William Stives

I was a free Black person who fought for everyone’s freedom in the Revolution.

I enlisted for the duration of the war as a fifer in the 3rd New Jersey Regiment. I endured the terrible winter of ’77-’78 at the Valley Forge encampment. When summer came, we crossed the Delaware River and camped out in northeastern Hopewell Township, NJ for several days. I decided that one day I would try to make my home there. On June 28, we fought the British all day, in horrendous heat, at the great battle at Monmouth.

In the summer of 1779, my regiment participated in a campaign led by General John Sullivan against the Iroquois Indians, primarily in New York State. That winter we lived in log huts at Jockey Hollow at another frigid encampment outside Morristown, and that spring I fought in the Battle of Springfield. In 1781, I participated in the victory at Yorktown.

After my service, I married Catherine Vanois in 1789 and together we raised ten children. In 1791 I achieved my dream of owning a home when I purchased farmland in the Sourland Mountains of Amwell Township, Hunterdon County.

I lived a long life and died at 82 on August 24, 1839. I’m proud that my obituary states that my “deportment in private life was well worthy of imitation, both as a man and a Christian.”

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