Though Ewing Township was formally founded in 1834, the records of the area range back thousands of years. Earliest settlers of this area, currently known as Ewing Township were the Lenni Lenape Indians. Those migratory people ranged throughout New Jersey along the banks of the Delaware River, and the Township’s many creeks provided abundant natural resources for hunting, fishing, pottery-making, and simple farming.
When European colonists around 1699 first settled the region, it was part of Hopewell Township and remained under that name until Trenton was established in 1719. From 1719 all the way up till 1834, this area was called Trenton Township. On February 22, 1834, the name changed from Trenton Township to Ewing Township in Charles Ewings honor, who was posthumously honored for his work as The Chief Justice of the New Jersey State Supreme Court.
Ewing was settled by a blend of European and American colonists. Migrants from Long Island and the East Jersey Province are mostly of English or Scotch ancestry, with a bit of Welsh, Dutch, and French. Other English families came over from Burlington County and New England colonies.
Religion performed a massive role in the lives of the original settlers. In 1702, they formed an Anglican Church on today’s grounds of the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in-between Stuyvesant Ave. And Sullivan Way. The church long since disappeared, but a small cemetery remains to this day. In 1708, Andrew Lockart gave in land around Scotch Road for the establishment of the Presbyterian Church to fulfill early settlers need for religion. Their first services were held under two huge oak trees, one of which is still standing. The adjacent cemetery holds the graves of many Revolutionary soldiers. The populace of Ewing Township was sympathetic to the American cause during the Revolution, and thousands served in the war. General George Washington, after carrying the American army across the Delaware River on the Christmas morning, 1776, marched his troops down the Bear Tavern Road to strike the Hessian mercenary forces posted in Trenton.
In the early years, Ewing was predominantly a woodland area; after the Revolution, however, Ewing embarked upon an extended period of agricultural progress and activity. Early development was in the form of small hamlets stretching throughout the Township. Most of the hamlets were located on the major transportation routes in the township.
Early 20th Century
During the beginning of the twentieth century, Trenton became a major industrial hub, and the population of the city skyrocketed. The areas of Ewing next to Trenton began to urbanize, absorbing the population overflow coming from the city. Numerous Trenton residents saw the benefits of living in Ewing; the Township started to change from a rural to a residential area. Trains and trolleys let people live farther away from Trenton center.
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