Joseph Borden

1719 – 1791

I was a Patriot whose home got caught in the cross-fire of war.

I was born August 1, 1719, into the family of Joseph and Ann Borden, who had settled in 1717 at a site along the Delaware in New Jersey, across from William Penn’s Pennsbury Manor, which they called Borden’s Town. I married Elizabeth Rogers in 1750 and worked on my father’s boat and stage line that connected New York and Philadelphia.

When Parliament passed the hated Stamp Act in 1765, I was chosen to represent New Jersey at the Stamp Act Congress in New York in October.  We issued, and I signed, a Declaration of Rights and Grievances which clearly stated our belief that Parliament had no right to tax us if we had no representation there. This led to a slogan, “no taxation with representation” which became the rallying cry that led to our declaring independence.

In the 1770s, I served in politics supporting the Revolution, and in the military first as a militia colonel and then as quartermaster and loan officer. I was involved in a plan to blow up British warships on the Delaware by floating explosive wooden kegs downriver at them. While the plan failed, it led to a song called, “The Battle of the Kegs,” which mocked the fear it inspired in the British.

Unfortunately, it also led to the British destroying my home and business buildings in a raid in May 1778. I rebuilt the house and continued to serve throughout the war. I lived in my house in Bordentown until my death in 1791.



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