Westampton Township Historical Society

Westampton Township Historical Society Education is our primary goal: to educate folks on our unique history: provide for research for students, scholars and history buffs. Preserve and share documents, photos, tools, oral histories, textiles, maps of the Rancocas Village area, etc.
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Give direction and aid in researching your house and/or local family history. Plan presentations, living history performances and events for the public.

Mission: We're always in search of info, materials and photos of the area. Do you have old photos or negatives showing the Village or residents from years ago? Old deeds, maps, papers, etc.? Would you be willing to share them? We can do a high-quality scan of your material and return the originals to you. Or, do you wish to give or sell any of your photos, deeds, etc.? Let us know! We are a nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) organization.

Operating as usual

07/03/2017

Metal Detecting Guidelines:
1. Have permission from the landowner.

2. If you find anything of importance, take a photo with your phone (if your phone does locations) so you can record the GPS coordinates of the find, BEFORE you take it up or out of the ground. In fact, if possible or feasible, leave the artifact in place.

3. Contact a local historical society to see if you can establish the history of the location.

4. Contact your state or county archaeological group to have the find and location recorded.

The federal government, and your local state government have very specific guidelines about who owns historical finds, especially finds that are prehistoric or Native American in origin. So get with your local archaeological group - google it for your state or county - if you find anything important.

05/26/2017

During the 1700's and 1800's there were many barges and ferries going up and down the Rancocas river and also to and from Philadelphia. If any one has any info or photos of where the docks were located on the Rancocas, we'd love to hear from you. Thank you!

The next meeting of the Westampton Township Historical Society (WTHS) will be Wednesday, April 19th. The meeting will be...
04/06/2017

The next meeting of the Westampton Township Historical Society (WTHS) will be Wednesday, April 19th. The meeting will be from 7:00pm to approximately 7:30pm

Special: Immediately following the meeting we will be showing the Oral History video we have of Margaret "Peggy" Bowker (1924-2012). She grew up in Rancocas and many will remember her as our Postmaster for many years.

When Margaret "Peggy" Janney was born on November 15, 1924, in Rancocas, New Jersey, her father, Ernest, was 30, and her mother, Frances, was 28. She had one son and three daughters with Keith Horner Bowker. She died on November 23, 2012, in Mount Holly, New Jersey, at the age of 88, and was buried in her hometown.

Come hear her stories of growing up in Rancocas. Free to all - no charge.

Light refreshments will be available.

01/19/2017

The next Westampton Township Historical Society (WTHS) meeting is:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Rancocas Community Center
203 Main Street
Rancocas, NJ 08073
609-267-2641

All are welcome! Please check back for any updates or cancellations. Hope to see you there.

12/15/2016

Our next meeting of the WTHS is on December 21, 2016 at 7pm at the Rancocas Community Center (former firehouse) All are welcome! Please check back for any updates or cancellations. Hope to see you there.

We'd love to save this historic old building (1754) and barn.More photos of the Asher Woolman house coming soon, thanks ...
07/31/2016
Asher Woolman House as of March 11, 2012

We'd love to save this historic old building (1754) and barn.

More photos of the Asher Woolman house coming soon, thanks to Dennis Weaver.

#epa-album-3654 .epa-image { width: 23%; }

07/30/2016

Did you know...

Ella M. Lippincott (from her article 1950s):
My mother told how Grandfather was hoeing his berries when he heard a cryer on horseback coming down the road, and as he galloped he shouted, “Abraham Lincoln assassinated.” He dropped his hoe and went to the house in tears, crying, “Hannah, Hannah, they have killed Abraham Lincoln,” and wept like a baby. His interest in the community was wide and Lincoln’s death was deeply mourned.

07/30/2016

Did you know...

Ella M. Lippincott (from her article 1950s):
My mother told how Grandfather was hoeing his berries when he heard a cryer on horseback coming down the road, and as he galloped he shouted, “Abraham Lincoln assassinated.” He dropped his hoe and went to the house in tears, crying, “Hannah, Hannah, they have killed Abraham Lincoln,” and wept like a baby. His interest in the community was wide and Lincoln’s death was deeply mourned.

Did you know...from Gail Astle's article: Timbuctoo: A Stop on the Underground RailroadTimbuctoo includes Church St., Bl...
07/25/2016
Timbuctoo Memorial

Did you know...

from Gail Astle's article:
Timbuctoo: A Stop on the Underground Railroad

Timbuctoo includes Church St., Blue Jay Hill Road, and adjacent areas. With the support of local Quakers, it was founded c1820 by free Blacks and runaway slaves. At its peak in the mid-nineteenth century, Timbuctoo had more than 125 residents, a school, an AME Zion Church, and a cemetery. The key remaining evidence of this community is the cemetery on Church Street, which contains graves of Black Civil War Veterans. Some current residents are descendants of early settlers.
http://rancocasvillagenj.org/wths_reference/timbuctoo-memorial/

Memorial Day Eulogy May 25th, 2008 at Timbuctoo Cemetery in Westampton Township, New Jersey by Gail Astle Dedicated to the memory of (1935-2009), whose special dedication to preserving the history of Timbuctoo lives on! - - - This is an expanded version of a Memorial Day eulogy that Gail Astle

For anyone interested in local history, the Burlington County Library System has a good search of the New Jersey Mirror ...
05/15/2016
BCLS: New Jersey Mirror

For anyone interested in local history, the Burlington County Library System has a good search of the New Jersey Mirror newspaper. http://www.bcls.lib.nj.us/newspapers/newjerseymirror/

Nathan Palmer began publishing the "Burlington Mirror" in 1818 in Mount Holly, the county seat for Burlington County, New Jersey, as a weekly newspaper focusing on business and real estate concerns of the county. The newspaper quickly expanded coverage to include news, commentary and social events.…

Hi, Folks,If anyone has vintage photos of Rancocas or Westampton, NJ, we'd loved to see them and share them with everyon...
04/25/2016
Historic Rancocas Village, New Jersey

Hi, Folks,

If anyone has vintage photos of Rancocas or Westampton, NJ, we'd loved to see them and share them with everyone! The past shouldn't be left in a drawer or closet. We can post them here and on the website (www.RancocasVillageNJ.org) for everyone to enjoy... and of course, give you photo credit.

We're in the process of getting the Rancocas Community Center back to how it once was and hope to someday have a museum on the second floor.

We can possibly buy your old photos from you if you want to sell them.... and not just photos. We'd love to see vintage items from this area (Rancocas: milk bottles; fire company badges, etc.; general store stuff; deeds and other types of paper;).

If you'd like to write an article about you or your family's life in days gone by, we'd love to read it and possibly post it on our website.

Let us hear from you! Thank you.

Welcome to the website of the historic Rancocas Village, nestled among the rolling farms and quaint towns of central New Jersey!

Did you know....Miriam E. Tyler (from her article in 1990):The Grange Hall located at the end of Second Street was once ...
04/25/2016

Did you know....

Miriam E. Tyler (from her article in 1990):
The Grange Hall located at the end of Second Street was once a public school. There were four classrooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs. Later the children went to Willingboro school and were driven by Grandpa Billy Bowker. Next this building became the Grange Hall. In recent years it has been bought to be converted into a private dwelling.

Circa 1874. Built by the Trustees of Willingboro School District #32. Later purchased and operated as Rancocas Grange #131 from 1918 until 1968. Teachers identified with this school were Jacob Knight, Susan Haines, Mordecai Matlack, Martha Haines, David Stokes, Merebiah Wright, Jarret Stokes and William Stokes.

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo
04/14/2016

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo

04/07/2016

Peyton Dixon's An Evening with John Adams
Second President of the United States
When: Friday, May 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Where: Rancocas Community Center
Peyton Dixon's goal is to bring to light the accomplishments as well as the imperfections of John Adams
Sponsored by Westampton Township Historical Society
Admission: Free - Open to all
Refreshments will be available

Photos by Rae Fessler of the Rancocas bridge - before it's taken down.
03/26/2016
Rancocas Bridge 2016

Photos by Rae Fessler of the Rancocas bridge - before it's taken down.

#epa-album-5296 .epa-image { width: 23%; } Rowan house and property 2016. photo by Rae FesslerRancocas bridge 2016. photo by Rae FesslerRancocas bridge 2016. photo by Rae FesslerRancocas bridge 2016. photo by Rae Fessler Rancocas bridge 2016. photo by Rae FesslerRancocas br

A Request for this to be posted here: You may have heard that recently it was announced that Friends Academy of Westampt...
03/23/2016
Click here to support Save Our School Friends Academy by FAW Parents

A Request for this to be posted here: You may have heard that recently it was announced that Friends Academy of Westampton would be closed at the end of the school year. A group of us parents have launched a campaign to try to save the school. I was wondering if you might be willing to share this link to our GoFundMe campaign on your page. We need to spread the word to as many people as possible. Thank you in advance for any support you might be able to offer. - Steve https://www.gofundme.com/SAFEOURSCHOOLFAW

We are the parents of children who attend Friends Academy of Westampton, a Quaker school in New Jersey. Our school provides a rigorous educational experience for a diverse community. Friends Academy offers the highest value curriculum at a tuition rate that is kept below other private schools. ...

Did you know...Miriam E. Tyler (from her article in 1990): It happened many times that early settlers dug caves in high ...
03/18/2016

Did you know...

Miriam E. Tyler (from her article in 1990):
It happened many times that early settlers dug caves in high banks along the rivers when they first arrived. A blanket or later animal skins were hung at the entrance. As soon as possible a log house would be built as the early Swedish people in America had found log houses to be very satisfactory. Brick houses were built as time passed since New Jersey has good materials for bricks. One such cave was located on Walter Jessup’s farm. Walter said when he owned it, it was dangerous and therefore he would not let anyone near it.

New photo gallery added: Willingboro School - children from Rancocas Village
02/01/2016
Willingboro School - children from Rancocas Village

New photo gallery added: Willingboro School - children from Rancocas Village

#epa-album-5237 .epa-image { width: 23%; } Willingboro Grade School Bus - December,19571954 Kenny Brown, Safety Patrol Member Card,1954Kenny Brown, Safety Patrol Member Card,1954January, 1958Larry Garwood, Dick Dever, Frankie Lamb 1955Miss Mary Blanche Roberts, Willingboro

Did you know.....Miriam E. Tyler (from her article in 1990): Friends Meetinghouse. On the side wall is the date 1774. Th...
01/30/2016

Did you know.....

Miriam E. Tyler (from her article in 1990):
Friends Meetinghouse. On the side wall is the date 1774. There was once another Meetinghouse built near the Rancocas Creek. The Friends Meetinghouse now standing is made of bricks, Flemish Bond in design. This makes an attractive pattern in the brick walls. The two little roofs over the front door are different. About 1820, the Society of Friends had a split in ideas. One side of the Meetinghouse was used by the Orthodox while the other side housed the Hicksites. They wanted everyone to know that they thought differently, therefore they made the front door roofs different. Years later they resolved their differences and met together.

Did you know.....Miriam E. Tyler (from her article in 1990): The farmers came into the village for various needs. On the...
12/18/2015

Did you know.....

Miriam E. Tyler (from her article in 1990): The farmers came into the village for various needs. On the corner of Main Street and Bridge Street was a general store [ed. later known as Stevens General Store, now the Post Office]. It was managed by Jacob Leeds. Men sat around a pot-bellied stove and played chess as well as checkers. They laid their chess and checker boards on a pickle barrel. Men leaned on the counters and swapped stories and news. There was a library on the second floor of the general store. It cost $5.00 for a membership and had 127 volumes.

Note: 1928 to 1940 Stevens General Store. Corner of Bridge and Main Streets. After the Centerton Bridge was built in 1832, houses were erected on the lots sold by Joseph Lundy, Samuel Wills and Ezra Haines. First to be was to William Rogers, on the corner occupied by Jacob H. Leeds for store and dwelling and later known as Stevens General Store. Also served as a Post Office. The right part of the building contained Billy Bowkers Barber Shop. Above the shop was Mr. Stevens' workshop where he would repair radios and various other items; The building is still owned by the Mathis family.

Photo gallery added - Wine and Cheese party - thanks to Rae Fessler for the photos! http://rancocasvillagenj.org/albums/...
12/18/2015
Rancocas Village: Wine and Cheese, Dec. 12, 2015

Photo gallery added - Wine and Cheese party - thanks to Rae Fessler for the photos! http://rancocasvillagenj.org/albums/rancocas-village-wine-and-cheese-dec-12-2015/

#epa-album-5204 .epa-image { width: 23%; } photo by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fessler photo by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fesslerphoto by Rae Fesslerphoto by R

Untitled Album
12/06/2015

Untitled Album

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo
12/06/2015

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo
12/06/2015

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo
12/06/2015

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo
12/06/2015

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo
12/06/2015

Westampton Township Historical Society's cover photo

Untitled Album
12/06/2015

Untitled Album

12/03/2015

Did you know.....

Watson Buck (from his talk in 1962): The earliest steamboat of which we have any knowledge on the Rancocas was the Norristown (Captain John Gardner), which ran between Philadelphia and Lumberton in 1823. Most of the freight for the Rancocas stores came by steam boats to Centerton. When the Stevens store [ed. now the Rancocas Post Office] family moved from Chester to Rancocas, they came by boat to Centerton wharf.

As late as 1845 (?) steam boats ran from Philadelphia to Lumberton, stopping on signal, at any wharf in between to pick up freight and passengers. The word freight covers a wide variety of items. The sheep, cattle, swine, horses and poultry were usually stored in the bow of the boat away from the noise of the engine. The farm produce and passengers were stored amidships and stern.

The steamer, Annie VanSciver, took many excursions from Hainesport, Mount Holly and Rancocas to Lincoln Park and Washington Park on the Delaware Bay. In 1845, the steam boats, Barclay and Independence were making regular trips between Lumberton and Philadelphia. The steamer, Rancocas, followed the Barclay and Independence. The steamboats, Clara and Fleetwing ran up to Mount Holly until the 1890’s. The steam boat has vanished from the Rancocas almost as completely as the Indian canoe.

12/03/2015

Upcoming:

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Westampton Township Historical Society (WTHS) meeting
Rancocas Community Center
203 Main Street, Rancocas, NJ 08073, USA
All are welcome!

Upcoming Events (more detailed info on the website):Saturday, 31st OctoberHalloween Parade & Party[for Rancocas Village ...
10/29/2015

Upcoming Events (more detailed info on the website):

Saturday, 31st October
Halloween Parade & Party
[for Rancocas Village residents only]
Saturday, 9:45 am sharp - 12:00 pm
Rancocas Community Center,
203 Main Street, Rancocas, NJ 08073

Watson Buck (from his talk in 1962): "At one time, Rancocas had many activities. The four brickyards are but a memory no...
10/26/2015

Watson Buck (from his talk in 1962): "At one time, Rancocas had many activities. The four brickyards are but a memory now. There was a steam flour mill, which burnt in 1903. There were the blacksmith and wheelwright shops [ed. on Bridge Street]; a coach builder, Levi Atkinson, whose place of business across from the fire house, was destroyed by fire; A dealer in agricultural implements, whose salesman ranged far into Pennsylvania and Delaware. At the Leeds general store [ed. now the Post Office], you could purchase almost anything mentionable from shoes to groceries. You could even exchange farm produce for a tailor-made suit or dress."

Did you know.....Watson Buck (from his talk in 1962): "The story of Rancocas would be incomplete without reference to it...
10/26/2015

Did you know.....

Watson Buck (from his talk in 1962): "The story of Rancocas would be incomplete without reference to its library and the “Rancocas Lyceum.” The most famous literary society in Burlington County in 1877, the Lyceum Society erected a brick building for their own use, which is now the Fire Company’s building." [ed. now the Rancocas Community Center]

10/15/2015

Did you know.....

NJ Old Town names and meanings

Watson Buck (from his talk in 1962):
Mount Holly, in the early days, was called Bridgetown because of its many bridges, but I often wonder if the name did not come from Bridgetown in the Barbados as there was very early travel between Mount Holly and that island.

Delanco was first called Wallace’s Landing.
Beverly was first called Dunk’s Ferry
Riverside was first called Goat Town
Dr. Wills was the first doctor to settle in Burlington County and gave the name, Westampton to the township.

Burlington was first called Beverly, then Bridlington, and finally Burlington. (Smith's History of NJ)

Where Burlington now stands, was then called Chygoes Island, from the name of an Indian Sachem who lived there

Cinnaminson: Derived from the Lenni-Lenape word “senamensing” meaning “sweet water.”

Indian Name or English Derivative Meaning for Absecon: Place of swans

Address

203 Main St
Rancocas, NJ
08073

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