Howell Farm Juneteenth program to feature tours of historical farmhouse

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HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP -- On Saturday, June 18, visitors to Howell Living History Farm can join historical interpreters on a free wagon ride and tour of the circa-1790 farmhouse, where Revolutionary War-era New Jerseyans lived and farmed the land that now makes up Mercer County’s Pleasant Valley National Rural Historic District.

Capt. Henry Phillips House

Saturday’s program is being held in observance of Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. Tours begin at 10:30 a.m. in the barnyard, where visitors will board a wagon to travel down the driveway, across Moore’s Creek and through the woods before disembarking at the Captain Henry Phillips House. There they’ll meet historical interpreters Ivey Avery of Trenton and Pete Curtis of George Washington’s Mount Vernon, who will be wearing period attire for a unique discussion of the history of the house and the people who lived in it before and after the 1804 passage of New Jersey’s Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery.

Ivey Avery

Avery and Curtis are experienced historical interpreters who have presented the lives of Black Americans throughout our history, in both first- and third-person styles. With additional support from Howell Farm historian Larry Kidder, they will guide visitors through the house and tell the story of Nance, an enslaved woman who lived there with her children, while also discussing the ways that other Black residents of Pleasant Valley lived before, during and after the abolition of slavery in New Jersey. Following the tour, light refreshments will be served outside.

Wagon tours depart from the barnyard at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., and 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., and are limited to 20 participants per session. Up to 10 spaces per tour may be reserved online via the Mercer County Park Commission CommunityPass portal, and the remaining 10 will be kept available for walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis.

Guided tours of the circa-1900 “Howell Farm farmhouse” will also be offered throughout the day, beginning at 11 a.m., 12 noon, and 1, 2 and 3 p.m. The farm will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours of both farmhouses, as well as admission to the farm, are free.

Howell Farm is owned by the County of Mercer and operated by the Mercer County Park Commission. It is located at 70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Township, NJ 08530. For more information, please visit or call the farm office at 609-737-3299.


Photos: The Captain Henry Phillips House and historical interpreter Ivey Avery.