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FRIENDS OF MONMOUTH BATTLEFIELD

FRIENDS OF MONMOUTH BATTLEFIELD

NEWSLETTER MARCH 2010

OUR PARK IS STILL OPEN

BUDGET AXE STRIKES HISTORY FAIR FIRST

As you all know, New Jersey, like many states, is in the midst of a mammoth budget crisis. Every day the newspapers are full of plans for cutting expenses or slashing the budget. At the moment, Monmouth Battlefield State Park is still functioning as close to normal as it has been for the past year. The only immediate effect of the budget crunch is that Park Historian Dr. Garry Wheeler Stone has to take a few days of unpaid leave.

Meanwhile, the Park is still understaffed, since retired Park Superintendent Chuck Sary has not been replaced (Inga Gabliks, Superintendent at Allaire State Park, is now charged with overseeing Monmouth also), and the maintenance staff is under strength since Deny Morton was tragically killed by an accident while cutting down a tree in the Park in November. In addition, seasonal interpreter Don Ward is not sure if his position will be renewed when his contract is up. Finally, the historic Craig House has not been open for several years because of lack of staffing.

We are all anxiously awaiting word of Governor Christie’s plan for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on June 30. It is possible that budget cuts may affect the park’s hours and operations, and so jeopardize our planned June events, especially the reenactment. We will keep you posted as to how events progress. We are also anxious to hear the Governor’s budget plans for next year, to learn how they might affect the Park.

The most recent casualty of the state’s budget crunch is the “Spirit of the Jerseys State History Fair,” which has been successfully held for the past six years at Washington Crossing State Park on the first Saturday of May. Each year scores of historical groups from all areas of the state (including the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield) have set up displays and living history exhibitions to educate the public on the different eras of our history. It was a great event to attend, even if it did conflict in recent years with the “Weekend in Monmouth County” program that we have also participated in on the first Saturday and Sunday of May.

Who knows where the budget axe will strike next?

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH PROGRAMMING

FEATURES PRESENTATION AND TOUR

“WHERE WAS MOLLY PITCHER’S WELL?”

TO BE HELD MARCH 24 AND MARCH 28

Our next general meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 24, at 7 P.M. at the main branch of the Monmouth County Library, located on Symmes Drive, near Route 9, in Manalapan. The meeting’s program will consist of a presentation by our own Vice President, Dr. David Martin, on the topic, “Where was Molly Pitcher’s Well?” Over the years no less than eleven different sites have been put forward as the well where Molly got her water. Come and learn the story behind each, and find out which site appears to be the best site based on our current evidence.

As a follow up to this presentation, FOMB President Jim Raleigh will lead a tour of the battlefield on Sunday, March 28. to visit the actual proposed sites of Molly’s well. We will start with an overview at the Visitor Center at 1:30 PM, after which we will drive to the various sites under consideration. The tour will end at the new Molly Pitcher overlook on Perrine’s Hill, which is sometimes hard to find without a guide.

In case you were wondering, the following sites have been suggested over the years as possible sites for Molly’s well (list taken from pages 270-280 of David Martin’s study, A Molly Pitcher Source Book.)

1. Spring in north meadow on the Jasko farm, marked with a stone

lettered “Molly Pitcher’s Spring.”

2. Spring on the property of Charles Willoughby in Freehold Township.

3. The “Railroad Well” on the south side of Route 522.

4. Spring in the barnyard of the Thompson-Taylor farm.

5. Herbert’s Spring, located north of Route 522 and west of the West Morass.

6. Well on the Sutphin farm.

7. Spotswood South brook.

8. Spring on the big ravine on the Perrine Farm,

9. Spotswood North Brook.

10. Well near the Ker house.

11. Well used by Joseph Plum Martin late in the battle.

Sites numbers 1, 5 and 8 all currently have markers claiming to be Molly’s well. The marker at site number 3 disappeared a number of years ago.

This programming is being given in honor of Women’s History month.

PRESIDENTS’ DAY PROGRAMMING

ONLY SLIGHTLY IMPACTED BY

BIG SNOW STORMS

Our annual President’s Day Weekend programming intended to offer two walking tours of the battlefield, a Saturday tour of the ground held by the famous “Black Watch” on the Sutfin farm and a Monday

tour of the historic Hedgerow line and Old Parsonage Farm in the center of the battle area. The walking tours had to be cancelled because of all the snow, which the sledders on Combs’ Hill enjoyed immensely. However, our fearless leader, Jim Raleigh, was undeterred, and switched readily to driving tours of the battlefield instead, He in fact was able to learn something form the tours, as he covered a portion of the north side of the battlefield he had never seen before under such a blanket of snow, which, combine with the fact that there were no leaves on the trees, presented new and enlightening perspective son the terrain and lay of the land.

On Sunday, February 14, President Raleigh gave a program at the Visitor Center, on the role of Black troops in the battle and battlefield area, which engendered a lively discussion.

The Park was able to remain open following the snow storms, but unfortunately the heavy wet snow in the most recent storm brought down a large number of tree limbs and branches, especially on the pine trees. We of the FOMB have offered to help form a work party to remove the fallen limbs, but one cannot be organized until the Park can get a hold of a heavy duty wood chipper.

2010 MEMBERSHIP DRIVE CONTINUES

We extend our thanks to those of you who have already renewed your membership for the year 2010. You should have recently received your membership card. If you have not renewed yet, please take a moment to fill out and return the enclosed membership application for this year. We greatly appreciate the support of our members and patrons. Without you we would not be able to enrich the Park with our programs, tours, and financial support. This will be our last appeal for renewals for the year.

FRIENDS OF MONMOUTH BATTLEFIELD, INC.

PO BOX 122

TENNENT, NJ 07763

BATTLEFIELD TOUR OF THE MORNING

PART OF THE BATTLE TO BE GIVEN

ON SUNDAY, APRIL 18

On Sunday, April 18 we will be offering a driving tour of seldom visited scenes of the morning portion of the battle. The tour will visit the East Morass, Briar Hill, Morgan’s position, and Lee’s line of retreat. Come and learn why all of these sites are critical to the understanding of the battle. Most of them lie to the east of Freehold or are in Freehold Borough itself and so are not within the boundaries of Monmouth Battlefield State Park, which is located to the west of Freehold, basically between Route 9 and the village of Tennent. The tour will begin with a short background presentation at the Visitor Center at 1:30 PM. We will then go by car caravan to Morgan’s position and the remainder of the tour. The tour will be given rain or shine.

FOMB TO MAN PARK VISITOR CENTER
ON “MONMOUTH COUNTY WEEKEND”

ON MAY 1 AND 2

This year there will be a special county wide program to have as many historical sites as possible in Monmouth County open for the weekend on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2. As part of this program the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield will supply interpreters and hand out free battle related brochures at the Visitor Center from 10 AM to 4 PM each day.

BIRD WALK SCHEDULED FOR MAY 9

A new event on this year’s schedule is a series of bird walks to be led by FOMB Trustee and Treasurer George Dawson on Saturday, May 2, 2010. Walks will be led out, starting from the Visitor Center, at 10 AM, 12 noon and 2 PM. The marshes and rolling fields of the battlefield host a wider variety of our feathered friends than you might have thought. Come out and see how many birds you can identify!

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield, Inc. and our programs, please contact President Jim Raleigh at 732-946-4921 (jfraleigh1@aol.com) or Vice President Dr. David Martin at 609-448-6355 (dmartin@peddie.org). Our mailing address is PO Box 122, Tennent, NJ 07763.

DATES SET FOR 2010 REENACTMENT

AND FOR THE COMMEMORATION OF THE 232ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF MONMOUTH

Plans are set to hold next year’s annual reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth on June 19 and 20, 2010. During this reenactment footage will be shot to complete the new video to be shown at the renovated and expanded Visitor Center.

The Friends will sponsor an additional commemoration of the battle on June 26 and 27, 2010, the actual anniversary date of the battle (which was fought on June 28, 1778).

A complete schedule of the events of the reenactment weekend and the anniversary weekend will be sent out in early June.

We will also be sponsoring our annual series of programs on “The Revolutionary War in Monmouth County” in June. Lectures and walking tours will be given at the Park on June 5, June 6, June 13 and July 4, and we will also hold a program at the Monmouth County Library on Wednesday, June 9. A complete schedule of events, speakers and locations will be sent out in May.

FOMB OFFICERS

President James Raleigh

Vice President Dr. David Martin

Secretary Michael Cervini

Treasurer George Dawson

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

(expiration of term in parentheses)

Richard Bellamy (2011) Spotswood, NJ

Paul Bette (2012) New Egypt, NJ

Michael Cervini (2012) Toms River, NJ

George Dawson (2010) New Brunswick, NJ

Walter Kowalsky (2011) Freehold, NJ

Dr. David Martin (2012) East Windsor, NJ

Marilyn Miller (2012) Toms River, NJ

Joe Nemeth (2010) Edison, NJ

Fran Raleigh (2010) Colts Neck, NJ

James Raleigh (2011) Colts Neck, NJ

Peter Wagner (2012) Englishtown, NJ

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

SPRING 2010

(events in bold occur inside the Park)

March 24, 2010 (Wed) General Meeting. Program on “Where was Molly Pitcher’s Well?”

Meeting held at 7 PM at the main branch of the Monmouth

County Library, Symmes Drive, Manalapan.

March 28, 2010 (Sun) Visit the several sites claiming to be Molly Pitcher’s

Well.

Meet at Visitor Center at 1:30 PM for overview.

Drive to the heart of the battlefield to visit the different

spots that have been claimed to be the location of

Molly’s well. Tour will end at the new Molly Pitcher

Overlook on Perrine Hill.

April 18, 2010 (Sun) Driving tour of the battle area east of Freehold.

Meet at Visitor Center at 1:30 PM for overview.

Visit seldom seen scenes of the morning portions of the battle (East Morass, Briar Hill, and the line of Lee’s retreat). Meet at 1:30 PM at the Visitor Center.

May 1, 2010 (Sat) “Weekend in Old Monmouth County”

Open House at Monmouth Battlefield State Park

10 AM to 4 PM

May 2, 2010 (Sun) “Weekend in Old Monmouth County”

Open House at Monmouth Battlefield State Park

‘ 11 AM to 4 PM

May 9, 2010 (Sat) Bird Walk

11 AM to 2 PM

May 15, 2010 (Sat) Civil War School of the Soldier

May 16, 2010 (Sun) Civil War School of the Soldier

May 16, 2010 (Sun) Walking tour of the north side of the battlefield.

Meet at the Visitor Center at 1:30 PM for overview.

Drive to the north side and visit Perrine Hill and the

new Molly Pitcher overlook.

May 20, 2010 (Sun) Memorial Day observance at the Park, 2 PM.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR DAYS IN MONMOUTH COUNTY

FOMB Programs June 5 to July 5, 2010

June 5, 2010 (Sat) Walking tours of seldom seen parts of the Park.

Offered as part of National Trails Day.

10 AM to 2 PM.

June 6, 2010 (Sun) Program: Where did the American army encamp the night before the battle?

Meet at the Visitor Center at 1:30 PM for overview.

Travel by car to the site of Ponolopon bridge in

Monroe Township.

June 9, 2010 (Wed) Program on General Washington’s movements during the Battle of Monmouth. Find out where he was hour by hour.

Meeting held at 7 PM at the main branch of the Monmouth

County Library, Symmes Drive, Manalapan.

June 13, 2010 (Sun) Program on Morgan’s Riflemen.

Meet at the Visitor Center at 1:30 PM.

Travel by car to the site of Hall’s Mills, south of

Freehold.

June 19, 2010 (Sat) Annual reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth

Encampment and programs 10 AM-4 PM.

June 20, 2010 (Sun) Annual reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth

Encampment and programs 10 AM – 3PM.

June 26, 2010 (Sat) 232nd Anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth.

Special programs and tours 10 AM-4 PM.

June 27, 2010 (Sun) 232nd Anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth.

Special programs and tours 11 AM-4PM.

July 4, 2010 (Sun) Program on the Court Martial of General Charles Lee.

Held at 2 PM in the Visitor Center.

July 5, 2010 (Mon) Program on the Court Martial of General Charles Lee.

To be held in New Brunswick. Place and time TBA,

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