From 1 to 5 PM on Sunday, September 23, 2012, the Bergen County Historical Society will honor Major-General Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Steuben at Historic New Bridge Landing, 1201-1209 Main Street, River Edge, NJ 0766. Re-enactors of the Third NJ Regiment (aka Jersey Blues) will demonstrate military dress and skills of the American Revolution. Displaying Jersey artifacts and furnishings, the Steuben and Demarest Houses will be open to visitors. Refreshments and a gift shop are available in the Campbell-Christie House, a restored tavern house dating back to 1774. A Jersey Dutch Out Kitchen will demonstrate culinary arts of the period. At 4 PM, historian Kevin Wright will speak in the Steuben House on Baron von Steuben and his Jersey Estate, emphasizing his significant contribution to the training and organization of the American army. The suggested donation is $7 for adults, $5 for children, and free for BCHS members. For further information about the Bergen County Historical Society and its programs, visit: www.bergencountyhistory.org or call 201-343-9492.
The Zabriskie-Steuben House in River Edge is an important historic memorial to the German immigrant who trained and organized the Continental troops. On December 23, 1783, the NJ Legislature presented the use and income of the confiscated estate of Jan Zabriskie at New Bridge to Baron von Steuben on condition he “hold, occupy and enjoy the said estate in person, and not by tenant.” General Philemon Dickinson wrote the Baron, informing him that he could comply with the terms of the gift “by keeping a bed & Servants there & visiting the premises now & then.” In 1786, Steuben leased the mansion and gristmill to Jan Zabriskie, son of its former Loyalist owner, who operated the store and mill in partnership with Steuben’s aide-de-camp, Captain Benjamin Walker. In 1788, the Baron offered to sell his “large well-built stone house, thoroughly rebuilt lately … situated on the bank of the river by which produce can be conveyed to New York in a few hours, and sloops of 40 tons burden may load and discharge along side of the mill.” Ever since, this landmark of Bergen Dutch sandstone architecture has carried the name of the Prussian Inspector-General of the Continental troops.
Established in Elizabeth, NJ, under Col. Elias Dayton in 1776, the Third NJ Regiment saw action at Scotch Plains, Brandywine, and Germantown. Wintering at Valley Forge in 1778, Lt. Col. Francis, of the Third NJ, assisted General von Steuben in drilling the troops. The Regiment fought at Monmouth and Springfield before joining the siege and final victory at Yorktown in 1781.
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