Paleo-Indians migrated into what is now Ocean County and lived in nomadic bands hunting and fishing.
    Early Woodland Period Indians, known as Lenape, emerge as hunters and gatherers. [Note: By 1740, there were only about 200 Native Americans living in New Jersey, south of the Raritan Bay to Cape May.]
1600      
    Dutch navigator, surveyor, and cartographer Cornelius Hendrickson navigated Barnegat Inlet and the Toms River onboard the Onrust, becoming the first European explorer to set foot on what became Ocean County soil. The land, which he claimed for Holland, became part of New Netherlands.
1664
    King Charles II gave his brother James, Duke of York, the lands of New Netherlands after the Dutch surrendered the land under pressure from the British. It was renamed Albania, and James deeded this territory to two friends: Lord John Berkeley, who was given the western half, and Sir George Carteret, the eastern half.
1685
    After Sir George Carteret died, his land holding in the province was sold off piecemeal to pay his indebtedness. The Proprietors began to buy land from the local Native Americans, which gave title for Ocean County lands to Europeans for the first time.
1687
    East Jersey and West Jersey was split distinctly into two tracts after land disputes forced a line to be surveyed formally between the two territories. This line became known as the Keith Province Line, which eventually divided Ocean and Burlington counties.
1696
    Captain William Kidd set sail from New York. Soon, he, with his crew, turned pirate and began working the waters off the Southern Jersey coast.
1700      
    Captain Kidd was captured, taken to London where he was tried and hanged for piracy. About this time small settlements began to be established in the Little Egg Habor (Tuckerton), Goose Creek (Toms River), and New Egypt (Plumsted) areas.
1702
    Queen Anne changed the province’s name from Albania to New Jersey and made it a Royal Colony, administered by a Royal Governor.
1705
    West Creek settled by Jarvis Pharo; Barnegat settled by Jonas Tow.
1712
    First road established in Ocean County.
1737
    Waretown settled by Abraham Waier.
1743
    The Keith Province line between East and West Jersey was resurveyed by John Lawrence following continued land disputes. This line was then referred to as the Division Line.
1749
    Stafford Township was formally charted.
1750      
1754
    French and Indian War erupted and continued until the treaty was signed between the British and French nine years later.
1758
    A violent storm opened Cranberry Inlet, which later served a major role in the American Revolution and local history before closing during another violent storm in 1812.
1767
    Dover Township formally established by charter.
1770
    John Middleton, Jr. built the Tavern at Cedar Bridge, Stafford Township
1774
    The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. It set the price for salt, an important colonial commodity and industry along Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor Bay.
1776
    The Declaration of Independence was signed and the Revolutionary War began.
1778
    Count Casimir Pulaski, a Polish cavalry officer, and his legion were engaged by the British on Osborn Island. Forty troops, massacred by the British in a surprise early morning attack, gained the dubious distinction of being the only men from Washington’s Army to be killed by the British on Ocean County soil.
   

A British expedition attacked the Toms River Blockhouse and its compliment of twenty-five militiamen under the command of Captain Joshua Huddy. The British burned the village of Toms River and captured and hanged Huddy.

Notorious Tory outlaw John Bacon and his men committed the Barnegat Light Massacre, slaughtering twenty local crew of a salvaged British sloop as they slept.

A skirmish at Cedar Creek (now in Barnegat Township) marked last land conflict of American Revolution.

1783
    Loyalist insurgent John Bacon cornered and killed.
1787
    United States Constitution drafted and officially declared ratified two years later.
1789
   

George Washington inaugurated as the first president of the United States.

The first local iron forge was built on Lake Horicon (near present-day Lakehurst).

    The first petition, bearing 35 signatures, to establish a new county by separating lands from Burlington and Monmouth counties, was filed. The motion was defeated in the New Jersey State Legislature.
1800      
1812
    Growing hostilities between the United States and Britain erupted into the War of 1812.
1813
    Commodore Hardy, aboard the British ship Ramillies, conducted raids while patrolling off Barnegat Inlet to deter American ships from reaching New York.
1814
   

A formal New Jersey militia was organized to combat British attacks, especially against coastal and naval interests, during the War of 1812.

Treaty of Ghent ends War of 1812.

    Over-hunting forces an end to the whaling industry in Southern Ocean County.
1828
    The U.S. Government, aware of the treacherous waters of the Barnegat Shoals, began to build crude shelters along the barrier island beaches to help save shipwreck victims – crews and passengers, most of whom were immigrants. This was the beginning of the Life Saving Service.
1843
    Joseph Francis invented the corrugated metal life-car, which proved effective in saving wrecked passengers and crew all along the Atlantic coastal waters.
1844
    Jackson Township is created from a separated northwest section of Dover Township.
1845
    Plumsted Township is similarly created from a severed section of Jackson Township.
    Joel Haywood of West Creek, wrote a letter to the New Jersey State Legislature urging that a new county, called Ocean, be formed from Monmouth County.
   
Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission
Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission