Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jacobus Vanderveer House Hosts General Henry Knox Birthday Celebration and Open House

Jacobus Vanderveer House Hosts General Henry Knox Birthday Celebration and Open House

On Sunday, July 20 from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House will host an open house and a birthday celebration in honor of General Henry Knox, the artillery commander who lived at the Jacobus Vanderveer House while establishing a military training academy in nearby Pluckemin during the American Revolution.

General Henry Knox (portrayed by Bob Heffner of the American Historical Theatre) will greet visitors and
speak about his role as one of George Washington’s chief military advisors, the nation’s first military academy he built in Pluckemin, and his life at the Jacobus Vanderveer House during 1778-1779.

“What better way to make history come alive than with the General himself,” commented Sean Blinn, president of the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House Board of Trustees. “Considering he’d be 264 years old, we’ll probably dispense with the candles on the cake!”

General Henry Knox (July 25, 1750 – October 25, 1806) was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, he owned and operated a bookstore there, cultivating an interest in military history and joining a local artillery company. When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, he befriended General George Washington and received acclaim for bringing captured British artillery from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston in 1776. He quickly rose to become the chief artillery officer of the Continental Army and accompanied Washington on most of his campaigns. The military training academy and manufacturing facilities for weaponry he established were valuable assets to the fledgling nation.

Following the adoption of the United States Constitution, President Washington appointed him the nation's first Secretary of War. He retired to what is now Thomaston, Maine in 1795 and died in 1806. The General Henry Knox Museum, founded in 1985 by citizens of Thomaston, Maine, pays tribute to his life and times.

Learn more about General Knox and the Pluckemin Artillery Park by viewing In Quarters Comfortable and Clever: The Continental Army at Pluckemin New Jersey, 1778-1779, an award-winning video created by the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, on YouTube:

The Jacobus Vanderveer House is located at 3055 River Road (in Bedminster’s River Road Park), Bedminster, NJ. For more information about the museum, upcoming events, and becoming a member of the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, call 908-396-6053 or visit

About The Jacobus Vanderveer House                                  
For more than two centuries, the Jacobus Vanderveer House, located in River Road Park, has been at the center of Bedminster Township’s rich and colorful history. It is situated on part of the 218 acres that make up River Road Park in Bedminster Township, Somerset County. 

Jacobus Vanderveer, Jr., son of Vanderveer, Sr., a wealthy Dutch miller, built a small Dutch frame-style farmhouse just west of the North Branch of the Raritan River on the northern outskirts of Pluckemin. In 1778, during the War of Independence, Vanderveer lent his home to General Henry Knox, who was to command a new artillery encampment and training academy being established by the Continental Army on a hillside above the village of Pluckemin. General Knox, along with his wife Lucy and family, occupied the house from the winter of 1778 through the summer of 1779.

The Vanderveer house is the only surviving building associated with the Pluckemin encampment, which is considered to be the first installation in America to train officers in engineering and artillery. General Knox established “The Academy” and subsequently created its successor, The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.  

The Jacobus Vanderveer House and property were purchased by Bedminster Township in 1989 with the help of Green Acres funding. The house was listed in 1995 on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places. The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House is a nonprofit organization formed to restore and develop the historic site as an important educational and cultural resource. During the past decade, the Friends have restored the house, created historically accurate period room exhibitions, established historic collections, supported important research, and embarked on a program of education and interpretation to tell the stories of General Henry Knox, the Pluckemin military encampment and the community’s key role in the American Revolution.

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