History of Westampton
Westampton Township was organized from the township of Northampton by an Act of Assembly dated March 6, 1850. It received its name as the “western” portion of Northampton. In 1854, a part was added from Pemberton Township, and in 1880, Eastampton Township was formed from Westampton. In 1956, the township was completed with Willingboro Township giving the balance of Rancocas Village to Westampton Township.
The area of the township today is 12 square miles with the Rancocas Creek forming a natural southern border. The township is bounded on the west by Willingboro, on the north by Burlington Township and Springfield, and on the east by Eastampton and Mt. Holly. An early description of the area reports a slightly rolling surface with soil that is good, though light and sandy and in some places underlaid with good brick clay. Several brickyards turned out thousands of bricks and drainage tiles in the 1700s.
Westampton is rich in history. The first inhabitants were the Lenni-Lenape or Delaware Indians. The first Quaker settlers arrived in Burlington County in 1677, and some settled on the meadow bank of the Rancocas Creek. Rancocas Village, 101 homes in a State and National Historic District, developed around the Rancocas Friends Meeting House which was erected in 1772. The Village was divided between Westampton and Willingboro until 1956. The Rancocas Post Office was established in 1838 and is still in operation.
Timbuctoo, a small hamlet on the Rancocas, was founded by non-slaves and freed blacks in 1825. Timbuctoo, also known as Buctoe, encompassed Church Street, Blue Jay Hill Road and Rancocas Road. It was prosperous as a community and boasted one of the first public schools in the township as well as the AME Zion Church. It is believed to have been a stop on the underground railroad. Some of the current residents still living in the area are descendants of the original settlers. A small civil war cemetery is located on Church Street.
Tinkertown was another small settlement that existed where the Route 541 bus terminal is now located. It was a very small settlement and did not last long as a community.
Peachfield Plantation on Burrs Road is a pre-Revolutionary War historic site. Peachfield was originally built in 1725. It was the ancestral home of the Burr family. John Woolman, a grandson of Henry Burr, was a noted educator and abolitionist.
Rancocas Friends School was a private school founded in 1807. Two Civil War schools were built: Bunker Hill School, now part of our Municipal Building on Rancocas Road, and Union School on Burrs Road, now the Charlie Brown’s site. These schools closed in the early 1900′s and our children attended Mt. Holly schools until the Westampton School was built in 1955. Woodlane Cemetery, a Friends Burial grounds on Woodlane Road, is the oldest burial place in the north of Burlington County. Another Friends cemetery is on Centerton road.
Today, Westampton Township, with 7500 residents, is a thriving community with prime commercial acreage, a wide choice of residential communities, the Rancocas State Park which houses the Rankokus Indian Reservation and the Nature Center, and two Country Clubs with 18 hole championship golf courses. Our children attend two modern schools through eighth grade and a regional high school.
A County Complex is located on Woodlane Road which includes a modern public library, public health and safety center, human services center and two county schools.
The township government consists of a five member elected committee, fully staffed municipal offices, a 22 member Police Department, and a combined paid and volunteer fire company and emergency squad. Numerous boards and commissions are made up of concerned citizens from all walks of life. An active recreation program provides a myriad of activities for our residents. Our residents can enjoy numerous tennis courts, a roller hockey court, four playgrounds and two baseball/softball fields.