Important Dates in the History of East Windsor Township 

1664 King Charles II of Great Britain decides to reclaim land in North America from Holland and Sweden. He gives the land around what would become New York City to his brother the Duke of York. Several months later, the Duke of York gives the southern part of  this land to Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley. They call the area "Nova Caesarac" or "New Jersey" after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel.

1674 Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley divide New Jersey between them into East and West Jersey.

1675 Settlers receive permission to form Middlesex County in the province of New Jersey. Perth Amboy serves as the county seat.

1681 Twelve men buy East Jersey from the estate of Sir George Carteret after his death in 1679. The men become known as the "proprietors," or owners, of East Jersey. A group of Quakers later buys West Jersey.

1682 The proprietors of East and West Jersey agree to turn a well-traveled Indian trail into York Road, one of two important colonial roads between New York and Philadelphia.

1702 New Jersey again becomes a royal colony when the proprietors of East and West Jersey sign an agreement that reunites New Jersey and gives their right of government to Queen Anne of Great Britain.

1702 Thomas Gordon sells Mary and George Rescarrick land in what now forms the northwestern section of East Windsor Township.

1721 King George I of Great Britain sells John and Mary Hight three thousand acres of land along the Rocky Brook in what would become the center of East Windsor Township.

1725 John Ely buys fourteen hundred acres of land in what now forms the southern part of East Windsor Township.

1740 James Alexander and Daniel Donaldson Dunstar, two absentee landholders, sell 1,037 acres of land to William and Ann Hutchinson in what now forms the eastern section of East Windsor Township.

1750 On March 9th, King George IT of Great Britain creates the Township of Windsor in the southern part of Middlesex County. The Township includes all the land between Princeton and Allentown.

1770-3 John Cosman, a miller in Windsor, creates what we now call Etra Lake to power his gristmill on the Rocky Brook.

1773 To help local farmers, the street commissioners of Windsor Township decide to build a 66' wide road (Etra Road) between York Road and Cosman's mill.

1774 The First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia and decides to boycott British goods to protest British trade laws and taxes.

1774 John Hight sells land on Timber Run Creek to Antony and Sarah Applegate.

1775 Men from the Massachusetts Militia fire upon British troops in Lexington and Concord to prevent the British from seizing colonial gunpowder or arresting 'rebel' leaders. Within a few months, Rescarrick Moore and other men from Windsor Township join the 2nd Regiment of the Middlesex Militia.

1776 The Second Continental Congress adopts a motion that the British colonies in North America should be "free and independent." One month later, the congressmen sign The Declaration of Independence and name George Washington to lead their army. British troops pass through Windsor Township as they chase Washington's army from Long Island to Pennsylvania. On December 26th, Washington scores an important victory by surprising Hessian troops as they sleep in their barracks in Trenton, New Jersey.

1778 American and French troops stay in Windsor as they prepare for the Battle of Momouth.

1781 The American Revolution ends with the Battle of Yorktown. The thirteen British colonies join under the Articles of Confederation.

1783 The American Revolution formally ends with the Treaty of Paris.

1786 Joseph Hutchinson organizes the Methodist meeting-house at Etra.

1789 All thirteen states ratify the Constitution, and George Washington becomes the first president of the United States.

1797 After residents disagree about how to maintain public roads, the New Jersey Legislature divides Windsor Township into East Windsor and West Windsor.

1798 The New Jersey Legislature formally incorporates East Windsor Township on February 22nd. The Township Committee holds its first meeting in Rescarrick Moore's tavern.

1816 The New Jersey Legislature decides to build the Bordentown Turnpike from Bordentown to Cranbury. Today Route 130, Mercer Street, and North Main Street follow the path of this turnpike.

1819 The United States government establishes the first post office in East Windsor and names Daniel Mount postmaster.

1831 The Camden and Amboy Railroad begins laying tracks through the township as part of its route from Bordentown to South Amboy.

John Bull, c. 1860. The first steam railroad engine to travel on a railroad in New Jersey was the "John Bull," which made its first trip from Bordentown on November 12, 1831. In 1832, the "John Bull" made its first trip through East Windsor on the Camden & Amboy Railroad tracks between Bordentown and South Amboy (Hightstown-East Windsor Historical Society).

1833 Freight cars and passenger trains begin travelling the Camden and Amboy Railroad.

1835 Benjamin Reed trades a mule for a fire-engine, the first in the township.

1838 East Windsor becomes part of Mercer County after the New Jersey Legislature creates Mercer from parts of Burlington, Hunterdon, and Middlesex Counties. The new county is named in honor of Revolutionary General Hugh Mercer, who died during the Battle of Princeton.

1849 James S. Yard and Jacob Stults publish The Village Record, the first newspaper in the township.

1851-2 Clara Barton lives with the Norton family and teaches at the Cedarville Road Schoolhouse.

1853 The New Jersey Legislature incorporates the Borough of Hightstown from land in East Windsor Township.

1859 The New Jersey Legislature charters the Hightstown and Perrineville Turnpike Company. To pay for their improvements to Etra Road, the company charges tolls to travelers.

Civil War Enlistment Certificate, 1862. N. Norris Halsted signed this document when Anthony Johnson of East Windsor Township enlisted in the army at the headquarters in Trenton. Johnson died during his service with Company F of the 22nd Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers (Hightstown East Windsor Historical Society).

1861 A few days after southern troops fire on Fort Sumter to begin the Civil War, East Windsor men begin enlisting as soldiers in the New Jersey Volunteers. Thirty-five men from East Windsor and Hightstown die in the fighting before the war ended in 1865.

1864 The Pemberton and Hightstown Railroad lays track, then begins running trains from Pemberton to East Windsor.

1870 The United States Census shows 2,383 residents in the township; 2,284 native born and 99 foreign born; 2,293 white and 90 colored. The township has 510 eligible voters.

1871 The New Jersey Legislature establishes a free public school system with a nine-month school year. Four years later, the amended New Jersey Constitution provides free public schooling for all children from five to eighteen years old.

1875 The East Windsor Soldiers' Monument Association dedicates the monument at the corner of Rogers and Stockton Streets in memory of the men from Fast Windsor and Hightstown who died in the Civil War.

1890 The United States government establishes the Etra Post Office, named for Edward Taylor Riggs Applegate. Charles Mount serves as postmaster.

1894 East Windsor and Hightstown consolidate their schools and establish a nine member Board of Education.

1895 The Delaware and Atlantic Telegraph and Telephone Company installs the first telephonic line in Hightstown. The first telephone in the township arrives shortly after at Lee's Orchard, today's Lee's Turkey Farm.

1900 The first automobile, an Orient Quadricycle, rides through the township.

1904 The township hires Nelson Deats to build the first town hall on Franklin Street for $425.00.

1912 The school hoard decides to close the four one-room schoolhouses in the township and send the pupils to a new school on Mercer Street in Hightstown.

1915 In a special election, a group of East Windsor residents votes to secede from East Windsor and become a part of Hightstown. Since the East Windsor town hall now becomes part of Hightstown, the township hires George M. Perrine to build a new town hall on Etra Road for $202.00.

1923 The Township Committee passes an ordinance which allows The Electric Light and Power Company of Hightstown to erect poles and string wires through East Windsor to provide residents with electricity.

Thomas Peppler and Son, Farm Machinery, c. 1910. James "Pop" Whitlock (left) stands in front of these holdings at Peppler's on York Road just north of Conover's Dairy. Peppler's manufactured plows and other agricultural machines from the mid-nineteenth century until the early twentieth century (Hightstown~East Windsor Historical Society).

Union Transportation ("UT") Company Tracks, c. 1920. The "UT" line carried small locomotives between Pemberton and Hightstown. These people watch as an engine on the "UT" tracks approaches Mercer Street before intersecting with the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad (Hightstown East Windsor Historical Society).

1925 The School Board opens a new high school on Stockton Street, today's Grace Norton Rogers School.

1933 Farmers from Burlington, Monmouth, and Mercer Counties form The Tri-County Cooperative Auction Market Association. They open an auction house at 619 Mercer Street with a warehouse and depot across the road.

1939 The railroad runs the final passenger car, an excursion car to the New York World's Fair, through East Windsor. Freight cars continue running through the township into the 1960's.

1951 The New Jersey Turnpike Authority opens Exit 8 of the turnpike on Franklin Street (Route 33).

1957 The township builds a new town hall on Ward Street for $42,000.00.

1964 Mayor Frank Matheson, Councilman Pat Sweeny, and Councilman Richard Lee order the first garbage truck for the township.

1966 The population of East Windsor grows from 2,300 in 1960 to 6,000 in 1966.

1966 Mayor John A. Selecy, Councilmen Antony Franzo and Richard Lee establish the East Windsor Police Department. The council appoints Chief Joseph Michnisky as the first policeman. Several months later, Chief Barry Barlow and Pat Delre join the force.

1966 The Board of Education opens a new high school on a twenty-five acre Site on Leshin Lane in Hightstown.

1969 Residents create the East Windsor Volunteer Fire Department.

1970 Twin Rivers, the first planned unit development in New Jersey, opens on the eastern side of the township.

1970 The township replaces the three member council with the council-manager form of government. The township council now has seven members, each serving a four year term. The council elects a Mayor from among its members each January. The council also appoints the Township Manager, who runs the day4o-day operations of the township and reports to the council at-large.

1972 The Mercer County Library System opens the first library in the township.

1982 East Windsor opens a new municipal building on Lanning Boulevard.
Antony App1egate Deed December 10, 1774. John Hight and Mary Hight signed this deed or "indenture" when they sold land between Timber Run Creek arid a hickory sapling to Antony Applegate for 360pounds eight shillings (Hightstown-East Windsor Historical Society).




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