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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Perth Amboy in Middlesex County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Bluff: Witness to History

 
 
The Bluff: Witness to History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 24, 2008
1. The Bluff: Witness to History Marker
Inscription. This piece of land has always been called the Bluff, meaning a hill with a broad, steep face. This site’s history suggests another meaning for bluff – to hoodwink.

It was here that a delaying tactic permitted an escape, that a fugitive found protection, that a battle of long ago left a still visible mark. Here, the grandest and most elegant of homes were built overlooking the river and stories told of escape routes.

On September 11, 1776, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge were in a boat being rowed to the Billop House. They had been sent by the Continental Congress to confer with Admiral Lord Howe and his brother, General William Howe. Although this meeting did not stop the war, British action was delayed while Washington and his troops escaped to New Jersey after the disastrous battle of Long Island.

This watercolor by Baroness Hyde de Neuville shows Perth Amboy and Staten Island on July 28, 1809. The steamboat is the Raritan, built by Robert Fulton in 1808 to carry passengers and cargo between New York and New Brunswick. The large house on the opposite shore is the Billop House, while in the background are the Navesink Hills of Monmouth County.

< Photo Captions: >
In July of 1776, there was an exchange of fire between colonists on the Jersey shore
Marker on the Perth Amboy Waterfront image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 24, 2008
2. Marker on the Perth Amboy Waterfront
This marker is part of the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route.
firing at a British ship anchored in the harbor. The return fire caused damage to tombstones in St. Peter’s Churchyard.
Photograph courtesy Louis P. Boor

“Pleasant View,” the Truxton House c. 1912, is seen at left with beach below the Bluff. On July 22, 1804, Aaron Burr, shortly after he mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton, landed on this beach, seeking help from Commodore Thomas Truxton. The Commodore, observing the Sabbath, insisted Burr spend the entire Sunday in Perth Amboy before seeing him off to Philadelphia in the morning.

Stories of tunnels dug from the elegant homes to the beaches below, allowing secret boat escapes, have been told but never verified. The Truxton House was demolished in 1935.
 
Erected by State of New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry and National Park System.
 
Location. 40° 29.971′ N, 74° 16.195′ W. Marker is in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in Middlesex County. Marker is on Water Street, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is located in a park at the Perth Amboy waterfront. Marker is in this post office area: Perth Amboy NJ 08861, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Water Highway (within shouting distance of this marker); Ambo Point
Raritan Bay & New York Harbor image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 24, 2008
3. Raritan Bay & New York Harbor
This view of the bay was taken from the marker.
(about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Raritan Bay & New York Harbor (about 700 feet away); Kearny Cottage: Historic Home (about 700 feet away); Elizabeth Lawrence (about 800 feet away); Kearny Cottage (about 800 feet away); a different marker also named Kearny Cottage (about 800 feet away); All Shapes, Sizes and Materials (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Perth Amboy.
 
More about this marker. Several pictures appear on the marker. Baroness Hyde de Neuville’s watercolor painting mentioned above is at the top of the marker. The bottom left of the marker contains an illustration of the Perth Amboy waterfront, courtesy of the New York Library. Photos of damaged tombstones in St. Peter’s churchyard and boaters on the waterfront also appear on the marker. Their captions are listed above.
 
Also see . . .  New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route. National Park Service website. (Submitted on December 4, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. Natural FeaturesWar, US Revolutionary
 
St. Peter's Churchyard image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 24, 2008
4. St. Peter's Churchyard
Tombstones in this churchyard, located a few blocks west of the marker, were damaged in July, 1776 by British artillery fired from ships anchored off Staten Island.
Billop House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 24, 2008
5. Billop House
Also called the Conference House, this house was the site of an unsuccessful peace negotiation during the Revolutionary War. It is located across the bay in Staten Island.
Perth Amboy as seen from Staten Island image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, May 24, 2008
6. Perth Amboy as seen from Staten Island
The marker is located at the water's edge near the center of this photo. The steeple of St. Peter's Church can also be seen here.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,123 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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