Read the Book about Historian Al Frazza's creation of this Revolutionary War New Jersey website! Click Here for Details.

West Orange, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites
This website, its text and photographs are © 2009 - 2024 AL Frazza. All rights reserved.


Revolutionary War New Jersey
Tory Corner
Tory Corner Monument
Intersection of Washington St. and Main St.
Map / Directions to the Tory Corner Monument
Map / Directions to all West Orange Revolutionary War sites

During the 1770's, British Loyalists (who were known as Tories) met in this area, and it became known as Tory Corner. A monument at the intersection of Main Street and Washington Street describes: [1]

"Here in the 1770's in this area called Williamstown lived brothers Nathaniel and Benjamin Williams, prosperous farmers and operators of a saw and grist mill. As the Revolution approached, their loyalist views attracted people of similar sentiments who congregated at this intersection and it became known as Tory Corner.

"Mary Williams, wife of Nathaniel, did not accompany her husband to join the King's forces in 1777, but chose to tend the family farm and assist the cause of liberty. She kept and maintained the Williams' property and her community and personal ties were able to withstand the strains of the Revolution."

The Williams farm was located a half mile from the Tory Corner monument, where the Our Lady of Lourdes Church is now. (See next entry.)

Revolutionary War New Jersey
Mary Williams Home Boulder

Site of Mary Williams Home Boulder
179 Eagle Rock Ave. At the West Orange Board of Education building
Map / Directions to the Site of Mary Williams Home Boulder
Map / Directions to all West Orange Revolutionary War sites

A boulder plaque was placed here in 1926 to mark the nearby site of the farmhouse where Mary and Nathaniel Williams lived with their six children. [2] Nathaniel left in 1777 for New York City to side with the British, and he took the two older sons Amos and James. Mary remained at the farm with their four younger children.

The farmhouse that Mary lived in had been built in 1720, and it stood until 1822. At that time, her son Zenas Williams built a new house at the site, which itself lasted until the early 1900s.

Nathaniel died in 1782; he and Amos never saw the house or Mary again, although James and Mary were reunited decades later. Mary died at age 79 July 3, 1816, one day short of the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and is buried in the Old Burying Ground at Orange Presbyterian Church, less than two miles from here.

Unfortunately, the plaque that was placed here in 1926 has been missing since some time in 1974. However, the boulder itself remains, on a small grassy hill in front of the West Orange Board of Education building. The rectangular outline of the plaque is still clearly visible. The text of the plaque read:

"A life consecrated to the cause of American Independence
Mary Williams 
1736 -1816

Maintained her home near this site during the stirring days of the American Revolution, giving freely of her supplies to Washington's troops while her husband Nathaniel, and two sons were with the British forces. Erected in loving memory of this loyal woman by the Mistress Mary Williams Chapter, DAR October 23, 1926"

Revolutionary War New Jersey

Source Notes:

1. ^ Text of Tory Corner Monument, erected by the Charles Edison Fund and the Tory Corner Business Association, dedicated July 4, 1976

2. ^ Information in this entry was drawn from:
Joseph Fagan, Stories of West Orange (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2014) p.11 - 14
 ▸ Portions of this book are available to be read at Google Books. Those interested in more details about the Revolutionary War experiences of Mary, Nathaniel and the Williams family are recommended to read Fagan's book.
These pages also include Fagan's interesting account of a grandfather clock that was owned by Nathaniel and Mary at the time of the Revolutionary War, which was discovered in Illinois in 2008 and made its way back to West Orange.
 ▸ Fagan quotes the text of the missing plaque on page 11. He also shows a photo taken in 1974 while the plaque was still there, where most of the text of the plaque is visible.
 ▸ Joseph Fagan is a West Orange historian who maintains the website. He also hosts a TV show called Discover West Orange, which airs on local cable in West Orange. Episodes of Discover West Orange can be viewed on YouTube here.

Mary's gravestone at the Old Burying Ground at Orange Presbyterian Church reads "In memory of Mary, wife of Nathaniel Williams, who died July 3rd, 1816, in the 80th year of her age," meaning that she was 79 when she died.