Possible Room where Jonathan Hasbrouck died on July 31, 1780-HABS/HAER
During my twenty years of research, two books, and many articles about Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck, there seems to finally be a renewed interest in his life. Sometimes while I am lecturing, individuals want to talk to find out more information about him. The most frequently asked questions are what he looked liked? Are there any surviving portraits? How did he die? What better day to address this then on the 234th anniversary of his death.
What we know about Jonathan Hasbrouck’s physical characteristics and death come by way of his brother Abraham Hasbrouck who lived in Kingston, New York. Abraham for most of his life kept a diary of important events. Some of these events were related to the weather, family history, and deaths. It would seem from reading the diary, of which there are many copies, that Abraham was present at the deaths of all his brothers and sisters. One of those was his youngest brother Jonathan.
Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck lived in the present day City of Newburgh with his wife Tryntje, as well as his surviving children; Isaac, Mary, Jonathan, Jr., Cornelius, and Rachel. His field stone home is still standing and later became Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh in 1782. Today it is a state historic site and is located on 84 Liberty Street in Newburgh. It is important to point out that Jonathan did not survive to see his home become a military headquarters for Washington.
In the summer of 1780, Jonathan was 58 years old. He was a successful merchant, slave owner, a former militia colonel, as well as owning extensive properties, and mills on Quassaick Creek . His mills were used by the army, and he made a lot of money because Newburgh had become a depot for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. His brother recorded that Jonathan was 6’4” “well shapen and proportioned of body, good features, full visage or face but brown of complexion, dark blue eyes, black hair, with a small curl.” He continued that his brother was strong and tended, when he was younger, to be “corpulent and fat,” but because of “many sicknesses or disorders” the last 30 years he was not so anymore. The most recent illness occurring in 1777.
Abraham is silent about these sicknesses other than in 1777, when he had “great issue flowing from his breast.” Some have speculated that exposure to the elements, while stationed at Fort Montgomery the year before, contributed to him developing pneumonia. It is evident from his correspondence with George Clinton, in the early summer of 1777, that he was in poor health. He concluded his letter with, “ I should see you myself , but as my state of health is at present I am entirely unable.” He eventually recovered until the summer of 1780.
When Jonathan actually became ill, in 1780, is open to conjecture because in various transcriptions of his brother’s diary the time period varies. The original diary is considered lost at this time. However, the version in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s collections(NYG&B) states that the illness lasted three weeks starting on a Sabbath. This would have placed the beginning of Jonathan’s illness on either July 9 or 16. The onset of the illness was a sudden stoppage of water (urine). He was in dreadful pain and Doctors Osburn(Osborne) and Bard were summoned to the Hasbrouck’s home which was considered quite out of town. The passage describing the procedure to gain some relief for Jonathan is omitted from the NYG&B transcription, but is included in Kenneth E. Hasbrouck’s which he copied from Joseph E. Hasbrouck.
The doctors did draw his water or urine from him with an instrument called “the catheter and repeated it several times or frequently during his illness.” However, by July 29, even with the catheter, urine,”would not run from him.” Abraham reported that, “his urine or water was so thick of gravel and matter or corruption that it could not be drawn from him by said instrument.” What he was diagnosed with was “the gravel and an ulcer in the neck of his bladder.” Although Jonathan suffered terribly his brother recorded that he “retained his sense or judgment until his last dying hour,” which came at 12:30 am on July 31, 1780.
After a short service Jonathan was buried on Tuesday, “upon the burying place on his own land, lying alongside two of his sons” (Abraham and Joseph died in 1772). This burying ground was located between “his house and the North River.” During the early 19th century the Hasbrouck Burying Ground was moved.
According to, the late City of Newburgh Historian, A. Elwood Corning, the Hasbrouck burying ground was torn up during construction on Colden Street. Efforts were made to remove as many remains as possible. However, the remains of Jonathan and his wife Tryntje were never located. During road work, a skeleton was found and by some proclaimed as those of Jonathan Hasbrouck.
An article written in the Sunday Telegraph in 1899, reported that George W. Shaw remembered, as a boy, men working in the area of the Old Hasbrouck property where it was known the family burying ground had been located. The workmen found a full skeleton, which again it was believed to be the skeleton of Col. Hasbrouck. This is because the other family remains had been found in the same area and removed to the Old Town Cemetery. Charles H. Hasbrouck, a great-grandson of Colonel Hasbrouck’s stated, in the same paper, that neither Jonathan nor the remains of his wife were ever found creating doubt in his mind as to what name should be attached to the remains. These remains, which were never identified, were buried in St. George’s Cemetery under an old Sycamore Tree which was still standing as of six years ago when I last looked.
Posted in Cemeteries, City of Kingston, City of Newburgh, Historic Sites, Hudson River, Landmarks, Monuments, Museums, Orange County, Strange Stories, Ulster County, Uncategorized Tagged A.J. Schenkman, Abraham Hasbrouck, Cornelius Hasbrouck, Fort Montgomery, George Clinton, Hasbrouck Family, Isaac Hasbrouck, Jonathan Hasbrouck, Kingston, Mary Hasbrouck, New York, Rachel Hasbrouck, Tryntje DuBois Hasbrouck, Washington's Headquarters in Newburgh: Home to a Revolution
Gumaer Cemetery-Judy Gumaer Testa
GODEFFROY, NY – The William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s Roadside Marker Program has recognized the Gumaer Cemetery as a significant part of New York State history by awarding a grant to issue a historical marker. This designation honors the Gumaer Cemetery as an important and educational part of local New York history.
The Gumaer Cemetery qualifies for the honor and distinction of having historic significance between the years 1740-1914. The Cemetery is the burial location for one of the earliest settlements in western Orange County, New York; the Peenpack Patent (Magheckemeck) founded in 1697 and contains some of the remains of members of the original Consistory of the Reformed Dutch Church of Magheckemeck, now known as the Deerpark Reformed Church.
A brief dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held on Saturday, August 9th, 1:00 pm, at the Gumaer Cemetery located in Godeffroy, Town of Deerpark, New York.
The Gumaer Cemetery has been undergoing maintenance since 2010 through a trust made by the bequest of the late Kenneth I. Gumaer Sr., DVM via a grant from the Community Foundation of Orange & Sullivan to the Minisink Valley Historical Society.
For further information regarding the dedication ceremony kindly contact Norma Schadt, Town of Deerpark Historian at (845)754-8070 or Nancy Conod, Executive Director of the Minisink Valley Historical Society at (845)856-2375.
In 1909, following years of forest fires that severely damaged the state’s woodlands, a new system of fire management was enacted in New York that included stricter regulation of industries, including railroads, and a network of fire observation towers in the Catskills and Adirondacks. From their perches high above the forest, fire observers could spot potential hazards and report on conditions in the forests they monitored.
An early postcard showing the first observation tower on Belleayre Mountain in Pine Hill. Author's collection.
One of the first fire towers in Ulster County was the observatory at Belleayre (also known as Belle Ayre) in Pine Hill, part of the town of Shandaken. At first, the tower was privately owned by Eugene E. Howe, a successful lawyer who amassed more than 4,200 acres of land on the mountain from the Belle Ayre Conservation Company and other private clubs. Though many of the first observatories were simple wooden platforms, Howe’s tower stood 65 feet tall and was built of steel. It stood at the summit of Belleayre Mountain, at 3375 feet. The state’s Forest, Fish and Game Commission took over the tower in 1909, along with the Balsam Lake Mountain Tower in the town of Hardenburgh.
Each fire observation tower was staffed with a fire observer, who remained on site from spring until late October. Early observers camped out in tents by their towers, until the state built a series of cabins at each observation site.Charles Y. Persons was the first fire observer at the Belleayre tower, hired at a salary of $50.00 a month. The tower remained staffed until 1970.
In 1930, the original tower was replaced by another steel tower. The new tower stood 73 foot tall, and was the tallest in the area at that time. At the same time, a new cabin for the fire observer was constructed on the site. Fire towers became popular with hikers and by the mid-1930s, more than 1,500 hikers were visiting the Belleayre tower each year, as noted in the registers kept by the fire observers.
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps was called upon to construct a number of trails for skiing in the Catskill Mountains. One of the trails they constructed was the “Belle Ayre run,” which started at the fire tower.
Additional public access to the tower came in the 1940s with the opening of the state’s Belleayre Ski Center. The Catskill Mountain News reported in July of 1949 that “Harold Persons of Pine Hill was named as a foreman of work clearing woods and fields at the site of the new chair lift on Belle Ayre mountain. Work began Tuesday. Persons is the son of Charles Persons, who was the first observer appointed to the Belle Ayre fire tower more than 40 years ago. The elder Persons served on that post until his retirement after 21 years of service. Another son, Walton, then held the post for the next 14 years, until he, too, was retired a few years ago.”
In 1950, the Belleayre Ski Center, home to the state’s only chair lift, began offering summer visitors to the region a unique experience. The 3,000 long lift, containing 82 chairs, brought visitors to the summit of the mountain in about 8 minutes. At the summit, guest could find a picnic area and were encouraged to hike to the fire tower, which stood roughly a quarter of a mile away.
Staffing of the observation tower was discontinued by the state in 1970 and the Belleayre Mountain Fire Tower was officially closed in 1984. Though some of the other fire observation towers in the Catskills managed to survive through the efforts of conservation groups, because of extensive damage by vandals the state deemed the Belleayre tower unsafe and it was dismantled in 1985.
An undated postcard from the New York State Conservation Commission. Author's collection.
NEW PALTZ, NY – Historic Huguenot Street recently announced the return of Artists on the Street, an all-day plein air event showcasing the talents of over 15 renowned Hudson Valley artists. The event, which premiered last August, is an opportunity for the public to watch and engage with local artists as they work, creating paintings and watercolors inspired by the landscape of the National Historic Landmark District.
A number of last year’s artists are returning for the second annual event on Saturday, August 9, including Kevin Cook, Mira Fink, and E. S. DeSanna. Maps will be provided designating the location of each artist across the site.
“We are proud to once again present this engaging program at Historic Huguenot Street, one that celebrates the ongoing cultural richness of our region and the extraordinary talent of our local artists,” said Dr. Taylor Stoermer, Director of Strategy, Development, and Historic Interpretation at Historic Huguenot Street. “It’s a testament to the ongoing creative vitality that the New Paltz region inspires, which has brought residents and visitors here for centuries. We feel so fortunate to be a part of that tradition.”
At 4pm, artists will bring their work to the DuBois Fort (81 Huguenot Street) to be displayed during an hour-long catered reception. The event is free and open to the public, rain or shine.
A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres that was the heart of the original 1678 settlement, including seven stone houses that date to the early eighteenth century. It was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve their French and Dutch heritage. Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, conserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families, from the sixteenth century to today.
Ulster County Court House-A.J. Schenkman
I spend a lot of time writing about the wicked of Ulster County and the crimes they committed. Every so often I like to profile those individuals that were charged with the task of bringing the wicked to justice. One of those individuals was Ulster County Sheriff Shultis.
Edgar Theodore Shultis was Sheriff of Ulster County from 1915-1918, when automobiles were new equipment for police officers. Even telephones were not available to every officer tracking down a criminal. Car phones, walkie-talkies, and car radios were luxuries that would not be available long into the future. Then as now, the reward for a day’s hard work was placing the wicked in jail where they belonged. One such individual was Bad Bill Monroe.
Ulster County Sheriff Edgar T. Shultis was an accomplished man before becoming the head law enforcement official in Ulster County. Born in Woodstock on October 28, 1876; he moved to Kingston in 1900. He maintained a residence with his wife Margaret Larkin at 100 Maiden Lane. Shultis was the president and treasurer of the Binnewater Lake Ice Company which, according to the company website, he founded with Walter Crane in 1910. He became the sheriff five years later in 1915. It was while sheriff that he also directed the draft in the county during World War I. Shultis also became the administrator for rationing in the county.
Sheriff Shultis had been at his job for about a year when he received a complaint about an individual known to Ulster County Sheriffs dating back to Zadoc Pratt Boice. This individual was none other than Bill Monroe. His monikers were “Gardiner’s Desperado” or plain “Big Bad Bill.” He was a constant menace to the inhabitants of Plattekill and those living in the vicinity of New Paltz. This was especially true, as one paper proclaimed, “when he had been drinking hard cider and other joy water.”
In addition to attacking his wife in December 1916, Monroe menaced several area business including firing his gun in the White Cross Creamery in Plattekill. All the sheriff had to go on was a note that Bill’s wife had found. It stated that he had left the area never to return. Shultis knew better than to believe the outlaw’s letters. Once before he had tried to fake his own death by way of a letter sent to the newspapers. The sheriff rounded up Undersheriff Hornbeck and the night jailer Seth Jocelyn. It was the afternoon of December 28, 1916. All three men decided it was best to wait for the evening before attempting to arrest Monroe.
The evening of December 28, the men drove out to Monroe’s home in Plattekill. Monroe was not there. Leads from neighbors and those living in Plattekill, took the three men to Newburgh and finally “Rock Cut four miles west from Orange Lake.” It was in a house they found the outlaw. The Kingston Daily Freeman stated that the sheriff yelled into the house “Bill! Get up, put on your shoes and come along!” Slowly, the front door opened and out walked Bill Monroe. He allowed the jailer to slap the cuffs on him without saying a word.
Once in front of Justice Ostrander in the wee hours of December 29, Monroe plead not guilty. The court was adjourned until Saturday December 30, at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. The case against Big Bad Bill Monroe was considered time served and he was released. It appears, to the relief of Plattekill, that by the autumn of 1917, Monroe was making mischief in Goshen located in Orange County. He served 30 days in jail for assault.
Shultis continued a distinguished life after leaving his post as sheriff. He would become county treasurer in 1928 and later supervisor of the 11th Ward in Kingston. In addition he was on the board of directors for the Rondout Savings Bank for 45 years. Edgar T. Shultis passed away on August 25 1968. He was interred next to his wife in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Kingston.
Posted in Bringing the Wicked to Justice, Education, Orange County, Strange Stories, Town of Newburgh, Town of Plattekill, Ulster County, Uncategorized Tagged Bill Monroe, Scott Hornbeck, Seth Jocelyn, Sheriff Schutis
“It is a strange sight, the coffin of a soldier, wrapped in a battle-flag lying in a Friend’s meeting-house.” From Reverend O.B Frothingham’s burial address at the funeral of Quaker brothers Edward Hallock Ketcham and John Townsend Ketcham.
The American Civil War brought to light a range of conflicting emotions in the large Quaker communities of Ulster County, especially once young men of the faith enlisted in the war effort at the risk of being removed from their church. Thought the basic tenants of the faith precluded participation in conflict, an ardent belief in the abolition of slavery prompted some Quakers to enlist. In the town of Marlborough, many young men joined the 80th New York Volunteers, the 120th Regiment or others that mustered out of the Hudson Valley. Among those men were brothers Edward Hallock Ketcham and John Townsend Ketcham (known as Jack) and their cousin, Nehemiah Hallock Mann, all of whom were practicing Quakers.
Edward Hallock Ketcham. Image in the public domain.
Edward and John believed strongly in abolition and felt it their duty to fight for the cause by going to war. They were hesitant, however to leave their widowed mother alone and so determined that as the eldest Edward should be the one to go, while John would remain behind to take care of the household. Supposedly, as both brothers felt torn between their responsibilities, they drew lots to determine who should be the one to leave for battle. Edward was the one to muster out from the Marlborough hamlet of Milton on August 19, 1862, as a member of the 120th Regiment of New York Infantry, Company A, under Colonel George Sharpe. A second lieutenant, Edward was known to write home to his mother and brother for extra money so that he could purchase needed items “for the boys” serving beneath him, who were often short on rations. Edward also served as a recruiter, focusing on areas of the state where few men had enlisted. One of the towns he served was Marlborough, where both he and Sharpe were convinced several young men to enlist.
Once at the front, Edward advised his younger brother not to join him, for “our mother, in her declining years, has the right to one of her sons, at least, and when I left home I thought that you would stay.” Despite Edward’s plea, Jack enlisted soon after, writing that “if this struggle goes against us, and I at home, like a miserable clod-hopper, who can’t see outside of his own fences, the consciousness of not having done my duty would come down upon me like the brand of Cain.” Jack Hallock served as a second lieutenant in the Fourth New York Cavalry, Company M; another relative, their cousin Nehemiah Hallock Mann of Milton, also enlisted around this time, and served as a Captain in the same regiment.
The three young men kept in contact as best they could throughout their service and often wrote home to other family members with news of having met during various battles. Both Edward and Jack wrote frequently to their beloved mother, Martha Townsend Hallock. On the march from Falmouth in 1863, just before the fateful battle of Gettysburg, the brothers camped less than two miles apart from one another and wrote to their mother of the joy they had in being so close.
In his final letter to his mother, dated June 23, 1863, Edward wrote that it was not the soldiers who should be pitied, but rather it was “the young and strong at home, who feel that this fight needs their help, while circumstances they cannot control keep them away, that are deserving pity!” Within a week, Lieutenant Edward Ketcham was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg, the first in his regiment to be stuck down. According to witnesses, his final words were “a dead man is better than a living coward,” in response to another officer’s plea to stay out of the line of fire.
- John Townsend Ketcham. Image in the public domain.
Edward lay on the field for thirty-six hours following his death; members of his regiment dragged his body beneath a tree but were unable to bury him in the midst of battle. Upon hearing of his brother’s fate, John rushed to the site where his brother had fallen and searched for several hours despite gunfire from the opposing army. He found his brother the next day underneath the tree, “on his back, his hands peacefully on his breast.” With help from several men, John buried his brother under a nearby oak tree, “in his soldier’s uniform, wrapped in a shelter-tent” and carved Edward’s name and regiment into a piece of wood. Jack sent a telegraph to his mother, followed by a lengthier letter just days after the battle, describing what had happened to his brother and reaffirming the brothers’ belief in the cause: “He died to give every other man the right to his own manhood – a precious sacrifice – for in him were heroism, a brave heart and an iron will…Oh, God! Thy price for freedom is a dear one!”
Jack later wrote his mother regarding his cousin, Captain Nehemiah Mann, who had been wounded in the Battle of Upperville in Virginia. In an attack upon several Confederate soldiers, Mann suffered a saber wound to the face and was shot through his left shoulder. Jack played a role in saving his cousin, as he fought against enemy soldiers until he could reach his cousin and help him to safety. In a letter written to Martha on June 23, 1863, Jack described Mann as calm in battle and in full command of his men, writing “such men as John Paul Jones and Ethan Allen were made of the same stuff as he.”
- Images of Nehemiah Hallock Mann. Courtesy of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center.
He wrote at least two more letters home, his final dated July 18, 1863. In it, he described his pleasure at learning that his cousins Valentine Hallock and Townsend Sherman had traveled to Pennsylvania to retrieve his brother’s body and wrote that his mother must surely be proud of the service her sons had offered to their country, “I can, perhaps, do but little, but while the result still hangs in the balance, I know, in thy heart of hearts, thee is glad I am one of this army, and where is heard the tramp of their marching feet, there am I.”
Not long after writing these words, Jack fell ill and spent several weeks in the Seminary Hospital in Washington, D.C. Martha Hallock made the trip to see her son and spent time by his side. Though still in a weakened state, Jack said his farewell to his mother and returned to his regiment, eager to continue the fight although his body was still healing. It would be the last time they would see each other; only three week later, Jack was captured and taken as a prisoner of war in the notorious Libby Prison. Soon after he developed a fever and, given the poor conditions of the prison including limited rations and overcrowding, he died within a matter of weeks, on October 8, 1863. Like his brother before him, Jack was buried in a makeshift grave. His body was exhumed several months later and brought to Milton, where a funeral service was held for both brothers.
Nehemiah Mann recovered from the wounds earned at Upperville, but would be killed by a bullet through the heart in August 1864 during battle near Cedarville, Virginia. His body was also returned to Milton for burial near his cousins. The three young men were laid to rest in the Hicksite Friends Cemetery, one of the two Quaker cemeteries in Milton, and large monuments was erected in their honor.
The service and sacrifice of the three men was captured in the 1866 book, The Fighting Quakers: A True Story of The War for Our Union, by A.J.H. Duganne, a veteran of the Civil War. Duganne dedicated the book the “The Mothers of New York State, Who Gave Their Sons to the Union.” In his introduction to the book, Duganne noted that the names of the Ketcham brothers and their cousin Nehemiah Mann would remain immortal for their strength in fighting for the freedom for all men –a belief born of a faith that at the same time discouraged war: “not that their services were more arduous, or their deaths more heroic, than were those of thousands of others in the Federal ranks, but that they were representatives if a Society which for two centuries has opposed war, strife and bloodshed; and that their names will live as ‘The Fighting Quakers.’”
- Three large monuments in the Friends (Hicksite) Cemetery in Milton are those of (l-r) Captain Nehemiah Hallock Mann, Lieutenant Edward Hallock Ketcham and Second Lieutenant John Townsend Ketcham. Photo by Elizabeth Werlau.