ABRAHAM BROWNING was a prominent attorney in Camden who rose to the post of New Jersey Attorney General during his career. Born near Camden on July 26, 1808, he entered the New Jersey Bar in September of 1834. In 1843 he served with John W. Mickle as delegates to the New Jersey Constitutional Convention. He was named Attorney General in January of 1845, and served until 1850. In these times he was a principal in the Market Street ferry..
For $5185 Robert K. Matlack and Abraham Browning bought a tract of 1037 acres located in Gloucester and Cumberland Counties at a public sale on May 29, 1858. In 1860, Thomas Wilson purchased a large tract of land for $10,000 from Matlack and Browning. The Pennsylvania, Reading, and Seashore Railroad extending from Camden to Millville, branched off to connect with the seashore resorts. In 1863 this point was called Newfield, and Newfield became a borough in 1924.
He was a Democrat, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from New Jersey in, 1864. He also was a founder and the first president of the Camden County Bar Association.
Alfred M. Heston, in his two-volume work, Jersey Waggon Jaunts, published in 1926 (Camden, NJ, Atlantic County Historical Society, 1926), twice credits Abraham Browning of Camden with coining the name at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia on New Jersey Day, August 24, 1876. On page 310 of volume 2 he writes: "In his address Mr. Browning compared New Jersey to an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and the New Yorkers from the other. He called New Jersey the Garden State, and the name has clung to it ever since." The problem with this is that the image of a barrel tapped at both ends dates back at least to Benjamin Franklin, so this statement crediting Browning with naming the Garden State can not be taken at face value.
Abraham Browning made his home at 127 Market Street. Among his neighbors were William Calhoun, Sheriff of Camden County in the late 1870s and early 1880s, Charles Kalt, and prominent attorneys James B. Dayton and Peter L. Voorhees. Abraham Browning passed away in Camden on August 22, 1889. The Abraham Browning Council No. 122 of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, a fraternal organization that was active in Camden from the late 19th through the mid-20th centuries, was named in his honor when it was incorporated in 1898.
Abraham Browning is not to be confused with Capt. Abraham M. Browning (1843-1880), who owned a farm called Cherry Hill Farm in what is now Cherry Hill NJ, on the site of the present-day Cherry Hill Mall and Loews Theater complex.
Philadelphia Inquirer - April 16, 1884
Marmaduke B. Taylor - Maurice
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