Their livelihood was tied to the land, but in June 1778, the Craig family found their agrarian way of life suddenly disrupted and ravaged by the onrush of war.
This 18th-century farmhouse bore witness to the Battle of Monmouth as the home of John and Ann Craig and their three children. The Craigs fled the house as the battle approached on June 28, 1778. The family returned after the battle to find their buildings still standing but, according to family tradition, hidden valuables gone.
The Craig House is now part of Monmouth Battlefield State Park.
The earliest section of the Craig Farmhouse was built by Samuel Craig in 1746. The original house was a one-and-one-half story Dutch-framed structure. It was enlarged in the 1770s by John Craig, Jr. with the extension of the Georgian-style two-story addition on the west side.
The other building you see on the property is an English-framed, mid-19th century barn, which replaced the probably much larger 18th-century barn of John Craig, Jr. This barn has stable space for six cows and horses.
At the time of the Battle of Monmouth, the Craig Family abandoned their house, fearing that fighting would come near after they saw columns of smoke from burning farms along nearby Allentown Road. Family tradition says that they drove their livestock out of harm’s way, loaded their “…household goods in two wagons…and rode towards Upper Freehold to avoid molestation.” The tradition further states that the family took their silver and placed it in a kettle and sank it in the well, hiding the well’s bucket and chain. However, thirsty British soldiers, possibly using the house as a field hospital, drained the well and found the silver.
After the battle, the Craig family and their descendants continued to farm the property until 1943, when the property was sold to Ernest Tark who used it as worker housing for his farm. The house was not maintained well during the Tark years and fell into disrepair. In 1965 the State of New Jersey purchased the property and, with the help of the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield, have since restored the house and barn.
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