Third Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence
The 3rd public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place outside a tavern on Albany Street on July 9, 1776. The document was en route from Philadelphia to New York when Col. John A. Neilson stood outside a tavern, atop a table, and read it to the townspeople!
A life-size bronze statue commemorating this significant moment in our city’s history is located in Monument Square, in front of the Heldrich Hotel. It was unveiled on July 9, 2017, marking the 241st anniversary of the event. The statue also includes the names of the 56 signers of the Declaration.
Col. Neilson was born in 1745 in Raritan Landing, just across the river from New Brunswick. He became a well-known local Revolutionary and was asked to join the Continental Congress as it drafted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. He declined due to his duties in New Brunswick, so the Congress sent him one of the first copies, which he read to the community.
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