Joseph Bloomfield - New Jersey's Fourth Governor
Joseph Bloomfield was born October 18, 1753 in Woodbridge, New
Jersey to a notable English family. His father, the physician
Moses Bloomfield, was a member of the colonial New Jersey Assembly
and later, the Provincial Congress at the start of the Revolutionary
War. During the War, Moses Bloomfield was listed as a surgeon
on May 14th, 1777 of the United
States Hospital, Continental Army .
Joseph studied law at a New Jersey academy until leaving school
to join in the Revolutionary War. While many of his peers, others
of aristocratic heritage and wealth, joined the loyalists, Joseph
served in the Continental Army. Joseph Bloomfield was listed as
a Captain in the Third Battalion, First Establishment on February
9th, 1776. By November 28th of that year, he was listed as a Major
in the Third Battalion, Second Establishment and was Judge Advocate
for the Northern Army. During the winter of 1776-77, he quartered
at the Wick House at Jockey Hollow
near Morristown, New Jersey. He served honorably with the New
Jersey Brigade and other units until he resigned his post on October
29, 1778 to accept civil office.
In 1778, Joseph Bloomfield married Mary McIlvaine settling in
Burlington, New Jersey with their adopted child Joseph McIlvaine,
Mary's cousin. Burlington was the seat of the New Jerseys Provincial
Congress during the revolution.
Joseph Bloomfield was admitted to the bar and after the ratification
of the federal constitution in 1788, he sided with Jeffersonians.
In this decision, he again was in opposition to the landed gentry
who were mainly Federalists. Despite his political leaning, he
strongly supported the Federalists and George Washington, being
an elector for Washington in 1792. During this time he was the
commanding general of the New Jersey Militia and led the state's
military in suppressing the Whiskey Rebellion. In 1797, he joined
the anti-Federalists, later known as the Jeffersonian-Republicans,
amid rumors, which he strongly protested at the time, of his defection
from the Federalists.
correspondence to President Thomas Jefferson written December
In 1801, he was elected the fourth Governor of New Jersey as
a Jeffersonian-Republican. The New
Jersey Constitution of 1776 allowed for election of a Governor
for a one year term. The 1776 Constitution was written in five
days and ratified in forty-eight hours. It was signed only two
days before the American Declaration
of Independence on July 2, 1776. This document's importance
was that it stopped New Jersey from descending into anarchy during
the turbulence of the revolutionary period. This constitution
was in force until 1844 when another constitution for New Jersey
Bloomfield's political ambiguity continued to plague during his
career in government. In 1801, he appointed a Federalist to office,
a republican congressman sarcastically commented that "it
was just like him" to do so. Another said Bloomfield was
susceptible to "Federalist flattery and deception" and
in 1811 "I did not suppose that anyone expected Bloomfield
of belonging to the Republican party from principle".
Joseph Bloomfield was again elected governor in 1803 and served
consecutive terms until he 1812. In 1812, he resigned his governorship
to accept his nomination as brigadier general in the United States
Army on March 24, 1812. He entered into the War of 1812 where
his main task was to supervise the training and organizing the
defenses of New York and Pennsylvania. He retired from military
service at the end of the war in 1815 and retired to his home
in Burlington, New Jersey.
His retirement was short lived as he was elected to the House
of Representatives in 1816 serving two terms until 1820. Joseph
Bloomfield died at home in Burlington in 1823.
Joseph Bloomfield is memorialized today as the namesake of Bloomfield,
New Jersey. The Bloomfield area was settled by Connecticut Puritans
in 1660. It is the site of Bloomfield College established in 1860.
Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of
the United States of America, 1805-1815 TUESDAY, March 24, 1812
of New Jersey
New Jersey Historical Commission. The
Governors of New Jersey 1664-1974: Biographical Essays.
Trenton, NJ, The Commission, 1982. Paul A. Stellhorn and Michael
J. Birkner, Editors.
New Jersey. Adjutant-General's Office. Official
Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary
War. Trenton, NJ, Wm. T. Nicholson & Co., Printers 1872.
"Printed by authority of the Legislature." William S. Stryker,
Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
Mansion Photo Gallery - Photos of the interior
and exterior of Dey Mansion in Wayne, New Jersey
House Photo Gallery - Photos of the interior and
exterior of the Wick House in Morristown, New Jersey
Bloomfield - Revolutionary War leader and New
Jersey's fourth governor
Paterson - Statesman and New Jersey's second governor
St. Clair - General of the Continental Army
New Jersey Constitution - First constitution of
the state of New Jersey
of Northern New Jersey - Historic and other maps
of Northern New Jersey
rt23.com's North Jersey Directory for Museums and Historical
rt23.com's North Jersey Events Calendar
Reader's Companion to American History by Eric Foner (Editor),
John A. Garraty (Editor), Houghton Mifflin,1991
Time, Tempe Wick? by Patricia Lee Gauch, Margot Tomes,
Depicts the indomitable spirit of a young girl, Tempe
Wick, as she saves her beloved horse from the mutinous
soldiers of Jockey Hollow during the American Revolution.
Childrens Book, ages 4-8.