This historic 1752 Freehold, NJ, house was acquired by the Monmouth County Historical Association in 1966 and restored between 1968 and 1970. It is furnished to reflect a 1790 inventory from William Covenhoven’s estate, and includes many furnishings that a successful Monmouth County farm family might have had at that time. Interestingly, the back of the house now faces the street because when the house was erected the road was located several hundred feet from the opposite side of the structure. In the early 19th century, the road to Mount Holly was straightened, later becoming West Main Street (Route 537).
William and Elizabeth Covenhoven built their imposing new residence in an unusual combination of the latest English Georgian features and good Dutch traditions, fitting given that they were a fifth generation family from the Netherlands who settled originally in the New Amsterdam area. In June of 1778, the Covenhoven House had an unexpected, and important, visitor. On the way to New York City from Philadelphia, British General Henry Clinton occupied what must have been the finest house in Freehold for thirty-six hours leading up the Battle of Monmouth (June 28, 1778). Mrs. Covenhoven took precautions to save some of her household goods. But General Clinton and his officers did much damage to the contents of the house, forcing the elderly Elizabeth to sleep in her milk room. After the war, the Covenhovens filed a claim for their losses with the State of New Jersey.