NEWSLETTER, October 2000, Part Two
After Lunch we stopped at the circa 1720 brick, frame and stone Winne/Creble house in Bethlehem, Albany County. The new tall rafters are going up. Brian Parker the new owner. showed us the latest discoveries. The archaeologists have uncovered the stone base for the cellar fireplace brick flue. It accounts for the reworked brick in the back wall. Also the stone foundation of a small slaves-quarters/summer-kitchen building separated by about 8 to 10 feet from the house. A turn of the century photograph shows it still standing. A stain on the brick shows how its roof joined the wall of the house. Photographs of the missing fireplace paneling in the stone addition have been discovered. They match the fragments we rescued from the cellar last year.
Saturday September, 16 About 6 people met at the Oliver barn (Mar-6) in Marbletown and talked for an hour about business and upcoming events. George Van Sickle led us on a short motor trip through some lesser known parts of Marbletown. We passed many stone houses and barns. We stopped or slowed-down to check out four Dutch barns, no one was home:
We had lunch at the Nible Nook and went to a yard sale where we met some of George's distant relatives. Al Hoffman on pine Bush Road, invited us back to see his large stone house soon to be for sale. George mentioned the Dorothy Pratt survey of 200 Marbletown stone houses now with the town historian. We should check that out.
Thursday October 13 with Alvin Sheffer to measure the Trumpbour stone house in Asbury, Saugerties Ulster County (Sau-25). I had been to it with Roger Scheff a few days before. Bill Trumpbour and his wife Eliner have been building a home on the hill above and intend to turn the old house into a museum. They had, just begun the task of furnishing it with some of the family's relics when a gas explosion from a ruptured line blew the floor boards off the beams in the original house, blew out a few windows, a door, moved an interior stone wall an inch, and nearly caught the house on fire but hurt no one and did little damage to the finest artifacts.
The house underwent a major restoration in the 1940's when the entire rafter system was replaced and some new windows were installed. It had been relatively dark originally and Bill's great aunt, his grandfathers sister, Geneveve Trumpbour, had called it the "old fort."
Bill is the eight generation of this palatine family who arrived at West Camp in 1710 and in 1732 acquired a tract of land here near the Kaatsbaan church, what is today Asbury. After measuring the house Bill took us on a tour of Asbury. We visited what remains of the early tavern on the Old Kings Highway (Sau-26), an important highway in the 18th century. The tavern's frame is an excellent early example of the transition from the Dutch H-bent frame to the balloon frame that would come to dominate carpentry construction in the last half of the 19th-century.
The tavern appears to have been a center-hall house in plan. The ceiling beams are pine and measure 9 1/2" x 3 1/2". They were likely hewn in the woods and brought to the nearby Smith Mill to be sawn in half. Each beam is mortised to a wall-posts. The ceiling of the house is covered with rough-cut hemlock planks up to 19" wide. They are a testament to the local tanning industry that used the hemlock bark and to the lack of time affordable here-and-then for the more refined luxuries' of life. The ceiling boards in the center hall were painted white before they were lathed with accordion-lath and plastered probably before lB50. The ceiling in the room on the left was never painted nor plastered until quite recently. The boards are very dark.
We next visited Smith Mills Farm on the Cauterskill (Sau-27) There were a saw mill and a grist mill here, there remains a two-and-a-half story stone bank house and a 3 bay scribe-rule Dutch barn with a rotated roof. The house is thought to date 1811 and the original barn seems also of that date. The original barn was modified by rotating the roof using square-rule timber frame carpentry consistent with later 19th century carpentry and was repaired recently by Amish carpenters with laminated beams and galvanized hardware. The barn is in good condition but needs brush clearance to reduce moisture damage to the sills.
There is evidence of original wooden hinged wagon-doors. One door post survives and the hole in the soffit of the beam testifies to the removable center pole that held the four part wagon doors shut. In the Netherlands (Limburg) this pole is called the stiepel. In Saugerties it was known as "the little man in the middle" the mittlemanchen as Bill says it. Evidently German had a strong influence on the local New World Dutch dialect. Bill relates the story of his great-grandfather, Billy Clay's death at age 66 by a falling mittlemanchen and assures me it is a fact and not folklore.
We last visited the Hasbrouk, Lasher, Cartright two story stone house (Sau-28)circa 1780 with a square rule English barn and we are determined to return and document the neighborhood.
Saturday October 21 with Roger Scheff, Alvin Sheffer, Jim Decker and John Stevens, visited the DuBois brick and frame house (Sha-15) in the town of Wallkill. It has just been purchased by the Shawangunk Historical Society, most southern of the Ulster County townships. There are many puzzling features to the building at the present time that may reveal their secrets when some of the interior fabric has been removed. The late 18th century gambrel roof has a queen-post type of framing. We then drove to Daren Romero's stone house in Wawarsing, Bevier/Niewkerk (Waw-4). Daren has repaired one cellar beam and has cut 2-inch pine floorboards, up to 24-lnches wide, with his Alaskan mill from a large tree that fell on the hillside above the house. The boards have the look of pit-sawing.
Sunday October 22 visited the Barbara Scanlon house and carriage barn (Mar-22) in High Falls, Marbletown, Ulster County. She is planning to apply for a state restoration grant for the barn. It has a sash-sawn timber frame with butted rafters. It is a relatively individualized design that would take more study to understand its structure.
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