Jacobus Stoutenburgh

The following article is by one of our founders, Maud Stoutenburgh-Eliot.

Jacobus Stoutenburgh
by Maud Stoutenburgh-Eliot
September 22, 1935

The Forest is my loyal friend
Like God it useth me

Jacobus Stoutenburgh
Jacobus Stoutenburgh

The name of Jacobus Stoutenburgh appears on the tax list in 1741 when his Dutch manor-house of stone was completed. It faced both east and west with its south wall exactly on the present northerly fence-line of Cecil Parker’s triangular lot at the corner of Park Place and Market Street directly opposite the entrance to the home of Mr. Edward H. Wales, the site of whose present gateway was occupied by the servants’ quarters. It was a large house and extended across the present Market Street for fifty feet. That street was the avenue cut by Judge Stoutenburgh from the Albany Post Road for the entrance driveway to his residence, and he planted cherry trees on both sides of it for the whole distance. Very shortly afterwards, he and his son-in-law, Major Richard De Cantillon, still further extended it down the hill to the river where they built a dock and boat-landing known for a century or more as “De Cantillon and Stoutenburg’s Landing.”

Cannon Ball in Wood Room of William Stoutenburgh HouseThis Stoutenburgh manor-house, being a conspicuous object visible from the river for a long distance and known to be the home of a family of uncompromising patriots, was the target for a bombardment by the British gunboats on their way to burn Kingston. But elevation of those British smoothbores was insufficient to do more effective damage than to put one twenty-four pound cannon ball through the lower panel of the westerly Dutch-door, graze the floor, and pass out of the opposite Dutch-door into a sand bank just beyond. Another shot from the same gun missed the house by a hair and landed nearby. One smaller six-pound shot was equally unsuccessful and with the other two were recovered and kept as trophies by the family. {See previous article, Cannon Balls & The Revolution} The first-mentioned of them is in the possession of Mrs. Walter G. Eliot (Maud Stoutenburgh) and was preserved by the descendants of Jacobus Stoutenburgh in one spot not more than 200 feet from where it fell in 1777 until 1909 when she inherited it together with the smallest. The other is still somewhere in Hyde Park or in Poughkeepsie owned by a collateral relative. The same sand bank has yielded many more of the smaller shot now scattered among the local people. The old Kip house at Rhinebeck was also bombarded. This house is in the possession of the family of the late Robert Browne Suckley. {See previous article, Wilderstein and the Stoutenburgh Connection}

The second stone dwelling house built in Hyde Park appears to have been that erected for John Stoutenburgh, son of Jacobus, in 1751, on the east side of the Post Road and yet well preserved, standing just below the “Lower Landing Road” which bounds the northerly end of Colonel Archibald Rogers’ homestead grounds. The preservation, in its present picturesque state, of this historical memento of the Revolution is a fine tribute to the intelligence and patriotism of Colonel Rogers, one of the outstanding citizens of distinction in Hyde Park. Both of these houses were the frequent stopping places for officers of Washington’s Army during the troop movements of those Revolutionary days and were the frequent rendezvous of patriot, military, and citizen committees.

Stoutenburgh Burying Ground Stone WallJohn Stoutenburgh died without issue, having freed his slaves by will and built the stone wall around the Stoutenburgh graveyard now surrounded by the Vanderbilt lands. His brother, William, built in 1764 the stone house, on the “Creek Road” (now a state highway), yet standing and occupied, just south of Union Corners and nearly opposite the new burying ground. To this house Jacobus’ family fled temporarily for safety during the bombardment of the manor-house and here William lived until his death.

Young Lady With A Rose (Painting attributed to Peter Van Der Lyn)
Young Lady With A Rose (Painting attributed to Peter Van Der Lyn)

In deeds and documents, Jacobus appears as of New York, as of Westchester County, and finally as of Dutchess County. He is termed as “merchant,” “bolter,” “farmer,” “yeoman,” “gentleman,” and “judge”. There hangs in the hall at The Beekman Arms a court order giving the Judge as Jacobus Stoutenburgh. His portrait and that of Margaret Teller, painted by Pieter Van der Lyn, show that these pioneers might well have graced a court function. Their portraits hang in the charming old house of Eugene Wells at Rhinebeck.

Dr. Hans Kierstede, {See previous article, Teller Family History} second or third of that name, came to Rhinebeck in 1769. He married Jane, the daughter of Anthony Hoffman; their daughter Sally married Martin Herrmance on the 15th of June 1789. A record in the Bible of Martin Herrmance says: “We moved into our new home 19 October 1793.” This was the brick dwelling later destined to belong to Eugene Wells.

In 1816 Martin Herrmance sold the house to John I. Teller. It is in this house that the portraits are treasured. At the time of these paintings, Van de Lyn painted Miss van Alen of Kinderhock, a first cousin of Margaret’s and both ladies hold in their hands, seemingly the identical flower.

As Market Street in Hyde Park was originally the Avenue to the stone house of Jacobus, so Albertson Street in the village was the Avenue leading to the house of Captain John Albertson. The Albertsons married into the Stoutenburgh family, and Harvey Street also in the village was opened and given to the town by the late John Albert Stoutenburgh in memory of a little son whose life was a short one.

The era when Jacobus and his wife lived was one of great land deals and they were related to Van Cortlandt, Schuyler, Rombout, Phillipse, Pauling, and others of the great land owners. Pioneers all, they overcame obstacles with courage and with faith they blazed the trails and opened pathways for the men and women yet to come. So, too, did Jacobus Stoutenburgh hew his way through the forest fastness, while nearby sang Crum Elbow Creek, whose clear waters still sing the same song on its turbulent way to the River.

Jacobus Stoutenburgh, 1696-1772, and Margaret Teller, His Wife, 1696-1789.
Jacobus Stoutenburgh, 1696-1772, and Margaret Teller, His Wife, 1696-1789.

In the year 1772, Jacobus, having finished his course in honor, was buried in the northwest corner of the Stoutenburgh burying ground, and Margaret, his wife, is next to him.

Now in the Stoutenburgh family there was a beloved old negro slave whose devotion was great to the family. Once, when he fell ill, the family went to him and told him that everything he wanted would be given him, if he would but tell them. “All I want,” he said, “is to be buried with the Stoutenburghs…I have always lived with the family, and I want to be with them in death.” So it is that in the extreme northeast corner of the yard, directly opposite Jacobus’ last resting place, the old negro sleeps, while outside other negroes lie.

We shall rest and lo, we shall need it,
Lie down for an aeon or two;
Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall set us to work anew.

Lately there has been established the Stoutenburgh Family Association with Mr. Gilbert Stoutenburgh as its head. This Association will give their attention first of all to the care and preservation of this old graveyard. Such a graveyard Longfellow thus described:

Over stone walls grey with mosses,
Pause by some neglected graveyard,
For a while to muse and ponder.
On a half effaced inscription,
Written with little skill of song craft,
Homely phrases, but each letter
Full of hope and yet of heartbreak,
Full of all the tender pathos
Of the Here and the Hereafter.

Captain Luke Stoutenburgh willed the land in Hyde Park to “any religious denomination who would build thereon a temple to Almighty God.” Here was built a Reformed Dutch Church, through the efforts and munificence of the descendants of Jacobus. There were some others who contributed to its building, foremost among whom stands the name of Margaret Livingston. She was the daughter of Morgan Lewis, and her splendid spirit and kindness of heart may ever be found in her descendants. St. James’ Church was founded a few years later, but until then, both congregations worshiped together.