The written history of New Providence begins in 1664 when James, Duke of York and brother to King Charles II, purchased the land from the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. This acquisition was known as the Elizabethtown Tract.
Its first European settlers were members of a Puritan colony established in 1720, which was the first permanent settlement of its type. The settlement was originally called Turkeytown, due to the presence of wild turkeys in the area.
By 1737, the Presbyterian Church was formed and became the center of this growing community. In 1759, the balcony of the Presbyterian Church in the town collapsed. The lack of serious injuries was declared by Divine Providence, and the town was renamed to New Providence.