William Van Deursen (1791-1873)


Person Record Title
William Van Deursen (1791-1873)
Given Name
Family Name
Van Deursen
Birth Date
16 May 1791
Death Date
16 February 1873
Biographical Description
William Van Deursen was an enslaver who resided in New Brunswick, NJ. He was a graduate of Queen's College (now Rutgers University), class of 1809, and he served as a trustee of the college for fifty years from 1823-1873. He was a prominent local physician and was active in the New Jersey Medical Society and the Middlesex County Medical Society.

His father Willem (William) Van Deursen (1736-1816) had also been one of the early trustees of Queen's College, and his older brother Staats Van Deursen was the treasurer of the college.

In 1817, William Van Deursen and his brother Staats decided to sell two young Black women to a man named Jacob Klady who was moving from New Brunswick to Ouachita, Louisiana, to establish a plantation there. As the result of William Van Deursen's actions, a 22-year-old woman named Dinah was taken away from New Jersey to Louisiana to work on Klady's plantation. At the same time, his brother Staats sold a woman named Phillis, who was also taken to Louisiana by Klady.

William Van Deursen also served on the New Brunswick City Council. As a councilman, starting on November 7, 1823, he was on a committee that was charged with rounding up free Black people and removing them from New Brunswick. According to City Council minutes for March 5, 1824, his committee was also charged with enforcing a racially specific curfew that prohibited any Black people from being out in the street after ten o'clock on Saturday evenings.
Place of Significance
New Brunswick
Rutgers University
Relationship to Rutgers
Alumnus 1809
Trustee (1823-1873)
Enslaver of
Dinah (b. 1795)
Child of
Willem (William) Van Deursen (1736-1816)
Record Contributor
Jesse Bayker

Linked resources

Items with "Enslaver: William Van Deursen (1791-1873)"
Title Class
1817-08 Sale: Dinah Event
1817-08-30 Removal: Dinah Event
Items with "Sibling of: William Van Deursen (1791-1873)"
Title Class
Staats Van Deursen (b. 1773) Agent
Items with "Enslaved by: William Van Deursen (1791-1873)"
Title Class
Dinah (b. 1795) Agent