The Williamson-Conover House
Standing at 414 Village Road East, near the heart of the historic community of Dutch Neck, is a 2-story, 6-bay, pyramid hipped roof double house with two front entrances - one for each unit. This structure - hereafter called the "Williamson-Conover" house - is a contributing structure to the Dutch Neck community and a member of West Windsor's "100 Club."
The exact date of construction is unknown. While township tax records claim this house was constructed in 1870, other sources reference other time dates - including an 1988 architectural survey, which posits that there might be an 18th-century core. Regardless of the actual date of origin, the building's current appearance reflects early-mid twentieth century changes. It is unknown if the building was originally two houses in one or if this was a later modification.
The Williamson-Conover property was once part of a larger 2-acre tract containing all of the nearby even-numbered houses along Village Road East. For a history of this joint property prior to 1854, read the history of the nearby Dutch Neck general store/post office (420 Village Road East) by clicking here. That year, John and Angeline Robbins sold a 1-acre portion, containing 412, 412A, 414, and 416 Village Road East to Abraham Vanhise (of Vanhiseville) and his wife, Elizabeth.
The couple presumably lived somewhere on the 1-acre tract for the next fifteen years. In 1869, they sold the property to Samuel and Lydia Ayers. Samuel served the township as an Overseer of the Highways for most years between 1873 and 1895. He and Lydia kept the 1-acre tract in its totality until 1873 whereupon a portion now containing 412, 412A, and 414 Village Road East was split off and sold.
The buyer was a blacksmith named Theodore Williamson. The adjacent map from 1875 shows a blacksmith shop on or near this property and an 1883 publication called the History of Burlington and Mercer Counties mentions a "T. F. Williamson" being Dutch Neck's blacksmith.
In 1889, Theodore sold the property to George and Frederick Conover - brothers who operated "Conover & Bros." In addition to keeping the blacksmith shop, they also operated a long-gone wheelwright shop directly across the street, around where the Hiram Cook house at 413 Village Road East (constructed in 1907) now exists. They collectively kept this property until at least 1898, if not later.
The lineage of the property over the next several decades remains unclear; research is ongoing. By 1959 (if not earlier), 414 Village Road East had become its own independent property, owned by Lillian and Edward Kercado. That year, they sold the property to James and Marie MacKenzie.
However, the property has long since passed to new owners. It remains one of Dutch Neck's - and, in fact, West Windsor's - only pre-1900s double houses.
- “West Windsor Tax Assessor Address List, 2019.” West Windsor, 2019. List of all residences in West Windsor with dates of construction, according to tax assessor. Sent to the Historical Society by Lorraine Jones and Dawn Moretti.
- “Mercer County Historic Sites Survey: West Windsor Township, Mercer County, NJ.” Princeton, 1988. Conducted by Kinsey & Hand Associates.
- Mount, Joseph, Voorhies, Elijah, Voorhies, Sarah. “Indenture.” West Windsor, 1819. Located in the New Jersey State Archives, Middlesex County Deed Book 13 Page 610.
- Robbins, Angeline, Robbins, Jonathan D., Vanhise, Abraham, Vanhise, Eliza. “Indenture.” West Windsor, 1854. Located in the Mercer County Clerk's Office, Mercer County Deed Book 36 Page 442.
- Ayers, Lydia A., Ayers, Samuel H., Vanhise, Abraham, Vanhise, Eliza. “Indenture.” West Windsor, 1869. Located in the Mercer County Clerk's Office, Mercer County Deed Book 78 Page 245.
- "West Windsor Township Meeting Minutes, 1797-2012.,” n.d. Original Township Committee meeting minute database located in the Municipal Center.
- Ayers, Lydia A., Ayers, Samuel H., Williamson, Theodore. "Indenture” West Windsor, 1873. Located in the Mercer County Clerk's Office, Mercer County Deed Book 95 Page 253.
- “West Windsor Township.” Map. 1875 Historical Atlas of Mercer County, New Jersey - Map of West Windsor. Philadelphia, PA: Everts & Stuart, 1875. https://www. loc.gov/item/2010587333/.
- Woodward, Evan Morrison, and John Frelinghuysen Hageman. History of Burlington and Mercer Counties with Biographical Sketches of Many of Their Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Everts & Peck, 1883.
- Conover, Frederick, Conover, George, Williamson, Theodore. "Indenture.” West Windsor, 1889. Located in the Mercer County Clerk's Office, Mercer County Deed Book 165 Page 116.
- “West Windsor.” Map. Scarlett and Scarlett's Fire Map of Mercer County, New Jersey, Including Trenton and Suburbs. Newark, New Jersey: Scarlett and scarlett, 1890.
- Conover, Frederick, Conover, George. ” West Windsor, 1898. Located in the Mercer County Clerk's Office, Mercer County Deed Book 220 Page 488.