History of Bedminster Township

Somerset County, New Jersey


There are 4 village areas:

Pluckemin – east of I-287;

Bedminster – on the adjacent west side; borders The Hills;

Lamington – in the center of the Township; and

Pottersville – in the Northwest corner; first known as Lamington Falls.


History:

1740 – the Lamington Presbyterian Church founded. It is part of the Lamington Historic District on the National Register of Historical Places.

1741 – the Lamington Presbyterian Church built.

1746 – John Boylan, son of Aaron Boylan, born.

Since 1747 – members of the Lamington Presbyterian Church have been buried in the graveyard across the street from the church.

1749 – Bedminster Township founded as an agricultural center.

Mid-1700s – the Pluckemin Store, called the Pluckamin Store in early years, founded and still serves the community. (George Vosseller who may have been the son of James Vosseller, was thought to be born on October 21st, 1763 in Pluckemin NJ.)

1750 – Jacob Eoff, a native of Holland purchased five hundred acres of land from the heirs of John Johnstone and built the first inn in Pluckemin. The inn was at the intersection of Route 202-206 and Washington Valley Road.

1751 – Aaron Boylan built the Boylan house in Pluckemin across the street from the Pluckemin Presbyterian Church. His son, John, four stores: at Pluckemin, Liberty Corner, Vealtown (Bernardsville), and Vanderveers Mills.

1750s – William Willet erected mills that would play an important role in Pottersville's early development.

1756 – in Pluckemin, the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church built.

1768 – son Samuel born to John and Eleanor Boylan. Samuel married Mary Eoff, daughter of Jacob Eoff.

1775-1782 – the Revolutionary War.

1776 – in Pluckemin, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church damaged by a British raid. The Briitish wanted to capture Captain Issac VanArsdale but he escaped to the woods.

On a second British raid, British troops went as far as VanderVeer's Mills (toward what is now Bedminster) and took Elias VanderVeer prisoner. (The prisoner was without coat or hat and he died from the after effects of the hardship.)

1777 (January 4 and 5) – Washington and his army camped in Pluckemin on their way to Morristown from the January 3, 1777 Battle of Princeton.

1777 (January 5) – in Pluckemin, Generals Washington, Sullivan, Knox and Dr. Benjamin Rush were on hand for the burial of British Captain William Leslie, son of the Earl of Leven, Scotland, with military honors in the church cemetery of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

winter of 1778-1779 – General Henry Knox and his family lived in the Jacobus Vanderveer House. The fields behind the Boylan house in Pluckemin, where the Hills Development stands today, was the site of a massive Revolutionary war artillery encampment. It included an artillery school established by General Knox, that was the forerunner of West Point.

George Washington and his troops marched through Bedminster.

During the Revolutionary War – Jacob Eoff’s Pluckemin tavern was the meeting place for the committee of safety, and Washington's army. His son Christian Eoff succeeded him and built the "Barracks" on the opposite corner).

1779 – John Boylan and his wife Eleanor Hodge Boylan entertained George and Martha Washington in Pluckemin at the Grand Alliance Ball. The Ball was celebrated to honor the first anniversary of the alliance with France.

1782 – William Willet supplied grain to Washington's Army, but was bankrupted by the devaluation of Continental Currency. He sold his mills to Captain Samuel Potter. Captain Samuel's grandson, Serring, played an important role in the growth and development of the Pottersville. The town became known as "Potter's Mills," and was later officially named "Pottersville." The village is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1793 – death of John Boylan.

Early in the 19th century – St. Paul’s Lutheran Church torn down when it was no longer safe.

1814 – the Pluckemin inn destroyed by fire.

1831 – a small Methodist chapel built.

1852 – the Pluckemin Presbyterian Church built at the village center over the site of St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

1861-1865 – Civil War.

During the 19th century – many wealthy families built estates

1865-1904 – the Temperance Society forced Pluckemin to go completely dry and sell no alcohol.

1885 – Dr. John B. Beekman purchased the Boylan house.

1890s – In the vicinity of Pluckemin, the Kenilworth Inn built where the current A&P shopping center now stands at the intersection of Washington Valley Road and Route 202-206. The alcohol prohibition hurt the inn and it failed. It became a State Police Headquarters.

1892 – the Pluckemin Store burned. The store was then moved diagonally across the street. It also served as a post office.

During the 19th century – many wealthy families built estates.

1897 – the Boylan house modernized.

1905 – the Dr. Beekman sold the house to Nathan Compton. He, in turn, sold it to his son Andrew.

Until 1912 – the old small Methodist chapel served as the Pluckemin School.

1912 – the Pluckemin School built. It served as a primary grade elementary school (referred to as the Pluckemin Grammer School) until the late 1950s.

1913 – Andrew Compton, owner of the Boylan House, participated in an Anniversary Celebration of the original Grand Alliance Ball of 1779.

1950s – the Boylan house was the home and antique shop of Hanscom Antiques.

1961 to 1976 – the Boylan house was home to Fireside Antiques.

1977 to 1988 – the Boylan house was a residence and home based craft shop.

1989 – a real estate firm housed in the Boylan house, it was later converted to an office and retail center called the Courtyards at Pluckemin.

1989 to 1990 – a duplicate of the Boylan house in yellow constructed to accommodate shops and offices.

1928 – in Pluckemin, the old Kenilworth Inn/State Police Headquarters structure burned down.

Late 1950s – the Pluckemin school closed. It later served as offices for local police. The new Bedminster Township School began serving students from Kindergarten through Grade 8.

until 1970s – before this time the Township was a quiet rural. It changed with the coming of I-78 opened along its southern edge, and I-287 crossed at its eastern border

mid 80's – The Hills, with its townhomes, condos, and small lot houses, was developed on Schley Mountain, east of I-287.

1989 – the Jacobus Vanderveer House and property were purchased by the township . The house is situated on part of the 218 acres that make up River Road Park.

1995 – the John Vanderveer house listed on the National and New Jersey Registers of Historic Places.

2000 – Township population was 8,302. 65% of Township residents now live in The Hills, set off by the intersection of I-78 and I-287.


Sources:

Bedminister Township: Township Tour; http://www.bedminster-nj.com/index.asp?Type=B_LOC&SEC={8008C47B-DFD6-4CCA-859B-ED65ABE4DBF9}

Pluckemin History; http://hometown.aol.com/skm658/PluckeminHistory.htm

Historic Preservation; Pottersville Historic District; http://www.tewksburynj.com/history.shtml

The Jacobus Vanderveer House; http://www.jvanderveerhouse.com/