Friday, September 18, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Colonies: New Jersey

The coast of present-day New Jersey was first explored by Henry Hudson. The western part of New Jersey was part of New Sweden from 1638 until 1655. The rest was part of New Netherland. The Dutch took over New Sweden in 1655. The British gained control in 1664.

Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley became proprietors of the colony and appointed Philip Carteret to oversee their colony. Berkeley eventually sold his interest to the Quakers in 1673. The colony was subsequently divided into East and West Jersey. The border was marked by the present-day boundaries of Monmouth, Burlington, Mercer, Ocean, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties. East Jersey lay to the north and east of the border.

The Dutch and Quakers figured prominently in Jersey's settlement, especially along the Delaware River in West Jersey. East Jersey was far more English.

After the fall of New York in 1776, Washington led the remnants of his tattered army across the Jerseys and the Delaware into Pennsylvania. On Christmas night the Continentals went back across the river to stage a surprise attack on the Hessian garrison stationed at Trenton. The first American victory came in West Jersey. Local patriots had helped supply Washington with the boats used in the Delaware Crossing and prevented those boat from falling into British hands. During the winter campaign, Jersey militiamen were instrumental in aggravating the British. Citizens not inclined to take military action, still would help the cause by hiding their livestock from British foraging parties.  

Family connections: Prall, Whittaker, Rittenhouse, Howell, Baker, Ballinger, Harding and a handful of others.

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