Established in 1898
Monmouth County Historical Association collects, preserves, and interprets its extensive museum, research library, and archival collections that relate to Monmouth County’s history and culture and makes these resources available to the widest possible audience.
The Association promotes the study and appreciation of regional and national history through educational programming, publications, special exhibits, and research services. The Association also preserves and interprets five significant historic sites that represent the County’s vanishing architectural heritage.
Through its pursuit of these objectives, the Association enriches the quality of life in Monmouth County by preserving and passing on knowledge of its diverse heritage for future generations.
Over a quarter of a century ago, MCHA adopted the thistle as the official logo of the organization. The image was taken from a carving in a rare chair in the Association’s collection.
The Rhea Chair is the oldest piece of documented New Jersey furniture and the only surviving wainscot chair made in the state. The chair maker Robert Rhea emigrated from Scotland to America, eventually settling in Monmouth County. Rhea, who was both farmer and carpenter, carved the Scottish thistle along with his and his wife Janet’s initials into the chair back with the date “1695.”
According to James Fenimore Cooper, “The thistle is the order for dignity and antiquity.” The national symbol of Scotland, it is also the emblem of the Order of the Thistle, one of the highest orders of chivalry of Scotland. Throughout Celtic areas the thistle signifies strength, bravery, durability and determination.
As the familiar symbol of the Association, the thistle reflects both the depth of the collection and the qualities central to the MCHA’s ongoing mission.
Photo caption: Carving on chair back crafted by Robert Rhea with thistle along with date and initials.
Welcome to the Monmouth County Historical Association, an organization with a rich history dating back to its founding in 1898 when a dedicated group of county residents incorporated to “discover, procure, preserve and perpetuate whatever relates to the history of Monmouth County.” We have been continuing that important effort ever since.
Over the past century, the MCHA has become a multi-faceted organization comprised of our Museum, Research Library & Archives and five Historic House Museums. Our Traveling Trunk Program, lectures and special events help us to provide a variety of opportunities for people of all ages to engage in learning about and appreciating the interesting history and cultural heritage of our unique area.
This website will give you an informative virtual tour of our collection and our numerous activities. I hope that it will also inspire and help you to plan a visit to one of our many sites so that you may have your own encounter with the past.
We look forward to your involvement in the MCHA. Come find your place in history!
Linda W. Bricker
Linda W. Bricker
First Vice President
Second Vice President
Vice President Emeritus
Ross R. Millhiser, Jr.
Sara H. Poponak
Sarah Ashmore Bradley
Robert D. Broege, Esq.
R. Glenn Cashion
Leslie M. Clarke
Lynne Taylor Clemons
Thomas J. DeFelice III
Adrienne S. Fleming
Hon. Dorothy A. Harbeck
Charles H. Jones III Ed.D.
Robert G. Kash
Mary Ann LaSardo
Michael J. McCarty
William J. Mehr, Esq.
Lawrence J. Metz
Thomas S. Taylor
Elizabeth C. Thees
Lisa Klem Wilson
Immediate Past President
Claire M. Knopf
Hope H. Jones
Suzanne R. Post
Please Welcome Our New Trustees
Harry Agnostak, a resident of Fair Haven, is a senior human resources executive at Rutgers University. Admitted to the New Jersey Bar Association and the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Harry has served on the executive committee of the Count Basie Center in Red Bank, and is a regular public speaker and author on Human Resources matters.
Christie Baltodano has served as an esteemed volunteer docent for MCHA and is actively involved in community affairs including as former treasurer of the Middletown Newcomers Club. Christie and her family are neighbors of The Association’s Taylor-Butler House in the Middletown Village Historic District.
R. Glenn Cashion serves as a Monmouth County Historical Commissioner and was a contributor to the recent MCHA exhibit “Springsteen: His Hometown”. A baseball historian, Glenn has extensively researched the role Freehold played in the evolution of America’s pastime. Glenn is a veteran of the US Marine Corps Reserves, an active Brown University alumnus, and member of the Freehold High School Hall of Fame. He and his wife live in Middletown.
Tom DeFelice III is the Center Operator of Circle BMW, a local family-owned business for over forty years. He also serves as its Vice President and General Counsel.
A fourth-generation Monmouth County resident, Tom has spent most of his life living and working in the area. He is a graduate of St. Leo’s and Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft and he earned a graduate degree from Monmouth University. In addition to MHCA, Tom serves on the Board of Trustees of the Riverview Medical Center Foundation. Tom and his wife, Kaitlyn, make their home in Red Bank.
Leslie Moraller Clark is the fourth generation of the Moraller family to reside in Monmouth County. She is an executive board member of the Shrewsbury Towne-Monmouth Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In this position, she recently spearheaded the restoration of the picket fence at MCHA’s Allen House. Leslie and her husband make their home in Locust.
Lynne Taylor Clemmons served for 35 years as a health care professional, most recently as a Rapid Response Nurse at Monmouth Medical Center. A Life member of the North Shore Area Section (NSAS) of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc, founded by the respected local educator Mahala Atchison. Lynne also mentors teen girls through Aslan Ministries. Lynne resides in Tinton Falls with her mother who was a student of Ms. Atchison.
Jeffrey J. Friedman is the Executive Director and Business Advocate for the Freehold Center Management Corporation d/b/a DowntownFreehold.com, Managing Partner of KFM Partnership, LLC and Managing Partner for 1 & 3 Broad Street, two pre-civil war buildings in Freehold Borough. A member of the “Springsteen: His Hometown” exhibit Advisory Committee and previous associate on the MCHA Buildings and Grounds committee, Jeff is also currently President of the Freehold Arts Council and active in numerous civic organizations.
Charles Jones III Ed.D rejoins the MCHA Board of Trustees following a hiatus during which he served as Interim Director of the Association. Recognized for his commitment and service to MCHA as the 2019 Garden Party Honoree, Dr. Jones carries on his family’s legacy of commitment to the organization begun by his great-grandmother, Mrs. J. Amory Haskell and continued by his mother Hope Haskell Jones. Dr. Jones is Founder and Principal of Jones & Associates, an educational and non-profit consulting firm, President of the Rumson Board of Education and Treasurer for the Board of Trustees of Mary’s Place by the Sea. Dr. Jones and his family live in his childhood home in Rumson.
Betsy O’Connor is a leading real estate agent with Heritage House Sotheby’s International Realty in Rumson. Her roots in Monmouth County stretch back many generations. Betsy is a former Trustee of the Education Foundation of Little Silver (EFLS) and volunteer at Lighthouse for the Blind and Memorial Sloan Kettering and is currently advocating for animal rights and environmental issues. Betsy and her family reside in Little Silver.
Melissa Ziobro served as guest curator for the MCHA exhibits “Tracking Sandy: Monmouth County Remembers,” “Monmouth County, 9/11 and its Aftermath” and co-curator for “Springsteen: His Hometown.” Melissa is Monmouth University’s Specialist Professor of Public History, President of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region and editor for New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. In addition, she is currently a trustee of the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of Preservation NJ as well as serving with a number of history-oriented organizations. Melissa is also the former command historian at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, NJ. Melissa and her family live in Toms River.
Board of Directors
Director of Collections
Associate Curator of Collections
Digital Education Archivist
Librarian and Archivist
Digital Media Producer