Bound Brook, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites
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REVOLUTIONARY WAR SITES IN BOUND BROOK, NEW JERSEY

Revolutionary War Sites in Bound Brook
FRELINGHUYSEN TAVERN SITE
Site of the Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence
By Hendrick Fisher, July, 1776

Frelinghuysen Tavern Site
Bound Brook, New Jersey

Frelinghuysen Tavern Site
213 East Main St.
Map / Directions to the Frelinghuysen Tavern site

Map / Directions to all Bound Brook Revolutionary War Sites

Hendrick Fisher was a prominent local citizen who was a strong supporter of the cause of Independence. He  served in several important political positions during the Revolutionary War era.  In 1765, he was one of three representatives for New Jersey for the Stamp Act Congress. [1]  In 1775, he served in the Provincial Congress of New Jersey, and was elected its president. [2]  His house still stands in Franklin Township.

In July 1776, several days after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Fisher read the document to an enthusiastic crowd of local residents in front of the Frelinghuysen Tavern which was located at this site. The Frelinghuysen Tavern was named in honor of Major General Frederick Frelinghuysen, and a large portrait of him was hung outside the tavern. General Frelinghuysen was born in Somerville, and he is buried in Hillsborough Township

The tavern was owned and run by Peter Harpending, in a house built on this site in 1720 by his Dutch immigrant father. In 1793, the building was purchased by a doctor named Ambrose Cook, and was used by doctors for the rest of its existence until it was demolished in 1908. The plaque was placed to mark the location in 1960.[3]


Five months after Hendrick Fisher's reading of the Declaration of Independence at this site, British General William Howe issued a proclamation which offered "full and free pardon of all treasons and misprisions of treasons" to those who would swear an oath to "remain in a peaceable obedience to his Majesty, and will not take up arms, nor encourage others to take up arms, in opposition to his authority."

Fisher was one of four New Jersey men specifically excluded from this offer and named as "arch-traitors." One of the others was Abraham Staats, whose house is located a half mile from here in South Bound Brook. [4]

Frelinghuysen Tavern Site, Bound Brook, New Jersey
BATTLE OF BOUND BROOK MONUMENT
The Battle of Bound Brook was Fought on April 13, 1777

Battle of Bound Brook
Battle of Bound Brook
Battle of Bound Brook Monument
East High St. (Inside Billian-Legion Park)
Map / Directions to the Battle of Bound Brook Monument

Map / Directions to all Bound Brook Revolutionary War Sites
The Battle Of Bound Brook: Living History Weekend
takes place most years in  April, and includes a reenactment of the battle.
For more information, see www.battleofboundbrook.org.

The Battle of Bound Brook

In early 1777, the main body of Washington's army were encamped about twenty-seven miles northeast from here at Morristown, behind the protection of the Watchung Mountains. A garrison of approximately 500 troops were stationed at Bound Brook, with the intention of protecting the area's farmers. These troops were under the command of General Benjamin Lincoln.

At the time, there were thousands of British and Hessian troops in New Brunswick, about eight miles southeast of here. (Hessians were German mercenaries hired by the British to fight with them in the Revolutionary War.) On the night of April 12, approximately 4,000 British and Hessian troops marched from New Brunswick to make a surprise attack the following morning to capture the garrison at Bound Brook.

The British plan of attack was to converge on the American troops in Bound Brook from three directions, while using a fourth column of troops to cut off their route of retreat. 

One part of the attack was made by Hessian soldiers over the Old Stone Bridge, located along present day Railroad Ave off Main Street. Details about the fighting at this location can be found in the Old Stone Bridge / Battle of Bound Brook Markers entry below.

Another line of attack came from British soldiers over the Raritan River by the Queen's Bridge, located at the same location as the modern Queen's Bridge. They attacked from what is now South Bound Brook across the bridge. Details about the fighting at Queen's Bridge can be found on the South Bound Brook page of this website.

The third line of attack, led by British General Cornwallis, was made a mile and a half west of here by the Van Horne house in Bridgewater, where General Benjamin Lincoln was nearly captured but was able to escape to safety in the hills.

While these three lines of attack were occurring, a fourth column took the long way around Bound Brook via Quibbletown (now Piscataway) with the intent of cutting off the retreat route of the Americans into the Watchung Mountains. This fourth column did not reach their intended position, and so the Americans were able to retreat.

The British and Hessians occupied Bound Brook for several hours, when they ransacked and plundered the town. Washington sent troops under General Nathanael Greene to Bound Brook, but by then, the British and Hessian troops had withdrawn to New Brunswick.

The following month, Washington removed the garrison from Bound Brook when he moved the site of his main encampment from Morristown to Middle Brook.  [5]

The Bound Brook Memorial Library, which is located at 402 E High St., has an original copy on display of the
June 17-19 1777 edition of The London Chronicle, which featured several short articles about the Battle of Bound Brook.


Bound Brook, New Jersey

Bound Brook New Jersey in the Revolutionary War

The Monument

The Battle of Bound Brook Monument has a long history. The boulder was removed from the ground during the construction of the Delaware & Raritan Canal in 1834. It sat at the side of the canal on Canal Road in South Bound Brook until it was chosen to be used for the monument in 1897.

The monument was originally erected where the Main St. / Lincoln Blvd. Traffic Circle is. The ceremony took place on April 13, 1897, the 120th anniversary of the battle. It was attended by several hundred people.

The unveiling of the monument at the ceremony was done by two descendants of important local Revolutionary War figures:
Robert L. Ayres, a descendent of Hendrick Fisher, who read the Declaration of Independence in Bound Brook in 1776 (See Frelinghuysen Tavern entry above),
and Eugene D. LaTourette, a great-grandson of Abraham Staats, whose house was used as the headquarters of General Von Steuben in 1779.

Some time between 1938 and 1946, the monument was moved to the property of the old Borough Hall at the intersection of Hamilton and Somerset Streets. It remained there until 1958, when it was moved to the property of the Pillar of Fire Building on East Main St. It was moved to the Old Presbyterian Graveyard in 1976. In 1998, it was moved to its present location inside of Billian-Legion Park. [6]

Frelinghuysen Tavern Site, Bound Brook, New Jersey
OLD STONE BRIDGE / BATTLE OF BOUND BROOK MARKERS
Battle of Bound Brook
Bound Brook, New Jersey
Battle of Bound Brook
Bound Brook, New Jersey
Old Stone Bridge / Battle of Bound Brook Markers
Railroad Ave. off Main St.
Map / Directions to the Old Stone Bridge / Battle of Bound Brook Markers

Map / Directions to all Bound Brook Revolutionary War Sites

The Old Stone Bridge was built circa 1731. All that is visible of the bridge now is a portion of the south side parapet (pictured above). The rest of the approximately 85-by-33 foot structure is buried underneath. It was buried in the 1870's because of work on the railroad embankment. At the same time, the Bound Brook (also called the Green Brook) was re-routed about a hundred yards to the east. [7]

On April 13, 1777, the bridge was the site of an attack by Hessian soldiers at the beginning of the Battle of Bound Brook. A plaque here includes a map of the area marked with troop locations during the battle. It also quotes from the diary of Hessian Officer Captain Johann Von Ewald, who led the attack: [8]

"At daybreak I came upon an empty picket on this side of the stone causeway which led to Bound Brook through a marsh along the Raritan River for five or six hundred paces over two bridges. The picket received us spiritedly and withdrew under a steady fire. I tried to keep as close as possible to the enemy to get across the causeway into town at the same time. This succeeded to the extent that I arrived at the second bridge at a distance of a hundred paces from the redoubt which covered it and the flying bridge (Queen's Bridge).

"The day dawned and I was exposed to murderous fire. When I looked around for my men, I saw that no one had followed me except the brave Lieutenant Trautvetter, my hornblower Müller, Corporal Doernickel and the Jaegers Reichmeyer, Meister, Mergel, Haschell, Gurkel, Buchwald and Ruppel: the last two being severely wounded.

"We had no choice but to lay down on the ground before the Bridge, whereupon I ordered 'forward' sounded constantly. Luckily for us Colonel Donop's column appeared after a lapse of eight or ten minutes whereupon the Americans abandoned the Redoubt. We arrived in town with the garrison of the redoubt amidst a hard running fight and the greater part were either cut down or captured."

Frelinghuysen Tavern Site, Bound Brook, New Jersey
OLD PRESBYTERIAN GRAVEYARD
Old Presbyterian Graveyard
Abraham Staats Gravesite
Old Presbyterian Graveyard
Abraham Staats Gravesite
Old Presbyterian Graveyard
Abraham Staats Gravesite
Old Presbyterian Graveyard
Corner of East High St. and East St.
Map / Directions to the Old Presbyterian Graveyard

Map / Directions to all Bound Brook Revolutionary War Sites

For additional information about the Old Presbyterian Cemetery, contact: Mary Nelson at the Bound Brook Memorial Library
402 East High Street, Bound Brook, New Jersey 08805
Phone: 732-356-0044         Email: mnelson@sclibnj.org

The Old Presbyterian Graveyard was the original cemetery of the Bound Brook Presbyterian Church. Its oldest known burial is from 1744, but the cemetery was likely in use from circa 1700. It stood behind a frame building of Bound Brook's original Presbyterian Church which was built in 1725, and stood here at the time of the Battle of Bound Brook. That building was replaced by a second one in 1829, which was itself destroyed by a combination of fire and hurricane in 1896. Two years later, the current Presbyterian Church building was built on the corner of Mountain and Union Avenue.

It is uncertain exactly how many people are buried in this cemetery. About 700 have been identified, but there may be as many 1500. The earliest known grave here is for Sarah McCoy who died in 1744, although the cemetery may have been in use as early as circa 1700. The last known burial was for Clarkson G. Blackford, whose death occurred in 1900.

From 1976 until 1998, the Battle of Bound Brook Monument was located in this cemetery, before it was moved to its present location in Billian-Legion Park.

The following list shows forty Revolutionary War veterans who are known to be buried here. Names marked with an asterisk are known to be buried in this cemetery but do not have a surviving gravestone. [9]

John A. Auten
Private
Died Dec 29, 1840 / Age 79

Benjamin Blackford
Private, Somerset County Militia
Died Aug 4, 1797 "in the 48th year of his age"

* Daniel Blackford
Private, Somerset County Militia
Died Aug 181? / Age 68

* Joseph Blackford
Private, Somerset County Militia
Died May 22, 1800 "in the 44th year of his age"

Jacob Bond
Private, Somerset County Militia
Died Feb 14, 1806 / Age 68

* Peter Boyer
Captain, German Regiment, Continental Line
Died Apr 18, 1797 / Age 44

* Bergun Brokaw
Sergeant in Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck's Co., 1st Batt., Somerset County Militia
Died March 23, 1858 "in the 97th year of his age"

* Isaac Brokaw Sr.
Private
Died July 29, 1838 "in the 80th year of his age"

*John Brown
Private; Sergeant
Feb 1, 1747 - Sept 12, 1836

* Aaron Coon
Private
Died Oct 27, 1844 "in the 84th year of his age"

* Elisha Coriell
Died Oct 3, 1847 "in the 92nd year of his age"

* Jacob DeGroot
Captain, Somerset County Militia
Oct 24, 1749 - July 22, 1843

William DeGroot
Lieutenant
June 7, 1751 - Aug 28, 1840

* Jeremiah B. Field
Lieutenant
Nov 15, 1753 - Sept 16, 1840

John Garrish
Ensign in Captain Richard Stites' Company, Colonel Stephen Hunt's Regiment, Brigadier General Nathaniel Heard's Brigade of State Troops,
Also - Ensign in Colonel Mark Thompson's Regiment, Detached Militia in the Flying Camp
Feb 15, 1755 - Apr 29, 1781

* Joseph Garrish
Private, 1st Regiment, Middlesex County Militia
Died May 26, 1837

* John Harriot
Private in Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck's Co., Somerset County Militia
Died Dec 3, 1824 "in the 73d year of his age"

* Benjamin Harris
Sergeant, Somerset County Militia
Served in Captain Jonathan F. Morris' Detachment of Volunteers, in the Legion commanded by Major General Frederick Frelinghuysen
Sept 12, 1759 - April 14, 1811

* David Howell
Private in Capt. John Sebring's Co., New Jersey State Militia
Private in Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck's Co., 1st Batt., Somerset County Militia
Nov 26, 1739 - June 23, 1827

* Jacob Jennings, Sr.
Private, Morris County Militia
Died Apr 6, 1787 / Age 76

* David Kelly
Private in Capt. Jacob Ten Eyck's Co., 1st Batt., Somerset County Militia
Died Oct 2, 1811

Joshua Martin
Private, Middlesex County Militia
Died Aug 23, 1815 "in the 64th year of his age"

Creighton McCrea
Loyalist - fought for the British
Ensign in Queen's Rangers
Captain in 75th Highlanders
Died Dec 10, 1818 "in the 56th year of his age"

Thomas McElrath
Private, Somerset County Militia
Died Apr 13, 1788 / Age 49

Dr. William McKissack
Assistant Surgeon; Captain in Pennsylvania Company
Died Feb 1831 / Age 77

* Dr. Jonathan F. Morris
Lieutenant; Captain
March 21, 1760 - Apr 13, 1810

Nicholas Perrine
Private, Somerset County Militia
Died Oct 5, 1811 "in the 60th year of his age"

* Henry Post
Private in Capt. Polmeus' Co., Somerset County Militia in 1776
Sergeant in Capt. Vroom's Co., Somerset County Militia in 1777
Continental Army
March 30, 1749 - June 17, 1830

* John Ross Sr.
Private
Died Jan 5, 1810 / Age 77

John Steele Sr.
Private; Sgt.
Dec 12, 1755 - May 8, 1846

* Simon Stryker
Private, Somerset County Militia
Died March 25, 1838 "in the 88th year of his age"

Elias Van Court
Died Dec 10, 1817 "in the 60th year of his age"

Jacob Vandevanter
Captain, Hunterdon County Militia
Died May 24, 1810 "in the 71st year of his age"

* Jeremiah Van Deventer
Private
March 12, 1741 - Dec 22, 1806

Archibald Van Norden
Captain
Jan 18, 1748/1749 - April 8, 1827

David Van Norden
Private, Somerset County Militia
Oct 3, 1757 - Jan 14, 1837

Michael Van Norden
Private, Somerset County Militia
Dec 26, 1755 - Nov 26, 1790

Tobias Van Norden, Esq.
Died May 28, 1800 "in the 85th year of his age"

* James Voorhees
Private in Capt. Duryea's Com., 1st Batt., Somerset County Militia
Dec 23, 1748 - Oct 31, 1810

Lefferd Waldron
Loyalist - fought for the British
Ensign and Lieutenant in King's Carolina Rangers
Died Aug 20, 1847 "in the 93rd year of his age"

Frelinghuysen Tavern Site, Bound Brook, New Jersey
BOUND BROOK CEMETERY
Gravesite of Abraham and Margaret Staats, and several Revolutionary War Veterans

Bound Brook Cemetery
Abraham Staats Gravesite

Bound Brook Cemetery
409 Mountain Ave.
Map / Directions to Bound Brook Cemetery

Map / Directions to all Bound Brook Revolutionary War Sites

Bound Brook Cemetery contains the graves of Abraham and Margaret Staats, whose house was used as the headquarters of General von Steuben, the inspector general of the army, from March to June 1779 during the latter part of the second Middlebrook Encampment.

Abraham (May 25, 1743 - May 4, 1821) and Margaret (Died November 10, 1821) were originally buried on their own property and later reinterred in Bound Brook Cemetery sometime after it opened in 1864, along with several other members of their family. Their gravestones no longer exist, but their graves are known to be in section B-29 of the cemetery. The gravestones for three of their daughters, Magdaline, Catharine and Sarah are still here. Sarah's gravestone is shown above right.

There are four Revolutionary War soldiers buried here. Like Abraham and Margaret Staats, they were originally buried elsewhere and moved here after this cemetery opened in 1864: [10]

Benjamin B. Field
Die Jan. 31, 1843
Dennis Field
Died Apr. 21, 1848
Asa Giles
Died July 23, 1829 / Aged 63
Captain Peter Marseilles
Died  Apr. 26, 1827
Frelinghuysen Tavern Site, Bound Brook, New Jersey

Source Notes:

1. ^ The Journal of the Stamp Act Congress lists Hendrick Fisher as one of the three delegates from New Jersey. (The other two delegates were Joseph Borden and Robert Ogden.) Reprinted in:
C. A. Weslager, The Stamp Act Congress (Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press, 1976) page 189

2. ^ Extracts from the Journal of Proceedings of the Provincial Congress of New Jersey: Held at Trenton in the Months of May, June and August, 1775   Pages 3-5         Available to be read at Google Books here

3. ^ Information drawn from a number of sources, including:

• "Old Landmarks Removed," The Chronicle, Bound Brook, January 31, 1908

• Reverend T.E. Davis, "First Houses of Bound Brook, and Address Delivered Before the Washington Camp Ground Association," February 22, 1893. Reprinted in:
Jim Hamilton, Editor, First Houses of Bound Brook (The Washington Camp Ground Association, 1981) Pages 12 - 15

• Plaque at this site, which states, "Erected by the Somerset County Historical Society 1960."

▸▸ There is some disagreement as to the exact date when Hendrick Fisher read the Declaration of Independence in front of the Frelinghuysen Tavern. Some books and articles say the date was July 7; others say July 9.

▸▸ A photo of the building before it was torn down can be seen in:
Dorothy Stratford, Margaret McKay,  Bound Brook (From the Images of America series) (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2000) Page 11
Available to be viewed at Google Books here

▸▸ For more about Major General Frederick Frelinghuysen, see the Somerville, New Brunswick and Hillsborough Township page of this website.

4. ^The full text of Howe's November 30, 1776 proclamation is reprinted in:
The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, For the Year 1777. The Fifth Edition (London: J. Seeley of Buckingham, and J. Wright, of St. John's Square, 1805) Pages 295-296
Available to be read at Google Books here
▸ While the text of the proclamation does not mention the exclusion of the "arch-traitors," the Fisher House page of The Ukrainian Orthodox Church website, and A. Van Doren Honeyman's "Hendrick Fisher - The Real German-American" mention Fisher's exclusion from the offer of pardon.
• Frank P. Snell, History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey (Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1881) page 649, states:
"Peter Harpending, Tobias Van Norden, Hendrick Fisher, and Abraham Staats were excepted as 'arch-traitors' when general amnesty was offered by the British in 1776."          Available to be read at Google Books here

5. ^ Information about the battle was drawn from a variety of sources, including:

• Captain Johann Ewald, Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin, Diary of the American War - A Hessian Journal (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979) pg 56 - 59

• “To George Washington from Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, 13 April 1777 [letter not found],” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-09-02-0143 [last update: 2015-03-20]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 9, 28 March 1777 – 10 June 1777, ed. Philander D. Chase. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999, p. 148.

• “From George Washington to Owen Biddle, 14 April 1777,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-09-02-0150 [last update: 2015-03-20]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 9, 28 March 1777 – 10 June 1777, ed. Philander D. Chase. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1999, pp. 157–159.

6. ^ Information about the unveiling ceremony was drawn from:
"120th Anniversary of Bound Brook's Battle / Fought on April 13th, 1777 / The Washington Camp Ground Association Erects a Boulder to Mark the Spot - Patriotic Exercises in Commemoration of the Event," The Chronicle, Bound Brook, April 16, 1897

• Other information about the history of the monument provided by Mary Nelson of the Bound Brook Memorial Library

7. ^ For more information about the bridge, see the Forgotten Bridge website

8. ^ Captain Johann Ewald, Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin, Diary of the American War - A Hessian Journal (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1979) page 56

9. ^ Information and documentation about the cemetery and the graves was provided to me by Mary Nelson of the Bound Brook Memorial Library.
I would like to thank Mary for taking the time to copy and mail me a large number of documents from her records. In addition to the documentation related to the Old Presbyterian Cemetery, she also provided me with documents that went into my research for other locations in Bound Brook. She also took the time to speak with me on numerous occasions.

10. ^ I spoke with Office Manager of Bound Brook Cemetery, Dennis Costain, on March 25 and April 13, 2015, who verified this information from the cemetery records.
I would like to thank Dennis for taking the time to speak with me.


I would like to thank Mary Nelson of the Bound Brook Memorial Library. Mary provided me with copies of many documents from her records which went into my research for this Bound Brook page. She also took the time to speak with me on numerous occasions.

Website Researched, Written, Photographed and Designed by Al Frazza
This website, its text and photographs are © 2009 -2017 Al Frazza. All rights reserved.