Mount Gulian Historic Site Hosts “James F. Brown Day: A Celebration of Freedom” on September 5th!



Microsoft Word - Poster.docOn Saturday, September 5th from noon to 5 pm, Mount Gulian Historic Site in Beacon celebrates the life of James F. Brown, an escaped slave from Maryland who made his way to freedom in New York State. As a highly respected citizen in the Hudson Valley, Brown became a master gardener, voter, property owner and community-minded activist in pre-Civil War Dutchess County, all while maintaining a unique journal of everyday life for almost 40 years.                                                     


Featured throughout the day will be a live theatrical performance, showing of an award winning short film about Mr. Brown, riveting gospel singing, and informal conversations with historians about James F. Brown and his challenging times. 

Brown, born in 1793, was literate and a skilled carpenter, who fled bondage to Manhattan in 1827, where he met members of the Verplanck family who purchased his freedom and offered paid employment to him. From 1829 until 1866, Brown kept a diary, a journal of daily life of a freedman, living

and working at Mount Gulian. During those years, Brown became known as a trusted and industrious employee of the Verplancks, an avid church-goer, a practicing horticulturalist, a leader of the fledgling black community, and a respected person involved in aspects of local society. The event highlights James F. Brown, the man, and the challenges he faced in order to successfully straddle both sides of the racial divide. 

A fun but thought-provoking afternoon is planned including gospel singing by Corey Dandridge and SALT; a theatrical performance by Lynne McKenney Lydick about the life of female abolitionist Abby Kelly Foster; and conversations with Professors of History Michael Groth, Wells College, and Myra Young Armstead, Bard College, author of Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America.




1439906197_Abby photo                                        1439906220_C. Dandridge and SALT Photo

Mount Gulian Historic Site is located at 145 Sterling Street in Beacon, 12508, just north of the City line and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. Registration is strongly recommended; call Mount Gulian at 845-831-8172 or email at . Admission, paid the day of the event, is $12; $10 for seniors; $8 for ages 12 through 18; $4 for ages 6 through 11;   and free for children under 6 years of age. 

The event is funded in part by Central Hudson Gas & Electric and Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, and by grants from Arts Mid-Hudson, the New York Council for the Humanities, and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.