Nestled about ten to twelve miles north from the mouth of the Maurice River. The written history of the region goes back to the 1600s when the Dutch, not the English, controlled the region. A map of “Nieuw Nederlandt,” as the region was called, published in Amsterdam in 1676, includes references to the Zuyd Revier, or South River, as the Dutch called the Delaware River, and marks very distinctly the entrance of the Maurice River into the bay, and names it Mauritius Revier. The name references Maurice, Prince of Orange, royalty to the Dutch. The name was later Anglicized to Maurice River. The town itself was settled slowly, first consisting of a few simple houses and a tavern. However, in 1810, three enterprising brothers by the name of Compton arrived from New England and began laying out streets and building lots to sell. Each of the brothers had homes built on Front Street. Edward Compton was born in 1836 in Mauricetown, in what at the time was an area referred to as Downes, later to be split into Downe and Commercial Townships. It is interesting to note that the names Downes and subsequently Downe Township was named after Governor William Franklin’s wife’s maiden name, Downes. Governor Franklin was the last Colonial Governor of New Jersey (1763-1776), and was the acknowledged illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin married Elizabeth Downes in 1762 and she died in 1777 while her husband was imprisoned as a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War.
1229 Front Street, Mauricetown, NJ 08329. 856-785-1137 or 856-785-1372. www.mauricetownhistoricalsociety.org