KENILWORTH, NJ – Mayor Anthony DeLuca proclaimed June 7 as “Remembrance of the Battle of Connecticut Farms” in Kenilworth and presented the proclamation to historians Dorothea Krihak and Michael Yesenko at Wednesday night’s Borough Council meeting.
The proclamation is an affirmation that Kenilworth citizens fought in a major battle to protect Gen. George Washington’s headquarters in Morristown by stopping 5,000 British soldiers from launching a surprise attack there on June 7, 1780. It was one of the last major battles fought in the northern colonies during the American Revolutionary War.
On that day, colonists in the area spotted British soldiers marching towards Morristown. Artillery men lit a fire and sounded a cannon on top of Kenilworth’s Beacon Hill to call the country to arms, according to writings by Krihak and Yesenko. The battle lasted for three hours and British cannonballs have been found nearby, they wrote.
At the time, the area that is now Kenilworth and Union was known as Connecticut Farms. The battle was fought from Five Points in Union up to Stuyvesant Avenue, according to Krihak.
“You might not think it, but a major battle was fought here,” DeLuca said. “Our troops walked through here.”
However, Krihak and Yesenko did not discover this information until 2014.
“If people wonder how come it took so long, it’s because our history was buried in the archives of Union Township,” Krihak said.
Additionally, Hannah Caldwell, a mother of nine children in 1780, was shot through her bedroom by a British solder during the Battle of Connecticut Farms. Caldwell is a descendent of two families, the Sayre’s and the Ogden’s, that are still a part of Kenilworth today. Her death is depicted on the Union County Seal.
“I urge our new residents to look into our town,” DeLuca said. “This proclamation is an affirmation of some of our history that people don’t know about.”
The Borough will fly their flags at half-staff on June 7.