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The Death Of Captain John Bacon Part III Retribution In Tuckerton
By Spring 1783, most of what is now Ocean County was on the hunt for Captain John Bacon whose band of Pine Robbers had plundered much of southern New Jersey under the premise of remaining loyal to King George of England. British General Charles Cornwallis had surrendered almost a year and a half prior on October 19, 1781 at Yorktown bringing about the end of the Revolutionary War. Yet, Bacon and his men killed a man and wounded another in Manahawkin in late December 1781 and then massacred approximately twenty men from an American Privateer in their sleep on Long Beach Island in October 1782. The Revolutionary War had come to a fundamental close, and Bacon was seen as a murderer with a price on his head.
Several days after Christmas 1782, members of the Burlington County militia forces, commanded by Captain Richard Shreve, encountered Bacon and some of his men at a watering hole near the Cedar Bridge Tavern. Bacon’s men barricaded the road and opened fire on the patriot forces. Captain Shreve’s men mounted a counterattack and almost overcame Bacon, until locals, still loyal to Bacon, intervened. In the ensuing confusion, Bacon escaped and the locals surrendered to the militia.
Battle between Patriots and Loyalists at Cedar Bridge
After several months of pursuit, members of the Burlington County Light Horse finally caught up with Captain John Bacon at the public house of William Rose located between West Creek and Tuckerton. The detachment of the Burlington County Light Horse, commanded by John Stewart, surrounded the building and spied Bacon through a window sitting in a chair with a gun between his knees. Stewart burst through the front door and wrestled Bacon pinning him to the ground. Bacon submitted, asking for quarter, and was allowed to stand.
Sensing a limited means of escape, Bacon attempted to force his way through a back door and in the process was bayoneted by one of Stewart’s men. Bacon threw a table between him and Stewart knocking Stewart to the ground. As Bacon attempted to pass through the opening, John Stewart shot him with the bullet passing through Bacon, the outer wall of the Rose house, and striking harmlessly, another member of the Burlington County Light Horse standing guard outside.
Members of the militia unit took Captain John Bacon’s body back to Burlington County to Jacobstown, NJ and commenced to digging a grave in the middle of a major road for all to see. It was meant as a very public message for those who chose to remain loyal to King George. Before they could lower Bacon’s body into the grave, his brother arrived and pleaded for a private burial. Although no marker exists, it is believed that Bacon’s body is buried in a cemetery in Arneytown, NJ.
From your “Running Realtor” Andrew Gonzales……