Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) released a statement Friday mourning the death of John T. Cunningham, a professional historian who wrote prolifically about New Jersey.
“Deservedly described as ‘New Jersey’s historian,’ John T. Cunningham for many decades eloquently wrote and spoke of our state’s unique place in American history. He always said that New Jersey was like a ‘mirror’ of the United States with more diversity and more waves of immigrants than any other state," Frelinghuysen said in the statement.
Cunningham died Thursday. He was an alumnus of Morristown High School and Drew University, and a resident of Florham Park. He was also a founding member of the New Jersey Historical Commission.
One of Cunningham's books, "Chatham at the Crossing of the Fishawack," profiled the towns of Chatham and outlined the history of the Lenni Lenape Indians who once lived in the area.
The annual Indian American routine of fishing each summer the Passaic River, called the Fishawack by the Lenape, before heading to the Jersey shore is the historical predecessor of the annual , celebrated by modern-day Chatham residents.
Cunningham, Frelinghuysen said, "supported my efforts to require the teaching of New Jersey history in our high schools. That bill was signed by Gov. Kean in the 1980s."
His work "stands as a monument to greatness of New Jersey," Frelinghuysen said.