Saturday, May 3, 1997

Joseph Bloomfield

Soldier and Governor

Born in 1753, Joseph Bloomfield reached the rank of Captain in the Revolutionary War, then served as New Jersey state attorney general and chief justice of the New Jersey Vice-Admiralty Court. He moved to Burlington upon marrying Mary McIlvaine, and took up residence in a mansion on High Street which had been built about 1750.

Both Bloomfields supported social causes. Joseph served as president of the first Society for the Abolition of Slavery, organized in Burlington in 1783. In 1789, he donated a small plot of land near the family home to the Library Company of Burlington, which had formerly been housed in the living rooms and parlors of its members. This provided a place for the Library's first permanent home, and the small side street adjacent to the Bloomfield's house and the Library was renamed from Office Street to Library Street - a name that remains to this day. Mary Bloomfield became the first non-Quaker member of The Friendly Institution, a secretive local charity founded in 1796.

Bloomfield served as Mayor of Burlington from 1795 to 1800, the second mayor under the Act of Incorporation of 1784. He went on to serve as Governor of New Jersey from 1801 to 1802 and 1803 to 1812, then returned to military service as a Brigadier General in the War of 1812. After the war, he finished his political career as a U.S. Representative from 1817 to 1821. He died in 1823, and is buried in St. Mary's churchyard.

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