GHPCC-Borough of Collingswood
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This is one of the series of caches placed throughout Camden County to bring awareness to historical locations. It has been placed here with the permission of the Mayor of Collingswood.
In 1681 a ship from England landed in what is now Salem, New Jersey where they were met by another group of colonists. The following spring some of the newcomers sailed into the mouth of Newton Creek where they explored and developed the area, which in future generations would become known as Collingswood. The name that the new settlers decided upon was Newton.
For nearly a century the pioneers farmed the land where the peaceful Lenni-Lenape Indians had long existed. Many of the peaceful settlers were Quakers. Late in the 18th century the War for Independence broke out and Newton, like most communities had its share of both Patriots and Tories. Many skirmishes, and a few major battlers were fought not far from the area bordered by Newton Creek and Cooper River.
The birth of America did little to change the way of life of Newton Township. Most residents made their living through agriculture although a slowing forming group of millers, merchants, artisans and professional men began to appear. Much of the early trade and transportation was carried out along the two bodies of water, which bordered the township, but energetic workers began to create a series of roads to enable the residents to travel more extensively. By 1860, a tavern, the Half-Way House, stood on what is now the corner of Haddon and Woodlawn Avenues, on what was then the busy Haddonfield-Camden Turnpike. It was the only known tavern to exist within what are now the confines of Collingswood.
In 1861, the Civil War began. South Jersey in general was not a strong abolitionist area, but Camden County, with its Quaker influence, was more supportive than many of the neighboring areas. Numerous local men answered the call and joined the Union armies. Many battles fought in the great struggle list the names of heroes from Newton Township.
The war ended in 1865 and that year Haddon Township was created – included in this new township is the area now known as Collingswood.
Collingswood became its own entity in 1888 (although in 1911 it was discovered that while the Collingswood chartered in 1888, there was no record of that event in the County Clerk’s office in Camden. The state legislature gracefully solved that dilemma by merely passing an act validating the incorporation as of May 22, 1888).
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