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Flemington History
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History

"Long before the white man came to New Jersey, Lenape Indians occupied the rolling hills of Hunterdon County, including what is now greater Flemington. They were a peaceful group who settled in this area because of its abundant water, navigable rivers, and protected fertile valley. They hunted, fished, and grew crops, beginning what would be a long tradition of agricultural living [in Hunterdon County]"  -  Clayton and Whitely's Guide to Flemington

The land that comprises Flemington was originally the territory of the Lenni-Lenape Indians, as was all of Hunterdon County. In 1712, as part of a land parcel of 9170 acres, the Flemington acreage was acquired by William Penn and Daniel Coxe.

Flemington is surrounded by the Township of Raritan and is located in the near geographic center of the Township. The Borough is also the County Seat of Hunterdon. In 1756 Samuel Fleming purchased part of this land on which he built a home that still stands on Bonnell Street, and "Fleming's Town" was born.
The surrounding fertile farmland dictated that the beginnings of Flemington should be essentially agricultural. Early German and English settlers engaged in industries dependent on farm products. As time passed poultry and dairy farms superseded crops in agricultural importance.

In 1785 Flemington was chosen as the County Seat of Hunterdon. Fire destroyed the old courthouse in 1826 and the City of Lambertville then made an attempt to have the Seat moved.  The attempt was unsuccessful, however, and Flemington remained the County Seat.  The Courthouse was then rebuilt and remains standing today at the intersection of Main and Court Streets.  It was the site in 1935 of what is called The Trial of the Century, the trial and conviction of Bruno Hauptman for the kidnapping of the infant son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh.

By 1980 sixty-five percent of the Borough of Flemington had been included on the New Jersey State and National Registers of Historic Places.  Flemington is also home to some of the nation's finest examples of Greek Revival architecture, courtesy of designer-builder Mahlon Fisher. A few of his most prominent works include the Southard Building, the office of former Senator Southard, remodeled in 1840, the Doric House which served as Fisher's residence from 1846 and is now the home of the Hunterdon County Historical Society and lastly, but by no means least, the Reading-Large House an impressive home with massive columns built in 1847.


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