Making Rum in Albany, New York 18th Century Style
August 2015 museum visit by Gloria Waldron Hukle
Focus- Quackenbosch/ Quackenbush and the Douw Families of Albany, New York.
Quackenbush and Douw were partners in the business of making rum during the mid 18th C. French and Indian War Period and beyond. We know this thanks to an Albany excavation project where, through a fantastic New York State museum display, we learned that the Distillery was located outside of the City of Albany next to the Hudson River. Under pre Revolutionary War English rule, rum was not to be sold to soldiers inside of the city limits and this was a perfect location. Rum, which was made in large wooden vats with portions of "river water" (Hudson River water was good drinkable water in those times) and molasses (a by product of sugar) fermented 12 -14 days. Rum was one of the main beverages drunk in the mid l700s. British soldiers were issued a quart of rum per day for every four soldiers. It has been recorded that soldiers were drunk a good portion of each day. Rum was also used in punch which men, women and children drank. Drinking rum was considered "good for health". The Quackenbush-Douw facility could produce about 250 gallons of rum per day! And as you can see there was a big demand for rum!
Rum depended upon the African Slave trade....the slaves worked the Sugar Plantations and little doubt African slaves worked at the distillery too .
Thanks to the wonderful vision of Charles L. Fisher (1949-2007) the New York State Museum's first Curator of Historical Archeology and his many colleagues. Along with the Museum I offer my sincere thanks to The Bender Family Foundation, Alan Goldberg, The Alan Goldberg Charitable Trust, George McNamee, and Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc. as well as all who contributed to the Charles L. Fisher Fund.
If you want to discover who we are as Americans...visit your local museum!
We now take a look at a young couple who decided to go west a century after the Quackenbush were making all that rum in Albany, New York.
From the Journal of Abraham Yates...1794-1795 (Albany Chronicles)
JACOB WALDRON AND HIS WIFE...who had been captured by Shawnee Indians with a part of General Wayne's army , but escaped in March, arrive from Detroit and helped financially on their way by Humane Society. Yes, the Humane Society helped people in those times and not animals.
Postmaster at Albany at this time (1795) George W. Mancius
HARMON QUACKENBUSH'S GRANDDAUGHTER, Judah Bradt Waldron born 1786 at Schaghticoke, New York is buried at Union Cemetery at NORTH CREEK, N.Y.
In 1804 Judah Bradt (daughter of Daniel Bradt) married William G. Waldron at Schaghticoke, New York. Judah's mother was Alida Quackenbush b. Dec. 22, 1759 , the eldest daughter of Harmon Quackenbush and Judike Morrall all of Schaghticoke.
Harmon, (son of Sybrant Quackenbush and Elizabeth Knickerbocker) of course, descended from the 'rum makers' at Albany, New York.
When reading Hukle’s book, “Beneath the Elms” Harmon Quackenbush, Judah Bradt Waldron’s beloved grandfather is the paternal figure in her life she regrets leaving behind.
The character, Harmon, was inspired by the real Harmon Quackenbush of Schaghticoke, New York who was indeed the true grandfather to Judah Bradt who married William G. Waldron in 1804 and moved to what was then known as Elm Hill. Today the area is the town of Johnsburg, Warren County, New York
Harmon Quackenbush was a descendant of the earliest American ancestor, Holland born Pieter van Quackenbush who settled at Albany, New York in 1660. Early in the 1700s Pieter’s son Adrian purchased land at Schaghticoke in Rensselaer County. Adrian’s second son Sybrant followed his father acquiring and selling land at Schaghticoke, New York and eventually Sybrant and his wife Elizabeth Knickerbocker developed the Quackenbush homestead on the northeast side of the Hoosick River now known as Stillwater Bridge Road or Route 67.
Harmon was a Private in the 14th Albany regiment during the American Revolution. In fact, the famous battle of Stillwater where British General Burgoyne surrendered October 1, 1777, was located just two miles from the homestead. But, before the battle Harmon had moved his family to Albany for safety. After the surrender of Burgoyne, the Quackenbush family …Harmon, his wife, Judith and their seven children moved back to the homestead. Harmon and his wife would live the rest of their lives there on the homestead.
Harmon lived until 1824. Both he and his wife are buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Plot Section 17, Schaghticoke.
The Quackenbush Bible purchased in 1775 (published in 1745) featured at this website on the page Harmon's Dutch Bible was purchased by Harmon from the Dutch Reformed Church. It can be viewed at the Diver Memorial Library at Schaghticoke, New York.
Interesting History -Ferries of Lower Manhattan Island in the l700s
This article features Captain Francis Koffler, William Pontine, Samuel Waldron, Adolph Waldron and Nicholas P. Bogart
Around l760 several lessees of the Manhattan ferry followed in quick succession. This ferry lay within the lines of Brooklyn. An innovation was made in dividing the privileges between two holders, Captain Francis Koffler and William Pontine. This double lease system lasted three years after which the sole rights were given to Samuel Waldron a farmer. . When in l770 his term was about to expire, Waldron (from the line of Resolved Waldron of Harlem) Waldron requested a renewal without the usual public auction. Although such procedure was contrary to all practice, the common council agreed to it. and rented the ferry at a low figure. Two years later Waldron died (l772) and upon the petition of Nicholas P. Bogart the lease was transferred to him BUT for some unknown reason, Bogart did not accept the lease! And the ferry rights were given to Adolph Waldron.
Speaking of Old Harlem -the Waldron, Benson, Ingraham and Romer.
Johannes Waldron (son of Johannes) married December 10, 1719 Elizabeth , daughter of Samson Benson, but he died Dec. l0, 1724. His widow married John Romer and went to live in Bergen County , New Jersey but returned to Harlem where Romer purchased in l744 and held till the Revolution or later, the square plot in the village south of the Church Lane which John P. Waldron devised in l806 to his daughter, Cornelia who married S. D. Ingraham.
From the 1702 Census
Something Interesting about Orange County, New York....
1702 Census for Orange lists 54 Men, Married Women -40, Negro Slaves 33. The remaining majority of 142 persons were unmarried women, girls and boys under 16.
North CreekTo Have Hotel-published The Warrensburgh News-Thursday, April 28, 1921
Modern Hostelry to be Built and Conducted by Jesse. J. Waldron
North Creek (New York) is soon to have a new hotel, a luxury the village has not enjoyed since the Straight house was burned two or three years ago. If present plans are carried out the structure will stand on the site known as the John Mack property,near the North Creek railroad station, which has been purchased by Jesse J. Waldron from Isaac Ginsburg, of Glens Falls (NY) Mr. Waldron has announced his intention of buiilding on the site, in the immediate future, a modern hotel with twenty sleeping rooms. For several years Mr. Waldron was agent for the American Glue Company of Boston in charge of their garnet mine at North River, which position be resigned some time ago.
Note: Jesse J. Waldron was the grandfather of Author Gloria Waldron Hukle
By the French and Indian War period the Waldron family was well established in the Schaghticoke and Waterford area of New York...Waterford in those times known as Half Moon.
From Dutch Reform Church Records, Schaghticoke, New York
Complete list visit the Albany Institute of History and Art , LIBRARY, Dove St. & Washington Avenue Albany, New York
Bratt (Bradt) child- Adriana, 15 Sept. 1792 - Parents Daniel Bratt & Alida lQuackenbosh
witness: Isak Fonda and Antje V. Sandfort Adriana was a sister to Judah Bradt Waldron.
Waldron, Annatia 25 June 1793, Parents William Walderom (Waldron) and Margaret Van der Werken, Witness: Daniel V. Alstine (Daniel Van Alstine) and Annatia V. Alstine
CLUTE-Abraham, b. 29 March 1793, Parents Gradus Clute & Sally Van Ness, Witness Hannah Dugan and Roelef Morroeal
Walderon (Waldron) Cate born 3 July 1793 Parents Peter Walderon (son of Garrit and Cate Waldron) and Pega (Margaret Steenberger) Witness Garrit Waldrom and Cate Waldrom
Watherwax (Weatherwax?) Peter b. 21 September 1793, Parents Bastian Watherwax and Aleher (Elsje Van Alalen) No witness was listed.
Viele, -John born 24 December 1793, Parents Jacob L. Viele and Cata (Bratt) witness John Bratt and Marget Bratt
Fosborg- Hessa, b. 15 June 1793, Parents John Fosborg and Hulda, Witness John and Jenne Bush.
Grousbeek, Cate and Polley (twins) b. 20 May 1797, Parents Jacob I Grousbeek and Anne Benneway , Witness David Benway and Walter I Grouzbeek.
(I have typed them as they are recorded. Surnames often spelled differently)
Kline - Ellener (Elleanor probably) b. 9 November 1794 , Parents John Kline and Rachal Hunt, Witness Harman Dotey and Ellener Hunt