Burlington County, NJ History
Early Settlement of the County
Source: History of Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey
By: Major E. M. Woodward and John F. Hageman
Transcribed by: Helen Coughlin
Early settlement of the county
In 1675, Fenwick sailed from London in the ship "Griffin," Robert Griffiths, master, with his family
and a company of Friends, and after a pleasant passage landed near the old fort " Elseborg," and named
it Salem. This was the first English ship that entered the Delaware with emigrants, and no others followed for
nearly two years.
Among the purchasers of West Jersey lands were two companies, one of Friends in Yorkshire, the other of Friends
in London. In 1677 commissioners were sent by the proprietors, with power to buy lands of the Indians, to inspect
the rights of such Europeans as claimed property, and to order the lands laid out, and in general to administer
the government. Of the commissioners, those for Yorkshire were Joseph Helmsley, William Emley, Robert Stacy, and
Thomas Foulke; those for London were Daniel Wills, Thomas Ollive, John Penford, and Benjamin Scott. They came in
the " Kent," Gregory Marlow, master, being the second English emigrant ship to enter the Delaware. They
arrived at New Castle 16th 6th month (August, O. S.), 1677. Two hundred and thirty of their passengers lauded near
Raccoon Creek, where the Swedes had a few houses, and in these and in tents and caves the new-comers took temporary
lodgings. The commissioners at once proceeded to Chygoes (Burlington) Island, to settle the terms of purchase with
the Indians. They were accompanied by Israel Holmes, Peter Rambo, and Lacy Cock, Swedish interpreters, and by their
help they bought three tracts from the Assunpink to the Rancocas, from Rancocas to Timber Creek, and from Timber
Creek to Oldman's Creek.
The Yorkshire purchasers chose from the Assunpink to the Rancocas, which was called the first tenth; and the London
chose the second tenth, from Rancocas to Timber Creek. For mutual protection and assistance they agreed to build
a town in company, and the present site of Burlington City was chosen.
Towards the last of October, 1677, some of the some of the heads of families that came in a ship to Wickaco (near
the Old Swedes' Church, Philadelphia) arrived at and settled in the neighborhood of Burlington.
Their names were:
These passengers having arrived late in the fall but few were able to build themselves log houses before the winter
was much spent. During the interim they lived in wigwams built after the manner of the Indians. Indian corn and
venison, traded for with the Indians, was their chief food.
Of the passengers who arrived in the " Willing Mind" we have not the names of those who settled at or
In the same year, 1677, probably in November, the flie-boat "Martha," of Burlington (Yorkshire), arrived
with one hundred and fourteen passengers. Some of the heads of families that settled in the vicinity were
The families of Robert Stacy and Samuel Odas; also Thomas Ellis and John Batts.
Twenty of the passengers, perhaps more, were living forty-five years afterwards.
In December, 1678, the "Shield," from Hull, Daniel Towes, master, arrived at Burlington, being the first
ship that ever came so far up the Delaware. She made fast to a tree, and the next morning landed her passengers
on the ice, so hard had the river suddenly frozen. In her came William Emley, the second time, with his wife, two
children (one born by the way), two men and two women servants.
Mahlon Stacy, his wife, children, and several servants, men and women.
Thomas Lambert, his wife, children, and several men and women servants.
John Lambert and servant.
Thomas Revell, his wife, children, and servants.
Godfrey Hancock, his wife, children, and servants.
Thomas Potts, his wife and children.
John Wood and four children.
Thomas Wood, his wife and children.
Robert Murfin, his wife and two children.
Robert Schooley, his wife and children.
James Pharo, his wife and children.
Susannah Fairnsworth, her children and two servants.
Richard Tattersal, his wife and children.
Barns, a merchant from Hull.
John Heyres, and several more.
The same year, 1678, there also arrived a ship from London, in which came
Jonathan Eldridge, with
About this time, and a few years afterwards, arrived at Burlington the following settlers from England, viz.: