A Brief Look at Rifton and Esopus History




Sojourner Truth: Timeline



Sojourner spent all of her early days in what is now the Town of Esopus and in Kingston. Here is a brief timeline of her years in Ulster County.

ca 1797: Born in to slavery on the farm of Johannes Hardenburgh. This farm was in Swartekill, east of the Walkill in the Hurley patent. Mr. Hardenburgh was apparently quite wealthy for he had seven slaves in 1790.

ca 1806: Auctioned off (with some sheep) to John Neeley who ran a shoe store on the Rondout Creek. He paid $100 for her.

ca 1808: Sold to Martinus Schryver, a tavern keeper and fisherman of Port Ewen.

1810: Sold to John Dumont, a farmer of West Park.

1826: Isabella walked away from Dumont's farm. She later said "I did not run off, for I thought that wicked, but I walked off, believing that was right."

1826: She was taken in by Isaac and Maria VanWagenen of Saint Remy. This farm, although commonly thought of as part of "Wagendale", was on the southeast side of the Rondout Kill.

1827: All slaves remaining in New York State legally freed.

1827-28: Instituted legal action to secure the return of her son, who had been illegally sold into slavery in Alabama. Joined the Methodist church in Kingston.

ca 1828-29: Lived in Kingston, worked as a domestic.

1829: Moved to New York City, remaining there until 1843 when she became a wandering evangelist.

1844-57: Lived in Northampton, Massachusets.

1857-83: Lived near Battle Creek, Michigan, returning to New York State several times to speak.

1883: Died at her home in Battle Creek on 26 November.

For further information, we highly recommend the book "Sojourner Truth Slave, Prophet, Legend" written by Carlton Mabee with Susan Mabee Newhouse.

This book is well researched, informative, and a very interesting read. It is available at the museum.


This page created and maintained by Karl Wick Created Sat Jun 28, 1997