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Join us on May 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm for
our Spring Meeting at Van Veghten House.
Carol Levin will do a reenactment of Ann Baumgartner Carl, a WWII WASP, who is remembered in history as the first American woman to pilot a jet. She learned to fly in Somerset County.
2016 Annual Meeting News
We are pleased to announce that John Krasnansky has been voted in as Museum Curator, which is a new position created as a result of the opening of our new museum. John Krasnansky III was appointed as Assistant Curator. Our exhibits can be seen during regular visiting hours; we are open every Tuesday from noon to 3:00 pm and every second Saturday during the same hours.
Our presenter was Linda Barth who gave us a fine program about the history of the Delaware and Raritan Canal. A feature article authored by Linda will appear in the first digital issue of The New SCHS Quarterly, which will be distributed in March. Plans for this new phase of our publication's history received final Board approval at our January, 2017 meeting.
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.