Sam Patch? He jumped over Niagara Falls. Thomas Nast? He originated both the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant. Cornelia Hancock? She disobeyed orders and became a heroine at Gettysburg. William Allen? He brought every clock in America into agreement on the same day. Dr. Jonathan Pitney? He was a physician who founded Atlantic City.
All had one common characteristic: all claimed New Jersey as home. All of them appeared, too, in John T. Cunningham's widely-circulated newspaper column - "Tercentenary Tales" - that has been a highlight of New Jersey's Tercentenary celebration.
Here are true tales of New Jersey men and women who once dominated their areas, then dropped into the footnotes and finally-in most cases-faded into obscurity. These are the tales of both the great and the small, the cautious and the foolish, the heroes and the baseball players.
Mr. Cunningham's interests range a broad spectrum. He tells with equal verve the story of Elizabeth Haddon, the Quaker miss who determinedly followed her heart to America, and the tale of the Rutgers and Princeton men who battled in America's first football game. He brings to life the whalers of old Cape May, the strawberry pickers of Bergen, the shingle miners of Dennis Creek. He recalls the days of wampum making, the heroes and villains of the Revolution and the Civil War and the railroad titans who were joined in "The Great Frog War."
This volume has something for every reader. For those interested in good reading, Mr. Cunningham's fast-moving tales admirably fit the bill. For those intent mainly on historical accuracy, each chapter has been meticulously researched. For those who also like their books to be eye-catching, artist Homer Hill has added handsome definition to Mr. Cunning-ham's skillfully-handled words.
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