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Former Coordinators
Sue Loder 1999-2006
Janice Brown 2007-2008
Last Updated
(and all links checked)
October 12, 2011
Current Coordinator
Laverne Tornow

Welcome to Cape May County


TRANSCRIBED BY JANICE BROWN, County Coordinator in 2006

The original source of this information is in the public domain, however use of this text file, other than for personal use, is restricted without written permission from the transcriber (who has edited, compiled and added new copyrighted text to same).

SOURCE: Genealogical and memorial history of the state of New Jersey : a book of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation; New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1910

Page 398


The Cresse family of New Jersey are among the earliest of the inhabitants of what is now known as Cape May county, and it has been well said that they and the Townsends and their associates, who formed the first settlers, are the strong unalterable and secure foundation upon which the noble history of that country rests. Although the family came from England, the name itself is French. Like many French names, it is spelled in the early days in many ways, and in this particular case twenty-five have been enumerated. The present spelling of the New Jersey branches, however, seem to prefer the spelling CRESSEY.

Mighill and William Cressy, brothers, came to Salem, Massachsuetts, in 1649. Mighill Cressy, who was at that time twenty-one years old, settled in Salem, and married in 1658, Mary, daughter of John and Elizabeth Batchelder, of Royal Side, now Beverly, Massachusetts, who bore him one child, then removing to Ipswich, Massachusetts; he married (second) Mary Quilter, who bore him three other children: Mighill Jr., William, and Mary. After his death in April 1670, his widow removed to Rowley, Massachusetts. From his children have descended the Cresseys of Massachusetts and Maine.

In 1659 William Cressy removed to Stamford, Connecticut where he married Ann Hidden. His numerous descendants spell their name CRISSEY.

(I) Arthur Cresse is the founder of the New Jersey branch of the family. In 1692 he purchased form the West Jersey Society three hundred and fifty acres of land in Cape May county, New Jersey, and that same year he and John TOwnsend, the founder of the Towsend family of New Jersey, became the first collectors of the county. This position they held until 1700, when they were succeeded by his brother John Cresse, and Jacob Spicer. The first "ear-mark" in the archives of the Cape May county courts was recorded by Arthur Cresse, July 13, 1692. Both Arthur and his son John were prominent in establishing the First Baptist Society of Cape May County.

(II) Of Lewis, a younger brother of Arthur Cresse, little is known except that he was a "planter" of the county about 1713.

(III) Lewis(2) divided his time between Delaware Bay trade and a farm which he owned in the neighborhood now known as Pierces Point on the Delaware bay shore. He died about 1770.

(IV) Daniel, son of Lewis(2) Cresse was among the signers of the famous document of May 27, 1778, which declared their formal renunciation of allegiance to the king of England. He had a younger bachelor brother Lewis, who was the most notorious wag and verse-maker that Cape May county has know. Daniel Cresse was a large landowner, the proprietor of Denin's Creek Tavern, and a sea captain. Daniel Cresse died August 2, 1829. His wife Rhoda, born October 27, 1763, died September 4, 1812.

(V) Daniel(2), son of Daniel(1) and Rhoda Cresse, was born January 15, 1784, died April 12, 1859. He married November 6, 1808, Hulda, born March 18, 1785, died March 12, 1826, daughter of Philip and Louisa Hand, of Cape May county.


  1. Eleanor, born August 8, 1809, died in early womanhood.
  2. Thoda, October 16, 1810;died August 21, 1812.
  3. Daniel (3d) born October 4, died December 2, 1812.
  4. Daniel (4th) October 6, 1813, whose son James became a prominent citizen of Burleigh.
  5. Philip Hand, July 7, 1816; died December 18, 1879; was an inventive genius who secured a number of important patents on agricultural machinery.
  6. Rhoda S. June 13, 1818, died April 23, 1840.
  7. Lewis, August 23, 1821, died Jun 9, 1822.
  8. Lewis, see forward.

(VI) Lewis (3) youngest son of Daniel(2) and Hulda (Hand) Cresse, was born June 4, 1842 at Gravelly Run, where his father lived on one of the largest plantations in that region. He was educated in the private schools of that county, and when a young man, attracted by the discovery of gold, he went to California, where he remained for some time. Returning home, he married, and engaged in the milling business, but later purchased a farm of one hundred acres at Townsend Inlet, now Swainton, where he has since resided. In politics he is a Republican, but being a man of domestic tastes, he has always preferred the enjoyment of his fireside to the affairs of public life.

He and his wife are noted among the community in which they live, for their strict integrity and their warm friendships. January 2, 1859 Lewis Cresse married Mary Ann, born February 29, 1840, daughter of George W. Hoffman, born February 12, 1812, died December 27, 1899, and his wife Mary (Hand) Hoffman, born October 13, 1809, died May 8, 1880. Her parents were married December 26, 1836, and she herself, previous to her marriage, was the teacher in the village school of Gravelly Run.

Children of Lewis and Mary Ann (Hoffman) Cresse:

  1. Huldah, born April 9, 1861; wife of Coleman Leaming Jr.
  2. Mary Hoffman, born May 17, 186--; married Winfield Scott Hand.
  3. Lewis Mitchell, referred to below.
  4. George Hoffman, born December 21, 1871; graduate of Princeton University and later of Harvard.

(VII) Lewis Mitchell, third child and eldest son of Lewis (3) and Mary Ann (Hoffman) Cresse, was born at Towsend Inlet, Cape May County, New Jersey, September 12, 1867. For his early education he attended the public schools of his native village, and graduated from the high school of Cape May Court House in 1885. he then attended and graduated from the Quaker School at Woodstown, New Jersey, and accepted a position as prinicpal of the high school at Almonesson, Gloucester county. This he resigned in order to complete a business course in the National College of Commerce in Philadelphia, from which he graduated in 1888, and became one of its teachers in bookkeeping and accounting. This work he gave up some time afterward in order to become cashier of the People's Bank of Sea Isle City, where he remained for nearly three years, then accepting a position with the Union National Bank of Atlantic City. Three years later, in 1896, Mr. Cresse became executive head of the Ocean City office of the Central Trust Company of Camden, New Jersey, which was established May 13, that year. January 2, 1902 the Central Trust Company sold its business, which, owing to Mr. Cresse's efforts, enterprise and management, had been highly successful, to the First National Bank of Ocean City; and Mr. Cresse was called to the presidency.

In 1910 Mr. Cresse was instrumental in organizing the Ocean City Title and Trust Company, and is its president. In addition to discharging the duties of bank presdent, Mr. Cresse is also the head of the Pleasant Mills Paper Company of Philadelphia. His fine executive ability has been so well recognized that he has had many calls for public office of trust. For a number of years he was one of the most efficient of the members of the Ocean City Board of Education. In 1902 he was elected president of the Ocean City Board of Trade, and at the time of this event received one of the highest encomiums ever published by that conservative periodical, the New York Financial Review.

Mr. Cresse has always been actively identified with the Republican party, and has served its local organization and as delegate to its conventions. In 1900 he was a candidate to the state legislature, was elected by the largest majority on his ticket, and was renominated and re-elected to the Jersey assembly in 1901-02, again receiving the largest number of votes. In 1903 he was elected to the New Jersey senate. In 1907 he was nominated and elected with opposition for the office of mayor of Ocean City, and in 1909 was again nominated withou opposition, being the only candidate. During his terms of office he proved himself one of the most capable members of the New Jersey legislature, and he has filled with notable distinction the chairmanwhip of the committee on education, and membership in a number of the most important committees of that body. Mr. Cresse is a Mason, and a member of other secret orders; he is at present the commodore of the Ocean City Yacht Club. His success in all that he has undertaken has been marked and his methods are of interest to the commercial world. He has based his business principles and actions upon strict adherence to the rules which govern industry, economy and strict unswerving integrity.

Mr. Cresse married, September 12, 1896, Cecelia, daughter of Alexander and Marion Hislop of Troy, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Cresse occupy an enviable position in social circles, and enjoy the highest esteem of many friends. He and Mrs. Cresse have traveled both in America and Europe, and during his travels acquired a rich fund of general information among those lines indicative of high intelligence and deep discernment.