A Visit to Philipsburg Manor – Re-enactors

Costumed interpreters re-enact life in pre-Revolutionary times, doing chores, milking the cows, and grinding grain in the grist mill. They also act as guides.

The current tour was in the manor house, and they were waiting for them to emerge. This gave me a chance to go over and chat with them. I work with Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society, which is only 6 miles away from the manor. They had an extensive knowledge of local history (one of them was a retired history teacher) so we didn’t have difficulties finding things to discuss.

This guy was baking cookies.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

A Visit to Philipsburg Manor – Tenant Farmers House

Philipse’s trading center has been restored to its appearance in 1750 when, in addition to the two dozen African slave it was home to several hundred tenant farmers. Their homes looked something like this. I can’t really say more because it wasn’t possible to see the interior. So, you see what I saw.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

A Visit to Philipsburg Manor – The Slave Garden

In colonial America, it was common for enslaved men and women in rural areas to keep a provisioning garden to grow vegetables they most wanted to eat.

At Philipsburg Manor, which interprets an 18th-century provisioning plantation operated by 23 enslaved Africans, the slaves’ garden is full of plants African gardeners would have preferred – vegetables like black-eyed peas and sweet potatoes – as well as herbs.

Africans had an intimate knowledge of plants and other natural materials that they used to cure all sorts of ailments. So the herbs in a garden like this one served as an apothecary as well as a spice rack. (A Colonial Drugstore: Philipsburg Manor’s Herb Garden)

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II

A Visit to Philipsburg Manor – The Manor House

The manor dates from 1693, when wealthy Province of New York merchant Frederick Philipse was granted a charter for 52,000 acres (21,000 ha) along the Hudson River by the British Crown. He built a facility at the confluence of the Pocantico and Hudson Rivers as a provisioning depot for the family Atlantic Sea trade and as headquarters for a worldwide shipping operation. For more than thirty years, Frederick and his wife Margaret, and later his son Adolph shipped hundreds of African men, women, and children as slaves across the Atlantic.

By the mid 18th century, the Philipse family had one of the largest slaveholdings in the colonial North. The family seat of Philipsburg Manor was Philipse Manor Hall in Yonkers

The manor was tenanted by farmers of various European backgrounds and operated by enslaved Africans. (In 1750, twenty-three enslaved men, women, and children lived and worked at the manor.)

At the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, the Philipses supported the British, and their landholdings were seized and auctioned off. The manor house was used during the war, most notably by British General Sir Henry Clinton during military activities in 1779. It was there that he wrote what is now known as the Philipsburg Proclamation, which declared all Patriot-owned slaves to be free, and that blacks taken prisoner while serving in Patriot forces would be sold into slavery. (Wikipedia)

Named a National Historic Landmark in 1961, the farm features this stone manor house filled with a collection of 17th- and 18th-century period furnishings. I believe it’s the only original building on the site, the remainder being reproductions.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Fuji XC 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 OSS II