History of the Society

 The Greate Egg Harbour Township Historical Society formed in 1979 and their non-profit certificate of incorporation was filed and recorded with the New Jersey Secretary of State on March 10, 1980. The incorporating officers were Robert Reinheimer, June Sheridan, Loretta King, Edith Hagerthey and Ruth Taylor.

The society's mission includes the discovery and collection of any material which may help to document or illustrate the history of Egg Harbor Township, its explorations, settlement and development as well as progress. Printed materials include histories, genealogies, directories, newspapers, family Bibles, letters, photographs and a wide array of information and artifacts illustrating the life, conditions, events and activities of the past as well as the present.

Following two decades of material and artifact collection the Greate Egg Harbour Township Historical Society was able to open a Museum and Library in 2009 providing access to residents as well as other interested persons. GEHTH Soffers community programs, celebratory events, research assistance, special exhibits, internship opportunities and other special activities encouraging sharing general information about history and Egg Harbor Township, in particular.

History of the Township

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 "for as much 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:

Atlantic City
South Atlantic City (Margate)
Somers Point

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. 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. They can be reached at 609-813-2002 or by e-mail at GEHTHSMuseum@aol.org.

-- June Sheridan, Egg Harbor Township Historian