The Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen will be joined by CAR Executive Director Noreen Bodman to formally unveil the first Crossroads of the American Revolution sign in Union County.
CAR is one of the chairman’s initiatives for 2017, in which the overall goal is to raise the public’s awareness of the role the area played in the War for Independence. Plans are already in the works for a re-enactment in June of the Battle of the Short Hills, a long running fight that started in Metuchen and flowed north, with American soldiers retreating through what became known as Bloody Gap, to the west of where this new sign is located.
The first settler of this area was Peter Willcocks, an Englishman who moved here c1736 from Long Island. He built a dam across the Blue Brook to harness the brook’s water to power the saw mill he constructed. Clearing the trees from the surrounding forest, Willcocks produced lumber for settlers developing farms in the surrounding frontier countryside. In the fields created by the removal of trees, the Willcocks family farmed the land for the next century.
Phebe and Peter Willcocks had five children. Among the headstones in the cemetery, a short walk from this sign, is the headstone for John Willcocks, who served in the New Jersey militia. It is believed he was mortally wounded during the retreat of General Washington’s army from Fort Lee and that he died in June of 1776.
The Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area–established by act of Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2006—seeks to promote a greater understanding of Revolutionary-era historical sites and landscapes in New Jersey. To learn more about the Heritage Area, which includes Union County, go to: https://revolutionarynj.org/learn/new-jersey-and-the-revolution/
The new Crossroads signage, which will ultimately be seen at historic sites and along historic trails across the county, is being done in-house by Union County staff.
TIME: 10:30 AM
LOCATION: Deserted Village of Feltville in Watchung Reservation