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  • Museum | Monmouth County Historical Association | United States

    Museum Hours at 70 Court St. in Freehold: Wed-Sat 1-4 / at Marlpit Hall in Middletown: Fri-Sun 1-4 / Events Join us at our 49th Annual Garden Party for a Celebration of Our 125th Anniversary! ​ Save the Date for Friday, June 7th, 2024 We'd love to see you there! More details to follow, so please mark your calendars and check back soon for tickets. ​ Happening Now Ever wonder what the MCHA staff has been up to all year? Of course you do! Click the image to view a 15-minute video providing a few highlights from our annual meeting report. Please consider supporting our wonderful organization through the Join and Give section of our menu above. We love the work we do here at MCHA, and we hope you do, too! Explore Explore our museum collections, exhibits, educational materials, research library and historic houses. Exhibits Click image for more details on individual exhibits Visit the Houses Visit the Houses Learn about the houses with select exterior audio tours ​ Library & Archives Research Monmouth County History and Genealogy Library and Archives Open by appointment only eMuseum Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall Explore one of the country's finest regional collections eMuseum Virtual Museum Gallery A Virtual Lecture Series Historically Speaking Historically Speaking: A Virtual Lecture Series Check schedule for upcoming presentations Education Education: K-12 and Lifelong Learners Digital and on-site programs BLOG Blog Check out what the MCHA staff finds interesting! Oral Histories Oral Histories: From local history to our underrepresented communities Hear history told by the fascinating individuals who lived it Monmouth History! Our curriculum-based digital resource was created for high schoolers - but we guarantee you'll learn something new no matter what your age! Objects, images, archival documents, and videos tell many of Monmouth's most fascinating stories! The page is under construction, but you are welcome to see it in progress! Learn more Join our email list for updates! Sign Up Thanks for submitting!

  • The First Inventories of Loyalist Estate

    The First Inventories of Loyalist Estate < Back August 1776 Previous Next

  • First Moves Made to Stop Illegal Trade between Monmouth and British

    First Moves Made to Stop Illegal Trade between Monmouth and British < Back October 1776 Previous Next

  • Caring for the Wounded and Cleaning Up After the Battle of Monmouth

    Heading 4 < Back About the Recipe Previous Next

  • Anglican Reverend Samuel Cooke Flees Shrewsbury

    Anglican Reverend Samuel Cooke Flees Shrewsbury < Back Anglican Reverend Samuel Cooke Flees Shrewsbury Reverend Samuel Cooke was arguably the most influential man in Shrewsbury Township at the start of the Revolutionary period. For a decade, he led the county’s leading Anglican congregations at Shrewsbury and smaller congregations at Middletown and Freehold. He lived in a comfortable home in Shrewsbury immodestly named “the Glebe”. As anti-British agitation swept the colonies, Cooke led the resistance. He wrote that “he prevented any committee from being chosen in Shrewsbury” for a half year. But the winds were blowing against Cooke’s public support of the British government. As sentiments turned against the British, Cooke felt unsafe. He wrote that "he rec'd several threats before he came away, this hastened his departure.” Cooke left for England on May 1775. In his final sermon at Shrewsbury's Christ Church, Cooke alluded to the mixed motivations of Continental leaders in a sermon titled, "The Duty of Mutual Love Enforced by God's Example.” In an apparent swipe at the Continental movement, Cooke warned against following leaders with “secret intentions” and "pretended love.” He urged his congregants to be wary of men “where nothing but self interest is at their bottom." Christ Church, Shrewsbury Cooke’s departure was hastened by a clash with Josiah Holmes. Holmes was a former Magistrate who was stripped of the office by the Governor for showing sympathy for the rioters who closed the county courts in 1770 and 1771. Holmes was a church warden at the Christ Church and he challenged Cooke’s political influence over the congregation. Later in the war, Cooke would write of Holmes, "He broke out, took the lead as a Committeeman, and joining with a few Presbyterians created all the disturbances in his power against me." Cooke had Holmes removed as a Church Warden in 1775, but Holmes remained influential. He returned to the Christ Church after Cooke’s departure. There is little documentation of Cooke’s time in England. He wrote fondly of the Loyalism of his flock in Shrewsbury: “few of them have, indeed, swerved from the path of duty.” He also noted the minority status of Anglicans in Monmouth County: “the congregation of the Church of England is small in comparison to the number of dissenters.” Cooke was known by Philip Van Courtland, one of New York’s wealthiest Loyalists, who referred to him as “the worthy Doctor of Kings” and urged a colleague in England to send Cooke his “sincerest respects.” Cooke returned to America in June 1776. He wrote that “he came home in 1776, hoping that the confusion in the colonies would subside.” Cooke soon learned that returning to Shrewsbury would be dangerous. Instead, he joined the British Army as deputy chaplain to the Brigade of Guards, a British Army unit. Cooke’s family, however, stayed in Shrewsbury. He wrote that he "was compelled to leave behind his large & helpless family, with but slender support.” The family initially owned to two farms – 165 and 50 acres – and two slaves. That did not last. In May 1779, Cooke’s was in the first group Loyalist estates sold in Shrewsbury. His daughter, Mary, was permitted to purchase some of the family estate. But Cooke’s main estate was purchased by his old rival Josiah Holmes who, according to Cooke, “took possession of the Glebe and continues to live in it with his family.” Cooke was not immediately replaced. The minister at Spotswood, William Ayres, attempted to serve the Monmouth County congregations, but the war years were hard on him. A 1785 report on the Episcopal Clergy in New Jersey noted that Ayres was “afflicted with insanity” for much of the war, but had recovered his mental health by 1785. Records from the Christ Church note the assignment of a “Mr. Beach” as Reverend 1782, but it is unclear if this was permanent assignment. The next long term minster was Henry Waddle, appointed in 1787 after serving the church as its “Lay Delegate” in prior years. Waddle was an early leader of the county’s Revolutionary militia, but he soured on military service early in the war and was permitted to weather the war as a non-participant. Cooke stayed in the Army until the end of the war. In 1780, he wrote a letter about the large number of his former Shrewsbury congregants with him in British-held New York. His Loyalist compensation application to the British Government was supported by William Franklin (the last Royal Governor of New Jersey) and Cortland Skinner (the commander of the Loyalist New Jersey Volunteers). This proves that Cooke was on good terms with the most important Loyalists at war’s end. After the war, Cooke settled in New Brunswick, Canada, and was appointed Chaplain to the military garrison at Saint John. In 1786, he became the first rector of the Episcopal Church at Fredericton and in 1791 was named Commissary to the Bishop of Nova Scotia. Reverend Cooke died a few years later. His canoe overset in the St. John River on May 23, 1795. His son, Michael, died while attempting to save his father. Sources : Records of the Shrewsbury Christ Church, Shrewsbury Christ Church; Dennis P. Ryan, "Six Towns: Continuity and Change in Revolutionary New Jersey, 1770-1792" (Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1974) p 167. Ryan, New Jersey's Loyalists (Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1974) p 11; Dennis P. Ryan, "Six Towns: Continuity and Change in Revolutionary New Jersey, 1770-1792" (Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1974) pp. 46-59; United Empire Loyalists, Loyal Directory: http://www.uelac.org/Loyalist-Info ; Monmouth County Historical Association, Vault, Shelf 4, Christ Church (Shrewsbury) - Vestry Book; Leonard Lundin, Cockpit of the Revolution the War for Independence in New Jersey (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950) p 68; Hugh Edward Egerton, The Royal Commission On The Losses And Services Of American Loyalists, 1783-1785 (London: Kessinger, 2010) pp. 35-7. See also Rutgers University Special Collection, Loyalist Compensation of Application of Samuel Cooke, D96, AO 13/108, reel 8; Frederic Parris, "The Case of Rev. Samuel Cooke: Loyalist," Monmouth County Historical Association Newslettervol. 3, May 1975; Gregory Palmer, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution (Westport, Conn.: Meckler, 1984) p 174; Monmouth County Historical Association, Samuel Cooke Papers, sermon #7; Great Britain, Public Record Office, Audit Office, Class 13, Volume 54, folio 633-634; Journals of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the State of New Jersey, 1785-1816, (New York: John Polhemus, 1890), p 34;"Six Towns: Continuity and Change in Revolutionary New Jersey, 1770-1792" (Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1974) pp. 169-76. Ryan, New Jersey's Loyalists (Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1974) p 19; Anglican Church at Shrewsbury, Christ Church, October 7, 1782, Monmouth County Historical Association, Vault, Shelf 4, Christ Church (Shrewsbury) - Vestry Book; Rev. Samuel Cooke's United Empire Loyalist bio: Minister at Shrewsbury before the war; becomes the Rector of the first church of Fredericton, NB after the war -- United Empire Loyalists, Loyal Directory: http://www.uelac.org/Loyalist-Info ; Journals of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the State of New Jersey, 1785-1816, (New York: John Polhemus, 1890), p 112-113. Related Historical Sites : Christ Church Related Articles : #2, #3, #5, #6, #189 More on People in this Article : Samuel Cooke 3, 249; Henry Waddle 11, 27. Previous Next

  • David Forman's Attack on Sandy Hook

    David Forman's Attack on Sandy Hook < Back March 1777 Previous Next

  • Loyalist Estates Inventoried and Rented

    Loyalist Estates Inventoried and Rented < Back July 1777 Previous Next

  • Monmouth Militia Joins Continental Army to Shadow British Army

    Monmouth Militia Joins Continental Army to Shadow British Army < Back June 1777 Previous Next

  • Stafford Township Residents Undermine Pulaski's Legion

    Heading 4 < Back About the Recipe Previous Next

  • Salt Works Begin on the Monmouth Shore

    Salt Works Begin on the Monmouth Shore < Back May 1776 Previous Next

  • British Ship Captures Vessel Near Little Egg Harbor

    British Ship Captures Vessel Near Little Egg Harbor < Back April 1776 Previous Next

  • Committees Form to Resist British Policies

    Committees Form to Resist British Policies < Back June 1774 In most ways, Shrewsbury was Monmouth County’s most important township—the first settled, the most populous, the wealthiest, and the most directly tied into the larger Atlantic trade. It also had the county’s largest Anglican congregation (at Christ Church) and most prominent Loyalist, the Reverend Samuel Cooke of the Christ Church. In 1774, the people of Shrewsbury did not join neighboring townships of Middletown, Freehold and Dover in forming a township committee to lead anti-British dissent—but the pressure to do so would build. On January 2, 1775 an anonymous advertisement went up in Shrewsbury village. It began: "The inhabitants of the town of Shrewsbury are hereby to meet at the house of Josiah Halstead in said Shrewsbury, the 17th of this instant, January, at noon, in order to choose a Committee." The advertisement said that “confirmed slavery or civil war” would result if the people of Shrewsbury did not join the Continental movement. The meeting at Halstead’s tavern (the present-day Allen House) occurred but the attendees chose not to establish a committee. Reverend Cooke recalled that “he prevented any committee from being chosen in Shrewsbury where he lived, by using his influence.” An anonymous account of the meeting further noted: Between thirty and forty of the most respectable freeholders met, and after a few debates on the business of the day, which were carried on with great decency and moderation, it was generally agreed that the appointment of Committees was not only useless, but they would prove disturbing to the peace and quietness which hitherto existed in this township. The decision to not form a committee was noticed in Freehold. On March 6, the Freehold Committee took up the matter and determined to “cut the sacred ties of friendship” with Shrewsbury. The Freehold Committee called for the people of Shrewsbury to vote to form a committee at the town’s annual meeting in May. Shortly after that, a delegation of Freehold citizens went to Shrewsbury, “earnestly requesting they comply with the instructions of the late American Congress in constituting themselves a Committee of Observation.” On March 14, the Freehold Committee formalized the isolation of Shrewsbury from the rest of the county: We esteem to treat them, the said inhabitants of Shrewsbury, as enemies to their King and Country, and deserters from the common cause of true freedom; we will hereafter break off all dealings and communications with them while they continue their opposition. However, the Freehold Committee hoped the isolation would be temporary. “We shall always be pleased to receive them as returning prodigals." The resistance in Shrewsbury soon crumbled. On May 10, a meeting of several township committees in Freehold was also attended by “a number of Gentlemen from the township of Shrewsbury, under the character of Deputies of the Shrewsbury Association, declaring themselves and their constituents desirous of adopting measures of the Continental Congress.” Six days later, this Shrewsbury Association declared: We are desirous to comply with the directions of the County Committee as far the Congress' Association will warrant, and to join the rest of our townships in uniting our force for our just defense and protection, if need be, and it is so required by the Provincial Congress. Finally, on May 27, at the Shrewsbury Township annual meeting (again at Halstead’s tavern), the citizens of Shrewsbury voted to establish a committee “by a great majority.” The Committee would hold its first meeting on June 17. At about this same time, Reverend Samuel Cooke left Shrewsbury. After twenty years as Shrewsbury’s most influential leader, he returned to England. He recorded that “he rec'd several threats before he came away; this hastened his departure.” Sources : Hugh Edward Egerton, The Royal Commission on The Losses And Services Of American Loyalists, 1783-1785 (London: Kessinger, 2010) pp. 35-7. See also Rutgers University Special Collection, Loyalist Compensation of Application of Samuel Cooke, D96, AO 13/108, reel 8; Franklin Ellis, The History of Monmouth County (R.T. Peck: Philadelphia, 1885), p123; Peter Force, American Archives: Consisting of a Collection of Authentick Records, State Papers, Debates, and Letters and Other Notices of Publick Affairs (Washington, DC: U.S. Congress Clerk's Office, 1853), 5th Series, vol. 1, p 1165; Edwin Salter, History of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (Bayonne, NJ: E. Gardner and Sons, 1890) p57; "Proceedings of the Committees of Freehold and Shrewsbury," Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society. 1 st Series, vol. 1 , pp. 189; McMurray Hyde, "James Rivington," Spirit of '76, March 1899, vol. 5, n. 7, p 132; Franklin Ellis, The History of Monmouth County (R.T. Peck: Philadelphia, 1885), p123; Gaillard Hunt, Fragments of Revolutionary History (Brooklyn: Historical Publishing Club, 1892) pp. 110-2; Nathaniel Scudder Manuscript, New York Public Library, Myers Collection, #551; New Jersey Historical Society, Holmes Family Papers, box 5, folder 6; Proceedings of the Committees of Freehold and Shrewsbury, Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, First Series, 1846, pp. 190-1; Shrewsbury Township Committee, Monmouth County Historical Association, Collections Alphabetical, Revolution folder 1. Related Historical Sites : Christ Church ; Halstead’s Tavern ( the Allen House ) Related Articles : #2 ; #4; $5, #6; More on People in this Article : Samuel Cooke #5, #249 Previous Next

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