Major Johannes Hardenberg

So, today we’ll look at the principal characters in the Hardenberg drama starting with Major Johannes Hardenberg.

“The Major,” the first white owner of the land that is now Roxbury, was born in Albany, NY in 1670. He received his rank as “Major” while serving in the Ulster County Regiment. Like other pre-Revolutionary War families, Hardenberg stored his wealth in property–and lots of it. We’ll post about the formation of the Great Patent and Hardenberg Patent at another time but for now let’s say that a group of men petitioned Queen Anne of Britain for an indefinite amount of land in the Catskills, which she granted in 1708.

Fast forward to 1749 when Henry Wooster and his surveying parties ventured into the wilderness to plot the Great Patent into definite tracts of land. The village of Roxbury was Lot 42. After robbing the indigenous peoples of the region of their land in several sleights of hand, title to the Hardenberg patent was confirmed by the governments of Holland, Britain, and the Colony of New York.

“The Major” had his patent and the Native Americans had lost their “primeval innocence” when dealing with the “White Man” (a phrase out of Roxbury historian Irma May Griffin’s “History of the Town of Roxbury”).

The 1790 Census shows Hardenberg, Sr. owning 7 slaves.

The next character in our story is “The Major’s” son, Johannes Hardenberg, Jr. or “The Colonel.”

The Colonel was a field officer under George Washington in the Continental Army. He was also the enslaver of Sojourner Truth, American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. The Colonel was born in Hurley, Ulster County, in 1729 and died in his hometown sometime after May 1799.

His son, Isaac Hardenberg, received the right to the Hardenberg patent, which encompasses the Eastern part of Delaware County. Isaac Hardenberg was born in 1740. His father, Colonel Johannes Hardenberg, Jr. was 34 and his mother, Maria DuBois, was 34.

Isaac arrived in Roxbury ca. 1790 by way of Saugerties and up through Kaaterskill Clove along what we now call Route 23A, following the road to Schohary Kill (present day Prattsville). The stone mansion known as the Hardenberg House, on the National and State Historic Registers, has been dated ca. 1790 although it has been reported that Isaac built a wooden house that he lived in for several years until he built the stone mansion, one of the first of its kind in the region.

Isaac married Rachel Graham (1760-1822) and they had at least two sons and one daughter. Rachel is buried in the Upper Cemetery in Prattsville, NY.

Next posts will be about Lewis Hardenberg, Isaac and Rachel’s son, and Sojourner Truth. As my friend, Paul Smart used to sign off: Stay tuned.

Carolyn Bennett

Prattsville Historian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close