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Woodbury City

Woodbury City Hall is located at 33 Delaware Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096; phone: 856-845-1300.

Beginnings [1]

The original name of Woodbury is derived from the Wood family from Bury, England, who first settled at the mouth of Woodbury Creek on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River. As members of the Wood family and the Quaker community began to move east along the river to higher ground, they named their newly formed town after the creek and called it Woodbury Creek. Henry Wood, Jr., one of many English Quakers seeking refuge from religious persecution, purchased a tract of land from a Swede, John Swanson. The Swansons had large land holdings in southern New Jersey. King's Highway, which had been established by 1710, crossed Woodbury Creek near the point chosen for the settlement of Quakers and the site of Friends meetinghouse. Woodbury, a predominantly Quaker community, was not involved in armed conflict against the British during the Revolutionary War, yet it was directly affected by the chaos. Raiding parties from both armies foraged throughout the area. On October 22, 1777, a battle took place only three miles from Woodbury, at Fort Mercer on the Banks of the Delaware River. Known as the Battle at Red Bank, it marked a crushing defeat of the Hessian troops making the Delaware River unavailable to British shipping. Dead and wounded were brought to Woodbury and treated in makeshift hospitals in the Friends Meetinghouse and Presbyterian Church or buried in the Stranger's Burial Grounds on Delaware Street. In November of that same year, Lord Cornwallis and his 6,000 British and Hessian troops camped in and around Woodbury using various buildings and residences as a commissary, headquarters and bivouacs.

In 1787 Woodbury became the county seat of Gloucester County. In 1854 the community became a borough and in 1871, a city. Previous to its city status, during the civil War, the U.S. Army set up a temporary training ground in southern Woodbury. It was known as Camp Stockton and volunteer regiments were gathered and trained there bringing an additional one thousand men into Woodbury. The merchants and population of Woodbury, which numbered 1900 in 1860, felt the effects through increased business and disorder. New Jersey's status as a Union state caused one Confederate general and his Woodbury home to be threatened by angry Union supporters.

The Quakers in Woodbury and Gloucester were early abolitionists. Under their vigilance, a black community had developed in Woodbury by 1840 with the erection of a church and one room school house. They now occupy the same property on Carpenter Street, formerly known as Otter Street and then Hayti Street. By 1846, slavery had been abolished in name (and largely in fact) in New Jersey. Reportedly, in the 1830's, many slaves from Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey came to Woodbury as a haven. Legislation passed in 1881 favored desegregation and provided leverage for the black community to have their own one room school improved. Then in 1889, a two-story frame school was built at the corner of Carpenter and Allen Streets. It stands today, across the street from a larger brick schoolhouse built about 1915. These structures serve to document the original settlement and the legislative advances made by blacks as reflected in the architecture. The Bethel A.M.E. Church, and original schoolhouse have been included in the National Register of Historic Places as individual sites.

The last quarter of the nineteenth century was dominated by the influence of George G. Green and his industry. The historical sequence of this era, known as the "Green Era," is included in the Green Era District information.

  1. Woodbury Multiple Resource Area: Partial Inventory of Historical and Architectural Resources, nomination document, 1988, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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