The Tredwells Never Left: All Hallows’ Eve At The Merchant’s House Museum

Posted on: October 31st, 2018 at 5:04 am by

Have you been to the quaint brownstone at 29 East 4th street? An architectural dream, which is covered in landmark status plaques at the basement entrance revealing the historical and cultural significance of this home built in 1832.  Transformed into a museum after the last living family member passed in the 1930s, the Merchant’s House Museum is simply one-of-a-kind.

NYT: April 16, 1951

You can visit all year ’round, but being that it’s been named Manhattan’s most haunted house – probably best to stop by around Halloween or the weeks thereafter?

We were welcomed by museum volunteers for our 8pm tour which began on the basement level where, in a small parlor-like room in the basement, an outdated, but informative video regaled us with stories of the home’s inhabitants.

Courtesy of Me

This being my umpteenth visit, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the candlelight tours were actual candles this time, set in two bedrooms, the servant’s quarters, the parlor and kitchen.

Save for those – pitch black.

If you are sensitive to enclosed spaces and/or smells, or have a sensitivity to temperature, this may not be for you. These are my only disclaimers.

As we move through the house, the guide plays a number of recordings that attest to eyewitness accounts from visitors, staff, and paranormal investigators of haunting.

You wait. Your eyes adjust to the dark. You try to look around.

And then you see him … an eerily lifelike mannequin of Seabury asleep in his bed.

Seabury’s Room, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Oh, forgive me. Who is Seabury? Why it’s his home! Seabury Tredwell!

In 1836, as the Bowery began to extend past Grand Street up to 15th, the Tredwells moved from Dey Street to East 4th Street, right when construction completed. Mr. Tredwell was a New York Merchant, an acquaintance of General George Washington (see below) and supposedly a descendant of family who came here on the Mayflower. It was worlds apart from Kleindeustchland, just a few short blocks to the east.

NYT: October 13, 1906

The family included Seabury, his wife Eliza, whom he married in 1820 at the age of 40 (she was 23) and their eight children: Elizabeth (1821), Horace (1823), Mary (1825), Samuel (1827), Phebe (1829), Julia (1833), Sarah (1835) and Gertrude (1840). No other family ever called it home.

The house would later become a museum shortly after the youngest daughter, Gertrude, died in the bed in which she was born. Just 27 days shy of her 93rd birthday (i.e. 1933).

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