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Mount Holly Township

Mount Holly Township Hall is located at 23 Washington Street, Mount Holly NJ 08060; phone: 609-845-1100.

West South Avenue
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Beginnings [1]

In 1676 Thomas Rudyard and John Ridges purchased a share of land from Edward Byllynge and the trustees of West Jersey. In 1701 Edward Gaskill and Josiah Southwick bought Ridges' 871 acres, on part of which the town now stands. In 1723 the North Branch of Rancocas Creek was dammed for a sawmill and, later, a gristmill. An iron works was established about 1730 by Isaac Pearson, Mahlon Stacy and John Burr; British raiders later destroyed the works, which had been supplying canon shot for the Continental Army.

During the Revolution Mount Holly was occupied at that time by British troops, who converted the Old Friends Meeting House into a commissary. In 1779 the same building was used for sessions of the legislature when, during November and December, the town was the temporary capital of the State. Governor William Livingston at that time named Thursday, December 9, 1779, as the first Thanksgiving Day to be officially observed in the State, in accordance with a Congressional resolution.

In 1865 the population of Mount Holly was 3,878, and the town enjoyed steady progress as a small manufacturing and trading center. Some years later, Hezekiah Smith built his locally famous bicycle railway, a monorail line, to Mount Holly from nearby Smithville.

For many years Mount Holly had been publicized for the activities of Ellis Parker, former chief detective of Burlington County, who enjoyed a reputation as a suburban Sherlock Holmes. The bizarre climax of Parker's career was his conviction in 1937 on a charge of kidnapping Paul Wendel and obtaining by torture a confession of the Lindbergh murder. The false confession was used to delay the execution of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the Lindbergh crime.

  1. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey, New Jersey: A Guide to Its Present and Past, American Guide Series, The Viking Press, 1939, New York
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