Posted on Mar 11, 2024
Today’s speaker was Donald Peck.  Don is the CEO of The Clausen Company, a leading manufacturer of automotive refinishing products for the automotive aftermarket, as well as a historian.  He is a direct descendant of six signers of the Mayflower Compact. Active memberships include The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of New Jersey and several state and national historical organizations.  He has deep roots in New Jersey.

Don informed us that New Jersey would be celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2026.  The State is gearing up for the celebration by trying to coordinate the many local historical societies and helping them publicize their specific artifacts, battlefields, buildings, etc. He also gave us a history of the eventful year, 1776, vis-à-vis New Jersey’s role in the revolution.  He noted that Thomas Paine published his political treatise, Common Sense, in January 1776, which set forth the case for separating from England.  The colonies were split regarding whether to separate or not, but Paine’s arguments tilted the opinion and several key battles were fought by Washington in that year and 1777 in New Jersey: the battle of Trenton/Princeton, the battle of Monmouth, and the battle of Short Hills (not the current location – it was actually fought in the Metuchen and Edison areas).  These were pivotal battles and set the stage for the ultimate defeat of general Cornwallis in October 1781 and our full independence from King Charles and Britain.

Don encouraged us to look for opportunities to become involved in the preparations for the 250th anniversary of New Jersy.  Most of us were unaware of the anniversary, and we appreciate Don’s enlightening presentation and insights into our state’s history. For those interested in learning more or becoming involved, we invite you to visit: https://jerseyhistory.org/ .