Historic Sites and Buildings
James Mitchell Varnum was a lawyer, Revolutionary general, member of the Continental Congress, director of the Ohio Co., and Federal judge for the Northwest Territory. Colonel of the 1st Rhode Island Infantry in 1775, he served with distinction before Boston and at the Battles of Long Island and White Plains, in command of Forts Mifflin and Mercer (see pp. 208, 221-222), and at Valley Forge. He died in Marietta, Ohio, in 1789. The Varnum House is a handsomely furnished, two-story town house of the late colonial period. It is owned and administered by the Varnum Continentals.
Nathanael Greene built this substantial frame house a few years before the outbreak of the War for Independence, while he was in charge of his family's ironworks in Coventry. He rose rapidly in military rank during the war, proving himself one of Washington's ablest officers and exerting a major influence on the victory in the South after receiving command of that theater in October 1780. The State of Georgia presented him with a plantation for his services, and until his death in 1786 he divided his time between that and the Rhode Island "Homestead." The latter, sometimes called the "Mount Vernon of the North," is a 2-1/2-story structure with gable roof. It is owned by the Nathanael Greene Homestead Association and has been restored and furnished in the period of his residence.
NHL Designation: 11/28/72
The Vernon House was headquarters for the French general, Count de Rochambeau, while his army was in Newport, July 1780 to June 1781. Washington was a guest here from March 6 to 13 while future operations were planned. The Vernon House was built in 1758, a two-story frame building with hipped roof surrounded by a "captain's walk." It will be given attention in the architectural study.
NHL Designation: 11/24/68
Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005