Cumberland County is one of the oldest counties in New Jersey. Established in 1748, it is located in the southern region of the state and has a rich history. In this article, we highlight seven interesting facts about Cumberland County in New Jersey history.
1. Native American History
The land that is now Cumberland County was once inhabited by the indigenous Lenape people. Prior to colonization, the Lenape had established a presence throughout the region, hunting, fishing, and farming the land. Evidence of their presence can still be found in various parts of the county, including the Cohansey Preserve.
2. The First County Seat
Bridgeton, the current county seat of Cumberland County, was not the original seat of the county. In 1748, when Cumberland County was first established, the town of Greenwich served as its initial seat. It wasn't until 1765 that Bridgeton became the county seat.
3. The County's First Courthouse
Bridgeton's first courthouse was built in 1767 and is still standing today. The courthouse was an important site for the American Revolution when it served as the location for the county's first patriotic meeting.
4. Underground Railroad
Cumberland County was a key stop on the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape to freedom from the South to the North in the years before the Civil War. Notable local abolitionists such as William Still and James Still were integral in helping escaped slaves find safe passage to freedom.
Fortescue, located on the Delaware Bay, was once the site of a bustling fishing industry. Many boats from the region would head out into the bay to catch oysters, clams, and other seafood. Today, the town is primarily a summer fishing and vacation destination.
6. The Landis Family
Vineland, located in Cumberland County, was founded by Charles K. Landis in 1861 as a utopian community. The Landis family has played a significant role in the development of the region over the years, with their name appearing on various landmarks, including the Maurice River Bridge.
7. The Pine Barrens
Cumberland County is home to a significant portion of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, a unique ecosystem that covers over one million acres in the southern part of the state. The Pine Barrens were once used as a source of timber and charcoal for the iron industry and later became an inspiration for writer John McPhee's book "The Pine Barrens."
In conclusion, Cumberland County in New Jersey history is a fascinating subject with its rich Native American history, being an essential part of the Underground Railroad, a vital location in the fishing industry, and the famous Pine Barrens for the uniqueness of its ecosystem. These are just some of the interesting facts about the county that highlight its remarkable history and cultural significance.
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