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Joseph Lloyd Manor Site Lloyd Neck, NY

Center for Public Archaeology At Hofstra University

RESEARCHING EARLY AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AT JOSEPH LLOYD MANOR


Joseph Lloyd Manor is one of the most well-preserved colonial-period historic sites on Long Island. Built in 1767 by Joseph Lloyd (1716-1780), the house and a large swath of surrounding property remained in the Lloyd Family until 1876. After passing through several private hands, the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) obtained the Manor and some surrounding property in 1968. The organization restored the manor house and currently operates the site as a historic house museum. Recent excavations at the site, undertaken by Hofstra University, began in 2007 and are ongoing. *** The Center for Public Archaeology was invited by SPLIA to excavate an area indicated on an 1814 map of Lloyd Neck as the former location of a small house. The house is depicted on the map as having a chimney, which suggests that it was built for and occupied by people. Ongoing research seeks to better understand the past uses and occupants of the structure. A few specific questions have been set forth based on preliminary documentary research as well as initial excavations and ongoing analysis.

Who lived in this building? From the documentary record we know that Joseph Lloyd as well as his heir and nephew, John Lloyd, Jr., owned several people of African descent. The current interpretation of the manor house presents the rear bedrooms on the second and third floor as likely slave quarters. It is also possible that the attic space was used as living quarters. It is reasonable, however, to consider that the structure under excavation was an additional slave quarter, if not the primary residence at the site for captive African descendants. Enslaved people were often divided by gender or occupation and often housed in more than one location. The structure is close to the manor and would have been visible from the manors parlor and bedroom making it unsuitable for tenants. The Lloyd family elected to live on Lloyd Neck to take advantage of developing the propertys potential for producing various commodities that were in demand across an increasingly well-organized Atlantic trade network. The Necks most valuable products were its old growth trees and the ability to support orchards. Timber was used to produce barrels and ships that moved commodities, including slaves, across the globe. Orchards grew fruit for the production of cider. All of these endeavors were labor intensive and the Lloyds were known to employ local free European and African descendants as seasonal labor. The Lloyds also commonly used people owned by the family to help with labor needs. 2

A second set of questions relates to how people lived in this building? To consider these questions we are looking for evidence of the way people may have created and occupied this part of the site on their own terms. One component of the site we especially want to reconstruct is foodways, or the patterns employed by a people to acquire, store, prepare, and dispose of foods. Research at slave sites in other locations, especially in the colonial south, show that captive African laborers supplemented their rations with food acquired from hunting, fishing, and tending their own gardens. These activities were undertaken during off hours in the evenings and on Sundays. Moreover, these activities reflect the use of the surrounding local landscape for very specific purposes that may be reflected in the remains left behind at the house itself. The archaeological record of the site may reveal what foods were eaten in the remains found of animal bones, fish scales, and plant remains such as seeds. Another aspect of the local landscape is the connections that we know existed between captive Africans and Native Americans. As marginal peoples, the two communities found much common ground on Long Island. Intermarriage was common, but there were also informal patterns of exchange that would have shuttled both materials and ideas back and forth out of the sight of the masters, perhaps to their deficit as well. We will be paying close attention to the presence of Indian-influenced materials including obvious items such as Native American pottery as well as less obvious materials such as plant remains that indicate Indian cooking and/or healing techniques. Lloyd Manor is well known as the home of Jupiter Hammon (1711-c.1800), a Lloyd family slave his entire life and among the first African American published writers. Hammons writings are devoutly Christian, and they employ imagery and messages of freedom drawn from Christianity to identify the injustices of slavery in a language that slave masters as well as those they enslaved would have likely understood. Although Hammons voice has been preserved it may not represent the voices of others enslaved by the Lloyd family. The archaeological record may help us recover information about the larger community on Lloyd Neck. Many people have helped the project over the last few years. I want to thank you for your help and invite you all out to visit us this summer and see the site and current excavations. The Joseph Lloyd Manor site will be open from June 24nd to July 31th, Monday Friday, 8 am 4 pm. Please feel free to join us. Email anthlab@hofstra.edu and we will send details and directions. Jenna Coplin