Lawrence Township is a township in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. The township is part of the New York Metropolitan area as defined by the United States Census Bureau, but directly borders the Philadelphia metropolitan area and is part of the Federal Communications Commission's Philadelphia Designated Market Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 33,472, reflecting an increase of 4,313 (+14.8%) from the 29,159 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 3,372 (+13.1%) from the 25,787 counted in the 1990 Census.
What is now Lawrence Township was originally formed as Maidenhead Township on February 20, 1697, while the area was still part of Burlington County in West Jersey. The township was named by the early Quaker settlers after Maidenhead, a Thames River village west of London. It became part of the newly created Hunterdon County on March 11, 1714. Maidenhead Township was incorporated as one of New Jersey's initial group of 104 townships by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798.
On January 24, 1816, the municipality was renamed Lawrence Township, in honor of Captain James Lawrence — commander of the frigate USS Chesapeake, one of the naval heroes of the War of 1812, and a native of relatively nearby Burlington, New Jersey— best known for his dying command of "Don't Give up the Ship". Lawrence Township became part of Mercer County at its creation on February 22, 1838. Portions of the township were taken to form Millham Township on February 10, 1882, which was annexed six years later by Trenton.
On September 23, 2003, at approximately 8:25am, an F1 tornado ripped through Lawrence Township. The tornado followed a path along Princeton Pike and caused widespread damage to homes. There were no fatalities.