On April 12, 1782, patriot militia Captain Joshua Huddy was removed from the infamous British Liberty Street Sugar House prison by Monmouth County loyalists under the direction of Richard Lippincott, a loyalist leader living as a refugee on Sandy Hook. Huddy was taken to Highlands and hung on the beach after dictating and signing his will. His executioners left a note on his breast, “Up Goes Huddy for Phillip White,” in reference to a Tory who had recently been killed while in Patriot custody. It was reported that Huddy died calmly and bravely, and even shook hands with Lippincott (the illustration above is an artist’s imagination of the event…there is no known image of Joshua Huddy). Huddy’s body was brought to Freehold and he was buried at Old Tennent Church.
Cold-blooded and premeditated, the Loyalist hanging of Joshua Huddy inspired revulsion in high places. George Washington called it an “instance of Barbarity,” while British General Sir Henry Clinton viewed it as an “audacious… breach of humanity.” Yet in one respect, Huddy’s executioners were peculiarly civilized – they allowed their victim to dictate his last will and testament just moments before his death. “Expecting shortly to depart this life” – an expectation no doubt influenced by the noose around his neck – Huddy bequeathed equal shares of his scant wealth to his two daughters (and none to his second wife). According to some accounts, he signed his will on the head of the very barrel “from which,” as one writer put it, “he was to make his exit.”
Saretzky, Gary D. (2004). THE JOSHUA HUDDY ERA: Documents of the American Revolution. Catalog of the Exhibition at Monmouth County Library Headquarters, Manalapan, N.J. October, 2004; Revised November 2004. Produced by the Monmouth County Archives. Available: http://visitmonmouth.com/archives