Welcome to the Trent House
William Trent, with his family and eleven enslaved individuals of African descent, lived on this 1,000-plus acre plantation at the Falls of the Delaware in the colony of West Jersey. This land, which was home for thousands of years to the Lenni Lenape native peoples, is what is now Trenton, New Jersey.
Born in Scotland, William Trent immigrated to the United States in the early 1690's and embarked upon a successful career as a Philadelphia merchant. He traded mainly with Great Britain and with the other American colonies and participated in the slave trade, buying and selling enslaved people in the West Indies and in the North American colonies.
In 1714, Trent purchased a large tract of land in central New Jersey from the initial English colonist, Mahlon Stacy, and built a grand country residence in 1719. In 1720 Trent laid out a settlement surrounding his residence and in 1721 Trent, his family, and the enslaved members of his household moved to the home from Philadelphia. Trent continued his active civic life in New Jersey, serving in the Assembly and as the Chief Justice. The city of Trenton takes its name from “Trent’s Town,” the area around Trent’s home.
The house itself is a large, imposing brick structure, built in the newest fashion of the time, with an “allee” of English cherry trees leading from the entrance down to the ferry landing on the river. Nearby, there were numerous outbuildings as well as grist, saw, and fulling mills along the Assunpink Creek.