Kingston in Somerset County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Kate McFarlane and Josephine Swann
Women’s Heritage Trail
In 1783, while Congress was meeting at Nassau Hall in nearby Princeton, Rockingham was rented from Margaret Berrien, the widow of NJ Supreme Court Justice John Berrien, for the use of General George Washington. It served as what became his final wartime headquarters from August 23 to November 10, 1783. More than 100 years later, in 1896, Mrs. Josephine Thompson Swann and Miss Kate E. McFarlane were part of a group of prestigious concerned citizens who came together to save the house from demolition. Long known by area residents as the old Berrien Mansion, the 18th-century farmstead which had played host to a number of Revolutionary War dignitaries, it had fallen into disrepair and was being threatened with imminent destruction. The mansion and outbuildings had become temporary workers’ housing for those employed by Howell Quarries of Rocky Hill. Through a generous gift by Mrs. Swan, who agreed to pay the asking price, the mansion was saved. It became the property of the new Washington Headquarters Association and was moved to a new location. The oldest section of Rockingham was built circa 1710 in a saltbox style and was enlarged in the 1760s, with a two-story porch and a large attic added in the early 19th century. It stands today at its fourth location, but only about one mile south of its original site.
“We felt we had gained a great deal when the price was settled upon the house, as it was the house we were wishing to preserve and not the site. Mrs. Swann paid the price of the house, others raising the money to move and restore it. An original drawing of the house was found, which greatly assisted the architects. By August 25, 1897 it was open for guests.”
- The Washington Headquarters at Rocky Hill, By Kate E. McFarlane, Somerset County Historical Quarterly, Volume I, 1912
Kate McFarlane and Josephine Swann, determined to save Rockingham, organized a group of concerned citizens and rescued this significant historical site which played an important role in the Revolutionary War. Because of their integral role as Women in Historic Preservation, they are on the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail.
The New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail highlights a collection of historic sites located around the state that represent the significant contributions women made to the history of our state. The Heritage Trail brings to life the vital role of women in New Jersey’s past and present.
Erected by Department of Community Affairs - New Jersey Historic Trust.
Marker series. New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 40° 23.12′ N, 74° 37.235′ W. Marker is in Kingston, New Jersey, in Somerset County. Marker is on Kingston Rocky Hill Road (County Route 603), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kingston NJ 08528, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rockingham (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Kingston Revolutionary War Soldiers (approx. ¾ mile away); Kingston Presbyterian Church (approx. ¾ mile away); Kingston Cemetery (approx. 0.8 miles away); Washington’s Route from Princeton to Morristown (approx. 0.8 miles away); Maybury Hill (approx. 1.7 miles away); Joseph Hewes (approx. 1.7 miles away); Opie-Vanderveer Cemetery (approx. 2.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kingston.
Categories. • War, US Revolutionary • Women •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 20, 2014, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 302 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 20, 2014, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.