Hartshorne Woods Park is named in honor of the Hartshorne family. Richard Hartshorne (1641-1722), an English Quaker, settled in Middletown in 1669 and became one of Monmouth County's most prominent early settlers. By the late 1670s he had acquired extensive landholdings of over 2300 acres, including Sandy hook and the Highlands of Navesink.
Richard Hartshorne was active in community and colonial affairs, and served in the Provincial Assembly. He was known as a skilled statesman and peacemaker. In a pamphlet published in London in 1676, he helped promote Quaker emigration to the young colony of East Jersey by his favorable portrayal of the area as healthful, fertile, and peaceful.
After Richard Hartshorne's death, his landholdings were divided among his descendants. Over the years Hartshorne lands were gradually sold to private individuals and to the U.S. Government for coastal defense, but most of what is now Hartshorne Woods Park remained in family ownership into the mid 1900s.