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Revolutionary War Site Morrisville

  • 35 Union Street Morrisville, PA 19067
  • P. (215) 295-8181

MORRISVILLE, incorporated in 1804, was named in honor of Robert Morris, "financier of the American Revolution" and a signer of the Declaration of Independ- ence. Prior to this time it had been known as the Falls of the Delaware. Morris maintained an imposing mansion and stables, patterned after the English stables of the period, on a 2,800-acre tract here.Jean Victor Maria Moreau, one of Napoleon's marshals, who fell into disfavor, lived in the mansion during his exile. In 1915 the tract was subdivided and modern dwellings were built upon it.The first European settlement in the county was made by the Dutch West India Company on a small island near the western bank of the Delaware, below the falls. Three or four families lived around the company's trading post there from 1624 to 1627. Nothing remains of the island except a large sand bar, nearly opposite Morris. Morrisville was seriously considered by Congress as a site for the permanent capital of the United States, when, on October 7, 1783, a resolution was presented "... that the Federal Town should be erected on the banks of the Delaware at the Falls near Trenton on the New Jersey side, or in Pennsylvania on the opposite." Southern interests sought to have Annapolis chosen as the National Capital; Washington advised against Morrisville, and Alexander Hamilton, in a historic instance of logrolling, favored the present site on the Potomac River. Despite the formidable opposition the Morrisville plan was defeated by only two votes.The route passes through narrow streets, with thin sidewalks flanked by rows of brick houses. At 1.1 m. (R) is a three-story dwelling in the American-Georgian style, built by Thomas Barkley in 1750 and restored in 1921, which served as General Washington's headquarters prior to the surprise attack on Trenton that caught the Hessians in the midst of a Christmas celebration.