Month: January 2017

This Day in History: January 25th, 1780 the Presbyterian Church was burned at Elizabethtown, New Jersey

“On this day in history, January 25, 1780, the Courthouse and Presbyterian Church are burned in Elizabethtown, New Jersey by the British. Due to its proximity to New York City and Staten Island, the city was the site of numerous skirmishes and events of significance during the war. Elizabethtown sat just across Newark Bay from Staten Island and is just south of Newark, New Jersey. At the time of the Revolution, Elizabethtown was the largest city in New Jersey and its county, Union County, the largest county.

Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth) was a hotbed of patriot activity during the American Revolution. Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence was from Elizabethtown. Elias Boudinot, who was a President of the Continental Congress was also from Elizabethtown. William Livingston was a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress, a brigadier general in the New Jersey militia, New Jersey’s first governor and a signer of the US Constitution. William Burnet, John De Hart and Elias Dayton, all members of the Continental Congress, were also from Elizabethtown.

Staten Island was a primary base of operation for the British army for the entire American Revolution. Many British missions originated from here and it was a primary target for rebel activity. On January 14 and 15, 1780, New Jersey militia had conducted a raid in Staten Island that went bad because the soldiers, who had been instructed to confiscate livestock and military supplies, went on a wild scavenging mission and stole anything of value they could get their hands on. Sixty soldiers from Elizabethtown were captured during the raid.

In response, the British sent a raiding mission into Elizabethtown on January 25th. During the raid, the Presbyterian Church and the Courthouse were destroyed, as well as several private homes. You may wonder why a church was a target for the British. This particular church was pastored by the Rev. James Caldwell, known for his incendiary sermons against the British. 36 officers and numerous non-commissioned officers and privates in the Continental Army came from this church.

Caldwell is the pastor known for yelling out, “Give ’em Watts, boys! Give ’em Watts!,” during the Battle of Springfield, in which the soldiers ran out of wadding for their guns. In response, he gave them a load of hymnals by the famous songwriter Isaac Watts and tore out the pages for wadding. He also served as a chaplain in the Continental Army. Caldwell was so hated by the British that his parsonage was burned down in a raid the year before and both he and his wife were assassinated by the end of 1781.

After the raid in Elizabethtown, the British soldiers went on to Newark, New Jersey where they burned down another patriot filled Presbyterian church, pastored by the Rev. Alexander McWhorter, and McWhorter’s school, Newark Academy.”

Purchase your own copy of the “Give them Watts” hymnal on my web site at the following link:

We also provide extra pages from the Watts Hymnal to use as gun wadding.


Read more:


January 2017 18th Century Bibles Update

We are planning on adding more 18th century replicas to what we already make in 2017.


1735 Psalms:  David Moody has just finished scanning our original 1735 Psalm book.  His scans and the originals arrived in the mail this afternoon.  This Psalms was originally in the back of our original 1734 Book of Common Prayer book.  We intend to add this Psalter to the back of our replica where it should be.  This will give our Book of Common Prayer two Psalm books.  These scans may still need to be cleaned up and then put into MS Published and turned into a printable book.  We hope to have it ready to be printed with the next batch of “Prayer Books” that we bind.  David Moody is also the one that scanned our original 1715 Apocrypha that is inside all of our 1733 Bibles that we currently make.  He has also just scanned another of our original pamphlets; “Some Remarks Upon Mr. Church’s Vindication of Miraculous Powers” dated 1750, by F. Toll, M.A.  It will need the same treatments as the above mentioned Psalm book.



Robert Aitken’s Bible, aka “The Bible of the Revolution”:  Jim Darlack, librarian at Gordon Cromwell Seminary, is scanning and cleaning up Robert Aitken’s 1782 Old Testament.  As you know, I had already scanned and cleaned up Aitken’s 1777 New Testament and his 1781 New Testament and we have been making replicas of both.  Aitken bound the 1781 New Testament with the 1782 Old Testament that Jim is working on.  When Jim finishes his work, we will be able to replicate this entire 1,200+- page 1782 Bible.  We hope to have this finished this year.



John Eliot’s 1663 Algonquin Bible, aka “The first Bible made in America”:  The four Gospel books from Eliot’s 1661 New Testament are scanned cleaned up and we have made a few replicas of them.  Last year, Hunter Willis began work cleaning up the rest of the pages of Eliot’s New Testament.  Cleaning up a book like this that is in an unknown language to us is a slow process, but rewarding.  In addition to this slow work, Hunter has rebuilt our entire web site which was hacked/destroyed last year.  I am unsure if Hunter will be able to finish his work this year or not, but if he does, we will make replicas of this New Testament.  We also have the scans of John Eliot’s 1663 Old Testament.  I am working on getting them in good enough  shape for someone else to clean up.  Eliot, like Aitken, combined his earlier 1661 New Testament with his 1663 Old Testament.  When this New Testament is complete we will make replicas of it until we have the Old Testament ready to print.  At that time, we will replicate Eliot’s entire Bible. 


Pamphlets:  Schuylar Crist continues cleaning up pamphlets.  Some of our pamphlets are not cleaned up very well.  Schuylar cleans up these pages, sends them back to us, then we rebuild the pamphlets in MS Publisher, and they in turn look much better when printed.  He has done this to several of our pamphlets in the past and I’m not sure if there is in end to this work.  We continue to make more new pamphlets.  There will surely be more pamphlets on our “Pamphlet Memory Stick” this year.


 More on Psalms:  Last year we added the 1715 Psalms to the back of our full size 1733 New Testament and the 1720 Sternhold Hopkins Psalms to the back of our pocket size 1733 New Testament.  We also started making the 1640 Bay Psalm Book.  We have been making John Playford’s 1697 Psalm Book for years. In addition to the 1735 Psalm book that David Moody just finished scanning, we have a few more Psalm books ready to go.  We are not sure, but we are thinking about how we can use all of these Psalm books. 



Our web site is still being rebuilt after last year’s hack.  Hunter Willis is spending a great deal of time and effort on it.  Our web address has not changed.  However, we had to open an Etsy page, for the time being, to handle our sales for those wanting to use credit cards.  The following link will take you to where we sell our books, pamphlets, etc.



Book for sale this year:


1640 Bay Psalm Book

1661 Algonquin New Testament?

1697 John Playford’s Psalms & Hymns book

1715 History of ye Old & New Testaments in Cutts

1732 Fox’s Book of Martyrs

1733 Bible

1733 New Testament, pocket size

1733 New Testament, full size

1733 New Testament, modern bound, full size

1734 Book of Common Prayer, full size

1734 Book of Common Prayer, pocket size

1767 Isaac Watts’ Hymnal

1773 Primitive Physic by the Rev. John Wesley

1777 Robert Aitken New Testament

1781 Robert Aitken New Testament

1782 Robert Aitken Bible, aka “The Bible of the Revolution”

1788 A Curious Hieroglyphic Bible…“for Children”

Over 100 period pamphlets and pamphlet memory sticks



We make tackle for fishers of men!



This Day in History: January 21st 1781 Robert Aitken petitioned the Continental Congress

This Day in History:  January 21st 1781 Robert Aitken petitioned the Continental Congress to officially sanction his publication of the first English-language Bible to be printed in America.


The Continental Congress did end up recommending Robert Aitken’s 1782 Bible, aka “The Bible of the Revolution”.  See the first three pages from this Bible below and read their recommendation of Congress for yourself.  I have include the pages of recommendation from an original and these same pages cleaned up and as they appear in our replica of this “Bible of the Revolution”.


We already make replicas of the 1781 Aitken New Testament (the first New Testament, in English, to be made in America) which is the New Testament in the original 1782 “Bible of the Revolution”.


With the help of Jim Darlack, we have made significant progress in our scanning, cleaning up the text, and printing the first prototype of this Old Testament.  With Jesus’ help we will have this entire Bible ready to bind before the end of this year.



In addition, Hunter Willis has started working on our web site for this Bible.  Take a look at what Hunter is building which includes a few photos and information about this soon to be replica at the following link:



The Bible of the Revolution

This is a photo of James Darlack working (scanning and cleaning up) his way through the book of Exodus that will become part of our 1782 Robert Aitken Bible, aka “The Bible of the Revolution”.

Aitken published his first complete Bible in 1782.  This is the first Bible in English to be made in America.  He added this 1782 Old Testament  to his previously printed 1781 New Testaments. I believe that Aitken planned ahead and printed about ten thousand additional New Testaments in 1781 and had them waiting to be bound with the ten thousand Old Testaments that he printed in 1782. You will notice that the 1782 Bible’s New Testament title page is dated 1781, while the Old Testament is dated 1782. This was the only year that the Aitken Bible was made.

The war ended in September 1783 and America was once again flooded with inexpensive Bibles from England. Aitken was stuck with way too many Bibles because he could not get as many into the hands of the soldiers as he had planned.   Aitken was near financial ruin, but the  Presbyterian Synod stepped in and purchased Aitken’s remaining stock and gave them to the poor.

The original Aitken Bible is very rare. The last copy I saw at auction went for about $150,000


PENMANSHIP made easy

This is the title page from a 16 page pamphlet about period Penmanship.  You will find it on our 8 gig memory stick that we sell. That stick has around 100 pamphlets and other things that are ready for you make. You will find this Penmanship Pamphlet in the Education folder on the thumb drive. See the title page below.

If you would like to purchase this Pamphlet Memory Stick, visit our Etsy page at the following link: