 


shore. Iq 1775 Ebenezer Elmer, then a student with him, visited 
Fairfield frequently to prescribe for the sick, and also Hopewell, 
Greenwich, and Deerfield. Dr. Otto, from Germany, who during 
the war lived in Gloucester County, and whose house and barn were 
burned by the British troops in March, 1778, and who was known 
as the Prussian Doctor, was called upon in difficult cases, not only 
in the neighborhood of his residence, but in other places in the 
adjoining counties of Salem and Cumberland. 

Benjamin Champneys, a descendant of John Fenwick, studied 
with Ebenezer Elmer in 1793, and after a few voyages to sea mar- 
ried a daughter of Col. Potter, and settled as a physician in Bridge- 
ton. He was much esteemed, but died young in 1814. Samuel 
M. Shute, who had been for a few years at the close of the war an 
officer in the army, studying medicine with Jonathan Elmer, and 
having married his daughter, was a leading physician until his 
death in 1816. They were succeeded by Isaac H. Hampton, whose 
father was a physician at Cedar ville, but who commenced practice 
at Woodbury. He married a daughter of Gen. Giles and removed 
to Bridgeton in 1814, where he was in good practice until failing 
health obliged him to give it up about ten years ago. William 
Elmer, a son of Dr. Jonathan, commenced business as physician 
in 1812, but gave it up in 1817 upon the death of his father. He 
was succeeded by Dr. Ephraim Buck, Dr. William S. Bowen, and 
after some years the present Dr. William Elmer took a large share 
of the business. Besides these, there have been from time'to time 
others, whose business was less extensive. 

For some time after the formation of the county, the lawyers 
residing in Salem and in other parts of the State, were relied upon to 
transact the business. An old man named Husted told the writer 
many years ago, that when Geo. Trenchard, of Salem, was the 
king's attorney, and was examining him as a witness in a caile of 
assault and battery, on trial in the Court of Quarter Sessions, he 
asked him several times how the accused struck him, and that 
having no better mode of explaining the matter he struck Mr. 
Attorney on the face and knocked him down. The lawyers in 
those days, as is still the practice in England, were required to 
stand up while they examined the witnesses. One of the Salem 
lawyers named Van Leuvnigh, who was very tall and slender, had 
the nickname of the Devil's darning needle. Samuel Leake, who 
was born in this county but resided in Trenton, and Lucius H. 


Stockton often attended the courts here. Cortland Skinner, who 
was attorney-general at and before the Revolution, was in the 
habit of granting a nolle prosequi in petty cases, for a fee of half 
a joe, $8. Several are on file in the clerk's office. 

Before the Eevolution the judges wore gowns and wigs, and the 
lawyers wore gowns and bands, while in court. The sheriflf, with 
as many justices and freeholders as he could conveinently summon, 
met the Justice of the Supreme C!ourt, when he came into the 
county to hold a Circuit and Oyer and Terminer, which was com- 
monly once in a year at the county line, on horseback, and escorted 
him to his lodging. This was the practice in England, and was 
required by the Governor's ordinance in this State. It was men- 
tioned in the newspaper a few years ago, that one of the English 
Judges had fined the sheriff 100 pounds for neglecting this duty. 
The general introduction of railways has, however, abolished the 
practice in most cases. At the opening and closing of the court, 
from day to day, the sheriff and constables, with their staves of 
office, escorted the Judges from and to the tavern at which they 
dined, to the court-house, a practice which has been only recently 

Courts of oyer and terminer and general gaol delivery were, 
until 1794, held by virtue of a special commission under the great 
seal, requiring, generally, two justices of the Supreme Court by 
name, the presence of one of whom was indispensable, and the 
county judges, and sometimes one or more justices of the peace by 
name, to hold the same for a number of specified days. Until 
1845, the justices of the peace constituted the court of General 
Quarter Sessions of the peace, which had jurisdiction in all crimi- 
nal cases, except those of a high grade. Judges of the Pleas were 
commonly also commissioned as justices; but only a small part of 
the justices were judges. For many years it was the practice for 
most of the justices, as well as the judges, to attend at least the 
first day of the term and dine together, all the court fees payable 
to them being appropriated to pay the expense, and in case these 
fell short, as was commonly the case, the justices were all assessed 
with their share of the balance, whether they attended or not. 

The first attorney who is known to have settled in Bridgeton was 
Joseph Bloomfield, whose father was Dr. Bloomfield, of Wood- 
bridge, the same who married the widow of Dr. Ward. The former 


attended for a time a classical school kept by Eev. Enoch Green 
in Deerfield. Having been admitted an attorney, he took up his 
residence in Bridgeton about 1770. In the spring of 1776 he left 
as captain of a company of soldiers. He remained in the army 
two or three years, and then resumed his profession, making Bur- 
lington his residence, where he married. In 1783 he was appointed 
Attorney General. In 1801 he was elected Governor by the Demo- 
crats, and held the office, with the exception of one year when 
there was a tie between the political parties, and the State was 
without a Governor, until 1812, when he was appointed a Brigadier 
General in the army. Eichard Howell, of this county, became a 
lawyer, and sometimes attended our courts, but did not reside in 
the county. He was Governor from 1793 to 1801. 

After the war James Giles, a young officer of artillery, attached 
to the corps commanded at the close of the war by Lafayette, whose 
father was an Episcopal clergyman, studied law, and having mar- 
ried a sister of Gov. Bloomfield, took up his residence in Bridge- 
ton about the year 1787. In 1791 he built the house in which he 
resided until his death in 1826. He transacted a large business as 
an attorney for many years. In 1791 John Moore White com- 
menced, and continued until 1808, when he removed to Woodbury, 
where he resided until his death in 1862, at the age of 91. Daniel 
Elmer was licensed in 1805 ; in 1808 married a daughter of Col. 
Potter, and took up his residence for a short time in White's 
deserted mansion. He had a large and lucrative business until 
1841, when he was appointed one of the Justices of the Supreme 
Court. About 1809 Isaac W. Crane came from Salem, and con- 
tinued until 1839. Elias P. Seeley and Lucius Q. C. Elmer were 
licensed in 1815. The former was Governor in 1832 and died. The 
latter was appointed Attorney General in 1850, and in 1852 one of 
the Justices of the Supreme Court. Henry T. EUet practised' law 
here from 1833 to 1837, when he married a daughter of Governor 
Seeley, and moved to Port Gibson, Mississippi, where he still resides. 
James G. Hampton was licensed in 1839, and died in 1861. Charles 
E. Elmer was licensed in 1842. In 1845 John T. Nixon was 
licensed, and he, together with Charles E. Elmer, James E. Hoagland, 
James J. Eeeves, John S. Mitchell, Franklin F. Westcott, William 
E. Potter, and J. Leslie Lupton, are now, in 1869, the lawyers of the 


But little is known of the military organization previous to the 
Revolution. Upon an old map of the farm lying on the west side 
of the road to Irelan's mill, as the mill now used for sawing staves 
was long called, and north of the run emptying into Jeddy's pond, 
there is laid down a lot of half an acre, about where the road to 
Shiloh now goes, marked as " town barracks." The precise mean- 
ing of this is now unknown. 

The journal of Ebenezer Elmer, kept in 1775, shows that the 
county was alive with military preparations, especially after the 
news of the bloodshed at Lexington on the 19th of April. Com- 
panies were organized and officers chosen, and frequent drills took . 
place. Eichard Howell, /afterwards Governor, raised the first com- 
pany of one year men that left the county, by recommendation of 
the Committee of Safety, in October, 1775. Sunday, December 10, 
the entry is, "Went to meeting at Greenwich ; Capt. Howell's soldiers 
there; came and went away ir\ form. Coming home, Mr. Bloom- 
field proposed to me to send a petition to the Provincial Congress 
for himself Captain, Josiah Seeley Ist Lieutenant, and myself 2d, 
which was agreed to." The entry 13th of December is, ** The sol- 
diers went on board the Greenwich packet at evening, to sail for 
Burlington." 14th, " Cloudy day. The soldiers, captain, and all 
but eight or ten, went off in the dead of the night, on foot, to get 
clear of their creditors; their going aboard the vessel turned out 
only a sham." 

It would se6m from this last entry that Capt. Howell's men were 
many of them, like those that gathered themselves unto David at 
the cave of Adullam, in distress, in debt, or discontented. The 
suspicions of the journalist, however, may not have been warranted 
by the facts. It appears from several previous entries that he had 
been desirous of procuring a commission in this company, and his 
disappointment may have produced his unfavorable surmises. 

In the succeeding spring another company was raised, as pro- 
posed by Bloomfield, except that Josiah Seeley, having concluded 
to take a wife and stay with her, another person was commissioned 
as 1st Lieutenant, which marched for the northern frontier in March, 

Several times during the Revolutionary War, fully half the militia 
of this county was in actual service. Col. Newcomb, of Eairfield, 
commanded a regiment, aind so did Col. Potter. The latter was 
taken prisoner near Haddonfield, but was soon exchanged. John 

70 BRirQETON. 

Gibbon, the uncle of Mrs. Seeley, was also taken prisoner, and 
among those who died on board the Jersey prison ship at 
York. The British troops never reached this county. 

During the war with Great Britain in 1814 a brigade of 
militia of South Jersey was drafted, and encamped at Billingspi 
for the defence of Philadelphia, under the command of General 
Ebenezer Elmer, then the Brigadier Genera! of the Cumberland 
Brigade. Duriiigthesummerof that year the Poictiera, an English 
ship of the line, under the command of Sir John Bereaford, lying 
in Delaware Bay, succeeded in breaking up the navigation as high 
up as the Cohansey. No serious engagementa, however, took p!ace_ 
between the hostile forces. 

The inhabitants of Bridgeton suffered a terrible fright, wbi( 
alarming enough at first, in the end partook more of the ludici 
than the serious. To prevent boats from the enemy's ship 
up the river in the nigbt, and plundering the town, a nightly giii 
was detailed and posted at a point on the river two or three miles' 
from the town, but more than twice that distance by the water. 
All the vessels and boats passing the guard-house during the night 
were hailed and required to give an account of themselves. If ao. 
enemy appeared, a messenger was to be sent to a prudent officer 
the town, who was intrusted with the duty, if needful, of gi 
the alarm by firing a cannon, and ringing the court-house 
that being then the only bell in the place. About two o'clock 
a midsummer night the gun was fired, and the bell rang with 
animation. The scene that ensued may be imagined, but canni 
easily be described, and great was the consternation. No 
doubted that an enemy was close at hand. One or two peraoi 
threw their silver down the well. The militia, except some who 
aa usual were among the missing, were assembled, and an attempt 
made to organize them for action. Happily, however, thi 
■was not tested. The alarm, although not sounded until all dou' 
of its necessity seemed to be removed, turned out to be a fa! 
one, originating in the fright of a family near the guard-house, Va» 
head of which was absent, and in the fool-hardiness of the skipper 
of a small sloop, who took it into his head to pass the guard with- 
out answering their challenge, and who succeeded in bringing 
himself and his crew a volley of musketry, and running the m 
of being killed by a ball which passed directly over hia bead. 

During .the first quarter of the present century, the annual train*] 

I doubtj 
a falsfltH 
use, tb*^ 



ing day was the festival day next in importance to the fourth of 
July. The companies met for drill twice a year, and the regiments 
or brigades for inspection and review by the commanding general. 
On this latter day Jhere was commonly a great turn out of men, 
women and children. Many evils grew out of the system, so that 
in South Jersey, although the law remained unaltered, after about 
1830, the whole system fell into disuse. It is by no means certain, 
however, that the change has been for the better. The evils of the 
system, as happily is the case with most human affairs, were com- 
pensated by many advantages. The habit of bearing arms, and 
meeting for exercise, produced a spirit of self-reliance of no 
little consequence, while the holiday, which occurred on the day of 
the ''great training," served to bring the people together and to 
cultivate kind and generous feelings, at a time when the means of 
intercourse were far more limited than they now are. It has been 
well remarked, in reference to the people of the Northern and Mid- 
dle States, that the three things which had enabled them to carry 
on a republican government so successfully, were the congrega- 
tional meetings and preaching on Sunday, the town meetings, and 
the training of the militia. 

Bridgeton was incorporated as a city in 1865, with a Mayor and 
Common Council, and is divided into three wards, covering the 
territory of the former townships of Bridgeton and Cohansey. The 
number of inhabitants is estimated to be about 7,500. 





The Indian name of the principal river running into Delaware 
Bay Was Wahatquenack, and there has been a tradition, which 
like many other errors has passed into history, that its present 
name Maurice, was derived from the circumstance that a vessel 
called the Prince Maurice was burnt at an early date by the 
Indians, in the reach since called, "No Man's Friend." Whatever 
may be the truth, as to the burning of the vessel, while she was 
repairing, according to one version of the story, it is much more 
probable that the name was given to the river either by Mey, or 
DeYries, captains of Dutch vessels, who visited the bay, the former 
in 1623 and the other in 1631. A map of *' Nieuw Nederlandt^^ 
published at Amsterdam in 1676, including New Jersey and Zuyd 
BevieTj or South River, as the Dutch called the Delaware, marks 
very distinctly the entrance of Maurice River into the bay, and 
names it Mauritius Bevier. The same name, evidently the Dutch 
or Latin name for Maurice, Prince of Orange, was given by some of 
the Dutch writers to the Hudson. When the county of Cape May 
was established by the legislature of West Jersey in 1692, they 
bounded it on the east side of Morris River, so spelled in the printed 
law. In the act of 1694 it is called Prince Morris' River. When 
the coupty was set ofl' from Salem, the law describing the township, 
bounds it on Prince Maurice' River; but the township is called 
Maurice River precinct. 

In 1691 John Worlidge and John Budd, surveyors from Bur- 
lington, in the employment of the principal proprietors of West 
Jersey, visited the stream^ on the lower part of the Delaware in a 
vessel, and set ofl* large surveys on both sides of Maurice River. 
On the west side at the niouth they set off 10,000 acres for Wasse, 
on the east side one of 20,000 acres for Robert Squibb, most of 
which afterwards became the property of Thomas Byerly. Above. 
Byerly's survey, 2600 acres were set off for a town plot and called 


Dorchester; it includes Leesburg, but no town was built or even 
commenced until more than a century afterwards. Above this 
was a survey to Bartlett, afterwards John Scott's, located for 10,000 
acres, but containing more than double that quantity. AH the 
early surveys contained many more acres than were returned. 

But few permanent settlements were made on either side of 
Maurice Eiver until after the formation of the county. There 
were, however, a sufficient number as early as 1720, to require the 
appointment of a constable " for Morris Eiver," by the court .of 
Quarter Sessions at Salem. Ten years after this one was appointed 
for the upper part and one for the lower. The old Cape Road, or 
as it was commonly called the King's Road, originally followed 
the Indian paths, crossing the Cohansey and Maurice Rivers above 
the tide, that is to say, the former at or near Bridgeton, and the 
latter about where the Union pond now is, thence across the Me- 
nantico at Leanaing's mill, and the Manamuskin at the mill where 
Cumberland furnace was afterwards placed, now called Manamus- 
kin Manor, and thence over Dennis' Creek swamp, near where the 
railroad now crosses the same. *The mill afterwards owned by 
and called Learning's mill, was built as early as 1720 by Rawson. 
Scott commenced selling parts of his tract, about this time, adjoin- 
ing Manamuskin and Maurice River. The site of Port Elizabeth 
was sold probably about this time to John Purple. 

Thomas Chalkley, a Friend from England, who married a sister 
of Jacob Spicer, states in his journal, 2d Month (April) 1726: 
"From Cohansey through the wilderness over Maurice River, ac- 
companied by James Daniels, through a miry, boggy way in which 
we saw no house for about forty miles except at the ferry; and 
that night we got to Richard Townsend's at Cape May." Town- 
send lived in the upper precinct, not far from Tuckahoe, but where 
the ferry over Maurice River was, at which Chalkley crossed, is 
unknown; it was probably below Port Elizabeth. 

A road was laid out in 1705, from Salem to Maurice River, 
which crossed AUoway's Creek at Quinton's Bridge, the Cohansey 
at Greenwich, thence to Henry Brooks' at Fairfield, then keeping 
the. road by the meeting-house, on the bapk of the river, at New 
England Town to Grimes' bridge (probably over Rattlesnake Run 
at Fairton,) then keeping the old road until it cometh to the road 
going to Daniel England's saw-mill, to two oak trees marked M. M. 
Daniel England's mill was at Buckshutem, and was afterwards 


called Carraack's mill. It was probably this road that was travelled 
by Chalkley. Although all the roads were originally laid out for 
six rods, or four rods wide, they were seldom opened, and until 
long after 1720 were only travelled on horseback. 

Wasse's tract west of the river was not sold out in parcels until 
after 1738. Prior to 1750, William DoUas, a Friend,.purcbased the 
land at the place since called Port Norris, and for many years a 
ferry was maintained there, this being one of the thoroughfares 
from Greenwich to Cape May, and may have been the ferry men- 
tioned by Chalkley. 

John Peterson, of Swedish origin, located the land where Mau- 
ricetown now is and settled there in 1730. He laid surveys on 
several tracts in the neighborhood. Subsequently Luke Mattox 
owned the property, and from him it was called Mattox landing, 
until about 1814, when three brothers named Qompton became 
the proprietors, laid out the village of Mauricetown, and built 
several handsome dwelling-houses. It is now a flourishing place, 
the principal inhabitants being engaged in the coasting and river 
trade, which although subject to occasional depressions, has been 
in the main prosperous. 

The site of Dorchester was purchased by Peter Eeeve just pre- 
vious to 1800, and he laid out the town and commenced selling 
lots. At that time there were but three houses in the vicinity. A 
saw-mill had been erected at an early date. Most of the original 
settlers here, as has been stated, were Swedes. Some of them 
appear to have taken leases under the proprietors. The names of 
Peterson, Lord, Errickson, Vanneman, Beagan (corrupted to Rig- 
gins) Hoffman, and others still remain. 

Leesburg was established by two brothers named Lee, ship- 
carpenters from Egg-harbor, some time about the year 1800. An 
old graveyard on the bank of the river, partly washed away, indi- 
cates that there were several settlers in the neighborhood at a 
much earlier date. William Carlisle, now one of the wealthiest 
proprietors, went there in 1795, and found only two or three houses. 
It has been a place for building coasting vessels from the begin- 
ning. In 1850 James Ward built a marine railway, and now 
there are two there, besides one at Dorchester. Vessels are con- 
stantly on the stocks and undergoing repair at both these places. 
This region has advanced during the last year more perceptibly 
than any other part of the township. There is much good land in 


the neighborhood, capable of great improvement as an agricultural 
district. The new railroad to Cape May passes through an unci^l- 
tivated district, where, although most of the land is poor, there is 
much that is good, which it is believed will be settled and culti- 
vated soon. 

The bay Aore and up the river for several miles was naturally 
a salt marsh. Above Port Norris it was banked and reclaimed at 
an early period. And it must be remembered that the first settlers 
established their farms on the banks of the streams, and depended 
on the natural marshes or embanked meadows for their hay. Laws 
were passed as early as 1760 for erecting banks by the joint efforts 
of the proprietors on the Cohansey. Until within the last thirty 
years, since when the introduction of lime and other fertilizers has 
enabled the farmers to raise hay of a better quality on their upland, 
the reclaimed meadows, notwithstanding the great expense gene- 
rally attending the maintenance of the banks, wefe almost indis-. 
pensable, and commanded a high price. Those on Maurice Eiver, 
which are easily renovated by the muddy sediment deposited from 
the water when allowed to flow over them, are of an excellent 
quality, and are still of much value. The relative price, however, 
of upland and meadow land has undergone a considerable change, 
the fornjer having risen and the latter depreciated in value. 

About the year 1809 Messrs. Coates & Brinton commenced an 
embankment on the east side and near the mouth of Maurice Eiver, 
about four miles in extent. In 1816 they extended their bank at 
great expense along the shore of the bay to East Creek, placing a 
dam at the mouth of West Creek, making a bank about fifteen miles 
long and inclosing several thousand acres of land. The promise 
of remuneration for this great outlay, which was never very encou- 
raging, was entirely disappointed by the great storm of 1821, still 
remembered and spoken of throughout South Jersey. as "the Sep- 
tember Gale," which swept away the greater part of the bank. It 
occurred on the first Monday of September, nomination day for 
members of Assembly, and blew down and injured much of the 
woodland in the county. Many of the Lombardy poplars, then very 
common around our dwellings, were blown down, but this proved 
to be no loss, the tree, although for a time very popular, not being 
desirable for any purpose. No attempt to repair the bank was 
* made until 1849, when Gen. Cadwallader, of Philadelphia, who had 



been owner of the property, inclosed about 1200 acres, at the 
mquth of tlie river, which are now of much value. 

Besides the natural oyster beds near the mouth of the river, thii 
product of the waters has been greatly increased, by planting thai 
in the cove. These oysters are esteemed the best that are found ia" 
the Delaware, owing no doubt to the fact that the water which 
flows out of the ri ver has in it much vegetable sediment upon which 
they live and fatten. The proper habitation of a good oyster ia 
where the salt water of the ocean is diluted by fresh water from an 
inland stream, bringing with it a sufRcient supply of vegetable 
matter. A very considerable business employing many small 
sloops and schooners, has grown out of the planting, gathering, and 
' carrying to market of oysters produced in Delaware Bay, which is 
susceptible of great increase, and would undoubtedly be far moi 
advantageous to the citizens of this State, if the property of tl 
soil under the *ater, suitable for producing them, could becomi 
private property. The tenacity with which the privilege of hold- 
ing a right to common property in the upland and in the water 
has been held not only in this country, but in Europe, allhougli 
perhaps natural enough, has always proved detrimental tothi 
munity. Those commons which were adjacent to all the villagi 
in England, and whieb it cost years of conflict to divide by meaafti 
of inclosure acts, have entirely disappeared to the great benefit of 
the people. And it cannot be doubted that the many thousand 
dollars expended by this State, in obtaining the decision of the 
Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Martin m, 
Waddell, decided in 1842 that the land under the navigable watei 
of the State ia public property up to high water mark, and doea! 
not belong to the proprietors, was sadly misspent. Happily, how- 
ever, the whole subject is in the power of the legislature, and will 
some time be properly regulated. The right of private property,, 
as human nature is constituted, is indispensable to induce an enerd 
getic and profitable use of the land, whether covered with wateqj 
or susceptible of cultivation, and suitable for the habitation ga 
man. 2 

The present site of Potl Elizabeth was purchased of John ScoW 
by John Purple, about the year 1720. The land on the west sida 
of the Manamuskin was purchased by different persons soon aften 
Among the purchasers was John Hoffman, who made the deed fc^ 
the property on which the Swedes church was erected. Thegrand^J 





: of 





father of the late Jonathan Lore purchased and moved on to his 
farm about the year 1750. At that time he owned the only horse 
on the creek, and there was but one ox. He built a barn which is 
still standing, the firame of which was cut and hewed at Antuxet 
and floated down to the bay and to Maurice River, and thence up 
to the farm. When it was raised, it being about 25 by 40 feet in 
size, the people assisting said there never would be enough hay 
cut on the river tp fill it In 1771 John Bell, who had become the 
owner of the property, sold it to Mrs. Elizabeth Clark, afterwards 
Bodley, from whom the name of the place originated. A dam was 
put across the mouth of the Manamuskin, for the sake of the 
valuable meadows above before 1782, in which year a law was 
passed authorizing it. Mrs. Bodley laid out the town about the 
year 1785. When in that year the act of Congress was passed 
establishing districts for the collection of the duties imposed on 
imported goods, the eastern side of the Delaware from above Cam- 
den to Cape May was constituted the district of Bridgeton, and the 
towns of Salem and Port Elizabeth on Maurice River were made 
ports of delivery. All vessels requiring a license, the owners of 
which reside in this district, are required by the laws to letter them 
as belonging to one of these places^ or to Bridgeton, which is the 
only port of entry. For a few years after this act was passed there 
was some trading out of Maurice River and the Cohansey to the 
West Indies; but for the last thirty years or more, this has entirely 
ceased. The tendency of canals, railroads and other modern im- 
provements, is to concentrate trade in the great marts of business, 
where there are greater facilities for carrying it on. 

The road from Port Elizabeth to Tuckahoe was laid and opened 
in 1796. In the year 1794 an act of the legislature appointed 
commissioners to lay out and open roads from Bridgeton to 
Codper's Ferry, as Camden was then designated, and also from 
Roadstown and from Port Elizabeth to Bridgeton. These com- 
missioners laid these roads, but only that from Koadstown to 
Cooper's Ferry was opened. That from Port Elizabeth to Bridge- 
ton passed through Buckshootem, but it was never opened. One 
nearly in the same place was afterwards laid in the usual manner. 

Joshua Brick, a son of John Brick, a prominent citizen of the 
county, who at one time owned what are now Sheppard's and 
Wood's mills, went to Maurice River about 1795. He, and his 
son Joshua, who died at an advanced age in 1860, were leading 


inhabitants of Port Elizabeth, especially the son. He laid out the 
town called Bricksborough, and sold lots there in 1807. Neither 
place, although they are well situated for trade, has attained the 
importance that was expected. They may indeed be characterized 
as decayed villages. There is no reason, however, to doubt that 
they will hereafter greatly improve. 

James Lee, of Irish descent, removed to this place from Chester 
County, Pennsylvania, about the year 1797, and in 1801 his half- 
brother Thomas came. James, who was an active enterprising man, 
too spasmodic in his efforts to succeed well, established glassworks 
in connection with Philadelphians, near where they still remain, 
in the year 1801. They made, window glass. He did not, however, 
long remain an owner, having after a few years engaged in works 
at Millville and at Bridgeton. About 1317 he removed to the 
west, and died at New Orleans. In 1816 the glassworks at Port 
Elizabeth were purchased by a company of Germans, of whom 
the Getsingers were prominent members, who carried them on 
nearly thirty years. About 1813 works were erected on the east 
side of Manamuskin, just south of the road, which were carried on 
several years, but have lotig since been taken down. About 1630 
glassworks were established at Marshallville, in the extreme 
eastern corner of the township, on the Tuckahoe River, and are 
still continued. 

One of the well known citizens of this place was Dr. Benjamin 
Fisler, who died at the advanced age of eighty five in 1854. His 
faAer and mother were natives of Switzerland. Their eleven 
children were remarkable for their longevity, one only dying at 
forty-five, the others from seventy-three to ninety-three, and the 
aggregate of their ages amounting to 883 years. The Doctor was 
admitted as a preacher among the Methodists in 1791, and was for 
a time a missionary in Nova Scotia. He settled in Port Elizabeth 
in 1798, and was the leading and most of the time the only physi- 
cian of the place for about fifty-five years, being at the same time 
a very acceptable local preacher. His descendants are quite 
numerous, but none of them remain at the old homestead. Thomas 
Lee married his sister. 

The first tavern stood near the creek, just below Oglee's store. 
The present tavern house was built in 1803. 

In 1830 the present truss bridge over the Manamuskin was 
built by the Board of Freehqlders. 


The districts of country bordering on the Menantico and Mana- 
muskin, the most important tributaries of Maurice Eiver, were 
originally covered with pine and other trees, and produced much 
good lumber for market. Saw-mills were erected on these streams 
at an early day. Eli Budd, who was originally of the family of 
Friends of that name in Burlington County, but who became a 
Methodist as early as 1.785, in this year purchased the property at 
the head of tbe Manamuskin, and afterwards put up a forge, for 
manufacturing iron. About 1810 his son Wesley, in company 
with one or more persons in Philadelphia, established a blast- 
furnace at the place now called Manamuskin Manor, formerly Cum- 
berland Furnace. In 1818 they failed, and the property went into 
new hands. Subsequently the iron manufacture was profitably 
maintained at. this place by Edward Smith, of Philadelphia, and 
continued until 1840, when the coal on about 15,000 acres of land 
connected with the establishment, being entirely consumed, the 
business was abandoned, and the works went to decay. The large 
transportation of ore and other materials consumed, and of the iron 
manufactured, was carried on- by the channel of Menantico Creek 
up to Schooner Landing, and thence by the ordinary road. A 
furnace was established on the Tuckahoe Eiver about 1820, but 
did not long continue in use. 

For the first forty or fifty years of this century the production 
of iron in blast furnaces was a very important branch of business 
in the southern part of New Jersey. The ore used was principally 
what is called bog ore, much of which was dug in the swamps of 
Downe Township, and other parts of the county, and in Gloucester 
and Burlington Counties. It appears to have been iron held in 
solution by water, and deposited during a long succession of years 
in the sand or mud of low places. The quantity found in this 
county was not large, and was soon exhausted. Afterwards the 
ore was brought from the State of Delaware, and from Burlington 
County. It was smelted by the use of lime as a flux, either in 
the shape of oyster-shells or of stone-lime, and was of so good a 
quality as to be run directly from the furnace into stove and other 
castings. The stoves used in Philadelphia, the northern part of 
New York, and in the Eastern States, were to a large extent made 
in New Jersey. What could not be made into castings, was run 
into pigs; but this was only an inconsiderable portion of the 
whole. As the charcoal used was the most bulky and most im- 

80 . 


portant article, the ore was taken to the places where this wat 
produced. The manufacture of iron in thia manner is believed 
have entirely ceased. Castings are now made almost excluaivel; 
"by melting pig and other iron, in what are called cupola furnaca").! 

Schooner Landing, on the Menantico, about a mile below when 
the railroad crosses that stream, was at one time a place of con-^ 
siderable business. The road from Millville to Port Elizabeth, 
passed through here originally. In the year 1793, Fithian Strat- 
ton, afterwards well known as an energetic but eccentric Methodial 
preacher, purchased the property, and in ISOO laid out a town ol 
considerable size, which he called " Stratton Burrough," the last 
part so spelled for borough. He made efforts to have a bridge 
over MauTice River, west of the place, and a direct road to Bridge- 
ton; hoping thus to get ahead of Millville. The ptojeet howeves 
failed, and although some dozen houses were erected, they have ali< 
been' removed, the borough has disappeared, and the name pasaedj 
into oblivion. The bridge over the ercek was abandoned andl 
sold, and the road vacated. This was the result of the final estab-^ 
liahment, after a long contest, of the present straight road, and thi 
bridge over the Menantico, not far from its mouth, which was com- 
pleted in 1820. 

There was no town at the place now called Millville, until after 
the commencement of the present century. Until 1756 the rood 
travelled from Cohansey Bridge to Maurice River Township and 
Cape May, called — as the roads laid out by the public officers 
usually were — the King's highway, passed over Chatfield branch, 
at a dam made by the beavers, and still known as Beaver Dam, 
where, in the olden time, there was a tavern, and thence across 
Maurice River, above the tide, a little below the entrance of Leba- 
non branch, and thence across the Menantico at Learning's Mill^ 
Some time before 1754 a bridge had been built over Maurioa 
River where this king's highway crossed, which, at the May term 
of thia year, was presented by the grand jury as a nuisance for 
being out of order; and the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Mr. 
Justice Neville presiding, ordered the township of Maurice River 
to pay a fine of ten pounds, unless it was repaired by the next 
term. Shortly after, and probably in consequence of this proceed- 
* ingi a public road was laid from Berrinian's Branch, near Learn- 
ing's Mill, to Shingle Landing, on the east side of the river, a littlai 
below the present bridge; and a bridge, resting on log cribs, waS' 


built over the river. In 1756 a road was laid from this new 
bridge, commencing at Lucas Peterson's house, supposed to have 
been the house on the west side of the river, afterwards kept as a 
tavern, to the beaver dam, which soon superseded the old King's 
highway, now entirely disused and forgotten. After this, for 
many years, the place was called the New Bridge. 

Prior to 1790, Henry Drinker, Joseph Smith, and others, form- 
ing a company called the Union Company, had purchased 24,000 
acres of land, comprising the principal part of the 19,563 acres 
survey laid for Thomas and Richard Penn, and of their 6000 acres 
survey, and of several small surveys to other persons. The site of 
Millville is on the first-named survey. This company put up the 
dam, and raised the pond still known as the Union Mill Pond, and 
established mills. Large floating-gates were put in this dam, and 
sinc^ maintained for floating down the lumber ; and until the last 
twenty years a considerable quantity was taken to market in that 

In 1795 the Union property was purchased by Eli Elmer, Joseph 
Buck, and Robert Smith; and they sold one-twelfth part to Ezekiel 
Foster. Joseph Buck, who had been sheriff of the county, soon 
removed from Bridgeton to Maurice River Bridge, where he died 
in 1803. He laid out the town, and called it Millville, the object 
being to bring the water from the Union pond, and to establish 
the mills and other works on the banks of the river. This plan, 
however, was not then carried out. In 1801 the township was set 
off by law as it remained until Landis Township was formed. 

The tavern-bouse at the northeast corner of Main and High 
Streets was built by Mr. Buck for his residence, but was not used 
as a tavern until several years afterwards. A house on the west 
side of the river, near the bridge as it then existed, with a consid- 
erable tract of land, was owned by Alexander Moore, of Bridgeton, 
and in this a tavern was kept. In 1813, when it was owned by 
his grandson, Alexander T. Moore, a law was passed authorizing 
him to dam the river at that place, but the work was never com- 
menced. At a later date a law was obtained to authorize the 
construction of a navigable canal from Malaga, but the project 
shared the same fate as the other. 

The tavern-house at the northwest corner of Main and High 
Streets was built by Bernard M'Credy, about 1811. After the 
death of Mr. Buck, his executors sold the lots of the town as be- 



had laid it out, of which, however, no authentic record ie know 
to exist. So slight was the prospect then considered that the to* 
■would increase, that several of the purchasera neglected to tai 
their deeds, and so the property remaiued for more than thirt 
years, until his heirs claimed, took possession of, and disposed ■ 
it. la 1858 a survey and map of the town were completed unde 
the directions of the township committee, and in March, 1859, 
law was enacted, that, upon the map being filed in the clerk's 
showing the location of the different streets, thej should becota 
public highways. 

Union Mill, and much of the land originally belonging to tb 
company, became the property of Thomas Stone, and in 1806 vfi 
purchased by Keyser & Gorgas. In 1813 they sold to James 
and others, and they to Smith & Wood, of Philadelphia. The &n 
of Smith k Wood commenced the extension of the canal, whici 
had been previously begun, and brought down the water, aD 
erected a blast furnace, which for a time they carried on. In 182 
Smith sold out, and the property was owned and carried i 
David C. Wood until 1850, when it and the appurtenant trncta q 
land, comprising near twenty thousand acres, became the proper(| 
of Kiohard D. Wood, of Philadelphia. Iron castings continued-t 
be made until about 1849, when the manufacture of iron direct 
from the ore was discontinued. The annual product was abol 
600 tons. 

Two large establishments for smelting and moulding iron f 
the pigs have been substituted, at which very heavy castinga i 
made, the whole annual product being from four to five thousao 

The canal having been enlarged, a cotton mill was put in opj 
ration in 1854, at a cost of about 250,000 dollars. There are ov( 
18,000 spindles, 430 looms, employing 350 hands, to whom wages 
are paid exceeding sixty thousand per annum. The average 
monthly product is about 160,000 yards of cotton cloth, which 
may be largely increased. The main building is 280 feet' long-v 
four stories in height, lighted with gas, which it is proposed ahorlS 
to introduce into the town. 

About the year 1806 James Lee and others started a glass maun 
factory above the bridge, and afterwards the business was co* 
tinned by successive firms. For several years window glass fl 
made, but for some thirty years past the establishment- made ooln 


hollow ware. In 1832 the works at Schetterville, south of the town, 
were commenced, and made window glass until 1854, since which 
time only hollow ware has been made. The twO establishments 
are now carried on by one firm, who produce annually glass of the 
value of 250 to 300 thousand dollars. Until within the last three 
or four years these works used only wood, of which, of course, 
large quantities were consumed. Now much the largest propor- 
tion of the fuel is coal, the annual consumption being about 4000 
tons, and 1500 cords of wood. There are six furnaces in all, of 
which five are kept in operation, producing about 4000 dozen 
bottles daily. About 150 tons of sand, 95,000 pounds of soda ash, 
1250 bushels of lime, and 150 bushels of salt, are used monthly. 
A manufactory of flint glass ware is in the process of erection. 

Contemporaneous with the introduction of glassworks was the 
discovery of immense beds, or rather banks, of fine sand on the 
west side of the river, from two to five miles below the town. 
This is of so good a quality that besides the domestic consumption, 
from eight to ten thousand tons are annually exported to Boston 
and other places. 

Until 1807 the bridge was without a draw foi* the passage of 
masted vessels. In that year a new one was built, containing a 
draw or hoist, a little above the site of the original structure, the 
timber and other materials of which were sold. In 1816 it was 
found necessary to build a new bridge, and considerable eflfort was 
made to have it placed so as to conform to the main street of the 
town,, but after much contention the Board of Freeholders decided 
to build on the old ^te. So imperfect was the structure, that in 
1837 a new one was found necessary, and a law having been ob- 
tained for the purpose, and the road on the west side being laid to 
conform,- it wa'3 put as it now stands, in a line with the street. 
This bridge as well as that over the Cohansey being much used 
and having until recently been badly constructed, have been very 
expen^ve affairs. The existing bridge was finished in 1861. 

The site of the town was a Andy knoll, so that the roads through 
it were always bad except a short .time when frozen, and the side- 
walks were unpleasant, until by the aid of clay and gravel they 
have been made good. While swing wells were in use a bet was 
made that an excavation large enough to hold a barrel could not 
be filled by drawing water and pouring it from the bucket from 
sunrise to sunset; a wager, the unlucky operator of the swing was 


glad to acknowledge he had lost long before the set time expire^ 
Until after the commencement of this century, there were not moi 
than five or six houses in the neighborhood of the^ bridge. Thi 
being the head of navigation, the same causes that produced a tow 
at Cohansey bridge operated here. Large tracts of land covered 
with wood and timber had only this outlet to market. Until tlfl 
erection of the furnace and the glass-house, almost the only em 
ploymenl of the people in this vicinity was the cutting and cartinj 
of wood, and taking it to Philiidelphia, then the only markdl 
accessible. This business still continues to a considerable exteni 
but the proKperity of the place is no longer dependent on it, tin 
business of manufacturing iron castings and glass, and more r* 
cently cotton, being far more important and productive. Tht 
population, for many years, increased very slowly. In 1840 thep( 
were about 1000 inhabitants, in 1850 about 1500, and in 186(1 
about 3200, and they are rapidly increasing. Up to 1815 thi 
stage route to Philadelphia was by the way of Eridgeton, sinw 
then by Malaga, and for several years there had been a daily liaq 
until the railroad to Glassboro, brought into use in 1860, directed 
the travel in tfiat direction. In 1863 the railroad to Cape Mai 
was opened. 

A steamboat to Philadelphia was started by a joint stock com'i 
pany in 1846; but the route was found too long, and the busines 
proving unprofitable was soon abandoned. Recently a ! 
propeller has commenced running regalarly to New York, makiii|f 
nearly a trip each week, and carrying the various manufactures of 
glass at Glassboro and Millville, as well as other articles to that 
great market, Considerable capital is also invested in the coasting 
trade, the vessels engaged in it coming to the place for repairs am' 
to winter. The country around, not being naturally very pro^ 
ductive, and remaining until recently unimproved, the supply <i~ 
provisions was, for many years, by no means abundant, but with 
increased demand, the supply has increased, until thei 
now, by the aid of easy access to Philadelphia, no deficiency. 
The health of the place, which was once by no means good, h^ 
gteatly improved. 

In 1857 a bank with $50,000 capital commenced, which at t 
end of the first year reported $10,000 deposits, and now $100,00( 
although the large manufacturers make but little use of it. 
institution is well managed, and mskcs regular half-yearly div 



A town hall was erected in 1856, aflFording good accommodation 
for public meetings, lectures, and concerts. 

The graveyard, at the corner of Second and Sassafras Streets, 
dates back to the commencement of the settlement. About 1800 
a house was ei'ected on this lot which was used as a school-house, 
and for religous services, the different denominations worshipping 
there* the Presbyterians having preaching perhaps more "statedly 
than the others. The Eev. Abijah Davis, of that denomination, who 
resided in the township, published a new version of the Psalms, 
and was no mean poet, and wrote a good deal for the newspapers 
over the signature of Happy Farmer, ranking among the earnest 
supporters of the Democratic administration, was accustomed to 
hold service there for several years pretty regularly. The first 
meeting-house erected was that at the corner of Second and Smith 
Streets, commenced for a dwelling, but converted into a house for 
religous worship by the Methodists in 1822. It was rebuilt in 
1845. The Presbyterian house on Second Street was built in 1838 
and enlarged in 1855. The Baptist house on the same street in 
1843. In 1858 a second Methodist church was finished on McNeal 
Street, in the northwestern part of the town. In 1862 the Catho- 
lics erected a chapel in the same neighborhood. Preparations are 
making to build an Episcopal church ; stated worship is maintained 
in all the houses; and there is besides a Protestant Methodist 
society which holds its meetings at Schetterville, but has as yet no 

The public school-house on Sassafras Street was completed in 
the year 1849. In 1832 the number of scholars returned was 124. 
In 1863 the number was 1648. There are now three houses- occu- 
pied. The number taught in the first named, by a male principal, 
and six female assistants, was 394. The new house, known as the 
Furnace School, is situate on Dock Street. There are three teachers 
who had in 1863 an average attendance of 124 pupils. There is 
also a public school on Second Street, in the southern part of the 
town, at the place commonly called Schetterville, with two teachers 
and 60 pupils. It thus appears that a little more than one-half the 
youth of a suitable age are under tuition. 

Millville was incorporated as a city with a Mayor and Common 
Council in 1866, and three wards, comprising all the township 
which remained after the setting oflF of Landis. The city has since 


rapidly increased in business and population. The inhabitants in 
1869 are estimated to number 5600. 

Charles K. Landis, Esq., became the proprietor of a large tract 
of the land in the upper part of Millville Township, and extending 
into the adjoining counties of Gloucester and Atlftntic, and com- 
menced selling to settlers in October, 1861. The inhabitants then 
residing on his purchase probably did not number fifty, and 6n the 
whole of what was set off* as Landis Township did not exceed two 
hundred. He laid out a town situate on both sides of the rail- 
road to Glasboro, about two and a half miles east of Maurice River, 
and about seven miles north of Millville City, which he called 
Vineland. The first house was erected in February, 1862, on 
Landis Avenue, which has been recently purchased by the Vine- 
land Historical Society, and removed to Peach Street, to be pre- 
served as a memento of Vineland's commencement. A post office 
was established upon the condition- that Mr. Landis should pay 
twenty dollars a quarter for carrying the mail, which he continued 
to do for nearly two years. The oflSce was kept at the residence 
of Andrew Sharp, the only good house then in the tract, situated at 
the corner of Park Avenue and Main Boad. The receipts for the 
quarter ending September 30, 1862, were $8.50. They have since 
exceeded two thousand dollars per quarter. Eoads were exten- 
sively opened, so that there are now on the whole tract about one 
hundred and sixty mijes. At Christmas, 1862, it is stated by a 
recent historian of the settlement, that such progress had been made 
that " seventy-five settlers and one fiddler could be rallied at a 
Christmas festival." 

An Episcopal church and academy were erected in 1863, and 
a considerable number of private dwellings. Emigration became 
brisk, so that by January, 1864, one thousand acres of land had 
been sold. This was mainly the result of an extensive system of 
advertising by means of a weekly sheet called The Vineland 
Rural and other publications, whereby the real and supposed 
advantages of the location for a prosperous settlement were made 
known throughout the Northern and Eastern States. 

In March, 1864, a law was passed setting off* more than half the 
township of Millville into a new township, to be called the town- 
ship of Landis. This law embodies most of the peculiar features 
of the system adopted by the founder, which it is believed have 


aided very materially in promoting its rapid growth and its con- 
tinued prosperity. 

Besides the usual powers of the inhabitants and officers of the 
townships in New Jersey, this act gives authority to the township 
committee to appoint overseers of roads and authorizes the election 
of one superintendent of roads, with a salary, whose powers are 
very ample, and who is required to have work on the roads done 
by contract. The side of the roads in front of all improved lands, 
are required to be seeded in grass within two years, and kept clear 
of noxious weeds; and shade trees are to be planted at such dis- 
tances apart as the committee shall direct. The committee may 
require all buildings to be set at a distance not exceeding 
seventy-five feet from the side of the road outside of Vineland, and 
not exceeding twenty feet in the town. These powers have been 
exercised to the great benefit of the settlement, adding very much 
to its symmetry and beauty. The roads called avenues are 100 feet 
in width, and have generally two rows of trees, mostly maples, but 
in some cases fruit trees on each side, wliile the other roads are 
from 50 to 66 feet in width with one row of trees on each side, 
the road-beds for carriages being thirty feet in width. No person 
is required to inclose his ground with a fence, no cattle, sheep, or 
swine being allowed to run at large. The absence of fences and 
inclosures about the dwellings is a marked feature of the place, 
causing it to present as yet a naked appearance to eyes accustomed 
to these hitherto indispensable incumbrances, but when the hedges 
and ornamental trees and shrubbury which are being very gener- 
ally planted shall have time to grow, this absence will no doubt 
be found to be a great improvement. 

The law also provides that no ale, porter, beer, or other malt 
liquor shall be sold as a beverage, except at a regularly licensed 
inn or tavern; and that it shall be submitted to the people annually 
at their regular town meeting, to decide whether they shall apply 
to the court for a license for an inn or tavern to sell intoxicatinor 
liquors as a beverage in the township, and that no license shall 
be granted unless a majority of the votes shall be in favor of the 
same. The result has been that no license has been granted, and 
at the last annual town meeting the vote against a licisnse was 

Two other rules were adopted by Mr. Landis in making most of 
his sales, which, it is supposed, have materially aided his design. 


One is that he has sold his farm lands in small parcels, of from five 
to fifty acres each, and most generally not exceeding fifteen acres, 
so that the engrossment of the soil by speculators other than the 
proprietor himself has been prevented, persons of small meanis 
have been enabled to purchase, and the number of settlers has been 
largely increased. Another is that a full title to the land is not 
made until the purchaser has erected a dwelling, cleared up and 
cultivated a certain portion of his land, usually two and a half 
acres, and made the required roadside improvements. The com- 
bined influence of these measures, the extensive advertisements of 
the scheme, the favorable reports of invited visitors engaged in 
agricultural clubs and in writing for the newspapers, and the real 
advantages of the place, especially to persons whose residence was 
in the Northern and Eastern States, and whose liability to lung 
or other complaints, or other causes, made a change to a milder and 
dryer climate advisable, caused a rapid growth, probably unsur- 
passed in any place outside of a commercial centre like Chicago 
or other cities in the United States, which have astonished the 

Most of the land comprised in Mr. Landis*s tract could have been 
purchased ten years ago at from two to ten dollars an acre, ac- 
cording to the growth of timber it contained. Now the unimproved 
town lots, having 50 feet front and 150 feet deep, sell for $150, and 
some on Landis Avenue have sold at $40 a foot front, while much 
of the improved land sells at $150 to $200 an acre. A large 
population has collected, and many very handsome dwellings have 
been erected, so that the town is selected by many persons possessed 
of means as a most desirable residence. Good church buildings have 
been erected by the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, and 
Baptists, who have stated preaching and a good attendance, and there 
are besides. Unitarians, Second Adventists, and Friends of Pro- 
gress, who have organized societies. Two weekly newspapers are 
published. Education has been carefully provided for, there being 
now fourteen public schools in the township, and an academy for 
the higher branches. The Methodist society has located its semi- 
nary for South Jersey at this place, and have commenced a fine 
building estimated to cost about $75,000. Various manufactures 
have been established, operated by steam power, and much activity 
prevails. A leading object of the settlers has been to cultivate 
fruits, for which the soil and climate are supposed to be peculiarly 



favorable. While it canoot be affirmed that these efforts have 
been always snccessfal, it is certain that there has been a large 
production of berries, grapes, and peaches, and a considerable 
amoant of sweet potatoes and tomatoes. The number of inhabit- 
ants in Tiandift Township at this time (1869) may be estimated to 
be 6500. On the whole tract of Mr. Landis in the three counties 
there are probably 10,000 inhabitants. 

The area of Cumberland County is stated in the recent geologi- 
cal survey of the State to be as follows : — 


Tide Marsh. 


Jkywne . 


• • ^ 


• • 












Mannce Rirer 
Stone Creek . 




ToUU . . . • ' . 





Area of the whole State . 





Prior to 1851 there was no attempt to assess taxes upon the tax 
payers in proportion to the value of their property. But in that 
year such a system was commenced, and with some variations has 
been since continued. The values returned by the assessors of the 
several townships have been as follows : — 




















Downe . • 











556,0 '0 




HopeweU . * . 





Landis . 



Man rice River. 










Stone' Creek . 
















The first organized church in this region of which there ^s 
any authentic record was the old Cohansey Baptist Church, 
although it is believed the Cohansey Presbyterian Church in 
Fairfield was cotemporaneous, if not earlier. Many Baptists and 
Presbyterians came into the county together from New England 
and Long Island. Morgan Edwards, who was from Wales, and is 
mentioned in Sabine's History of the American Eoyalists, published 
a History of the New Jersey Baptists' in 1789, which is now a rare 
book. He states that "about the year 1683, some Baptists from 
Tipperary, Ireland, settled in the neighborhood of Cohansey ; in 
1665, arrived Obadiah Holmes, from Ehode Island. About this 
time Thomas Killingsworth settled not far off, which increased the 
number to nine souls, and probably as many more including the 
sisters; the above nine, with Killingsworth, formed a church in the 
spring of 1690. The Baptist church from which it sprung in 
Tipperary, called Cloughkatier, was flourishing in 1767 when I 
visited it."* 

''In 1710 the Eev. Timothy Brooks, and his company, united 
with this church; they had emigrated hither from Massachusetts, 
about 1687, and had kept a separate society for 23 years, on account 
of difference in opinion relative to predestination, singing psalms, 
laying on hands, &c." He continued to be the pastor until his 
death in 1716. As early as 1702 he purchased 107 acres of land 
at Bowentown, comprising the farm on which the brick house on 
the hill stands, which was afterwards conveyed to the trustees of 
the Cohansey Baptist Church, and held as their parsonage until 
1786, when it was sold to David Bo wen, and was for several years 
the residence and property of Ebenezer Elmer. It is said there 
was a meeting-house, erected and occupied by Brooks' society, 

* Rev. Mr. Wright, in bis recent historical sketch of the RoadstoWn Baptist 
Church, says Cloughketin (as he speUs it) Church was stiU in existence in 1838. 


opposite the parsonage, which stood a few rods south of the road, 
about forty rods west of the brick house, and was still in use within 
the writer's memory. 

In 1711 Edwards says, the society put up a building on the lot 
afterwards occupied, a little east of Sheppard's mill. South Hope- 
well. It is supposed, however, that this is a mistake. The Bap- 
tists about this time built- a log house in that part of Fairfield 
called Back-Neck, the graveyard attached to which is still visible, 
and it is most probable that this is the house he refers to, for he 
says the title proved defective and the tradition is that there was 
no little difficulty in fixing upon the proper location in 1741. 

At this time a new wooden church building was erected on the 
ground south of the road leading east from Sheppard's mill, where 
the old graveyard still remains. One of the stones has on it this 
inscription. "In memory of Deborah Sweeney, who departed this 
life the 4th day of April, 1760, in the 77th year of her age. She 
was the first white female child born in Cohansey." Edwards says, 
this house was 82 by 36 feet and "had a stove." By this is meant 
that it had a stove when he wrote in 1789, and this was so unusual 
as to claim special mention. Very few churches in this region, 
were waj-med with fires until afte.r the commencement of the pre- 
sent century, and they were not then introduced without much 
opposition from old people, who thought them needless, if not dan- 
gerous. For many years a stove was not to be had ; and open fire- 
places, which were alone used in dwellings, were not suitable for a 
church. After stoves were introduced, so long as wood continued 
to be burned, that is to say until about twenty or twenty-five years 
since, they did not comfortably warm the buildings, it being com- 
mon for females to have footstoves in their seats. It is also to be 
noticed that most of the early churches were built near to running 
streams, for the purpose of enabling those who attended to procure 
water for themselves and their horses. It was common for the 
minister to hold two services on the Sunday, with an intermission 
of an hour oV half hour ; a practice which was continued at Fair- 
field within the memory of the writer. The old frame house re- 
mained until after 1804, about which time the new brick church 
was erected at Eoadstown, to which the congregation removed. 

Brooks was succeeded by William Butcher, who died in 1724, 
and was succeeded by Nathan Jenkins from 1730 to 1754. Eobert 
Kelsay, from Ireland, came to Cohansey in 1738, became a Baptist 


in iTil, and pastor in 1756, dying in 1789. He frequently, if not 
statedly, preached in the court-bouse at Cohansey Bridge, where 
there was no organized church of any denomination until forty-five 
years after it became the county town. Henry Smalley succeeded 
him and died in 1839. The particulars of the various churches in 
the county it is not proposed to continue longer than during the first 
years of the present century. This church consists now of 288 

Edwards states in his history that " Mr.* WrightmaD) one of their 
ministers, was invited to preach at Fairfield in 1714, but forgetting 
his situation, he talked away as if he had been in a Baptist pulpit, 
and eight Presbyterians joined the society." But in a note he 
adds, " Since I have been informed biit four joined Baptists, the 
other four were baptized to ease a scrupulous conscience, and then 
returned to their own church." Those were days of controversy. 
He says, " In 1742 a great stir in Cape May ; but some one of the 
party converts joining the other party, caused a howling among the 
losing shepherds and issued in a public challenge. Mr, Morgan 
accepted ; his antagonist was Eev. Mr. Finley. The contest ended 
as usual in a double triumph ; but two things happened to mar the 
glory of the day. One was a remark . that a atander-by (Mr. Lee- 
man) was heard to make. He wasia deist, and therefore a disinte- 
rested person. He said, " The littleinan '(Finley) is thrown down, 
and his antagonist will not let him rise for another tussle." Both 
parties published their discourses. 

Among the members. of the old Fairfield congregation was Na- 
than Lawrence (or as he spelled his name, Lorrance), who was a 
large property owner at Cedarville, on the southern side of Cedar 
Creek. He became a Baptist, and was perhaps one of Wright- 
man's converts in 1714, and was so zealous in propagating. his new 
faith as frequently to journey with the ministers to Cape* May and 
other places. He erected a meeting-house on his,- where 
the Baptist meeting-house now stands, a little south of the school- 
house. Dying early in 1745, he, by his will, dated Nbvember 23, 
1744, left to his two sons, Jonathan and Nathan, and three- daugh- 
ters, several tracts of land and other property, and to his daughter 
Abigail Elmer (the wrijer's grandmother) ''all that messuage called 
Flying Point, except one acre where the Baptist meeting-house* 
now standeth, where the Baptist members that liveth on the south 
side of Cohansey Creek shall think fit to take it, to her or hef heirs 


forever hy her present husband, Daniel Elmer;" they to pay a cer- 
tain sum to two of his daughters and complying with what shall 
be hereafter enjoined. ''I also lay and enjoin a penalty on all or 
any of my afore-mentioned children, whereby they, any one or 
more, shall forfeit all their lands above mentioned, to their other 
brothers and sisters, to be equally divided between them, or pay 
ten pounds current money, -amongst their brothers and sisters, for 
every time that any of them shall be convicted, or that it shall be 
made to appear by any one or more of them, that any one has agreed 
or obliged him or herself to pay, or has paid any sum of money, 
or any consideration whatsoever, toward supporting or maintaining 
minister or congregation of those called Presbyterians, direct or 

This part of the will, however, appears to have been treated by 
all concerned as mere brutemfulmen, and disregarded. The daugh- 
ter and husband were, or soon became, members of the Presbyterian 
church, and the other children* supporters of it. The testator was 
buried in the ground annexed to the meeting-house, where his tomb- 
stone was formerly to be seen; but his two sons were buried in the 
old Cohansey graveyard, on the river side, at New England Town. 
The meeting-house does not appear to have been used by the Bap- 
tists,, who. were either ignorant of the will, or preferced to concen- 
trate .their support. on the new house recently erected in lower 
Hopewell. During many years after this, those living south of the 
Cohansey were accustomed to cross that river at a place something 
more than a mile above Greenwich, which was long known as the 
Baptist Landing. 

The house at Cedarville appears to have been possessed by Daniel 
Elmer during his life, and after the split in the Presbyterian 
church, it was said was frequently used by preachers of the new- 
light side, and among others, by the celebrated Whitfield, in 1748. 
It was removed by Timothy Elmer, son of Daniel, and converted 
into a barn on his property below the tavern of Cedarville, prior 
to 1780. The lot was afterwards, about 1828, sold under the Elmer 
title, although then claimed by the Baptists, who soon purchased 
it, and erected on it the house now in use. 

A descendant of the Eev. Mr. Brooks, wjao states that he had 
been a member of the church thirty-two yearg, tod a deacon 
twelve, had a bitter controversy in the year 1765 with Jonathan 
Bowen, father of Jonathan Bowen, afterwards of Bridgeton, who 


was also a prominent member of the church, which involved in it 
the pastor, Mr. Kelsey, whose daughter had married a son of Mr. 
Bowen. This resulted in the expulsion of Mr. Brooks from the 
church communion, and caused him to print, "A plowman's com- 
plaint against a clergyman, being a letter to the Baptist Associa- 
tion of Philadelphia." The pamphlet exhibits a sad want of tem- 
per, and shows that the prevalent habit of freely indulging in the 
use of strong drink, which in those days occasioned much scandal 
in all the churches, had much to do with it. The dispute grew in 
part out of a controversy about a lot claimed to belong to the par- 
sonage, at the southwest corner of Bowentown Cross-roads. Mr. 
Kelsey, it appears at length, preached a sermon, taking as his text 
the 17th and 18th verses of the 16th chapter of Eomans. This 
was of course very offensive to the deacon, who proclaimed before 
he left the house, and repeated it in his pamphlet, that he wished 
the minister to preach Christ crucified, and not Jonathan Bowen 

Edwards says that in 1716 several of the-Baptists embraced the 
sentiments of the Sabbatarians, who insisted that the seventh day 
Sabbath was of perpetual obligation. This led to the establish- 
ment of the Shiloh Seventh Day Baptist Church about the year 
1736. The founders were John Sweeney, Dr. Elijah Bowen, John 
Jarman, Eev. Jonathan Davis, Caleb Ayres, and others. About 
the year 1790 a considerable number embraced the Universalist 
sentiments of Winchester, some of whom became in fact deists, 
whereby the society was much disturbed and troubled. This diffi- 
culty has now passed away, and the society, as well as the town 
itself, surrounded by fertile land, has greatly improved. Their 
tenets are believed to be the same as those of the regular Calvin- 
istic Baptists, with the exception of that relating to the observance 
of the Sabbath. At their first organization they erected a wooden 
meeting-house, which, about the year 1761, was superseded by. the 
old brick building still standing on their burial-ground lot. This 
latter was in its turn superseded in 1854 by the present neat edifice 
of brick, a little nearer to the town than the old one. They have 
also a neat and commodious school-house of two stories, in which 
a good school is maintained. 

An offset from this church has a building, not very distant, just 
within the limits of Salem County. 

A regular Baptist Church was formed at Dividing Creek, in 


Downe Township, by members of the old Cohansey Church in the 
year 1761, and still continues to flourish, having now 222 mem- 

There were also for many years a church called the West Creek 
Baptist Church, a little west of the boundary between Cumberland 
and Cape May. The old meeting-house is still standing, but does 
not appear now to be used. 

The Baptist church in Bridgeton, known as the Second Cohan- 
sey, was erected by the old Cohansey Church in 1816, during the 
pastorate of Mr. Smalley, and continued to worship in connection 
with them until 1828, when they were constituted a separate 
church, aqd the Eev. George Spratt was chosen their pastor. In 
1857 they erected a new and larger building on the north side of 
Commerce Street. Their members now number 348. 

Another offset from the old Cohansey is the church at Green- 
wich, which erected a neat edifice on the north side of the main 
street in 1844. They were constituted a separate church in 1850, 
and now number 115 members. 

A church was constituted at Cedarville in 1836, and numbers 
now 114 members. 

Millville Church was constituted in 1842, and has 44 members. 
That at Newport was constituted in 1852, and numbers 147 mem- 
bers. The aggregate number of members in all the regular Bap- 
tist churches of the county is 1218. 

In 1863 a Baptist church was constituted in Yineland, and a 
meeting-house erected. In 1868 the old Second Cohansey Baptist 
meeting-house on Pearl Street, Bridgeton, was enlarged, and a new 
church constituted, which is now (1869) very flourishing. 

No records or documents remain from which it can be ascer- 
tained when the "Cohansey Church" of Fairfield was first estab- 
lished, although there can be but little doubt that it was not later 
than 1690. At first it was like the churches of Connecticut, inde- 
pendent. The Presbytery of Philadelphia, with which it became 
'united in 1708, was first established in 1705. Before this time a 
log meeting-house had been erected at the place known as New 
England Town Cross-Eoads, probably on the lot situate on the 
south bank of the Cohansey, where the old graveyard still 

The first minister known to have preached here was the Eev. 
Thomas Bridges, belonging to a family of considerable importance 


in England, who graduated at Harvard College, and, after being 
engaged in mercantile pursuits, went to England, and returned to 
Boston in 1682, with testimonials from John Owen and other emi- 
nent Dissenters. He appears to have preached for some time in 
the West Indies. About the year 1695 he came to Cohansey, and 
located several tracts of land. How long he preached at Fairfield 
is uncertain; but he is said to have been called from there in 1702, 
to be the colleague of Mr. Bradstreet in Boston, where he died in 
1715, at the age of fifty-eight. Whether any one succeeded 
Bridges before 1708 is unknown. Early in that year, at the 
instance of his college classmate, Jedediah Andrews, who came to 
Philadelphia in 1698, and became the pastor of the first Presbyte- 
rian church there, being ordained in 1701, Joseph Smith, a gra- 
duate of Harvard, who had been licensed as a preacher, came, to 
Cohansey. Andrews wrote to him that they were " the best people 
of his neighborhood." Smith met the Presbytery in May, 1708, 
and was ordained and installed in May, 1709; but, complaining of 
negligence in making up his support, he soon returned to New 

In 1710 Samuel Exell came to Cohansey, but in 1711 the Pres- 
bytery wrote to the people that, " by the best account they had of 
him, they judged him not a suitable person to preside in the work 
of the ministry." In 1712, John Ogden represented the church in 
the Presbytery as an elder, and by him a petition was sent to which 
no answer was returned. In 1713 Ephraim Say re appeared as 
elder, and asked advice about the choice of a minister. They isent 
Howell Powell, who had been ordained in Wales, and be was 
installed pastor, continuing until 1717, when he died, leaving 
descendants still maintaining a respectable position in the county. 

About this time, or perhaps sooner, the old log meeting-house 
was superseded by a comfortable frame building, covered on the 
sides, as well as the roof, with what in this country are called 
shingles. It stood on the southeast corner of the old graveyard, 
and was furnished only with benches, upon which the audience 
sat. About the year 1775 it became so dilapidated as to be unsafe 
to preach in, and the benches were taken out, and placed under a 
large white-oak tree at the corner of the lot, which has been cut 
down ; and there, in good weather, the pastor preached. Old in- 
habitants of Fairfield have said, and probably with truth, that no 
person ever rode to this church in a wheeled vehicle. It was not 


until 1780 that the "old stone church," now in its turn deserted, 
was fit to preach in. 

. Henry Hook, from Ireland, came to Cohansey in 1718, and was 
installed pastor. During his time there was a congregation at 
Greenwich, to which it would seem that he ministered. In April, 
1722, Andrews writing to Mather, says: "The week before last, 
by the pressing importunity of the minister of Cohansey, I went 
thither to heal some differences between the two congregations 
thej'e, which being effected contrary to expectation, such charges 
were laid against him as have subverted him from acting there or 
anywhere else." He removed to Delaware, and the New Castle 
Presbytery met at Cohansey to investigate the case. The judg- 
ment was, that though several things were not proven, yet it was 
due to rebuke him openly in Fairfield meeting-house, and to 
suspend him for a season. Noyes Parris, a graduate of Harvard, 
preached to the congregation from 1724 to 1729, when having 
fallen under serious imputations, he in a disorderly manner with- 
drew to New England. 

In 1729 Eev. Daniel Elmer came from Connecticut, and was 
ordained and installed the pastor. His wife, and the wife of 
Joseph Smith, who had been settled here a short time twenty years 
before, were connections of the Parsons family, so that it is proba- 
ble Elmer was sent here by Smith. He was a graduate of Yale 
College, and had for some time taught a grammar school at West 
Springfield. He found the title of the property at New England 
Town in a very unsatisfactory situation. He, however, soon built 
himself a comfortable house, near the meeting-house, which 'was 
burned down shortly before his death. The church records were 
then destroyed. He cultivated the farm adjoining, and it is believed 
was sometimes employed as a surveyor, a business to which his 
• eldest son Daniel was educated, and which he followed until his death. 
In the year 1741 the great schism occurred in the Presbyterian 
body, by which it was separated into two parties, called old-lights 
and new-lights, Mr. Elmer adhering to the old-lights. Whitfield 
preached in 1740 at Greenwich, and produced a powerful effect on 
many of his hearers, including the younger Daniel Elmer,who was 
then married and lived at Cedarville. He joined the new side> 
and was accustomed, for several years, to pass by his father's 
meeting-house; and go to Greenwich, which had a new-light minis- 
ter. When the meeting-house near his residence, built by his 



father-in-law Lorrance, came into his possession, he was in th( 
haLit of having the prominent new-lights preach there ; and amoi^ 
them, the tradition always has been, Whitfield. ThSa must hav* 
been during hia second visit to this country, abont 1747-8. It ii^ 
certain that the breach went so far, that his children, born in 175()f 
and 1762, were baptized by Mr. Hunter, and not by hia father, i 
the older ones had been. The writer heard from his father, that 
upqn one occasion, when his son was present, the father preached 
on the subject of the schism, and became so pointed in his remark* 
that Daniel left the bouse. His father, seeing this movemenl 
directed one of hia eldera to go out, and require him, in God'j 
name, to return. Ue refused to obey the summons, and uooa t 
elder being asked if he had summoned him in God'a name, ht, 
replied, no; that he did not see that he had any authority to dq 
that. Thereupon, after a considerable pause, the old gentlemai 
said, "Perhaps we had better drop the subject," and did so. Th< 
minister appears to have frequently complained of his troubles t 
the Presbytery. In September, 1704, the Synod appointed a com- 
mittee to endeavor to remove the difficultiea in the congregation J 
but his death in January, 1755, put an end to the proceedings.* 

* Bev, Daniel Elmer was the grandson of Edward Elmer, who came o 
Eiiglitucl to AiDsHca as one of the cangregatiou of Bev. TIiduiils Hooker, in le3S 
They conatitDttid a ohlircli at Cambridge, MaHsiichusetts, but in 165S, witli HodIH 
at their bead, and oarrjing Mrs. H. in a litter, driving IGO cattle, for tba lake 6 
their milk to use by Iho vrny , and to atoak a new Bettlement, went aorosB tha wll 
derneHS to Hartford, Canuectirut. Edward was a magistrate, and parchaBBd i 
laigs tract ot land on the Podunk Eiver, and whb killed by tlie Indians in 1616, 

The family naiue waa originally Aylmer— in Latin, Aimer — and were settled Q 
England as early as 13(lli, one of thfm being a. Chief Baron of the Exclieqnef 
John Aylmer, who waa educated at Oxford, and was a Protestant, was tator o 
the celebrated and unfortunate Lady Jane Qrey, and was, iu 156S, by Qae4 
Elliabeth, made Bishop of London, by the name of John Elmer. Edward li 
lielieved to have been his grandson. 

Daniel Elmer had three eons and foar dauglitera, all of whom \elt desceodanta 
still remaining in the county, and now become very numerous. His oldest s 
Daniel, horn ia HassauhusBlta, who died in 17111, clerk of tiio aoanlynoart, waj 
leading citizen at Fairfield, and so was Tbeopbilus. Moat of the name n 
residing in Bridjieton are desoendaats of Daniel se<!ond, Charles E. Elmer, Esq., 
being the heir, according to the miesof the common law ; and Ins sou Daniul, tU 
eeventh oldest son in regnlar lineal desoent, bearing that name. 

Bev. Jonathan Elmer, long a prominent Presbyterian minister In Esses Conut])) 
N. J., before the Bevolntinn,wag a coualn of Kev. Daniel, and hae left deacendaoll 
living iu the northern part of the State and in Ifew York. One of hid brothel^ 
who was a Colonel in the Connecticut line, was commissioned aa Samuel Elmor«^ 


The people now showed a disposition to unite, and in June, 
1755, Thomas Ogden, one of the elders, proceeded to New Haven 
with a letter from Dr. Alison, of Philadelphia, to Mr. Stiles. He 
writes: " These wait on you in favor of the church at Fairfield, in 
New Jersey, which was formerly under the care of Mr. Daniel 
Elmer. They were divided in his time, but have now agreed, by 
advice of our Presbytery, to invite a minister from Connecticut, 
and, if they can be happily supplied, to bury all their contentions, 
and to unite under his ministry." No minister was found in 
Connecticut; but William Eamsey, of Irish descent, who had 
graduated at Princeton in 1754, soon went to Fairfield, and was 
licensed and ordained, and settled there by the Abingdon Presby- 
tery, a new-light Presbytery, to which he belonged in 1756. In 
1758 the breach of the Presbyterian church was healed, and the 
two hostile Synods united ; after which Mr. Eamsey and his church 
joined the old Presbytery of Philadelphia. He was a man of 
ardent piety and eloquence, and succeeded in producing harmony. 
The members, as recorded in his record of the Session in 1759, 
were 78. In 1758 he married the eldest daughter of Col.Ephraim 
Seeley, of Bridgeton, his congregation including persons residing 
there and at the Indian fields. Col. Seeley was himself a Baptist, 
•but his wife, in 1761, connected herself with Mr. Ramsey's church, 
and the family attended his services. Upon the occasion of his 
marriage his people purchased a parsonage, consisting of a farm of 
150 acres in Sayres' Neck, about a mile southwest of where the 
old stone church now stands; and here he resided until his death 
in 1771. About 1765 a powerful revival of religijous feeling 
occurred, in which, as recorded by Ebenezer Elmer, then about 
thirteen years old, "the young, in general, became very much 
engaged, and we had meeting at least twice a week during all the 
summer and fall." About sixty new members were added to the 

He was succeeded by the Eev. William Hollinshead, who was 
quite distinguished as a preacher, and who was installed in 1773. 
The troubles and privations produced by the Eevolutionary War 

and having afterwards adopted that spelling, his descendants continue to write 
their names in that way. Several of the name of Elmore have lived in the 
Southern States, and perhaps still do ; one of whom was formerly a senator of the 
United States from South Carolina, and one was Treasurer of the ** Confederate 
States," when the seat of government was at Montgomerj. 


fell heavily on the congregation, and, to increase their diflBculties, 
it became necessary to build a new meeting-house. The ground 
was purchased in 1775, and subscriptions obtained to commence 
the work. It was, however, suspended until 1780, when, under 
the energetic superintendence of Theophilus Elmer, one of the sons 
of Eev. Daniel Elmer, who resided at New England Town, it was 
resumed. In September, 1780, Mr. Hollinshead preached the first 
sermon in it, but a year elapsed before it was completed, and rules 
adopted for selling and renting the seats. Those down-stairs were 
rented at the annual rental of £65 IO5., and those up-stairs at 
about £36; in all £100, or $266. In 1783 the society was incor- 
porated by a specialact of assembly; and in the same year Mr. 
HoUinshead left, having been chosen pastor of the principal 
church in Charleston, South Carolina, where he remained until his 
death. A very signal revival of religion occurred in the winter 
of 1780-81. The next spring forty-eight new members were 
added, and the succeeding winter forty-six more followed by a few 
others; in all, during these years, one hundred and fifteen. 

In 1786 the parsonage was rented on shares. In 1788 the Rev. 
Ethan^Osborn, then 30 years old, of Litchfield, Connecticut, having 
visited Philadelphia, was induced by the Rev. Dr. Sproat to extend 
his journey to Fairfield. He preached for them pn trial, according 
to the fashion of the day, for six months. March 11th, 1789, the 
trustees' book records : " It was agreed to pay 155. hard money 
per week for the keep of Mr. Osborn and horse." This sum was 
nominally two dollars; but paid in hard money, and making 
allowance for the difierence in priqes, was equivalent to five dollars 
in specie now. Having received a unanimous call to be pastor, he 
accepted it, and was ordained and installed December 8d, 1789. . . 

In 1794 he married Elizabeth Riley, residing at Indian-fields 
near Bridgeton, whose parents formed a part of his congregation, 
and commenced housekeeping at the parsonage. After a few 
years, however, he preferred to follow the New England fashion 
of having a homestead of his own, and accordingly purchased, and 
enlarged the house, about a mile from his church, on the northeast 
side of the road to Cedarville, where he took up his residence in 
1803, and continued to occupy it fifty-five years; transmitting it to 
his family, one of his sons now owning it. His salary at first was 
£100; soon after his marriage it was raised to £125, but in 1802 
it was put back to the original sum. In 1803 it was fixed at §300 


and of course included the use or rent of the parsonage farm. In 
1807 it was resolved to sell the parsonage, and the salary was put 
at $400. In 1809 the salary was raised to $450, and in 1812 to 
$500. Upon this pittance he raised a large and interesting family, 
and although of course always straitened, lived, according to the 
habits of his day, in comfort. The writer well remembers calling 
at his house, with a company of young persons, to see his eldest 
daughter, then a young lady of prepossessing manners and appear- 
ance, in the year 1814. Some'one asking for water, it was brought 
in a glass pitcher, but no drinking glasses. With a peculiar 
pleasant smile Mr. Osborn remarked, "I would tell you that all our 
glasses got broken, and in these war times we coul^ not afford to 
buy any more, but it rather mortifies Mrs. Osborn (who was present), 
so I suppose I musn't say anything about it." 

Mr. Osborn was a remarkable man, and obtained a character 
and influence, not only in his own congregation, but throughout 
the county, which no one else can expect to emulate. So scattered 
was his congregation, and such had been the effect of the destitu- 
tion of preaching, following the removal of Mr. Hollinshead, that 
he found only 125 members on his arrival. But his labors were 
greatly blessed. In 1809 and 1810, there was a special awakening, 
so that 120 members were added to his cliurch. In 1819 there 
was ag&in a revival, 56 being added at one time. Again in 1827 
there were 51 additions; and in 1831 about 80 were added. The 
total number of members at that time was 336; and the congrega- 
tion had so increased that the old stone church had become filled. 
Not a pew, and scarcely a sitting either on the floor or in the 
spacious galleries; could be obtained by a new-comer. During his 
pastorate, which lasted fifty-five years, he admitted more than six 
hundred members to the communion of his church. In 1836, 
having reached his 78th year. Rev. David McKee was installed as 
co-pastor, and he relinquished $200 of his salary. Mr. McKee 
continued in this relation about two years. In 1844 Mr. Osborn 
resigned, at the age of 86. His last sermon was preached in 1850, 
in the old stone church, being a solemn farewell to that place, 
hallowed by so many endearing associations, and to the people so 
long under his charge. From this time his faculties gradually 
decayed; but he survived eight years longer; at the time of his 
decease, lacking only three months and twenty days to make his 
age one hundred years! 


The lower part of the township having, during the fore part of 
this century, very considerably increased in population and wealth, 
a disposition began to be shown to establish a new church at Cedar- 
ville. In 1819 the question was brought to a vote of the congre- 
gation, when 43 voted in favor of the proposition and 45 against 
it. About 1837 occurred the division of the Presbyterian church 
into Old School and New School. Mr. Osborn belonged to the New 
School party, but the preference of many of his church was for the 
other side. This led to the establishment of the brick church at 
Cedarville, which now numbers 195 members. 

A New School Presbyterian church was also established about 
the same time at Cedarville, which still continues, numbering 120 
members. The congregation worshipping in the stone church soon 
removed to the village of Fairton, where a handsome edifice was 
erected, and the church there now numbers 140 members; claiming, 
it is believed without dispute, to be the legal successor of the old 
Cohansey Presbyterian Church ; thus, after near a century and a 
half, multiplied to three; having three pastors and an aggregate of 
355 members. 

At what precise time a Presbyterian church was constituted at 
Greenwich there is no means of knowing. From the letter of An- ■ 
drews, referred to in the account of the church at Fairfield, it ap- 
pears there was a separate congregation there before 1722, to whom 
the minister at Fairfield was accustomed to preach. There was a 
constant intercourse between the two places, many of the settlers 
at Greenwich having gone therefrom Fairfield. Both places, al- 
though spoken of for many years as Cohansey, or as in Cohansey, 
were named from towns in Connecticut. In 1717 land was con- 
veyed by Jeremiah Bacon to trustees, for the people called Pres- 
byterian on the north side of Cohansey. Although this mode of 
referring to them has been thought to indicate that they were con- 
stituted a distinct church before this time, the language is entirely 
consistent with the people being still connected with the Cohansey 
church at Fairfield. Settlers were constantly arriving from Scot- 
land and the north of Ireland, most of whom established them- 
selves on the north side of Cohansey, so that while the New Eng- 
land element prevailed at Fairfield it was otherwise at Greenwich; 
and when the division occurred, the former, as a general rule, ad- 
hered to the old side, while the latter were warm supporters of the 
New Lights, or followers of Whitfield. 



There is no evidence in the minutes of the Presbytery and Synod 
of an organized church at Greenwich until 1728, when Ebenezer 
Gould, a graduate of Yale, and friend of Daniel Elmer, was in- 
stalled the pastor. A wooden meeting-house was erected a little 
before this time, but in a few years was superseded by one of brick 
34 by 44 feet, which was not finished until 1751, although occu- 
pied for worship several years sooner. It was considered at this 
time the largest and most imposing church edifice in South Jersey. 
At first the only pews it contained were those constructed around 
the walls, each pew being built at the expense of its occupant, the 
area in the middle being furnished with benches. The galleries 
were originally reached by a stairway on the outside of the build- 
ing. It stood on the lot still used as a burial place at the place 

usually called the "head of Greenwich," and remained until 

when one of brick was erected on the opposite side of the street; 
enlarged to its present dimensions in 1860. 

Gould left in 1739 and went to Long Island. The church re- 
mained vacant several years, but was from time to time supplied 
by Tennant, Blair, and other eminent niinisters of the new-side. 
The celebrated Whitfield preached here in 1740, not in the church 
building, which could not hold his hearers, but on the side of the 
hill, northeast of the church, then covered with the original forest. 
His journal records that he crossed the Delaware from Philadel- 
phia in the morning of Monday, preached in the middle of the day 
at Gloucester, then the county seat, and in the evening at Green- 
wich, where he passed the night. This was at or near the place 
now called Clarksboro', then and still the township of Greenwich. 
On the next day he rode to Pilesgrove, now Pittsgroye, and preached 
there. The next day he preached at what he calls Cohansey, no 
doubt meaning Greenwich, from whence on the next day he went 
to Salem and preached there. At Greenwich, his journal states, 
"The words gradually struck the hearers till the whole congrega- 
tion was greatly moved, and two cried out in the bitterness of their 
souls after a crucified Saviour, and were scarcely able to stand." 

Andrew Hunter, from Ireland, an uncle of another Andrew Hun- 
ter, father of the present General Hunter, and of Andrew Hunter, 
Esq., deceased, an eminent lawyer at Trenton, and formerly Attor- 
ney-General of this State, was settled in 1746 by the New Bruns- 
wick Presbytery, controlled by the New Lights with which the 
church remained connected until the union of the two parties, when 



it returned to the Presbytery of Philadelphia. He was also in- 
stalled pastor of the Deerfield church, tliia connection remaining 
until 1760. He died in 1775 of a malignant dysentery, which was 
very fatal that year. A vacancy then occurred, during the trouble- 
some time of the Revolution, and the church was obliged to depend 
upon casual supplies. In 1782 George Faitoute was installed, re^ 
maining until 1790, when he removed to Long Island, He, how^i 
ever, occasionally officiated afterwards at Greenwich, the writq 
having been baptized by him there in 1793. ^ 

In 1795 a union was formed with the newly-constituted chiiifl 
at Bridgeton, and William Clarkson was installed as the joint^ 
pastor, remaining until 1801, when he removed to Savannah. 
Jonathan Freeman succeeded him in 1805, and remained pastor 
until 1822, when he died. The practice of these ministers was to 
preach in the morning of the Sabbath at Greenwich, and in the 
afternoon at Bridgeton. After 1810, when Mr. Freeman took up 
his residence in Bridgeton, he also preached in the court-houae in 
the evenings of Sunday and Wednesday. 

A parsonage farm was purchased for the Greenwich pastor in 
1754:, near Bowentown, immediately south of the Baptist parson- 
age. Mr. Clarkson and Mr. Freeman both resided here during the 
early part of their settlement, but they both soon removed to 
Bridgetown. It was sold in 1811. 

The upper part of Deerfield and Hopewell townships, eapeciall 
in the neighborhood of the streams flowing into the Cohanaej 
having a fertile soil, were settled at a pretty early date, among 
whom were a number of Presbyterians. They, in union with the 
people of Pilesgrove, of which PittPgrove then made a part, took, 
measures as early as 1732 to organize a religious society. In 17i 
a log building was erected for worship in Deerfield, and the Ri 
Daniel Buckingham preached there, and at Pilesgrove, in 1731 
The Pilesgrove people insisted upon having a distinct organ izatioBt^ 
and after much contention, a commission of the presbytery aocedi 
to their request, on condition that the house should not be nearer 
to the Deerfield house than six miles. David Evans was settled at 
Pilesgrove, but the Deerfield Church went over to the new side, 
and depended on supplies until they united with Greenwich, in 
1746, and Mr. Hunter became the pastor of the united churches. 
This connection, being found too incuuvenieut, was dissolved in 
1760. « 




The next pastor at Deerfield was Simon Williams, who was set- 
tled in 1764, and remained two years. In 1767 Enoch Green became 
the pastor, and so continued until 1776, when he died. He was much 
esteemed as a preacher and scholar. For several years he taught a 
classical school. In 1777 John Brainerd, a brother of the celebrated 
missionary, David Brainerd, was settled. He died in 1781. Both 
these ministers were buried there. In 1783 Simon Hyde was 
installed, but he died during the same year. In 1786. William 
Pickles, an Englishman of extraordinary eloquence, was installed. 
It was not long, however, before he showed himself unfit for the 
office, and he was deposed by the Presbytery. John Davenport suc- 
ceeded him, being installed in 1795, and was dismissed in 1805. 
Nathaniel Eeeve was installed in 1795, removing in 1817 to Long 
Island. Several others have succeeded, in all not less than seven. 
The church is now prosperous, numbering 145 members. This 
church is believed to be the only one in the county retaining a farm 
attached to the parsonage. Besides the farm it owns a considerable 
tract of wood land, which has been the means, by the sale of the 
wood, of adding considerably to its resources. The stone church 
now occupied was built in 1771 and enlarged and improved in 

Bridgeton remained without any organized church, or any place 
of worship but the court-house, forty-five years after it became 
the county town. The Presbyterians residing there or in the vi- 
cinity worshipped at Fairfield or Greenwich, and the Baptists at the 
old Cohansey church, in Lower Hopewell. The question of having 
a church in the town began to be . agitated, however, about 1770. 
An unexecuted will of Alexander Moore, on file in the surrogate's 
office, dated in that year, contains a devise of a lot of land 13 by 
15 perches, lying within and described on the plan of the town 
made for him by Daniel Elmer, on the east side of the river, for 
the sole use of a Presbyterian meeting-house and burial-ground; 
and also a legacy of jG50, to aid in building the house. The lot 
was situated on the north side of Commerce Street, a little above 
where Pearl Street now is. In 1774 some subscriptions were made 
to carry out this plan, and stone was brought on the lot, but- the 
building was never commenced. The stones were used in building 
a house, which used to stand nearly opposite the proposed site at 
the corner of Commerce and Pearl Streets, which for many years 
was owned and occupied by Mark Eiley, who belonged to a family 


from Connecticut who settled at an early day on the Indian Field 

At this timcy^and during several years afterwards, the most influ- 
ential, and indeed the larger part of the inhabitants, lived on the 
west side of the river. There was no little strife in regard to the 
site. Dr. John Fithian offered a lot at the southeast corner of 
Broad and Giles Streets. Several meetings, to agree upon the place, 
were held without any result. At length, in 1791, through the 
influence of Dr. Jonathan Elmer, Col. Potter and Gen. Giles, Mark 
Miller, the son and heir of Ebenezer Miller, who was a Friend, 
agreed in consideraticJn of a promise made by his father, to give 
the lot, containing two acres, then and still at the extreme west end 
of the town, "to be used, occupied, and enjoyed by the inhabitants 
of Bridgetown forever, for the purposes of a burying-ground for all 
said inhabitants generally, and for erecting thereon a house for the 
public worship of Almighty God." . To this lot additions were 
made by subsequent purchases. 

About £600, or $1600, were subscribed, and the building com- 
menced in 1792, but the money raised was only sufficient to put up 
the walls and roof of the house. In 1793 a law of the State was 
obtained, authorizing the trustees to raise $2000 by means of a 
lottery, in accordance with a practice then very common. By this 
means the money was obtained, and in 1795 the house was so far 
completed as to be opened for public worship. At this time the 
public, or, as it was still called by old people, the King's highway 
to Greenwich, ran through the middle of the lot, a little south of 
the church building ; but it altered by extending to Broad 
Street, or, as it was then called. High or Main Street, up to Fourth 
Street, as West Street was then called, and the road to Greenwich 
passed to the north and west of the church lots. The fence around 
the graveyard was first put up and the old King's highway closed 
in 1802. Many of the posts, which were of red cedar, are now, 
after a lapse of sixty years, in good condition. In 1792 a church 
had been duly constituted by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, which 
united with the church at Greenwich, and so continued until the 
death of Mr. Freeman in 1822. 

Brogan Hoflf .became the pastor in 1824, and left in 1833. The 
session-house at the corner of Commerce and Pearl Streets was 
built in 1826, and continued to be used there for lectures, prayer 
meetings, and the Sabbath school until 1863, when it was removed 


to its present site. In 1834 John Kennedy became the pastor, and 
removed in 1838. 

In 1835 the congregation resolved to build- a new church edifice 
on the east side of the river, which was done, and the house on 
Laurel Street was opened for worship in 1836. In 1839 Samuel 
B. Jones became the pastor, and continued until 1863, when he 
resigned. It contains now 281 members. 

A second Presbyterian church was organized in 1838, and the 
stone church on Pearl Street erected in 1840, at first in connection 
with the New School Presbytery of Philadelphia, but afterwards 
united with the Presbytery of West Jersey. It has 120 members. 
Becently, in 1869, a new building has been commenced on Com- 
merce Street, and a church organized called the West Presbyterian 
Church of Bridgeton. ^ 

A Presbyterian church was organized at Port Elizabeth in 1820, 
but was soon removed to Millville. where most of the elders and 
members resided. In 1838 «a house was erected in the latter plaee 
which was enlarged in 1855. There are now 73 members. There 
is also a new church at Vineland. The whole number of Presby- 
terian churches in the county at this time being nine, three of 
which are in connection with the New School Presbytery, and six 
with the West Jersey Presbytery, Old School, numbering together 
about 1250 members. 

Smith, in his History of New Jersey, published in 1765, describ- 
ing the then condition of Cumberland, states that' the places of 
worship were Episcopalians pne, Presbyterian four, Baptist two. 
Seventh-day Baptist one, Quakers one. What place of worship of 
Presbyterians besides those at Fairfield, Greenwich, and Deerfield, 
he refers to, is uncertain. Probably it was a church erected by the 
German settlers in Upper Hopewell, near the place now called New 
Boston, about' the year 1760, which it appears by the deed was 
called the German Presbyterian Church. It is not known whether 
it ever had a regular pastor, the building never having been 
finished. It stood, however, until about the year 1812, and the 
graveyard still remains. The worshippers united with the neigh- 
boring Presbyterian churches. The Swedes erected a church on 
the east side of Maurice River, opposite Buckshootem, in 1743, in 
which worship was maintained by the Missionaries from Sweden, 
until after the Eevolutionary War, when it went to decay, and has 
long since entirely disappeared. 


An Episcopal church wavS erected at Greenwich about the year 
1729, by Nicholas and Leonard Gibbon, of the established church 
in England, on land belonging to the last named. It is not known 
whether it was ever regularly consecrated and received as a regu- 
lar church edifice, although it was occasionally used for service by 
the rector of the Salem church. After the removal and death of 
the founders, it seems to have fallen into neglect. The building, 
which was of brick, or a part of it, was for some years occupied as 
a stable, and some thirty years ago was entirely taken down. 
Leonard Gibbon and his wife were buried in the chancel. Eecently 
their remains were carefully removed by some of their descendants 
and deposited in the Presbyterian graveyard. It was found upon 
this occasion, although the gravestones were in the proper positions, 
that, either by mistake or design, the husband had been buried at 
the side of his wife, with his head in the direction of her feet. 

A church of the Episcopal order was established in Bridgeton 
in 1860, which has erected a handsome edifice on Commerce Street, 
and settled a rector, having members. There are also Epis- 
copal churches in Millville and Vineland, in which there are 
regular services by a missionary. 

There are also Eoman Catholic chapels in Millville, Port 
Elizabeth, and in Bridgeton. ^ ' 

The German population of Bridgeton to the number of about 
100, in conjunction with others in Millville, maintain a Lutheran 
minister, who preaches at the two places on alternate Sundays in 
the German language. A new church building has been com- 
menced on York Street, Bridgeton. There is also a neatly erected 
chapel in Upper Deerfield, in connection with the Lutheran church 
that has long existed at Friesburg, in which the preaching is now 
in the English language. 

Mark Eeeve and others at Greenwich applied, in 1690, to the . 
Salem monthly meeting of Friends, to assist them in building a 
meeting-house, which was erected where the present old Friends' 
meeting-house now stands, on a part of Eeeve's sixteen acre lot. 
It was what is termed an indulged meeting, or meeting for worship 
only, being under the care of Salem meeting, and continued so until 
1770, when this and the meeting at Alloway's Creek were united 
and formed one monthly meeting, to be held alternately at each 
place. The number of Friends that settled at Greenwich or else- 
where in the county was never large. At the time of the great 


division of the society in 1886, into the two parties generally called 
Orthodox and Hicksite, the former being the most considerable in 
number, retained the old building where they still worship. The 

members of both sexes number about . The other party built 

a new house on the main street about a mile northward of the old 

one, and continue to worship there. They number about : 


A Friends' meeting-house still remains at Port Elizabeth, built 
in 1800, but the society is now nearly or quite extinct. 

The first Sunday school taught in the county was opened in the 
Academy on Bank Street, Bridgeton, by Bbenezer Elmer, in 1816. 
In the course of a few months a regular society was formed and a 
school commenced in the old court-house, which continued to be 
taught there until 1829, when it was removed to the new session- 
house at the corner of Commerce and Pearl Streets. While kept 
in the court-house although rM)st of the teachers and scholars were 
Presbyterians, it was a union^chool. At first, owing to a strange 
misconception of the true object of such schools, which is to teach 
religious truths and other learning, only as a means of acquiring 
religious knowledge, many even religious and well-informed per- 
sons opposed them. Some thought they would interfere with that 
family and pastoral instruction of youth which Presbyterians 
especially had always practised, while others held back from that 
reluctance to understand and engage in a new enterprise which is 
so common. At first these schools were looked to mainly as a 
means of instruction for the poor. Soon, however, the great good 
found uniformly to result from their establishment, not only to the 
poor and neglected classes but to all the youth, recommended them 
so strongly that they were gradually introduced at different places. 
About 1830 they were adopted by the churches of all denominations, 
lost their union character, and are now carried on in connection 
with most of the places of religious worship in the county by the 
different societies using them. 

The Methodists made but little progress in the United States 
until after the Eevolutiori. Almost all the preachers were from 
Great Britain, and all imitated John Wesley in their hostility to 
the resistance made by the colonies to the measures adopted by 
the King and Parliament. It was not until 1784 that they became 
an independent society, and adopted the name of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church of the United States. Prior to this time the 


sacraments and other ordinances were administered only by the 
bishops and priests of the Episcopal church, or in rare instances 
by the ministers of other denominations, to which the converts to 
Methodism happened to be attached. The first annual conference, 
which was held in 1773, appointed John King and William Wat- 
ters to travel and preach in Jersey. Watters is said to have been 
the first native American appointed as a travelling preaclier. 
The salary allowed in 1784 was sixty-four dollars, and the same 
sum to the wife if there was one. The preachers, however, were 
entertained without charge to them by their converts and other 
friends, who commonly had some allowance made to them for 
doing so by the societies. 

As early as the year 1780 there were some converts to Methodism 
at Port Elizabeth and its vicinity. The first church building in 
the county for the exclusive use of this society was erected there 
in 1786, on ground donated for thejpurpose by Mrs. Bo.dley. A 
Mr. Donnelly, who was a local prSoher there, died before this 
time. In 1798 Dr. Benjamin Fisler, who commenced his ministry 
in 1791 and preached in Camden, and in 1797 travelled on the 
Salem Circuit with William McLenahan, which included Salem, 
Cumberland, Cape May, and a considerable part of Gloucester 
County, on account of his feeble health, located at Port Elizabeth, 
where he was an acceptable local preacher for half a century. 
He was an intelligent man, who had read a good deal, and although 
a firm believer in the doctrines taught by Benson and Watson, 
had no respect for Dr. Clarke's Commentary, which he thought 
contained many dangerous errors. He once told the writer he 
would not allow Clarke's Life of the Wesley Family, interesting 
as it is, to be read by his children, on account of the currency 
it gives to the story of the ghost, thought to have haunted the 
house of John Wesley's father, which practised rappings some- 
thing like those made by the modern spiritualists. In those days 
ghosts were received with more credit than now ; Wesley's belief 
in them having influenced many of his followers. 

About the same time Eli Budd, from Burlington County, belong- 
ing to a family of Friends, who were among the original settlers of 
that county, several of whom became Methodists, and some were 
preachers, purchased land on the upper part of Manamuskin, and 
commenced making iron. His son Wesley was quite distinguished 
as a preacher, and in 1799 rode the Salem Circuit. Afterwards be 
established iron- works at the place long called Cumberland Furnace^ 



now Manamnskin Manor ; but in the language of Raybold, whose 
" Beminiscences of Methodism in* West Jersey," contains many in- 
teresting particulars of which free use has been made, " he made a 
shipwreck of bis character, happiness and hope," and it may be 
added that he also made shipwreck of his worldly prosperity, 
having failed in 1818, and being unable to retrieve his fortune, soon 
left the State. His father and brother maintained a good character. 
Early in this century a church was built near the iron-works and 
a society organized, which, however, when the works were aban- 
doned in soon became nearly or quite extinct. Recently it 

has been revived. Fithian Stratton, a famous but very eccentric 
preacher, also gathered a society at his settlement on Menantico. 
He was originally a member of the Presbyterian church in Deer- 
field, and fell under church censure for improper conduct appa- 
rently growing out of his violent temper in 1779, and appears to 
have afterwards abandoned that church and joined himself to the Me- 
thodists. Preachers of this denomination began to gather societies 
within the bounds of the Deerfield congregation as early as 1 780, 
in which and in subsequent years some members of that church 
were censured for irregularly withdrawing from its communion 
and joining the Methodists without a regular dismission. In 1799, 
Mr. Stratton, who had then become a Methodist preacher, sent a 
written request to the pastor and session to be permitted to preach 
in the church; but this was denied on the ground of his previous 
conduct. He died in 1811, soon after which his projected borough 
at Schooner Landing came to an end. 

The church now called WoodrufiFs, in the neighborhood of 
Carllsburg, was composed originally of several Presbyterians from 
the Deerfield church. The meetings' were held at first in a school- 
house; Preston Stratton, the class-leader, being a brother of Fithian. 
In its best days this class had about twenty members. When 
Preston Stratton left, his place was supplied by Joel Harris, but he 
also soon moved away, and the class went down, the members join- 
ing another class in Broad Neck. Preaching was resumed in 1828 
and a new class established in 1824, of which the late Judge Wood- 
ruff became the leader. In 1829 a house was built to be used as a 
school-house as well as for preaching, and after this there was regu- 
lar preaching. In 1841 the existing church building was erected, 
the membership then being twenty-five. This church has never 
been a principal station, but has been either a part of a circuit, or 


[ of some other station, sometimes Bridgeton, Bometimea Willow 
Grove, sometimea Pittsgrove ia Salem County, and now of Cohan-. 

Port Elizabeth circuit baa connected with it five other churchea 
one of which, viz., West Creek, where there were Methodists as 
early as 1790, and a church edifice was built in 1826, is in Cape 
May. Some of the members, however, reside in this county. At 
Heialerville the gospel was preached first in a private house in 
1800. A meeting house was erected in 1828, superseded in 1852 
by a new and larger ediiice. Leesburg society was commenced^ 
about 1806, and the old church built about 1816, taken down ia 
ISfil, and a new and handsome building substituted. It is called 
"Hickman Church." Dorchester ia a branch from Leesburg, formed 
in 1856, and a house built the same year. The old churcii, which 
was at one time the place of worship of a flourishing society while 
Cumberland furnace was carried on, but which had become dilapi- 

' dated and the society almost extinct, had its place supplied by a 
new edifice in 1862, and the prospect now is that its congregation 
will steadily increase. 

Michael Swing was the pioneer of the Methodists in Fairfield, to 
which place he came from Pennsylvania about the year 1790, He 
began, according to the usual practice, to hold meetings in private 
houses, and being a man of property and the owner of a farm 
adjoining the old Presbyterian graveyard on Cohansey Creek, 
which in hia lifetime belonged to the Rev. Daniel Elmer, he in 
1719, very much at bis own expense, built the church near New 
Englandtowo Cross-roads, which has ever since been known as the 
Swing meeting- house. It was for a long time the only Methodist 
meeting-house in the township, and was the third or fourth in the 

Eaybold tells us that in 1800, E. Swain and B. Lyon travelled 
the Salem Circuit, and that on one occasion Lyon announced at a 
meeting held in Fairfield, that on that day four weeks he would be 
there, " preach, pray, work a miracle, and have a revival." Swing 
(Irving he calls him) disapproved this proceeding, and wrote to 
Swain to try and meet Lyon at Fairfield, in order to keep him in 
order. Both the preachers at^nded at the appointed time, and 
there waa a great crowd, excited by the announcement of the 
miracle. Swain preached ; then Lyon arose and proclaimed, " Lyoa 
ia here, and he will yet preach ; the miracle ia there," pointing with 



his hand; "whoever saw the Presbyterian minister and his flock 
here before ? Now, I shall preach, and the Lord will do the rest; we 
shall see the revival." He did preach, and a great revival followed, 
and the .whole afiair passed from the minds of the people, who 


were too happy in grace to be very critical. This proceeding, 
strange as it now seems, was very much in character with many 
things done by the early preachers, and the part assigned to Mr* 
Swing agrees with his character. He was a prudent man, an ex- 
cellent preacher, and much esteemed not only by his own society, 
but by pious people of other denominations. He was a zealous 
and active member, and officer of the Cumberland Bible Society 
until his death in 1834, at a time when most of the Methodists 
declined to unite with it. 

The church he built is now a separate station ; called from the 
name of the town near by, Fairton. Formerly it belonged to 
Cumberland circuit, and was then made a station in connection 
with Cedarville, where a society was formed in 1833 and a church 
edifice erected in 1836. Cedarville became a separate station in 

Methodist circuit riders, local preachers, and exhorters appear to 
have established meetings in many different parts of the county 
between 1780 and 1800. The whole county, and most of the time 
Cape May, belonged to the Salem circuit until about 1809, and the 
district pf New Jersey included the whole State and a considerable 
part of New York. In 1811 the district was divided into two, but 
was united in 1816 and so remained until separated in 1823. In 
1847 the upper part of the State became a part of Newark Confe- 
rence, the lower part, south of Elizabeth, being the New Jersey 
Conference, comprising four districts, with each a presiding elder. 

The labors of the itinerant preachers were very arduous and 
self-denying, and were greatly blessed in the conversion of many 
sinners. Eaybold gives this illustration of what he terms a cure 
for the itinerant fever, as. related to him by one of the circuit 
riders : " Many years ago I travelled Cumberland circuit. There 

was residing upon the circuit a brother P , a most devotedly 

pious young man, and a local preacher of some few years' standing. 
He resided upon a good farm of his own, where with his small 
family he could live very comfortably indeed, and make money 
too ; but whenever I went there he could talk of little else than 
travelling to preach the gospel- more fully. He was of rather a 


feeble frame and delicate health, and I informed him, it was my 
judgment he never could stand constant labor in preaching, while 
he could make himself very useful in his present position. The 
Lord, I told him, did not require of men a work for which they 
were physically unfitted. All my reasoning >yould not satisfy him; 
so at last, during the winter, I requested him to meet me at a cer- 
tain point and take a tour of two weeks on his native circuit, and 
after that he could tell, perhaps, whetber travelling and preaching 
agreed with his constitution. At the appointed time and place we 
met. For a week the appointments required two sermons a day ; 
and on Sundays three sermons, besides meeting classes and other 
business matters ; travelling for many miles through the woods 
and over bad roads on horseback, in weather severely cold, for a 
greater part of the time. I kept him at work steadily, occasionally 
meeting the class myself. Towards the end of the second week, I 
found he was becoming too feeble to go on much farther. 

"One morning, as we started for the next daily task, heavy clouds 
hung over, the wind howled among the trees, and snow began 

to fall quite thickly. Brother P stopped his horse, and said, 

' Had we not better put up somewhere? it will be a storm.' 'A storm,' 

I replied; 'we never stop for a small snow-storm.' Poor P 

wrapped himself closer in his overcoat, and said no more. That 
ni^ht finished the work of the circuit for the time; we had finished 
the two weeks, and he was anxious to start for home, distant some 
forty miles. The family where we stayed were up at three o'clock 

to start for market, and brother P entreated me to arise at 

breakfast and start for home. To please him I did so. We were 
soon on the saddle, and in the clear moonlight of an intensely cold 
morning we rode about twenty miles without a word of conversa- 
tion. As the sun arose we came in sight of my residence, but he 
had to travel twenty miles farther to reach his home. When we 

were about to part, he stopped his horse, and I said, 'Now, P , 

what do you think of the itinerancy?' 'Ah, brother,' said he, 'it will 
not do for me; I cannot stand it; I had no idea of the toil and ex- 
posure, the privations and sufferings.' ' Why, my dear brother,' said 
I, 'you have been on the lightest work, and in the best part of the 
circuit; if this specimen discourages you, I do not know what you 
would say to other scenes.' ' Ah,' said he, 'I had better stay at home 
and attend to my family and farm, and leave the itinerancy to 
those who are stronger than I am; this trial will satisfy me.' Poor 



P went home, and had a spell of sickness, but he was cured 

of the travelling fever." 

Bridgeton was for several years within the Salem circuit. John 
Walker, one of the preachers, formed a class about the year 1804r, 
several Methodists having feefore this moved into the place. 
William Brooks, who then carried on a tannery at the southeast 
corner of Broad and Atlantic Streets, on the west side of the river, 
was the class-leader, and his house was usually, the place of meet- 
ing and of entertainment for the preachers. Among the early 
converts was Jonathan Brooks, who was for many years a local 
preacher, and the leading Methodist of the town. 

He was a good specimen of an old-fashioned Methodist. An 
illiterate man, knowing very little but what he learned from the 
Bible, and his own experience as a Christian, of good practical 
sense in all matters not too much influenced by his prejudices, an 
earnest exhorter, and maintaining a character above suspicion, he 
exercised a great and deserved influence, not only in his own 
society, but among the Christian people of other denominations. 
He had no toleration, however, for any departure from the early 
usages of the society; thought a minister would be spoiled by 
rubbing his back against a college, and opposed till the last, singing 
in church by note, or with the aid of a choir. Having been him- 
self ordained as a deacon, and not entitled to administer the sacra- 
ments, he considered himself deprived of a privilege he ought to 
have, and was earnest for a reform, which -he did not live to see. 
When the first Conference, at which Bishop Hedding presided, was 
held in Bridgeton in 1838, he groaned not only in spirit, but very 
audibly, that only one minister appeared with the old Wesley coat, 
and but very few exhibited any other than white pocket hand- 
kerchiefs, remarking to the writer, that the passion for an educated 
ministry, singing out of music-books., &c, with which all the young 
people were so taken, he feared would ruin the church. 

The building now used as a chapel, and standing at the corner 
of Bank and Washington Streets, was erected where the brick 
church now stands on Commerce Street, in 1807, and was consecrated 
by Eev. Joseph Totten, then the presiding elder of the district, 
whose residence was on Stateh Island. Before long Cumberland 
Circuit was established, of which this church formed a part until 
1832, when it became a separate station, and so remains. The new 
brick church was built in 1833. It deserves notice as showing 


the importance of the two towns ; that now the district covering 
the southern counties of the State is called Bridgeton district, and 
Salem ranks as a station. The brick church on Fayette Streets 
called Trinity, was erected in 1854, and that on Bank Street, called 
the Central M. E. Church, in 1866. Nothing perhaps marks more 
decidedly the change in the Methodist church than that nearly all 
the circuits of the county have been abolished, and now most of 
the principal churches have separate pastors. 

Millville contained a few Methodists as early as 1810. Long 
before this time a class existed at White Marsh, distant about four 
miles, between Millville and Fairfield. The meetings for preaching 
in the town were for some time held in a building erected as a 
school and meeting-house for all denominations. In 1817 it was 
a regular station of the circuit riders, and about the year 1822 a 
building of stone, commenced for a dwelling, was purchased and 
converted into a church. . In 1844 the old church was taken down 
and the edifice, now called the First Church, erected in its place. 
In 1857, the Second Church, in the upper part of the town, near 
the cotton mills, was erected. 

There were a considerable number of Methodists within the 
boundaries of the township of Downe as early as 1800, in which 
year a class was formed at Haleysville, a settlement a little west of 
Mauricetown. In 1811 a church building was erected there, which 
was occupied until 1864, when it was superseded by a new one. 
In Mauricetown the society worshipped in a school-house until 
1842, when a church was erected, and this church now gives the 
name to the station. A Captain Webb, of the English navy, is 
said to have landed at Nantuxet before 1800, and preached a sermon 
in a barn, and thus commenced a Methodist society, who built a 
meeting-house in 1804, which was burned in 1812. The society 

after this used a store house. In they erected the present 

building at Newport. 

A society was commenced at Dividing Creek in the early part 
of this century, who erected a house in . 

There is also a mission station at Port Norris, one at Buckshutem, 
and another at Centregrove. 

A class of Methodists was formed and met in the school-house 
at Jericho, some time before 1842, and in 1846 they erected the 
meeting-house in which they now worship at Roadstown. In 1866 


the house in Upper Hopewell, called Harmony, was erected. These 
two churches are now united in one station. 

Full statistics of the numbers during the successive years that 
have elapsed since its commencement, if they could be obtained, 
would present us a proof of the peculiar adaptedness of this society 
to expand and fill up the waste places in the land, and of the re- 
markable and praiseworthy zeal and energy of the preachers and 
members. The number of members returned for Salem circuit in 
1789 was 680, and in 1790 it was increased to 933. In 1808 the 
Cumberland circuit, which then included Cape May, returned 700 
members. In 1832 Bridgeton station returned 357 members, one 
preacher, and Cumberland circuit 955 members and two preachers; 
returned, being only those belonging to the Conference, and not 
including the local preachers and exhorters, of which there were 
several. The Minutes of the Conference for 1864 returns Bridge- 
ton, Commerce Street, 542 members ; Trinity, 220 ; Roadstown 
and Harmony, 98; Fairton, 133; Cedarville, 145; Newport, 160 ; 
Mauri cetown, 273 ; Millville (Second Street), 460 ; Millville (Foun- 
dry) 175; Vineland, 35; Port Elizabeth, 504; Woodruff and Co- 
hansey, 86 ; numbering in all 2831 members, besides those returned 
as probationers. Some of the members returned as belonging to 
the Port Elizabeth Station, reside in the county of Cape May, but 
there are others connected with stations out of the bounds of the 
county who reside within it, so that the number in the county may 
be safely set down at 2800. Making all due allowance for the 
greater facility of becoming members of this society as compared 
with some other denominations, this certainly exhibits a wonderful 
progress. And when it is added, that the society has constantly 
employed about ten regular ministers besides twelve or more local 
preachers, and that the gospel is statedly preached nearly every 
Sunday and frequently on other days in at least twenty different 
houses, the evidence of zeal and industry is very complete. 

Besides the white congregations, there are two places of worship 
occupied by the colored persons, one at Springtown and one at 
Piercetown, who are supplied by circuit riders appointed by a 
colored presiding elder, there being, by a late arrangement, two 
distinct district^of colored preachers who belong to the General Con- 
ference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. These two societies 
have about 80 members. 

The Methodist Protestant church originated about the year 1828. 


Soon after they built a meeting-house at Cedarville, which, how- 
ever, after a few years, was sold, and belongs now to the New School 
Presbyterians. In 1847 a society was organized in the old school- 
house called "Friendship," on the road leading to Centreville; sub- 
sequently a new building was put up there and it is now connected 
with Bridgeton, where a house was erected on Laurel Street in 
1861. The members of the two number about 160. There are 
also small societies and places for preaching at Newport, Port 
Norris, Millville and Cassaboom, a few miles northeast of that 
place. There are about 120 members in these societies, making 
the whole number about 280 members. 

The first African Methodist Episcopal church in this county was 
formed at Springtown in 1817, and the members then and for some 
time afterwards were commonly called Allenites, from the name of 
their flrst bishop, who resided in Philadelphia. Their first small 
church was burned and was replaced in 1838 by the present edifice 
of stone. This society has now 126 members. 

At Gouldtown a society was formed in 1820, and after a few 
years the school-house in which they worshipped until recently, 
which was built originally by Presbyterians at a place about a mile 
and a half northeast of its present location, was presented to them 
and moved. The existing neat edifice was built in 1861 ; the 
number of members is 85. 

A society was formed at Port Elizabeth in 1886, a meeting-house 
built in 1838, and there are now 19 members. The society in 
Backneck, Fairfield Township, was formed in 1838, built a house in 
1850, and has now 12 members. 

The Bridgeton society was formed in 1854, and the next year 
erected their meeting house in the southwestern part of the town. 
There are now 92 members, of which about 27 have been added 
recently. A society was formed at Millville in 1864, which is 
taking measures to erect a house, numbering now 16 members. 
It will be thus seen that the colored race, depressed as they are by 
many discouraging circumstances, have the gospel preached to 
them, and have about as many church members in proportion to 
their numbers, as the more fortunate whites. 




The character and amount of the money circulating in a com- 
munity is always an important element in determining its true con- 
dition. It is, however, exceedingly diflScult to ascertain what were 
the facts of the case a few centuries back in any part of the civi- 
lized world, and this difficulty is not diminished, but is greatly 
increased, when we inquire into the situation of a new settled coun- 
try. None of the historians of the American colonies seem to have 
given much attention to this subject, so that they afford us but little 
information in regard to it. All accounts, however, agree in show- 
ing that money was very scarce during the first century after their 
settlement. The money of account, as soon as the Dutch govern- 
ment was relinquished, was universally the same as that in Eng- 
land, namely, pounds, shillings, and pence. A limited amount of 
English coin, brought over by the immigrants, and a few Spanish 
and Portuguese gold coins were in circulation, but the most com- 
mon coins were the " pieces of eight," as the Spanish milled dollars 
were called, and their subdivisions into halves, quarters, and 
eighths. It appears by some proceedings of the Assembly of Penn- 
sylvania that pewter and lead coins were used for small change in 
1698, and there is some reason to believe that a small leaden coin 
was used at a somewhat earlier period in New York. Gold and 
silver coins cut into parts were resorted to, and were a source of 
much inconvenience and loss up to the period of the Ee volution, 
and since. 

All the coins in use, it would seem, passed in the colonies at a 
higher rate than their actual value in England and elsewhere. 
They would naturally pass for something above the rate of foreign 
exchange which varied at diflFerent places and times. But legis- 
lators in those days, as well as some now, supposed that the value 
of coins or other money might be arbitrarily established by law. 
The Assembly of West Jersey, by an act passed in 1681, declared 


that old England money should advance in country pay, viz : The 
shilling to eighteen pence, and other English coins proportionably, 
and a New England shilling to fourteen pence, but they declared 
the next year that this act should be null and void. In 1693 the 
same Assembly, after reciting that it had been found very incon- 
venient that money in the province hath differed in value from the 
same coin current of our neighboring province of Pennsylvania, to 
prevent which inconveniency for the future, it was enacted that all 
pillar Mexico and "Sivil'' pieces of eight, of twelve pennyweight, 
should pass current for six shillings; thirteen pennyweights, six 
shillings and two pence, and so on, advancing in nearly the same 
proportion up to seventeen pennyweights for seven shillings, smaller 
pieces in proportion; all "dog dollars"* at six shillings. In 1686 
the Assembly of East Jersey passed an act establishing the value 
of a piece of eight, weighing fourteen pennyweights, at six shil- 
lings, and other coins in that proportion, but it was repealed in less 
than a year. The two governments were surrendered to the crown 
in 1702, and the value of money, so far as a law could regulate it, 
was established by Queen Anne's proclamation. There is reason 
to believe that in 1700, or within a few years after that date, the 
ordinary rate of the piece of eight, weighing not less than seven- 
teen pennyweights, was in Boston six shillings, in New York eight 
shillings, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania seven shillings six- 
pence, and in Maryland four shillings sixpence. 

This variance was much complained of by the English mer- 
chants, so that in 1704 Queen Anne issued a proclamation for set- 
tling and ascertaining the currency rates of foreign coins in the 
American plantations. After reciting the inconveniences occasioned 
by the different rates of the coin, and that the officers of the mint 
had laid before her a table of the value of the several foreign 
coins which actually pass in payment in the plantations, according 
to the weight and assays thereof, viz., Seville pieces of eight, old 
plate, seventeen pennyweights, twelve grains, four shillings and 
sixpence; Mexican and pillar pieces of eight, and the "old rix 
dollars of the empire," the same value; and various other enume- 
rated coins at a value stated, according to their weight and fine- 

* Dog dollars were Daich thalers, which had on them a figare intended to repre- 
sent a lion, but more resembling a dog, and hence were popolarlj called dog 



ness. She declares, by the advice of her council, that after the 
first of January next, no Seville, pillar, or Mexican pieces of eight, 
though of the full weight of seventeen pennyweights and a half, 
shall be passed or taken in the colonies or plantations at above the 
rate of six shillings per piece, and other silver coins in the same 
proportion. A few years later these same provisions were em- 
braced in an act of Parliament, but the proclamation was referred 
to as fixing the standard up to the Bevolution. 

Bills of credit were afterward issued by this standard, each de- 
nomination being stated to be of the value of a specified number 
of ounces, pennyweights, and grains of plate, six shilling bills, the 
equivalents of pieces of eight or dollars, being of the value of 
seventeen pennyweights and twelve grains of plate ; the word plate 
being apparently used as equivalent to coin. 

When, and how pieces of eight, came to be commonly called 
dollars, does not distinctly appear. The name was derived from 
Germany, there called thaler, in Denmark daler, and early trans- 
lated in England, into dollar. The German reicht thaler was of 
the same value originally as the Spanish piece of eight reals, a 
real being the unit of the Spanish money of account. The Spanish 
and Mexican pieces of eight, the coin most in use, were probably 
soon spoken of as dollars. The first mention of them that has 
been discovered, occurs in the sixth volume of the Records of the 
Province of Rhode Island^ where, in 1758, the pay of some troops 
ordered to be raised, is stated in dollars, and this designation is 
repeated in subsequent years. In 1763 a petition was presented 
to the legislature of Pennsylvania, from which it appears that a 
person living in Maryland had given his bond to a Philadelphia 
trader, for the payment of a sum of money in "Spanish dollars." 
There is no reason to doubt that this designation was in c6mmon 
use at an earlier date than these records indicate, and it is certain 
that in Philadelphia and elsewhere, a "Spanish milled dollar" was 
the standard of value until after the new coinage by the Federal 

Several of the colonies established mints for themselves. In 
Massachusetts, shillings, sixpence, and threepence, were coined as 
* early as 1652, by a reduction of weight, made to be of two pence 
in the shilling less value than the English coin, but expected to pass 
for the same. Maryland issued some silver coins in 1662, and cop- 
per half pennies were coined in Carolina, Virginia, and New Jersey, 


besides a few penny and two penny pieces. The British Crown 
stopped all this coinage except that of copper. 

The laws of Great Britain and the provincial acts punishing 
counterfeiters of coin, applied only to gold and silver coins, so that 
copper coins were frequently made by private individuals. One 
Mark Newbie was an early immigrant who settled in Gloucester 
County, and was a member of the Assembly and councillor in West 
Jersey. A law in that province, passed in 1682, provided that 
Mark Newbie's half pence, called Patrick's half pence, should pass 
for a half pence, current pay of this province. A large number of 
them had been coined in Ireland, and he continued the coinage in 
New Jersey. A report to the New York Assembly in 1787, states 
that various kinds of copper coins were in circulation of very 
different intrinsic values, viz: a few genuine British half pence, a 
number of Irish hatf pence, a very great number of very inferior 
and lighter half pence, called Birmingham coppers, made there, 
and imported in casks, and, lately introduced, a very considerable 
number of coppers of the kind that are made in New Jersey, many 
of them below the proper weight of the Jersey coppers. 

American traders, especially in the Middle States, were as much 
dissatisfied with Queen Anne's proclamation, as the English mer- 
chants were with the colonial rates. Gov. Cornbury suspended its 
operation in New York, and the other colonies practically disre- 
garded it. In fact it appeared then, as it is well known now, that 
no proclamation or statute can prevent the sale of coin for what it 
is worth for the purposes of trade, be that more or less than the 
legal rates. In 1708 the legislature of New York passed a law 
fixing the value of silver coins at eight shillings per ounce troy; 
but, notwithstanding the law and proclamation, the dollar weighing 
seventeen and a quarter pennyweights passed for eight shillings, 
and with some immaterial fluctuations this remained the current 

Such, indeed, was the scarcity of coin that there was a great call 
in the colonies for the issue of paper money, the doing of which 
was resisted by the British Board of Trade, to which all questions 
relating to the currency were commonly referred by the crown. 
It was only on special emergencies, that the governors, who were ' 
restrained by stringent instructions, would sanction them. The first 
act passed in New Jersey was in 1709, and authorized the issue of 
bills to the amount of three thousand pounds, for his majesty's 


service, some of which remained in circulation six or eight years, 
but were sunk by being paid in for taxes. In 1716 an act passed, 
for the currency of bills of credit to the amount of eleven thousand 
six hundred and seventy-five ounces of plate, or about four thou- 
sand pounds proclamation monej^ which were soon paid in and 

After much controversy between the Assembly and Governor 
Burnet, the former refusmg to provide for the support of the 
government, unless bills of credit were allowed, an agreement was 
come to in 1723, by which, as the governor wrote to Lord Carteret, 
the Assembly "provided for ten years to come for supporting the 
government, in order to obtain paper money, which their necessities 
made inevitable." This act authorized the issuing of forty thou- 
sand pounds in bills of various denominations, from three pounds 
down to a shilling. The preamble makes a long recital of the 
hardships of his majesty's good subjects within this colony, and 
states that though they had enough of the bills of credit of the 
neighboring provinces, yet to pay the small taxes for the support 
of the government, they have been obliged to cut down and pay in 
their plate (including, as is believed, silver coin), ear-rings and 
other jewels. Four thousand pounds of these bills were directed 
to be paid to the Treasurers of East and West Jersey, for the re- 
demption of old bills of credit and other purposes. The rest were 
put into the hands of loan commissioners in each county, who lent 
the money on mortgage of real estate, and on deposits of plate, at 
an interest of five per cent, per annum, for periods not exceeding 
twelve years. The bills were made a legal tender, and heavy 
penalties were denounced against those refusing them on a sale of 
lands or goods; and a stay of execution was provided for, until the 
bills had been six weeks in the hands of the commissioners. All 
the bills were to be redeemed and cancelled within twelve years. 

Subsequent laws provided for other issues, amounting in all, pre- 
vious to the Eevolution, to about six hundred thousand pounds. 
The last act, which was passed in 1774, was not assented to by 
Governor Franklin until an interval of ten years had withdrawn 
most of the previous issues from circulation, and not without great 
difficulty. The bills under this last act bore date March 26th, 
1776, and constituted the principal part of the circulation of the 
State at the commencement of the war. Had the loan system, 
which had been adopted about the same time in Pennsylvania with 


signal success, been rigidly adhered to, the bills would probably 
have never depreciated, and would have been easily r.edeemed. 
But some of the acts authorized bills for the expense of the war 
with France and other exigencies, and these were only redeemable 
by taxes which often bore hard on the resources of the colony. 
Many of the laws proposed by the Assembly were refused the 
assent of the governor, without which no act could pass, and some 
that were assented to by him, the crown refused to sanction. It is 
said by Gordon, in his History of New Jersey, that at one time 
these bills were at a discount of sixteen per cent, in exchange for 
the bills of New York, and contracts in East Jersey were therefore 
commonly based on New York currency. Ebelin, a German his- 
torian, whose work has not been translated, states, in reference to 
New Jersey, " Paper money was first issued in 1709 ; it had a double 
value ; that which circulated in East Jersey had the New York 
value, and in the western part of the State it was the same as in 
Pennsylvania. In the former, the guinea was valued at one pound 
fifteen shillings; in the latter, one pound fourteen shillings. This 
paper money circulated in New York as well as in Pennsylvania, 
therefore debts could be paid with it in either province." Accord- 
ing to this statement, New Jersey bills passed for a higher rate in 
York than in Philadelphia. And this is corroborated by the cor- 
respondence of Gov. Morris, who also several times mentions the 
difficulty he had in negotiating bills of exchange on London, for 
want of a sufficient quantity of currency in specie or in bills to 
supply the ordinary necessities of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 
He says, bills for one hundred pounds sterling sold for sixty per 
cent, in 1741, which was the most he could get in Jersey money. 
It may be, however, that at one time the New Jersey bills were at 
a discount in both cities. In 1760 an act was passed authorizing 
the Treasurers (for until after the Eevolution there were always 
two) to receive the taxes in money as it should pass in the western 
division of the colony ; and in 1769 an act was passed reciting 
that 847,500 pounds in bills had been struck for the use of the 
crown in the last war against France, and that the sum of one hun- 
dred and ninety thousand pounds remained due, therefore directing 
this amount to be levied in proportionate taxes yearly till 1783, 
the payment to be made in money as it now passes in the western 
division of the colony. As the bills were all proclamation money 
and receivable for taxes in all parts of the State, this provision 


must have been applicable to f)ayinents in coin, requiring them to 
be received at the rate of seven shillings sixpence to the doUan 
and not at the rate of eight shillings. 

The bills of 1709 were in the form following, viz : " This inden- 
ted bill of shillings, due from the colony of New Jersey to the 

possessor thereof, shall be in value equal to money, and shall be 
accordingly accepted by the Treasurer of this colony, for the time 
being, in all public payments, and for any fund at any time in the 
Treasury. Dated New Jersey the 1st of Jul y, 1709. Byorder of the 
Lieutenant-Governor, Council and General Assembly of the said 
Colony." They were signed by four persons named in the law, or 
any three of them. 

The bills authorized by the act of 1723 differed from those before 
issued. They commenced, " This indented bill of ounces of 

plate due, &c." Three pounds were declared equal to eight ounces 
fifteen pennyweights of plate, and one shilling equal to two penny- 
weights twenty-two grains of plate, and others in the same propor- 
tion. Afterwards the form was, " This bill by law shall pass cur- 
rent in New Jersey for ounce pennyweights and grains 
of plate." 

The bills issued by virtue of the act of 1774 were of the follow- 
ing form; "This bill of one shilling proclamation, is emitted by 
a law of the colony of New Jersey passed in the fourteenth year of 
the reign of his Majesty King George the third. Dated March 26, 
1776," and were signed by any two of seven persons named. 

The bills of 1780 were as follows, viz: "The possessor of this 

Bill shall be paid Spanish milled dollars by the 31st day of 

December, 1786, with interest of like money, at the rate of five per 
centum per annum, &c.," and had an indorsement that the United 
States insured the payment. 

The bills issued pursuant to the act of 1781 were of the following 
form: "State of New Jersey. This bill shall pass current for 
agreebly to an act of the legislature of this State passed 
January 9, 17«1." 

All the varieties were printed on coarse paper, with common 
type and various devices including, previous to 1780, the arms of 
Great Britain, and were easily counterfeited, which the penalty of 
death was found ineffectual to prevent. 

The market price of silver in Philadelphia, which until within 
the last century was a more important emporium of trade and had 


more capital than New York, and, therefore, gave its law in this 
matter to the greater part of this State, is stated to have been per 
ounce from 1700 to 1739 various rates from 68. lOd, to 8«. 9rf. The 
full weight of a dollar, according to Queen Anne's proclamation, 
was 17i pennyweights; but the provincial usage, finally sanctioned 
by law, was to reckon it at 17 J pennyweights. If 17 J penny- 
weights were worth 7«. and 6ci., an ounce was worth something 
over 8s, 8d. Most of the dollars in circulation did not weigh more 
than 17 pennyweights. 

Paper money was issued in Massachusetts as early as 1690 ; in 
New York and New Jersey 1709 ; and in Pennsylvania in 1723 ; but 
the subject was a constant source of controversy with the govern- 
ment in Great Britain. The lieutenant-governor of New York 
wrote to the Duke of New Castle in 1740, that the proclamation 
and act of Parliament were not enforced; paper bills are the only 
money circulating in New York. In 17-16 Alexander and Morris 
wrote to the duke, that the oiBcers of the government of New Jer- 
sey had been without any support or salaries to enable them to 
execute their oflBces ever since September, 1744, which they con- 
ceived was chiefly occasioned by the council and late governor's 
refusal to pass an act for making forty thousand pounds in bills 
of credit, which was at several times, passed by the Assembly, and 
often refused by the council or governor, because they conceived 
it would tend greatly to the destruction of the properties of the 
people of New Jersey and of all his Majesty's subjects, and because 
at that time the frauds and abuses of paper money in the planta- 
tions were under the consideration of the British Parliament. 

In 1743, Gov. Lewis Morris, of New Jersey, wrote to Gov. Shir- 
ley, '* Our paper bills being to be destroyed at stated times every 
year, and the interest to be paid in that specie every year, makes 
it necessary for the borrowers to have them, and if they have them 
not, to give an extraordinary price for them. The mercantile folks 
in York and Pennsylvania, and those that keep money in Jersey, 
have found their account in this. One effect has been that those 
in Y. and P. choose to be paid for what they sell rather in Jersey 
currency than their own; a second that the Jersey people rather 
choose their own currency than that of their neighbors ; and as N. 
Y. and Pennsylvania cannot well manage their trade without 
the help of Jersey, so they must have in many cases Jersey currency 
to its nominal value, with respect to New York, it being now 


between 12 or 13 per cent, better than that, and likely to rise 
higher. But with respect to gold and silver its real value is much 
short of its nomiual value, and probably always will be so while 
it is in the power of merchants to put what value they think proper 
upon gold and silver. In a Pennsylvania Gazette of Sept. 1742, 
the merchants of Philadelphia, to the amount of seventy-five, pub- 
lished at what rates they will take gold and silver, and after men- 
tioning at what prices they will take gold (which not being fixed 
by act of Parliament they may perhaps have the liberty of doing), 
they set the value of French crowns and Spanish milled pieces of 
8, at 78. 6d, and all good coined Spanish silver at 8^. 6d. the ounce. 
Tho' I believe by the merchants' private agreement amongst them- 
selves, they have always done the same thing since the existence 
of a paper currency, yet I do not remember so public an instance 
of defying an act of Parliament." 

The amount of bills issued in Pennsylvania was never excessive. 
The greatest amount in actual circulation was about 1759, when it 
was stated to be 185,000 pounds. The early notes and indeed all 
that were issued up to the Revolution, maintained their credit 
very well, and but for the expense of the war they would have 
been redeemed at par. In 1753 a struggle began between the 
Assembly and the Governor which lasted many years. In 1775, 
Governor Morris, son of Lewis Morris, states in an angry mes- 
sage to the Assembly of Pennsylvania, "I said the act of the 
6th of Queen Anne for ascertaining the rates of foreign coins 
in America was shamefully slighted and disregarded in this 
province, and I say so still. It is known to you and every one 
that Spanish pieces of eight, do now and for a number years have 
passed and been current at 78. 6d., when that act requires that they 
should pass for six shillings only; and that other coins are current 
nearly in the same proportion; from whence it appears that though 
you call your paper bills, money according to Queen Anne's procla- 
mation, it is really not so, but twenty-five per cent, worse." 

In 1764 the Board of Trade in London made a report to the 
Crown, in which they assigned six reasons for restraining the emis- 
sions of paper bills of credit in America, as a legal tender, one of 
which was that an act of Parliament restraining and regulating the 
practice in New England had a good eflfect. Dr. Franklin, who 
was then the agent in London for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, pub- 
lished a paper, entitled remarks and facts relative to the American 


paper money, in which, with his usual ability, he attempted to answer 
those reasons, it must be confessed, howevei*, with but indifferent 
success. He refers to the difficulties that had been occasioned by 
the want of a sufficient amount of coin, and the growth that had 
resulted from the use of paper money. In answer to the sixth 
reason, which was that in the middle colonies, where the paper 
money had been best supported, the bills had never kept to their 
nominal value in circulation, he remarks: " The fact in the middle 
colonies is really this, on the emission of the first paper money, a 
difference soon arose between that and silver; the latter having a 
property, the former had not, a property always in demand in the 
colonies, .to wit, its being fit for a remittance. This property 
having soon found its value, by the merchants bidding on one 
another for it, and a dollar thereby coming to be rated at eight 
shillings in paper money of New York, and seven shillings six 
pence in paper of Pennsylvania, it has continued uniformly at those 
rates in both provinces, now near forty years, without any variation 
upon new omissions ; though in Pennsylvania, it has at times 
increased from 16,000 pounds the first sum, to 600,000 pounds or 
near it. Whenever bills of exchange have been dearer, the pur- 
chaser has been constantly obliged to give more in silver as well 
as in paper for them." It is apparent from these remarks that 
silver fluctuated less in value, during the times specified, and com- 
manded a less price in paper than is common now ; a fact which 
may be attributed perhaps in part to the much less activity of trade 
and to the greater expense and risk of sending it abroad. It is 
manifest, too, from this history of the currency, that the rates of 
eight shillings in New York, and seven shillings sixpence in New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania for a dollar, instead of four shillings six- 
pence, its real value, or six shillings its proclamation value, origin- 
ated before paper was issued and in part from other causes. 

The first notice of money that appears in the minutes of the ge- 
neral Congress of the colonies, which sat in Philadelphia, occurs 
June 14, 1776, when six companies of riflemen were ordered to be 
raised, and the monthly pay of the officers and privates is stated in 
dollars and thirds of a dollar. At subsequent times various amounts 
of money are specified in dollars and ninetieth parts of a dollar. 
This shows that a dollar was then understood to be equivalent to 
75. 6d. or 90 pennies. Cents or hundredths of a dollar had not yet 
been introduced. At this time the appropriations, paper bills and 


accounts of money in all the States were in pounds, shillings, and 
pence, and tbej so continued until the Federal Government estab- 
lished a mint The provincial Congress of Massachusetts Bay, in 
May of this year, had ordered 100,000 pounds to be borrowed, and 
requested Congress to recommend to the several colonies to give a 
currency to their securities, which were bills for sums not less than 
four pounds, promising to repay on the first of June, 1777, the 
money " in Spanish milled dollars at six shillings each." What 
influences induced the Congress at Philadelphia to keep their 
accounts and make their appropriations in dollars and ninetieths 
does not appear, and can only be conjectured. 

On the 23d of June, 1776, the Congress resolved to issue paper 
bills, from one dollar to twenty dollars each, to the amount of two 
million of dollars. They entitled the bearer to receive — Spanish 
milled dollars, or the value thereof in gold or silver. July 29th 
they fixed the quotas of tax each colony was directed to provide to 
sink its proportion of the bills. Bills of a less denomination than 
a dollar were first directed to be issued Feb. 21, 1776, and were 
for one-sixth, one-third, one-half and two thirds of a dollar. Various 
measures were from time to time adopted to keep up the credit of 
the continental currency. In June, 1776, Congress requested the 
several legislatures of the colonies to pass laws punishing counter- 
feiters. January 14, 1777, they recommended the legislatures of 
the States to pass laws to make the bills issued by Congress legal 
tenders ; that debts payable in sterling money be discharged with 
continental dollars at the rate of 45. 6d, per dollar, and all other 
debts at the rate fixed by the respective States for the value of 
Spanish milled dollars. The legislature of New Jersey, as early 
as September 20, 1776, had made the continental bills a legal tender, 
and made it a felony punishable with death to counterfeit them or 
the bills of the United States of North America. This law said 
nothing about the rate at which they were to pass, so that they be- 
came legally a tender at the rate of a dollar for six shillings. But 
an assembly which sat at Haddonfield, Feb. 11, 1777, provided that 
in all payments and dealings, Spanish milled dollars weighing 17 
pennyweights, 6 grains, should pass at the rate of seven shillings 
and sixpence lawful money of this State a dollar, and that con- 
tinental paper bills should be deemed in value equal to the same, 
except in debts due and payable in British or sterling money, in 
which case they should pass at the rate of four shilling and six- 


pence. The legislature of Pennsylvania passed a similar law, 
January 29, 1777. Up to this time, the rate at which the bills of 
both provinces were legally to pass was six shillings the dollar • 
but coin was always worth more; When bills nominally for dollars 
came to be made a legal tender as well as those in pounds and 
shillings, it became absolutely essential to designate the relative 
value they should bear. Neither kind would purchase coin at its 
nominal rate, and very soon the continental money declined in 
value, even relatively to the provincial money. 

The New Jersey act of 1777 declared that the Portugal gold 
half Johannes, weighing nine pennyweights, should pass for three 
pounds or eight dollars. This half joe, as it was familiarly called, 
which began to be coined about 1727, must have by this time be- 
come the most common gold coin in circulation. The provincial 
attorney -general, Cortland Skinner, was in the habit of selling a 
nolle prosequi in assault and battery cases for one of them, and 
lawyers reckoned their fees in the same coin, until long after the 

In December, 1777, Congress, by way of aiding the circulation of 
the continental bills, after reciting that it was the uniform practice 
of our enemies to pursue every measure which may tend to dis- 
tract, divide, and delude the inhabitants of these States, to effect 
which they have promoted associations for supporting the credit 
of the public money, struck under the authority and sanction of 
the King of Great Britain, and thus sap the confidence of the public 
in the continental bills, they Resolved, that it be earnestly recom- 
mended to the legislative authorities of the respective StAtes forth- 
with to enact laws, requiring all persons possessed of any bills 
struck on or before the 19tli of April, 1775, to exchange them for 
continental bills or bills of the respective States. This recom- 
mendation was not complied with in New Jersey until June 8, 
1779, when an act was passed declaring that the colonial bills 
should continue to be legal tenders until the first day of September 
then next, and no longer except for taxes, and that all such bills 
not brought into the treasury before the first day of January then 
next, should be forever after irredeemable. In consequence of 
this act some of the bills issued under the act of 1774, became 
valueless in the hands of the holders, and were never redeemed. 

At the commencement of the war Congress had no money, and 
no resource but a resort to paper bills. For a year these were 


nearly equal to gold and silver, but the quantity they were obliged 
to emit exceeded what had been the usual quantity of the circu- 
lating medium. They began therefore to depreciate, as coin would, 
had it been thrown into circulation in equal quantities. But not 
having, like gold and silver, a value in the markets of the world, 
the depreciation was more rapid and far greater than could have 
happened with them. Legal tender acts, and all other extraordi- 
nary measures for the support of excessive issues of paper money, 
were found to be worse than useless. In two years the contineutal 
paper money had fallen to two dollars for one, in three years to four 
for one, and in the six months following, that is to say, in 1779, it 
had fallen to twenty for one. At this time a circular letter was 
addressifd by Congress to their constituents, signed by their 
President, John Jay. It dwelt on the future resources of the 
country, and insisted upon their ability to make good all their 
engagements, and even went so far as to urge "that paper money 
is the only kind of money which cannot make itself wings and fly 
away. It remains with us, it will not forsake us, it is always 
ready and at hand for the purpose of commerce or taxes, and 
every industrious man can find it. On the contrary, should Great 
Britain, like Nineveh, and for the same reason, yet find money, 
and escape the storm ready to burst upon her, she will find her 
national debt in a very different situation. Her territory dimi- 
nished, her people wasted, her commerce ruined, her monopolies 
gone, she must provide for the discharge of her immense debt, by 
taxes to be paid in specie, in gold or silver, perhaps now buried 
in the mines of Mexico or Peru, or still concealed in the brooks or 
rivulets of Africa or Hindostan." 

But neither eloquence nor patriotism could hinder the operation 
of those laws of trade, which, like the law of gravitation, are the 
laws imposed by the wise Creator of the universe, and remain un- 
changed and unchangeable. The depreciation continued, so that 
in March, 1780, Congress, admitting that their bills had increased 
in quantity beyond the sum necessary for a circulating medium, 
and wanted specific funds, to rest on for their redemption, and were 
then passed by common consent, at least S9-40ths below their 
nominal value, recommended the States to bring them in by taxes 
or otherwise, at the rate of 40 dollars for one Spanish milled 
dollar, and that the States issue bills redeemable in six years, with 


five per cent, interest, their payment to be guaranteed by the 
United States. 

This recommendation was followed partially by most of the 
States; by Pennsylvania in June, 1780. The legislature of New 
Jersey, by act of June 8, 1780, authorized the issuing of 125,000 
pounds of bills in dollars, and in January, 1781, an act was passed 
reciting that great inconvenience and embarrassment may arise in 
consequence of none of the bills of 1780 being of less denomination 
than one dollar, and therefore directing that the sum of thirty 
thousand pounds of equal value should be issued in bills of credit, 
viz., twenty thousand each of ten different denominations, from 
seven and sixpence to sixpence each. Both these emissions were 
known afterwards as the issue of 1780, and remained for a long 
time of greater or less value, being receivable in taxes at par, and 
after a time at a discount. 

The total amount of continental bills issued amounted in Sep- 
tember, 1779, to two hundred millions of dollars. During the 
year 1780 they depreciated so rapidly, that at the beginning of the 
year 1781 they ceased to circulate and died in the hands of their 
possessors. The total loss to the community, although for the 
time great, was not so large as might be supposed. Allowing for 
the depreciated value of the bills when they were issued, it was 
estimated that the actual loss to the people did not much exceed 
thirty-six millions of dollars; and this loss fell, not suddenly, but 
by gradual depreciation through several years, so that it did not 
much, if at all exceed, what, had Congress possessed the power of 
taxation, would probably have been directly raised in that way. 
Mr. Jefierson calculated the actual expense of the eight years of 
war, from the battle of Lexington to the cessation of hostilities, to 
have been about one hundred and forty millions, or about seven- 
teen and a half millions of dollars for each year. The contrast of 
this expenditure, with that incurred in suppressing the late rebellion 
(not less than a thousand million each year) is very suggestive. 

An act of this State passed January 6th, 1761, declared that the 
continental currency should be a legal tender only at its current 
rates; and in June, a scale of depreciation was established for the 
adjustment of debts previously contracted, which was somewhat 
altered in December. By another act, passed in June of this year, 
it was recited that the several compulsory acts heretofore passed 
to support the credit of the paper money have not answered the 


good purposes thereby intended, and the acts making the bills a 
legal tender were repealed. This act provided that in case of any 
suit before May 1st, 1782, the debtor might tender in open court 
the bills of the State at their nominal value, which should be a good 
discharge of the debt provided that the creditor might demand 
security for his debt, and if the debtor neglected to give such 
security, he should be deprived of the benefit of the tender. It 
appears that the Continental as well as the State bills were very 
extensively counterfeited. The freeholders of this county, in 1781^ 
allowed the several collectors eleven hundred and forty dollars for 
counterfeit money received. 

In December, 1783, after the peace, the legislature, at the request 
of Congress, passed an act to raise a revenue of thirty-one thousand 
two hundred and fifty-nine pounds, five shillings, equal to one 
million five hundred thousand dollars, yearly, for twenty-five 
years, to be applied in payment of the interest and principal of 
debts due by the United States. One of the sections of this act, 
after reciting that it will be impracticable to raise the whole or any 
considerable part of said sum in gold or silv-er, enacts that bills be 
printed to the amount of the aforesaid sum, of denominations from 
two shillings and sixpence each, to six pounds, to be received as 
equivalent to gold and silver in payment of said taxes. The 
collectors and treasurers were directed to exchange gold and silver 
they might receive for said bills, and all bills paid into the treasury 
were to be cancelled. In 1786 these bills were made a legal 
tender, and were called lawful paper money. 

In December, 1784, the sum <3f ten thousand pounds was required 
by law to be raised by tax, to be applied towards the sinking of 
bills of credit, to be paid in gold or silver, or bills of 1780 and 
1781, at the rate of three dollars of bills for one of specie. In 
178^ bills to the amount of one hundred thousand pounds were 
issued, to be loaned out, interest to be paid annually for seven 
years, and then one-fifth to be redeemed yearly. In 1787, it was 
enacted that no money should be received by the commissioners 
of the loan offices, or the treasurer, except gold and silver, anf) bills 
under the acts of 1783 and 1786. In 1788 it was ^directed that 
money paid into the loan offices should not be re-loaned. 

Loan offices were first established in this State, in 1723, commis- 
sioners being appointed for each county, at first by the legislature, 
afterwards by the boards of justices and freeholders, in some 



counties two, and in others three, who were constituted corporate 
bodies, A specific amount of the bills was apportioned to each 
office, a certain sum being retained to replace those torn and 
defaced. The money was loaned at one time for twelve and at 
others for sixteen years, at five per cent, interest, on mortgage 
security, the interest and a portion of the principal to be returnedi 
on the 25tli of March, yearly. The whole principal might be re- 
paid on this day and re-loaned; but the annual payments of tin 
principal were sent to the treasurer's Office to be cancelled, 
was afterwards directed, cancelled by the Board of Freeholder! 
In 1735 wheat was authorized to be received at the rate of fouf 
pence less in value than market price in New York, for thi 
division, and at Philadelphia for the western division, to be re-so!iJ 
for bills. Gold and silver were to be received at the rates prescribed 
in Queen Anne's proclamation. Tlie bills were not only made 
legal tenders, but heavy penalties were provided for refusing them 
in payment of debts or produce. Penalties were also enacted for_ 
asking or" taking any advance or discount on th.ese bills, for billi 
of N-ew York and Pennsylvania. The bnsiness of the loan o£B( 
in this county was not finally closed until the year 1801, 

The act of 1783 was repealed in 1790, and the tax law of tbi 
year requires the taxes to be paid in gold and silver, or notes of tl 
Bank of Nortb America, In 179t) such of the bills 
receivable for taxes, were directed to be paid by the treasurer 
gold and silver. 

It appears by the proceedings of the Board of Freeholders of thi 
county, in 1 792, that a settlement had been made with John Mulfoi 
who had been the county collector, and that the sum of 144 pouni 
13s. id. had been found due to him in old State money. Eijenezi 
Elmer having been appointed by the board to procure this mone; 
reported that he had obtained the same at the following rate\viz; 
98, Sd. old State money, at two for one, 92 ponnds 123. 6d., at IGs. 
6rf. for 20a. and 51 pounds, lis. 7d. of lawful money at 8a, the 
dollar; the cost of £144 13s. id. being 125 pounds 2d. It woul( 
seenkthat all the Slate bills were redeemed except some of the ol 
emission of 177&, and a small part of the bills of 1780, 
as 1779 an act had been passed declaring that the old bills should not' 
be a legal tender after September of that year, and if not brought 
into the treasury by the first of January next, then they should be 
irredeemable. The old State money referred to in the settlement] 




with Malford, comprised the bills of 17S0, and the lawful money 
the bills of 1786. 

The first bank established in the State was the Newark 
Banking and Insarance Company, incorporated in February, 1804, 
and authorized to have a branch in Jersey City. In December, 
1804, The Trenton Banking Company was chartered. In 1807, 
the New Brunswick Bank, and afterwards ' banks were authorized, 
in other places. The notes of these institutions, together with those 
issued by the banks of Philadelphia, New York, and other cities, 
formed a large part of the circulating medium of the State. They 
maintained the specie standard until the war with Great Britain 
from 1811 to 1815, when they depreciated at one time to a discount 
of thirty cents on the dollar, but during all this time gold and 
silver remained the true standard of value, and no attempt was 
made to make the paper of the general government, or any other 
paper, a legal tender. 

This very imperfect review of the state of the currency during 
our colonial state and afterwards, will aid us in appreciating the 
advantages we have derived from the currency established by our 
present general government, in freeing us from the complicated 
rates, and inconvenient moneys of account, prevailing in different 
sections, whatever may be the result of the recent renewal of a 
paper legal tender currency, as compared with gold and silver, or 
paper convertible into coin. Mr. Adams, in his report on the 
subject of weights and measures, made in 1820, remarks: "It is 
now nearly thirty years since our new moneys of* account, our coins 
and our mint, have been established. The dollar, under its new 
stamp, has preserved its name and circulation. The cent has 
become tolerably familiarized to the tongue, wherever it has been 
made, by circulation, familiar to the hand. But ask a tradesman 
or shopkeeper in any of our cities what is a dime, or a mill, and 
the chances are four in five that he will not understand your 
question. But go to New York and oSer in payment the Spanish 
coin, the unit of the Spanish piece of eight, and the shop or market 
man will take it for a shilling.. Carry it to Boston or Richmond, 
and you shall be told that it is not a shilling- but a ninepence. 
Bring it to Philadelphia, Baltimore, or the city of Washington, 
and you shall find it recognized for an eleven penny bit, and if • 
you ask how that can be, you shall learn that the- dollar being of 



ninety pence, tlie eighth part of it is nearer to eleven than any, 
other number; and pursuing still further the arithmetic of populat 
denominationa, you will find that half of eleven 'ia five, or at leaaly 
that half of the eleven penny bit is the fipenny bit, which fipenny 
bit at Eichraond, shrinks to four pence half penny, and at New 
York swells to six pence," 

One of the articles of the Confederation, which lasted from 1773 
to 1789, authorized Congress to regulate the alloy and value of coin 
struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective StatefO 
The Constitution vested the right of coinage solely in the genera^ 
government. Early in 1782 a report on the subject of coinage 
was made to Congress, by Robert Morris, said to have been iht 
work of hia assistant, Governeur Morris. He proposed as the nail 
the fourteen thousand four hundred and fortieth part of a dollai^ 
which was found to be a common division for the different c 
rencies in use; ten units to be one penny, two pence one bill, 
bills one dollar (about two thirds of a Spanish dollar), ten dollarj 
one crown. 

No steps were taken to carry this proposition into effect. In 
1784 Mr. Jefferson reported the plan afterwards adopted. He took 
the dollar as the unit, to be of silver, a tenth or dime of silver, and 
a hundredth of copper. In 1785 Congress unanimously resolved, 
that the money unit of the United States of America be one dollarij" 
that the smallest coin be of copper, of which 200 shall pass for onf 
dollar, and that the several pieces shall increase in decimal ratioa^ 
In 1786 they resolved that the money of account should be mills, 
of which 1000 shall be equal to the Federal dollar ; cents, of which 
100 shall be equal to the dollar; dimes, 10 of which shall be equal 
to the dollar ; and dollars. Eventually, as is well known, this mode 
of keeping accounts was adopted throughout the Union, except that 
mills and dimes were dropped, and the accounts were simplified by,_ 
being expressed only in dollars and hundredths. The final arranges 
menta for establishing a mint and issuing coin were not adoptafl 
until 1792. The coins authorized were of gold, eagles of ten dotfl 
lara, half and quarter eagles; of silver, dollars, half dollars, quartan 
dollars, dimes or ten cents, half dimes; of copper, cents and balfl 
cents. At later dates one, three, twenty, and fifty dollar pieces h^vH 
been coined in gold ; also two cents in copper, the half cent haviii^| 
been discontinued. fl 



The adoption of the dollar was recommended by the circum- 
stances that it was a very convenient value, was a familiar well 
known coin in all parts of the Union, with which the money. of 
account in use was every where compared, and would therefore be well 
understood and readily adopted. The easy mode of reckoning by 
decimals was convenient, and capable of being soon understood by 
all classes. The origin of the mark $, for dollars, is still a subject 
of dispute. Some have supposed it to be an imitation of the 
pillars, circled by a wreath, others a combination of U S; and 
others, with more plausibility, the figure 8 crossed like the £, used 
for pounds. There seems no reason to doubt, however, that it was 
adopted in imitation of the same mark used in Portugal, and in 
some of the West India Islands. Its origin there we have no 
means of determining. It was not used in the United States until 
after the adoption of the Federal coinage. The Ehode Islapd 
minutes of the date 1758 are printed with this' mark, but an 
examination of the original manuscript proved that it was not 
then employed, but the word dollars, or the contraction Drs. The 
earliest manuscript containing it, that has been discovered, was 
made in 1795, and the earliest printed book in 1801. After this 
it became universal; but how it was first introduced, and whether 
any special means were used to recommend it, seems unknown. 

Accounts were generally kept in this State in pounds, shillings, 
and pence, of the 75. 6d. standard, until after 1799, in which year 
a law was passed requiring all accounts to be kept in dollars or 
units, dimes or tenths, cents or hundredths, and mills or thousandths. ' 
For several years, however, aged persons inquiring the price of an 
article in West Jersey or Philadelphia, required to be told the 
value in shillings and pence, they not being able to keep in mind 
the newly-created cents or their relative value. Even now, in New 
York, and in East Jersey, where the eighth of a dollar, so long the 
common coin in use, corresponded with the shilling of account, it 
is common to state the price of articles, not above two or three 
dollars, in shillings, as, for instance, ten shillings rather than a 
dollar and a quarter. So lately as 1820 some traders and tavern 
keepers in East Jersey kept their accounts in York currency. 

Towards the close of the Eevolutionary War a considerable 
number of French crowns, worth $1.10, and smaller French silver 
coins, were introduced by the French army, and continued to circu- 



late for several years; and since, tbe Freoch five-franc piece hasJ 
circulated to some extent. The principal coins, however, in common' 1 
use, continued to be the Spanish and Mexican dollars, and halves and^ 
quarters, especially the latter; Spanish and Mexican pistareen^l 
which generally passed for twenty cents, although worth only 1 
about seventeen cents; the Spanish or Mexican real or bit, called 1 
au eleven penny bit or shilling; and its half called a Ave penny ' 
bit or sixpence. Prices of small articles were adjusted to these 12J 
and 6^ cent coins in use, and so continued until within a few years. 
About ten years ago these current coins had become so much worn 
as to be worth not much more than ten cents and five cents, and 
for a short time passed at those rates; hut the American dimes 
■and half dimes having been coined to a considerable amount, 
they came into common use, and prices were slowly adjustedJ 

During the present century the principal circulating mediura,B 
has been bank notes and silver. The gold coin from the AmerjcaitB 
mint having been made of a little more relative value than thaj 
silver, was used for exportation, so that very little was in circu- 
lation until after 1837, in which year the gold coins were reduced 
in comparative value, and a few years ago were quite plentiful 
The banks were obliged to suspend the redemption of their billsfl 
during the war commenced in 1812, and for near ten years thei 
was very, little coin in use, small change being supplied at first bj^a 
the bills of individuals, and then by those issued by banks aiM 
incorporated cities. 

In 1816 a temporary law of this State was passed, which provided 
that unless the plaintiff in an execution would consent to receive " 
current bills of a bank there should be a stay of the proceedings. 
It remained in force about eighteen months; would probably have 
been held contrary to the Constitution of the United States, I 
the question was not raised. The banks have suspended severa] 
times since for short periods of time. Shortly after the breaking] 
out of the Kebellion the government of the United States issuec 
large and small bills, and enacted laws declaring them to be a h 
tender in payment of all debts. 

The legal interest of money in this State was eight per cent, 
until 1738, when it was reduced to seven per cent, per a 
1774 an act was passed lowering the rote to six per cent., but il 



was disallowed by the crown. The change to six per cent., which 
now prevails in most of the State, was made in 1833. Some of the 
eastern cities and counties have special laws authorizing seven per 
cent.; and appearances indicate that the latter rate will have to be 
adopted in all parts of the State. 

In 1866 an act passed raising the interest to seven per cent 
throughout the State, 



Antioch, 20 

Area and acres of county, 89 

Assembly, members of, 32.. 

Baptists, 90-95 

Seventh day, 94 

Sellers' survey, 18 

Boyd, Mrs., 26. 

Bridges, or Indian field tract, 47 

Bridges of county, 23^ 83 

Bridgeton, city of, 28, 38, 105 

Cedarville, 21, 102 
Census of inhabitants, 37 
Clerks, names of, 28 
Cohansey, 10, 23, 60 
Congress, members of, 32 
Continental bills, 131. 

Deerfield township, 10, 30 

Dorchester, 20, 74 

Dollars, origin, 121 

^-^ coined by United States, 136 

mark of $, for, 137 

Downe township, 30 

Elections and voters, 31-33 
Elmer, Rev. Daniel, 98 

Ebenezer, 15, 64 

Jonathan, 46, 64 

Episcopal churches, 108 
Ewing, Mrs., 11 

Fairfield township, 29 
Fen wick, John, 7, 11, 13 
Fithian's journal, 60 

Franklin on paper money, 127 
Friends' meetings, 6, 108 

German Presbyterians, 107 
Germans in Bridgeton, 59 
Gibbon tract, 21 
Glassworks, 82 
Gouldtown, 21 
Greenwich, 10, 13, 14 

Hancock's mill, 1 6 
Health of county, 62 

Indians, 6 

Iron manufactures, 54, 79, 82 

Landis township, 86 
Lawyers, 66 
Leesburgh, 74 

Manamuskin, 79 
Maurice River, 72-74 
Methodist societies, 110-117 
Mints, 121 
Millville, 80-85 
Militia, 69-71 
Money, 119 

New England Town, 20 
Newspapers, 56 

Osbom, Rev. Ethan, 100 . 
Oyster grounds, 76 

Paper money, 119, 130 
Paterson, Robert, 57 


Parvin house, 27 
Physicians, 64 
Proprietors of land, 6 
Presbyterians, 95 
Port Elizabeth, 76 
Potter, Col. David, 41, 69 

Railroads, 53 
Roadstown, 16 
Revolution, expense of, 132 
Religious denominations, 90 

Schools, 58 
Schooner landing, 80 
Senators of U. S., 32 


Seieley's mill, 25 
Sheriffs, names of, 34 
Stages and mails, 51 
Surrogates* names, 28 
Swedish settlers, 5 
Sunday schools, 109 

Taxes, amount of, 89 
Tea burning, 14 
Titles of land, 6, 47 

Union mill pond, 81 

Vineland, 86. 

F 142 -CT E4 .»n^^'^ 


'Tei 05 037 285 074 


)0C J/\n^i