History of South Orange a Neighborhood in Orange, NJ

The city is home to the famous “circuit riders” of the late 1700s who helped shape American democracy. When they arrived in this section of Essex County, it was wilderness and still untamed frontier territory with dense forests, swamps, rattlesnakes and wolves.

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The circuit riders traveled on horseback from town to town preaching their Christian beliefs as well as performing baptisms, marriages and funerals – all without a set salary or formal training. But these spiritual leaders were instrumental in spreading Christianity throughout New Jersey’s southern regions during that era when church services were conducted sporadically at best by wandering clergymen.

By 1830 Orange had become one of seven townships within an improved district called South Orange Country which consisted primarily of dairy farms, orchards and mills. The township’s population was about 300 people by then with the majority of them living in one area on top of a hill called “The Hill” which is now known as South Orange Village.

Today, South Orange NJ is a thriving community of more than 16,000 people.