Genealogy Help and References

Mr Local History and Ancestry.com support

Looking to Research Your Family History in the Somerset Hills? Genealogy is one of the local historical society’s most requested interest areas. While the Society has limited space to store family historical information, we do have the ability to help you get started on your search. However, in partnership with the Bernards Township Library, there is a dedicated group there that might be able to assist with your research requests. There is also a tremendous amount of information at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church records in Basking Ridge as well…

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Historic Grain House in Bernards Township Turns 250 Years Old

The Grain House c.2018 Credit: Brooks Betz

Historic Profile: The Grain House, Franklin Corners (Bernards Township), New Jersey The Grain House at the Olde Mill Inn Turns 250 Years Old (1768-2018) Mr. Local History congratulates the historic Grain House as it celebrates its 250th construction anniversary. In 1768, when the First Methodist Church in North American colonies was initiated at Wesley Chapel in NYC and the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica was being published in Scotland, Samuel Lewis, a miller from Franklin Corners in Bernards Township, built a water-powered grist mill and a barn on the Passaic…

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History of the US Golf Association Headquarters and Museum

Mr. Local History shares a profile of the USGA Museum in Bernards Township, New Jersey

A historic gem right in Bernards Township, New Jersey The USGA Museum, currently located adjacent to the USGA Headquarters, has long been a mecca for those passionate about the game. Some 20,000 avid golfers make the pilgrimage to the Somerset Hills each year to visit the museum. This elegant brick three story Georgian colonial mansion, designed in 1919 by John Russell Pope, has been home to the USGA Headquarters & Museum since 1972. In 1919, Thomas H. Frothingham (1891-1971), a stockbroker and partner at Potter Brothers & Company, commissioned architect…

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Somerset Hills History 101

Map Somerset_Hills_NJ_mr local history

Bedminster, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Far Hills, Peapack & Gladstone History that you might not know. Let’s get started. Did you know… 1921 – Far Hills was actually part of Bernards Township until seceding in 1921. Rising taxes led the 200 residents of Far Hills to decide to separate from Bernards Township and to incorporate as a Borough. The local property tax rate jumped from $2.72 in 1919 to $3.53 in 1920. 1717 – The original Bernards Township (Bernardston) area (3,000 acres) was purchased by John Harrison, agent of King James…

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Blairsden- The Horror, The Nuns and Other Tales

Peapack Gladstone's Blairsden Estate - Mr. Local History #mrlocalhistory

Weird New Jersey Launches an all out attack on the horrible tales of what went wrong inside the Blairsden Estate in Peapack, New Jersey. This article originally was posted on another site back in 2007. We thought it was time to bring it back and provide additional details since the original article was published. Before we get started, you have to read how the Blairsden Horror Phenomenon took hold. It really started to take off when a niche magazine called Weird New Jersey published an article about the Blairsden estate…

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Betsy Ross is Buried in Basking Ridge

Mr. Local History Archives - Betsy Ross in Basking Ridge

Local Lore –Flag Designer Betsy Ross and her Basking Ridge Ties Betsy Ross’s name at her death was actually Elizabeth (Betsy) Griscom Ross Ashburn Claypoole – A Morris County man. June 14 commemorates Flag Day the birthday of the first U.S. flag, made by Betsy Ross (1752-1836) at the request of George Washington.  Mrs. Ross, a seamstress, did not design the flag, but apparently came up with the idea of five-pointed stars. According to Ross’s grandson, Ross was visited in her home in June 1776 by Robert Morris, George Ross (her…

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The Guilded Age Blairsden Estate

Mr. Local History Archives - Blairsden Estate

Historical Perspective: The Blairsden Estate of Clinton Ledyard Blair Peapack/Gladstone, New Jersey Submitted: Brooks Betz & W. Barry Thomson BLAIRSDEN, site for Mansion In May 2014 from Mansion In May on Vimeo. Blairsden Background Out of all of the requests that we receive at Mr. Local History, none measure up to the sheer volume we receive every month requesting additional information on Blairsden, one of the crown jewel estates of the Somerset Hills. While there have been numerous pieces posted on the internet regarding Blairsden that stretch the truth and…

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Spring Planting – Keep the History Going

The Daffodil Project - Plant Now

Throwback post – If you live in Bernards Township, New Jersey, for the 250th Anniversary back in 2010 Bernards Township adopted the Flower Drift Daffodil as the 250th Anniversary Daffodil for their 250th anniversary! Show your support by planting these daffodils in your yard to celebrate the anniversary! THE DAFFODIL PROJECT… TELL YOUR FRIENDS/NEIGHBORS….Facebook your wall, Tweet…whatever gets the message out there…. ALL BERNARDS TWP RESIDENTS… PLANT NOW so that the entire area has this special daffodil blooming on the 250th anniversary! Please follow and like us: Related posts: Flowers…

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1912 Astor Estate in Basking Ridge Selected as 6th Wooden Historic Village Keepsake

Basking Ridge Wooden Cats Meow Keepsake

Order online now to be part of the inaugural run. Mr Local History is proud to announce the release of the 6th in the collectible series, the 1912 Samuel Owen home now known as the Astor Estate is the new Somerset Hills Historic Cat’s Meow collectible. Orders for this inaugural run are now being taken online. Only a limited number will be produced. The Historic Somerset Hills Village keepsake collection is a collectible series honoring historic iconic buildings, properties, and fixtures that are part of the historic fabric of our…

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Jersey Comfort Food to Die For Mapping Project

Mr Local History Maps Jersey Food to Die For

Here’s to a lifetime of living in Jersey. Here’s the map. It’s simple. It may not be the healthiest, but Fagettaboutit, it’s Jersey’s best comfort food. Great flavor with an attitude. I just love it. You will too! Post any pics if you have them.We’re big into #foodporn 🙂 The first round of the Jersey Comfort Food map started when I wanted to get an Italian hot dog. Where would I have to travel? Or if I’m traveling the state, how do I know where the BEST place in the…

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

Mr Local History Honors Women for International Women's Day

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. Hover over with mouse to hold image or select arrows at top of slider to go back and forth. The list below is in alphabetical order so…

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Virtual Tour of Historic Basking Ridge Village

Basking Ridge Downtown - Mr. Local History

We’ve been testing out a new piece of technology and wanted to share with our community. The project is to compliment what has traditionally been a guided walking tour in Basking Ridge. We’re thinking of hiring one of the docents to walk through this virtual tour to get as close to taking a real tour. TIP: Watch it on your laptop first. Then try watching it on your phone. The phone version is like your camera is on and you’re actually walking on the streets of Basking Ridge. Enjoy. Let…

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History Helps Realtors Sell Real Estate

Mr Local History and Realtors Unite

Realtors History Guide to Selling Basking Ridge, Bernardsville, Bedminster and the Rest of the Somerset Hills, New Jersey It probably comes as no surprise that realtors have a fairly easy time selling homes in Bernards Township and the surrounding Somerset Hills area. With its top ranked schools, highway access to the rest of the state, easy access to railroads and a relatively low tax rate. Now comes the secret. How you can differentiate yourself as a realtor using Mr. Local History. First off, we never thought of promoting what we…

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“Janice Meredith” – 1924 Silent Film Showcases American Revolution

Janice Meredith a silent film found by Mr Local History

Back in 1924 silent films were all the rage. Bernardsville was just becoming a boro and separating from Bernards Township but there was still only one movie theater, The Liberty . How fortunate was the theater to feature the film “Janice Meredith”, a film about the American Revolution featuring the infamous General Charles Lee. The question is? Will they show the infamous Lee capture at Widow White’s in Basking Ridge? We have the complete film at the end of the story. Film It is 1774, the eve of the American…

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The Tale of Two Bedminsters

Mr. Local History Archives - Bedminster England

Sister Towns in New Jersey and England Share a Common Bond – and a Name How fun was it when we were contacted by our friends across the pond who were inquiring about what they were calling a “sister town” in New Jersey. The small town in Bedminster, New Jersey ties back to Somersetshire (Somerset County) in England. We thought it’d be fun to start an exchange and see where it goes. The project began when we got an email from Paul Breeden, a writer and editor at South Bristol…

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