Township of Ocean Historical Museum
An Open Door To History
Copyright 2016 (C) Township of Ocean Historical Museum 
Township of Ocean Historical Museum
Address: 703 Deal Road, Ocean, NJ 07712 
Mailing: P.O. Box 516, Oakhurst, NJ 07712-0516

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(732) 531-2136
E-mail us at [email protected]
New Exhibit - Local Stories of the Civil War
Opening - Sunday, March 6, 2016, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Eden Woolley House, Our Town Gallery, 703 Deal Road, Ocean, NJ 07712
New exhibit tells “Local Stories of the Civil War”

The Civil War is the subject of more than an estimated 60,000 books, scores of movies, and a groundbreaking TV documentary. It’s the most documented subject in the American archive. So it’s a legitimate question to ask: What could our local history museum possibly add? The answer: local history.

The new mini-exhibit, opening 1 to 4, Sunday, March 6 in the Our Town Gallery of the Eden Woolley House, explores the impact of the Civil War on New Jersey and Monmouth County. It explains our state’s ambiguous loyalties and looks at the roles played by a collection of New Jerseyans--both prominent and little known.

New Jersey’s conflicted loyalty

Although the claim that the Mason-Dixon line passes through New Jersey is an urban myth, our state did have conflicting loyalties building up to and throughout the war between the North and South. Newark, Trenton, Camden, and Paterson were preeminent industrial centers and their manufactured products were sold in the South. War threatened business. Many in New Jersey opposed war and called for a negotiated peace.

New Jersey’s conflicted loyalties were expressed in polling places. Ours was the only Northern state to reject Lincoln in both the 1860 and 1864 Presidential elections.

As painful as it is to acknowledge today, even attitudes toward slavery were divided. Although Quakers in south Jersey were active abolitionists and major routes in the Underground Railroad ran through New Jersey, ours was the last northern state to outlaw slavery. Our 1804 legislation called for its gradual phase-out. The last 16 indentured servants in state were freed late in 1865 with the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (The New Jersey legislature voted against the 13th Amendment when it was first introduced and did not reverse that vote until enough states had already ratified to ensure passage.)

A valiant response to the call to arms

Despite New Jersey’s ambivalence, its men and women responded valiantly to the call to arms. Most considered the seccession of the Southern states an act of treason. More than 88,000 New Jersey men (overwhelmingly volunteers) fought for the Union. Over 6,200 died (including those who perished of disease or as prisoners of war). Twenty-six soldiers from New Jersey regiments received the Medal of Honor.

Behind the statistics are the stories of real people. Men who left behind farms and businesses. Women who ran things in their absence. Heroes who distinguished themselves. Scoundrels who didn’t. And ten of thousands of men and women whose lives were forever changed by the experiences and memories of the country’s bloodiest war.

Join us

The exhibit tells a sampling of these stories and lays out the complexity of our state’s political loyalties. Join us Sunday, March 6 for the opening of “Local Stories of the Civil War.”
Brigadier General Horace Porter, Civil War Medal of Honor recipient, aide-de-camp to General Grant and later personal secretary to President Grant, moved to Elberon after retiring from the army in 1873.