[1823 Autograph Letter Signed from Future New Jersey Governor Peter D. Vroom. Petitioning on Behalf Somerville Academy in Raritan (now Somerville), New Jersey].

Future Governor Peter Dumont Vroom petitions for a Somerville, New Jersey tavern

Patriotically, the Somerville Academy in Somerset County, New Jersey was established July 4, 1802. The Rev. Peter Studdiford, a pastor in Readington, was its first president. The school’s first principal was Lucas George.

Here, in 1823, future New Jersey Governor Peter D. Vroom (1791–1873) and other prominent Somerset County citizens are on a mission.  They ask well-to-do farmer and tavern-keeper David Van Syckel to consider allowing his tavern to be rented for boarding Somerville Academy students. The letter suggests that perhaps Van Syckel had recently closed down the tavern. Would he consider renting it to the Reverend John Cornell, the academy’s sixth principal? In part:

If you should have an opportunity to sell or at any time may wish to rent the place again as a tavern you need have no fear about obtaining a license. The house has been kept as a tavern for many years and is in fact, the oldest tavern but on in the place and I have no hesitation in giving it to you as my opinion and belief that the Court would grant a license on any future application.

Signed by Peter D.[umont] Vroom Jr. and endorsed, beneath in manuscript, by the following prominent citizens, the following names listed: John Henry. [Judge] Ferd.[inand] Vanderveer, Isaac Southard, Dickinso[n] Miller, Cha[rl]s[e]. Toms [sic?], [Dr.] Garret Tunison.

Peter Dumont Vroom Jr. (aka. Peter D. Vroom) (1791–1873) was born in Hillsboro, Somerset County, and had, himself, attended Somerville Academy in his youth. He then attended Columbia College, was admitted to the bar and moved to Somerville in 1821 to practice law. Three years after the date of this present document he became a member of the State general assembly; three years subsequent he was elected Ninth Governor of New Jersey, in 1829, as a Jacksonian.

Description: [1823 Autograph Letter Signed from Future New Jersey Governor Peter D. Vroom. Petitioning on Behalf Somerville Academy in Raritan (now Somerville), New Jersey].

Somerville, [New Jersey]. February 27, 1823. [1]p. Folio. Very good.


Murray, History of Education in New Jersey… (US GPO, 1899).

Dr Garret Tunison, “arrived in Shepherdstown in 1773. Became a resident practicing physician. He entered Captain H. Stephenson’s Company of Volunteer Riflemen, as a Surgeon, in June, 1775, about the same time as myself. We marched to Boston. There he acted by appointment also to three other volunteer Companies, viz., Daniel Morgan’s Michael Cresap’s, and Thomas Price’s, the two last from Maryland. On the 8th of July, 1776, Stephenson received a Colonel’s Commission and was ordered to raise a Rifle Regiment. The men were enlisted for three years, and Tunison was retained as Surgeon…In September the Regiment was ordered to Ft. Lee on the North River, and thence across the river to the defence of Fort Washington, where the regiment was captured. Tunison, with a few of its officers and men being on duty at other points, escaped the general destruction.” (Letter of Henry Bedinger, dated Nov. 12, 1830.) Dr. Tunison continued to serve as a surgeon in other corps of the army. After the Revolution he returned to his old home in New Jersey.

Price: $100.00

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