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Early New Jersey history revisited

Resident sheds light on state’s Revolutionary War roots

Special to The Sun//One of the many historical locations in Camden County is the Gabriel Daveis Tavern in Gloucester Township. Al Frazza visited this historical spot during his journey in writing his book, “State of Revolution: My Seven-and-a-Half-Year Journey Through Revolutionary War New Jersey”.

Lifelong state resident Al Frazza set out on a journey in 2009 to learn more about  New Jersey’s history and locations, specifically those involving the Revolutionary War.

Over a seven-year period, Frazza visited 650 historic locations related to the war and created a website documenting all of his finds with detailed information for  each site. There are links to every one of the state’s 21 state counties and in   Camden County alone, there are 13 locations: Brooklawn, Camden, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Haddonfield and Pennsauken.

“Within Camden County, you have a snapshot of what I experienced throughout the whole state, which is that there (are) all kinds of historic sites,” Frazza said.  “There are things where it’s location/building, like the Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield. 

“Then you have a ‘modern-day monument’ like the Polish American Congress Monument in Pennsauken: two very different experiences,” he added.

Oddly enough, one of the township locations is at the entrance of the Cherry Hill Mall, and on Frazza’s website, he details how a piece of history got there and why, briefly mentioning several Revolutionary War events.

“This boulder was placed inside the mall at its opening in 1961,” Frazza said. “It was later moved outside around 2007.  It pays tribute to the role the surrounding area played in the Revolutionary War era.” Frazza also had a personal experience with the mall monument he says he can’t forget.

“That’s an interesting spot for me,” he noted. “I remember the day I took that trip. I heard there was a monument there, so I called the mall multiple times talking to a bunch of people. Nobody knew it was actually there. 

“I had people telling me, ‘There’s no such thing here,’” Frazza added. “Finally, I tracked it down and saw it myself.”

Frazza released a book in February called “State of Revolution: My Seven-and-a-Half-Year Journey Through Revolutionary War New Jersey.” He describes it as a “love letter to the state of New Jersey.” With summer quickly approaching and the celebration of our nation’s birthday a few weeks away, Frazza’s site recommendation for Camden and Gloucester County residents is the Redbank Battlefield Site of Fort Mercer. 

“That’s a really nice place,” the author noted. “It talks a lot about a battle that isn’t all that famous … I think because that is an interesting place to tour. There’s a historic house there, there’s monuments, and it’s close by Camden. It also ties in Camden’s Revolutionary War experience of being close to Philadelphia … 

“If somebody really wanted to make a day out of it, a 4th of July road trip, that would be the one I would say,” Frazza added.

Visit Frazza’s website at revolutionarywarnewjersey.com. His book is available for purchase on Amazon and through links on his personal website, alfrazza.com.

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