Want to Spread The History?

Support the New Jersey History Trails App here!

Where to?

Somerset County, Morris County... even Cape May County!

No Place is too Small...

What may seem minute and insignificant is what makes history!


Not only do I like to write about history - I love covering events too!

Spread the History!

Help bring awareness to the historic sites in your area.

From historic figures to historic places...

I want to teach America just how significant New Jersey is!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

NJ Weekend Historical Happenings: 10/22/16 - 10/23/16

 New Jersey Weekend Historical Happenings
A Weekly Feature on www.thehistorygirl.com
Want to submit an event? Use our event submission form.

Friday - Saturday, October 21 - 22 - Union Township, Union County
Revolutionary Woods: Six Terrifying Tales from the American Revolution

The grounds of Liberty Hall will open for the first time at night as visitors walk the half-mile haunted trail, Revolutionary Woods: Six Terrifying Tales from the American Revolution. Undead spirits, called "Griefs" will lead visitors on the trail as chilling tales, blood-curdling spectacle, and restless spirits of a bloody and revolutionary past are revealed.

See Joshua Huddy with a noose around his neck, a victim of venomous British revenge for the death of so many Loyalists. Or meet Mary Post who is set to hang at the hands of irate patriots after being outed as a Loyalist spy! Her wrath knows no limit, and anyone who disturbs the tree she hanged from will no doubt suffer unspeakable torment.

The journey through the Colonial hereafter will conclude at the Brown House, where light refreshments will be served, and a hayride will take visitors safely back to their vehicles.

Taking place from 7:00 - 11:30 pm with groups of 15 leaving every half hour. Tickets are $20 per person, $18 for museum members. Reservations are required to ensure a spot - don't miss out!  For tickets, visit this link. Liberty Hall is located at 1003 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ. For more information, call 908-527-0400, e-mail libertyhall@kean.edu, or visit www.kean.edu/libertyhall.

NJ Weekend Estate Sales: 10/21/16 - 10/23/16

Click on each link for more information on the estate sale!
Find something neat at an estate sale? Let us know!
Hosting an estate sale? Send me an e-mail to be featured in our weekly post!
Be the first to know about these sales on Facebook!

Diggers' Delight
North Haledon, NJ  07508
10:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Friday & Saturday

Monday, October 17, 2016

Jewelry of Marriage Celebrates Fine, Fancy, and Fashionable: 125 Years Dressing the Bride at The Morris County Historical Society: October 23, 2016

Jewelry of Marriage Celebrates Fine, Fancy, and Fashionable: 125 Years Dressing the Bride at The Morris County Historical Society
Sunday, October 23, 2016

Join antique and vintage jewelry enthusiast Nancy Cooper, on Sunday, October 23 at 1:30 pm at Acorn Hall for Jewelry of Marriage, a special limited-engagement, guided presentation on the exquisite jewelry and historic wedding gowns of Fine, Fancy, and Fashionable: 125 Years Dressing the Bride. This presentation will include clothing recently added to the exhibit. Ms. Cooper, a longtime MCHS volunteer, shares her passion, knowledge, and collection of jewelry which includes cameos, brooches, necklaces, watches, and crosses; even one embellished with human hair. The presentation offers an in-depth look at the wedding gowns and bridal attire in the exhibit, and a glimpse of the people who wore them. It is also part of the Jeanne Watson Memorial Speakers Program, a continuing lecture series created by the Morris County Historical Society in honor of Jeanne Hamilton Watson, first Executive Director of the MCHS,1980-1996.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Old Tombstones and Cemeteries (But were Afraid to Ask) - October 29, 2016

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Old Tombstones and Cemeteries (But were Afraid to Ask)
Saturday, October 29, 2016

On Saturday, October 29 at 1:00 pm, historian Mark Nonesteid will speak at the Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage State Historic Sites about tombstones and cemeteries.

Why did Colonial Americans carve skull-headed angels on their loved ones’ tombstones? When did cremation begin? How did the design of burial grounds change over time? When did brown stones give way to white marble? How did cemeteries function as parks and places of amusement, as well as resting places for the dead? What health reforms took place in the nineteenth century and what was their impact on the New Jersey cemetery landscape? In his exciting presentation, Mark Nonesteid, co-author of New Jersey Cemeteries and Tombstones: History in the Landscape, member of the Association for Gravestone Studies and staff member of the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, will provide the answers to all these questions and more. His talk will look at burial customs and still-extant graves dating from the seventeenth century through the twenty-first, and reveal the cultural patterns that define not only our rituals of death but reflect the history of our cultural beliefs as a community. The program is free of charge.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

NJ Weekend Historical Happenings: 10/15/16 - 10/16/16

 New Jersey Weekend Historical Happenings
A Weekly Feature on www.thehistorygirl.com
Want to submit an event? Use our event submission form.

Friday - Saturday, October 14 - 15 - Farmingdale, Monmouth County
Haunted Hayride at Allaire Village
Children Friendly

Historic Allaire Village, presents Halloween Hayrides on Friday, and Saturday from 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm. The Halloween Hayride starts in front of the General Store and enters the foreboding woods for a trip into Halloween horror. Hayrides are approximately twenty minutes in length and wagons leave every fifteen minutes from the General Store. If you make it through the Hayride alive, take a stroll through our Haunted Village. Scary story-telling will be held in the Carriage House and special Halloween performances will be held in the Allaire Mansion. All are welcome...if you dare! Stop by the Allaire Bakery for hot cider and spooky snacks or visit the General Store and Museum Gift Shop for limited edition Halloween souvenirs and merchandise.

The cost for the hayride is $10 for child under 12 and $15 for adults. Tickets are limited so advance purchase is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Tickets are for sale by calling 732-919-3500 - please have your credit card ready. You can also purchase tickets at www.allairevillage.org.

The Historic Village at Allaire is located in Allaire State Park, 4265 Atlantic Avenue, Farmingdale, NJ. For more information, contact the Allaire Village office during business hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, at 732-919-3500 or visit www.allairevillage.org.

NJ Weekend Estate Sales: 10/14/16 - 10/16/16

Click on each link for more information on the estate sale!
Find something neat at an estate sale? Let us know!
Hosting an estate sale? Send me an e-mail to be featured in our weekly post!
Be the first to know about these sales on Facebook!

Antique Furniture
Bloomfield, NJ  07003
9:00 am - 3:00 pm Friday
10:00 am - 4:00 pm Saturday

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Jersey's Loyalist Homestead: The 1759 Vought House

New Jersey's Loyalist Homestead: The 1759 Vought House

Just a minute or two off Route 78 on a knoll in Clinton Township is a stone house which tells the narrative of the American Revolution in New Jersey from a different perspective - that of a Loyalist. New Jersey was the crossroads of the American Revolution and has many sites that honor George Washington, wartime generals such as Knox, von Steuben, and Greene, and the Continental Army which fought and camped all over the state. However, there is no site that speaks from the viewpoint of the Loyalist. The Vought House, which fought its own battle to be saved, will eventually serve as an education and research center for the Revolutionary War from the perspective of Loyalists like Christoffel Vought.

Christoffel Vought
The house was originally part of a 285-acre homestead owned by Christoffel and Cornelia Vought. Vought was a well-known Loyalist during the Revolutionary War. Christoffel's parents were German Lutheran immigrants from the Electoral Palatinate. Christoffel was born in 1714 and was baptized at the first recorded German Lutheran service in New Jersey.

In 1749, Christoffel became head of the Vought household, marrying Cornelia Portman Traphagen and soon fathering two children, John and Christina. In 1759, he purchased 285 acres of land on the South Branch of the Raritan and Spruce Run in what was then Lebanon Township, now Clinton Township, and proceeded to construct a homestead .

The construction of the home reflects typical architectural design of the period. It is a three bay, center hall construction with chimneys on the gable ends. Reflecting more of the Palatine German tradition, it is banked into the hill and the ceilings have decorative geometric patterns. The kitchen, with a wide cooking hearth and beehive oven, are located on the lower level, Since the house is built into a hill, you can walk out on the low end directly from the kitchen.

Christoffel became a respected member of the community and within the German Lutheran congregation. He was elected to the council of his church and became an elder. In 1768, he was named one of Hunterdon County’s Road Commissioners. He also purchased 2,000 acres of land near Albany, New York.

Christoffel and his son, John, were friends with their neighbor, militia captain Thomas Jones. But when the local militia company refused to turn out to prepare for the defense of New York, John Vought and Joseph Lee, manager of the nearby Union Iron Works, were blamed and called to appear and explain why. On the day he was to appear, June 24, 1776, John Vought led a mob of about two-dozen club-wielding Loyalists in an attack on Jones' tavern. After the raid, Christoffel and John Vought, Joseph Lee, and other Loyalists were arrested and held in the county jail for about two weeks. Before his arrest, John did try to escape though a window in his nightshirt, but was subsequently captured.

Volunteering to fight with the British, in December 1776 he and his son John unsuccessfully led a team of fifty-five to eight-five Loyalists to join the King's forces and fight with the New Jersey Volunteers in [New] Brunswick. Christoffel was subsequently captured by the Hunterdon Militia at the battle of Two Bridges (present-day Branchburg). A Jury of Inquisition found him guilty, and the Vought family went into exile in Nova Scotia while their house, land, and possessions were sold at auction by the Hunterdon County Commissioners in 1778.

Wattle and daub
The Ceilings
The ceilings in the Vought House are notable for their intricate geometric designs. This may be the only house in the United States with four mid-eighteenth century wattle and daub (a clay and mud plaster application of wood latticework) decorative plaster ceilings. There may have been a fifth room with a decorative ceiling. Unfortunately this room was turned into a bathroom and the ceiling was removed. When the more modern plaster ceiling and walls were removed, evidence of wattle was found. The ornamental plasterwork is very similar to another Palatine German stone farmhouse in Berks County, PA, the Hehn-Kershner House, circa 1755. In 1958, the architectural elements were purchased by and relocated to Winterthur Museum.

The most unique of the ceilings is the serpentine design with a snake's head at one end near the front entrance. It is amazing to think that this ceiling has remained intact since it was originally installed in 1759!

After Vought
A number of additions obscured the historic core of the home. In the 1830s, a rear addition reoriented the house to face adjacent Grayrock Road, a kitchen addition with a shed roof covered the far side , and a two-story front porch masked the original front elevation. The entire exterior of the home was stuccoed over and painted white, hiding the beautiful stone underneath.

In 2005, the Clinton Township Board of Education purchased the property that the house was on as the proposed site of a new school. School officials planned to demolish the Vought house and the township's own Historic Commission did not object. A driveway was planned to go right through the house. As word of this became public, momentum grew to save the house, with local history leaders at the forefront. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection stepped in, requiring a study of the home and refused to grant some permits needed for construction until the school promised to save the house. The State Historic Preservation Office required the district to nominate the house for inclusion on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and National Register. After six years of negotiations, the school board transferred ownership of the home to 1759 Vought House Inc. in March 2012 for $17.76. As part of the transfer of ownership, the property is now protected by a preservation easement held by the New Jersey Historic Trust.

Since that transfer, the two-story front addition has been removed, allowing the original window and door arches to become visible, a new cedar shake roof was installed, the third story of the rear addition was cut down as part of the roof project, the two gable-end chimneys reconstructed, and stucco has been removed from two sides of the home. In an effort to bring the house back to its 1759 appearance, the remainder of the additions will eventually be removed as funding permits. Although the 1830s addition is historic, it does not fall within the home's period of significance and would be too costly to restore. So rather than have space that doesn't fit the home's period, the members of the non-profit organization have chosen to follow a restoration plan of action rather than that of preservation. The members of 1759 Vought House Inc. realistically hope to fully restore the home within the next ten years, as long as funds are available through public and private grants and fundraising.

Additional photos of my trip to the Vought House on Pinterest

Do you enjoy the articles and features that The History Girl produces each week? 
If so, consider a donation to keep the movement going!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Harvest Festival at Lambert Castle - October 15, 2016

Harvest Festival at Lambert Castle
Saturday, October 15, 2016

Join Lambert Castle on Saturday, October 15, 2016 between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm on the North Lawn of Lambert Castle, as the Passaic County Historical Society ushers in the Autumn season with history, food and fun fall activities. Children can participate in fall crafts and games, learn about local historic sites, drill with some Revolutionary war soldiers and much more. The day concludes at 5:30 pm as we read a version of Washington Irving’s classic story and sing some Halloween songs. You might even have a chance to meet the Headless Horseman in person! Bring your own blankets or lawn chairs. Recommended for children age 3-12 years. Free admission, donations requested. No rain date.

Photograph courtesy of Thomas Garside