22 February 2016

Peter Dumont Vroom (1791-1873)

Peter Dumont Vroom was the only New Jersey governor born and raised in Hillsborough. This is a brief chronology of his life and many accomplishments.



  • 12 December 1791 - Born in the village of South Branch (then called Branchville) to Colonel Peter Dumont Vroom - a veteran of the Revolution and subsequently a politician who held many offices at the local, county, and state level - and Elsie (Bogert) Vroom. Their home was actually just north of the village near the confluence of the north and south branches of the Raritan River.
  • Spring 1796 - Was the youngest of the first set of pupils to attend the newly constructed school house between River Road and the Raritan River just east of the Beekman Lane intersection. This building, removed in 1830, became known as the Old Red Schoolhouse.
  • Circa 1805 to 1813 - Attended the Somerville Academy, then Columbia College in New York, then studied law in Somerville and passed the bar in 1813.
  • 1813 - 1826 Practiced law in Sussex and Hunterdon Counties before moving back to Somerville.
  • 1826-1829 Elected as a Jacksonian to the NJ General Assembly.
  • 1829-1832 First term as governor. Accomplishments included prison and militia reform, Promoted the chartering of a company to build the Delaware and Raritan Canal. and a company to build the Camden and Amboy Railroad - and later endorsed the merger of the two companies, creating a virtual transportation monopoly.
  • 1833-1836 Second term as governor. Acting in his capacity as chancellor of the court of chancery, wrote decisions affirming the government's right to use eminent domain.




The South Branch Miller's Mansion. Not Governor Vroom's childhood home, but possibly a later residence.

  • 1837 Sent to Mississippi by President Van Buren to adjust land claims concerning the forced removal of the Choctaw Indians.
  • 1838 - 1840 Served in the US House of Representatives as a Democrat. Although defeated on election day, suspicious results from Monmouth County that led to a Whig victory were overturned by a Democratic controlled US congress as part of  the "Broad Seal War", and Vroom was seated.
  • 1844 Led the New Jersey Constitutional Convention, calling for greater power for the executive branch.
  • 1853 - 1857 Served as Ambassador to Prussia in Berlin during the Crimean War.
  • 1861 - Served as a commissioner to the Virginia peace conference attempting to hold off the Civil War.
  • 1865 - 1873 Served as a law reporter for the NJ Supreme Court.
  • 18 November 1873 - Died and was buried in the Dumont Burial Ground on the south side of River Road in Hillsborough.

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