History

Homesteaded in 1685, The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial is a window into the architectural, medical and military history of Hunterdon County. The Blane Homestead was built by master craftsmen and is the oldest known building in Hampton New Jersey. Its walls are two-feet thick and its massive hand-hewn beams support the solid three-and-a-half story structure. The stones in the fireplaces, which are original to the building, are not from Hunterdon County and were likely brought here in the ballasts of European ships to steady their transatlantic voyages. Slate ducts original to The Farmhouse’s construction were installed between its main supporting beams. Presaging the function of their modern day counterparts, these ducts allow air to flow between the wooden sleeper beams that support the house. The resulting ventilation has helped to preserve the structure for over three centuries.

In April 1831, Dr. John Blane, a well respected physician, purchased the property upon which The Farmhouse now stands. In May 1840, he married Miss Cornelia Hunt of Hunterdon County, and together they made Blane House home for their children Nancy, John and Mary. During this period, Dr. Blane served as “Physician, Surgeon and Major General of the 4th Division of the New Jersey Militia,” training doctors who provided medical service as Military Officers in the Union Army during the Civil War. Dr. Blane also canvassed Hunterdon County on horseback providing medical care.

Dr. Blane was also a banker of sorts. Because the farmers of Hunterdon County were unable to travel to the banks in Flemington and Somerville, Dr. Blane would take their deposits, assign a tree in his conservatory (or arboretum on his property) and bury their deposits underneath the trees. After collecting sufficient deposits, Dr. Blane would dig up the money and ride his horse to the “city” to do the farmers’ banking.

Outside The Farmhouse entry sits a mile marker given to Dr. Blane by the owners of the Easton-New Brunswick Turnpike Stage Coach Line after he resolved a dispute now long forgotten between it and owners of the Brickhouse Tavern. Dr. Blane resolved the dispute by turning the Blane Homestead into a stagecoach station. The marker, given in gratitude, was engraved to show the journey from the Blane Homestead to New Brunswick was but 32 miles.

Today, The Farmhouse’s guests experience the property’s charm when dining in The Tree Bank Room, named for Dr. Blane’s service as a “travelling teller,” the 1685 Room, and all of the other areas original to the farm.

1685

Property is homesteaded.

1831

Dr. Blane purchases the property. At this time, the building is already over 100 years old. He begins 54 years of service, providing medical care to the community.

Easton-Brunswick Pike 1860

1840

Dr. Blane marries Cornelia Hunt. The farmhouse eventually becomes a home to their children Nancy, John, and Mary.

1843

The “West Wing” construction is completed. In it Dr. Blane trains doctors who will serve as Medical Officers in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. Dr. Blane composes a letter dated August 2, 1843 documenting the construction, and details of the property and his family. He hides the letter in a bottle and seals it inside one of the constructed walls. In the same year, he turns the property into a stop on the Easton-Brunswick Pike to resolve a dispute amongst stage coach lines. The “32 M to B” mile marker was given to Dr. Blane in appreciation.

1848

Dr. Blane becomes the President of the Hunterdon County Medical Society.

 

1855

Dr. Blane is delegated to the American Medical Association.

1857

The “East Wing” is added to serve as Dr. Blane’s conservatory.

1861

The U.S. Civil War begins. Dr. Blane becomes President of the New Jersey State Medical Society, the oldest professional society in the United States, established in 1766.

1862

Dr. Blane hosts the Hunterdon County Medical Society’s convention at the Blane’s home on May 13.

1872

Jennings & Hardham publish Dr. Blane’s History of the District Medical Society for the County of Hunterdon, from 1821-1871 as well as the Medical History of Hunterdon County from its first settlement to 1872. An original, first edition copy of the book is on display at The Farmhouse. The National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine provides a digital copy as well. See it here.

Blane Medical History of Hunterdon County

1885

Dr. Blane passes away, having served on the Township Committee and as Superintendent of Schools for many years.

1943

During a remodeling project, the stone wall in the West Wing revealed two handwritten notes placed within by Dr. Blane.

Blane Letter scan