page contents


Jonas Cattell was born in 1758, on a farm called Lavender Hills. The farm was located just outside Woodbury, New Jersey, in what is now the town of Deptford. While growing up, Jonas loved the outdoors and exploring the woods and trails in the area. He was known as a fast runner; in more recent times. At the age of 18, on October 22nd 1777, Jonas became a hero.

At that time, a force of Hessian troops was camped in Haddonfield. Jonas was said to have been apprenticed to a blacksmith in Haddonfield, but had stayed there too late and was arrested by the soldiers for violating curfew. His punishment was to spend the night in jail until first light. During the night, Jonas overheard the Hessian and British soldiers discussing a surprise, early morning attack they were planning for the following day. They planned to march to Fort Mercer on the Delaware River and overthrow the American patriots who were stationed there.

Jonas Cattell was familiar with all of the back trails in the area. In fact, he was known to have created a number of the trails. When he was released the following morning, Jonas used those back trails and ran the ten miles from Haddonfield to Fort Mercer so he could warn the patriots. Thanks to his knowledge of the area, he arrived well before the Hessians. 

This warning allowed the Americans to strategically position themselves to defend their fort. Even though the American patriots were outnumbered by three to one, because they were able to prepare for the battle against the Hessians, they were able to defeat the Hessian and British soldiers, and to inflict massive casualties while suffering minimal losses within their own ranks.

He enlisted in the American forces and served throughout the Revolutionary War. Following the war, he returned to Deptford Township and the outdoor life he loved. By the turn of the century, he served as master of the hounds for the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club, the first fox hunting club in North America. Jonas was well-known in the area throughout his life. He was said to wear a red flannel shirt, a heavy overcoat, fisherman's boots, and canvas leggings, and to always carry a gun and a tomahawk.


It is on this day, October 22nd, that we officially celebrate Jonas Cattell at Death of the Fox Brewing Company - where the spirit of the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club lives! We encourage ye brave gentlemen to come dressed as ol Jonas! Those who complete the Jonas Cattell Memorial 10 miler (from Haddonfield to National Park) get a free beer or coffee with their medal. There will be public readings of the stories of Jonas from our original copy of the "Memoirs of the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club Near Philadelphia". We will also be releasing a special commemorative beer for the event! Come one, come all.. a festive celebration of our area's fascinating place in history awaits!

Btw, if you are interested in the 10 mile run, register here: