Penns Grove, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites
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Revolutionary War in Penns Grove New Jersey
Helms Cove Tavern
Helms Cove Tavern
24 East Maple St.
Map / Directions to Helms Cove Tavern

This house is a private residence.
Please respect the privacy and property of the owners.

A naval battle occurred on the Delaware River on May 8 and 9, 1776. Two British warships, the Roebuck and the Liverpool, fought over a dozen smaller American ships. Most of the American vessels were a type called row galleys, because they were propelled by oars being rowed, rather than sails. [1]  

Job Whitall of Red Bank, located about 20 miles upriver from here, wrote in his diary on May 8, "I heard a cannonading with the rowgallies & a manawar or two which lasted three hours or better." [2]
(Job's spelling has been left uncorrected and unmodernized.)

According to legend, Helms Cove Tavern, which stands less than two-tenths of a mile from the Delaware River, was hit by a cannonball from the British ship Roebuck during the battle. The building was built in 1732.

In a 2007 interview, local historian Donna Federanko-Stout stated that, "It was reported that the home bore the mark of the cannonball under the south window of the second story." There are claims that the cannon ball was saved. However, if the cannon ball still exists, its current location is unknown. According to Federanko-Stout, "Some say the ball is somewhere in Maryland after a (Helms descendant) took it there."[3]

Source Notes:

1. ^ Joseph S. Sickler, The History of Salem County New Jersey (Salem NJ: Sunbeam Publishing Company, 1937) Pages 139-140

2. ^ Job Whitall, Transcribed by Florence DeHuff Friel, The Diary of Job Whitall, Gloucester County, 1775-1779 (Woodbury, NJ: Gloucester County Historical Society, 1992) Page 29
 ▸ Note that Job Whitall had more direct contact with the war the following year. The Battle of Red Bank was fought on the Whitall family's property on October 22, 1777, where his parent's house was used afterwards as a hospital.
Also, the Quaker Meeting House in Woodbury, which Job Whitall attended, was occupied by both American militia and British troops during 1777.

3. ^ Thomas A. Bergbauer, "Legend of Penns Grove Tavern is Surrounded by Mystery" Courier-Post, January 19, 2007. 
Available to be read at the Courier-Post website here.

Website Researched, Written, Photographed and Designed by Al Frazza
This website, its text and photographs are © 2009 - 2019 Al Frazza. All rights reserved.