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Ridgewood, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites
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Revolutionary War New Jersey
Ridgewood New Jersey
Old Paramus Reformed Church

Ridgewood, New Jersey
Ridgewood, New Jersey in the Revolutionary War

Old Paramus Reformed Church
660 East Glen Ave.
Map / Directions to the Old Paramus Church

Map / Directions to all Ridgewood Revolutionary War Sites

The original Paramus Reformed Church building at this location was built in 1735. During the Revolutionary War, it was used at different times as a Headquarters for General Washington, as a barracks for American troops, as a hospital and as a prison. [1]

From July 10 - 15, 1778, sessions for the Court Martial of General Charles Lee for his behavior at the Battle of Monmouth were held at the church. (Although on the first day, July 10, an insufficient number of members attended, and court was adjourned that day without conducting any of the court-martial). Among those in attendance were General Lord Stirling, who presided at the court-martial, and Colonel Alexander Hamilton, who testified on July 13. [2]

The original church building was replaced in 1800 by the current building. Stones from the original church were used in its construction.[3]  As shown in the above photos, several plaques and markers here pay tribute to the site's history. [4]

There is a small museum on the church property. It is called the Schoolhouse Museum and is located behind the church on East Glen Avenue. The museum features exhibits related to local history, including some items which date to the Revolutionary War era. For more information about the museum and visiting hours, see the Ridgewood Historical Society website.

Revolutionary War New Jersey
Historic Glen Avenue - Ridgewood NJ

Historic Glen Avenue Marker
East Glen Ave. near North Maple St.
Next to the Ridgewood Fire Department.
Map / Directions to the Historic Glen Avenue Marker

Map / Directions to all Ridgewood Revolutionary War Sites

The marker which stands in front of the Ridgewood Fire Department describes the history of Glen Avenue. [5]  During the Revolutionary War, the Avenue was used as a route to the Paramus Church (see above entry).

Before the war, the road was named Franklin Turnpike, in honor of the Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin. William was the son of Benjamin Franklin, and when William remained loyal to Britain, the father and son had a break which they never reconciled. While Franklin was the Governor, his official residence was the Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, which still stands today and is open for tours. He also had a home in Willingboro, which no longer exists, but its site is marked by a historic marker.

Revolutionary War New Jersey
Ridgewood, New Jersey
Ridgewood, New Jersey in the Revolutionary War

Ridgewood, New Jersey
Ridgewood, New Jersey in the Revolutionary War

Abraham Godwin Monument
E. Ridgewood Avenue and Van Neste Square
Ridgewood Municipal Park
Map / Directions to the Abraham Godwin Monument
Map / Directions to all Ridgewood Revolutionary War Sites

This monument in Ridgewood Municipal Park pays tribute to Abraham Godwin, who as a teenager served in the Revolutionary War. Godwin reached the rank of Brigadier General in the New Jersey State Militia decades later. Plaques on the monument tell Abraham's story: [6]

"Brigadier General Abraham Godwin - Soldier, statesman, artist, poet, engraver, musician and gracious host. Born July 16, 1763.

"His career began at the age of thirteen when with his brother David, aged eleven, he left home at Totowa to join Captain Woolverton's Minute Men with the mother's consent. The boys were musicians. Abraham playing a fife, David a drum. Their destination was a station at the corner of Partition and Horse and Cart Streets, New York City, now Fulton and William Streets. There the boys saw their father who had been commissioned Captain of Marines aboard the Lady Washington lying in port.

"Abraham went to Fishkill joining his brother, Captain Henry Godwin's regiment, the Fifth of the Line, January 17, 1777, as a fife major.

"The regiment was ordered to Fort Montgomery to lay the chain across the Hudson River. He was in the Governor's life guard at Schenectady protecting the frontier at Lake Otsego under General Sullivan during the Finger Lakes campaign and at Yorktown, where he witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis to Washington.

"After the war he married, settled in Totowa, now Paterson, and devoted himself to the fine arts, and the pursuit of civil life; was elected to the Legislature 1803-07; rose to rank of Brigadier General New Jersey State Militia; in 1814 marched a company of Paterson volunteers to Sandy Hook, was received with great acclaim and worked on the entrenchments; 1828 nominated for presidential elector on the Jackson ticket.

"January 1st 1829 occurred the great event of interest to this community: its first name was Godwinville in honor of Abraham Godwin. This section covered Paramus, Newtown (Wortendyke), Midland Park, Ridgewood and Glen Rock and was known as Franklin Township.

"Godwin Avenue, formerly Godwinville Road is the only remnant of the honor conferred on him and was much cherished by Abraham Godwin.

"He passed to the greater life 1855."

Revolutionary War New Jersey

Source Notes:

1. ^ The Bergen County Historical Society sign in front of the church, and the History page of the Old Paramus Reformed Church website

• For a letter written by General George Washington while at the church, see:
“From George Washington to Major General Horatio Gates, 11 July 1778,” Founders Online, National Archives ( [last update: 2015-03-20]). Source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 16, 1 July–14 September 1778, ed. David R. Hoth. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006, pp. 54–55.

2. ^ Proceedings of a General Court Martial, Held at Brunswick, in the State of New-Jersey, by order of his Excellency General Washington, Commander in Chief of the Army of the United States of America for the Trial of Major General Lee, July 4th, 1778 (Philadelphia: John Dunlap, 1778) pages 30 - 89
reprinted in Collections of the New York Historical Society for the Year 1873 (New York: 1874)
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

3. ^ The Bergen County Historical Society sign in front of the church, and the History page of the Old Paramus Reformed Church website

4. ^ The three signs shown in the photos:
        • Bergen County Historical Society sign, Erected by the Consistory Body - Old Paramus Reformed Church- 1966 (Top right photo)
        • Placed by the New Jersey Sons of the American Revolution, July 4, 1914 (Bottom left photo)
        • Erected by the Huguenot Society of New Jersey, Inc (Bottom right photo)

5. ^  Sign placed by the Bergen County Historical Society

6. ^ Text from the plaques on the Abraham Godwin Monument, erected by the Village of Ridgewood NJ 1951.