Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Rhode Hall

History's Mysteries
Origin of the name Rhode Hall 
by Randall Marsola

Rhode Hall School

Rhode Hall is a neighborhood on the boundary line between Monroe and South Brunswick that contains a store, a hotel, and several dwellings.  It is an old settlement and the early residents were several Scotch families, some of whom have risen to distinction in various walks of life.

The nucleus of the settlement was an old tavern formerly known as the “Halfway House” which was often a scene of much activity in the old staging days and was probably first kept as early as 1730 by David Williamson, who gave the locality its name.  Williamson was succeeded by Thomas McDowell about 1774.  A public house is now kept at Rhode Hall by John Smock who succeeded his father Simons Smock as landlord at the latter’s death. A race course known as the Rhode Hall Driving Park was made there. 
(Source: History of Union and Middlesex Counties, New Jersey 1882. print).

Rhode Hall residents were called upon to support George Washington in the “Second Battle of Trenton". “Captain Longstreet had orders to collect as many men as we could in the country between Princeton, Cranbury, and Rhode Hall.” (Source: Old Mill Society of Trenton web).

The Rhode Hall baseball team played the Deans on Saturday last.  The Deans won by a score of 17 to 19.  It was the first time the Rhode Hall team ever played a match game. 
(Source:  New Brunswick Daily News August 10th, 1895. print)

Rhode Hall Hotel Burned-the famous hotel at Rhode Hall was destroyed by fire at midnight last night according to the news brought here by court attendants living in that neighborhood.
The hotel is located in Rhode Hall about three miles from Jamesburg and has stood there for years. (Source: New Brunswick Times April 14, 1908. print)

The Rhode Hall Driving Park was a horse racing track.  
“Mr. J.H. Bergen has entered his black mare Lady Annie for the contest at Rhode Hall Driving Park on Saturday next.” ( Source: The Daily Times October 5th, 1875. print).

The Rhode Hall Community Club which is about ten years old meets the first Thursday evening of each month at the old school in Rhode Hall.  It holds pot luck suppers, dances and parties for people of all ages.  The money raised is used for the upkeep of the building.  Mrs. George Baker is president of the organization.  (Source: WPA 1938. print).

The South Brunswick Historical Society meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 in Local History room in the South Brunswick Library. Our next meeting is Tuesday September 27th. 

This historical information comes from the South Brunswick Historical Archives managed by township historian Ceil Leedom.  

To visit the archives or learn more, contact Randall Marsola at