History of Bernards Township

Somerset County, New Jersey

Bernards Township includes the communities:

Basking Ridge

Liberty Corner



1717 – John Harrison purchased 3,000 acres (including some of the future territory of Bernards Township) for $50 from Lenni Lenape Chief Nowenock.

1717 – William Penn bought another 7,000 acres (also part of the future Bernards Township).

1758 to 1760 – Sir Francis Bernard, Colonial governor of New Jersey.

1760 – George III of Great Britain established the predecessor of the Township called Bernardston Township.

1775-1782 – American Revolution. There were 100 area men who joined the colonial militia.

1776 (December) – Continental Army General Charles Lee, second in command to George Washington, captured by the British here.

Lord Stirling led the New Jersey Militia and was a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. He led troops in battle on Long Island, and in the battles of Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth.

c. 1800 – the future Borough Hall of Bernardsville Borough built and known as Bunn’s Mill (grist mill, sawmill, cider mill and distillery).

1804 – the Coffee House on North Maple constructed. This New Jersey frame farm house served as both residence and crossroads tavern and was a center of activity and entertainment.
1839 – the Greek Revival Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church built and still stands.

Bernardsville Borough was originally a section of Bernards Township know as Vealtown.

1840 – Vealtown became Bernardsville, named after Colonial Governor Sir Francis Bernard.

mid 1800s – in the future Bernardsville Borough, end of the operation of Bunn’s Mill.

1861-1865 – Civil War.

After the Civil War – many wealthy New Yorkers came to the area as summer visitors of the Bernardsville Mountain. They later became permanent residents.

1872 – the railroad line built through Bernardsville.

1924 – Bernardsville become a separate borough when it split from Bernards Township.

1931 – the one-story Tudor Revival Lyons Station built. It was designed by noted architect, D.T. Mack.

Today – Bernardsville Borough has a population of 7,345 residents.


New Jersey Estates.net: Bernards Township; http://www.newjerseyestates.net/pages/bernards.htm

Bernardsville Borough: Benardsville History http://www.bernardsvilleboro.org/pages01/history.html