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Fredon, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites
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Revolutionary War New Jersey
Fredon, New Jersey
Muckshaw Ponds

Muckshaw Ponds Preserve
Entrances to the trails are located on Rt. 206, and on Fredon-Springdale Rd.
Map / Directions to the Muckshaw Ponds Preserve

Muckshaw Ponds Preserve Webpage

James Moody

James Moody was a Loyalist who gained great notoriety for the many raids he led in New Jersey. One of most known exploits was a May 27, 1780 attack he and his followers made on the Sussex County Courthouse in Newton to free several prisoners being held there.

A number of legends have developed around Moody, including one that he used a cave at Muckshaw Ponds Preserve as a hiding place. The first known published account mentioning this appeared in 1854. It stated: [1]

"For a short period [Moody] concealed himself in a cavernous retreat among the rocks at the lower extremity of the Muckshaw Pond, about two miles south of the village of Newton. Two or three miles south-west of this spot, on the Pequest river, resided some disaffected persons, who are suspected of having furnished Moody with supplies while he was hidden in the ravines near the Muckshaw."

As is often the case with stories like this, details were added as time went on, making the stories of the cave more elaborate, and adding in tales of Moody hiding gold in the area. [2] Moody's own memoirs, first published in 1783, make no mention of his hiding at Muckshaw Ponds. [3] So it is hard to determine in any detail how much truth is behind tales of Moody hiding in caves at Muckshaw.

Revolutionary War New Jersey

Source Notes:

1. ^ Benjamin Bailey Edsall, Joseph Farrand Tuttle, The First Sussex Centenary: Containing The Addresses Of Benjamin B. Edsall And J. F. Tuttle (Newark: 1854) Page 138

2. ^ For a discussion of the legends surrounding James Moody, including the exaggerated details which have grown around the Muckshaw Ponds story, see:
Susan Burgess Shenstone, So Obstinately Loyal: James Moody, 1744-1809 (Montreal & Kingston, London, Ithaca: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000) Chapter 22 "Legend and Legacy," on pages 303 - 314

3. ^ James Moody: With an Introduction and Notes by Charles I. Bushnell, Narrative of the Exertions and Sufferings of Lieut. James Moody, in Cause of Government Since the Year 1776 (New York: Privately Printed, 1865)
Reprints Moody's original 1783 memoir with an introduction and notes.
Available to be read at the Internet Archive here

Muckshaw Ponds Preserve brochure and trail map, created by the Nature Conservancy, which is available at the information kiosks near the entrances to the trails.