Second River (Belleville/Nutley)
in the American
Includes background and history of
more than 68 American Revolution war veterans buried in Belleville, N.J.
Washington's Retreat Across the
Skirmishes at Second River
Two local men die in battles against British
Revolutionary War Sites in Belleville, N.J.
Belleville's American Revolution War Stories
Col. Philip Van Cortlandt,
'A hero of Battle of Saratoga',
added to roster of veterans buried in
Roster of 68
American Revolution Soldiers Buried in Dutch Reformed Church
Names of Soldiers, Services, Military References
Sources and References
BELLEVILLE SONS HONOR ROLL: Remembering The Men
Who Paid For Our Freedom
Two local men die in separate battles against British
Belleville Son Joseph Hornblower Killed in Action
Private Joseph Hornblower, 21, was killed in action on April 4,
1777, at the Battle of
Quibbletown in central New Jersey, during the
American Revolution. Joseph was born in 1756 in the Hornblower home
adjacent to the old Dutch Reformed Church on what is now Main Street
He was the eldest son of Josiah and Elizabeth Hornblower. His
father, Josiah, assembled the first steam engine in America, served
as Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly during the war and
after the war served in the Continental Congress and worked on the
passage of the U.S. Constitution.
Private Hornblower was one of five American soldiers killed in the
April 4 engagement with the British. Quibbletown is today known as
New Market, a section of
Piscataway Township. Private Hornblower was most likely buried
in an unmarked grave on or near the battlefield as was the practice
at the time.
Thirty-three days after the death of Private Joseph Hornblower, a
new child was born to Elizabeth and Josiah Hornblower. In honor of
their recently killed heroic son, the Hornblowers named the newborn
Joseph adding the middle name of Coerten.
Private Joseph Hornblower's brother
Joseph Coerten would go on to become the long serving and
distinguished Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and
founder of the New Jersey Historical Society.
-- Courtesy Michael Perrone, Belleville Historical Society
Second-River Son Manus Brown Killed
18, of Second River (Spring Garden, Nutley), was killed in action at
Connecticut Farms (Union, N.J.) on June 8, 1780, and is buried in
the Dutch Reformed Church cemetery. The
Belleville Historical Society dedicated a monument
to Private Brown at the old Belleville Dutch Reformed
Church on July 4, 2015.
The Battle of Second River
Cannon on the Second River (Belleville) side of the Passaic River
held back British troops during Washington's retreat in Sept. 12 to
Sept. 14, 1777. Read about the battle of Second River (Belleville)
and the Belleville Historical Society effort to establish a monument
to the first day's battle fought at the Dutch Reformed Church.
Private Benjamin Salter, Eastern Battalion, Morris County Militia,
was killed in action in Belleville in the second day of fighting
during the Battle of Second River on Sept. 14, 1777. Private Salter
would have been buried there in an unmarked grave on or alongside
the battlefield. Eight British soldiers were also killed and buried
in what today is Belleville Park along the Second River.
Originally known as “Second River” or “Washington”, the inhabitants
renamed the settlement “Belleville” in 1797.
The village of Second River (what today is Belleville and Nutley),
included all the land between the Second and Third rivers, or
roughly from present day Mill Street in Belleville to Kingsland Road
at the Nutley-Clifton border. The Dutch Reform Church at what is now
Main Street and Rutgers Street, Belleville, was the spiritual,
political and military center of the community. The village rallied
about 200 militia men to serve in the new republic's army.
Colonel Phillip Van Cortlandt was the commanding officer of the 2nd
Essex Regiment, he was the highest ranking Revolutionary War officer
from Essex County. Van Cortlandt lived on Main Street also and is
buried in the Van Cortlandt crypt in the cemetery at the Dutch
Captain Abraham Speer, was the commander of the local militia unit,
headquartered at the Dutch church. He lived on what is now Chestnut
Street in Nutley. He was the owner/operator of the ferry that
operated in front of the church. Tradition says that his father John
Spear shot and killed a British officer on the North Arlington side
of the river. Spear then crossed the river and took the officers
pocket watch as a souvenir. Both Abraham and John Spear are buried
in the cemetery.
Battle memorial in Belleville Park on Mill Street.
SOLDIERS, SERVICES, MILITARY
For more information, email
Belleville Historical Society