At Pine Tavern Distillery we believe that our local history should be shared. Salem county's history is rich with significant people and events that have helped make our county, state, and country what it is today. So, what better way to help spread that history than through a series of narratives on the back label of our whiskey bottles. Additionally, in order to help sustain the repository of much of Salem County's history and artifacts, we are pledging $0.50 from the sale from every bottle of our Fenwick's New Salem Rye and Fenwick's New Salem Bourbon will be donated to the Salem County Historical Society.
Bonny Beth Elwell, a local historian and executive Vice President of the SCHS, has graciously agreed to research, draft, and present for publication tidbits of Salem County's History designed to inform and inspire. Here are the first three in that series crafted to introduce John Fenwick and his significance to Salem County:
John Fenwick, a controversial Quaker from England, founded the first permanent English town in the Delaware Valley when he established his colony of New Salem in September 1675. As the colonists cultivated the fertile land of West New Jersey, they planted wheat, corn, oats, barley and rye. Today, this early settlement is known as the city of Salem, the county seat of Salem County, New Jersey.
The Salem Oak
When John Fenwick, founder of Salem, New Jersey, first arrived in 1675, the massive Salem Oak tree was almost a century old. Legend claims that he met with the local Lenape Native Americans beneath the oak’s broad branches to purchase the land that is now Salem and Cumberland counties. Still standing in the middle of the original Quaker cemetery, the now over 400-year-old Salem Oak is a Salem County landmark.
Best known as the founder of Salem, New Jersey, John Fenwick was a man of controversy and contradiction. Although he was a member of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers, he was no humble pacifist but had served as a Major under Cromwell in the English Civil War. The establishment of Fenwick’s colony in New Jersey was tainted with trickery and bickering, yet he named his settlement New Salem meaning “peace” — a worthy description of rural Salem County.
Look for them on a bottle of Fenwick's New Salem in a liquor store near you!