Rock Talk

Seven Things You May Not Know About NJ During the American Revolution

Last updated on November 15, 2019 at 02:37 pm

Fireworks, swimming, barbeques, and sunburn are telltale signs of Independence Day. Stay happy and safe this holiday weekend by following all the rules Mom told you when you were a kid – no running around the pool, don’t touch the grill, stay inside in a thunder storm, etc. Whether it rains (again) on Thursday or you’re able to enjoy some spectacular fireworks with your family, Plymouth Rock in New Jersey wishes you a festive Fourth of July!

Now, in honor of our country’s birthday, here are seven things you might not know about NJ during the American Revolution.

  1. The Sandy Hook shoreline and lighthouse are iconic of New Jersey summers, but early in the Revolutionary War, the NY Congress had the lighthouse dismantled as a precaution for enemy takeover! They wanted to “render it useless,” which was a good decision, because British forces took control of it for most of the war.
  2. During the War, George Washington spent time in NJ as he prepared battle plans. You may have visited the Trenton Barracks House in elementary school and learned how to fire a musket. But did you know Washington also stayed in Morristown, Plainfield, Lambertville, Kingston, and Ringwood? Bonus: He stayed in Somerville during the 1778-79 stretch of the Revolution. Know of any other hidden residencies?
  3. There was probably a revolutionary war battle or event in your town.
  4. The Presbyterian Church–the largest religious denomination in NJ in the Revolutionary War period–held a significant role in the war, and its reverend even travelled with Washington and his troops as a spiritual advisor. The Newark church is the resting place for 47 soldiers and displays a plaque with their names.
  5. New Jersey was the colony with the most battles due to its prime location between Philly and NYC. But few people know that Samuel Brown and a swath of whaleboat privateers defended the southern coast of NJ from the British in what is now entitled the “whaleboat wars”. Read the whole story here.
  6. NJ Declaration of Independence signers Richard Stockton and John Witherspoon attended the College of New Jersey. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t TCNJ. It was Princeton.
  7. Nobody knew when the war ended! People disagree about which event was the true resignation of the war, with most historians believing that it came with General Washington riding into NYC with the remainder of his troops. NJ Governor Livingston’s April 1783 Proclamation was the official summary and successful conclusion of the war as distributed to county sheriffs, read aloud to the people to share in our country’s good news.

What secrets do you know about our state in the Revolution? Share them in the comments below.

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