Letter to the Editor: Information in Prop House article was incorrect

LetterWe are writing to correct the inaccurate information printed in Guy Hogan’s article about the Proprietary House Museum in a recent edition of the Guardian.  Mr. Hogan states that the Proprietary House is the only Royal Governor’s Mansion left from the colonial period.  This is inaccurate.  The Proprietary House Museum is one of four Royal Governor’s Mansions from the thirteen original colonies.  NJ, NH, NC and Mass. all have Royal Governor’s Mansions which are still standing.

There is the Wentworth Coolidge mansion built in 1750 for Royal Governor Wentworth in N.H.; the Sherely-Eastis House built in 1741 for Royal Governor William Sherely in Mass.; the Tryon Place built in 1770 for Royal Governor William Tryon in N.C.

In addition, there is currently a trend by some to refer to the Proprietary House Museum only as the “Royal Governor’s Mansion”.  This effort to promote the House,  ignores the fact that while Royal Governor William Franklin who was appointed in 1762 , did live in the Proprietary House, it was only for the last  21 months of his fourteen years in office. The Proprietary House today is not a place that Governor Franklin would recognize,  there are no interior walls today in the mansion that date from the Franklin residency due in a devastating fire after the Revolutionary War that left the house in ruins.

Unfortunately, the same misinformation about the history of the house has been repeated on our public access channel.  While the goal of increasing historic tourism to the City of Perth Amboy is an important one, we shouldn’t throw out the historic facts.  The public should not be fed misinformation.  The Proprietary House Museum is important for many reasons.  It was one of the first resort hotels on the Jersey shore, the home of one of the wealthiest men in the country in the early 19th century, the home of a mayor of Perth Amboy and possible Tory spy in the 18th c. and a Presbyterian Church retirement home in the 19th and 20th centuries.  The Royal Governor’s brief stay there is only one of the many good reasons to visit this museum.

Dave Szilagyi, past President of the Proprietary House Association

Jane Hogya, past Vice-President of the Proprietary House Association

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