Greenwich, NJ History from
HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS OF THE
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
BY: JOHN W. BARBER and HENRY HOWE
PUBLISHED BY S. TUTTLE (NEW YORK) 1844




The extreme length of this township is 6, with an average breadth of about 3 1/4 miles, and is bounded N. by Stow creek, E. by Hopewell and Cohansey creek, which separates it from Fairfield, S. by Delaware bay, and W. by L. Alloways Creek, Salem co. The township contains 3 stores, 1 grist-m.; cap. in manufac. $15,302; 3 schools, 105 scholars. Pop. 918. The land was pure chased from the Indians about the year 1677, who, judging front the excavations in the earth, still to be seen, and the quantities of stone mortars, axes, and Indian arrow-heads found, must have here had a considerable settlement. This is corroborated by tradition. The first purchasers of the soil were Nicholas and Leonard Gibbon, from England, and the first settlers from New England and Ireland. In the graveyard is, or lately was, a stone with this inscriptin:
“Here lies Deborah Swinney, who died April 4, 1760, aged 77 years She was the first white female child born at Cohansey.” Making the subtraction, it appears she was born in 1683.

Shortly after the first settlement, the town of Greenwich, which is 6 miles SW. of Bridgeton, was laid out. The main street was then made about 2 miles in length, and 100 feet in width, and an Episcopal, a Presbyterian, and a Friends meeting-house erected. The village, which is much scattered on this road, now contains about 100 dwellings. In 1697, fairs were established at Cohansey, as this country was then called, and held semi-annually in April and October; which for many years were much resorted to by traders from Philadelphia. After the formation of Cumberland co., the court was first held at Cohansey, May, 1748, and a log jail erected. “Attorneys’ names appearing, were Daniel Mestayer, Rose, and Hartshorne: the court sat in the meeting-house. Judges, John Brick, Richard Wood, John Remington. Sheriff, Ananias Sayre. Clerk, Elias Cotting.” In December sessions of this year, the court adjourned, and ordered the clerk to make the writs returnable to Cohansey Bridge, now Bridgeton, where the courts since have been held.

Johnson gives the annexed historical sketches of religious societies in Greenwich.

Protestant Episcopal Church at Greenwich.—Two of the emigrants from Gravesend, in England, were brothers, to wit, Nicholas and Leonard Gibbon; they purchased about 6,000 acres of land near to Cohansick, or, as it is now called, Greenwich, which they endeavored to settle by inviting their countrymen to emigrate and locate themselves there. Nicholas, the elder brother, built for himself in the village a good and substantial brick house, which, in those days, was considered elegant for that part of the country in which he resided, until about the year 1740, when he removed to the town of Salem. That house is now, or has been years past, in the possession of the Wood family. Leonard Gibbon, the other brother, built a good and convenient stone house for his residence, on his part of the land, about, perhaps, two miles from Greenwich. Nicholas Gibbon, Samuel Hedge, and Capt. James Gould carried on mercantile business together, as spoken of before, and Gould being located in New York, the exports of the productions of that part of the country were consigned to him. The Gibbons, probably being the most wealthy, and having a greater quantity of land to dispose of than others of the adventurers, erected a neat, comfortable brick church, of the Episcopal order, in the village, for the purpose of accommodating their own and neighbors’ families. When it was finished, they had it consecrated in due form by Rev. Phinehas Bond, a clergyman from New Castle, and John Pearsons, the settled minister of the Episcopal church of Saint John’s in Salem. The consecration of the church took place in the year 1729, and was named Saint Stephen’s. The Gibbons contracted with Mr. Pearson to ofllciate in their church for them as often as be could be spared from his Salem church; but as the tide of emigration set toward that part of Cohansey, so did the religious feelings of the community tend toward the Quake; Baptist, and Presbyterian sects, until, as a distinct body of’ Christians, the Episcopalians in a few years dwindled away.

Baptist Church at Cohansey.—So early as about the year 1683, some Baptists from Tipperary, in Ireland, settled in the neighborhood of Cohanscy. The most prominent persons. were David Sheppard, Thomas Abbott, and William Button. In 1685, Obadiab Holmes and John Cornelius came from Long Island, and settled there. The Rev Thomas Killingsworth officated in that church in 1690. In 1710, Rev. Timothy Brooks emigrated from Swansey, in Massachusetts, and united there. Obadiah Holmes used to preach for the people; both he and Killingsworth were judges in the court of Salem. Killingsworth used to preach occasionally in the house of one Jeremiah Nickson, in Penn’s Neck. He was succeeded by Rev. Timothy Brooke, and be by Rev. William Butcher—then Rev. Nathaniel Jenkins—then Rev. Robert Kolsey, who was from Ireland—and he by Rev. Henry Smally, whose lifo of great usefulness, as a fervent and faithful minister of Jesus Christ, was protracted to this present year, 1839.

Presbyterian Church at Greenwich.—The Presbyterians received a deed of gift for a lot of land from Jeremiah Bacon, to Henry Joice and Thomas Maskell, in trust for the Presbyterian church and congregation, as early as the month of April, 1717; but in consequence of the parsonage house being burnt in 1739, all the books and papers belonging to the pastor and congregation were destroyed. As emigrants flocked into Co. lzanscy from New England, Long Island, Wales, and Ireland, it is very probable that a Prescbyterian society was formed about the year 1700, or earlier. It has been generally believed that a Mr. Black was the first pastor—then the Rev. Ebenezer Gould was installed as pastor, in 1728. The members and contributors to the old brick building which was taken down in 1835, after standing 100 years were—Ebenezer Gould, the pastor,

Josiah Fithian,
William Watson,
Elias Cotting,
Samuel Clark,
Benjamin Dare,
Thomas Ewing,
Abiel Carll,
Thomas Buryman,
Abraham Reeves,
Jonathan Sayre,
Nathaniel Bishop,
Samuel Miller,
John Miller,
Jonathan Holmes
Thomas Waithman,
Matthias Fithian,

Constant Maskell,
Jolm Woolsey,
Ananias Sayre,
Aaron Mulford,
Charles Fordham,
William Perry,
Belbe Sheppard,
Francis Brewster,
James Caruthers,
Thomas Read,
Benjamin Wooten,
John Woodruff,
Noah Miller,
Joseph Moone,
John Pagget,
Harber Peck,

Nehemiah Veal,
Nathaniel Harris,
Francis Julia,
John Shaw,
Philip Vickers,
John Keith,
Unah Bacon,
Robert James,
Stephen Jessup,
Moses Platts,
Samuel Morfelt,
John Fairlaw,
Joseph Simkins,
James M'Knight,
Charles Campbell,

John Alexander,
Ebcnezer Ash Smith,
Nathan Lupton,
James Crawford,
James Robinson,
Nathaniel Moore,
John Tyler,
John Pluiner,
William Tullis,
Elias Davis,
Deborah Keith,
Mercy Maskell,
Samuel Bacon,
Josiah Parvin,
Thomas Pagget.


The Rev. Ebenezer Gou]d continued the pastor of that church from the year 1728 to 1740, when he removed to Long Island. This church was favored by the supplies of the Rev. Samuel Finley, the celebrated preachers George Whitefield, Tennant, and others, during all which times there was a remarkable revival of religion among that people. Whitefeld, in a letter to his Mend, dated Salem, 20th November, 1740, says,-" Yesterday, at Cohansey, the Spirit of the Lord moved over the whole congregation; what reason have we to be thankful for the grcat things that we both see and hear !"

In 1746, the Rev. Andrew Hunter was ordained pastor over the united churches of Greenwich and Deerfield. He continued to serve both those churches until 1760, when he confined his labors to the Greenwich church until his death, which was m July, 1775. And here I must be permitted to mention, that he was an ardent friend to the liberties of America, and, like his friend and coadjutor in that noble cause, the Rev. Samuel Eaken, took an active part both in and out of the pulpit, and upon all suitable. occasions, to arouse the spirit of the people against the oppressive measures of the British government.

Alter the decease of Mr. Hunter, the church relied upon supplies until April, 1782, when the Rev. George Faitoutc was installed pastor. He continued to officiate there until 1790, when lie removed to Jamaica, Long Island, where he became the pastor of that church, and so continued until he died in a good old age.

In 1792, a Presbyterian church was organized in Bridgcton, and a union being agreed upon by the two churches, the Rev. Mr. Clarkson took the oversight of them in 1794, and so continued their paster Until 1801, when he relinquished his ehurge, and settled in Savannah, in Georgia. In 1805, the Rev. Jonathan Freeman became their pastor, and continued until his death, which was in November, 1822. The present incumbent, Rev. Samuel Lawrance, succeeded Mr. Freeman.

Shortly after the destruction of the tea in Boston, the East India tea company determined to try whether they might not, meet with better success in sending a cargo into the Cohansey. Accordingly the brig Greyhound, with a cargo of tea bound to Philadelphia, came up the river and discharged at Greenwich, depositing the tea in the cellar of a house standing in front of the market ground. In the evening of Thursday, Nov. 22d, 1774, it was taken possession of by about 40 men, disguised as Indians, who deliberately conveyed the chests from the cellar, piled them in an adjoining field, and burnt them in one general conflagration.

"The names of these bold and determined patriots," says Johnson, "deserve to be handed down to the latest posterity; and as far as can be recollected I herewith cheerfully record them. First, Dr. Ebenezer Elmer, Richard Howell, afterward a major in the army, and Gov. of New Jersey; David Pierson, Stephen Pierson, Silas Whitecar, Timothy Elmer, Rev. Andrew Hunter, Rev. Philip Tithian, Alexander Moore, jr, Clarence Parvin, John Hunt, James Hunt. Lewis Howell, Henry Stacks, James Ewing, father of the late chief-justice of New Jersey, Dr. Thomas Ewing, father of the present Dr. William Bedford Ewing, Josiah Sceley, and Joel Fithian, Esquires.

"This bold act of these men, (for they were all young fellows,) produced much excitement in the lower counties with such persons who secretly were disposed to favor the British interest. They were loud in their denunciations against these patriots, for what they called 'such wanton waste of property, and that they deserved to be severely handled for it.' The owners of the tea, finding that some commiseration for their loss had been excited among the people in the neighborhood, thought proper to try whether they could not obtain remuneration by having recourse to suits at law. Therefore, previous to the sitting of the supreme court, in April, 1775, Capt. Allen, John Duffield, Stacy Hepburn, and others, brought as many as half a dozen suits for damages against some of the whigs. The advocates for the plaintiffs were Gen. Joseph Reed, of Philadelphia, and Mr. Petitt.

"As soon as this transaction was known, a meeting of the whigs took place, and they Immediately resolved to raise, and did raise, a considerable sum of money to defend their friends in the controversy. Accordingly, they forthwith retained on the side of the whigs, as their counsellors, Joseph Bloomfleld, George Read, of New Castle, Elias Boudinot, of Elizabethtown, and Jonathan Dickinson Sargeant, of Philadelphia, who used to practise in the courts of the lower counties previous to the American revolution. Jo. seph Bloomfield appeared as attorney for the whigs-' On motion of Mr. Sargeant, for Joseph Bloomfield, attorney for the defendants, ordered that the plaintiffs, being non-resident, file security for costs, agreeable to act of assembly, before further proceedings be had in these causes.' Frederick Smyth, the chief-justice, held the oyer and terminer in Cumberland county, next after the burning of the tea, and charged the grand jury on the subject, but they found no bills. He sent them out again, but they still refused to find any bills, for this plain reason-they were whigs. The foreman of that patriotic jury was Daniel Elmer. But as the American contest soon became serious, and hostilities were carried on in different parts of the states, the suits were dropped, and never after renewed."

In the revolutionary contest, the inhabitants of the county upon the shore of Delaware bay were frequently alarmed and sometimes plundered by the refugees. When the British fleet ascended the Delaware to attack Philadelphia, a party of armed men landed and destroyed some cattle upon the salt marsh between the Cohansey and Stow creeks. On the appearance of a few militia they precipitately returned to their ships.

The soil of the township is very fertile, and highly cultivated. The inhabitants are nearly equally divided between Presbyterians, Baptists, and Friends. There are 2 fine libraries. A line of mail stages runs twice a week to Philadelphia; and the communication by water is almost continuous-the Cohansey being one of the best navigable streams in the state, and its mouth, at all seasons, a secure harbor for vessels under 15 feet draught.

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