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According to the historian Lucius Elmer, Leesburg was established around 1800 by the brothers Lee, ship-carpenters from Egg Harbor. However, the Leesburg area must have been settled before then because George Heisler, Sr. moved there with his family in the 1700's. A Methodist "class" was organized in 1792 and in 1812, Leesburg Methodist Church was built. In 1849, the Leesburg Windmill was built by William Carlisle at the site of present-day Allen's Steel Company. "Oak Leaf Academy"- a two-story, four-room schoolhouse, in use until June 1958, when it was converted to the Maurice River Municipal Building - was built in 1856. Whibco Shipyard was once the home of Delaware Bay Shipyard, founded in 1928 and eventually employing over 500 people in five separate businesses. Once diked farms lined the Maurice River all the way from Leesburg to Millville.


The "Glade" separates Delmont from Heislerville, known until around 1860 as Maurice River Neck. Heislerville's history is connected to its outlying neighbors: East Point, Matt's Landing, Thompson's Beach, Maurice River and Menhaden. Indians migrated south to East Point from their winter quarters along the Manumuskin and the Menantico. Their name for the Maurice River was "Wahatquenak." European settlement began in the early to mid-1700's. Along with fishing, agriculture was Heislerville's other main industry early on. Train loads of Heislerville strawberries were shipped from "Link City", a railroad station on Matts Landing Road, which also served the oyster packing operations located in the "ghost" village of Maurice River, on the river opposite Bivalve. Salt hay also was harvested in parts of the huge area formerly known as the Cadwallader Estate, now the Heislerville Wildlife Management Area. Around 1793, George Heisler, Jr. homesteaded in Heislerville and held Methodist meetings there. Heisler Memorial Methodist Church was built in 1855.


Delmont, until 1891, called Ewings Neck, has been home to its earliest European settlers since 1770. To explain the name: the Ewing family was one of the first to settle in the area and a "neck" is a name often given to a stretch of higher ground surrounded by marshes and low-lands. Delmont's post office was established in 1851; mail first came by stagecoach and later by train after the Cape May-Millville Railroad opened in 1863. Its first church was a one-room wooden structure which also served as the village's first school. Delmont United Methodist Church was built in 1872. Delmont School - a two-story wood-frame structure now in disrepair- was built in 1887.

Time Line Of Significant Events In Maurice River Township
  • Mid 1600's - Swedes settled in lower Maurice River Valley in what is now Maurice River Township.
  • 1657 - According to local tradition, the Dutch ship "Prince Maurice" was attacked and sunk by Indians in a river they called Wahatquenak.
  • 1691 - Thomas Budd and John Worledge laid out the town plot of Dorchester and a second tract extending to the Menantico River.
  • 1771 - John Bell deeded 213 acres to Elizabeth Bodly who became the founder of Port Elizabeth.
  • 1781 - The only Revolutionary War battle in Cumberland County took place at Dallas Landing in Maurice River Township between the Patriots and Tories.
  • 1785 - The first lot in Port Elizabeth was deeded to the Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • 1789 - An Act of Congress established Port Elizabeth as a port of delivery.
  • 1849 - East Point Lighthouse was built at the entrance of the Maurice River cove. (Currently the second oldest standing lighthouse in New Jersey.)
  • 1861-1865 - Scores of volunteers from Maurice River Township entered the Union Army during the Civil War.
  • 1928 - The vessel "A.J. Meerwald" was built as an oyster schooner at the Stowman Shipyard in Dorchester. In 1998 it became the official tall ship of New Jersey.
  • 1993 - U.S. Congress designated 10.3 free-flowing miles of the Maurice River and nearly 25 miles of the Menantico Creek, Manumuskin River, and Muskee Creek as the Maurice National Scenic and Recreational River.
  • 1994 - Vice President Al Gore presided over ceremonies held at the Harris Family property on River Road, Leesburg, designating part of the Maurice River as a Wild and Scenic River.
  • 1998 - Maurice River Township held its Bicentennial Celebration, celebrating 200 years of Pride, Progress & Prosperity.
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