This year marks 350 years since New Jersey’s birth as an English colony. To celebrate, our gift to you is the latest in our series of state research guides on the Garden State. Here are five things you might not know about New Jersey.
1. Between 1674 and 1702, New Jersey was divided politically between East Jersey and West Jersey, although proprietors of East and West Jersey continued to control first sales of land beyond 1702. They were reunited in 1702 and shared a governor with New York until 1738 when they parted ways and New Jersey got its own governor.
2. New Jersey played a central role in the American Revolution, with nearly 300 significant engagements fought within the state, including battles at Trenton, Princeton, and Monmouth. New Jersey was divided in loyalty and many loyalists fled the state for Canada and England.
3. The state constitution of New Jersey initially granted suffrage to all residents, including unmarried and widowed women, but legislation in 1807 restricted it to free white males.
4. A series of canals and railroads built in New Jersey in the 1820s and 1830s helped facilitate the transportation of coal from Pennsylvania mines to the burgeoning industrial centers in New Jersey and New York City.
5. In 1916, a munitions depot on Black Tom Island exploded after a series of fires were set. The explosion destroyed ammunition bound for Britain and France, shattered windows in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and caused $100,000 damage to the Statue of Liberty. Fortunately it killed fewer than ten people. Years later, it was determined that German agents were behind the explosion.
Want to learn more about the fascinating history of the Garden State and the records that will help you discover your family’s ties to that history? Check out our New Jersey State Research Guide.
We now have guides available for 39 states and Puerto Rico. See the entire list here.