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(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION--NEW YORK STATE.) Manuscript Last Will and Testament of Thomas Jansen of Shawangunk, New York. Sewn quire of 12 pages folio, written on 7 sides in a neat cursive hand. Shawangunk, Ulster County, 1796
The very complex and detailed will of Thomas Jansen of Shawangunk, New York, in Ulster County. Thomas Jansen (1735-1806) owned numerous slaves and they are divided among his children, along with various articles and sums of money. Jansen, "being aged and weak in body, but sound of mind," had this will drawn up in 1796, but in fact survived until 1806. The Thomas Jansen House, a large stone structure, still stands today, and is also known as Dwaarkin Manor. It was first built in 1727 by Jansen's father an early Dutch settler, and added to in 1780. Jansen's will is fascinating to read in the sense that it gives a picture of life in Upstate New York at a time when New York state had more than 21,000 slaves; more than Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware combined. Ulster County was the birthplace of Isabella Baumfree, better known as Sojourner Truth.
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