Upper Freehold Township dates back to 1731, when it was formed from portions of Freehold Township. It was formally incorporated as a township by the Township Act of 1798 of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798. Over the years, portions of the township have been taken to form Millstone Township (February 28, 1844), Jackson Township (March 6, 1844) and Allentown (January 20, 1889). The name of the township derives from Freehold Township, which in turn comes from the word freehold, an English legal term describing fee simple property ownership.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 47.235 square miles (122.337 km2), including 46.419 square miles (120.223 km2) of land and 0.816 square miles (2.114 km2) of water (1.73%).
Unincorporated communities within the township include Arneytown, Cooleys Corner, Coxs Corner, Cream Ridge, Davis, Ellisdale, Emleys Hill, Fillmore, Hayti, Homes Mills, Hornerstown, Imlaystown, Kirbys Mills, Nelsonville, New Canton, New Sharon, Polhemustown, Prospertown, Pullentown, Red Valley, Robinsville, Sharon, Shrewsbury, Spring Mill, Walnford and Wrightsville.
The township borders Allentown, Millstone Township and Roosevelt in Monmouth County; North Hanover Township in Burlington County; East Windsor Township, Hamilton Township and Robbinsville Township in Mercer County; and Jackson Township and Plumsted Township in Ocean County.
Farming and other agricultural uses have been primary uses of land in the area since the time that the township was first formed. The township has 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of land protected from development as part of a Farmland Preservation Program. Voters were the first in the county to approve a dedicated portion of property taxes to fund farmland preservation, which was increased by a 2001 referendum to four cents per $100 of assessed value, split between farmland preservation and the costs associated with purchasing and developing land for recreational uses.
The Assunpink Wildlife Preservation Area, of which more than 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) of the preserve's 6,300 acres (2,500 ha) are located in the township, as well as in portions of Millstone Township, Roosevelt and Robbinsville Township, offers wetlands and lakes for viewing migratory birds, in addition to mountain biking trails, bridle paths and hiking trails, operated under the supervision of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,902 people, 2,363 households, and 1,978 families residing in the township. The population density was 148.7 per square mile (57.4/km2). There were 2,458 housing units at an average density of 53.0 per square mile (20.5/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 91.50% (6,315) White, 2.01% (139) Black or African American, 0.14% (10) Native American, 4.35% (300) Asian, 0.01% (1) Pacific Islander, 0.67% (46) from other races, and 1.32% (91) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.68% (254) of the population.
There were 2,363 households out of which 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 76.5% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.3% were non-families. 12.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the township, the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 20.4% from 25 to 44, 33.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.7 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 97.3 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $122,525 (with a margin of error of +/- $16,693) and the median family income was $126,849 (+/- $10,754). Males had a median income of $100,583 (+/- $18,963) versus $65,183 (+/- $5,414) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $48,665 (+/- $3,717). About 2.3% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.8% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 4,282 people, 1,437 households, and 1,198 families residing in the township. The population density was 91.4 people per square mile (35.3/km2). There were 1,501 housing units at an average density of 32.0 per square mile (12.4/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 94.70% White, 1.05% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.84% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.53% of the population.
There were 1,437 households out of which 42.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.7% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.6% were non-families. 11.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.24.
In the township the population was spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.7 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $71,250, and the median income for a family was $78,334. Males had a median income of $55,987 versus $35,221 for females. The per capita income for the township was $29,387. About 4.3% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.3% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over.
The Horse Park of New Jersey was conceived by equestrian enthusiasts concerned about the dwindling amount of land dedicated to their interests and activities. The Horse Park opened in 1987 on land initially purchased by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection with Green Acres funds, based on the input of the state's Equine Advisory Board, and is centrally located in Monmouth County's equine-oriented countryside.
Monmouth County parks in the township include Clayton Park, a passive recreation area with woodlands and hiking trails covering a total of 438 acres (177 ha) of land that dates back to a purchase of land in 1978 from an area farmer who sold the land to the county below market value to ensure that the land would be preserved.
Historic Walnford includes a restored Georgian style house, working mill, carriage house and cow barn that were all part of an industrial community dating back almost 200 years that was developed by the Waln family on a site that covers 38 acres (15 ha). The Crosswicks Creek Greenbelt includes 328 acres (133 ha) of land in the township, as part of a corridor running along the Crosswicks Creek from Fort Dix in Burlington County towards the Delaware River along the border between Burlington and Mercer County, traveling through Upper Freehold Township and including Historic Walnford.
A bond ordinance passed in 2000 provides for the development of soccer fields, baseball fields and basketball courts at the Byron Johnson Recreation Area and other township parks. The Byron Johnson site adjoins Allentown High School near the Allentown border, and is owned by Monmouth County and administered by the township, developed using municipal funds and monies contributed by developers.
Upper Freehold Township is governed under the Township form of government. The five-member Township Committee is elected directly by the voters at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle. At an annual reorganization meeting, the Township Committee selects one of its members to serve as Mayor and another as Deputy Mayor.
As of 2016, members of the Upper Freehold Township Committee are Mayor Stanley Moslowski Jr. (R, term on committee and as mayor ends December 31, 2016), Deputy Mayor Dr. Robert A. Frascella (R, term on committee ends 2017; term as deputy mayor ends 2016), Steve J. Alexander (R, 2018), Robert J. Faber Sr. (R, 2018) and LoriSue H. Mount (R, 2016).
Upper Freehold Township is located in the 4th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 12th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Upper Freehold Township had been in the 30th state legislative district.
New Jersey's Fourth Congressional District is represented by Christopher Smith (R). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).
For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 12th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Samuel D. Thompson (R, Old Bridge Township) and in the General Assembly by Robert D. Clifton (R, Matawan) and Ronald S. Dancer (R, Plumsted Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Monmouth County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders consisting of five members who are elected at-large to serve three year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects one of its members to serve as Director and another as Deputy Director. As of 2014, Monmouth County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry (R, Colts Neck Township; term ends December 31, 2014), Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. (R, Spring Lake; 2014), Thomas A. Arnone (R, Neptune City; 2016), John P. Curley (R, Middletown Township; 2015) and Serena DiMaso (R, Holmdel Township; 2016). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk M. Claire French (Wall Township), Sheriff Shaun Golden (Farmingdale) and Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters (Middletown Township).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 4,686 registered voters in Upper Freehold Township, of which 722 (15.4%) were registered as Democrats, 2,218 (47.3%) were registered as Republicans and 1,741 (37.2%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 5 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 61.9% of the vote (2,287 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 37.1% (1,372 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (36 votes), among the 3,723 ballots cast by the township's 4,818 registered voters (28 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 77.3%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 60.3% of the vote (2,337 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 37.7% (1,461 votes) and other candidates with 1.0% (40 votes), among the 3,878 ballots cast by the township's 4,893 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.3%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 63.2% of the vote (2,153 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 35.6% (1,212 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (31 votes), among the 3,409 ballots cast by the township's 4,203 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 81.1.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 75.4% of the vote (1,827 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 23.0% (558 votes), and other candidates with 1.6% (39 votes), among the 2,442 ballots cast by the township's 4,893 registered voters (18 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 49.9%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 69.5% of the vote (1,972 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 23.8% (676 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 5.4% (153 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (20 votes), among the 2,836 ballots cast by the township's 4,737 registered voters, yielding a 59.9% turnout.
Students in public school for kindergarten through twelfth grade attend the Upper Freehold Regional School District, which serves students from Allentown Borough and Upper Freehold Township. Millstone Township sends students to the district's high school as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Millstone Township Schools. Schools in the district (with 2012-13 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Newell Elementary School (575 students in grades PreK-4), Stone Bridge Middle School (544; 5-8) and Allentown High School (1,233; 9-12).
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 116.01 miles (186.70 km) of roadways, of which 82.01 miles (131.98 km) were maintained by the municipality, 28.28 miles (45.51 km) by Monmouth County and 5.72 miles (9.21 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
A 5.7-mile (9.2 km) portion of the Central Jersey Expressway (Interstate 195) goes through Upper Freehold, making it an important artery for residents of the township. Exit 11 leads to the Horse Park of New Jersey. Exit 8 leads to County Route 539 (Hornerstown Road / Trenton-Forked River Road / Davis-Allentown Road) to Hightstown, or towards the Garden State Parkway south to Atlantic City. County Route 524 (called Yardville-Allentown Road / South Main Street where it enters Allentown / Stage Coach Road) heads across the township, mostly to the north of Interstate 195, from Hamilton Township in Mercer County to the east and Millstone Township to the west. County Route 526 (Walker Avenue) heads from Allentown in the east to Millstone Township in the west, paralleling Interstate 195 to the north. County Route 537 (Monmouth Road) runs for 6.5 miles (10.5 km) along the township's southern borders with the Ocean County municipalities of Plumsted Township and Jackson Township.
In addition, Interstate 95 (the New Jersey Turnpike) is minutes away along I-195 in neighboring Robbinsville Township (Exit 7A) and not too far also in bordering East Windsor (Exit 8).
The Cream Ridge Winery is located in the township.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Upper Freehold Township include:Joseph Holmes (1736-1809), member of the New Jersey Legislative Council who served on the Upper Freehold Township Committee and on the county Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Gilbert Imlay (1754-1828), businessman, author and diplomat.
Elisha Lawrence (1746-1799), politician who served as Vice-President of Council from 1789 through 1792, and again in 1795.
Chris Tomson (born 1984), drummer with the band Vampire Weekend.
Samuel G. Wright (1781-1845), politician who was elected to represent New Jersey's 2nd congressional district in 1845 but died before he could take office.