A Visit To Mombaccus

July, 1999

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Introduction

During the latter half of July, 1999, my son and I spent three days camping out and enjoying the music at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival near Hillsdale, New York. Ulster County, New York, associated with the first two generations of our family, was only a little over an hour away from the festival site, so we re-routed our return trip slightly in order to visit the family seat. Actually, our route on US 209 through Kingston to Port Jervis was probably shorter distance-wise than the faster route via the Taconic Parkway and Interstate 84.  Mombaccus is known today as Rochester Township, a subsection of Ulster County, NY.

To follow the dispersion of our family during the early generations, it helps to have New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania maps available. For the purposes of this trip, I also bought an Ulster County Atlas by Hagstrom ($9.95 + S&H) which I found on the Internet.

To research the trip, I printed copies of the first and second generations from Allen's book, and the entire "The First American Mrs. Rosecrans" article by David Bennett. I went over these carefully with a yellow marker and marked all text which referred to locations where they lived. There are very few references to exact locations other than Harmon Hendrick's tract, which is described by Allen as "...a large tract of land on the Peterskill,...." Allen goes on to say that the "...date of his purchase in Mombaccus cannot be ascertained as the early Kingston land records were lost...." Bennett, however, states that "...[in] January, 1672, Harmen and young Hendrick Beekman, the former schout's son, made a joint purchase from four Esopus sachems of a tract of land at Mombaccus (Accord, in Rochester township,)...."

Alligerville

"CANAL FORGE"
BLACKSMITH SHOP, 1999

Allen refers to a letter from a Mrs. Schoonmaker, who formerly lived near Alligerville, in which she states that, "...there was still an old mill standing on the Peterskill near Allagierville, and that this old mill probably stands on the site of Alexander's mill once owned by his father...."

We drove to Alligerville, about 15 miles from Kingston, and parked on Purcell Lane, near where the Peterskill empties into the Rondout. Purcell Lane is an unimproved one lane dirt road which is in the bed of former D&H Canal. It is maybe 100 yards long, and parallels the Rondout. Between Purcell Lane and the Rondout were a series of summer vacation cottages, apparently empty at the time. There was a small blacksmith shop nearby, which seemed to have been forgotten by time. The blacksmith shop was listed on our map as "Canal Forge," but we did not go in.

FRANK PURCELL'S
GENERAL STORE, 1999

Directly across from the blacksmith shop was a small country store run by an elderly gentleman named Frank Purcell. He lived in a year-around house next door, and provided us with a lot of information about the area. Although he was not familiar with Harmon Hendrick, Frank mentioned a Herman Rosenkrans who lived nearby, but when we asked if it would be possible to see him, he suggested that we run if we do. He had been dead for forty years!

We asked Frank about the existence of the old mill mentioned by Mrs. Schoonmaker. He was not aware of any grist mill remains along the Peterskill. He then dug out some old photos which had been given to him, dating back to ~1905, of an old cider mill. This was the only mill he was aware of in the area. The cider mill had been destroyed by a hurricane shortly after, and then rebuilt. Hurricane Hazel in the 50's had then demolished the new cider mill, which was never rebuilt.

CONFLUENCE OF
THE PETERSKILL AND
THE RONDOUT, 1999

At the other end of Purcell Lane was a very picturesque foot bridge which crossed the Peterskill and ended in the driveway of what appeared to be another year-around home. This foot bridge gave us an unrestricted view of where the Peterskill emptied into the Rondout. I took the picture on the right from the foot bridge. At the time of our visit, the country had been in the grip of a drought for several months, and the Peterskill was bone dry, as may be seen in the photo. I thought this was rather unique, as I had never seen a solid rock river bottom before. But judging from the richness of the greens in these photos, you'd never know there was a drought in progress.

FOOTBRIDGE OVER
THE PETERSKILL, 1999

Tow Path Road, the county road, parallels Purcell Lane. It too has a bridge over the Peterskill (not picturesque,) from where we took the picture of the foot bridge on the left. The photo on the right and below was also taken from this bridge, looking upstream on the Peterskill. Again, the solid rock streambed was very striking.

 

We drove several miles up Tow Path Road, which parallells the Peterskill, looking for any signs of the old mill. Although it is not likely that any of the structure referred to in Mrs. Schoonmaker's letter is still standing, it is possible that signs of the foundation may still be present. The land between the roadway and the creek was mostly taken up by summer vacation cottages, and all appeared to be unoccupied at the time (it was a weekday.) They all had "No Trespassing" signs, and there was poison ivy in many areas, which discouraged us from walking up the dry stream bed to look for the foundation of old mill.

THE PETERSKILL, 1999

It is probable that we traversed parts of the land that was once owned by Harmon Hendrick, but without further research it would be hard to tell where. In spite of Allen's assertion that the old Kingston land records were lost, Bennett's article seems to indicate that they may have been rediscovered. Someone better versed in genealogical research than I should re-examine the old Kingston land records to see if an exact description of his holdings still exists.

Harmon's eldest son,  Alexander (#2,) subsequently moved to Walpack, New Jersey (on the Delaware River), where he owned a farm and built the house which is sketched in Allen's book. A sketch of Alexander's house as it existed in the late 1800's appears under Alexander's section in Allen's book.  My son and I visited that area in 2000, and photographed Alexander's old house as it appears today.  That visit is described elsewhere on this site.

Allen failed to trace Harmanus (#5), but I understand that the Church of The Latter Day Saints (LDS) has done so.

Hendrick (#7) and Dirk (#9,) like their father, both settled in Mombaccus (now Rochester Township). Allen gives actual references to the land records Books for both of these sons, so it should be a simple matter for someone who knows how to use them to pinpoint their home sites. I am particularly interested in Dirk, since he was my ancestor.

High Point, New Jersey

LAKE MARCIA, 1999

 

As you approach New York State from Pennsylvania along Interstate 84, an obelisk is visible on top of the mountains in the distance shortly before you cross the Delaware River into Port Jervis, provided it is not too hazy. This is at High Point State Park in New Jersey, so called because it is the highest point in New Jersey. It only a few miles from the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania tri-state border.

We followed US 209 from Kingston to Port Jervis, where we planned to pick up Interstate 84 on our way back home. We decided to visit the monument at High Point, which was about 5 miles south of Port Jervis - all uphill. Just before we entered High Point State Park, we saw a sign that we were entering the Township of Wantage. The pictures show the obelisk from Lake Marcia as you enter the park and two views of the obelisk from close up. Unlike the Washington Monument, which has an elevator, this one only has stairs going up. It was locked the day we were there (fortunately for me!).

          
OBELISK, HIGH POINT STATE PARK, NEW JERSEY, 1999

 

     

This monument was of particular interest to me, as everyone from Harmon Hendricks down to me was born or lived most of their lives within 100 miles of the monument. Here is the complete list:

However, this chain is ending. I have lived in the vicinity of Washington, DC, since 1966, and I will probably remain in this area for the rest of my life. My oldest daughter was born in Tallahassee, Florida. My youngest daughter was born in Manassas, Virginia. And my son, James Post V, was born at the Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan. At this time (2007) we are all living in Maryland.

Allen Rosenkrans, the author of "The Rosenkrans Family In Europe and America," lived in Newton, New Jersey, about 17 miles due south of the monument. Below are views from the monument looking approximately south, west, and north.

LOOKING SOUTH, 1999 LOOKING WEST, 1999

 

LOOKING NORTH, 1999

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