Each of the listings below are historic sites and districts registered with both the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.
Bedminster Township, New Jersey
A 19th -20th century “up and down” sawmill was listed on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places in 1986. Privately owned by the estate of John Kean, a forebear of former Bedminster Township Mayor John Kean (and cousin of former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, the mill is located on the North Branch of the Raritan River where Kline’s Mill Road intersected with River Road before a storm took the bridge out in April 1995. A sawmill is said to have operated on the site as early as 1744. An 1850 map shows the Widow Kline’s gristmill, sawmill and store. Three generations of Kline’s owned the mill. The mill has a field stone foundation , a one story board and batten exterior, and 15 pane single sash windows.
Source: (Booklet: Bedminster Township – 250 Years by Prich Matthews, page 21)
Also known as Knox House
Jct. of US 202 and 206, N of River Rd.,
Bedminster Twp., Pluckemin
(added 1995 – Building – #95001137)
Official Website – Click Here
Purchased by Bedminster Township in 1989 along with 218 acres, supported by the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House and the Bedminster Historical Commission.
With its surrounding acreage, the Jacobus Vanderveer House is the last remaining site in Somerset County to have been associated with the locally prominent Vanderveer family. It is the only structure that remains intact from which to interpret the Vanderveer family and local Revolutionary War Activities.
While the period of historical significance is 1772, when the building was first built, the house reached its architectural apex in 1813, immediately following Mary Hardenburgh Vanderveers’ Federal style additions.
The Jacobus Vanderveer House is the last surviving building associated with the Vanderveers, a family prominent in Bedminster Township history from its earliest settlement through the 19th century.
General Henry Knox and his family lived in the house which served as his headquarters during the winter of 1778-79 while he was in command of the Continental Artillery. The c1772 Dutch American core of the Jacobus Vanderveer House is the only known extant building associated with the Pluckemin Encampment of 1778-79, which is considered to be the first installation in America to train officers in engineering and artillery.
The Village is located on Lamington Road (Route 523), three and a half miles west of Bedminster Village, on a north south route. The name Lamington is derived from the Indian work Allametunk that means “place of clay”. Lamington is also the name of a village in Scotland. The earliest settlers were Scot-Irish Presbyterians, soon joined by Dutch and German families. It is not know exactly where the first colonists arrived, but the first appeal to the Presbytery of New Brunswick for a preacher was in 1739. Lamington supported the New Jersey Provincial Congress that declared independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776.
The village of Pluckemin (sometimes spelled Pluckamin in the history books) was known as Bedminstertown before 1755. In fact, some 28 spellings of Pluckemin have been discovered.
Some feel the origin of the names comes from the word Pluckamin, a dialect form of the Algonquin Indian Putchamin. Some think it came from a village name in Scotland. And others still think the name derived from the Pluckemin Tavern’s early keeper Jacob Eoff who, in luring customers into his premises by nailing a loose horseshoe to the ground on the road outside his tavern, knew the passers-by would certainly dismount to grab the shoe, and Eoff would “Pluck- ’em-in”.
German Lutherans came to Pluckemin in the early 1700’s. As early as 1715 they built a log church on Pigtail Mountain, east of the village off Mount Prospect Road and above Washington Valley Road. It was called Im Geberge (On the Mountain). The site and it’s cemetery were in the news in November 1998 when an article in the Bernardsville News when Toll Brothers, the Developer of The Hills Development, found more than two dozen bodies in a cemetery (now up to 66). The builder exhumed the remains and relocated them to a single grave in the Presbyterian Church on Pluckemin. While the headstones were moved to the Oldwick Lutheran Church, historians are hoping the original headstones will be placed at the single grave in Pluckemin.
The original tavern, owned by German, Jacob Eoff, who purchased 500 acres from the original Peapack Patent and John Johnstone’s estate, his property became Pluckemin Village where he established a tavern in 1750 (on the corner where the current A & P resides). Eoff’s farmhouse was north of the village where the current King’s Super Market presides.
The Pluckemin Encampment on Schley Mountain where Colonial militia were trained on artillery equipment are two reminders of the Township’s involvement in the Revolutionary War.
Historical sites include the 1751 House (Jacob Eoff’s daughter who married John Boylan. The red building stands today at the Courtyard at Pluckemin.
General George Washington’s headquarters were in Pluckemin (Fenner House) on January 4, 1777 after the Battle of Princeton. Notable people with him were Dr. Benjamin Rush , Generals Henry Knox, Nathaniel Greene, and John Sullivan. Legend has it that during the stopover, an officer rode his horse up the stairs to the second floor and back down. Indentation made by a horse’s shoes were said to have been visible on the stair steps.
After the Battle of Princeton, thirteen officers were quartered in the Fenner House. Over two hundred British soldiers were imprisoned St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Washington attended funeral services on January 5, 1777 for Capt. William Leslie (a British soldier and friend of Dr. Benjamin Rush).
Washington and his wife stayed at the Fenner house in February 1779 after the French Alliance Ball that commemorated the first anniversary of the alliance of the King of France with the American Colonies. The house was demolished in 1942. The Daughters of the American Revolution placed a stone at the site, currently the site of Clerio Fine Food and Catering. In 1988 a replica “Fenner House” was built in 1988 by L.G. Construction Company. Marra Advertising presently occupies the building.
Another site is the Jacobus Vanderveer House, who bought 439 acres in 1743 just north of Pluckemin. On the estate, his son Jacobus II built the house where General Henry Knox would live during the winter and spring of late 1778 thru mid – 1779.
The Pluckemin Archaeological Project, (by Clifford Sekel, 1970’s) gives a rare account of the beginning and extend of General Knox’s artillery encampment, known today as the country’s first “West Point”. The Continental artillery park was located at Pluckemin, New Jersey, several miles north of the infantry camps. At this location, the artillerists built barracks for almost 1000 men and established a depot, repair facilities and an academy for artillery officers. This encampment was abandoned by the Army in June 1779.
In the 1980’s, archaeological excavations by Rutgers University exposed remains of the “Artillery Park” and recovered thousands of artifacts. Additional info on the Pluckemin Archaeological Project – Click Here.
Two artifacts found at Pluckemin have changed the view of the early American flag and it’s use by the Continental Army. These were decorative belt tips which probably adorned the ends of officer’s “over the shoulder” leather sword belts. Each of these belt tips is hand engraved and bear almost identical designs of a cannon, flag staff and flag, a motif very similar to that found on American artillery buttons of the period. These belt tips had never been seen before and their use by the American army was previously unknown. What made them all the more spectacular was the fact that they both showed a new orientation of the stars on the field of the American flag, five stars, over three stars, over five stars.
The colonial flavor of Pluckemin village is typical for this area of the state. George Washington may not have slept here, but he and his troops most certainly marched through Bedminster. …more
Source: (Booklet: Bedminster Township – 250 Years by Prich Matthews)
Pottersville owes it initial settlements and later development to the Lamington River used for early mills and manufacturing. The river separates two townships and two counties, Bedminster in Somerset to the east, and Tewksbury in Hunterdon to the west.
William Willet is said to have been the first settler as the village site in the early 1750s. His home was on the west side just below the falls. On the west side he established a feed and flour mill, and a fulling mill at an upper site. Both mills were in operation during the revolution, selling goods to the Continental Army. With the depreciating Continental currency, Willet declared bankruptcy, and sold his mills to the Potter Family (Col. Samuel Potter), giving the name Potter’s Mills. Samuel’s grandson Sering Potter built a new four mill in 1840 on the site of the destroyed one. When a post office was established, the village name became Pottersville, and Potter became the first Postmaster. But even the Potter family had trouble, going into bankruptcy in early 1878, forcing the sale of all of the mills and assets.
The railroad reached Pottersville in 1889 with passenger and freight service. Know for growing and shipping peaches, in 1889 the Parkside Hotel was built by Henry “Whiskey Hank” Flemming, a local distiller. In 1892, he sold the hotel to Ellis Sutton, who renamed it Hotel Sutton. The railroad station was at the back of the Hotel. When the railroad closed in 1912, and it too closed in 1912. The early dream of Pottersville being an ever booming river driven manufacturing center was not to be. It has become a quiet residential community with only a few local services. (excerpts from Bedminster Township – 250 Years by Prich Matthews)