Somerset County, NJ
Centennial History of Somerset County , NJ
By Abraham Messler, D. D., Somerville, (NJ, C. M. Jameson, Publishers, 1878 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney
FIRST SETTLEMENT AND SOME OF THE EARLY INHABITANTS.
SOME OF THE MEN OF SOMERSET.
SOMERSET COUNTY IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIERS
FIRST SETTLEMENT AND SOME OF THE EARLY INHABITANTS.
When the title to the land on the Raritau had been secured, settlers at once came to occupy it. It was, of course,
in a state of nature, clothed with its primitive forests and inhabited by wild animals, and wilder men.
The inducements leading those who came from Long Island and New York to seek a home in the wilderness, was, first,
to enjoy full religious liberty in serving God. Gov. Lovelace favored the Episcopal Church, and threw many obstacles
in the way of those who belonged to the Dutch Church, of enjoying their own services in peace. Rather than yield
one iota to his interference, they expatriated themselves a second time and came into the Province of New Jersey,
where the "Concessions and Agreements" secured ample religious toleration from the very beginning. We
cannot but honor their spirit and commend their attachment to the truth as they had learned it and believed it.
Another and a second motive was no doubt found in the rich and unoccupied lands along our beautiful river, which
seemed to invite the immigrant and promise him an around- ant reward for his labor in their culture and improvement.
The earliest reliable recorded notice which we have seen of the Raritan river, is found among the Albany records,
and is dated 1663, when the trade in furs with the Indians had begun to excite the cupidity of the English, and
led to remonstrance on the part of the Dutch of Manhattan Island. There is, indeed, said to be in the same records,
a tatter from Herr Van Werkhoven to Baren Vander Capellan, stating that the lands about Nevesink and the Raritan's
Kill, had been purchased for him in 1649, and complaining that they had not been allotted to him. This only shows
that the value of these lands was already known as early as 30 years after the first settlements were formed around
the "Trading Post" on Manhattan Island. Ogilby says in 1671, "that both sides of the Raritan are
adorned with spacious meadows, enough to feed thousands of cattle. The wood land is very good for corn, and stored
with wild beasts ; as deer, elks, and an innumerable multitude of fowl, as in other parts of the country. This
river is thought very capable for erecting of several towns and villages on each side of it; no place in North
America having better convenience for the maintaining of all sorts of cattle for winter and summer food.
"As a matter of curiosity, and not from any idea of its value or importance in any historical sense, but only
as an illustration of the way in which the Indians "romanced" and practiced on the credulity of white
men, we shall quote a notice of our river from a description of New Albion (as New Jersey was then called,) by
Beauchnmp Plantagenet, Esq , dated 1648, a year earlier than Van Werkhover's claim. He says, "the Indians
of New Jersey were under the dominion of about twenty kings; that there were 1,200 under two Raritan kings ; that
the seat of the Karitan king is said to have been called by the English Mount Ployden, twenty miles from Sandhay
Sea, and ninety from the Ocean, west to Amara Hill, the retired Paradise of the children of the Ethiopean Emperor-a
wonder, for it is a square rock, two miles compass, 150 feet high, a wall like precipice, a straight entrance,
easily made invincible, where he keeps 200 for his guards, and under is a flat valley, all plain to plant and sow."
If we were inclined to favor such romance, we should claim that no place so well answers the above description
as the bluff in the gorge of Chimney Rock, north of the little bridge on the west and east sides of which the two
rivulets flow and meet a few yards southward in the main gorge. But we are not disposed to practice on the credulity
of our readers, as the Indians evidently did, on Beauchamp Plantagenet, Esq.
The savages who lived permanently on the Raritan (and there were only a few of the Raritan tribe who did so,) had
very fertile corn lands on the meadows, which they appreciated and planted-proving that they were not generally
wooded, but on the contrary, were of the nature of a prairie or savannah. This feature afterwards, formed one of
the main attractions to settlers, and induced the first who came there to locate on the first upland, contiguous
to these natural meadows, where they found at once abundant pasturage for cattle, and a soil ready for the plow.
Hence in point of fact, all the first buildings from Bound Brook to the junction of the two branches, stood on
the edge of this upland, and there our principal farm houses are still found standing.
Exceptions, are however mentioned, in three instances, of huts standing on the meadows, inhabited by Scotch people.
Two north of the late residence of B. Veghte, Esq.. and one near the former dwelling of H. Garretson, but we cannot
imagine how they could have been inhabited for more than one summer. Our beautiful river has a habit of inundating
all its meadows in the winter, which would make living on them extremely inconvenient if not impossible.
The Indians living on the Raritan were only the remnant of the large and numerous tribe once located here. It is
said they left and went to live at Metuchen, because the freshets in the river spoiled the corn which they were
in the habit of burying in pits on the low lands. Another inducement was the fish, oysters and clams, so easily
obtained on the shores of the Raritan Bay. The immense heaps of shells found in several localities on its shores,
attest the rich harvest which they had gathered out of its waters. A few huts were found on the south side of the
river opposite the village of Raritan ; and they had a "burial place" on the second river bank at the
gate of R. H. Garretson.
We may imagine then, how the lonely river flowed on for centuries between its willow fringed banks, from summer
to winter, while the rich grass on its meadows wasted because there were no animals, except a few deer, who fed
upon it; and how the wild fruits afforded feasts for the squirrel and the forest bird, or perished untouched, because
there was no living creature present to enjoy the bountiful repast. It might almost without romance be called a
"retired Paradise," but without its "Ethiopian Emperor" to rule over it. That it remained untrodden
so long, is certainly marvellous, unless the few white men in the country, and the distance from New York made
it too great an effort to reach such an inviting place. From 1624, when the Dutch began to colonize at first, until
1681 May 4th, when the first land title is dated, a period of 57 years, no one seems to have seen or been attracted
by the beauty and fertility of our wide spreading valley, or ventured to endeavor to reclaim it from its wild,
untrodden wilderness state. Its primitive inhabitants even, had deserted it almost entirely, and gone towards the
sea shore, attracted by the abundant food; and only bird and beast claimed it as their home. But the time came
when a different state of things began to exist.
The titles for the fertile lands had been secured and settlers came to occupy them. Some of these have been already
mentioned and we find that from 1681 to 1699 there had arrived from Long Island the following heads of families
mostly of Dutch extraction:
Goers Vroom, Michael Hanson, Andrew Allyn, Michael Van Vegbten, Dirk Middagh, Frederick Garretson, John Wortman,
Peter Van Nest, Jeronemus Van Nest, Jacob Sebring Isaac Bodine, Edward Drinkwater, James Tunison, Cornelius Tunison,
Pieter Dumont, Maurice Maurison, Johannes Dameld, John Roelefson, Hendrick Rynierson, Thomas Possell. Cornelius
Powelson, Jan Hans Coeverden, Folkerd Hendrik Harris, Josias Merlet, Andrew Anderson, Elton Nyssen, William Olden,
William Clausen, Lawrence Opdyke, William Mouersen, Reuben Jarisen, Gabriel Leorsteia, Folkerd Hendricksen.
At North and South Branch, Andreas Ten Eyck, Abraham Dubois, John Pussell. Josias Claesen, Jan Hendrickson, Daniel
Sebring, Coenrad Ten Eyck, Derick Van Veghten, Alexander McDowel, Jan Van Sieklen, Benjamin Bart, Jacob Stoll,
Teunis Van Middlesworth, George Hall, Albert Louw, William Rosa, Paulus Bulner, Lucus Schermerhorn, Pieter Van
Nest. Emanuel Van Etten, Johanes Grauw, John Emens, Coert Jarisen, George Dildine, John Reading, Garret Van Vleet,
William Brown. John Cook, Hendrick Roesenboom, Frans Waldron, God tried Peters, David Busum, David Subair, Abram
Broca, Jacob Reyuierse, Garret Smock.
In the vicinity of New Brunswick, were Adrian Bennet, Aart Artsen. Roelif Sebring, Johanes Folkerson, Hendrick
Bries, Roelif Voorhees, Lawrens Willimse, Roelif Nevius, Jan Van Voorhees, Jacob Oake, Johanes Stoothoff. Jaqes
Fonteyn, Jacobus Buys, Thomas Auten, Thomas Davidts, William Klassen, Johanes Coeveri, Hendrick Bries, Andrias
Wortman. Bernardus Kuetor, Christopher Van Arsdalen, Jacob Corse, Cornelius Suydam, Joris Andersen, Martin Vanderhoeve,
Johanes Metselaer, Samuel Monttort, Jan Aten, William Moore, Nicklas Bason.
At Three Mile Run, Hendrick Bries, Roelf Lucas, Jan Voorhees. Aert Aertsen. Isaac Van Dyke, Johanes Folkersen,
Jan Aeten, Laurens Willimse, Roelif Nevius. Charles Iteyn, Hans Stoothotf, Thomas Bouwman, Derek Volkerse, Garret
Bolmer, Jan Lavor. Simon Wickoff, Pieter Hoff. Garret Dorland, Andries Bort, Jan Broca, James Fonteyn, Adrian Mollenar,
Jacob Rapleyea, Joris Hael, , Jan Laeteu, William Lambers, Peter Kinne, Hendrick Traphagen, Luycus Schermerhorn,
Jans Van Middlesworth. Johannes Fisher,Toeremias Field, Luycas Wessels, Jacob Koersen, Nicholas Hay man, Cornelius
Jan Onwegen, William Harrise, Andreas Ten Eyck, William Dey, Manuel Van Allen, Abram Elemeteren, Johannes Seigeler,
We are not able to indicate specifically or certainly the place of residence of each of these families. The Sebring's
and Harris's lived in the vicinity of Bound Brook, Pieter Dumont on the south side of the Raritan, Powelson's near
Pluckamin ; all of them evidently did not remain permanently or leave descendants. The names of others continue
to occur in the records for many years, but some of them have at last passed away. All of them we judge were religious
men, and aided in the formation of the Raritan Church, then a church in the wilderness. Most of them are known
to have imigrated to Somerset from Long Island; and among them there are several names which indicate a Huguenot
origin.Somerset County has had in fact a large infusion of this noble blood ;and among the family traditions, in
many instances, linger interesting remitiisences of the night of St. Bartholomew, at time when they fled from France
to Holland, leaving their all behind and never looking back ; rescuing only their life their children and their
silver from the deadly spoiler!
As a matter of curiosity we give a list of Hugenot names once residents on the Raritan and in the vicinity of Somerville,
viz : Jacob Sebring, Isaac Bodyne, Pieter Dumont, Johannes Dameld. Thomas Possell, Josias Merlette, Gabriel De
Beten, William Breille, Jan Lavor, Peter La Fevre, Jacob Rappleyea, Jan La Far, Frans Lukas, Isaac Brillne, Pieter
Petrie, Edo Montagne, Abram Lafoy, Jacob Probasco, John La Voss, Antonie Le Grange, Jan Fonteyne, John Brocauw.
It would seem as if the first settlers along the Raritan were left in a state of almost entire religious destitution
for nearly 20 years. There are some notices of persons who labored in preaching the Gospel in the vicinity of Amboy
and Elizabeth, but upon1 the Raritan no such labors are known to have been permanently afforded until March 9,
1699, when the Rev. Guliam Bartholf left a record of his having been at Raritan, preaching, ordaining an Elder
and a Deacon, and baptising three children, Judith Van Nest, Abraham Tunison, and Jaquemina Van Nest. Twenty years
in a wilderness without the Gospel must certainly have left strong traces, and these not for good, upon the minds
of the people so circumstanced.
Twenty years more and the inhabitants of "Old Raritan" as it was commonly called then, felt themselves
able to do something for the maintenance of the Christian ordinances of the church, and united with others in calling
the Rev. Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen. About the same time they commenced the erection of a church on the land
of Michael Van Veghten-who generously donated the site of the congregation-and on the 11th of December, 1721, this
house was opened for divine worship. It continued to be the place where religious services were held until Oct.
27, 1779, when it was burned by the Queen's Rangers under command of Colonel Simson. It stood on the north side,
of the river a short distance below the old bridges. Around it there were n few graves already almost forgotten
But the corn and the wheat growing over them, does not disturb the peaceful sleepers in their resting place. The
principal interest, centering now in that almost forgotten cemetery, is in the circumstance that, in an unknown
grave there, rest probably the remains of Mrs. Van Burgh, the mother of Juffvrouw Hardenburgh, who came from Holland-whither
Dr. Hardenburgh had gone for her 1763-to reside with her daughter after the death of her husband, and died in the
parsonage at Somerville. The year of her decease is not known by any of her descendants. If these precious remains
are not resting there, then they must have been deposited on the bank of the meadows, near the old Parsonage, where
John Hardenburgh and his wife, with others, are buried. But strange as it may seem to us, there is no monument
in either place to commemorate one so loved and honored in her life time.
For half a century after the times of which we have been speaking, not much of any special interest seems to have
occurred along the Raritan. The people were industrious and thriving, the church increased in strength under the
labors of the two Frelinghuysens and Hardenburgh, and society began to be, well ordered and law abiding. Before
the Revolution there were at least eight Dutch Church es in the Valley of the Raritan and Millstone river, viz:
At Brunswick, Six Mile Run, Millstone, Harlingen, Raritan, Neshanic, Readington and Bedminster; besides a Presbyterian
Church at Bound Brook, a Lutheran Church at Pluckamin, a Presbyterian Church at Lamington, and German Reformed
Church at Amwell. All these had comfortable houses of worship and a well ordered discipline. Less than a hundred
years had passed since the European first established his home on our river and its branches, and all this had
been done principally by a few emigrants from the old land of Dykes and Marshes, none of whom brought much besides
their energies and thrift to help them on in life ; but they wrought earnestly and saw the effects of their efforts
spreading around their homes. The County was formed in 1688 only seven years after the Indian titles" to its
lands were extinguished. Thus all the advantages of a well organized civil government were enjoyed even almost
from the first year of its settlement by the inhabitants of Somerset County. The first things were small, but time
has made them large and valuable.
SOME OF THE MEN OF SOMERSET.
In attempting to give a notice of some of the prominent men of the County of Somerset, we begin with, those who
held its lands in the first instance. We have noticed already some of them, but think it proper to append the following,
Thomas Codrington was Sheriff in New York City from 1691, to 1692. He came and resided on his lands along
Middlebrook, probably soon after the latter date. His place was called Rackahacawanna and came into the possession
of Alexander Campbell. Daniel Talmage owned it a few years since.
John Delavall was a son of Thomas Delavall, a captain under Col. Nichols when New York was captured in 1664.
It seems from some transactions of his that he had been in the city before this time, but immediately after the
surrender he took a prominent part in the administration of public affairs. He owned a farm at Harlem as well as
a residence in the city, on the south east corner of Broad Street and Exchange Place, embracing an orchard and
a large garden. Visiting England in 1669, he had a conference with the Duke of York, who sent by him to the Mayor
and Aldermen of the city, a mace of office and a gown to be worn on proper occasions. He died at his residence
in 1681, leaving a large estate. His son John Delavall, who married Catharina Van Courtland, was interested in
land grants on the Raritau, but continued to reside in the city. How long is not ascertained, but in a list of
the inhabitants of New York in 1703, his name is not found, nor does it appear in subsequent times. He had several
sisters who married men of prominence in that day.
Gabriel Minvielle, merchant, was Mayor of the City of New York in 1684, Alderman in 1675, and a member of
the Colonial Council under Governors Slaughter, Ingoldsand Fletcher. He was a Frenchman by descent, but lived in
early life in Amsterdam, Holland. In the year 1669 he established himself as a merchant, in New Amsterdam (New
York) and carried on an extensive foreign trade. He married Susannah, a daughter of John Lawrence, a wealthy merchant
of the city, and fixed his residence on the west side of Broadway in a fine mansion near the Bowling Green. Mr.
Minvielle died in 1702, leaving no children and the name consequently became extinct. He had been a resident of
the city for some twelve years, when he became interested in lands on the Raritan. In 1703 there were three families
in the city of New York bearing the name of Minvielle, viz: Peter Minvielle having a family consisting of one male,
one female and one negress; Mrs. Minvielle, probably the wife of Gabriel, who had died the previous year, one female,
one child, two negresses; and David Minvielle having in his family one male two females one child, one negro and
one negress. He is recorded in 1674 after the final surrender of the city to the English, as being worth an estate
of $15,000, a large estate for that day; there being only three persons, viz: Jacob, Leister, and William Delavall,
worth $30,000 each, and Samuel Wilson $20,000-estimated higher than he was.
Richard Hall, was the son of Thomas Hall, who died in the city of New York 1670. Mr. Hall's father was an
Englishman by birth, but having joined with others from New England in an attempt upon the Dutch Colony at the
mouth of Delaware River, was taken prisoner and sent to New York. He was treated with leniency by the authorities,
and finally obtained the rights of citizenship. In 1639, with a partner, he attempted to locate a tobacco plantation
at "Dentel bay," Turtle bay on the East River. In 1654 he purchased property on a hill near the present
Beekman street, and erected a house. His heirs sold it after his death to William Beekman. Of Richard Hall we know
only his being a joint owner of that splendid tract of land west of Middlebrook The name is respectable, and numerous
in Somerset County at the present time.
Peter Sonmans was a native of Holland, a man of activity and energy, educated at the University of Leyden.
He held important offices under the Prince of Orange after he became Wm. III King of England, and most probably
accompanied him when he went to take possession of the throne. He was Surveyor General of New Jersey for four years,
a member of the Council, a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and represented the County of Bergen in the House
of Assembly. He was a Churchman by profession, but gave land to build the Presbyterian Church at Hopewell, and
a Dutch Church at Harlingen. He owned land in Somerset County, but never resided within its limits. His father,
Aaent Sonmans, was one of the original Proprietors of East Jersey. His residence was in Bergen County. His reputation
is not spoken of as being very good.
Gawen Lawrie was originally a merchant in London, and from his name seems to have been of Scotch extraction.
He became at first interested in the affairs of New Jersey by being appointed in connection with Wm. Penn and Nicholas
Lucas, one of the Trustees of Edward Byllinge, one of the original proprietors of West Jersey. When the Duke of
York confirmed the sale of the Province March 14, 1682, to the twenty four Proprietors, by giving them a new grant
with increased and more fall privileges. Lawrie is named as one of them. When Governor Rudyard left the Province
at the close of the year 1685, Gawen Lawrie was appointed in his place as Deputy of Barclay. He is represented
as possessing qualifications well fitted for the place ; intelligence, activity, energy and business habits being
made conspicuous in his management of affairs. He was commissioned a Gov, in July, 1683 and arrived in the Province,
in the beginning of the following year. He brought with him a new code of laws, or as they are called "Fundamental
Constitutions," deemed by the framers as being far superior to the Concessions of Berkley and Carteret, but
it does not seem as if this code was ever enforced. He was dismissed in 1686. The dissatisfaction arose probably
from his having appropriated to his own benefit a tract of land on the Raritan, said to be superior to any other
land in the Province. His residence seems to have been at Elizabethtown. He was subsequently one of the Council
of Lord Neil Campbell, by whom he was superseded. He remained in the Province until his death in the Autumn of
1687. His wife Mary survived him. They had one son James, whose daughter Isabella, married Wm. Davis of New York,
and inherited the estate of her Grandfather, and two daughters, Mary who became the wife of Wm. Haize, and Rebecca,
who married Miles Foster.- Nothing known of the descendants of Mr. Haize ; a son of Mr. Foster removed to the Island
of Barbadoes and two daughters continued unmarried, and so none of Lawries descendants finally remained in the
The autograph of Gov. Lawrie, a copy of which is given in Whitehead's New Jersey, does not by any means commend
his clerkship, whatever his business qualifications may have been.
After noticing a few of the men connected with the History of Somerset in very early days, we now turn to those
who are more properly Somerset men.
It would be a pleasant task to mention the name of every one who has adorned the Annals of Somerset County, by
the elevation of their character, their efficiency, their intelligence, their moral culture and their Christian
consistency; but we have neither the knowledge nor the space for such an extensive review of the past. We only
mention a few, There was an emigration directly from Scotland, at different times, to which we owe the names of
Kirkpatrick, McEowen, McDowell, Logan, McKinstry, Boylan! Then there came from Canada, Captain Creighto McCrea,
Colonel James Henry, Dr. John Henry, Major McDonald, and others. McCrea, Dr. Henry and McDonald, it is understood,
had been connected with the British Army.- From Long Island came the ancestors of Jacobus Van Derveer, who, at
his death, was said to be the richest man in Somerset County, and Elias Van Derveer-both of Bedminster-and the
latter the father of the late Dr. Henry Van Derveer of, Pluckamin ; and of Dr. Lawrence Van Derveer, of Roycefield,
an eminent physician, pbilanthrophist and christian, Cornelius Van Derveer of North Branch, Ferdinand and Colonel
Henry Van Derveer, the Vanarsdalens, the Schencks, Van Stays, Van Camp's, Ten Eycks. La Tourettes, Bogarts, Van
Middleworths, De Groots, Brokaws and others were from the same place; Robert Bonner, of German extraction, often
an elder in the church, Enos Kelly, an assemblyman, Robert Blair, John Simonson, Guysbert Sutphen, Christopher
Hoagland the Lanes and Fields, and many others, honorable in their day, useful in church and in State, and worthy
of commemoration, had we space to give it.
From such general memoranda we now turn to copy two or three obituaries as interesting relics of a former age;
from Jersey State Gazette, Sept. 1. 1779. "Died on the 15th ultimo, Hon. Abraham Van Neste, Member or Council
for the County of Somerset." In an advertisement, Oct. 27, 1781, he is said to have been "of Millstone."
Jan. 17, 1781, from the same source-"On Sunday, 7th inst., departed this life, in an advanced age, Jacob Bergen,
first Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Somerset. He was for many years a magistrate under the
former government ; was continued under the present ; universally respected as an early, a consistent and decided
patriot. The country has lost in him a faithful, active magistrate, and the State a useful, respectable citizen,"
Judge Bergen lived in Princeton, and one of his appointments was given him in "Joint Meeting," held in
the College Buildings, Sept, 13, 1776. Peter Schenck, Abraham Van Neste, James Linn and Enos Kelly were appointed
to the same position at the same time. On November 26th, 1777, the Legislature of New Jersey met at his house,
and in the season of 1779 Abraham Van Neste, mentioned above, was a member of the Assembly from Somerset.
Another dated Trenton, December 6th, 1781, "on Thursday, 29th ult,, died at his seat on the Raritan, Derrick
Van Vegten, in the 84th year of his age. This gentleman possessed the virtues of patriotism and hospitality
in a very eminent degree. Warmly attached to the cause of his country, he took peculiar pleasure in rendering it
any service in his power ; and when his property was very essentially injured by the winter quarters of a division
of our army being fixed on his possessions, like a good citizen he submitted without repining to suffer as an individual,
to promote the public good. His benevolence and hospitality were not confined to the circle of his friends and
acquaintances. His doors were ever open to the friendless stranger-his house afforded a resting place and a cheerful
welcome to the weary traveller. The blessings of the poor and needy, the widow and the orphan, daily ascended to
heaven in his behalf. Providence blessed him with a good constitution, and he met the gradual approaches of death
with that composure and resignation which proceeds from the consciousness of a religious life, and a well grounded
hope of the divine acceptance. The general sorrow of the numerous assembly which attended the funeral on the Sunday
following, testified their sense of his merit and their loss."
Mr. Van Veghten resided on the banks of the Raritan near what is now called the old bridge, The American army was
quartered on Mr. Van Veghten's land, in the winter of 1778 and 1779. Washington's general orders to the troops
were published in the New Jersey Gazette, February 17, 1779, but were really given at an early date. The location
of the encampment has already been indicated. It was a valuable piece of timber land, which was almost entirely
destroyed as fuel and logs for the soldiers huts ; and there is no evidence that any compensation was ever made.
During the same winter Gen. Washington and Mrs. Washington lived in the parlor of Caleb Miller's house, then just
newly finished to receive them. Here Washington planned and arraigned all the details of General Sullivan's expedition
against the Indian's in western New York. With the reverance due to such a circumstance, that parlor has not been
changed in the least since the Father of his country lived and slept in it, and it ought to remain as it is, until
time effects its demolition. Our veneration for the past is too short either for our own credit or the benefit
of future times.
Hendrick Fisher was born the year 1697, in the Palatinate, and emigrated to this country as a young man.
He was received into the church in 1721 and soon appointed a Deacon, then an Elder, and continued an ardent friend
of F. J. Frelinghuysen until his death, A mechanic by trade, he was ret a man of more than ordinary intelligence
and capacity for business. He was almost constant in his attendance with him in the Ecclesiastical c inventions.
The first Convention of the Churches of the Coetas or liberal party in the Dutch Church which met in New York in
1738, recognized him as the Elder from Raritan. On the adoption of the plan of union in 1771 he was again present,
and his name appears on more than one of the important committees. He exerted an important influence in bringing
about union in the church. He was one of Mr. Frelinghuysen's Helpers and acted as a Catechist and Lay Preacher.
Some of his sermons were published, and are said to have been rich in doctrine and in their illustration of spiritual
In civil life he was one of the most influential men of his day. When the Revolution opened he was a member of
the Assembly of New Jersey from Somerset County, and stood up firmly on the patriot side. He represented the County
often afterwards, and never flinched from active duty whenever or in whatever form he encountered it. In the Provincial
Congress of New Jersey which assembled at Trenton 1775, he was elected President His opening address is said to
have been most forcible in setting forth the grievances of the Colonies. He was chairman of the Committee of Safety
which had really wide extended executive powers when Congress was not in session. He served also in other affairs
of delicacy and trust.
His firm and decided course made him many enemies among the opponents of the war, and for fear of them he generally
went armed, especially on his various journeys. His courage, no one doubted any more than they did his moral integrity
or the decided character of his Christianity.
He resided below Bound Brook on the south side of the river, and the homestead is now owned by Abraham I. Brokaw.
In process of time it was bought by Captain McCrea who devised it to his niece Maria, the wife of Wm. Van Duyn.
He represented the county of Somerset in the Assembly at Perth Amboy in 1772, and also in 1775 in company with
John Royce. This Assembly took part in the opening scenes of the Revolution, the end of which he was not permitted
to see-since he died four years afterwards. His remains rest in a family graveyard on his farm. In a dense thicket
overgrown with thorns and small trees, stands a plain brown upright slab, bearing the following inscription : "In
memory of Hendrick Fisher who departed this life August 16th, 1779 in the 82nd year of his age."
Col. John Mehelm came from Neshamany Penns, and at first engaged in Merchantile and Milling business at
New Bromley (Stillwell's Mills) near White House, He was appointed Surrogate of Hunterdon and Somerset and resided
in Pluckamin-was a member of the first Provincial Congress, and of the Council of Safety-was present when Gov.
Franklin was arrested and superceded, and one of the commissioners appointed to sell the estate of Lord Sterling.
Wm. McEowen married his daughter, and was during the war, Musician and Quartermaster. He represented Somerset County
several terms as Member of Assembly. Col. Mehelm was in his day a man of character and influence, and has left
a memory which is an honor to his posterity.
We must not fail to mention among those who have been prominent in public life the name of John Hardenburgh.
He was the son of the Rev. Dr. Hardenburgh, pastor of the church of Raritan, and Jeffvrow Hardenburgh, a woman
of eminent piety. He is commonly spoken of by the aged, who still remember him, as Sheriff Hardenburgh, but his
holding that office was a great misfortune to himself, and to the friends who became his sureties. He was a gentleman
of popular address and manners, and lived a free and generous life, not regarding always the expenses in which
indulgence involved him. He married Ann Wallace, from Philadelphia, and lived in the old house which was removed
to make room for the present mansion of Dumont Frelinghuysen, Esq. He died in 1738, and his remains were deposited
by the tide of his wife on the banks of the meadows east of the old Parsonage in which his father had resided.
His wife died before him. We give their epitaphs: "In memory of Ann, wife of John Hardenburgh, who departed
this life November 26th, 1793, aged 35 years and 6 months" "In memory of John Hardenburgh, Esq., who
departed this life July 23, 1798, aged 39 years, 3 months and 12 days."
In the house now occupied by John Herbert, at the Mills, near Middlebrook, resided during the Revolution, a merchant
from New York by the name of Philip Van Horn ; and from him it was known as "Phil's Hill." His
house was resorted to by the officers of the American army, and his daughters, one or more, married them. Col Simco
called at the house on his way to Van Veghten's bridge and Millstone, when the church of Raritan was burnt, expecting
to find Col. Moyland there who was we believe, a son-in law. The Duke DeChastellaux, Major-General of the French
army under Rochambeau, on his way from Morristown to Trenton, dined with Mr. Van Horn, and gives an amusing account
of one daughter, an officer's wife, and another the younger, who was flirting with a Lieutenant during the dinner.
We have no knowledge of what became of the family, except that the property was sold after the war, and they must
have died or moved away.
William Mercer lived above Millstone and was a man of high character. He owned a mill and a store, and accumulated
wealth. His descendants reside at the present time in Newark and its vicinity, Theodore Frelinghuysen married his
daughter Charlotte, and Dr. Stryker, of Somerville, another. Dr. Stryker, besides serving in the legislative council,
was a physician of eminence and large practice ; an earnest christian, living to the age of nearly ninety years,
and going down to his rest full of honor and in perfect peace.
At Weston lived J. M. Bayard, owner of the mills, a citizen of influence in his day ; a christian man and
an example of every good word and work. He assisted at the first meeting called to form the Somerset County Bible
Society, and was active wherever the good order of society was concerned.
Rev. Balthazar Bayard, before the revocation of the edict of Nantes, was driven from France by the policy
of Cardinal Richliew, and, emigrated to Holland the only place where he could enjoy liberty of conscience. There
his only daughter, Judith, married Petrus Stuyvesant, the last of the Dutch Governors of New Amersterdam. She prevailed
with the Governor to persuade her three brothers to accompany them to this country. On their arrival in 1647, James
the youngest of the three purchased a manor in Cecil County, Maryland. Prior to leaving Holland, he had married
Blandinia Conde. They had four children. The youngest son named James inherited the manor on the death of his parents.
He married Miss Ashton. Two sons were born to them, John and James Ashton-John being the oldest in age by thirty
John Bayard was born August 11th 1738, in the Maryland Manor House. His father dying intestate he became
entitled by law to the whole inheritance, but on reaching manhood, he conveyed to his brother one half the real
estate. In early life he became a communicant of the Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, under the pastoral care
of the Rev. Gilbert Tennent. At the commencement of the Revolutionary war he took an active part in the Patriot
cause. At the head of the 2d Batallion of the Philadelphia troops he marched to the assistance of Washington and
was present at the Battle of Trenton. He was a member of the Council of Safety, and for many years Speaker of the
House of Representatives. In 1785 he was elected to Congress. Three years subsequently, he removed to New Brunswick,
where he was Mayor of the City, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and an Elder of the Presbyterian Church. He
died there January, 1806.
We have said that Peter Dumont was living on the Raritan in the beginning of 1699. He was a large landholder
on the south side of the Raritan, and the ancestors of those who have since borne that honorable name. He was born
April 18th, 1679, and was the son of Walran Dumont and Gertie, his wife. He married first Fametie Van Middlesworth,
who died December 25th, 1706; second, Catelyntie Rappleyea, who died January 30th, 1709 ; and thirdly Janetie Veghte.
Her son John, born April 13th, 1719, was the, father of Peter B. Dumont, of, our times. The Dumont family are of
French extraction. Isaac Dumont, of Bostanquet, held a Fief by Knights service in the beautiful Pays de Caux, in
Normandy. A branch emigrated to Holland in the days of persecution. They were early of protestant principles ;
and Isaac Dumont served in the army of William when he came to England as others of the name, had done before him
in armies of the Prince of Orange.
Among the Raritan families the Veghte's have long been influential and respectable. The common ancestors were two
brothers, Hendrick and Class Arense Veghte, who came to New Netherlands in 1660, and went to reside on Long
Island, at Glowanus. Hendrick, a son of one of the emigrants, built a house of bricks imported from Holland, with
a tile roof, which bears the date 1639. He had two sons, Rynier and Hendrick. Rynier settled on the north side
of the Raritan river, on the farm owned afterwards and occupied by John A. Staats, This Rynier left one son named
Henry, who married the daughter of John Van Middlesworth, who lived opposite on the south side of the river. Henry
sold his tract on the Raritan and purchased a large tract of land in Roycefield, in the Millstone neighborhood,
afterwards owned and occupied by Capt John Wyckoff. He and his wife died young, leaving three children-one son
named Rynier, inherited his grandfathers estate on the Raritan, lived there for many years, and died in February
1833, in his 80th year. This Ryneier left two sons-Henry who was the father of R. H. Veghte, now living on the
homestead farm, and also of Benjamin T., John and Henry Veghte and Rynier, who left one son John V. Veghte, who
resides now on the farm where his father died in 1871, aged 83 years.
The name of Vroom is found early on the records of the church. Court Vroom seems to have been the. first
of the name residing on the Raritan. Col., Peter D. Vroom, of revolutionary, days, was a prominent citizen of Somerset
County' in his time. He was born Jan. 27th,. 1745, 0, S., two miles from Raritan Landing. Early in life he lived
in New York, whence he came to reside on the Raritan, near the junction of the North and South Branches, The homestead
is now owned by Saxton Wyckoff. He married Elsie Bogart, and died on this Plantation. He was one of the few individuals
who raised the first military company in the beginning of the revolutionary war, in which he served as lieutenant
and captain, and was appointed major of the Somerset battalion by joint Meeting in 1777; and afterwards a lieutenant-colonel.
He led a company at the battle of Grermantown and was in the service during the war. During his life he occupied
almost every office of trust in the county. At the close of the revolution, he was made High Sheriff, and then
Clerk of the Pleas, afterwards a Justice of the Peace, a Member of Assembly in 1791 and several succeeding years-member
of council for 1799 to 1804,' and a long time Presiding Judge of the court, afterward an elder in the church; and
always a leading counsellor, he enjoyed an unblemished reputation, and died in November 1831, in the 87th year
of his age-having, in his time, filled as large a space in public life as any of the prominent men of his day in
Somerset County. He was the father of the late Gov. P. D. Vroom.
William Churchill Houston was born in South Carolina about the year 1746. His father was a planter, a man
of distinction, and William lived at home until after his majority. With very limited means, he made his way to
Princeton and entered the Freshman Class in the college, and graduated with high honor in 1768. Soon after his
graduation he was appointed a tutor, and two years after was elected Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy,
being the first occupant of that chair in the institution. He resigned in 1783 and was succeeded by Ashbel Green,
afterwards president, of the college. While connected with the college, Mr. H. found time, to study law, and in
April 1781, was admitted to the bar of New Jersey. During the time that he occupied the chair of Professor he;
served one session m the legislature, viz: 1778. His associates were Roelif Sebring and/David Kirkpatrick, of Somerset.
In the Assembly 1781, Edward Bunn was chosen to fill his place. From 1782 to 1785 he was Receiver of Continental
Taxes, and in September 1786, was appointed Clerk of the Supreme Court, and was succeeded in the office by Gov.
Howell, in 1788. In May, 1782, he was elected a member of the Congress of the Confederation, and was four times
re elected to the same position. He was a delegate from New Jersey, at the assembling of Commissioners from the
States, at Annapolis, in 1786, and signed the report and address issued by that body. In November 1787, he was
appointed a delegate from New Jersey to the Convention which met at Philadelphia and framed the Constitution of
the United Slates. "But I can not discover that he ever took his seat in that body, being most probably prevented
from doing so by his rapidly declining health." He died at Philadelphia, in 1795, while on a journey to the
South -and was there interred. He was a learned and profound lawyer, and distinguished in the halls of science
Mr. H., while in Princeton, must have lived as Dr. Witherspoon .lid, on the Somerset side of the street, which
was the common boundary between this county and Middlesex.
David Kirkpatrick of Mine Brook, the father of Chief Justice Kirkpatrick, was entirely a Somerset man, though
born in Scotland. He emigrated to New Jersey with his father, Alexander Kirkpatrick, when 12 years of age, in ,
1736, landing at New Castle, Del., after a stormy passage, during which their provisions were almost entirely consumed
and the passengers in danger of starvation. Wandering up from Delaware they finally reached Bound Brook, and went
on over the mountains on foot by an Indian path. On their way they encountered "a land-turtle, sticking up
his head and hissing fearfully." They had heard of rattlesnakes, and were sure this terrible monster must
be one of them ; so turning cautiously aside, they left his "tortleship" in full possession of his quarters,
and went on their way giving him a wide berth. Coming to a spring of water on the south side of Mine Brook or Round
Mountain, they rested; and fancying the outlook of the place, settled and built a log house. David Kirkpatrick,
the subject of our sketch, was born at "Wattiesneach," Dumfrieshire, Scotland, February 17, 1724 and
was a plain but earnest man living four score years and ten to see and enter upon his ninety first year. He was
often a member of the New . Jersey Legislature ; and it is pleasantly said of him, that on going to Trenton, he
usually commenced his journey on horseback; but soon dismounted and walked, leading the animal all the way to Trenton.
He was always a public spirited, earnest christian man ; a man with the temper of the Scotch worthies largely developed
in his character, and left posterity who have borne honorable names among the honorable men of Somerset. His descendants
have in many ways proved themselves worthy of their sire, at the bar, in the pulpit, and in many other branches
of public life, A. plain, simple-hearted almost uneducated man, he obtained an extensive influence in his day and
died full of years and honors.
Gen. Frederick Frelinghuysen, the only son of Rev. John Frelinghuysen and Dinah Van Burgh, of Amsterdam,
Holland. He was born in Somerville, April 13th, 1753, and died on April 13th, 1804, aged fifty-one years exactly.
He entered public life early, and in 1775 when only 22 years of age, was sent to the Continental Congress. He served
in his place for two years and resigned in 1777, on account of the expense attending it, and the claims upon him
from the exigencies of his own private affairs. His letter, which has been preserved and published, is highly honorable
to his patriotism and his sense of duty. He was, at first, a Captain of a Volunteer Artillery company for one year
on the opening of the revolution. He fought in the battles of the Assinpink, and of Monmouth; and generally during
the war he was active as a colonel of the militia of his native county. After receiving repeated evidences of the
confidence of the public, he was in 1793 elected to the United States Senate. He served in his place until domestic
bereavements and the claims of his own affairs obliged him again to resign in 1796. In the Western expedition,
or the "Whiskey War," he served as a major-general, commanding the troops from New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
He enjoyed a large share of public confidence and was one of the prominent men of his time, Somerset has long cherished
his memory with pride.
Earlier in public life than Frelinghuysen, was William Paterson, the second governor of New Jersey, after Independence.
He is called one of the most talented men of his day We have not ascertained the place of his birth, but his father
resided at Princeton, and he graduated from the college in 1763. Though mostly a resident of New Brunswick, he
lived for several years on the Raritan, on what is called the "'Paterson Farm." Here he attended to the
business of his plantation, and at the same time engaged in the practice of the law. In the little office which
stood aside from his dwelling, and near the road side, he transacted his business and attended to the instruction
of several students, of whom we shall make mention in another connection as a matter of interest and pride. He
was appointed in 1776 a Judge of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and elected Governor of the State in 1790, as
a successor of William Livingston. Previous to this he had been a member of the convention to frame the U. S. Constitution
and Senator of the First Congress. He was at the time of his death, 1806, a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United
States. New Jersey claims his memory as one of her most honored and cherished possessions, and the County of Somerset,
enrolls him with pleasure among her great men. His character is singularly pure, unstained even by one blot. He
was evidently a most honest, honorable upright man.
Somerset has a right to claim as one of her prominent men William Alexander, best known as "Lord Sterling,"
a major-general in the armies of the revolution. He was a son of James Alexander, surveyor general of New Jersey
and born in New York City, 1726. His father, James Alexander, fled from Scotland, 1716, having been implicated
in the outbreak in favor of the Stewarts in that year. His mother was the widow David Provost, facetiously called
"Ready Money" Provost, He spent several years of his life near Baskingridge, where he built a splendid
mansion, had a park filled with deer, and lived in baronial style. He joined the army in his youth, and was aidecamp
to Gen. Sherley in the French and Indian war. He claimed the Earldom of Sterling, in Scotland, and went to England
to prosecute his claims, but failed in obtaining the acknowledgment of what was considered his just rights, but
his friends usually gave him by way of compliment the title. He acted a conspicuous part during the war of the
revolution, and stood high in the confidence of Washington. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Long Island,
but was taken prisoner ; and again at Germantown and Monmouth. On Long Island his bravery was the means of saving
a large part of the American army. At Germantown his division, with the brigades of Nash and Maxwell, formed a
corps of reserve; and at Monmouth he commanded the left wing of the army and met the fiercest onset of Sir Henry
Clinton, and aided essentially in securing the victory achieved by our arms on that bloody field. His patriotism
was ardent and steady, inspired largely by his love for the commander-in-chief and the noble cause for which he
fought. Before the revolution he served in the provincial council several years, His wife was a sister of Gov.
Wm. Livingstone, of New Jersey. He died at Albany, January 15th, 1783, aged 57 years, leaving behind him the reputation
of a brave, skillful and intrepid commander, and an honorable, honest and pure man. The sacrifice which he made
and the efforts he put forth in the cause of Independence will embalm his memory in all coming time.
No catalogue of the men of Somerset would be complete which should omit a conspicuous place to Richard Stockton
of Princeton. Mr. Stockton graduated at Priceton College at an early day, 1748. Devoting himself to the study of
the law, he rose almost immediately to a conspicuous place on account of the superior mental abilities which he
displayed, and the unbending integrity of his conduct. He received an appointment to the judicial bench under the
provincial administration, and was continued after the adoption of the constitution in 1776. He uniformly discharged
the duties of his office with great judgment and integrity, securing for himself the reputation of a clear judgment
and unbending uprightness. He was a member of Congress at the opening of the revolution, and signed the Declaration
of Independence, On account of his having done this his Seat, called "Morven," was ransacked and spoiled
by the British and Hessians in the autumn of 1776, and he himself kept long in exile in Monmouth county. Even his
valuable library and papers were destroyed. Mr. Stockton left behind him a very high reputation for talents, scholarship,
oratory and statesmanship, and crowned it all, by living the life of a consistent christian. He died on the 1st
of March, 1781. He was the father of Richard Stockton, an eminent lawyer and statesman in more recent times, and
grandfather of Commodore Stockton.
We cannot omit the name of Dr, John Witherspoon but must refer to his biography for information.
John McPherson Berrian, born in the old mansion at Rocky Hill. He resided principally in the State of Georgia.
Held the office of Senator of the U. S. A. and was Attorney General under Gen. Jackson.
James Linn owned a handsome property at Mine Brook. Served in the Legislature in 1777, was elected to Congress
in 1798, He gave the casting vote for Thomas Jefferson, in the New Jersey delegation. Was chosen Secretary of State
in 1809, and died in Trenton 1820.
Henry Southard; Samuel H. Southard, his son; Andrew Kirkpatrick, Chief Justice; Gen. John Frelinghuysen;
Richard Stockton; Frederick and Theodore Frelinghuysen, and Peter D. Vroom, and Wm. L. Dayton claim mention as
eminent and honorable men, but our space forbids anything more than a mere record of their names. They will, however,
live though we shall not embalm them.
SOMERSET COUNTY IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
The causes which operated in effecting the separation of the American colonies from Great Britain, lay as far back
as 1763, when Parliament first proposed to draw from them a "revenue" in support of the home government,
the popular mind was excited, and there sprang up at once an almost unanimous determination to make resistance
to this unjust demand, in all the Colonies. They considered it; an unjustifiable, oppressive and unprovoked violation
of their "chartered rights and privileges." In the case of New Jersey, there was on record a justifiable
reason for such resistance. In the "Concessions and Agreements" an article existed providing that "the
Governor and Council are not to impose or suffer to be imposed any tax, custom or subsidy, tollae, assessments
or any other duty whatsoever, upon any color or pretense how specious soever, upon the said province or inhabitants
thereof, without their consent first had." They considered this agreement between themselves and the Proprietors
under whose auspices they and their fathers had settled in the province, so valuable and so important, that nothing
ought to induce them to submit to its infraction! No taxation without representation and consent. became, therefore,
a war cry, in this and in all the other Colonies also. Hence, New Jersey sympathized entirely in the opposition
raised to Mr. Greenville's tax bill ; and when the stamp act bill was passed, March 22, 1765, and the duty on tea
was attempted to be levied, she stood firmly to her rights.
When, on motion of the Legislatures of Massachusetts and Rhode Island a Congress was called to meet in New York,
on the first Tuesday in October, 1765, she sent Robert Ogden, Hendrick Fisher and Joseph Borden to represent her,
and continued her representatives in the subsequent Congresses, until the Declaration of Independence was issued
on the4th of July, 1776. In these Assemblies, besides Hendrick Fisher, we find the names of William Pat Emerson,
Frederick Frelinghuysen, John Royce, Peter Schenck Abraham Van Neste, Enos Kelsey, Jonathan D, Sergeant, Archibald
Stewart, Edward Dumont, William Maxwell, Ephriam Martin, Cornelius Ver Meule, Ruloff Van Dyke, as representatives
from Somerset County, at different times. When the "Provincial Congress," as it was called, met at Burlington,
June 10th, 1776, she sent Dr. Hardenburgh to assist in framing a constitution for the State; and when Gov, Franklin
was superceded, arrested and confined, and William Livingstone appointed Governor on the 31st of August 1776, she
was present by her representatives to assent to and assist in forwarding the good cause.
She had already called out her military when the battle of Lexington was fought, April 19th, 1775; and when that
of Bunker Hill, on the 17th of June occurred, she was active in arming for the fight. But fortunately, our State
and County continued exempt from the ravages of armies, as well our own, as those of our enemies, until the next
year! Clinton and Cornwallis, driven out of Boston, came with their reinforced troops and landed 35,000 men on
Long Island early in June 1776; and on the 20th of August, the battle of Long Island was fought. Then came the
abandonment of the city of New York, September 15th, the taking of Fort Washington and Fort Lee, Nov, 10 and the
transfer of both the armies into the state of New Jersey. Our State and county were now at first called upon to
realize the bitterness of the contest in which they had engaged ; and henceforth she was, in a measure, the battle
ground of the war.
At this point, properly, the military operations of the Revolution, so far as Somerset is concerned, commenced,
and we shall endeavor to give them, as far as it is possible, separate from the other actions in the great drama
; hoping in this way to enable the reader to form a distinct idea of her sufferings in the cause of liberty. After
the 16th of November, 1776, Washington crossed over the Hackensack and Passaic rivers, and as his troops were being
daily diminished by desertion only paused when he had reached the Delaware. Penetrating the design of the enemy,
to pass into New Jersey and march to the capture of Philadelphia, Washington had promptly crossed the Hudson with
the main body of the American army, after securing some positions on the east bank, between Kings' bridge and the
Highlands. He paused at Hackensack in the rear of Fort Lee, where General Lee was in command. Lord Cornwallis also
crossed the Hudson at Dobb's Ferry, with all his men, on the 18th, and landing at Closter, a mile and a half from
English Neighborhood, proceeded to attack Fort Lee. The garrison made a hasty retreat, and joined Washington at
Hackensack, five miles distant. All the baggage and military stores at Fort Lee fell into the hands of the enemy.
It was an easy conquest for Cornwallis, and had he followed up this successful beginning with energy there is every
probability that he would have captured Washington and his whole army. When Cornwallis approached, he at once commenced
a retreat towards the Delaware, hoping to be sufficiently enforced by the New Jersey and Pennsylvania militia to
enable him to make a successful stand against the invaders at some intermediate point.
But the late reverses had sorely disappointed the militia as well as the people, and Washington found his army
to diminish at every step, rather than augment. By the last of November scarcely 3,000 troops remained under his
command. For three weeks he fled before Cornwallis across the level districts of New Jersey. Newark, New Brunswick,
Princeton and Trenton were successively evacuated by the Americans and occupied by the enemy: often the music of
the pursued and the pursuers would be heard by each other. Having arrived at Trenton on the 8th of December, Washington
and his army crossed the Delaware in boats, which had been pressed into this service by proclamation from all parts
of the river. The last one had reached the Pennsylvania shore just as one division of Cornwallis's army, with all
the pomp of victors, marched into Trenton. This was about 12 o'clock at night. The main body of the British troops,
however, halted about six miles from Trenton. The long agony was at last over; and the cause of liberty, though
surrounded with gloom and discouragement, was not yet quite lost. Washington had hoped to make a stand at New Brunswick,
but abandoned the idea as the enemy approached. The service of the New Jersey and Maryland brigades expired on
the day he arrived there, and no persuasion could induce them to remain, and without them a stand was hopeless.
When Washington commenced this retreat, Gen. Chas. Lee had been left at White Plains, east of the Hudson, with
a corps of nearly 3000 men. When at Hackensack, Washington wrote to him, requesting him to hasten to New Jersey,
to reinforce him ; but Lee did not see fit to regard this reasonable request. The Commander-in-chief made the order
peremptory and positive ; but he still lingered and delayed, and so tardy were his movements that after three weeks
he only reached Morristown, It seems he coveted independence of command, and expected by some fortunate juncture
of circumstances, to perform a striking and splendid feat of arms, and eclipse his commander in the eyes of the
people, flow miserably he failed we have now to relate.
On the 13th of December the main body of Lee's troops were at Vealtown, (now Bernardsville,) but Lee himself lodged
at Mrs. White's tavern at Baskingridge, two miles distant, having with him only a guard of a few men for his protection.
We quote from Wilkinson's Memoirs.- "Gen. Lee wasted the morning in altercations, with certain militia corps
who were of his command, particularly the Connecticut light horse ; one wanted forage, one his horse shod, one
his pay and a fourth his provisions, to which the General replied. Your wants are numerous, but you have not mentioned
the last ; you want to go home and shall be indulged, for you are no good here. Several of them appeared in large
full bottoned perukes and were treated very irreverently.
"The call of the Adjutant General for orders also occupied some of his time, and he did not set down to breakfast
before 10 o'clock. Gen. Lee was engaged in answering Gen. Gate's letter, and I had risen from the table and was
looking out of an end window, down a lane, about one hundred yards in length, which led to the house from the main
road, when I discovered a party of British turn the corner of the avenue in full charge. Startled at this unexpected
appearance I exclaimed: "Here, Sir, are the British Cavalry." "Where" asked the General, who
had signed the letter on the instant. "Around the house" for they had opened tiles and encompassed the
building. General Lee appeared alarmed and yet collected, and his second observation marked his self possession.
"Where is the guard? d-m the guard ; why don't they fire I" and after a momentary pause he turned to
me and said: "Do Sir, see what has become of the guard? The woman of the house at this moment entered the
room, and proposed to him to conceal himself in a bed ; which he rejected with evident disgust. I caught up the
pistol which lay on the table ; thrust the letter he had been writing in my pocket, and passed into a room at the
opposite end of the house, where I had seen the guard in the morning. Here I discovered their arms, but the men
were absent, I stepped out of the door, and saw the dragoons chasing them in different directions, and receiving
a very uncivil salutation, I returned into the house.
"Too inexperienced, immediately to penetrate the motives of this enterprise, I considered the reconotre accidental,
and from the terrific tales spread over the country, of the violence and barbarity of the enemy, believed it to
be a wanton marauding party, and determined not to die without company. I accordingly sought a position where I
could not be approached by more than one person at a time, and with a pistol in each hand awaited the expected
search, resolved to shoot the first and second person who might appear, and then appeal to the sword, I did not
long remain in this unpleasant situation, but was apprised of the incursion by the very audible declaration. "If
the General does not surrender in five minutes, I will set fire to the house," which after a short pause was
repeated with a solemn oath ; and within two minutes I heard it proclaimed "here is the General, he has surrendered!"
A general shout ensued, the trumpet sounded the re-assembling of the troop, and the unfortunate Lee, mounted on
my horse which stood ready at the door, was hurried off in triumph, bare-headed, in his slippers and blanket coat,
his collar open, and his shirt very much soiled from several days use,"
The capture of Gen. Lee was felt to be a public calamity ; it cast a gloom over the country and excited general
sorrow. The matter is explained by later intelligence. It seems that a certain Mr. Muklewraith, an elder in the
Presbyterian Church of Mendham, had passed Mrs. White's tavern, and had been told of the presence of Lee there,
and while travelling on foot on his private business, was overtaken by Colonel Harcourt and pressed into service
as a guide ; but whether Harcourt was only reconnoitering and accidently heard of the place where Gen. Lee had
slept, or had followed him up intending to capture him, is not explained. He was taken by way of Bound Brook to
New Brunswick and delivered, as a prisoner, to the British commander. At first he was claimed to be a deserter,
and treated accordingly, but finally exchanged in May for Gen. Prescott and returned to the army.
Col. Harcourt had no sooner retreated with his prize, than Gen. Wilkinson hastened to the stable and mounting the
first horse at hand, hurried to join the main body of the army which he found on the road toward Pluckamin. The
command now devolved upon Gen. Sullivan ; and continuing on his march by way of Lamington, Potterstown and Clinton,
he finally crossed the Delaware at Philipsburg, and joined Washington in Pennsylvania.
These, then, are the military movements in Somerset County in 1776; the year when Independence was declared. Washington
passed our county on its south-eastern and southern border, along the public road leading by Six Mile Run, and
Kingston to Princeton and Trenton ; and Lee and Sullivan led another division from Totowa, (now Paterson,) by the
Valley of the Passaic to Morristown, Bernardsville, Lamington and Clinton, to Phillipsburg; and the two united
on the west side of the Delaware about December 20th, 1776.
New Jersey was thus in December, given up almost entirely into the hands of the enemy ; and all tradition unites
in averring that their hands were not restrained. Private property was but little respected ; no allowance made
in favor of non-combatants ; and virtue and purity were often brutally outraged.
Cornwallis lingered in New Brunswick during the whole of the succeeding winter, collecting a large depot of stores
and forage from the surrounding country for the subsistence of his army. He at first purposed to continue his march
to Philadelphia, but finding that Washington had secured all the boats on the river, decided to delay it until
the ice should form and enable him to pass his troops over in that way ; but before this came he had other work
on his hands.
While at Brunswick he issued a proclamation inviting all the inhabitants of the State to come in and take out "Protections,"
promising exemption for the past and safety in the future ; and in the discouraging aspect of the public affairs,
the timorous and the doubtful almost universally took advantage of it. The following is a copy of one of these
I do hereby Certify that the Bearer Abraham Sedam, of Middlebush, in the County of Somerset, came and subscribed
the declaration specified in a certain Proclamation published at New York, on the 13th day of November last, by
the Right Honorable, Lord Howe, and his Excellency General Howe. Whereby he is entitled to the protection of all
Officers and Soldiers, serving in his Majesties' Army in America, both for himself, his family and property, and
to pass and repass on his lawful business without molestation.
Given under my hand this 18th day of December, 1776.
C. Mawhood. Lt. Col.
The tendency was to weaken and discourage the cause of patriotism greatly. Even some men who had been active until
this time, wavered and sought safety in "Protection." It was the darkest hour of the struggle, but fortunately
it did not last long.
We close the first year of Independence then with the British troops occupying New Brunswick, and extending their
outposts to the Delaware at Trenton, while Washington, with his little army almost completely demoralized, is just
saved by a timely retreat to the west side of the river. New Jersey is in the possession of its enemies, except
the counties of Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon, and the spirit of the people is being debauched by deceitful offers
of protection and peace. The State government had hardly been organized before it was dispersed. War, therefore,
not only, but anarchy, threatened the State! No doubt many wept in secret, and others prayed almost in despondency
and total despair! But the agony, though intense, was brief.
The year in which the Declaration of Independence was made really seemed to close in almost helpless despondency!
Washington had only 2,200 men under his command when he reached the western side of the Delaware on the 8th of
December ; and even a part of these waited only to be dismissed, as their term of service had already expired.
Indeed. there were scarcely 1000 men upon whom he could depend, until he was joined by Sullivan from Phillipsburgh.
The whole State of New Jersey was at the mercy of the British. Sir Wm. Howe took this opportunity to issue a Proclamation
offering a full and free pardon to all who would lay down their arms, with full and ample protection, also to those
who after doing so consented to take the oath of allegiance to the British crown. The effect of this was to bring
great numbers of the timerous and wavering to desert the cause of Independence The following was issued on Long
Whereas, it is represented that many of the loyal inhabitants of this country have been compelled by the leaders
in rebellion, to take up arms against His Majesty's Government. Notice is hereby given to all persons so forced
into rebellion, that on delivering themselves up at head quarters of the Army, they, will be received as faithful
subjects, have permits peaceably to return to their respective dwellings, and meet with full protection for their
persons an 1 property. All those who chose to take up arms for the restoration of order and good government within
this Island, shall be disposed of in the best manner, and have every encouragement that can be expected.
Given under my hand at Headquarters on Long Island Aug' 23, 1776. Wm. Howe,
By his Excellency's command Robert Makensie, Sec.
The finances of Congress were in disarrangement ; the troops in the field were ill provided for, ill fed and greatly
demoralized as the effect of all this. It was in fact the darkest hour of the conflict.
But it did not last long.
On Christmas day in seventy-six,
Our gallant troops with bayonets fixed,
To Trenton inarched away.
From the 8th to the evening of the 24th of December nothing had been done, but early on the morning of the 25th,
Christmas day, in the midst of a cold sleet, the inhabitants of Trenton were startled by the noise of a sharp conflict
in the streets of the town. The result of which was, the capture of the entire corps of Hessians stationed there.
Washington himself was there, present in person, aided by Generals Green, Mercer, Sterling, Sullivan and Stevens.
The conflict was brief but decisive. Col. Rail was wounded by a shot fired, it is said, by Col. Frederick Frelinghuysen,
and surrendered the troops under his command amounting to 1000 prisoners, with 6 brass field pieces, 1000 stand
of arms, and 4 flags.
In the evening, Washington, with his men and prisoners returned again to the west side of the Delaware, having
lost only four men, two of which were frozen to death. He returned again, however, on the 30th, to find all the
British from Bordentown removed to Princeton, except Cornwallis, who, with strong force was waiting for him on
the south side of the Assinpink. Here a conflict occurred on the 2d of January, lasting until it became too dark
to continue it, neither having obtained any decided advantage, and lighting their fires on opposite sides of the
narrow little river. Cornwallis boasted that he would certainly "catch the fox" in the morning, when
urged by Sir William Erskine to attack in the evening ; but "the fox" was not caught ! Leaving his camp
fires burning brightly, Washington stole away under the cover of the darkness, and appeared early in the morning
at Princeton, where he defeated the British troops stationed there with great slaughter, and sent one regiment
flying precipitately back to Trenton; but his victory was saddened by the unfortunate death of General Mercer.
Pursuing the other defeated regiments as far as Kingston, he halted, and after consulting with his officers, decided
to turn aside and secure his army by leading them to a place of safety. Breaking down the bridge at Kingston, he
led his troops on the east side of the Millstone to Rocky Hill, when he crossed again to the west side, and following
the course of the river crossed the Raritan at Van Veghten's bridge, and rendevouzed the next day at night-fall,
at Pluckamin. The morning of the battle at Princeton was bright and frosty, and the air being calm the cannonading
was heard as far north-west as New Germantown, and spread consternation far and wide; and when the camp fires gleamed
the next evening the 4th of January, on the side of the Pluckamin mountain, the alarm was most intense. Many a
horseman, during the night, dashed onward to the point, to ascertain what it portended, and when the news was brought
back, that it was Washington, the joy was almost rapturous everywhere.
This hurried march on the 2nd of January, 1777, was the second military movement through Somerset County.
It was made amid the most intense sufferings of the poor soldiers All of them had been without sleep the previous
night ; the weather was very cold-they had not had time to supply themselves with even one regular meal, and the
march from Kingston, after the battle, was a long and a fatiguing one. Many of them became exhausted and laid down
to sleep by the way side. Some of them became exhausted and laid down to sleep by the wayside. Some of the inhabitants
along the Millstone supplied them as they passed, with such food as they had prepared; but the exhaustion of the
whole was almost complete, when they rested at last at Pluckamin on the evening of the 4th.
Beside the death of Gen. Mercer the battle of Princeton ton is memorable on account of another victim. Captain
William Leslie, son of the Earl of Levin of Scotland, was wounded in the first on-set, carried to Pluckamin, and
died on the porch of the small inn, almost immediately on reaching there. Mr. G. W. P. Custis in his recollections
of the life of Washington, gives the following ace milt of this incident of the battle: "It was while the
Commander in Chief reined up his horse, where lay the gallant Col. Harshlet mortally wounded, that he perceived
some British soldiers supporting a wounded officer, and upon inquiring his name and rank, was answered Capt. Leslie.
Dr. Benjamin Rush, who formed a part of the Genl's. suite, earnestly asked "a son of the Earl of Levin?"
to which the soldiers replied in the affirmative. The Doctor then addressed the General-in-Chief, "I beg your
excellency to permit this wounded officer to be placed under my care, that I may return, in however small a degree,
a part of the obligation, I owe to his worthy family for the many kindnesses received at their hands while a student
at Edinburgh." The request was granted, but poor Leslie was soon past all surgery. "After receiving all
possible kindness in the march, he died, was interred at Pluckamin in the old Lutheran Cemetery, and after the
war Dr. Rush placed a monument over his remains, yet in existence. It has the following Inscription:
"In memory of Capt. William Leslie, son of the Earl of Levin, who died January, 1776, after being wounded
in the Battle of Princeton." This monument has been erected by Dr. Benj. Rush, out of respect to his noble
family, and in testimony of his exalted worth.
Many years since money was sent from Scotland to build a stone wall in front, and more recently the Presbyterian
Church was erected on a part of it.
The following extracts will be of interest to many of our readers:
"Many persons in this country will recall with pleasure the visit to this country last year of the Hon. Roland
Leslie Melville, brother of the Earl of Levin and Melville, who some time ago became a partner in Loudon of Mr.
McCulloch, ex-Secretary of the United States Treasury. While here Mr. Melville mentioned the fact that one of his
"Forbes," a young British officer, had fallen in America during the Revolutionary war, and that true
family had never been able to learn where he was hurried. There was tradition that his remains had been deposited
in a certain "Trinity" church yard, but that vague description gave them little clue to the spot.
Only the other day an American friend of Mr. Melville, searching our early national history with quite another
object, stumbled on the story of his ancestor's death, and finding that he fell at the battle of Princeton, January
3, 1777, pursued the inquiry, and discovered his burial place still well preserved.
As the story throws an agreeable light on the courtesies which mitigated the terrors of those days of strife we
lay it before our readers. The young officer in question was the Hon. William Leslie, and the account of his fate
is taken from "Custis's Recollections of the Life of Washington."
As an interesting addition to this item of Revolutionary history, I make the following extract from the journal
of Col. Thomas Rodney, who commanded a body of Delaware militia during the campaign of January, 1777, and participated
in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. The Col. Leslie he mentions is undoubtedly the same referred to in the
above paragraph, and the coincidence is the more remarkable from the great lapse of time since the occurrence of
Pluckamin, N. J., Jan. 5, 1777.
"The General continued here this day also to refresh the army. He ordered 40 of our light infantry to attend
the funeral of Col Leslie, to bury him with the honors of war. He was one of the enemy who fell at Princeton ;
they readily obeyed in paying due respect to bravery, though in an enemy.
Capt. Henry was now gone home and I myself had command of the five companies of infantry, but as I had
not paid any attention to the military funeral ceremonies I requested Capt Humphries to conduct it. I had nothing
to cover me here but my great coat, but luckily got into a house near the mountains, where I fared very comfortably
while we stayed here.
These troops, Col. Rodney further states, were the only soldiers in the whole army in complete uniform,
and while they remained at Morristown acted as General Washington's body-guard, doing all the parade duty, and
acted also as the funeral escort to Col. Ford and Gen, Hitchcock."
Caesar A. Rodney.
The army only remained at Pluckamin for a few days, and then went into winter quarters near Morristown. sheltering
themselves in huts on the south side of Kimball's mountain. The winter passed away in quietness, not, however,
without suffering from sickness and want of sufficient provision. Often there were only three day's rations in
the camp. Somerset County lay at the mercy of the enemy, whose foraging parties went out from New Brunswick, where
Howe had quartered his troops, across the Millstone as far as Neshanic, and the South Branch, gathering everything
they could lay their hands on, and maltreating the inhabitants most cruelly, whenever any resistance was offered.
It seemed as if the idea that they were or might be rebels, formed a sufficient excuse in the minds of the soldiers
for any outrage, that their passions prompted them to commit, They did not, however, always escape with impunity.
On the 20th of January, sixteen days after Washington had passed Weston with his victorious army, a large party
of the British, foraging as usual, was met there, routed, and 43 baggage wagons, 164 horses, 118 cattle, 70 sheep
and 12 prisoners captured. The American party was under Gen. Dickenson, and included two companies from the Valley
of Wyoming. We find the follow account of this little fight given in the "Field Book of the Revolution."
"A line of forts had been established along the Millstone river, in the direction of Princeton. One of these,
at Somerset Court House, (the village of Millstone), was occupied by Gen. Dickenson with two companies of the regular
army, and about 300 militia. A mill on the opposite part of the stream contained considerable flour. Cornwallis,
then lying at New Brunswick, dispatched a foraging party to capture it. The party consisted of about 400 men. with
more than 40 wagons. The British arrived at the mill at Weston, in the morning and having loaded their wagons with
flour, were about to return, when Gen. Dickenson leading a portion of his force through the river, middle deep,
and filled with ice, attacked them with so much spirit, that they fled in haste, leaving, the whole of their plunder
with their wagons, behind them." Dickenson lost five men in this skirtinge, and the enemy about 30 Washington
warmly commended Gen. Dickenson for his enterprise and gallantry evinced in, this little skirmish."
But the discomfiture in one of their ravages did not prevent them from repeating them almost daily in one direction
or another around the whole country.
The whole region of the Raritan and Millstone was stripped. The farmers threshed their wheat and then hid it under
the straw in the barn, in order to preserve it from the greedy enemy. In many instances not enough was saved to
serve for seed in the autumn. Cellars, houses, pig pens and hen roosts, were all carefully explored, and everything
desirable carried off to feed the insatiate cormorants.
Let us now leave Washington's soldiers in their tents near Morristown, undergoing inoculation for the small pox,
as a "precautionary measure," and consuming lots of butter-nut pills in substitution for better medicines."
While the winter months thus are passing, let us look towards the future. The prospect for the coming summer in
deed was not bright, but it was not quite so discouraging as the autumn had been. Trenton and Princeton, coming
after Long Island and White Plains, and the surrender of Forts Washington and Lee, had shown that the British were
not quite invulnerable and omnipotent.
Gen. Putnam was placed in observation at Princeton, soon after the defeat of the British. He had only a few hundred
troops; sometime not as many as he had miles of frontier to guard. In January, Washington issued a proclamation
from Morristown, directed to those who had taken protection, "discharging them from the obligations of their
oath to the King, and directing them to repair to head-quarters, or the nearest general officer, and swear allegiance
to the United States, as the condition of a full pardon, for what they had done in 'a moment of fear and despondency."
It had a good effect; the people soon flocked from all quarters to take the oath, and all idea of British protection
Howe, at New Brunswick, as the spring opened, was the principal object of solicitude to Washington. It was evident
he must attempt one of two things ; either to move up the Hudson, and co-operate with Burgoyne approaching Albany
from Ticonderoga, or attempt to reach Philadelphia by marching across the State of New Jersey. He determined so
to place himself and his troops, as to shield them from attack, and at the same time have them ready to attack,
if any movement was made. Sending the northern troops to the Highlands, he stationed his own on the heights north
of Middlebrook, and repaired to the camp in person, on the 28th of May. He had only 8,398 men in all, inclusive
of cavalry and artillery; and of these more than 2,000 were sick ; so that the effective rank and file were only
5,738. Howe and Cornwallis had been employed during the winter in enlisting every loyalist possible, offering large
and special rewards to deserters; and, strengthened in this way, far outnumbered the little army of Washington.
What he had not in numbers, he endeavored however, to provide for by the advantage of his position and his superior
vigilance. The drama was one of the most interesting in the whole war. Washington's skill as a tactician was nowhere
and on no occasion, more triumphantly displayed, than on the plains south of our mountain and east of Bound Brook,
in June 1777. It is enough to say that he foiled his enemy completely,' and finally forced him from the State.
He had seen early in the winter, that the campaign of this year must be an important one-perhaps the ultimate decision
of the contest ; and that, so far as his antagonist Sir William Howe was concerned, it would embrace three points!
One an attempt from Canada by Burgoyne, to form a junction with the British at New York, by way of Albany and the
Hudson ; and so by cutting off and isolating the eastern states of New England, divide and weaken the colonies.
Another, to maintain British ascendency in New York, and by preventing commerce, weaken and discourage the people.
Lastly, to obtain possession of the city of Philadelphia, preparatory to the efforts to conquer the southern states.
These three objects attained, he felt that the cause of Independence would be lost, or at best only a question
of time. The British might rest in their conquests, and leave the Americans to waste their strength in vain ; and
it would not take long to do it! It was therefore, his business to frustrate all these designs. With the view of
preventing the junction between Burgoyne and the British forces in New York. He threw, early in the spring, additional
forces into Ticonderoga, collected men and stores at Albany, and strengthened the defences at West Point and Peekskill
; and planted himself behind the mountain at Middlebrook, within striking distance of New Brunswick, and near enough
to New York, to act in any emergency that might arise there in the progress of the pending operations.
We may sufficiently indicate the precise place of the encampment, by saying that it was on the right of the road
leading through the mountain gorge in which Chimney Rock is situated, just where it rises up from the bed of the
little stream, and attains the level of Washington valley. A strong earth work was thrown up about a quarter of
a mile to the north west, almost in the centre of the valley, as a protection to any movement approaching from
Pluckamin ; and the whole of the defile leading through the narrow mountain valley was strongly guarded while the
brow overlooking the plain bristled with cannon. Just at the edge of the wood, east of Chimney Rock, huts were
erected as quarters for the officers, and everything done which either safety or comfort demanded in the emergency.
At Bound Brook a strong redoubt was constructed, commanding the bridge over that miery little stream, just north
of the present Railroad crossing, looking to any attack to be made from the way of New Brunswick. Having taken,
in this way, all possible precaution against surprise, he felt strong to abide the issue of events. The result
justified his sagacity as a military tactition.
In, the strong position described, guarded in front by the abrupt mountain wall and the wood crowning it ; and
almost equi-distant from New York and Philadelphia, he was equally prepared for any movement made in either direction.
While from the elevation of the mountain itself the whole plain upon which the enemy had to travel was visible
to his watching eye. It would be difficult for Sir William Howe to change his position in any way, or attempt to
come out of New Brunswick without finding some one on his heels who would not allow him a single mistake without
taking advantage of it.
There was however no equality in the relative strength of the two armies, when the contest commenced. The British
forces were well clothed and provisioned, and flushed with their success in the preceeding campaign. The army of
Washington was a feeble band-the whole effective rank and file, when at Middlebrook, amounting only to 5,737 men
; more than half of which had never seen any service. And beside, there were elements of weakness in the corps
itself. A large portion of it was composed of foreigners; many of them servants-upon whose attachment to freedom
it was not safe to depend. This circumstance was known to Sir William Howe ; and he had endeavored to profit by
it, offering pardon and protection to all deserters, and bounties to any slaves who might bring in their arms and
accoutrements. It was a dastardly stroke of policy ; and its meanness seems to have been its weakness. Few took
advantage of the offer, and the slaves remained content with their masters. As soon as Washington had taken his
position at Middlebrook, Gen. Benedict Arnold was directed to form an army of Militia on the east side of the Delaware,
and be prepared to dispute the passage of Howe, should he escape from Washington, and attempt to cross on his way
to Philadelphia. And to give strength to his corps, a few companies of regular troops were detailed to assist him
in making his dispositions effective.
At the same time Gen. Sullivan, who had remained in the vicinity of Princeton with a part of the regular army,
and whose force was increasing daily by recruits from the South and the Militia of New Jersey, was ordered to hold
himself in perpetual expectation of attack-to be prepared to send his bagage and provisions to a place of safety,
and to move at a moment's warning-to preserve a communication with the main army at all times open ; by no means
to risk a general engagement, but to act as a partizan corps ; and on the first movement of the British from their
encampment at New Brunswick, after having placed his main body in safety, to harrass and annoy them by detatching
active parties for that purpose. The whole militia of the state were also called out, and instructed to hang upon
the main body of the British army ; and by ranging the country in small parties, harrass their flanks and rear,
cut off their supplies, and injure them as much as possible.
Such was the state of things in Somerset County at the end of May, 1777 ; and now if we take a map of the State
and place it before us, we shall have a chess-board, upon which to trace the subsequent movements of the opposing
forces in that grand contest of stratagem and skill, which was about to commence, It is equal in interest and in
ability to anything in the military text book. Its results entered largely into the ultimate success which crowned
American valor, and gave liberty to these United States, so proud in their career of glory, so magnificent in their
Leaving now Burgoyne to Schuyler and Gates, and Cornwallis looking anxiously for news from the north at New York,
we concentrate our attention upon the two armies in Somerset County. Washington looking from the mountain summit
in the rear of Bound Brook, and Howe at New Brunswick contriving to escape him, or to bring him down from his eirey.
to fight him on the plains on more advantageous terms. The city of Philadelphia was the stake, and the play for
it was magnificent.
The British General had two ways of attaining his object. One by marching through New Jersey and crossing the Delaware
by a portable bridge, constructed for that purpose, during the winter at New Brunswick, and make his way directly
to his object. The other to embark his army and attempt the city by the way of the Delaware or Chesapeak Bay. The
first was preferable, and was therefore to be attempted before the other was resorted to.- The demonstration was
made on the 14th of June. Gen. Sir William Howe, leaving 2000 men at New Brunswick under the command of Gen. Matthews,
advanced in two columns towards Princeton, The first under Lord Cornwall is reached the village of Millstone by
break of day; the other under DeHester arrived about the same time at Middlebush, having taken a route more to
the south than that which the former pursued.
To meet the movement thus begun, Washington brought his army forward and posted it to great advantage, in order
of battle, on the south side of the mountain east of the gorge in which Chimney Rock is situated. This position
he maintained during the whole day, and at night the troops slept upon their arms. In this condition things remained
from the morning of the 14th to the evening of the 19th. Howe threatening and making every effort to induce the
Americans to abandon their high ground and fight him on the plain ; and Washington resolutely disregarding his
taunts and maintaining his superior position; but perfectly prepared and willing to give him battle where he was.
Nor had he been idle at other points in anticipation of these movements. The troops from Peeks Kill, with the exception
of 1000 effective men left there on guard, had been summoned to his aid, and were present and ready to act. A select
corps of riflemen under Col. Mergan had been organized early in the season, and was acting as a partizen corps
between the Raritan and Millstone, with instructions to watch the left flank of the enemy and fall on at the first
favorable moment ; but not to permit himself to be surrounded, and his retreat to the main, body cut off. Morgans's
men soon became a perfect scourge to the British regiments. Sir William Howe could not throw out a picket guard
at any distance from the main army, but Morgan would drive it in; and of woods and grain fields the enemy soon
had a complete horror, and would at any time march a mile round to avoid them ; for they were almost sure to receive
from every one which they approached a salute of Morgan's rifles. Ranging the whole country on the south side of
the Raritan, from that river to Rocky Hill, he kept the inhabitants during the whole time that the British army
remained on the east side of the Millstone, almost in a state of perfect security, and many a farmer owed to the
fear of Morgan's men, the preservation of his tenements from the flames.
It has been a common mistake to assert that Morgan during this period was encamped on the ridge of land between
the present residence of Mr. Henry Garretson and what was formerly that of C. Brokaw, west of the Weston road.
That encampment consisted of 1st, 2d and 7th Regiments of Pennsylvania troops, commanded by Gen. Anthony Wayne,
and the time of their encampment there, was the winter of 1778 and 9, They came upon the ground in November, and
remained until May, Their huts formed quite a town with its streets and parade ground in beautiful order, and when
the encampment was broken up they proceeded to the Highlands, immediately after which, Stony Point fell, being
stormed and taken by Gen. Anthony Wayne! In the meantime Gen, Sullivan had changed his position from Princeton
as soon as Howe moved towards Millstone, and lay on the high grounds of Rocky Hill, looking over the plains on
which the scene was acting ; and the militia of New Jersey, rallying with an alacraty unexemplified at any previous
time, took the field in great numbers, principally joining Gen. Sullivan, who again, when Howe threatened him from
Middlebush and the village of Millstone, retired behind the Shannock mountain, in the neighborhood of Clover Hill,
and was forming a formidable army there to resist his progress to the Delaware.
When General Howe determined on leaving a part of his army at New Brunswick, marched out towards Millstone, with
two divisions, stationing one at Middlebush, under the command of General De Heister, where two forts or redoubts
were thrown up, one across the Amwell road, a few yards west of the house in which Moses Wolsey at present resides
; the other was about three hundred yards south of the former, adjoining the present railroad, on land then owned
by Denice Van Liew.
The other division, under command of Lord Cornwallis, was stationed at Millstone, and a fort thrown up on the North
side of the road, a few yards West of the present dwelling of John V. C. Wyckoff, on the land then owned by Hendrick
Probasco. Another fort was thrown up on the opposite side of the road on land of Ann, widow of Cornelius Van Liew.
While the army was encamped there a great amount of property belonging to the inhabitants of the neighborhood was
taken and destroyed, The Dutch Church was damaged, General Cornwallis, in ma7-ching with his division to Millstone,
took the amwell road, which then came into the Princeton road but a short distance above the Mile Run Brook near
New Brunswick, which he followed, until he reached Millstone, while General De Heister followed the one running
along the West bank of the Raritan for more than three miles, until he came to the then Van Duyn place, where he
turned to the left and followed the road leading from thence into the Amwell Road. B few yards east of the present
Middlebush Church, about half a mile west of which he encamped with his troops.
This was the state of things from the 14th to the 19th of June. On the night of the 19th, Sir William Howe, finding
the American army could not be drawn from its strong position, and seeing the crowds which flocked to join Sullivan
in his front, determined to waste no more time in attempting to reach Philadelphia by land3 returned to New Brunswick.
Here he remained only two days, and on the 22d, proceeded to Amboy, when he threw over the Kills the bridge of
boats intended to cross the Delaware, and commenced passing over his baggage and some of his light troops to Staten
Island. His whole retreat was precipitous and was marked by the smoking ruins of barns and farm houses ; but it
was not peaceable. Morgan's eye was upon him, and at sun rise on the morning of the 22d the sharp report of his
rifles sounded in his ears, as he attacked and drove in his picket guard, and when they threw themselves into the
redoubts on the hill west of New Brunswick, Wayne was there to second Morgan's attack. These were soon abandoned,
and the whole army having crossed the Raritan, was seen in full flight towards Amboy. Some sharp skirmishing took
place between the rear guard and Morgan's riflemen, but the march was conducted in such a guarded manner that nothing
effectual could be accomplished, Sullivan was now ordered to move his division and co-operate with Green and Maxwell,
who had been directed to watch the enemies flanks and rear, and molest them in every possible way. But from the
distance at which he was encamped, he was unable to come up in time. And the express sent to Maxwell either deserted
or was taken ; and the rear guard being stronger than was expected, Green with his three brigades could make no
effectual impression on them. In consequence the retreat to Amboy was less disastrous than it might have been,
had circumstances favored our troops! An aged man who was a native of Middlebush, and as a boy was taken prisoner
when the British retreated, related that in returning from the movement above described, the troops crossed below
Bound Brook to the north side of the Raritan, on their way to New Brunswick. It is difficult to see the occasion
of such a movement, and yet more difficult to discredit the testimony of an eye witness. Perhaps it was in the
hope of tempting Washington to attack them.
While the movements indicated above were being made, the whole army of Washington had remained paraded every day
on the heights north of Bound Brook, really to act as circumstances might require. But now, in order to cover his
light parties which hung on the British rear, he descended from his position and advanced to New Market, some six
or seven miles eastward, and the division under Lord Sterling proceeded still further, to Metuchen meeting house,
being directed to act with the several parties of Green and Morgan already on the lines and harassing the rear
of the retreating army.
As soon as Washington had made this movement, Sir Wm. Howe thought the moment had arrived to bring on a general
engagement, a thing which he had sought and hoped for from the commencement of active operations. With this view,
on the night of the 25th he hastily recalled the troops which had been transported to Staten Island, and early
next morning, made a rapid movement in two columns, toward Westfield. The right, under command of Lord Cornwallis,
took the route by Woodbridge, to Scotch Plains, and aimed to seize the strong pass through the mountains west of
Plainfield, and thus, by gaining the rear of Washington, force him from his advantageous position on the high grounds,
and oblige him to fight on the plains. The left, under the personal direction of Sir Wm Howe, marched by Metuchen
meeting house, and intended to attack the Americans at New Market, and, ultimately, gain also the heights on the
left of the camp at Middlebrook. If this well concentrated movement had succeeded, Washington would have either
been obliged to fly towards the Highlands, on the Hudson River, or to fight the well appointed army before him
with his feeble force, upon such terms and in such a position as to afford but slight hopes of success. But a kind
Providence averted the well aimed blow.
Howe's own account is in the following words: The necessary preparations being finished for crossing the troops
to Staten Island, intelligence was received that the enemy had moved down from the mountain and taken post at Quibbletown,.(New
Market) intending, as was given out, to attack the rear of the army removing from Amboy- that two corps had advanced
to their left-one of 3000 men and eight pieces of cannon, under the command of Lord Sterling, Gen's, Maxwell and
Conway; the last, said to be a captain in the French service. The other corps, consisted of about 700 men with
only one piece of cannon. In this situation, it was thought advisable to make a movement that might lead on to
an attack, which was done on the 26th in the morning, in two columns.
At Woodbridge, the right column of the British fell in with the light parties sent out to watch their motion, and
thus acquainted Washington with the movement. He at once penetrated the whole design, ordered his army back with
the utmost celerity to their original position at Middlebrook, and sent out a party to guard the heights which
the enemy intended to seize. The left, under Cornwallis, encountered Lord Sterling, and after a severe skirmish,
drove him from his position and pursued him over the hills as far as Westfield, where they halted. But the pass
in the mountain west of Plainfield being guarded, and Washington, like an eagle, perched again upon his eyry, and
Sterling beyond the reach of Cornwallis, the British commander saw that the object in view of which his whole maneuver
had been made, was beyond his reach, turned his face again towards the seaboard; and on the 30th of June crossed
over to Staten Island with his whole army. His course was a clear acknowledgment that he was beaten; and that too,
by a force far inferior to his own. Both his designs were defeated. He had neither gained an open road to Philadelphia,
nor brought on a general engagement; and after maneuvering a month and more, was obliged to change the whole object
of the campaign ; or seek to gain its end by a circuitous route, in which there was both danger and uncertainty.
As the result of his contest with Sterling's command, the British General claims to have captured three brass cannon
and three captains ; and computes the American loss at 60 men killed and more than 200 wounded, while he avers
that Cornwallis had only 5 killed and 30 wounded, and ends by excusing the want of success, from the day proving
so intensely hot, that the soldiers could with difficulty continue their march. In fact there was always something
the matter with the British commander. His most successful feat seems to have been that moonlight race from the
battle of Monmouth in the next summer, It was so swift and successful, that when the morning' dawned, Washington
despaired being able to come up with him, and let him go until another time.
So now, from Westfield and Scotch Plains, he glories in having made a safe retreat again to his ships at Amboy.
Even in this he was not left unmolested. Scott' and Conway were dispatched to watch his motions, and annoy him
in every way ; and the rear guard of the British army was not yet out of Amboy, before the former marched into
it, and took posses-ion. But the guarded and soldier like manner in which the whole retreat was managed, prevented
any successful attack, and so the' prize fled from our State in safety.
such were some of the busy scenes enacted in the counties of Somerset and Middlesex, in the spring and early summer
of 1777. Armies were marching and countermarching daily. The tread of the war horse echoed through their peaceful
solitudes, and the glitter of steel flashed in the sunlight, while the vast interests dependent upon every movement.
filled the minds, not only of the actors, but also of all the inhabitants, with the most intense interest.
On the apex of the Round top, on the left of the gorge, in which Chimney Rock stands, there are yet to be seen
rude remains of a hut, which Washington sometimes frequented, during these anxious months of 1777. 0n the east
side of the gorge, also, fronting the plain north of Middlebrook, there is a rock, which has been named "Washington
Rock," because there he often stood to gaze anxiously upon the scene it overlooks.
On the mountain, west of Plainfield also, there is a very large rock, which has received the same' appellation,
'from this circumstance. On the 30th of June, while Sir Wm. Howe and Cornwallis were moving in the plain between
the Raritan and Amboy, no more favorable position from which to see every motion, could be desired, and it is not
improbable that there, the noble forth of the Americati Fabius was often seen from morning until evening, during
all these anxious 4ays. Perhaps we owe to these spots, more than has yet been imagined. A. less perfect knowledge
on the part of Washington, of every movement of his enemies, might have involved him in a false position. Had he
not been in a situation, when on his rock elevation, to see at once the aim of Sir Wm. Howe in that well concerted
movement from Amboy, his regiments might have been, captured after he left his strong camp at Bound Brook and advanced
upon the plain, and then our soil too, would have been saturated with human gore, and our vicinity celebrated as
another of the battle fields of liberty. But as it was, life was spared, the designs of our enemies frustrated,
and the triumph of the principles of human liberty secured. Let the memory of all such places live, and let pilgrims
visit them as consecrated spots, as long as the glory of the great deeds and the enduring fame of the noble man
with whom they are associated shall continue.
The British remained on Staten Island until the middle of July, and then embarked and sailed for the Chesapeake.
Washington, after a few days, hearing of Burgoyne's approach to Ticonderoga, moved his army to Morristown, and
advanced Sullivan as far as Pompton Plains-and then again to Peeks Kill, while he himself took position at Pompton.
But as soon as Howe had passed out of Sandy Hook, knowing well that his aim was to the city of Philadelphia, he
returned through the county of Somerset, and crossed the Delaware at New Hope, hastening to the scene of action.
The result was the battle of Brandy wine on the 11th of Sept. Grermantown Oct., 4th, and finally the occupation
of the city of Philadelphia by the British forces.
The route of this march across the State is no where stated so far as we have read. It was probably by the way
of Newark and New Brunswick, by the troops from Peekskill ; and by Morristown and Millstone, by those from Pompton.
The State was now cleared of all Military companies and warlike action, and remained so until the evacuation of
Philadelphia, June 18th, 1778. It was almost a year of sweet rest for its wasted inhabitants.- When the British
entered it again, there was a very different state of feeling existing among the people.
For some time after Sir Wm, Howe had embarked his troops at Amboy, there hung great uncertainty over his destination,
but on the 30th of July the fleet appeared off the 'Japes of Delaware apparently desiring, but fearing to enter
the river, and only finally reached the Chesapeake on the 16th of August. Washington, upon learning this, concentrated
his army hence in the vicinity of Philadelphia. On the 25th of August the British landed at the Ferry of Elk Run.
The whole force was computed at 18,000 men. On the 15th of September, occurred the Battle of Brandywine. Various
movements and skirmishes succeeded, the taking of the forts on the Delaware, then came the battle of German town,
and finally the occupation of the city of Philadelphia, the great object of solicitude, on the part of Howe, during
the whole summer. Then came news of the capture of Burgoyne at Saratoga, October 13, and Washington encamped for
the winter at Valley Forge, on the Schuylkill, and the active operations of another year ended
We have seen the British resting in Philadelphia, in the winter of 1777 and 1778, and Washington watching them
along the Schuylkill from Valley Forge and Whitemarsh. The winter was a weary and discouraging one. The American
troops were ill clad, ill fed, and exposed to sickness, but they endured it all with patriotic patience, and waited
for the opening of the next spring for action - And a stirring scene it was indeed. The British army had been comfortable
in their quarters in the city, and the officers had sought to ingratiate themselves with the inhabitants by "theatricals,
balls, and suppers;" but their success had hardly corresponded to the efforts put forth. They lingered through
the whole spring, but finally, on the 18th of June, crossed the Delaware at Camden and Burlington, and proceeded
on their march to the city of New York, by the way of Allentown, Washington put his troops in motion to follow
their footsteps, and if possible, bring on an engagement before they had reached their ships on Monmouth shore.
He crossed his army at Corvette's Ferry and marching by the way of Pennington and Kingston, approached his enemy.
From the lines on which the two armies were marching, it soon became evident that there would be a meeting and
conflict, somewhere in the vicinity of Freehold or Englishtown, in Monmouth county. Washington was greatly embarrassed
however, by differing opinions among his officers. Lee, with five of the general officers, was in favor of the
policy of a perpetual annoyance of the enemy on the march; Green, Wayne and Lafayette, thought with Washington,
that it was possible to defeat the British army and make them prisoners, before they could extricate themselves
and reach their ships in the Raritan Bay. Finally, soon after passing the Millstone, at Kingston, the Commander-in-Chief
determined to take the responsibility and to carry out his own private views, by attacking his enemy with his whole
force. Detatching Wayne, with 1000 men to the front, and giving Lafayette command of all the advanced parties,
he moved forward the main body of his troops to Cranberry on the 26th of June. On the 27th, Lafayette reached Englishtown.
Sir Henry Clinton apprehending an immediate attack, placed all his baggage in his front. and took up a strong position
In this situation the morning of the 28th of June dawned. It was the Christian Sabbath. The sky was cloudless over
the plains of Monmouth, and the sun came up with all the fervor of the summer solstice. It was the sultriest day
of the year, but twenty thousand men had girded on the implements of cruel war, and stood ready tor the battle
which decided a long conflict and gave us our freedom. We refer to the published description of the battle for
We only remark that notwithstanding the misconduct of Lee, for which he was tried and dismissed from the army,
the victory of the Americans was so complete, that during the night the British forces retreated to their ships
at Middletown shore, and so made their escape before Washington had time to reach them in the morning. Sir Henry
Clinton's moonlight raid from Freehold to the waiting ships, of which he wrote a brilliant account to his friends
at home, may be quoted as one of the most successful runnings of the war, if not among its most brilliant exploits.
On the day of the battle of Monmouth the French fleet arrived off the coast, one month earlier the British ships
would have been caught at Philadelphia. It was proposed to attempt the same thing in the harbour of New York, but
unfortunately they drew so much water, that they were unable to pass the Bar at Sandy Hook, and went to -Newport,
and Washington marched his army again to the North River above New York, sending a part of it into Rhode Island
to assist in the attack made by the French fleet upon Newport. He himself continued with his troops at Haverstraw.
In a few desultory movements the season was spent, and the French fleet in December, went to winter in the West
Indies and the campaign closed.
Washington with the remainder of his troops came to the vicinity of Somerville and selected as the place for encampment.
the slope of woodland north east of Mount Pleasant, the officers occupied the huts which had been erected on the
south side of the mountain east of the gorge of Chimney Rock. He himself took up his quarters at the house of William
Wallace, in Somerville, and here Mrs. Washington came and joined him, and they passed the winter.
There were about 7000 men at Mount Pleasant and at Chimney Rock ; the principal part at the former place. The Commander-in-Chief
had, on the 26th of October through Lord Sterling, caused the following resolutions of the Continental Congress
to be published to the army, subscribed by Francis Barber, Adj. Gen'l. viz:
Whereas, religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness; Resolved, That
it be, and hereby is earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effectual measures for the encouragement
thereof, and for the suppression of theatrical entertainments, horse racing, gaming and such other diversions as
are productive of idleness, dissipation, and general depravity of principles and manners. Resolved, That all officers
in the army of the United States, be hereby strictly enjoined to see that the good and wholesome rules provided
for the discountenance of profaneness and vice, and the preservation of morals among the soldiers, are duly and
In consequence whereof, the Commander-in-Chief of the army in this Stare, directs, that strict obedience to the
foregoing resolves by paid by all officers and soldiers within the same, By order of Major-General Lord Sterling,
Commander of the Confederate troops of New Jersey.
Francis Barber, Adj.-Gen. On the 6th of February, 1779, when the encampment was just completed and regular order
fully established, Washington himself supplemented the above by the following additional orders:
The Commander-in-Chief approves of the order issued by Major Gen. Lord Sterling during his command at the camp,
and thanks him for the endeavor to preserve order and discipline, and the property of the farmers in the vicinity
of the camp. He doubts not but the officers of every rank, from a just sense of the importance of securing to others
the blessings they themselves are contending for, will use their utmost vigilance to maintain those privileges
and prevent abuses, as nothing can redound more to their personal honor and the reputation of their respective
corps. Extract from general orders,
Adj.-Gen. Precisely when the encampment 'broke up in the next summer is not readily ascertained Gen. Wayne, whose
corps lay on the south side of the Raritan River, left there on the last days of June for Stony Point, which he
assaulted and captured on the 15th of July. It is probable that the troops were gradually withdrawn, and from this
time our County ceased to be the resting place of the armies fighting in the cause of liberty, and the foot of
a British soldier trod it no more except in one hasty visit, which is to be related.
The alliance which had been formed with France in consequence of which, Rochambeau and Count De Grasse were sent
to the United States, was, during the winter 1779, a matter of universal congratulation. After the army had been
comfortably hutted, the officers of the artillery stationed in the vicinity of Pluckamin, gave an entertainment,
consisting of a ball and supper in honor of the event. We extract the following account of this joyous occasion
from cotemporary records. It is in the following words: "The anniversary of our alliance with France was celebrated
on the 18th ultimo at Pluckamin, at a very elegant entertainment and display of fireworks given by Gen. Knox and
the officers of the Corps of Artillery. It was postponed to this late day on account of the Commander in Chief
being absent from the camp. Gen. Washington, the principal officers of the army, with Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Green,
Mrs. Knox, and the ladies and gentlemen of a large circuit round the camp, were of the company. Besides these,
there was a vast concourse of spectators from every part of the Jerseys.
The barracks of the artillery are at a small distance from Pluckamin, on a piece of rising ground, which shows
them to great advantage. The entertainment and ball were held at the Academy of the Park. About 4 o'clock in the
afternoon, the celebration of the Alliance was announced by the discharge of 13 cannon, when the company assembled
to a very elegant dinner. The room was spacious and the tables were prettily disposed, both as to prospect and
convenience. The festivity was universal and the toasts descriptive of the happy event, which had given certainty
to our liberties, empire and independence. In the evening was exhibited a very fine set of fire works conducted
by Col. Stevens arranged on the point of a temple 100 feet in length and proportionately high. The temple showed
13 arches, each displaying an illuminated painting. The centre arch was ornamented with a pediment larger than
the others, and the whole edifice supported by a colonade of the Corinthian order
The illuminated paintings were disposed of in the following order. The 1st arch on the right represented the commencement
of hostilities at Lexington, with this inscription-"The scene opened;"
2d, 'British Clemency,' represented in the burning of Charleston, Falmouth, Norfolk and Kingston ;
3d, "The separation of America from Britain." "By your tyranny to the people of America, you have
separated the wide arch of an extended empire;
4th, "Britain represented 'as a decaying empire, by a barren country, broken arches, fallen spires, whips
deserting its shores, birds of prey hovering over its mouldering cities, and a gloomy setting sun. Motto:
The Babylonian spires are funk
Achaia, Rome and Egypt mouldered down:
Time shakes the stable tyranny of thrones.
And tottering Empires crushed by their own weight."
5, America represented as 'd rising Empire, prospect of a fertile country, harbors and rivers covered with ships,
new canals opening, cities rising amidst woods, splendid sun emerging from a bright horrizon. Motto,
"New worlds are seen emerging from the deep
The old descending in their turn to rise."
6. A grand illuminated representation of Louis 16, the encourager of letters, the supporter of the rights of humanity,
the ally and friend of tie American people ;
7th, the centre arch, "The Fathers in Congress." Motto, Nil desperandum Reipublicae ;"
8th, The American Philosopher and Ambassador. exti acting lightning from the clouds -;
9th, Battle near Saratoga, Oct. 7, 1777 ;
10, The Convention of Saratoga ;
11th, A representation of the sea-fight off Ushant, between Count De Orvilliers and Admiral Keppel ;
12th, Warren Montgomery, Mercer, Wooster, Nash, and a crowd of heroes who have fallen in the American contest,
in Elysium, receiving the thanks and praises of Brutus, Cato and those other spirits, who, in all ages, have gloriously
struggled against tyrants and tyranny. Motto, "Those who shed their blood in such a cause shall live and reign
13th, represented peace, with all her train of blessings, her right hand displaying an olive bran h, at her feet
lay the honors of harvest, the background was filled with flourishing cities, por s crowded with ships and other
elements of an extended Empire and unrestrained commerce.
When the fireworks were finished, the company returned to the Academy and concluded the celebration by a very splendid
The whole was conducted in a style and manner that reflects great honor on the task of the managers.
The news announced to Congress, from the Spanish branch of the house of Bourbon, arriving at the moment of celebration,
nothing could so opportunely have increased the good humor of the company, or added to those animated expressions
of pleasure which arose on the occasion."
The exact locality of the 'Academy' tradition fixes on the east side of the village street, a short distance north
of the late Boylan residence, and the edge of the wood, on the farm of the late Dr. Henry Vanderveer. There are
many graves yet visible near the encampment at the foot of the mountain.
During the time that the troops were at Pluckamin, the child of Gen. Knox died, and was buried in the Cemetery
of Bed minster Church. The following is found on the tomb:
"Under this stone are deposited the Remains of Julia Knox, an infant, who died the 2nd of July, 1779. She
was the Second Daughter of Henry and Lucy Knox, of Boston, in New England.
This grave is situated directly west of the front doors of the Church, and about 25 feet from the building.
The Spring of 1780, while Washington lingered with his army near Somerville, was a characteristic season of the
war. It was earnestly hoped, and by many believed, that the French alliance would bring peace and independence
very soon. So they thought at pluckamin and represented in one of their illuminated paintings. In some respects
it was an unfortunate delusion, for it tended to paralyze the exertions of Congress and the people generally and
produced delay in all the departments of the civil and military service.
Then the currency had become largely depreciated. The dollar which in 1777, was worth 7 shillings and six pence,
in 1780, passed for only 3 pence. We have had the use of an old list made as a memorandum of this progress of the
downfall of the circulating medium, and append it as a curiosity.
September 1777, the Continental dollars passed for 7 shillings and 6 pence; October. 10s ; November, 6s 3p; December,
5s 8p ; January 1778, a, 2p ; February 4s 8p; March, 4s 3p; April 3s 9p; May, 3s 3p ; June, 2s l0p; July, 2s 6p;
August, 2s 2p; September, 1s 10 l-2p; October, Is 7 l-2p ; November, Is 4p ; December, Is 2p; January 1779, Is;
February, 10 l-2p; March, 9p; April, 8p; May, 7 l-2p; June, 6 l-3p; July, 6p; August, 5 l-2p; September, 5p; October,
4 l-2p ; November, 4p; December, 3 l-2p; January 1780, 3p; February, 3p; March, 2 l-2p, and up to the 18th of May
1780, 2 l-10p and then 0.
How the people managed in such a state of things, to sell or traffic at all, is a mystery, and how the armies were
kept in the field is almost a miracle. It is only another confirmation of the adage 'what is to be done will be
done. Robert Morris's immense fortune was often the only confidence which floated the Continental currency, and
kept the armies in the field.
In June the army broke up its encampment and moved to the vicinity of Hackensack. Stony Point was taken by Gen.
Anthony Wayne on the 15th of July, and on the 18th of August, Lord Sterling, aided by Major Lee, assaulted and
took the fort at Paules Hook, now Jersey City, making prisoners of 150 men and officers.
Somerset was exempt from any disturbance, and the armies did not in any way intrude on the pursuits of husbandry.
Only once the army passed through this county on its way to Yorktown, and at the close of the war, while Congress
was in session, at Princeton, Washington and his guard and officers attended there for a short period, and was
therefore close here the Revolutionary history of our county, so far as active operations are concerned.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIERS
When the spirit of resistance to British oppression had formed itself into a resolution to contend, preparations
were made to organize, and to call out the military of the country. The first public act looking to the "plan
for regulating the militia of the colony,'' was passed in the Provincial Congress, at Trenton, June 3d, 1775. Under
this act two Regiments were raised in Somerset Co. ; August 16. 1775, five companies from Somerset were added to
the former enrollment.
When the first Battalion was formed, William Alexander (Lord Sterling) was made Colonel, Stephen Hunt, Capt, Col.;
Frederick Frelinghuysen, Capt. Col. ; Abraham Ten Eyck, Lieut, Col.; Derrick Middah, 2d Maj. Lieut. Col; James
Linn. Capt. 1st May ; Rich. McDonald, Capt. -2d Maj.; Thomas Hill, Capt. 2d Maj.
Of the 2d Batallion, Abraham Quick was made Col.; Hendrick Van Dyke, Col.; Benj. Barrd, 1st Maj.; Peter D. Vroom,
Capt. 1st Maj. Lieut. Col.; William Verbryck, Capt. 2d Maj.; William Baird, Capt. 1st. Maj.; Enos Kelsey, 2d Maj.
For a complete list of all the officers and men who served in the Revolutionary War, we can only refer our readers
to Adj. Gen. Stryker's official Register, published in Trenton, in 1872.
The following Resolutions of a meeting in Hillsborough Township, show the form in which action was taken in enrolling
the Militia in Somerset County. They are interesting as being the only memoranda referring to this early period
in the action of the people in defense of their liberties. The original was found accidentally among some old papers
on a book stand in New York.
At a meeting of the principal Freeholders, and Officers of Militia, of the Township of Hillsborough, County of
Somerset and Province of New Jersey, held this 3d of May, 1775, at the house of Garret Garrison, it was agreed
as follows, viz:
1st. That the Companies of Militia this day assembled here, do choose officers for their respective Companies.
2d. That the officers so devised, shall choose officers for a Company of Minute Men, who are to beat up for volunteers
to raise said Company to consist of 60 men, who are to be exercised twice per week, and to be ready at a minutes
warning to march in defence of the liberty of our country.
3d. That the ,men so voluntarily enlisting in said Company, shall receive one shilling and six pence for every
part of a day they are employed in being exercised by any of their officers, and the officers in proportion.
4th that in case said Company shall march in defense of their country, the Captain to receive six shillings, the
1st Lieut. five shillings, the 2d Lieut. four shillings, and each of the inferior officers, three shillings, all
Proc. per day; with provisions and ammunition, and to those who are able. Arms ; and all the above money to be
raised by tax on the inhabitants of said Township, in the same manner the Provincial Taxes are raised.
5tb. In pursuance of the first article of the above agreement, the Companies here assembled choose the following
gentlemen their officers, viz:
For The Hillsborough Company.-John Ten Eyck, Capt. ; Peter D. Vroom, Lieut. ; Jacobus Quick, 2d Lieut.
For The Millstone Company. -Hendrick Probasco, Capt.; John Smock, 1st Lieut.; Casparus Van Nostrand, 2d Lieut.
For The Shannick Company.-William Ver Bryek, Capt.; Roelif Peterson, 1st Lieut,; Cornelius Peterson, 3rd Lieut.
For The Company Of Grenadiers.-Cornelius Lott, Capt.; John Bennet, Lieut.; Cornelius Van Derv er, 2d Lieut.; Garret
Garrison, 3d Lieut.
6th. The above officers proceeded according to the authority given them in the second article, to the choice of
officers for the Company of Minute Men, when the following men were unanimously chosen: For Capt., Cornelius Lott;
for 1st Lieut., John Nevius ; for 2d Lieut., Garret R. Garrison.
7th. The officers of the Militia, and the Committee of Observation are desired to meet together and appoint a Committee
to provide the above Company with Arms and Ammunition.
May 16, 1775. The Officers of the Militia, and the Committee of Observation having met, unanimously chose Hendrick
Van Middlesworth, Conrad Ten Eyck and Dirck Low, to provide ammunition for said Company, and arms for those that
are cot able to buy for themselves, and the aforesaid gentlemen are desired to take £40 Proc, in money on
the credit of the Township, to buy 140 pounds powder, 420 pounds lead, and 210 flints ; and if the said Company
should be called to march in defense of their country, if not provided for, then the aforesaid Hendrick Van Middlesworth,
Conrad Ten Eyck and Dirck Low, are to find provisions on the credit of the township as above said.
It is further agreed that the above agreement shall be subject to such alterations, and additions as the
Provincial Congress shall think proper. By order of the Assembly,
John Baptist Dumont, Chairman,
Peter D. Vroom, Clerk.
We give the list of the members of Capt. P. D. Vroom's Company, enrolled after the above action ; it is evidently
not complete, but it contains all now recoverable:
Jacobus Amerman, Albert Amerman, John Amerman,Thomas Anton, John Brokaw, Lieut, Capt. Vroom's Co. killed at Germantown,
Oct. 4th 1777;
Abraham Brokaw, Peter Brokaw, Corp'l ; George Brokaw, Jacobus Bergen, Corp'l; Jacob Cook, Jacob W. Cook, Jacobus
Corshow, Bergun Coevert, Fifer; Thomas Coevert, Corp'l; Peter Ditmas, Nicholas Dubois, Peter J. Dumont, Thomas
Dwere, Jacobus Dubois, Minne Dubois, Serg't; William Griggs, Augustus Hartshough, Harmon A. Hoagland, Lucas Hoagland,
Peter Hoagland, Dirck Huff, Abram Low, Peter Leyster, Hugh McAllum, Hendrick Post, Serg't; Peter Perlee, Thomas
Skillman, Joakim Quick, Enism ; Peter Quick, Serg't; Abram Stryker, Jonathan Spader, Albert Stothoit, Benjamin
Taylor, Serg't.; Willet Taylor, Abram Taylor, Abraham Van Arsdalen, Serg't; John Van Arsdale, Garret Van Arsdale,
John Van Dyck, William Van Dyck, Andrew Var Middlesworth, Serg't; Tunis Van Middlcsworth, Jacobus Van Nurse, Coert
Van Waggoner, Jacobus Voorhees, Rynier Veghte, Lieut 2d Batallion, Capt. ditto; Peter Voorhees, Peter Vroom, Jacob
Winter Corp'l; Peter Winter; Coert Van Voorhees.
We give the following enrollment subscribed by the men who enlisted in Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck's Company of Somerset
We the subscribers do voluntarily enlist ourselves in the Company of Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck, in the Township of Bridgewater
in the County of Somerset, under the command of Col. Stephen Hunt, and do promise to obey our officers in such
services as they shall appoint us, agreeable to the wishes and orders of the Provincial Congress. Witness our hands
this 23d day of June 1785:
Capt., Jacob Ten Eyck, 1st Lieut, Abin. Duinont, 2d Lieut., John Brokaw, Ensign, Isaac Vanarsdalen ; sergeants.
Derick Liuinom, Wm. Van Dine, Philip Falk, Jacob Ten Eyck, Jr., Andreas Ten Eyck, Jacobus Voorhees; Corporals,
Daniel Ammerman, John Dow, Jr., George Auten, Abram Van Voorhees; Drummer, Fred. K. Ditmars; Privates, Peter Low,
Aaron Craig, Andrew Ten Eyck Janus, John Tunlson, Jacob Ten Eyck Tartus, Morines Miller, John Evans, John Lowly
Jr., Henry Brokman, :Nickolas Brokman. Thomas Umphrey, Godfrey clear, Peter Post, William Wilson, John Beekman,
John Downe, Cornelius Suydim, Peter Bodine, Fulkert Dow, David Helebrant, John Stuart, Jas. Wintrstein, David Vanarsdalen,
Chrs. McMaus, Peter Teeple, Minard Johnson. Peter Sutphen, Jeremiah Doty, Christian Frazer, George Van Neste, Hugh
Clark, Jacobus Van Voorhees, John Storm, John Myers, Amos Smalley. Cor. Van Dike, John Workman, John Ross, Luke
Teeple, Peter Ten Eyck, Peter Dumont. Abrn. Britton, Hendrick Suydam, Jeremiah Britton, Samuel Williamson. James
Pots, Gilbert Lane, Barnard Risden, Nis C, Hendrick Teeple. Jacob Snedoker, James Duyckinck, William Milliken,
Evert Brokaw, Samuel Brittain, Lucas Vosseller. Jacob Vorseller. Lewis Heartsont, Ambrols Applebee, Roland Chambers,
Richard Brokaw, Edward Montanye, Dirck Dowe, Peter Van Derbarge, John Powelson. Abraham Briton.
Committee Chamber, Bridgewater. Feb. 24th 1776
Whereas, by the ordinances lately made by the Provincial Congress, for regulating the Militia of New Jersey, It
appears necessary Unit each Captain should have a District for the Company he commands, we, the Committee, accordingly
grant unto Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck, the command of all the men within the following boundaries or District :
Beginning at the line of Hunterdon Co., on the river Allamatunck, thence down said river and also down the North
Branch to the mouth of Chamber's Brook, then up the salt brook to the place where William McDonal's Mill formerly
stood, then to the top of the mountain to Capt. Stile's line, then on it direct line down between Philip Van Narsdalen,
and Chris. Van Narsdalen's, westerly of Wm. Black Halls, to the rear or Earitan River Lots, then along the rear
of said River Lots to a line of William Lane's River lot, then northerly and westerly, then down said branch to
the line which divides the lands of Borgen Brokaw, and Mr. Conovers. then along said line to Hunterdon Co., line,
then along the same to the beginning.
By order of the Committee.
ED. BUNN, Chairman.
Boundaries of the Millstone Company.-At a meeting of the Committee of the Township of Hillsborough held at the
house of Garret Garretson. the 3d day of July, 1775, It was unanimously agreed that the boundaries of the Company
called Millstone Company, are as follows, viz: Beginning at the mouth of Millstone River, thence along the said
river to the house of Geretie Cornetry. then along her westward bound to and still continuing westwardly to the
house of Court Von Vorehase, then westwardly to a small brook, and thence down the said brook to the Ainwell Road,
then westwardly along the said road till It comes to the 2 rod road that leads to Millstone road, continuing along
said road, thence along Millstone Road to Raritan Bridge, thence along the Puritan River to the place of beginning.
PETER D. VROOM.
A list of the men who served under Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck In the Revolutionary War, from the year 1775 to the year
178l, at different times:
Liddle Robert. Lee
Thomas, Lane John,
Ten Eyck Peter,
Van Narsdalen Dow,
Van Nest George,
Van Dike Cornelius,
Van Deberge Peter,
Van Narsdalen Christopher,
Van Debrook Peter,
Van Nest Peter,
Van Narsdalen John.
Van Horn James,
Van Narsdalen Derick,
Van Narsdalen Hendrick,
Van Natten John,
Van Cort John,
Van Nest Barnard,
Van Camp John,
Van Nest Abraham,
Van Doren Christopher,
Van Vest Jaromas,
Van Narstrand Jacob,
Van Nest Frederick,
Van Nest Cornellous,
Van Deventer Abraham,
Van Vingle Isaac,
Van Tingle Abraham,
Van Deventer Peter,
Van Tingle John,
Van Wagener Coonrad,
Van Narsdalen Philip,
Van Doren Isaac,
Van Pelt Ruliff,
Van Cort Michael,
Van Deveer Matthew,
Van Norden Toblah,
Van Doren Bergen,
Van Houten John,
Van Nortwick John,
Members of Capt. Conrad Ten Eyck's Company:
John Bennet 2d Lieut,
Serg't; Abraham Dumott,
John Lorey, Jr.,
Simon Van Nortwick,
Peter Peryn (Perrine),
John H. Schenck,
Nerg't, Roellf Sebring,
Andries Ten Eyck,
Cornelius Van Arsdalen.
Isaac Van Cleefe, Corporal,
Paryas Van Cleef,
Abram Van Arsdalen, Corporal,
Chrystoyan Van Dorn,
John Van Dorn,
Cornelius Van Dorn,
Abraham Van Dorn, Ensign,
Cornelius Van Dorn,
John Van Houten,
John Van Middlesworth,
Thomas Van Middlesworth,
Hendrick Van Nortwick,
John Van Nortwick, Ensign,
Jacob Van Nuys,
John Van Voorhees,
Conrad Ten Eyck, Ensign,
Conrad Van Wagoner,
Abraham Voorhees, Corp'l,
John Van Arsdalen, Serg't,
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