Or, in this case, at the corner, as Ivan discovered on a ridge of the Watchung Mountains in Long Hill. Sitting rather innocuously near the intersection of Long Hill Road and Pleasant Plains Road was this plaque on a rock:
So, what's the story?
The Watchungs were strategically crucial during the Revolution, as General George Washington chose the protection of the triple-ridged mountain chain for part or all of four winters during the conflict. Whether he was encamped at Middlebrook in Somerset County or in Morristown, the altitude and safety of the mountains allowed him to keep an eye on the British troop movements across the eastern New Jersey lowlands while guarding the local area and protecting himself from potential kidnap raids.
|Ivan points out the fine view of the first ridge |
of the Watchungs, to the east of Long Hill.
The beacons were used several times to call out the militia to ward off the British, including the June 1780 battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield. They served their purpose: while the Redcoats made several raids in the eastern lowlands, they were never able to reach the Watchungs or Washington.
After the war, the signals were mostly forgotten, only a few commemorated with markers, leaving us to wonder exactly where they were located. Papers belonging to Governor William Livingston identified the men responsible for lighting some of the Somerset County beacons, leading historians to wonder if those signals were located on or near those patriots' homes. If that theory holds true, the Long Hill beacon may have been the responsibility of Morris County Militia Colonel Cornelius Ludlow, who lived in the home just across Pleasant Plains Road from the marker Ivan found.
In any case, we've got a new quest on our hands: finding 22 New Jersey beacon sites. Have you seen them, and if so, where?
* Or, for true Revolutionary War trivia lovers, Sybil Ludington.