Mantua Creek

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Mantua Creek is a tributary of the Delaware River in Mantua Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey. Mantua Creek's headwaters are near Glassboro, flowing northwest for 18.6 miles (29.9 kilometers) to the Delaware River at the Port of Paulsboro in Paulsboro across from present-day Philadelphia International Airport.[1][2]

The name Mantua Creek is derived from the Native American word “Manta”, meaning frog, and was so named because of the remarkable chorus effect produced by abundant frogs in its watershed.[3] Mantua Creek and its two major tributaries, Edwards Run and Chestnut Branch, drain over 50 square miles (130 km2) of Gloucester County.[4]


Early human settlement along Mantua Creek dates back to the Lenni-Lenape Native Americans who exploited its abundance of fish and game and utilized the creeks for transportation. Early European settlers also used the creek for transportation, and constructed saw mills and grist mills on the creek and its streams, encouraging flood plain development for agriculture.[4][5]

Carpenter's Landing was a 17th-century mercantile settlement located at the head of sloop navigation on Mantua Creek.[6]

In the 1860s, it was described as "a place of considerable trade in lumber, cordwood, etc., and contains one tavern, two stores, 30 dwellings and a Methodist church".[7] The landing is said to have been named either for a man named Carpenter who built boats at the site during its mercantile boom days,[8] or Edward Carpenter (son of Thomas Carpenter and descendant of Samuel Carpenter of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) who owned the Heston & Carpenter Glass Works at nearby Glassboro, New Jersey in 1786[9][10] in partnership with Col. Thomas Heston, his wife's nephew.[11]

Bridge problem[edit]

The bridge at 39°50′05″N 75°14′12″W / 39.8346°N 75.23665°W / 39.8346; -75.23665 (railroad swing bridge) has been cited for two freight train derailments, one in 2009 and one in 2012.[12] On November 30, 2012 a serious accident released vinyl chloride from rail cars that plunged into the creek. Coast Guard officials reported that the tidal flows of the creek seriously delayed cleanup.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NJ Hometown Locator: Mantua Creek, Gloucester County, accessed August 27, 2011.
  2. ^ South Jersey Land & Water Trust: Mantua Creek Watershed Facts Archived 2012-03-31 at the Wayback Machine, accessed August 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Mantua Township Clerk’s Office: A Brief Tour of Mantua Township History Archived 2011-08-16 at the Wayback Machine, last modified on June 3, 2011, citing “A Bicentennial Look at Mantua Township”, presented to the Township on Memorial Day, May 31, 1976.
  4. ^ a b South Jersey Land & Water Trust, 2011, op.cit.
  5. ^ Mantua Township Clerk’s Office, 2011, op.cit.
  6. ^ Henry Charlton Beck: More Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, N.J., 1963, pp. 299-301.
  7. ^ Beck, p. 299.
  8. ^ Beck, p. 300.
  9. ^ Charles S. Boyer: Old Inns and Taverns in West Jersey, Camden County Historical Society, Camden, N.J., 1962, pp. 158-159.
  10. ^ Borough of Glassboro: History - The Past, "Welcome to Glassboro, New Jersey". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2011-03-31., retrieved 1 Aug 2010.
  11. ^ Arthur Adams: "Memoirs of the Deceased Members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society" in The Northeast Historic and Genealogical Register, Vol. CVII, Whole Number 425, January 1953, p. 70.
  12. ^ Mulvihill, Geoff (November 30, 2012). "New Jersey Train Derailment: Bridge Collapse Sends Chemical Tank Cars Into Creek". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
  13. ^ "The Paulsboro train derailment – lessons learned". Radio Times. WHYY radio. Retrieved 10 December 2012.

Coordinates: 39°51′14″N 75°13′52″W / 39.85377°N 75.23111°W / 39.85377; -75.23111