Home of James Van Campen (1787-1826). Erected about 1812. Located in Pahaquarry Township, Warren County, New Jersey (+41° 3' 24.01", -75° 0' 19.89"). Tragically lost to fire of unknown cause March 12, 2012.
The following overview is from the Historic American Buildings Survey, conducted by the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., 1971.
"Colonel Abraham Van Campen (1698-1767) was the first and most prominent settler in Pahaquarry Township. Abraham Van Campen was the third generation of the family in America, The earliest ancestor was Gerrit Jansen Van Campen who we know was married in 1659 and settled at Esopus, NY. One of his sons was John baptized in 1661 at Kingston and who was still living in Ulster County, New York, in 1728. His death is recorded as taking place in Somerset County in 1745. Three of his sons settled along the Delaware and one of these was Abraham.
Abraham was a Colonel of the West Jersey Troops during the French and Indian War of 1755-1758 and his home was the headquarters in the Delaware Valley during the Indian wars. There was a fort built nearby the house to accommodate two hundred and fifty men; the officers were fed at the Van Campen table. Van Campen was also a Justice of the Peace and Judge of Common Pleas Court.
In 1766, Colonel Abraham Van Campen divided his land in Pahaquarry Township between two of his sons, Abraham (1736-1811) and Moses (1743-1818). Moses received Colonel Abraham's own house. The Deed to Abraham mentions "the House Lott," which appears to indicate that either Abraham had simply selected a site or had already erected a more or less temporary shelter or residence.
The date stone embedded in the existing stone foundation reveals that the dwelling was erected in 1768 by "A V K & M V K" — Abraham, and either his brother Moses, or his first wife Maria. The present superstructure, however, replaced that erected by Abraham at a later date. It is not known what happened to the original superstructure: some believe it to have been a stone building torn down after Abraham's death in 1811; others believe it to have been a frame structure which succumbed to fire ca. 1812.
Abraham Van Campen, a farmer, was active in county government; he succeeded his father, Colonel Abraham Van Campen, as Judge of Common Pleas, and served for several years in that capacity. He was an Elder in the Dutch Reformed Church, and, during the Revolutionary War, served as a member of the Sussex County Committee of Safety. He married (1) Maria Depue, (baptized November 13, 1748), and (2) Elizabeth Shoemaker (baptized October 19, 1742).
By his Will, probated in 1811, Abraham bequeathed "the house where I now live in" to his widow, upon whose death it was to pass to their son James. At what date James acquired the house is not yet known. He probably built the present superstructure, and if so, it dates before 1826.
James Van Campen, (born November 17, 1787, died August 17, 1826) was a farmer and a participant in local government until his sudden death. James Van Campen served as: Town Collector (1826), Surveyor of Highways (1825), and Poundkeeper (1825). He was married to Cecilia Decker (1785-1874)."
This collections includes the following photos:
- East elevation. Photo by George Eisenman for United States Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, 1968.
- Detail of Doorway, West Elevation. Photo by George Eisenman for United States Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, 1968.
- Interior, Hallway Looking West. Photo by George Eisenman for United States Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, 1968.
- Detail, Living Room Fireplace. Photo by George Eisenman for United States Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, 1968.