Lumberton

The original 17th century farms in the township's southwest revolved around the unincorporated community of Fostertown. The farms had been formed following removal of forest. The village of Lumberton grew out of two bordering towns. Eayrestown, settled by Richard and Elizabeth Eayres in the late 1600s. Eayrestown was the first substantial settlement in this area and became the center for commerce because of its sawmill. The history of some of the homes in Lumberton date back to the times of slavery. Each generation of descendants removed from the first settlers differed in opinion about slavery. The spectrum changed from advocacy and tolerance, to passive and active resistance. Many locals began to advocate for its abolition in New Jersey then nationwide. One home, still located on Creek Road in the township, has been documented as having been a site on the underground railroad. The home was originally built in 1824 by D.B. Cole, a descendant of the founders of old Colestown, New Jersey. The deed to the land where the home sits dates back to 1806 when the Coles purchased the land from the Moores of Moorestown. The story goes, and has been documented in Charles Blockson's Hippocrene Guide to the Underground Railroad, that a fake well that once rested in the backyard of the house served as a chute for slaves to slide down in order to hide from their slavemasters as they fled to Canada.


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