Locals Honored at Burrowes Mansion in Matawan
Now deceased, these three people made a big difference to local history
The Burrowes Mansion in Matawan is a landmark on Main Street, serving as a reminder to passersby of the long and rich history in an area once known as Middletown Point. However, the aging white home that backs up to Matawan Creek is not done telling the borough's story.
The Matawan Historical Society recently dedicated a reading room inside the mansion to former Matawan resident Douglas Fountain Bushnell and dedicated a tall Scottish case clock to longtime Matawan residents Howard Henderson and Sarah Ellison. All three were deceased over the last couple years.
Bushnell, born in 1920, spent his childhood in Matawan. He went on to graduate from Rutgers and served in a bomb disposal unit in the Navy during World War II, according to his obituary. Bushnell found success working for American Express and moved to northern New Jersey.
He never forgot Matawan, however, historical society member Catherine Savolaine pointed out. Each year, Bushnell made a $10,000 donation to the historical society.
"Mr. Bushnell was honored for his many years of financial support to the historical society. This is the town of his boyhood," said Savolaine. "He was very generous."
And although the financial contributions from Henderson and Ellison were significantly smaller, it was their diligent work on grant applications to help preserve the Burrowes Mansion that earned this pair a plaque next to a tall standing clock in the front entry hall.
"It allowed us to take that house back to an interpretation of the 1760s," Savolaine said.
Henderson lived in Matawan for almost all of his 89 years, according to Savolaine. He served as the chairman of the planning board, was a founding member of the historical society, was the chairman of the historical commission, and was on the mansion skirmish committee and tricentennial committee, among other things. Ellison spent many years as a docent at the mansion, guiding people through the intricate history of the borough. She also spent most of her 87 years in Matawan, working as a teacher and serving as the borough representative to the Monmouth County Senior Council, as a council member, and as a founding member and past president of the historical society.
The Historical Society celebrated the dedication with an evening at the Mansion. Council President Toni Angelini and Councilman Andy Lopez also attended the event to thank the historical society for their hard work in preserving the town.
Want to see the plaques for yourself? Free guided tours of the Burrowes' Mansion are available every first and third Sunday of the month from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Before you go, you might want to read up on its current residents.