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Successful Pathways of History Tour 2021

By Leslie Potashner

The Tunis Ellicks House was part of the 2021 Pathways of History Tour on May 1. It was the

first public event at the Tunis Ellicks house since pandemic quarantine. Both the Tramp House and Kitchen Garden allowed for outdoor tours, while the warm weather allowed us to open the doors for socially distant, masked tours inside the house.

Kevin Doherty gives a tour of the Tramp House.

The Tramp House was the first stop of the tour. The Tramp House was built after the Civil War by the Morris County Overseer of the Poor. After the war, unemployed men would wander the countryside looking for work. Often they would find shelter in barns, building fires to keep warm, which sometimes spread to the barns. Instead, the men could stay in the stone Tramp House, trading lodging for work such as chopping wood or collecting peat. This house was built in the Great Swamp and was moved to its current location behind the TE House.

The kitchen of the Tunis Ellicks House.

The tours began with a tour of the original colonial features of the Tunis Ellicks House. The

focal point of the house are the original mantle where the farmwife cooked over the hearth and in the beehive oven. The kitchen includes a cooling room, where spring water kept the pantry items cool in the summer.

Exhibit of Native American artifacts from the collection of Jon Miller.

In the main room were two exhibits: the permanent exhibit about life on an 18th century farm and a special exhibit of Native American artifacts. The exquisite collection of artifacts was collected by Jon Miller from around Harding Township. Many of the artifacts were turned up by farmers tilling their fields or by stream beds. They included arrowhead, grinding tools, and ax head. The artifacts range in age from 10,000 years to about the 1750s, when the local Natives were moved to southern New Jersey.

Early spring in the kitchen garden.

In front of the TE House, the garden was showing signs of early spring growth. The garden is

maintained by the New Vernon Garden club and is designed to showcase the style of an 18th century kitchen garden. By fall, the garden will be overflowing with herbs and flowers.

The front porch of the Tunis Ellicks House.

The final part of the day was a self-guided tour of the 18th century buildings in New Vernon. The tour begins at the TE House and winds it way down Village Road and up Lees Hill Road to Harding Township School. The buildings include the old Academy, the Presbyterian Church, the Abner Fairchild house, and the Joseph Fairchild House.

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