A National Historic Landmark, Summerseat was built around 1770 by Adam Hoops, a successful merchant who became one of the wealthiest people in the colonies. The house is notable for its association with three key figures of the American Revolution: George Clymer, Robert Morris, and one of the most prominent figures in American history, George Washington. Washington maintained his headquarters here from December 8-14, 1776. this was one of the most trying times for the American army, and a well-rested Washington left this house an led his successful attack on the British in Trenton less than two weeks later. Today, the house is operated by the Historic Morrisville Society and opens to the public on the first Saturday of each month.
Backstory and Context
This Victorian mansion has been home to multiple figures of great historical significance, including two signers of the Declaration of Independence, George Clymer and Robert Morris. Summerseat was also a significant location in the life of George Washington. From December 8th-14th of 1776, this home served as Washington's headquarters as he sought to design a strategy that would keep the British from capturing his small army while also offering enough resistance to give hope to the colonists.
During the time that Washington occupied this residence, he was facing considerable challenges. Many members of the Continental army at this time were either deserting or leaving at the end of their terms of service. With the state of his army growing weaker, Washington used the residence to plan and draft correspondence.
After leaving this home, Washington planned and executed a daring maneuver to position his army behind the British and the Hessian troops in their employ. The decision resulted in a significant victory and is depicted in the famous painting of Washington and his men crossing the Delaware River.
Washington was a guest of the house in the period when it was the home of its original owner, merchant and diplomat Thomas Barclay. Barclay served as the country's first ambassador abroad and was the first American to negotiate a treaty with a foreign country (Morocco). Robert Morris, a prosperous merchant and signer of the Declaration of Independence lived in this house from 1791 to 1798. George Clymer owned the property from 1806 to 1813. Like Morris, Clymer was a successful merchant and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Charles W. Snell. "Summerseat," National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places. 7-17-71. http://www.historicsummerseat.org/history.html. Retrieved 10-22-15.
Hughes, Sharon. A Short History of Summerseat, Historic Summerseat. Accessed March 21st 2020. https://historicsummerseat.com/a-short-history-of-summerseat/.
Summerseat, Morrisville My Hometown. Accessed March 21st 2020. http://www.scenicbuckscounty.com/Morrisville/Summerseat.html.