James Mitchell Varnum, a lawyer of Rhode Island, was a general during part of the Revolutionary War. While at the Valley Forge encampment he lived with the Stephen’s family in their farmhouse. Varnum’s Quarters is mentioned a number of times in General Weedon’s Orderly Book. The Stephen’s farmhouse was expanded during the 19th century and the family lived in it until 1898.

Northern side of the Farmhouse.
Photo by William Burwell, c. 1900. From the Society’s Archives.

Photograph c. 1920 looking west. The original roofline can be faintly seen on the side of the building.
The large building in the right background was a barn.
Courtesy of Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Photo courtesy of Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Valley Forge State Park acquired the property in 1918 through eminent domain. The Philadelphia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution renovated the property, and demolished the eastern end of the house, giving it the appearance shown above.

The purchase of the property which included the more recent farmhouse was challenged by the Stephens family. They appealed the purchase all the way to the Supreme Court and were not evicted until 1929.

from the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society Archives.

During a violent storm in 1933 a tree fell on Varnum’s Quarters and damaged it. The next year the farmhouse was radically restored by the Park to what was thought to be its appearance during the encampment as shown above. The building was further altered for the bicentennial celebration of 1976 including changing windiws, floors and a stairway, to give its present appearance as shown in the next photograph.

Photograph by Mike Bertram, 2009.