Bordentown And Its Memories
( Originally Published 1900 )
Above Burlington Island the Delaware winds around a jutting tongue of flat land, "Penn's Neck," which is one of the noted regions of the river, the ancient "Manor of Pennsbury." This was Penn's country home, originally a tract of over eight thou-sand acres, the Indian domain of " Sepessing?' His house, which he occupied in 1700-01, was then the finest on the river, but it long ago fell into decay, and the manor was all sold away from his descendants during the eighteenth century. At the eastern extremity of "Penn's Neck," on the New Jersey shore, is White Hill, with the village of Bordentown beyond, up Crosswiek's Creek. Here is a region redolent with historical associations. The old buildings along the river-bank were the railway shops of the - famous " Camden and Amboy," whose line, coming along the Delaware shore, goes off up Crosswick's Creek to cross New Jersey on the route to New York. Above is the dense foliage of Bonaparte Park, now largely occupied by the Convent and Academy of St. Joseph. Bordentown was a growth of the railway, having been previously little more than a ferry, originally started by Joseph Borden. Its most distinguished townsman was Admiral Charles Stewart, " Old Ironsides " of the American navy, a relic of the early wars of the country, his crowning achievement being the command of- the frigate "Constitution" when she captured the two British vessels, "Cyane " and "Levant .» He was the " Senior Flag Officer " of the navy when he died in 1800 on his Bordentown farm, to which he had returned. The old house where he lived is on a bluff facing the river. He was the grandfather of the noted Irish leader, Charles Stewart Parnell.
To Bordentown, in 1816, Joseph Bonaparte, the ex-King of Naples and of Spain, and eldest brother of Napoleon, came to live, as the Count de Survilliers, and bought the estate known since as Bonaparte Park. It was through Stewart's persuasion, mainly, that he located there, the estate covering ten farms of about one thousand acres. Lafayette visited him in 1824, and Louis Napoleon, afterwards Napoleon III., in 1837. Joseph returned to Europe in 1839, dying in Florence in 1844. Another famous resident of Bordentown was Prince Murat, the nephew of Napoleon and of Joseph, and the son of the dashing Prince Joachim Murat, who was King of the Sicilies, and was shot by sentence of court-martial after Waterloo. Prince Murat came in 1822, bought a farm, got married, lived a rather wild life, but was generally liked, and, going through various fortunes, returned to France after the Revolution of 1848 and was restored to his honors. He was with Marshal Bazaine in the capitulation of Metz in 1870 and be-came a prisoner of war, and died in 1878.