Kickoff event set to celebrate Hopewell Township’s 320th anniversary

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The survey of Dr. Daniel Coxe’s 30,000 acres by the West Jersey Proprietors in 1689.

Three historians and local residents Ian Burrow, Richard Hunter and Joseph Klett will co-present on the founding of Hopewell as a kick-off to the 320th anniversary of the creation of Hopewell Township.

Hopewell Township was established on Feb. 20, 1700, according to event officials.

The event will occur in the auditorium of the Hopewell Township Municipal Complex located at 201 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road, in Titusville on Feb. 23.

In the event of bad weather, the event will be postponed to March 1.

According to event officials, the activities are set to begin at 1 p.m. and the talk will occur at 2:30 p.m.

Burrow is an archaeologist, conservationist, and former partner in Hunter Research, Inc., Trenton.

Officials said he will discuss the local Delaware (Lenape) Indians and what is known about their culture, sites, trails, and interaction with the first European settlers.

Burrow will also discuss the 1688/1689 purchase and survey of the 30,000-acre Hopewell tract by Dr. Daniel Coxe and the items paid to the Indian representatives in exchange for the land.

According to officials, Hunter is current president of Hopewell Valley Historical Society and Principal of Hunter Research, Inc., a Trenton-based historic preservation consulting firm.

He will explain the geography of the “valley” and how this determined the pattern of European settlement (and to a lesser extent, Native American settlement). Hunter will address landforms, rivers, soil fertility, and the evolution of roads, the canal and railroads, water power, mill sites, and extractive industries.

Klett is president of The Hopewell Museum and Executive Director of the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton.

He will speak about the establishment of Hopewell Township, which originally included the present-day township as well as Pennington and Hopewell boroughs, Ewing Township, and much of Trenton.

Klett will also discuss the process and sources involved in a map of Old Hopewell and Vicinity, 1680-1720 currently in development for the Museum and Historical Society by himself and others.

Officials said Hopewell Township’s founding documents (held by the State Archives) are going to be on display for the event. The documents include the 1688 Indian deed, the 1689 Coxe survey, the 1700 court book establishing the township, and Hopewell’s 1755 royal charter.

Original New Jersey wampum will also be exhibited, as well as the current draft of Old Hopewell and Vicinity, 1680-1720  and other materials illustrating the purchase of the Hopewell tract.

Activities for children are planned which center around wampum, the polished shell beads used by Native Americans and Europeans, both as money, for ceremonial pledges, and for personal decoration.

They will string “fathoms” of wampum, and learn how to exchange them for other trade goods.

This event is co-sponsored by the Hopewell Valley Historical Society, The Hopewell Museum and Hopewell Towns, according to event officials.

For more information about the kickoff event or plan to attend, contact [email protected]