History of Atlantic County,   New Jersey

Although the story of the area would begin with the land and location,  I will leave that story to the Geologists.

When I think of history, it includes people, 

Prehistory   Lenni-Lenape Indians      1700's   The Revolution    1800's   Civil War
 The Victorians  1900's    WWI   Great Depression  WWII  1950's   

Town Histories

People were living on the land that would become Atlantic County for at least 2800 years. Evidence of their pottery making can be found in archaeological remains found in the area. You can see some of these items by visiting the Prehistorical Museum in Greenwich NJ . They have provided a nice .pdf file, that shows an overview of their displays along with a map and schedule of their hours.

Although the story of the area would begin with the land and location,  I will leave that story to the Geologists.

During the American Revolution, Atlantic County vicinity was famous for it's Privateers. The Captains that sailed out of Chestnut Neck were particularly annoying to British.  They were so annoying that in September on 1778 a fleet of ships were sent from New York to subdue "The Nest of Rebel Pirates." On October 6, 1778, Chestnut Neck was burned and the British tried to continue up the river to destroy the Iron Works at Batsto.  

It is generally referred to as "The Battle of Chestnut Neck".

The British referred to it as "The Egg Harbor Expedition," which is a more accurate since it included;
The burning of Chestnut Neck,   
the grounding of the British ships and  
  the battle of Ridgway Farm. 

The 1800's: Industry in the Pines

Weymouth Furnace

Iron production began here in 1802, after the state gave permission for the damming of the Great Egg Harbor River. The iron was produced using local bog iron and forged using charcoal made from the local peat and forests. During the war of 1812, it was a major supplier of shot and bombs to the US government. Other then the war of 1812, the production consisted mostly of cast iron water pipe with limited production of pots, stoves, and nails.

According to The Cast Iron Soil Pipe History, the first manufacturer of cast iron pipe in the United States was at Weymouth NJ -

By1862, it could not compete with the production of iron forges using anthracite coal and a higher grade of iron or. The furnace seems to have burned the same year. (Would be interesting to see if there was an insurance claim on the burned business.) Follow this link to more information on the Pinelands Bog Iron Industry.

This area is a part of the Atlantic County Park System, located on Rt. 559, just north of the Black Horse Pike (Rt. 322.)

The Estellville Glassworks

Early 19th century glass factory that was in operation from 1825-1877. The very pure sand and the peat from the bogs, made it a great location for fine glass production

 Located in the Atlantic County Park in Estelle Manor east of Mays Landing on Rt. 50.

Atlantic Paper Mills and Weymouth Paper Mills

In the mid-1860's the Weymouth Furnace site, became the site of 2 paper mills: Atlantic Paper Mills and Weymouth Paper Mills.  They continued making paper from old manila rope, rags, etc, until 1897, when they could no longer compete with mills making paper from wood pulp. In 1916, the dam broke, which drained the mill pond. The stone from the mills were recycled by locals and the area was reclaimed by the Pinelands.

This area is a part of the Atlantic County Park System, located on Rt. 559, just north of the Black Horse Pike (Rt. 322.)

During the Civil War, New Jersey stayed in the Union and sent it's sons to fight

Atlantic County Civil War Soldiers & Sailors

One thing that surprised me is that NJ did not vote to elect Abraham Lincoln to a second term. Instead McClellan carried the state.  He would go on to become the Governor of the state. 

"The Argonaut Jr." was built in 1894,
 by Simon Lake  of Pleasantville, NJ
and demonstrated at the Atlantic Highlands by Sandy Hook.

Simon Lake's scheme

Simon Lake continued to design and build innovative submarines,
 more then 100 were used by the allies in WWI.


Bethlehem Loading Company
great pictures and account of this WW1 munitions factory complex

SBButler Letters, August 1916 
from the Sclitz Hotel on the Boardwalk and from Pleasantville

More letters from Pleasantville, 
where he met Eva Lutz and taught until April, 1917

Lot's of talk about the U-boats with the new movie in the theatres. Read about the real thing.

 "Black Sunday" Wrecks 

Six ships sunk by the German U-151 June 2, 1918

be sure to also visit:
  S.S. Carolina Virtual Museum

& Carolina Dive Pictures 
(above site temporarily missing)

Source: National Archives and Records Administration (RG 165-WW-273 58)

On The Boardwalk in Atlantic City:

Chief Two Moon Meridas Herb Company



War II: How Atlantic City and the Surrounding Area Contributed to the War Effort.

(A thesis presented by Marston A. Mischlich in fulfilling
the requirements for his MA in history)

 "In effort to preserve an integral portion of Southern New Jersey history, this paper chronicles the significant contributions made by Atlantic City and the surrounding communities during World War II."

During WWII there were constant patrols off the coast to protect shipping and guard the coastline.


 In November 2000, there was a PBS special on the U-boat
  U-689 that sank off NJ coast in 1945Map of Lost U-Boats

Click on the map above to find out about other famous U-boats

U-869 Virtual Museum  New Jersey Scuba Diver

Other Sites with Histories of Atlantic County:

Atlantic City Historic Buildings,
photographed by Bonita R. Schall & Barbara Cahan

     Another Excellent source of Atlantic City History:

 Atlantic City Online

     While I am working on other projects, I will refer you to the Atlantic County Library Site, which has a good start on the History of Atlantic County.


     The Atlantic City Library has posted: Atlantic City: A Brief History

The Atlantic City Library, also, has a tremendous collection of historic resources, it is well worth a trip.