Timbuctoo is an unincorporated community in Westampton Township, Burlington County, New Jersey, according to the US Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System. Deed records in the Burlington County Clerk’s Office indicate the first land purchases by African Americans in the area now known as Timbuctoo occurred in 1826.
At its peak in the mid-nineteenth century, Timbuctoo had more than 125 residents, a school, a church and a cemetery. (1) The US Census identified the “Village of Timbuctoo” as a separate entity within Westampton Township for the first time in 1880, enumerating 108 residents and 29 households. (2)
Today the cemetery is the only remnant of Timbuctoo’s historic past, but a handful of African American families in Westampton and surrounding areas are descendants of early settlers. Although Timbuctoo continues to appear on local maps, many area residents have never heard of it or are familiar with its historical significance. “I find this history to be absolutely fascinating,” said Guy Weston, whose 4th great-grandfather purchased an acre in Timbuctoo in 1829 for $30. “Why was it not part of my history curriculum in high school?”
Currently a work in progress, Weston has created this website as a portal of information to disseminate information about Timbuctoo to all interested in the history of New Jersey in general and the history of African Americans in particular. This is a personal endeavor and not associated with any official body or institution.