10 OCTOBER 1939 — CARTERET BENCH
MEMORIAL TO THE NEW JERSEY COLONIES
ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY
ON JUNE 24, 1664, A GRANT OF LAND WAS CONVEYED BY JAMES, DUKE OF YORK, TO LORD BERKLEY, AND SIRE GEORGE CARTERET, LORDS PROPRIETORS, BECAUSE OF THEIR DEFENSE OF CHARLES I, AND HIS SON, THE PRINCE OF WALES, AGAINST THE FORCES OF OLIVER CROMWELL.
THE PROVINCE WAS NAMED NEW JERSEY IN HONOR OF THE ISLE OF JERSEY.
HE NAMED ELIZABETH TOWN IN HONOR OF THE LADY ELIZABETH, WIFE OF SIR GEORGE CARTERET.
ELIZABETH TOWN WAS THE FIRST CAPITAL OF NEW JERSEY, AND REMAINED SO UNTIL APRIL 6, 1686.
THE FIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NEW JERSEY MET HERE ON MAY 26, 1668, IN THE MEETING HOUSE NOW THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
GROUND WAS BROKEN FOR THE SETTLEMENT IN NOVEMBER, 1664. IN 1665 A GROUP OF ASSOCIATES ARRIVED WITH THEIR FAMILIES FROM NEW ENGLAND AND LONG ISLAND; A TRACT OF LAND, OF WHICH ELIZABETH IS A PART, HAVING BEEN PURCHASED FOR THEM FORM THE INDIANS, OCTOBER 28, 1664.
Tuesday, October 10, 1939, marked another milestone in the history of the National Society, Daughters of the American Colonists, when a Memorial commemorating the formation of the province of New Jersey in 1664 was dedicated in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the first capital of the state. The monument was presented to the state of New Jersey in the name of the National Society.
The monument is in the form of a large limestone bench, decorated with five bronze tablets, and measures thirty-two feet long and nine feet deep. The basic idea of a bench, a place to rest and contemplate on the heroic men and women who laid the cornerstone of the state is indeed a fine conception for a memorial. The Carteret Bench stands on a plot of ground at the intersection of North Broad Street and Salem Avenue, in Elizabeth, New Jersey; now called North End Park.
Although this monument commemorates the valorous deeds of the past it will always mean a great deal more to New Jersey. In the future it will be a mute reminder of the ideals of those early colonists, who entered into what was then a wilderness, in search of freedom and liberty, and it will always be a challenge to hold in reverence the fulfillment of those patriotic ideas.
Two of the five panels tell of the state’s early beginnings, and the center plaque is a scene in bas-relief showing Lord Carteret’s arrival in New Jersey, and bears the inscription:
“ARRIVAL OF GOV. PHILIP CARTERET, AUGUST, 1665, AND HIS MEETING WITH THE ASSOCIATES”.
The other two circular plaques carry the New Jersey Seal and the Seal of the National Society. Under the state seal, the following words are cut into the limestone:
“THIS MEMORIAL COMMEMORATES THE FORMATION OF THE PROVINCE OF NEW JERSEY-1664”;
while under the society seal are the words:
“ERECTED BY THE NATIONAL SOCIETY, DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN COLONISTS-1939.”