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Dey Mansion
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April 7, 2018
Wayne, New Jersey
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Dey Mansion in Wayne, New Jersey
Dey Mansion

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 of emergency.

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 soldier with a New Jersey uniformThe 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. Army}

Dey Mansion served as Washington's Headquarters in 1780. Washington wrote over 300 letters in the front room which served as his office.
General George Washington's office at Dey Mansion in Wayne, New Jersey
Washington's 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.

New Jersey colonial moneyDey 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.

Military drills at Dey Mansion in Wayne, New Jersey
Special 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 call 973-696-1776.

Dey Mansion Photo Gallery







Related Links

Dey Mansion Photo Gallery - Photos of the interior and exterior of Dey Mansion in Wayne, New Jersey
Wick House Photo Gallery - Photos of the interior and exterior of the Wick House in Morristown, New Jersey
Joseph Bloomfield - Revolutionary War leader and New Jersey's fourth governor
William Paterson - Statesman and New Jersey's second governor
Arthur St. Clair - General of the Continental Army
1776 New Jersey Constitution - First constitution of the state of New Jersey
Maps of Northern New Jersey - Historic and other maps of Northern New Jersey
Search rt23.com's North Jersey Directory for Museums and Historical Sites
Search rt23.com's North Jersey Events Calendar
The Reader's Companion to American History by Eric Foner (Editor), John A. Garraty (Editor), Houghton Mifflin,1991

This 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.

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