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Jan 06, 2022

Rumson Family Says Farewell to 117-Year-Old House

By Shanna O’Mara

Across from Rumson Borough Hall is a pond with the Pomphrey name. Next to it sits a red house that has occupied the land since the early 1900s. These two roadside staples are iconic to those of the tight-knit community of Rumson – and the family who has long owned the property is now sharing its story and the future that awaits it. 

Edwin Austin Francis Pomphrey emigrated from England to New York in 1874, later relocating to New Jersey. Finding his way to what is now Rumson, he settled on a plot of land and built a house for his family. His great grandson most recently owned the deed to the house. 

“This house was built in 1905 by our great grandfather,” Ed Pomphrey and sister Marie “Bootie” Gallagher said of the home at 49 East River Rd. 

Gallagher continued, “I lived here with my grandfather, mom, dad, an uncle, an aunt and two cousins. This was the place where we always got together, every holiday and summer barbecue. We’re a very close family. We were always ice skating on the pond, which has been named Pomphrey Pond. It’s hard to explain. This place just has wonderful memories.”

The Gallagher and Pomphrey families pose in front of their multi-generational family home. On the front lawn is the Model T car the family has owned for decades.

More than 115 years after the house was built, it remained in the family. That is until this January when the deed was turned over to a new buyer. Ed Pomphrey said a “young couple from town” purchased the house, and he hopes they will create lasting memories in it as his family did. 

“Rumson is such a great town,” he said. “This is a wonderful location. It has always been quiet and safe here. I hope the next owners love this place as much as we did.” 

To celebrate the last time the whole family would be in the home together, Bootie’s son, Darren Gallagher, threw a small, outdoor party for his loved ones on Nov. 27. Dubbing the get together a “farewell to the red house,” Darren organized games, provided food and drinks, and even arranged a surprise for his mom. Around the back of the house, quietly waiting behind playing children and chatting adults, was a pony just like the one she had as a child. 

Bringing joy to children and nostalgia to adult at the party was Star the pony.

“I had a pony when I was small,” Bootie said. “I would ride the pony around the yard, and it was always such a special memory. My brother and I also had a goat here, and we always watched the ducks on the pond.”

Bootie said she and her siblings still get together each week, and many members of the extended family live close by. Even outside the red house, the Pomphreys and Gallaghers will remain a close group, and Rumson will always be at the heart of their legacy.