Ocean County plans to spend $2.2 million to develop an historic site in Barnegat, where one of the last skirmishes of the American Revolution is said to have taken place in 1782.
The Board of Freeholders introduced the funding ordinance at its meeting last Wednesday. About $2 million would be bonded for various construction projects to restore and enhance Cedar Bridge Tavern, which is now part of the Ocean County Parks System.
The Cedar Bridge Tavern is a historic treasure that offers a unique window into the European experience in the New Jersey Pinelands. From about 1740, a saw mill existed on the nearby branch of the Wading River and the town grew around the intersection of a major east/west thoroughfare and a southern route to reach Egg Harbor and Tuckerton. Eventually, two taverns in this hamlet served the travelers, hunters and rural region. Historic maps from about 1750 show Pettit’s or Cedar Bridge as a named place on state and wider regional maps. A rich collection of traveler and academic references speak to the importance of this long overlooked community.
On December 27, 1782, after searching for the notorious Captain John Bacon, Captain Richard Shreve of Burlington County Light Horse and Captain Edward Thomas of the Mansfield militia stopped with their men to refresh themselves at a nearby tavern. Bacon and his band of Loyalists surprised the Burlington militia and blocked their escape. As the militia gained the advantage, they were fired upon unexpectedly by a party of locals, who came to the aid and provided a diversion that allowed Bacon to escape. Among the Patriots, one was killed and four wounded. Four Loyalists were also wounded, including Captain Bacon.
The Cedar Bridge Tavern of Barnegat, NJ is on both the New Jersey and National registers of historic places.
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