Author and historian Robert A. Mayers, in his March 5 program at the Dey Mansion, “Hub of the Revolution—Pompton and the Preakness Valley,” provided insight into a vital but forgotten chapter in New Jersey’s history as the “Crossroads of the Revolution.”
In an online essay that coincided with his presentation, Mayers wrote that “when historians refer to New Jersey as the ‘Crossroads of the Revolution,’ this area (Pompton) was truly the hub; all the significant events of the period radiate out from here.” (Pompton during the Revolutionary War days was the region that encompasses today’s towns of Wayne, Pompton Plains, Totowa and Pequannock.)
During a phone interview following his March 5 program, Mayers lamented that the Pompton hub and its historic importance has been overlooked in the Garden State’s Revolutionary War chronicles. As such, he looks to educate those who attend his lectures.
In the summer of 1781, Pompton became the strategic staging area for the Continental Army preparing for the final, decisive battle against British troops in Yorktown, VA. Led by General George Washington and General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau—the senior commander of the French forces allied with Washington—troops made their way south through New Jersey, where they eventually would meet in a showdown with British General Charles Cornwallis. Outnumbered and surrounded, and with supplies exhausted, Cornwallis surrendered in Yorktown on Oct. 19, 1781.