George Washington returned to his Preakness headquarters at Dey
Mansion in 1780 after learning of Benedict Arnold's treachery.
Dey Mansion was built by Dirck Dey around 1740 on land bought
by Dey on October 9, 1717. Dey was a carpenter and his well finished
home shows his skill. To our best knowledge, Dirck Dey built the
east wing of the mansion and his son Theunis finished the rest
including a twelve foot grand center hall. The front of the mansion
is constructed of brick produced on the site with sandstone quoins
from the Little Falls Quarry. The remainder of the home is made
from split quarry and field stone. In correspondence by Hester
Dey, the home was refered to as Bloomsburg Manor.
Dirck Dey and his family were third generation Dutch immigrants
settling in Preakness as early as 1707. The Dutch settled and
lent their names to much of Northern North Jersey. New Jersey,
along with New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware, was part of the
"Middle Colonies", the only part of British North America
settled by non-English Europeans. Dirck Dey was a freeholder of
Bergen County and a member of the New Jersey Assembly from 1748
to 1752. His son Theunis was born on October 23, 1726 and he succeeded
his father as the owner of the six hundred acre estate.
Theunis Dey married Hester Schuyler in 1749 and lived in this
house with their 10 children. Like George Washington and many
wealthy landowners of the time, the Deys kept slaves, who did
much of the heavy farm labor. Colonel Theunis Dey commanded the
Bergen County militia during the American War for Independence.
He was charged with supervising the west side of the Hudson River
above New York Bay. Theunis Dey was also a member of the New Jersey
Assembly and the New Jersey Provincial Council. In 1780, the British
raided New Jersey continuously in the so-called "forage wars",
keeping the American inhabitants and militia in a constant state
At Dey Mansion, Continental Army troops bivouacked on the property
surrounding the house. George Washington and his aides stayed
in the mansion itself. Washington's "life guards", the
general's personal guards, slept in the rafters in the attic.
Washington occupied the four rooms of the original part of the
house. He used the southeast room as an office and took his meals
in a room at the rear of the house. While the General was at Dey
Mansion, his wife Martha stayed in Morristown at Ford Mansion.
Thousands of Continental Army troops camped in tents in the surrounding
area in July moving on to campaign in the Hudson Highlands. The
American Army moved from Preakness to Paramus and then crossed
the Hudson River at Kings Ferry. Washington returned on October
8, 1780 from the Hudson Highlands after Benedict Arnold was found
to be a traitor and escaped on the British ship Vulture.
Arnold's accomplice, Major Andre, was hanged at Tappan on October
2. Washington used Dey Mansion to avoid the vengence of Andre's
superior, Sir Henry Clinton, who was intent on seizing the General.
Most of the battles at this time were being fought in the south
as neither the British or the American armies in the New York
area were strong enough for any major action. General Washington
was at Dey Mansion when a commander of the French Fleet, Count
Rochambeau, arrived in Newport, Rhode Island with 6000 men.
Continental Army lieutenant at left is recognizable by the epaulette
on his left shoulder. He is in the uniform worn by the troops
from New York and New Jersey, blue faced with buff. On his cocked
hat he wears the black and white "Union" cockade introduced by
General Washington in July 1780, emblematic of the union of the
American and French Armies. He holds an espontoon, the weapon
carried by all company officers and sergeants in addition to their
swords. (source: U.S.
Dey Mansion served as Washington's Headquarters in 1780. Washington
wrote over 300 letters in the front room which served as his office.
office at Dey Mansion
George Washington made his headquarters in Northern New Jersey
at Dey Mansion. Washington's letters
refer to Dey Mansion as "Head Quarters, Pracaness [Preakness]".
After the arrival of the French army in July 1780, Washington
was urged by the French commander against immediately attacking
New York City. Washington instead concentrated on coordinating
allied war efforts.
In 1781 he launched, in cooperation with the comte de Rochambeau
and the comte d'Estaing, the brilliantly planned and executed
Yorktown Campaign against Charles Cornwallis. The Yorktown campaign
was critical in securing the eventual American victory.
Mansion was sold out of the family by Richard Dey in 1801. The
house had seventeen owners. Dey Mansion was purchased by the city
of Wayne, NJ in 1930. It has been restored to the way it was during
the American Revolutionary War. The mansion has many items on
display from the Dey family. Also, many period pieces are featured
from the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art. The house stands
as it did in Washington's time except the kitchen has been rebuilt;
the original had been destroyed by fire.
events and demonstrations throughout the year make history
come alive at the Dey Mansion Museum.
Dey Mansion Museum is located at 199 Totowa Road in Wayne, New
Jersey. The mansion is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday one
pm until four pm. Saturday and Sunday from ten am until noon and
in the afternoons from one pm to four pm. For more information
Mansion Photo Gallery - Photos of the interior
and exterior of Dey Mansion in Wayne, New Jersey
House Photo Gallery - Photos of the interior and
exterior of the Wick House in Morristown, New Jersey
Bloomfield - Revolutionary War leader and New
Jersey's fourth governor
Paterson - Statesman and New Jersey's second governor
St. Clair - General of the Continental Army
New Jersey Constitution - First constitution of
the state of New Jersey
of Northern New Jersey - Historic and other maps
of Northern New Jersey
rt23.com's North Jersey Directory for Museums and Historical
rt23.com's North Jersey Events Calendar
Reader's Companion to American History by Eric Foner (Editor),
John A. Garraty (Editor), Houghton Mifflin,1991
Time, Tempe Wick? by Patricia Lee Gauch, Margot Tomes,
Depicts the indomitable spirit of a young girl, Tempe
Wick, as she saves her beloved horse from the mutinous
soldiers of Jockey Hollow during the American Revolution.
Childrens Book, ages 4-8.