Kearny Cottage is a two-and-a-half story clapboard and shingle frame structure featuring a gabled "catslide" roof. The front porch is an addition from the Victorian era, newly restored. The original louvered shutters have been restored and rehung.
The "Cottage" was the birthplace and much-loved home of Commodore Lawrence Kearny (1789-1868). When the Commodore's son, James Lawrence Kearny, died in 1921, the property was sold and the house was scheduled for demolition, interested citizens persuaded city officials to move the house to city-owned land near the water's edge.
Keeping Track of the Kearny FamilyThe Kearnys were loyalists of Irish descent who returned to Perth Amboy after the American Revolution and built the "Cottage." Michael Kearny came to Perth Amboy around 1720 from Cork Ireland. His son, Michael Kearny, built the Cottage. Michael Kearny married Elizabeth Lawrence. They had eight sons.
Lawrence Kearny, the youngest, became Captain and then a Commander in the U.S. Navy. Commodore Lawrence Kearny died here in 1868. James Lawrence Kearny was Commodore Kearny' son, the last of his line.
(Inscription next to the image on the bottom left) Elizabeth Lawrence Kearny of Burlington, using her pen name, "Madam Scribberus" became a well-known poet in her time. She encouraged her half brother, Captain James Lawrence, to write. He is famous for his dying words "Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship: fight her till she sinks!" uttered on board the U.S. frigate Chesapeake, during the War of 1812.
(Inscription under the image in the upper center) The modest frame house, begun in 1781 and enlarged in the early 1800s, housed three generations of the Kearny family. This photograph shows the "Cottage" at its original site-High Street, about 1900. When the house was moved in the 1920s, the addition was torn down.
(Inscription beside the image in the lower center) Commodore Lawrence Kearny was commander of the East Indian Squadron in 1842 during the Opium Wars in China and was responsible for initiating the "Open Door" trade with China. In 1843 he established close ties with the Sandwich Islands, which eventually led to their becoming the 50th state—Hawaii.
(Inscription under the image in the lower right) The Constellation, Kearny's flagship, shown in 1799 when under the command of Captain Thomas Truxton another Perth Amboy resident.