Student Curator Corner

A place for our student volunteers to share their work and writing about the Farmstead.
A white vest and jacket displayed with blue stockings, black shoes and buckles, and a black hat.

Jack's Clothing Project: The Value of Perspective

By: Saanika Acharya - Student Volunteer

During the tour of the summer kitchen directly outside of the Wentz’s lodging, I was made aware of how the Wentz family had enslaved individuals along with indentured servants who worked at the farm. It is believed that they lived in the loft just above the hearth of the kitchen based on clues and traces of historical evidence uncovered but historians are still in the process of determining their exact residential area at the house. I was surprised yet intrigued when told about Jack, who was an enslaved man living at the farm. What truly piqued my interest was the fact that his appearance had been speculated based off of a newspaper advertisement of him put up after he supposedly ran away. There is still an air of doubt looming around Peter Wentz’s true image, which is still unknown since there is no substantial evidence of any of his portraits surviving. How was it that historians know more of Jack than the owner himself? By reading a "runaway" advertisement placed in the newspaper.

It is truly remarkable how enslaved individuals, who were considered inconsequential at the time, tell us the most detail about someone who lived in the house. This particular instance serves to emphasize how no person should be regarded as insignificant in history. No one is trivial when concerning history, for it is the untold, often forgotten stories that help us uncover the truth in the end.