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Deborah E. Fillebrown's Visit to Sloatsburg:

A Curious Sloat descendant Discovers New Family Information

Deborah E. Fillebrown had traversed the Ramapo Valley corridor often with her late husband. Since her ancestry on her maternal side included the name Sloat, she “always wondered if Sloatsburg was part of her family history.” Deborah stopped at Harmony Hall Saturday, September 23, during the Friends of Harmony (FOHH) Autumnal Equinox event. Longtime FOHH member and supporter Alison Harvey noticed Deborah’s son, Will, taking photographs of Harmony Hall and the Historic Marker. Deborah explained her grandparents had told her Sloat history as it had been presented to them including stories about their arrival in New Amsterdam

from the Netherlands and Commodore John D. Sloat’s naval achievements. Alison invited them inside to see the house and meet Harrison Bush, Jacob Sloat’s great-great grandson.

Harrison and Deborah agreed to meet at the Sloatsburg Library on Tuesday prior to Deborah continuing her solo driving journey to see friends in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia. The library was scheduled to be closed on Tuesday for electrical maintenance work, but library director Annmarie McAnany kindly made herself available to host Deborah to review the extensive Sloat genealogy. This large-format Sloat genealogy was sent to Harrison after a meeting several years ago with another line of the Sloat family who live in Colorado. It should be noted that a line of the Sloat family went West and that not all Sloat family members are directly related to Jacob Sloat. 

Deborah was very pleased when she did find her family on the Sloat Tree. Her line descends from the Sloat family line who lived in New Jersey outside Patterson. Her great-grandfather George H. Sloat was born on October 15, 1867. His son Orison Brodhead Sloat was born July 21, 1895. His wife Ethel Sloat was born on September 22, 1903. Deborah spoke fondly of her grandparents Orison and Ethel. As Harrison notes, they would be of the same generation as his parents Harrison O. Bush, Sr., and his mother Mary Allen Bush, a direct descendant of Jacob. 

It was a delight to meet with Deborah who has a youthful upbeat energy! Her sincere interest and respect for Sloat's family history are an inspiration. We will keep in touch with Deborah when she returns to her home in Louisville, Kentucky where she currently resides with her family. Deborah lived in Massachusetts for many years prior to her Kentucky residency.

Thank you to Alison and Steve Harvey and the Friends of Harmony Hall members who welcomed Deborah and Will at Harmony Hall’s Autumnal Equinox event and to Annmarie for making the library available to review and discuss the Sloat genealogy document. 

Sloatsburg history collections will be scanned and archived over Winter 2023-2024 and this will include materials related to Harmony Hall! Once completed, this will make possible a respectful cloud archive and access of our important village and corridor history to students, residents, and researchers. Special thanks to Annmarie for all the planning work and solicitation of funding from The Friends of the Sloatsburg Library to make this happen!

We wish Deborah a safe and happy road trip and look forward to our next meeting with this dynamic new friend!

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