February 9

This Day in History

American Revolution

Feb 9, 1776:

Future New Jersey governor is promoted

Future New Jersey Governor Joseph Bloomfield becomes captain of the third New Jersey Regiment of Foot in the Continental Army on this day in 1776.

Bloomfield was born in 1753 in Woodbridge, New Jersey; he was the son of a physician, Moses Bloomfield. He was educated in Deerfield, New Jersey, at Reverend Enoch Green's school and studied law before his admittance to the bar in 1775. He briefly practiced his profession in Bridgeton, New Jersey, before joining the Patriot cause.

After serving honorably as captain and then major of the third battalion, Bloomfield resigned his military post on October 29, 1778, to accept the elected position of clerk for the New Jersey Assembly. He also served as New Jersey's attorney general from 1783 to 1792. He briefly returned to military service in 1794 to lead the United States Army's efforts to quash the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. Upon his return, he became the mayor of Burlington from 1795 to 1800. Bloomfield also served as president of the first Society for the Abolition of Slavery, which originated in Burlington in 1783, and trustee of Princeton University from 1773 until 1801, when he resigned to become the fourth governor of New Jersey.

Bloomfield remained governor until 1812, when he resigned to become brigadier general of the United States Army at the onset of the War of 1812. Following this third stint in military service, he represented New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1817 to 1821. Upon his death in 1823, Bloomfield was buried at Old Saint Mary's Episcopal Church in Burlington, joining fellow New Jersey Patriot and anti-slavery activist, Elias Boudinot. In recognition of his accomplishments and sacrifice to the state, the city of Bloomfield, New Jersey, was incorporated in his name in 1812.

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