Today in New Jersey History – February 28

Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the only signer captured by the English, died at his home in 1781 the result of his imprisonment. His jailing and ill-treatment caused the Continental Congress to authorize George Washington to look into this matter.(Journal of the Continental Congress, 7:12-13; a letter from John Hancock to Washington on this matter is also available.) (English atrocities against Americans were well-known occurrences. Witness this speech by Sen. Edward Kennedy and this entry – Prisoners of War – from the Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington. We have access to Washington’s letters to and fro with General William Howe, the English commander, re: prisoners and their treatment.) Other biographical information on Stockton can be found: Signers of the Declaration (National Parks Service); Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present; About Stockton (Stockton College, NJ); Richard Stockton (Princeton Companion); and Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol.5: 693-94.

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