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Trenton in Mercer County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“… a Town laid out called Lamberton …” [1773]

 
 
“… a Town laid out called Lamberton …” [1773] Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, November 2007
1. “… a Town laid out called Lamberton …” [1773] Marker
Inscription.
        Historically, Lamberton was the loose-knit fishing village and port that extended along the left bank of the Delaware River from Ferry Street to Riverview Cemetery. The heart of the community lay between Landing and Lalor Streets, exactly where the park atop the tunnel is located today.
        The settlement was named for the family of Thomas Lambert, who established the first plantation here around 1680. The location of Lambert’s house is uncertain, but it probably lay close to the bluff edge, with access to a landing on the river. The village of Lamberton emerged in the mid-18th century near the foot of present-day Landing Street, initially as the focus of the “Lamberton Fishery.” This enterprise, established by politician/gentleman farmer Charles Read, was in existence by the early 1760s, making use of a wharf, fishpond and other fish-processing facilities.
        In the years just before and after the American Revolution, the stretch of riverbank extending downstream from the Lamberton Fishery began to be developed for various other commercial and shipping purposes. During this period, Lamberton
A Revolutionary War era map of Trenton, image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
2. A Revolutionary War era map of Trenton,
prepared by cartographer Louis Alexandre Berthier for General Rochambeau showing the camp set up by the French Army on September 1 and 2, 1781 en route from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia, and again on September 3-7, 1782 on the return journey northward. The enlargement shows Lamberton as a cluster of buildings at a road intersection with four wharves along the river and a fishpond at the mouth of the creek known as Douglas Gut.
[Princeton University Library]
took on its identity as the port furthest upstream on the Delaware River and Trenton’s link downriver to the outside world. Burgeoning trade resulted in Lamberton’s designation as an official port of delivery by the First Congress of the United States in 1789.
        By 1770 William Richards, a Philadelphia merchant and apothecary, had taken over the Lamberton fishery and soon added other facilities, including a store and bakery, warehouses, a stoneware pottery, a mustard mill and a chocolate mill. At the foot of present-day Lalor Street, a second commercial focus emerged around a succession of businesses in which Moore Furman, another prominent Delaware Valley merchant and Trenton’s first mayor, was the driving force. Both Richards and Furman operated vessels from their wharves on the river. Through these shipping interests, Lamberton’s merchants engaged in a trade network that ranged far beyond Philadelphia, along the eastern seaboard, to the Caribbean and across the Atlantic.
        When the Revolutionary war raged in New Jersey, chiefly between 1776 and 1778, Lamberton was an important shipment point for American forces, a key port under their control that could distribute
“… a Town laid out called Lamberton …” [1773] Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
3. “… a Town laid out called Lamberton …” [1773] Marker
(On the Left) Moore Furman (1728-1808), Trenton and Philadelphia merchant and leading figure in Lamberton’s development as a port
(Courtesy of the Trentoniana Local History and Genealogy Collection, Trenton Public Library)

(On the Right) The seal of the City of Trenton adopted on July 13th, 1793, during Moore Furman’s term as Trenton’s first mayor
supplies to troops at the front. William Richards served as “ship’s Husband” to the Pennsylvania Navy, providing the fleet with “all stores and necessaries,” while Moore Furman was Deputy Quartermaster General for the Continental Army. After the war, Lamberton was under serious consideration – although ultimately rejected – as a suitable location for the new “Federal City” and the seat of the national capital.
        Lamberton remained a bustling upriver port well into the 1840s. In the early 19th century, fishing and import/export businesses continued to be important, and were supplemented with passenger steamboat and towing services on the river. The village blossomed as a rafting stop-over for fresh-cut lumber being floated downstream to the Philadelphia shipyards. Rafts were secured in the slack water at the foot of Landing Street and river pilots patronized establishments like the Raftsman’s Inn and the Delaware Inn. From the mid-19th century, the port of Lamberton declined as the timber supply upriver became depleted and nearby Trenton developed as an industrial center tied more to the canal and rail network than to the river.

Why
Moore Furman advertises his store image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
4. Moore Furman advertises his store
in Lamberton in the New Jersey Gazette, “Having established a store at Lamberton (commonly called Trenton Landing, one and a half miles below Trenton) bet leave to inform the publick, that they are now opening a general assortment of merchandize, which will be disposed of wholesale and retail, at the most reasonable prices, for cash or country produce. June 21, 1784.”
here?

        Why did a village emerge here at Lamberton, so close to Trenton? Mainly because Lamberton lies at the head of navigation on the Delaware River, 85 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, at the point furthest upstream that is accessible to deep-draught vessels. Trenton, in contrast, is situated a mere mile upstream at the falls of the Delaware, where the riverbed is rocky and can be forded; this spot is unreachable by all but the shallowest of boats. Lamberton is also located close to the head of tide in a section of the Delaware River where fish spawn in abundance ….. so the prospect of fishing also helped propel the village into existence.

Right here beneath your feet …
        … lay the riverfront facilities of historic Lamberton. All the infrastructure of a port once existed here – wharves, docks, warehouses, stores, buildings involved in fish processing, mills, large ovens where ships’ biscuit was baked, even a pottery kiln. Traces of many of these elements of Lamberton were observed and documented by archaeologists during the early stages of the tunnel construction project in 1999-2000.
 
Erected
A map showing the locations of foundations and the remains image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, November 2007
5. A map showing the locations of foundations and the remains
of bake ovens and a stoneware pottery kiln recorded by archaeologists along the riverbank between Landing Street and Lalor Street
2004 by New Jersey Department of Transportation.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the The Washington-Rochambeau Route marker series.
 
Location. 40° 11.95′ N, 74° 45.523′ W. Marker is in Trenton, New Jersey, in Mercer County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 29. Touch for map. This marker is in South River Walk park which is built over top of Route 29. Marker is in this post office area: Trenton NJ 08611, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. “The Whole Art, Secret and Mystery of Manufacturing Sturgeon” ( here, next to this marker); “Trenton Ready for War …….” ( within shouting distance of this marker); Heritage of Sport ( within shouting distance of this marker); Righting Civil Wrongs and Ensuring Civil Rights ( within shouting distance of this marker); Growth of Government ( within shouting distance of this marker); 20th Century (and later) Trenton Timeline
Vaulted basement near the foot of Landing Street, image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
6. Vaulted basement near the foot of Landing Street,
this building probably belonged to William Richards in the late 18th century and is believed to have been used as a potters workshop and warehouse
( within shouting distance of this marker); From Teacups to Toilets ( within shouting distance of this marker); Cooper & Hewitt ….. Iron & Steel ( within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Trenton.
 
More about this marker. The marker is in the northern half of the park. It is past the Trenton Timeline and Arches when entering from the main entrance at Lalor Street.
 
Categories. Colonial EraIndustry & CommerceWar, US Revolutionary
 
Stoneware pipkin image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
7. Stoneware pipkin
Remains of William Richards’ stoneware pottery kiln that was in production in the 1770s and 1780s Molded faces from stoneware jugs
Remains of a pair of commercial bake ovens image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
8. Remains of a pair of commercial bake ovens
found on the riverbank; these were likely owned by William Richards and used for making ships’ biscuit
Foundations image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
9. Foundations
of a waterfront building likely dating from the period when William Richards owned the Lamberton Fishery Foundations of warehouses at the foot of Lalor Street that were probably part of the late 18th- and early 19th century shipping facilities of Moore Furman and his business associates
“… a Town laid out called Lamberton …” [1773] Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, November 2007
10. “… a Town laid out called Lamberton …” [1773] Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 26, 2007, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,583 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on December 26, 2007, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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