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Taylor Kirchwehm   by Taylor Kirchwehm

The Continental Army braved one of the coldest winters of 1779-1780. Have you ever wondered what sheltered the soldiers and kept them alive and able to win America’s independence? 

Here are a few hints:

This type of home has been around for about 500 years in North America.

This type of home often marks the beginning of American architecture.

President Abraham Lincoln along with six other presidents were born in one of these homes.

On October 17, 1779, George Washington’s soldiers took shelter just outside of Morristown, New Jersey in a unit of Morristown National Historical Park called Jockey Hollow. The soldiers began using the abundance of resources Jockey Hollow offered to protect them from the severely cold weather. The hillside of Jockey Hollow became known as “log house city” after the Continental Army used over 600 acres worth of logs to create over 1,000 log homes each 14 feet by 16 feet. Clay filled the gaps in the notched logs to seal the homes from the cold, and a fireplace was built in each.

log home in snowy weather

Photo courtesy of Real Log Homes

Morristown was an ideal location for the troops to hide out in during the winter months because of its location and resources. The town was only a two-day march from where the British base was located in New York City. It also helped that Jockey Hollow was on a hillside hundreds of feet above the British making tracking their movement easier and with the mountains acting as a natural defense, surprise attacks against the Continental Army were avoided. The citizens of Morristown were compassionate to the rebel cause, re-supplying the army with food, clothing, and equipment, which was another reason George Washington chose to stay in that area.

fireplace inside log home

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The winter weather finally subsided and the troops went back to war restocked in June 1780 to eventually win America’s freedom. Log homes have been recreated at Jockey Hollow to serve as a reminder of the brave soldiers who survived that terrible winter and those who lost their lives all for the liberty and independence of America.

Throughout centuries, the log home has shown true loyalty and patriotism for the United States and should be honored for their guardianship they showed the soldiers that winter. 

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