West Jersey Consciousness?


New Jersey was formally separated into two provinces, East Jersey and West Jersey, for the 28 years between 1674 and 1702. While this may seem a short period, for more than a century after 1702 there continued to be a strong "West Jersey Consciousness."

The two provinces were proprietary colonies (as opposed to crown colonies) 1 and even after the union of "The Jerseys" (1702) the government was still formally divided into a "West Division" and an "East Division." Up to the end of the colonial period (1776) the New Jersey Assembly alternated between meeting in Burlington one year, (old WJ capital), and Perth Amboy the next (old EJ capital). Two separate Boards of Proprietors continued to control the allocation of newly-surveyed land. The proprietary boards functioned well into the twentieth century, and while the Board of East Jersey Proprietors was dissolved in 1998 the West Jersey Proprietors continue today as an active corporation, holding their annual meeting in Burlington.

In 1732, a generation after the union, the New Jersey Council President (later Governor), Lewis Morris, wrote to the British Secretary of State for the Southern Department:
"The Province is divided into two Divisions the Easterne and the Westerne each of which while under the Proprietors was a distinct goverment, and would be so againe were the inhabitants to model it according to their own inclinations....." 2

In October 1775 Philip Vickers Fithian, of Cumberland County, could refer to a guest as having "been in several parts of East and West Jersey" as though there had never been a union. Newspaper items of that time almost always stipulated "East Jersey" or "West Jersey" when specifying a location. 3

And as late as the 1880s, Charles Perrin Smith, a Union-Republican Party leader, said of some political adversaries:
"I became thoroughly convinced that it was their intention nothing should be done until [1865 gubernatorial candidate] Mr. Ward and his East Jersey friends surrendered to their demand, both as regards dispensing his means andofficial patronage." 4

A recent project on mapping what major city people affiliate with most, shows remarkable evidence that the old East Jersey/West Jersey boundary still lives today in South Jersey Consciousness.

When and how people started thinking more in terms of South Jersey than of West Jersey is not clear, but the transition seems to have started around the time of the Civil War and may indicate a new way of looking at the world that reflected that conflict (though New Jersey's Southern Counties were less sympathetic to the Confederacy than the Northern Counties ):

The dates at which organization and company names came and went are some indication of the transition (see "The Long List" below). The earliest "South Jersey" reference noted so far is an 1863 newspaper published in Absecon called the South Jersey Republican . Of those in the dated listed below, the West Jersey Presbytery, and the West Jersey Hospital/Health System are still active (though the West Jersey Health System is now part of the Virtua) .

While not listed with dates below, current telephone listings can be found for:
West Jersey Air Conditioning and Heating [Pennsauken]
West Jersey Animal Shelter
West Jersey Appraisal Service* [Phillipsburg]
West Jersey Chamber Music Society , Inc.
West Jersey Cleaners* [Mine Hill]
West Jersey Construction Company, Inc.
West Jersey Deck
West Jersey Dairy, Inc.* [Phillipsburg]
West Jersey Electrical Contractors
West Jersey Eye MDs* [Chester]
West Jersey Fence
West Jersey Fire Equipment, Inc. (website now gone)
West Jersey Foundation (now Virtua, also)
West Jersey Gutter Topper*[Succasunna]
West Jersey Heating and Cooling*[Belvidere]
West Jersey Home Health Care
West Jersey Insurance Agency, Inc.
West Jersey Masonic Association
West Jersey Memorial Co.
West Jersey Motor Club*[Newton, Phillipsburg]
West Jersey Oral and Maxilofacial Surgeons PC* [Flemington]
West Jersey Regional Cancer Center at Voorhees
West Jersey Sports and Leisure* [Phillipsburg]
West Jersey Stationers
West Jersey Title Agency (since 1888 company?)
West Jersey Water Treatment* [Washington]
* Those marked with an asterisk would not be considered in South Jersey today.

And there is a web-presence for:
West Jersey History Project ,
West Jersey Homeschoolers ,
West Jersey K-9 Search and Rescue ,
West Jersey Radio Control Club ,
West Jersey Rose Society ,
West Jersey Ski Club ,
West Jersey Technologies ,
West Jersey Table Tennis Club ,
West Jersey Soccer Club .

...as well as numerous "West Jersey Chapters" of organizations:
American Institute of Architects ,
Association for Operations Management (formerly American Production and Inventory Control Society, APICS) ,
National Railway Historical Society ,
NJ Society of Professional Land Surveyors ,
Sierra Club (WJ "Group") .

The Long List

The following dated organizational names illustrate some of the transition in usage:

1688: The Council of West Jersey Proprietors. Early Roster , About the CoWJP
1692: West Jersey Society (London shareholders of WJ proprieties)
1778: William Faden's map of New Jersey published. Entitled: "The Province of New Jersey
          Divided into East and West, commonly called The Jerseys."
1817: West Jersey Gazette (newspaper, Salem).
1818: West Jersey Gazette and Salem and Gloucester Advertiser (newspaper, Salem).
1827: West Jersey Observer (newspaper, Bridgeton).
1831: West Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company.
1834: Map in Gordon's History and Gazeteer shows the East Jersey/West Jersey line.
1837: West Jersey Observer ceases publication (becomes Bridgeton Chronicle).
1839: West Jersey Presbytery org'd.
1840: West Jersey Democrat (newspaper, Camden).
1845: West Jersey Mail (newspaper, Camden).
1846: West Jersey Collegiate School (Mount Holly).
1846: West Jersey Telegraph and Cumberland and Cape May Advertiser (newspaper, Bridgeton).
1847: West Jerseyman (newspaper, Camden).
1848: West Jersey Pioneer and Cumberland and Cape May Advertiser (newspaper, Bridgeton).
1849: West Jersey Academy opened (until 1880s, Bridgeton).
1849: West Jersey Ferry Company.
1851: West Jersey Pioneer (newspaper, Bridgeton).
1853: West Jersey Railroad Company.
1853: West Jersey Glass Manufacturing Company.
1859: West Jersey Central Railroad Company.
1860: West Jersey Bugle (newspaper, Camden).
1860: West Jersey Press published (until 1940, Camden).
1860: West Jersey Land and Cranberry Company, Medford.
1862: West Jersey Oil Manufacturing Company.
1863: South Jersey Republican (newspaper, Absecon, Hammonton from 1866 on).
1863: West Jersey Marl & Transportation Company, Sewell.
1864: West Jersey Express Company.
1864: West Jersey Hotel Company.
1865: South Jersey Cranberry Company, inc'd.
1865: West Jersey Oil Company.
1865: West Jesey Petroleum Refining and Storage Company.
1865: South Jersey Oil and Mining Company.
1865: West Jersey Canning and Pickling Company.
1866: West Jersey, Cranberry, Land and Improvement Company.
1867: West Jersey Mutual Fire and Marine Insurance Company.
1868: South Jersey Advertiser (newspaper, Bridgeton, Camden from 1872 on).
1870: West Jersey Mutual Insurance Company.
1870: West Jersey Rectifying and Refining Company, Woodbury.
1870: South Jersey Institute opened (until 1907, Bridgeton).
1870: New Jersey Southern Railroad formed (from Raritan & Delaware Bay RR and Vineland Railway). 5
1873: West Jersey Game Protective Society.
1874: South Jersey Telegraph Company, inc'd.
1874: South Jersey Cranberry Company.
1874: South Jersey Telegraph Company.
1876: South Jersey Camp Meeting Association, South Seaville, inc'd.
1876: South Jersey Times (newspaper, Camden).
1878: South Jersey Leader (newspaper, Vineland).
1879: New Jersey Southern becomes New Jersey Southern Division of Central RR of NJ. 5
1879: West Jersey and Atlantic Railroad Company.
1879: South Jersey Republican (newspaper, Bridgeton).
1879: West Jersey Paper Manufacturing Company.
1880: South Jersey Advertiser and Palmyra News (newspaper, Camden).
1880: South Jersey Advertiser (newspaper, Clementon).
1881: South Jersey Surf (newspaper, Atlantic City).
1881: South Jerseyman (newspaper, Salem).
1882: South Jersey News (newspaper, Haddonfield).
1882: South Jersey Asphalt Paving Block Company, Camden.
1883: South Jersey Packing Company.
1884: West Jersey Vinegar Company, Camden.
1884: South Jersey Overland Telephone and Telegraph Company.
1886: South Jersey Review and Ocean City Spray (newspaper, Ocean City).
1887: West Jersey Terminal Railroad Company, Bridgeton.
1888: West Jersey Title & Guaranty Company inc'd. 6
1888: West Jersey Packing Company, Bridgeton.
1889: South Jersey Finance Company, Camden.
1889: West Jersey Electric Light, Power and Heat Company, Merchantville.
1891: West Jersey Homeopathic Dispensary and Hospital Association, Camden. 7
1891: - West Jersey Smyrna Rug Manufacturing Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1893: South Jersey Railroad Company.
1893: West Jersey Real Estate Company, Camden.
1893: West Jersey Traction Company, Camden.
1893: - West Jersey Gas Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1894: South Jersey Street Railway Company, Point Pleasant Beach, Ocean County.
1895: West Jersey Institute for Training Nurses, Camden.
1895: South Jersey Telephone (newspaper, Vineland).
1896: West Jersey and Seashore Railroad Company, Camden.
1897: West Jersey Telephone Company, Belvidere, Warren County.
1897: West Jersey Toll Line Company, Belvidere, Warren County.
1897: South Jersey Messenger (newspaper, Millville).
1897: - South Jersey Electric Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1897: - West Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1897: - South Jersey Jockey Club DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1897: - West Jersey Land and Improvement Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1897: - West Jersey Nursery Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1899: West Jersey Country Club, Camden.
1899: South Jersey Colonist (newspaper, Dorothy).
1899: - South Jersey Development Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1899: - West Jersey Improvement and Colony Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1900: South Jersey Gas, Electric and Traction Company, Camden.
1900: West Jersey Electric Company, Holly Beach.
1900: - South Jersey Traction Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1900: - West Jersey Chemical Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1900: - West Jersey Morocco Manufacturing Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1901: South Jersey Plate Ice Manufacturing and Storage Company, Gloucester City.
1901: West Jersey Detective Association, Camden.
1901: South Jersey Star (newspaper, Laurel Springs).
1901: - South Jersey Land and Transportation Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1901: - South Jersey Light, Heat and Power Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1902: South Jersey Star (newspaper, Hammonton).
1903: South Jersey Timber and Development Company, Tuckahoe.
1903: South Jersey Title and Finance Company, Atlantic City (formerly the South Jersey Finance Company).
1903: - West Jersey Water Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1904: Southern New Jersey Gunning and Fishing Association, Waretown.
1904: South Jersey Automatic Machine Company, Gloucester City.
1904: South Jersey Improvement Company, Vineland.
1904: South Jersey Tobacco Company, Mount Holly.
1904: West Jersey Homeopathic Dispensary and Hospital Association, Camden.
1904: West Jersey Mortgage Company, Atlantic City.
1905: South Jersey Real Estate and Hotel Investment Company, Atlantic City.
1905: South Jersey Rifle Association, Camden.
1905: West Jersey Manufacturing Company, Camden.
1905: - South Jersey Real Estate and Hotel Investment Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1905: - South Jersey Water and Electric Power Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1905: - West Jersey Ice Manufacturing Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1906: West Jersey Trust founded.
1906: South Jersey Cement Block and Brick Company, Camden.
1906: South Jersey Construction Company, Camden.
1906: South Jersey Glass Works.
1906: West Jersey Horse Show Association, Camden.
1906: - South Jersey Sanitary Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1907: South Jersey News (newspaper, Laurel Springs).
1907: South Jersey Sun (newspaper, Vineland).
1907: South Jersey Company.
1907: South Jersey Detective Association, Bridgeton.
1907: South Jersey Realty Company.
1907: South Jersey Squab Company, Glassboro.
1907: West Jersey Bottler's Protective Association, Camden.
1908: South Jersey Farm-Lands and Homes Company, Vineland.
1907: - West Jersey Tube Works DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1908: South Jersey Seed Company, Camden.
1908: West Jersey Cranberry Land Company, Medford.
1908: West Jersey Electrical and Construction Company.
1908: West Jersey Horse Show, Camden.
1908: West Jersey Investment Company, Camden.
1908: - South Jersey Agency Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1908: - South Jersey Contracting DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1908: - South Jersey Institute at Bridgeton DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1908: - West Jersey Construction Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1908: - West Jersey Express Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1908: - West Jersey and Seashore Steamboat Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1909: South Jersey Farmers' Exchange, Woodstown.
1909: South Jersey Hunting Club, Millville.
1909: South Jersey Poultry and Pigeon Association, Bridgeton.
1909: South Jersey Publishing Company, Laurel Springs.
1909: South Jersey River Development Company, Vineland.
1909: South Jersey Rural Telegraph and Telephone Company, Vineland.
1909: South Jersey Water Company, Berlin.
1909: - South Jersey Mobile Transit Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1909: - West Jersey Land and Cranberry Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1909: - West Jersey Poultry Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1910: South Jersey Charcoal and Chemical Company.
1910: South Jersey Crockery Company, Trenton.
1910: South Jersey Estates Company.
1910: South Jersey Motor Club of New Jersey, Camden.
1910: South Jersey Sand Company, Cape May.
1910: South Jersey Yacht Building Company, Atlantic City.
1910: West Jersey Bag Company, Camden.
1910: West Jersey Securities Company, Atlantic City.
1910: - South Jersey Water Supply Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1910: - West Jersey Supply Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1911: South Jersey Glove Manufacturing Company, Bridgeton.
1911: South Jersey Poultry Farms Company.
1911: West Jersey Bond & Mortgage Investment Company, Camden (formerly West Jersey Investment Corp).
1911: West Jersey Investment Corporation, Camden.
1911: South Jersey Democrat (newspaper, Holly Beach).
1911: - South Jersey Express Company DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
1912: South Jersey news (newspaper, Stratford).
1913: South Jersey Progressive (newspaper, Pitman).
1914: - West Jersey Society DISSOLVED/DEFUNCT.
          (last records in Britich Archives/London Public Records Office)
1916: South Jersey News (newspaper, Camden).
1923: South Jersey News (newspaper, Merchantville).
1924: "South Jersey: A History (1664 - 1924)," by Alfred M. Heston, published.
1926: South Jersey Law School est'd. (merged with Rutgers in 1950).
1927: College of South Jersey est'd. (merged with Rutgers in 1950).
1927: West Jersey Atlantic City News (newspaper, Atlantic City).
1932: South Jersey Democrat (newspaper, Atlantic City).
1932: South Jersey Democrat (newspaper, Sea Isle City).
1935: South Jersey News (newspaper, Collingswood).
1941: South Jersey Herald (newspaper, Hammonton).
1947: Atlantic City Gas & Water Company changes its name to South Jersey Gas.
1947: South Jersey Shopper (newspaper, Camden).
1960: South Jersey Shopping Reporter (newspaper, Atlantic City).
1967: South Jersey Star and Advertiser Press (newspaper, Bridgeton).
1970: South Jersey Ad-Visor (newspaper, New Gretna).

This list may not be complete - any additions, especially earlier instances of "South Jersey" and later "West Jersey" references mailed to me would be most welcome.


1 "Proprietary colonies" differed from "crown colonies" in several ways, such as not having a governor appointed (and recallable) by the home government.
Click here for a discussion of the development of proprietary government as it first occurred in Maryland .
Click here for the New Jersey Archives' description of the records of the proprietors

2 New Jersey Council President Lewis Morris, (later Governor), writing to Thomas Pelham-Holes, Duke of Newcastle, the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, letter dated June 2, 1732. As reproduced in: Whitehead, William Adlee [ed.], Documents relating to the colonial history of New Jersey [1631-1676] , Vol. 5, p. 315ff, Daily Journal, Newark, NJ. [F131.D63 v.5, also referred to as the New Jersey Archives, First Series]

3 Fithian, Philip Vickers, writing to Priscilla Carter of her brother's visit, letter dated October 12, 1775, as reproduced in Journal & Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor of the old Dominion , published by Colonial Williamsburg, Inc, Williamsburg, VA, 1957. [F229.F56 1957]

4 Smith, Charles P., Charles Perrin Smith: New Jersey Political Reminiscences, ed. by Hermann K. Platt ; New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers University Press 1965, p. 149. [F138.S6 A3]

5 Included here because this important line's name featured the word"Southern." In 1879 the Central Railroad of New Jersey acquired the New Jersey Southern Railroad (formerly the Raritan and Delaware Bay Railroad and the Vineland Railway). The C.R.R. of N.J. designated the trackage as their "New Jersey Southern Division" in 1883 and changed the designation to simply the "Southern Division" during 1932 as part of a cost-cutting measure taken at the onset of the Great Depression, which downgraded the division's importance to the C.R.R. of N.J.

6 http://www.dvrbs.com/CamdenNJ-WestJerseyTitle.htm

7 (see " Camden New Jersey: West Jersey Hospital ") The charter of the Camden Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary Association was granted February 5, 1885. The house at 4th and Arch Streets was fitted up for hospital use and opened on March 2, 1885. In 1887 the property at West and Stevens Streets was purchased, and the hospital moved there and continued its work until the fall of 1890, when it was voted to close the hospital. On May 15, 1891 the West Jersey Homeopathic Dispensary and Hospital association was incorporated. The house at 3 North 5th was rented and fitted up as a dispensary; and later the building at West and Stevens Street was purchased from the old Association and opened to the public on March 25, 1892. This early hospital moved to Mount Ephraim Avenue, and is known in modern times as the West Jersey Hospital. The cornerstone of the present West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital at Mount Ephraim and Atlantic Avenues was laid on June 29, 1912. (see also Streets of Camden, New Jersey: Stevens Street )


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