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Explore the history of Samuel Fleming
and the Fleming House
Samuel Fleming was born April 2, 1707 in Ireland. Around 1740, he, his wife Esther and two small daughters emigrated to Amwell in the colony of New Jersey.
Samuel obtained a tavern license in 1741. He received a land grant of 210 acres from Thomas Penn, son of Wm. Penn in 1744. By 1756 Samuel’s family had grown to 10 children, five girls and five boys. He built a three story frame house for his family in an area known as the meadow lot. Fleming altered the plan of the house from the German Bank house, common at that time, by adding a Gambrel Roof to allow more living space on the top floor of the house. He also built the structure on a knoll. By digging into the rise he was able to add a floor that was partly below ground level. These inovations allowed him to build a three story dwelling that was the grandest house in Fleming's Settlement at the time. Unfortunately, Samuel lost his home in 1763 due to financial troubles.
The exact location of Samuel Fleming’s tavern is not known. Speculation holds that it was located on the King's Highway, now Main Street, near the current location of the post office. The tavern was essential to community life in the Colonial period. In addition to sheltering travelers and offering a hot meal and libations, taverns served local customers as well. Here, village folk came to socialize, hear the latest gossip, read a newspaper, conduct business, receive mail or join in a game of chance. Taverns also served as court rooms, board rooms, and political arenas.