Tag Archives: Washington’s Headquarters

Washington’s Headquarters:
The Death of Jonathan Hasbrouck


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George Washington-Library of CongressThere are many stories circulating about Newburgh’s Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck (better known today as Washington’s Headquarters). Some are believed true, such as Tryntje Hasbrouck sitting in “sullen silence” when told that her home was chosen as Washington’s Headquarters, and some are simply made-up. One such story involves Washington’s stay at the house from 1782-1783.

General Washington loved horses. In fact he loved to go for rides on his favorite mount whenever possible. The story told to me, after a lecture, involved General Washington, Col. Hasbrouck and Hasbrouck’s sons. They would sometimes go horseback riding together. A favorite stop was the vast Hasbrouck family orchards. Washington, the story goes, loved peaches. Hasbrouck, his sons, and Washington spent hours picking peaches. When enough peaches were picked the Hasbroucks and Washington delighted in feasting on them. This story is obviously false for one simple reason; Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck had died in 1780. Continue reading

Swords in Their Hands:
George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy


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Swords In Their HandsA new book by Dave Richards, Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy (Pisgah Press, 2014) is being hailed as the first book-length account of a plot that can be described as the closest thing to a coup that the United States has ever experienced.

In late 1782, many Revolutionary War officers in the Hudson Highlands had grown angry and frustrated that they had not been paid—for months or even years. With victory in sight, they feared they might never get their back pay and promised pensions, because the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia under the Articles of Confederation, had no authority to raise money. Nationalists wanted Congress to have direct taxation authority, while their opponents insisted that only individual states should have that power. Continue reading

Martha Washington Woman of History Awardees Named


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washingtons headquartersWashington’s Headquarters State Historic Site will present two Martha Washington Woman of History Awards. The 2014 Martha Washington Woman of History Award recipient is author/historian Mary Sudman Donovan.

This award is given each year in honor of Martha Washington, a perennially outstanding woman in history who resided in the Hudson Valley with her husband, General George Washington, during the last days of the Revolutionary War. Continue reading

Presidents Weekend:
Events At Knox’s HQ, New Windsor Cantonment


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soldier 2Knox’s Headquarters in Newburgh and the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site will be offering a full schedule of activities for the Presidents’ weekend. New Windsor Cantonment was the final encampment of the northern Continental Army, in 1782-83. Here over 7,000 soldiers and 500 family members endured the winter and prepared for a renewal of the fighting in the spring. Instead peace was proclaimed and after 8 long years of war they returned home.

Knox’s Headquarters, the elegant 1754 combination English and Dutch style home, of the prosperous merchant miller John Ellison, was one of the longest occupied military headquarters of the Revolutionary War. Continental Army Generals, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox and Horatio Gates used the house as headquarters, during various periods between 1779-1783. Continue reading

Old Town Cemetery: Preserving A Newburgh Treasure


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The Old Town Cemetery is situated between Grand, Liberty, and South Streets, where it has sat for over two hundred years. It has borne witness to an ever-changing Newburgh, from a sleepy village to a bustling city. Many people are unaware of this gem in the heart of Newburgh and how close they came to losing it forever, but thanks to concerned citizens in Newburgh, its future is looking brighter. Continue reading

Conservancy Seeks Tower of Victory Contributions


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The Palisades Parks Conservancy has announced the launch of a capital campaign to raise funds for the restoration of the Tower of Victory at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, NY.

For 125 years The Tower of Victory has stood as the nation’s only monument to the lasting peace that came after the end of the Revolutionary War.  Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of the President and then Secretary of War, commissioned John Hemingway Duncan, one of the nation’s most renowned architects at that time, to design the massive stone arched structure that hosts bronzes sculpted by William Rudolf O’Donovan, the pre-eminent monumental sculptor of the day. It stands on the property where General Washington created the “Badge of Military Merit” now called the Purple Heart.

“Unfortunately for the Tower, time and weather have not been kind,” a statement to the press says “Without intervention to restore the stone structure, replace the roof, and eliminate water penetration, this piece of the Hudson Valley’s – and the nation’s – history could be lost for good.”

To fully restore the Tower, the Conservancy is hoping to raise $1.5 million dollars. Already, the Conservancy has secured $450,000 through grants and individual donations, but is now seeking the public’s help. You can donate to the campaign by mail or by e-mail.

To donate by mail, print and mail the attached form to the Palisades Parks Conservancy, P.O. Box 427, 3006 Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain, NY 10911.

To donate online, do so at www.palisadesparksconservancy.org/donate. Put the words Tower of Victory in the subject line.

The fundraising campaign is co-chaired by U.S. Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey and PIPC Commissioner Barnabas McHenry.

Nominations for the 2013 Woman of History Sought


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Each March, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site recognizes a woman who has distinguished herself in the field of Hudson Valley history by bestowing upon her the “Martha Washington Woman of History Award.” Appropriately, the award emanates from where Martha Washington resided with her husband, General George Washington, during the last months of the Revolutionary War. That the ceremony takes place in March, during Women’s History Month, is indeed fitting.

The Woman of History award acknowledges Martha Washington’s important place in history as a devoted patriot in support of the American Revolution and the ensuing new nation. This is the eleventh year the award has been given, continuing the site’s mission to educate the public about the history of our great state and national heritage.

There are many women who are dedicated to sharing and preserving our history. Perhaps you know of a woman who shares her love of history with children by taking them to historic places during her free time? Is there a woman who has done research about the Hudson Valley and has shared her findings to encourage others to do the same? Do you know a woman who has used her private time or resources to preserve a landmark of historic significance? These are just a few examples of what could qualify a woman to be a recipient of the award. The nomination field is open to any woman who has cultivated interest and awareness of Hudson Valley history, either locally or nationally.

Nominations must be completed and submitted by January 4, 2013. To download a nomination form, go to the Conservancy website or call (845) 562-1195. The award will be given during a ceremony in March.

Photo: Women of History Award winners Mary McTamaney (2007), Betsy McKean (2009), Stella Baily (2012), and Mara Farrell (2011), with Washington’s Headquarters Site Manager, Elyse Goldberg.

AJ Schenkman: The Hasbrouck Ledger


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One of the problems in researching the life of Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck is that there are so few primary sources written by him left to us. We are fortunate that at least one of the treasures that give us a peek into his life, one of his account ledgers, has been preserved. It is a rich source for a researcher of not only Hasbrouck, but of others from his time period as well. Continue reading

Saunderskill: One of the Oldest Farms in America


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Those readers who follow my writing realize quickly that I have a special affinity for the Hasbrouck House in Newburgh more commonly known as Washington’s Headquarters, State Historic Site. Many of those visiting the site do not realize that a part of that site’s history can be traced back to Western Ulster County, New York where Jonathan Hasbrouck’s mother Elsie Schoonmaker was born and raised. Continue reading

Stella Bailey Honored with Woman of History Award


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On Saturday, March 31st, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site honored Stella Bailey, the 2012 Martha Washington Woman of History Award during their annual program “The General’s Lady.” Bailey was selected for her dedicated service in preserving Hudson Valley history over fifty years. The ceremony was held in the Ritz Theatre lobby located on Broadway in Newburgh, NY.

Elyse B. Goldberg, Historic Site Manager, said in her welcoming address and conferring of the award, that though time did not permit her to list all the organizations and positions that Ms. Bailey has held over the years to be mentioned, Stella is at present the Executive Director and Financial Officer of the Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association, President of the Town of Highlands Historical Society, and the Highland Falls Town/Village Historian.

Tom Meyering, President of the 5th New York Regiment, James K. Burr, Adjutant, 5th New York Regiment, and Joseph D’Onofrio, Mayor of Highland Falls each independently nominated her for the honor and made remarks to commend Bailey for her commitment and dedication in preserving Hudson River Valley history.

Family and friends of Ms. Bailey were in the audience along with some previous recipients of the Woman of History Award. They included author/historian Patricia Favata, City of Newburgh Historian Mary McTamaney, City of Newburgh Records Management Director Elizabeth McKean, and community activist Mara Farrell.

Dressed in their Revolutionary War military attire, members of the 5th New York Regiment led the audience cheer at the completion of the award presentation and Bailey’s acceptance speech.

The event was sponsored by the Palisades Parks Conservancy and the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands.

Photo: 2012 Winner Stella Bailey, third from left surrounded by past winners Mary McTamaney, Elizabeth McKean, and Mara Farrell along with Historic Site Manager Elyse Goldberg (provided).

New Director for Newburgh Bay, Highlands Historical


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The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands has announced that lifelong Newburgh resident Johanna Porr will serve as the organization’s new director. Porr assumed the position last week.

“To be able to study the largest historic district in New York State is certainly fun, but to be entrusted with a role to use that understanding to help rebuild this city is an honor,” she said in a statement release to the press.

As director, Porr’s duties include fundraising, directing future research and programs, overseeing the remaining renovations to the Captain David Crawford House, creating useful networks in the fields of public history and academic history and increasing membership within the group the statement said.

“The Historical Society has been and will continue to be a resource for people who want to learn more about Newburgh’s history or those who are interested in restoring homes here,” she said.

Porr “wants to establish an inspiring new direction for the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands while maintaining everything Newburgh has come to love about the organization. Her goals are to keep up with the current trends in the academic world, exchange information and ideas with other historical societies in New York and beyond and to use the society’s resources to make Newburgh’s history
more relevant to today’s citizens,” the press statement said.

“It’s important to find the academics who are already doing the research and connect them with the people on the ground who have a better idea of the questions the public is interested in,” said Porr. “I’d like to see more serious focus on scholarly research being done in the Hudson Valley.”

Porr has been an historical interpreter at Washington’s Headquarters, where she has both volunteered and been employed for nearly a decade. She attended Franklin College in Switzerland where she studied European history, earned an M.P.A. from Marist College and recently spent time in Virginia doing archaeology at Historic Jamestown and historic-trades research at Colonial Williamsburg.

“Newburgh is a fascinating place,” said Johanna, who grew up in city. “We call it ‘History City’ because you can take any major movement and tie it back here somehow; you can always find a way to understand the scope of American history through the narratives that are available in Newburgh.”

The new director is the daughter of former Newburgh city manager Harold Porr and Joan Mauriello, who volunteered as a preservationist and historical activist while Johanna was growing up.

“This society is one of the earliest and we’ve been building a collection and archive since 1884,” Johanna said. “I’m proud to be part of such a strong institution, especially since the viability of Newburgh’s future is inseparable from its legacy.”

Our Newest Contributor A.J. Schenkman


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Please join all of us here at New York History in welcoming our newest contributor A.J. Schenkman. Schenkman teaches in the Lower Hudson Valley and has a particular fondness for teaching history to hard to reach or at-risk adolescents.

He writes about the history of Ulster and Orange counties (which he’ll be covering here on this site) and is the author of two books and numerous articles on Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh. He writes a monthly column for the Shawangunk Journal focusing on places such as Kerhonkson, Stone Ridge, Shawangunk, Rosendale, Ellenville, and Cragsmore.

Last Chance for 2012 Woman of History Award


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Time is running out to nominate your candidate for the Martha Washington Woman of History Award which will be bestowed by Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in March, 2012. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, January 6, 2012. The nomination field is open to any woman who has cultivated interest and awareness of Hudson Valley history, either locally or nationally.

Previous award-winners include Janet Dempsey, local historian and author, Barbara Bedell, Times Herald Record columnist, Mary McTamaney, City of Newburgh historian and, most recently, Mara Farrell, community activist.

The nomination form is available online (pdf).

Illustration: Martha Washington

Washington’s Headquarters Holiday Event


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Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is hosting a open house at Washington’s Headquarters, in Newburgh on Sunday, December 11th, from 12 PM until 4 PM. The event is free and sponsored by the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands.

Participants will be able to chat with historic interpreters, enjoy seasonal music performed by the Salmagundi Consort, and snack on hot cider and cookies by an outdoor fire for an afternoon that recreates the mood of warmth and hospitality the Washingtons extended to their war-weary guests.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a registered national landmark. It is located at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets, within the city of Newburgh’s East End Historical District. For more information call (845) 562-1195.

Photo: Washington reenactor in his office (provided).

Woman of History Award Nominations Sought


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Each year, to honor Martha Washington herself, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site presents the “Martha Washington Woman Of History Award.” The recipient of the award must be a woman who has demonstrated similar characteristics while contributing towards the education and preservation of history in the Hudson Valley. The recipient will receive a place of honor on the plaque showing past recipients of this award, and an invitation to be part of the selection committee for future awardees. Along with this, she will be expected to attend “The General’s Lady,” a Woman’s History Month program, held each year in March, during which she will be acknowledged.

Any woman who has made a contribution to the history of the Hudson Valley through education, promotion, or preservation is eligible to be nominated for this award. The nominee’s service to the historic community shall be taken into consideration. The nominee can be someone who was involved in a project dealing with history and/or historic preservation. This individual must have been influential in some way, encouraging interest, enthusiasm and awareness of Hudson River Valley history even at its most basic, or grassroots level.

Nomination forms are available online. Completed forms will be reviewed by a selection committee including Washington’s Headquarters Staff, volunteers, and previous Woman of History Award recipients. Nominees will be notified within one month after the submission deadline.

The 2012 award will be presented at “The General’s Lady” on Saturday, March 31, 2012. Deadline for receipt of applications is January 6, 2012.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, opened in 1850, is the first publicly owned historic site in the nation. The Commander-in-Chief, General George Washington, established Headquarters at Jonathan and Tryntje Hasbrouck’s fieldstone farmhouse from April 1, 1782 until August 19, 1783. This became the longest stay at any of his over 165 Headquarters during the 8½ years of the Revolution.

While here, the General, his wife, officers, and his house servants lived and worked in close quarters, as a steady stream of guests came to meet with the Washingtons. During the critical months spent in Newburgh, Washington maintained a strong Army with eventual plans to disband it. He negotiated with contentious individuals in the Congress. Elsewhere, he dealt with problems of supply, training, pay and morale – all the things that affected his troops. He rejected a suggestion of an American monarchy, defused a potential mutiny among his officers, and proffered advice on the future of the new republic. In order to recognize the heroism of enlisted men, the Commander-in-Chief, at his Newburgh headquarters, created and awarded the Badge of Military Merit, the forerunner of the Purple Heart medal. On April 19, 1783, General Washington’s order for a “cessation of hostilities” was announced and he then dealt with the problems attendant to disbandment of the Army.

Martha Washington’s myriad traits, from big sister to business woman, were necessary attributes during her tenure at Headquarters Newburgh. For example, she travelled long distances every winter of the War to be with her husband and kept up communications with Mt. Vernon while supervising their immediate wartime household. Martha helped the Aides-de-camp with office work by copying letters and expense accounts. She was renowned for her pleasant demeanor even under the pressures of war and the need to hostess a constant crush of military and civilian personnel.

Photo: Washington’s Headquarters circa 1852. Courtesy of Palisades Interstate Park Commission Archives.

July 4th at New Windsor Cantonment, Knox’s Headquarter


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The New Windsor Cantonment and Knox’s Headquarters will present a day of Revolutionary War activities. At New Windsor Cantonment, visitors will see a military drill and cannon firing at 2:00 PM, as well as blacksmithing and children’s activities throughout the day.

At Knox’s Headquarters, tour the 1754 Ellison House, the military command post for three generals. New Windsor Cantonment is open Monday July 4 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. At Knox’s Headquarters see a small cannon fired at 1:30 & 3:15 PM. The house is open for tours at 11:00 AM & 3:00 PM. Admission is free.

On the 4th, at 3:00 P.M., New Windsor Cantonment invites visitors to help read the Declaration of Independence, the revolutionary document that started it all. Following the reading, the 7th Massachusetts Regiment will fire a “feu-de-joie,” a ceremonial firing of muskets in honor of independence. Throughout each day authentically dressed soldiers and civilians will share stories of life from that exciting time. Knox’s Headquarters, the Ellison House, honors the site’s namesake General Henry Knox, Washington’s Chief of Artillery, with the firing of a 4 1/2 ” bronze coehorn mortar at 1:30 P.M. and 3:15 P.M. This mortar, designed to be carried by two men, fired a grenade size exploding ball. John and Catherine Ellison were gracious hosts to three Continental Army generals at different times during the Revolutionary War.

In addition to the special programs and activities, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and the New Windsor Cantonment Visitor Center are open. These buildings feature the history of the New Windsor Cantonment; Behind Every Great Man: The Continental Army in Winter, 1782-83, Revolutionary War artifacts, the exhibit The Last Argument of Kings, Revolutionary War Artillery and the story of the Purple Heart. A picnic grove is available and there is plenty of free parking. Just one mile from the Cantonment is Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site. Elegantly furnished by John and Catherine Ellison, the 1754 mansion served as headquarters for Revolutionary War Generals Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and Horatio Gates. Also be sure to visit Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, a short drive from the New Windsor Cantonment.

For more information please call New Windsor Cantonment at (845) 561-1765 ext. 22. New Windsor Cantonment is co-located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Route 300 (374 Temple Hill Road) in the Town of New Windsor, four miles east of Stewart Airport. It is three miles from the intersection of I-87 and I-84 in Newburgh, New York. Knox’s Headquarters is located, a mile away from the New Windsor Cantonment, at the intersection of Route 94 and Forge Hill Road in Vails Gate.

Washington’s Headquarters Volunteer Fair


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Looking for an opportunity to be part of the community and help your neighbors? Attend the Newburgh Volunteer Fair at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site on April 30th from 11am – 3pm. Many of Newburgh’s community organizations will be there to share information about volunteer opportunities – opportunities for teens through seniors.

At the same time, music and refreshments will be offered, along with free tours of Washington’s Headquarters. The Volunteer Fair, organized by Washington’s Headquarters, the Newburgh Free Library, and Safe Harbors of the Hudson, is made possible by support from Wells Fargo Bank and the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands.

For more information, please call 845-562-1195.

Headquarters Pays Tribute to Martha Washington


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What better way to commemorate the culmination of Women’s History Month than with a celebration honoring Martha Washington on Saturday, March 26, at 1:00 PM at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site. The program will feature a presentation entitled “From Petticoats to Breeches: Unveiling 18th Century Clothing.”

Following the lecture and a “First Ladies” Trivia game, the eighth annual “Woman of History Award” will be presented to Ms. Mara Farrell, owner of Mara Farrell Communications, a Beacon-based public relations and marketing firm who was the co-founder of the historic preservation advocacy group, Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot.

The non-profit advocacy organization is committed to the permanent preservation, stringent archeological review, and protection of the historic lands comprising the Fishkill Supply Depot, which is listed on the National Register. At present, she is a Senior Advisory Board Member of the same organization, actively involved in the major preservation initiatives of those lands, located within the Hudson Highlands ecosystem. Ms. Farrell is working on a master site plan entitled “Fishkill Living Historic Park” that would honor the Hudson Valley and its strategic importance during the Revolutionary War, while also paying homage to the heritage of Native Americans in the area.

This program is FREE; donations are accepted.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a registered national landmark. It is located at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets, within the city of Newburgh’s East End Historical District.

For event information or directions, please call: (845) 562-1195.