The Schuyler Colfax Historic House Museum is a fascinating place that tells the story of the history of Oakland, NJ. Founded in 1795, this historic house museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich heritage of this wonderful community.


Given its location in central New Jersey, close to major cities like Newark and New York, Oakland has always been a hub for culture and industry. Throughout its history, the Schuyler Colfax House Museum has played an important role in promoting the arts and crafts, education, and social activism in Oakland.


Schuyler Colfax was born on March 23, 1823, in New York City. His father, William Colfax, was a successful businessman. His mother, Emily (née Wade) Colfax, was a homemaker. Colfax was educated at private schools in New York City and Philadelphia. In 1836, he enrolled at St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown, Kentucky. He left college after one year and returned to New York City.

In 1841, at the age of 18, Colfax moved to New Carlisle, Indiana, to live with his cousin Hannah (Colfax) Gray. He began working as a clerk in her husband’s store. He also started studying law with Judge John Pettit. In 1842, he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law.
In 1845, Colfax was elected as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives. He served one term before being elected to the Indiana Senate in 1846. He served one term in the Senate before being elected as Speaker of the House in 1847. He served as Speaker until 1851. In 1851, he was elected as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He served one term as Mayor before being appointed as U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Indiana in 1853. He served in this position until 1859.

In 1860, Colfax was elected as a Republican to represent Indiana’s 9th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was re-elected five times and served from 1861 to 1865; from 1865 to 1869; and from March 4, 1869 to March 3, 18731 He did not seek re-election in 1870 but instead ran for Governor of Indiana; he lost the election by less than 1%. In January of 1871, he was nominated by President Ulysses S Grant to be Minister to Mexico but declined the nomination.”

Today, visitors can explore the beautifully preserved house museum and learn about all of the important events that took place here over the years. The collection includes many artifacts from past residents like Schuyler Colfax, who was a prominent figure during Reconstruction after the Civil War and later became Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant.
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