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Lower Bank, NJ

Lower Bank is one of the small villages comprising the Township of Washington, in Burlington County, New Jersey. It was founded supposedly by the first white settler in the area, a Swede by name of Eric Mullica, from which the river on which the town is situated gets it's name. This is supposed to have happened about 1645. While researching the village of Batsto, I have come across so many references to the surrounding towns that I have begun to compile them and I will post them here as a reference for anyone else who may be interested in them.

Firstly, it is important to note that one of the big problems with doing research in Washington Township, is that it's borders were constantly shifting. For example, portions of it's territory have been lost to Randolph and Shamong townships over the years. It appears that in 1870, the portion of the township in which Lower Bank stands was taken away and made part of Randolph Township. However, a 1924 work by historian Alfred Heston describes the government of Washington Township as including several residents of Lower Bank, and I suspect it may have by that time been once again rejoined with Washington.

The village of Lower Bank was described by historian Major E.M. Woodard in 1883 as follows:
"...a small hamlet located on the Mullica River; is on the extreme border of the township [referring to Randolph Twp] in it's southwest corner. It is the oldest village in the township and was quite a thriving little village in the year 1800. It contains a school house, a saw mill, two stores, Methodist Episcopal Church, forty dwellings, and a post office." The post office he mentions was established in 1854 with Samuel Weeks as it's post master. He held the position until his death, when Mrs. Margaret A. Allen was appointed, and she was still post mistress as of Woodard's writing.

Woodard notes that Lower Bank was noted for it's winter fisheries, and although ship building was it's chief industry, by 1883 little building was actually taking place. N.D. Van Sant (presumably this is the same N.D.VanSant who was minister of the church) built yachts annually on a limited scale. Lumber had once been a big business as well, but by the time Woodard wrote his history, only "scrub oaks and a small quantity of pine timber, which is rapidly being hewn down" was all that was left. The other industry in the environs around Lower Bank was described as "quite an extent" of charcoal burning.

A visitor to this site has mentioned that a Thomas Taylor (1764-19 April 1821) had a daughter, Sarah Taylor, in 1799 or 1800, born in Lower Bank according to DAR records. She married a Stacy Howell on 22 Feb 1821, and died in Lower Bank in 1825.

A brief description of the holiday season in Lower Bank is afforded us in this brief news item from January 20th, 1876:

...The ladies of the M.E. Church held a fair on Christmas evening, to raise funds for paying the debt off. Towards the close some rowdies, under the influence of rum drank elsewhere, came in and broke up the fair for that night. Warrants are out for their apprehendsion.
.....On New Year's Eve, the ladies continued the fair at the church. The tables were tastefully arranged, and waited upon by beautiful ladies. Mr. Sankey's hymns were sung, and a tree was decorated for the occasion.

One person known to reside at Lower Bank was Samuel E. Weeks, whose marriage to M.R. Clinton of Bordentown was recorded in the Jan 1, 1869 issue of the Bordentown Register, as having taken place the previous Dec 25. According to the Dec 11, 1868 issue of that same paper, George M.D. Weeks of Lower Bank married Emma Venable of Bordentown.

The following marriage was recorded in the New Jersey Courier of June 8th, 1887:
Emma J. Ford of Lower Bank married Samuel C. Truex of Manahawkin, at Lower Bank, on June 3rd, 1887.

The 1890 Veteran's Census lists a John E. Carey of Lowerbank; according to one unconfirmed source, he is supposed to have died in Washington, D.C. on 5 Jan 1907.

Another death at Lower Bank occurred on 28 Feb 1895, according to an obit in the New Jersey Courier, when the six year old daughter of Caleb and Laura Cavileer, Hannah, died. Their entry can be seen near the end of the 1895 State Census here.

Ellen R. Broome is also known to have died at Lower Bank in 1900; she was the daughter of Israel Broome, who was married to Jane Rider, said to be a descendant of Thomas Ford.

Recently, another visitor to this page, Marge, transcribed the following deaths at Lowerbank while she was researching at the New Jersey Archives, and she was kind enough to share them with us:
11/3/1856 Gertrude Johnson, age 2, parents - Jacob and Margaret Johnson. Cause not known.
12/24/1856 Nicols V. Camp, age 6, Parents - Stephen P. & Sarah.
1/4/1857 Mary Johnson, 7 months
2/20/1851 Rebecca Sooy, 2 yrs, daughter of Noah and Harriet Sooy

The research library at Batsto has 2 poll books from Washington Township elections, from 1892 and 1894. The following list comprises those people who voted from Lower Bank in both elections:
1892 1894
Robert Parven Charles T. Allen
Nicholas Cramer Robert M. Bailiff
Solomon Leeds Charles Weber
N.V. Cramer
N.D. VanSant
John E. Carry
Job Weeks
J. Frank Lane
John M. Sullivan
William Johnson
E.M. Allen
John Cavileer
Jesse R. Cavileer
Lewis A. Adams
James V. Cavileer
D.E. Cale
W.F. Beer
Just why there were so few voters in 1892 as compared with 1894 is not known; a comparison of the two years in other parts of the township reveals a far lesser differential in voter turnout.

Further information regarding the Jesse Cavileer mentioned above comes to us from the Tuckerton Beacon newspaper dated 4 Mar 1920:
Capt. Jesse R. Cavileer, of Egg Harbor, formerly of Lower Bank, has announced the engagement of his daughter, Jessie and Mr. Harry C. Pittinger, of Camden

Some other residents of note from Lower Bank include:
Peter Lane
Simeon Bartlett
Daniel Cole
John Hall
Mercy and Nicholas VanSant

E.M.Woodard, in his History of Burlington County, provides us with a few names of Lower Bank residents in 1883, although in that year there is no difficulty separating them from the residents of Washington Township, because Lower Bank was apparently at that time part of Randolph Township. Those mentioned in Woodard's volume by name are:

Regarding other burials in Lower Bank, E. M. Woodard recorded those below in his 1883 history, with the following note:"There are many bodies interred here with nothing to mark their last resting place, except a rudely shaped field-stone, or a pine slab, upon which the inscriptions, if any existed, are now defaced by the elements." Thus these inscriptions may no longer exist today; I have not gone there yet to verify them: Additional burials in the Lower Bank Methodist cemetery were provided to me by Bob MacAvoy: (hopefully I will get a chance to transcribe the full cemetery someday)
Adams, Theophilus H 1919
Ford, William 11 Nov 1881
Loveland, Andrew J unknown
McAnney, James 1909
Smallwood, Isaac 12 Apr 1875
Updike, John T. 1920
Weeks, William H. 3 Jan 1889
All of the burials submitted by Bob are Civil War veterans.

Lower Bank in 1924
According the Alfred M. Heston's 1924 work, South Jersey: A History, the following Lower Bank residents were serving in the Township government in that year:
Name Office
D.E.Cale Collector
C.Roy Cramer Assessor
Harvey Cramer Township Committee

Births in Lowerbank: There is a small spreadsheet here that another researcher, Marge, recently transcribed for us while at the national Archives. It lists a number of Lowerbank Birth records that may be of interest.

Population of Lower Bank

Eventually I plan to have accurate population figures for each of the census years for this town and the rest of Washington Township. For now I have the following data:
As of 1900, there were 22 occupied homes at Lower Bank.
By 1905, that number had reached 40.
In 1910, there were 38 occupied homes at Lower Bank.
Like the rest of the township, population began to decline and by 1920 there were once again only 22 homes at Lower Bank.

If you have any information or questions regarding this part of New Jersey, please e-mail me and let me know. I would love to hear from anyone in that part of the world.

This page was last updated on May 17th, 2011