Source: J.D. Scott, 1876
[The following Cinnaminson Township history is presented with original spelling throughout. There are factual errors in the material that will be addressed in a future post]
By William Parry
Cinnaminson Township, about which I was appointed to report, is of recent date, being set off from the township of Chester, in the county of Burlington, N. J., by an act of the Legislature, passed March 15th, 1860, by a line extending from Rudderow’s Bridge over the south branch of Pennsaukin creek, to the bridge over Hackney’s Run, near the Rancocas creek, by which it is bounded on the east, and by the Delaware river on the north, and the Pennsaukin creek on the west, and is drained by two other streams on which there are several mills for the manufacture of flour and lumber, running northward to the Delaware river on the north, and the Pennsaukin creek on the west, and is drained by two other streams (the most easterly one is called Swedes’ Run and the more westerly, Pompession stream), on which there are several mills for the manufacture of flour and lumber, running northward to the Delaware river at convenient distances from each other and the creeks, so that all parts of the township are well supplied with streams, and a gently undulating surface between them to carry off the water.
Being about three miles in width and over five in length upon the river front, contains about ten thousand acres of land, mostly sandy, early and very productive. It is well adapted to raising grain, vegetables and choice fruits, and immense quantities are grown here for the Philadelphia and New York markets, carried on sloops, steamboats and turnpikes; and the Camden and Amboy Railroad, connecting the two greatest cities in the Union, passes through the whole length of this township, rendering unusual facilities to the inhabitants, whose number now exceeds three thousand. There are several towns of considerable importance, such as Westfield, Riverton, Bridgeborough, Progress, Palmyra, and Pennsville. There are four post offices, churches, stores and mechanics of all kinds, amply sufficient to supply the requirements of the neighborhood.
Lying and situate in the river and between the two creeks, there are twelve miles of navigable tide water front, on which there are numerous wharves for the landing of heavy articles, such as coal, lumber, lime, manure and other fertilizers, affording excellent accommodations to the farmers and fruit growers, who do not fail to embrace the opportunities within their reach, as will appear from the report of some of their crops. The premium crop of corn yielded one hundred and three bushels per acre, and forty bushels of wheat per acre have been grown.
The soil and climate are admirably adapted to the growth of fruits. Sixty acres of peaches have been grown on a single farm. Apples, pears and cherries flourish finely, and even small fruits are very profitable. Within the last five years there have been grown in this township over ten thousand bushels of strawberries, three thousand bushels of raspberries, and five thousand bushels of cultivated blackberries, making in all eighteen thousand one hundred and fifty-four bushels of those three berries, which brought for the growers thereof $95,043 as the reward for their labor.
For the earlier history we must refer to the township of Chester, from which Cinnaminson was taken, as before stated. The river front of this township was formerly called Cinnaminson, the Indian name for sweet water, there being many sugar maple trees growing there to tap, which the Indians came from the interior of the State, in early spring, to draw the sap, Cinnaminson or sweet water, and carry it home to mix with their food.
About thirty years since when the post office was established at the village of Westfield, there being an office of that name in East Jersey, it became necessary, according to the good regulations of the post office department, to adopt some name not used for the same purpose in any other part of the State, and Cinnaminson being free from that objection was agreed upon, and thus the ancient title to the shore will be perpetuated through the post office and township to future generations. The name of Westfield being taken from the location of the first school built there by the Society of Friends, in Thomas Lippincott’s West Field, at which there were ample provisions made for the education of the youth; not only the children of Friends, but colored children, and others of the neighborhood freely partook of learning to qualify them for business, long before the establishment of a public school system by the State. Some of the first settlers located on and between the two branches of Pennsaukin creek, which forms the south-west boundary of Chester and Cinnaminson township.
William Matlack, the ancestor of the principal families of that name now residing here, came from Nottinghamshire, in Great Britain, in the ship Kent, Captain Gregory Marlow, with Thomas Olive and Daniel Wills, which ship came to Sandy Hook near Perth Amboy, and thence to Chester, on the Delaware river, the 16th of 6th mo., 1677, where the people left the ship and went up the river in small boats to the place where Burlington was afterwards built, then called Chygoe’s Island, from an Indian Sachem who lived there. The town of Burlington being laid out the following autumn by a surveyor named Richard Noble, who came over two years previous in the ship Griffith, from London, and landed at Salem in 1675, being the first English ship that came to West Jersey. He was employed by two companies called respectively the Yorkshire and London Companies, in honor of the places from whence they came, who having agreed to settle near each other and unite their strength in building a town, had Main street run as now opened from the river. The Yorkshire Company having their lots run off on the east and the London Company taking theirs on the west of said Main street. Hence the names of the two bridges on either side of Burlington, viz: Yorkshire and London Bridges.
William Matlack was the first man of the company that put his foot on the said island. He served four years with Thomas Olive, and being a carpenter, helped to build two of the first frame houses in Burlington, one for John Woolston, and the other for Thomas Gardener, which were finished in the summer of 1768, and in which Friends held their religious meetings, until after the decease of Thomas Gardener’s widow, when they built a brick meeting house.
He also assisted Thomas Olive to build his water mill on his plantation in Willingboro, near Rancocas river, which was finished in 1680, being the first water mill that ground corn for the new settlers.
He married Mary Hancock, in the sixteenth year of her age. She came from Brayles, in Warwickshire, in old England, in the ship “Paradise,” Captain Evele, on the 7th of March, 1681. Her brother, Timothy Hancock, came with her and paid the passage money, so she came in free.
On the 14th of November, 1682, William Matlack located one hundred acres; Timothy Hancock located one hundred acres; John Roberts located two hundred and eighty-seven acres, in the second tenth, now Burlington county, adjoining each other, and between parallel lines extending from the North to the South branch of Cimissick (alias Penisaukin creek,) which name is derived from the Indian town or settlement located thereon, called Penisauken. The boundaries of one of these tracts as taken from Revell’s Book of Surveys may illustrate the manner of locating lands:
“Surveyed then for John Roberts one tract of land lying at an Indian town called Penisaukin, between two branches of Cimissick creek, beginning at a black oak for a corner at the more North branch; and runs thence south-west ninety-eight chains to a red oak marked for a corner at the more south branch; to a white oak for a corner; thence north-east ninety chains to the said north branch to a white oak for a fourth corner; so down the said creek to the corner first aforesaid. Surveyed for two hundred and eighty-seven acres.”
Timothy Hancock’s one hundred acres being eleven chains in width was located next above John Roberts; and William Matlack’s one hundred acres of the same width, was located next above Timothy Hancock’s land.
William Clark in 1684 took up one hundred acres between the two branches of said Penisaukin creek, lying on the lower side of John Roberts’ track. Much care was observed by the early settlers to maintain friendly relations with the Indians. John Roberts, Timothy Hancock, William Matlack and others, the first who settled at Penisauken, apprehended it would be advantageous to them and their families to have the friendship and good liking of the Indian natives, who were at this time many, and they were but few, took care to purchase from them by deed, that good understanding being as follows:
“Know all people, that I, Tallaca, have had and received from John Roberts, with the consent of the neighborhood at Pensaukin, one match coat, one little runlet of rum, and two bottles of rum. In consideration whereof I, the said Tallaca, do hereby grant, bargain and sell unto the said John Roberts, Timothy Hancock and William Matlack, all those plantations at Penisauken, promising forever to defend the said John Roberts &c., from other Indians laying any claim thereto. In witness whereof I, the said Tallaca have hereunto set my hand and seal, the twelfth day of April, 1684.
Witness, TALLACA [Seal.]
Some of the old Indian deeds are still preserved, and are quite interesting to look over, showing how rude and simple an instrument was sufficient to bind both parties before they became educated to the tricks of the trade.
The following notice of the early settlement of Burlington by the English, written by Mary Smith, a Friend, who arrived with the primitive colonists when she was only four years of age, may not be out of place here, viz:
“Robert Miflin and Ann Miflin, his wife, living in Nottinghamshire, England, had one daughter born there 2d mo. 4th, 1674, named Mary Miflin, the writer of this account, who married the first Daniel Smith of Burlington,) after that they had a son called Robert. Some time after it came into their minds to move themselves and family into West Jersey in America, and in order thereto they went to Hull, and provided provisions suitable for their necessary occasions, such as flour, (fine,) butter, cheese, with other suitable commodities in good store.—Then took their passage in the good ship the Shields, of Stockton, with Mahlon Stacy, Thomas Lambert, and many more families of good repute and worth. And in the voyage there were two died and two born; so that they landed as many as they took on board.
And after about sixteen weeks sailing or on board, they arrived at Burlington in the year 1678, this being the first ship that was ever known to come so high up the Delaware river. The ship Griffith, which arrived in 1675, having stopped at Salem, and the English that came in the ship Kent, in 1677, landed lower down the river at Chester, and were gotten up in small vessels to Burlington before us, and were so consented to by the Indians.
“Then they landed and made some such dwellings as they could for the present time; some in caves, and others in palisade houses secured. The Indians were very numerous, but very civil, for the most part; brought corn and venison, and sold the English for such things as they needed, so that the said English had some new supply to help their old stock, which may well be attributed to the good hand of Providence, so to preserve and provide in such a wilderness.
“The first comers with the others that came near that time, made an agreement with the Indians for their land, being after this manner: From the river to such and such creeks; and was to be paid for in goods after this manner: “Say so many match coats, guns, hatchets, hoes, kettles, two full boxes, with other materials, all in number as agreed upon by both Indians and English.” When these goods were gotten from England, and the Indians paid, then the above mentioned people surrendered some part of the land to settle themselves near the river, for they did not dare to go far from it at first.
I must not forget that these valiant subjects both to God and their king, did buy their land in old England before they entered upon this agreement, and after all this, did submit themselves to mean living, taking it with thankfulness, mean and coarse; as pounding Indian corn one day for the next day; for there was no mill except some few steed mills, and we thought so well of this kind of hard living, that I never heard them say, “I would I had never come,” which is worth observing, considering how plentifully they lived in England. It seems no other than the hand of God, so to send them to prepare a place for the future generations. I wish they that come after, may consider these things, and not be like the children of Israel after they were settled in the land of Canaan, forgetting the God of their fathers, and following their own vanities, and bring displeasure instead of the blessing of God upon themselves, which fall and loss will be very great on all such.
Now, to return to Robert Miflin, and his wife, after they came into this land; they had one son called John Miflin, and in the year 1681, they had another called William Miflin, and in the year 1684 they had a daughter called Johannah Miflin; Robert Miflin and John Miflin died young. It may be observed how God’s providence made room for us in a wonderful manner in taking away the Indians. “There came a distemper, (this was the small-pox, brought among them by the colonists, which, from the manner of treatment, by sweating and then plunging into cold water, was very fatal,) amongst them so mortal, that they could not bury all the dead. Others went away leaving their towns. It was said that an old Indian King spoke prophetically before his death, and said, ‘The English should increase, and the Indians decrease.’”
Thomas Wallis in 1695 located 250 acres of land, including his former settlement on the north side of the north branch of Penisauken creek, adjoining lands of Thomas French, Josiah Applegate, Thomas Hooten and John Adams, on the 10th of April, 1697, in company with others purchased the Canoe swamp. On the 9th of December, 1702, a town meeting was held at his dwelling-house, and occasionally for several years thereafter; he being frequently elected to fill important positions in the township. By his will he devised three several tracts of land to his wife, Ann Wallis, during her life-time, and three to go to his brother, Robert Wallis; said land was afterwards resurveyed to said Robert Wallis’ two daughters, Margery Webb and Esther Banks, who sold and conveyed it to Thomas Cowperthwaite, for £270. Thomas Wallis was one of the trustees named for half an acre an acre of ground set apart for a burying place, Penisauken, in the township of Chester, dated 30th of 9th mo.,(Nov.,) 1692. Said burying place is now within the bounds of William Haines’ farm, on the north branch of Penisaukin Creek, a little above the Moorestown and Camden turnpike road, and in 1824 the inscription on a tombstone was visible, as follows:
“Who are’t thou that passeth by,
Look on this place see how we lie!
And for thy soul be sure care take,
For when death comes ’twill be too late.”
Also, on the other side, “for the memory of Thomas Wallis, who died wealthy, 1705.”
And on another stone, “T. W., 1705;” said stones having been used for building purposes, but little trace of the old burying ground can now be found.
Philip Wallis, the great, great grand-father of John Wallace, Senior, now living near Cinnaminson, came from England, and does not appear to be connected with Thomas Wallis, of whom mention has been made. Philip Wallis was born in 1666, purchased land of Judiah Adams and Charles Steelman, on the northeast side side of Pensaukin creek, near the river Delaware, built and dwelt thereon, and left it to his children, a portion of which is still held and occupied by said John Wallace, Sr., who was the son of Thomas Wallace, deceased in 1832.
Thomas Wallace was the son of John Wallace, who was the son of the aforesaid Philip Wallis, who died 2 mo., 20th, 1746, some years before the erection of St. Mary’s church at Colestown, in 1751, at which place his remains now rest; where they were first interred does not appear by the record.
Freedom Lippincott located several tracts of land in Penisauken creek, married Mary Wills, and lived at the ferry on Ancocas creek where the public highway was marked out in 1682-3 from Burlington to Salem, and had the following named children: Samuel, Thomas, (who married Mary Haines,) Judith, (who married Joseph Stokes,) Mary, and Freedom.
Thomas Lippincott, the second son of Freedom Lippincott and Mary Lippincott, purchased by deed, dated 8th mo., 24th, 1711, of Thomas Stevenson, a tract of land in the present township of Cinnaminson, beginning on the northeast side of Penisauken Creek, a little above the forks, now called Ford Landing, and corner to Robert Stiles’ land; thence by the same north sixty-eight degrees, east seventy-eight chains; thence north, north-west by the head lines of the farms fronting on the said Penisauken Creek, seventy-four chains to the head line of the Cinnaminson farms, fronting on the Delaware river ; thence along said line, north sixty-eight degrees, east sixty-eight chains to Swedes’ Run, or Pompession Creek, (which last line I have had occasion to run this winter and find the course now bears north sixty-five degrees, thirty minutes east;) thence up Pompession Creek the several courses thereof to the corner to the corner of Joseph Stokes’ land; thence leaving said stream and running by several lines, the general course of which is a southwesterly direction to the aforesaid Penisauken Creek ; thence down the several courses thereof, to the place of beginning; containing ten hundred and thirty-four acres, besides the usual allowance for highways, extending from Penisauken Creek to Pompession Run aforesaid.
The said Thomas Lippincott was married to Mary Haines, daughter of John and Esther Haines, of Evesham Township, 9th mo., 1711, and settled on the said tract of land where were born to them Nathaniel, 5th mo., 2d, 1713, married Mary Engle; Isaac, married Hannah Engle; Thomas, married Rebecca Eldridge; Abigail, married Thomas Wallis; Esther, married John Roberts. The said Thomas Lippincott was a useful man, and repeatedly elected to fill important offices in the township, in the years 1715, ’17, ’22, ’25, ’26, ’39, and ’43. Died 5th mo. 9th, 1757.
Nathaniel Lippincott, eldest son of Thomas and Mary Lippincott, married 4th mo., 1736, Mary Engle, daughter of John and Mary Engle, and removed to settle in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, and had several children, John, Caleb, Seth, Grace, and others.
John Lippincott, eldest son of Nathaniel and Mary, married Anna Matlack, daughter of John and Hannah Matlack, and settled at the dwelling place of his grandfather, Thomas Lippincott, first mentioned in the aforesaid ten hundred and thirty-four acre tract, and had children as follows: Abigail, who died young; Thomas, born 14th of 11th mo., 1756; John, Barzillai, and Aquilla.
Thomas Lippincott, eldest son of John and Anna, married 14th of 2d mo., 1782, Lydia Burr, daughter of Joseph and Rachel Burr, and settled on a part of the ten hundred and thirty-four acre tract, devised to him by his father’s will, and had children as follows: Anna, married Henry Warrington; Joseph Burr, married Hepzabah Roberts; Seth, married Miriam Williams; John, married Sarah Starr; Marmaduke and Charles.
The grand children of Seth Lippincott, still hold the farm on which he formerly resided, being a part of the aforesaid tract, the balance having been disposed of to other parties; the writer of this article now holding over two hundred acres of it.
Much of the foregoing has been obtained from a hasty inspection of some of the papers, preserved by Asa Matlack, during his lifetime, who was a close observer of passing events, and collected many items very interesting and instructive to inquiring minds, wishing information on local matters since the first settlement of our country. There may be found the records of the first town meetings, measures taken for the establishment of schools, churches, and places of worship. The history of families’ births, deaths, marriages and settlements. The location and boundaries of our lands and much other matter that would repay a more careful examination.
Extracted from Proceedings, Constitution, By-Laws, List of Members, &c., of the Surveyors’ Association of West New Jersey. (Camden, N.J: S. Chew, Printer, 1880), pp. 54-59.