I have lived in this house since 1962 when I was 6 years old. But the shadows of those before have often entered my thoughts. As I sit in the kitchen that I find so comfortable and welcoming and I use this laptop; (an instrument of this time) I think of the many others who have sat in this room over the last two and a half centuries. How they lived and the instruments from their times that they used to make a life and a home in this house can only be imagined. But there are some facts to attach to the house
About 1707 Pierre Dubois crossed the Hudson River into Dutchess County and bought a tract of land on both banks of Sprout Creek. On the west bank he built his homestead. That house still stands on the corner of Old Hopewell Road and All Angels Road.
By his will, dated March 6th, 1735, Peter gave to his son Jonathan a farm on the east side of Sprout Creek; and to Abraham and John lands on the west side, including the “Old Homestead.” His other sons were provided with farms during his lifetime. In 1739 the old homestead, with the adjacent farm of 272 acres, was purchased from the other heirs for £330 by his son Christian.
Therefore, the oldest part of this house was probably built about 1736. This would have been the kitchen. Under the kitchen is a large cistern and there is a foundation wall in front of where the fireplace now sits. In that foundation wall is the base of another fireplace that was even bigger than the one we now use. The modern fireplace was probably a later addition in the 1840’s.
The original house was probably added onto almost immediately. The basement appears to be one continuous structure. While the family lived in the kitchen, they began to build the rest of the house. It is highly likely that the floor plan for the first floor which now exists was very similar to the original floor plan of the house, which probably was completed by the early 1740’s. My family has made alterations to the floor plan and I am sure that the earlier owners also made alterations to suit their lifestyle. (Discuss on known alterations will appear later in this discourse)
Jonathan and his wife Ariantje had 9 children, 7 of whom were born after he inherited this land on the east side of Sprout Creek. However, only four of his nine children lived to adulthood. Only two of his children outlived him and both appear to be living in other areas at the time of his death or soon after. According to Heidgerd, William, comp., The American Descendants of Chretien DuBois of Wicres France (DuBois Family Assoc., New Paltz, NY, 1969) (vol 1 page 60) “Jonathan DuBois lived and died on his inherited lands, respected and esteemed. He died in 1787.
Jonathan’s oldest son Petrus married Maria Van Voorhees. Petrus died in 1773 when he was thrown from a horse.
I have imagined the discussions that took place in this kitchen over the next years. A new idea was emerging and a new country was forming. Cornelius DuBois, Jonathan’s youngest son served in the Revolutionary War; 6th Dutchess Co. Militia, Col., Morris Graham’s regiment http://www.fortklock.com/nyrevdut-6.pdf . Because of this involvement one can only imagine the discussions and the visitors who sat in this house.
According to a 1798 map the house was still owned by the DuBois family, but by 1830 it belonged to Henry Van Voorhees. Was Henry a relative of Jonathan DuBois? His son married a Van Voorhees, but their children would have been DuBois’.
According to the document in liber 45 page 395 available at the Dutchess County Record Room. Henry Van Voorhees was insolvent in 1830 and the property went to Garret Van Voorhees. The house was remodeled sometime between 1825 and 1840. Did Henry go broke putting up the columns or did Garret do the remodeling after he got the house?
The changes made in the 1800 have not only included the columns, but also raising the ceiling, fancier moldings and possibly the room we call the parlor. Probably the kitchen, the room we use as an office and the current bathroom were the servant’s area. We have speculated that there was a door under the stairs that allowed access to the main hall. My parents removed a door from the office into the living room and the office into the dining room. They also removed a door from the top of the basement stairs into the dining room. These doors would have allowed the servants to move around without being seen. However they made it very difficult to put furniture in the room. We also speculate that the van Voorhees family planned to raise the roof over the parlor in the future, so as to have another room. The crawl space that is there now has tongue and groove flooring and not just a sub floor.
Garret kept the property until his death in 1871.
According to the deed (liber 45 Page 395) the Property was then sold to Jacob V.B. Teller by Eliza Van Voorhis, Samuel Van Voorhis, and Mary Eliza his wife, and Albina and Samuel Dearin; the heirs of Garret Van Voorhees.
Jacob V. B. Teller is listed as the owner in 1876. He was born in 1818 and died in June of 1899. The house remained his until March 1, 1899, when the records say it was sold to Amelia Myers, Sarah G. Montfort, Ann Van Wyck and Melissa Vanderbilt. I suspect these were his daughters, but I have found nothing to prove this. In August of the same year Amelia, Sarah and Ann sold their shares of the house to Melissa. Melissa Vanderbilt kept the property until 1911 when she sold it to Sarah Montfort (back to her sister or is this another Sarah Montfort). Sarah kept the land until 1930, her death.
At some point the land became a dairy farm. On the picture below with the cow, you can see a larger barn on the right. The picture with the entrance to the house shows another barn behind the house to the left.
In 1930 the farm was sold to Estelle Montfort, Florence Stevens and J Ralph Montfort.
In 1944 Estelle, Florence and J Ralph’s widow Runelia Montfort sold the farm to Earl Ketcham.
Earl Ketcham sold the farm in 1954 to Wayne and Olive Ireland.
In the early 1960’2 IBM was relocating many families to Dutchess County and houses were be built everywhere. The Irelands sold the property to the company Sidchar in 1962 for development. In November of 1962 Robert and Adeline “Nan” Cross (my parents) came from Tennessee and bought the house and two lots around it. Robert Cross died in 1994 and Nan Cross died in May 1999. With their death I inherited the house and property. My husband; Marc Duvivier and I held our wedding reception (for 300 guests) in the field and have resided here since 1999. We sell with plans to retire to Tennessee and be closer to my family.
Many of the names are of those who have made an impact on this area. Beside Dubois, Van Voorhis and Teller, the names are Vanderbilt, Van Wyck, Montfort Ketcham and Ireland. The Nan Cross room at the East Fishkill Library is name for Adeline “Nan” Cross who lived here from 1962 until her death in 1999. The road this house is on is named for the Ireland Family who lived here from 1954 to 1962. And Ketcham High School is named for Roy C. Ketcham, it was his brother Earl who lived here.
Come home and live the history!