Merchant’s House Museum Garden Talk

I was so nervous before my talk at the Merchant’s House Museum Garden on Thursday, but it was delightful. Margaret Halsey Gardiner, the executive director of the Museum, couldn’t have been more welcoming, as was Tim Ranney, who invited me. Then afterwards I joined the group tour of the museum.

The Merchant’s House is a building on West 4th Street that was bought by a hardware merchant, Seabury Tredwell, in 1835. His family lived there until his youngest child, Gertrude, died there in 1933. It’s now a museum with most of its original furniture and contents (clothes, decor, etc.)

On the floor for the servants was a list of people who had worked there at one time or another. I plan to research whether or not any of them ever ended up on Blackwell’s Island. I can’t research “Bridget Murphy,” or “Mary Smith,” because it would be too difficult or impossible to determine if one of the Bridget Murphys I found, for instance, was the one who used to work in the home of Seabury Tredwell. But there the names of three women were unusual enough to give it a try. Even better, they were 40 years old, so the chances are a little less likely that they married and changed their names.

Merchant's House Museum Garden

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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