Stockton served eight years in the New Jersey Executive Council prior to the Revolutionary War. He was commissioned to make an official report on the state of the Army at Ticonderoga. He wrote that the New Jersey soldiers were “marching with cheerfulness, but a great part of the men are bare-footed and bare-legged. There is not a single shoe or stocking to be had in this part of the world, or I would ride a hundred miles through the wilderness and purchase them with my own money.” 1
This hero of the American Revolution was obliged to move his family from Princeton, as the British Army followed Washington’s retreat to Philadelphia. He was, however, discovered by the Tories, who confined him to a New York jail, where he was badly treated, without adequate food or heat. After Congress’ appeal and Washington’s warning, he was finally freed, but his physical condition having deteriorated, he never recovered vigor.2
His home, “Morven,” had been invaded by the British, his library, documents and furnishings burned, his portrait disfigured and his farm destroyed. Unable to regain strength, his friends provided for the bare necessities of his family. Broken health brought about his death, prior to the final surrender of the British in Yorktown, October 19, 1781.3
Richard Stockton stands out as the embodiment of the Declaration of Independence, which he signed and defended – “…and for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance upon the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
Chosen to represent New Jersey as their greatest hero in the U.S. Capitol “Hall of Fame,” Richard Stockton’s marble statue adorns Statuary Hall – the old House of Representatives Chamber, together with other States’ greatest heroes.
To learn more, click here. (Founders’ Book)
Official Documentation. Architect of the Capitol, Washington, D.C.