This farmhouse is the only existing structure within the park that witnessed the Crossing of the Continental troops on December 25-26, 1776. It was built around 1740 by Rutger Jansen, a Dutchman from Flatbush, Long Island, on a tract of 490 acres that he purchased along the Delaware River. His son, Garret, inherited the house and property and, with his wife Judith and their 12 children, established a thriving plantation and ferry business. The dutch name Jansen was Americanized to Johnson. By 1769 the Johnson Farm included the present farmhouse, a barn, stables, a stone shop and kitchen, fruit orchards, grain fields, meadows and timbered land. In 1761, Garret obtained a tavern license to operate a ferry service with an upper and a lower landing. The Crossing bridge now stands at what was the lower ferry landing. Ferry travelers could find refreshment or lodging in this farmhouse.
Still referred to as Johnson's Ferry during the American Revolution (Samuel McKonkey owned the ferry on the Pa. side), it was rented and operated by James Slack and owned by Abraham Harvey. As New Jersey was British occupied on in December of 1776, Hessian patrols from Trenton passed through Johnson's Ferry frequently for roughly two weeks before the Battle of Trenton. This site was also witness to a small military skirmish on Christmas Eve between 30 Continental scouts and 50 patrolling Hessian jaegers. Best known, however, was the Christmas Night Crossing of the river of 2400 Continental Troops leading to the Battle of Trenton. The house was used briefly by Continental troops and officers and possibly by General Washington, who was the driving force behind the campaign. The Battle of Trenton was a pivotal victory for the American Cause.