Notes on The Hadley House at 5122 Post Road

Rather than make an already long article even longer, I am including these notes and references here.  Some of it might be useful to genealogists or readers looking to learn more about the architecture of the house.  Special thanks to Patrick Raftery at the Westchester County Historical Society and Jackie Graziano at the Westchester County Archives for their help finding documents.  All of the resources I used to describe the skirmish between Armand and the Hessians are included below in note 13.  Feel free to comment below:

1 – Hadley House Landmarks Preservation Commission Report

2 – Article by David Bady on Lehman College’s Bronx Architecture site provides detailed information on the architectural history of the house.

3 – In the area of Kingsbridge, Philipsburg Manor was not contiguous. His land adjacent to the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, on the tidal island of Paprinnimen, was not connected to the rest of the manor to the north.

4 – Documentation related to the Commissioners of Forfeiture Proceedings.  Like so much of the early historical documentation of the neighborhood, this is kept at the Westchester County Archives.

5 – Documentation of William Hadley’s purchase of the northern tract of the property (formerly owned by Frederick Philipse III).  It is on the second half of the page and it is transcribed below.

6 – This 1761 deed was very difficult to track down.  It is an oversized manuscript at the Westchester County Historical Society so it is not listed in the online database of Westchester County deeds (which is another great resource for studying the early history of the area).  Other than the land, the deed includes a “Dwelling house.”  This is probably where the Hadleys were living before purchasing “The Hadley House” that they occupied after the revolution.  There does seem to be a building indicated on this property on some of the earlier maps from the revolutionary war period.  The fact that it does not exist on later maps leads one to believe that the house was destroyed during the war, like so many others in Westchester.  Curiously, the deed refers to the land in question as being “formerly laid out to the heirs & assigns of John Betts deceased.”  John Betts was the son of William Betts, one of the original 17th century settlers.  John Betts’ son, Joseph, lived to the south of the eastern edge of this property and his widow, Abigail, is mentioned in the deed as owning the notch of land that was excluded from the deal in the southeast corner of the property.  I was unable to track down how the land found its way into the hands of the Van Cortlandts.  The deed also reveals that William Hadley was a blacksmith by trade, a fact corroborated by the blacksmithing tools listed in his estate inventory of 1802.

7 – This comes from the testimony of Frederick Philipse III, who was trying to recoup his losses suffered during the war by appealing to the British government for compensation.  It comes from “Loyalist Claims – Transcript of the Manuscript Books and Papers of the Commission of Enquiry into the Losses and Services of American Loyalists held under Acts of Parliament of 23, 25, 26, 28, and 29 of George III.”  Volume 41.  p. 585.  This is a microfilm at the New York Public Library.

8 – New York Wills, Vol. 34, 1780-1782. p. 651.

9 – New York Wills and Administrations, Vol. 39-42, 1786-1799, p. 247 microfilm frame 316

10 – William Green is listed alongside Isaac Green on the roll for the South Yonkers company of Westchester County militia.  William Green took the inventory of Isaac’s estate in 1785 following Isaac’s death.  According to an interview with Augustus Cregier by John MacDonald, William Green also served as a local guide to an elite infantry unit of patriot soldiers as they moved from Bedford to Kingsbridge on July 3, 1781 for an attack on British positions (McDonald Papers pp. 374-5).

11 – Albany County Administration and Inventory, 1776-1825, Craig-Green, 725-729

12 – Often, when we think about the American Revolution, we imagine the participants’ motivations as ideological and pure but spite and malice played a role as well.  In some cases a tenant, such as Isaac Green, might pick a side out of hatred of a landlord, who was with the opposing faction.  John Cock may have been close to Frederick Philipse.  In addition to overseeing one of his more valuable properties, the inn at Kingsbridge, we learn from the MacDonald Papers that John Cock was Philipse’s personal gardener during the war.  Both Philipse and John Cock spent most of the war in British-held New York City.  Edsall, Thomas H. History of the Town of King’s Bridge: Now Part of the 24th Ward, New York City.  Privately Printed, New York City, 1887. p. 22.

12 – Letter from David Humphreys to Thomas Pickering, August 5, 1781.  Also, Memoirs of Major-General Heath, p. 295.

13 – The synopsis of the skirmish at the Hadley House was pieced together from a number of accounts, which contain a good deal of variation between them.  Full citations of sources are at the end of this note:

Colonel Armand, in a letter to Washington dated October 12, 1778 wrote the following (keep in mind Armand would very much want to depict his exploits in the best possible light to the Commander-in-Chief):

i have been to day with twenty dragons, near fort independant, where i have surprised the piquet of the hessians, i have take[n] three horses and cary two prisoners at my quarter. one was taken before we Came to the piquet, and the other in the midle of the piquet, with his arms. we take more than twelve, but as the reasort of the enemy did Come upon ou[r] right and left, and had great many horses, and we were ready engadge’d with the second post, we could not cary thoses men, till a place of security without the gretiest danger for our retraite. we took only their arms and give’d to them with the sword. one of the horses which i have tak[en] did belongs formerly to one toris which Caried him to the cam[p] of the enemy, the two others are dragons germains horses. one has bredle and sedle the other, has only his bridle. if had not been a deep wather wich i did not know, i had took many officers, and specially the cnl [colonel] who has the Comand of that post. i must tell you how glad i am to have see[n] our dragons behave with the gretiest couradge in that occasion so fine and proper to desert. my volountaires and officers behaved the same.

Compare the above to the Hessian accounts.  The first comes from the diary of Carl Philipp von Feilitzsch, who was a Lieutenant in the first Ansbach-Bayreuth jaeger company.  His unit was based at a camp at the south end of Spuyten Duyvil Hill.:

The 12th – The weather improved, but was terribly cold.  Toward noon a large enemy patrol approached.  Because the non-commissioned officer’s picket was drunk and not alert, it was fired upon.  The cavalrymen drove the picket back.  We feared they would enter the camp, they had approached so cleverly.  They captured a double post which fired a salvo at them, slapped one of [the] drunks in the face, and left him, taking only a horse.

Another Hessian officer, Johann Carl Philipp von Krafft, who was stationed at Frederick van Cortlandt’s house near today’s 238th Street and Waldo Avenue wrote:

11 Oct. Sund.  At noon some Rebels unexpectedly rode up from Courtlandt’s House and finding our outposts, to wit, a mounted Yager who had dismounted and a foot-Yager, both asleep, stripped them of their weapons, gave them, in derision, a sound drubbing and them let them go, but without horse or arms.  The Rebels then ran off again.  Our whole camp took the alarm, the Rebels were pursued but were fortunate enough to escape, thus leaving us ashamed at the affair and at leisure to cogitate over it.  The two out-posts, understanding how to excuse themselves very cleverly, were punished with only a few days’ arrest.

So far, all accounts indicate that Armand’s cavalry surprised the inalert Hessian picket guards and beat them up.  They also all state that the main camp was genuinely concerned about an attack and that the attackers were pursued.  Differences arise in the number of prisoners, casualties, and booty.  Armand claims to have “give’d to them with the sword,” but none of the Hessian accounts mention deaths or severe injuries.

Hessian Jaeger Captain Johann Ewald did not describe the attack in his diary but alludes to it in a later entry.  Several days after the attack he was sent to meet with Patriot General Scott to discuss a prisoner exchange although he secretly hoped to gain intelligence on the location of Colonel Armand’s base “in order to square our accounts by a trick against [him].”  Ewald writes of his meeting with Armand.

Colonel Armand arrived with six officers and an escort of twelve dragoons.  I was received with the utmost politeness . . . I gave him my letter [requesting a prisoner exchange] and we joked quite friendly about the last trick which he had played on the jager picket, and I invited him to risk the affair once more.

Despite the bravado, you get the sense that Armand managed to pull off an impressive feat with the raid.

More information on the skirmish comes courtesy of John MacDonald, who directly names the Hadley House as the scene of the attack.  Between 1844 and 1851 an elderly MacDonald traversed the Westchester countryside meeting with 241 different people for 407 interviews about their memories and experiences of the Revolutionary War.  The recorded interviews are held at the New York Historical Society with a copy at the Westchester County Historical Society.  MacDonald used information gleaned from the interviews, in addition to his own research, to deliver presentations at the NYHS.  In 1851 he presented on Colonel Armand and described this attack “upon the outpost of the Green-Yagers, situate at Hadley’s house, on the north river post-road.”   These presentations and some of the interviews were published by the Westchester County Historical Society.

MacDonald was informed in some part by the testimony of Augustus Cregier, who remembered the incident.  Augustus Cregier lived in today’s Van Cortlandt Park with his father, Dr. John Cregier, in a house owned by the Van Cortlandts.  MacDonald’s notes from his interview with Augustus say “Colonel Armand . . . surprised the picket guard of Col. Worm, about half a mile north east of Frederick Van Courtland’s and north near which Mr. Garret Garrison in now lives.”  At the time of the interview, William Hadley was deceased and the Hadley House and lands were sold by his heirs.  Garret Garrison lived adjacent to the property on its southern boundary.  Cregier is pointing to the area around the Hadley House as the scene of the attack.

Citations for the Hessian diaries and McDonald Papers:

Feilitzsch, Heinrich Carl Philipp von, and Christian Friedrich. Bartholomai. Diaries of Two Ansbach Jaegers. Translated by Bruce E. Burgoyne. Heritage Books, 2007. p. 47.

von Krafft, John Charles Philip. “Journal of Lt. John Charles Philip von Krafft, 1776-1784.” Translated by Thomas Henry Edsall. New York Historical Society Collections for the Year 1882, vol 15, 1883. p. 66.

Ewald, Johann.  Diary of the American War A Hessian Journal.  Translated by Joseph P. Tustin. Yale University Press, 1979. p. 152.

MacDonald, John. “The Life and Character of the Marquis de La Rouerie (Col. Armand), Including an Account of His Services During the American Revolutionary War.”  The McDonald Papers – Part II.  Publications of the Westchester County Historical Society, vol 5, 1927. pp. 19-20.

14 – This comes from the will of Abraham Emmons–a relation of Frances Green, wife of Isaac.  New York Wills and Administrations, Vol. 39-42, 1786-1799, microfilm on slide 316.  The deceased couple left behind four orphaned children.

15 – The estate inventory of William Hadley can be found at the Westchester County Archives among a large collection of estate inventories.

16 – A descendant of William Hadley has done some research on the enslaved people that labored for the Hadleys.  Her findings are here.  It is worth noting that the Black people she found on the census are from one of the very few Black households in the area at that time.  The vast majority of the Black population left the neighborhood after they were gradually emancipated.

17 – While I did not find a tenant of the house before Isaac Green, I did find a suspicious deed that caused me to wonder about that possibility.  It is a deed from Samuel Betts to Jacobus Van Cortlandt dated 1714 (Liber G p. 250).  Samuel Betts was a descendant of one of the original settlers in the area, William Betts.  All of the land adjacent to the Hadley House that was not owned by Frederick Philipse was owned by someone in the Betts family.  The southern tract of the Hadley farm once belonged to the heirs of John Betts.  The land to the east was once in the hands of Joseph Betts.  The Hadley House and property was like a wedge sticking into Betts land.  The preamble to the deed reads: “TO ALL WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, SAMUEL BETTS, of ye Yonkers, in ye Manner of Philipsburg, in ye County of Westchester in ye Collony of New York, Yeoman, and ELIZABETH, his wife, Sends Greeting.”  The deed indicates that Samuel Betts was living in Philipsburg Manor and Yonkers.  Could Samuel Betts have been a tenant living in the Hadley House, which was both within the confines of Philipsburg Manor AND in “ye Yonkers?”  There is no way to know for sure given the available evidence.  It does, however, seem likely that if Samuel Betts were to live anywhere in the Manor, it would have been close to all of his family in Kingsbridge–most of whom lived around today’s Van Cortlandt Park.  If he wanted to stay close to family, he could not get closer than the Hadley House.