The area that is now Harrison was a part of a charter granted to Captain William Sandford of Barbados. New Barbadoes Neck consisted of 30,000 acres (120 km2) and extended north from Newark Bay to present-day Rutherford, between the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers. Sandford sent his nephew, Major Nathanial Kingsland, to enter into an agreement for the purchase the land from the Unami Native Americans, a branch of the Leni Lenape.
A road to the Hudson Waterfront was completed in 1750, named for Douwe's Ferry which it met at its eastern end to cross the Haceknsack River. In 1790 thestate legislature decided that "public good would be served by a 64-foot road from Paulus Hook to Newark Couthouse". By 1795, a bridge over the Hackensack 950 feet (290 m) long and another over the Passaic 492 feet (150 m) long (at the site of the Bridge Street Bridge) were built creating an uninterrupted toll roadconnection. It is now known as the Newark Turnpike.
In 1826, the New Jersey Legislature, Lodi Township was formed from the southern portion of New Barbadoes Neck in Bergen County. Since Lodi Township was part of Bergen County, matters dealing with the county government and courts had to be taken to Hackensack.
In 1840, the inhabitants of Lodi Township joined with present-day Secaucus, Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, and Union City and petitioned for the creation of a new county due to the great distance which the petitioners had to travel to reach the county seat in Hackensack. This appeal resulted in the creation of Hudson County and the first mention of Harrison occurs in the law which was passed on April 13, 1840. Harrison Township was thereby established.
The first committee meeting of the Township of Harrison was held on April 16, 1840, and it is widely accepted that Harrison was named for President William Henry Harrison, who was elected that year.
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