History of Pennsville Township

Over 325 years have passed since our early colonists arrived in the Penn’s Neck area. Our Township has changed its name several times. Quihawkin, Kinseyville, Biddle’s, and Cravens Ferry are names unfamiliar to the residents of Pennsville today. Today we are known as the Township of Pennsville.

Shortly after the Swedes and Finns settled in Wilmington, Delaware in 1638, they migrated across the Delaware River into New Jersey where they found the area more suited to farming for those who were not interested in the trade business. The majority of the Finns settled near the Finn’s Point Lighthouse, and the Swedes near the area that had at one time been called Churchtown.

When the early colonists arrived, there were three clans of the Lenni-Lenape tribe living in the area along the Delaware River which they called Shanaigah. Obisquahassit was the name of the old Indian Chief who sold land to the settlers. Records of land purchases date back to 1665.

Several early homes within our Township have been preserved as private residences, six of which are pre-revolutionary, built between 1726 and 1775.

Shad fishing, in addition to farming, was one of the chief occupations for the residents of Pennsville. In later years industrial development in the area offered employment, the largest being the DuPont Company. Today we are a riverfront community which encompasses approximately 24.2 square miles with a population of approximately 14,000. Located in the northwest corner of Salem County, Pennsville Township is easily accessible to the metropolitan areas of Wilmington, Philadelphia, and New York.

For more information about the history of Pennsville Township, please visit The Pennsville Historical Society.

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