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About the War for Independence

Revolutionary War | Civil War

With Independence Day approaching, we should pause to remember the wonderful history of East Greenwich. The men and women who lived here during the mid-1700's were representative of those throughout our county -- some supported the American Revolution, some remained loyal to the British government, and still others took no part in supporting either side.

Like other civil wars, the American Revolution asked ordinary people to choose between two extraordinary positions. The Revolution forced competition among colonists' allegiances: to England and the King, to colonial homes and families, and even to religious convictions. All of them risked their lives by the choices they made, and all suffered in some way during the American Revolution. Family relations were strained or severed by differing political positions. Loyalists were often jailed, their property confiscated, and their physical being threatened.

Most of these ordinary people came to their new homeland seeking freedom--religious or otherwise. All of them contributed, in a positive way, to the future of our township and country.

Places of interest in East Greenwich during the American Revolution:
1. The Death of the Fox Tavern and the Mount Royal Inn - both were in existence during the American Revolution, and were gathering places of patriots and Loyalists alike.
2. St. Peter's Episcopal Church on King's Highway - The Revolution split some denominations, notably the Church of England, whose ministers were bound by oath to support the King. Several members of this church were Loyalists whose property was confiscated following the war; other members actively supported the war including Col. Bodo Otto, Jr.
3. Bodo-Otto House on King's Highway- residence of Col. Bodo Otto, Jr., a surgeon who served at Valley Force with General George Washington. This house was partially burned in 1778 by the British during the "Battle of Saunder's Run" that took place nearby.
4. Mantua Creek Bridge - On November 1777 General Cornwallis sent his First Light Infantry over Berkley Road to Sandtown [now Mount Royal] to repair this bridge, which the Americans had previously destroyed in order to stop their progress.
5. Mickleton Monthly Meetinghouse on Kings Highway - although built in 1799 after the American Revolution, Quakers were meeting in Mickleton as early as 1756. Some Quakers were conscientiously convinced that they could, despite the Friends' peace testimony, take up arms against the British, and called themselves "Free Quakers." The majority of Quakers adhered to the denomination's traditional position of pacifism and disowned those members who fought on either side. When the Revolutionary war broke out, the Quakers were mistreated because they wouldn't take sides, even as they raised relief funds to help the wounded from the war. Several Quakers signed or contributed to the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson wrote of the Declaration of Independence, "May it be to the world, what I believe it will be...to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form...restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man...For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them."

To honor our independence, Congress declared July 4 a legal federal holiday in 1941 to celebrate the July 4, 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence.

So have a safe and happy Fourth of July as we celebrate our freedom, our rights, and the creation of the greatest democracy the world has ever seen. Pause to honor and remember all of those who contributed to our present freedom. To their fidelity and courage, even unto death, the world owes much of its priceless heritage of religious liberty and democracy.


A skirmish took place in Mickleton, during the Revolutionary War.

On August 11, 1777, New Jersey Militia Troops under Brigadier General Silas Newcomb were headquartered near the "Crossroads" in Mount Royal [read a letter to him from George Washington].

November 1777, General Cornwallis at Billingsport sent his First Light Infantry over Berkley Road to Sandtown [now Mount Royal] to repair the bridge over Mantua Creek, which the Americans had previously destroyed in order to stop their progress. On November 21st, 1777, the main army crossed the repaired bridge and proceeded north, but the Seventh and Sixty-Third Regiments were left behind to occupy the town; guard the bridge, keep up communications with Billingsport; and to collect cattle.

On March 15, 1778, Colonel Mawhood landed at Billingsport and marched up Salem Creek to Mantua Bridge and on March 16, 1778 fought the militia who retreated to Tomkins Farm where they halted and fought until forced to retreat to the vicinity of Colonel Boddo Otto's residence near Mickleton.This battle, called the Battle of Saunder's Run took place near Dr. Otto's home between British forces under Colonel Nawhood and American forces under Artillery Company Captain Samuel Hugg. During the fight the British burnt the house of Colonel Otto and all of his personal property. The hill beyond the Otto house was known as Saunders Hill, and the stream at the bottom was called Saunders Run. At this battle, Lieutenant-Captain Franklin Davenport commanded 2 pieces of artillery. In the Gloucester County Historical Society there is a cannon ball which was found in a field beyond Saunders Run and which was probably freed by one of his guns.

[external links]

NJGenWeb Genealogy & History Web Site - Gloucester County

The South Jersey Connection to Valley Forge

New Jersey and the Revolution

South Jersey in the Revolution

New Jersey - the Crossroads of the American Revolution

Loyalists in the American Revolution

Battles and Skirmishes of the American Revolution in New Jersey - NJ State Library

See "Genealogical Resources: Revolutionary War"; this site

East Greenwich During the Civil War
& the Underground Railroad

During the Civil War, legend has it that two Mickleton homes were well-known stops on the Underground Railroad. They were the houses at 854 Kings Highway (then owned by the Brown family) and the Bond House at 351 Kings Highway (then owned by the Mickles). Since both families were Quakers, the legend is likely true.

See "Genealogical Resources: Civil War"

African Americans and the Civil War


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