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Elizabeth in Union County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth

 
 
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, January 5, 2020
1. First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth Marker
Inscription.  
The First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth traces its roots to a settlement of English-speaking people who arrived here less than 50 years after the Dutch arrived in Manhattan. During the American Revolution church members contributed mightily to the cause of independence and suffered the harsh impact of war.

This property was part of territory purchased from Native Americans in 1664 by settlers from Connecticut and Long Island. After organizing the first English-speaking church congregation in New Jersey, the settlers built a simple, one-story wooden meeting house on this site. It was used for public business during the week and as a house of worship on Sundays. The first legislature of the New Jersey colony met here on May 25, 1668.

In 1724, the growing Presbyterian Church built a new Georgian-style meeting house here. The Reverend James Caldwell was installed as the minister in March 1762, and he married Hannah Ogden, a direct descendant of one of Elizabethtown’s founders, the next year.

Caldwell was a fierce advocate of independence from Great Britain, and he encouraged many men in the church’s congregation to take
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up arms after the start of the American Revolution. During the war, he served as chaplain of the Third New Jersey Brigade and secured supplies for the Continental Army, often paying for them himself. Patriots called him the Fighting Parson; the British dubbed him the High Priest of the Revolution.

In retribution, the British burned the church to the ground on January 25, 1780, during one of their many raids of Elizabethtown from their base in Staten Island. Caldwell’s wife Hannah was killed during the June 1780 Battle of Connecticut Farms (present day Union), an event portrayed in the Union County seal. In November 1781 Caldwell was shot and murdered by an American soldier thought to have been bribed by Tories.

The church building that stands before you was completed in 1793. After the end of the American Revolution, the surrounding community recovered from the ravages of war. Many of its residents had been killed in battle, and several homes had been ransacked and damaged by the British in many skirmishes and raids. Residents who had been loyal to the British Crown had fled to Canada and Great Britain.
 
Erected 2019 by Crossroads of the American Revolution.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionColonial EraWar, US Revolutionary.
 
Location.
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, January 5, 2020
2. First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth Marker
40° 39.756′ N, 74° 12.911′ W. Marker is in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in Union County. Marker is on Broad Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elizabeth NJ 07201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Elizabeth Presbyterian Church (a few steps from this marker); Colonial Church (a few steps from this marker); Old Borough Court House (within shouting distance of this marker); Patriotic Dead (within shouting distance of this marker); Revolutionary Cannon (within shouting distance of this marker); First Presbyterian Church Burial Grounds and Elizabethtown Academy (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Site of Princeton University (about 300 feet away); Old Academy (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elizabeth.
 
More about this marker. The left side of the marker contains a map showing the locations of other related sites. These include: 1) First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth / Burial grounds / Elizabethtown Academy site; 2) Boxwood Hall; 3) Belcher-Ogden Mansion; 4) Liberty Hall; 5) Connecticut Farms Presbyterian Church; and 6) Caldwell Parsonage.
 
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, January 5, 2020
3. First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth Marker
The church can be seen behind the marker.
Marker in Elizabeth image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, January 5, 2020
4. Marker in Elizabeth
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, January 5, 2020
5. First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 5, 2020, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 338 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 5, 2020, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.

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Apr. 22, 2024