Whither Mahlon Stacy?

Monument for Mahlon Stacy, ca.1950
Photograph from the historical
collections of Riverview Cemetery

Though the origin of Trenton’s name is derived from William Trent, a Philadelphia manufacturer, who built a country estate here, Mahlon Stacy is recognized as establishing the first European settlement on the banks of the Delaware River at the Assunpink Creek in 1679.

Stacy, born in 1638 in Yorkshire, England, having acquired a one-tenth interest in the Province of West Jersey, sailed to the colony with many other families of note on the Shield from Hull, arriving in Burlington in 1678. They wintered over in the town and ventured further up the river to “Ye Falles of Ye De La Warr” the following spring, and it was here they cleared farmland and built log cabins. Stacy built his home and a grist mill on the south bank of the creek.

In the pages of History of Trenton, New Jersey: The Record of Its Early Settlement and Corporate Progress (Lee 1895) it is noted that Stacy was an influential and faithful member of the Society of Friends and that “he held, one year to another, nearly every office of profit and trust in the Province.”

Among his offices, he served as a member of Assembly from 1682 to 1685, a member of the Governor’s Council in 1682 and 1683, and sat as a Justice in 1685, then continuously from 1695 to 1701.

Stacy died in 1704 and was interred in the Quaker Burying Ground, today called the Friends’ Plot within the present-day grounds of Riverview Cemetery. The grave was unmarked in keeping with the religious beliefs of the Society of Friends at the time, but in 1929, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the settlement of what became Trenton, a descendant placed a monument to Stacy in Section A, Lot 387½.

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