Hasbrouck House Handed Down
By Taylor Dietrich, Copy Editor
In the early hours, when the sun is beginning to crest in the east painting pastel forms on the New York sky, a rabbit scurries to the edge of a stream to graze on wild grass, to drink from the flowing brook. The Wallkill River begins in northern New Jersey and flows north through Orange and Ulster Counties fussing with the Roundout Creek, eventually emptying into the Hudson 20 miles east near Kingston.
Major Jacob Hasbrouck Jr.'s house sits on the east side of the Wallkill a half a mile north of where his grandfather, Jean Hasbrouck, and the 11 other New Paltz patentees established their village, Die Pfalz. A stream enters the Majors property lot No. 7 of the Southern Division of the First Tier that weaves through field, pasture, orchard and vineyard, to empty into the Wallkill and there, on the edge of the stream, a rabbit is drinking. The year is 1786.
Over 300 years later Major Jacob Hasbroucks house still stands, strong and stony, baring the Hasbrouck name. Richard Hasbrouck of 193 Huguenot Street lives in the only house, on the proclaimed "oldest street in America" that has never been sold, being passed down through the Hasbrouck family lineage.
The house is located on a square five- acre property. Its facade is set back 100 feet from the street where a blue stone wall snakes it way across the front of the property like a main circuit cable. The lawn sweeps gradually up from the road, past the driveway where large trees once stood like natural casing but have long ago succumbed to the elements the canvas outlives the frame.
The Major Jacob Hasbrouck Jr. House, a stony dwelling constructed of 20-inch-thick, load bearing stone walls, is a large and elaborate example of the time-honored three-room stone farmhouse in the style of the Dutch architecture typical of Ulster County in 18th Century. The thick blue stones used to build the structure were chosen to express the power and permanence of the Dutch culture.
"[The Huguenots] were here to stay.they weren't going to go back to Europe," Richard said. "They had to cart stones from a long way. Left over stones are to the south of the house, buried. When Im planting something now and then I dig some up."
With an arrangement of parlor, hall, kitchen and common, the house has the original twin-leaf door and is ornamented throughout with many of the authentic furnishings purchased by the Major after the original construction.
The parlor has modest wood trim as well as large quarter round strips outlining the doors. The door way to the kitchen retains the sharp hinges and latch hardware from the 1786 construction.
Large spanning beans in the kitchen are exposed in the ceiling like ribs encasing the structure's vital innards.
"Bigger the beams the older the house," Richard said.
In the entrance foyer, centered where all the rooms meet the hall, like the heart of a Huguenot cross, there is an archway. In the archway is the Hasbrouck family crest, their coat of arms, hanging like mistletoe in the center of the arced wood passage.
On it is a golden chevron. A symbol adapted from the bow of a war saddle, it represents the slant of a house's roof, signifying a familys love of the home.
Richard moved into the Major Jacob Hasbrouck Jr. House in 1964."I had nothing to do with it," Richard said. "Lawyer called me and said I had to pay taxes on the old Hasbrouck House."
He was willed the caretaker of the house by his distant cousin, Laura Hasbrouck Dwight. Laura was a decendent of Maurice, eldest child of Jacob J. Hasbrouck and brother to Richards great grandfatherJacob J. being the son of the Major. Laura's intentions were for the house to be kept in the family.
Richard Relyear Hasbrouck being childless at the time of his cousins death, and descendent in the line of her grandfather Maurice's youngest brother Huram, was chosen.
The name Hasbrouck has many spellings: Hasebroock, Hazbrouck, Hazebrouck, Von Asbroeck, Heasbreucq, d'Hazebrouck; it has even been known to be spelled with a capital B in the middle. However the spelling, the translation is the same. The first part of the name Has means hare or rabbit. The second part, Brouck, brook or stream.
Richard says, "It means, the place where the rabbits go to drink."