At one time Dover Township was part of Shrewsbury Township in Monmouth County. According to the "Township of Dover, 1767 - 1992," a booklet published during the community's 225th Anniversary, in 1767 a group of local residents petitioned the Royal General Assembly to create their own township. The 441 square mile township ranged from what is the Monmouth County line at its northern extremity to present day Oyster Creek in Lacey Township in the south and from the Burlington County line on the west to the Atlantic Ocean on the east. The township was formed more than 80 years before Ocean County was established.
Entwined with the history of Dover Township is the village of Toms River.
Toms River has come to have two identities, much to the confusion of new residents and visitors to the area.
The first and original identity is historic Toms River. It is the "village" area with which most people associate "downtown" Toms River. Today its focal point is the area around Main, Washington and Water Streets and Hooper Avenue. The village is home to most of the Ocean County and Dover Township offices. Yesteryear it was a major trading center bustling with activity along the riverfront. Only a few thousand people reside in this area today. The official municipality in which Toms River is located is Dover Township, not to be confused with the town of Dover which is a municipality in northern New Jersey.
A second and different identity for Toms River has been established in modern times by the U.S. Postal Service, which is located in the area. It used the name of Toms River, too! As the population increased and spread throughout the community, the post office delivered mail beyond the county seat area to the other neighborhoods within the township -- among them, East, North and West Dover, Silverton, and Pleasant Plains. As time passed, the "Toms River" mailing address was extended into sections of neighboring municipalities. Today some residents in adjacent Manchester Township, Berkeley Township and South Toms River Borough receive their mail with a Toms River mailing address.