Who is John Fenwick?

John Fenwick is often remembered for this recently renovated rest stop which offers food, full-service cheap gas, and free window-washing to travelers on the NJ turnpike, but who was he?

Greetings from New Jersey! For anyone who travels the popular I-95 corridor on the New Jersey Turnpike, you know the many rest stops along the way. What you may not know is that each one is named after an individual with a New Jersey connection.

The first rest stop on the NJ Turnpike north bound side is the “John Fenwick.” Long before I wrote about Millicent Fenwick, I stopped at the John Fenwick rest stop. And once I started writing about Millicent, the Fenwick rest stop was a staple of my DC to NJ drive to see Millicent Fenwick’s private papers, then in the attic of her Bernardsville manse and now housed at the New Jersey Historical Society.

Fans of Millicent Fenwick often ask if John Fenwick was her husband? He wasn’t. Her husband was Hugh Fenwick who hailed from northern California. John Fenwick lived centuries earlier (1618-1683). During the colonial period he helped settle southern Jersey and what is now Salem and Cumberland Counties.  Millicent’s son and I tried to trace a connection from Hugh Fenwick to John Fenwick, but weren’t able to put all the pieces together. Millicent and Hugh’s marriage only lasted six years so she didn’t feel a strong connection to the Fenwick family. However, she would have appreciated John Fenwick’s values, he granted religious and civil liberties to everyone who lived in Salem County.

If you find Burger King, you’ll also find more info about John Fenwick

Updated November 15, 2011

I just returned from another trip to NJ and, of course, I stopped at the John Fenwick rest stop. If you want to learn more about John Fenwick just read this sign next to Burger King, not to mention it makes the burger line move faster.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Been at this rest stop many times. Would like to think my family lineage goes back to John but since he just had daughters….?? Born and raised in So Jersey (Atlantic City & Margate City). Paternal family all from So Jersey. Now a Florida resident.


  2. Glad to hear you, too, pay homage to the Fenwick rest stop. Who knows, with all those south Jersey roots maybe there is a connection…


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