Hasbrouck House: The Book of Eli

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When people visit Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, New York  they are also visiting a Hasbrouck house. This home and farm, from the 18th to mid -19th centuries, belonged to the Hasbrouck Family until it was acquired by New York State.

Some of what we know about the Hasbrouck’s life there came by way of Eli Hasbrouck.

Eli was the great-grandson of one of the founders of New Paltz named Abraham Hasbrouck. He is known by local historians as “Abraham the Patentee,” a reference to the patent or land grant that he helped secure. Abraham the Patentee’s family had fled Europe because of religious persecution (they were Protestants in a largely Catholic country). Abraham’s first son was named Joseph. He married Elsie Schoonmaker in 1706.Shortly after the couple married they secured a large grant of land in Guilford which was just outside New Paltz. Hasbrouck and Schoonmaker had a large family of ten children, the last child was Jonathan Hasbrouck born in 1722.

Jonathan Hasbrouck’s mother Elsie purchased property in what is today Newburgh, New York in 1749. Jonathan would not only enlarge the stone home that was already on the property, but spent a lifetime acquiring property. By 1767, he was listed on tax records as one the wealthiest individuals in Newburgh. He married Tryntje DuBois in 1751, and the newlyweds moved to Newburgh. They had several children; Joseph, Mary, Rachel, Cornelius, Jonathan, Isaac and Abraham.

Isaac was born on September 23, 1761. It was Isaac who eventually took possession of the fieldstone home of his father. Roughly four years after his father’s death, in 1784, Isaac married Hannah Birdsall. The couple would have five children Jonathan III (1785), Sarah (1788), Israel (1789), Rachel (1793),  Eli (1796), and  Mary (1799).

Eli, according to the family bible, was born on March 17, 1796, in the family’s old stone house. When Eli was ten years old his father died. A year later his mother died. Still considered a minor, Francis Crawford was appointed Eli’s guardian. Historic Huguenot Street’s archives holds an itemized account between Jonathan Hasbrouck III, and Eli. It was countersigned by Crawford. This document involved the care of Eli Hasbrouck by his brother. Most likely Eli lived with his brother who also owned 3 slaves according the 1810 census.

Jonathan Hasbrouck III inherited the old stone house we know today as Washington’s Headquarters, State Historic Site. Eventually Eli would inherit lands near the old stone house.  He married Hannah Belknap on September 24, 1816. They were married by Rev. Johnston. The couple would have 9 children. However, shortly after their 9th child was born, Hannah died on Monday, September 30, 1839.

In 1849, the State of New York took possession of the home built by Eli’s grandfather. This was because of a default on a loan by Jonathan Hasbrouck. His financial troubles forced him to relocate to New York City. The 1850 census lists him living with one of his sons.  After repeated attempts to save the home, it passed out of the family forever. Eli, seems to have escaped the financial problems that plagued Jonathan III.

Photo: Eli Hasbrouck House, Liberty and Campbell, Newburgh Historical Society.

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