Just as most states have their very own folkhero
, New Jersey has Jonas Cattell. Jonas was born in 1758 in what is now Deptford township
His first claim to fame occured during the Revolutionary War. The Hessians were marching towards Fort Mercer in an attempt to ambush the tiny regiment stationed there. Jonas ran the entire distance from his home to the Fort, behind enemy lines, to warn Colonel Greene of the attack. Today such a journey takes 10 minutes by car, so it must have been an amazing feat for the 18-year old. From then on running was very much a part of Jonas' career.
He is said to have run from Woodbuy to Cape May and back again in two days, a journey of 160 miles. This was all due to a dare that he wouldn't be able to deliver a letter in that time. Not only did he deliver the letter, he also brought back the reply. Another story tells of his race against an Native American from Mount Holly to Woodbury, which he won, even though he was approaching 50 years of age. Perhaps the most exaggerated tale of his might was that of the Sturgeon Steed. Jonas was fishing one day when an 18-foot long sturgeon landed in his boat. Jonas wasn't about to let the fish get away with that, so he rode the fish all the way up the river. When he finally managed to wrestle it on shore, he threw it back in the water.
Jonas died at the ripe old age of 96 and is buried somewhere in Deptford Township. A race from there to Red Bank (Fort Mercer) is held every year to commemorate his amazing feet.
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