Question of the Week
2013 marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of what New Jersey town?
It was 300 years ago that the town now known as Haddonfield in southern New Jersey was first settled. The town’s name was derived in honor of John Haddon, an English Quaker who had purchased a large tract of land in the colony then known as “West Jersey.” Though he would never make it to the states, his daughter Elizabeth immigrated alone in 1701. Shortly after her arrival, she met and married Quaker minister John Estaugh, and the couple built their house on her father’s land (in what is now known as the “Estates” section on the western side of the town).
Haddonfield’s settlement date of 1713 was established during the town’s bicentennial celebration 1913. More than 6,000 people attended the event, which was chaired by one of Elizabeth Haddon’s descendants, Samuel R. Nicholson, along with James L. Pennypacker, and Julia B. Gill. A memorial to Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh was erected in the town’s Friends Cemetery.
Among Haddonfield’s most famous landmarks is the Indian King Tavern. Built in 1750, the tavern became the temporary home of the New Jersey Council and General Assembly, the main governing body of the state, after its headquarters were destroyed during the Battle of Trenton in December 1776. The assembly worked from the tavern throughout most of 1777, and it was there that it legally declared the former colony a state and adopted the New Jersey Great Seal. The Tavern also hosted the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in New Jersey.
Haddonfield is also known for being the site where, in 1858, reformer, geologist, and historian William Parker Foulke discovered the world’s first dinosaur skeleton. The Hadrosaurus foulkii made Foulke and his partner Joseph Leidy famous, and its discovery propelled paleontology and the search for dinosaur fossils during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The skeleton is on display at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Among HSP's large collection of published material relating to the state of New Jersey are a number of items relating to Haddonfield's history. Additionally, the Carpenter family papers (#115) contains a printed biography on Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh.
About the Author
Look for these history stories every Sunday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The stories, called Memory Stream, are published in the Currents section of the newspaper.