Monday, November 23, 2015

The History of Places - New Jersey

As I've written historical fiction in the past, I've concentrated mostly on researching the actual historical events of the era, and then the culture and customs of that time. With my latest project, Hope: Bride of New Jersey, I had a slightly different experience in researching the location where the book was set. The research didn't make it into the book, as the book ended up taking place entirely on an estate, but it was interesting research for me nonetheless, and reinforced in my mind that in order to get a well-rounded idea of history, it's important to look at all the aspects of it, including the locations.

Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Lenape Indians were the first to settle the New Jersey Shore area. I'd never heard of this tribe until doing research for A Clear Hope, and then I learned while researching Bride of New Jersey that the group is more commonly known as the Delaware, which I had heard of.  As happened with many of the tribes, the Lenape were pushed off their lands as the European settlers came to the country. They were somewhat unprepared for this type of invasion because they'd been fighting amongst themselves and also with the Iroquois.

Then the area was fought over by the Swedes and the Dutch, the Dutch gaining the upper hand. The state was the third to enter the Union, and its agricultural contribution to the country was remarkable.

Over time, the state took part in the Industrial Revolution, and several different factories and mills popped up to create such things as silk, firearms, textiles, and locomotives. At the time I set Bride of New Jersey (1890), the shoreline outside Newark was almost completely factories. It remains today as an industrial leader from those roots.

Ballantine Brewery, Newark (courtesy

It's fascinating to read about places and see how they have grown up from their infancy and how each area gravitates toward its own specialties as far as exports. That all ties in to the traditions and aspirations of the people who settle there, and it all comes together to create an interesting picture in its totality.


Amelia C. Adams is the author of the Kansas Crossroads series, the Nurses of New York series, and two volumes in the American Mail-Order Bride series, Hope and Tabitha. You can learn more about her at


  1. I love learning a bit of history within a good story. This sounds like you did a lot of research! If you didn't use it in A Clear Hope, I'm sure you will use it in another story eventually! Thanks for insight into a state that I know nothing about!

  2. Oh the joys of research and those intertwining pieces of history. Thank you for sharing. And a heartfelt wish for the success of this story. Doris