Philip Vickers Fithian’s connection to home was strong. For him, home was “Cohansey”–the towns and villages nestled along the river by the same name. Philip grew up in the Cohansey town of Greenwich, but he spent a lot of time in Bridge-Town (Bridgeton), Deerfield, and Fairfield as well.
Today the people of Cohansey continue to foster an intense connection to this place. They are fierce guardians of their local traditions and have avoided all attempts to commercialize their colonial village. The region remains largely rural and if one did not know better it might appear that little has changed since the days of Fithian. “Ye Great Street” still courses through a town full of eighteenth-century houses. Small museums and historical markers (including the famous “Tea Burners Monument”) line the street. Philip is a local legend. His house still stands on what today is called “Tea Burners Road.”
The next time you are on the New Jersey turnpike get off at exit 1 and drive south towards the Cohansey River. Greenwich is not hard to find. On September 27 and 28, 2008 they will celebrate, in grand fashion, the 100th anniversary of the monument dedicated to the 1774 tea burning that took place in the village. It might be a good time to come down and check out this small place with a big historical consciousness.