NEWSLETTER APRIL 2015 BUSY WEEKEND SCHEDULED MAY 2-3
FOR “WEEKEND IN OLD MONMOUTH” PROGRAM Once again the first weekend in May will feature “A Weekend in Old Monmouth” programming and open houses sponsored by the Monmouth County Historical Commission. Over 40 historical sites will be open on Saturday May 2 and Sunday May 3 representing the county’s rich culture and history.
The sites are divided in four tour groupings, northern shore, central shore, southern shore, and western. Monmouth Battlefield State Park, including both the Visitor Center and historic Craig House, are part of the western tour.
More information on sites, locations and hours can be found at the Historical Commission’s website, www. Visitmonmouth.com.
The Friends of Monmouth Battlefield will be participating in the weekend’s events as follows.
CRAIG HOUSE, our historic 1740s farmhouse that witnessed the Battle of Monmouth, will be open Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday from 12-5. It is located on Route 9 at Schibanoff road.
MONMOUTH BATTLEFIELD GIFT SHOP, located at the Park’s Visitor Center at 16 Business Route 33 in Manalapan Township, NJ 07726, will be open Saturday 1-4 and Sunday 1-4.
WALKING TOUR OF THE BATTLEFIELD led by FOMB President David Martin will be given on both Saturday and Sunday. Meet at the
Visitor Center at 1:30 PM. The tour will last about an hour and a half.
BIRD WALK. See the flora and fauna in the Park. Meet at 8 AM at the Visitor Center. Call 732-249-2670 for information and registration.
Take advantage of the weekend’s events to come and see the new Visitor Center if you have not done so yet, and while you are at it visit nearby sites associated with the battle!
OLD TENNENT CHURCH in Tennent. Historic 1750s church that was used as a hospital during the battle of Monmouth. Address is 448 Tennent Road, Manalapan, NJ 07726.
VILLAGE INN in Englishtown may have been used as an American headquarters before and after the battle. Address is 2 Water Street, Englishtown, NJ 07726.
COVENHOVEN HOUSE in Freehold was British General Clinton’s headquarters before the battle of Monmouth. Address is 150 West Main Street, Freehold, NJ 07728.
MONMOUTH COUNTY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION is at 70 Court Street in Freehold, NJ 07728. It has a whole room of battle artifacts plus some important paintings.
HISTORY FAIR TO BE HELD AT
MONMOUTH BATTLEFIELD STATE PARK MAY 9 This year’s eleventh annual “Spirit of the Jerseys” History Fair will be held on Saturday, May 9. We are delighted that it will be held at Monmouth Battlefield State Park, and that we will have a hand in hosting it. Over 200 different historical organizations and sites representing colonial times to the present (including FOMB) will have display and information tables. Hours are 11 AM to 5 PM, rain or shine. There is a small parking fee. Stop by and say hello at our exhibit table and visit our gift shop!!
While you are there, be sure to visit our new museum inside the Park’s Visitor Center.
CRAIG HOUSE OPEN FOR THE SEASON APRIL 12;
WINDOW REPAIR PROJECT STILL ONGOING The historic Craig House, interpreted by volunteers from the Friends, will reopen for the season on Sunday, April 12. Great thanks are owed to Kathy and Eric Doherty for serving as docents and guides at the Craig House. We could not do it without them!
Craig House will be open every Sunday until late November, from 1 to 4 PM each week.
Work is proceeding to replace three damaged windows at the Craig House. The windows were removed for work in December and the replacements are about ready to be installed. At the moment we are awaiting approval for a modification to our original plans. The project is being funded with the aid of a matching grant from the Monmouth County Historical Commission. Hopefully the work will be able to be finished soon.
MISSION STATEMENT AND
NEW FIVE YEAR PLAN APPROVED The Trustees have spent their last three meetings discussing our next five year plan, since our ORFO (Officially Recognized Friends Organization) agreement with the State requires a new operational plan every five years. The text of the plan for the next five years approved by the Trustees at their February meeting is included in its entirety later in this newsletter. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Officers or Trustees.
Here is our Mission Statement:
The Friends of Monmouth Battlefield are dedicated to protecting, preserving and interpreting the military and social history of the Monmouth Campaign of 1778 and the cultural landscapes of both the battlefield and associated sites within a broader geographic area beyond the Park. The preservation and interpretation of the Monmouth Campaign is a vital link in commemorating New Jersey’s role as the Crossroads of the American Revolution.
LIVING HISTORY PROGRAM SET FOR APRIL 18-19
“THE CONTINENTAL ARMY AT MONMOUTH”
Join members of Colonel Walter Scott’s Pennsylvania State Regiment (also known as the 13th Pennsylvania Regiment) for an educational program to take place on the outside grounds at the Visitor center. The soldiers will be performing a variety of activities including drill, musket demonstrations, cooking, and educational talks about the 13th Pennsylvania’s pivotal role in the Battle of Monmouth. The event will be held on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19, from 10 AM to 4 PM, rain or shine, and is free of charge.
This is the one of a number of living history programs by Civil War and Revolutionary soldiers that will be held at the Park this year. All programs are co-sponsored by the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield. They are organized by Park seasonal historian Pete Michel.
Below is a full schedule of the year’s Living History Schedule at the Park. Note: Some dates and events are tentative. For up to date information, read the most current newsletter or call the Park at 732-462-9616.
April 18-19 Revolutionary War event, 10 AM – 4 PM each day
May 9 New Jersey History Fair at the Park
May 30-31 Revolutionary war event, 10 AM – 4 PM each day
June 20-21 Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth
July 4 Participation at event at Buccleuch Mansion in New Brunswick
July 11-12 Civil War event commemorating 14th New Jersey
December 12-13 Civil War event commemorating the 28th New Jersey at the battle of Fredericksburg.
BIRD WALK PLANNED FOR MAY 2 A bird and nature walk on the grounds of the Park will be conducted on Saturday, May 2, by bird enthusiasts Barbara and George Dawson. It will begin at 8 AM from the Visitor Center. Participants should bring good walking shoes and drinking water. The walk will go into the heart of the battlefield, maybe as far as Perrine Hill.
MEMORIAL SERVICE TO BE HELD AT PARK
SUNDAY MAY 24 As we have been doing the past several years, a brief memorial service will be held at the park to honor the soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778. The service will be held this year in front of the Visitor Center at 2 PM on Sunday, May 24.
NEXT GENERAL MEETING WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3
GENERAL CHARLES LEE: DID HE REALLY DESERVE TO
BE COURT MARTIALED FOR MONMOUTH? The next general meeting of the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield will be held at 7 PM on Wednesday, June 3, at the main branch of the Monmouth County Library, located on Symmes Drive, near Route 9, in Manalapan. The program, which will be co-sponsored by the Monmouth County Library System, will consist of a presentation by our President, Dr. David Martin, on the life and career of General Charles Lee. Specific attention will be paid to his important role at the battle of Monmouth. If you have strong feelings about whether he was guilty or not guilty of the charges for which he was put on court martial after the battle, or just what to learn about his controversial role in the battle, come and join us!
The program at our last general meeting, held on March 11, was given by our President, Dr. David Martin, on the topic, “Who WAS Molly Pitcher?” The meeting also commemorated the 80th birthday of the dramatic mural “Molly Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth,” painted by Gerald Foster in 1935. The mural originally hung in the old post office in Freehold, but was later moved, cleaned and relocated in the main branch of the county library (site of the evening’s program). Over 40 people were in attendance at the presentation, which was also co-sponsored by Monmouth County Library.
On March 25 Dr. Martin gave a program for the Monmouth County Historical Association on the topic “Molly Pitcher and Women of the Army." The presentation was held at the auditorium at the Park Visitor Center and had over 30 people in attendance.
REGULAR MONTHLY GUIDED BATTLEFIELD
WALKS CONTINUE TO BE OFFERED Our popular walking tour program, giving guided tours of the battlefield on the first Sunday of every month, continues in full swing now that spring is here and the winter snows are gone (bad weather forced the cancellation of the January and February tours). Tours meet at the Visitor Center at 1:30 the first Sunday of each month.
An additional walking tour will be held at 1:30 PM on Saturday, May 2, as part of the “Weekend in old Monmouth County” programming.
A special walking tour will be given on Sunday, May 10, to visit the troop positions held by both sides during the critical fighting at the Hedgerow line during the middle part of the battle. Orientation will begin at the Visitor Center at 1:30.
The next driving tour will be to visit the battle area east of Freehold. See seldom visited scenes of the morning potion of the battle, including Briar Hill, the East Morass, and the line of Lee’s retreat. It will begin at 1:30 PM at the Visitor Center.
BATTLE REENACTMENT TO BE HELD
WEEKEND OF JUNE 20-21 The annual reenactment of the battle of Monmouth, co-sponsored by FOMB and the State Park, will be held on Saturday June 20 and Sunday June 21. Details will be announced in the next newsletter and will also be posted on our website.
Our annual battle commemoration will be held the following weekend, on June 27 and 28. The schedule will be posted when set on the website; it will be very similar to last year’s, which is given on the website for reference,
GIFT SHOP IN FULL OPERATION;
NO WATER DAMAGE THIS WINTER We are delighted to report that the gift shop did not suffer any water damage last winter. A year ago (February 5, 2014, to be exact) the roof on our new Visitor Center started leaking and the worst leak fell directly into our gift shop, causing over $400 worth of damage. We were nervous, to be honest, every rain and snow storm this winter, and we were glad no additional leaks developed. Unfortunately, there are still a few drainage issues causing water to seep into other parts of the building.
Our gift shop has remained in operation all winter except for three Sundays when the park was closed due to snow storms. Our hours are 1-4 PM every Sunday.
WORK CONTINUES ON LOOSE ENDS
AT NEW VISITOR CENTER Though there were no new roof leaks above the Gift Shop, there are still some drainage issues at the north and south ends of the new Visitor Center building that have not been resolved. Water tends to back up outside and then seep into the hallways. There is also a water issue in the entryway of the older portion of the Visitor Center (in the entranceway to our new library).
The roof tiles above the entry way to the new Visitor Center have finally been all put in place. We are still awaiting delivery of the large ceiling tiles in the main portion of the interior of the Visitor Center.
We are also waiting for water damage done to the ceiling and counter in the gift shop in February 2014 to be repaired.
One thing that has been done is the redoing of the landscaping immediately in front of the new Visitor center entrance. The landscaping installed in May 2014, which looked like a marsh at the beach, has been removed in favor of just plain grass.
One upgrade is that the Friends has recently donated a speaker’s podium for use in the Visitor Center auditorium. It has already seen frequent good use.
We hope these issues will be addressed and completed before our reenactment in June. It is too bad everything was not properly completed before the building was dedicated in June 2013.
FOMB MEMBERSHIP DRIVE CONTINUES;
RECORD MEMBERSHIP LAST YEAR We are pleased to report that last year’s membership in the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield reached a record of 115 individuals and families. The total includes 22 life members, to whom we are particularly grateful.
We thank those of you who have renewed your membership for 2015. You should by now have received your membership card; if you have not received it, please let us know. Current membership for 2015 is at 99 and still growing, with a new record very much in sight.
We are of course still receiving new and renewal memberships for the year 2015. Membership forms are available in previous newsletters and on our website, www.friendsofmonmouth,org. Please sign up if you have not done so yet. Thanks!
WORK ON NEW RESEARCH LIBRARY CONTINUES Good progress is continuing to be made on the new James T. Raleigh
Memorial Research Library that we are setting up at the Park. Most of the books have now been catalogued, thanks to the good work of State Park volunteer Victor Pidermann. In fact, so many books have been processed that we need to purchase six additional bookcases to hold them (thanks to Eric Doherty for helping to put them together!). Soon we will be bringing in a map cabinet to keep the larger maps in. We are pleased to announce that the Park is allowing us use of a large storage closet adjacent to the library area for storage of our organizational files and records. If anyone has any spare four drawer file cabinets that they are not using we could make good use of them.
Hopefully by summer we will have our collection catalog posted on-line at our website. We are not certain yet when the library will be open for research; we still have a fair amount of work to do and need to develop a usage policy. There are also a fair number of books that need to be repaired or treated for mold remediation,
FOMB OFFICERS FOR 2015
(terms expire December 2, 2015) President Dr. David Martin
FOR MORE INFORMATION Our website address is: www.friendsofmonmouth.org SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FOR THIS SPRING April 12 (Sun). Driving tour of the battle area east of Freehold. Visit seldom seen
scenes of the morning potions of the battle (East Morass, Briar Hill, and the
line of Lee’s retreat). Meet at 1:30 PM at the Visitor Center. April 12 (Sun). Craig House opens for the season. It will be open every Sunday from
1 to 4 PM until late November. April 18 (Sat) and April 19 (Sun). Living History Program “The Continental Army
at Monmouth,” presented by members of Colonel Walter Stewart’s
Pennsylvania State Regiment. Visitor Center Grounds, 10 AM to 4 PM each
day, rain or shine. May 2 (Sat). “Weekend in Old Monmouth County”.
Open House at Monmouth Battlefield State Park. Gift shop open 1-4 PM Craig House open 10 AM to 5 PM
Walking tour of the battlefield. Meet at Visitor Center at 1:30 PM.
Bird Walk at 8 AM (meet at Visitor Center). May 3 (Sun). “Weekend in Old Monmouth County”.
Open House at Monmouth Battlefield State Park. Gift shop open 1-4 PM. Craig House open 12 noon to 5 PM.
Walking tour of the battlefield. Meet at Visitor Center at 1:30 PM. May 9 (Sat) “Spirit of New Jersey” History Fair at Monmouth Battlefield State Park,
11 AM to 5 PM. May 10 (Sun). Walking tour, ”Defense of the Hedgerow.” A study of troop positions during the fierce fighting at the hedgerow during the middle part of the battle. Meet at Visitor Center at 1:30 PM
May 24 (Sun). Memorial Day observance at the Park, 2 PM. May 30 (Sat) and May 31 (Sun). Living History Program “The British Army at Monmouth,” presented by the 40th Regiment of Foot, Visitor Center Grounds,
10 Am to 4 PM each day, rain or shine. June 3 (Wed.) General membership meeting 7 PM, Monmouth County Library, Symmes Road. Program on General Charles Lee.
June 7 (Sun). Walking tour of the battlefield (Hedge row and parsonage). Meet at
At Visitor center at 1:30 PM June 14 (Sun.) Driving tour to the Battle of Monmouth Monument Freehold. Meet at Park Visitor Center at 1:30 June 20-21 (Sat-Sun) Annual reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth. June 27-28 (Sat-Sun). 237th Anniversary of the Battle of Monmouth 2015 Membership Application The Revolution in New Jersey had profound meaning. To help keep the past alive, we ask for your commitment in Protecting, Preserving and Historically Interpreting Monmouth Battlefield State Park, a Registered National Historic landmark, and the sites associated with the Monmouth Campaign of 1778.
CIRCLE LEVEL OF MEMBERSHIP Individual $20 Family $30 Senior Individual $5 Senior Family $10 Patron $100 Lifetime $250
Membership benefits include free entry at all Friends’ events and a 10% discount at the Gift Shop. The Friends rely on membership and donations for much of our general operating budget. If you would like to make a donation above the membership dues, we would deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness. The Friends is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization and your donation is fully tax-deductible. Thank you. Donation included in the amount of ______________________
FRIENDS OF MONMOUTH BATTLEFIELD FIVE YEAR PLAN
Approved by Trustees February 2015
The Friends of Monmouth Battlefield, Inc. (FOMB) was formed in 1990 as a 501 (c) (3) not-for profit organization for the purpose of supporting Monmouth Battlefield State Park (the Park) and working to protect, preserve and interpret sites associated with the battle of Monmouth, which was fought on June 28, 1778. FOMB has endured two stressful changes in leadership but still maintains progress in achieving its goals. Though the focus of the group for a number of years narrowed to historical matters, more time and energy has been spent lately on social history and nature/ecology. The last long range plan, drawn up in 2002 by Junelynn Sadlowski and Hara Durkin of Historic Preservation concepts, was overly ambitious and called for, among other goals, aggressive seeking of major grants, participation in major land acquisition schemes, and the establishment of a paid director. This approach has been and continues to be rejected by the group. The current plan is much less ambitious and seeks to continue the programs undertaken the past several years with additional effort put into the programs specified.
No change is being proposed to the current mission statement (see page three). Nor is any change being proposed in the current By Laws. The Board of Trustees is currently set at 9-13 members, which is adequate to get our job done. A major continuing problem is that the bulk of the organization’s work is done by only a handful of Trustees/Officers. The activity level of most current trustees has been good, and additional active trustees have been recruited. Membership has recently increased to over 100, which is a trend that we would like to see continued. However, many members live out of state or are elderly; only a few actively support our activities or attend meetings. A major goal will be to increase both the number of members and the number of active members. The level of monetary contributions by the members when renewing yearly memberships is strong. Our newsletter is good, though not professionally done, and our programs are uniformly excellent. It is frustrating to the Trustees that more people do not attend our programs, though some steps have been made recently in this area. A large part of the problem is that we need to advertise our activities better through local media.
Our website is excellent, well maintained, and up to date. The current meeting schedule of four general meetings and bimonthly Trustee meetings seems adequate.
FOMB is grateful to the Park for the expanded book store and the development of a large research library. However, we still do not have adequate storage for our records or officer space per se, which is supposed to be supplied through our ORFO agreement. The effort to use the building on Park property formerly occupied by Owl Haven literally collapsed in our faces in 2006 when the building developed roof and structural problems and the State was not able to repair them. Consequently the building had to be abandoned. Our records were temporarily stored in the old snack bar area of the Visitor center for several years until that building was demolished in 2012. Though the Park can still provides us with a meeting space and a nice library, we still do not have accessible office or storage space.
FOMB FIVE YEAR PLAN 2015 page two FOMB is delighted to see the erection of a lovely and versatile new Visitor Center, complete with an electric map, an auditorium, and brand new exhibits. We are pleased to have been invited to be part of its planning process. We are happy to see
Interpretive wayside exhibits being erected on the battlefield and are pleased to be supporting the erection of more of them. We are also pleased to continue sponsoring our successful history hike brochures and the descriptive pamphlet of the Craig House. We will continue to support the Park in its efforts to restore the battlefield to battle era appearance. Specifically, we would like to see the view shed improved from Combs Hill to the Hedgerow/Parsonage area. We are pleased to provide the docents who keep the Craig House open to visitors but we are mightily distressed at the building’s continued physical deterioration. We are especially concerned that the Park has not done an architectural evaluation of the building and that a plan of restoration or rehabilitation has not and is not being developed.
As mentioned, we are pleased to see the erection of wayside interpretive displays on the battlefield and the expansion of the trails system. We will gladly assist the Park in developing additional interpretive displays and in developing a full tour road program.
We are also aware of the encroachments being made on the battlefield on all sides: the new housing development to the west, construction on Route 9 to the east, and the possibility of an expanded railroad line going through the center of the Park, not to mention additional developments in Tennent, along Craig road, and along Route 537, particularly at its intersection with Wemrock Road. We will continue to work in every case to defend and protect the integrity of the Park. We do not, however, have any plans for acquiring significant pieces of land for inclusion in the Park, as happened with the Belle Terre property and the easements acquired from the Village Grande at Battleground.
FOMB also has an interest in interpreting the Monmouth campaign outside the confines of the Park proper. We will be working to interpret the battle in areas not included in the Park, as well as sites associated with the Monmouth campaign.
We are pleased to have a full time and cooperative Superintendant at the Park, and to have an active, energetic and supportive new Historian.
FOMB is proud of our recent accomplishments at the Park: the sponsorship (with BRAVO) of the refreshments at the dedication of the new Visitor Center in June 2013; co-sponsorship with the Park each year of a successful battle reenactment and commemoration every June; publication of brochures on the Craig House and two historic walking trails; maintenance of a gift shop at the Visitor Center on Sundays all year; assisting in the development of additional landscaping at the site of the Camp Vredenburg marker; providing docents to keep the Craig House open every Sunday from April to December; a fine schedule of historic programs about the battle; walking tours and interpretive assistance at the Visitor Center. We plan over the next five years to continue these programs, with expansion in the areas indicated, as we continue to assist the Park and help interpret the battle and campaign of Monmouth.
FOMB FIVE YEAR PLAN 2015 page three CONTINUE PROGRAMS
Walking tours of the battlefield. The First Sunday of the month tours have been quite successful, with occasional extra dates and driving tours.
Manning the Gift Shop at the Visitor Center every Sunday 1-4 PM, with additional dates
Maintain and develop our website (freindsofmonmouth.org)
MISSION STATEMENT The Friends of Monmouth Battlefield are dedicated to protecting, preserving and interpreting the military and social history of the Monmouth Campaign of 1778 and the cultural landscapes of both the battlefield and associated sites within a broader geographic area beyond the Park. The preservation and interpretation of the Monmouth Campaign is a vital link in commemorating New Jersey’s role as the Crossroads of the American Revolution.
FOMB FIVE YEAR PLAN page four EXPAND AND IMPROVE PROGRAMS
Secure, maintain and develop a permanent headquarters for FOMB,
including office space and storage space
Help create new walking tours of the battlefield
Produce and print tours of sites outside the Park related to the battle and campaign.
Erect battle and campaign related signage outside the Park, after receiving permission of appropriate towns and townships
Expand the hours and days that the gift shop at the Visitor Center is open
Help set up additional displays at the Visitor Center