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The township of Cranbury, New Jersey is in Middlesex County. The earliest evidence of settlement in Cranbury is a deed for the sale of land and improvements which is dated March 1, 1698. During the American Revolution, Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de Lafayette used a local house as their headquarters, and General George Washington visited them at the house on June 26, 1778. In the beginning, it was spelled Cranberry, like the berries. In 1857, it was argued that the spelling was wrong, and in 1869, it was finally changed to Cranbury, despite the fact that it was named for the wild cranberries which grew in the area. In 1833, a train accident known as the Hightstown rail accident occurred very near the Cranbury Station. All but one of the passengers were injured, one died on the spot, and another died that evening. Among the passengers of the train were former President turned Representative John Quincy Adams, shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, and actor Tyrone Power. Vanderbilt, who suffered a broken leg, swore he would never ride a train agin. He changed his mind eventually and became a railway magnate. Powers recorded the accident in his journal "Impressions of America." John Quincy Adams was unhurt but wrote in his diary that it was "the most dreadful catastrophe that ever my eyes beheld."

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