The Mercer & Somerset Railway Company and a Frog War

 September 26, Thursday, at 7 pm at Mary Jacobs Library

 The New Jersey State Legislature incorporated the Mercer and Somerset Railway Company in 1870 and granted them a charter to build a railroad between Trenton and Millstone.  In 1873, the New Jersey State Legislature granted a charter to a competing railroad company along the very same pathway (an act of political revenge?)  By 1874, the Mercer and Somerset Railway Company had laid 22 ½ miles of tracks and begun operation – cutting diagonally through Montgomery. A scant two years later, on a fateful day in January, the competing railroads had a showdown as their tracks crossed in Hopewell for what became to be known as the Frog War.  The Mercer & Somerset went bankrupt in 1879.

This intriguing story will be told by John Kilbride.  The program is co-sponsored by the Van Harlingen Historical Society and the Mary Jacobs Library.  Please pre-register by phone 908-458-8433 or email

Visit the Van Harlingen Historical Societies Farm Museum during Montgomery Trails Day – June 1, 2019 


Join us for Montgomery Trail Day on the trails at Stonebridge! The event is scheduled for Saturday June 1st from noon to 3PM. The VHHS Farm Museum will be open at the Voorhees-Opie Barn (red barn behind 124 Club) so hikers can explore! Girl Scout Troop 62218 is creating a scavenger hunt; anyone who completes the scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle to win a prize!

The guided hike is about 2.5 miles along natural trails through the forest, along the high bank of Bedens Brook and Millstone River and along agricultural fields. The width and surfacing of the trail is not suitable for strollers or assisted walking devices. Paved walking paths around the Stonebridge community can be used by those who prefer a more stable surface. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leash.
Parking is behind 124 Club (aka 1860 House) at 124 Montgomery Road (note: this is an update, 5-29-19). The event is planned for rain or shine. Heavy rain the day before, or day of the event cancels the event because trail conditions will be too muddy.
Any questions, contact Lauren Wasilauski at (908) 359-8211 ext. 343 or


May in Montgomery 2019


Our 40th May in Montgomery has been a huge success. This year’s event focused on our areas rich history of farming and the current farm to table movement. Attendees were blessed with beautiful weather,historical tidbits, tasty food and good company.

Thanks to the three local farms we visited, Bridgepoint Run Farm, Greenflash Farm and Cherry Valley Cooperative, for opening their farms to us in the middle of their busy spring planting season.

A farm to table lunch was also served in a restored barn at Greenflash Farm where the film “Farming in the Millstone Valley: Past & Present” was also shown.…/farming-in-the-millstone-valley…

One of our attendees summed it up: “Great experience, good information about local farming as well as history of the Millstone. Lunch was delicious, all farm hosts friendly and knowledgeable.

Thanks to one and all for coming out to support our special day! Special thanks to our business members:

While you are here we hope you might consider becoming a member, visiting our store or making a donation to help support our historical societies,many projects including the Gulick House, farm museum and the Schoolhouse.

Like us on our Facebook page to be among the first to know about future events.

Local African American Contributions Lecture

Tuesday, March 5, 2019  7:00-8:30 –  Montgomery Township Municipal Building Courtroom. VHHS will be co-hosting with One Montgomery and Montgomery Mosaic a book talk by the Authors of “If these Stones Could Talk”

Van Harlingen Historical Society, co-sponsoring with One Montgomery and Montgomery Mosaic, is honored to offer a very special presentation entitled, “A Proud Heritage: The African American Contribution to the Sourland Mountain and Surrounding Region, ” by speakers Elaine Buck and Beverly Mills.  This will be held in the downstairs municipal courtroom of the Montgomery Township Municipal Building, 2261 Rt. 206, Belle Mead, NJ 08502.

Learn about the African American presence from this region dating back to colonial times that has been left out of local history. Buck and Mills will highlight the accomplishments of prominent African Americans who served in the military and the agricultural contributions of African Americans working as slaves on the plantations in Hopewell Valley. They will discuss the work of African Americans in peach orchards, basket making factories, saw and grist mills, rock quarries and more. The founding and building of schools and churches as well as entrepreneurial businesses owned by African Americans will also be detailed. Through photographs, information from municipal manumission papers, site location maps and oral histories, Buck and Mills will illustrate that there is more than one single narrative in history. Copies of their new book, If These Stones Could Talk, will be available for purchase.

This event is sponsored in coordination with the Van Harlingen Historical Society, which is Montgomery Township’s all-volunteer keeper of historical artifacts, papers and publications. They host and co-host historical presentations and events for the Community and maintain three historic building in town including the 1752 Gulick House as its headquarters.

If you have any questions or comments, please email or

Source: Montgomery Mosaic

“Montgomery: The Way It Was” September 12, 2018 at 7PM

“Montgomery: The Way It Was” will be recalled for us in picture and story by Dan Pullen on Wednesday evening, September 12 at 7 PM in the program room at Mary Jacobs Memorial Library, 63 Washington St., Rocky Hill, NJ.

Back when “Doc” Pullen was growing up here, Montgomery was still rural; its villages inked together by dirt roads and party line telephones.  Folks in those days did not worry much about locking their doors and kids on bicycles freely roamed the countryside.

Dan Pullen, camera in hand, captured glimpses of that world which he will share with us along with those stories he tells so well, making this an evening not to be missed.  This library program is sponsored by Van Harlingen Historical Society.

The program is free and open to the public but registration is required. Register online at – go to Programs & Events or
Register by phone at 908-458-8430 x3

19th Century Life in Montgomery Township as Reflected in Municipal Documents – September 26, 2017


Come join us on September 26th at 7 pm to   learn about Montgomery Township in the 1800s.   The population was a few thousand people, there was no municipal building, the unpaved roads and the bridges were maintained by the residents, and most of the residents were involved in farming. Learn about Township Committee meetings (the committeemen used to meet at local taverns), road returns, road openings, changes to Montgomery’s civil boundaries over the century, the welfare system, and maybe even a few property seizures. The event is sponsored by the Van Harlingen Historical Society.

Historic Preservation, Urban Redevelopment, and the Rural Landscape: How New Jersey Makes the Connection – May 15, 2017

As a prelude to this year’s May in Montgomery Touring the Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway, the Van Harlingen Historical Society is proud to present a lecture by John D.S. Hatch titled Historic Preservation, Urban Redevelopment, and the Rural Landscape: How New Jersey Makes the Connection. Mr. Hatch is an architect who specializes in historic preservation design and adaptive re-use of historic structures.  He holds degrees in both architecture and historic preservation.  His projects include the restoration of historic Morven in Princeton, the restoration of the Hunterdon County Courthouse in Flemington, and the Roebling Complex Redevelopment in Trenton.

The lecture will take place at Stonebridge, 100 Hollinshead  Road, Skillman, NJ on Monday, May 15th at 7:30.  Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public but space is limited so pre-registration is required.   To register please call 908-359-2642, email your Name, email and how many seats to register to: (Please do not contact Stonebridge directly.)

May in Montgomery 2017 – May 21

May in Montgomery 2017 

Millstone Valley Bus Tour

Walk-ins Welcome Day of Tour!

Would you like to tour a byway that still resembles when George Washington’s troops marched there? Would you like to visit and learn about area historic houses and barns from the Revolutionary and early American period?

MIM_art_bu_HHoagland_Snell1881The Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway has a significant place in our nation’s history. In the heart of Central New Jersey and running through Montgomery, Hillsborough and Franklin townships and the villages of Griggstown, East Millstone,Millstone,Kingston and Rocky Hill, this now protected byway is a natural north south corridor, which remains a rare oasis of natural beauty and historic integrity.

Join us May 21st to tour the scenic byway loop along the Millstone River and Delaware and Raritan Canal from East Millstone to Kingston and back. This guided bus tour by local history experts will be a trip back in time, to relive history and get a glimpse of life in the valley as it was and still remains today. Small amounts of walking will be involved when we stop at several Dutch Colonial, Federal, and Victorian style homes.

Princeton Packet Article about Tour

DATE: Sunday, May 21
TIME: Tours at 11 am , 12 pm, 1:30 pm (2 hr tour with restroom stops)
PLACE: **New Meeting Place** The Farm Barn Museum behind 1860 House, 124 Montgomery Rd.  Please follow signs & use driveway access from Stonebridge Retirement Community next door. Pre-register (see below) and arrive 15 min. early.
LUNCH: An optional snack will be available with refreshments at no charge.
BATHROOMS: Available at meeting place at start and finish

If you have questions, please call Anne at 908-359-2642 or email Offered in cooperation with the Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition.

May in Montgomery is the largest annual fundraising event of our local Van Harlingen Historical Society, – a 501(c)3 non-profit. Please join us for this fascinating tour!


VHHS Barn Dance – October 21

Barn dance with the Long Hill String Band and Caller Sue Dupree. Historic Exhibits of Harvest Time and Lost Village will be featured. 8-11 pm Elks Club on Rte 518.

Price: $15 in advance either by mail or by ordering below:



$20 at the door.