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Jonathan Hampton (1712 - 1 November 1777) was an American colonial surveyor, merchant, and militia officer involved with New Jersey's frontier fortifications and defenses along the Delaware River during the French and Indian War (1755-1763). In 1755, the Royal Governor Jonathan Belcher and the colonial legislature authorized the construction of stone blockhouse fortifications along the colony's Delaware River frontier to thwart violent incursions by disaffected Native Americans and their French allies as hostilities led to the French and Indian War. These incursions and other hostilities were a continuation of a European conflict between France and England called the Seven Years War. The act authorizing these fortifications also appointed Jonathan Hampton as the victualler and paymaster of a military unit, the New Jersey Frontier Guard, to man these forts. To supply these troops, Hampton built the Military Road linking the provincial capital at Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth) with Morristown and the Delaware River valley (then called the Minisink) in 1756-1757. This road followed Native American trails and became the route of subsequent roads, including the Union Turnpike, and present-day New Jersey Route 10, U.S. Route 206, and County Route 510. The Military Road's western terminus ends at the Old Mine Road, an old road following the Delaware and Neversink River valleys between Esopus (now Kingston) in Ulster County, New York, and the Delaware Water Gap. Hampton established a large headquarters fort, Fort Johns, on the hillside overlooking the "Shapanack Flats" section of the Delaware valley near the Van Campen's Inn in Walpack Township.

Hampton owned many large tracts of land in Sussex County's Paulins Kill valley. Shortly after the creation of the county, Hampton offered several acres from these tracts to the county for the building of a courthouse (built 1762-1765) and a public green. Nearby, he offered tracts for a proposed school, and to the Anglican church for a church and parsonage for the local rector.

Hampton was a freemason, and a Bible donated in 1770 to Saint John's Lodge No. 1, Ancient York Masons in New York City was later used in the inauguration of George Washington, and later in the inaugurations of Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush. Hampton's name and its dedication is inscribed on the front page of the Bible.[1]

Hampton died 1 November 1777 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey allegedly while celebrating news of the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga two weeks earlier.

The Sussex County municipality of Hampton Township was named in his honor.[2]

References[]

  1. Saint John's Lodge No. 1. George Washington Inaugural Bible. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  2. Lurie, Maxine N. Lurie; and Mappen, Mar. "Hampton Township", entry in Encyclopedia of New Jersey, p. 348. Rutgers University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8135-3325-2. Accessed March 13, 2013.

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