South Brunswick Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey
The 18th-century plantation of Longbridge Farm, established in the 1730s by the wealthy Philadelphia merchant, Thomas Lawrence, was one of a small number of elite colonial farming operations in central New Jersey that combined a substantial acreage with a large slave population in a manner more often found in the southern colonies. The plantation was the scene of an overnight encampment of General Washington=s Continental army on June 25/26, 1778, a couple of nights before the Battle of Monmouth. Although its acreage was reduced over time, the farm flourished well into the 19th century and was later in the hands of the locally prominent Rowland and Mershon families. Today, the site of Longbridge Farm is subsumed within the railroad-based village of Monmouth Junction and displays few upstanding features from the colonial era.
This brief historical study was commissioned by the Township of South Brunswick as an outgrowth of the township-wide cultural resource survey conducted by our firm. Long the subject of unsubstantiated rumor and speculation, Longbridge Farm has been greatly in need of systematic archival research and historic landscape analysis. The following report presents an outline history of the property drawn from primary documents followed by a provisional assessment of the core of the plantation site within the context of the present-day landscape.
Client: Township of South Brunswick