In 1844 the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike was starting to really get organized. There was two smaller meetings before this one, but this had a large attendance and committees were chosen to get subscribers etc... Local farmer Benjamin Stiles was appointed to two committees. The Turnpike wasn't incorporated until 1849. And the tollgates put in until 1850 or even 1851.
Here are a few links concerning the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike-
History of start from Prowell's History of Camden County
From History of Merchantville book
Incorporation of the Moorestown and Camden Turnpike and rules
Article on Moorestown Turnpike, Dates 1849- 1907, and some Trolley information
N.R. Ewan, president of the Burlington County Historical Society, should discover that the one hundredth anniversary of the first toll road between Moorestown and Camden will be celebrated in August of this year of grace, 1944. Mr Ewan has very kindly given his findings to the Chronicle in the article which follows. Being a historical document it is printed as it was written.
And of all other persons friendly to improving said road, will be held at the House of Benjamin Martin, innkeeper, in Moorestown, on Thursday the 13th. day of August, inst., at 2 o'clock in the afternoon of that day.
A very general attendance of all persons interested in the enterprise is desired. It is hoped that the time has now arrived when this highway may be permanently improved to the great advantage of those who travel upon it.- (Advertisement in Camden Mail, Aug. 14th. 1844.)
A meeting of persons interested in gravelling and otherwise improving the public road between Camden and Moorestown, was held in the afternoon of Thursday the 15th. inst. (1844) at the House of Benj. Martin. After a promiscuous interchange of sentiment an adjournment was had to the "Town House," and the meeting there organized by electing- Dr. Spencer, Chairman, Geo F. Doughten, Secretary.
About seventy of the most enterprising men of this neighborhood were in attendance- principally farmers. They were alive to the importance of this much travelled, yet much neglected highway. The meeting was addressed by several gentlemen who demonstrated the many advantages which would result to the community by "mending their ways." There was a generous spirit of improvement in the meeting demonstrated by the fact of the many advantages, that sixty four of those present subscribed at once $1500.00 towards accomplishing the object. Only three or four declined to subscribe. Estimated cost of the work is $3000.00 at least.
No doubt was entertained that the necessary sum could be raised, as certainly not one-fourth of the people, much interested in the matter were in attendance. It is desirable that much more than $3000.00 shall be subscribed as it is feared that sum will prove insufficient to make the improvement as permanent as contemplated.
The subscribers agree to pay the sums of money opposite their respective names to be applied to permanently improving the public road between Moorestown and Camden- provided the amount of $3000. be subscribed, the payments to be made in cash or in labor at the following rates, viz:-For two horses and man per day (with wagon) $1.50 per. day.
Committee of thirteen, viz- Dr. Spencer, Jos. F. Page, Wm. Collins, George F. Doughten, Joshua Hollingshead, Allen Jones, Edward French, Benj. Stiles, Thos. B. Evans, Jos. A. Burrough, Stacy Kirkbride, Stacy Champion, and Benj. Martin were appointed to circulate subscription lists for additional subscribers and report at an adjourned meeting.
Richard M. Hugg, Benj. Stiles, Jos. Hollingshead, Benj. Cooper and Wm. Folwell were appointed a Committee to examine the land upon the line of the road, and report at the adjourned meeting, under what circumstances, suitable material for the improvement can be obtained.
The meeting adjourned to meet again at the House of Stacy Kirkbride, innkeeper, in Moorestown at 2 o'clock in the afternoon of Tuesday the 27th. of August, inst. At this time if the necessary amount shall be subscribed, the plan of immediately commencing and prosecuting the work will be devised. A large meeting is therefore desirable; and all who feel an interest (and who are not interested) are respectfully invited to attend.
The general abstract were ordered to be published in the Camden and Mount Holly papers, and notice of the adjourned meeting given in hand bills.
One of the most prominent men in the founding of the turnpike was George F. Doughten, who was elected secretary. Mr. Doughten established the general store (now the William Matlack Co.) at Main street and Chester avenue, and his home was next door- the house now owned by John Fawcett.
We told about the toll house at North Bend (near Dolly's garage), the mile posts in front of the property of the late Dr. Harry Jarrett, Main and Chestnut streets, and the one on West Main street near the Forks of the Road. We were not certain of the location of the two toll houses nearest Moorestown going west, and in that matter William Frech of Maple Shade has helped us out. One house stood where the present Sunoco gas station in Maple Shade is now located and the other at Coles avenue, Maple Shade. Two were in Maple Shade to prevent residents of that community and other nearby places from by- passing the first toll house by using the various streets to go beyond it, yet not pass through the toll gate.
A large gate across the road stopped traffic, but when the toll was paid the gate was opened and the horse, wagon or carriage allowed to pass through. Persons going to church or meeting on Sunday went free. Stone posts marked every mile.
The average country road in times past was dusty in summer, deep rutted and bogged down with mud in the spring and winter.