This Week in New Jersey History...
- 1757 A 350 man force of New Jersey and New York Provincial troops left Fort William Henry on a reconnaissance in force. At Sabbath Day Point on Lake George they were surrounded and ambushed by the French and Indians. The provincials panicked, losing 160 men killed or drowned and many of the remainder captured. It was reported that Ottawa warriors subsequently dined on at least one unfortunate Jerseyman.
- 1768 A burglar broke into the Perth Amboy home of Stephen Skinner, the treasurer of East New Jersey, and made off with the treasury, some $6750, causing a governmental crisis. The crime was never solved, and some subsequently suggested that the treasurer, later a prominent Loyalist during the War for Independence, had indeed burgled himself.
- 1780 General Anthony Wayne led a raid on a Loyalist blockhouse at Bull's Ferry, now part of Hackensack. Although they outnumbered the enemy considerably, Wayne's men failed to take the blockhouse, and were only able to capture some cattle.
- 1862 During a rally to promote recruiting in Orange during the Civil War, speaker Cortlandt Parker, the Essex County prosecutor, was heckled by a member of the crowd who called out ''why don't you enlist yourself.''
- 1959 the first nuclear powered merchant ship, the SS Savannah, was christened at Camden.
- 1928 humorist Will Rogers landed in a plane on the drill field at the Sea Girt National Guard Camp, where the governors of New Jersey spent their summer months. Rogers had dinner with Governor A. Harry Moore and the governor's wife before going on to a speaking engagement in Ocean Grove.
- 1766 The New Jersey Medical Society, the first such organization in America, was founded.
- 1923 the Felician Sisters founded Immaculate Conception Normal School in Lodi as a two-year college intended to train nuns for careers as teachers. The school began enrolling laywomen in 1964 and became a four-year degree-granting institution in 1967 under the name Felician College. It has been coeducational since 1986.
- 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt visited New Jersey governor Franklin Murphy at the National Guard Camp at Sea Girt and reviewed the Guardsmen conducting their annual training there. Thousands cheered Roosevelt as his train traveled south and more than ten thousand people flocked to the little seaside town to see the immensely popular president.
- 1868 President Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Atlantic City for a three day visit.
- 1917 The New Jersey National Guard was mobilized for World War I duty at Sea Girt, from where they traveled to Camp McClellan, Alabama. Most New Jersey National Guard units were subsequently assigned to the Twenty-ninth Division, along with National Guardsmen from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, which was organized at McClellan. The old New Jersey state identified units were reorganized and given new federal numerical designations, including the 113th and 114th Infantry Regiments, which still exist in the state's National Guard today.
- 1860 A tornado struck Camden, with winds estimated at 200 miles per hour. It destroyed several small buildings and tore a recently built large factory building near the Cooper River from its foundation. Remarkably, only three people were killed and four injured.
- 1959 Actor Kevin Spacey was born Kevin Fowler in South Orange. The family later moved to California, where Spacey took the maiden name of his paternal grandmother as his stage name.
- 1811 The Martha Furnace iron forge clerk recorded the following in his diary: ''William Rose & his Father both drunk & lying on the crossway. The old woman at home drunk.''
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These are brought to you courtesy of GSL author and Board of Advisers member, Joseph G. Bilby, who with his co-authors, James M. Madden and Harry Ziegler, have written 350 Years of New Jersey History, From Stuyvesant to Sandy (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2013), due out January 28, 2014 and available from local booksellers and chain bookstores, online book vendors including Amazon, and in e-book form for Kindle, Nook and iPad.
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