Shippen Manor was built between 1760 to 1765 for Dr. William Shippen II and his brother Joseph Shippen II in Oxford, New Jersey. The Shippens family were a wealthy, prominent Philadelphia family. The Manor is Georgian style, constructed with two-foot thick stone walls, and three chimneys. The ground floor consisted of six rooms with two bed chambers and four garret rooms upstairs. Dr. Shippen was a self taught physician and a member of the Continental Congress who had the privilege of attending to Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, George Washington, and Generals Gage, Howe, and Lafayette.
William’s son Joseph W. Shippen began managing the property in the early 1760s. He acquired the housekeeping services of Martha Axford. During her “housekeeping” time in the house, the two had seven children. However, no documentation has been found to provide proof of marriage between Joseph and Martha. He died in 1795 without a will. His father moved in the Manor to overseen furnace operations and manages his son’s estate. Despite not approving of the relationship, William II was rather fond of his grandchildren. His grandson was the personal secretary of Thomas Jefferson. Martha died a few years later. William II owned the Manor until his death in 1801.
The Robeson Study is named for Morris Robeson, grandson of Jonathan Robeson, who acquired part interest in the property in 1808. His grandfather built the original Oxford Furnace in 1741. Robeson died in 1823. His family continued to own the property after his death, leasing the furnace to several individuals and companies. Henry and Jordan Company leased the property in 1832. He hired Selden T. Scranton, George Scranton and Charles Scranton. The Scrantons ensured the longevity of the Oxford Furnace. Selden married William Henry’s daughter, Ellen, in 1839 and Charles married another daughter, Jane, in 1847. Selden and George bought the furnace tract from the Robesons. The Scranton Parlor was originally two rooms. A stone wall divided the two rooms until it was remodeled in 1850. In 1935 the Warren Foundry & Pipe Co. donated the Furnace to the State.
It served as the corporate headquarters for Oxford Furnace, one of the first producers of iron ore. It remained in either private or corporate hands until 1974 when the State of New Jersey purchased the property. However, it was left to deteriorate until 1984 due to lack of funding for restoration. The Shippen Manor Museum opened in 1995, after the house was restored, and is furnished in colonial and Victorian periods.
Some activity includes uncatalogued items appearing on cupboard shelves and doors opening the wrong direction. The doors at the back of the manor of period door latches and knobs, and one door in particular only opens from the inside. The spirit of a soldier has been seen in the reception area as well as the door tends to open and close on its own. In the dining room, a little boy in period clothing has been witnessed by staff and visitors. Witnesses have reported seeing a female spirit in blue attire and hair in a bun in the Victorian Parlor.
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