Sunday, August 31, 2014

New York History

This is the home of Philip and Catharine Van Rensselaer Schuyler built in Albany, NY in 1762. Philip was a general in the Revolutionary War and a US Senator. Philip had another farm in Saratoga, NY and spent a lot of time traveling between farms as well as for his military and political service.

Catharine bore 15 children of whom 8 survived to adulthood.  (I guess Philip was home often enough to participate in the conception of those children.) Catharine probably was quite a good businesswoman because she was left with the care of this home and farm.

Their daughter, married Alexander Hamilton in this house. You remember Alexander Hamilton from your ten dollar bills. He was among other things, first Secretary of the Treasury, and killed by Aaron Burr in a duel.

The tour guide insisted this mustard color is the actual color of this furniture and wall covering. They have copies of the bill of sale in England for the originals of these items and apparently the description was recorded in detail by the sellers and the fabric and wall coverings can still be purchased.

Next we headed across the Hudson River to the Van Rensselaer home, Crailo, in Rensselaer, NY. The front part of this home was built around 1663. It was home to Catharine Van Rensselaer from her birth in 1734 until she married Philip Schuyler.

This museum is not decorated as the original home but has many exhibits about the history of the area in the early years of the Dutch colony.

Between the history lessons of yesterday and today my head is spinning. A lot changes in a few years! For instance, /Fort Nassau (1614) which flooded out and then Fort Orange(1624) were Dutch trading posts built near each other in New York. A town, Beverwijck, grew up outside the forts. (The name means beaver district and beaver pelts were the main item traded.) By 1664, the British renamed the town, Albany.

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