EDITOR'S NOTE: Because of COVID-19 social distancing considerations and limits placed on public gatherings, the event is not open to the public, but will be televised at a later date on 'Ville TV,

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The historic Wallace House, which served as General George Washington's winter headquarters in 1778-79 will be the setting for a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence on Saturday, July 4th, at 1 p.m.

The document, signed by the founding fathers in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, escalated the colonies' struggle for independence. from England. The American Revolution would last until 1781 when British troops surrendered to Washington and his Continental Army in Yorktown, Va. Washington would become the nation's first president.

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Mayor Dennis Sullivan will offers greetings and an introduction to the ceremony.

David Lang will perform the reading, as well as the National Anthem and Gold Bless America. Paul Soltis will also offer remarks.

Sullivan thanked the Somerville Borough Council, Somerville Historic Advisory Committee, and the Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage Association for their support.

Washington used the Wallace House as his headquarters from Dec. 11, 1778, to June 3, 1779, during the Middlebrook Encampment, leaving from Dec. 22 until Feb. 5, to meet with the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. General William Alexander (Lord Stirling) was left in command of the Middlebrook Encampment in Washington's absence.

When Washington returned from Philadelphia to the Wallace House, he was accompanied by his wife Martha, who remained with him at the Wallace House for the rest of the encampment.

The house was owned by John Wallace, a retired Philadelphia merchant. It was built in 1776, just two years before the encampment. Wallace called his property "Hope Farm." Washington and his staff occupied four rooms of the house; the Wallace family continued to live in the rest of the house.