A Visit to the Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield, NJ

06/27/2024

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On June 22nd, the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Site-NJ and the Miller-Cory House Museum presented the history of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail and a tour of the Miller-Cory House in Westfield, NJ.  The Miller-Cory house was a witness to the allied army march from Rhode Island to Yorktown, VA in 1781 prior to the climactic battle of the American Revolution at Yorktown in October.  Joining the tour of the Miller-Cory House was the New Jersey Society of the Children of the American Revolution State Board, and it was an honor to meet them at the tour, as well as sit in on their meeting at the house.

Our tour guide was Robert Wendel, who is a fascinating local historian who is quite knowledgeable about the Miller-Cory House, the history of Westfield, the colonial era, and the American Revolution.  He has served as Curator and Vice President of the Westfield Historical Society, former Town Historian, and member of the Westfield Historic Preservation Commission.

Through Robert, I learned much about the Miller-Cory house, as well as the general area’s role before, during, and after the American Revolution.  In 1740, Samuel Miller built the farmhouse and lived there with his wife and children.  The property once sat on 110 acres of land.  What is now Mountain Ave. in Westfield, which passes by the front of the house, was a Lenni Lenape trail and route along the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.  The House was sold to Joseph Cory in 1784 and remained in the Cory family until the 1900s.  In 1972, the Westfield Historical society raised funds in order to purchase and preserve the house.  Through preservation, the house was returned to its earliest, colonial form and was furnished with colonial era artifacts.  It currently serves as a living history museum.

Robert is an expert on the history of the house and was quite knowledgeable of colonial life in the region.  The area was once called the West Fields of Elizabeth Town.  The land in this region of New Jersey was to be settled and developed by British settlers in the name of King Charles II.  Robert took us on a tour of each room in the household, and described for us what life would have been like for those living there in the colonial period.  Touring the house was a reminder of the rich colonial history in New Jersey.

As mentioned above, I was then able to meet leaders of the New Jersey Society of the Children of the American Revolution who were kind enough to let me sit in on one of their meetings.  I was able to have fascinating conversations with them about their organization and events that they have coming up.   Please check out their website here for ways to support and get involved in the organization—> https://sites.google.com/view/njcar/?pli=1

Check out the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route site for events and ways to get involved.  Here is the national site—> https://w3r-us.org/

Here is the New Jersey affiliate, of which I am a member—> https://www.w3r-nj.org/

If you live in the area, I encourage you to visit the Miller-Cory house and check out events that they have throughout the year—-> https://millercoryhouse.com/

You can also check out the Westfield Historical Society here—> https://www.westfieldhistoricalsociety.org/

Be sure to follow Nick on Facebook at Benevento’s History Blog, on Instagram and X! For more exciting, awesome Revolutionary War content, check out Nick’s blog at https://beneventoshistoryblog.com/!

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