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.
Archive for Today in New Jersey History
The New Jersey Historical Society was founded on this day in 1845; the charter members numbered seventeen and one of the posts was for a librarian.((Proceedings, 1(1845):2)) Housed in Newark, this repository of state history contains thousands of objects: manuscripts, photographs, maps, and archival collections. In addition to publishing the Proceedings, the Society also was responsible for the Collections of the New Jersey Historical Society; Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey; various other monographs; and New Jersey History, a periodical now being published by Rutgers University and freely available online.
On this day in 1763, William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, became the last royal governor of New Jersey. Appointed by George III, he earned a reputation as an able administrator, but his espousal of the Loyalist cause put him at odds with the state’s populace as well as causing an irreparable breach with his father with whom he never reconciled. Volumes 9 and 10 of Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New Jersey contain writings generated during his tenure as governor. Additional information can be found at: The Franklin Institute and the American Philosophical Society. Letters from Benjamin Franklin to his son are found here.
On this day in 1811, Charles Stewart Boggs was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He entered the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1826 and served until he retired as a rear admiral in 1872; he died in New Brunswick in 1888. He served in both the Mexican War and the Civil War, earning distinction in the latter conflict on the Mississippi at the Battle of Forts Jackson and St Philip that led to the surrender of New Orleans. The USS Boggs is named in his honor. Biographical information is available: USS Naval Historical Center; The records of living officers of the U.S. navy & Marine corps : compiled from official sources, 3d ed, rev, 1878; Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, series 1: volume 18 (deals with the aforementioned battle); Dewey and Other Naval Commanders (1899); and The New-York Tribune (his obituary).