Last night, Monday, December 6, 2010, a couple of history pals and I enjoyed a lecture by Tim McGrath on his new book, John Barry, An American Hero in the AGe of Sail at the Ancient Order of Hibernians Center in National Park, NJ. He was an excellent speaker, charming, great stories, good voice. One of my friends, Loretta Kelly, is the main preservationist working on White Hill in Fieldsboro. Commodore Barry was sheltered there for a brief time when the British were hunting him down. There was also a Tavern on the shore of the Delaware, just below the main house, during that time and Mary Field's husband was on the Committee of Correspondence. He was drowned on the Delaware under suspicious circumstances.
The Continental Navy had to scuttle several ships off the shore by this tavern to keep them from going into the hands of the British. Also, Count Von Donop billeted at White Hill with several of his officers. It is a miracle that Mary Field was able to keep the house from being pillaged and destroyed the way so many other houses of patriots were at the time.
The friend who invited us to this lecture is the acting head of volunteers at the James and Ann Whitall House in Red Bank, National Park. It was kind of him to think of us. Loretta has promised to repay his kindness with a tour of White Hill Mansion in Fieldsboro, perhaps in the spring. It isn't open to the public yet, but she's working on it. They are in the process of the nominations, grants to pay for architectural evaluation, and so on. What a long and arduous process.
It was Loretta who recommended this book to me. She bought it because of its references to White Hill but then she read it because of the great writing style of the author. I'll write back later with a review.