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The History of South Harrison Township, Gloucester County, NJ

Source: History of the Counties of Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of their Prominent Citizens
By: Cushing & Sheperd, 1883
Transcribed by: Helen Coughlin


This is one of the southwest border townships in the county, and the youngest of the thirteen, having been organized in March, 1883.

Geographical and Topographical.-The township is bounded on the east by Clayton township, on the south by Salem County, on the west by Woolwich,and on the north by Harrison township, from which this township was organized.

The surface of the township is gently undulating, sufficiently so for proper drainage, while the soil produces crops equal to that of any other locality in this
or adjoining counties.

The township is watered by the head-waters of the south branch of Raccoon Creek, which forms a part of the north boundary line, and affluents of Oldman's
Creek, which forms the south boundary line of the township.

For early settlers, see Harrison township.

Civil Organization.-Chapter XLVII. of the Laws of New Jersey reads as follows:
"An Act to set off from the township of Harrison, in the county of Gloucester, a new township, to be called South Harrison.

" 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New
Jersey, That all that portion of the township of Harrison, in the county of Gloucester, lying and being within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at a station in the middle of the public road, leading from Mullica Hill to Swedesboro, via Thomas Mounce's residence, where the Woolwich township line intersects said road; thence running a direct line to the centre of the bridge over the south branch of Raccoon Creek, in the commissioners' road; thence in a direct line to the bridge over the north branch of said creek, in the road leading from Harrisonville to Five Points; thence up the said north branch, its several courses, to where it intersects the Glassboro township line; thence along said line to the Clayton township line; thence along the Clayton township line to the boundary line between Salem and Gloucester counties; thence along said boundary line until it intersects the Woolwich township line; thence along the Woolwich township line to the place of beginning, shall be, and hereby is, set off from the township of Harrison, in the county of Gloucester, and made a separate township, to be known by the name of the township of South Harrison.

"2. And be it enacted, That the inhabitants of the township of South Harrison shall be, and are hereby, constituted a body politic and corporate, in law, by the name of 'The Inhabitants of the Township of South Harrison, in the County of Gloucester,' and shall be entitled to all the rights, powers, authority, privileges, and advantages; and shall be subject to all regulations, government, and liabilities that other townships are now entitled to, or subject, by the existing laws of this State.

"3. And be it enacted, That the inhabitants of the township of South Harrison, aforesaid, shall hold their first annual town meeting in the hall at Harrisonville, in said township, at the time now fixed by law for holding town meetings in the several townships of this State.

" 4. And be it enacted, That the township committees of each of the townships of Harrison and South Harrison shall meet at such place in the village of Mullica Hill, in the township of Harrison, as a majority of said committees shall designate, on the first Monday in April next, at ten o'clock A.M., and shall then and there, or as soon thereafter as may be, proceed to allot and divide between the said townships the assets, liabilities, and real estate of the old township of Harrison, in proportion to the taxable property and ratables, as taxed by the assessor at the last assessment; and to ascertain the just proportion of debts to be paid by the inhabitants of each of said townships; and that if any of the committee, on the part of either of said townships, shall neglect or refuse to meet as aforesaid, those assembled may proceed to make said division and to ascertain the said proportion of debt, and the decision of the majority of those present shall be final and conclusive ; provided, that it shall and may be lawful to adjourn the said meeting to such time and place as a majority of those assembled as aforesaid may think proper.

"5. And be it enacted, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed so as to interfere with or impair the commission of the justices of the peace, or commissioners of deeds, until they shall expire by their own limitations; or so as to impair the rights of the said township of South Harrison, in and to its just and legal proportion of the surplus revenue of the general government, and the interest thereof.

" 6. And be it enacted, That the said township of South Harrison shall form a part of the assembly district of the county of Gloucester.

" 7. And be it enacted, That this act shall take effect immediately."
Approved March 2, 1883.

The following is a complete list of the first township officers and appropriations ordered:
Town Clerk, Alfred W. Madara; Assessor, Thomas Borton; Collector, Jon. Wriggins; Chosen Freeholders, Charles String. Stacy W. Hazleton; Township Committee, Asa Eogle, George Horner, Samuel Moors; Surveyors of Highways, Alfred French, Nathan Wilkinson; Overseers of Roads, Samuel S. Madara,Charles Stearns, Robert Crawford; Commissioners of Appeal, Wm. S. Mattson, Chas. Steward, Joseph Horner; Judge of Election, Amos T. Eastlack; Inspectors of Election, Peter K.Eldridge, Henry Moncrief; Justice of the Peace, John W. Bates; Constable (for three years), Samuel R. Devault; Overseer of Poor, Samuel R. Devault; Pound-Keepers, Jos. C. Horner, Patrick Connelly, John B. Porch. Appropriations for roads, $900 ; for poor, $100 ; for incidentals,$300.

[Pages 281-282]

Harrisonville. - This village is located on the southwest border of the township, about four miles from Mullica Hill, and named in honor of General William H. Harrison, the hero of Tippecanoe. The place was formerly called Coletown, and in 1844 assumed the present name, by which it is known at the post-office department.

In 1835 there were only nine dwellings within the present limits of the village. These were the houses of Martha Cole, Samuel Cole, John Howey, William Mounce, Thomas Cole, Susan Pimm, John Fogg, Nathan Gannt, and Israel Kirby. Andrew Knisel, John Davis, John Howey, Isaac Ridgeway, Joseph Cheadle, and George Horner were other old settlers near here.

The grist- and saw-mills were built in 1810 by Thomas Cole, and now owned by Parker D. Lippincott. The pioneer store of the town was kept by John Fogg, and the second store, at what is now Harrisonville, was opened for business. In 1846, by James Saunders, in the building occupied by Halderman & Hazelton. Isaac Lock also had a store on the corner now occupied by Riggin. Lock commenced here, and at different times. The store of Lydia Lippincott, now Lydia Haines, was converted into a dwelling, and is now occupied by Dr. Stanger. The pioneer wheelwright of Harrisonville was Nathan Gannt, who was succeeded by Ann Cole. The business is now carried on at the same place by William Ladow, who is also engaged in the general blacksmithing business.

The pioneer blacksmith at this place was the late Samuel Pimm, who has been succeeded at the old place by William and Samuel Pimm. The pioneer harness-maker in this town was Amos M. Jones; and the present one is Andrew Knisel. __ Mounce was the early shoemaker; but since 1850 or 1851 Lewis Amy has attended to the pedal appendages of his neighbors. The first resident physician at this place was Dr. Miller, now of Paulsboro. Samuel Stanger is the present physician.

The old Cole property in the village is now owned by William Matson, who came here in 1846, and for several years was engaged as a dealer in live-stock and in the butchering business, and now engaged in farming.

There are at present in Harrisonville two general stores, Halderman & Hazelton and Biggins Brothers; three wheelwright- and blacksmith-shops, William Ladow, Amos Eastlack, and the Pimm brothers; Methodist Episcopal Church, and school-house.

Fairview is a small hamlet in the south part of the township, where there is a Methodist Episcopal Church, school-house, cemetery, and half a dozen dwellings. The land-owners at this place are James Lafferty, Jacob Armstrong, Joseph Abbott, Aaron Simpkins, William McGown, William Lafferty, Charles Shugard, Joel Chord, John Osrus, Mary Bates, Wade Mulford, ___ Nelson, and one or two others.

The new school-house at this place was built in 1873 or 1874, and John V. Becket was the first teacher in this school building, and taught here for four or five years. James Lafferty had a store here from 1876 to 1880.

Lincoln - This is a small hamlet in the southeast part of the township, formerly known as Stringtown. Here is a grist- and saw-mill and a few houses. Just when or by whom the mills were built is a mystery, yet in 1828 the grist-mill property was purchased by James Jessup, father of the now venerable Joseph Jessup, of this township. In 1833, Joseph Jessup purchased the saw-mill property and rebuilt the mill, which he still owns. Having subsequently come in possession of the grist-mill, he sold it, in 1853, or 1854, to Paul Avis, the present owner. Mr. Avis has improved the mill by the addition of more runs of stone (four French barns), and increased its capacity for business to five hundred bushels of grain per day, until it is now a first-class mill, manufacturing the highest grade of flour.

In the pioneer days of Stringtown there was considerable business done at this place, but at present there is only the grist-mill, saw-mill, and a blacksmith-shop, with Bartley Stiles as blacksmith.

Saint John's Methodist Episcopal Church. - This society is located at Harrisonville, and is an outgrowth of old Bethel Church, near Hurffville, and was organized into a separate society in 1848, with Samuel Cole as the pioneer leader. Mr. Cole at this time lived where William S. Matson now lives, in the village of Harrisonville. He was one of those old-fashioned Methodists, ever ready to sacrifice time and money for the good of the cause. He did not keep a tavern by any means, but kept what in some sections was known as a "Methodist tavern," where Methodist preachers were always welcome, and not only preachers, but all who wore the old-fashioned imprint of Methodism, -- a straight coat with rolling collar and broad-brim hat. Abraham Gearhart was the preacher in charge at the organization of this society, and Edmund Layton was another leader.

Soon after the class or classes were formed the building of a house of worship seemed to be the next thing necessary to be done, and in 1848 the present church edifice, located in the village of Harrisonville, was built, at a cost of two thousand four hundred dollars. Rev. John K. Shaw, then presiding elder on this district, preached the dedicatory sermon. The building committee were Israel Kirby, John Davis, and Samuel H. Weatherby, who were also elected first trustees.

In 1875 the present parsonage was built. This is a modern frame building, standing on the lot adjoining the church.

Among the preachers who have served this people since the days of Gearhart we are enabled - through the kindness of Mrs. William Matson, to whom we are indebted for all these items - to present the following list: Revs. James Long, Caleb Fleming, James Bryan, Joseph Ashbrook, John T. Fort, David Duffield, Isaac Hugg, Samuel Parker, William Stockton, Joseph Somerell, Edwin Waters, John Warthman, Matthias Shimp, Daniel Harris, and William Abbott, the present preacher in charge.

The present stewards (1882) are Samuel Pimm, Michael Swagart, Thomas Turner, William Pimm, Lippincott Casady, Christopher Harbison; Trustees, William Matson, Amos Eastlack, Joseph Dare, Clarkson Lippincott; Sunday-school Superintendent, Samuel Pimm, with nineteen teachers and an average attendance of eighty-five scholars. Value of church property, five thousand dollars. Membership in 1882 was one hundred and eighty-two.

Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church. - This church is located in the hamlet of Fairview, southeast part of the township. Previous to 1840 or 1842 the meetings were held in private houses, barns, or grove, upon the old Fairview camp-ground. During one of those years, under the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Edwards, the present church building was erected, for the double purpose of church and school, and was jointly occupied till 1873, when the new school-house was built, since which time the Methodists have continued to worship in the old building.

As near as can be ascertained, the pioneer class-leader at this point was Samuel Bates, with the following named persons forming the larger portion of his class: Maschal Bates and wife, Thomas Lacy and wife, Sarah Moore, Hannah Lafferty, Stacy Casady and wife, John Heaton and wife, Wade B. Mulford and wife, Joseph Nelson and wife, James Nelson and wife, Jacob Schatt and wife, Hannah Becket, and Charlotte Molies.

The first trustees of the church property were Wade B. Mulford, John Heaton, and Maschal Bates.

The following are among the preachers who have served this church and congregation, and is probably nearly a correct list: Revs. Noah Edwards, the first preacher in charge, Joseph Atwood, ___ Gearhart, Samuel Hugg, ___ McDougal, Joseph Ashbrook, Joseph Pierson, William Stockton, Matthias Shimp, Levi Herr, __ Waters, Jno. Warthman, D. B. Harris, and William Abbott, the present preacher of this circuit.

The trustees of the church for 1882 were Jacob Armstrong, Abram Morgan, John C. Nelson, Edward P. Roske, and James Nelson. The present steward is James Nelson; local preacher, Rev. John V. Becket; membership, forty; value of church property, five hundred dollars. The Sunday-school connected with this church is under the supervision of John C. Nelson, with an average attendance of forty pupils.


Geographical and Descriptive. - The territory now comprising the township of Washington was taken from Deptford in 1836, and named in honor of "the father of his country." In the formation of Camden County, in 1844, it was set off to that county, and remained a portion of the same until reannexed by act of the Legislature, approved Feb. 20, 1871. In order to more fully define the act we quote the first section:

"Be it enacted, etc., That all that part of the country of Camden, comprising the township of Washington and Monroe (Except that part of the township of Washington included within the boundaries of Camden County al? House farm, which is to remain a part of mid county of Camden, and be annexed and made a part of the township of Gloucester, in mid county), shall be, and the name is hereby, annexed and made a part of the county of Gloucester, and shall be subject to all the laws applying to the mid county of Gloucester; and the residue of the said township of Washington shall hereafter be known as the inhabitants of the township of Washington, in Gloucester County; and the said township of Monroe shall hereafter be known as the inhabitants of the township of Monroe, in the county of Gloucester; and the division line between the townships of Washington and Monroe, on the one hand, and the townships of Gloucester and Winslow, on the other hand, as said townships are hereby constituted, shall be hereafter the boundary lines between the counties of Camden and Gloucester."

(1) By W. H. Shaw.

1 by W. H. Shaw

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