Yesterday I returned to Greenwich, NJ, the hometown of eighteenth-century diarist Phililp Vickers Fithian and site of the Greenwich Tea Burning. I had not been to the area since April 2017 when I gave a eulogy for my good friend Jonathan Wood.
Over the years I have spent a lot of time in this 17th-century village in southwestern New Jersey. During the research for my book The Way of Improvement Leads Home: The Rural Enlightenment in Early America I got to know many of the men and women associated with the Cumberland County Historical Society. Greenwich will always be a special place.
When the good folks at the Lummis Library in Greenwich invited me to speak about the Greenwich Tea Burning as part of their Spring lecture series, I jumped at the chance. When time permits amid other projects, I have been plugging away on a book manuscript tentatively titled “The Greenwich Tea Burning: History and Memory in American Town.” The book is about half done at the moment, but I still have a lot more research to do in order to complete it. Longtime readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home blog are familiar with this project and some might even remember The Greenwich Tea Burning Project.
So yesterday afternoon, Super Bowl Sunday, I drove down to Greenwich to present some of my work on this project. (I got home to catch the last three quarters of a pretty uneventful game). A great crowd turned out for the lecture and many encouraged me to press-on with my work on the memory of the tea-burning in this 17th-century Delaware Valley town.
Thanks for everyone who made this such a great event, especially Joe Mathews and Brittany Ingersoll.