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Back in February I wrote about the West Jersey Artillery, a group of Continental Army re-enactors, who were helping film an episode of the cooking show A Taste of History on PBS with Chef Walter Staib. The crew were all set up below Whitall House in Red Bank Battlefield Park. Today we take a look at the James and Ann Whitall House to give it its full title.
The James and Ann Whitall House is located on the Delaware River in Northeastern Gloucester County. The house, which was built in 1748, is a fine example of 18th Century Georgian architecture. The Whitalls were a prosperous Quaker family who ran a 400-acre plantation called Red Bank.
During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Red Bank was successfully fought at Fort Mercer which was erected by the Americans a few hundred yards north of the House. The battle took place on October 22, 1777. It was decisive for American troops and a great morale booster for American forces, especially considering their inferior numbers.
After the battle, the wounded were brought into the House which was converted into a hospital. Mrs. Whitall, who had remained behind, tended the wounded gaining a significant place in American history. Less than a month later, on November 19th, the Fort was destroyed and the American troops from Fort Mercer moved on. The Whitalls were also forced to vacate, returning on April 20, 1778.
After the Revolutionary War, the Whitalls went back to working the plantation which was the center of a thriving multi-faceted business; orchards, livestock, grist mill, ferry across the Delaware, smoke house and shad fishery. The family lived in the House for another 150 years. The land and house is now preserved as a recreational park under the management of Gloucester County.