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The Murder of Hannah Caldwell Virtual Cache

Hidden : 09/05/2017
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   virtual (virtual)

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Geocache Description:

I invite you to visit the site of a murder; a famous murder, a historic murder. Some say that the murder of Hannah Caldwell turned the colonists of New Jersey against the British. Modern experts say that Hannah's spirit still haunts the rooms of the Caldwell Parsonage.

Reverend James Caldwell was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Elizabethtown, NJ during the Revolutionary War. He was known as a firebrand Patriot, and spoke out powerfully against the British. His zeal and popularity made him obnoxious to the Red Coats, and a bounty was placed on his head, and on the heads of his family.

Reverend Caldwell married Hannah Ogden of Newark, NJ in 1763. Together they raised a family at their residence adjacent to the church in Elizabeth. In January 1780, British loyalists burned the church and residence to the ground. The Caldwells had escaped to Springfield, NJ, and then moved into the Connecticut Farms area, in what is now Union, NJ.

On the morning of June 7, 1780, James Caldwell was with the Continental troops in Jockey Hollow (Morristown). Hannah Caldwell, was in the parsonage home with their two youngest children, a four-year old toddler and their sick nine-month old, Maria. Their other seven children had already been moved to a safe place away from the area as the British soldiers were known to be approaching the area. Mrs. Caldwell herself felt no alarm. She had hid several articles of value in a bucket and let it down into the well; and had filled her pockets with silver and jewelry. She saw that the house was put in order, and then dressed herself with care, that should the enemy enter her dwelling, she might, to use her own expression, "receive them as a lady." She then took the infant in her arms, retired to her chamber, the window of which commanded a view of the road, towards which the end of the house stood, and seated herself upon the bed. The alarm was given that the soldiers were at hand. But she felt confidence that no one could have the heart to do injury to the helpless inmates of her house. Again and again she said "They will respect a mother." She had just nursed the infant and given it to the nurse, who was in the room. The girl, Abigail, was standing by the window. A soldier left the road, and crossing a space of ground diagonally to reach the house, came to the window of the room, put his gun close to it, and fired. Two balls entered the breast of Mrs. Caldwell; she fell back on the bed, and in a moment expired. He wore a red coat, and is generally supposed to have been a British soldier. Some have attributed the act to a refugee. The little girl received in her face some of the glass when the two balls entered, both of which took such deadly effect.

After the murder, Mrs. Caldwell's dress was cut open, and her pockets were rifled by the soldiers. Her remains were conveyed to a house on the other side of the road; the dwelling was then fired and reduced to ashes with all the furniture. The ruthless soldiers went on in their work of destruction, pillaging and setting fire to the houses, piling beds and clothing in the street and destroying them, till the village was laid waste.

Public sentiment was instant and galvanizing against the British. Belligerence and resistance to the Crown reached a level not seen before in New Jersey.

Tragically, in November 1781, James Caldwell was shot and killed by an American solider, reportedly bribed by the British. Hannah and James are buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard, 42 Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ. Although not part of this virtual cache, the cemetery is worth a visit. It is only a few dozen feet from the Union County Courthouse.

Perhaps you have never looked at the County Seal, but it depicts the murder of Hannah Caldwell. The only government seal in the US to depict a murder.

With the war over, the Caldwell Parsonage was rebuilt on its original location. It is this building, on this land, where the blood of Hannah Caldwell was spilled in a murderous act. It is at this place I ask you to visit in order to log this virtual cache. The building is now used as the headquarters for the Union Township Historical Society. Tours are available on Saturdays, or by appointment.

Numerous experts in the paranormal have visited and researched this site. Their evidence reveals a strong supernatural presence, which has been depicted on several television broadcasts.

To log this cache:

1. Go to the large marker in the front lawn. Email the CO the four digit year in which the plaque was erected.

2. One of the trees on the property is identified by a species. Email the name of this tree to me.

3. On what date was the museum dedicated? There is a sign on the right front wall.

4. (Optional) Take a photo of yourself at the site, (do not reveal any of the answers in your photo)

There is no need to walk around the left or right side of the property. All answers can be viewed from the front or the walkway to the entrance.

Virtual Reward - 2017/2018 This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.

Additional Hints (No hints available.)