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Perth Amboy History Revived In Our Schools!

By: Matthew Telliho

Anton Massopust III, Kurt Epps as William Franklin and John Kerry Dyke pose for a photo after giving tours to school children at the Proprietary House. *Photo by Coralia Peralta

Anton Massopust III, Kurt Epps as William Franklin and John Kerry Dyke pose for a photo after giving tours to school children at the Proprietary House. *Photo by Coralia Peralta

PERTH AMBOY – For the first time in many years, detailed Perth Amboy history will be taught in the Perth Amboy Public School System. John Kerry Dyke, a local businessman and historian, facilitated this arrangement with the public schools.   “I approached our school administrators about incorporating our history into the present curriculum,” stated Mr. Dyke, “And these administrators became just as enthusiastic about this project as I was!”

Perth Amboy has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1683. As the capital of the East Jersey Province, Perth Amboy became home to the early colonial gentry, that is, the residence to the rich & famous of that day. And even during the Revolutionary War, Perth Amboy became a garrison town housing military troops. During the Summer of 1776, Perth Amboy was bombarded by British warships in the Raritan Bay. Fire was returned by American patriots along the Amboy Bluff.

“We  want to educate our 5th grade school children about Perth Amboy’s past”, advised Mr.Dyke, “Both the McGinnis School & the Shull School have a large number of 5th grade classrooms and we intend to get them all involved!”     This history project not only includes the written curriculum, but also a documentary DVD viewing, as well as personal tours of the Proprietary House.    The Proprietary House was completed in 1764 and became the residence of Royal Governor William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin.       The history documentary entitled “The Bombardment Of Perth Amboy 1776” will be shown in to the 5th graders.     “The Proprietary House Association is thrilled to have our public school students visit our museum” said Lisa Nanton, President of the Proprietary House Association, “Out of all 13 original Colonies, the Proprietary House is the only official Royal Governor’s Mansion that still exists!”

The first group of 5th graders from the McGinnis School has already toured the Proprietary House.   “I could see they were excited to be in this historic building,” stated Kurt Epps. During the tours, Mr.Epps portraited Royal Governor William Franklin, Anton Massopust III played a British Soldier, and John Dyke acted as William Dunlap (1766-1839).  “Overall, the first tours were a great success” said Mr.Dyke, “What a nice group of young students!  Kurt, Anton & myself became just as jazzed as the kids. And of course Kurt excelled as the Royal Governor!”

Lisa Nanton, Renee Skelton, Julius Kish & JoAnn Xidias guided the students through each room within the Proprietary House Museum. “The students were eager to learn!” advised Ms. Skelton.

The Proprietary House Association will eventually tour over 800 5th grade students by adding the Shull School to the tours next Spring.

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MON. Jan 22
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4:30 p.m.
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THURS. Jan 25
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7 p.m.
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