Brief History of Barclay

In the nearly three hundred years since the site was originally surveyed, only three families have held title to the Barclay Farmstead property: John Kay, an immigrant from Great Britain, arrived in West Jersey in the early 1680s and took up residence on what is now the Barclay Farmstead. His home, believed to be on the site of the present house, was used alternately with another home in Cherry Hill as a location for Quaker Meetings until 1721. 

The property remained in the Kay family through several generations until Joseph Thorn purchased the 168-acre property in 1816 and built the house you see today.  The Thorn Family of eight lived here until the property was sold at a Sheriff’s Sale in 1826. 

At that time, Joseph W. Cooper, a sixth-generation descendant of the founder of Camden and owner of the Cooper Ferry in Camden, acquired the property as a gentleman’s farm, but it was never his primary residence.  The property passed through the Cooper family to Joseph’s daughter, Ellen Cooper Barclay, to her son, Walter, and to Walter’s daughter, Helen.

In the 1950s, Helen Barclay sold a substantial portion of the original farm to notable builder, Bob Scarborough.  He developed the land into the award-winning residential community of Barclay Farm, which surrounds the present 32-acre site.

In 1974, the Township of Cherry Hill purchased the Barclay Farmstead and many community members worked tirelessly to restore the main farmhouse.