Millstone, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites
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Millstone during the Revolutionary War
(Burned by the British in October 1779)
Burned Courthouse Site
Millstone, New Jersey
Burned Somerset County Courthouse Monument
13 South River St.
Map / Directions to the Burned Courthouse Site

Map / Directions to all Millstone Revolutionary War Sites

This monument sits on the property of a private residence.
Please respect the privacy and property of the owners.

In front of this house on South River St. is a boulder monument to mark the site of the second Somerset County courthouse. Built in 1738, the courthouse was burned in October 1779 by Tory Raiders under Lt. Col. John Simcoe of the Queen's Rangers. [1]

A newspaper article that appeared several days later in The New York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury gave the following account of the event.
(Note that New York City was occupied at this time by the British, and so the article is written from the pro-British point of view. It makes a hero out of Simcoe, refers to the American soldiers as "the Rebels," and disrespectfully refers to "Mr. Washington's Army" rather than "General Washington's Army.")

"On Thursday Morning last, about 2 o'clock, the Queen's Rangers, with the Cavalry belonging to that Regiment, and ten Light-Horse, under the Command of Capt. Stewart, who are stationed on Staten-Island, landed at Amboy, and proceeded as far as Bonam-Town, when the Foot [soldiers] returned to Amboy, and the Cavalry, amounting to 70, commanded by Col. Simcoe, advanced to Bound-Brook, where they destroyed 18 large flat-bottomed Boats, and some Stores; they then proceeded to Somerset Court House, 28 Miles from Amboy, released the Loyalists confined, set Fire to it, and destroyed a large Quantity of Forage and Stores, collected for Mr. Washington's Army.

"On their Return on the South Side of the [Raritan River], within two Miles of Brunswick, in a Piece of Woods they were fired upon by a large body of Rebels, who lay in Ambush; the Cavalry immediately charged and dispersed the Rebels, — but Col. Simcoe having in the Charge his Horse shot under him, in the Fall received a Bruise, which stunned him, and his gallant Party thinking him killed, left him on the Field, approached to Brunswick on the Hill near the Barracks, they discovered 170 Rebels drawn up to receive them; these were also immediately charged and defeated, with great Slaughter. Among the killed we are informed, was a Rebel Major, named Edgar, a Captain Voorhies, and another Captain besides many other Officers. — The Party then proceeded on the Road towards South-Amboy, and several Miles from Brunswick they joined the Foot, who had passed over to South-Amboy. In this Excursion near thirty Prisoners were taken; The whole Loss sustained by this Enterprize, is one Man killed and 4 taken besides the brave Colonel Simcoe who we hear is now a Prisoner at Brunswick." [2]

Revolutionary War Sites in Millstone NJ
Hillsborough Reformed  Church
Millstone, New Jersey

Hillsborough Reformed Church and Cemetery
1 Amwell Rd.
Map / Directions to the Hillsborough Reformed Church

Map / Directions to all Millstone Revolutionary War Sites

The original  church building that stood here was heavily damaged in 1777, when British troops burned it. It was repaired in 1779. During the war, it was used as a hospital by both the British and the Americans at different times. The original church stood here until 1828, when it was replaced by the much larger church structure that is here today. [3]

The church's cemetery contains the grave of Isaac Van Cleefe, who served as a corporal in the Somerset County Militia during the Revolutionary War. He died June 30, 1804, at age 61. [4]

Hillsborough Reformed Church Cemetary
Millstone, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites
Millstone NJ historic sites

Source Notes:

1. ^ The plaque on the boulder states, "Tablet was set up by the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Jersey, The Society of Sons of the Revolution in the State of New Jersey, The Somerset County Historical Society, 1911"
There is some disagreement as to the specific date of the burning. The boulder plaque gives the date as October 26. Some books state it was October 27.
However, the article from The New York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury quoted in the entry is dated October 30 and appeared in the newspaper on November 1st. The article states that the events described occurred "On Thursday Morning last". In 1779, Thursday fell on October 28th, not the 26th or 27th.

2. ^ The New York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, No. 1463, November 1, 1779, as reprinted in:
William Nelson, editor Archives of the State of New Jersey, Second Series, Vol III (Documents Relating to the Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey / Extracts from American Newspapers relating to New Jersey) (Trenton , John L. Murphy Publishing Company, 1906) p.719-720
Available to be read at Google Books here

3. ^ Hillsborough Reformed Church at Millstone website

4. ^ Information drawn from:
 • Gravestone and markers in the cemetery
 • William S. Stryker, Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War (Trenton; Wm. T. Nicholson & Co., 1872)  pages 478
Available to be read at Google Books here

Website Researched, Written, Photographed and Designed by Al Frazza
This website, its text and photographs are © 2009 -2015 Al Frazza. All rights reserved.