Wendy E. Harris and Helene van Rossum are set to give a lecture on African enslavement among the Dutch Reformed Churches of New York’s Ulster County and New Jersey’s Raritan Valley on Saturday, April 7th at 4 pm at Deyo Hall, 6 Broadhead Avenue, New Paltz.
Drawing upon a variety of resources from research facilities in Ulster County and New Brunswick, NJ, Harris and van Rossum will highlight enslavement among the powerful Hardenbergh family, as well as connections between Dutch Reformed congregations in Ulster County and those in Central New Jersey’s Raritan Valley, traceable through the ministries of Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen (1691–1747), Johannes Frelinghuysen (1727–1754), and Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh (1736–1790), the first president of Queen’s College (presently Rutgers University).
Wendy E. Harris is an Ulster County-born archaeologist and historic preservation consultant. In 2002, she and fellow archaeologist Arnold Pickman formed Cragsmoor Consultants. Unexpected findings from recent projects conducted for the Cragsmoor Conservancy, the Cragsmoor Historical Society, and the Village of Ellenville/Town of Wawarsing Joint Historic Preservation Commission led to Harris’ current interest in the history of African enslavement in what were once the Ulster County hinterlands.
Helene van Rossum, a Dutch-born archivist and writer, is the Public Services and Outreach Archivist at Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives. Among the repository’s Dutch holdings, she found the farm ledgers of major slave holder Johannes G. Hardenbergh (1731-1811), cousin of Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh and Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh, which led to her interest in Dutch communities in Ulster County.