Middlebrook Washington Rock
(Click on pictures for a larger version)
McBride's Rock is a newly identified Washington outlook at Middlebrook Heights -- The first range of the Watchung Mountains -- in Washington Valley Park between Vosseller Ave and Chimney Rock Rd. in Martinsvill NJ).Historian, Robert A. Mayers' found documentation of a Washington lookout in Middlebrook in research for his new book, "Revolutionary New Jersey: Forgotten Towns and Crossroads of the American Revolution " (2018). He had found another rock he named Middlebrook Washington Rock to the west, but when I saw the documentation in a presentation he gave I thought it matched a cliff 1/4 mile from my house which I had walked by for 40 years. I guided him thru the woods to show him the view from the 25 foot cliff and he agreed it matched the sketch he had, and it was right where the continental army army was camped next to Wayne's Gap, the road/trail from Bound Brook over the Watchung Mountains, to Morristown where General Washington had his headquarters, so he added a section to the book and named it McBride' Rock.
George Washington used it to watched British General Howe in New Brunswick in 1777 when his army was camped on the ridge above it right where we lived.
The traditional Washington Rock is at Washington Rock State Park in Green Brook (5 miles east of the Middlebrook Encampment). Washington used it when the British moved east towards Amboy (Perth Amboy), Staten Island or New York. He also used it during skirmishes in Quibbletown (now New Market section of Piscataway), Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Woodbridge and Edison, including the battle of Short Hills, which actually occurred at what is now the Plainfield Country Club. Mayers has more about that in his book.
It is a basalt (blue stone) rock cliff near the top of the first range of the Watchung Mountainss near Vosseller Ave in Martinsville (Middlebrook Heights). It is 240 ft above the valley below. It's about 110 ft. wide and the top is 25 feet above the ground at the bottom.
There was another candidate for Middlebrook Washington Rock between Herb Patullo's Eagle's Nest Museum at the end of Miller Lane and Chimney Rock.
I thought the sketch looked like a rock I had walked by for 30 years. In 1979 I used to take my 1 year old son, Tom, riding in a child backpack, on hikes across Vosseller ave through the woods in the undeveloped Washington Valley Park .
I hadn't been by it in years so went over to take a look at it.
I showed Mayers the location nearer Vosseller Ave, which which only the mountain bikers knew about because of the proximity to one of their trails.
The traditional Washington Rock is at Washington Rock State Park in Green Brook (5 miles from the Middlebrook Encampment).
In the meantime Herb Patullo had expanded his Eagle's Nest Museum near his house at the end of Miller Ln. with an expansive view of the valley below including New Brunswick to include the area around the rock there. There was parking and easy access there, so that location became the official Middlebrook Washington Rock.
In Chapter 6 "Washington Rocks: Perches of the American Eagle (1777-1778)" of his book Revolutionary New Jersey: Forgotten Towns and Crossroads of the American Revolution Mayers has labeled the rock near Vosseller Ave. McBride's Rock.
There is no parking near McBride's Rock. In the summer you can see it from Vosseller Ave. but there is no place to pull over or stop.
Case for McBride's Rock:
It is closer to the road through Wayne's gap (Vosseller Ave.)
First American Flag:
Field of view from McBride's Rock (B) (With some tree cutting done by Washington's Army)
Ancestors in the Revolution:
My McBride ancestors were still in Scotland at the time of the American Revolution, but several ancestors on my Mother's side served in the Continental Army.
Jacob Gard, my 5th Great Grandfather from Morristown, NJ was a captain in the New Jersey Militia. It is possible that he visited McBride's Rock but I couldn't find any evidence of that.
John Jones Sikes (1760-1858) in Massassuchetts served in 1780.
Isaac Thomas served under General Sevier in Tennessee.
I did quite a bit of excavating to improve access and kept a lookout for artifacts. The only thing I found was borken piece of a square cobalt blue glass bottle. See archaeology.
Contact: Don McBride -