June Sheridan, Township Historian
Greate Egg Harbour Township Historical Society, 6647 West Jersey Avenue, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
Great Egg Harbour got its name from explorer Cornelius Jacobsen Mey. During the Dutch desires for settlement and expansion in the "New World" in 1614, Mey came upon the inlet to this river. The meadows were so covered with shorebird and waterfowl eggs that he called it "Eyren Haven" (Egg Harbor).
Great Egg Harbor was originally part of Gloucester County. In 1694 a law was passed that read "forasmuch as there are families settled upon the Egg Harbor, and of right ought to be under some jurisdiction, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that the inhabitants of the said Egg Harbor shall and do belong to the jurisdiction of Gloucester." Previously Cape May County seems to have exercised some control over Egg Harbor for in 1693 John Somers of Great Egg Harbor was appointed by their Court to "keep a ferry across the Great Egg Harbour for Hors and Kattle."
In 1710, by an Act of the Legislature, legal boundaries of Gloucester County were set and it covered the area from the Delaware River, along the Burlington County line to the sea and back up the Great Egg Harbor River to the Delaware River. At that time Great Egg Harbor encompassed all that we know as Atlantic County today. In 1837 Atlantic County was set apart from Gloucester County and the Townships were: Egg Harbor, Weymouth, Hamilton and Galloway.
Since 1837 the following municipalities have separated from the original Egg Harbor Township:
|South Atlantic City (Margate)||1885|
Egg Harbor Township, as it remains today, encompasses 41,600 acres. It includes the villages of Bargaintown (the seat of government), English Creek, Scullville, Steelmanville, McKee City, Cardiff, Farmington and West Atlantic City.
Some of the earliest families that settled the area were the Scull, Steelman, Blackman, English, Lake, Ireland, Smith, Somers, Jeffrey, Frambes, and Van Sant's. They were millers, shipbuilders, farmers, seamen, and tavern keepers.
In addition, you may read more on the history of Egg Harbor Township by visiting http://www.gehthsmuseum.org/. Please visit the Greate Egg Harbour Township Historical Society Museum and Library at 6647 West Jersey Avenue for additional information and to view artifacts as well as historical documents.