Mercer Playground is one of New York's youngest parks, located in one of its oldest areas, Greenwich Village. Mercer Street, directly to the east of the park, was laid out prior to 1797 and called First Street and Clermont Street. By 1799 it was renamed for physician and soldier Hugh Mercer (c. 1720-1777). Born in Scotland, Mercer emigrated to America in 1747 and settled in Pennsylvania. His military service included fighting in the French and Indian War of 1755 and organizing and drilling the Virginia militia and the Minutemen in 1775-76. Appointed brigadier-general in June 1776, Mercer advised General George Washington to march on Princeton and commanded the advance. Mercer died of wounds he suffered during the Battle of Princeton, and his funeral in Philadelphia was attended by a crowd of 30,000.
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