The saints of old

WHERE the surest token of wealth and worth, present and future, is the land that one owns, possession of an unsullied title and clear delineation of boundaries are somewhat akin to godliness. Landholding has been construed, historically, as compliance with the injunction in the book of Genesis to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the … More The saints of old

Old Mortality

NO human lives were lost when fire destroyed Edward Stewart’s United States Hotel. But upon the plight of hundreds already dead, the 1844 blaze cast a lurid glow.1 Stewart’s hotel stood upon ground that the first settlers of Newark had early reserved for common use. Thirty years after their arrival, the dimensions and limits of … More Old Mortality

Scot’s Model

THERE’S no second chance to make a first impression, and this had all the makings of an audacious debut. Notices of a new historical society for New Jersey, emanating from the busy pen of its corresponding secretary, had barely reached the meeting rooms of other learned associations around the country. Now they, and the wider … More Scot’s Model

Renaissance man

EAST New Jersey’s seat of government was, in the earliest records, referred to as the Town of Perth, New Perth, Perth Town or Perth tout court before it acquired the surname Ambo or Amboy, from an indigenous word for the locality.1 The first element of the combination linked the settlement to Scotland, a country then … More Renaissance man

The king’s peace

THAT quiet foothold onto which imperial designs projected a future “London of America” enjoyed some modest communion with the city far away on the Thames. The first settlers located their government here, yet its fortunes diminished when the two Jerseys became one province–the Assembly convening now in this capital, now in the other, and the … More The king’s peace

A nest of families

ON a recent Sunday I was a spectator at the arrest of the Governor of New Jersey. Devotees of Perth Amboy history have taken the chief executive into custody regularly since 1976, commemorating Royal Governor William Franklin’s capture two hundred years earlier. These reenactments have never dislodged any incumbent office holders, which is perhaps to … More A nest of families