Jane Purchases Land
Ulster County land records reveal that in 1840 Jane Deyo Wynkoop bought one quarter acre from Maria Hasbrouck for $25 (about $742 in today’s currency). This is one of the earliest documented purchases of land by an African American—man or woman—in New Paltz. (Why Jane and not Thomas, thought to be living at this time, purchased the land is unknown. It is possible that he had become incapacitated in some way, since Jane is listed as head of the household a few years later.)
The land’s seller, Maria Hasbrouck, was the great-granddaughter of New Paltz patentee Abraham Hasbrouck. The aerial image below shows the location of the Jane’s land and the approximate boundaries of Abraham’s original village lot, where he settled his family in 1677.
The fact that Jane Deyo Wynkoop (and, later, her sons) could buy land and own a home in New Paltz in the 19th century was exceptional. Undoubtedly, it was a testament to her hard work, careful planning—and, probably, a level of respect in the white community. Few other African Americans were as lucky. Once the practice of slavery was made illegal in the state, many freed blacks left the area in pursuit of jobs and a better way of life. Those who remained often worked as servants in the houses of white families or ended up in the County Poorhouse on the outskirts of New Paltz.
The achievements of African Americans in New Paltz like the Wynkoops were surely hard won.
In the 1845 New York State census, Jane Wynkoop’s name appears as head of a household comprising three males (presumably her husband and two sons) and a young girl (perhaps a daughter whose name and story are lost to history). The census tells us that the family lived on a quarter-acre lot and had two hogs. The property was located on the crest of a hill, overlooking Huguenot Street and the Shawangunk Ridge.