History and Genealogy of East Greenwich NJ
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Waterways of East Greenwich   W A T E R W A Y S    of   East Greenwich
Photograph of one of East Greenwich NJ's waterway
Scene in East Greenwich NJ, from the East Greenwich Master Plan 2004

East Greenwich Township is drained by the Mantua Creek, which forms its northern boundary line, the Repaupo, which forms a part of its southern boundary line, the Still Run, Repaupo, Nehansey Branch, and Clonmill Creek, the three latter taking their rise in or near the central part of the township, running in a southwesterly direction, emptying into the Delaware River. [Cushing, 1883]

The early white settlers built saw and grist mills on many creeks and streams throughout the county. These early mills encouraged development of flood plain land and established a trend for development that continues today. Agriculture was also an important industry for the early settlers and continues to be one of our major industries.

In addition, our waterways (creeks and rivers) were often used for transportation. Several wharves could be found along the Mantua Creek where boats and barges would carry vegetables and fruit grown locally (along with other products) to Philadelphia and other ports. They brought back goods from that city to our township.


Lat, Lon (wgs84) 39.83955, -75.28241
N 39°50'22" W 75°16'57"
Part of the Repaupo Creek Watershed.

Probably named after Clonmel in Tipperary County, Ireland. Captain Israel Helm, one of the early leaders of "New Sweden" lived by this Creek.

Mantua Creek (MAN-chuh), c.16 mi/26 km long, Gloucester co., SW N.J.; rises N of Glassboro; flows generally NW, past Wenonah and Paulsboro, to Delaware R. opposite S Philadelphia. Navigable for c.9 mi/14.5 km above mouth. Part of the Mantua Creek Watershed


Mantua Creek and its two major tributaries, Edwards Run and Chestnut Branch, drain over 50 square miles of Gloucester County.
A major tributary to Mantua Creek, Chestnut Branch flows just over seven miles from Glassboro to Mantua. Over that stretch it drains 9.9 square miles of land. Edwards Run, the second major tributary, flows north for 6.9 miles from its headwaters in Mantua Township, through East Greenwich and empties into Mantua Creek at Mt. Royal. Edwards Run drains an area of 10.6 square miles. Duffield Run is also a tributary to Mantua Creek from the headwaters and drains an area of 2.3 square miles.

The Mantua Creek Watershed is part of the Lower Delaware River Tributaries Management Area.

History of Settlement near Mantua Creek
The early settlement of the Mantua Creek area dates back to the time of the Lenni-Lenape Indians. The Indians valued the area for its abundance of fish and game and utilized the creeks extensively for transportation. By 1643 there were Swedish settlements along the banks of Mantua Creek, as well as all the other tidewater creeks between Fort Nassau and Fort Elsinborg. The W.P.A. "History of the Swedes and Finns" tells us that 'Tobacco once grew between Racoon and Mantua Creeks, and along the banks of Mantua Creek were found great quantities of walnut, peach, chestnut, cypress, mulberry and fish trees, as well as many rare trees, unknown because they could not be found anywhere other than in this area. The shores of the creek were infested with a horrible serpent, called a rattlesnake.'

Some histories claim that the word Mantua is derived from the Lenape word, "frog." According to According to Jim Rementer, Language Director for the Delaware Tribe of Indians (currently in Oklahoma), "Manta" or "Mantua" is not a known Lenape word. Older European-based histories indicate that "Manta is a Lenape word for frog." According to Mr. Rementer, the Lenape word for frog is "chahkol." According again to Mr. Rementer, Mantua or Manta may have been a Native American village name. The closest phonetically sounding word to this might be "manëtu," which means "spirit" in the Lenape language.

The name Mantua is probably had the same origin as "Mantas Hook" ["Mantaes hoeck" meaning Manta's Point in Dutch, the Mantaes being the Dutch term for the Native Americans who lived in this area] in Billingsport. The Manta (Mantes) were a Unalactigo sub-tribe or division of the Lenape people based on differences in dialect and location. The Unalactigo, "people near the ocean," inhabited both sides of the lower Delaware River below Philadelphia including Delaware Bay in what would currently be northern Delaware, southeast Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey. Case in point--on John Worlidge’s Map of East and West Jersey, c. London, 1706 Mantua Creek is referred to as Mantaes Creek; on a 1777 map it is called Manto Creek; on an 1872 map it is called Mantau Creek. Other meanings of "mantua" during this same time period was a woman's cloak or mantle; also, a loose woman's gown of the 17th and 18th centuries--coming from the term which also means a rich kind of silk [formerly exported from Mantua, Italy]. A maker of women's silk clothing was known as a "mantua-maker."

According to "The Pennsylvania Evening Post, (Philadelphia), February 3, 1778:"
Yesterday about twenty West Jersey loyalists crossed the Delaware, from this city, in order to assist some of their friends, who had expressed a desire of taking refuge here, to avoid the horrid tyranny and implacable persecution of the rebels. At the mouth of Mantua creek, they fell in with a party of the enemy in ambuscade, whom they soon repulsed, advanced into the country, and took one Wilson prisoner, who was a committee man, and, it is said, very active in distressing the friends of government. They returned this day with the prisoner, and their friends. The loyalists had one man killed, but what the rebels suffered is not known. Wilson is in confinement. There was also a 2nd skirmish at Mantua Creek.

NEHONSEY [sic "Nehansey"] BROOK/CREEK - Today, Mickleton is considered roughly that section of East Greenwich Township south of the source of the Nehonsey Creek [also referred to as a brook and a stream]. Where exactly is Nehonsey Creek? [see map below]. "Peaslee Pond" is the visible location of the dividing line between Mickleton and Clarksboro.

Nehonsey Creek on GIS map
Nehonsey Brook/Creek as shown in Gloucester County GIS map
Nehonsey Creek on map
Peaslee's Pond in Clarksboro NJ
PEASLEE'S POND - a small body of water on the Peaslee estate visible from King's Highway in Clarksboro. Many older residents of the town remember ice skating on this pond in the winter time.

Will-O-Dell Lake, in actuality a small pond formed by Nehonsey Brook, is located off Friendship Road near Harmony Road. This "lake" may be remembered by township residents as a place where they took Red Cross swimming lessons. According to Suzanne Grasso of the Gloucester County Historical Society, "the Ahrens family bought the Eisler Farm back in the 1930's. In 1952 they decided to dig a lake and open it for recreation, build the consession stand, restrooms etc. In 1955 the lake opened to its members. The family ran and maintained the lake. The lake was closed in 1974 because it had become too much work for the families. The lake was sold and was to open again, and then sold again. Unfortunately it never reopened again as a recreational lake. There were 3 willow trees that were left on a little "island" in the middle of the lake, which would most likely explain the name. They eventually died because it was too wet. "

Cindy Pokrzywa remembers: "Probably the most fondest childhood memories for myself and the rest of my siblings are those summers we spent at Will-o-dell lake. Would love to somehow plan some sort of gathering/reunion to celebrate what it meant to belong to such a special place. It was not just a place to swim, It was a place where I learned to dance, play VolleyBall, badminton, and so on! I may even have some pictures..I live in Woodstown and to this day I still drive by what's left of the lake and think back to those summer days. Thanks for remembering Will-O-Dell."

(My thanks to Larry Chester for bringing this "lake" to my attention. Anyone who remembers this lake, or has photographs, please contact me.

Tomlin Road
Part of Repaupo Creek
This stream rises a little west of what what was the "Jefferson" section of Harrison Township, and flowing westwardly, supplies Warrington Mills [the old mill pond of Judge Warrington] after which it takes the name of Purgy Creek, thence emptying into the Repaupo.

Quaker Road
Part of Repaupo Creek

According to Elizabeth T. Scott in "East Greenwich Township Centennial--1881 to 1981," tradition says that at the entrance of Still Run with Homan's Creek was a point of land with a cluster of Native American wigwams. The occupants resided there for a long time and were peaceable.

Both Rattling Run and Still Run are part of the Lower Delaware River Tributaries Management Area

Part of Mantua Creek Watershed [Lower Delaware Watershed]
Edwards Run, the second major tributary of Mantua Creek, flows north for 6.9 miles from its headwaters in Mantua Township, through East Greenwich and empties into Mantua Creek at Mt. Royal. Edwards Run drains an area of 10.6 square miles.

This waterway originally emptied into Mantua Creek near the railroad tracks but the course of the stream was diverted by Restore Lippincott. This creek was named in honor of Edward Byllings, an early owner of the land in our township.

Edward's Creek at Gerrard's Dam, was the line between Mantua and Greenwich before the creation of East Greenwich Township.

HOMAN'S CREEK aka Trumpeter's Creek is the old name for Repaupo Creek. Repaupo Creek rises on the line separating Greenwich from Woolwich township, and flows northwest 7 or 8 miles to the Delaware River, opposite Chester Island.

It was named after Anders Andersson Homman (1626-1700) the former trumpeter for New Sweden from Sollentuna parish in Stockholm Sweden, who had arrived in America with Governor Printz in 1643 and later became one of the first settlers on Repaupo Creek (also known as Trumpeter's or Homan's Creek) in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Peter Homman his son (c1675-1729) lived in Passyunk as a hired hand, and he himself returned to Gloucester County in 1706 when he was named constable of that county. There is no evidence that Peter ever married. (Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine vol. 36, no. 3).

Before 1684 Woola Erickson, Hans Petters, Andreas Homan and Israel Helm purchased tracts close to Repaupo Creek from the Swedish owners.

In 1702 a land transaction was recorded as follows: "Do. to Peter Long of 1,000 acres, surveyed in 1685 to Andrew Robeson, on Maple Run and another branch adjoining the Parkers and including 20 acres of Homan's Creek.

More information on other Watersheds in Gloucester Co. NJ

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