Trenton, New Jersey
November 1, 1784 to December 24, 1784
No Longer Standing
1 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
On November 1st, 1740, Mr. Dagworthy leased the house to the Colony of New Jersey and it became the residence of Lewis Morris, the Royal Governor. Morris remained in the house until June 25th, 1742, when he moved to "Kingsbury" now known as the William Trent House, 15 Market Street (539 South Warren Street, in Trenton. In August, Dagworthy returned to his former residence, moving (4) from his Maidenhead Plantation home (Lawerencefield, NJ) and remained there until his death on September 4th, 1756.(5)
In 1760 Dagworthy's executors sold the house to Samuel Henry, an iron manufacturer whose work were located on 2nd Street on Assunpink Creek.(7) He occupied the house until March 1780 when he moved to his farm on Nottingham Township. On April 1st, 1780 Henry leased the house to Jacob G. Bergen for use as a Tavern. Bergen was a Princetonian who had operated the College of Princeton Inn, which he later named the Confederation Inn.
Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information
|MURAL COMMEMORATING THE FIRST PUBLIC READING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE at 23 South Warren Street, Trenton, NJ 08608 next door to the original site of the French Arms Tavern|
Before opening the tavern, which he named "Thirteen Stars," Bergen made extensive changes in the building. He added a third story, with a gabled, dormer-windowed roof; converted two of the first-floor rooms into one room 20 feet in width and 43 feet in length, which became known as the "Long Room;" and set up a barroom in the basement. In 1783 the building was described as a "Dwelling-house 45 by 43 Feet, 3 Stories, 11 Rooms, eight with Fireplaces, a Kitchen and Stabling for 12 Horses."
|French Arms Tavern Sketch after third floor addition in 1781 - Historic.us|
(1) NJ Archives, Vol. XX, pages 69, 441, Infa. pages 21-23
(2) Woodward, Evan Morrison: History of Burlington and Mercer Counties, page 708
(3) Raum, John O.: History of Trenton, page 89
(4) Strkyer, William S.: Old Trenton 100 years ago, pages 7 and 11.
French Arms Tavern diagram of the first floor in 1784 - Historic.us
Memorandum of an Agreement Bewtween Jacob, G, Bergen of the one part & Moore Furman, James Ewing, & Conrod Kotts of the other part. Witnesseth that the said Jacob G. Bergen doth hereby agree to Rent the house he now lives in Situate near the market house in Trenton late the Propery of Saml Henry Deced and now held by lease for and until the first day of April in the Year Seventeen hundred and Eighty Six at the Yearly rent of one hundred and fift pounds, unto the said Moore Furman, James Ewing, & Conrod Kotts for the use & purpose of the Congress of the United States of America to Set in from the thirtyeth day of October next for and until the End and Expiration of the said Lease. In Consideration of which the said Moore Furman, James Ewing, & Conrod Kotts Doth agree to pay or cause to be paid unto the said Jacob G. Bergen the sum of one hundred and Seventy-five pounds by an order on the Treasurer of this state on the 30th day of October in Gold or Silver Money and also to pay or cause to be paid the said yearly rent of one hundred and fifty pounds Agreeabbly to the said lease & it is further agreed upon that the said Jacob G. Bergen is to have and retain the use of the stables and garden ground for and during and so long as the Congress may set in said house and it ia agreed upon that the said Jacob G. Bergen is to live in & Make use of the said House until the said 30th day of October and until said Congress many want the Same to set in. In Witness Whereof the said Jacob G. Bergen hath set his hand and seal this 1st day of August 1784.
Witness Present: Jacob G. Bergen [SEAL]
Lease - £175
Table for Congress Hall - £15
Memorandum of an Agreement Between Jacob, G, Bergen and the agents of the State of NJ to lease the French Arms Tavern for the United States in Congress Assembled Nov 1784 to Nov 1785 Session - - Historic.us
I must decline accepting the Place offered me, at least until the Sense of Congress may be known on two or three points....as I have a Family it is necessary in my opinion, that my Residence should be stationary---;and I think it both reasonable & important that the Persons to serve under me in the office, should be of my appointment.
Mr. Jay is here & will I understand accept the office of foreign affrs. upon condition Congress will establish themselves at any one place.
|Proposed National Capitol Site in Trenton original Manuscript Map 1784 - Historic.us|
Resolved, that it is inexpedient for Congress at this time to erect more than one federal town public buildings for their accommodation at more than one place. Resolved, (by nine states,) That a sum not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars be appropriated for the payment of the expense of erecting such buildings; provided always, that hotels or dwelling-houses for the members of Congress representing the different states, shall not be understood as included in the above appropriation.
That it is expedient Congress should determine on a place, at which they will continue to sit until proper accommodations in a federal town shall be erected, and that the subsisting resolutions respecting the alternate temporary residence of Congress at Trenton and Annapolis, be repealed.
Having accepted the place of Secretary for Foreign Affairs, it becomes my duty to inform you that Congress will adjourn to-morrow to meet at the City of New York on Tuesday, the 11th day of January next.
There was a stronger party formed against us than I remember to have seen, but I think it will subside and matters be in good train again. We have carried two great points to-day by passing an ordinance, 1st. to appoint three commissioners to lay out a district on the branch of either side of the Delaware, within eight miles of this place, to purchase the soil and enter into contracts for erecting suitable buildings. 2dly. To adjourn to New-York and reside there until suitable buildings are prepared. This I consider a fortunate affair in every respect but one. It is so disagreeable to our worthy secretary [Charles Thomson] that there is reason to apprehend he will resign his appointment.
We have been so happy also as to remove some objections on the part of Mr. Jay to the acceptance of his office, and he yesterday took the oaths and entered on the business of his department.Remarkably, the capital of the United States America, had been moved as a condition of John Jay accepting the position of United States Foreign Secretary.
Account of President elect George Washington dining with Trenton's leading citizens on April 21st, 1789 at the City Tavern, formerly the French Arms, on the southwest corner of Second and King Streets.
|Bronze Tablet marking the site where the French Arms Tavern once stood - Historic.us|
In 1836, the First Mechanics and Manufacturers Bank purchased the property, tore down the tavern and constructed a new two-story building on the site. The building is currently occupied by a branch of Wells Fargo...
its ratification of the current U.S. Constitution
United States Continental Congress French Arms Tavern Legislation:
Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
September 27, 1777
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
Nov. 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
December 6,1790 to May 14, 1800
November 17,1800 to Present
In 1758, during the French and Indian War, the building now referred to as the Old Barracks was constructed by the colony of New Jersey in direct response to petitions from residents who were protesting compulsory quartering of soldiers in their own homes. It was one of five such buildings throughout New Jersey constructed for the purpose of housing British soldiers during the winter months of the war, and it is the only one still standing. At the time it was built, it was the largest building in Trenton and the second largest public building in New Jersey after Nassau Hall in Princeton. The Barracks was used for this initial purpose until the end of the war in 1766 and is the only extant and restored military structure left in New Jersey that is associated with the Colonial Wars.
Throughout the Revolutionary War, the Barracks was used for a variety of purposes by both the British and the Americans. British prisoners of war were held in the Officers' House, four companies of the Second New Jersey Regiment of the Continental Line were raised here, and in 1777 the Barracks became an army hospital under Dr. Bodo Otto, who oversaw smallpox inoculations for the Continental Army. Disease killed more soldiers than combat during the Revolutionary War, and was the biggest threat to the Continental Army. This was the first mass medical treatment in the Western Hemisphere, and the Barracks is one of the only surviving structures used for that purpose.
The Barracks, and Trenton, are most known for the events of December 1776. At the beginning of the month, British and Hessian troops occupied Trenton, and briefly stayed in the Barracks prior to the Battles of Trenton. Colonists, loyal to the English king, also arrived, seeking protection from the soldiers, and were believed to be staying at the Barracks when Washington and his troops marched into Trenton on the morning of December 26th. After the miraculously successful Battles of Trenton and Princeton, the Americans returned to Trenton in January 1777 and made use of the now empty Barracks, primarily as the aforementioned hospital.