Slaughter Beach was founded in 1681 and incorporated in 1931. How Slaughter Beach got its name has been debated over the years. Early maps show a small creek named Slaughter Creek, which flowed through the marsh from the Cedar Creek south and emptied into the Delaware Bay just north of Prime Hook Beach. Just to the southwest of the town is an area called “Slaughter Neck”. Neck was/is a term used to describe upland areas between two key boundary areas. Another theory is the first postmaster for this locality had the last name of Slaughter.
The naming of Slaughter Beach has two more colorful stories. In the spring and early summer horseshoe crabs come ashore to spawn. Wave action flips the crabs over where they are left to die in the hot sun, thus the “Slaughter of the Crabs.” The most colorful story has to be of Indians attacking early settlers in the area. Upon hearing the news, the leader of the settlers arranged a meeting on the beach with the Indian Chief so the settlers “God” could “speak” to the Indians and make peace. The leader had the Indians gather around their “God”, a cannon, and fired the cannon killing all the Indians – thus the “Slaughter of the Indians.”
Like the naming of Slaughter Beach, the town has gone through many changes. Slaughter Beach in the early years was primarily a resort for Milford area residents during the summer months. In its hey-day, Slaughter Beach had a dance hall, hotels and a boardwalk. With the advance of the automobile and road systems, more and more people started traveling to the Rehoboth area and Slaughter Beach turned into a sleepy little seasonal fishing village. Present day Slaughter Beach has a full time population of 198 people with a much higher summertime population. Slaughter Beach also has become much more of a year-round community for part time residents looking to escape for brief periods from the “real world.”