The Franklin Inn was built by Cornelius Van Liew in 1752. Located at 2371 Amwell Road (Route 514), East Millstone, New Jersey. Originally it was the Van Liew farmhouse, it has also been known as Annie Van Liew's house and, after being remodeled into a tavern and inn, the Franklin House Hotel.
Cornelius Van Liew (1734-1777) married Antje Bowman aka Anne Bowman in 1757, and they lived in the house. Their children were: Frederick Van Liew (1758-?); Cornelius Van Liew (1762-?); Antje "Anne" Van Liew (1764-?); Marya "Mary" van Liew (1766-?); Deneys van Liew (1767-?); Johanis "John" Van Liew (1770-?); and Helena Van Liew (1772-?)
In June 1777, during the Revolutionary War, Charles Cornwallis commandeered the house and used it as his headquarters for five days. Several thousand British troops were encamped nearby in what is now Colonial Park Arboretum and Gardens. William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe and his troops were in New Brunswick, New Jersey and Middlebush, New Jersey. During the war, American Revolutionary generals used the house to hold meetings.
The house and property stayed with the Van Liew family until 1822, when it was sold to John Wyckoff. Wyckoff rented the property, and it was used as a tavern starting in 1829. The Delaware and Raritan Canal nearby was opened in 1834.
- "Franklin Inn". Meadows Foundation. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
Frederick Van Liew was one of the eight “Hollanders” that originally purchased 10,000 acres of land from the Harrison Tract in 1701. His son Frederick Jr. was only seven years old then. When he had grown up, he deeded the homestead property to his son Cornelius in 1752, where he built [the] first part of the traditional Dutch (anchor bent) house. When he and his wife, Antje (Ann) were married in 1757, he brought his bride to this house. Cornelius died during the American Revolution and soon it became known as Annie Van Liew's House.
- William B. Brahms, Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ: A History, FTPL; ISBN 0-9668586-0-3 p.55
- "Franklin Inn". MyCentralJersey.com. July 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
It is believed that during the Revolutionary War, British General Charles Cornwallis took over the house, using it as his headquarters for five days in 1777, while several thousand of his troops camped nearby in Colonial Park. George Washington had just moved his army up to the Middlebrook Encampment on top of the Watchung Mountains. The English tried to lure Washington and his men down on several occasions without success.
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. NJ-648, "Van Liew House, Amwell Road, East Millstone, Somerset County, NJ", 4 photos, 17 measured drawings, 7 data pages
- Franklin Inn on the Meadows Foundation web site
- Franklin Township Public Library's Photo Archive of the Franklin Inn