The Staatsburgh estate’s founder, Governor Morgan Lewis, enslaved people of African descent at what is now the Staatsburgh State Historic Site. Yet, when his great-granddaughter, Ruth Livingston Mills, lived at Staatsburgh at the turn of the 20th Century, the staff was exclusively White and of European descent. At the same time, a free Black community grew and thrived in the surrounding Dutchess County hamlet.
In 2022, Staatsburgh State Historic Site celebrated Indigenous People’s Days with a program that explored the transition from a Black presence at Staatsburgh during the early 19th Century to the apparent absence of Black people at the estate during the Gilded Age. The one-hour program included historic photographs and documents related to this history, notably a letter from Staatsburgh’s archives detailing the sale by Morgan Lewis, of Peter Williams into slavery, to fellow “Founding Father,” John Jay.
The presentation will focus on recent research into the Black people living and working in both the Staatsburgh estate and in the hamlet of Staatsburg, bringing in the larger context of racial oppression and Jim Crow, to present audiences with a new perspective on Staatsburgh.
This program will begin at 1 pm and is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be completed online. For more information, call (845) 889-8851, or visit the Staatsburgh State Historic Site website.
Illustration: Depiction of a Black servant in a New York mansion, titled “The Old Sideboard”from 1876.