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Toms River
Toms River

NEW I recently uncovered this broken paint stirrer while pulling out the old cabinets in my house. Anyone out there know anything about this hardware store? E-mail me if you do!

Toms River is the county seat of Ocean County, and until about two years ago, part of Dover Township (the voters voted to officially change the name to Toms River Township, to the confusion of future generations of genealogists). The town is situated on the Toms River, hence the name; the river was ostensibly named for one Thomas Luker, who ran a ferry at the narrow part of the river there in the mid-18th century.
What is now Toms River Township was established by Royal Charter as Dover Township on March 1, 1768, from portions of Shrewsbury Township, while the area was still part of Monmouth County (Ocean County was not formed until 1850). Dover Township was incorporated as one of New Jersey's first 104 townships by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798. Portions of the township were taken to form Jackson Township (March 6, 1844), Union Township (March 10, 1846, now Barnegat Township), Brick Township (February 15, 1850), Manchester Township (April 6, 1865), Berkeley Township (March 31, 1875), Island Heights (May 6, 1887), Lavallette (December 21, 1887) and Seaside Heights (February 26, 1913).

During the American Revolution, Toms River was home to a strategically important salt works that supplied colonial militias, as well as a base for privateer vessels that plundered British and Tory ships off the coast. In March 1782, a group of British and loyalist soldiers attacked a blockhouse along the river that housed the colonial militia and captured Captain Joshua Huddy, who was later hanged at Sandy Hook. Also destroyed were the salt works and most of the houses in the village. The incident greatly complicated the tense relationship between the British, loyalists, and colonies and was a factor in prolonging the peace negotiations that were then in progress in Paris until 1783.

In 1850, Toms River became the county seat of the newly created Ocean County when it was formed out of southern Monmouth County. During the second half of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th, many new towns were carved out of Dover Township, including Brick, Jackson, Lakewood and Berkeley. The Village of Toms River attempted twice � in 1914 and 1926 � to secede from Dover Township, but residents were unsuccessful. The part of Toms River on the south side of the river stretching down to Berkeley Township incorporated as South Toms River in 1927, but the core of the original village on the north side remains part of the wider township to this day.

And now some more photos of Old Toms River...

This page is still under construction. If you have anything to add to this page...history, genealogy, photos, current events, etc., e-mail them to us.

A small portion of the 1860 Federal Census for Toms River (Dover Township) can be found here.

A larger portion of the 1900 Federal Census for Toms River can be found here

To read news items from old newspapers concerning this place, click here

The Toms River Jewish Cemetery is partially transcribed here

Some scenes from Toms River
(Many of these postcards were contributed by Bob Mitchell)

Some more photos:
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