Tag: Sarah Hancock

Hancock House State Historic Site                                              3 Front Street                                                                 Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038

Hancock House State Historic Site 3 Front Street Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038

Hancock House State Historic Site

3 Front Street

Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038

(856) 935-4373

https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/historic/hancockhouse.html

https://www.facebook.com/FOHHNJ/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hancock_House_(Lower_Alloways_Creek_Township,_New_Jersey)

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-12:00pm/1:00pm-4:00pm

Admission: Free but donation suggested

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46491-d14113448-Reviews-Hancock_House-Hancocks_Bridge_New_Jersey.html

The Hancock House

I took an extensive tour one weekend of historical sites of southern New Jersey to see how the lower part of the state was impacted by the Revolutionary War and one of the most important sites was the Hancock House. The family was extremely prominent not just in Salem, NJ but in New Jersey politics as well.

The Hancock House and grounds during the early Fall 2022

The house once stood on an very busy road between Salem and Bridgeton and where most commerce passed by. When I was taking the tour, you could see that the house was built in two parts. When I was listening to the lecture I found that the side of the house that faced the road had once been a leased space for a tavern.

The tavern section of the house that faces the road

This commercial enterprise brought in income for the family. Later on when the Hancock family sold the house in the early 1800’s, they sold it to the tavern keeper. After he and his family sold the house, it went on to various owners before the State of New Jersey bought it in the 1930’s.

Recreation of the Tavern section of the house

A copy of the old menu at the Tavern

There are no family heirlooms in the house and while some of the rooms have period pieces and are decorated to show how the family might have lived at the time as well as how the tavern functioned, many rooms in the house needed some direction on what they wanted to say about living at the time. There needed to be more artifacts to complete the look of the room.

The Downstairs at the Hancock House:

The example of the main bedroom downstairs was used for business as well. The room was furnished with period furniture.

The downstairs bedroom at the Hancock House. The built in shelves are the only thing from the Hancock family

The Kitchen area was set for dinner and functioned as the Dining Room as well,

The kitchen set for lunch

The kitchen area for entertaining

The old kitchen at the Hancock House

The Dining Room at the Hancock House:

The Living Room

The Living Room at the Hancock House

The Gallery at the Hancock House with artifacts from the era.

The Gallery at the Hancock House

The Upstairs at the Hancock House:

The upstairs bedrooms were an example of that. One of the rooms was fully furnished to look like a period bedroom while the other had a mish-mosh of decorations and furniture. There needed to be more to capture the time period of the house.

The upstairs bedroom is the only one furnished upstairs

Still, the house was steeped in history and it was fascinating to hear what the tour guide said about the goings on during the war years to the family. Many of the rooms also could have used a good plastering and painting to bring them back to life.

When I visited the Hancock House in October of 2022, they were having a Halloween festival with pumpkin patches, face painting, watching the film “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow” by Disney films. The kids were engaged with all sorts of activities and there would be Trick or Treating on Halloween day.

Halloween festivities at the Hancock House

The pumpkin patch at the Hancock House for Halloween

Halloween festivities at the Hancock House

History of The Hancock House:

(from The Hancock House Pamphlet)

The story of the Hancock House begins in 1675 when John Fenwick, a lawyer and Quaker from England, arrived in West Jersey (now Salem Country), With land purchased two years earlier, he established the first permanent English Settlement here, called “Fenwick’s Colony,” and founded the town of Salem. Eager to populate the area with skilled, industrious individuals, he advertised the area’s assets by stating, “if there be any terrestrial “Canaan” ’tis surely here, where the Land floweth with Milk and Honey.”

The Hancock House sits on property that was purchased from John Fenwick in 1675 by William Hancock, an English showmaker. Upon his death, the property passed to his wife and then to his nephew, John Hancock.

John’s inheritance of approximately 500 acres made him a major landholder in Fenwick’s Colony. he contributed to the development of the area by building a bridge across Alloways Creek in 1708. Now known as “Hancocks Bridge,” it permitted passage on an important highway between Salem and Greenwich and gave the settlement its name.

The site of the Hancock Bridge

When John Hancock died in 1709, he left his property to his son William. William became a Justice of the Peace for Salem County and served in the Colonial Assembly for 20 years.

The site of the historic Hancock Bridge

In 1734, William and his wife, Sarah built the Hancock House. Their initials (WHS) and the construction date (1734) can be seen in the brickwork on the house’s west elevation.

Upon his death in 1762, William left his house to his son, William who succeeded him in the Assembly and became His Majesty’s Judge of the County Court for the County of Salem. It was this William who figured in the massacre of March 1778.

The Hancock House remained in the family until 1931, although the extent to which the house was used as a private residence and the property farmed is uncertain. There is evidence to suggest a section of the house was leased for a tavern during the 18th & 19th centuries.

A recreation of the old Tavern section of the home

The State of New Jersey acquired the Hancock House for $4,000 in 1931 and opened it as a museum in 1932.

The Smoke House at the Hancock House property:

The Historic Significance of the house:

Historic Marker at the Hancock House

The Architectural Significance:

The Hancock House earned a place in history on the fateful day in March 1778.

The Hancock House

Yet the story of its architecture also is important. With its distinctive patterned and wall brickwork, simple lines and little ornamentation, it reflects the building traditions of the Quaker’s English Homeland.

The land around the Hancock House

Other elements of this architectural style include Flemish bond brickwork; a pent-roof that wraps around the front and back of the house; simple entrance steps; interior paneling and the use of such local materials as Wistarburg glass.

The Hancock House

The Hancock House property: