The Founding Families of Basking Ridge

Trading $50 for Basking Ridge

History showcases some of the greatest reminders of where we came from. Many people new to the area don’t know the deep history in the area ties back to some of the originating families that chose this area back in the early 1700s. As many know, the area was purchased by John Harrison, agent of King James III of England in 1717, from Chief Nowenoik of the Lenapes, a real estate package of 3,000 acres for $50.  We honor those who founded this community on the Ridge. Six Early Settlers…

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History Dig: The Army Hospital was in Basking Ridge and NOT Jockey Hollow

The Winter Encampment at Morristown has a historic twist. The army hospital was in Basking Ridge. Read the story.

NOTE: While I sit in the house under self distancing work from home for the Coronavirus, we take a look back at a hospital in Basking Ridge, New Jersey that very few people knew. And the amazing part is not that I knew there was a hospital in Basking Ridge, I was shocked to learn that there never was a hospital in Jockey Hollow. Brooks Betz, Historian – Mr. Local History Project The 1779-1780 Winter Encampment at Jockey HollowThe Story of the Hospital at Basking Ridge Weather conditions when the…

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Keepsake – Stirling’s Basking Ridge Grand Manor Immortalized

tirling Manor was stated to be a English nobleman's Georgian Palladian style estate along the Dead River called "The Sycamores" with great lawns, gardens, vineyards, stables, coach houses, with a large paved court behind the mansion. The property up to 800 total acres. While the estate is gone this one in Marble Hill-Twickenham outside London is very similar to what Sycamores might have looked like.

The Mayor of the Somerset Hills Historic Village is VERY proud to announce the addition of what might be one of the most iconic historic images in the area. Let’s welcome the historic Cat’s Meow Lord Stirling Manor, noted as one of the grandest manors in the early American Colonies. The Mr. Local History Project introduces the 8th in the series voted by the community is the 1761 Lord Stirling Manor. How do I Get One? PRE-ORDER YOUR LIMITED EDITION COLLECTIBLE The easiest way to get one is to order…

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Art and History – Looking for Artists Who Love History

The Mr. Local History Art Initiative

The Mr. Local History Project is launching a new program to preserve our local history. We are also looking for art teachers to consider a program where an entire art class works to create their own collection. Take a look and if you’re interested, drop us a line and we can connect to discuss. Sign Up to Participate!

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The H-GOAT GAME – Loved Businesses Lost In Somerset Hills History #HGOAT

Are you ready to REMEMBER? Businesses we loved and lost in the Somerset Hills - Mr. Local History #HGOAT

The Mr. Local History Project is going to find out what were the most loved businesses that we lost in the Somerset Hills over the last fifty years. Follow the fun with hashtag #hgoat. CHAMPIONSHIP – FRIDAY, MARCH 13CONSOLATION MATCHUP – THURSDAY, MARCH 12THE FINAL FOUR – WEDS-FRI MARCH 11-13, 2020ELITE ROUND OF 8 STARTS MONDAY NIGHT, MARCH 9, 2020 SWEET 16 ROUND 3 STARTS SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2020 ROUND 2 STARTS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2020. ROUND 1 COMPLETE MARCH 3, 2020 – The field is cut in half. We…

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REFLECTION: Somerset Hills Farms, Orchards, Dairies, Stables & Landmarks

Farming was everything in the Somerset Hills - Mr Local History Project

The Mr. Local History Project has begun an effort to create a list of key agricultural, lifestock, equine, and fruit farms in the Somerset Hills area of Bedminster, Basking Ridge, Liberty Corner, Bernardsville, Far Hills, Peapack and Gladstone. A number of researchers are building the list along with details to share with the public. While the bucolic Somerset Hills remained the treasure of western New Jersey, once the railroad started in the 1870’s, farming shifted to estates. Mostly in Bernardsville and Bedminster, Basking Ridge, Liberty Corner, parts of Bernardsville, and…

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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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Mr. Local History Releases Spring Magazine Vol.2 Issue 2

Mr Local History Magazine Vol 2 Issue 2 #HGOAT

With Spring just around the corner, thoughts of March Madness and Baseball fill the air. Warmer days and gardening come to mind and we get to go outside and enjoy the fresh spring air. Learn things about the area that even we didn’t know when we began our research. Just knowing that we had baseball in 1867 is insane. Cover Two great images: Our first showcases Simon and Karen Perry of Basking Ridge who breathes the essence of our Social History mission. We’re bringing a slew of events to you…

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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

J Geils from Bedminster NJ and went to 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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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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