Lord Stirling-Is Sir William Alexander Basking Ridge’s Most Famous Resident?

Lord Stirling - Washington's top general from Basking Ridge.

William Alexander was considered male heir to the Scottish title of Earl of Stirling through Scottish lineage (being the senior male descendant of the paternal grandfather of the 1st Earl of Stirling, who had died in 1640), and he sought the title sometime after 1756. Raised on Broad Street in Lower Manhattan, he decided to move west to the country. He chose Baskinridge (Basking Ridge) and became what many feel is the area’s most famous resident. Let’s take a look. Early Days William Alexander (1726 – 1/15/1783) was the son…

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J. Geils Was From Bedminster -Cut his Chops at Bernards High

The J. Geils Band was an American rock band formed in 1968, in Worcester, Massachusetts while John Geils was attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Under the leadership of guitarist John “J.” Geils. But did you know that it all started when John was living in Bedminster and attended Bernards High School in Bernardsville. Let’s take a look. John (Jay) Warren Geils, Jr. was born on February 20, 1946, in New York City to John Warren “Jay” Geils and Carolyn K. “Lynne” Wolff. His family was living in Morris Plains before moving…

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Retrospect: President James Monroe Had Ties to Basking Ridge

Young James Monroe who later became the 5th President of the United States

James Monroe was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and “Founding Father” who served as the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was the last president of the Virginia dynasty. But did you know Monroe cut his political teeth in Basking Ridge, New Jersey in 1777 at the ripe age of 19. Let’s take a look at this great American story. The Virginia Farm Hand Dropout James Monroe was born on April 28, 1758 near what is now called Monroe…

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International Women’s Day Honors 20+ Women Trailblazers from the Somerset Hills

Women of Somerset Hills

In honor of International Women’s Day, we thought it’d be fun to share some of the inspirational trailblazing women from our area that have made a difference. Each of these women either grew up or lived in the Somerset Hills. The Somerset Hills is the region of northern Somerset County, New Jersey that includes Bedminster, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Far Hills, Peapack & Gladstone. The list below is in alphabetical order so to not take away from any of these women’s accomplishments. Brooke Astor – She married her first husband, John…

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Looking Back – Werring Chevrolet-Olds in Basking Ridge

Werring Chevrolet Basking Ridge 1957

For many the downtown village of Basking Ridge is a bucolic vision of a Rockwell American town. Dotted with small shops, churches, and eateries, you don’t have to travel back in time too far when one of the biggest businesses in the downtown area was a car dealership. The Mr. Local History project takes you back to 1957 where we introduce you to the history of Werring Chevrolet-Olds right there where the current Basking Ridge Family Dentistry offices stand in 2020. John H. Werring picked up where Ray Moffet ended…

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Why is Basking Ridge Called the Red Devils and Why are They Green?

Ridge High School and the Red Devil Tool Company - Mr. Local History

The Mr. Local History project got a request the other day asking why is the Ridge High School sports program called the Red Devils and why are they using the color green? It’s a history thing. Lets take a look. The story starts back in 1940 when the famed “Astor Estate” (the Bernards Township town hall) was sold to Mr. and Mrs. George Ludlow Lee, Sr. in 1940. The estate was actually called “Cedar Hill Farm” at the time. Mr. Lee was the owner/treasurer of the Red Devil Tool Company of Irvington from…

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100th Anniversary Honors Women’s Right to Vote in New Jersey

19th amendment - Mr. Local History Project

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.S., and the ratification of the 19th amendment guaranteeing all American women the right to vote, the Mr Local History project recognizes this great accomplishment in American History. The U.S. Congress passed the 19th Amendment guaranteeing all American women the right to vote in June 4, 1919, and the resolution states on Feb. 9, 1920, New Jersey became the 29th state to ratify the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Many don’t know that the 19th amendment was actually written…

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They Stayed In Basking Ridge

The famous people who came to Basking Ridge - Mr Local History Project

In a sleepy little section in the northern end of Bernards Township lies the Olde Mill Inn. Once just a small restaurant and former grain house barn, it has become a quiet getaway for Hollywood elite and social royalty. As you walk into the Olde Mill Inn lobby, take a quick turn to the left for a glimpse of history mounted on the wall. The statement is simple: these people chose to visit where you live for any number of reasons. From Martin Sheen to Howard Stern, let’s take a…

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Timeline Highlights Bernards Township History

Mr Local History showcases Bernards Township Historic Timeline

Take a visual tour of a great document that showcases key historic activities that occured in Bernards Township. The timeline was prepared by former historian June Kennedy honoring the 250th anniversary and history of Bernards Township.

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Films Document Basking Ridge History

Historic Basking Ridge Documentary Films - Mr. Local History

If you’re a fan of local history, two area film makers have created documentary films showcasing two of the most regarded historic stories in Bernards Township. While many people don’t know about the great fight against the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and what almost happened to the town, Saving The Great Swamp – The Battle to Defeat the Jetport is a reminder on how delicate communities can be. The second film, Under the Great Oak is a film about the iconic village oak tree that the township lost…

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Affordable Housing Development History in Bernards Township

History of Housing Developments in Bernards Township = Mr Local History

Bernards Township has had a long history of being a sleepy rural town. Then AT&T came to town in the 70’s and everything started to change. Demand for housing increased as people from around the world started to choose Bernards Township as a place to raise their children. Starting in the 50’s the concept of cluster housing neighborhoods started in the famed Levittown, NY development which later led to our area’s infamous “The Hills” development complex. Let’s take a look back at the growth of housing complexes in Bernards Township…

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Artwork and Local History

Capturing History in the Somerset Hills with Art The Mr. Local History Project has launched a new program to honor artists that celebrate our local history with art. NOTE: On your phone just swipe right or left. On desktop, put mouse on image to stop. There are arrows in mid-section of art on edges to go backwards or forwards. Mouse off should move art automatically. Documenting history sometimes comes in unique ways. As we’ve been studying history in the Somerset Hills you often visit the sites and come across an…

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Bernards Township Origins

Bernards Township Asian Community Research - Mr. Local History Project

Bernards Township has been a charted township going all the way back to 1760. With the early Dutch and Scottish settlers, the origin of the area belongs to the famed Lenni-Lenape Native American tribe.But what about the other cultures in the area. We’re on a mission to find out and would love to engage the community. Demographic Highlights Researching Diversity We are honoring those in our neighborhood who have identified themselves as Asian according to the census. Statistics have shown that the Asian American community (including India and Chinese) has…

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