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:

  • Sun

    From Slavery to Freedom: New Discoveries About the Enslaved People of the Townsend Household, and Their Transition into Independence

    4:00 pmRaynham Hall Museum, 20 West Main Street, Oyster Bay, NY 11771

    From Slavery to Freedom: New Discoveries About the Enslaved People of the Townsend Household, and Their Transition into Independence

    In 2017, Raynham Hall opened a new area within the museum’s traditional rooms – an upstairs bedroom interpreted as Slave Quarters. This room and accompanying exhibit educated visitors to the lives of the many enslaved people who lived and labored in the Townsend household. 

    While this exhibit introduced the public to important aspects of slavery in Oyster Bay, many questions remain unanswered. How long were they enslaved by the Townsend family? Once they gained their freedom, how were they able to sustain themselves and their families?

    This February, Historian Claire Bellerjeau will present a talk revealing recent research discoveries, providing new insights into the transition from slavery to independence. A series of never-before-seen Townsend documents offer unexpected glimpses into their daily life, their work and the unique challenges they faced.

    Join us on Sunday, February 11th at 4 p.m. for this fascinating presentation at the Matinecock Lodge, next door to the museum. A reception with light refreshments will follow at Raynham Hall Museum. Please call 516-922-6808 for more information.