Delaware & Raritan Canal: Griggstown
Griggstown, Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ
From Rocky Hill take NJ-518 east for a short distance, and just after crossing the Delaware & Raritan Canal, turn left on Canal Road. At Griggstown, turn left after the canal and park. There is parking on the left a little way past the causeway over the canal. Also nearby is a Day Use Area with picnic tables.
c. 1733 -- Griggstown settled.
1775-1782 -- Revolutionary War. Near the Millstone River here is an historic marker: "Historic River Road and River Crossing: Route of the Continental Army to Morristown after the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777. Route also of armies marching from New York To Yorktown, Virginia, August 30-31, 1781."
1830 -- the Long House erected.
1832 -- the slaves of Abraham Veghte, the man who was responsible for digging sections 43 and 44 of the canal, tore down the Griggs mill to make way for the canal.
1832-1834 -- Abraham Veghte built two mills and a small outbuilding to replace Griggs mill.
1834 -- the D&R Canal opened. 60 mile long canal from News Brunswick to Trenton. The state has saved 50 miles of it for recreation.
1848 -- Cornelius Simonson sold what is known as the Mule Tenders Barracks to Abraham Veghte. The building is misnamed for instead of housing mules it probably served as a grain-storage facility for local farmers. Ann Veghte Edgar later operated a store and post office out of the building. The building is now known as the Long House.
Griggstown, five miles below Kingston and nine miles south of Somerville, was home to Lock Number 9. It contained a store, a tavern and some half dozen dwellings. It also had a grist mill and a very short-lived copper mine. Along the D & R Canal above the bridge at Griggstown is the house in which Revolutionary War spy John Honeyman lived with his family for some years.
Most times the child workers would just have to sleep outside or sleep inside the packet boat. On this particular canal, there were facilities for children only in Griggstown, at the barracks at Bordentown and one in the middle of the canal.
When steam power came in, and mule tenders were not needed, the barracks were used as a store, a home or a post office.
1999 -- Tropical Storm Floyd hit the area with the flood waters reaching the second floor of the Long House museum. The walls had to be replastered and the photos replaced.
At Griggstown the locktender's house is leased as a private residence. Here is the Griggstown Canoe and Kayack Rental.
Today -- in Griggstown is the Mule Tenders Barracks Museum that was once housed in the Long House. The mule tenders led the mules on the canal tow path. Usually the mule tenders were children, some even younger than 9 years of age. Many times the children would be tethered to the boat so, if they fell into the canal, they could be hauled up again.
(Linda J. Barth 2002. Images of America: The Delaware and Raritan Canal. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.)