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Shamong Township is a township in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township’s population was 6,490, reflecting an increase of 28 (+0.4%) from the 6,462 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 697 (+12.1%) from the 5,765 counted in the 1990 Census.
Shamong was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 19, 1852, from portions of Medford Township, Southampton Township and Washington Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Woodland Township (March 7, 1866) and Tabernacle Township (March 22, 1901). In April 1902, portions of Hammonton and Waterford Township were annexed to the township. The township’s name comes from Native American terms meaning “place of the big horn”, from the words oschummo (“horn”) and onk (“place”).
This area and much of present-day southern New Jersey was inhabited by Lenape at the time of European encounter. They spoke Unami, one of the three major dialects of Lenape, which was part of the Algonquian language family. The Lenape ranged from the New York metropolitan area and western Long Island, into New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania along the Delaware River, and Delaware.
By the mid-eighteenth century, English colonists had pushed the local Lenape of southern New Jersey onto what was formerly called the Brotherton Indian Reservation, in the area of present-day Indian Mills, which was named for mills built and operated by the Brotherton people, who were converted Christian Indians. Some were moved in 1765 from Cranbury, New Jersey. With continuing pressure after the American Revolutionary War, the Brotherton Indians of New Jersey migrated to New York, accepting an offer by the Stockbridge Indians, also Christian converts, to settle on their reservation in the central part of the state, where they had been allocated land by the Oneida people, one of the Iroquois nations. Also migrating there were some of the Munsee-speaking Lenape from the northern part of their territory. These were all remnant peoples trying to reorganize after years of disease and conflict with colonists and major powers. The Brotherton Indians sold their last property in New Jersey in 1818 and had essentially been absorbed by the Munsee.
Settlers from New England poured into New York after the Revolutionary War, encroaching on Indian territory. Finally, the Stockbridge and Munsee relocated to Wisconsin in the 1820s and 1830s, pushed out with the Oneida by the United States Indian Removal policy to relocate Native Americans to west of the Mississippi River. Today the Stockbridge-Munsee Community is a federally recognized tribe, with a 22,000-acre (8,900 ha) reservation in Shawano County, Wisconsin.
A 1992 non-binding referendum gave voters the opportunity to consider renaming the township to Indian Mills, the name of an unincorporated community in the township.