Washington’s Horse Was Shod Here

by Sally Capone, Publicity Coordinator
April 26, 2022

1868 Beers Atlas, Plate 14, Madison

While many historic homes boast that “Washington slept here,” the Luke Miller House in Madison can boast that “Washington’s horse was shod here.” Built by Andrew Miller in 1730, and renamed for his grandson Luke, it is considered the oldest existing home in Madison and the centerpiece of the Bottle Hill Historic District. Steeped in history, the home serves as a connection to some of the most significant leaders in American history and remains a constant source of pride for the local community.

During the Revolution, Luke joined the Morris County Militia and quickly rose to the rank of major. Documents and local lore indicate that, while quartered in Morristown, Washington, Washington’s officers, and even the Marquis de Lafayette were frequent visitors. In fact, Washington’s visits were said to be so frequent that a special chair was reserved for him and the small “V” carved into the dining room mantle is credited to his hand; it’s said to stand for “victory.”   

The forge. Archaeological study of the area suggests it may not be the original building, but instead adjacent to where the original forge (now lost) stood.

Blacksmiths by trade for generations, the Millers operated a forge located near their main home. Like travelers and community members, it is believed that Washington and his officers depended upon the forge to shoe horses as well as to repair wagon wheels, tools, and equipment. Following the Revolution, Luke continued in the business for the rest of his life, and both his son and grandson carried on the tradition.

The Luke Miller House and surrounding property remained in the Miller family until 1889. After passing through half a dozen owners, a significant preservation and public access easement was placed on the property. Thus, while remaining in private ownership, the home is both protected and publicly accessible twice each year, so community members can continue to enjoy the home and its rich history for generations to come.