As New Jersey’s first Assembly Speaker, John Hart was among the early New Jersey leaders to play an integral role in the American Revolution. During the summer of 1776, Hart attended the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia as a delegate from New Jersey and signed the Declaration of Independence. In December of that year, during the Hessian occupation of Trenton and the surrounding area, Hart escaped and hid for a short time in a cave in the Sourland Mountains of present-day East Amwell Township. The Continentals’ capture of Trenton on December 26, 1776 allowed Hart to return home. In June 1778, on the eve of the Battle of Monmouth, General Washington’s troops encamped themselves on Hart’s Hopewell farm. Less than a year later while the war raged on, John Hart’s story came to an unfortunate end, dooming this quiet Patriot’s deeds to historical obscurity.
Dave Hart, local historian and John Hart descendant, has produced a documentary telling the story of the hardships and deprivations John Hart and his family endured after his signing of the Declaration of Independence. The production features scenes filmed inside the 1719 William Trent House Museum.
Click here for a trailer of John Hart: Portrait of a Patriot from Dave Hart and Jarvis Video Productions