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Decker Family Association 2010 Reunion - New York
The 2010 Decker Family Association Reunion was held October 7-10 in Kingston, New Paltz, and Shawagung (Ulster County) New York. The weather was beautiful (sunny & 70s each day) - especially refreshing given the normal October weather and the rain we encountered at the previous reunion in 2005. Twenty-two people participated in all events of the reunion, with several other family members also attending the meetings on Saturday at the Shawungunk church.
On this page my intent was to document each part of the reunion & post the pictures that I took throughout the weekend.
My October 9 Presentation: Civil War Deckers: The Lives and Service of an Extended Decker Family, presented at the Decker Family Association Reunion, Shawangunk Church
Opening Reception at Courtyard Marriott - Kingston (7:00 - 9:00 p.m.)
On Thursday night we gathered at the Courtyard Marriott as part of the official welcome to the 2010 Decker Family Association Reunion. The gathering started out small, but gradually picked up steam as more people arrived. This provided the perfect opportunity for participants to arrive in the Kingston area and get settled, then to prepare for the events of the following days. The schedule was discussed and maps were drawn & shared.
Gathering at Elting Memorial Library - New Paltz (8:00 - 9:30 a.m.)
Serving as the "official kick-off" of the reunion, on Friday morning we gathered at the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz. The sign above outside the library describes the founding of New Paltz in 1678, and sets the scene for visiting Huguenot Street next.
At the library Marshall Hamilton set the stage for the events of the day and the reunion, and also discussed the family of Jan Broersen and the family's history in the area. I had been through New Paltz before on previous visits, but this was the first time that I had stopped to visit and learn about the Decker connections to the area.
Huguenot Street - New Paltz (10:00 - 12:30 p.m.)
Upon arrival on Huguenot Street, we gathered for (I believe) our first group photo. Several more were taken throughout the reunion. There were 22 participants for the majority of the reunion, with several additional people coming in during some of the later events.
After the group photo, we were guided down to the Walloon Church for the presentation to the group. The presentation was given by Richard Heyl de Ortiz, who did a great job.
A photo from the presentation, the home of Jean Hasbrouck was discussed. This home is located on the street (we passed it on the way to the church) and was part of the guided tour afterward. Sara Decker lived here with her husband, Josiah Hasbrouck.
The newer home of Josiah and Sara (Decker) Habrouck was also mentioned. This home is located outside of New Paltz, and therefore was not part of the tour. More information on this home can be found here: Locust Lawn Estate
After the presentation, we split into two groups for our tour of Huguenot Street.
Once again our group passed the Jean Hasbrouck house, as we toured this as our last stop (below).
Passing by the Deyo House, we stopped to learn about its history and development over the years. Given the size of the home, it is interesting to learn that it started out as a one room stone house, but soon received some major additions. This did seem to be a recurring theme among many of the old stone houses.
Housing the visitor center is the DuBois Fort. It was explained to us that in order to provide protection, each settlement was required to have some type of fortification. Initially this would be a stockade, then later in New Paltz (and other locations) a fortified structure was built.
This is the back side of the DuBois Fort.
This picture shows the historic marker for the Bevier-Elting House, but was taken from the front of the house and so the building behind the sign is the home across the street.
The first home that our group toured was the Bevier-Elting house. This house was built in three stages, with the front side of the home (as seen in the end-on view in the second picture above) being the first stage, and believed to be one of the oldest stone houses on Huguenot Street. The house was described as being built with the narrow end toward the street because originally taxes were determined based on how wide the house was on the street.
Inside the front room of the Bevier-Elting house is the original fireplace, which takes up a lot of space in what was originally the only room of the house.
Obviously this is the historic marker on the front of the Jean Hasbrouck house.
"Upstairs" in the original homes was used for storage as described in the plaque above. This area was called the Garret, and served the purpose of what we would normally consider for a barn (such as storage of grain).
This display in the front room of the Jean Habrouck house describes Locust Lawn, the house that Josiah Hasbrouck and Sara Decker moved into after living here on Huguenot Street.
After touring the homes, we ate lunch in Deyo Hall, and also got a chance to see two Decker bibles that are in the possession of the Library, Archives & Collections.
Kingston - Old Dutch Church (1:30 - 3:30)
For me, as a descendant of Jan Broersen Decker, there's nothing quite like visiting the site of the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, New York. The church was founded in 1659 roughly about the same time that Jan Broersen arrived in the area, and the early records of the church are available. As mentioned in the reunion agenda - it's through the records of the church that we have learned about Jan Broersen and his family.
The current church, surrounded by the early graveyard, was dedicated in 1852, as indicated by the shiny new plaque (2008) designating it as a historic landmark. As we gathered together we listened to some of the stories of the development of the church and its significance in Kingston.
The inside of the church is always a sight to behold. It is often called Kingston's Cathedral.
We first heard a presentation by Rev. Ken Walsh, the Dominie/Pastor of the Old Dutch Church, then a discussion of the area history by local historian Ted Dietz.
Visit to Old Hurley (4:00 - 5:30)
Our next stop was out to visit Old Hurley, just down the road outside of Kingston. Originally called Nieuw Dorp (New Village), Hurley was settled in the 1660s. Jan Broersen Decker was nominated magistrate at "Horley and Marble (Hurley & Marbletown) in 1673. Above is the Hurley Reformed Church, our meeting spot, and an opportunity to hear from town historian Deana Decker (no relation that we know of) of the history of the town and surrounding area. When the British burned Kingston, the records from the Kingston Reformed Dutch Church were brought to Hurley for safe keeping.
The access to the Old Hurley Burial Grounds is by a path across from the Hurley Museum. The cemetery is old, but many of the stones are hard to read.
The only building open to the public is the Hurley Museum, however many of the historic buildings are open on Stone House Day.
Above shows a historic map of Hurley, as well as the historical marking signifying the Old Mine Road that passes through Hurley. I had known about the Old Mine Road, and planned to drive part of it in New Jersey on the upcoming Sunday as part of my cemetery excursion, but I hadn't realized that it passed through Hurley. Another "something new learned."
Inside the museum is another map of Hurley as it looked in 1777.
Across from the museum is the Elmendorf House, now owned by Jim Decker. He allowed us inside to see his restoration efforts.
Obviously the pictures above show the elevations and other diagrams of the house as it existed historically. as Jim's occupation is the restoration of old homes & such, this home is in good hands.
A little rough, but a great hint at what will be. It's a beautiful old stone house. Lucas Elmendorf became the owner of the house in 1735 (the original part of the home was built in 1710 by Pieter Pieterse Ostrander). The Elmendorf family owned it until 2008, when it was purchased by Jim Decker. See What's Dutch: Elmendorf House.
The tours are done for the day. Time to go get dinner, rest up, and head to Shawangunk the next morning.
Shawangunk Reformed Church - Morning
With the Shawangunk Mountains always visible in this area, and being that it was early October, the view was amazing. My camera doesn't capture the colors of the changing leaves in the distance nearly as well as I wished.
From the program:
"The Shawangunk church was founded by early Deckers and other local residents, and is the the oldest church building in continuous use among American congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church. Many of our Decker ancestors were laid to rest in the churchyard."
I have pictures of many of these graves. During our previous reunion in 2005 it was raining heavily on the day we were at the church, making it difficult to spend much time outside. My first time at this church in January 2002 was somewhat chilly. The warm, sunny weather today made it perfect for visiting outside, with time being my only limiting factor.
We had plenty of time to visit, share family information, and hear presentations by Wayne Decker, Marshall Hamilton, Bonnie Tippits, and Lonnie Decker (myself) during our morning session at the church. We also had the business meeting, in which we instituted by-laws for the association.
Decker House (3:30 - 4:45)
Tea hosted by Anne Bienstock
No trip to Ulster County would be complete (for a Decker descendant) without a stop at the Decker House on Red Mills Road. Much has been written about this house, and I won't re-display all of its history here. This house is nothing short of beautiful and has been well restored & maintained. See also the articles (including Decker House - Antiques, The Magazine April 1998; Living with antiques: The Johannes Decker Farm in Ulster County, New York by Mary Anne Bunting) in the stories section.
During the 2005 reunion it was raining quite heavily, making it impossible to tour anything but the house. On this day we enjoyed beautiful sunny weather in the 70s, making a tour of the entire homestead possible.
I note that I took a total of 37 pictures at the Decker House. I don't know which ones to take out, except that I have two very similar pictures of the ice house.
Even the barn has been wonderfully restored to look as it did when it was a working Dutch barn. Well, actually it still is (see the picture above with the horses).
The building at the end of the driveway is the original coach house. We paid it no mind during the visit, but I have documentation on all the buildings as they looked in the archives on the Library of Congress American Memory web site, and documented on this site.
The driveway into the homestead as it passes the barn, along well maintained stone fencing.
Another view across one of the ponds of the entrance drive to the homestead. In 2005 the barn had just been resided, this view shows that the siding has aged nicely to match the age of the barn.
The front of the Decker home as seen from across the pond. The home was built in several stages, with the center section being the oldest (about 1720-1726).
Many pictures of the same parts of the house, but it's such a great house, which pictures do I take out?
These views are of the east side of the house, furthest from the road. This is also the side of the house that is nearest the river.
Just inside the (current) front door.
The room (above & below) is the farthest west in the house, nearest the road.
The dining area here is between the entry and the room furthest west.
This room (set up for tea & snacks) is the room that is furthest east, to the right of the entry door when coming in. In back is the modern kitchen, with cabinets that very much duplicate the look of the woodwork in this room.
This was my first time that I was able to walk down to the Shawangunk River from the house. In the 1720s the primary mode of getting around would have been along the river.
It's hard sometimes to get just the right picture to really capture the mood & feeling of a location. I took several pictures along the river to try and capture the beauty & solitude, especially as fall was working its way in. I think the picture above does a pretty nice job.
The upstairs portion of the house. As we learned in New Paltz, this area would have been used for storage.
The picture above has everyone who participated in the reunion (add in John Tippets, who was taking the pictures).
This view of the west end of the house (nearest the road) also shows the addition that was added to the north, making the shape of the house a T, as seen from above.
I think I ended up taking two pictures of this well, but I like this one better.
Shawangunk Reformed Church - Evening
Upon returning to the church, we listened to a very informative presentation by author Marc Fried.
I had heard the author present at the previous reunion in 2005 and thought his presentation was quite interesting. This reunion I was even more interested in his presentation, the history and settlement of the area, the Decker influences in the area, and once again the story of the indian attacks on Wildwyck and New Dorp along with the taking of prisoners (women & children) in June 1663. They were eventually found at "New Fort" in September at "new fort" which was located in the town of Shawangunk near where the Decker house is located today (on Red Mills Rd.).
Marc B. Fried has written many books on the history of the area (Ulster County) and other items of interest. These include:
Services at Shawangunk Reformed Church
End of 2010 Decker Family Association Reunion
A perfect end to the Decker Reunion, as seen somewhere in Ohio on the drive home.
|November 24, 2010