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Lecture: Dey Mansion Research – Slavery & Servitude

Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Lecture: Dey Mansion Research – Slavery & Servitude

June 19, 1pm

This program report presents the results of in-depth research into the subject of slavery at Dey Mansion Washington’s Headquarters in Wayne Township, Passaic County, New Jersey. The county-owned and operated historic site opened to the general public in the 1930s and has traditionally been interpreted in the context of its use as the fine colonial Georgian-style country home of Theunis and Hester Dey from 1772 to 1787, which served as General George Washington’s Headquarters for several months in 1780. The topic of slavery has not been previously interpreted to any great extent.

The goal of this project was to provide a sound, factual and scholarly basis for “expanding the narrative” and interpreting the topics of slavery and race, and the themes of freedom and diversity. This report found ample evidence of the presence of enslaved persons at Dey Mansion before, during and after its core period of interpretation of +/- 1780. Several enslaved individuals can be identified by name, and their stories, though fragmentary, open avenues for visitors to be introduced to northern New Jersey’s long and complex historical association with slavery. This association was founded on Dutch and English colonialism, which introduced slavery to northern New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley in the 17th century. Slaveholders probably never numbered more than a fifth of the total number of Passaic County’s late colonial households; however, the Dey family was typical of many of the region’s oldest Dutch-descended families whose wealth rested on a four-legged stool of land, agriculture, trade and slavery.

Join us in this virtual presentation with historian Patrick Harshbarger of Hunter Research, Inc., in uncovering the stories of slavery at Dey Mansion and within Passaic County.

This program is FREE and open the public. Reservations, however are required.

A weblink will be given to those who register. Please visit www.deymansion.org/events to RSVP.


Saturday, June 19, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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