Created By: Flemington Historic Preservation Commission
Dating from 1811, this tiny one-story wood building was later updated to the fashionable Greek Revival style. A flat roof, a symmetrical porch with four square plain columns and a frieze band with laurel wreaths combine to give this small office building presence on Main Street. Notice how the Greek Revival style was adapted to give dignity to this little building, after it was first used at a monumental scale on the Courthouse just down the block.
The first inhabitant of this building was Samuel L Southard who was one of Flemington’s greatest sons. He had an illustrious political and legal career, eventually becoming a US Senator and later Attorney General and Governor of New Jersey.
After graduating early from Princeton in 1804, aged only 17, he gained employment as a tutor and married into an influential political family, the Taliaferro’s in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 1811, on the recommendation of his friend William Maxwell (see 1 and 17) he moved to Flemington where he set up a law office in this building. In 1815 aged only 28 he became the youngest associate justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court.
In 1821 he became a US Senator and later served as Secretaries of the Navy, War and Treasury under successive Presidents until he left Washington in 1829 after falling out with President Andrew Jackson. Returning to New Jersey he served as Attorney General in 1829 and Governor in 1832 before returning to Washington as a US Senator.
The building was then the law office of Alexander Wurts, who in 1840 commissioned local architect and builder Mahlon Fisher to add the wonderful Greek Revival elements that remain today.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Flemington Historic Walking Tour - Main Street North