2017 May Board Meeting News
Our newsletter has gone digital as of the Winter issue (January/February/March); the Sping (April/May/June) issue will be out shortly. Hard copy is still available for $4.00 extra per year above the annual membership fee of $25.00.
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 were encamped on his fields at the time.
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 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.
This program is made possible, in part, by the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State through the State/County History Partnership Program Grant, and administered in Somerset County by the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission.