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every month a new
Story of New Jersey 

unusual & little known facts
tales of people, places and events

UnCommon History – the Podcast as MP3 files 

  Look for us on iTUNES and  subscribe to the Podcast


It is the 1700s, meet Oliver Cromwell, a free African American, who fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolution and was honored by General George Washington;  Go with us to the docks Jersey City for the building of America’s ironsides;  Listen to the writings of teenage Rachel Van Dyke who lived in 18th century New Brunswick;  Barnstorm with members of the Negro Baseball League - the best that ever played the game;  Learn about the hardship of War through the words of Elizabeth Franklin, the wife of the last Royal Governor of the Colony of New Jersey;  


Made possible by Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission and New Jersey Historical Commission/Division of Department of State


John Neilson, Middlesex County resident in the 18th century, Revolutionary War officer
Hear about the hardship of the Revolution through the eyes of Elizabeth Franklin the wife of the last Royal Governor of the Colony of New Jersey.
Join us in late 1700s to uncover the life of Oliver Cromwell a free African American, who fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
Teenager Rachel Van Dyke lived a few doors down from the Indian Queen Tavern in New Brunswick. A recent excavation of the area revealed her diary. This podcast, in her own words,  will bring the past to life through her vivid tale of the Brunswick flood of 1810.

Discover what made Captain Nathaniel Fitzrandolph one of the most heroic Revolutionary War officers in Woodbridge Township.

Ever wonder how the beautiful Village of East Jersey Olde Towne in Piscataway came into being? Hear the story of its founding through the efforts of Dr. Joseph Kler and a group of community leaders and volunteers.  
What if you wanted to be a tavern owner in New Brunswick? Learn about the process and the multiple functions of a tavern in the 1700s and 1800s.
Uncover the difference between the pharmacist of present day and the apothecary of the early 1800s while learning how an apothecary treated a patient during a cholera epidemic in New Brunswick.

Listen to the rise and fall of the patent medicine history through the example of highly successful New Jersey proprietor George G. Green.

How did young boys learn the ancient folk art of blacksmithing, which was essential to society in the 1700s and 1800s?

Learn what school life was like for students at the Smalleytown Schoolhouse in the 1800s.

Was the congregation of the Three Mile Run Church for or against the Revolution?

Founding Father, Dr. Benjamin Rush was a pioneer in the field of mental health and the author of a handful of self-help guides. Listen to some of his suggestions and decide if they would apply in today’s world.

Uncover what it was like to attend Rutgers Medical College in the early 1800s. Would today’s professionals pass the courses and qualify for graduation?
Have you ever seen the movie Rocky? Learn about Chuck Wepner, the New Jersey boxer who was the inspiration for the character.
Found in Haddonfield, New Jersey, the skeleton of the hadrosaurus was both the first dinosaur skeleton excavated and the first on display in the entire world.  But who found it? Was it a farmer, a lawyer, or a scientist?
Imagine a job interview with the wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Edison.  New Brunswick native Wilson Stout Howell quit his steady job to work for this 20th century pioneer.

Was the interior of the 1790s Middlesex County Courthouse any different from today’s courthouse?

Why did James Drake put a living elephant across the street from the Indian Queen Tavern in 1818?

What happened to the children of the New Jersey Civil War soldiers?

Ride along with the former Hackensack native and learn why she was named "Woman Motorist of the Century."

Who was the most powerful woman in seventeenth century East Jersey?  Learn about Elizabeth Carteret one of the first “Jersey Girls.”

Central New Jersey physician Henry Vanderveer enlisted as a surgeon in a New Jersey regiment during the Civil War.  Hear some excerpts from some of his letters to his wife.

Imagine how Madame Washington transformed an Atlantic City beauty salon into a beauty and hair care empire.

Where did this prehistoric beast come from?  Learn about the mastodon on display at Geology Hall, at Rutgers University, New Brunswick Campus.

Imagine it is 1897 in New Brunswick and you are told you can make a lot of money selling patent medicines door to door or from your home.  How do you start?  What product are you selling?   

How much damage was caused by a tornado that tore through New Brunswick in the mid-1800s?

Do you think you could pass the entrance exam for Rutgers College in 1825?  What classes were offered?  Learn about early 1800s college life in this month’s podcast. 

Learn about Carteret’s own Joe Medwick, a major leaguer who played baseball during the 1930s and 1940s.

Have you ever been to an old burial ground?  What can we learn from a gravestone? Part I

Have you ever examined a gravestone?  What do the images or icons reveal? Part II

How old is the legend of the Jersey Devil?

Were lotteries used in New Jersey’s early history?

What kind of drinks could you order in a 19th century tavern?

There are a lot of entertaining stories that tell the history of New Jersey.  How dependable are they?

What do petroleum jelly and Perth Amboy have in common?

Was the burial site of a Hessian Colonel desecrated after the end of the American Revolution?

In 1960 on the grounds of Saint Peter’s Church in Perth Amboy, what did workers accidentally uncover?

Do you know where Antilles Field is?

Have you ever heard of the town Lincoln?

How did a military base in West Carteret help General Eisenhower during World War II?

What was the speed limit in New Brunswick in the 1830s?

Have you ever heard of the Rutgers/Princeton cannon rivalry?

What did a typical teenager write in her diary in 1810?

Have you ever seen Carteret’s Borough Hall?

Learn about this educational institution that was established in the early 1800s. 

What was is like to work in an apothecary shop in the 1860s?

Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence?

Where is the birthplace of college football?

Have you ever read the story “The Greatest Gift?”

When and where was the worst winter encampment of the American Revolution?


The Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission is funded in part by the
New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts
New Jersey Historical Commission, a Division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State

Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission 703 Jersey Ave  New Brunswick, NJ 08901-3605
(732) 745 4489       FAX (732) 745 4524      Email   
culturalandheritage@co.middlesex.nj.us      TTY users only call (732) 745 3888