Genealogy Trails History Group

Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States

State, Territories, Counties, Cities, Towns & Post Offices


Transcribed by Jeana Gallagher and Sandy Stutzman
for the exclusive use of Genealogy Trails

PT is post town; PV is post village; PO is post office, PB is post borough, CH is court house, T is town

New Jersey

One of the United States, so named after the island of Jersey, on the coast of France, of which Sir George Carteret, to whom New Jersey was conveyed, in 1664, was formerly governor.  It lies between 38°57' and 41°22' north latitude, and 73°58' and 75°29' west longitude from Greenwich, and is bounded north by New York, east by the Hudson river, Staten Island sound, and the Atlantic; southeast by Delaware bay, which separates it from Delaware, and west by Delaware river, which separates if from Pennsylvania.  It has a superficial area of 8,320 square miles.

Physical Aspects-- The state presents a great diversity of surface as well as soil.  The northern portions are mountainous, interspersed with rich valleys, and extensive tracts, well adapted for grazing, and for the plough.  An elevated range, called the "Palisades," commences near Hoboken, and extends along the Hudson for miles, forming a perpendicular wall of stone, which at some points is 500 feet high.  The middle portions are less hilly than the northern, and much of the soil is fertile, and well tilled.  The southern counties are principally composed of a long range of level country commencing near Sandy Hook, and lines the whole coast of the middle states.  Much of this range is sandy, and nearly barren, producing little else than small oaks and yellow pine; in other cases, swamps of white cedar occur.  In the southern section along the Atlantic and Delaware bay, there are extensive marshes, which are monthly inundated by the tides. A Stratum of green sand marl in some places 30 feet thick, underlies the surface throughout the length of this tract, which had been extensively used as fertilizer in reclaiming the land.

Mountains-- In the northwesterly part of the state there are two ranges, subordinate to the Alleganies, one called South mountain, and the other, Blue mountain, or Kittatinny ridge.  The more prominent points of the former are designated by the names of Mosconetcong, Schooley's, Hamburg, Wawayanda and Bear Mountains. The other elevations worthy of note are Mine, Trowbridge, Second and Ramapo mountains. 

Rivers and Bays-- The principal rivers are the Hudson and the Delaware, its eastern and western boundaries; the Raritan, the Passaic (the great falls of which, above Paterson, have a perpendicular descent of 70 feet), Hackensack, Egg Harbor, Great Egg Harbor, Shrewsbury, Toms, Maurice, Delaware and Mosconetong.  The chief bays are the Delaware, Newark, New York, Raritan, Sandy Hook, Barnegat, Little and Great Egg Harbors and Grassy.

Climate-- The climate along the seaboard, and in the valleys of the interior may be regarded as mild, though the former is often rendered disagreeable by ocean winds.  In the mountainous region, at the north, the winters are cold and often severe.  The range of temperature varies from a few degrees below zero to 90° above.  The air is remarkably pure and usually salubrious, except in summer and autumn, near the marshes and streams.

Productive Resources-- The chief products are horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, eggs, butter, shad, oysters, cheese, fruit, cider, wine, flax seed, wax, pitch, tar, resin, turpentine, silk, wool, lumber, hay, wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, oats, potatoes and Indian corn.  Of the mineral and fossil resources of this state, iron and zinc are the most abundant, and their ores are extensively wrought.  An extensive bed of phosphorite, a native phosphate of lime, has been opened in Morris county, which promises to add much to the agricultural wealth of the state.

Manufactures-- The manufactures of New Jersey are numerous, embracing almost every variety of Goods.  Cotton and woolen mills are established in amny parts of the state; silk and lien goods are manufactured to a considerable extent; also machinery, hardware, railroad cars, carriages, fire arms, jewelry, glass, earthen wares, fire brick &c.  There are also extensive tanneries and other manufactories of leather.  Whole villages are employed in boot and shoe making.

Railroads and Canals-- The great lines of railroad between New York and Pennsylvania traverse this state.  Branch roads are also constructed from the central roads to the more important towns; making in the aggregate, about 200 miles of railway in the state.  The Delaware and Raritan, 42 miles, and Morris, 102 miles long, are the most important canals in this state.

Commerce-- The foreign commerce of New Jersey is small, on account of its proximity to New York; its coasting trade, however, is considerable.  The shipping owned within the state amounts to about 80,000 tons.

Education-- The principal literary institutions are, the college of New Jersey at Princeton founded in 1738 and Rutgers college at New Brunswick founded in 1770, to both of which are attached theological seminaries, and to the former a law school; and Burlington college founded in 1846.  There are about 100 academies and 1,500 common schools in New Jersey.

Government-- The legislative power is vested in a senate, elected for three years, one third renewed each year, and a general assembly, chosen annually, on the second Tuesday of October; the executive power in a governor, elected by the people, once in three years, at the general election, and is ineligible for the next term.  The judiciary power is vested in a court of errors and appeals, composed of the chancellor, supreme court, and six other judges; a court for trial of impeachments; a court of chancery; a supreme court of five judges and courts of common pleas.  The chancellor and supreme court judges hold their offices for seven years; the six judges of the court of errors and appeals for six years, on judge vacating his seat each year in rotation; and the judges of the courts of common pleas for five years.  The latter are chosen by the legislature; the others receive their appointment from the governor.  The right of suffrage is vested in every white male citizen, who shall have resided in the state one year and in the county where he votes, five months, paupers, idiots, insane persons, and criminals, excepted.

History-- The territory of the present state of New Jersey was formally included in part in New Swedeland, which lay on the west side of the Delaware, as far up as Trenton falls, and was purchased of the Indians, and settled by the Swedes in 1638.  It also formed a part of the Dutch province of New Netherlands and was included within the jurisdiction of Governor Stuyvesabt in 1655.  The first permanent settlement within the present limits of this state was made at Bergen, in 1623, by the Danes.  In 1664, Charles II of England, having granted to his brother James, the duke of York, the whole territory from Connecticut river to the shores of the Delaware, the latter immediately compelled the Dutch and Swedes to surrender, and took possession of the province, with its subordinate settlements west of the river, except the present state of New Jersey, which he conveyed to Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley, who were already proprietors of Carolina.  In 1673, the Dutch regained all their former possessions, including New Jersey, but relinquished them to the English again in 1674.  After this event, the duke of York obtained a second charter, confirming the former grant and restored to Berkeley and Carteret their former rights.  Berkeley sold his share of the territory, which two years afterward, fell into the hands of William Penn and two other Quakers, and the province was divided into "East Jersey" and "West Jersey."  The former was governed by Carteret and the latter by the Quakers.  In 1682, after the death of Carteret, East Jersey was sold to Penn and eleven other individuals of the same order and faith, who were joined by twelve partners, and were known as the "twenty four proprietors."  The celebrated Robert Barclay was appointed governor for life.  In 1688, the whole province was placed under the jurisdiction of Andreas, who had already become royal governor over New England and New York.  From this time up to 1702, the country remained in a unsettled condition; the people surrendered their power of government to the crown, making New Jersey a royal province, and uniting it to New York.  From this period, up to 1738, the province remained under the jurisdiction of New York, but had a distinct legislative assembly, and a separate government was instituted, which continued in force until the American Revolution.  The state constitution was formed in 1776, and the constitution of the United States adopted in 1787.  Motto of the seal, "Liberty and Independence." 

Population-- in 1790 was 184,139; in 1800 was 211,949; in 1810 was 249,555; in 1820 was 277,575; in 1830 was 320,823; in 1840 was 373,306 and in 1850 was 489,555. Number of slaves in 1790 was 11,423; in 1800 was 12,422; in 1810 was 10,851; in 1820 was 7,657; in 1830 was 2,254; in 1840 was 674 and in 1850 was 222.

1850 Counties of  New Jersey

County Description Area in sq miles Courts held at Pop in 1850
Atlantic southeast part on Atlantic Ocean, water by Great & Little Egg-Harbor rivers 550 May's Landing 8,962
Burlington southern part, between Delaware river & Atlantic ocean 500 Mount Holly 43, 203
Camden western boundary, northeast side of Delaware river blank Camden 25,422
Cape May extreme southeast part, Tuckahoe river on north, Delaware bay on west & Atlantic ocean on east 252 Cape May Court House 6,433
Cumberland southeast boundary on Delaware bay 524 Bridgetown 17,189
Essex north eastern part 241 Newark 73,944
Gloucester south western part, Delaware river on northwest 580 Woodbury 14,655
Hudson eastern part, Hudson river on east 75 Bergen 21,819
Hunterdon western boundary, Delaware river on southwest 345 Flemington 28,981
Mercer western boundary, Delaware river on west 260 Trenton (Capital) 27,986
Middlesex central part 339 New Brunswick 28,624
Monmouth eastern boundary on Atlantic ocean 1030 Freehold 30,238
Morris northern part 500 Morristown 30,139
Ocean east coast on the Atlantic blank Tom's River 10,032
Passaic northeast part, water by Passaic river 180 Paterson 22,575
Salem southwestern corner, Delaware bay & river on southwest & northwest 320 Salem 19,467
Somerset in central part 275 Somerville 19,661
Sussex north part, Delaware river on northwest 415 Newton 22,988
Warren on western boundary, Delaware river on west 350 Belvidere 22,358

Jersey City, NJ

In Hudson Co, NJ, situated upon a peninsula on the west bank of the Hudson, opposite the lower extremity of New York.  In the days of the Revolution it was known as Paulus Hook, and was the scene of several events interwoven in American history.  Upson the neck f the peninsula, a little in advance of Bergen Hill, was quite a strong fortification, which was occupied as a British outpost during a long period of the war.  It was surprised, and its force made prisoners, in July 1779 by Major Henry Lee, and a part of his legion.  Here the Paterson railway, connected with the Erie; the Morris and Essex railway; the Central railway, reaching toward Easton, on the Delaware the New Jersey railway, extending to Trenton, and connecting with routes to Philadelphia; all have a terminus.  Here also, the Morris canal terminates, after pursuing a circuitous route of 100 miles from the Delaware river.  Here the Cunard British Steam Navigation Company have an extensive wharf, from which their magnificent ocean steamers sail for Europe at regular intervals.  Manufactories of various kinds are giving to Jersey City the most active prosperity, and its population like that of all the towns near New York, is rapidly increasing.  Several ferries communicate with New York.

Population: in 1830 about 1,500; in 1840 was 3,072 and in 1850 was 6,856

Newark, NJ

City, seat of justice of Essex Co, NJ, 49 miles northeast of Trenton, is situated on the west side of Passaic river, 3 miles from its entrance into Newark bay, 9 miles west of New York, and 215 miles from Washington.  It has a pleasant location on level ground, somewhat elevated above the river.  The streets are broad and straight, lighted with gas, and supplied through iron pipes with pure water from a neighboring spring.  Two spacious public parks, shaded by lofty trees, add much to the beauty of the place.  The houses are generally of wood or brick, the former white and neat, the latter substantial and elegant.  Toward the west, the elevated ground affords a commanding site for residences; and the courthouse, which is a large structure of brown freestone, in the Egyptian style of architecture.  The materials for this, were wrought from the neighboring quarries, which furnish large quantities of material for buildings in New York and elsewhere.  The New Jersey railroad, connecting New York with Newark, Trenton and Philadelphia, here enters a splendid depot, which is one of the most prominent buildings in the city.  The Morris and Essex railroad also terminates here.  Newark has also a number of churches, of which some are elegant and beautiful; also several banks, literary institutions, and libraries.  In proportion to its population, few cities are more extensively engaged in manufactures.  Whalebone, oil, carriages, varnish, leather, shoes, candles, soap, harness, machinery, castings, zinc, paint and glass, are among the articles most largely produced.

Steamboats ply several times a day to New York; and the Morris canal, traversing the fruitful country from which it is named, has contributed much to the trade and prosperity of the place.

The Population in 1810 was 5,000 (in whole township, 8,008); in 1820 was 6,507; in 1830 was 10,953; in 1840 was 17,2090 and in 1850 was 38,893.


A city, seat of justice of Passaic Co, NJ, situated on both sides of the Passaic river, 17 miles northwest of New York.  It owes its existence and prosperity to the great water power furnished by the Passaic.  A large number of cotton factories, as well as other establishments for making machinery, firearms and paper, are here in successful operation.  The genius of Alexander Hamilton first perceived these natural advantages, and devised the means for their application.  Difficulties at first prevented the success of his plans, but time has proved their practicability and sagacity.  The beauty of Passaic falls, which are near this place, is not less admirable than their utility.  Hither many resort in the summer, to enjoy the picturesque scenery and healthful air.

Paterson contains several churches and institutions for improvement in knowledge.  The Morris canal passes near the south part of the city; the Paterson railroad connects it with Jersey City and New York, and the Ramapo and Paterson railroad communicates with the Erie railroad at Ramapo.

The population in 1810 was 292; in 1820 was 1,578; in 1830 was 7,731; in 1840 was 7,596 and in 1850 was 11,138.

Trenton, NJ

Seat of justice or Mercer Co, and capital of the state of New Jersey, situated on the east side of Delaware river, at the head of sloop navigation, 30 miles northeast of Philadelphia, 60 miles southwest of New York and 166 miles from Washington.  The city is pleasantly located on ground somewhat uneven, the streets regular, and many of the buildings are elegant and substantial.  The statehouse, built of stone, and covered with stucco, in imitation of granite, is finely situated, and commands a delightful prospect of the Delaware and surrounding country.  Above the city, the river descends by rapids, or falls; and at the foot of this descent it is spanned by a fine bridge, 1,100 feet long, with five arches, supported by stone piers.  One side of this bridge is appropriated to the railroad from New York to Philadelphia.  At Trenton, the Delaware and Raritan canal meets a feeder, which enters the river 23 miles above the city. The falls afford an extensive water power for manufacturing purposes, which has been increased by means of a dam across the river, and a raceway along its bank.  Trenton is united to New Brunswick and New York by the New Jersey railroad, and by the Philadelphia and Trenton railroad, with the metropolis of Pennsylvania.

The population in 1810 was 3,003; in 1820 was 3,942; in 1830 was 3,925 (township); in 1840 was 4,035 and in 1850 was 6,466. 

Back to Index Page of 1850 Gazetteer

Genealogy Trails History Group
©Genealogy Trails