NEWSLETTER, June 2005
FROM THE JOURNAL
Sunday, May 15, At the Palatine Farmstead, Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, full. day of archaeology with Eric Braymer, digging a large hole and two small ones to uncover secrets of the foundation and hillside. There was nothing conclusive. Talked about another hole that might be dug. Mainard Ham and his son John stopped by.
Tuesday, May 17 about 10 people met in Greene County, at the Vedder Library in Coxsackie to discuss and plan the Dutch farmstead survey. Bob Hallock, Greene County Historian, was our host.
Friday-Saturday, May 27-28, The two day barn workshop at the Palatine Farmstead in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, was again blessed with good weather. The participants hewed a fresh 12-foot red-pine log into a 5 x 7-inch timber and framed the north wall for siding. The pine log was obtained from the Lytle saw mill in West Hurley, Ulster County.
More digging was done to uncover the original barn foundation and it became clearer how the hillside on the south side had eroded and how the barn had shrunk as it accommodated the build up of soil. A number of fragments of hand blown glass bottles were found on the north side that help to confirm the 18th century date of the foundation. Devin and Eric Schatzel from Old Hurley, explored the cemetery on the other side of the hill where they found the earliest stone dated to the 1740's and there was Dutch or German writing on some of the stones. Many had small American flags to commemorate veterans for the coming Memorial Day.
Devin and Erick climbed into the loft of the farmstead barn. It .is a cramped and dirty place filled with junk. The unsteady floor is made of overlapping boards spread loose on thin springy mow poles that rest on the anchorbeams. They discovered a discarded but intact threshing flail with a swivel. It's a kind of lightweight flail that was used well into the 20th century in this part of The Valley, often to prepare buckwheat for pancakes. The leather strap on this flail is a repair, as they usually are when found in dusty barns or polished-up in antique stores. However, they are much more important when found in dusty barns and their home recorded.
Traditionally an eel skin was used to tie a flail. This leather is
prepared by salting and nailing the skin to a board after smoking
the meat or making a simple vegetable-eel stew, that some natives,
like Hank Vedder of Saugerties, enjoyed.
The Two-Day Barn Repair Workshop
Hewing a Timber. After striking a chalk line, the log is scored every foot with felling-axes 10 the depth of the face, then with broad axes the surface is hewn flat.
A Borate anti-fungal solution was applied witha brush to the posts and sills of the-Farmstead Barn where siding will be applied. This chemical treatment is safe and effective but is notcheap. A gallon of concentrate (one part to one or two of water) now costs $86.00 a gallon. A volunteer day will be set aside for applying the white pine weatherboard siding, see Coming Events.
The idea that the barn frame was original to the site was questioned when the stone foundation of the west end was uncovered. It has survived with little distortion where-as, the foundations of the more down-hill sides have been distorted and pushed out, making it hard to know their original edges and measurements. The stone foundation of the front of the barn extends about one foot beyond the now missing front sill, as if for a one-foot longer frame.
Did the barn move from pressure of the sliding earth or was an altered barn frame moved from a nearby farm to re-use an old foundation? Some of this might be answered if an historian could find the meaning of the anchorbeam inscription "MD 1770"? Was he the builder or a farmer. Was he related to "IHD 1781"? Did the original barn burn? We found no evidence in the soil. We did find a one-inch layer of modern asphalt shingles on the excavated face of the south wall covered with 3-inches of leaves and silt indicating just how fast this hillside is eroding and raising thelevel of the land, giving the barn less and less room.
Monday, May 30 Memorial Day in Pine Plains, at the Brush House of the Little Nine Partners Historical Society in eastern Dutchess County, HVVA displayed HVVA and DBPS publications and photos of the Farmstead barn project.
The Brush House was built as a one room log cabin in the early 1770 when this was a wilderness. A few years later it was added to with a center hall and an unheated room all made of hewn logs much of it red pine. The house has maintained many early features.
Pine Plains was an important railroad town and agricultural center, busier than today, but celibrated in the marching band music and the fire truck bell one day each year. Close to New England its vernacular architecture shows a mixture of Dutch and English traditions. There are a few good sites and structures including perhaps the last 18t century Dutch barn with its frame house in the town that will be part of the Dutch farmstead survey now underway. Bob Hedges has offered to be The Survey Person for Pine Plains, Dutchess County, NY.
May 31 Five people met at the office of Hartgan Associates on
Washington Avenue, in Rensselaer, across The River from Albany. (*)
This association of contract archaeologists has donated $2,500.00
in staff time towards launching the New World Dutch Cultural Rescores
Survey. Wally has been organlzmg the forms for first and second level
documentation and Justin has been entering them in a computer.
Later met with Craig and Patsy Vogel at tbeir home in Red Hook, Dutchess County. They are interested in working on the survey ofthe town. They will be collecting maps of the Town and County and matching sites surveyed in the 1970's with the HVVA registration of 20 sites in the town. I will check the Library of Congress for HABS documentation of the 1930's and 1940's as well as houses listed in Helen Reynolds 1929 book, Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley Before the Revolution. We will meet again Wednesday, June 29, to select sites to visit and enter into the data base.
Saturday, June 4 About seven HVVA members met at the Marbletown Firehouse on Route 209, for a short meeting. We car-pooled and drove to the Jacob Hasbrouck House on Lucas Turnpike in High Falls, Town of Marbletown, Ulster County; NY, guests of David Cavallaro and Dan Giessinger, the present owners, who for the past year or two have been restoring the house and making it livable, preserving and uncovering early features. Repair and restoration work is also underway on a late 19th century timber framed bank barn across the road.
Jacob Hasbrouck came here in the late 1740's, from New Paltz, to establish a mill on the Rondout Creek at the mouth of a small kill (stream) that ran through his land. Nothing but a corner stone of the mill at the mouth of the kill is visible today; Jacob was from a prominent French Huguenot family that lived in very Dutch houses at New Paltz.
After several hours of inspection, measurement and pleasant conversation, it was concluded that the two-room center-hall stone house was mid 18th century and probably built as a unit. The back kitchen wing of stone was added soon after the original construction. One-hundred years later, in the circa 1840's perhaps, the walls were raised 25-inches and the hall and stairs were reconfigured. Some new doors and moldings were added. The unusual fireplace mantle may be early 20th century Arts-and Crafts.
John Stevens sent measured drawings and wrote the following comments, "The indications are that the wing (kitchen) is very little newer than the main part, judging from the doorway from it into the new part (not shown in drawing). The present door to the basement stair originally had the same style of strap hinge as the door previously discussed."
John continued, "I feel that it is an 'English' house in contrast to other houses built at the same time that had exposed beams, Dutch-type doors, etc. The end room with the original window and door trim I suspect always had a plaster ceiling, although the room at the other side of the hall originally had exposed beams, whitewashed like the underside of the floor boards. You could see the whitewash through a hole in the sheetrock. The measurement between the first floor ceiling and the second floor floorboards is only 12-inches, so the beams can not be more than 10-inches deep. So how wide are they?"
There are a number of original window frames and interior six-panel doors in the house. The surviving strap hinges have a hint of a pad but the edge of the door is held with a broad rivet, a more New England practice.
It would be interesting to know what accounts for this early English style in an area of Dutch influence, but then Jacob was from a wealthy family, rather than a common farmer, and as a miller and probably educated, his field of influence may have been broader.
Jacob Hasbrouck House, circa 1746
Original First Floor Plan
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