John Hart – A True Christian Patriot
While the actual date of John Hart’s birth is unknown, biographers have put it in the year of 1713, in Hopewell Township, NJ. His grandfather, for whom he was named, was a carpenter, who came from Newtown, Long Island. His son, Edward, was John Hart’s father. Edward Hart was a Justice of the Peace, a Public Assessor, and a farmer. He arrived in Hopewell about A.D. 1710, at the age of twenty. He married Martha Furman (Firmin), on May 17, 1712 and they had five children, all raised in Hopewell New Jersey.
In December of 1776, as Washington’s army retreated across New Jersey, the British and Hessians ravaged the Hopewell area. Hart’s home and property suffered severe damage, two young children fled to the homes of relatives and Hart himself took refuge wherever he could in the woods, hiding in caves and in the Sourwood Mountains.
John Hart was re-elected twice as Speaker of the Assembly and served until November 7, 1778.
Part of John Hart’s land called the lower meadow was donated to the Baptists in 1747 to build a church and cemetery, which is located on Broad Street in Hopewell.
On July 3, 2006, the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Inc. dedicated a bronze plaque to John Hart and his wife Deborah Scudder Hart. Many descendants were at the Baptist Meeting House on Broad Street in Hopewell for the dedication. It is very fitting that John and Deborah are now buried and honored on the very land that he gave to the Baptists.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence/John Hart