Joseph Osterhoudt Hasbrouck Papers (1806-1884)

Finding Aid Completed by Eric Roth, February 8, 2000
Volume: 0.5 cu. ft.
Acquisition: The papers were donated to the Huguenot Historical Society by Katherine Hasbrouck in 1962, and by Dr. Murray Cohen in July 1998.
Access: Unrestricted.
Copyright: Request for permission to publish materials from these records should be discussed with the Archivist and Director of the Huguenot Historical Society.

Special thanks to Amanda Nelson for her assistance in processing the collection.

Biographical Note

Joseph Osterhout Hasbrouck E-73 [1] was born on December 23, 1801 to Joseph Isaac Hasbrouck and Cornelia Schoonmaker in the town of Shawagunk in Ulster County, New York. On May 19, 1821 he married Eliza Rhea (1800-1877), daughter of David Rhea and Betsy Kain. Between 1822 and 1841, Joseph and Eliza had 8 children: Beverly Rea Kain, Margaret, Sylvester Kain, David W., Josephine, Elizabeth, Frank Kain, and Henrietta. Joseph O. Hasbrouck died on May 31, 1871.

Joseph O. Hasbrouck owned a mill, store and blacksmith shop at Tuthilltown in Ulster County, New York, where he also held the office of Postmaster. He was also considered a qualified schoolteacher in the town of Shawangunk in 1817. In the late 1830's, Hasbrouck started to actively engage himself in Democratic Party politics at the state and local levels. In 1845, Hasbrouck began to solicit political support for the position of Post Office Marshall of the Southeastern District of New York State in 1847. Hasbrouck was unsuccessful in this attempt, but later managed to secure employment as a weigher and clerk at the Customs House in New York City.

Collection Description

The Joseph Osterhoudt Hasbrouck Papers chiefly document the political and business activities of Hasbrouck and affiliates in Ulster and Orange Counties in New York during the mid-19th century. Records include letters, account books, deeds, court papers, receipts, and ephemera. The papers are organized by type at the folder level into the following categories: Account Books, Correspondence, Estate and Legal Papers, Financial Papers, Miscellaneous, and Oversize Documents. Within the folders, items are ordered chronologically. As a whole the papers are in good physical condition, mostly showing signs of damage only from slight fading and minor tears. The legibility of the records varies greatly, but the large majority of the papers are decipherable without any extreme difficulty.

The main strength of the collection is rich documentation of the political involvement of Ulster and Orange County individuals at the local, state and national levels. Letters dating from the 1830's to the 1860's between Hasbrouck and numerous Democratic Party leaders and affiliates contain much information about Hasbrouck's career ambitions and political connections. Prominent correspondents include U.S. Senators Daniel Stevens Dickinson, Ira Harris, John Benedict Steele; U.S. Representatives to Congress Selah Reeve Hobbie, Joshua Fiero, and J.R. Westbrook; New York State legislators Jeremiah Russel and Thomas G. Alvord; and Customs Collectors of the Port of New York Hiram Barney and Simon Draper.

The correspondence is roughly divided into three main periods: 1806-1844, 1845-1859, and 1860-1866. The first period, 1806-1844, contains letters chiefly relating to matters of business and property in Ulster and Orange counties, although political subjects are also occasionally mentioned. Two letters of Ulster County Judge and politician Lucas Elmendorf dating from 1806 and 1826 discuss the "Esopus Sloop," and state and local taxes and political affairs such as the Act of 1799 and the "Green River Lands." [2] Letters of Joseph O. Hasbrouck, George Lynch and others dating from 1835-1844 chiefly relate to matters of Lynch's estate in 1835 and 1836, such as the legal guardianship of an unidentified girl, and the sale of cloth. The settlement of Lynch's estate, which is mentioned occasionally in other letters until 1844. [3] Another letter relates to a political crisis at Tuthilltown (town of Gardiner) in Ulster County, where several constables refused to serve in their offices after being elected in 1835. Several letters of New York State Assemblyman and Orange County Judge Gilbert Ogden Fowler discussing the General Bank Law, the Kingston Bank, and Orange County party politics (1837-1842). Letters between David Woolsey and Joseph O. Hasbrouck relate to the wheat and tanning businesses, and the decrease of property value of land in the eastern states as a result of an increase of immigration to the Illinois Canal (1843).

The next period, 1845-1859, marks a change in the nature of the correspondence. The subject of the letters now consists almost entirely of Hasbrouck's political career aspirations, although legal and business matters are also occasionally mentioned. Three main issues dominate the correspondence from this period. The first of these issues is the unsuccessful attempt by Hasbrouck to secure a Presidential appointment to the office of Post Office Marshall of the Southeastern District of New York State (1845-1847). Beginning in 1845, Hasbrouck began to solicit various Democratic Party members to write letters to President James K. Polk recommending him for the position of Post Office Marshall of the Southeastern District of New York State. This batch of correspondence includes letters to President Polk by individuals such as New York State Assemblymen Jeremiah Russel and William C. Bouck, and other notables such as Nathaniel Bruyn, Martinus Millspaugh, George G. Mitchell, D.H. Hine, J. Parker, and Stephen Hasbrouck. Most of these individuals were apparently involved with the Postal Service. The position of Marshall was eventually given to Hasbrouck's rival, Charles Niven.

The second major issue discussed in the letters from this time period was a fraud scandal involving a mortgage that Joseph O. Hasbrouck secured for New York State Adjutant General John Watts DePeyster in 1846. In defending his actions, Hasbrouck secured the support of U.S. Senator Daniel Stevens Dickinson. Although the full content of this affair is still unknown, it is occasionally mentioned in the correspondence until 1848.

Other letters from this period concern the political strategies and developments of the Democratic Party. Of particular interest is an unsigned letter dating from 1847 to Louis Cass urging him to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Cass received the party's nomination, but lost the Presidential election to Zachary Taylor in 1848. Other correspondents from this period include U.S. Representative to Congress Selah Reeve Hobbie, J.O. Linderman, Z. Pratt, and John L. Runcy.

The final period of correspondence, 1860-1866, primarily concerns Hasbrouck's term of office at the New York Customs House in New York City, where he served as Clerk, Weigher, and Night Inspector. The letters from this period document Hasbrouck's dismissal and reinstatement to the Customs House after Hasbrouck defected from the Democratic Party at the outset of the Civil War. This move apparently angered some Democrats, who, through the efforts of William J. Murrey, secured the dismissal of Hasbrouck from the Customs House. Hasbrouck was later reinstated to his position, but only upon the recommendations of U.S. Representative to Congress John Benedict Steele and former Customs Collector Hiram Barney, among others. Other letters document Hasbrouck's transferal to the position of Night Inspector in 1864. Correspondents involved in the transferal process included Customs Collector Simon Draper, U.S. Senator Ira Harris, New York State Senator Joshua Fiero, Jr., and Lieutenant Governor Thomas G. Alvord

In addition to the correspondence files, the collection includes financial and legal records providing information about Hasbrouck's business activities in Ulster County. Deeds, mortgages, bonds, agreements and other legal records of Joseph O. Hasbrouck, Levi Hasbrouck, Beverly R. Hasbrouck and others concerning property in the towns of New Paltz, Shawangunk, Rochester, and Gardiner. Also present are court records (summons, testimonies, orders, etc.) for estate settlements, trespassing suits and other property infringements. Many of these cases involve Joseph O. Hasbrouck in the capacity of attorney. Legal documents of specific interest include an 1823 agreement relating to the estate of Gilbert Ogden Fowler, New York State Assemblyman and Orange County Judge; court papers concerning the estate of Margaret Rea (1838); and court papers involving lawsuits between Levi Hasbrouck and Zachariah Baird (1834), Selah Jansen and Daniel W. Hasbrouck (1852), and Robert Johnson and Joseph O. Hasbrouck (1859). Also included in the legal records are the 1865 incorporation papers of the Hudson River Brick and Tile Manufacturing Company, which held a factory in Flatbush, NY.

A scattered array of account books, receipts, and other financial papers of Joseph O. Hasbrouck provide information concerning his various business activities, including the management of the gristmill and store at Tuttletown. Present are daily ledgers and other account books documenting the purchase and sale of items such as domestic and kitchen goods, grains, animal feed, foodstuffs, building materials and agricultural items. Records of these transactions are typically dated and include the names, types of goods purchased, and their corresponding price values. One account book dating from 1836 appears to be a daily record concerning workers' hours and work accomplished.

There are also several items relating to business other than that of Hasbrouck's store and mill. One small bound volume appears to be an 1851 tax assessment book of "Dwelling Houses" in and near the town of Marlborough, Ulster County, NY. This source is particularly useful in that it contains narrative descriptions of each house assessed, including numbers and types of chimneys, stoves, fireplaces, and outbuildings. These descriptions also provide detailed information about the locations and price values of each house. Other financial items of interest are receipts from 1815-1817 relating to the estate of George W. Lynch; two account books pertaining to the livestock business (1845-1881); an 1842 tax list from District #5 in the town of Marlborough; several documents listing the prices that Hasbrouck paid for the mill and adjoining houses and properties; and other scattered accounts between Hasbrouck and Beverly Kain, Francis Sloughton, Cramer Guilderslive, and G. Lane.

The collection also houses several items that are either miscellaneous or ephemeral in nature. One of these items is an 1817 ciphering book of Joseph O. Hasbrouck containing lessons in handwriting, American and World history, and mathematics. Much of the mathematics lessons relate to business activities and currency exchange. Other miscellaneous items include an 1821 letter of recommendation for Joseph O. Hasbrouck as a schoolteacher in the town of Shawangunk, an unidentified local newspaper fragment from 1834, a poem written in 1837 by Linus D. Ostrander of Plattekill, Ulster County, NY entitled "The Taxation of America." Also present are two items of a political nature, including a Democratic Party political pamphlet entitled Documents relating to the New York Conflict (1859) and a fragment of an undated speech given to the citizens of the town of Gardiner. There is also a letter dating from 1884 written by Ulster County lawyer (and 1900 U.S. Presidential candidate Alton B. Parker) to a Mr. Hirchberg regarding a complaint against a Mr. Westbrook.

Folder/Item List

Account Books:
(1824, 1832)


Estate and Legal Papers (1821-1865)

Financial Papers (1824-1864)

Miscellaneous (1817-1884)

Oversize Documents (1817-1874)


[1] Identification numbers are taken from Kenneth E. Hasbrouck's The Hasbrouck Family in America with European Background, Third Edition, published by the Hasbrouck Family Association, Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, NY (1986). Unless otherwise noted, all genealogical information is also taken from this source, or from the papers in the collection.

[2] More letters of Lucas Elmendorf can be found in the Lucas Elmendorf Papers (1787-1845) in the Huguenot Historical Society Collections.

[3] There are also receipts dating from 1815-1817 that pertain to the Lynch estate located in the Financial Papers.