SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Old Dutch Parsonage historic site at 65 Washington Place, the home of Jacob Rusten Hardenbergh, a founder and first president of Rutgers University, will host an open house Saturday, Nov. 2nd that will focus on "Revolutionary Rivals" and the early days of Rutgers and Princeton University in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The program begins at 10 a.m. with an open house and tailgate, featuring an historic bake oven demonstration and outdoor play with period toys and games.
That will be followed at 11 a.m. with a talk on Rutgers and Princeton in the American Revolution, and how a rivalry grew between New Jersey's two colonial colleges which helped to establish New Jersey's early leadership in higher education.
That rivalry played out in New Brunswick when Rutgers hosted Princeton in the first-ever college football game in America in 1869, won by Rutgers 6-0..
William Leggett, the captain of that Rutgers team will make an "appearance" at noon to relive that historic game.
The event is sponsored by the Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage Association.
The event is free; reservations are appreciated. Call (908) 725-1015 for further information.
The Old Dutch Parsonage is a historical house built in 1751. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 25, 1971, and noted as "an excellent example of mid-18th-century Fleminsh Bond brick structure."
The 2 1⁄2-story brick house was the home of the first ministers of the first Dutch Reformed churches in the area, built by the combined efforts of the congregations in Somerville and Raritan.
The first occupant was Rev. John Frelinghuysen who taught seminarians in the house. His son Frederick was a captain in the Continental Army.
Hardenbergh, one of the seminarians who occupied the house after Frelinghuysen's death along with the former reverend's widow and her children, succeeded Frelinghuysen as minister, occupant of the house, and, in 1756, as husband to the former Mrs. Frelinghuysen.
Hardenbergh helped establish Queen's College, now known as Rutgers University in 1766 and in 1785 became its first president. He moved from the house in 1781 but it continued in use as a parsonage until 1810.
Dr. Peter Stryker bought the house in 1810 and sold it to the Doughty family in 1836. They owned it until 1907 when they sold it to the Central Railroad of New Jersey.
In 1913, the house was set to be knocked down by the railroad, but instead it was moved adjacent to the Wallace House, which was built in 1775. The Wallace House was the winter headquarters of Gen. George Washington during the Middlebrook Encampment of 1777.