The Historical Preservation Society of Upper Township's virtual meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, will feature a program by Rick Geffken on his book “Stories of Slavery in New Jersey.”
Author’s Book Summary: “Dutch and English settlers brought the first enslaved people to New Jersey in the seventeenth century. By the time of the Revolutionary War, slavery was an established practice on labor-intensive farms throughout what became known as the Garden State. The progenitor of the influential Morris family, Lewis Morris, brought Barbadian slaves to toil on his estate of Tinton Manor in Monmouth County. 'Colonel Tye,' an escaped slave from Shrewsbury, joined the British 'Ethiopian Regiment' during the Revolutionary War and led raids throughout the towns and villages near his former home. Charles Reeves and Hannah Van Clief married soon after their emancipation in 1850 and became prominent citizens of Lincroft, as did their next four generations. Author Rick Geffken reveals stories from New Jersey’s dark history of slavery.”
New Jersey, in 1866, was the last northern state to abolish slavery.
Rick Geffken has written numerous articles on various aspects of New Jersey history for local newspapers, magazines, historical societies, and newsletters. Geffken has presented historical papers at the New Jersey History & Historic Preservation symposia in 2014 and 2015. He has participated in symposia for groups such as the Navesink Maritime Historical Association, and he has appeared on the New Jersey Cable TV show "Family Historian."
Geffken’s books include "The Story of Shrewsbury Revisited, 1965-2015"; "Lost Amusement Parks of the North Jersey Shore"; "Highland Beach, Gateway to the Jersey Shore, 1888-1962"; "Hidden History of Monmouth County"; and "To Preserve & Protect, profiles of people who recorded the history and heritage of Monmouth County, New Jersey."
Geffken has spoken about New Jersey historical topics — lost amusement parks; Quakers and slavery in New Jersey; New Jersey’s submarine inventors: Simon Lake and John Holland; The Morris family of New Jersey — at dozens of historical societies and libraries. He has been a featured speaker at the Trent House Museum, the Quaker Meeting of Shrewsbury, the Battleground Historical Society, and other organizations. He is a trustee of the Shrewsbury Historical Society; past-president and trustee of the Jersey Coast Heritage Museum at Sandlass House; and a member of the Monmouth County Historical Association.
Geffken is leading a project called the New Jersey Slavery Records Index under the auspices of Monmouth University of West Long Branch.
Geffken retired from a career with Hewlett-Packard; owned and operated several small businesses; taught secondary school mathematics; and was an adjunct professor at Ocean County Community College. A retired U.S. Army officer and Vietnam veteran, he holds a bachelor's degree in economics from St. Peter’s University, a secondary teaching certificate from Monmouth University, and an master's degree in social sciences from Montclair State University.
To register for the May 11 Zoom meeting, see http://bit.ly/HPSUT11MayBookTalk.
The book "Upper Township and Its Ten Villages" is available by mail for $23.99 (no tax) with a $5 fee for shipping and handling. Make your check or money order payable to the HPSUT, P.O. Box 658, Marmora, NJ 08223-0658.
Credit card payment can be made on the HPSUT website with PayPal, UpperTwpHistory.org.
Nearly 200 photos are included in the book, along with a two-page narrative summary for each Village.
Profits from the sale of the book go to the HPSUT and the Upper Township Museum project.
Retailers and restaurants, along with service and professional offices in the township, have been displaying the book for sale this year.
The Historical Society’s most recent SHOUT newsletter is on the HPSUT website.
The Historical Preservation Society of Upper Township operates and manages three historic sites that are open to the public at selected times (for information and appointments, please email the HPSUT @UpperTwpHistory@Yahoo.com): the Gandy House and Farmstead, ca. 1815; the Tuckahoe Train Station, 1894; and the Friendship School in Palermo, ca. 1830.