Home of George Washington’s intelligence operative Robert Townsend, Raynham Hall is a time capsule of Long Island life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Purchased by Robert’s father Samuel around 1740 and expanded from a two-over-two farmhouse into a four-over-four town house whose land extended down to the bay and for acres all around, the Townsend family homestead was named Raynham Hall by Samuel’s grandson, Solomon, when he renovated it according to the Victorian taste of his own time, in the mid-19th century. Having shed most of its surrounding property around the turn of the twentieth century, the house’s final transformation came in the 1940s with the removal of the Victorian elements from the front part of the house, which was then restored back to its original Colonial appearance, but retaining the Victorian rear addition.


Event Information:

  • Sat

    Slavery in the Townsend Homestead

    4:00-6:00 p.m.Matinecock Lodge, 14 West Main Street, Oyster Bay, NY 11771

    Slavery in the Townsend Homestead

    This February, for the first time, an upstairs bedroom at Raynham Hall will be interpreted as Slave Quarters, acknowledging the lives and legacy of these occupants of the house, whose existence, until now, has been invisible to the visiting public.

    The opening of the exhibit on February 4 will include a presentation by Raynham Hall Historian Claire Bellerjeau, who will discuss details of the newly interpreted space. The talk will also share new discoveries, including the museum’s connection to Long Island’s earliest recorded manumission; a Townsend descendant’s fascinating recollection of an Oyster Bay man with both African American and Native American heritage, and a disturbing family connection to the brutal business of slave trading in Africa.

    The lecture will be held on February 4 at 4 p.m. next door to the Museum at the Matinecock Lodge. Exhibition viewing and light refreshments will be served after the lecture at Raynham Hall Museum. Please call 516-922-6808 for more information.

    — $25 members/$35 non-members for the opening lecture on February 4, 2017 at 4 p.m.

    Eventbrite - Slavery in the Townsend Homestead