Oliver Cromwell was a decorated black soldier who fought under George Washington in the War for Independence . He was born a freeman in Black Horse, present day Columbus in Mansfield Township , on May 24, 1752.
Cromwell joined the 2nd New Jersey Regiment under the command of Colonel Israel Shreve when the war began with England . He received high praise for his military discipline, superior personal conduct, strong physical abilities, his dedication and sacrifice.
Private Cromwell first joined George Washington's command in New York and then traveled through New Jersey to Pennsylvania . At Valley Forge he waited with the rest of the Continental Army for an opportunity to strike back at the enemy. He then traveled over the Delaware River to take part in the battles of Trenton and Princeton . Later he fought in the battles of Brandywine, Monmouth and Yorktown .
After seven years serving as a battlefield drummer, Oliver Cromwell was discharged in June of 1783. George Washington signed his discharge papers. The Badge of Merit was awarded to Cromwell for his outstanding dedication and service.
After his discharge, he established residence at 114 E. Union Street in the city of Burlington , New Jersey . Mr. Cromwell attended the Broad Street United Methodist Church . He died in 1853 at the age of 100 and he is buried in the Broad Street Methodist Church cemetery.
In 1984, the Oliver Cromwell Black History Society, Inc. was founded to collect, preserve, and exhibit records, artifacts, and other documents that advance public understanding of African-American history. This organization works with schools, elected officials, private groups, non-profit organizations and others to offer special educational programs to residents.
Since 1984, The Oliver Cromwell Black History Society, Inc. has given out over $20,000 in awards for students participating in the Black History Month Art and Essay Contests. The Society also recognizes local residents by awarding the “Oliver Cromwell Living Heritage Award” every year. The society holds regular meetings at the Burlington County Historical Society facilities located at 451 High Street , Burlington .
For more information contact:
Oliver Cromwell Black History Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 679
Burlington , NJ 08016