|Kingsland Manor: Tall Tales|
Restored 1700s Colonial Manor Hints of Indian Raids, Secret Tunnels, Underground Railroad
- But Are They True or Tall Tales?
THE NUTLEY TRACT
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The house has been described as containing “17 rooms, 2 kitchens, ballroom, slave prison, slaughter house, smoke house and underground Indian raid cellar, 125 foot tunnel leading to a stone barn fort, solitary confinement torture pen with manacle leg irons, neck yokes, a double ball and chain captors”.
How much of this description is lore? There were probably no Indian raids in 1796. A sub-basement, most likely a root cellar, was probably the “underground Indian raid cellar”.
A resident of Clifton, however, swears the tunnel still traverses her yard and a number of Nutley residents have sworn that they saw the chains and manacles.
At the word of a Nutley man who says he was present the day the tunnel was bricked up, archaeologists are drilling through a wall of the root cellar.
Preliminary probes show the tunnel, if there, is filled with dirt, stones and coal; how long and where it goes is still to be answered.
Furthermore, Joseph Kingsland was very considerate and humane in his dealings with his slaves. The tales of manacles and torture pen do not agree with his last will and testament concerning the care of his slaves after his death.
Legends of the Manor as a station on the underground railroad prior to the Civil War also tend to discredit any tales of mistreatment of Kingsland servants.
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