Colonel Theunis Dey was a descendant of Dutch settlers who came from Amsterdam, Holland, to New Amsterdam in the seventeenth century. The Colonel's great-great grandparents are the first Dey family recorded in the New World: "Dirck Janse Dey married Jannetje in 1641."

Four generations later, in 1726, Theunis Dey was born near Preakness, New Jersey. In the decade between 1740 and 1750, Theunis' father constructed the family home, located about 2 miles from Paterson, New Jersey. This home is known to this day as the "Dey Mansion." When Theunis married Hester Schuyler in 1751, the couple settled into the family home where their ten children were born. Five sons joined their father in service during the War of Independence.

Theunis Dey became Colonel of the Bergen County (New Jersey) Militia at the beginning of the American Revolution and served with staunch and unswerving loyalty. General George Washington entrusted him with the supervision and safety of the territory of the westerly side of the Hudson River above New York Bay. The relationship of confidence between the two developed into intimate friendship, and the General established his headquarters for 3 months at the Dey Mansion around 1780 while the American Army was encamped along the Passaic River.

The Dey Mansion structure was restored, along with many of its furnishings, and was designated a historical monument in 1933. It is under the supervision of the Passaic County (NJ) Park Commission and is open to visitors almost daily.

The Colonel Theunis Dey Chapter was organized on October 15, 1966, by Alva Dey Butler (Mrs. John P.), who was Organizing Regent.


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