Open main menu

BORDENTOWN, a city of Burlington county, New Jersey, U.S.A., on the E. bank of the Delaware river, 6 m. S. of Trenton and 28 m. N.E. of Philadelphia. Pop. (1890) 4232; (1900) 4110; (1905) 4073; (1910) 4250. It is served by the Pennsylvania railway, the Camden & Trenton railway (an electric line, forming part of the line between Philadelphia and New York) and by freight and passenger steamboat lines on the Delaware. Bordentown is attractively situated on a broad, level plain, 65 ft. above the river, with wide, beautifully shaded streets. The city is the seat of the Bordentown Military Institute (with the Woodward memorial library), of the state manual training and industrial school for coloured youth, of the St Joseph's convent and mother-house of the Sisters of Mercy, and of St Joseph's academy for girls. There are ship-yards, iron foundries and forges, machine shops, shirt factories, a pottery for the manufacture of sanitary earthenware, a woollen mill and canning factories. The first settlers on the site of the city were several Quaker families who came in the 18th century. Bordentown was laid out by Joseph Borden, in whose honour it was named; was incorporated as a borough in 1825; was re-incorporated in 1849, and was chartered as a city in 1867. It was the home for some years of Francis Hopkinson and of his son Joseph Hopkinson (whose residences are still standing), and from 1817 to 1832 and in 1837–1839 was the home of Joseph Bonaparte, ex-king of Spain, who lived on a handsome estate known as “Bonaparte's Park,” which he laid out with considerable magnificence. Here he entertained many distinguished visitors, including Lafayette. The legislature of New Jersey passed a special law, enabling him, as an alien, to own real property, and it is said to have been in reference to this that the state received its nickname “Spain.” Prince Napoleon Lucien Charles Murat, the second son of Joachim Murat, also lived here for many years; and the estate known as “Ironsides” was long the home of Rear-Admiral Charles Stewart. The Camden & Amboy railway, begun in 1831 and completed from Bordentown to South Amboy (34 m.) in 1832, was one of the first railways in the United States; in September 1831 the famous engine “Johnny Bull,” built in England and imported for this railway, had its first trial at Bordentown, and a monument now marks the site where the first rails were laid.

See E. M. Woodward, Bonaparte's Park and the Murats (Trenton, 1879).