December 14, 1776. The British were having their way with the freedom fighters in and around Hunterdon and Mercer County. Cornet (the British equivalent of a 2nd Lieutenant) Francis Geary unit, the Queen’s 16th Light Dragoons (infantry) had just captured General Charles Lee, the second highest general in the Continental Army two days earlier while the general was in a tavern 3 miles from his troops in the area now known as Basking Ridge and returned to their encampment just outside of Trenton in a town now called Pennington. Geary, whose rank was attributed to his wealthy father, the highly respected British Admiral, Sir Francis Geary, led a “column” of eight redcoats to raid a warehouse for its guns and food supplies. On their return down what is now Rt. 31 in Ringoes, Captain John Schenck (pronounced “Skank”), his cousin, also named John Schenck, two other men from the Schenck family and four other men ambushed the Redcoats. The only casualty was the commanding office Cornet Geary. The other soldiers retreated to the woods with the body of their Cornet and buried him in a shallow grave. Upon their return to their encampment, the other British soldiers account of the skirmish was such that the British and Hessian forces decided to stay in Pennington. Bad call. Many of the durham boats that General Washington would use for the Christmas night attack on General Cornwallis’s troops were moored in the area north of Trenton and Pennington but south of where Geary had died. The lack of knowledge of these boats and General Washington’s audacious Christmas 1776 crossing of the Delaware River is recognized as the turning point in the Revolutionary War.
But, back to Francis Geary. Geary’s commanding officer, General Bergone, wrote the Admiral to ask if the Admiral would like for the General to retrieve the body. The Admiral replied that he would rather his son remain where he gave his last measure in the service of the crown. As such the cornet was left behind. The two rocks that marked the grave in the woods remained for over a century. In the mid to later 1800s the Hunterdon historic society started researching the tale. In the process, they were able to contact both the decendents of both Francis Geary (who still lived in their estate in England) and a formal memorial was established. In the 1990s the surrounding land was developed into a housing tract but the grave and memorial were preserved.
While the monument honors Francis Geary, it really reminds us that the fate of our nation may truly rest on the deeds of a bunch of Schnecks.
Parking is at 40.45382 N 74.85620 W
Cache is a lock-&-lock located at 40.45514 N 74.85620 W
There is a ball compass for the FTF.
There are 3 Travel objects in the initial set: K4HGCX (Little Stinker) MM2BV2 (A Piece of Paradise) and OCRDHQ (MSTzilla Foxy Goose Coin).