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Camden - New Jersey

Camden - New Jersey

The first European attempt at settlement in this area was Fort Nassau, built by the Dutch West India Company in 1626. Present day in this vicinity of Camden, European activity occurred along the banks of the Delaware River where the Dutch and Swedish vied for control of the local fur trade. The fort at Gloucester City served as a training center in storehouse tilt was dismantled.

In 1620 there were English expeditions but the monarchy was consumed with wars and could not enforce their claims against the Dutch or the Swedes. So in 1660, King Charles II granted that all the land between the Delaware and Connecticut rivers go to his brother the Duke of York. He then gave a portion of these lands between the Hudson Delaware River or New Jersey to two loyal courtiers. Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkeley. Due to financial problems the land was then sold and divided into 90 shares of 20,000 acres each and offered to men interested in creating a quicker colony. The land was then divided into tenths and the Third tenth is often referred to as the Irish tenth due to the settlements of early Irish Quakers. All of this comprises modern day Camden County.

The original native inhabitants were the Lenni Lenape, peaceful hunters and gatherers who lived in wigwams. By 1700, the Quaker colonists began to reshape the West Jersey environment. The Indians and the settlers coexisted peacefully but this altered Indian life drastically. The English encroached upon their Woodson streams and use their natural resources. They introduced alcohol and exposure to infectious diseases to which they had no immunity and the Indian population dwindled. One half-century later no Indians remain in the Third 10th.

Europeans began to continue to settle and improve the areas, as there was another Quaker colony across the Delaware River. Philadelphia was founded in 1682 and attracted a brisk trade from West Jersey. To accommodate this trade across the river, ferries began operation.

The first ferry service belonged to William Royden in 1688. This all began an extensive ferry system along various points on the Eastern shore of the Delaware River and this resulted in some small settlements which would then consolidate into the city known as Camden.

Most of these early structures relate directly to the ferry industry. Taverns, hotels were all established at these nearby Ferry sites. The river had been used for shipping purposes and the old "Ferry House" was on the north side of Cooper Street between Front and Point streets. It was used as a first post office in Camden. It was later purchased and demolished.

The early settling of the city of Camden is a blend of the acquisition and transfer of land. Many families owned land located here and built homes and established residency. Some of these famous early settlers were the families of William Cooper, John Kaighn and Archibald Mickle and they made substantial improvements into the future of the city of Camden.