Maurice River Township is a township in Cumberland County, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the Vineland-Millville- Bridgeton Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area for statistical purposes. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 7,976, reflecting an increase of 1,048 (+15.1%) from the 6,928 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 280 (+4.2%) from the 6,648 counted in the 1990 Census.
Maurice River Township was first formed as a precinct on January 19, 1748, and was incorporated by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, as one of New Jersey's initial group of 104 townships. Portions of the township were taken to form Millville on March 1, 1866. It is a dry town where alcohol cannot be sold.
Originally called Wahatquenak by the local Lenni Lenape Native Americans, the Maurice River is said to be named for a local legend, in which a Dutch ship on the river, the Prince Maurice, was sunk by the local Native Americans in 1657. The land was surveyed by John Worledge and Thomas Budd, and the community of Dorchester was laid out. However, it was not until 1798 on that the township itself was established.
Port Elizabeth was established as a port of delivery by an Act of Congress in 1789, and trade was done directly with the West Indies for several years, until the 1830s, when trading was done more with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City. Dorchester and Leesburg were known for shipbuilding industry, and the A.J. Meerwald (the State Ship of New Jersey) was built in the shipyards of Dorchester. The village of Heislerville and its surroundings were known for their oystering industry until around 1957, when a parasitic disease called MSX crippled the oyster population of the river. The oystering industry has not recovered since.
In 1993, the Maurice River and its tributaries were designated as the Maurice National Scenic and Recreational River by the Congress.