Woodbridge Township is the oldest in the state of New Jersey. It was settled in the autumn of 1664 and was given a charter in June 1669, by King Charles of England. Another famous son of Woodbridge, James Parker, was born in 1714 and founded the first permanent printing house in Woodbridge in 1751. He was a business partner of Benjamin Franklin. In 1758 he founded and printed, at Woodbridge, “The New American Magazine,” the first magazine of that kind edited and published in the Colony, and the second one of its kind on the new continent.
Likely First Antislavery Meeting
What may be said to be the earliest antislavery meeting ever held in the United States took place in Woodbridge on the 4th of July, 1783, seven years after the Declaration of Independence and six years before George Washington’s inauguration was as President of the United States. This gathering was held on the farm of Moses Bloomfield, a doctor in the Continental Army, stationed north of Freeman Street.
When George Washington left for New York to take the oath of office as the President of the United States, he left Philadelphia in the morning of April 21, arrived in Trenton that afternoon, and the same night traveled to Princeton, where he spent the night. Accompanied by Governor Livingston, Washington proceeded to Woodbridge where he spent the night at the Cross Keys Tavern, back then located on the northwest corner of Amboy Avenue and Main Street, on the site currently occupied by the Knights of Columbus. This famous old building still stands to this day, having been moved to a new position to the rear of the first site on the north of James Street. On the morning of April 23, General Washington left for New York.
In the early days, the familiar names for the various parts were Woodbridge, Blazing Star or often called Rahway Neck, currently the Borough of Carteret, Lower Rahway, now just Rahway, and a few others. Ten years later, Raritan Township, currently Edison Township, became a part of Piscataway and Metuchen, after that a part of Woodbridge went into making up that municipality. Finally, in 1906, a piece of property was taken away from Woodbridge to build the Borough of Roosevelt, now Carteret. In the 1800s the vast territory that made up Woodbridge Township was gradually distributed, and portions of the area went on to other municipalities. But the Township is still one of the largest in the State with about 27 square miles.
Woodbridge is known for its fine clay deposits and its by-product brick. In 1859, it was said that supply for nearly 80 000-000-fire bricks was at the time being produced annually and sent to the market from Woodbridge. In 1866, M.D. Valentine and James R. Valentine started the business beside Spa Spring and the manufacture of lath brick for which J.J. Valentine has been given a patent the prior year. This brick was to be produced in scouring pipe, tile, and brick. By 1876, the factory had grown to such dimensions that it was capable of making 4,000,000 of those bricks a year.
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