Mount Holly, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites
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REVOLUTIONARY WAR SITES IN MOUNT HOLLY, NEW JERSEY

Revolutionary War Sites in Mount Holly New Jersey
BATTLE OF IRON WORKS HILL SITE MARKER AND MONUMENT
Mount Holly
Mount Holly, NJ
Mount Holly, New Jersey
Battle of Iron Works Hill
Battle of Iron Works Hill Site Marker and Monument
Pine St., between Shreve St. and Hulme St.
In front of St. Andrews Cemetery
Map / Directions to the Iron Works Hill Site
Map / Directions to all Mount Holly Revolutionary War Sites
 

On November 19, 1776, British and Hessian forces invaded New Jersey, disembarking at Huyler's Landing in Bergen County. At the time, General George Washington and the Continental (American) army were in nearby Fort Lee. Washington's army had recently suffered a string of defeats in New York city. Upon learning of the landing of the British and Hessian troops at Alpine Landing, the Continental army began a retreat across New Jersey that ended when they crossed over the Delaware River into Pennsylvania on December 2.

While the Continental Army was on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, British and Hessian forces occupied a number of towns throughout New Jersey. Soldiers under the command of Hessian Colonel Carl von Donop occupied Bordentown at this time.

Six miles to the north of Bordentown, Hessian Troops under the command of Colonel Johann Rall occupied Trenton.

Colonel von Donop's Hessian troops at Bordentown were drawn south towards Mount Holly to engage with a small group of American troops under the command of Samuel Griffin. They fought the Petticoat Bridge Skirmish in Springfield on December 22, and the Battle of Iron Works Hill here the following day. 

Following the Battle of Iron Works Hill, Colonel von Donop chose to have his men remain in Mount Holly for several days, instead of returning to Bordentown. This placed them eighteen miles away from Trenton, rather than six miles if they had returned to Mount Holly. As a result, they were too far away from Trenton to be of any assistance to Colonel Rall's Hessians there when Washington's troops attacked Trenton after their famous crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night. The American victory at the Battle of Trenton helped to turn the tide of the war. [1]

Colonel von Donop's decision to remain in Mount Holly appears to have been motivated by romantic - rather than military - considerations.  Captain Johann Ewald, who served under Colonel von Donop, recorded the following in his diary: [2]

"The colonel, who was extremely devoted to the fair sex, had found in his quarters the exceedingly beautiful young widow of a doctor. He wanted to set up his rest quarters in Mount Holly, which to the misfortune of Colonel Rall, he was permitted to do."

There has been speculation as to who the "exceedingly beautiful young widow" might have been. The possibility has been raised that she might have been an American agent, who was acting with the intent of delaying von Donop from returning to Bordentown. Betsy Ross has been listed as a possibility. However, no solid evidence has been found to identify this woman. [3]

Mount Holly NJ Revolutionary War Sites
SAINT ANDREWS CEMETERY
Mount Holly
Mount Holly, New Jersey
Saint Andrews Cemetery
128 Pine St.
Map / Directions to Saint Andrews Cemetery
Map / Directions to all Mount Holly Revolutionary War Sites
 

Saint Andrews Cemetery is located on the hill above the Battle of Iron Works Hill marker and monument. Revolutionary War soldiers buried here include: [4]

John Lacey
Brigadier General - Pennsylvania Militia
February 4, 1755 - February 17, 1811
Col Thomas Reynolds
Died January 7, 1803 "in the 74th year of his age"
Mount Holly NJ Revolutionary War Sites
STEPHEN GIRARD HOUSE
Stephen Girard House
Mount Holly Historic Sites
Revolutionary War New Jersey
Mount Holly, NJ Revolutionary Sites
Stephen Girard House
211 Mill St.
(Private Home)
Map / Directions to the Stephen Girard House
Map / Directions to all Mount Holly Revolutionary War Sites

This house is a private residence.
Please respect the privacy and property of the owners.

Stephen Girard was born in Bordeaux, France on May 20, 1750, into a wealthy family in the shipping business. Stephen himself first set out to sea at age 14, and he continued in the shipping business, which took him to New York in 1774.

His shipping business was negatively affected by the British blockade during the Revolutionary War. He moved to Philadelphia in 1776 where he married Mary Lum. When Philadelphia was occupied by the British troops in 1777, Stephen and Mary moved to this house in Mount Holly, where they also operated a retail store. During his time here, the native Frenchman became increasingly interested in the cause of the American Revolution going on around him. In Philadelphia, on October 27, 1778, Girard signed an oath of allegiance and became an American Citizen. In 1779, he moved back to Philadelphia, concentrating again on his shipping business.

After the Revolutionary War, Girard's shipping business grew dramatically, along with his wealth. Decades later, he became a major financier to the United States government for the War of 1812. Upon his death on December 26, 1831, he left a majority of his fortune to charitable institutions. [5]

In 2006, Girard was ranked the fourth wealthiest person in American history, coming in ahead of Bill Gates, who was ranked fifth. [6]

Revolutionary War Sites in Mount Holly
FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE
Friends Meeting House House - Mount Holly NJ Revolutionary War New Jersey
Revolutionary War New Jersey Revolutionary War New Jersey
Mount Holly in the Revolutionary War Revolutionary War Mount Holly New Jersey
Revolutionary War Mount Holly New Jersey Revolutionary War Mount Holly New Jersey

Friends Meeting House
81 Main St.
Map / Directions to the Mount Holly Friends Meeting House
Map / Directions to all Mount Holly Revolutionary War Sites

This Friends Meeting House was built in 1775, [7] and so was here at the time of the Battle of Iron Works Hill on December 23, 1776. As described below, it was also here in June 1778 when the British again occupied Mount Holly.


British Occupation of Mount Holly - June 20 - 22, 1778
Prior to the Battle of Monmouth [8]

The British army occupied Philadelphia from September 26, 1777 until June 18, 1778. Philadelphia had been serving as the American capital, and the British occupation forced Congress to move to York, Pennsylvania, which had a demoralizing effect on the Americans.

During that same winter of 1777, General George Washington and his Continental (American) army were camped about twenty miles away from Philadelphia in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Valley Forge provided a good strategic location for the army's winter quarters; It was close enough to keep an eye on the British troops in Philadelphia, but in a strong defensive position should the British decide to attack.

In early June 1778, the British forces in Philadelphia decided to abandon Philadelphia and march towards New York City, the main British stronghold in America. British forces under General Henry Clinton began their trip on June 18, 1777, when they crossed over the Delaware River into New Jersey, landing at Coopers Ferry (now Camden). Over the following days, they marched through Haddonfield, Cherry Hill, Mount Laurel, and Moorestown. On June 20 they arrived at Mount Holly where they remained until the morning of June 22. While here, their commissary department used the Friends Meeting House.

During this time, General Washington and his Continental army were also on the move. After hearing of the British evacuation of Philadelphia, Washington made the decision to leave Valley Forge. On June 20, they crossed into New Jersey at Coryell's Ferry and marched in pursuit of the British troops, keeping a path miles to the north of them.

From Mount Holly, the British troops moved on through Bordentown and Crosswicks. On June 28, they would meet the Continental Army at Monmouth Courthouse, and fight the Battle of Monmouth, the longest continuous battle of the war.

Mount Holly New Jersey in the Revolutionary War
THREE TUNS TAVERN
(Now the Mill St. Hotel & Tavern)

Three Tuns Tavern
67 Mill St.
Map / Directions to Three Tuns Tavern
Map / Directions to all Mount Holly Revolutionary War Sites

Built circa 1723, the Three Tuns Tavern was already a half-century old at the start of the Revolutionary War.

Some details about the history of the building during the Revolutionary War are sketchy, but it likely was used or visited by British troops during their December 1776 and June 1778 occupations of Mount Holly.

The Court of Admiralty met in Mount Holly on several occasions during the Revolutionary War. It is possible that some of these sessions were held at the Three Tuns Tavern. [9]


Mount Holly in the Revolutionary War Three Tuns Tavern
Three Tuns Tavern Three Tuns Tavern
Mount Holly New Jersey in the Revolutionary War

Source Notes:

1. ^ For more information and accompanying sources about the British and Hessian's at Huyler's Landing, and the subsequent retreat of the Continental army from nearby Fort Lee, see the Alpine and Fort Lee pages of this website.

For more information and accompanying sources about the Crossing of the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton, see the Hopewell Township and Trenton pages of this website.

Details about the Petticoat Bridge Skirmish and the Battle of Iron Works hill can be found in the following contemporary and secondary sources:

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) pages 35 -42

Joseph Galloway, Letters to a Nobleman, on the Conduct of the War in the Middle Colonies (London: Printed for J. Wilkie, No. 71, St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1779) pages 53-54
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

Joseph Reed, "General Joseph Reed's Narrative of the Movements of the American Army in the Neighborhood of Trenton in the Winter of 1776-77," published in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, December 1, 1884, page 392
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

Pennsylvania Evening Post, December 24, 1776, reprinted in:
William S. Stryker, editor, Archives of the State of New Jersey, Second Series, Vol. I (Documents Relating to the Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey) (Trenton: John L. Murphy Publishing Company, 1901) page 243
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

William M. Dwyer, The Day is Ours! (New York: Viking Press, 1983) page 213 -217

William S. Stryker The Battles of Trenton and Princeton (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin and Company,1898) pages 73 - 75

Plaque, placed by Captain John Reynolds Chapter, Daughter of the American Revolution

2. ^ 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 42

3. ^   Joseph P. Tustin (December 1979) The Mysterious Widow of the Revolution Gloucester County Historical Society - Quarterly Bulletin Volume 7, Number 2. pg 8
• In this interesting article, Tustin, who had been the editor and translator of Hessian Captain Ewald's diary, examines the identity of the "exceedingly beautiful young widow". He comes to the conclusion that based on the evidence, Betsy Ross was possibly this widow.
The article is recommended to those wishing to learn more about this subject.
Copies of this newsletter (and of all newsletters that have been published by the Society since 1947) can be ordered from the Gloucester County Historical Society for $3. Click here for ordering information on their website.

4. ^  Names, dates, and military information from grave stones and markers in the cemetery

5. ^  Biographical information for Stephan Girard was drawn mainly from:
Henry Atlee Ingram, The Life and Character of Stephen Girard (Philadelphia: 1896)  This book is available to be read at the Internet Archive here
Pages 40-42 are about his time in Mount Holly, and page 43 shows a photo of this house as it looked in 1896. (Looking much the same as it does now)
Page 42 gives the text of the oath of allegiance taken by Girard, "I do hereby certify that Stephen Girard, of the city of Philadelphia, merchant, hath voluntarily taken the oath of allegiance and fidelity, as directed by an act of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, passed the 13th day of June, A.D. 1777. Witness my hand and seal, the 27th day of October, A.D. 1778. " JNO. ORD. No. 1678.

6. ^ Ellen Florian Kratz and Doris Burke , "An Almanac of American Wealth," Fortune Magazine, February 16, 2007
Available to be read at the Fortune Magazine website here
▸ The article explains how the rankings were determined:
"Wealth is relative, and the value of the dollar is far from fixed. So this ranking of American plutocrats measures their total wealth as a fraction of U.S. GDP at their time of death (or for Gates, 2006)."

7. ^ National Register of Historic Places / Inventory - Nomination Form for Mount Holly Historic District
Available as a PDF at the National Park Service website here

8. ^ The following following contemporary documents place the British forces in Mount Holly on June 20 - 22, 1778:

The Kemble Papers - Vol. 1 - 1773 -1789 in Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1883 (New York: New York Historical Society, 1884) pages 596-597
Available to be read at Google Books here
▸ General Clinton's orders for June 20 and 21 are marked "Mount Holly." The orders for the 21st state that they will be marching out of Mount Holly on the following morning (the 22nd).

“To George Washington from Major General Philemon Dickinson, 20 June 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-15-02-0498 [last update: 2015-06-29]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 15, May–June 1778, ed. Edward G. Lengel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, pp. 479–480.

“From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 20 June 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-15-02-0500 [last update: 2015-06-29]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 15, May–June 1778, ed. Edward G. Lengel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, p. 481.

“From George Washington to Major General Benedict Arnold, 21 June 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-15-02-0507 [last update: 2015-06-29]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 15, May–June 1778, ed. Edward G. Lengel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, p. 487.

“To George Washington from Major General Philemon Dickinson, 21 June 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-15-02-0508 [last update: 2015-06-29]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 15, May–June 1778, ed. Edward G. Lengel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, pp. 487–488.

“To George Washington from Major General Philemon Dickinson, 21 June 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-15-02-0509 [last update: 2015-06-29]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 15, May–June 1778, ed. Edward G. Lengel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, pp. 488–489.

“From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 21 June 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-15-02-0512 [last update: 2015-06-29]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 15, May–June 1778, ed. Edward G. Lengel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, p. 490.

“To George Washington from Major General Philemon Dickinson, 22 June 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-15-02-0517 [last update: 2015-06-29]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 15, May–June 1778, ed. Edward G. Lengel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, p. 496.

Henry C. Shinn, The History of Mount Holly (Published by the Mount Holly Herald in 1957 / Reprinted 1998 by Burlington County College, Pemberton, NJ) page 63 states "the Friends meeting house [was] used by the commissary department."

For more information and accompanying source notes about the British and American armies marches to the Battle of Monmouth, see the town pages linked from within the text.

9. ^ Henry C. Shinn, The History of Mount Holly (Published by the Mount Holly Herald in 1957 / Reprinted 1998 by Burlington County College, Pemberton, NJ) page 26 - 28

Contemporary newspaper accounts show that the Court of Admiralty did meet for sessions in Mount Holly several times during the war. Some of the articles mention sessions held at the home of Zachariah Russell. Other refer to sessions held at the property of Isaac Wood. None of the articles mentions the Three Tuns Tavern or Mill Street Hotel. However, Henry C. Shinn states on page 24 of The History of Mount Holly that Isaac Wood may have been the owner of the Three Tuns Tavern at the time.
Reprints of these articles can be found in the following volumes of the Second Series of the Archives of the State of New Jersey:

William S. Stryker, editor, Archives of the State of New Jersey, Second Series, Vol. I (Documents Relating to the Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey) (Trenton: John L. Murphy Publishing Company, 1901) page 529
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

Francis B. Lee, editor, Archives of the State of New Jersey, Second Series, Vol II (Documents Relating to the Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey / Extracts from American Newspapers relating to New Jersey) (Trenton: John L. Murphy Publishing Company, 1906) pages 6, 198, 315 (page 198 does not mention Court of Admiralty, but does refer to "Isaac Wood, inn-keeper in Mount-holly.")
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

William Nelson, editor, Archives of the State of New Jersey, Second Series, Vol IV (Documents Relating to the Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey / Extracts from American Newspapers Relating to New Jersey) (Trenton: State Gazette Publishing Company, 1914) pages 354, 382, 398
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

Austin Scott, Editor, Archives of the State of New Jersey, Second Series, Vol. V. (Trenton, Star Gazette Publishing Company, 1917) pages 36, 122, 292
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

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This website, its text and photographs are © 2009 -2017 Al Frazza. All rights reserved.