Ron & Elena's 2007-2010 Travels travel blog

Today's adventure.



The museum.

Rear of the Ford Mansion as seen from the front of the...

Front of the Ford Mansion.


Large Statue of Washington on the plaza in front of the mansion.

Some view of the beautiful old trees and colorful foliage on the...



(Ron Writing) This morning we left Riverdale and drove a short distance south to Morristown to visit the Morristown National Historical Park. In 1933 this site became the first National Historic Park in the USA. Morristown was one of the, perhaps the, most important areas during the revolutionary war. Its location gave it strategic importance and General Washington spent two winters here during the war. One of those winters, the winter of 1779-1780 was a period of far worse suffering than the more famous winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge. In fact the winter at Valley Forge was a pretty typical winter; however, the troops were very inexperienced and unprepared resulting in far more deaths. The winter of 79-80 at Morristown was the worst winter of the entire century. It was bitterly cold and snowed almost every day for a month. The troops suffered terribly but relatively few died.

We visited the museum and the Ford Mansion which was used by General Washington as his headquarters during his winters here. Unfortunately both the museum and the mansion are undergoing major upgrades. At the museum we watched a film about the events that took place in this area during the civil war and toured one small room of exhibits. We then had a guided tour of the Ford Mansion. This 9,000 square foot home was built by Jacob Ford Jr. in 1772. It was the largest and grandest home in the area. Ford was a very wealthy businessman involved in iron mining. Jacob Ford Jr. became a colonel in the Continental Army and served heroically until he collapsed and died of pneumonia on January 3, 1777 after a long march in bitterly cold weather.

The mansion is very original and it seemed quite amazing that we were in General Washington’s office and the bedroom where he and Martha spent those winters. A fire sprinkler system is currently being installed in the old building so all the furnishings have been removed and there was quite a bit of clutter. Our docent did an excellent job of explaining the history of the house and the war effort here.

During the eight years of the Revolutionary War General Washington never returned to his home for a visit. Many troops and officers went home for a time during the winters when the fighting paused but not Washington. He was totally devoted to planning and executing the war. He worked long hours every day and did not take any pay for his effort. Following the war he served as president for eight years also without pay. It’s good to visit these historic sites to be reminded of how much these early patriots suffered and sacrificed to win our freedom.

Once again, no photography was allowed inside the buildings.

After leaving Morristown, NJ we headed south on I-287 and then east on I-78 to Allentown, PA. We arrived late this afternoon and after a stop at the Pennsylvania Visitor Center to pick up maps and information, we drove over to the Wal*Mart Supercenter where we are parked for the night.

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