Early settlers were attracted to the Township chiefly because of water resources available from the North Branch of Rancocas Creek.  The Township became a legal entity on March 10, 1846 and was comprised of land which belonged to other Townships.  The Township's borders went through many changes from the time of its establishment through 1967, when more land was annexed from a neighboring borough.  Within its sixty four (64) square miles today may be found numerous smaller communities, among them Birmingham, Browns Mills, Magnolia, New Lisbon and Whitesbog.  The United States Army's Fort Dix, built during World War I and rebuilt and expanded for use during World War II, lies within the Township's boundaries.  The Township's current population is estimated to be approximately 28,691.

Whitesbog_VillageLocated adjacent to the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Township developed as a mill town.  During the mid-19th century, the Browns Mills section served as a luxury retreat for city dwellers who were attracted to the clean water of its streams, hailed for its medicinal purposes, and its healthy forest air.  At this time, residents began growing cranberries, a crop which prospered in marshy land near the Township's creek and streams.  Nineteenth century Township residents also took part in the production of charcoal, iron, and glass.  The agricultural future of the Township was changed in the early 20th century when Elizabeth C. White of Whitesbog began field experiments which led to the area's first cultivation of wild berries.

deborah2An almshouse and mental asylum were built at the turn of the century in the New Lisbon section of the Township.  The state's first licensed sanatorium for treatment of tuberculosis was built in the Browns Mills area.  The almshouse and mental asylum still operate today under the names of Buttonwood Hall and Evergreen Park; the sanatorium was sold to the Deborah Relief Society in 1922 and is now part of the Deborah Heart and Lung Center.  After the expansion of Fort Dix during World War II, the Townships character began to change from strictly rural to rural-suburban.  Planned communities were built to accommodate the growing population, a few of the small communities of the 19th century disappeared or merged with newer developments, and the lines between individual communities blurred.