A Little History Lesson

The oldest part of the Grand Colonial dates back to 1685. While we don’t know much about the earlier years, we do know about the building after 1831. This is when Dr. John Blane purchased the farm with his wife Cornelia and children, son John and daughter Nancy. Dr. Blane was a very respected and loved member of the community; he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Rutgers Medical and he was president of the Medical Society of both Hunterdon County and the State of New Jersey. Dr. Blane was the first to add to the original building with the West Wing in 1843 and the East Wing in 1857.

In 1943, during a remodeling project, a portion of the stone wall in the West Wing collapsed, and found in the debris were two bottles. A handwritten note, placed in the wall by Dr. Blane, was tucked in one of the bottles.

“This wing built in 1843 by John & Cornelia H. Blane. Our children Nancy and John Octavus Blane.

Nancy was born 27th March 1841.

John was born 26 April 1842 & died 24 July, 1843, and lies buried in the family burying ground.

This foundation was dug 1842 by Joseph Rupell, James M. Gloughen who has since died, and Patrick M. Guire then just landed from County Longford in Ireland.

The walls were laid up by James Dean, William Wagoner, Samuel Rounsaville, Peter Hoppock and Patrick M. Guire. The stone was hauled by (Wm.?) A. S. Combs a native of Delaware County in New York State and Patrick Cole a native of Ireland and brother in law to Patrick M. Guire.

At this time Hiram Green live in the basement story, his wife Sarah Crooks. They had 2 children Eldridge and Adaline. The attendants on the Masons are John and Enoch Oaks. The carpenters William Evans who quitting suddenly on account of Sarah Amithorn and his going away was superseded by William hardy and Barnet Andrews Smith.

John Hulsiser just live in the log house, family himself, wife and three children. Patrick M. Guire lives at the Spring House, family wife and one child Andrew and has sent to Ireland for 4 others who are expected daily.

Christopher Young keeps the Brick Tavern.

The weather is uncommonly dry and crops generally much short.

Done at the Blossom Farm, 2nd August 1843 by John Blane.

Physician and Surgeon, and Major General of the 4th Division New Jersey Militia.”

We believe that The Blane Farmstead was actually called Blossom Farm; the basement story mentioned in the letter is the main floor of the restaurant; the log house is no longer a part of the land and we’re not sure where exactly it is located; the Spring House is what we call the School House even though there was an actual school house located on the property. The school is thought to have been at two story building where specialized subjects were studied, the two known teachers, Oliver Huffman and John Bergmer, taught between 1855 and 1862.

“During renovation of the old barns that used to exist on the property, another fascinating page of history was unfolded. It seems that a feud developed between the stage coach line that travelled the Easton-New Brunswick Turnpike and the owners of the Brick Tavern in Perryville which was the official stopping place. To resolve the problem, Dr. Blane turned his house into a stage coach station, and in gratitude the stage coach line gave Dr. Blane a stone mile post marker engraved with ’32 M to B’. (The ‘B’ stood for New Brunswick.) This ironstone marker was discovered buried under accumulation of dirt in the old wagon-house next to the barn. Re-erecting it beside the current parking lot was no simple matter. The marker was actually a massive rough-cut lump of rock, with just the visible top end smoothed off and shaped off for better appearance.”

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