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Bowne House 2015 Landmarks50 Celebration

Bowne House 2015 Landmarks50 Celebration - A Call for Founding Families

Bowne House will mark the 50th anniversary of New York City's landmarks law with a rededication of the museum as a site dedicated to the First Amendment and the principle of freedom of religion in America. This event will be take place on Saturday, October 10th, 2015 at the museum.

October 10 marks the anniversary of the original dedication in 1947. On that day, thousands gathered on Bowne Street to take part in the opening of the museum as "A National Shrine to Religious Freedom". The day chosen was also the tercentenary of the original charter of the Town of Flushing, which was granted in 1645.

In his address, The Honorable Charles S. Colden, a judge and first president of the Bowne House Historical Society, stated: "This nation was settled by men and women in search of freedom they could not find elsewhere. Strong in their convictions, they knew that God moved in all the affairs of man, and, therefore, they fought, from the early beginnings, to establish 'liberty of conscience'."

While the Town Charter granted liberty of conscience, this principle was soon tested. In response, 31 settlers, Englishmen in the largely Dutch colony, drafted a document known as the Flushing Remonstrance, one of the significant documents in the struggle for religious freedom in America. They protested Governor Peter Stuyvesant's attempts to limit religious liberty.

It was not until 1662, with John Bowne's arrest, imprisonment, deportation and successful appeal to the Dutch West India Company that the principle of freedom of religion was guaranteed in the colony, a principle later enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Bowne House is a city, state and national landmark; the museum's purpose is education. Its original charter stated that its mandate included educating the public about the important events which took place early in its history and which were associated with the "fundamental principles of freedom of conscience and religious liberty". For almost 70 years, the Bowne House Historical Society has worked to further this goal.

The founding trustees of the Society were 32 in number. They included some of the most prominent names in Queens, as well as several members of the Bowne and Parsons families.

To mark this anniversary celebration, we are calling upon descendants and relatives of the original trustees of the Society, as well as descendants of the 31 signers of the 1657 Flushing Remonstrance, to join with us on October 10, 2015 for our rededication ceremony, which will take place in the garden of the Bowne House.

In addition to Charles Colden, the trustees included:

Max Abramson
Dr. Charles H. Campbell
Margaret I. Carman
Harry l. Dayton
Sherman S. Ely
Mrs. Paul B. Findley
W. Flemer Foulk
Reverend B. A. Galloway
Arthur H. Greeley
Rev. Dr. Norman A. Hall
John J. Halleran
Laurence B. Halleran
Douglas G. Hardgrove
Gale Hunter
Samuel D. Jones
Dr. George J. Lawrence
Mary Mac Leod
Rabbi Max Meyer
Anna M. O'Connor
Harold G. Parker
William Bowne Parsons
Charles U. Powell
Franklin F. Regan
LeRoy T. Stratton
Mrs. Edward J. Streator
Mrs. John H. Tennant
Haynes Trebor
William H. Waechter
Mrs. Charles B. Williams
Very Reverend Monsignor John D. Wynne

The 31 signers of the Flushing Remonstrance were, in order of their signatures:

Tobias Feake
William Noble
William Thorne, Sr.
William Thorne, Jr.
Edward Tarne
John Store
Nathaniel Hefferd
Benjamin Hubbard
William Pidgion
George Clere
Elais Doughtie
Antonie Field
Richard Stockton
Edward Griffin
Nathaniel Tue
Nicholas Blackford
Micah Tue
Phillip Ud
Robert Field, Sr.
Robert Field Jr.
Nickholas Parsell
Michael Milner
Henry Townsend
George Wright
John Foard
Henry Semtell
Edward Hart
John Mastine
John Townsend
Edward Farrington

Descendants and relatives of these signers, and descendants and relatives of the Societies founders, may contact the Bowne House for further information.

We are planning a festive reunion to commemorate those whose courage and sacrifices helped secure the freedoms we enjoy in America today.

office@bownehouse.org - attention Landmarks50 celebration 2015 - descendants