8. It is the Oldest Intact Site of Irish Habitation in NYC

A servant’s bedroom

The Tredwells, being a wealthy family, had the privilege of employing servants in their home. Four women, mostly Irish immigrants, were usually in residence at the Merchant’s House, and the staff changed about every ten years. What the museum has learned about these women has been gleaned from census records, as the women themselves left no written records that could be found.

Households like the Tredwells’ would have likely employed a cook and cook’s helper to tend to the cooking, table setting, and laundry, and a parlor maid, and “second girl” who took care of the parlor floor and bedrooms. Working for just three to four dollars a month, the women were on call 24/7, performing demanding tasks every day. Still, working in a domestic home had its advantages over factory life. For the most part, the work was not dangerous and the women had safe beds to sleep in at night.