Thursday, February 19, 2015

George and Martha Washington Return to Morristown - February 22, 2015

George and Martha Washington Return to Morristown
Sunday, February 22, 2015

America's founding couple, George and Martha Washington, will return to Morristown, NJ, 235 years after they spent the hard winter of 1779-1780 at the Theodosia Ford mansion.

Re-enactors portraying George and Martha Washington will reminisce about that challenging time in American history during a presentation Sunday, February 22 from 3:00 - 4:00 pm at the Morristown National Historic Park Museum Auditorium, 30 Washington Place, Morristown, NJ. The free program, hosted by the Morristown National Historic Park (NHP) in cooperation with the Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum in Bedminster, is funded by a grant from The Ann L. and George H. Clapp Charitable and Educational Trust.

"It is widely acknowledged that George Washington slept just about everywhere during the Revolution. Most people don't realize, however, that his wife, Martha, also spent many a night away from Mount Vernon with her husband at winter encampments," observed Jude Pfister, D. Litt., Chief of Cultural Resources, Morristown National Historic Park Museum. "That was, indeed, the case at the Morristown 1779-1780 encampment."

George and Martha Washington will give attendees a first-hand account of the anxieties associated with the discomforts of that winter, as well as their much larger, shared task of keeping the spirits of the American ideal from falling victim to a winter which nearly stopped the Army in its tracks.

The program is free of charge, but registration is suggested. Register online at:

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.

About The Ann L. and George H. Clapp Charitable and Educational Trust Grant
The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House received a $15,000 grant to develop and support history programs targeted to K-12 students. The programs will be held either at the Jacobus Vanderveer House (with financial support available for busing, when needed) or taken directly into schools/classrooms. The grant also encourages the development of cooperative programming with peer historic sites, such as Morristown National Historic Park, to facilitate educational outreach.

About Morristown National Historic Park
Morristown National Historical Park was established on March 2, 1933 as the nation's first designated "National Historical Park." The National Park Service at Morristown National Historical Park preserves, protects and maintains the landscapes, structures, features, archaeological resources and collections of the Continental Army winter encampments, the headquarters of General George Washington, and related Revolutionary War sites at Morristown for the benefit and inspiration of the public. The park interprets the history and subsequent commemoration of these encampments and the extraordinary fortitude of the officers and enlisted men under Washington's leadership. For general information about Morristown National Historic Park, visit  or call 973-539-2016 x 210.

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