Gouldtown, New Jersey
(located in Cumberland County):
An All-American 'Mixed-Race Community'
Despite the fact that the article found in the photos listed
below refers to it by the archaic and 'One-Droppist' term
of -- "Negro" Community" --- it is still a very good article
that also makes it abundantly clear that the city of
Gouldtown, N.J. was actually an historically very
Multi-Racial (not 'Mono'-Racial) American community.
So ... for all our members on the East Coast ... maybe someone could investigate to find
out more about the history of this Mixed-Race community of people -- and --if you'd
recommend arrangement of a MGM-Mixed 'Road Trip' or other event in or near the area.
Also -- if you or any of your relatives are from this Town or County --
(or any like it) -- can you share with us -- more of what you know?
The city of GOULDTOWN, N.J. has been referred to as "A Colony of Mulattoes";
and traces it's history back more than 250 years; and most of it's residents have been
found to be largely the descendants of four Mulatto families that have intermarried
for more than 200 years with only an occasional infiltration of other blood.
These four families were named Gould, Pierce, Murray , and Cuff.
The Goulds are believed to be descendants of John Fenwick,
Quaker proprietor of the "Salem Tenth" in West New Jersey, who
colonized this region.Elizabeth Adams, a White granddaughter of
Fenwick, who inherited 500 acres of land and married a Black man
named Gould, is considered the founder of Gouldtown.
Richard and Anthony Pierce, West Indian Mulattoes, also settled here about 1750.
They paid the passage from Holland for White sisters,
Maria and Hannah Van Vaca, and married them upon arrival.
The Murrays are believed to be of Indian descent; and the original Cuff
was a formerly enslaved man who had married the widow
of the man who once held him in trapped in chattel slavery.
The community stretches for several miles along the highway and nearby dirt roads
A book has been written about Gouldtown, NJ:
"The Gouldtown Book" can be purchased at the: Fairfield Township Board of Eduction
(Fairton Primary School), Ramah Road, Bridgeton, NJ 08302.
Phone number 856-451-4990, ask to speak with 'Carol Gould'.
In addition, a film has been made about Gouldtown , NJ :
The Film `Gouldtown: A Mulatto Settlement'
was directed by Kathleen Collins-Prettyman
[a.k.a. Kathleen ( Conway ) Collins (Prettyman)]
who was a playwright, scriptwriter, filmmaker,
director, novelist, short story writer, and educator.
Photos are taken from the article entitled
`America's Oldest "Negro" Community'
"Gouldtown traces it's history back 250
years to an Inter-Racial Marriage"
'Ebony' magazine / February, 1952 Edition
For a view at the individual photographs
of Gouldtown, N.J. click here:
More Information about filmmake, Kathleen Conwell
director of the film `Gouldtown: A Mulatto Settlement':
Born Kathleen Conwell in Jersey City, she was
the daughter of Frank and Loretta Conwell.
Her father, who had worked as a mortician, then
became the principal of a high school now named after him;
and later became the first New Jersey state legislator who
was also a member of the African-American Ethnic grouping.
In 1963, after receiving her BA in philosophy and religion from
Skidmore College, Collins worked on southern voter registration
for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
In 1966 she earned an MA in French literature and cinema
through the Middle-bury program at Paris 's Sorbonne.
Joining the editorial and production staff at a
New York City Public Broadcasting Service station,
Collins worked as a film editor and began writing stories.
In 1974, soon after ending her marriage to Douglas Collins,
she became a professor of film history and
screenwriting at the City College of New York.
Adapting Henry H. Roth's fiction for the screen
in The Cruz Brothers and Mrs. Malloy (1980),
Collins became the first African-American woman to
write, direct, and produce a full-length feature film.
Her film won first prize at the Sinking Creek Film Festival.
Collins's second feature, Losing Ground (1982), directed, co-produced,
and based on an original screenplay by her, won Portugal's
Figueroa de Foz Film Festival and garnered international acclaim.
(Her screenplay, which differs in some significant ways from
the film, is included in Screenplays of the African-American
Experience, 1991, edited by Phyllis Rauch Klotman.)
While making films, Collins produced equally remarkable drama.
In the Midnight Hour (1981) portrayed a middle-class
black family at the outset of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Brothers (1982) was named one of the twelve outstanding plays
of the season by the Theatre Communications Group and published
in Margaret B.Wilkerson's Nine Plays by Black Women (1986).
It delineates the impact of racism and sexism on a middle-class
black family from 1948 to 1968 as articulated by six
intelligent, witty, and strikingly different women.
The brothers themselves, though never seen, are
vibrant presences through the women's remarks.
In 1983 Collins reencountered Alfred Prettyman whom she had
known twenty years earlier and four years later they were married.
One week after their marriage, she learned that she had cancer.
At the time of her death, she had completed a new screenplay,
Conversations with Julie, her sixth stage play, Waiting for
Jane, and a final draft of her novel, Lollie: A Suburban Tale.
As more of her work appears, her already fine reputation
as filmmaker and playwright will surely rise and be
further enhanced by a new reputation in fiction.
Timeline of Kathleen Collins-Prettyman's Career:
Kathleen Collins was the first African-American
woman to make and release a feature film.
Kathleen Collins Prettyman completes graduate film studies at the Sorbonne in France and
unsuccessfully shops her feature-film script, Women, Sisters, and Friends, in Hollywood .
Kathleen Collins Prettyman directs The Cruz Brothers and
Miss Malloy, a 57-minute film adapted from a short story.
Kathleen Collins Prettyman directs her first feature, Losing Ground.
1986 / 1988:
Kathleen Collins Prettyman directs Gouldtown: A Mulatto Settlement
Links to more information about Gouldtown, NJ
(as well as to a few other 'Tri-Racial Isolate' Communities)