Condit House Family History

The Condit name has undergone several permutations through the centuries. It has been variously spelled as Conditt, Condict and Condit. The first known ancestor was a John Cunditt, a weaver, who came to America from England. His first wife was Catheterine Barton. She was the niece of the renowned Sir Isaac Newton, and as such the couple inherited Newton's estate. Upon the death of Catheterine, John immigrated to Newark in 1689. He is reputed to be the ancestor of nearly all those with the Cunditt, Condict or Condit surname.

Nathaniel Condit [1703-46] was the grandson of John Cunditt, and is the Condit from whom all the Parsippany- Troy Hills Condits are descended. He married Elizabeth Ogden. One son, Timothy, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

Practically every prominent family in the area (the Farrands, Mitchells, Ogdens, Smiths, Bates) is related to the Condits through intermarriage.

His son Stephen - Hobart Condit [1830 1909], and the grandfather of the last Stephen, followed these same business pursuits. He was one of the most successful farmers in Morris County, and a pillar of the Presbyterian Church. It was this Stephen, who, in 1870, built the Condit house; and lived there with his wife, Mary Josephine Ogden Condit, and their four children.

Judd Condit (1868-1936) was the last Stephen Hobart Condit's father. He married Estelle Beatrice Turquand. Judd followed in his father's footsteps farming his 180 acres, as well as breeding and boarding horses. He also was very active in local politics. In his time Parsippany-Troy Hills was part of Hanover Township. Judd favored making Parsippany an independent entity, and in 1928, as a member of Hanover Township Town Council he got the opportunity to achieve his objective. The Council voted for separation and the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills came into being.

Estelle Beatrice Turquand [1878-1979] was Stephen Hobart Condit's mother. She came from Brooklyn, and was from a prominent Huguenot family. She was a teacher in New York before her marriage to Judd. They had two children, Stephen Hobart, and Paul Leonard Truquand. Paul died at seventeen. Estelle had a strong personality and was a powerful influence on Stephen all his life.

*The only house in the Parsippany- Troy Hills area with indoor plumbing.

She was a teacher in New York before her marriage to Judd. They had two children, Stephen Hobart, and Paul Leonard Turquand. Paul died at seventeen. Estelle had a strong personality and was a powerful influence on Stephen all his life.

The Last Owner of the Condit House

Stephen Hobart Condit [1909-1983] was a respected member of the community. He served in public office in many capacities: Township of Parsippany- Troy Hills Commissioner for fourteen years, Commissioner of Police, board member of Bloomfield College, County Committeeman, Morris County Mosquito Commission for eight years. Among the charities he supported were senior citizens' groups, the child care center in Parsippany-Troy Hills, the local libraries, various service and civic organizations, and the Rotary Club. Privately, Stephen Condit was the Treasurer of the Parsippany Presbyterian Church for eleven years, and a director of the Boonton-Mountain Lakes Savings and Loan Association for four years.

In 1978, he received the Medal of Honor Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution for "his outstanding qualities of leadership, patriotism and service."

Depressed because of his terminal cancer, Stephen Condit took his own life in 1983. He never married and with his death the Condit line ended in Parsippany-Troy Hills.

Architectural Information

Stephen Hobart Condit steadfastly kept the Victorian style of his 1870 farmhouse for it was a tradition he had no desire to change. The following is a description of the Condit house as it appeared to a reporter in 1974:

An oversize music box (which still works) doubles as a desk with inlaid floral designs. Delicate reedy shelves rise from a black marble fireplace to display a variety of whatnots. Solid old hand-carved furniture rests on thick oriental rugs. Lace valentines, gold-framed oil paintings and heavy vertical mirrors cover the walls. About the only visible concession to time is electricity and steam heat. The kitchen had a ponderous cast iron stove, but there was an electric range in the corner. The cellar had a dirt floor and stored farm machinery, tools, a giant yard-like grindstone and ice-cutting gear all stacked up. In 1974 Condit owned 85 acres.

Description of the Condit House - Architectural Survey

It is early Victorian or late Empire style {Ed. Note: Later information found Condit House to be better classified as a mixture of Carpenter Gothic and Italianate Victorian}. The house is white clapboard, two-and-one-half stories high, and the main rectangular section has a center hall, doorway with double doors. There are eleven rooms; eight have fireplaces. Hand-hewn oak beams support the structure. The massive doors are natural pine and are hand-planed; the doorknobs are white ceramic. There is an ornate Victorian portico over the front doorway. The windows have mullions, curved arches and louvered shutters. The roof is gabled with full-sized center dormer. The eaves have decorative bargeboard and finials. The north gable end has full length porch. The first floor ceilings are eleven feet high; the second floor ceilings are nine feet high with full length hall and bath at the end of the hall {Ed. Note: the latter was added in the 1920's]. It was the only house in the Parsippany- Troy Hills area at that time with indoor plumbing. The house is wood frame, cut stone foundation, three porches, kitchen side and front, with separate staircase to second floor. There is a full height attic with finished room possibly for servant use. The house stood on 1.6 acres of land. The Condit House was registered on the National Register of Historic Places on March 17, 1974.

Preservation Efforts

Condit bequeathed his historic home to Princeton University. Although the Condit House-had -open designated a historic landmark inn 1974, Princeton decided to sell off the property. Some of the furniture went to the Willows Mansion and Fosterfields. The house itself fell into great disrepair, and became a terrible eyesore.

Members of the Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society (chief

among them were Roberta Chopko, Dr. Joseph Hossbacher, Fran Kaminski and Barbara Laufer) worked for many years to save the 1870 farmhouse. After many sales and bankruptcies, the Society's efforts were finally rewarded when Roseland Property Co. agreed to preserve and renovate the Condit House.

Presently, the Condit House serves two diverse functions: it is both the Archives of the Township of Parsippany- Troy Hills (run by the Parsippany Historical and Preservation Society), and the community center for the Condominiums at Huntington Ridge.

Re-opening

The President of the Parsippany Historical & Preservation Society, Randy F. Tortorello, was both the excellent decorator and the meticulous protector of the proper standards necessary to bring the Condit House back in appearance to how it would have looked in 1870. - Mayor Mimi Letts was also very supportive in project. The cost of the renovation was underwritten by Roseland Property Co. The Condit House was opened to the public on December 15, 1998.

The Parsippany Historical & Preservation Society

The Society was founded in 1986 to preserve and maintain the diverse historical heritage of the community of Parsippany- Troy Hills. Members are a group of people, young and old, with varying backgrounds, but, unified by their concern with preserving our local history.

PHPS presents interesting programs and diverse exhibits several times throughout the year. Meetings are generally held at the Condit House, located on the corner of Route 46 West and North Beverwyck Road, and are never dull. Come join us; you will be glad you did.

By Bertha Feinstein and Fran Kaminski


 
 

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