Salem County, NJ


SALEM COUNTY, the southwestern county of the state, is hounded W. and S. by the Delaware river and bay, (the former merging into the bay a few miles from the southern termination of the county,) N. by Gloucester co., and E. and S. by Cumberland Co. Its extreme lenght. N. and S., is 28 m.; breadth, E. and W., 25 m. The county was named by John Fenwick, and distinguished as his tenth, in 1675. The name and jurisdiction were settled by a proprietary law in 1694. In 1700-10, the boundaries were definitely fixed, and then included Cumberland co. within the limits; and in 1748, this latter county was formed from it. The prominent streams are Salem river. Alloways creek, Stow creek, on the line of Cumberland co., and Oldman's creek, on that of Gloucester co. Salem river rises in the eastern part of the county, and empties into the Delaware river 3½ miles below Salem. It is navigable for shallops about 30 miles, and vessels of 100 tons come up as far as Salem. The county is of alluvial formation, and generally level; the soil, mostly light sand, occasionally mixed with clay or loam. That part bordering on the Delaware, is principally marshy land, strips of which extend many miles up the country, on the borders of Stow and Alloways creeks, and Salem river. The prevailing religious denomination in the county is the Friends; the Methodists and Baptists rank next in numbers. The trade of the county consists of wheat, rye. Indian corn, oats, and vegetables, for the Philadelphia market; lumber, wood, clover, timothy, and particularly herdgrass seed, large quantities of which are exported to New Englaud. The following is a list of the townships, which are nine in number :-

Upper Alloways Creek,



Lower Alloways Creek,

Upper Penn's Neck,



Lower Penn's Neck,


In 1810, the population of the county was 12,761; in 1820, 14,022; in 1830, 14,155; in 1840, 16,035.


This is the smallest township in the county, being but 7 m. long, and 3 m. wide. It is bounded N. by Salem and Lower Penn's Neck, S. and E. by Lower Alloway's Creek, and W. by the Delaware. It has 2 schools, 85 scholars. Pop. 526.

A fort was anciently erected by the Swedish governor, Printz, at Fort Point, on the eastern bank of Salem river, near its mouth, somewhere between the years 1642 and 1652. This fortress was called by them Helsingborg, from which the name of the township is derived. The Indian name of the place was Wootsessungsing. The fortification commanded the Delaware, and enabled the Swedes to compel the Dutch to strike the flag from the masts of their vessels. It became untenable, from the great multitude of musquitoes, and was nicknamed Myggenborg, or Musquito Fort.

Col. Mawhood, the British commander, after his failure of intimidating the militia of this county, in March, 1778, and chagrined by his want of success, sent a party of soldiers from Salem on an excursion into this township. They went to the farm of Col. Holmes, about 4 miles from Salem, drove his wife and family out of doors, pillaged his property, and set his dwelling on fire. This gentleman was a strong and influential whig, and so dreaded by the enemy, that Lord Howe offered £100 for him, dead or alive.


Marrnington was originally named East Fenwick, and afterward changed to its present appellation, from the Indian word Maneto. it has an average length of about 8 m., and an average width of 5 m. It is bounded N. by Upper Penn's Neck and Pilesgrove, S. by Salem, S. and E. by Upper Alloways Creek, and W. by Lower Penn's Neck. In Mannington is an excellent nursery of fruit, belonging to Samuel Reeve, Esq., which contains about 20,000 fruit trees, of every variety. The township is one of the most fertile in this part of the state. It has 7 schools, 169 scholars. Pop. 2,064.

Mannington Hill is situated on a slight elevation in the central part of the township, and contains 6 or 8 dwellings. During the American revolution, a small party of the enemy, at night, broke into a house occupied by a Mr. Ambler in this village. The family consisted of the old gentleman and wife, and two girls. The party on entering, threatened to murder them if they lifted their heads from under the bed-clothing. After rifling the rooms of the valaables, they decamped. This dwelling has been rebuilt, and is now occupied by Mr. Joseph Shepard.


This is the northernmost township of the county. Its extreme length is about 9 m., with a width of 7 m. it is bounded NW. by the Delaware river, NE. by Woolwich, Gloucester co., S. by Mannington and Lower Penn's Neck, and SE. by Pilesgrove. The soil is light, and produces large quantities of vegetables for the Philadelphia market, which is the main source of the wealth of the township. It has 5 schools, 95 scholars. Pop. 1,854.

Pedrictown, on Oldman's creek, 3 miles in a direct line from the Delaware river, has about 50 dwellings, a Friends meeting-house, and near it a Methodist church. Sculltown, originally named Lockerton, from a Mr. Lock, is at the head of navigation on Oldman's creek, 18 miles from its mouth, and on the line of Gloucester co. It contains 2 stores, about 40 dwellings, and a Methodist church. It is a thriving village, and large quantities of lumber and grain are exported. Penn's Grove, a landing on the Delaware for steamers, is a flourishing village which has sprung into existence within a few years; it contains about 25 dwellings.


This township derived its name from James Piles, anciently a large landholder here. It is 8 miles long, 5 broad, and is bounded NE. by Woolwich, Gloucester co.; SW. by Mannington, and Upper Alloways creek; SE. by Pittsgrove, and NW. by Upper Penn's Neck. The surface is level, and soil clay and loam, and productive in wheat, rye, oats, and corn. Pop. in 1830, 2,150; in 1840, 2,477.

Woodstown derives its name from Jackanias Wood, an early settler. It is on the north bank of Salem river, 9 miles NE. of Salem. It contains about 100 dwellings, 6 stores, Friends meeting-houses, 1 Baptist, 1 Methodist, and 1 African Methodist church. The lands in this region have been much improved within the last 12 years by the use of marl, which abounds here. In the marl-pits, near the village, sharks' teeth and the bones of the fossil crocodile are found. The public building shown on the left of the engraving is the Friends' meeting-house, a substantial brick edifice. The large tree in the road, fronting the dwelling beyond, now going to decay, was standing in the American revolution. According to tradition, a party of British soldiers once stacked their arms against its trunk. The township was principally settled by Friends. In 1726 a meeting was established at Woodstown by David Davis, and others. Sharptown, on Salem river, 2½ miles west of Woodstown, has a Methodist church and about 50 dwellings. Eldridge's Hill, 1 mile NE. of Woodstown, contains a few dwellings.


This township was formed from Pilesgrove, and named after Sir William Pitt. It is 12 miles long, 6½ broad; and is bounded N. by Franklin and Woolwich, (Gloucester co.,) S. by Deerfield, (Cumberland co.,) and U. Alloway's creek, E. by Millville, (Cumberland co..) and N. by Pilesgrove. It is centrally distant from Salem 16 miles. Large quantities of sumach-leaves are annually gathered in this township, dried, pulverized, and sent to market. Land formerly considered nearly valueless, and thrown out in common, has become, within the last few years, among the best, by the use of marl of an excellent quality. There are in the township 6 stores, 1 woollen fac., 5 grist-m., 3 saw-m.; 7 schools, 270 scholars. Pop. 2.390.

Pittstown, Centreville, and Daretown are small villages in this township. The Presbyterian church was the first established in the township. "It was organized 30th of April, 1741. Their pastor was the Rev. David Evans, a native of Wales. The covenant was signed by the following members, believed to have been heads of families:

Isaac Vanmeter,

Francis Tully,

Richard Sparks,

Henry Vanmeter,

Jeremiah Garrison,

John Craig,

Cornelius Newkirk,

Eleazer Smith,

William Miller,

Abraham Newkirk,

William Alderman,

Peter Haws,

Barnet Dubois,

Hugh Moore,

James Dunlap,

Lewis Dubois,

John Rose,

Jacob Dubois, jr.

Nathaniel Tarbel,

Simon Sparks,

Joshua Garrison,

Garrell Dubois,

Thomas Sparks,

Joast Miller.

John Miller,



The successors to the Rev. David Evans were Neherniah Garrison, William Schenck, ---- Glassbrook, Isaac Foster, ---- Laycock, ---- Carll, ---- Clark, Geo. W. Janvier." A Baptist church "was founded about the year 1743, by several families, who emigrated from New England: such were the Reeds, Elwells, Cheesemans, Paullins, and Wallaces. The Rev. Mr. Kelsey took the oversight of the congregation. After Mr. Kelsey left, Mr. Sutton, and other ministers, afforded occasional supplies. Rev. William Worth then took the charge, and the congregation increased considerably under his ministration, until he became deeply engaged in land speculations, in the back country; and, the opinion becoming current that he had become tinctured with Universalism, the congregation dwindled away almost to nothing. The constituents were John Mayhew, Esq., Jacob Elwell, John Dickinson, Cornelius Austin, Samuel Brick, and their families."

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