History of Woodbury

Woodbury City Seal

Woodbury City Seal

The City of Woodbury, one of the oldest “small cities” in the United States, had its beginning in 1683 when Henry Wood, a Quaker from Bury, England, settled here. See the Bury, England Website & History.

Visit the Camp Stockton website.

By 1715 Woodbury had become a Quaker religious center and was a thriving hamlet at the onset of the American Revolution.

Given our close proximity to Philadelphia, Woodbury had a significant place in the history of our nation’s birth.

The Red Bank Battlefield, where Fort Mercer is located and where in 1777 six hundred determined Americans defeated a Hessian force of six thousand, lies just two miles west of Woodbury.

The famous British General Lord Cornwallis, who would later surrender to George Washington at Yorktown, had his headquarters in Woodbury during his advance to capture the City of Philadelphia in 1777.

By the mid-nineteenth century Woodbury had grown considerably and was incorporated as a City in 1854. The City of Woodbury enjoyed its greatest economic and population growth between 1880 and 1900. This was accomplished in large part as a result of the Green family and their patent medicine industry.

Woodbury has been the County Seat of Gloucester County for over two centuries. The County continues to this day to develop its operational base throughout the City of Woodbury. This fact, along with the growth of Underwood Memorial Hospital, now known as Inspira Medical Center, has made Woodbury the legal and medical hub of the immediate vicinity.

Recently, Woodbury has also begun to experience a commercial rebirth owing greatly to the efforts of Woodbury Main Street Inc. As we have entered the new millennium, the City of Woodbury is poised to play its appropriate part in enhancing history yet to be recorded.

February 1, 2004

Submitted by: Bruce G. Carson, Former Woodbury City Councilman

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WOODBURY!! It was on March 10, 1854, one hundred and fifty years ago, the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey passed an act incorporating Woodbury as a separate and sovereign municipality and borough. Previous to that date Woodbury was part of Deptford Township, much like Verga and Thorofare are part of West Deptford today.

Woodbury’s first election was held on the third Wednesday of March when the voters of Woodbury, which numbered in the hundreds, elected a Mayor and a 6 member council. On April 5, 1854, Woodbury held its first council meeting in the Court House where the first major order of business was to “grade the Main Street from between the bridge across Woodbury Creek and the junction of the Mullica Hill and Swedesborough Roads”. Isn’t it something that today’s Woodbury Main Street District is represented by these same boundaries!

In the history of Woodbury two other dates are also significant. These dates are 1683 and 1871. 1683 is the year local historians have given as the year Woodbury was founded by the Wood family from Bury, England. It was in 1682, the same year Philadelphia was founded, the Wood family sailed on the “Lyon”, the sixth of 23 ships which brought the Quakers to the Delaware Valley. It was seventeen years after becoming a borough, in the year 1871, Woodbury changed its corporate charter from a borough to a city.

Strangely, the only year appearing on Woodbury’s official seal is the year 1871. I think it would be nice to give Woodbury a birthday present this year by recognizing the two other significant dates in its history, 1683 and 1854, and revise its official seal to show all three yearly dates. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WOODBURY!!

Click here for the minutes of the first council meeting held on April 7, 1854.

Submitted by: Bruce G. Carson, Former Woodbury City Councilman