Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 1778 Fraser Salt Works SHOCKER!

The Shark River salt works was destroyed immediately following the attack
on the Union salt works on the Manasquan river in Brielle, New Jersey.  
I've been doing some historical digging this weekend as it's the anniversary of the burning down of the "Union salt works" and dozens of houses and buildings in my town - Brielle, NJ - by British loyalists during the Revolutionary war.  Salt was extremely important in those days for preserving meats and other well as making gun powder, which was obviously needed in the war.  

What does this have to do with OUTLANDER?  Well...I came across something while googling the salt works yesterday, and nearly fell off my chair:

Manasquan River Inlet, New Jersey...

Captain Boyd Porterfield, 71st Regiment Fraser’s Highlanders, April 7, 1778, Raid to destroy the salt works on both sides of the Manasquan River. The saltworks on the north side (now Brielle) was known as the Union Salt Works. ... Where: Manasquan River Inlet. Both sides north now Brielle, Monmouth County and south is Point Pleasant, Ocean County, New Jersey. ... Source: Henry Clinton Papers at the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. Item is document number 33:15 (Box 33 folder 15). ... British Headquarters Military Report. ... Maps: Close UTM 18 580246E 4440304N (NAD27) [40.11119 -74.0580 (WGS84)]

You don't even know the chills I had (or the fit I threw at my husband!) when I read this.  I've been waxing on about the Union salt works being burned down in my own back yard for years...but now I find out that  FRASER'S HIGHLANDERS were responsible?  I'm completely torn and on the fence about it.  On the one hand, I'M AN AMERICAN and they ATTACKED MY TOWN.  On the other...they were Scots...and went through horrific atrocities while fighting the English.  I keep telling myself these men were left with nothing and had to feed their families back in Scotland, and therefore had no choice but to fight for the crown...but wow.  And it doesn't help that some people say the Scots "flocked to the cause."

(My Scottish-American husband and I just got into a heated debate over this...ME defending the SCOTS!  It's really unsettling, that is for sure.) 

Make sure you read the Fraser's Highlander's wiki link; it's chock full of Fraser mentions, Stirling Castle being one of them.

AND - check out this adorable house on Union Lane in Brielle, NJ.  It is believed that this house was the only house on Union Lane that was not burned down in the attack on the salt works in Brielle.  You won't believe how they've restored it.  It's absolutely stunning...and every effort was obviously made to infuse the 18th century feel with the modern conveniences of the home.  Truly outstanding. 


  1. Jamie Fraser can burn down my salt works ANY day! LOL

    1. LOL Susan!!! I feel the same way...but, unfortunately, I don't think my husband will agree. ;) He IS going to read Voyager, though. I thought he'd stop after Dragonfly...but I think all my waxing on about the Scots in the Revolutionary war has sparked more interest!!

  2. Hello Carol, I found you while trying to track down a lead I found in the history of Bucks County PA: "John Watson... during the Revolution ... removed to Shrewsbury and engaged in the manufacture of salt on the Jersey coast, where Point Pleasant is now located. He sold the product to the continental army and thus incurred the special enmity of the British, who destroyed his residence and plant, thereby ruining him financially." I am very curious to find out if this can be verified. Please contact me if you have some ideas for me!

    1. Hi Jane! Did you ever find anything else about this?