Through These Doors: A Virtual Exhibit

The ACHA is proud to share the stories of our richly diverse community.  Below, we feature some of the people who passed through the doors of the Ten Broeck Mansion, whose contributions were essential in building our nation.

Roseanna Vosburgh (1800-1884)

Born into slavery in Columbia County, NY, Roseanna Vosburgh was first employed by Thomas Worth Olcott when she was twenty years old.  She was never enslaved by the Olcott family, but rather was employed by them as a manager, a position she held for the rest of her life.  She is buried in the Olcott family burial plot in Albany Rural Cemetery.  During her lifetime, Roseanna Vosburgh managed the Olcott household.  She also participated in Albany-based abolition societies.  Towards the end of her life, she observed that opportunities for women of color continued to be limited.  To address this issue, she set up a charitable trust with her life savings, to aid African American women.  A philanthropist, abolitionist, and manager, Roseanna Vosburgh represents one of the many rich stories of people who passed through the doors of the Ten Broeck Mansion.

 

Thomas Murray (1860-1929)

One of twelve children of Irish immigrant parents, Thomas’s father died when he was nine.  Thomas left school to support his family and knocked on the front door of the Ten Broeck Mansion to ask for employment.  Thomas Worth Olcott hired him to assist in the gardens; his job was to keep the walkways and driveways in the extensive gardens in order.  Noticing the garden pathways frequently iced over in winter, 11-year-old Thomas Murray built an underground heating system, drawing off the steam heating pipes servicing the Mansion and greenhouse, thus keeping the walkways clear throughout the winter.  Thomas Murray became the Chief Engineer of the Albany Waterworks at at age 21, and family tradition holds that his good reference from Thomas Worth Olcott helped him secure this position.  Murray continued to be a prolific inventor, second only to Thomas Edison in total number of inventions.