Eastampton Twp, Burlington County, NJ

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Beginnings [1]

The village was founded in 1865 by the once famous Hezekiah Smith, whose high-wheel Star bicycle with a small wheel in back was a menace to life two generations ago. Here on the country road that leads to Newbolds Corners Road along the south bank of Rancocas Creek, was the Smith factory that manufactured the bicycle about 1882. Smith sent the wheel to Washington, where his exhibition rider tried to pedal it down the steps of the Capitol and was arrested. Between Smithville and Mount Holly the inventor built his monorail bicycle railway to carry his employees to and from work. Bicycles hung from a rail laid on posts about 4 feet high. In 1879 Smith completed a steam wagon with kerosene firebox and boiler. It is said that the car made good speed but Smith decided that the people were not ready for such a vehicle, so he stored it in a barn. Later the citizens showed their appreciation by electing Smith to Congress and to the State senate. He campaigned in a carriage drawn by a trained moose from his native New England, driving around Burlington County and frightening every horse on the road. Workmen at the plant were organized into a widely known band which finally led Smith's funeral procession.

  1. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey, New Jersey: A Guide to Its Present and Past, American Guide Series, The Viking Press, New York, 1939.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Maple Avenue • Meade Lane • Park Avenue • River Street • Smithville Road

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