Bow Hill Mansion
477 Jeremiah Avenue, Hamilton, NJ 08610;
Ukrainian National Home, Inc. Ukrainian Cultural Center
Bow Hill Mansion has a richer history than almost any building in America. Its history is tied to the Revolutionary and the Napoleonic wars. It is the focal point of one of the great romances in American history involving a King and a beautiful maiden.
Bow Hill was a 700 acre estate that was previously owned by Major William Trent. In 1784, the estate was bought by Barnt DeKlyn, a manufacturer of Colonial army uniforms. He spared no expense to build the elegant, sturdy Bow Hill Mansion in 1787.
Barnt DeKlyn’s rebellious daughter Kitty eloped to marry a proud Irishman, Jeremiah Lalor. Lalor Street was named for him. After his death she married General John Beatty, a physician and officer in the Revolutionary War.
When Napoleon Bonaparte lost the battle of Waterloo in 1815, his older brother Joseph, who at one time was King of Spain, came to America prepared to help France when the situation in Europe changed. While in America, Joseph fell in love with a beautiful American girl, Annette Savage.
Joseph rented Bow Hill Mansion from Barnt DeKlyn and lived there with Annette. They had two daughters. One daughter died in a tragic accident at Bow Hill.
Charlotte, the other daughter, was later presented at the court of Emperor Napoleon III. He greeted her as a cousin and for a while Charlotte was a lady-in-waiting to the Emperor’s wife.
There are many stories connected with Annette Savage. The fields around the mansion were once covered with daffodils. One time, when picking the daffodils, she lost a valuable diamond ring. That ring has been the object of many searches, but has never been found. The same ring was used to carve the message ‘God is Love’ on one of the glass windowpanes in the mansion.
Bow Hill Mansion was bought by Ukrainian Americans in 1968. It is used as a cultural center. As with the French émigrés, the center has helped the Ukrainians to assist Ukraine. Although the Ukrainians do not have the funds to restore Bow Hill as it should be restored, they have preserved as much of the original woodwork, fireplaces and architectural wonders as they could. They made the mansion structurally sound and protected it from deterioration.
One can only wonder what role Bow Hill Mansion will play in future histories.
Comments provided by Tamara Kuzyk.