Jul 17 2019

Author Kicks Off Historic
Delaware River Series on July 28

Headcut image of Hal Taylor

Hal Taylor

After spending the weekdays working at home, author Hal Taylor loves nothing more than jumping in the car on weekends to explore. He discovered, in time, that his meanderings often took him to the Delaware River.
“There’s something about a large body of water that stirs me, and probably most people, especially if there’s some ship traffic,” Taylor notes. “I wonder where the vessels are going and where they’ve been. The water stirs the same curiosity. There’s a history in that river.”
Discovering that history led Taylor to pen his first book, The Illustrated Delaware River: The History of a Great American River, an historical travelogue filled with 140 original drawings and paintings.
And it will bring him to the Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market on July 28 at 10:30 a.m. where he will share stories and his illustrations from his many journeys along that legendary river.
Taylor’s book includes chapters on everything from Pea Patch Island — which has the distinction of being both the largest wading bird rookery north of Florida, and a prison to more than 12,000 Confederate soldiers during the Civil War — to the Volendam Windmill in Milford. The windmill is located on the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Farm which HLT preserved in 2017.
And, of course, he covers George Washington’s momentous crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night in 1776.
“The farther I traveled, the more absorbed I became in the river’s history,” Taylor writes. “It seemed every back road I traveled, every corner I turned, some morsel of the past would reluctantly call attention to itself.
“I found a large rock on the lawn of a school in Elsinboro Township inscribed with a dedication to Swedish soldiers who had manned a nearby fort over 350 years ago. I also learned much more about the American Revolution and its causes than I ever had in school,” he added.
Hal Taylor has been a graphic artist for more than 30 years, devoting much of his recent efforts toward combining a love for history with illustration.
Taylor’s second book, Before Penn: An Illustrated History of the Delaware River Colonies, 1609-1682, was released this summer. It tells the fascinating story of the struggle among the most powerful nations of Europe for control of the Delaware Valley, years before William Penn’s acquisition of Pennsylvania.
This series is sponsored by the National Park Service’s Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic Program, which aims to protect the natural, cultural and historic value of the Delaware River.
This is the first of three programs HLT is offering as part of its Historic Delaware River Series. On Sunday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m., author Mary Shafer visits HLT’s Farmers’ Market to discuss the terrible river flood of 1955 and its consequences. On Sept. 8 at 3 p.m., journalist Rick Epstein will lead a walking tour of historic Frenchtown. All programs in this series are free. Space is limited for the walking tour — we can only take 20 — so please register in advance by emailing judy@hunterdonlandtrust.org or calling 908-237-4582.

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