Hancock House (Lower Alloways Creek Township, New Jersey)

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Hancock House
Hancock House NJ.JPG
Hancock House (Lower Alloways Creek Township, New Jersey) is located in Salem County, New Jersey
Hancock House (Lower Alloways Creek Township, New Jersey)
Location Rte. 49 and Front St., Lower Alloways Creek Township, New Jersey
Coordinates 39°30′27″N 75°27′38″W / 39.50750°N 75.46056°W / 39.50750; -75.46056Coordinates: 39°30′27″N 75°27′38″W / 39.50750°N 75.46056°W / 39.50750; -75.46056
Area 2.5 acres (1.0 ha)
Built 1728
NRHP Reference # 70000393[1]
NJRHP # 2433[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 18, 1970
Designated NJRHP September 11, 1970

The Hancock House is a historic structure in the Hancock's Bridge section of Lower Alloways Creek Township, Salem County, New Jersey, United States. It was the site of the 1778 Hancock's Bridge massacre.[3] The site is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Built in 1734 for Judge William and Sarah Hancock, the house features a blue glazed brick pattern, which gives the year of construction, 1734, and the initials of the couple for whom it was built, 'W S' for William and Sarah. William died in 1762, and passed the house to his son William, also a judge.


On March 21, 1778, Major John Graves Simcoe led approximately 300 British soldiers and Queen's Rangers through a marsh and across Alloway Creek to surround Hancock House. At approximately 5 a.m., they entered the house and surprised 20 to 30 members of the local militia stationed there, along with Judge Hancock, a loyalist who was thought to be away for the night. Eight American men were killed during the melee, including Judge Hancock, who died the following day from 10 stab wounds. The rest were wounded at the scene or during a retreat, or captured as prisoners.

From the attic window of their home in Elsinboro, diagonally across the creek from the Hancock House, William Abbott and his son Samuel witnessed in the dawning morning light, the British and Tory soldiers pursuing and killing the few American militiamen who had escaped the scene of the carnage at the house and surrounding yard. The next morning while driving to a meeting in Salem, several British and Tory troops surrounded the Abbott carriage and after tormenting the occupants by thrusting their bayonets at them, showed them blood on their steel weapons and exclaimed, "See the blood or your countrymen."

Other County Colonial lore states that in the midst of the massacre, the wife of one of the local militia, who in a short time expected to be a mother, was sleeping in the Hancock House. Awakened by the screams of the dying militia, she jumped from a second story window on the west side of the house and made good her escape. Tradition says that within twenty-four hours, the child was born and that descendants of that child are living in Lower Alloways Creek township today. The old Hancock House museum is said to still have actual massacre blood stains on its attic floor.

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