An Emancipated Life

The 1817 New York emancipation act legally abolished slavery for most in the state effective July 4, 1827. As was common at the time, Jane took the surname of her slave owner.


According to the records of the Reformed Church of New Paltz, Jane Deyo married Thomas Wynkoop in January 1827, just six months prior to emancipation. Thomas had been enslaved by Dirck D. Wynkoop, who, as mentioned before, had a substantial wheat farm, enslaving more people than any other slaveholder in New Paltz.[1]    

After their marriage, Jane and Thomas soon had a son John. Their second son, Jacob, was born in 1829.

“Free Colored Persons”

The 1830 census lists Thomas Wynkoop as a “free colored person.” While not named, Jane and their two sons, John and Jacob, are counted in the census. The family lived on what is now Water Street, probably in a house for workers at the nearby mill.[2]

“Cannot read or write”

An 1810 New York State law required that enslaved children be taught to read, or the enslaver had to emancipate the individual at age 21. Some slaveowners did provide this basic education in the years leading up to emancipation. John Hasbrouck, enslaved by Josiah Hasbrouck (mentioned earlier), appears to have learned to read, write, and do arithmetic, probably during his youth. This is evidenced by the account books that John kept throughout his life, as well as subscriptions in his name to a local newspaper and the Christian Intelligencer, published in New York City by the Association of Members of the Protestant Reformed Dutch Church.[7]

Jane, only a few years older than John Hasbrouck, should also have been taught to read and write according to the 1810 law. However, according to the 1850 and later censuses, Jane Deyo Wynkoop was not educated in this way.

An Emancipated Life