Elizabeth Clark Bodly put the “Elizabeth” in Port Elizabeth. Legend has it that in 1771 she purchased a vast wilderness with only a couple of log cabins on it. One of the cabins belonged to Patrick Hoy, who remains a mystery. At the time she was called Elizabeth Clark. She and her husband Cornelius bought land at “the mouth of the Manumuskin Creek, extending down the river a considerable distance” (H.W. Vanaman).
At the time the land was called simply “The Dam”, named for a dam built around 1700 over the Manumuskin River. The area was in use already, with a glassworks nearby as well as a store that all of the nearby villages patronized. Elizabeth and Cornelius settled here with their four children.
Unfortunately, Cornelius died, leaving Elizabeth to tend to the children, marshes, and land by herself. She remarried John Bodly, and they had two more children. Unfortunately, John also died, and once again she was left on her own. By 1780, she became inspired and emboldened.
She had her land surveyed and entered a partnership to build a new dam. The dam spanned across the river, connecting her side with Henry Reeves’s land across the water. The dam was completed in 1782. Farmers rushed in to work the newly dry landscape. Along the river new jetty’s and landings were built to move crops and building materials for the new planned town square. They inspired the name of Port Elizabeth.
By 1821, the town had grown successful, and a company managed the land, and they built a bridge over the creek. Congress declared Port Elizabeth to be an official port of delivery, making it a trade hub with the West Indies. That brought many people and businesses to the area.
The old bridge was changed to a covered bridge, which was too small so they added a second covered bridge, and later changed it again to the cement bridge we have today. The farms opened by Elizabeth Clark Bodly thrived, as did the port businesses, for a long stretch. Slowly industry and corporations took over the ports and farmlands.
Today there are just over four hundred fifty people still living here. There are massive woodlands and a three thousand five hundred acre Manumuskin River Preserve surrounding port Elizabeth today. It is still as beautiful in spaces as the vast wilderness Elizabeth purchased so long ago.
Hutchinson’s Plumbing & HVAC contractors know this area well. We have been providing local services in Cumberland County for seventy years. Hutchinson has a reputation for being expertly better at heating and air conditioning services. When you need a plumber, be sure that a courteous expert will arrive, on time, to an appointment scheduled at your personal convenience.
Our local HVAC contractors have four generations of experience with heating and air conditioning, combined with continuing education that each is required to achieve each year. This makes our HVAC services the best in the local area and keeps families returning through generations. When Port Elizabeth needs help with their plumbing, they simply call Hutch. We are here for you 24/7.