Guinea Town, New York
Guinea Town Settlement, Hyde Park is located in Hudson Valley, New York and was a thriving African American settlement in the 1790s to 1850 built by free and runaway, formerly enslaved Blacks. It was a settlement of over 60 families at its peak. Guinea Town was part of the Underground Railroad that assisted in the transport of runaway slaves to Nova Scotia, Canada.
Guinea Town played a part in transporting runaway enslaved Africans to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, which was a Quaker community. Eliakim Levi was a leader in the Black community of Guinea Town, in New York and a conductor with the Hicksite's on the Underground Railroad. Hicksites were Quakers who were followers of Elias Hicks. Elias was an early Quaker abolitionists.
Primus Martin was another leader in the settlement of Guinea Town. His home site is an archaeological site in Hyde Park. Ceramic fragments found at the site indicate that Martin had communal dining and tea drinking at his home, suggesting that he was well established socially and possibly politically in the community. In the 1860s, John Hackett bought land in the area of "Guinea" and built the Crum Elbow Farm. The community gradually dissolved.
In 2005 the Black Ice Project/Underground Railroad project was created to identify connections between slavery, safe houses in Brooklyn, transit through Guinea Town, and ex-slaves who played hockey in Canada. The project works towards identify Quaker families, free Africans and runaway slaves that were part of the 1800s underground railroad network.
There was a dispute as to who owns the remains that were excavated from the excavation site by Bard College Professor, Dr. Christopher Linder, and the Dutchess County Historical Society of New York. The area was home to free blacks that owned small farms and who worked for "elite' families along the Hudson river. The area where Primus and Elizabeth Martin stayed was the first area of the excavation project. They were community leaders of Guinea community.
On December 22, 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced 23 properties to be sites recommended by New York State Board of Historic Preservation for the state and national registry as a historic place. The New Guinea site located at East Market Street in Hyde Park, New York was one of them.
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