The Workers - Tenant Farmers

The Workers

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Tenant Farmers

Janet Montgomery relied on all kinds of workers to keep her estate and business enterprises running.

John Cox, Jr. and Garret Van Keuren acted as Janet’s business agents and on-the-ground representatives. They helped keep and settle accounts, collected rents from tenant farmers, and attended to other aspects of business. In the case of Cox, he also worked as a land surveyor for Janet.  

Janet, like Louise after her, relied on agents to oversee day-to-day operations. Absentee owners especially had to rely on agents to conduct business when they were away and, even when in residence, to make the journey to handle business transactions up and down the Hudson Valley. Agents like Cox and Van Keuren functioned as middlemen in the Hudson Valley’s manorial system where tenant farmers rented land from the descendents of colonial elites.

Hudson River Landing by Albertus Del Orient Browere. Oil on panel, c. 1840. Gift of J. Townsend Lansing, Albany Institute of History and Art.

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