Trenton was first inhabited by the Leni Lenape Indians. A large Indian settlement was near the Trenton-Hamilton Marsh (near Mott School.) The Lenape would have lived in wooden long houses and hunted and fished the area. Did you know that bear, mountain lion, and wolves would have lived in Trenton in those days? The Indians grew corn, squash, and beans. They hunted deer, elk, squirrels, turkeys, and caught fish. They travelled in canoes and used bow and arrows for hunting. They wore deerskin clothing and moccasins.
The first European settlers were Quakers fleeing religious persecution in England. Marlon Stacey, their leader built a settlement here in 1679. They built a grist mill and homes. However, the town got its name from William Trent, a wealthy Philadelphia merchant who purchased a large tract of land here in 1714. He built a summer house here (Still around today) and later lived here year round for many years. The early town was known as Trent's Town but later shortened to Trenton.
During the famine years of the mid 1800s, many Irish immigrated here and would call Trenton their home. They helped build the canals and roads of the area. African Americans and Italians migrated here in the late 1800s to fill jobs in the manufacturing industry. The Chambersburg section of Trenton had many Italian restaurants until recently. Jews arrived around then and opened businesses to service the factory workers. The 1950s brought a Puerto Rican and Eastern European migration in search of a better economic life. There are several Polish restaurants along Brunswick Ave. today. Since the 1980s, a heavy Central American and Caribbean migration has entered the city. Lately, many immigrants from Middle Eastern countries are calling Trenton their new home. African American, Irish, and Hispanic parades and festivals are celebrated in Trenton annually. Trenton has truly been a melting pot into American culture.