PISCATAWAY, NJ – The sounds of the Battle of Quibbletown echoed through Columbus Park on Thurs., July 21 as American Revolutionary War re-enactors fired a 3-pound cannon over the New Market Pond as part of Piscataway’s 350th Anniversary Commemoration celebration.
Township officials and members of the Piscataway Historical and Heritage Society marked the celebration with the dedication of a non-firing replica cannon, “The Grasshopper” that was installed between the waterfalls and the gazebo in the park.
“The cannon represents the rich history our town holds,” said Gabrielle Cahill, Council president and Councilwoman-At Large. “Its revolutionary roots remind us of the role our town played towards freedom.”
Designed by Bill Lodato, a local retired welder, the idea of having a cannon permanently installed in the park was conceived by Jerry Gargiulo, president of the Piscataway Historical and Heritage Society.
“The cannon is a non-working replica of the ones used by both sides during the skirmishes in the early months of 1777 between the American militia and British and Hessian troops,” explained Gargiulo. “Many of these cast iron or bronze cannon were made for the patriots right here in New Jersey at foundries in Oxford and Ringwood to the North, and Allaire and Batsto to the South.”
Councilman Jim Bullard described the importance of the Quibbletown area during the 18th century where the Columbus Park cannon is located.
“One of the first colonial settlements in NJ, the Quibbletown section was made up of a dozen homes, a tavern, an inn, and a stage depot,” he said. “A grist mill used to operate on the waterfalls and Quibbletown was an important stage coach stop on the route between NY and Philadelphia.”
A historical marker placed at the site explains that during the Revolutionary War, British and Hessian troops occupied New Brunswick and would travel along present day New Market Road to the Quibbletown settlement seizing food and supplies from local farmers along the way.
The Battle of Quibbletown occurred February 8, 1777 when the British came under heavy fire by the local militia after one such foray, forcing them to make an escape out of the area after doing battle.
Revolutionary War artillerymen from John Lambs Artillery, a unit of General Washington’s Continental Army, stationed in early 1777 in Morristown and now a re-enactment company, capped off the dedication by firing three ceremonial rounds from their own cannon, one much like the militia who fought there would have used.
“The cannon is dedicated to the brave Americans who fought here during 1777, and to all of our military, past, present and to come, for keeping us safe and free,” concluded Gargiulo. “This is our permanent 350th birthday gift to the citizens of Piscataway.”
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