The Dutch Reformed Church in New Jersey’s Raritan River Valley constructed Old Dutch Parsonage in 1751. Here the Great Awakening preacher Rev. Johannes Frelinghuysen boarded and tutored students including his eventual successor the Rev. Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh. From this house, Rev. Hardenbergh led the effort in 1766 to charter Queen’s College, today Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Dutch emigrant Dinah Van Bergh, wife in succession to both ministers, was herself a leader in New Jersey’s Dutch Reformed Church. Discover eighteenth-century New Jersey’s religious and national diversity and early leadership in American higher education at Old Dutch Parsonage.
In 1785, Jacob Hardenbergh became the first President of Queen’s College, known today as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Jacob Hardenbergh also played an important role during the American Revolution. A supporter of the American cause, he served in the Provincial Congress of New Jersey. While the Continental Army was encamped in the Watchung Mountains during the winter of 1778-79, Hardenbergh became friendly with General Washington. Jacob Hardenbergh helped ease tensions between the army and local residents who, although supportive of independence, were greatly inconvenienced by the troops’ presence.