Morristown in Morris County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Morristown National Historical Park
The Army is quartered within three Miles of this place, in the usual way of hutting. Head Quarters is in this Town, at the Widow Fords, at the great white House at the North end of the place.
Jacob Ford Jr., a wealthy iron manufacturer, built this Georgian style home in the early 1770s. A colonel in the New Jersey militia, Ford died of pneumonia on January 10, 1777 while General George Washington’s Light Infantry quartered in his home. Washington directed the Light Infantry to provide Colonel Ford with a military funeral.
Nearly three years later, his widow Theodosia Ford allowed General Washington, his wife Martha, and his military family of five secretaries and eighteen servants to return to her home to use the Ford Mansion as their quarters from December 1779 to June 1780.
Eventually, General Marquis de Lafayette, and Spanish and French Ambassadors visited the home with their servants and secretaries. Including Mrs. Ford, her four children, and her servants, this house might have quartered over 300 people a night.
History for Sale, History Preserved
When Mrs. Ford’s grandson died in 1872, no other Ford descendant was interested in living in the 100-year old Ford Mansion. Therefore, on June 28,1873 the mansion was put up for public auction. Fearing that the Ford Mansion might be converted into a boarding house, or worse, four prominent men joined together at the auction to purchase it for $25,000.
In 1874, the four men, Theodore Randolph, N. Norris Halstead, George Halsey, and William Lidgerwood, formed the Washington Association of New Jersey (WANJ) to manage the property. With additional members joining throughout the years, the association preserved the Ford Mansion and operated it as a museum until 1933.
In 1933 the WANJ donated the Ford Mansion and its historical collections to the United States of America. Combined with the donations of Jockey Hollow by Lloyd W. Smith and Fort Nonsense by the township of Morristown, these gifts led to the creation of Morristown National Historical Park – the first designated “national historical park” in the National Park System.
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Buildings • War, US Revolutionary.
Location. 40° Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Morristown NJ 07960, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Path to History (here, next to this marker); Continental Army Encampments at Morristown (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington’s Headquarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington’s Headquarters Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); George Washington School (approx. 0.2 miles away); Powder Mill (approx. 0.3 miles away); Historic Site (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morristown.
More about this marker. The background of the marker contains “An imagined scene of General Washington greeting his wife Martha Washington upon her December 1779 arrival to his Ford Mansion winter quarters.”
A photograph of the Ford Mansion second floor armory exhibit (circa 1920) appears in the sidebar.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 9, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 9, 2018, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 172 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 9, 2018, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.