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The "Hasbrouck House" and Vicinity.
Its interior construction.
Purchased by the State.
Ceremonies at its Dedication.
as the head-quarters of Washington at the close of the Revolution. From the rickety pi
azza or stoop on the river front may be seen the historic grounds of Fishkill, New Windsor, Plumb Point, Pollopel's Island, and the Beacon Hills; and through the mighty gateway in the Highlands, whose posts are Breakneck and Butter Hills, in altitude fifteen hundred feet, appear glimpses of distant West Point and the amphitheater of mountains which surround it. Let us take a peep
within the venerable mansion; and as the morning sun is shining pleasantly upon the porch, we will there sit down, and glance over the pages of the old clasped volume, the vade mecum and Mentor of our journey.
The front door opens into a large square room, which was used by Washington for his public audiences, and as a dining hall. It is remarkable for the fact that it has seven doors, and only one window. Of the two doors on the left in the picture, the nearest one to the spectator was the entrance to the chief's sitting-room; the other, to his bed-room. There is no plaster ceiling above; the heavy beams, nine inches wide and fourteen deep, completely exposed, give it a strong as well as antique appearance. Properly taken care of,
1 This view is from the northeast, comprising the north gable and east or river front. The house is substantially built of stone, and is now (1850) just one hundred years old. This remark applies only to the portion containing the large room with seven doors, and the two bed-rooms on the north of it. This portion was built in 1750. Afterward a kitchen was built on the south end, and in 1770 an addition was made to it, on the west side, of the same length and height of the old part. The dates of the first and last additions are cut in the stones of the building. The fire-place in the large room is very spacious, "in which," says Mr. Eager, "a small bullock might have been turned upon a spit."* The house has been in the possession of the Hasbrouck family (one of the oldest of the Huguenot families in the county) from the time of its erection until recently, when it was purchased by the State of New York for the purpose of preserving it as a relic of the Revolution. It is placed in charge of the trustees of the village of Newburgh, who are required to expend a certain amount in repairs, ornamenting the grounds, &c. The family residing in the house is employed for the purpose of receiving and attending visitors. The house has been thoroughly repaired since the above sketch was made, under the direction of an advisory committee for its restoration and the embellishment of the grounds. Some of the modern alterations within have been changed, and the whole appearance of the edifice is now as much like that of the era of the Revolution as it is possible to make it. Interesting ceremonies were had upon the occasion of its dedication, on the 4th of July, 1850. There was a civic and military procession. The ceremonies on the green before the house were opened with prayer by Reverend Doctor Johnson, and an address by J. J. Monell, Esq., of Newburgh. While a choir was singing the following last stanza of a beautiful ode, written by Mrs. Monell,
"With a prayer your faith expressing,
Raise our country's flag on high;
Stirring tales of days gone by,"
major-general Scott, who was present, hoisted the American flag upon a lofty staff erected near. Declaration of Independence was read by Honorable F. J. Betts, after which Honorable J. W. Edmonds pronounced an oration, marked by evidences of much historic research. Henceforth this venerated relic belongs to the people of New York; and doubtless its cabinet of Revolutionary remains, already begun, will be augmented by frequent donations, until a museum of rare interest shall be collected there."
⭑ History of Orange County.
Anecdote concerning it.
Lady Washington's Gardening.
Settlement of Newburgh.
this relic of the Revolution may remain another century. The timbers are sound, the walls massive, and the roof and weather-boards were well preserved.
Lady Washington was a resident of the "Hasbrouck House" during the summer of 1783, and, in gratification of her taste for gardening, a large space in front of the house was cultivated by her. Mr. Eager, the historian of Orange county, informed me that within his remembrance the brick borders of her flower-beds remained. Washington, with his lady, left
there about the middle of August, to attend upon Congress, then in session at Princeton, New Jersey, leaving the portion of the Continental army then in service, under the command of General Knox. The commander-in-chief did not return to Newburgh, but made his head-quarters, for a few days in November, at West Point, from whence he reNovember 25, paired to New York and took possession of that city on its evacuation by the British troops.
Orange county was among the first settled portions of the State of New York. It was organized in 1683; its name was given in honor of William, prince of Orange, afterward King of England. The first permanent settlers in the county were Germans, and their original location was in the present town of Newburgh, at a place called by the Indians Quassaic, on a creek of that name, a little below the village. They obtained a patent from Queen Anne, in 1719, for twenty-one hundred and ninety acres, extending north from the Quassaic Creek, and proceeded to lay out a village which they called New Burgh or New
1 In the December number of the New York Mirror for 1834, is an interesting account of this old building, by Gulian C. Verplanck, Esq. He relates the following anecdote connected with this room, which he received from Colonel Nicholas Fish, father of the late governor of the State of New York. Just before La Fayette's death, himself and the American minister, with several of his countrymen, were invited to dine at the house of that distinguished Frenchman, Marbois, who was the French secretary of legation here during the Revolution. At the supper hour the company were shown into a room which contrasted quite oddly with the Parisian elegance of the other apartments where they had spent the evening. A low boarded, painted ceiling, with large beams, a single small, uncurtained window, with numerous small doors, as well as the general style of the whole, gave, at first, the idea of the kitchen, or largest room of a Dutch or Belgian farm-house. On a long rough table was a repast, just as little in keeping with the refined kitchens of Paris as the room was with its architecture. It consisted of a large dish of meat, uncouth-looking pastry, and wine in decanters and bottles, accompanied by glasses and silver mugs, such as indicated other habits and tastes than those of modern Paris. "Do you know where we now are ?" said the host to La Fayette and his companions. They paused for a few minutes in surprise. They had seen something like this before, but when and where? "Ah! the seven doors and one window," said La Fayette, "and the silver camp-goblets, such as the marshals of France used in my youth! We are at Washington's head-quarters on the Hudson, fifty years ago!"
The view here given is from the west door of the dining-hall, looking out of the east door upon the Hudson, the green fields of Fishkill, and the North Beacon of the Highlands, whereon the Americans lighted watch-fires when occasion demanded it. The fire-place on the right is within the area of the room, having a heavy hewn stone for a back-log. The visitor may stand there, and look up the broad-mouthed chimney to the sky above.
First Settlements in Orange County.
Sufferings of the People.
Attack on Minisink.
Town. Five hundred acres were reserved as glebe land, and under favorable auspices the village of Newburgh was founded. The Germans in time became dissatisfied, sold out their patent and dispersed, some going to Pennsylvania, and others to the Mohawk country. Some English, Irish, New Englanders, and a few Huguenots from Ulster filled their places, and flourishing settlements were soon planted along the river, or upon the rich bottoms of the water-courses. They also spread interiorly, and Goshen, Minisink, Wawarsing, and other thriving towns started up in the midst of the red men. The ante-revolutionary history of this section of the state is full of stirring incidents, for the wily Indian, properly suspicious of the pale faces, was ever on the alert to do them damage; and the privations, alarms, and sufferings of those who opened the fertile bosom of the country to the sun and rain, and spread broad acres of cultivation where the deer grazed in shady solitudes, compose a web of romance wonderful indeed. And when the Revolution broke out, and the savages of the Mohawk Valley and of Western New York were let loose upon the remote settlements, the people of Orange county were intense sufferers, particularly those upon its frontier settlements, in the direction of the wilderness. The Tories and their savage associates spread terror in every direction, and in Wawarsing and vicinity many patriots and their families were the victims of ambuscade or open attack. But I will not repeat a tale of horror such as we have already considered in viewing the history of the Mohawk Valley. The atroci ties committed in Orange county were but a counterpart in character and horror of the former. Strong houses were barricaded and used as forts; the people went armed by day, and slept armed at night; and almost hourly murder and rapine stalked boldly abroad. It was a time of darkest misery; and not until the Indian power of the West was broken, and the Tories failed to receive their aid, was the district blessed with quiet.
The invasion of Minisink,' alluded to in a former chapter, was one of those prominent links in the chain of Indian and Tory depredations, that I may not pass it over with only brief mention. Here let us consider it. There were very few engaged in the battle that ensued, yet that few fought with wonderful valor, and suffered a terrible slaughter.
Count Pulaski and his legion of cavalry were stationed, during a part of the winter of 1778-9, at Minisink. In February, he was ordered to South Carolina, to join the army under Lincoln. The settlement was thus left wholly unprotected, which being perceived by Brant, the accomplished Mohawk warrior, he resolved to make a descent upon it. During the night of the 19th of July, at the head of sixty Indians, and twenty-seven Tories 1779. disguised as savages, he stole upon the little town, and before the people were aroused from their slumbers he had fired several dwellings. With no means for defense, the inhabitants sought safety in flight to the mountains, leaving their pretty village and all their worldly goods a spoil to the invaders. Their small stockade fort, a mill, and twelve houses and barns were burned, several' persons were killed, some taken prisoners, the orchards and plantations were laid waste, cattle were driven away, and booty of every kind was carried to Grassy Brook, on the Delaware, a few miles above the mouth of the Lackawaxen, where the chief had left the main body of his warriors. When intelligence of this invasion reached Goshen, Doctor Tusten, colonel of the local militia, issued orders to the officers of his regiment to meet him at Minisink the next day, with as many volunteers as they could muster. The call was promptly responded to, and one hundred and forty-nine hardy men were gathered around Tusten the following morning. Many of these were principal gentlemen of the vicinity. A council was held, and it was unanimously determined to pursue the invaders.
1 For details of the trials of the settlers, and the atrocities committed by the Indians and Tories in this section, see a pamphlet published at Rondout, entitled “THE INDIANS; or, Narratives of Massacres, &c., in Wawarsing and its Vicinity during the American Revolution."
* Minisink was one of the most ancient settlements in Orange county. It was in existence as a white settlement as early as 1669, when a severe battle was fought with the Indians on the 22d of July, ninety years, to a day, previous to the conflict in question. From that time until the Revolution it was often the scene of strife with the red men, and almost every dell, and rock, and ancient tree has its local tradition. The place of the ancient settlement is situated about ten miles northwest of Goshen, among the Shawangunk Mountains, between the Wallkill and the Navasink Valleys.
Intemperate zeal of the Volunteers.
Battle of Minisink.
Colonel Tusten, who well knew the skill, prowess, caution, and craftiness of Brant, opposed the measure, as a hazardous undertaking with so small a force. He was overruled, and the debates of the council were cut short by Major Meeker, who mounted his horse, flourished his sword, and shouted, "Let the brave men follow me; the cowards may stay behind!" These words ignited the assembly, and the line of march was immediately formed. They traveled seventeen miles, and then encamped for the night. The next morning, Colonel Hathorn, of the Warwick militia, with a small re-enforcement, joined them. He was Tusten's senior officer, and took the command. They resumed their march at sunrise, and at Half-way Brook came upon the Indian encampment of the previous night; the smoldering watch-fires were still smoking. The number of these fires indicated a large savage force, and the two colonels, with the more prudent of the company, advocated, in council, a return, rather than further pursuit. But excited bravado overcame prudence, and a large majority determined to pursue the Indians; the minority yielded, and the march was resumed.
A scouting party, under Captain Tyler, was sent forward upon the Indian trail. The pursuers were discovered, and a bullet from an unseen foe slew the captain. There was momentary alarm; but the volunteers pressed eagerly onward, and at nine in the morning they hovered upon the high hills overlooking the Delaware near the mouth of the Lackawaxen. The enemy were in full view below, marching in the direction of a fording-place. Hathorn determined to intercept them there, and disposed his men accordingly. The intervening hills hid the belligerents from each other. Brant had watched the movements of his pursuers, and comprehending Hathorn's design, he wheeled his column, and thridding. a deep and narrow ravine which the whites had crossed, brought his whole force in the rear of the Americans. Here he formed an ambuscade, and deliberately selected his battle ground.
The volunteers were surprised and disappointed at not finding the enemy where they expected to, and were marching back when they discovered some of the Indians. One of them, mounted on a horse stolen at Minisink, was shot by a militia-man. This was a signal for action, and the firing soon became general. It was a long and bloody conflict. The Indians were greatly superior in numbers, and a detachment of Hathorn's troops, consisting of one third of the whole, became separated from the rest at the commencement of the engagement. Closer and closer the savages pressed upon the whites, until they were hemmed within the circumference of an acre of ground, upon a rocky hill that sloped on all sides. The ammunition of the militia was stinted, and they were careful not to fire at random and without aim. Their shots were deadly, and many a red man was slain. The conflict beJuly 22, gan at eleven o'clock, and continued until the going down of the sun, on that long 1779. July day. At twilight the battle was yet undecided, but the ammunition of the whites being exhausted, a party of the enemy attacked and broke their hollow square at one corner. The survivors of the conflict attempted to retreat. Behind a ledge of rocks, Doctor Tusten had been dressing the wounds of the injured during the day. There were seventeen men under his care when the retreat commenced. The Indians fell upon them furiously, and all, with the Doctor, were slain. Several who attempted to escape by swimming across the Delaware were shot by the Indians; and of the whole number that went forth, only about thirty returned to relate the dreadful scenes of the day.' This massacre of the wounded is one of the darkest stains upon the memory of Brant, whose honor and humanity were often more conspicuous than that of his Tory allies. He made a weak defense of his conduct by asserting that he offered the Americans good treatment if they would surrender;
The place of conflict is about two miles from the northern bank of the Delaware, and the same distance below the Lechawachsin or Lackawaxen River. It is about three miles from the Barryville station, on the New York and Erie rail-road. The battle ground and the adjacent region continue in the same wild state as of old, and over the rocky knolls and tangled ravines where the Indians and the Goshen militia fought, wild deer roam in abundance, and a panther occasionally leaps upon its prey. The place is too rocky for cultivation, and must ever remain a wilderness. At the Mohackamack Fork (now Port Jervis, on the Del
aware) was a small settlement, and a block-house, called Jersey Fort.
Brant's Defense. Effect of the Massacre.
Salvation of Major Wood. Interment of the Remains of the Slain. Monument.
that he warned them of the fierceness of the thirst for blood that actuated his warriors, and that he could not answer for their conduct after the first shot should be fired; and that his humane proposition was answered by a bullet from an American musket, which pierced his belt.'
Goshen and the surrounding country was filled with the voice of mourning, for the flower of the youth and mature manhood of that region was slain. The massacre made thirty-three widows in the Presbyterian congregation at Goshen. At the recital, a shudder ran throughout the land, and gave keenness to the blade and fierceness to the torch which, a few weeks afterward, desolated the Indian paradise in the country of the Senecas and Cayugas.
Orange county labored much and suffered much in the cause of freedom. Newburgh and New Windsor, within it, having been the chosen quarters of Washington at different times, from December, 1780, until the conclusion of peace in 1783, and a portion of that time the chief cantonment of the American army, the county is a conspicuous point in the history of the war. At the close of 1780, the army was cantoned at three points at Morristown, and at Pompton, in New Jersey, and at Phillipstown, in the Hudson Highlands. Washington established his head-quarters at
MONUMENT AT GOSHEN.2
During the battle, Major Wood, of Goshen, made a masonic sign, by accident, which Brant, who was a Free-mason, perceived and heeded. Wood's life was spared, and as a prisoner he was treated kindly, until the Mohawk chief perceived that he was not a Mason. Then, with withering scorn, Brant looked upon Wood, believing that he had obtained the masonic sign which he used, by deception. It was purely an aceident on the part of Wood. When released, he hastened to become a member of the fraternity by whose instrumentality his life had been spared. The house in which Major Wood lived is yet standing (though much altered), at the foot of the hill north of the rail-way station at Goshen. The house of Roger Townsend, who was among the slain, is also standing, and well preserved. It is in the southern part of the village. The Farmers' Hall Academy, an old brick building, two stories high, and now used for a district school-house, is an object of some interest to the visitor at Goshen, from the circumstance that there Noah Webster, our great lexicographer, once taught school. An old gentleman of the village informed me that he had often seen him at twilight on a summer's evening in the grove on the hill northward of the rail-way station, gathering up the manuscripts which he had been preparing in a retired spot, after school hours.
In 1822, the citizens of Orange county collected the bones of those slain in the battle of Minisink, which had been left forty-three years upon the field of strife, and caused them to be buried near the center of the green at the foot of the main street of the village. On that occasion there was a great gathering of people, estimated at fifteen thousand in number. The cadets from West Point were there, under the command of the late General Worth, then a major. The corner-stone was laid by General Hathorn, one of the survivors of the battle, then eighty years of age. He accompanied the act with a short and feeling address. A funeral oration was pronounced by the Reverend James R. Wilson, now of Newburgh. Over these remains a marble monument was erected. It stands upon three courses of brown freestone, and a stone pavement a few feet square, designed to be surrounded by an iron railing. In consequence of neglecting to erect the railing, the monument has suffered much from the prevailing spirit of vandalism which I have already noticed. Its corners are broken, the inscriptions are mutilated, and the people of Goshen are made to feel many regrets for useless delay in giving that interesting memorial a protection. On the east side of the pedestal is the following inscription:
"ERECTED by the inhabitants of Orange county, 22d July, 1822. Sacred to the memory of their fellowcitizens who fell at the battle of MINISINK, 22d July, 1779."
Upon the other three sides of the pedestal are the following names of the slain : "Benjamin Tusten, colonel; Bezaleel Tyler, Samuel Jones, John Little, John Duncan, Benjamin Vail, captains; John Wood, lieutenant; Nathaniel Finch, adjutant; Ephraim Mastin, Ephraim Middaugh, ensigns; Gabriel Wisner, Esq., Stephen Mead, Mathias Terwilliger, Joshua Lockwood, Ephraim Fergerson, Roger Townsend, Samuel Knapp, James Knapp, Benjamin Bennet, William Barker, Jonathan Pierce, James Little, Joseph Norris, Gilbert Vail, Abraham Shepperd, Joel Decker, Nathan Wade, Simon Wait, Tallmadge, Jacob Dunning, John Carpenter, David Barney, Jonathan Haskell, Abraham Williams,