Built in 1772, in the middle of what was then a 200-acre farm, the historic Clarke House is in outward appearance simply a white clapboard farm house. This historic building is central to the Battle of Princeton, fought on January 3rd, 1777, between the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington and British Crown forces.
The Clarkes, a third-generation Quaker family of the Stony Brook Quaker Settlement, turned the house into a field hospital after the battle, taking in both British and American wounded. Despite being cared for by Dr. Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence), American General Hugh Mercer died here nine days after the battle from being shot and bayoneted. Mercer County in New Jersey, site of the battle, is named in his honor.
The historic Clarke House is the only remaining structure from the time of the pivotal victory that set our Revolution on the road to success, and the heritage and meaning of our struggle for independence is within its walls. After nearly 250 years, age and weather have taken a toll; the wooden house is showing signs of deterioration, especially walls, near windows and doors, and most recently in the foundation.
Because of its inherent historic significance and because it houses exhibits critical to interpreting the history of the battle for the benefit of visitors, preserving this house is among the highest priorities for the Princeton Battlefield Society. We need stewards and caretakers to join us.
There are also needs to create new and to expand existing exhibits/displays to better interpret the Battle of Princeton and the historic Clarke House for the benefit of visitors. The History and Heritage Fund focuses on these needs, and PBS and State representatives are actively implementing plans for major interpretive changes. Contact the PBS for more information and to explore ways to participate in this initiative.