Eli Hasbrouck of Hasbrouck House (Part II)


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In 1850, after the State of New York took possession of the Hasbrouck House for back taxes. Eli Hasbrouck appeared in various publications directly related to his cultivation of grapes. He grew what he called the Anna Grape in his garden. It was prized as a variety because it was free from rot. Eli was drawn to the grape because of it color. A.J. Downing thought highly of it. It was said about the grape, “the raisins had the sweet rich flavor and aroma of those from the Muscat of Alexandria.”

Eli married again in 1855; the same year his brother Jonathan died. He married Margaret Van Wyck, of Fishkill, on February 13. The same time period he re-married, Eli was listed in the census as being worth $18,000. His occupation recorded as “gentleman.” Eli was in fact a merchant and farmer. Where Eli lived during this time was listed in business directories as 167 Liberty Street in Newburgh. In addition to his large family, his sister Mary also lived with the family until her death in 1856.

If his late brother lost the family homestead because of bad business deals and  loans, Eli was well off enough to have a servant/laborer. He had at least three servants. Samuel Carrier of Connecticut seemed to pose a problem for Eli . He wrote, [Carrier] “ has been intemperate which is the cause of his poverty. He is likewise troubled with rheumatism.” This was sworn to by Eli and sent to the Alms-House. His other two servants were both from Ireland. They were Mary Flanagan and William Moore.

By 1860, Eli’s wealth continued to grow. The 1860 census lists a combined worth of $30,000. This would be about a million dollars in 2014 dollars. He continued to reside at 167 Liberty Street, and was also involved in the civic affairs of Newburgh. This included being a member of the Centennial Committee, and a volunteer firefighter His son and namesake most likely worked in the dry goods business that was started by  Eli Hasbrouck. His love of Newburgh extended to the home where he was born.

According to E.M. Ruttenber, a “One arm-chair-one of the set in use in Head-quarters during Washington’s occupation, and known as “Washington’s Chair” was presented to Washington’s Headquarters by Eli Hasbrouck. A portrait of Eli was also gifted to the museum. Finally, a fire shovel remained in the house. Most likely, Eli told the curators that it had never been removed from the house, and was there during Washington’s stay at the home.

Towards the end of the century Eli’s combined worth almost doubled from the 1860 census to $53,000. He had a domestic servant as well as a gardener. Mary, a daughter, born in 1834, still lived at home. She is listed  in the 1870 census as without an occupation. Eli listed himself as a retired merchant. Eli Hasbrouck passed away the following year at his home on Liberty Street on December 28, 1871. Eli was interred in the Old Town Cemetery in Newburgh. His place of burial is marked by a large obelisk. He is buried along with his first wife and two children who predeceased  him.

The obituary in the newspaper was short, “relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral at his late residence No. 167 Liberty Saturday December 30, 3 p.m.” After Eli died, Margaret remained in the home on Liberty Street for a time. Census records show that her sister Cornelia moved in with her shortly after the death of Eli. However, post 1873, to the end of her life; she appears to reside at 73 Grand Street. She died March 23, 1897. The Newburgh Telegraph remembered, “She died strong in the faith of the gospel, desiring ‘To depart and to be with Christ’ and we fully believe that when he shall appear, she also will appear with his Glory”

Eli Hasbrouck was a well known individual, in Newburgh, during his long life. He was also involved in the civic affairs of Newburgh. It is because of Eli that we know some of the Hasbrouck history of Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh. His own home no longer exists. In fact, little is left of Eli’s life other than his obelisk  in the Old Town Cemetery.

Illustrations: Portrait of Eli Hasbrouck donated to WHQ, SHS Courtesy of WHQ, SHS; Eli Hasbrouck’s Grave.

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