In late August 1776, a badly defeated Continental Army retreated from Long Island to Manhattan. By early November, George Washington’s inexperienced army withdrew further into New Jersey and, by the end of the year, into Pennsylvania. During this dark night of the American Revolution — “the times that try men’s souls” — Washington began developing the strategy that would win the war. [Read more…] about Washington’s Revenge: The 1777 New Jersey Campaign
2024 will mark the 200th anniversary of the return of the Marquis de Lafayette (Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette) to America. In 1824, almost 50 years after the start of the American Revolution, the 68-year-old Lafayette was invited by President James Monroe, an old Revolutionary War comrade and lifelong friend, to tour the United States.
Lafayette’s visit was one the major events of the early 19th century. It had the effect of unifying a country sometime fractured by electoral discord and reminding Americans of their hard won democracy. [Read more…] about The Marquis de Lafayette: A Short Biography
Robert Yates (1738-1801) was born in Schenectady. His parents were Joseph and Maria Yates. He received a classical education in the city of New York and later studied law in the Albany law firm of William Livingston, who was later a signer of the U.S. Constitution.
Yates was admitted to the New York bar in 1760 and thereafter resided in Albany. From 1771 to 1775, Yates was on the Albany Board of Aldermen and considered himself a member of the Radical Whigs, a party carried over from England that had a reputation for strong opposition to corruption and the protection of liberty. [Read more…] about Robert Yates, John Lansing & The Constitution
William Paterson was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1745. His family immigrated to America when William was two years old. Arriving first at New Castle, Delaware, the family settled for a short time in New London, Connecticut. At first, his father traveled around the country selling tin ware, moving the family several times. He eventually settled in Princeton, New Jersey where he became a merchant and manufacturer of tin goods.
Paterson attended local private schools and eventually the College of New Jersey (Princeton) where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1763 and a master’s degree in 1766. Showing an interest in law, Paterson apprenticed with Richard Stockton, who later signed the Declaration of Independence. Paterson practiced law in New Bromley, South Branch. In 1779, he settled near New Brunswick at Raritan Estate, all in New Jersey. [Read more…] about William Paterson & The Constitution of the United States
On this episode of Empire State Engagements, a conversation with author, historian, and mariner Jessica DuLong about her book Saved at the Seawall: Stories from the September 11 Boatlift (Three Hills/Cornell University Press, 2021). [Read more…] about Saved at the Seawall: Stories from the September 11 Boat-Lift
William L. Kidder’s book The Revolutionary World of a Free Black Man: Jacob Francis, 1754-1836 (Self-Published, 2021) tells the story of Jacob Francis of Amwell township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey who was indentured out by his free Black mother to the age of 21.
Five different men “owned his time” during his indenture and each provided a different experience for him. The last man lived in Salem, Massachusetts and Jacob lived there between 1768 and 1775 during the buildup to fighting in the American Revolution. [Read more…] about A Free Black Man’s Revolutionary World: Jacob Francis, 1754-1836
William Shirley was the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, appointed by the King of England. Shirley had been a British official in England serving on negotiating committees with French officials determining boundaries. This had led Shirley to a thorough dislike of the French.
He was very aggressive and had been a stalwart advocate of invading Canada and driving the French out of North America. Shirley had written a strong criticism of the New York Congress for its resistance to an invasion of Canada in 1748. He was upset when New Jersey and Rhode Island refused to cooperate in the invasion because they were not threatened. [Read more…] about The Albany Congress of 1754: Native People, Colonists & the Monarchy
Reclaim The Records has released the New Jersey Geographic Birth Index, 1901-1929.
It’s the first-ever online publication of a twentieth century birth index from the Garden State, with the exception of the 1901-1903 birth index which was released a few years ago. The geographic birth index is a list of births that have been separated by county of birth, and sometimes by a major city within the county, not just a purely alphabetical list. [Read more…] about 1.76 Million New Jersey Birth Records Now Available
Researchers have published the results of their multi-year aerial study investigating six large whale species in the New York Bight, a triangular area of coastal ocean waters between Long Island and New Jersey.
These results provide data on the year-round occurrence of large whales and is expected to help guide conservation efforts to mitigate impacts from anthropogenic threats. [Read more…] about A New Survey of Whales in the New York Bight
This week on The Historians Podcast, researcher and living historian Phil Weaver discusses his new book, The 3rd New Jersey in New York: Stories from The Jersey Greys of 1776. [Read more…] about Stories from the Jersey Greys of 1776