Tiny Bordentown, New Jersey, is very responsible for the birth of our Country — This village was the only place where Thomas Paine ever owned a home. George Washington has insisted that, without Paine’s writings, the vaunted ‘Spirit of ’76’ would never have come to fruition. What this brave man called ‘Common Sense’, was, frankly, seditious.
Because of the words of this Bordentown resident, we can be proud of our country.
Ben Franklin is said to have quipped, “We must hang together, or we will hang separately.” All of our Founding Fathers (and Mothers – especially Abigail) “pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honour”to bring a free American into being.
What Thomas dared to write, unfortunately, rings true in these times:
“December 23, 1776. THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
This is the structure currently at Tom Paine’s Corner on Bordentown’s Farnsworth Avenue. The ‘historic’ sign is in error, as Tom never lived in the house he had purchased.
My favorite Paine quote, after “times that try men’s souls” is “I’d rather see my horse Button eating the grass of Bordentown … than see all the pomp and show of Europe,” Paine wrote from London in a 1789 letter to a friend.
This mural of other times gives you a sense of lovely Bordentown as Paine might have treasured it.
The mural is beside the venerable Quaker Meeting House.
The past remains present in Bordentown. We can renew our pride in our country there, and in the courageous band who brought us into being.
Now, one of the town’s treasures is it’s legendary iris blooms, iris festival. These scintillating flowers are probably at peak right now, as the festival is always Mother’s Day Weekend.
Franklin Carr is responsible for bounteous beauty. His memorial garden is off Farnsworth Avenue, high above the storied Delaware River. In the same setting is a Point Breeze Garden, displaying plants that were at the exquisite estate of that name, home of Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Spain and of Naples; and his nephew/son-in-law Charles Lucien Bonaparte, naturalist/ornithologist who discovered and named New Jersey species in the broad and fruitful marsh below the mansion.
Joseph Bonaparte’s happiest years were his seventeen in Bordentown.