While this area is known as The Chathams, it is really two separate communities—Chatham Borough and Chatham Township. The population of Chatham Borough is approximately 9,000 residents while Chatham Township has 10,452 residents. In order to get to know these amazing municipalities, it’s important to understand the difference between the two and how they are so often combined into the single area known by the distinct name.
The Lenape tribe occupied the area for centuries before European settlers arrived in the 1600s. One of the first land deals between the Native Americans and English settlers was in the late 1600s, when George Carteret paid for the area that includes present day Chatham. The colonial village was formally named Chatham in 1773. In the early 1700s, the thriving village had a tavern, blacksmith shop and several mills. During the Revolutionary War, Chatham was at the center of the action, from troop movements to independent newspaper publishing. After the war, Chatham continued to prosper and became a major stopping point for goods travelling from the sea to the mountains. With the railroad in 1837, the community grew even more, attracting rich summer visitors seeking to escape the cities. Mills, factories and more boosted the area’s economy throughout the 1800s. Expansion as a commuter community helped Chatham grow and thrive into the 20th century. Subsequent decades saw many settlements change from village to township to borough and caused many of the communities to separate, join or remain independent. It is because of this that Chatham Borough and Chatham Township are separate communities but share many similar public services, like the school district and court. Today, The Chathams is a thriving area with many good points to offer residents.