The 1759 Vought House
|Donate Now To Help Save The Serpent
Save The Serpent Fund Raising Campaign
This is our first major campaign. Funds raised will be used for:
- Operating costs and regular maintenance
- Matching funds for grants
- Stabilization efforts
- Restoration efforts
Your donations will help us turn the Vought House into New
Jerseys first loyalist museum.
- Funding has been made possible by grants from
the 1772 Foundation, Hunterdon County and
Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund
administered by the New Jersey Historic Trust.
Board of Trustee meetings will be held at 186
Center St. Clinton. NJ @7:30pm
|8/13/13 - The Vought House to be restored to mid-18th Century
When the Vought house at the entrance to the Clinton Township Middle School was placed on the New
Jersey register of Historic Places and the national register in 2007, the Clinton Township School District
became legally responsible for maintaining the property. A diverse group of local preservationists, educators,
and concerned citizens started a non-profit public charity, The 1759 Vought House, A Revolutionary War
Loyalist Homestead, to take possession of the house and raise funds for its preservation from public grants
and private donations, relieving township taxpayers of this burden and assuring survival of an historic gem.
On March 3, 2012, at a ceremony featuring talks by Congressman Leonard Lance, County Historian
Stephanie Stevens, eighth-generation direct descendent and namesake of the home’s builder Christopher
Vought, and officials from Clinton Township and Preservation New Jersey, the school district donated the
Vought house to this non-profit, for the symbolic sum of $17.76. The deed transferring ownership entailed a
preservation easement held by the New Jersey Historic Trust restricting alterations. Much of the historic
farmstead, the dairy barns and wagon shed had been lost with the building of the middle school. After
October 2012, with the collapse of the 19th Century hay barn during super-storm Sandy, only the house
remained and additions made to the house over the centuries, including a stucco exterior obscured the
original stone house.
In April 2013, the 1759 Vought House non-profit submitted a revised preservation plan to the New Jersey
Historic Trust, to restore the house to its original 18th Century appearance. After extensive deliberations
and the benefit of a site visit, the New Jersey Historic Trust and the state Historic Preservation Office have
finally agreed to the non-profit’s request to remove the accretions of later periods and restore this house as
an authentic Revolutionary War artifact. Now the 1759 Vought House, A Revolutionary War Loyalist
Homestead non-profit can begin the process of stripping off additions like the 20th Century two-story front
porch, which obscures the front of the house, and the 19th Century addition to the back of the house facing
the school driveway. One of the most important changes will be removing the white stucco to expose the
stonework and arched windows. Installing a cedar shake roof before this winter will be the first step toward
this home’s stabilization and restoration to its period of major significance.
The Vought House is important for several reasons: it is the home of Hunterdon County’s most prominent
loyalists and the site of their arrest for attacking their neighbor, militia captain Thomas Jones, its architectural
features, especially the wattle-and-daub decorative plaster ceilings are extremely rare, and it can convey
much about the way of life in mid-18th Century New Jersey. Built by leaders of Hunterdon County loyalists,
the Vought House fills an important yet unrepresented niche in New Jersey’s Revolutionary War historic
landscape. This is the only site interpreted as a loyalist home in the state of New Jersey, where the struggle
for independence often pitted neighbor against neighbor. Awareness of the civil war aspect of New Jersey’s
Revolutionary War experience helps us appreciate the dangers faced by patriots such as Thomas Jones.
This home’s exceptional material culture and historic narrative brings the struggle for independence alive in
the choices made by Hunterdon County residents in the mid-18th Century. Under the revised preservation
plan this house will appear as it did in 1776. Future visitors to the Vought House, a Revolutionary War loyalist
homestead will be able to appreciate the complexities of New Jersey’s struggle for independence.
For more information, contact
Don Sherblom, president of the Vought House non-profit at (908) 797-9900 and/or
Michael J. Margulies, Eclectic Architecture at (908) 319-3641 mobile or office 908 387-8630.
|8/11/13 - Updated Vought House Rendering
|Vought House circa 1759: Michael J. Margulies