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.


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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:

1st Missionary to the Mochican

This Day in History:  John Sergeant was born on an unknown day in 1710.


John Sergeant was the first missionary to the Mochican American Indian Tribe.  “Among his memorable actions, had been enlisting David Brainerd as a fellow-missionary to the Indians.”  He “was an American missionary in Stockbridge (native name was Housatonic), Massachusetts, who converted many of the Mahicans to Christianity. Reverend Sergeant was a graduate of Yale, who became an ordained Puritan minister.”

“The Mahicans (/məˈhiːkən/ or Mohicans /moʊˈhiːkən/) are an Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe, originally settled in the Hudson River Valley (around Albany, New York) and western New England. After 1680, due to conflicts with the Mohawk, many moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Since the 1830s, most descendants of the Mahican are located in Shawano County, Wisconsin, where they formed the federally recognized with the Lenape people and have a 22,000-acre (8,900 ha) reservation.”

We are working on replicating the 1661 Algonquin New Testament.  Check our work out at the following link:




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