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Essex County Revolutionary War Project
Sponsored by the Plainfield Public Library
Local History and Special Collections
Coordinator, Mary Ellen Rogan

The goal of this project is to document the men of Essex County and the surrounding areas who were part of the fight for independence in the Central New Jersey area. New Jersey was the site of three major battles, Trenton, Princeton and Monmouth. However, the area that now encompasses Union, Essex, Somerset and Middlesex Counties saw skirmishes and raids from 1776 throughout the war.

Washington and his army escaped to New Jersey after the disastrous Battle of Long Island and used the Central New Jersey area as a base for much of the conflict in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Militia men from Essex, Middlesex, Somerset and Morris counties were called to engage the British as they launched attacks from bases of operations in New York. The area the now encompasses Union County and parts of Middlesex were most vulnerable to these attacks. American prisoners from these skirmishes were often housed in the prison ships and warehouses of the New York area where many died. 

Plainfield and the surrounding area was then part of Essex County, so to create this project it has been necessary to look at records in Essex County. County borders were fluid and so there are many who joined units in neighboring counties with relatives and friends.  Because of this fluidity there will be names listed who were part of companies not entirely from Essex County.

The book The Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War by William S. Stryker was the primary source for the men listed. However, in researching pension records, town and county histories and well as the DAR database other men have been identified and added. This database is not to be considered comprehensive. Many women, older men and persons of color aided in the cause and may not be listed here if their names were not identified in the documents researched. You can access a PDF of a portion of this database here.

We have tried to document these patriots by researching wills, pensions, church records, burial sites, town and county histories as well as family stories, when they appear reliable. It is our hope that this project aids in the understanding of both the history and culture of our area and this important time.

In any endeavor of this type information is always welcome. If you have any additional information on the patriots listed or if you have a patriot not listed, we would be more than happy to hear from you. This has been a labor of love for me and I hope you find it useful.

Check out our 1793 N. J. Militia Project - Essex County project!

Please contact the Local History Department for further details.

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