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Historic Somers Mansion Open House
Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
An event every week that begins at 9:00am on Sunday and Saturday, repeating until Sunday, December 30, 2018
This historic site is usually open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 3:30pm.
It is recommended that you call 609-927-2212 to confirm hours before visiting.
As per the Col. Richard Somers Chapter of the SAR, the Somers Mansion, situated on Shore Road in Somers Point, NJ, is the oldest house in Atlantic County. It was built about 1725 by Richard Somers, oldest son of John Somers.
John Somers was born in 1640 in Worcestershire, England where his family had been owners of a small estate. In the early 1680’s, Somers, a believer in the principles of Quaker George Fox, left England to settle in Pennsylvania. He and his wife Hannah later settled on a point bordering the Great Egg Harbor River. This parcel of land became part of the 3,000 acres he purchased in 1695. Then called Somerset Plantations, these 3,000 acres comprise most of Somers Point and Linwood as we know it today.
In addition to being a major landholder, John Somers was also a Constable, Keeper of the Roads, operator of the first ferry in South Jersey, an Assemblyman and a ship owner. His family responsibilities also grew as he and his wife raised six sons and three daughters.
It was his oldest son, Richard, who built Somers Mansion about 1725. A year later, a Quaker meeting was formed to gather alternatively between the Somers Mansion on the Egg Harbor side of the bay and a home on the Cape May side. In December 1726, Richard married Judith Letart, adopted daughter of wealthy Peter White of Absecon. Judith and Richard raised ten children, all of whom were born in the Mansion.
This three storied brick home is finished in the Flemish Bond pattern of laying brick. It has a gambrel roof and a second story balcony that wraps three sides of the house. Other interesting architectural details include the perpendicular boarding, original pine flooring and interior woodwork decorated with heart-shaped perforations.
The Mansion contains many objects of local historical interest. There is a collection of textiles that includes local quilts and woven coverlets as well as many early samplers. The Mansion is furnished as it might have been during the Somers’ era, including some pieces used by the Somers family in the Eighteenth Century.
The Mansion remained in the Somers Family until 1937 when it was deeded to The Atlantic County Historical Society. In 1941 it was transferred to the State of New Jersey. The Mansion is now a State Historic Site administered by the Division of Parks and Forestry, Department of Environmental Protection.