Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Proprietary House

New Jersey Historic Preservation Bond Program
Grant Award: $108,400 (1995)
Grant Recipient: Proprietary House Association
County: Middlesex
Municipality: Perth Amboy City

The Proprietors of East Jersey completed this house in 1764 to serve as an official residence for the Royal Governor, thus ensuring the continuing dominance of East Jersey in Colonial politics. Governor William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin, occupied the house until 1776, when he was taken prisoner by the Continental Army. From 1795-1808, Proprietary House was the residence of John Ratoon, a Perth Amboy merchant who served as a British spy and later became Mayor of Perth Amboy. In the ensuing years, the house was used as a resort, a hotel, a shelter for orphans and widows, and an office complex.

The Trust grant helped fund decorative restoration work, an historic structures report and electrical and security improvements. The Proprietary House Association currently hosts educational programs for children about Governor Franklin, including a popular annual reenactment of the arrest of Governor Franklin.

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