John Berrien (1711 - 1772)

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Judge John Berrien's Geni Profile

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Birthplace: Long Island, New York
Death: Died in Rocky Hill, Somerset, NJ, USA
Cause of death: drowned
Managed by: Alice Zoe Marie Knapp
Last Updated:

About John Berrien

Judge John Berrien, (1711-1772)

Came to Rocky Hill as a surveyor from Long Island in 1735. Then purchased or had Rockingham built. A portion of the house may have been on a tract purchased from John Harrison and obtained by him in 1701 from Indians. He became a merchant. He served as justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. From 1763 till his death he was one of the trustees of Princeton college, besides holding other responsible public positions. After his second marriage in 1759 the house was enlarged and in that state it was rented and occupied by General Washington from Judge Berrien's widow for his use while peace treaty meetings were underway at Princeton and while composing his Farewell Address to the Army.

On his tombstone in Princeton cemetery is the following inscription: "Sacred to the Memory of the Hon. John Berrien, Esq., one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Judicature of the Province of New Jersey, who died much lamented on the 22nd day of April, A. D., 1772, in the sixty-first year of his age." (see Picture above) He married Margaret, daughter of John Eaton, founder of Eatontown, Monmouth county, New Jersey.

The Judge and second wife Margaret had six children. On April 22, 1772 he invited several close friends, including Richard Stockton (below) to witness his will. After they did so, he jumped into deep part of the Millstone River near his home and drowned. No one knows to this day why he did this, but in these times, it was not uncommon to take one's life if they were found to have a terminal illness.

Source: http://www.dennisberrien.com/StoriesJudgeJ.html

Daughter of American Revolution Ancestor #: A009557, although he has an ancestor number, he died before the Revolution and may not be used.

-------------------- Judge John Berrien (1711–1772) was a New Jersey supreme court justice, Princeton University trustee and grandfather(?) of John M. Berrien (1781–1856). It was from the Berrien Mansion near Princeton, New Jersey that General George Washington wrote his final address to the army in 1783.

Rockingham House, the Berrien mansion, was the home of John Berrien and George Washington's final headquarters of the Revolutionary War, located near Rocky Hill in Franklin Township in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States.

Residing at Rockingham between August and November of 1783 during the final days of the American War for Independence, the General and Mrs. Washington passed the time at one of the most elegant country estates in the Millstone River Valley.

The house was Washington's headquarters Aug-Nov 1783 while the Continental Congress was in session. He probably slept here. It was here at Rockingham on November 2, 1783, shortly upon hearing word that the Treaty of Peace had been received by Congress, that Washington sat down in the upstairs chamber and wrote his "Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States," officially penning a farewell to his troops and preparing for the long journey back to Virginia.

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Judge John Berrien's Timeline

1711
November 19, 1711
Long Island, New York
1759
August 23, 1759
Age 47
Rocky Hill, Somerset, NJ, USA
1762
1762
Age 50
1772
April 22, 1772
Age 60
Rocky Hill, Somerset, NJ, USA
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Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey