The Lenape Indians lived in the Delaware River Region for centuries before the arrival of European Colonist in the early 1600s. The Dutch were the first to arrive in 1631. The English began settling Salem County in 1641; John Fenwick, a member of the Society of Friends, landed at the mouth of Assamhockin Creek in 1673 with his family and a large number of members of the Society of Friends, and founded the town of New Salem in West Jersey. Learn more about the Colonial History of Salem County.
The Patriots of Salem County played a small but important part in the Revolution by turning back the British who came into South Jersey to forage in Salem and Cumberland Counties. The battle at Quinton's Bridge is an American Victory but gained at a cost. The cost was the massacre at Hancocks Bridge in 1778 when the British retaliated against the Salem County militia. Learn about the Revelolutionary War History of Salem County.
Commerce and Industry in Salem County grew out of the natural resources of this area: the fine sand provided the resource needed for glassmaking, cedar found in swamps and marshes was used to manufacture building materials, shingles and boards and rich soil of the inner coastal region produced abundant vegetable and fruit crops. The first successful glass factory in America was in Salem County. Learn more about the History of Commerce and Industry in Salem County.
Many of the thoroughfares used by Salem County settlers were taken from the Lenape Indians, these trails were used as trade routes. Highways and roads were built to transport agriculture products and timber out of the interior to the coast. The first railroad in Salem County was 16 miles long and from Salem to Elmer; it was completed in 1870 and included a spur line that ran to Bridgeton. Learn more about the History of Transportation in Salem County.
African-American History in Salem County
Salem County's Women in History