New Jersey Ag News
Farm buildings land on list of 10 Most Endangered
By JANE PRIMERANO
TRENTON (June 1, 2014) — The Asher Woolman Homestead was named to the state’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Places by Preservation New Jersey on May 15.
At a news conference on the steps of the statehouse, PNJ officials announced the 2014 list, including the former Westampton Township, Burlington County farm.
Although the property hasn’t been farmed in years, it exists in the historical context of South Jersey farming.
The house on the property was built in 1807 after the 1754 house was destroyed by fire.
The land was in the Woolman family since the late 17th century. Karen Ramsden-Zahler, a descendent of Asher Woolman, lives in North Brunswick, but is interested in saving the family homestead.
The property is the only physical evidence of the Woolman family, farmers and original settlers of the Rancocas section of Westampton Township.
Asher Woolman’s grandfather was an original West Jersey Proprietor. Asher’s older brother, John, was an itinerant preacher. He was an influential Quaker and became a noted antislavery advocate.
The Woolman’s influence on the area was such that the Rancocas Historical Society attempted to buy the house along with a small barn and a portion of the property.
The owner, a realtor, wants to sell the entire farmstead in one piece.
The 150-acre farm is a long, narrow parcel from the Rancocas River toward a narrow tributary that was once the Burlington Township line.
“I’m a beginner,” Ramsden-Zahler said, “but the family group wants something done with the farm.”
She said it could be a museum or for educational use, or even a private home. She said Rancocas Village was a Quaker settlement and was disrupted by the construction of Route 295 as well as other development.
The historical society wants as much of what is left saved as possible.