Morris-Jumel Mansion

New York
NY

Morris-Jumel Mansion in upper Manhattan

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Manhattan's oldest existing house was built in 1756 as a summer retreat for loyalist British Lieutenant Colonel Roger Morris and his wife. Between 14-Sep and 20-Oct-1776 it served as headquarters to General Washington during the Battle of Harlem Heights. Later it served as the headquarters of Sir Henry Clinton and Hessian commander Baron Wilhelm von Knyphausen.

It was purchased by Steven Jumel in 1810; when he died his wife, Eliza, continued to live there until her death in 1865. Eliza became the second wife of Aaron Burr for three years in 1833.

Includes 12 restored period rooms.

The French years provided Franklin’s detractors precisely what they needed: proof that the ur-American was un-American. Franklin was the Founding Father who had come the furthest, which makes him today the most compelling; he was also the Founding Father who traveled the farthest, which in his own century made him the most suspect. Few other homes in Philadelphia sported both Réaumur and Fahrenheit thermometers. The story goes that when Franklin proposed that Congress open its meetings with a prayer, Alexander Hamilton quipped that that body had no need of foreign aid. The story may be apocryphal but the sentiment was real. The expatriate patriot, Franklin was associated in many minds with the dependent chapter of American independence, one better expunged from the record.

Stacy Schiff
A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America (2005)