On a recent trip to Fishkill, NY, we visited the Garret Storm house. Rumor has it that our ancestor, Primus Storms, was enslaved by the Storm family. There is even a “Storm Slave Cemetery” in Fiskkill said to contain about 100 free and enslaved African-Americans connected to the Storm family and their neighbors. You can read about our visit to the cemetery here.
Garrit (the most common English spelling) Storm built the smaller section of the home in 1750. According to the current owner, the people Storm enslaved lived in a lean-to on the side of the house. Garret’s son John inherited the house in 1802, building the much larger addition. The cellar of the addition provided housing for those still enslaved by the Storm family. Below are a few of the photos we took of the cellar.
Another son of Garrit Storm, who served as a captain in the Revolutionary War, was Thomas Storm. Storm operated a tavern and store on the property as well as his home. During the Revolution, George Washington spent one night with his troops on the property. It is possible that Thomas Storm was Primus’ enslaver. It’s also possible that Primus was with/served Thomas during the war in some capacity. This would support the theory that Primus was emancipated because of his service in the Revolution, even though there are no records to support his service. Below is a photo of Thomas’ house as it stands today.
Despite, numerous and extensive searches through probate records, inventories and other records, we still do not know the origins of Primus Storms other than he was born in Fishkill and that he was free when he traveled with his family (who were enslaved by Platt Rogers) to Vermont. We will continue the search.