Other NJ News

General Lafayette’s Encampment Remembered 237 Years Later in Hawthorne

Rebecca Cataldi of Arlington, VA, and Vivian Davis of New Milford, NJ, carrying the American and French flags at Lafayette Day in Goffle Brook Park. Credits: A. Wu
Military formation at Goffle Brook Park. Credits: V. Davis
Kimberly Griffin, Vivian Davis, and Sharon Albin portraying military and civilian aspects of 18th Century life. Credits: V. Davis
Crowds of visitors check out the Revolutionary War encampment. Credits: D. Boyd
Firing demonstration with the Brown Bess and Charleville flintlock muskets. Credits: S. Albin
Visitors listen to a talk on military drill. Credits: S. Albin
Revolutionary War soldiers on parade. Credits: S. Albin
Alex Pena as a NJ Continental soldier and Stephen Pellegrini from the French Regiment Bourbonnais talk with visitors. Credits: S. Albin
Visitors check out the encampment held in Goffle Brook Park. Credits: S. Albin
Tom Carton of the 35th Regiment of Foot with his Revolutionary War display. Credits: S. Albin
Political differences are set aside to play a game of draughts (checkers). Credits: V. Davis
Alex Pena of the Passaic County Department of Cultural & Historic Affairs, dressed as a New Jersey Continental soldier, demonstrates the Brown Bess musket. Credits: V. Davis

HAWTHORNE, NJ – With two brigades of the Continental Army’s light infantry, the Marquis de Lafayette encamped in October and November of 1780 in the area of southern Hawthorne, then known as “Wagaraw”.  The Continental army was strategically positioned to monitor British-held New York City, only about 20 miles away.  John Francis Ryerson, a loyalist who had been forced to flee to Canada after rebels confiscated his property, lived in a house which is now Bottagra Restaurant on Wagaraw Road.  It is believed that this was the location of the 23-year-old general’s headquarters during his time in what would later become known as Hawthorne.

The cousin of John Francis Ryerson, John George Ryerson, was opposed to British rule and as such, did not face confiscation by rebel forces during the war.  John George Ryerson’s home, which burned down in 1950, stood in what is now Goffle Brook Park.  Until recently, the monument was a largely overgrown and unmaintained ring of bushes with a graffiti-marred brownstone wall and a neglected bronze plaque.  Today, the bushes which concealed the monument have been removed and a path has been installed.  Now open and visible, the brownstone has been cleaned up and the 65 year-old bronze plaque restored to its proper glory.  The laureled aristocrat is also remembered in Hawthorne by the county avenue which bears his name, stretching the length of the borough north to south, carrying thousands of vehicles each day.

Lafayette, whose full name was the ponderously long Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, was born in southern France to an ancient aristocratic family with a long military tradition.  Taken with the cause of the American colonists, he self-financed his voyage to America to do what he could to help, despite being forbidden from doing so by King Louis XVI.  Lafayette’s familiarity with the English language and his military knowledge—coupled with the offer to serve without pay—gained him a position in the Continental army.  Soon after, he became close with George Washington, whom the young Frenchman came to regard as his “friend and father”. 

Sign Up for E-News

In 1780, Washington established his headquarters at the Dey Mansion (in today’s Wayne), throughout July and again from October 9 - November 27.  During that summer, the light infantry brigades had been created.  With them, Lafayette monitored British activity from northern New Jersey.  Therein the connection with Wagaraw, later Hawthorne, was formed with the legendary French figure from America’s founding story.

In the summer of 2017, Passaic County Director of Cultural and Historic Affairs Kelly Ruffel was approached by the Royal Sussex Society, a historical group dedicated to living history education based in northern New Jersey.  The proposal was to hold a commemoration of the encampment in Goffle Brook Park.  With the county’s support, Sunday, October 22, was billed as a day to commemorate the marquis and the revolutionary soldiers who occupied the borough.

The bright and sunny Sunday morning found two flags fluttering over the verdant stretch at the intersection of Goffle Road and Diamond Bridge.  One was instantly familiar to all who passed it, but this American flag bore only 13 stars, each with six points instead of the usual five.  This flag was known as the Francis Hopkinson flag, named after the New Jersey lawyer, Continental Navy Board official, and later US Congressman, who designed it.  The other flag was white, covered with golden fleur-de-lis, representing the Kingdom of France and wholly different from the red, white, and blue revolutionary tricolor in use today since 1789.  Just south, the athletic fields were busy with 21st Century sports teams, while to the north visitors found themselves in the 18th Century.

From 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. military drills and demonstrations of camp life were ongoing with representations of colonial civilians, New Jersey soldiers of the Continental Army, British grenadiers of the 35th Regiment of Foot, and a French soldier from the Regiment Bourbonnais.  The participants spoke with students from area schools, their teachers, local history buffs, and curious onlookers attracted by the sights from the roads.  Reenactors fired off their muskets to demonstrate the weaponry used at the time, performed the drills used by the militaries during the war, and showed off the uniforms of each of the armies.  The civilian women on hand discussed the lives of women connected with the army and the privations which they endured during the eight-year struggle for independence. 

Tom Carton, 30, from Monroe, New York, came to the encampment dressed and armed as a grenadier from the predominantly Irish 35th Regiment of Foot.  “Lafayette was a major player in the revolution and helped turn the tide for the Americans.  The encampment was an important event in local history, he kept Washington alert to any potential British assaults.”

Carton, donned in a red and orange woolen uniform and clutching a Brown Bess musket, showed off his collection of personal effects which could have been carried by a soldier at the time, from eating utensils to period playing cards.  “I think there was a great turn out.  It was great seeing school groups on a weekend coming out to learn about local history.”

Stephen Pellegrini, 28, wore a white linen uniform of the French Regiment Bourbonnais.  “The biggest significance of France’s contribution to the American Revolution was the fact that they widened the strategic scope of the war from a local rebellion to a global conflict.  The effect of that was to draw out the British Royal Navy which, up to that point, had been decisive in maintaining the viability of the British army.  It also forced Britain to focus on other areas of the empire outside of North America.  While the contribution of the ground forces was important, in terms of numbers it was a token force.  France’s major contributions were financial and strategic.”

Pellegrini conducted musketry firing demonstrations with the New Jersey Continental regulars, filling the air with a crash of flame and cloud of white smoke.  “I think the relationship between Lafayette and Washington was symbolic of the relationship between the US and France itself.  It wasn’t just a revolution, it was a world war which drew supporters from around the world, Lafayette foremost among them.”

Rebecca Cataldi, 36, of Arlington, VA, drove hours to be one of the camp followers at the Passaic County event.  “I think Lafayette is a good symbol of people who helped us win our independence who didn’t really have to. He came of his own volition because he wanted to help us, and I think that sacrifice, and being willing to help people who were struggling halfway around the world is worth remembering today.  I would hope that would help us think about the interconnectedness of the world today, not only with our relationship with France and appreciating what they did to help us win our freedom, but also in thinking about other parts of the world today.  Ways we can support each other and be aware of what is going on, that is what he means to me and I hope he would mean to other people.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Bloomfield Blood Drive Scheduled for 07/19

July 19, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- A Community Blood Drive sponsored by the Bloomfield Health Department and Bloomfield Fire Department will be held on Thursday, July 19th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m..  The Bloodmobile will be parked in front of The Bloomfield Health Department Building located at 1 Municipal Plaza.  

Anyone interested in donating is urged to set up an appointment by clicking ...

Bloomfield Photo Contest will Showcase Talented Photographers’ Works on Township Website, Upcoming Mobile App

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Residents are invited to enter a photography contest, with the winning photographs being displayed on the Bloomfield Township website and upcoming mobile app. The subject of these photos can be any iconic Bloomfield Township buildings, landscapes, or landmarks.

As part of the township’s efforts to improve communications with residents and make public information more ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, July 21, 3:00 PM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Sports, Medicine, and the Opioid Crisis

Education Health & Wellness Sports


Mon, July 23, 4:00 PM

Bellevue Avenue Branch, Upper Montclair

Ants in the Pants: Children’s Author Jolie Della ...



Mon, July 23, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness


Tue, July 24, 2:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Auditorium, Montclair

What’s All That Jazz About? with Shenole Latimer

Arts & Entertainment Education


Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM

Verona Civic Center Square, Verona

Verona Summer Concert Series!

Arts & Entertainment Business & Finance Food & Drink Government


Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

River Barge Park & Marina, Carlstadt

Meadowlands Discovery Sunset Eco-Cruise

Education Green Travel

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter June 25 to July 1, 2018

July 6, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.


6/26/18- Robert Jimenez Age 37 of Paulsboro, NJ-Officers were dispatched to 60 Orange Street (Home Depot) on report of a shoplifter in custody. Mr. Jiminez was observed attempting to leave the store with unpaid merchandise valued at $417.00. He was ...

Newark's North Ward: The Center of the City's Car Culture

July 19, 2018

NEWARK, NJ—It started six years ago with a September car show and family friendly community event on Mt. Prospect Avenue. Today, Thursday evenings at the Mt. Prospect Marketplace feature Cruiser Nights in season. A second car show event in June attracted nearly 100 classic cars and auto enthusiasts of all ages. 

Now, the busy North Ward corridor has become the center of car culture ...

HMH Mountainside Medical Center Breaks Ground on Medical Office Building

MONTCLAIR/GLEN RIDGE, NJ - Construction is underway at the site of the new Mountainside Medical Center Office Building located at Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center.

Starting with a groundbreaking ceremony on July 10, township officials from Montclair and Glen Ridge, joined Mountainside leaders on the grounds of the former School of Nursing location at 1 Bay ...

CAIR-NJ Condemns Fliers Posted in Bridgewater, Surrounding Area by White Supremacist Group Identity Evropa

July 19, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) has condemned the distribution of fliers promoting Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group, in Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and other areas, according to a release Wednesday.

"The promotion of a racist and white supremacist group should not be tolerated in our ...

Residents Taking Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

'Diggin' It' at Belmar's Annual Sandcastle Contest

July 19, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar’s 18th Avenue beach turned into a giant sandbox for the hundreds of participants in Wednesday's 32nd Annual Sandcastle Contest.

As thousands of spectators crowded around to watch the building process unfold on July 18, sand sculptors of all ages took their pails, shovels, spray bottles and other tools — and tricks —  of the trade to create a ...

Belmar: Hub of Fun from Dawn to Dusk on July 18

BELMAR, NJ — From sandcastles to classic cars, Belmar will be hosting two marquee events on Wednesday, July 18.

While the 32nd Annual New Jersey Sandcastle Contest will converge upon the beachfront during the day, Belmar Cruise Night will move onto Main Street in the evening. Here’s a look at each destination event.

Sandcastle Contest: Begins at 8 a.m. at 18th Avenue ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 18, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

Entrepreneurs Continue Bloomfield's Centuries' Old Pioneering Tradition

To the Editor:

The initial patent for the land that would become Bloomfield Township was granted to the English Puritan colonists of Newark, and the area assigned to Essex County in 1675, and Newark Township in 1693. From the 1690s to about the 1720s, much of the northern and eastern land was sold to descendants of New Netherland colonists who had settled Acquackanonk, and the remainder mostly ...

Thursday Movies Continue to the end of July at the Bloomfield Public Library

July 19, 2018 - BLACK PANTHER This American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name is a financial and critical blockbuster! After the death of his father, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T'Challa's resilience as king - and as ...

Monday Movies Continue Through The End of July


Successful businessman Ron Hall (Greg Kinnear) and his wife, Deborah (Renee Zellweger), discover a renewed sense of purpose when they begin to volunteer at a local mission in Fort Worth, Texas. Their lives change forever when they develop an unlikely friendship with Denver Moore (Djimon Hounson), a homeless man who inspires them to save their ...

The Jaffe Briefing - July 19, 2018

TRENTON - Once the state budget is adopted June 30, you'd think the governor gets a break from scrutiny. Unless you are former Gov. Chris Christie, sitting in that beach chair. Or, now, Gov. Phil Murphy, getting wacked for having the players on his Sky Blue FC pro women's soccer team living in alleged squalor. Living in houses with plastic bags for windows, sleeping in bunk ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

July 16, 2018

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)


Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)


If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

The Anatomy of Escape by Mike Blue

The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)


Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive Work-Consume-Die cycle. To most of us, becoming what Blue terms “a ...

The Death of Koko the Gorilla

Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson


Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of Koko, her two gorilla companions, Michael and Ndume, as well as Dr. Patterson for forty ...

Montclair Health Department Offers Free Cancer Clinic to Eligible Essex County Women, Sept. 27

July 20, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ– The Montclair Health Department is offering a Women’s Clinic/Cancer Screening event on Thursday, September 27, at the Montclair Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Avenue, third floor, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

The following will be offered:

Pelvic Examination and PAP Smear testing for early detection of cervical cancer (age 21 and ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...


Mar 9, 1978 - Jul 13, 2018
Christopher J. Barra, Sr., lifelong resident of Bloomfield, passed away on July 13, 2018 at the age ...
Read more
Jun 10, 1983 - Jun 17, 2018
Ryan M. Lucas, 35 Proud Marine Veteran and Nutley Firefighter Ryan M. Lucas, a lifelong ...
Read more