Who is Joshua Huddy? Toms River’s Revolutionary War Hero
Who is Joshua Huddy and why is there park named after him?
In the first part of our two-part series into Toms RIver's impact on the Revolutionary War, we learn about its hero.
Joshua Huddy was an American Patriot commissioned by the continental congress and was sent to the village of Toms River to defend its blockhouse (on present day Robbins Street in Toms River approximately between our studios and Town Hall), in February of 1782.
Toms River historian Mark Mutter adds that people in the village of Toms River fearful of an attack by the British troops asked New Jersey's first governor William Livingston to send Huddy down from where he was in the northern part of Monmouth County to lead the troops here and defend the blockhouse at all costs.
"The residents of Toms River were afraid that there would be another attack," said Mutter. "The British had come here twice in the 1770's but unsuccessfully. The fear was that they might come a third time"
Huddy came down to the village of Toms River in February of 1782 and, "took command of the blockhouse which was manned by volunteers."
British troops did finally come but not at a time or place the villagers in Toms River had anticipated.
On March 24 1782, chaos ensued along with panic and destruction all the way down to Huddy himself.
"Nine Patriots are killed in hand-to-hand combat, Huddy is captured, the blockhouse is overtaken and the village is burned to the ground," said Mutter.
He adds the troops in Toms River thought beforehand that if the British were to attack the village it would be by sea from the south into Toms River but that wasn't the case.
"They landed in the area of the present day Mathis bridge and marched over land not from the south but from the east," said Mutter.
They burned the village to the ground and overtook the coveted blockhouse, and then took Huddy who was there defending it to a prison ship in New York Harbor.
"Several weeks later he was removed from that prison ship and summarily hung," said Mutter. "
He explains that Huddy, the villages hero,"without justice, without trial Huddy was hanged by the British setting off an international incident that goes all the way to Paris where the peace talks were ongoing to wrap up the Revolutionary War."
One of the reasons the British came after Huddy was because his impact on the war was so great in favor of the American forces, he had become a major thorn in the side of British troops throughout the entire war, "whether on land or at sea," said Mutter.
"He was notorious for a long time but that's why the Americans wanted him to come here because he was quite successful," said Mutter. "That's why the British came here as well because he was quite successful."
Mutter adds that for the people in the village of Toms River he was a hero and still is today.
"In the early part of the twentieth century after the park was purchased by the township after a voter referendum in 1905, it was determined to name our first park in his honor," said Mutter.
The park which will be rededicated on Saturday was named in his honor for his efforts of bravery and courage against British forces to defend Toms River's blockhouse.
*Part-Two of how Huddy impacted the war and why there is a park named after him will be up tomorrow on our website.