A Year and a Half Later: Flooding Recovery Nearly Complete, New Library Computers Installed, Museum Creation Completed and New Projects Planned
The Board of Trustees is pleased to assure all that Van Veghten House and the Library are again open to visitors. Much hard work has gone into bringing the house back to its pre-flooding state. We are deeply grateful for the support received during this very difficult time. A new chapter in the long life of our society has begun.
Headquarters of the Somerset County Historical Society
The Van Veghten House stands on its original site on the north bank of the Raritan River. The present structure evolved from the first house built by Michael Van Veghten before 1720.
Michael Van Veghten settled in Somerset County in 1685. In 1694, he acquired 836 acres of land on the north side of the river. Michael's son, Derrick, who was born in the house in 1699, inherited the property after his father's death.
The house served as headquarters for Quartermaster Nathanael Greene during the Middlebrook Encampment in 1778-1779. Derrick offered his property for the use of the Continental Army. Portions of the Pennsylvannia troops under the command of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne were encamped in his fields at the time on the Manville side of the north branch of the Raritan River.
While in residence here, General Greene wrote a letter to Jeremiah Wadsworth describing "a pretty little frisk" held in the house on March 17, 1779. Throughout the course of the evening, General Washington danced with Mrs. Greene "upwards of three hours without seting [sic] down". In appreciation of the Van Veghten's hospitality, the Greenes, upon leaving the house, presented Mrs. Van Veghten with a mahogany tea table, which is in the possession of a family descendant.
After Derrick Van Veghten's death in 1781, the house passed through several families. From the 1850's through the early 20th century, the house was renovated several times. Evidence of alterations can be seen throughout the house.
In 1897, the Meyer family acquired the house and property. The house was purchased from Bernhard Meyer in 1934 by Singer Company. In 1971, the house, with one acre of land, was deeded to the Somerset County Historical Society by Singer Company and Mr. Stanley Rustic. The Derrick Van Veghten House was placed on the National Register in 1979.
Founded in 1882, The Somerset County Historical Society is dedicated to discovering, procuring and preserving the history of Somerset County. The Society believes that history is the irreplaceable link in the chain that binds the future with the past and provides coming generations with a basis for forming intelligent decisions.