Ever wonder what some of New Jersey’s town names mean?
The town I grew up in had a somewhat tropical or continental sounding name, I thought. Delran wasn't like Delray Beach in Florida or Del Rio in Texas or Del Mar in California. It wasn't swanky or exotic. What it was, was at the convergence of the two rivers on its shores. The Delaware River and the Rancocas Creek.
Now by the time the next town over wanted a similarly cool name, it was too late. So, Delanco was born. They couldn't have the beginning of Rancocas, so they took the middle part.
Those are two of the easiest names to figure out. Not so with many of our towns that are remnants of our Lenni Lenape native American tribes that lived here before the Europeans came.
Hopatcong, Lopatcong, Pohatcong and Netcong have the same ending because they all have the same thing in common. They're on or near water and "cong" being the Lenape word for water.
Absecon in South Jersey could have been the South Jersey Lenape pronunciation. South Jerseyans are always dropping the last consonant of a lot of words, like drinkin, runnin, drivin, etc. Hey, it makes sense to me.
Whippany was derived from the Lenape word "Whippinong," which means place of the arrowwood due to the viburnum trees that made for great arrows for hunting.
The word Trenton is an old Lenape word for "place where people with forked tongue go to steal your money and your liberty." Actually, that's the contemporary 21st century meaning of the name. It was originally named for William Trent, who was a large landholder in that area.
Wouldn't it be nice if he came back and threw out the scoundrels who sit in the State House every day?
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis's own.