Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

First Quakers in Old Gloucester, New Jersey

By Frank H. Stewart

Thomas Sharp wrote in the Haddonfield Friends Meeting records a short account of the settlement of Newton Township in Old Gloucester by Irish Quakers in 1681.

His narrative has been frequently copied in various histories.

The first settlers were:

William Bates
George Goldsmith
Thomas Thackara
Mark Newby

Thomas Sharp. They arrived at Elsinburg in Salem County, Nov. 19, 1681, from Dublin, Ireland, which they left Sept. 19, 1 68 1. They were entertained by the Thompsons (John and Andrew) of Elsinburg who had left Ireland several years before (1677). After visiting the Thompson families the party went to Salem and used several vacant houses of the first settlers of Fenwick's Colony who had moved to their plantations in the country. A boat was purchased from the Swansons (Swedish people) and a trip was made to Burlington where a warrant for land was obtained from the Surveyor General, Daniel Leeds. After considerable search the party selected Newton and in the beginning of the spring of 1682 the party, with Robert Zane, another Irish Quaker of Salem, removed from there to Newton, where a Meeting was established in the home of Mark Newby who soon became one of the most prominent men of West New Jersey; a little later the house of William Cooper of Pyne Point was also used as a Friends Meeting House.

The Indians proved loving and kind, contrary to expectations. He finishes the sketch with "This narrative I have thought good and requisite to leave behind as having had knowledge of the things from the beginning." We are very much indebted to him.

The first birth recorded was Constantine Wood, son of John and Alice Wood, of Woodbury Creek, born 24th 7 mo, 1683, probably as the entry claims the first child born of English parents about the neighborhood of the creek.

The first marriage recorded was that of John Ladd to Sarah Wood at a public meeting at the house of James Atkinson, 13th 10 mo. 1685.

New Jersey AHGP

Source: First Quakers in Old Gloucester, New Jersey Society of Pennsylvania, Volume 1, Compiled by Frank H. Stewart, 1917


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