Somerville Borough

Somerset County, New Jersey

It is the county seat of Somerset County.


1681 – House of Dirk Middaugh, west of Wallace House, built

1690 -- the Church of Raritan organized.

1734 – a letter printed in the New York Gazette made mention of a slave rebellion of 30 African persons seeking to gain their freedom in Somerville.

1737 – Coejeman's House built.

1751 – Holland brick House of Rev. John Frelinghuysen built by congregation of First Reformed Dutch Church and known as "Old Dutch Parsonage and First Theological Seminary." located on Washington Place, one block away from Main Street. It was located on Washington Place, one block away from Main Street. It was removed several hundred feet from its original site. Listed on the National Registry.

The Old Dutch Parsonage was the home of the first ministers of the first Dutch Reformed congregation in the Somerville/ Raritan area.

Jacob Hardenburgh, second minister to occupy the Parsonage, was one of the founders of Old Queens College and Seminary (currently Rutgers University and The New Brunswick Theological Seminary), and later served as its president.

1776 – the Wallace House built; located on Washington Place, one block away from Main Street. Listed on the National Registry.

1775-1782 – Revolutionary War. A tavern stood on the site of The Somerville House.

Four boulders with bronze tablets marking sections of Washington's Line of March from Princeton to Morristown, erected by Frelinghuysen Chapter, D.A.R., one at entrance to Somerville, at the corner of Warren Street and Court House Grounds, one at Allen's Tavern, one at entrance to Pluckemin on grounds of Kenilworth Inn, and one at Griggstown.

winter and spring of 1778-9 – the Wallace House was Washington's Headquarters for six months. (It is now a museum owned by Revolutionary Memorial Society of New Jersey.) The Coejeman’s House was occupied by Lafayette during Washington's stay at the Wallace House.

1779 (October) – the British burned the Court House in Millstone, the County Seat.

1779 - the British under Colonel Simcoe burned the Church of Raritan. The church was subsequently rebuilt in combination with the Court House.

Somerville was the home of Frederick Frelinghuysen, a member of the Continental Congress at the age of twenty-two, who saw service at Trenton and Monmouth, and subsequently became United States Senator.

c.1784 – the County Seat moved to Somerville, then called Raritan. A Court House and jail built of logs was constructed.

until 1809-10 – Somerville continued to be known as Raritan until this time.

1831 (Feb. 9) – the Elizabethtown and Somerville Railroad incorporated.

1842 (Jan. 2) – railway service extended to Somerville.

1847 – the Somerville and Easton Railroad incorporated.

1848 – the Somerville & Easton Railroad purchased the Elizabethtown and Somerville Railroad and changed its name to The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey.

1857 – First Reformed Church built.

1861-1865 – the Civil War.

1864 (July 1) – the South Branch Railroad from Somerville to Flemington opened.

1879 – Fourth German Reformed Church of Raritan in Somerville is set in a quiet residential neighborhood.

Late 1880s – Romanesque style Saint John's Episcopal Church, Parish House and Parsonage, located at the intersection of High and Doughty Streets is now on the National and State Historic Registers.

1888 – Gothic style mansion Somerville Borough Hall constructed. It was copied from an award winning design by Alexander Jackson Davis, America’s premier Gothic architect.

1888 – the Italianate-style Somerville Fire House on 15 North Doughty Street constructed for the West End Hose Company. It was the home of the borough's first horse-drawn fire truck. The fire house in now a Fire Museum exhibiting antique fire-fighting equipment and numerous pictures and citations concerning the Somerville Fire Department.

1888 – the South Branch Railroad merged with the Jersey Central.

1897 – the English-Gothic First Reformed Dutch Church (next to the Somerset County Court House) built. It was designed by William Appleton Potter, known for his architecture on the Princeton University campus. The Church contains four Tiffany stained glass windows.

1898 – the Wallace House became a museum

1909 – the Borough of Somerville created..

1909 – the beaux-arts Somerset County Court House, East Main Street, constructed. It was designed by the firm of Gordon, Tracy and Swartwout. James Riely Gordon, was one of America's foremost courthouse architects who designed the Arizona Capitol. Tracy and Swartwout designed the Missouri Capitol.

1910 – the Lord Memorial Fountain erected; designed by John Russell Pope, who also designed the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The fountain was erected by Frelinghuysen Chapter, D.A.R.

1910 (November 15) – the Historical Society of Somerset County placed a boulder bearing a bronze tablet furnished by the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Jersey. (It is located upon the southeast corner of the lot facing the road from Franklin Park to New Brunswick.)

Early 20th century – the father of Paul Robeson preached at the St. Thomas AME Church on Paul Robeson Boulevard. The Boulevard is a locally designated historic street associated with the boyhood years of Paul Robeson. The church also served as a site on the Underground Railroad. Robeson’s father had been a slave at one time.

A bronze plaque on the wall of Somerville Middle School Gym near the corner of Cliff Street marks Robeson's home, the original AME parsonage.

1915 – Paul Robeson graduated from Somerville’s first high-school building. The site is now home to the Somerville Board of Education Headquarters. The high school was one of the few integrated high schools in the state at the time.

1948 – both the Wallace House and the Old Dutch Parsonage became state sites.

1990 – Borough of Somerville had a population of 11,562.

1996 – the Somerset County Court House refurbished.


Welcome to Historic Somerville: History.

Things to Do in Somerset County, New Jersey: Historic Sites.


Nancy Shakir. Slavery in America: Slavery in New Jersey.