Published: May 2, 2017
SOMERVILLE, N.J. – H. Kels Swan, 88, who patronized many antiques dealers in New England over the past 70 years, died April 22 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Born November 14, 1928, in Somerville, he was a lifelong South Bound Brook resident. He earned his bachelor of science degree in education from Rutgers University, Class of 1952, and his master of education degree from Rutgers in 1954. He was a member of the Kappa Delta Pi, Delta Xi and Phi Beta Kappa fraternities.
An historic preservation specialist, Swan was the historian and curator of Americana at the Washington Crossing State Park Museum, Titusville, for many years, retiring only recently. He was curator and historian for Liberty Village, Ltd, Flemington, historian for the American Legacy Association, Clinton, and the Washington Campground Association, Bound Brook. He was president of the Daniel Morgan Memorial Foundation, Clinton, and a member of the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission. He was a trustee and founding member of the South Bound Brook Historical Society.
Author credits include The History of South Bound Brook, New Jersey (1964) and Raritan’s Revolutionary Rebel: Frederick Frelinghuysen (1967). He received the 1981 Humanitarian Achievement Award from the American Legacy Association; the 1982 Heritage Award from the Raritan Valley Sons of the American Revolution, and the 1984 American History Award from AMVETS.
Swan was historian and past marshal of Raritan Valley Lodge No. 42, Free and Accepted Masons, Somerville. He was a member of the Valley of Central New Jersey, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Bordentown, and the Crescent Shriners, Westampton.
His ability to speak unabated, from memory, regarding all parts and details of the American War for Independence was well known in central New Jersey. His dream was to open a Museum of the American Revolution in Somerset County, as New Jersey was so pivotal in that war. He will be sadly missed by the citizens of South Bound Brook and Bound Brook.
Funeral services were conducted on April 28 at Hagan-Chamberlain Funeral Home, followed by interment at Riverside Cemetery, Clinton.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Swan Historical Foundation, PO Box 1575, Princeton, NJ 08542-1575.
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