The 1900 United States Census records the widowed Thomas Peterson and his family living at "9 Commerce Lane." Deed records show the property being sold to his wife, Daphne, in 1866, four years before Thomas cast is historic vote.
Sanborn Fire Insurance maps show the house on Commerce Lane, which extended south from Commerce Street. The Lane no longer exists, though the retaining wall on the west side survives. It is shown until 1913 and records show only the Peterson family living there.
There appears to have been minimal development on the site, aside from a warehouse with a slab foundation that could have protected any artifacts deeper beneath the surface, such as foundations or in privy pits. The site has been vacant since the early 2000s and is slated for development as part of the Kushner Development Company's proposed developments. They own the property and have refused permission for an investigation despite public and City Hall support.
The large house to the right of Commerce Lane in the above Sanborn map was "Tower Cottage," owned by Hugh Ramsay. At some point, a photo was taken on the mansion, and the Peterson house can be seen just peeking out from behind it! The lane was at an lower elevation, so the roof and second story window can be seen. This is the only known photo of the house, but it shows it had board and batten siding. [Photo courtesy John Kerry Dyke]
This is just one small part of a huge development deal being negotiated by the City of Perth Amboy involving lots of money and tax revenues. While Mayor Caba and others in City Hall have publicly expressed their support for an archeological study, they need to know that this matters to their constituents and voters if they are going to insist this be taken into consideration in those negotiations with so much at stake. Please take a few moments to learn about this issue and use the button below to send an email of support to the Mayor's Office!
This is a 45 minute program exploring how Bond rediscovered the site, the fascinating story of how the Petersons came to live there, its importance to history, and the challenges facing the archeological investigation of the site today. Available in-person or virtual for civic and educational groups!
Email Gordon to book this important program and help spread the word about this threatened civil and voting rights site!
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