A Part of Fredon's History-The Coursen House

If walls could talk……

The Great Road, Route 94, was once a dusty, rutted, narrow dirt road which traveled through a busy little village in the 1800’s known as Coursen’s Corners, located at the intersection of Phil Hardin Road and Fredon-Stillwater Road, at Route 94 near the Fredon School.

In the mid 18th Century, two descendents of New Amsterdam Dutch families, Johannes (John) Coursen, and his wife, Gertrude Van Tuyle, arrived in the Fredon area.  In 1763, Johannes purchased over 800 acres, which included land extending from Paulinskill Road past the four-corners area by the Stillwater Road.  When he died, his property was inherited by two of his sons -- the Paulinskill Mill Farm by Jacob Coursen, and the four-corners land, by Colonel John.  Starting in 1811, Colonel John’s sons built and operated a blacksmith’s shop, a tannery, a store, and later a tailor shop.  Also, his son Isaac established a post office and was the first postmaster.  After Isaac’s death, the position was taken over by his son, William P. Coursen until 1881.

A log cabin was most likely the first building on the present site of the Coursen House.  The Coursen mansion was built about 1805.  It contained four rooms on the first floor with a chimney across the corner of 2 rooms.  There were three bedrooms on the second floor.  The kitchen, located on the southern end of the house had a large bake oven to the right of the chimney.  Isaac Coursen added a first floor parlor and two more bedrooms upstairs as the family grew.

Research done for the Bi-centennial found that the name “Fredon” might have been derived from the word “freedom.”

Some time ago, the Coursen House was purchased by Fredon Township as part of developing Lodestar Park, immediately adjacent to the House.  The goal is to continue the tradition of community that this family gave us, and restore the house for use as a museum of Fredon’s fascinating history, a meeting place for groups, and a learning site for the school.

A volunteer group, Keepers of Coursens Corners, was formed in 2001 to begin the process of restoration.  In the following five years, by their hard work, and with contributions from interested local citizens, six rooms were repaired, repainted and refurnished.  The first plantings of thr garden are now blooming and flourishing.

The next big project is to restore the kitchen to its original period.  This is an ambitious undertaking which will need professional help.  Grants and Fundraisers are being pursued.  Donations are welcome!

Donations to the kitchen restoration costs will receive the following "Thanks":
 


Make cjecks payable to: Keepers of Coursens Corners; include name and mailing address.

Send to:

J. Groves
P.O. Box 32
Newton, NJ 07860
 
 

Mission Statement-Keepers of Coursen's Corners
 


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KEEPERS OF COURSEN'S CORNERS
 
 

MISSION

To preserve the John Coursen house and farmstead

To promote the site as part of the local history of Fredon

To promote educational opportunities to enhance the curriculum of the local
schools and to inform the community
 

GOALS
To involve the community in activities related to early farming and farm life

To involve the schools through the education of local history and early
community development

To utilize the house as a community meeting center to be used by local organizations, garden clubs and auxiliaries, educational departments, senior citizen groups, etc.
 

PLAN
 1ST YEAR

Establish a site plan with size & location of buildings, boundary lines, etc.
Assess the building as to electrical, plumbing and fire protection as needed for small group meetings.
Plan activities in conjunction with Fredon Day
Agriculture related demonstrations
Partial open house
Historical related displays
File for 501(C)3: Not-for-profit status
Clean site of brush and debris
Research property, people and events connected with site (already begun)
Compile list of resource persons to help with volunteering and preserving site.

1-3 YEARS

Have archaeological assessment of former gardens, outhouse, windmill sites
Establish former garden sites and reestablish gardens
Rebuild fence on western side of propertyPlan for Fredon’s 100th anniversary in 2004
Open house to small group meetings; open house and barn for visiting school classes
Plan for museum in kitchen wing

3-5 YEARS

Open house to public by appointment
Continue to involve community with activities and education
Open part of barn to public to show storing of hay


click here for photo page