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Hopewell, New Jersey

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Hopewell

Hopewell is a Borough in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States.

Hopewell was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 14, 1891, from portions of Hopewell Township, based on the results of a referendum held on March 21, 1891. Additional portions of Hopewell Township were annexed in 1915, and the borough was reincorporated in 1924.

Hopewell Township, the much larger municipality which surrounds Hopewell Borough, includes the land along the east side of the Delaware River to which George Washington and the Continental Army crossed from Pennsylvania. Once in Hopewell Township, the army marched to Trenton on December 26, 1776. The Battle of Trenton followed. Today, Washington Crossing State Park commemorates this important milestone in American history.

British Colonial History

The first Colonial influence in Hopewell was the purchase of a 30,000-acre (120 km2) tract of land by Daniel Coxe a Royal British governor of West Jersey, in the latter half of the 17th century. All land in Hopewell can be traced back to this purchase. In 1691 Coxe transferred his land to a company called The West Jersey Society of England, who intended to sell the land. The society appointed an agent, Thomas Revell, to preside over the land and sell it to perspective buyers. Revell then attracted settlers from New England, Long Island, and New Jersey with questionable incentives, saying that the land was fertile, and tame. However, the families that arrived in Hopewell only found vast stretches of wilderness. The first settler in Hopewell Valley was Thomas Tindall who on November 10, 1699 bought a 300-acre (1.2 km2) tract of land from The West Jersey Society of England through Revell, for "ten pounds per hundred acres". Other early settlers in Hopewell are said to be the Stouts, who immigrated from Holmdel to Hopewell in 1706. Perhaps the first conflict between colonists in Hopewell was the dispute between Revell and the early inhabitants of Hopewell, who realized that their deeds were worthless due to Revell’s false claims. Fifty settlers then organized a class action law suit against Revell and the West Jersey Society. The long and arduous trial took place in Burlington, and eventually ruled against the settlers, who were forced to repurchase their land or relocate. Many settlers weren’t able to repay and moved north into North Jersey and New York.

On April 23, 1715, the settlers who stayed in Hopewell, most notably the Stout family, organized the Old School Baptist Church, and what is now known as Hopewell was then referred to as "Baptist Meetinghouse". One of the most valued members of the meeting house was Declaration of Independence signer John Hart who in 1740 purchased 193 acres (0.78 km2) of land in the north of current day Hopewell, and in 1747 as a sign of Hart’s devotion to the Church, donated a plot of his land to the Baptists. The very next year the Baptists made good use of this land and in 1748 erected their Old School Baptist Church meeting house on West Broad Street. The meeting house brought in Baptists from miles around to Hopewell and encouraged Hopewell's early growth.[34] Numerous lumber mills were established in and around Hopewell at this time to process the lumber that was generated from the clearing of forests for farms. In 1755, Isaac Eaton the first pastor of the Old School Baptist Church established his own school in Hopewell and later relocated his school to Rhode Island where it eventually became Brown University.

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Categories: Hopewell, New Jersey