The Abraham Staats House is one of the finest surviving buildings from the Dutch Settlement of the Raritan Valley in the 18th century. It began life as a two-room structure housing the first owners, the Staats family, who remained at the homestead for nearly two hundred years. Over the centuries the house has been expanded several times and now includes a fine late, Federal/Greek Revival two-story addition.
During the Middlebrook Cantonment of 1778-79, when Gen. George Washington wintered the bulk of the American troops in the area then known as Middlebrook, he and several of his generals used local homes as military headquarters during the army’s stay in the area. The Staats’ home served as headquarters for Gen. Baron von Steuben, from March 1779 to June 1779.
Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben, (b. Sept. 17, 1730 – d. Nov. 28, 1794) also referred to as Baron von Steuben, served as Inspector General and a Major General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, as well as George Washington’s chief of staff during the close of the war.
During his stay at the Staats’ home in the spring of 1779, von Steuben continued his training and drilling of the troops, begun the year before at Valley Forge. In early May, he hosted a special review and drill of his model troops for a visiting French ambassador, M. Conrad Alexander Girard, also attended by a visiting Spanish agent, Don Juan de Miralles. Gen. Washington and some sixty American military officers and their spouses and guests also viewed the exercise, which was followed by a meal on the Staats property.