New Book Offers Unique View Of The History Of Perth Amboy

MIDDLESEX COUNTY – The Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission has been honored with a First Prize Award for its publication, The Lost Histories of Perth AmboySupplying British Troops on the Eve of the American Revolution and The Destruction and Reconstruction of Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church.

The award was presented by the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey at its membership meeting on June 1, as part of its 2012 Kevin M. Hale Annual Publications Awards. The awards are in recognition of distinguished achievement for publications that were produced in 2012.

“I commend the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission for making this important part of American history available to our residents,” said Freeholder Charles E. Tomaro, chair of the county’s Business Development and Education Committee. “This award is a testament to the quality of their work.”

The Lost Histories of Perth Amboy was written by staff historians of the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission and contains 40 full-color pages of text, old maps, photographs, engravings and images of documents from the 1700s. The book tells of the hardships endured by the residents of Perth Amboy, who were forced to house British soldiers in their homes and the efforts to rebuild St. Peter’s Church after the American Revolution, because of the damage incurred during the war.

The story of how this book came about is as fascinating as its contents.

In the autumn of 2005, a librarian on staff at the Perth Amboy Public Library was looking through an old file cabinet in the basement. As she leafed through the file folders, a large, thick, bundle of papers caught her eye. She placed the contents on a nearby table and was surprised at what she saw. The first document was an original letter, scribbled in brown ink, written on dark yellow paper. Astonishingly, the date read “Perth Amboy, August 24, 1766.” The librarian had stumbled across a collection of approximately 100 primary documents — lost until that day.

The Lost Histories of Perth Amboy was made possible through a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, and is offered free of charge. Residents are encouraged to call the Commission at 732-745-4489 to reserve a copy or email to with your name and address. Persons with hearing disabilities may dial 732.745.3888 (TTY) or 711, the New Jersey Relay Service. Only a limited number have been printed so please, only one per family.

Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said: “Middlesex County has a wealth of history and culture and it is our responsibility as elected officials to ensure that that history is celebrated and preserved. Congratulations to the Cultural and Heritage Commission for helping us do that at an award-winning level.”

Also recognized were two community organizations whose publications were funded by a grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission. The Woodbridge Historic Preservation Commission won second prize for its Pamphlet, Historic Walking Tour of Woodbridge, Volume IV, Sewaren: Down by the Seashore. The Jewish Historical Society of Central Jersey won Second Prize for its Brochure, Tsars, Stalin, Perestroika and Jewish Grandmothers: Jewish Immigrants to Central New Jersey from the Former Soviet Union.

All Award winners were funded by the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

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