Lower Penn's Neck Township, NJ


This township is 8 miles long, with an average width of 3½ miles. It is bounded N. by Upper Penn's Neck; E. and S. by Salem river, which divides it from Mannington, Salem, and Elsinborough; and S. and W. by the Delaware river. Large quantities of vegetables are raised for the Philadelphia market. The soil is rich, and on the margin of the Delaware and Salem rivers are large strips of meadow. On the bank of the Delaware, 7 miles NE. of Salem, is a small settlement called Kinseyville, where there is a ferry to New Castle, two miles distant, on the opposite side of the river. It has 5 schools, 185 scholars. Pop. 1,219. Fort Delaware is an island opposite this township, which was formed by the sinking of a New England vessel on a sand-bar.

The Swedes built a fort at Finn's Point in this township. Fenwick, among other unexecuted projects, conceived the plan of laying out a town at this spot, to be called "Finnstown Point." Lasse Hendricks, Stephen Yearnans, Matthias Spackleson, and Erick Yearnans were Swedes, at that time living there, from whom Fenwick purchased 1,000 acres, called Pumpians Hook, opposite Delaware. Erick Yearnans he appointed bailiff over the bailiwick of West Fenwick, now Penn's Neck. Another town was to have been laid out at the cove, in Upper Penn's Neck, to have been named "Bout-town Finns."

The Episcopal church in this township was originally a Swedish church of the Lutheran order. Abraham Lidenius was appointed the first pastor over this church in 1714. He returned to Sweden in 1724, and two years after Petrus Tranberg and Andreas Windrufwa, in 1726, divided their services between this church and Raccoon, now Swedesboro. Two years later Windrufwa died, and Tranberg officiated alone until his death, in 1748. The same year John Sandin succeeded, and died in a few months. He. was succeeded by John Lidenius, the son of the first pastor. In 1759 Andreas Borell was sent from Sweden as Provost of the American Swedish churches. John Wickssell officiated from 1763 to about 1764 when he returned to Sweaden. His successor, the venerable Nicholas Collin, D. D., was the last of the Swedish ministers, and officiated until about the close of the American revolution. He was succeeded by Samuel Grey, and he by the Rev. Mr. Higby. in 1789, under the Rev. John Wade, a vestry was chosen, and the church organized as a Protestant Episcopal church. In 1808 the present substantial brick church was erected in place of a wooden one fast decaying.

Like the Swedish churches in Amcrica, this mission was supported by the Swedish king, and a glebe attached to each station. The glebe attached to this church was a farm in Piles Grove. The following is a list of the Swedes dwelling in Penn's Neck previous to 1680, who, it is supposed, belonged to this church: Erickson Tearneans, two brothers Hendricks, Spackleson, Nielson, Giljeansonn, Cornelius, Pederson, Oulson, Senexson, Picters, Jacquette, Wooleyson, Barkleson, Jacobson.

The Presbyterian church of Penn's Neck was founded about 1748. In - 1778 the Rev. Samuel Eakin, the first minister of whom we have any record, took charge. The families composing the congregation were the Nevils, Philpots, Lippincotts, Lambsons, Dunns, Wrights, Stanleys, Burdens, Healys, Congletons, and others.

Eakin continued until the close of the American revolution. They were then occasionally supplied until the Rev. Nathaniel Harris took the oversight in 1797, who continued until he removed to Trenton in 1800. He was succeeded by the Rev. David Edwards, who remained until 1805. Since then the meeting-house has gone to decay. There is a Methodist church in the township.

The Rev. Samuel Eakin, the pastor of the Presbyterian church in the American revolution, was an extraordinary man, and considered scarcely inferior to the celebrated Whitefleld. lie was a strong whig, and the idol of the soldiers. Wherever there were military trailings, or an order issued for the soldiers to march, he was, if in his power, always there to address them, and by his eloquence would excite their emotions of patriotism to the highest Pitch.

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