The Villages of Hopewell Township in 1883

It’s difficult to imagine life in Hopewell Township in 1880 – almost century and a half ago. It was an exciting time, since two train lines had been recently built though the township, accelerating the growth of the region. (See the Hopewell Railroads post.)

We are blessed with some maps of the area, including details of townships and towns, that show their layouts and the development of roads and buildings. (See Hopewell Valley Town Maps for a visual index of the available maps.)

And, even better, there were people of the time who made the incredible effort to research and write down information about our area – the history, the towns and villages, the businesses, and the people.

One such tremendously helpful work is History of Burlington and Mercer Counties, New Jersey, With Biographical Sketches of Many of Their Pioneers and Prominent Men, by Major E. M. Woodward and John F. Hageman, published in 1883.

Not content with just covering all of Mercer County, this work also includes Burlington County, for a total of 888 pages.

The full work has been scanned and is available online, and you can download the original book from the History Project archives in several versions:

And now there’s a better option, thanks to the intrepid editing work of Carol Errickson – a new extract of the Hopewell Township section of the book, converted to plan text, edited, and formatted for convenient access and searching.

== View the edited Hopewell Township extract
of the 1883 History of Mercer County (PDF) ==

This document contains the full Hopewell Township section of the 1883 History of Burlington and Mercer Counties, which includes descriptions of the township and its history, its towns and villages, schools, churches, societies, and industry, plus biographical sketches.

The village sections include origins, current businesses and houses, and chronologies of major businesses. The document also includes brief extracts from the Mercer County section discussing the geography and physicians of the township. See the full 888-page book for more on the general history, organization, and statistics for Mercer County.

The discussion of the development of local businesses in each town are particularly helpful, often with dates and names of successive owners. The sections below have a few sentences from the sections for each town, describing their background, businesses, and sizes.

Each section also has an associated map to help illustrate the development of the towns, cropped from the map of Hopewell Township included in the 1875 Combination Atlas Map of Mercer County, N.J. / “New Historical Atlas” by Everts & Stewart.

Pennington – 1883

  • Formerly Queenstown & Pennytown – 23 businesses, population 700

The village of Pennington … measuring about a mile and three-eighths north and south, and from east to west embracing about two square miles.

The first name of the village was Queenstown, which was given it in honor of Queen Anne. Later it was by some, in derision of its comparative in significance, Pennytown, and as early as 1747 it began to be called Pennington.

The village contains three churches, one hotel, a lumber- and coal-yard, three general stores, three blacksmith- and wheelwright-shops, two meat-markets, three undertaking establishments, two furniture-stores, a tailor-shop, a fire insurance company, and three seminaries, and a permanent population of about seven hundred.

Hopewell – 1883

  • 28 businesses – population 402

Hopewell village is situated in the northeast part of the township, and contains two stores, three blacksmith-shops, one wheelwright-shop, one harness-shop, a saw- and feed-mill, four churches, a female seminary, a public school, a drug-store, three physicians, a lawyer, a newspaper, a shoe-shop, three halls, an agricultural store, a hotel, a saloon, and a livery-stable. The population is four hundred and two.

Titusville – 1883

  • Named from Joseph Titus – 13 businesses, population 300

Titusville is a village on the Delaware River, in the southwestern part of the township. It derived its name from Joseph Titus, who owned the land upon which it is built, and who was the first merchant there.

The village contains two churches, two hotels, two stores, one harness-shop, one blacksmith-shop, two wheelwright-shops, a post-office, a flouring-mill, a school-house, and a population of three hundred.

Mount Rose – 1883

  • Named from Houghton’s roses – 8 businesses + 20 dwellings

This village, located in the eastern part of the township, contains one store, a post-office, a blacksmith-shop, a wheelwright-shop, a shoe-shop, a harness-shop, a distillery, an agricultural implement warehouse, and twenty dwellings.

It was named by Ralph Sansbury, formerly a school-teacher in the neighborhood. [The name derived from the beautiful roses which surrounded the homestead of Maj. Houghton, an elevated residence on the edge of the village.]

Woodville – 1883

  • Named from Joseph Wood – 5 businesses + 12 dwellings

Woodville is a hamlet near the northern boundary of the township.

Joseph Wood, from whom the place derived its name, opened the first store.

Woodville is pleasantly located, and contains twelve dwellings, a hotel, two blacksmith-shops, a wheelwright-shop, and a store and post-office.

Marshall’s Corners – 1883

  • Named from William Marshall – 3 businesses + 8 dwellings

Marshall’s Corners is a hamlet containing a store, a blacksmith-shop, a wheelwright-shop, and eight dwellings, northeast of the centre of the township.

It also is one of the fourteen township school districts.

It was named in honor of William Marshall, who was a merchant there from 1833 to 1839.

Harborton – 1883

  • Named from John Harbor – 3 businesses + 4 dwellings

Harborton, in the west part of the township, at the crossing of two highways, contains a store and post-office, a church, and four dwellings.

John Harbor, from whom the locality is said to have received its name, built a house here as early as 1768.

The post-office was established in 1875.

Stoutsburg – 1883

  • Named from Abraham and Richard Stout – formerly Dog-town, 10 buildings

This is a small hamlet, containing a hotel, a post-office, a blacksmith-shop, a wheelwright-shop, and about half a dozen dwellings.

It is located on the eastern border of the township, mostly in Somerset County. It was formerly called Dog-town.

A store was kept there as early as 1812 by Abraham and Richard Stout, in whose honor the locality was named.

== View the edited Hopewell Township extract
of the 1883 History of Mercer County (PDF) ==

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