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Monday, December 2, 2013

The Obscure Confluence of Place

One of the most intriguing places I have found in my exploration of place, history and the Revolution is Proprietors' Park in Gloucester City, NJ.  It was once known as Gloucester Point Park.  A lot of activity seemed to occur in what is now a relatively obscure spot, though one with outstanding views of the Delaware River, the Walt Whitman Bridge and Philadelphia's distant skyline.

We are looking at a marker that identifies the spot on which stood Huggs Tavern, where Betsy Ross was married.  We are looking at the Delaware River; David C. Munn, in Battles and Skirmishes in New Jersey of the American Revolution, notes several events in this area.  On December 31, 1777, Americans stripped and burned two British ships between here and Philaelphia, just to the north.  Also in this park is a plaque identifying the courthouse's site, and another spot where the proprietors met, and apparently still meet, once a year.  Munn notes that on November 25, 1777, a reconnaissance force under Lafayette exchanged fire with a small British force in Gloucester; some sources refer to this as the Battle of Gloucester. On November 27, having cleared this area of American forces, Cornwallis returned to Philadelphia.

Standing here, we are reminded of the many small cities of New Jersey and paths that crossed--here Betsy Ross and Cornwallis, separated briefly by time.

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