Bernard/Crispell Family Papers (1824-1973)

Finding Aid completed by Eric Roth, September 27, 1999
Last revision September 21, 2005
Volume: .25 cu.ft.
Acquisition: The papers were probably donated to the Huguenot Historical Society by Reuben Bernard Crispell between 1965 and 1968.
Access: Unrestricted.
Copyright: Request for permission to publish materials from these records should be discussed with the Archivist of the Huguenot Historical Society.

Biographical Note

The papers primarily relate to Reuben Bernard (1830-1916), lawyer at Kingston, NY and his family. Other individuals represented in the papers include Bernard’s father-in-law Gerrit DuBois Crispell (1801-1880), physician at Kingston and Hurley; Bernard’s grandson Reuben Bernard Crispell (1889-1967), lawyer and past Crispell Family Association president; and Bernard’s great-nephew Lawrence Stearns Crispell (b. 1919), physician and past Crispell Family Association president.

Reuben Bernard, lawyer, was born to David Lawrence Bernard and Abigail Demarest at the town of Plattekill in Ulster County on Feb. 4, 1830.  In June 3, 1856, he married Jane Catharine Crispell (1833-1903), daughter of Gerrit DuBois Crispell and Sarah P. Post.  They had three children: Mary Lawrence Bernard, Amelia, Sarah Crispell Bernard. Reuben Bernard died on July 1, 1916 (1).

Reuben Bernard received education at the New Paltz Academy and Amenia Seminary before beginning his career at Forsyth & Hasbrouck the law firm in Kingston, NY in 1849.  He attended law school at Ballston Spa 1851, where he received a license to practice law in the Circuit Court of the United States.  Bernard also worked as an attorney for the Huguenot Bank, New Paltz, NY, the Kingston National Bank, the Ulster County Savings Bank, the New Paltz Savings Bank, and the Wallkill Valley Railroad.  At the Kingston National Bank, Bernard also served as director and president.  Other positions held include that of president of Kingston & Rondout Railroad, director of Wallkill Valley Railroad, president of Kingston Board of Trade, and president and superintendent of the Ulster County Sunday School Association (2).

Collection Description

Records include deeds, wills, law licenses, letters, memorial notices, marriage, baptism and membership certificates, financial papers, letters testamentary, and other materials concerning Gerrit DuBois Crispell, Reuben Bernard and wife Jane Catherine Crispell, Henry S. Crispell and wife Amelia Bernard, Reuben Crispell, and Lawrence Crispell. Of note are: a membership certificate of Gerrit DuBois Crispell to the Medical Society of Ulster County (1824), law licenses and certificates of Reuben Bernard and medical licenses of Lawrence S. Crispell; a marriage certificate of Henry Sampson Crispell and Amelia Bernard (1888), memorial notices of Reuben and Jane Bernard, an agreement between Mr. Bernard and a J. Newfore Fiero (1891), photographs of Mr. Bernard and Jane Ann Crispell; a scrapbook of newspaper clippings kept by Sarah Bernard during the 1890s and early 1900s; lecture notes by Reuben B. Crispell concerning American foreign policy toward Latin and South America, and city government (1906 and undated); and genealogical notes and correspondence concerning the Teunis, Kuyper, Bogardus and Claes families. Many of the legal documents concern the Wyltwick Rural Cemetery in Kingston, NY. The papers in this collection are generally in good condition and the handwriting legible. The papers are filed chronologically.

These papers were originally part of an aggregation of papers documenting the family line of Reuben Bernard Crispell, known invariably as the Crispell Collection, or the Reuben Crispell Collection. The three other collections from this original aggregation are the Dr. Abraham Crispell Papers (1837-1922), the David and Pierce Catlin Family Papers (1767-ca. 1890), and the Crispell Family Papers (1705-ca. 1823).Also of interest are two collections of papers and photographs of Abraham Eltinge Crispell acquired in 2003 and 2004. 

Folder/Item List

Genealogical Papers (1906-1922 and undated)
Lecture Notes, Reuben Bernard Crispell (1906 and undated)
Miscellaneous Papers:
Oversize Documents (1867-1934)
Scrapbook, Sarah Crispell Bernard (dated 1841, used in 1890's)


1. Hasbrouck, Kenneth E. The Crispell Family in America: Descendants of Antoine Crispell, Patentee of New Paltz, New York. Crispell Family Association, Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, NY (1976).

2. Commemorative Biographical Records of Ulster County, New York, containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of many of the Early Settled Families. J.H. Beers & Co. (1896): p. 100.