Mauricetown is nestled about ten to twelve miles north from the mouth of the Maurice River. The written history of the region goes back to the 1600s when the Dutch, not the English, controlled the region. A map of “Nieuw Nederlandt,” as the region was called, published in Amsterdam in 1676, includes references to the Zuyd Revier, or South River, as the Dutch called the Delaware River, and marks very distinctly the entrance of the Maurice River into the bay, and names it Mauritius Revier. The name references Maurice, Prince of Orange, royalty to the Dutch. The name was later Anglicized to Maurice River.
As you stand in front of this imposing Federal mansion, with its three-and-a-half story mass, columned portico, and double parapeted chimneys, it is hard to imagine that at the time of its construction in 1791, Bridgeton, then known as Bridgetown, was not much more than a village of only 300 people. Built by David Sheppard, a successful gentleman farmer from Back Neck, now part of Fairfield Township to the south of Bridgeton, the Sheppard House sits just north of the first bridge to cross the Cohansey River on Commerce Street.
In 1677 Edmund Gibbon, an English merchant living in New York, was paid an owed debt by two brothers, Edward and Thomas Duke. The payment consisted of 6,000 acres of land in West Jersey. While today we often refer to New Jersey as either South Jersey or North Jersey, from 1674 until 1702 when New Jersey becomes an official royal colony, the region consisted of two distinct divisions known as East Jersey and West Jersey. The land paid to Edmund Gibbon included what is today Roadstown and other parts of Stow Creek Township and much of Greenwich, including what is today Pine Mount and the Head of Greenwich, but which back then was named “Mount Gibbon.” This land passed down in the Gibbon family until in 1728 brothers Nicholas and Leonard Gibbon inherited it with the stipulation that they leave England and settle on the property in West Jersey.