For details, see: http://www.hudsonvalley.org/content/view/14/44/
(more photo’s -no text)
You can almost see the headless horseman riding through this countryside. Irving, perhaps America’s first professional writer, was cheated out of much profit because of poor copyright laws in Europe. Irving, who gave us Gotham , the Knickerbockers and ‘the almighty dollar’ (history, now!), also had Camptown, NJ named after him. After Stephen Foster wrote “Camptown Races”, the citizenry decided to upgrade the town’s image, even though Foster was referencing a Pennsylvania town in his tune.
So now we have Irvington, New Jersey. I like Camptown better.
The Philipse family thrived on the Atlantic slave trade and “owned” a couple dozen slaves to work this mill and the farm. Philipse signed a pledge to oppose the American Revolution (called the “Declaration of Dependence” , by some wag) and was promptly arrested on orders of General Washington. The family subsequently fled to England and the land seized by New York State.
Arnold lived in the Beverly Mansion, under Sugarloaf Mtn., owned by the Robinson family ( in laws of the Philipse family!) when he turned traitor. The government seized that mansion, too, and it burned down more than a century after Arnold had also fled to England.
p.s. Foster was also cheated due to poor copyright laws, and was arguably America’s first professional musician. He died in the Bowery , at age 37, with 37 cents in his pocket.
Thanks for sharing important history, Blarney.
I grew up in Tarrytown – the schools fed us on safe history and myths and visits to Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s mansion along the Hudson.
No talk of slave trade or treachery –
Have you read Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the US”? Or “Lies my teacher taught me”?
Blarney – one more point, somewhat ironic given the histroy of slave trade.
The site was closed when I arrived. No big deal – I hopped the fence and was walking around.
I met the manager, who was a black man. We had a nice conversation. He gave me a break by allowing me to walk around when the place was closed.
Blarney – here’s some text from the link I included above:
“The English seized control of New Netherland in 1664 and divided it into the two colonies of New York and New Jersey. Under English rule, slavery as an institution continued to grow and became more regulated, with numerous laws being put in place to tighten control and to limit manumissions of enslaved Africans. The regulations were prompted by fear of insurgence and an increasing slave population.
By 1720, 5,740 enslaved individuals lived in the colony of New York (16% of the total population) and about half that number lived in New Jersey. By the mid-1700s slavery was deeply entrenched in New York. In 1750, the enslaved population of New York was 11,014 (14% of the total population), nearly double the figure of 1720. It would be another fifty years before the number of enslaved Africans began to decrease rather than increase.
In 1685 the Philipses, a wealthy, Dutch merchant family, began their involvement in the slave trade. It was then that Frederick Philipse’s ship, the Charles, sailed from Amsterdam to Angola on the Congo River in West Africa to exchange weapons and other goods for Africans. A deposition made by two of the seamen who worked on the ship tells us that 146 Africans were taken from West Africa to Barbados, but only 105 arrived there. It can be assumed that the other 41 enslaved Africans died during the voyage ‘s typical mortality rate for the Middle Passage. Eight enslaved Africans who were too sick to be sold in Barbados were transported to Frederick’s son Adolph near Rye, New York, and mostly likely became the first group of enslaved Africans at the Upper Mills at Philipsburg Manor. A ninth enslaved African (with one eye) was sent to New York City, perhaps to Frederick’s Manhattan home. The earliest slaves at the Upper Mills would have cleared the land for farming, and probably built structures including the manor house, mill barn, church, and wharf.”
I’ll find Howard Zinn’s book. Thanks. i do like the irony of your informal tour.
The history of this beautiful area is fascinating. I’d imagine the Philipse family would have socialized with Benedict Arnold in England, where he was supported by fellow masons. This calls for more research.