1743 – 1821
I was a Patriot whose farm was the site of a famous historic moment.
I was born into a family of Dutch farmers in Hillsborough Township on May 25, 1743. I married Margaret DuBois in 1770 and was a successful farmer and surveyor.
During the Revolution, I was such an active Patriot that the British designated me an “arch traitor.” I was even suspected of being part of a spy network. In April 1777, during the occupation of New Brunswick, our house was raided and the foragers took a cow, five calves, five bushels of wheat, a pewter teapot and coffee pot, and lots of clothing.
In the winter of 1778-1779, a German officer named General von Steuben joined our army and developed a new drill manual called the “Blue Book,” which he used to standardize how soldiers trained, drilled, and maneuvered. In the spring, he was using our house as his quarters. He was eager to show how he had improved our soldiers, and he invited the ambassador from France – the French had only recently joined our cause – to come and see a military display. After an artillery and musket display, von Stueben paraded and maneuvered our men with such skill that the normally unemotional Ambassador Conrad-Alexandre Gerard clapped his hands. Afterward, General Washington held a reception for Ambassador Gerard in our orchard.
After the army left, my farm was again the target of British foragers, but we survived. After the war, I became a tax collector for Somerset County until 1820, and a died a year later, at the age of 78.