Skip to main content

Full text of "Philipse manor hall at Yonkers, N.Y.; the site, the building and its occupants"

See other formats



Pj%sjaJUwo^jLm\.. 9t!cr«JuXu. 

Kzfe^SS \.;>.\i 


Cornell University Library 
F 129Y5 H17 

hilipse manor hall at Yonkers. N Y.: th 


3 1924 028 782 187 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 







Copyright, 1912 

The American Scenic and Historic 

Preservation Society 

New York, N. Y. 

" Out of monuments, names, wordes, proverbs, tradi- 
tions, private recordes, fragments of stones, passages of 
books, and the like, we doe save and recover somewhat 
from the deluge of time." — Lord Bacon in the Advance of 

" A people without memories and memorials can have 
no true national life, because it would become entirely 
absorbed in the sordid and material interests belonging 
whoUy to the present time. A reverent attitude m respect 
to the Past, the epoch-marking periods of our history, 
and the care of their relics and memorials are not, as is 
so often charged, mere matters of sentiment. They 
spring from a sense of duty and of public need which is 
justified by every principle of civic virtue. In one sense, 
patriotism is a sentiment; but when called into action, it 
exhibits itself in deeds of practical significance and results." 
— William Allen Butler, LL.D., Dec. zi, jgoo. 

" Scenic and Historic Places and Objects teach patriot- 
ism and nourish moral sentiments, while they care also in 
some measure for the aesthetic nature. When once estab- 
lished, these famous places become unsalaried teachers. 
They never die, never ask to be retired on pensions, and 
their voices grow stronger and more convincing with 
increased age." — Rev. Henry M. MacCracken, D.D., 
LL.D., Chancellor of New York University, April 6, igoi. 

Dedicated to 

the Memory of 


whose generous gift, 

one of many public benefactions, 

made possible the preservation of 

Philipse Manor Hall 

as an Historic Monument. 

American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society 

Headquuteri: Tribune Buildine, New York, N. Y. 


Honorary President Preodent 

J. P. Morgan, LL.D. Geo. F. Kunz, Ph.D., Sc.D. 


Dean Liberty H. Bailey Hon. George W. Perkins 

H. M. Leipziger, Ph.D. Col. Henry W. Sackett 

Treasurer Counsel 

Hon. N. Taylor Phillips Henry E. Gregory 


Edward Hagaman Hall, L.H.D. 

Board o( Trustees 

Edward D. Adams, LL.D. Hon. Thomas H. Lee 

Dean Liberty H. Bailey H. M. Leipziger, Ph.D. 

Henry Harper Benedict Ogden P. Letchworth 

Reginald Pelham Bolton H. J. Messenger, Ph.D. 

Herbert L. Bridgman T. P. Morgan, LL.D. 

J. Adams Brown Edw. L. Partridge, M.D. 

Henry K. Bush-Brown Gordon H. Peck 

D. Bryson Delay an, M.D. Hon. George W. Perkins 

Hon. Charles M. Dow Hon. N. Taylor Phillips 

Algernon S. Frissell Hon. Thomas R. Proctor 

Hon. Robert L. Fryer Hon. Herman Ridder 

Henry E. Gregory Col. Henry W. Sackett 

Francis Whiting Halsey Hon. Charles A. Spofford 

Hon. Wm. B. Howland Hon. Stephen H. Thayer 

WoLCOTT J. Humphrey Hon. Calvin Tomkins 

Hon. Thos. p. Kingsford Albert Ulmann 

George F. Kunz, Ph.D. Charles D. Vail, L.H.D. 
Frederick S. Lamb 

Manor Hall Committee 

Hon. S. H. Thayer, Chn. Miss Mary M. Butler 

Hampton D. Ewing Miss Helen R. Croes 

Wn.LiAM L. Kingman Mrs. Thomas Ewing, Jr. 

Hon. D. McN. Stauffer Mrs. Alex. Henderson 

Nathan A. Warren, M.D. Mrs. Charles P. G. Scott 





The fundamental relation between topography 
and history — Domestic, religious and mili- 
tary edifices set upon hills — How trees, 
rocks and other natural landmarks become 
historic — Justification of public and private 
gifts for scenic and historic preservation — 
Public right to famous landmarks — The 
principle applied to the Manor Hall — Land- 
mark treasures of the Atlantic States and 
why they should be protected 13 



Aboriginal villages along the lower Hudson — 
Their expressive names — Their locations 
determined by natural conditions — Nap- 
peckamak, the metropolis of the Manhattan 
Indians — The Neperhan — A picture of abo- 
riginal life — Henry Hudson's arrival — The 
prelude of a great drama 25 



Acquisition of Nepperhaem by the West India 
Company — Adnaen van der Donck, the first 
individual white owner — Origin of the names 
Yonkers and Saw-Kill — The Patroon's mill- 
ing business — Van der Donck, the first lawyer 
in New Amsterdam — His death — Convey- 
ance of property to Frederick Philipse, et al. . 30 


Philipse Manor Hall 




A notable famUy — Vagaries of early spelling 
of family name — Seven generations traced — 
Immigration of the First Lord of the Manor 
from Bolswaert, Friesland — Some of his 
living descendants ^ 37 



Frederick Philipse, the real founder of Yonkers — 
His remarkable career — OfBcial carpenter of 
the Dutch West India Co. — At Esopus and 
Bergen — Becomes a small burgher — Ac- 
quires choice property in New Amsterdam — 
His street first paved with stone — His varied 
mercantile business — A dealer in wampum — • 
Growth of his worldly possessions — Becomes 
the richest merchant in New York — Growth 
of his personal influence — Attains the Gover- 
nor's Council — His position in the Leisler 
troubles — His fortunate marriage 45 



Frederick Philipse's milling interests at Yonkeis 
— Sued by his miller — Acquires most of 
Colendonck — Extends his possessions from 
Spuyten Duyvil to Pocantico — Precipitates 
and helps to settle the Connecticut boundary 
controversy — Visited by French voyageurs — 
Appointed commander-in-chief — His second 
marriage — The Manor of Philipsborough 
created by Royal Charter and he becomes 
First Lord of the Manor — Builds King's 
Bridge — Stories of pirates — The Manor 
House surroundings at the end of the 17th 
century — Growth of the Upper Mills — 
Death of the First Lord 62 





Philipse Manor one of several great manors in 
New York Colony — The manor as an Eng- 
lish institution — Not to be disparaged because 
obsolete — Magna Charta and the manor 
system compared — The manor's place in the 
historical development of Anglo-Saxon institu- 
tions — Manorial tenures and courts — Dif- 
ference between " Manor House " and " Manor 
Hall " — Some English manor halls — Com- 
parison with Philipse Manor Hall — An 
English manor for sale 82 



Bequests of the First Lord of the Manor — The 
Yonkers plantation left to his grandson, 
Frederick Philipse — The education of a yoimg 
lord — A glimpse of colonial life — The 
grandson becomes Second Lord of the Manor 
and marries — Becomes an Alderman and 
Member of Assembly — Helps frame the 
Montgomerie charter — Identified with be- 
ginning of New York's park system — Ap- 
pointed Baron of the Exchequer and Supreme 
Court Judge — Sits in famous Zenger trial — 
The negro plot of 1741 — The Manor Hall 
enlarged — Yonkers Harbor a place of mili- 
tary embarkation — Marriage of Susannah 
Philipse — Death of the Second Lord 97 



Another Frederick Philipse succeeds to the title 
of Lord of the Manor — Manorial rents — 
Brilliant social traditions maintained — Death 
of Margaret Philipse — A colonial epitaph — 
The Lord of the Manor weds — Practices 
landscape gardening — Suitors' pilgrimages to 
the Manor Hall 114 

Philipse Manor Hall 




Addresses of George Washington — Washing- 
ton's susceptibiUties — Meets Mary Philipse 
— Returns to Virginia and puts Mr. Chew on 
guard — Mary captured by Roger Morris — 
The wedding in the Manor Hall — The Morris 
Mansion in New York — Morris' distinguished 
military service — Goes to England upon the 
outbreak of the Revolution — Painful separa- 
tion from his wife — Property confiscated — 
Joined by Mrs. Morris in England — Their 
death — Relics — The tribute of a descendant 
to the saver of the Manor Hall 121 



The happy days at the Manor Hall approach 
their end — A letter from Maria Philipse to 
Mrs. John Jay — Col. Philipse's Tory sym- 
pathies — Summoned to prove his friendship 
for the American cause — Declines to appear 
and is deported to Connecticut — Mrs. Phil- 
ipse complains of depredations by American 
and British troops — Washington's compli- 
ments to Mary Philipse Morris — Philipse 
breaks his parole — Is attainted of treason — 
His property confiscated — Goes to England — 
Tablet to his memory in Chester Cathedral. . 144 



The Manor Hall between two fires in the Revo- 
lution — Witnesses a midnight naval fight — 
Another river battle by day — Right of the 
British army rests at the Hall — Embarkation 
of troops for Fort Lee — Passing troops — 
The Manor Hall a monument to American 
forbearance — Yagers at Philipse's bridge — 
Sir Henry Clinton's headquarters in the Hall — 
A British camp again — Maria Philipse's 



romance — 16,000 British troops camp at the 
Manor and pillage the country — Arrival of 
American troops — A remarkable meeting 
which did not occur — The end of the war. . . 160 



The breaking up of Philipse Manor — Sales by 
the Commissioners of Sequestration and 
Forfeiture — Tales from manuscript records — 
Old time prices current — Samuel Fraunces — 
Sale of the Manor House — Losses of Fred- 
erick Philipse and Roger Morris — The last of 
Philipse's slaves — The tragedy of Philipse 
Manor ended — Persistence of manorial cus- 
toms 178 



Conveyances of the Manor Hall property after 
the Revolution — The Manor Hall repaired by 
Cornelius P. Low — Becomes Yonkers city 
haU — Movement for its preservation — Be- 
comes a local Faneuil Hall — Mrs. Cochran's 
gift — Cooperation of the Common Council — 
Legislature accepts the gift — Formal convey- 
ance of title to the State and custody to the 
American Scenic and Historic Preservation 
Society — Copy of the deed — Mrs. Cochran 
thanked by the City of Yonkers 191 



The historic building described — The adjacent 
Soldiers and Sailors' Monument — The age of 
the Manor Hall discussed — Exact date un- 
confirmed — Some part ot it probably erected 
before close of 17th century — Propor- 
tions accreditable to First and Second Lords 
undetermined — Atmosphere of mystery about 
the ancient building — The scene as Washing- 
ton saw it compared with its appearance to-day. 208 

lo Philipse Manor Hall 




The oldest picture, a sepia drawing made in 1784 
— Old engravings — Portraits of Mary Phil- 
ipse and others by Copley, Benjamin West and 
others — Portrait busts on Manor Hall ceil- 
ing — Large place occupied by the Manor and 
family in colonial history 248 


Plate I "A view of Phillipp's Manor" in 1784. 

Plate II Philipse Manor Hall in 1912. 

Plate III Interior of the East Parlor. 

Plate IV Interior of the East Chamber. 

Plate V The East Hall and Stairs. 

Plate VI English Fire-back and German Stove-plate. 

Plate VII Philipse and Hyde Tablets in Chester 

Plate VIII Bas-relief Portrait on Eastern Portion of 

Ceiling in East Parlor. 
Plate IX Bas-relief Portrait on Western Portion of 

Ceiling in East Parlor. 
Plate X Portrait of Mary Philipse before Marriage, 

by Woolaston. 
Plate XI Portrait of Mrs. Roger Morris (nee Mary 

Philipse) by Copley. 
Plate XII Portrait of Col. Roger Morris by West. 
Plate XIII Design of Entire Ceiling of East Parlor. 
Plate XIV Plan of Manor Hall. 

Philipse Coat of Aims (front cover). 



CL, p. 







n. — . 

E7IJ 0^ 

v /t .^ imi ^^ Am 

7 <ci>^tt— ^ ii'^ 


Plate VIII Bas-Relief Portrait See page 218 

on Eastern portion of ceiling of the East Parlor. Believed to be 

the likeness of one of the Lords of Philipse Manor 

Plate X 

Mary Philipse 

See page 249 

Original portrait by John Woolaston in possession of the Misses Philipse 
of New York 

Plate XI Mrs. Roger Morris See page 249 

Born Mary Philipse. Original portrait by Copley in possession of 

Amherst Morris of England 

Plate XII Colonel Roger Morris See page 249 

Original .portrait by Benjaniin West in possession of Amherst 
Morris of England 



By chapter i68 of the Laws of 1908 of the State 
of New York, which received the signature of 
Governor Hughes on April 27, 1908, the State of 
New York accepted and placed in the custody of 
the American Scenic and Historic Preservation 
Society the venerable Philipse Manor Hall in the 
City of Yoiikers, N. Y., to " be preserved and 
maintained forever intact as an historical monu- 
ment and a museum of historical relics, and for 
such historical and patriotic uses." 

This happy consummation of hopes long enter- 
tained was brought about by the generous gift 
of $50,000 made by the late Mrs. William F. 
Cochran for the purchase of the property, sup- 
plemented by the public spirited cooperation of 
the municipal authorities of the City of Yonkers, 
who voted to sell at that price property which, at 
a moderate estimate, is worth at least twice that 
sum. After the conveyance of the property, 
Mrs. Cochran gave $5,000 and her son, Mr. 
Alexander Smith Cochran, gave $10,000 to the 
American Scenic and Historic Preservation 
Society for the restoration of the building, in 
addition to which Mr. Cochran will furnish 

14 Philipse Manor Hall 

several rooms and place in the building his very 
valuable collection of oil portraits of presidents 
of the United States. 

By these acts, one of the most interesting 
antiqmties of the United States has been placed 
in permanent security, and a strong impulse 
given to the movement for the preservation of 
American landmarks. 

Before taking up the detailed history of this 
interesting btulding, it may be profitable to 
consider briefly the general principles and motives 
involved in scenic and historic preservation, some 
of which are conspicuously illustrated in the 
preservation of this venerable structure. 

There is an intimate and fundamental relation 
between scenery and history, and there is a strong 
probability that notable features of the landscape 
will possess historical interest from identification 
with human annals. 

The valleys of the earth have always been 
pathways of history — the history of war and the 
history of peace. The navigable streams which 
ran through them were the natural avenues of 
travel. The contours of their borders permitted 
roadways with easy grades. The streams afforded 
power for industry and water for domestic use. 
The alluvial soil and abundant moisture yielded 
the husbandman an ample reward for tds toil. 
The protecting hills sheltered the inhabitants 
from the chill blasts of winter. And so, mankind. 

Introduction 15 

from the lowest stage of savagery up to the high- 
est stage of civiUzation, has traveled through, 
settled in, and made history in the valleys. This 
we shall see very plainly demonstrated in the 
history of Phihpse Manor Hall and its site. 

The summits of mountains, hills and crags, 
always picturesque, have been chosen from time 
immemorial for the principal public and domestic 
buildings of civilized man, and have become 
historic for many reasons. The acropolis — 
literally the " top-most city " — of the ancient 
Greeks was their citadel and the seat of their 
principal sanctuaries. Whoever has climbed the 
hills to Durham and Lincoln cathedrals has seen 
the same principle illustrated there, as it is also 
in the City of New York in the location of the 
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Luke's 
Hospital, Columbia University and Grant's 
Tomb on Momingside Heights, the site of the 
Battle of Harlem; the College of the City of 
New York on St. Nicholas Heights, the site of 
Revolutionary fortifications and manoeuvers; and 
the University of New York on the site of the 
Revolutionary Fort No. Eight. 

In the early settlement of a new country, the 
wealthiest and most influential families sectu-e 
the first choice of sites for their residences and 
naturally select the most eligible and sightly 
places for their domiciles. Thus picturesque 
locations become the focal centers of the history 

i6 Philipse Manor Hall 

which the owners make. This also we find con- 
spicuously illustrated in the Philipse Manor Hall, 
as also in such buildings as the Hamilton Grange 
at One Hundred and Forty-second street and 
Convent avenue, New York City; the Morris 
Mansion (the married home of Mary PhiHpse, 
daughter of the Second Lord of the Manor) in 
One Hundred and Sixtieth street. New York City; 
the Van Cortlandt Mansion (the married home 
of " Eva Philipse," adopted daughter of the First 
Lord of the Manor) in Van Cortlandt Park, New 
York City; the Van Cortlandt Manor House at 
Croton Point; the Hasbrouck House (Washing- 
ton's Headquarters) at Newburgh, etc. 

In military afEairs, it is the first instinct of the 
engineer to erect his castle or fortification on a 
commanding eminence, which is invariably pic- 
turesque. When Nature piled up the rocky 
eminence on which Edinburgh Castle is built and 
molded the surrounding hills, she built not only the 
foundation for one of the most picturesque cities 
of the old world, but she also built a theater for 
human history; and Quebec, the most picturesque 
city in English-speaking America, teUs the same 
story of the marriage of Nature and History, of 
Beauty and Tragedy. 

Similarly we find history clustering around the 
smaller individual features of the landscape. A 
great rock becomes a " council rock," like the 
Council Rock on the old Seneca trail in Brighton, 

Introduction 17 

N. Y. ; or it becomes an object of worship with the 
aborigines and a boundary monument with the 
whites, hke Amackassin, the famous boundary 
stone at the northwest comer of the Town of 
Yonkers. A great tree becomes a " treaty tree," 
Hke the Big Tree near Mount Morris, Livingston 
county (which gave its name to the Big Tree 
Treaty of 1797 with the Senecas*), or the Council 
Tree at Geneva, N. Y., or the Treaty Oak in Pel- 
ham Bay Park, New York City. It was as 
natural for the aborigines to select a rock like the 
Devil's Dans Kammer in Newburgh Bay on the 
Hudson for their religious rites, as for the white 
man to choose Plymouth Rock as a seciure land- 
ing place for the Pilgrims. It was a common 
instinct that led the Indians to assemble in 
council under the great elm at Cambridge, Mass., 
before the advent of the Eitropeans, and im- 
pelled Washington to stand tmder it when he as- 
sumed command of the Continental Army in 1 7 7 5 . 
An object may be picturesque without being 
historic; but when it is old enough to be historic, 
it is almost invariably picturesque. The magni- 
tude of the size of a growing object, the softening 
color due to exposure to the elements, the state 
of dilapidation due to neglect and decay, the 

*This tree fell several years ago. A portion of it is 
preserved on the Council House Grounds of Letchworth 
Park at Portage, N. Y. The Geneva CouncU Tree is 
still standing. The Treaty Oak in Pelham Bay Park 
has disappeared entirely. 

i8 Philipse Manor Hall ■ 

vegetable growths which spontaneously overrun 
an abandoned structure, the obsoleteness of style 
of architecture or construction due to the progress 
of art or invention, all tend to give objects a 
picturesque aspect and frequently, in addition, 
an educational and scientific value, by the time 
they are old enough to be called " historic." 

Thus we find a strong htunan interest in the 
landmarks of the country which lies at the basis 
of the growing movement for their preservation. 

Now let us consider briefly the reasons which 
more particularly justify not only such generous 
private gifts as that made in the Manor Hall case, 
but also the appropriation of public moneys for 
the same ptirpose; for although the means have 
been forthcoming for the acquisition and restora- 
tion of the Manor Hall property, the State is 
expected to provide the funds necessary for its 

In the case of the United States v. Gettysburg 
Electric Railway Company, decided January 27, 
1896, Mr. Justice Peckham affirmed the constitu- 
tionality of an act of Congress authorizing the 
purchase of land for the Gettysburg National 
Park, on the ground that " any act of Congress 
which plainly and directly tends to enhance the 
respect and love of the' citizen for the institutions 
of this country and strengthen his motives to 
defend them, and which is germane to and inti- 
mately connected with and appropriate to the 

Introduction 19 

exercise of some one or all the powers granted by 
Congress, must be valid." Now, battlefields are 
not the only objects that inspire good dtizenship. 
Peace hath her victories no less renowned than 
war. And the argument may legitimately be 
extended to embrace any object which, by reason 
of association of ideas, tends to incite interest 
in and devotion to the State. The preservation 
of physical object-lessons is almost as essential 
to a proper understanding of our national life and 
to a vital patriotism as it is to teach book-history 
in our schools and universities. Chancellor- 
emeritus Henry M. MacCracken of New York 
University very appropriately has called them "un- 
salaried teachers which never die, never ask to be 
retired on pensions and whose voices grow stronger 
and more convincing with increasing age." 

There is, perhaps, no more eloquent evidence of 
the power of landmarks to excite national pride 
than the instinctive sense of proprietorship which 
the public feels in them, even while they are in 
private ownership. Landmarks, like men, when 
they become famous, may be said to belong in 
part to the Nation. The man who wins fame 
gives hostages to the people. He is no longer the 
independent individual that he was before. He 
finds that he belongs somewhat to his fellow men, 
that he must make concessions to them and that 
he must honor the claims which they make upon 
his time and consideration. 

20 Philipse Manor Hall 

The same may be said of famous buildings. It 
does not matter who owns the little house in 
Devonshire Terrace, on the Marylebone Road, 
London, in which Charles Dickens lived — every 
lover of Dickens may claim a moral proprietor- 
ship in that btiilding. The national government 
of Great Britain holds title to the building in 
Stratford in which the Bard of Avon lived; but 
whoever speaks the Enghsh tongue, wherever he 
may dwell, is boimd by an indissoluble tie of 
sentiment as strong as an indenture of title to the 
home of the immortal Shakespeare. 

Who has visited some literary shrine in Salem, 
or Concord, or elsewhere, and not been conscious 
of this instinct, which is a perfectly natural one, 
and which every one feels to a greater or lesser 
degree — the feeling that the people at large have 
a sort of right to the houses made famous by the 
residence of famous men? The pilgrim ap- 
proaches the author's home with tender feelings 
of love and gratitude for the works which have 
delighted himself and thousands of others. He 
wants to see the house where the writer lived and 
the woods through which he walked and the pond 
beside which he sat. He wants to be where the 
author's spirit dwelt, and to place himself in the 
environment which once inspired the writer's 
thoughts. The pilgrim really feels as if he has a 
right to do this. Of cotirse he has no legal right 
to trespass on the groimds if they be private. 

Introduction 21 

On the contrary, and equally of course, the heirs 
of the famous man's property have a perfect 
legal right to post up signs reading: " Trespassing 
on these grounds is forbidden tmder penalty of 
the law;" " Beware of the dog," etc. And when 
one knocks respectftilly at the front door and 
asks a very civil question it is the inalienable 
privilege of the owner of the place to regard the 
call as an intrusion and to resent it as such if he 
or she wishes to do so. Nevertheless, one goes 
away from such an experience with the feeling 
that he has been cheated out of something that 
was his due; that something within him that was 
very tender and loving has tinjustly been rejected 
and crushed. It is difficult tinder the circum- 
stances not to feel that those who inherit the 
property and fame of distinguished men inherit 
also the moral obligation which goes with the 
legacy to show a certain respect to this natural, 
justifiable, and laudable interest which the 
pubUc takes in the visible mementoes of their 
great ancestors. 

But since this feeling does exist, with respect 
not only to literary shrines but also other historic 
buildings ; since it is by common consent acknowl- 
edged to be an eleyated sentiment; and since the 
private owner is under no legal obligation to pay 
deference to it, it remains for the municipality, 
or the State, or the Nation to purchase and main- 
tain the property, and thus devote it to the satis- 

22 Philipse Manor Hall 

faction and encouragement of this very proper 

The application of this principle to the Yonkers 
Manor Hall is this: This building, for reasons 
more fully to be stated presently, is a famous 
building. It is widely known throughout the 
United States. It is known in Europe. The 
world at large is interested in it. The people of 
the United States who know anjrthing about our 
national history have a peculiar interest in it. 
To the people of Yonkers, it is the cradle of their 
city, for although the Patroon of Colendonck 
gave the city its name, it was the Lord of Philipse 
Manor who really laid the foundation of the city. 
To the people of the State of New York it stands 
as one of the conspicuous monuments of their 
social and political development. Upon these 
grounds, briefly, when the building was threat- 
ened with mutilation, it was urged upon the 
Common Council of Yonkers that morally they 
were not the sole owners of the building and that 
they could not permit the disfigvurement or 
destruction of the property without shocking a 
public sentiment which extended beyond their 
local jurisdiction. And it has been in deference 
to public sentiment which would regard as a sort 
of violation of popular rights the return of the 
building to private ownership, with consequent 
risk of mutilation or possible destruction, that 
private generosity and the public spirit of the 

Introduction 2$ 

Common Council have erected the property into 
a public monument; and it will be in justifiable 
deference to this same sentiment that the State 
in future years will make appropriations for its 
proper maintenance. 

Anglo-Saxon civilization in the New World is 
304 years old, and if we correctly estimate the 
date of the erection of the oldest part of Manor 
Hall, the history of that building represents 
nearly three-fourths of the whole period that has 
elapsed since the permanent advent of English- 
speaking people upon this contineiit. That fact 
in itself is very remarkable and gives the building 
a distinction. We have, as it were, about 225 
years of history invested in it. It is a capital 
which will increase in value as time goes on. It is 
an enviable distinction of our Atlantic coast, upon 
which the westward-moving wave of civiUzation 
first broke, that it has such landmarks. What 
woiild not the communities of our Western States 
give if they had the old buildings, and the battle- 
fields, and the old civic traditions pf the Atlantic 
States to stimulate their local pride and patriotism ? 

But with these three centuries of oiur seaboard 
history in which the Eastern States take such 
pride, have come dangers to the monuments 
which Time has dedicated. Here, where civiliza- 
tion has been rooted the longest, the population 
is the densest and commercial enterprise is the 
most active; and the pressure of those two factors. 

24 Philipse Manor Hall 

— population and commerdaKsm — is threaten- 
ing to sweep away these cherished landmarks. 
Whenever, then, the rescuing hand is put forth 
and a valuable landmark like the Philipse Manor 
Hall is saved, a benefaction is conferred upon the 
public which is deserving of the most cordial 

In the preparation of the following pages the 
writer has consulted about 300 different printed 
works, and numerous manuscript letters, deeds, 
wills, charters, maps, etc., in the United States 
and England, but only a portion of the available 
material has been drawn upon for this book. 
When it is recalled that there was hardly any 
phase of the pioneer and colonial life of New 
York and the adjacent commonwealths that was 
not connected, either directly or indirectly, with 
the site of the Manor Hall, the building or its 
owners, it can readily be understood that it 
would have required a much more compendious 
volume to follow every hne of history and tradi- 
tion radiating from this venerable pile. But 
enough has been recalled, it is hoped, to show the 
ground for the great popular interest taken in the 
Manor Hall and to indicate the value, both of 
the gift to the State and of the services of the 
Society which is conserving it. 

E. H. H. 

New York City, January, 19 12. 



■\17HEN, in 1609, Henry Hudson sailed up the 
Mahicanituck* he found the mouth of 
ahnost every tributary of any considerable size the 
seat of an Indian village. On Manhattan Island, 
where Minetta brook emptied into the Hudson 
at what is now Charlton and Greenwich streets 
(old Greenwich), there was the village of Sap- 
pokanican. Just behind the mouth of Spuyten 
Duyvil creek where Tippets brook flows into 
that stream, upon Spuyten Duyvil Hill, was the 
fortified Indian village, Nipimchsen. Four and a 
quarter miles farther north, where the Neperhan 
enters the Hudson, was the village of Nappecka- 
mack, of which we shall speak hereafter. Five 
and a half miles farther north, at the mouth of 

* Ma-ha-ka-negh-tuc, or Mahicanituck, was the Mohican 
name for the Hudson river, which was called Ca-ho-ha-te-a 
by the Iroquois and Shatemuc by other Indians. Other 
names for this historic stream were Una Grandissima 
Riviera (Verazzano, 1524), whence Rio Grande, Riviere 
Grande and Grand River; Rio de San Antonio or River 
of Saint Anthony (Gomez, 1525); Rio de Gamas (Span- 
iards, 1525-1600); River of the Mountains (Hudson, 
1609); or Montaigne Rivier (Dutch maps, 1615-1664); 
Hudson's River (Dutch publication, 1612); River Man- 
hattes (De Laet, 1625); or Manhattans Rivier (Dutch 
maps, 161 5-1 664); River Mauritius or Maurits Rivier 
(Dutch period), from Maurice, Prince of Orange; Noort 
Rivier (Dutch period) or North River (English) to dis- 
tinguish it from the South, or Delaware, River. 


26 Philipse Manor Hall 

the Wysquaqua (or Wickers creek), was the village 
of Weckquaskeck, now occupied by the village of 
Dobbs Ferry. At Tarrjrtown, five miles from 
Dobbs Ferry, where the Pocantico creek enters 
the Hudson, stood Alipconk. At the mouth of 
Sing Sing creek, six miles farther north, was 
Sintsinck, now Ossining. Northward two and a 
half miles farther, at the mouth of the Kitcha- 
wonck, or Croton river, was the village of Kitcha- 
wonck, or Kitchawan. At the mouth of Peekskill 
creek, eight miles farther upstream as the crow 
flies, was Sackhoes, now Peekskill. And so the 
list might be prolonged to the head of the great 
river which the navigator explored. 

Of all these aboriginal settlements, the one at 
the mouth of the Neperhan river, called Nap- 
peckamack, the principal village of the Manhattan 
Indians,* is the one which especially interests us, 

* The highest and latest authority on this subject is 
" The Hand Book of American Indians," recently pub- 
lished by the Bureau of American Ethnology — the most 
remarkable work of its kind ever printed. From this it 
appears that Nappeckamack was the metropolitan village 
of the Manhattan Indians who occupied Manhattan 
Island, the east bank of the Hudson river in Westchester 
county and the Westchester shore of Long Island sound. 
TheJManhattans were a tribe of the Wappinger confederacy. 
After the Dutch occupied Manhattan Island, the name 
Weckquaskeck appears to have been used to designate 
the remainder of the tribe on the mainland. They were of 
Algonkian stock and closely connected with the Mahicans on 
the north and the Mohegans on the east, but distinguished 
from them by political and dialectic differences. It is inter- 
esting to think that the area of the present Greater New 
York was once tributary to the aborigines of Yonkers. 

Nappeckamack, the Trap-fishing Place 27 

for in this locality the Lords of Philipse Manor 
biiilt their Manor Hall, and around the site of 
the vanished Indian village has grown up the 
thriving City of Yonkers. 

The eloquent nomenclature of the aborigines 
gives us a ready clue to the reason for the location 
of Nappeckamack and to one of the chief occu- 
pations of its inhabitants. Neperhan is a cor- 
ruption of Nappeckamack, or Neperhamack, and 
has generally been translated erroneously as 
meaning " the rapid water settlement." A very 
reliable authority on this name is WiUiam Wal- 
lace Tooker, who, in his " Algonkian series, No. 
7," says that the " n " and " r " in Nappecka- 
mack and Neperhamack are intrusive and that 
the name is derived from " appeh," meaning 
" trap," and " amack," or " amuck," meaning 
" fishing place." Hence we have " appeh-mack," 
" the trap-fishing place " and Neperhan (apehhan) 
" a trap, snare, gin," etc. Here, we may con- 
clude, the Indians caught fish with the ebbing 
of the tide, probably after the fashion described 
by Wood in his New England Prospect (1634), 
by stretching a net or constructing a weir across 
the mouth of the creek, " When they used to 
tide it in and out to the Rivers and Creekes with 
long seanes or Basse Nets which stop in the fish; 
and the water ebbing from them they are left on 
the dry ground, sometimes two or three thousand 
at a set." 

28 Philipse Manor Hall 

As one stands on the elevated grounds of the 
Manor House to-day, looking down at the rudi- 
ment of the Neperhan on the south side of Dock 
street, the imagination may bring back some of 
the broader outlines of aboriginal scenes of three 
centtuies ago: the cluster of bark huts on the 
hillside; the primeval forest to the north, east 
and south, with silence unbroken save by the 
soughing of the trees, the thunder of the storm, 
the bubbling of the brook, the scream of the 
bird, the howl of the wolf or the roar of the bear; 
to the west, the broad Hudson, bearing no craft 
larger than a canoe; and beyond the river, the 
towering Palisades, standing now, as then, in 
their pristine grandeur; at the foot of the hill, 
the crystal Neperhan, widening at its mouth into 
a sheltering cove; upon the shore, the canoes 
drawn up above the tides of the " river that 
flowed upward; " here and there, the busy 
natives, with their stone or shell implements, 
dressing fish, either for immediate constmiption 
or for drying for winter use; over the glowing 
camp-fire, the smoking venison from the neigh- 
boring forest; or under a mass of steaming grass, 
the roasting oysters whose shells for many years 
told of the savory feasts of the villagers. 

And then we can imagine the sensation as 
rumors of the arrival of the white men came up 
from below; the astonishment of the natives at 
the birdlike craft with its great white wings as it 

Nappeckamack, the Trap-fishing Place 29 

sailed past on September 14, 1609; their excite- 
ment when, the following day, the two captives 
who escaped from the Half Moon came down 
the trail, arousing the warriors of the villages to 
revenge; the agitation here and particularly at 
the next village below, Nipinichsen, for several 
days as preparations were made for the assault 
on Hudson's return; and then the bloody conflict 
of October 2, 1609, oflE Spuyten DuyvU creek, in 
which their tribesmen suffered so heavily. 

Such was the setting of the scene, and such the 
prelude to the great drama soon to follow, in 
which the forests and their dusky inhabitants 
were to be swept away, leaving nothing but an 
almost obscured stream and its sweet-sounding 
name as reminders of their ancient dominion. 



"yHE obliteration of the aborigines in West- 
•^ Chester county was a gradual process, ex- 
tending over a period of a century and a half 
or more.* But, yielding to the temptations 
presented by European beads, blankets, iron 
ware, and, sad to relate, firewater, the natives 
began to part with their title to the soil soon 
after the advent of the Dutch. 

On August 3, 1639, thirteen years after the 
purchase of Manhattan Island, three chiefs of 
the Weckquaskecks, named " fequemec," " rech- 
gawac," and " packaimiens," owners of " keskes- 
kich,"t appeared before Comelis van Tienhoven, 
Secretary of the Dutch West India Company, at 
Fort Amsterdam, and conveyed to the West 
India Company the tract of land in their territory 
called " Nepperhaem, " embracing the site of the 
present City of Yonkers and much adjacent 
territory. This conveyance appears to have been 
of doubtful eflEectiveness, for, as will be seen 
later, subsequent owners acquired title by pur- 
chase direct from the Indians. 

* Lieutenant-Cblonei Simcoe, in his Military Journal, 
tells of killing an Indian chief named Nimham and forty- 
other Indians in Westchester county on August 31, 1778. 

t So written in the original document. 


The Youncker Adriaen van der Donck 31 

Owing to the hostilities between the Dutch and 
the Indians soon after the alleged conveyance of 
1639, no individual had the courage to attempt 
to seek a home in this remote wilderness, sixteen 
miles from the protecting walls of Fort Amster- 
dam, until the international relations had become 
more amicable. Then, in 1646, a man who had 
contributed largely to the restoration of peace 
secured from the West India Company a grant 
of this region, reinforcing his title by purchase 
from the natives. This first individual white 
owner of the Manor HaU site and adjacent 
territory was Adriaen van der Donck, Doctor of 
Laws, a cultured member of a Dutch family of 
Breda, who came to New Netherland in the fall of 
1 64 1 as Sheriff of Rensselaerwyck. The grant was 
made by the West India Company in considera- 
tion of his valuable services as a peacemaker be- 
tween Director Kieft and the lately warring red 
men. The property extended from a little riviilet 
called Amakassin* (which flows into the Hudson 
near the present Greystone station of the 
New York Central railroad), eastward to the 
Bronx river and southward to Spuyten Duyvil 

In 1652, it was erected into a Colony of which 

* The little stream called Amakassin derived its name 
from a great stone at its mouth which was a landmark 
with the aborigines and is frequently mentioned in the 
early Dutch and English deeds. The name means 
" fishing-place stone." 

32 Philipse Manor Hall 

Van der Donck became Patroon. In an octroy 
dated May 26, 1652, granting Van der Donck 
power to bequeath his fief, he is called " Adriaen 
van der Donck, of Breda, Patroon of the Colony 
of Nepperhaem, called by him Colendonck, 
situated in New Netherlands." Colendonck 
means Donck Colony. 

The memory of Van der Donck is perpetuated 
in the name of the City of Yonkers, which is 
derived from the title which was occasionally 
prefixed to the name. In a summons to Donainie 
Bogardus from the Director and Council of New 
Netherland, dated January 2, 1646, Van der Donck 
is alluded to as " The Youncker." On April 12, 
1646, the Dutch records refer to him as " Yoncker 
Adriaen Verdonck," his last name frequently 
being abbreviated to Verdonck. The word 
" Yoncker," spelled in modem Dutch both 
"Jonker" and "Jonkheer," is derived from 
two roots which in Dutch, Middle Dutch, 
Swedish, Danish, German, Low German, and 
Middle High German signify young and gentle- 
man. The Dutch dictionary defines it as 
meaning " messire, coimtry squire ox young 
nobleman (eldest son to a noble family)." In 
its old English use the word also carried the 
idea of distinction. Thus, in Spenser's " Faery 
Queen, " we have: 

" Amongst the rest there was a jolly knight . . . 
But that same younker soone was overthrowne." 

The Youncker Adriaen van der Donck 33 

Chapman in his translation of the Odyssey, 

" Ulysses slept there, and close by 
The other Yovmkers." 

Sometimes Van der Donck's property was 
called "de Jonkheer's Landt" and sometimes " the 
YouQckers Land." In a Council Minute, dated 
Nov. 6, 1668, relating to a land dispute between 
John Archer and others, reference is made to 
"the Youncker's Land" and the land "that 
was the Youncker Van der Donck's." These 
expressions became shortened in the course of 
time to simply Younckers. By 1734, as appears 
from the quotation on page 107, the place was 
" commonly called Yonkers," although diiring 
the tenure of the Philipses it was frequently 
called by their name. In 1788, the Legislature 
formally adopted the name of Yonkers for the 

After Van der Donck secured his grant he laid 
out a farm and plantation on the Neperhan, 
dammed the stream opposite the Manor House 
site, and erected a mill for sawing wood from his 
forests. In one of his petitions to the home 
government, dated May 30, 1652, he says; 
"After I obtained this grant in 1646, I resolved 
to reside here, erected a saw-mill, and laid out a 
farm and plantation." He adds that after doing 
this, he acquired some property near Spujrten 


34 Philipse Manor Hall 

Dujrvil where he expected to " fix his residence 
as soon as he should have finished all his concerns 
at the Saw Kill." Whether he ever erected a 
residence near Spujrten Dujrvil as contemplated 
is not certain. After presenting the above 
memorial he was detained in the Netherlands 
till the fall of 1653 and as he died in 1655, he did 
not have much time to create another establish- 
ment. In his " Beschrijvinge van Nieu Neder- 
landt," published in Amsterdam in 1655, he 
alludes to his mill-stream at Yonkers. Speaking 
of the North river, he says: " Several fine 
creeks empty into this river, such as the little 
and great Esopus, Kats-ldl, Slapershaven, Colen- 
doncks-kil or Sagh-Ml, Wappinckes-kil, etc." 
" Slapershaven " is Sleepy Haven, or Sleepy 
Hollow, creek; "Wappinckes-kil " is Wappingers 
creek, and" Colendoncks-kil, or Sagh-kil," is the 
Neperhan. " Sagh-kil," or, as it was spelled on 
Van der Donck's map, " Saeck Kil," are obsolete 
spellings of what would be written Zaag Kill in 
modem Dutch. It means, literally, Saw-creek, 
modernized to Saw Mill river. 

That Van der Donck was visited by Indians 
and had them in his employ is indicated in two 
entries in the Court Minutes of New Amster- 
dam. On January 10, 1656, Catalyntie Verbeeck 
claimed ownership of two books " which the 
Indians took from Ver Donck's house; " and in 
a paper read by Director Stuyvesant, January 26, 

The Youncker Adriaen van der Donck 35 

1656, reference is made to an " Indian from 
Wiequaeskeck, who was a good friend of Vander 
Donck and had tended his cows for a time." 

Soon after obtaining his grant, Van der Donck 
became one of the most ardent and fearless critics 
of the government under Director Stuyvesant 
and the Dutch West India Company, and his 
visit to the Netherlands in 1652-53 was for the 
purpose of representing the sentiments of him- 
self and his S3anpathizers. While there he made 
preparations to colonize his property, but various 
obstacles prevented, and when he retvimed to 
New Netherland in the fall of 1653 he had not 
accomplished much, apparently, except the publi- 
cation of his Description of New Netherland. 

Although Van der Donck did little for the 
material promotion of his large estate, he is an 
interesting figure on account of the versatility 
of his talents, which ranged from sawing wood to 
the practice of law. Having taken his degree 
of law at Leyden University and been admitted 
to practice before the Supreme Court of Holland, 
he applied to the Dutch West India Company 
for permission to practice in New Netherland. 
But the directors of the Company declared that 
they did not know " of there being any other 
of that stamp " in New Amsterdam, and as there 
was nobody " who can act and plead against 
Van der Donck in behalf of the other side " 
they could not admit him to plead before the 

36 Philipse Manor Hall 

courts, but they consented to his giving advice. 
From which it is evident that the Patroon of 
Colendonck was the first of that distinguished 
body of learned gentlemen of the law which now 
niunbers about 25,000 in the State of New York. 

Van der Donck left as his chief memorials 
two names in local nomenclature: " Yonkers," 
and the alternative name of the Neperhan, "the 
Saw Mill river." 

The Patroon's widow, who was the daughter 
of the Rev. Francis Doughty, after the period of 
mourning married Hugh O'Neale and, on October 
8, 1666, two years after the surrender of New 
Netherland to the English, Neperhan was 
patented to Mr. and Mrs. O'Neale by Governor 
NicoUs. On the 30th of the same month the 
O'Neales sold the property to Elias Doughty, of 
Flushing, and on November 29, 1672, Doughty 
sold it to Thomas Delaval, Thomas Lewis and 
Frederick Philipse. 



'T'HE acqvdsition of a third interest in the late 
Youncker van der Donck's colony by Freder- 
ick Philipse first identifies with the Manor Hall 
site the name of a family which was conspicuous 
in the annals of the Colony and State for nearly 
a century and a half. In order properly to 
imderstand the references in the following pages 
to various members of the family, from the 
arrival of the immigrants in Stujrv^esant's time 
to the departure of their disinherited descend- 
ants at the close of the American Revolution, it 
win be convenient to make a brief conspectus 
of their genealogy. 

The name of the family is variously spelled, 
in the records of New Netherland and New York, 
Flipse, Flypse, Flypsie, Filipzen, Filipzon, Felyp- 
sen, Felypson, Flipson, PhiHpsen, Philipse, Phil- 
lipse. Philips and Phillips. From this varied 
orthography we shall use the spelling Philipse, 
unless literal quotation requires a change. 

According to fanaily usage, so long as living 
descendants of Frederick Philipse know, the name 
has been pronounced as it was sometimes spelled 
— Philips, with the accent on the first syllable. 

Concerning the first two generations of the 
femily, there appears to be some indefiniteness 

38 Philipse Manor Hall 

of record,* but from a careful comparison of 
many authorities we deduce the following: 

First Generation. 
The first generation of the family known to 
bear the name was the Viscount Philipse of 
Bohemia, who, with his wife Eva and his son 
Frederick fled to Friesland. 

Second Generation. 

Frederick Philipse, last above mentioned, bom 
in Bohemia, lived in Friesland, where he married 
Margaret Dacres and where he died. They had 
a son Frederick with whom the widowed Margaret 
emigrated to New Netherland on a date uncer- 
tain. It is suggested with some probability that 
the immigrants came with Peter Stuyvesant in 

Third Generation. 

Frederick Philipse, last above mentioned. First 
Lord of the Manor, bom in Bolswaert, Friesland f 
1626; came to New Netherland with his widowed 

* The genealogy in Bolton's " History of Westchester 
County " is hopelessly confused. Scharf in his History 
says that Frederick Philipse and Margaret Dacres, his 
wife, both came to America with their son Frederick, 
later First Lord of the Manor ; while John Jay says Margaret 
was a widow when she came over with her son. The 
genealogy which we give also diflEers from that in "Burke's 
Landed Gentry" but is believed to be more nearly correct 
and is approved by the Philipse family of New York. 

t Our clue to the native place of the founder of the 
family in America is found in the entry of his marriage 
in the records of the Dutch Church of New Amsterdam 
which reads as follows: " 1662, Oct. 28. (Name) 

The Philipse Family 39 

mother, probably in 1647 ; banns published, October 
28, 1662, for marriage to Margaretta (or Mar- 
gariet) Hardenbrook, of Ervervelt, daughter of 
Adolf Hardenbrook and widow of Peter Rudol- 
phus De Vries, whom he married in December; 
married second, November 30, 1692, CatherinaVan 
Cortlandt, daughter of OlofE Stephanus Van 
Cortlandt and widow of John Dervall; died 
November 6, 1702. 

Fourth Generation. 

The children of Frederick and Margariet, his 
first wife, were as follows: 

I. " Eva Philipse," daughter of Peter Rudol- 
phus De Vries and Margariet Hardenbrook, bom 
July 6, 1660, adopted by her mother's second 
husband and known as " Eva PhiUpse; " married 
Jacobus Van Cortlandt, May 31, 1691. A 
petition for letters of administration on her 
estate was made by Abraham de Peyster and 
others March 8, 1760. 

Frederick Philipszen. (Prom whence) Bolswaert. (Name) 
Margariet Hardenbrook, widow. (From whence) blank." 
In the earlier record of Margariet Hardenbrook's marriage 
to Peter Rudolphus De Vries on October 10, 1659, her 
native place is given as Ervervelt. Bolswaert, or Bols- 
ward, as it is now spelled, is situated in Friesland, fourteen 
miles southwest of the ancient capital, Leeuwarden. It 
now has a population of 6,500 inhabitants. Three land- 
marks contemporaneous with the immigrant Philipse 
still stand in Bolsward — the St. Martinikerk, built in 
1446-63; the Broederkerk, built about 1280; and the 
Stadhuis, built 1614-16. The latter has lately been 
well restored and is the finest Renaissance building in 

40 Philipse Manor Hall 

2. Philip Philipse, baptized March i8, 1664; 
married Maria Sparkes about 1694; died 1700. 

3. Adolphus Philipse, baptized November 15, 
1665 ; died January 20, 1750. (Obituary notice in 
New York Weekly Post Boy, January 22, 1750.) 

4. Annetje Philipse, baptized November 27, 
1667; married Philip French, 1694. 

5. Rombout Philipse, baptized January 9, 
1670; died young. 

Fifth Generation. 

Philip Philipse and Maria Sparkes had a son, 

Frederick Philipse, Second Lord of the Manor; 
bom in the Barbados 1695; married Joanna, 
daughter of Gov. Anthony Brockholls about 
1719; died July 26, 1751. (Obituary notice in 
New York Gazette, July 29, 1751.) 

Sixth Generation. 

The children of Frederick Philipse, the Second 
Lord, and Joanna Brockholls, were: 

I. Frederick Philipse, Third and last Lord of 
the Manor, born September 12, 1720; licensed 
August 31, 1756, to marry, and on September 9, 
1756, married, Elizabeth Rutgers, widow of 
Anthony Rutgers and daughter of Charles 
Williams, Naval Officer of the Port of New 
York; died April 30, 1786.* 

* Concerning the date 1786, see page 158. 

The Philip se Family 41 

2. Susannah PhiKpse, baptized February 3, 
1723; died young. 

3. Philip Philipse, baptized August 28, 1724; 
married Margaret Marston; died May 9, 1768. 

4. Maria Philipse, baptized March 30, 1726; 
died young. 

5. Susannah Philipse, baptized September 20, 
1727; married Beverly Robinson about 1750; died 
November, 1822. 

6. Mary Philipse, bom July 3, 1730; married 
Roger Morris, January 19, 1758 ; died July 18, 1825. 

7. Margaret Philipse, baptized February 4, 
1733; died 1752. 

8. Anthony Philipse, baptized July 13, 1735; 
died young. 

9. Joanna Philipse, baptized September 19, 
1739; died young. 

10. Adolphus PhiHpse, baptized March 10, 
1742; died young. 

Seventh Generation. 
The children of Frederick Philipse, Third Lord 
of the Manor, and Elizabeth Williams, his wife, 

1. Frederick Philipse, who married Harriet 
Griffiths, of Rhual, North Wales. 

2. Philip Philipse, an officer in the Royal 
Artillery, who died in Wales in 1829. 

3. Charles Philipse, who was drowned in the 
Bay of Fundy. 

42 Philipse Manor Hall 

4. John Philipse, Captain, who was killed at 
the battle of Trafalgar, 1805. 

5. Maria EUza Philipse, who married Lionel 
Smjrthe, Seventh Viscount Strangford, marriage 
license dated September 4, 1779. 

6. Sarah Philipse, who married Mtmgo Noble, 
marriage license dated February 8, 1783. 

7. Charlotte Margaret Philipse, who married 
Lieutenant-Colonel Webber, of England, and died 
in 1840. 

8. Elizabeth Philipse, who died at Bath, Eng., 
in 1828. 

9. Susan Philipse. 

10. Catherine Philipse, who died young. 

In Great Britain and other foreign coimtries 
there are living over seventy descendants of 
Colonel Roger Morris and Mary Philipse Morris 
whose lineage comes down through their son 
Rear Admiral Henry Gage Morris and their 
daughter Joanna Morris (married Hincks). 
Among those who descend through Rear Admiral 
Morris may be mentioned the following:* 

Amherst Henry Gage Morris, (great-grandson). 
Colonel Reginald Frank Morris (great-grandson, 
residing at Grosvenor Terrace, York, England), 
Reginald Owen Morris (son of the latter), the 

* For these names, the writer is indebted to the kindness 
of Miss Anne Henrietta Gage Bower, a great-grand- 
daughter of Colonel Morris, who resides at the Crescent, 
Ripon, England, and who furnished them under date of 
February 17, 1909. 

The Philipse Family 43 

Rev. Mamiaduke Charles Frederick Morris (great- 
grandson, residing at The Rectory, Nunbiimhohne, 
York), and other members of the same family; 

Colonel Henry Gage Morris (great-grandson), 
Frederick Philipse Morris (great-grandson), Roger 
Morris (great-grandson), and other members of 
the same family; 

Herbert Morris Bower, Mayor of Ripon 
(great-grandson, residing at Trinity Hill, Ripon, 
England), Roger Herbert Bower (son of above). 
Professor Frederick Orpen Bower, F. R. S. (great- 
grandson, residing at i St. John's Terrace, Hill- 
head, Glasgow, N. B.), and other members of 
the same family; 

Henry Philipse Henderson, (great-grand- 
son, residing at River Hill, Bramford, Ipswich, 
England), Rear Admiral George Morris Hender- 
son (great-grandson), Lieut. Francis Berkeley 
Henderson, R. N., D. S. O. (great-grandson), and 
other members of the same family; 

Captain William Orpen Sanders, R. G. A. 
(great-great-grandson, residing on Worsley Road, 
Southsea, England), and other members of the 
same family. 

The following are descended through Joanna 
Morris Hincks, before mentioned: 

Captain Thomas Cowper Hincks (great-great- 
grandson of Colonel Roger Morris, residing at 
Baronsdown, Dulverton, England), and other 
members of the same family; 

44 Philipse Manor Hall 

Thomas Wood Craster (great-great-grandson, 
at present living in Ceylon), and other members 
of the same family; 

And the Rev. Robert Pulleine (great-great- 
grandson, residing at Queensbury Vicarage, 
Yorkshire), and other members of the same 

Still another living descendant of the Philipse 
family is Mr. Basil Philipse of Rhual, Wales. 

In New York City are living three great-great- 
grandchildren of PMlip Philipse, younger brother 
of the last Lord of the Manor, namely, Mrs. 
Francis Leroy Satterlee, Miss CatharineWadsworth 
Philipse, and Miss Margaret Gouvemeur Philipse. 
(Seepage i86.) 


A LTHOUGH the Patroon of Colendonck gave 
the name to the present City of Yonkers, 
yet it was Frederick Philipse, the purchaser of 
the third interest in the Yonkers plantation in 
1672, who was the real founder of the City, 
for he built its first substantial building which 
later became the Manor Hall, and he was the 
first to develop actively the industry of the 

The career of the fotmder of Yonkers was one 
of the most remarkable of his time. When he 
came to America, some time prior to 1653, he was 
not over 27 years of age, if he was that. He 
probably had some means, but they were small, 
and the resources by which he became the fore- 
most merchant and one of the foremost citizens 
of his generation were his craft as an architect 
and builder, his industry and shrewdness as a 
business man and his substantial character. As 
a " carpenter," so called, he was more than a 
manual laborer with hammer, saw, and plane. 
In fact, the word carpenter in those days was not 
confined to wood-workers, for Secretary Van 
Tienhoven, in 1650, mentions among the people 
desirable for New Netherland, " three or four 


46 Philipse Manor Hall 

house-carpenters who can lay brick."* But 
PhiHpse was even more than a brick carpenter. 
He was evidently an architect-builder, and was 
employed as the official carpenter of the Dutch 
West India Company to supervise the erection 
of buildings and to appraise structures of various 
sorts, t He first appears in documentary history 
May 8, 1653, as a resident of New Amsterdam 
of sufficiently long standing to be the repository 
of public confidence as an arbitrator in business 
disputes. Under that date, he is named in the 
Court Records of New Amsterdam in the stipula- 
tion of the creditors of Augustyn Herrman to 
abide by the valuation to be fixed by " Frederick 
Flipsen " and Pieter Wolphertsen van Couwen- 
hoven, Schepen, on the house and lot next to the 
Dutch West India Company's store belonging to 

His duties as the Company's carpenter took 
him to various parts of the Province. In Gover- 
nor Stujrvesant's report of his visit to Esopus 
(now Kingston, N. Y.), in 1658, he refers 
twice to Philipse as a carpenter. On May 28, 

* " drie a vier huystimmerlieden die metselen connen." 
t It is said that he worked on the old Dutch Church in 
Fort Amsterdam, the first stone church erected in New 
York. The church was built in 1642, and there is no 
documentary evidence that Philipse was in New Amster- 
dam then. It is highly probable, however, that as the 
" Company's Carpenter," he had to do with keeping the 
church in repair. He was the " Church-master " in 
charge of building the successor of the Church in the 
Fort, See page 48. 

The Rise of a Great Merchant 47 

Stujrvesant left New Amsterdam for Esopus to 
settle some Indian troubles there and was at 
Esopus from May 29 to June 25, with the ex- 
ception of a brief absence at Fort Orange from 
June 7 to 12. On Jime i he marked out the 
site for the fortified settlement of Esopus. In 
his report of this visit, Stujrvesant says: " On 
the 13th, 14th and isth, we were busy making 
the east side [of the palisaded enclosure] and 
Frederick PhiUipsen erected, with the help of 
Claes de Ruyter and Thomas Chambers, in the 
northeast comer of the enclosure a guard house 
for the soldiers, 23 feet long and 16 feet wide, 
made of boards which had been cut during my 
absence. ' ' The Governor also tells about employ- 
ing some carpenters to erect a small house and 
bam for himself at Esopus, and adds: " I 
referred the carpenter's work to the opinion of 
my carpenter, Frederick Philipsen." This inter- 
esting entry indicates not only Philipse's authori- 
tative standing in his profession or craft, but 
also his close relations with the Governor. Be- 
tween May II, 1660, and September 20, 1660, 
he ceased to be the Company's ofiicial carpenter,, 
for on the former date Abraham Martensen 
Clock and " Fredrick Philipsen, carpenter " 
were directed by the Counsel to report what 
extra work was required on the church at Mid- 
wout (Flatbush, L. I.), while on the latter date 
the Council passed a resolution " to charter ta 

48 Philipse Manor Hall 

Frederick PhUlipse, late the Director's carpenter, 
the Company's sloop for a voyage to Virginia." 
In December, 1663, a complaint was made 
against Frederick Philipse and others for driving 
from Wiltwyk (Kingston), to the Redoubt 
(Rondout), with six wagons of grain without the 
safeguard of an armed escort, in which complaint 
Philipse is again referred to as " the Honorable 
Company's late carpenter." It is evident that 
in these two references to Philipse's first reach- 
ings-out for the trade to the southward and 
northward, we see the carpenter merging into 
the merchant trader. It is apparent, however, 
that his services as a consulting architect or 
builder were not altogether dispensed with at 
this early date, for in February, 1664, he was 
stationed at Bergen, N. J., where palisades had 
been erected and where a blockhouse at each 
gate was projected. 

In fact, his faculty as a builder continued to 
be called into requisition long after he became a 
merchant prince. The records of a meeting of 
the Consistory of the Old Dutch church of New 
York held on November 1 1, 1698, contain the fol- 
lowing : " When our Church was to be built and 
building masters (since called Church-masters) 
were to be chosen, the Hon. Church-master 
Frederick Flipsen voted with the Consistory. 

. . . (This must be explained and under- 
stood to mean: When our Chiirch was to be 

The Rise of a Great Merchant 49 

built and bviilders were to be chosen, who have 
since been called Church-masters, etc.) . . . 
Their office draws no salary and the persons are 
therefore more honorable." 

On April 12, 1657, Philipse was admitted to the 
Small Btu-gher Right of New Amsterdam. Biur- 
ghers, or Freemen, were divided into two classes, 
Great Burghers and Small Burghers, in old 
Amsterdam January 31, 1652, and five years later 
this classification was adopted in New Amster- 
dam. Members of the first class, or Great 
Burghers, were eligible to the higher municipal 
offices of Schout, Burgomaster, Schepen, Orphan- 
master, etc., while the Small Burghers had only 
the privilege of trade and might be appointed to 
minor offices. In the division of April, 1657, 
20 persons, including Governor Stu3rvesant, were 
admitted to the Great Burgher Right and 206 to 
the Small Burgher Right. In this list Philipse 
is called a carpenter. 

From the date of his admission as a Burgher, 
his advancement was rapid, doubtless under the 
favor of Governor Stuyvesant. On January 
29, 1658, the Governor's Council authorized the 
granting of a lot to " Fredrick PhiHpsen, car- 
penter," and on February 9, 1658, Stuyvesant 
granted him one of the most eligibly situated 
lots in New Amsterdam on the northeast comer 
of the Markveld (Market-field, now Whitehall 
street) and Brouwer straat (Brewer street, now 

so Philipse Manor Hall 

Stone street). The lot was 6 rods and 9 feet 
long on the Markveld, 4 rods and 10 feet on 
Brouwer street, g rods, 9 feet and 4 inches on 
the east side, with a diagonal line for its northern 
boundary. This property, on which he lived 
for years, was directly opposite the eastern 
curtain of the fort; and was only 450 feet from 
the site on the water front at the foot of the 
Markveld upon which, that same year, Stuyves- 
ant built his house, later known as the White- 
hall. East of PhUipse on Brouwer street lived 
Burgomaster Olof Stevenson (sumamed Van 
Cortlandt), whose daughter Catharina he married. 

With this lot on the comer of Brouwer street 
and the Markveld as a beginning, he gradually 
acquired other properties. In 1662 he owned 
a lot on the Maagde Paatje (Maiden Lane), 
adjacent to Jan Jansen de Jongh's brewery. In 
1666 he bought from Augustin Heermans some 
land and two houses, " to wit, the great house 
now occupied by Cornelius Aertsen and the little 
house now occupied by Pieter Stoutenburgh " 
situated " without the land-gate." The land- 
gate was the gate at Broadway in the city wall 
on the line of Wall street. 

These were only a few of the properties which 
he gradually accumulated by purchase and by 
foreclosure of mortgages and of which the tax 
lists give us occasional glimpses. In 1677, under 
the English regime, he was taxed 10 shillings on 

The Rise of a Great Merchant 51 

his " new house " in the " Marketfield and 
Broadway " list. On another house in the 
same list, he was taxed 7 shillings; on two in 
Brewer street, 8 shillings and 14 shillings, respect- 
ively; and on a vacant lot, 35 feet front and 100 
feet deep, on the Heere Graft (Broad street), 2 
shillings. In 1688 he was building a house on 
one of the wharves near the ' ' old Dock. ' ' He was 
one of the earliest owners of the famous " No. i 

During all these years he maintained his 
principal residence at the comer of the Market- 
field and Brewer street. In a list of the members 
of the Dutch church, in 1686, kept by the pastor, 
the Rev. Henricus Seljms, he is mentioned first 
in the roster of residents of Brewer street, and a 
directory of 1687 shows him at the same place. 
In fact, this place remained the hereditary city 
residence of the Lords of the Manor until the 
Revolution. (See page 155.) 

Meanwhile, the Brouwer straat of the Dutch 
and the Brewer street of the early English 
Period assumed, in consequence of a notable 
improvement, the new name of Stone street. 
On July 24, 1686, the Common Council voted 
that " the ground from the house of Frederick 
Philipse to the house of Lucas Kirstead, and from 
thence to the house of Widow Mathews and from 
the house of Thomas CrundeU to the said City 
Hall be by the several inhabitants paved from 

52 Philipse Manor Hall 

the front of their houses nine foot deep into the 
street." The paving was done with cobble 
stones, and thus Philipse became identified with 
the first stone-paved street in the City of New 
York, as he was identified with many other 
" first " incidents in the city's history. 

Philipse's advancement in fortune was not 
due solely to his earnings as the Dutch West 
India Company's architect-carpenter or as a 
dealer in real estate. His genius as a trader 
made him the leading merchant of his day, and 
he was, in fact, not only the founder of Yonkers, 
but also one of the founders of commercial 
New York. Lands, mills, foreign trade, river 
trade and Indian trade, all brought wealth to his 
coffers. The records of the period are full of 
allusions to his dealings, and from them we learn 
the wide range of his transactions. Pipes of 
Spanish wine, brandies, " rom," Indian coats, 
horses, grain, wampum, bed pillows and bolsters, 
were among the articles in which he dealt, to 
which we may safely add all the staple goods of 
the period, including beaver skins and other furs 
received from the Indians in barter. His com- 
merce extended to Esopus and Albany on the 
north and to the South, or Delaware, river on the 
south. He took his pay in wheat, wampum, 
beaver skins, or whatever came most convenient. 
He also loaned money. When his customers 
could not pay, he would accommodate them by 

The Rise of a Great Merchant 53 

taking as security their notes, or silverware, or 
clothing, or a mortgage on their houses. In a 
law-suit in 1664, Anneke Ryzen testified that 
she had a gown and petticoat in pawn with 
Frederick PhiKpse for a debt of 160 guilders. 
He also let out farms and draft cattle for hire 
and he received money on deposit. 

If he had lived in the twentieth century his 
talents woidd have distinguished him in Wall 
street. Not an inconsiderable part of his income 
was derived from speculation in wampum, or 
sewant, the Indian money which for a long time 
formed also the principal part of the currency 
of the early colonists, and the fluctuating value 
of which made it a profitable commodity for one 
who, Hke Philipse, was able to make a good 
" turn " on either a bull or bear market. Philipse 
bought the shell beads in bulk from the Indians, 
had them strung and sold them at the enhanced 
value which strtmg wampum commanded. The 
stringing of sewant was required by a law of 1650 
because loose sewant was debased by the inter- 
mixture of beads that were broken, not per- 
forated or only half finished, and also by counter- 
feits made out of stone, bone, glass, mussel 
shells, horn, and even wood. 

Philipse employed women to string his sewant, 
as appears from a suit brought against him in 
January, 1665, by Adam Onckelbaugh, in behalf 
of his wife, for wages. Onckelbaugh claimed that 

54 Philipse Manor Hall 

Philipse would not pay his wife as much as she 
received from others for stringing sewant. Phil- 
ipse claimed that she had agreed to string the 
shell beads at the rate of 4 guilders a hundred 
for the white and 2 guilders a hundred for the 
black. She, on the other hand, denied that she 
had made any such agreement and declared that 
her brother paid her at the rate of s guilders 
for the white and 2 guilders 10 stujrvers for the 
black. The court adjudged that Philipse should 
pay the latter price. 

Philipse made money not only by stringing 
wampum but also by investing in it and pro- 
fiting by its fluctuating value. In 1650, the 
value of good strung sewant was fixed at six 
white or three black beads to the stuyver. In 
1658, the value had depreciated to eight white 
and four black sewants per stuyver. In 1662, 
the rate had further fallen to twelve beads to 
the stuyver. After the English conquest, the 
supply of sewant became so reduced that its 
value advanced 400 per cent, and some suc- 
cessful speculators made fortunes. In anticipa- 
tion of a still greater advance, those who cotild 
afford it bought all the sewant they could and 
waited for a rise. The foresighted Philipse had 
whole hogsheads ftdl of this shell money stored 
away in his store-houses at a time. The Rev. 
Charles Woolley, in his description of two years 
in New York, 1678-80, refers to " one Frederick 

The Rise of a Great Merchant 55 

Philips, the richest Miin Heer in that place, 
who was said to have whole hogsheads of Indian 
money or wampam." All of which gives us an 
interesting insight, not only into the business 
affairs of the pioneer PhiHpse, but also into the 
now obsolete customs of that quaint and fas- 
cinating period of our history. 

The subscription lists and the tax lists of the 
period show the growth of Philipse's worldly 
possessions in comparison with his neighbors'. 
On October 13, 1655, two years after his authenti- 
cated appearance in the records of New Amster- 
dam, he made a voluntary subscription of 20 
florins toward the repair of the defensive works 
of the city. These repairs were for protection 
against the Indians who had made an attack on 
the previous isth of September. The sub- 
scriptions, which aggregated 6,305 florins, ranged 
all the way from 150 florins, subscribed by Gov- 
ernor-General Stuyvesant, down to 4 florins. 
Some inhabitants gave a beaver valued at 8 
florins, and some carpenters gave days' labor. 
PhiUpse's subscription of 20 florins indicates that 
even at that early period he had some resources, 
although they were small. 

By February, 1667, either his generosity or his 
means had increased in comparison with those 
of his neighbors, for his subscription of 24 
florins toward the support of one of the min- 
isters that year was exceeded by only one other. 

56 Philipse Manor Hall 

When in 1673, during the second Dutch regime, 
the real estate of the city was assessed, Philipse 
headed the list of 62 names. He was assessed 
at 80,000 guilders. The estate next was assessed 
at 50.000 guilders. Reckoning a guilder at 40 
cents, he was then the richest citizen with a 
property valued at $32,000. 

In November, 1676, tmderthe English regime, 
he was taxed 81 poimds and 5 shillings for defray- 
ing the charges for the new dock and pajdng the 
city debt. The rate was i| pence per pound, 
which makes the assessed valuation of his property 
13,000 pounds, or $65,000. At this valuation he 
still stood at the head of the list. The next 
largest property owner was Cornelius Steenwicke 
who was assessed on only 4,000 pounds; and there 
were only 16 other tax-payers who owned prop- 
erty worth 1,000 poimds or more. It is evident 
that at this time he derived a portion of his 
income from the city government, for on February 
16, 1676-7, the city owed him 701 pounds and 2 

Philipse's rank as a merchant at this period 
may be further estimated from the remarks of 
Governor Andros, who, in his report to the Lords of 
Plantations in 1678, said: "A merchant worth 
1000 lbs. or 500 lbs. is accompted a good sub- 
stantiall merchant." 

Philipse's rise in the esteem of his fellow 
citizens was contemporaneous with his advance- 

The Rise of a Great Merchant 57 

ment in wealth, and it is interesting to notice, 
as one goes through the musty records of the 
past, how " my carpenter Frederick Philipsen, " 
as Stuyvesant called him in 1658, became " Sieur 
Frederick Philipsen " in the eyes of the Mayor 
and Aldermen in 1666, and " De Heer Frederick 
Phillipse " in the opinion of Dominie Selyns in 

The favors of Philipse's fellow citizens were not 
confined, however, to business patronage and 
complimentary titles. His good judgment and 
executive ability were so conspicuous that they 
were soon called into requisition in positions of 
emolument and high honor. During both the 
Dutch and English regimes, he was frequently 
appointed by the courts as a referee in law-suits. 
For instance, when, in 1662, Symon Clazen 
Turck sued Reintje Pieters for payment for work 
done on the latter's yacht, the Court of Biu-go- 
masters and Schepens referred the matter to 
" Claas Tysen, navigator, and Frerick Flipsen, 
carpenter," to investigate and to reconcile the 
parties if possible. The next year he was ap- 
pointed referee in a similar case. In 1666 he had 
to arbitrate a drainage dispute. In 1668 he 
was foreman of a jury of arbitration. And 
doubtless he served in a similar capacity many 
other times. 

In 1666, when the Mayor and Aldermen 
elected him as one of the two City Surveyors, 

58 Philipse Manor Hall 

he entered more distinctively upon his career as 
a public officer which was destined not to stop 
short of the Governor's Council. At the Mayor's 
court, January 23, 1671-2, upon nomination of 
the Governor, he was recommended for appoint- 
ment as a Xieutenant of the Third Company of 
Foot. In 1674 he became an Alderman, and 
served as a member of the Common Council for 
some years. In the same year, he received his 
first church honors, being appointed by Governor- 
General Colve one of the Wardens of the old 
dutch Church. 

It is evident that his reputation was not con- 
fined to the Province of New York, for he seems 
to have been well known in court circles at 
London. When the Duke of York issued his 
instructions to the newly appointed Governor 
Dongan, in September, 1682, the royal commis- 
sion directed Dongan, upon his arrival in New 
York, " to call together Fredericke Phillipps, 
Stephen Covirtland, and soe many more of the 
most eminent inhabitants of New Yorke, not 
exceeding tenn, to be of my CounciU." In the 
Governor's Council, Philipse served with dis- 
tinction several years. 

In 1684, he was recommended by the Mayor 
and Aldermen to the Governor for appointment 
as Mayor, but although his name headed the 
list of six names thus offered, Dongan passed 
over the heads of Philipse, Van Cortlandt and 

The Rise of a Great Merchant 59 

two others, and appointed the fifth, Gabriel 

When, upon the accession of William and Mary 
to the throne, Captain Leisler assumed the pro- 
tectorate of governmental affairs in New York, 
Philipse was a conspicuous figure. In the troubles 
that ensued, he was at first an anti-Leislerian, 
and Leisler appears to have reciprocated his lack 
of S3rmpathy, for Leisler told Philipse on one 
occasion that " if he should meet him again, the 
DiveU shottld take him"; but later Philipse 
appears to have accommodated himself to the 
de facto situation. During the excitement early 
in this period, an incident occurred which, while 
of minor importance in itself, shows the con- 
fidence which the conservative party had in 
Philipse. Colonel Bayard, inhisnarrativeof occur- 
rences in New York from April to December, 
i68g, says: 

" The Convention, considering that this currant 
of the people's furie was not to be stopt att 
present without hazard of great bloodshed, 
resolved to be passive — only desired the Cap- 
tains not to head their men during this rebellion; 
and ordered that the monny of the revenue and 
Cotmty Tax, etz., amounting to the summe of 
£773 . 12 then in the Tresury at ye fort should be 
removed at ye howse of Mr. ffrederick Phillips." 

The house of Philipse, as we have previously 
stated, was near the fort, and from his standing 

6o Philipse Manor Hall 

in the community we may be sure it was a sub- 
stantial one. It was quite natural, therefore, 
that the Governor's Council should recommend 
that the Government funds be placed in the 
strong-boxes of so faithful a friend of the old 

As Philipse was named as a CoundUor in the 
royal commission of Governor Dongan, so, in 
1692, he was similarly named in the royal com- 
mission of Governor Fletcher, and served under 
him with the same distinction as that which had 
characterized his previous service in next to the 
highest office in gift of the Crown. 

No inconsiderable factor in Philipse's advance- 
ment in fortune was his marriage in 1662 
to Margaret Hardenbrook, widow of Peter 
Rudolphus De Vries. She possessed both beauty 
and education, and in addition had a great talent 
for business. She accompanied De Vries on his 
excursions as a fur-trader, and as she had her 
own ships to carry the peltries to the Netherlands, 
she and her husband secured all the profit in 
the trade without the deductions of middle men. 

* A book printed in 1907, referring to the Philipse 
house at Sleepy Hollow, says: " Flypse-his-castle was a 
very large afifair in its day. Its proprietor was one who 
had the reputation of being the best housed man in the 
colony. So strong had this impression become that, in 
1689, a popular demand was made that the puhUc money 
of New York (amounting to £773. 12 s) be removed 
from the fort to Flypse's house." The identification of 
the Sleepy Hollow house with the incident referred to is 

The Rise of a Great Merchant 6i 

She bought and sold on her own account, and 
often went to Holland to look after the affairs 
of herself and her commercial associates. The 
Labadists, Bankers and Sluyter, who visited New 
York in 1679, came from the Netherlands with 
Dame Margaret on one of her trips "in the small 
flute-ship called the Charles, of which Thomas 
Singleton was Master; but the superior Authority 
over both Ship and Cargo was in Margaret 
FiHpse, who was the owner of both." In their 
well-known journal, the Labadists refer to the 
" terrible parsimony of Margaret." When De 
Vries died, and her own possessions were enlarged 
by her inheritance, she was a very rich woman 
and a very desirable business partner as well as 
wife for Frederick Phihpse. An educated woman 
herself, she took her children to Europe and gave 
them a thorough education, thus strengthening 
them for the commanding position in Colonial 
affairs, which, as a family, they were destined 
to occupy. 



TN thus following the mercantile and political 
* career of this really remarkable figure, we 
have been carried past the point at which he first 
became identified with the Manor Hall site, and 
must now revert to the year 1672 when, having 
nearly if not quite reached the position of the 
wealthiest man in the Colony, his ambition for 
a larger estate began to be realized in his pur- 
chase of a one-third interest in the old Yonkers 
Plantation. His partners in this purchase, it will 
be remembered, were Thomas Lewis and Thomas 
Delaval. Their purchase included not only the 
land, but also the buildings on the mill-site at 
what is now Yonkers. Between 1646 and 1652, 
as we have seen in a preceding chapter. Van der 
Donck had erected here a saw-mill and laid out 
a plantation, and when Philipse, Lewis and 
Delaval came into possession November 29, 1672, 
there was a rurming business here, including a 
grist-mill. During the next two years, the mill 
property passed into the control of Philipse, as 
appears from a very interesting law-suit brought 
in the Court of the Schout, Btirgomasters and 
Schepens, held in the City Hall of New Orange 
(as New York was called during the temporary 

The Making of a Manor 63 

resumption of Dutch tenuie) on August 21, 1674. 
The plaintiff was Martin Hardwyn, a miller, who 
sued Frederick Philipse and Thomas Lewis, 
jointly at first, for discharging him from their 
employ without cause before his term had ex- 
pired. Hardwyn claimed that he had been hired 
for a year as their miller at their water-mill, at 
the rate of 800 florins a year, and that after he 
had been with them a short time they discharged 
him without cause. At first, he claimed only 
three months' wages, but later demanded 802 
florins " for damage suffered, the loss of time, 
[and] the affront thereby afflicted on him by the 
Deft, with costs." The defendants claimed that 
they hired Hardwjni on his representations that 
he was a capable miller, but that he nevertheless 
knew little or nothing of the business; and that 
on account of complaints of his incapacity they 
discharged him. The miller offered to prove by 
various witnesses that the null was out of order, 
previous to his emplojmient; that he put it in 
order, and that thereupon it ground good flour. 
The case ran along until October 2 of that year, 
when the case appears as that of " Marten 
Hardwyn, Plt'f ; ffrederic PhilHpsen, Deft." On 
that date the court condemned Philipse to pay 
the sum of 200 florins, " for that he hath dis- 
charged the plaintiff without any legitimate 
cause from his engagement and for the affront, 
loss of time, etc., caused to the plaintiff; and 

64 PhiUpse Manor Hall 

respecting the costs incurred, it is ordered that 
the defendant shall pay the costs of the appear- 
ance of the Secretary and Messengers, and for 
the remaining costs, the plaintiff shall assume 

The foregoing case is interesting because, as 
the only water-mill in which PhiUpse and Lewis 
had a joint interest was that on the Neperhan, 
the suit refers directly to the Manor Hall miU- 
site. It shows that in 1674 there had been a mill 
there so long that it was dilapidated and had to 
be repaired before it would grind good flour; and 
that there was enough of a settlement there and 
tributary to it to make the incompetence of a 
miUer the cause of serious complaint. And lastly, 
the naming of Philipse as the sole defendant at 
the close of the suit indicates, that he had a 
predominating if not an exclusive interest in the 
mill-site twelve years before he acquired title to 
the whole Lewis interest in Yonkers Plantation. 
This has an interesting bearing on the subject of 
the probable age of the Manor Hall. 

On June 10, 1682, Thomas Delaval devised his 
third interest to his son, John Delaval. On Feb- 
ruary 19, 1684, Governor Dongan confirmed unto 
Philipse, Delaval, and Geertje Lewis (widow of 
Thomas Lewis) their interest in all the old Van 
der Donck property except what was called 
Lower Yonkers — the latter being a large tract 
bordering on Spuyten Duyvil creek which Elias 

The Making of a Manor 65 

Doughty appears to have conveyed to William 
Betts, George Tippett and Joseph Heddy. On 
August 27, 1685, John Delaval deeded his interest 
in the Upper Yonkers property to Frederick 
Philipse, and on June 12, 1686, the heirs of 
Thomas Lewis, deceased, deeded to Philipse their 
third interest, thus bringing the whole of the 
Upper Yonkers property into the latter's pos- 

While the bulk of Van der Donck's colony was 
thus drifting into Philipse's hands, Philipse was 
extending his possessions to the northward. In 
1680, he bought from the Indians the property 
on the Pocantico; on December 10, 1681, the 
adjacent land south to the Bisightick in Mount 
Pleasant; on April 13, 1682, from the Bisightick 
south to the Wysquaqua (Dobbs Ferry) ; and on 
September 6, 1682, from the Wysquaqua south 
to the great rock Sigghes marking the northern 
boundary of the Yonkers Plantation. On Aug- 
ust 24, 1685, he bought from the Indians the 
land between his Pocantico property and the 
Kitchawan creek, or Croton river. His lands 
now reached from Croton river (the southern 
boundary of what later became Cortlandt Manor), 
down to the northern botmdary of Lower or 
Little Yonkers. 

It was not until Philipse received by his Royal 
Charter of June 12, 1693, a grant to the neck of 
land called Paparinemin at Spuyten Duyvil 

66 Philipse Manor Hall 

creek in Lower Yonkers, and on January 22, 
1694, bought from Matthias Buckhout the fifty 
acres called George's Point (now Van Cortlandt 
Park), that the chain of his possessions from 
Spujrten Duyvil creek to Croton river, a dis- 
tance of 22 miles, was complete. 

Early in the history of his possession of the 
Yonkers property, Philipse is believed to have 
built a part of the building which later became 
the Manor HaU of Philipse Manor. We have 
reserved for another chapter the discussion of 
the interesting and by no means simple problem 
of the precise age of the building. 

At the mouth of the Pocantico, soon after his 
purchase there, he erected miUs which, in the 
course of time, came to be known as the Upper 
Mills, while those at Yonkers were called the 
Lower Mills.* To these two places the tenants 
brought their grain to be groimd into flour and 
meal for themselves and for use in the incipient 
metropolis on Manhattan Island. 

The erection of the Sleepy Hollow mill precipi- 
tated a controversy which had been of several 
years' standing with the Colony of Connecticut 
— a controversy which was of great importance 
to the parties involved and in the settlement of 
which Philipse took a conspicuous part. This 

* " Lower Mills " and " Lower Yonkers " are not 
synonymous. The Lower Mills were at the present City 
of Yonkers. Lower Yonkers, or LittleYonkers, bordered on 
Spujrten Dujrvil creek. 

The Making of a Manor 67 

involved no less a question than the location of 
the boundary line between New York and Con- 
necticut, and, indirectly, the whole boundary 
between New York and New England. 

On December i, 1664, soon after the English 
conquest, the boundary Hne between New York 
and Connecticut was adjudicated to run from the 
mouth of the Mamaroneck river north-north-west 
to the Massachusetts line. In those days, the 
ideas of the colonists about the extent of their 
territories, the location of their boundaries and 
the points of the compass with relation thereto, 
were extremely vague. Massachusetts was be- 
lieved by many to extend westward indefinitely, 
and it was thought by the' Connecticut people 
that a line drawn north-north-west from the 
mouth of the Mamaroneck river would cross the 
Hudson somewhere south of Tarrjrtown and 
strike the southern botindary of Massachusetts 
somewhere west of the river. Such appears to 
have been the conception of the Governor and 
General Court of Connecticut in 1682, for on 
May II in that year, they addressed to Capt. 
Anthony BrockhoUs,* Lieutenant-Governor of 
New York, the following complaint: 

" May it Please yo'' Honour : Wee your firiends 
and Neighbours, the Govemo'' and General! 
Assembly of his Ma*'^ CoUony of Connecticutt, 

* Whose daughter Philipse's grandson Frederick, 
Second Lord of the Manor, subsequently married. 

68 PhiUpse Manor Hall 

Haveing had att otir prsent Session had Infor- 
macon and Complaint made unto us that Sundry 
p'^sons under your Jurisdiction, and Perticularly 
M'' fErederick Phillips, Have Errected Lately and 
are Errecting Certains Mills and Other Edifices 
and makeing Improvements of Lands within the 
Limits of the Towneship of Rye and to the 
Bounds of this his Ma*'^ Collony of Connecticutt 
neere unto Hudson's River, Aledging to such as 
have Questioned with them thereabout that they 
Doe itt by Virtue of a Pattent or Pattents or Other 
Allowances from the Govemo'" of his High^ Terri- 
tory of New Yorke, the Consideracon Hereof 
hath Given us this Occassion to Signify Hereby 
the Same unto your Honour "... 

The letter then goes on to say that they 
enclose a copy of a former agreement concerning 
the boundary, in which they claim that it is 
stated that a line running north-north-west from 
the Mamaroneck River to the Massachusetts 
line was to be the boundary between them, that 
the line has been surveyed from Mamaroneck to 
the Hudson river and they find that it runs to 
the southward and westward of the places where 
the edifices, mills and purchases were,* and that 
Robert Ryder of New York svirveyed the line for 
Sir Edmund Andros and found it to run even 
nearer the sea than the Connecticut surveyors. 
The Connecticut Government therefore asked 

* The line was inaccurately surveyed. A true line 
running north-north-west from the mouth of the Mamaro- 
neck river would have fallen considerably above Philipse's 
upper mills. 

The Making of a Manor 69 

Governor Brockholls to cause all such proceedings 
as were complained of to cease and to allow the 
Connecticut Government to exercise jurisdiction 
over those parts. 

Governor Brockholls replied in effect that he 
did not recognize the Connecticut claim and 
if the Connecticut people persisted in making 
trouble over the matter he would tell his Royal 

When Governor Dongan arrived the next year, 
his royal commission directed him to settle 
the boundary controversy and he appointed 
Phihpse as one of the Commissioners to negotiate 
with the Connecticut representatives on the 
subject. The result of these negotiations was a 
compromise by which the boundary was finally 
fixed as at present. Subsequently, the remainder 
of the boimdary between New York and New 
England was adjusted on the basis of the Con- 
necticut settlement. Thus we find the impress 
of Frederick Philipse on the lines that limit the 
jurisdictions of four States. 

PhiUpse's natural powers of diplomacy, which 
enabled him to act with so much success as an 
arbitrator in cases brought before the Court of 
the Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens of New 
Amsterdam and later in setting the boundary 
dispute with Connecticut, appear also to have 
served him well in his relations with the Indians. 
His valuable property at Yonkers was never 

70 Philipse Manor Hall _ 

attacked by the natives, so far as the records 
show, although there were occasional alarms 
from more remote sources. In 1689, several 
French canoes landed on Philipse's property, and 
the news which the voyageurs brought of the 
designs of the Indians upon the English settle- 
ments greatly alarmed the tenants. When these 
stories were told to Philipse, however, he laughed 
at the fears of his tenants and found no Uttle 
difficulty in calming them. 

While it is probable that in these primitive 
days Philipse spent more time in New York, 
where his great mercantile interests were cen- 
tered, than at Yonkers, yet he made frequent 
visits to his property on the Neperhan — some- 
times on horseback, sometimes by boat — now 
to reassure his frightened tenants upon some 
Indian alarm, and again to supervise his mills 
and plantations; and so the years rolled on until 
his faithful spouse Margariet died in 1691. 

At this jimcture it was probably well for 
Philipse that the critical state of public affairs 
diverted his thoughts from his personal bereave- 
ment. Rumors of the disafEection of the Iro- 
quois Indians and renewed rumors of the approach 
of the hostile French and Indians from Canada 
caused Governor Sloughter in May, 1691, to go 
to Albany to confer with the New York Indians. 
In this emergency he appointed Frederick 
Philipse and Nicholas Bayard to act as com- 

The Making of a Manor 71 

manders-in-chief in New York City in his ab- 
sence. Two commanders-in-chief sounds anom- 
alous in these modem days, but it appears to 
have required more commanders-in-chief to run 
little old New York than are required to run big 
modem New York. It was during the incum- 
bency of Philipse and Bayard in 1691 that the 
Indians attacked Block Island. The records of 
May, 1692, when military preparations were still 
actively being made, are full of certificates given 
by Philipse and W. NicoUs for pork, beef, bread, 
strouds, shirts, duffles, powder and money 
received for the public service. 

In 1692, having somewhat recovered from his 
grief at the loss of his wife, Philipse again ven- 
tured into matrimony with even more conspic- 
uous success than before; and again, with a 
partiality for widows which would have shocked 
Samuel Weller, took unto himself for better or 
for worse — it proved to be for better — the 
relict of the late John Derval. This lady was no 
other than Catherine, daughter of OlofE Stephanus 
Van Cortlandt, his old neighbor in the Brouwers 
straat of New Amsterdam. She was yoimg and 
pretty, had a sweet disposition and charming 
manner, and soon ingratiated herself with the 
tenants of the great Philipse estate by her gen- 
erous benevolence. 

In the year after her marriage to Philipse 
occurred an important event which gave her the 

72 Philipse Manor Hall 

title of " Lady " and her husband the title of 
" Lord," converted the Philipse estate into a 
" Manor, " and gave to the family residence at 
Yonkers the designation of the Manor House, 
which it has borne ever since. This event was 
the granting of the Royal Charter on June 12, 
1693, in the name of William and Mary, erecting 
Philipse's possessions " into a Lordship or Manor 
of Philipsborough in free and common soccage 
according to the tenure of our Manor of East 
Greenwich within our County of Kent in our 
realm of England, yielding, rendering and paying 
therefor, yearly and every year, on the feast day 
of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
at our fort at New York, unto us, otir heirs and 
successors, the annual rent of £4 12 s. current 
money of our said Province." 

This same Charter granted Philipse the right 
to erect a toll-bridge across the Spujrten Duyvil 
creek and prescribed that it should be called 
King's Bridge — a name which has continued to 
this day. As a consequence of this license to 
build the King's Bridge, every New Yorker who 
wanted to go off the island onto the continent or 
from the continent onto the island had to drop 
into his Lordship's contribution box " three pence 
current money of New York for each man and 
horse that shall pass the said bridge in the day 
time, and three pence current money aforesaid 
for each head of neat cattle that shall pass the 

The Making of a Manor 73 

same; and twelve pence current money aforesaid 
for each score of hogs, calves and sheep that 
shall pass the same; and nine pence current 
money aforesaid for every boat, vessel or canoe 
that shall pass the said bridge and cause the 
same to be drawn up; and for each coach, cart or 
sledge or wagon that shall pass the same, the 
sum of nine pence current money aforesaid; and 
after sunset, each passenger that shall pass said 
bridge shall pay two pence current money afore- 
said; each man and horse, six pence; each head 
of neat cattle, six pence; each score of hogs, 
calves and sheep, two shillings; for each boat, or 
vessel, or canoe, one shilling and six pence; for 
each coach, cart, waggon, or sledge, one shilling 
and six pence, cturent money aforesaid. ' ' In this 
way everybody who went to or from New York 
had to pay tribute to the Lord of Philipse Manor. 
Descendants of old New York families, who may 
possibly discern in the enlarged Manor Hall the 
embodiment of some of the money which they 
never inherited from their ancestors, may be 
pardoned if they take a peculiar interest in the 
preservation of this interesting structtire. 

It has been hinted that as the seventeenth 
century drew near its close, Philipse's foreign 
commerce was not confined within the most rigid 
limits of legitimate trade. The fact was that at 
that time privateering was pretty generally 
winked at by the authorities, and probably most 

74 Philipse Manor Hall 

of the leading merchants did not consider little 
side ventures of this sort a very grave derelic- 
tion. But the charges in regard to Philipse 
appear to be somewhat nebulous. In 1687, Gov- 
ernor Dongan frankly assured the Lords of Trade 
that he did not believe that Philipse was engaged 
in any illicit trade. In 1698 a complaint was 
made to His Majesty's Commissioners of Trade 
and Plantations that Philipse sent out from 
New York, in charge of his son Adolphus, a ship, 
or sloop, named " Frederick," ostensibly for Vir- 
ginia, but really to cruise at sea and meet a ship 
from Madagascar. Upon meeting the latter, it 
was alleged, the " Frederick " received great 
parcels of East India goods and sailed for Dela- 
ware Bay, where she lay privately, while the 
Madagascar vessel, now having nothing but 
negroes aboard, sailed for New York. Later, it 
was said, the Madagascar vessel sailed for Dela- 
ware Bay and received part of the East India 
goods, and, by PhiHpse's direction, sailed for 
Hamburg. At the latter place some seizures 
were made and the crew was sent to London. 
The charge of trading with pirates is based on 
the depositions of the latter. The Lords of Plan- 
tations do not appear to have taken a very 
severe view of this charge, for in 1698 they passed 
no stronger strictures upon Philipse than to say 
that it did " not look well " for him to be employ- 
ing men of such character. 

The Making of a Manor 75 

As plants and vines, sown in nature's mys- 
terious ways, spring from the cracks and crevices 
of old buildings, so mysterious growths of folk- 
lore and tradition cluster spontaneously around 
this old Manor House. One of the stories told 
about it is that when Philipse was consorting 
with pirates — the story assumes that he did 
consort with pirates — he was accustomed to 
bring his contraband goods by sloop to the 
mouth of the Neperhan, convey them secretly 
by an underground passage into the cellar of the 
Manor House, and conceal them there until a 
favorable opportunity presented itself for their 
sale. Imaginative people who enjoy " creepy " 
stories may believe this if they will. Their 
pleasure may be increased by recalling that 
Captain William Kidd, " the Pirate Chief," was 
a contemporary and fellow townsman of Philipse. 
Kidd lived in Hanover Square, New York, and 
married a New York woman in 1692, the same 
year in which Philipse married his second wife. 
He was an eminently respectable citizen of the 
infant metropolis at that time and Philipse 
probably knew him. 

But Philipse did enough that was creditable to 
give him a place in history without weaving about 
his memory legends of piracy. And his house on 
the Neperhan had enough to make it a con- 
spicuous landmark without claiming for it the 
darksome distinction of having been a depository 

76 Philipse Manor Hall 

for illegitimate merchandise. At this period, the 
stone house must have been the principal land- 
mark of that region. It stood on the north side 
of the Neperhan river, about 300 feet from the 
mouth of that stream and about 300 feet west 
of the old Albany Post Road. The latter was 
the great historic thoroughfare from New York 
to Albany, and crossed the Neperhan by means 
of a bridge which was known for a centiury as 
Philipse's Bridge. 

A pictiure of the place at this time would have 
shown little change from natural conditions. 
Conspicuous on the hill was the mansion; near- 
by, the bridge, the mill-dam and the mill with 
its great revolving wheel, and a few houses for 
workmen and tenants. To the north and east 
were hills and rocky steeps, fenceless intervals, 
and little dells, covered with forests, shrubs, 
stunted grass and wild flowers. To the south was 
the splashing Neperhan and beyond it the hills; 
and to the west, the Hudson and the columned 
Palisades. To the east of the mansion, between 
it and the Post Road, were the lawn and garden 

Commanding a view of the traffic going up 
and down the river on one side and up and down 
the old Post Road on the other, life in the Philipse 
Mansion cotild not have been without its diver- 
sions, notwithstanding its comparative remote- 
ness. Occasionally, travelers by water ran their 

The Making of a Manor 77 

sloops or canoes up into the mouth of the Neper- 
han and made a temporary halt here. In addi- 
tion to the sight of the passers-by, many of the 
wayfarers by land stopped at the mansion to 
inquire the distance to the next settlement, to 
get refreshment for man and beast, or to exchange 
the news of the day. Sometimes the Manor 
House was the scene of elaborate hospitality, and 
in summer. Governors and their satellites and 
the leading citizens of New York, gayly attired, 
might have been seen riding a-horseback along 
the old Post Road up and down the hills and 
valleys of Manhattan and Westchester county, 
botmd for the country house of the First Lord. 

It is not difficult to imagine how Philipse 
appeared on occasions like these as he moved 
among the guests and exchanged dignified salu- 
tations. He was a tall and well-proportioned 
man; had a quiet gray eye, a Roman nose, and a 
firm set mouth. Dressed with punctilious care 
in the costume of the period with full embroidery, 
lace cuffs, etc., and head surmounted with im- 
pressive periwig and flowing ringlets, he moved 
with a slow and measured step, which gave him 
an air of dignity. In temperament, he was grave 
and melancholy, and so reticent as to be re- 
garded dull; and while intelligent, shrewd almost 
to craftiness, and the possessor of remarkable 
abilities in many directions, he did not possess 
the cultvire which his successors manifested. 

78 Philipse Manor Hall 

But however reserved and taciturn the Lord 
of the Manor might have been, his vivacious 
Lady and the lively cheer which she served from 
cellar and pantry made ample amends; and the 
melancholy of the Master of the House was 
conspicuously absent from the demeanor of the 
guests when they set forth on their return to 
the city. 

While the little colony clustering around the 
Manor House was thriving and growing, Philipse 
also developed his interests at the mouth of the 
Pocantico. There also he erected a stone man- 
sion and there he built the Sleepy Hollow church. 
Upon the stone mansion, known as " Philipse's 
Castle," is a modern bronze tablet reading as 

" Castle Philipse. / This House was built / 
about 1683 by / Frederick Philipse / First Lord 
of the Manor of / Philipsburgh. / The Manor 
Was Granted in / 1693 / by Governor Fletcher. 
/ Placed by the Colonial Dames / of the State 
of New York / M C M V I " 

The old church at Sleepy HoUow is believed to 
be the oldest ecclesiastical edifice in the State, 
and is one of the antiquarian ctiriosities of the 
Hudson valley. An old stone slab on the 
church says that it was " Erected / by / 
Frederick Philips / and / Catharine Van 
Cortlandt / his Wife. / 1699," but Mrs. Phil- 
ipse, in her will, gives her husband credit for 

The Making of a Manor 79 

building it.* It is qtdte probable, however, that 
she took an active personal interest in the 
construction of the church, and it is said that 
during its progress she was accustomed to ride 
up from New York or from Yonkers mounted 
on a pillion behind her favorite brother. Jacobus 
Van Cortlandt-t The records of the church 
bear testimony to the virtues of Lady Catharine 
in these words: 

* In her will she refers to " the Dutch Church erected 
and built at Philipsburgh by my late husband, Frederick 
Philipse,. deceased." 

t Jacobus Van Cortlandt married " Eva Philipse," 
adopted daughter of Frederick Philipse, May 31, 1691. 
In 1699, Philipse conveyed to Van Cortlandt 50 acres of 
land near Spuyten Duyvil creek which was part of the 
old Van der Donck property, and which, after passing 
through the possession of Elias Doughty and Joseph 
Heddy to Matthias Buckhout, Philipse had bought from 
the latter in 1694. This property was commonly called 
and known as " the old Younckers." Later, it came to 
be known as " Little or Lower Yonkers." Upon this 
property, Jacobus Van Cortlandt's son, Frederick Van 
Cortlandt, built a large stone dwelling which, according 
to the latter's will, dated October 2, 1749, he was then 
" about finishing." This house stands in Van Cortlandt 
Park, New York City. It is owned by the City and 
leased to the Colonial Dames, who have converted it into 
a colonial museum. Over 150,000 persons a year visit this 
interesting relic. Upon it is a tablet reading as follows: 

" Cortlandt House. / Built by Frederick Van Cort- 
landt / MDCCXLVIII. / Placed in the custody of 
the / Colonial Dames of the State / of New York 
MDCCCXCVI. / Opened by them as a pubhc museum / 
MDCCCXCVII. / This large estate has been held / 
continuously by the descendants / of Jacobus Van Cort- 
landt who /was bom in 1658. Mayor of the / City 1719 
Until Purchased for a / Public Park MDCCCLXXXIX. / 
Virtutes Majorum Filiae Conservant." See note on 
page 233. 

8o Philipse Manor Hall 

"First and before all, the right honorable, 
God-fearing, very wise and prudent My Lady 
Catherine Philipse, widow of the late Lord Fred- 
erick Philipse of blessed memory, who promoted 
service here in the highest, praiseworthy man- 

Thus we see the Manor House connected by 
historical events, not only with Castle Philipse 
and Sleepy Hollow church on the north, but also 
on the south with the Van Cortlandt Mansion in 
Van Cortland Park and King's Bridge — the 
latter being the first substantial link that con- 
nected Manhattan Island with the mainland. 

Philipse's force and independence of character 
are illustrated in the closing years of his life by 
the courage with which he criticised the King's 
representative. I'he dislike of the latter for him 
is reflected in a letter which the Earl of Bello- 
mont wrote in 1699 from Boston to the Lords of 
Trade, saying that he did not intend to return to 
New York because he was " discouraged from 
going thither to be affronted and have the King's 
authority trampled on." 

Apparently among those who, in Bellomont's 
estimation, trampled on the King's authority 
were Philipse, Livingston, and some others, for 
in the same letter he recommended that the large 
land grants to " our Palatines Smith, Livingston, 
Phillips (father and son), and six of seven more " 
be " broke " by act of Parliament, for he was 

The Making of a Manor 8i 

jealous that he had not strength enough in the 
Assembly of New York to break them. " The 
members of Assembly there are landed men," 
said he, " and when their own interest comes to 
be touched, 'tis more than probable they will 
flinch." He thought that an act of Parliament 
requiring that no man in the Province should 
hold more than i,ooo acres would "mightily 
reduce " Philipse and the others mentioned. 

No such act, however, was passed, and the 
First Lord of the Manor was in full possession of 
his great estate when he died in 1702. It is a 
curious contrast of fate that the First Lord of 
the Manor, who was contumacious of the King's 
authority, succeeded in keeping his estate, while 
the Third Lord of the Manor, as will be seen 
later, lost it because of his loyalty to the King. 



THE Manor of Philipsborough, or Philipse 
Manor as it was called for convenience, 
was one of several great Manors erected in 
the State of New York during the English 
period.* Some of them, like Philipse Manor, 
succeeded patroonships of the Dutch period, 
and some, like Pelham Manor, were confirma- 
tions of land grants made before the date of 
erection into Manors. In nine of them the 
tenure was that of the Royal Manor of East 
Greenwich in the County of Kent, England, 
and the grantees were allowed to hold Court 
Leet and Cotirt Baron. Those nine Manors, in 
the order of their erection as such, were as 

The Manor of Fordham, granted to John 
Archer November 13, 167 1; the Manor of Fox 
Hall, near Kingston, granted to Thomas Cham- 
bers October 16, 1672; the Manor of Rensselaer- 
wyck, granted to Kihaen Van Rensselaer Novem- 
ber 4, 1685; the Manor of Livingston, granted to 

* These historic old Manors are not to be confused with 
the tracts of recently improved real estate in the vicinity 
of New York City which are called " Manors " by their 
enterprising projectors. In the modem craze for high- 
sounding and alluring nomenclature there is nothing more 
meaningless than this fictitious use of the word " Manor." 


The Manor System 83 

Robert Livingston Jxily 22, 1686; the Manor of 
Pelham, granted to Thomas Pell October 25, 
1687; the Manor of Philipsborough, granted to 
Frederick Philipse June 12, 1693; the Manor of 
Morrisania, granted to Lewis Morris May 8, 
1697; the Manor of Cortlandt, granted to 
Stephanus Van Cortlandt Jvine 17, 1697; and 
the Manor of Scarsdale, granted to Caleb Heath- 
cote March 21, 1701. 

The early records of the State also contain 
references to at least seven other Manors, the 
exact status of which it is impracticable to 
ascertain owing to the loss or inaccessibility of 
original records. Five of them were the Manor of 
Gardiner's Island, at the eastern end of Long 
Island, granted to the Earl of Sterling March 
10, 1639 ; the Manor of Plumme Island, consisting 
of Plum Island and GuU Island, granted to 
Samuel Willes April 2, 1675 ; the Manor of Cassil- 
town (Castleton) on Staten Island, granted to 
John Palmer March 20, 1687; the Manor of 
Saint George in Suffolk Cotinty, granted to 
William Smith October 5, 1693 ; and the Manor of 
Bentley, sometimes called BiUopp Manor, on 
Staten Island, granted to Christopher BiUopp 
May 6, 1687.* Another, called Fischers Manor, 
appears north of Newburgh on Cadwallader 
Colden's Map of Manor and Grants. And 

* These five are listed as " Manors of the Colonial Per- 
iod " in French's " Gazetteer of the State of New Vork." 

84 Philipse Manor Hall 

another called Queens Manor, on Long Island, 
granted to the Lloyd family, is mentioned in 
early documents about the year 1697. 

As a representative of the Manor system, 
Philipse Manor Hall stands for a very interest- 
ing and, in its day, a very useful and beneficent 
institution which has contributed more than 
most people realize to the social and political 
progress of the English-speaking race. It is true 
that the United States has entirely outgrown 
the manorial system and in England it has become 
almost obsolete, except so far as the customs 
developed and rights acquired under that system 
have become ingrafted in oiu- common law; but 
the Manor Hall should be cherished, never- 
theless, and the institution of which it reminds 
us should be held in grateful remembrance for 
the good that was in it. Not to do so, because 
the feudal idea which it recalls is inconsistent 
with modem American ideas, would be extremely 
narrow-minded; and would be on a par with 
pulling down the Jamestown church tower 
because it was built when the Protestant Episco- 
pal church in America was a State church, and 
because the connection of chiurch and State is 
inconsistent with American ideas; or destroying 
the famous London tower because it is a memento 
of mediaeval oppression which England has long 
outgrown; or pulling down the Coliseum because 
the old-time gladiatorial combats are repugnant 

The Manor System 85 

to modem ideas; or overthrowing the obelisks 
and dynamiting the pj^amids because one of the 
Pharaohs oppressed the Children of Israel. Such 
a course cotild be approved only by one who 
could see nothing interesting or sublime or 
instructive in those monuments of the past — 
nothing interesting in their antiquity, nothing 
sublime in their architecture, nothing instructive 
in their history. 

And yet what are they? They are milestones 
in human progress. They are objects by which 
we compare different stages of human growth 
and appreciate the advancement of civilization. 
They are souvenirs of the childhood, youth and 
young manhood of the race. 

To appreciate what the Manor system was in 
relation to other institutions of its own and 
earlier times, we must forget the tremendous 
advance made in democratic ideas throughout 
the world since the American Revolution, and 
throw ourselves back into the environment of the 
centuries during which the Manor system 
flourished. The Manor should be regarded 
somewhat in the same light as we contemplate 
Magna Charta, for instance. Why is it that we 
Americans and all other Anglo-Saxons take pride 
iiji Magna Charta? Of course we love our 
Declaration of Independence; but next to it, 
and perhaps equal with it, we rank Magna Charta. 
And why? Why do we take such pride in that 

86 Philipse Manor Hall 

document signed by King John and the Barons 
561 years before our Declaration of Independence? 
Government by Barons is not in harmony with 
American ideas. Magna Charta was wrested 
from King John by the Barons for the protection 
of their baronial rights, and yet we continue to 
point with pride to that document as the first 
great charter of Anglo-Saxon liberties. We 
commend the Barons at Runnemede because in 
securing Magna Charta they brought the power 
of government down from the autocrat one step 
nearer to the people. Magna Charta, taken 
literally as it reads, is nine-tenths obsolete to-day. 
Even when translated into English, we can 
hardly understand much of it because of its 
allusions to obsolete customs and usages. But 
it was a great intermediate step in the evolution 
of democratic government. 

The Manor system of government occupies a 
similar intermediate place in the historical 
development of Anglo-Saxon institutions. It was 
not so democratic as our American system, but 
it was more democratic than the arbitrary govern- 
ment of an absolute monarch. It provided for 
a measitre of local self-government and it safe- 
guarded many popular rights from encroachment 
by the King. If we are grateful to the Barons of 
Runnemede, we should also be appreciative of 
the Lords of the Manors. 

The Manor System 87 

The old English Manor was originally a grant 
of land from the Crown to the Lord of the Manor. 
The latter had two classes of tenants, called 
freeholders and copyholders. The freeholders 
were those to whom the Lord sold land outright. 
The freeholders, however, remained a part of the 
Manor as a political unit. The other part of his 
land the Lord retained as his own and it was 
called his demesne, or domain. His demesne 
was cultivated by the other class of tenants called 
in ancient times " villeins." Originally they 
could not leave the land and their service was 
obligatory. They were allowed to cultivate 
portions of the land for their own use, however. 
This was at first occupation at the pleasure of the 
Lord of the Manor; but after a while it grew into 
a qualified right, recognized first by custom and 
finally by law. This form of tenure is called 
" copy-hold," as distinguished from " free- 

When a copyholder conveys his land to another, 
even to-day, he surrenders it to the Lord of the 
Manor, and pays him the customary fine or 
transfer tax, and the Lord of the Manor then 
grants the land to the person nominated by the 
late tenant.* The Lord, as legal owner of the 
fee of the land, has a right to all the mines and 
minerals in it and to the timber growing upon it, 

* See the actual practice in Philipse Manor mentioned 
on page 115. 

88 Philipse Manor Hall 

even if the tenant planted the trees.* Another 
manorial obligation, and one of the most vexa- 
tious, is called the " heriot." Under this name 
the Lord is entitled to seize the tenant's best 
beast or other chattel upon the tenant's death. 
In quite recent times articles of great value have 
been seized as heriots. In one case, a racehorse 
worth $10,000 or $15,000 was thus seized. 

In ancient times the Lord of the Manor also 
enjoyed certain singular privileges with the bride 
in the case of every wedding among his tenants, 
but these privileges have long fallen into disuse. 

In return for the privileges which the Lord 
of the Manor enjoyed he had to render a very 
substantial return to his tenants in the privileges 
which he guaranteed to them and was bound to 
protect. Among the most valuable of these 
rights were those of the courts. 

In the Charter of the Manor of PhiHpsborough, 
Frederick Philipse was granted power to hold 
Court Leet and Court Baron as often as he saw 
fit. The Court Leet was composed of free- 
holders, presided over by the Lord of the Manor 
or his steward. It was the center of local juris- 
diction and under the control of the Royal 
Government. The Coiut Baron was an entirely 
local court held by the Lord and composed of the 
freeholders of the Manor for the redressing of 

* See reference on page 186 to the unextinguished 
mineral rights of Philipse Manor, 

The Manor System 89 

misdemeanors and the settlement of disputes 
amoi^ the tenants. 

In the old English Manors the copyhold or 
villein tenants were not members of the Court 
Baron, but approached the court as petitioners; 
and the records of this court constituted the 
villein's title to his land. When the freeholders 
and copyholders thus came together it constituted 
what was called the Customary Court, and as the 
customs of different Manors varied, the condition 
of landholding in them varied. Hence the 
specification in the Royal Charter of Philips- 
borough that it was according to the customs of 
the Royal Manor of East Greenwich ia Kent. 

This clause, referring to the privileges of the 
Royal Manor of East Greenwich, in Kent, has 
particular significance and deserves a few words 
of explanation. When England was conquered 
by the Normans, the Saxon kingdom of Kent 
was the first to submit peaceably to the Con- 
queror, in recognition of which William the 
Conqueror confirmed its inhabitants in all their 
ancient laws and Uberties. These privileges were 
more liberal than those of any other part of Eng- 
land, so much so that the common law of Kent 
was different from the common law of the rest 
of the kingdom. One of these privileges was 
" free socage tenure " as distinguished from feudal 
tenure by kn^ht's service. The Royal Manor of 
East Greenwich was in this privileged territory 

go Philips e Manor Hall 

of Kent and had never been subjected to the 
feudal military tenure introduced by William 
the Conqueror. Furthermore, feudal military 
tenures had been abolished by the famous act of 
1660, so that between the repeal of military 
tenures in the reign of Charles II and the express 
terms of the grant to Frederick Philipse, the 
Manor system here represented a greatly ad- 
vanced stage in the evolution of this institution. 
It was, in fact, so far advanced, that it was nearer 
to the modem democratic system which suc- 
ceeded it than it was to the ancient feudal system 
from which it was evolved. Indeed, the Manors 
in New York State were not feudal Manors in 
the strictest sense of the word, although they were 
a relic of the feudal system and contained some 
of its features. 

Without entering into further particulars, we 
may say that the Manor system lasted for ages 
because it was established on the ground of 
mutual interest. The theoretical disabilities of 
serfdom were mitigated by customs and practical 
considerations which were in a constant state of 
progression until they have evolved into the 
modem laws of England and America. The 
safety of the villein class lay in the authority of 
customary law, which, evolved by the local 
courts themselves, kept close touch with the 
development of the common law. Just as the 
Anglo-Saxon people outgrew Magna Charta and 

The Manor System 91 

adopted a new Declaration of Independence, so 
we have outgrown the baronial and manorial 
customs and have adopted the forms of modem 
democracy. But so long as we cherish the 
memory of Magna Charta as one of the great 
historic stepping-stones to our present state of 
enfranchisement, we are justified in cherishing 
the memory of the old Manor system and pre- 
serving its visible reminder in Yonkers. Human 
government is not yet perfect. The present 
generation is doing the best it can in its day; and 
as it hopes that a more advanced posterity will 
hold its present-day efforts in respect, it should 
not be delinquent in its respect for those institu- 
tions which have helped to its present estate. 

It may not be without interest to mention, in 
passing, a distinction which was made in England 
in olden times between the terms " Manor 
House " and " Manor Hall." The Manor House, 
in England, was the principal house in connection 
with the demesne lands of the Manor. Among 
other business transacted in it was that of the 
manorial courts. It did not follow, however, 
that the Lord of the Manor lived in the Manor 
House. He may have done so; but if his estates 
were very extensive, or if, as sometimes happened, 
a single proprietor owned fifteen or twenty 
Manors, there would be a Manor House in each 
Manor, situated for the convenient transaction 
of manorial affairs, and the Lord would live in a 

92 Philipse Manor Hall 

large building called the Manor Hall. The First 
Lord of Philipse Manor was probably an absentee 
landlord much of the time on account of his pre- 
dominating mercantile Interests in New York 
City. During that period, it is generally believed, 
the two stone dwellings were built in the Manor, 
one on the Neperhan and one on the Pocantico. 
Both of these structures might with propriety 
be called Manor Houses, according to the old 
English custom. By the same criterion, when 
the Yonkers house later became the principal 
residence of the Lord of the Manor, it also became 
the Manor Hall. In this book we have used the 
terms interchangeably. 

It should also be explained that the title Lord 
of the Manor was a purely territorial title and 
not a title of nobility. It was not a personal 
honor conferred by the Crown and did not make 
the Lord of the Manor a peer. 

Having considered the Manor Hall as repre- 
tative of an institution, we may now consider the 
particular associations with this building in 
Yonkers which give it additional local interest. 
We might easily reason from analogy that it is 
intimately connected with our local history. It 
is doubtful if there is a Manor Hall standing in 
England which has not played a part in the 
history of that realm. Some of them we can 
coimect with our American history. To the old 
Hall in the village of Washington, north of Dur- 

The Manor System 93 

ham, we can trace the origin of the name and 
family of our Washington. In the Sulgrave 
Manor Hall a later generation of Washington's 
ancestors lived at a time when they filled positions 
of conspicuous influence in local and national 
affairs. The Hall in Gainsborough, a fine speci- 
men of the Baronial Manor, standing on the site 
of King Canute's palace, is saturated with local 
and national traditions. Scrooby Manor Hall, 
situated on that famous thoroughfare from Lon- 
don to the north of England, called the Great 
North Road, just as PhiUpse Manor Hall is 
situated on the great North Road of this State 
from New York to Albany, was a favorite stop- 
ping-place of Henry the Eighth and other digni- 
taries on their travels north and south. As the 
residence of WilUam Brewster, it is connected 
with American history as the birthplace of the 
Pilgrim chturch. In the size of the building and 
its location on the North Road, the Scrooby 
Mansion affords the closest parallel to the Philipse 
Manor Hall of any that the writer has seen. 
Travelers go miles out of their way to see the 
Scrooby Hall. So great is American interest in 
the Sulgrave Manor and Scrooby Manor Halls 
that certain patriotic American organizations 
have recently been considering the desirabiUty of 
purchasing them in order to preserve them. 

Like its English prototypes, the Yohkers Manor 
HaU is saturated with historic interest. Its site 

94 Philipse Manor Hall 

was conspicuously identified with aboriginal life 
as the principal seat of the Manhattan Indians. 
The building itself is the oldest in Yonkers and 
one of the oldest in the State. Between the 
aborigines and the builder of a part of the house 
there were only two brief intermediate ownerships, 
and they have left no visible memorials. In fact, 
so close was the association between Frederick 
Philipse and the Indians that it may be said that 
this building is a direct connecting link with the 
aboriginal occupation. For over a century, from 
1672 till 1778, the Philipse family held title to 
this property. During that period they were 
one of the leading families in the State, exercising 
an important influence in its history. Their 
home on the first great highway of the State was 
a conspicuous landmark, and its hospitable roof 
sheltered, at one time or another, all the great 
men of the period. Here stately social functions 
were held, attended by the flower of the Colony. 
To the daughter of this house, the man who after- 
ward became our National Hero paid court. 
Hither, in due course, came notable figures of the 
Revolutionary Period. Around this building, 
as the center of a maelstrom, the hostilities 
of the Debatable Ground raged. After the 
Revolution it was the radiant point of the com- 
munity's development. In 1868 it became the 
seat of local government again and so continued 
tmtil July 3 , 1 9 1 1 , when it passed into the custody 

The Manor System 95 

of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation 
Society for the State as a public monument. It 
has its place not only in our history, but in some 
of the best fiction of American literature. It is 
mentioned in American guidebooks, and in 
European guidebooks for toiuists to America, as 
one of the interesting relics of the region. It also 
serves as an object lesson in our own country to 
give us a better imderstanding of " the hall " 
which is such a conspicuous feature in English 

*The reduced condition of some of the old English 
Manors is illustrated in the following incident: On a 

recent visit to England, the writer met Mr. D , Lord 

of the Manor of P , who o£Eered to sell his title and 

rights as Lord of the Manor for $5,000. He thought 
that some rich American, instead of giving his wife 
a box of bonbons might Uke to present her with the 
pretty title of Lady of the Manor, and he was willing to 
sell out for the moderate price of $5,000 — the titles of both 
Lord and Lady being included in the bargain. To prove 
his title, he showed several ancient parchment-roUs which 
were part of two or three trunkfuls of old documents of 
the Manor, which all went in at the same price of $5,000. 
Inquiry elicited the fact that he did not have any Manor 
House to sell and he did not own an acre of land. All he 
had to offer was the titles of Lord and Lady of the Manor, 
the ancient rolls, the right to the minerals that might be 
in the ground, and certain manorial fees which still went 
with the title. He went on to explain that he had not 
inherited this Manor. A few years ago the former Lord 
of the Manor had become bankrupt and the Manor had 

been sold at auction, and Mr. D had bought it on 

speculation. He had paid £1000 for it, and he had gotten 
that amount back from fees derived as Lord of the Manor 
according to ancient manorial customs; and now he was 
willing to sell it for another thousand pounds profit. 
The tenants of the Manor held the land by the curious 
form of tenure called " copyhold," before described, by 

g6 Philipse Manor Hall 

which they could not sell it to others without paying a 
sort of transfer tax to the Lord of the Manor. The future 

income from this source was also included by Mr. D 

in his ofEer. The writer told Mr. D that we used to 

have Manors in America along the Hudson, but they 
were abolished at the time of the seijaration of the 
United States from Great Britain; that since then titled 
Lords and Ladies were no longer a home product in this 
country; but that titles, however, were still in limited 
demand and were occasionally acquired in marriage; that 
his offer, to sell the two titles of Lord and Lady for a 
money consideration only, without matrimonial append- 
ages, possessed certain advantages over the prevailing 
method; and that possibly a purchaser could be found 
on his liberal terms. Whether he ever found a customer, 
the writer has not yet learned. 



D ETURNING from our discussion of Manors 
^^ in general to the story of Philipse Manor 
in particular: When the First Lord of the 
Manor died in 1702, he was possessed of vast 
estates in four counties of New York and one 
county of New Jersey. Besides the great 
Manor in Westchester county, with its farms, 
mills, stone residences, tenants' houses, church, 
negro slaves, cattle, horses, sheep, swine and 
other appurtenances, he owned a plantation 
across the river at Tappan, in the present 
Rockland coimty; a thousand or more acres 
in Ulster Coimty in the vicinity of Kingston; 
a warehouse and land in Bergen, N. J.; and 
seventeen or more residences, warehouses and 
lots in New York City, together with vessels, 
plate, merchandise, and money, all of a value 
which it is now impracticable to estimate. 

The bulk of this great property would naturally 
have descended to Philip Philipse, eldest son of 
the First Lord, upon the latter's decease; but 
Philip had died in 1700, whereupon (on October 
26, 1700), Frederick made a new will, dividing 
his property between his wife; his three surviving 
children — Adolphus, Eva (Mrs. Jacobus Van 

98 Philipse Manor Hall 

Cortlandt), and Annetje (Mrs. Philip French); 
and his grandson Frederick. 

To his wife he gave a house and lot on Broad- 
way, New York, and an annuity of fifty pounds. 

To Eva, he gave the house in New York in 
which she and her husband were living; another 
city lot; a mortgage on some Westchester county 
property; and a fotuth part of his personal estate. 

To Aimetje, he gave the house in New York in 
which she and her husband were living; a city 
warehouse; the New Jersey property; the Ulster 
county property; and a fourth of his personal 

To Adolphus he gave five houses and a ware- 
house in New York City; all of the Upper Planta- 
tion north of Wy^quaqua creek (Dobbs Ferry) 
including the twp' grist-mills at Pocantico; a half 
interest in a saw-mill at Mamaroneck; a half 
interest in the Tappan property; fifteen negroes — 
men, women and children; a half interest in the 
live stock at the Upper Mills ; the boat Unity; 
and a fourth part of his personal estate. 

To his grandson Frederick he gave the house in 
New York in which the testator was living at the 
time of his death and six other buildings — 
dwellings and warehouses — in the city; the island 
of Papirinemin* at Spuyten Duyvil creek, with 

* The island of Papirinemin appears to have been the 
little hill which has an altitude of about 60 feet and a 
length of about half a mile bounded on the east by the 
valley through which the Putnam Division of the New 

The Second Lard of the Manor 99 

the meadows, King's Bridge, and toll; all the 
lands and meadows called " ye Yoncker's Planta- 
tion," including houses, mills, mill-dams, orchards, 
gardens, negro slaves, cattle, horses, swine, etc.; 
also a piece of land in Mile Square; also all that 
tract extending from Yonkers Plantation north- 
ward to Wysquaqua creek and eastward to Bronx 
river; also a half right in the meadow at Tappan; 
also particularly " a negro man called Harry with 
his wife and child, a negro man called Peter, a 
negro man called Wan, ye boat Yoncker with 
her furniture apparel and appurtenances, and ye 
equall half of all ye cattle, horses and sheep upon 
and belonging to ye plantation at ye upper Mill ; " 
also a fourth part of his ships, vessels, money, 
plate goods, merchandise, debts and personal 

When Frederick, the Second Lord of the Manor, 
became heir to the superb properties last above 
described, he was only seven years of age and an 
orphan, his mother having died soon after his 
birth and his father having died in 1700. The 
grandfather therefore provided in his will that 
his wife should " have ye custody, tuition and 
guardianship of my grandson Frederick Flipse 
and his estate to his use, until he comes to ye 
age of one and twenty years, who I desire may 

York Central railroad runs; on the south by Spuyten 
Duyvil creek; on the west by Tippett's brook, and on 
the north by the marshy meadows which extend north- 
ward to Van Cortlandt Park. 

lOO Philipse Manor Hall 

have ye best education and learning these parts 
of ye world will afford him, not doubting of her 
care in bringing him up after ye best manner 
possibly shee can." 

The will also expressed the desire of the First 
Lord that his wife should continue to live in the 
family residence in New York which he had 
bequeathed to his grandson; and there the Widow 
Philipse remained, bestowing the utmost solicitude 
on her young ward. A glimpse at the domestic 
life of the widow at this time would have shown 
her to be living in the height of Colonial style, 
becoming to her station as a member of one of the 
first families of New York. To wait upon her and 
her grandchild, she had seven negro slaves — 
one man, three women and three children. Some 
other families had as many as nine household 
slaves, but seven were enough for the limited 
needs of the Widow PhiUpse's small family. Her 
household equipment of plate and furniture was 
what might have been expected of the widow of 
the first merchant of his day; nor was her ward- 
robe excelled by those of her neighbors, if we may 
judge from her array of petticoats — an article 
of apparel in which the ladies of that period 
delighted to present their greatest display. We 
are informed that among other gorgeous apparel, 
Mrs. Philipse possessed a red silver-laid petticoat, 
a red cloth petticoat, a silk quilted petticoat, 
and two black silk quilted petticoats. " Further- 

The Second Lord of the Manor loi 

more," says a chronicler of her times, " like the 
ladies of old, she presented her most notable 
article of Sunday outdoor ostentation in a splendid 
Psalm Book, with gold clasps, hanging upon her 
arm by a gold chain." 

The affectionate grandmother was not content, 
however, to live in New York and bring up her 
grandson with " ye best education and learning 
these parts of ye world will afford." The 
educational facilities of the metropolis 200 years 
ago were not what they are to-day, and, according 
to Mrs. PhiUpse's ideas, were not such as would 
adequately prepare her grandson to fill his station 
as the Second Lord of the Manor. She therefore 
took Frederick to England, where he was thor- 
oughly educated in the law and acquired the best 
traditions of his day. When he came of age in 
1 7 16 and entered into his fuU privileges as Lord 
of the Manor, we may be sure that the Manor 
Hall was the scene of elaborate festivities, and 
that His Lordship received the greetings of his 
tenants and serfs with right royal courtesy. 

Three years later the English influence upon the 
atmosphere of the Manor Hall was increased by 
his manying an English wife, Joanna, daughter 
of Lieut.-Gov. Anthony BrockhoUs, whose early 
life had been spent in England. By this dis- 
tinguished alliance the traditional high social 
and political standing of the family was main- 

102 Philipse Manor Hall 

The air of personal culture which pervaded the 
Manor Hall under the Second Lord showed the 
advance in two generations from the immigrant. 
Unlike his grandfather, the new master of the 
Hall was extremely social, had a fertile mind, 
was a good conversationalist and was very com- 
panionable. He was manly, courteous, generous, 
and affable, and intellectually a man of distin- 
gmshed parts. 

With these qualities he rapidly advanced in 
public esteem. On September 29, 1719, he was 
elected an Alderman from the South Ward of the 
City of New York, and was regularly re-elected 
during the next fourteen years on the Feast of 
Saint Michael the Archangel. After each elec- 
tion, the Mayor-elect, Aldermen and other 
members of the corporation would " go ia their 
formalities " from the old English City Hall 
(which stood on the site of the present Sub- 
Treasury at the comer of Wall and Nassau 
streets), to " His Majesty's Garrison Fort 
George" (which was located on the present site 
of the Custom House at the foot of Bowling 
Green), and the presence of His Majesty's 
Cotmcil, take their oath of ofi&ce. Philipse took 
the oath as a Justice of the Peace as well as 
Alderman. As an Alderman, he served on many 
important committees for the improvement of 
the City, the abatement of nuisances, the re- 
striction of encroachments on public lands, etc., 

The Second Lord of the Manor 103 

occasionally advancing money for repairs of 
sewers, etc., and being reimbursed later. 

Contemporaneously with his service as Alder- 
man for several years, he was a Member of the 
Assembly of the Province of New York from 
Westchester cotmty, from 1721 to 1728 being 
Speaker of the House. For many years, begin- 
ning in 1723, he was a Highway Commissioner 
for Westchester county. 

Not only was Philipse influential in framing 
the ordinances of the City and the laws of the 
Province, but he also took a conspicuous part 
in securing the famous " Montgomerie Charter " 
for the City. On March 3, 1729-30, he was 
appointed one of a committee of six of the 
Common Council to apply to Governor Mont- 
gomerie for a Royal Charter for the City, and to 
consider what things needful for the corporation 
should be petitioned for. The grants and 
privileges which Philipse and his colleagues 
recommended were substantially adopted by 
Montgomerie and approved by George II, and 
the charter was formally presented to the City 
on February 11, 1730-1, O. S., just one year 
before the birth of George Washington. Chan- 
cellor Kent says of this charter that it "is 
entitled to our respect and attachment for its 
venerable age and the numerous blessings and 
great commercial prosperity which have ac- 
companied the due exercise of its powers." 

I04 Philipse Manor Hall 

PhiUpse was also identified with the beginning 
of the park system of New York. The first 
public park in New York was Bowling Green. 
On March 12, 1732, O. S. (1733 N. S.) the Com- 
mon Council voted to lease the little tract at the 
foot of Broadway for a beauty spot and recrea- 
tion ground, and on April 6 ordered that Colonel 
Philipse, with Mayor Robert Lurting, Alderman 
Harmanus Van Gelder and Assistant Alderman 
Isaac De Peyster be a committee " to lay out the 
Ground at the lower end of Broadway near the 
Fort for A Bowling Green; that they Ascertain 
the Demensions thereof with the breadth of the 
Streets on all sides; that the same be Leased to 
Mr. John Chambers, Mr. Peter Bayard and Mr. 
Peter Jay for the term of Eleven years for the use 
aforesaid and not Otherwise, under the Annual 
Rent of A pepper Com and make their Report 
with all Convenient Speed." On October i, 
1733, Bowling Green having beenfenced in, Colonel 
Philipse, Mr. Chambers and John Roosevelt 
became the lessees of the Green for ten years 
at the same enormous rental of i pepper com per 
annum. On September 2, 1742, the lease was 
extended to the same gentlemen for eleven years 
from the expiration of the first lease " upon the 
payment of 20 shillings per annum for the said 
Eleven years to come." 

From this small beginning, the park system 
of the metropolis has expanded until it now 

The Second Lord of the Manor 105 

embraces eleven square miles, including some of 
the original Philipse Manor. 

In 1733, Colonel Philipse was Baron of the Ex- 
chequer. When the Provincial Assembly, on 
November 28, 1734, passed an act to "strike 
and make current bills of credit to the value 
of £12,000," principally to be used for building 
fortifications, Philipse was one of the four per- 
sons authorized to sign them. 

In the same year in which he became Baron 
of the Exchequer, 1733, he was also appointed 
Second Judge of the Supreme Court, a position 
which he held till his death. In his judicial 
capacity, he sat on the bench with Chief Justice 
De Lancey in the famous trial of John Peter 
Zenger for libel, and bore with him the popular 
disapproval for their attitude as Royal Judges. 
This trial took place in the old City Hall at Wall 
and Nassau streets, on August 14, 1735. The 
circumstances of that epoch-marking case were 
briefly these: In 1734, in a bitterly contested 
city election, the Government party was com- 
pletely defeated and a Common Council was 
elected in which Governor Cosby had but a 
single adherent. This result was attributed 
largely to Zenger's Weekly Journal, whose free 
criticisms of the Government aroused the deepest 
ire of the Governor and his adherents. The 
articles in Zenger's Journal furnished some of the 
ideas and some of the actual words used in later 

io6 Philipse Manor Hall 

years by Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and 
James Otis in their championship of American 
independence. Zenger was arrested and im- 
prisoned for Kbel; whereupon the new cry of 
" the liberty of the press " was taken up and 
stirred the colonists to the very depths. Zenger's 
trial was one of the most dramatic events in the 
legal history of New York. The court room was 
jammed and the street in front of it was filled 
with an excited crowd. The Royal Judges 
directed the jury to find Zenger guilty. The 
jury refused and acquitted him, amid such 
demonstrations of popular joy as have seldom 
been witnessed in a court room. This trial 
established the freedom of the press and laid one 
of the foundation stones of our American liber- 
ties. It is said that when Zenger was acquitted, 
terror was depicted on the countenances of the 
Judges. If Chief Justice James De Lancey and 
Second Justice Frederick Philipse could have 
looked ahead two score years and seen the storm 
that was to break over their families, they would 
have realized that they had good cause for 
alarm, for this trial was one of the early beginnings 
of the American Revolution, in which De Lancey 's 
brother, Oliver, and PhiHpse's son, Frederick, 
were attainted of treason to the Colonies and 
their properties were confiscated. 

Although few will be found to-day to sympa- 
thize with Judge Philipse's position in the Zenger 

The Second Lord of the Manor 107 

trial, the fact remains that Governor Cosby 
esteemed him highly for his character and under- 
standing; the Governor's Council declared him to 
be " a very worthy gentleman of plentiful fortime 
and good education; " and Governor Clinton in 
1751 said that he had made him Second Judge of 
the Supreme Court " purely for his integrity and 
to the universal satisfaction of the whole pro- 

While Zenger's Journal was uttering the 
editorial sentiments which aroused so much 
anger on the part of the Government, it chron- 
icled on August 12, 1734, a sad event of less 
public importance but more closely connected 
with the Yonkers Manor property, in these 
words : 

" From the cotmtry seat of Fred. Philipse Esq. 
in Westchester County, commonly called the 
Yonkers, we hear that on Saturday last a child 
of Mr. John Peck, the Overseer there, was 
drowned in the Canal or Race between the Mills." 

In 1 741 the Philipse family shared in the 
terror caused by the so-called " negro plot " in 
New York. Whether there was, as was popu- 
larly believed at the time, a genuine plot to bum 
and rob, or whether this belief was like the 
Salem witchcraft delusion, the evidence leaves us 
in doubt. There is no doubt, however, that the 
terror was very real and one of the most extra- 
ordinary episodes in New York history. The 

io8 Philipse Manor Hall 

City then had about 10,000 inhabitants, nearly 
one-fifth of whom were negro slaves. On March 
14 the house of Robert Hogg, a merchant, was 
robbed. On March 18 the Governor's house in 
the fort was burned. Other fires and robberies 
occurred in close succession. Frederick Phil- 
ipse's house and store house were set afire 
among others. A negro slave, named Coffee, 
belonging to Adolph Philipse was indicted for 
setting fire to Frederick Philipse's house; and 
Coffee, together with Caesar and Prince, also 
negroes, and John Hughson, Sarah Hughson and 
Margaret Kerry, were indicted for burning the 
store house of Frederick PhiHpse and conspiring 
to bum the Governor's house. The white popu- 
lation was beside itself with fright, and it was 
not until 154 negroes had been committed to 
prison, 14 burned alive at the stake, 18 hanged 
and 71 transported, and 24 whites had been 
imprisoned, of whom 4 were executed, that the 
wave of excitement subsided and the town 
regained its composure. Those alleged to have 
been concerned in the Philipse fires were among 
the victims. 

In 1745, in the midst of his distinguished 
career, Judge Philipse is said to have enlarged 
the Manor Hall to thrice its original size, by the 
addition of the northern extension. By this 
change the eastern side became the main front. 
Between it and the old Post Road stretched a 

The Second Lord of the Manor 109 

velvety lawn with garden terraces and horse- 
chestnut trees. On either hand were laid out 
formal gardens and grounds, ornamented here 
and there with valuable trees, choice shrubs and 
beautiful flowers. Among these ran graveled 
walks, bordered with boxwood. To the west of 
the building the greensward sloped to the river, 
unobstructed save by fine specimens of trees, 
among which were emparked a number of deer. 
From the roof of the house superb views could 
be obtained in every direction. 

The interior of the new part was elaborately 
finished. The walls were wainscoted, and the 
ceilings adorned with arabesque work in relief. 
The main halls of the entrance were about eleven 
feet wide, and proportionately broad staircases, 
with mahogany hand-rails and balusters, gave it 
an air of grandeur for that period little appreci- 
ated in comparison with the ampler dimensions 
with which the modem mansions of to-day are 

One of the first guests of the enlarged Manor 
Hall at this period was Philipse's friend. Governor 
Clinton, who spent several days here on his 
return from one of his Indian councils at 

At this period, also, we find the first record of 
the use of the little Neperhan harbor for the 
embarkation of troops. On June 4, 1746, during 
the war between England and France, when the 

no Philipse Manor Hall 

Colony o£ New York was making preparations 
for the invasion of Canada, Judge Lewis Morris 
entered in his journal: 

" Returned home; dined at Westchester, when 
detachments from Queens County and West- 
chester marched to Colonel PhUipse's* in order to 
embark for Albany on board Captain Conradts 
Derrike's sloop who lay there for that purpose." 

In 1750 Adolphus Philipse, uncle of the Lord 
of the Manor, died, and the latter thereby inher- 
ited the Upper Plantation, thus bringing the 
ancient domain again under a single ownership, 
and making the Yonkers Manor Hall once more 
the center of the whole jurisdiction. From this 
time onward Castle Philipse at Sleepy Hollow 
gradually fell into disuse. In fact, in social 
splendor and political importance it seems always 
to have been subordinate to the Yonkers Manor 
Hall. To maintain the establishment of the 
latter required the services of no less than fifty 
household servants — thirty whites and twenty 
negro slaves. Their sleeping-rooms were in the 
attic, lighted by the dormer windows, still to be 
seen in the sloping roof. 

Under the Second Lord, the curious old feudal 
customs of court and rent days were continued. 
There were two great rent days for the Manor — 

* Colonel Philipse was Judge Philipse's son Frederick, 
who later became Third Lord of the Manor and who held 
a commission in the Colonial militia. 

The Second Lord of the Manor iir 

one at Yonkers and one at Sleepy Hollow — on 
which occasions he feasted his tenantry in hos- 
pitable fashion. The rentals were graduated ac- 
cording to the eligibiltty of the holding, and ran 
from a minimum of two fat hens or a day's work 
upward, according as they were located far from 
or near to the river. 

Life in the Manor House during the regime of 
the Second Lord was not devoid of its romances, 
for he had charming daughters, and they had 
their full share of suitors. Among those who 
in the middle of the eighteenth century might 
frequently have been seen riding up from New 
York, and whose approach, as his horse's hoofs 
clattered across the bridge over the Neperhan, 
was watched by a pair of bright eyes at the 
Manor House window, was a yoimg gallant 
named Beverly Robinson. And the pair of 
eyes which sparkled with particular luster at 
his approach were those of the twenty-three- 
year-old Susannah Philipse. Robinson came of 
a distinguished Virginia family, being the son 
of John Robinson, who was President of the 
Colony of Virginia upon the retirement of Gov- 
ernor Gooch in 1734. He had become a resident 
of New York City, and by his personal qualities 
and gentlemanly address had won the good 
graces of the eldest of the wealthy and charming 
Philipse daughters. As Robinson paid his devoirs 
to Susannah Philipse in the Manor House, or as 

112 Philipse Manor Hall 

the couple strolled among the boxwood borders 
of the extensive lawn, or rambled through the 
grove and park on the bluff overlooking the Hud- 
son, or sat in some romantic nook beside the 
purling Neperhan, happy was it for them that 
they could not foresee the political tragedies that 
were to begin a quarter of a century later and 
were destined to involve them in such unhappy 
consequences. But now, all was romance and 
joy. Susannah, with her father's approval, con- 
sented to be the bride of the handsome Virginian, 
and about the year 1750 they were married with 
the state becoming their position in the Colony 
and the wealth of the bride.* 

Thus, in the quaint and stately style of his 
contemporaries of the old country, the Second 
Lord of the Manor lived, passing away in 1751 in 
the fifty-sixth year of his age, and remembered 
for " his Indulgence and Tenderness to his 
tenants, his more than parental affection for his 
Children, and his incessant liberality to the 
Indigent," which " surpassed the splendor of his 
Estate and procured him a more unfeigned 
regard than can be purchased with opulence or 
gained by Interest." The writer of the words 

* Robinson took his young wife to their new home on 
the banks of the Hudson nearly opposite West Point, 
where they lived untU the outbreak of the Revolution. 
Then, overruled by the importunities of his friends and 
against his own judgment, he entered the service of the 

The Second Lord of the Manor 113 

quoted, in the New York Gazette of July 29, 
1751, added: 

" There were, perhaps, few men that ever 
equaled him in those obliging and benevolent 
manners which, at the same time that they 
attracted the Love of his Inferiors, gained him 
all the respect and veneration due to his rank 
and station." 



T TPON the death of the Second Lord of the 
^ Manor, his son Frederick (bom 1720; died 
1786), became the Third (and, as it proved, the 
last) Lord of the Manor. When he attained this 
distinction he was thirty-one years of age. He 
was a graduate of King's College (the mother of 
Columbia University) and his tastes were lit- 
erary. He mingled little in public life, but he 
was a member of the Colonial Assembly and held 
a commission as Colonel of the Militia. He was 
generally known as Colonel PMlipse. In religious 
belief he was an Episcopalian, and he was as 
generous as he was ardent in the afEairs of his 
denomination. He and his family erected the 
old stone church of St. John's in Yonkers, which 
dates from 1752, maintained it at their own 
expense, gave about 250 acres of arable land for 
a glebe and btiilt a rectory upon it. 

As Lord of the Manor he usually presided in 
person in the Court Leet and Court Baron which 
were held in a building which stood on the site 
of the present Getty Square; and he dispensed 
justice in civil and criminal matters and even 
administered capital punishment, it is said. 

The Third Lord of the Manor' 115 

The leases for farms in Philipse Manor were 
mostly life leases, and on the death of the tenant 
the land and improvements reverted to the land- 
lord. For this reason, the wiUs of farmers, up 
to the time of the Revolution, bequeathed their 
estates only with the consent of Philipse. For 
instance, Frederick Brown, in a will dated Jan- 
uary 12, 1766, says: " It is my will, with the 
permission of Col. Frederick Philipse, the owner, 
that my wife Joanna should have the farm and 
improvements, and that at her death my son 
Evert should have the same, according to the 
custom and after the manner of holding farms in 
the Manor of PhilHpsburg." And again, Joshua 
Bishop, whose will was dated August 23, 1775, 
left his farm to his grandson, Samuel Lawrence, 
" with the consent of my Landlord, Col. 

An idea of the rents paid by his tenants may 
be gathered from the journal of a voyager, who 
says: " The tenant for Hfe here tells me he pays 
Col. Philips only £7 per annvun for about 200 
acres of land and thinks it an extravagant rent 
because on his demise or sale his son or vendee is 
obliged to pay the Landlord one third of the 
value of the farm for a renewal of the lease." 
This is evidently an allusion to the copyhold 
tenure described in a previous chapter (page 

ii6 Philipse Manor Hall 

Upon becoming Master of Philipsborough, he 
renovated the Manor Hall, and with the aid of 
his wife, who was fond of display, maintained 
the brilliant social traditions of the old mansion. 
On occasions of social festivities. Colonel Philipse 
appeared as the courtly and scholarly gentleman 
of the old school and appears to have been highly 
esteemed on account of the quahties of his mind 
and the generous disposition of his heart. The 
Rev. Timothy Dwight, S. T. D., President of 
Yale College, refers to the family of Philipse as 
" one of the most distinguished of those who 
came as colonists from the United Netherlands; " 
and adds: " Col. Philipse, the last branch resi- 
dent in this country, I knew well. He was a 
worthy and respectable man, not often excelled 
in personal and domestic amiableness." And 
John Jay says of him: "This Frederick I knew. 
He was a well tempered, amiable man; a kind, 
benevolent landlord. He had a taste for garden- 
ing, planting, etc., and employed much time and 
money in that way." 

The year after he attained the title of Lord of 
the Manor, Colonel Philipse was bereaved of his 
sister Margaret, a lovely girl of 19 years. The 
New York Gazette, or Weekly Post Boy, of 
August 10, 1752, contains this tribute to her 
memory, which is an interesting illustration of 
the poetic style of the period: 

The Third Lard of the Manor 117 

Epitaph on Miss Philipse 
Escap'd from fleeting Joys, from certain Strife 
From what fond-erring Mankind call their Life 
Escap'd from Noise, from Nonsense, and from Pain, 
From Care, from Crime, from Earth and all thats Vain 
To all that's Stable hoping soon to Rise; 
Low, level'd with her kmdred Worms — Here Lies 
What once Was Philipse — and what once Was Truth; 
Pure vestal Virtue, and soft blooming Youth; 
Gay radiant Beauty, Fortune, Polish'd Ease, 
Sweet Manners, open Mien, and Power to please; 
Hated by none; dear to the Good and Just: 
— But what she Was avails not. — Now she's Dust! 
Such Worth and Warmth of Heart seem'd just but giv'n 
To show how Angels live and love in Heaven. 
She rose! she shone! she promis'd a bright Day! 
And then — Oh, then! — 
Soon as her Wings were fledg'd, she tour'd away 

Could Death forever hide such Souls, What Grief! 
What Joy! that they but die to higher Life: 
And 'yond the Sun's dim Sphere and Milky Way 
Shine in the blaze of God's Eternal Day. 

In 1756, the Lord of the Manor espoused 
Elizabeth Williams, the twenty-four-year-old 
widow of Anthony Rutgers. Their marriage 
license was taken out August 31, 1756, and they 
were married on Thursday, September 9. The 
New York Mercury of Monday, September 13, 
contains this notice of the wedding: 

"Last Thursday Night, Colonel Frederick 
Philipse Esq of Philipsburg, in this Province, 
was married to Mrs. Elizabeth Rutgers, Widow 
of the late Anthony Rutgers, Esq., and Daughter 
of Charles Williams, Esq, Naval Officer for the 
Port of New York; a very agreeable Lady and 
possessed of every Vertue and Accomplish- 
ment that can adorn her Sex and make the 
Marriage State truly happy." 

ii8 Pkilipse Manor Hall 

In days when only the most distinguished 
citizens were honored with a wedding notice in 
the newspapers, both Colonel Philipse and his 
bride must have been gratified with this sixty-two- 
word recognition of their marriage and the elo- 
quent tribute to the completeness of the bride's 
qualifications to " make the Marriage State truly 

The new Lady of the Manor was " a handsome 
and pleasing woman," according to John Jay, 
and " an excellent woman," according to Dr. 
Dwight. Other chroniclers give her a vivacious 
and even dashing character, and credit her with 
being an imperious woman of fashion and very 
fond of display. She was also a fearless and 
skiUful horsewoman; and the tenants of the Manor 
often stood agape in wonder at the sight of her 
Ladyship setting forth with four spirited jet 
black horses and driving her dashing quadriga 
along the roads of Westchester county at what 
appeared to be a reckless pace. 

Lord and Lady Philipse seldom appeared in 
the same carriage together, and for a very excel- 
lent reason; for Colonel PhiHpse, in the course of 
time, attained such large dimensions that there 
was not room for both in the fanuly chariot. If 
the Colonel's temperament was at all nervous, 
perhaps the inconvenience of his size was not 
entirely without its compensations, for it prob- 
ably saved him from many a nervous shock 

The Third Lord of the Manor 119 

which he might have received had he gone driving 
with the adventurous Lady Elizabeth. 

Quieter than his wife in his tastes, he foimd 
agreeable occupation for his thoughts at home in 
the administration of his Manor, the indulgence 
of his literary talents, and the practice of his 
favorite art of landscape ^axdenjng. The latter 
was one of the^asHonable occupations of a landed 
gentleman of the period, as was exemplified in 
the formal garden and estate at Motmt Vernon, 
Va., by the man who once sought an alliance 
with Colonel PhiHpse's family; and in his devo- 
tion to the art Colonel PhiUpse greatly beauti- 
fied the extensive grounds which surrounded the 
Manor House. The lawn which stretched from 
the east front to the Albany Post Road, 300 feet 
distant, was the object of especial attention, and 
was set off with boxwood bordered paths, beauti- 
ful shrubs and other lawn ornaments of the 
period becoming the environment of one of the 
most ancient, honorable and distinguished fam- 
ilies of the Colony. Nor was this care for these 
external adornments bestowed in vain. Remote 
as the Manor House was at that time from 
Harlem village, nine miles away, and from the 
little old City of New York, which then occupied 
the southern three-quarters of a mile of Man- 
hattan Island, yet it was a conspicuous object to 
passers-by on the historic thoroughfare from 
New York to Albany. Furthermore, it was the 

I20 Philipse Manor Hall 

jotamey's end of many a distinguished traveler 
who came by invitation to experience the hos- 
pitality for which the Hall had ever been famous, 
or came of his own promptings to pay court to 
the lovely sister of the young Lord of the Manor, 
Mary Philipse. To the interesting courtship and 
marriage of this charming young woman let us 
turn our attention before taking up the less 
congenial task of recounting the downfall of this 
historic family. 



/VA ARY Philipse, sister of the Third Lord of 
the Manor, was esteemed one of the most 
beautifxd and accomplished young women in 
the Colony of New York. She was bom in 
the Manor Hall Jvily 3, 1730, and when she 
attained young ladyhood she was the admired 
of the eligible young men, not only of her 
own Colony but of distant parts. Among her 
admirers at the age of twenty-six was one 
whose suit, had it been successful, might have 
changed either the destiny of the Philipse family 
for the better or that of the Colonies for the 
worse.* This admirer was no other than Col. 
George Washington, who had already won dis- 
tinction in the French and Indian War. The 
circumstances in which the two were brought 
together were briefly these: The opening of 
the year 1756 found Washington in command 
at Fort Cumberland, Md., with a difficulty on 

* Lorenzo Sabine, in his " Loyalists of the American 
Revolution " (1864), says that in a conversation with a 
grandnephew of Mrs. Roger Morris he remarked: " Her 
fate how difEerent had she married Washington! " In- 
stantly the grandnephew replied: " You mistake, sir. 
My aunt Morris had immense influence over everybody; 
and had she become the wife of the leader of the Rebellion 
which cost our family millions, He would not have been a 
traitor. She would have prevented that, be assured, sir." 

122 Philipse Manor Hall 

his hand. There was at Fort Cumberland one 
Captain Dagworthy, who claimed a royal com- 
mission and refused obedience to any provincial 
officer. To settle the perplejdng question of 
authority, Washington was despatched to Boston, 
Mass., to confer with General Shirley, com- 
mander-in-chief of His Majesty's forces in 
America. This involved a journey of 500 miles 
on horseback in the depth of winter — a journey 
which, notwithstanding its hardships, had many 
pleasant incidents, for his bravery and miraculous 
escape at Braddock's defeat had already won 
him much renown and he was the object of no 
little popvilar curiosity. He was therefore enter- 
tained with cordial hospitality in the principal 
cities on his journey. So far as the writer has 
been able to ascertain, this was Washington's 
first journey to the Hudson valley and the New 
England States, where he was destined twenty 
years later to display his genius in a way little 
dreamed of at that time. Hearing of Washing- 
ton's prospective visit, Beverly Robinson, who 
had known him intimately as a schoolmate in 
Virginia, invited him to visit him in New York 
City, and the invitation was accepted. Wash- 
ington was in New York from February 18 to 
25, and again on his return from Boston in the 
middle of March. 

The consequences of this visit were just what 
might have been expected. Washington was very 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 123 

susceptible to feminine charms.* At the age of 
fifteen he had fallen in love with Frances Alex- 
ander, and in the interval between fifteen and 
his present age of twenty-four he had experienced 
unrequited passions for Mary Carey, Lucy 
Grymes and Betsey Fauntleroy. Now, for the 
first time, he came under the influence of the 
charms of a New York Colony girl, with results 
thus described by the historian Sparks, in his 
" Life of Washington: " 

" While in New York he was lodged and kindly 
entertained at the house of Mr. Beverly Robin- 
son, between whom and himself an intimacy of 
friendship subsisted which indeed continued with- 
out change till severed by their opposite fortunes 
twenty years afterwards in the Revolution. It 
happened that Miss Mary Phillips, a sister of 
Mrs. Robinson, and a young lady of rare accom- 
plishments, was an inmate in the family. The 
charms of this lady made a deep impression upon 
the heart of the Virginia Colonel. He went to 
Boston, returned and was again welcomed to the 
hospitality of Mr. Robinson. He lingered there 
till duty called him away; but he was careful to 
intrust his secret to a confidential friend, whose 
letters kept him informed of every important 
event. In a few months, intelligence came that 
a rival was in the field and that the consequences 
could not be answered for if he delayed to renew 

* Washington's bill of traveling expenses on his trip to 
Boston contains several items for entertaining " ladies." 
In New York, among other things, he took them to see 
a show called " The Microcosm." Possibly Mary Philipse 
was one of them. 

124 Philipse Manor Hall 

his visits to New York. Whether time, the 
bustle of a camp or the scenes of war had mod- 
erated his admiration or whether he despaired of 
success, is not known. He never saw the lady 
again till she was married to that same rival, 
Capt. Morris, his former associate in arms and 
one of Braddock's aides-de-camp."* 

To the foregoing testimony of Sparks, Wash- 
ington's later biographer, Irving, bears further 
witness, in his " Life of Washington." He says: 

" When we consider Washington's noble per- 
son and demeanor, his consummate horsemanship, 
the admirable horses he was accustomed to ride, 
and the aristocratical style of his equipments, we 
may imagine the effect produced by himself and 
his Uttle cavalcade as they clattered through the 
streets of Philadelphia, and New York, and 
Boston. It is needless to say, their sojourn in 
each city was a continual fete. . . . 

" Washington remained ten days in Boston 
. . . after which he returned to New York. 
Tradition gives very different motives from those 
of business for his two sojourns in the latter city. 
He found there an early friend and schoolmate, 
Beverly Robinson, son of John Robinson, 

* Mr. William S. Pelletreau, in the Magazine of Ameri- 
can History (1890, p. 169), attributes the origin of the 
statement about Washington's attachment for Mary 
Philipse to a romantic tale in " The Telegraph, a paper 
published in New Jersey about 1848; " but it may be 
found, as above quoted, in Sparks' " Life of Washington," 
published two years earlier than that date, namely, in 
1846. Furthermore, the reality of Washington's interest 
in Miss Philipse is established beyond question by the 
letters of Joseph Chew to Washington, quoted on another 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 125 

Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses. He 
was living happily and prosperously with a young 
and wealthy bride, having married one of the 
nieces and heirs* of Mr. Adolphus Philipse, a 
rich land-owner, whose Manor House is still to 
be seen on the banks of the Hudson. At the 
house of Mr. Beverly Robinson, where Washing- 
ton was an honored guest, he met Miss Mary 
Philipse, sister of and co-heiress with Mrs. Rob- 
inson, a young lady whose personal attractions 
are said to have rivaled her reputed wealth. 

" That he was an open admirer of Miss Philipse 
is an historical fact; that he sought her hand but 
was refused is traditional and not very probable. 
His military rank, his early laurels, and distin- 
guished presence were all calculated to win favor 
in female eyes; but his sojourn in New York was 
brief; he may have been diffident in urging his 
suit with a lady accustomed to the homage of 
society and surrounded by admirers. The most 
probable version of the story is that he was 
called away by his public duties before he had 
made sufficient approaches in his siege of the 
lady's heart to warrant a summons to surrender." 

While Washington was engaged with affairs of 
state in Virginia, continues Irving, "he received 
a letter from a friend and confidant in New York 
warning him to hasten back to that city before 
it was too late, as Captain Morris, who had been 
his fellow aide-de-camp under Braddock, was 

* Sparks errs as to the relationship. Susannah Philipse, 
who married Beverly Robinson, was not the niece of 
Adolphus Philipse, but was the daughter of Adolphus' 
nephew, Frederick, Second Lord of the Manor. 

126 Philipse Manor Hall 

lajring close siege to Miss Philipse. Sterner 
alarms, however, summoned him in another direc- 
tion . . . and Captain Morris was left to urge 
his suit unrivaled and carry oflf the prize." 

Washington's friend and confidant was Joseph 
Chew of New London, Conn., a frequent visitor 
to New York and guest at Beverly Robinson's, 
where Washington was entertained. Mr. Chew 
was at Mr. Robinson's just a year after 
Washington's visit, and wrote to Washington, 
under date of New York, March 14, 1757, as 

" I am now at Mr. Robinson's, he, Mrs. Rob- 
inson and his Dear Little Family are all well and 
they desire their Compliments to you. Pretty 
Miss Polly is in the same Condition & situation 
as you saw her." 

" Polly " was Mary Philipse's nickname, and 
the allusion to her " condition " and " situation " 
referred to her affections. Letters traveled 
slowly in those days before steam cars, and it 
was some time before Mr. Chew's letter reached 
Washington. The latter then wrote to Mr. 
Chew a letter, the first part of which was devoted 
to public topics, and the latter part to an inquiry 
about Miss Philipse.* To this Mr. Chew replied 
under date of New London, July 13, 1757. The 

* Search has been made in vain for the original of 
Washington's letter. The purport, however, appears 
from Mr. Chew's reply. 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 127 

first part of his letter is of no particular interest. 
He then continues as follows: 

"As to the Latter part of your Letter what 
shall I say? I often had the Pleasure of Break- 
fasting with the Charming Polly. Roger Morris 
was there (don't be startled) but not always; you 
know he is a Lady's man; always something to 
say, the Town talk't of it as a sure & settled 
Affair. I can't say I think so, and that I much 
doubt it, but assure you I had Little Acquain- 
tance with Mr. Morris and only slightly hinted 
it to Miss Polly; but how can you be Excused to 
Continue so long at Phila. I think I should have 
made a kind of Flying march of it if it had been 
only to have seen whether the Works were 
sufficient to withstand a Vigorous Attack — you, 
a Soldier and a Lover ... I intend to set out 
to-morrow for New York where I will not be 
wanting to let Miss Polly know the sincere 
Regard* a Friend of mine has for her and I am 
sure if she had my Eyes to see thro she would 
Prefer him to all others." 

The descendants of Mary Philipse living in 
York, England, say that Washington responded 
to this alarm and " set out for New York, arriv- 
ing there one winter's evening. Late as the hour 
was, he sought and obtained an interview with 
Miss Polly," but she was akeady the promised 
wife of Morris. 

Washington's successful rival, Roger Morris, 


* In the original, Mr. Chew wrote the word " you " 
ter " Regard," then erased it and wrote " a Friend." 

128 PMKpse Manor Hall 

was bom in England, January 28, 1727, and 
was therefore three years the senior of Mary 
Philipse. The name Morris, according to the 
family, is derived from the Welsh " M a w r - 
rwyce," meaning strong, or brave, in battle. 
Roger Morris was the son of a gentleman of Welsh 
extraction, the family tracing their descent from 
Elystan-ap-Cadwgan, founder of the fourth 
Royal Tribe of Wales. He secured a captaincy 
in the 48th Regiment of Foot, September 13, 1745, 
and served, like Washington, as an aide-de-camp 
on General Braddock's stafiE at the time of the 
latter's defeat in 1755. In i7S7 he served with 
his regiment under Lord Loudon. 

It was while living in New York, soon after 
Washington's visit, that the handsome and mag- 
netic Captain found his most congenial exercise 
in horseback rides to the old Manor Hall at 
Yonkers to pay court to the lovely Mary. 

Miss Mary herself was a fine horsewoman, and 
rides of fifty miles were not tmusual feats with 
her. Her semi-annual visits to the numerous 
tenants of the Manor were religiously made; and 
her arrival at the homes of the humble cottagers, 
by whom she was greatly beloved, was an event 
of no small importance to them. 

It may be inferred, therefore, that the sight of 
her and Captain Morris as they rode together 
along the roads through the extensive demesne 
of the Philipse family, caused no little gossip and 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 129 

significant noddings of the head among the 
tenants; and it was not long before their suspicions 
were confirmed, for in due course they learned 
that Mistress Mary and the gallant Captain 
were to be married on January 19, 1758.* 

The wedding took place in the Manor Hall in 
the midst of a brilliant company. It was one of 
the great social events of the Colony, and the 
leading families of the Province and the British 
army were represented. There was good sleigh- 
ing and the weather was mild, facilitating the 
presence of guests, high and low, — the former to 
the wedding and the latter to the feast set forth 
forthe humbler folk. By two o'clock, the sleighing 
parties, with their jinghng bells and merry shouts, 
began to arrive, and the old Manor Hall grounds 
soon became alive with the bustle of festive 
activity. By 3 o'clock, the Rev. Henry Barclay, 
Rector of Trinity Church, New York, and his 
assistant, Mr. Auchmuty, arrived after an exhil- 
arating drive of sixteen mUes. The drawing- 
room soon became crowded with a picturesque 
assemblage of gentlemen and ladies, dressed in the 
height of the fashions of a centiury and a half ago. 

* The marriage was evidently a notable event in army 
circles. Col. John Montresor notes in his journal, under 
this date, " Major Morris and Miss PhiUips married." 
On February ist he " supped at Major Morris'." Col. 
Montresor, in calling Capt. Morris" Major," appears to 
have anticipated the latter's promotion, as his commission 
was not issued until February 16, 1758, according to the 
British Army List. 

130 Philipse Manor Hall 

Presently a premonition of the approaching 
bridal party sent a magnetic thrill through the 
company, and about half-past three the bride 
and groom with their attendants entered. Miss 
Barclay, Miss Van Cortlandt and Miss De Lancey 
were the bridesmaids, and Mr. Heathcote, Cap- 
tain Kennedy and Mr. Watts were the grooms- 
men. Acting-Governor De Lancey, son-in-law 
of Colonel Heathcote, Lord of Scarsdale Manor, 
assisted. Standing under a crimson canopy 
emblazoned with the golden crest of the family 
— a crowned demi-lion issuing from a coronet — 
the ceremony was performed, the bride's hand 
being bestowed by her brother. The latter, the 
Lord of the Manor, was superbly dressed and 
wore the gold chain and jeweled badge of the 
ancestral office of Keeper of the Deer Forests of 

Following the ceremony there was a grand 
banquet. In the midst of the feast, it is said, a 
tall Indian, closely wrapped in a scarlet blanket, 
appeared unannounced at the door of the 
banquet hall and with measured words said: 

" Your possessions shall pass from you when 
the Eagle shall despoil the Lion of his mane." 

Then he vanished as mysteriously as he had 

* Philipse's ancestors in Bohemia had for some genera- 
tions held the ofSce of Master Ranger of the Royal 
Forests. The insignia of their ofl&ce, a jeweled badge 
representing a gold deer, is in the possession of a descendant 
of Mrs. Beverly Robinson. 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 131 

appeared.* The sensation produced by this mes- 
sage can be imagined. For years, it is said, the 
bride pondered on this strange prognostication, 
and never tinderstood its significance until the 
magnificent domain of which she was a part 
owner was confiscated dtiring the Revolution. 

Their honeymoon, however, was of short dttra- 
tion. The French-and-Indian War was reaching 
its culmination, and having purchased, in Feb- 
ruary, 1758 (the month after his marriage), a 
commission as Major in the 3Sth Regiment of 
Foot, the bridegroom embarked under General 
Wolfe in the Louisbourg campaign. He fought 
under Wolfe at Louisbourg in June and July, 
1758; was stationed at Fort Frederic during the 
winter of 1758-1759, and in September, 1759, 
was wounded in the charge on the Heights of 
Abraham, at Quebec, in which Wolfe fell. On 
May 19, 1760, he was appointed Lieutenant- 
Colonel of the 47th Regiment of Foot and com- 
manded the 3d battaUon in the expedition against 
Montreal under General Murray in the summer 
of 1 761. On Jime 15, 1764, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Morris sold his commission to Major John Spital, 
of his regiment (the 47th), which was ordered 
to Ireland, and retired from the service, to enjoy 
at New York the long deferred pleasiu-es of 

* Accordii^ to Angevine (son of the favorite colored 
valet of Philipse), who was sexton of St. John's church in 
Yonkers for forty-five years.— Lossing, in Harper's 
Magazine, LII, 641. 

132 Philipse Manor Hall 

domestic life. Soon thereafter, probably in 1765, 
he bought from James Carroll the old Kiersen 
homestead on Manhattan Island and btult the 
fine Colonial mansion which still stands between 
i6oth street, Edgecomb avenue, 1626. street 
and Jumel terrace. This building, long known 
as the Morris Mansion, and later as the Jumel 
Mansion, is now called Washington's Headquar- 
ters from the fact that Mrs. Morris' imsuccessful 
admirer made it his official residence from Sep- 
tember 14 to October 21, 1776. 

On account of the interest attaching to this 
property, so closely associated with the history 
of the Philipse family, we give below some 
hitherto unpublished data concerning the ac- 
quisition of the place. 

While Morris was still serving with his regi- 
ment, namely on January 29, 1763, James Carroll 
acquired from the heirs of Jan Kiersen the 
property on Harlem Heights described in the 
following deed which is recorded on pages 4 to 8 
of Liber 37 of Conveyances in the Hall of Rec- 
ords, New York City: 

" This Indenture, made this 29th of January 
in the year of our Lord 1763, between Jacob 
Dyckman, Senr., and Yantie his wife, Jacob Dyck- 
man Jimr. and CatiHntie his wife, William 
Dyckman and Maria his wife, Abraham Hearson 
(corrected to Kearson by the recorder) all of the 
township of Harlem in the City of New York 
yeoman; and John Vermelier and Charity his 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 133 

wife, Abraham Odel and Rebeckah his wife, and 
Jonathan Odle and Margaret his wife all of 
Westchester County in the province of New York 
yeoman of the one part, and James Carrol of the 
City of New York of the other part, Witnesseth : 

" That the said parties of the first part for and 
in consideration of the sum of £1000 of good and 
lawfull money of New York, to them in hand 
paid before the sealing and delivery of these 
presents by the said James Carrol, the receipt of 
which is hereby acknowledged and themselves to 
be therewith fully satisfied and paid and thereof and 
of every part hereof, do acquit release and dis- 
charge the said James Carrol his heirs executors 
and administrators by these presents they the 
said parties of the first part above mentioned, 

" Have granted bargained sold aliened released 
and confirmed and do by these presents grant 
bargain sell alien release and confirm unto the 
said James Carrol (in his actual possession now 
being by virtue of a bargain sale and lease for 
one year to him thereof made, bearing date the 
day before the day of the date of these presents 
and by force and virtue of the statute made for 
transferring uses into possession) and to his heirs 
and assigns for ever. 

" All those certain lotts, tracts and parcells of 
land and premises boimded as follows, to witt : 

" One certain tract of land scituate lying and 
being in the township of New Harlem aforesaid 
on the West side of the highway leading from 
New York to Kingsbridge begining at the 
northeast comer of the land of John Low at the 
west side of the said highway in the southeast 
comer of the said tract of land and runing from 
thence with a straight course westerly as the 

134 Philipse Manor Hall 

fence now stands along by the land of the said John 
Low untill it comes to Hudson's River; thence 
runing northwardly along the said river unto 
the land of the said John Low late belonging to Law- 
rence Kortwright and from thence runing easerly 
along the line of the said John Low as the fence 
now stands untUl it comes to the highway afore- 
said, thence along the said highway to the place 
of begining containing 40 acres more or less. 

" Also one other certain tract of land scituate 
Ijring and being in the said township of New 
Harlem on the East Side of the above said high- 
way beginning at the north comer of the land of 
the above named John Low late of John Dyck- 
man and runing from thence by and with the 
said highway into the land of John Benson from 
thence running in a straight line along the land 
of John Benson until it comes to Harlem River 
and from thence by the said Harlem River to 
the southward imtill it comes to the land of the 
above named John Low, from thence running 
westerly along the land of the said John Low to 
the place of beginning containing 20 acres more 
or less. 

" Also one certain piece or parcell of woodland 
scituate lying and being in the said township of 
New Harlem (that is to say) the one full half of 
that certain lott known by the name of number 
17 in the last division as laid out by Mr. Peter 
Berian being the northermost one-half of the said 
lott number 17 and divided by and between John 
Kierson and Garrit Dyckman and then laid out 
for the property of the said John Kierson his 
heirs and assigns for ever. 

" Also one full lott of woodland known by the 
name of lot Nimiber 7 containing — acres 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 135 

more or less and runs from the highway between 
the lands of Johannis Waldron and Arent Bussing 
to Hudson's River; 

" Also one other lott known by the name of 
number 3 containing six acres more or less and 
runs from the highway, between the lands of 
Barent Waldron and Mark Tibout to the middle 
line in the said division in the fourth division. 

" Also one other lott known by the name of 
number 8 containing foiu- acres and a half more 
or less. 

" Also a certain piece or lot of salt meadow 
Ijnng and scituate within the said township of 
New Harlem upon the North-northwest branch 
of the Rotmd-meadow Kill or Creek, beginning 
at a certain place known by the name of Peter 
Tieneer's Brook or Fall where the said brook or 
fall meets with the salt meadow nmning about 
northeast by the edge of the upland of Jacob 
Dyckman until it meets with the land of John 
Nagal being a comer boundage, from thence 
running southerly by the edge of the upland of 
said John Nagel until it meets with the said Roimd 
Meadow Creek or Kill, being a boundage, from 
thence with the said creek or kill being a bound- 
age (sic) from thence with the said creek or kill 
until it meets with the branch that runs into the 
abovesaid Tieners Brook or Fall and from thence 
to the first mentioned boundage, containing 4 
acres more or less; together with . . . 

" In witness whereof the parties to these 
presents have hereunto interchangeably set their 
hands and seals the day and year first above 

Jacob Dyckman (LS) 

Jannetje her x mark (LS) 

136 Philipse Manor Hall 

Jacob Deykmont (LS) 

Catalyntie her x mark Dyckman (LS) 

Willem Dyckman (LS) 

Mary her x mark Deykman (LS) 

John Vermilye (LS) 

Gerritye her x mark Vermilye (LS) 

Abraham Odle (LS) 

Rabeckh Odell (LS) 

Jonathan Odell (LS) 

Margrt Odel (LS) 

The foregoing conveyance was " Recorded for 
and at the request of Mr. James Carroll, of the 
City of New York, butcher, this 19th day of June, 
Anno, Dom: 1764." 

On May 9, 16, 23 and 30, and June 6 and 13, 
1765, the following advertisement appeared in 
the New York Gazette or Weekly Post Boy : 

"To he Sold 
" A Pleasant situated Farm on the Road lead- 
ing to King's Bridge, in the Township of Harlem 
of York Island, containing about 100 Acres; 
about 30 Acres of which is Wood Land, a fine 
Piece of Meadow Ground, and more may easily 
be made; and commands the finest Prospect in 
the whole country; the Land runs from River to 
River; there is Fishing, Oystering and Claming 
at either end. There is a good House, a fine 
Bam 44 Feet long and 42 Feet wide, or there- 
abouts; an Orchard of good Fruit, with plenty of 
Quince Trees that bear extraordinary well; three 
good Gardens, the Produce of which are sent to 
the York Markets daily, as it suits. An indis- 
putable Title to be given to the Purchaser. 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 137 

Inquire of James Carroll, Living on the Premises, 
who will agree on reasonable Terms." 

No record of the conveyance from Carroll to 
Morris is to be found in the Register's Office in 
the Hall of Records, nor is any such conveyance 
known to the New York Title Guarantee and 
Trust Company; but it is probable that Morris 
piurchased it soon after the last date above 
mentioned and began the house before alluded to.* 
Later he purchased lot No. 7 of the " Second 
Division," consisting of about 16 acres, at Har- 
lem, which accounts for the difference between 
the 100 acres bought from Carroll and the 115 
acres mentioned by the Commissioners of For- 
feiture on page 184 following. 

Something of Morris' financial standing about 
the time of his acquisition of this property is 
indicated by the fact that on April 10, 1765, 
John Livingston and James De Peyster became 
bound to him in the sum of £4,000, for a debt 
of De Peyster. 

In December, 1764, a few months after his 
retirement from the army, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Morris was elevated to a seat in the Executive 

* On October 20, 1903, the City of New York took title 
to the Morris Mansion and a little over an acre and a 
half of land,andon December 28, 1903, the Park Department 
assumed formal possession. Colonel and Mrs. Morris' city 
residence was on the south corner of Whitehall and Stone 
streets, opposite the house of Frederick Philipse on the 
north corner. It was burned in the great fire of Septem- 
ber, 1776. 

138 Philipse Manor Hall 

Council of the Province. He was present at the 
meeting of the Council in New York on October 
29, 1765, and regularly thereafter until April, 
1775. These ten years, during which he divided 
his time agreeably between public affairs and the 
management of his own and his wife's property, 
were probably the happiest in their lives. 

Upon the outbreak of the American Revolu- 
tion, the convictions of Colonel Morris, like those 
of his brother-in-law, Colonel Philipse, led him 
to espouse the Royalist cause, and like his 
brother-in-law, he eventually paid the penalty by 
exile and the loss of his estate. In the month 
after the battle of Lexington, within a few hours 
of the sailing of the packet on May 4, he sud- 
denly made up his naind to sail for England. 
He therefore placed his wife and children in the 
care of relatives and took up his residence in 
London. There he followed the course of " the 
most miserable war," as he termed it, with the 
deepest anxiety. The letters which he wrote to 
his wife at this time were frequently pathetic. 
In one he said: 

" I wish I could send any public news of 
interest that would be agreeable and could be 
depended on. All expectation at present is upon 
what will be done in America. A most unhappy 
and urmatural contest. Everyone I talk to upon 
the subject say they think so too, but it still 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 139 

In another letter he wrote : 

" God Almighty grant that some fortunate 
circumstance will happen to bring about a sus- 
pension of hostilities. As to myself, I breathe 
only. Pleasure I can have none until I am back 
with you. How much I miss you! Your re- 
peated remarks of tender love and esteem so daily 
occur to my mind that I am totally unhinged. 
Only imagine that I, who, as you well know, 
never thought myself so happy anywhere as 
under my own roof, have now no Home, and am 
a wanderer from day to day." 

In another letter to his " dearest Life " he 

" My chief wish is to spend the remainder of 
my days with you, whose Prudency is my great 
comfort, and whose kindness in sharing with 
patience and resignation these misfortunes which 
we have not brought upon ourselves is never 

After her husband went to England, and after 
her brother. Colonel Philipse, had been de- 
ported to Connecticut in 1776, as related in 
the following chapter, Mrs. Morris spent part 
of her time with her sister-in-law, Mrs. Philipse, 
at the Manor Hall. Documentary history gives 
us two references to this visit. One of them is of 
especial interest, as it shows that at this period 
Washington stiU entertained a personal regard 
for the object of his former admiration. At the 
end of the letter to Mrs. Philipse, dated October 

I40 Philip se Manor Hall 

22, 1776 (quoted in ftill on pages 152-3), in which 
Washington refers to the foraging parties of the 
army, he adds a simple postscript: " I beg the 
favor of having my compliments presented to 
Mrs. Morris." As Washington's letter was of a 
strictly official character, and, on account of its 
subject matter, required no personal reference 
to Mrs. Morris, the addition of this personal 
message to Mrs. Morris is significant, either of a 
knightly chivalry or of more tender recollec- 

The other reference to Mrs. Morris' stay with 
Mrs. PhiHpse is in the diary of Lieut-Col. 
Stephen Kemble, of the British army, who, 
under date of Friday, November 8, 1776 — 
two days after he had marched to Dobbs Ferry 
— records that he " had the pleasure of Break- 
fasting this day with Mrs. Philipse and Mrs. 
Morris — all well." 

In December, 1777, Lieutenant-Colonel Morris 
returned to New York, and on January i, 1779, 
was appointed inspector of the claims of refugees 
with rank of Provincial Colonel.* At the end of 
the war, his property having been confiscated as 
stated in chapter XII following, he and his wife 
went to England, and after some wanderings 
finally settled at York, where their great-grand- 
son, the Rev. Marmaduke C. F. Morris, still lives 

* Hitherto he had been only Lieutenant-Colonel , 
although called Colonel by courtesy. 

Courtship and Marriage of Mary Philipse 141 

as Rector of Nunbumholme. It is not unlikely 
that their residence there was determined by the 
desire to be near Gen. Oliver De Lancey, 
whose American property was also confiscated 
and who bought a country residence near Bever- 
ley, in Yorkshire, about thirty-four miles south- 
east of York. 

Colonel Morris died September 13, 1794, aged 
67 years. Mary, once the beautiful belle of the 
Province of New York, lived to the great age of 
95, d3dng July 18, 1825. The soil of old York, 
near Saviottrgate Church, gives sepulture to their 
dust, and a simple tablet in the Church perpetu- 
ates their memory in these words: 

" Near this spot are deposited the remains of Col. Roger 
Morris, formerly of His Majesty's XLVIIth Regiment of 
Foot, who departed this life on the thirteenth day of 
September MDCCXCIV in the LXVIIIth year of his 

And of 

Mary Morris, relict of the same, who departed this life 
on the eighteenth day of July, MDCCCXXV in the 
XCVIth year of her age 

And also of 

Maria Morris, the affectionate daughter of the above, 
who departed this life on the Twenty fifth day of Sep- 
tember MDCCCXXXVI in the LXXIst year of her age " 

Of their four children, the eldest son, Amherst 
(named after his god-father, General Amherst), 
entered the Royal Navy. In the engagement 
between the Njmiphe and Cleopatre, as First 
Lieutenant he led the boarding party to the 
forecastle of the enemy's ship and was made 

142 Philip se Manor Hall 

Commander for his bravery. The sword which 
the French Lieutenant surrendered to him is 
among the family relics at Nunbumholme rec- 
tory, York, England. The second son, Henry, 
attained the rank of Rear Admiral in the English 
navy. He was father of the late Rev. F. 0. 
Morris, who, besides being Rector of Nunbum- 
holme, won reputation as a naturalist and author 
of " British Birds " and other works on natural 

At Nunbumholme rectory* are several inter- 
esting relics of Colonel Morris and his wife. 
Among them are a gold-headed walking stick very 
characteristic of the Colonial period, bearing 
Morris' initials and the rampant lion of the 
family crest, and a dress-sword which it was the 
fashion to wear when Colonel Morris was alive. 

* The author is much indebted to the Rev. Marmaduke 
C. F. Morris, B.C.L., M.A., Rector of Nunbumholme, 
Yorkshire, for information concerning his great-grand- 
parents, Col. and Mrs. Roger Morris. Mr. Morris, him- 
self an antiquarian and author of " Yorkshire Folk Talk " 
and " Nunbumholme: _ Its history and Antiquities," 
expresses his appreciation of the preservation of the 
Yonkers Manor Hall in these words: "It is specially 
interesting to me to leam from you that our old house has 
been secured for future ages and a place of historic interest 
for the American people by the truly handsome gift of 
Mrs. W. F. Cochran of New York; and it may possibly 
be some little satisfaction to that good lady to know that 
at least one of Mary Philipse's descendants highly appreci- 
ates her thoughtful generosity in this matter. I shall 
deem it a great favour if you can find means to convey to 
Mrs. Cochran this appreciation of her kindness." 

Courtship and Manure of Mary Philipse 143 

The beautiful old silver loving-cup, out of which 
the healths of the bride and groom were drunk 
at the wedding in the Yonkers Manor Hall, is 
now in possession of their great-grandson, Col. 
Henry Morris, of the Second Battalion of the 
Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. 



A FTER the marriage of Mary Philipse in 
'^ 1758; domestic life in the Manor Hall at 
Yonkers was comparatively quiet until, with 
the advent of a new generation of children, 
life took on a new interest for the Lord and 
Lady of the Manor. As the children grew 
up, they in their turn had their romances 
and took an interest in the romances of 
others. A glimpse at these interests, which 
must have been the subject of many a family 
discussion before the old tiled Manor Hall fire- 
places, is afforded by a letter written by one 
of the daughters, Maria Eliza, to her friend, 
Sarah Van Brugh Livingston, to congratulate 
her on her marriage to John Jay, which took 
place April 28, 1774. She says: 

"Yonkers. June ist, 1774. 
" You will, I hope, my dear and anaiable friend, 
excuse my not writing to you before. I have 
several times been prevented from doing myself 
that Pleasure; but as it is not yet too late, accept 
my congrattilations on an event that has con- 
tributed so much to the felicity of my dear Mrs. 
Jay and my ardent wishes for the long continu- 
ance of the Happiness you enjoy. The fan and 


The Attainder of Frederick Philipse 145 

gloves I received, and beg my thanks. It was no 
small mortification to me in not having it in my 
power to accept your kind invitation by Cousin 
Kitty Livingston of being one of the Bridesmaids, 
In town I own that I had flattered myself with 
the pleasing expectation of being one of the num- 
ber. Had it not been for my Papa (who thought 
the weather too warm for me to be in town), I 
should have realized all those pleasures of which 
I had formed such a delightful idea. The being 
with my dear Mrs. Jay would have been my 
principal inducement, and spending with her 
some hours as agreeable as those I enjoyed at 

" But apropos — Mama and I were a little 
jealous at your stopping twice at CoUo. Cort- 
landts and not once at Philipsborough, you being 
such a prodigious favorite. However, we all hope 
soon to be favoured with a visit from you and 
Mr. Jay. Papa and Mama beg their compts: to 
you and Mr. Jay with Congratulations. 

" Cousin Kitty Van Home has spent three 
weeks with me and proposes staying a week 
longer. But, my dear Sally, do not you intend to 
favour me with a letter r" Remember, you are a 
long one in my debt, and that I cannot think of 
losing my correspondent. It would not indeed be 
generous in you in depriving me of so great an 
opportunity of improvement. If at Elizabeth- 
town, please give my love to Cousin Livingstons, 
and to Cousin Susan and Kitty, and believe me 
to be sincerely 

" Your truly affectionate friend 

" Maria Eliza Philipse. 

" Do not omit my Compts : 

" to Mr. Jay and congratulations." 


146 Philipse Manor Hall 

Miss Philipse possessed the characteristic 
beauty and chann of her family, as we shall see 
five years later when, during the Revolution, she 
followed her friend Sally's example by marrying 
in New York, Lionel, Seventh Viscount Strang- 

When Miss Philipse wrote the letter above 
quoted, the happy days of the old Manor Hall 
were drawing to a close. The distant rumblings 
of the great convulsion which was to separate 
the Colonies from the Mother Country and at 
the same time separate the loyal Philipse family 
from their estate were already the sotirce of 
popTolar anxiety. 

It cannot but be a matter of regret that when 
the crisis of the Revolution came, the head of a 
family which had sustained such an illustrious 
and honorable career as the Philipses had from 
the very fotmding of the Colonies could not have 
seen his duty in the light in which the majority 
of his countrymen saw theirs. But unhappily 
for him, Frederick Philipse did not, and he paid 
the bitter penalty. 

Colonel PhiUpse's sjmipathies were well known 
to be in favor of the old order and against the 
Whigs; and when, on April ii, 1775, a number 
of the i^mabitants of Westchester coimty met at 
White Plains to choose representatives to the 
next Continental Congress, he joined a rival 
meeting which was held by those who regarded 

The Attainder of Frederick Philipse 147 

the other proceeding as unlawful and who 
adopted the following protest: 

" We the subscribers, freeholders and inhab- 
itants of the Coimty of Westchester, having 
assembled at the White Plains in consequence of 
certain advertisements, do now declare that we 
met here to express our honest abhorrence of all 
unlawful congresses and committees and that we 
are determined at the hazard of our lives and 
properties, to support the King and Constitu- 
tion, and that we acknowledge no representatives 
but the General Assembly, to whose wisdom and 
integrity we submit the guardianship of our 

The first of the 312 signers of the foregoing 
declaration was Colonel Philipse, who was at 
that time a Member of Assembly. This pro- 
ceeding, of course, left no doubt as to where 
Philipse stood on the momentous issue of the 

On October 6, 1775, the Continental Congress 
recommended the various Provincial Assemblies 
and Committees of Safety to secure every person 
whose going at large might endanger the liberties 
of America; and on June s, 1776, the New York 
Provincial Congress adopted a series of drastic 
resolutions on the subject. They appointed a 
committee before whom certain persons named 
should be summoned and tried as to their loyalty 
to the American cause. If the suspected persons 
were foimd guilty of hostility or equivocal 

148 Philipse Manor Hall 

neutrality, they were to be imprisoned, or re- 
leased under bonds and parole, or removed from 
their present residence to some other place in 
this or a neighboring Colony where their presence 
would be less dangerous. The list of New York 
county citizens contained in these resolutions 
included forty-six names. Among them were 
those of Gov. Wm. Tryon, Mayor David Mat- 
thews, and citizens of such standing as Oliver 
De Lancey, Theophylact Bache, C. Ward 
Apthorpe, Robert Bayard and Peter Van Schaack. 
From Kings county four were named, from 
Richmond Coimty six, from Queens cotmty 
thirty-eight and from Westchester county thir- 
teen, including Frederick Philipse. 

On June 15, 1776, the committee for the hear- 
ing and trying of disaffected persons — which 
committee included Philip Livingston, Joseph 
Hallett, John Jay, Thomas Tredwell, Gouverneur 
Morris, Col. Lewis Graham and Leonard 
Gansevoort — met in the old City Hall of New 
York, which stood where the present United 
States sub-treasury stands, and adopted a form 
of summons which was sent to Philipse and 
others. This summons required him to appear 
and show cause, if any he had, why he " should 
be considered as a friend to the American cause, 
and of the number of those who are ready to 
risk their lives and fortunes in defense of the 
rights and liberties of America against the usurpa- 

The Attainder of Frederick Philipse 1 49 

tion, unjust claims and cruel oppression of the 
British Parliament." 

Instead of answering the summons in person, 
Colonel Philipse sent the following letter: 

" Philipsborough, July 2, 1776. 
"Gentlemen: I was served on Saturday 
evening last with a paper signed by you in which 
you suggest that you are authorized by the 
Congress to summon certain persons to appear 
before you, whose conduct has been represented 
as inimical to the rights of America, of which 
number you say I am one. Who it is that has 
made such a representation or upon what par- 
ticular facts it is founded, as you have not stated 
them, it is impossible for me to imagine; but 
considering my situation, and the near and 
intimate ties and connexions which I have in 
this country (which can be secured and rendered 
happy to me only by the real and permanent 
prosperity of America), I shotild have hoped that 
suspicions of this harsh nattire would not easily 
be harboured. However, as they have been 
thought of weight sufficient to attract the notice 
of the Congress, I can only observe that, con- 
scious of the uprightness of my intentions and 
the integrity of my conduct, I would most readily 
comply with your summons, but the situation of 
my health is such as would render it very unadvis- 
able for me to take a journey to New York at this 
time. I have had the misfortune, gentlemen, of 
being deprived totally of the sight of my left eye, 
and the other is so much affected and inflamed as 
to make me very cautious how I expose it, for 
fear of a total loss of sight. This being my real 
situation, I must request the favour of you to 

150 Philipse Manor Hall 

excuse my attendance to-morrow; but you may 
rest assured, gentlemen, that I shall punctually 
attend as soon as I can, consistent with my 
health, flattering myself in the meantime that, 
upon further consideration, you will think that 
my being a friend of the rights and interests of 
my native coimtry is a fact so strongly implied 
as to require no evidence on my part to prove it, 
until something more substantial than mere 
suspicion or vague surmises are proved to the 

" I am, gentlemen, your most obedient, humble 

Frederick Philips." 

For over a month Colonel Philipse was left 
undisturbed, but upon the arrival of the British 
fleet in New York, with the consequent danger 
that Philipse might engage in activities detri- 
mental to the American cause, Washington 
ordered his arrest, and on August 9 he was taken 
into custody at the Manor Hall. Thence he was 
immediately sent a prisoner to New Rochelle. 
On August 16 Washington wrote to Frederick 
Jay at New Rochelle as follows: 

" Headquarters, New York, August 16, 1776. 
" Sir : In consequence of my orders, the under^ 
mentioned persons (Colonel Phillips, James 
Jauncey and his two sons, Joseph Bull, Isaac 
Corsa, John Rodgers and Ware Branson) have 
been apprehended and are now under a guard at 
New Rochelle or its neighborhood. As the send- 
ing a guard through to Governor Trumbull with 
them would be attended with much inconvenience 

The Attainder of Frederick Philipse 151 

to the publick and cannot be agreeable to the 
gentlemen, upon their giving you their word of 
honor to proceed to Lebanon (Conn.) to Governor 
Trumbull, I am satisfied to permit them to go 
without any other escort than that of the officer 
who will deliver you this. I must beg the favor 
of you to take the management of this business 
and, as soon as it is put on a proper footing, 
dismiss the guard now there. 

" I am, with due respect, sir, yotir most obedient 

" Go. Washington." 

After eleven days' close confinement under 
guard at New Rochelle, Colonel Philipse was 
taken to Hartford, Conn. While there, on 
August 28th, he signed the following parole: 

" Parole: I, the subscriber, being apprehended 
and sent by General Washington to the care of 
his Honour Govemotur Trumbull, in order to be 
kept safe, and being ordered by his Honour the 
Govemour to reside within the limits of the town 
of Middletown in Connecticut, upon my giving 
my parole. I therefore do hereby engage and 
promise to the Govemour and Company of the 
State of Connecticut, upon the honour, faith, 
and credit of a gentleman, faithfully to abide 
within the limits of said town of Middletown 
until further orders shall be had from his Honour 
Govemour Trumbull thereon; and in the mean- 
time I engage and promise not to correspond, 
either directly or indirectly, in any shape what- 
ever, with any person or persons unfriendly to 
these American States, and will abide such orders 
and directions as shall be given from time to time 

152 Philipse Manor Hall 

by the Committee of Inspection for said town, 
where I shall reside as aforesaid, as witness my 
hand. Dated at Hartford, August 28th, 1776. 

" N . B . Said party is granted to go to Wethers- 
field and Durham, as occasion may be. 

" Frederick Philips." 

During Colonel Philipse's absence, his wife 
complained to Washington about the taking of 
cattle for the use of the American army. Wash- 
ington's consideration for the family at the Manor 
Hall in its unfortunate situation is shown in the 
following letter to " Mrs. Philips of Philipsboro: " 

" Headquarters at Mr. Valentine's, 

22 October, 1776. 
" Madam: 

"The misfortunes of War and the unhappy 
circumstances frequently attendant thereon to 
Individuals are more to be lamented than 
avoided, but it is the duty of everyone to alleviate 
these as much as possible. Far be it from me, 
then, to add to the distresses of a Lady who, I am 
but too sensible, must already have suJBfered much 
uneasiness if not inconvenience on accoimt of 
Colonel Philip's absence. 

" No special order has gone forth from me for 
removal of stock of the Inhabitants; but from the 
nature of the case and in consequence of some 
resolutions of the Convention and State the 
measure has been adopted. However, as I am 
satisfied it is not meant to deprive families of 
their necessary support, I shall not withhold my 
consent to your retaining such partsof your stock 
as may be essential to this purpose, relying on 

The Attainder of Frederick Philipse 153 

your assiirances and promise that no more will 
be detained. 

" With great Respect, I am, Madam, etc. 
" Go. Washington. 

" I beg the favour of having my compliments 
presented to Mrs. Morris." 

Mrs. Philipse's complaints were not directed 
alone against the American troops. When, after 
the Battle of White Plains (October 28, 1776), 
the British were in undisputed control of the 
Manor south of Dobbs Ferry, Lieut.-Col. Stephen 
Kemble records in his diary, imder date of 
November 2, 1776: 

" The Country all this time unmercifully 
Pillaged by our Troops, Hessians in particular; 
no wonder the Country People refuse to join us." 

A week later, he says in his journal: 

" Mrs. Philips and other friends of Government 
complaint heavily of the depredations of our 
Troops; believe our Commander-in-Chief very 
sorry, Isut, in the present situation of affairs, 
cannot prevent it; think, from his probity, the 
next Campaign will be more regular and prevent 
every irregularity of this nature." 

The knowledge that his estate was being 
pillaged, even by his own friends, added to the 
irksomeness of restraint and other considerations, 
led Colonel Philipse, after three months detention 
in Connecticut under his parole, to address a 
memorial, under date of November 26, 1776, to 
the Convention of Representatives and Com- 

154 Philip se Manor Hall 

mittee of Safety of the State of New York pray- 
ing that he be restored to his liberty; or, if that 
could not be granted, that he be permitted to 
return to the Manor House and reside there 
under a parole similar to that already given. In 
his memorial he said: 

" Your memorialist has already suffered great 
hardships and inconveniences, and if not per- 
mitted to return home before the severity of the 
winter sets in, must still suffer many more, which, 
in his advanced stage of life and infirm state of 
health, he is ill calculated to undergo. But that 
all the personal inconveniences he has felt and is 
likely further to feel if not relieved are far from 
making so deep an impression on his mind as the 
circumstances of being separated from wife and 
numerous family, and thereby prevented from sup- 
erintending his own afEairs, particularly the educa- 
tion of his children, whose tender years require 
the most watchful attention of a parent's care." 

This memorial, with others of like nature, was 
referred by the New York Convention to a com- 
mittee which reported on December 13, 1776: 

" That with respect to Frederick Philips, your 
Committee are well informed that he had exerted 
himself in promoting an association in West 
Chester County highly injurious to the American 
cause; that his great estate in that cotmty has 
necessarily created a vast number of dependents 
on his pleasure, and that your Committee verily 
believe that the shameful defection of the inhab- 
itants of that county is in a great measiure owing 
to his influence." 

The Attainder of Frederick Philipse 155 

The committee advised that the indulgence of 
Philipse, " who requests liberty to return to his 
family at Philipsburgh, would put it in the power 
of a professed enemy of the American cause not 
only further to disaflect the inhabitants of West 
Chester County, but to put many of them in 
arms against the United States of America." 

Notwithstanding this advice of the New York 
Committee, on December 20, 1776, the Governor 
and Council of Safety of Connecticut at Middle- 
town voted that Colonel Philipse and others be per- 
mitted to return home upon giving their parole not 
to give any inteUigence to the enemy; not to take 
up arms; not to do or say an3rthing against the 
United States of America; and to return to 
Connecticut when requested. On December 23 
Colonel Philipse and six others signed a parole 
to that effect and he returned home. In 1777, 
he left the Manor House in charge of his steward, 
WilUams, and went to his town residence on the 
north comer of Whitehall and Stone streets in 
New York city.* The city, it will be remem- 
bered, had been in possession of the British since 
September 15, 1776. Thence he was summoned to 

* This location had been the hereditary family seat in 
New York city since the original grant to the founder in 
1658. It was confiscated with his other property under 
the act of October 22, 1779, and sold by the Commis- 
sioners of Forfeiture on June 14, 1785 to Isaac Hubble for 
£1,570. Hubble divided it into three lots, and sold the 
southern two to Capt. John Lamb of Revolutionary fame. 
The northern lot he sold to Daniel Niven. 

iS6 Philipse Manor Hall 

return to Connecticut; but it is said in his defense 
that he never received the summons. However 
that may be, he was adjudged to have broken his 
parole. On October 22, 1779, the Legislature at 
Kingston passed an act (chapter 24) attainting 
fifty-eight persons of " adhering to the Eang with 
intent to subvert the government and liberties 
of this State and the said other United States, 
and to bring the same into subjection to the 
Crown of Great Britain." The act also proscribed 
them, confiscated their real and personal estates, 
and declared that " each and every of them 
who shall at any time hereafter be found in any 
part of the State shall be and are hereby adjudged 
and declared guilty of felony, and shall suffer Death 
as in cases of felony without Benefit of Clergy." 
Under this terrible ban fell Frederick Philipse; 
his sister Susannah and her husband Beverly 
Robinson; his sister Mary and her husband Roger 
Morris;* and fifty-three others. And by this 
stroke, the great Philipse Manor, as a Manor, 
vanished. When the treaty of peace confirmed 
the Independence of the United States, he who 
was lately Lord of the Manor, deprived of his 
title, deprived of his great estate, humiliated in 
spirit, bUnd of sight and broken in health, betook 

* The attainting of Mrs. Morris, as explained in Sabine's 
"Loyalists in America," was due to the fact that Colonel 
Morris possessed a part of the Philipse estate in right of 
his wife, and she was attainted in order that the whole 
interest should pass under the act. 

The Attainder of Frederick Philipse 157 

himself and family to England where they passed 
the remainder of their days. 

Colonel Philipse died on April 30, 1786, while 
residing in Saint Oswald's Parish, Chester, and 
was' buried in Chester Cathedral May 2, 1786. 
The place of interment is probably in the south 
transept which, until 1881, was used as the 
Parish Church of Saint Oswald's. 

In a conspicuous place on the south face of the 
great pier of the southwest support of the tower 
of the cathedral is a tablet to his memory, read- 
ing as follows: 

Sacred to the Memory of 
Frederick Philipse, Efquire, late of the 
Province of New York; a Gentleman, in whom 

the various focial, domeftic and religious 
Virtues were eminently united. The uniform 
Rectitude of his Conduct commanded the 
Efteem of others; whilft the Benevolence of his 
Heart, and gentlenefs of his Manners fecured 
their Love. Firmly attached to his Sovereign 
and the Britifh Conftitution, he oppofed, at 
the Hazard of his Life, the late Rebellion in 
North America; and for this faithful Dif charge 
of his Duty to his King and Country, he was 
Profscribed, and his Eftate, one of the largeft in 
New york, was Confifcated, by the Ufurped Legiflature 
of that Province. When the Britifh Troops were 
withdrawn from New york in 1783, he quitted 
a Province to which he had always been an 
Ornament and Benefactor, and came to 
England, leaving all his Property behind him 
Which Reverfe of Fortune he bore with 
that Calmnefs, Fortitude and Dignity 
which had diftinguifhed him through 
every former Stage of Life. 
He was bom at New York the 12th: Day of September, 
in the Year 1720; and died in this Place the 30th: 
Day of April, in the Year 1785, aged 65 years. 

is8 PhiUpse Manor Hall 

The wording of this inscription is copied from a 

photograph of the tablet kindly taken in 1908 

by the daughter of the Dean of Chester and 

furnished to the author by the Rev. Marmaduke 

C. F. Morris of York. It differs slightly from 

some previous publications. The date " 1785 " 

inscribed upon the tablet and copied in many 

books is an error. It should be 1786. Bom 

in September, 1720, Colonel Philipse was not yet 

65 years old in April, 1785. That he died in 

1786 is proven by the Parish Register of Saint 

Oswald's which contains this record: 

1786. May. 

Frederick Philips Esqr. 65/2 

in which " 65 " is his age and " 2 " the day of the 
month of May on which he was buried. The 
Rev. John L. Darby, Dean of Chester, who 
kindly examined the Register for the writer, 

" I have had an opportunity of examining the 
Register of St. Oswald's Parish in the City. The 
Register is so beautifully and accurately kept in 
the years 1785-86 that I cannot doubt but that 
the Register is correct and' the Tablet gives a 
wrong date as to Frederick Philips' death. The 
Register is quite clear and means that F. Philips 
was buried on May 2, 1786, aged 65. The dis- 
crepancy is an evidence of how vmtrustworthy 
tablets are." 

The tablet is surmounted by an heraldic 
device, representing a lion rampant upon a 

The Attainder of Frederick Philipse 159 

crown. It is possible that this tablet is not now 
in its original position, as the tablets and monu- 
ments of Chester Cathedral were freely moved 
in 1873-76; but it is so near the south transept 
that it is probably not far from the place of 

For over a century the guides who show the 
visitors through Chester Cathedral have pointed 
to this tablet and told the story of the old Manor 
Hall on the Hudson, 3,000 miles away.* ' 

* Under the Philipse tablet, on the same pier, is a tablet 
reading as follows: " To the memory of George Clarke of 
Hyde, Esquire, who was formerly Lieutenant-Governor of 
New York and afterwards became resident in this city. 
He died January XII, MDCCLX, aged LXXXIV years, 
and was interred in this chapel." 



"P VENTS conspired to the enactment of many 
*^ events around, although but few within, the 
Manor Hall during the Revolution. By the 
removal of its master in August, 1776, Washing- 
ton prevented the Hall from being a ntu-sery of 
Toryism. During the next few months, when 
both armies began operations in Westchester 
county, a chivalric consideration for the headless 
Philipse family seems to have prevented any 
occupation of the house by either side for military 
purposes. After Colonel Philipse broke his 
parole in 1777 and the house was abandoned by 
the family to the care of their steward, its loca- 
tion in the heart of the neutral ground, bringing 
it within the lines of one army and then the 
other as the frontier of hostilities oscillated back 
and forth, rendered it too insecitre to become 
permanent headquarters for either side.* 

* Mrs. Lamb, the historian, in her article in Appleton's 
Journal (Vol. X, p. 385), says that Washington and his 
generals stayed several nights in the Manor Hall, and 
that the southwestern room in the south front was the 
scene of several important councils of war. Although 
this is not impossible, the present writer has been unable 
to find documentary authority for a more precise state- 
ment than Mrs. Lamb's. 


The Heart of the Neutral Ground i6i 

The Manor Hall was the witness, however, of 
exciting events near by and the finding of cannon 
balls and exploded shells* on the grounds adjacent 
to the Manor Hall show that it was at times in 
the midst of fljring " shot and shell." 

It will be remembered that at that time the 
Hudson river shore was only about 300 feet from 
the house on one side, while the old Post Road, 
crossing PhiUpse's bridge over the Neperhan, 
was about 300 feet on the other. The widened 
mouth of the Neperhan formed a little harbor 
which extended well up toward the base of the 
hill on which the mansion stood. 

The first exciting event to startle the occupants 
of the Hall was the first exclusively aquatic 
engagement of the Revolution on the Hudson 
river. On Saturday, July 13, 1776, the British 
warships. Phoenix, 44 gtms, and Rose, 36 guns, 
Tryal armed schooner, and two tenders Charlotta 
and Shuldham, came up the river and for over a 
month lay in the Tappan sea and Haverstraw 
bay, annojdng both shores. The counter move- 
ments of the Americans, however, forced them 
down near a point opposite Yonkers. The log 
of the Phoenix of August 14th says: "Weighed, 
and with the Rose, Tryal sch. & 2 Tenders 
anchored in 6^ f. abreast of Colonel Phillips, 

* Martial relics of this kind, found near the Manor 
Hall, were exhibited in the Bicentennial Loan Exhibition 
held in the Manor Hall October 18-28, 1882. 


1 62 Philipse Manor Hall 

distd. from each shore f mile." Here on the 
night of Friday, August i6, they were surprised 
by two American fireships — a sloop of loo tons 
and another smaller one, filled with combustibles 
— commanded by Captains Thomas and Bass. 
In the face of a terrific cannonade from the 
British warships, Thomas grappled the Phoenix 
and Bass the Charlotta, set fire to their com- 
bustibles, and then tried to escape by their 
rowboats, but six of them perished. The British 
lost several lives. The Charlotta was totally 
consumed, and the Phoenix- was badly damaged, 
before the latter, with the Rose, Tryal and Shuld- 
ham escaped. Lossing says that the vessels took 
refuge in the little Neperhan haven. General 
Heath, General Clinton, and others witnessed 
the engagement. Ruttenber says that they stood 
on high ground at Yonkers. 

The point at which this engagement took place 
is clearly indicated on a map entitled "A sketch 
of the Operations of His Majesty's Fleet and 
Army under the Command of the Rt. Hble. 
Lord Viscount Howe and Genl. Sr. Wm. Howe, 
K. B., in 1776," by J. F. W. Des Barres, pub- 
lished according to act of Parliament January 17, 
1777, upon which the place " where the enemy's 
ships engaged the Phoenix and Rose on the 16 
Augst " is shown to be directly opposite the mouth 
of the Neperhan. 

One can readily imagine the excitement of 

The Heart of the Neutral Ground 163 

Colonel Philipse and family on the night of the 
1 6th, as, awakened by the firing of cannon, they 
beheld the conflagration on the river and watched 
the desperate efforts of the British to disentangle 
themselves and escape. On the i8th, the British 
vessels discreetly dropped down the river and 
rejoined the fleet in New York harbor. 

Early on the morning of October 9, 1776, 
occurred another event, similar in kind but of a 
different complexion. The Phoenix, Roebuck, 
Tartar, Tryal and two tenders from the British 
fleet again stood up the river, while before them 
fled some American galleys, small craft, and two 
large ships. The latter (which had been designed 
to be sunk among the obstructions between Fort 
Washington and Fort Lee to prevent the ascent 
of the British vessels) were beached by the 
Americans just below the Manor House and two 
of the galleys near Dobbs Ferry. General Heath, 
who was stationed at Kings Bridge, instantly 
dispatched Colonel Sargent and 500 infantry, 40 
light horse, Capt. Jotham Horton of Knox's 
artillery with two 12-pounders and Capt. Edward 
Crafts with a howitzer to Philipse's and Dobbs 
Ferry and soon the tramp of their feet and the 
nmible of their wheels were heard on the Neper- 
han bridge. Part of the force kept on to Dobbs 
Ferry and part stopped at the Manor House to 
succor the American ships. One of the latter 
was successfully floated by the Americans, and 

1 64 Philipse Manor Hall 

the next day most of the detachment returned 
to Kings Bridge. 

About 8 o'clock at night on October 20, 1776, 
the Philipse family, if they had looked out of the 
eastern windows, might have seen riding south- 
ward past the Manor Hall a solitary horseman 
whose outward appearance little indicated the 
rank which he held in the American army. This 
was Col. Rufus Putnam, Chief Engineer of the 
Continental Army, travelling in disgtiise over a 
road to which he was an entire stranger, after 
having secretly reconnoitred the British army which 
lay on the road from Pells Point to White Plains. 
Putnam, to gain information for Washington, 
whose headquarters were in the Morris Mansion 
in New York, had disguised himself by taking out 
his cockade, lopping his hat, and secreting his 
sword and pistols under his loose coat, and had 
travelled incognito into the dangerous zone. 
" Had I been taken under this disguise," he says 
in his Memoirs, " the probability is that I 
should have been hanged for a spy." His route 
back to New York was " by the way of Philip's 
at the mouth of Sawmill river, a road I had never 
traveled, among Tory inhabitants, and in the 
night." Under the circumstances, he did not 
knock at the Manor House door for information, 
as many another traveller in less troublous times 
had done. " I did not inquire the way," he 
says, " but Providence conducted me." 

The Heart of the Neutral Ground 165 

On October 26, 1776, a party of American light 
horse and infantry took possession of Philipse 
Manor and stayed there all night but retired the 
next morning, on the eve of the battle of White 

After the battle of White Plains, while Washing- 
ton threw his army over into New Jersey, Howe 
extended his to Dobbs Ferry. The Manor Hall 
was now within the British lines. 

On November 1 1 , General Orders were issued for 
the British army to march southward the next day, 
the baggage of the Seventy-first Regiment being 
ordered to stop at Colonel Philipse's, where that 
famous regiment was instructed to halt until 
further orders. On November 12, says Lieut.- 
Col. Stephen Kemble, in his diary, " The Army 
Marched as ordered Yesterday. Occupied 
Grounds from Colonel Phillips's to East Chester." 
On the following day the bulk of the army 
marched to Kings Bridge preparatory to the 
attack on Fort Washington on November 16. 

The British commander followed up his success 
at Fort Washington by a prompt movement 
upon its supporting post, Fort Lee (formerly 
called Fort Constitution) directly across the 
river, and used the little Neperhan harbor at the 
Manor House as the point of embarkation. The 
British map of operations in 1776, before referred 
to, shows the place " where the King's troops 
embarked on the (19) November for the attack 

1 66 Philipse Manor Hall 

of Fort Constitution " to have been at the mouth 
of the Neperhan. At 9 o'clock on the night of 
the 19th, says Kemble's diary, " the Reserves, 
two Battalions Light Infantry, Chasseurs and 
three BattaUons Hessians, Embarked under the 
Command of Lord ComwaUis and Crossed the 
North River the next morning early (the 20th) 
and landed without any opposition nearly opposite 
Colonel Philips's," at the foot of the crooked 
Httle defile at Closter. This force, amounting 
to about s,ooo men, captured Fort Lee on the 
20th. There appears to have been a fort of some 
kind on the Manor House side of the Neperhan 
at its mouth to protect the embarkation of these 
troops and other movements at this point. A 
rare British map, surveyed by Sauthier and 
engraved by Faden according to an act of Parlia- 
ment of October 1, 1776, entitled "A topographi- 
cal map of Hudson's River, with the channels, 
depth of water, rocks, shoals, etc." shows a square 
enclosure at this point and the word " Fort". 
It was probably an earthen redoubt. 

Two months later, on January 17, 1777, the 
Manor Hall came back within the American 
lines, when Lincoln's Division marched down 
past the house to join in the brisk fighting from 
the 1 8th to the 29th near Kings Bridge. On the 
latter date, Lincoln's Division tramped back up 
the river road over Philipse's bridge and withdrew 
to Dobbs Ferry above. 

The Heart of the Neutral Ground 167 

The Manor Hall is particularly a monument to 
the forbearance and humanity of the American 
Generals, in the face of great provocation, as is 
illustrated by the following incident. On Novem- 
ber 18, 1777, General Tryon sent out a small 
force of Hessians to bum some houses in Philipse 
Manor and the work was done with savage 
barbarity. Women and children, stripped of 
their clothing, were turned out of their homes on 
a severely cold night, and men, in no other 
clothes than shirts and breeches, were led with 
halters arotmd their necks to the enemy's lines 
as prisoners. Gen. Samuel H. Parsons, who com- 
manded the American troops at White Plains, 
Wrote a scathing letter to General Tryon under 
date of November 21, 1777, in which he said: 

" You cannot be insensible 'tis every day in 
my power to destroy the buildings belonging to 
Col. Phillips and Mr. Delancey — each as near 
your lines as these biuned by your troops were to 
the guards of the army of the United States, nor 
can your utmost vigilance prevent the destruction 
of every building on this side of King's Bridge. 
'Tis not fear, sir; 'tis not want of opportunity has 
preserved those buildings to this time, but a sense 
of the injustice and savageness of such a line of 
conduct has hitherto saved them, and nothing 
but necessity wUl induce me to copy the example 
of the kind so frequently set us by yoiu* troops." 

An incident in September, 1778, illustrates how 
nearly the Manor House was the center of the 

1 68 Philips e Manor Hall 

neutral ground. Miss Sarah Williams, a sister 
of Mrs. Frederick Philipse, was living with the 
widow of the Rev. Luke Babcock in the par- 
sonage near the foot of Boar Hill — about three- 
quarters of a mile northeast of the Manor House. 
Nearby was camped a corps of Americans under 
Colonel Gist. The latter was enamored of the 
Widow Babcock and it is said that the attach- 
ment was reciprocated. While thus situated, 
the British planned to surprise and capture 
Gist and his force. A detachment of 200 Yagers 
under Major Pruschank was sent to the bridge 
at the Manor HaU with instructions to force it, 
and then proceed to Gist's rear and cut off his 
retreat, while Simcoe's Rangers and Emmerick's 
Infantry proceeded by more easterly routes to 
the main attack. Pruschank evidently found 
Philipse's bridge too strongly defended, for 
instead of forcing a passage as instructed, he 
turned o£E to the east and joined the other troops. 
Gist's rear being thus left open, the Americans, 
aided by signals waved by Mrs. Babcock from 
an upper window, escaped, 

Lieutenant-Colonel Kemble infomas us under 
date of September 30, 1778, that " General Knyp- 
hausen, with the greatest part of the Troops from 
King's Bridge, at this time advanced to the Heights 
above PhiUips's House on the North River." 

The most important event relating to the 
Manor House the next year, 1779, was Sir Henry 

The Heart of the Neutral Ground 169 

Clinton's expedition during which he made his 
headquarters in the house. On Friday, May 28, 
1779, the British " march'd from the lines of 
King's bridge in four column's . . . and 
form'd a Camp about five Miles beyond it in a 
very strong ground, the right extending to East 
Chester Creek and the left to PhilUps's House 
on the North River." This was the first move- 
ment in the campaign against Verplanck's and 
Stony Points. 

On Saturday evening, more British troops 
arrived at New York from Virginia. Whereupon 
Sir Henry CHnton ordered the transports with 
those troops to move up the river that night 
and anchor opposite the Manor HaU, where 
they were to be joined by another corps which 
was to embark there the next morning from the 
camp. The same day. Sir Henry left New York 
in one of his own vessels and proceeded to 
Philipse's, where he took up his headquarters in 
the Manor House. As Maj. John Andre was his 
aide on this expedition, it may be assumed that 
he was with the Commander-in-Chief in this 
house. Here he perfected the plan for the 
capture of Verplanck's and Stony Points which 
were successfully carried out on May 31 and 
Jtme I. 

After this temporary success, Sir Henry Clinton 
returned to the Manor House on Sunday, June 6. 
Lieut.-Col. Stephen Kemble remained with the 

170 Philipse Manor Hall 

troops fortifjdng Stony and Verplanck's Points, 
but embarked on Sunday, June 27, and on 
" Monday, June 28th, Got to Philips's and 

On the night of July 15-16, the British were 
surprised by the coup de main by which Wayne 
recaptured Stony and Verplanck's Points. In 
this crisis, CUnton moved his army out of camp 
at Yonkers up to Dobbs Ferry, anticipating an 
American attack; but when the Americans, 
taking with them the cannon and stores foimd 
at Stony Point, relinquished that post, the 
British army fell back to its camp around the 
Manor House. 

In 1779, while these currents of military affairs 
were swirling around the Manor House — 
deserted by its former owners — members of 
the family were taking as much pleasure as they 
could in the social whirl in New York City. A 
LoyaHst manuscript of the period gives an inside 
view of their gayety. There was no end of 
" Lords, and Sir Georges and Dear Colonels " 
in the garrison. Fine dressing, dinner parties, 
sleigh riding and amatexur theatricals engaged 
both the belles and the beaux of the city, while 
dicing and drinking added to the amusement of 
the latter. Every handsome girl had half a 
dozen titled or gaily uniformed admirers. " You 
cannot imagine," says a contemporary, " what 
a superfluity of danglers there is here, so that a 

The Heart of the Neutral Ground 171 

lady has only to look over a Ust of a dozen or two 
when she is going to walk, or to dance, or to 
sleigh." This same authority then goes on to 
describe some of the belles of the fashionable 

coterie. A " Miss T " was the greatest 

beauty; another was " the sentimental Miss 

L ; " and after a bit of gossip about a 

plain little mortal who eloped with a Captain, 
our informant says that the coterie has lately 
" admitted into that mysterious order a Miss 

P . Yet she would not be affronted with 

the ' a : ' it was Miss P , celebrated for 

her beauty, wit and accompUshments; indeed, 
so immensely sensible that he was thought a 
bold officer who ventured on her. It was the 
Hon. Capt. Smith, eldest son of Lord Strang- 
ford of Ireland. All the observations made 
upon her siace are that her eyes are brighter 
than ever." 

The charming " Miss P " was the 

daughter of the Third Lord of the Manor, Miss 
Maria EUza Philipse, who married Lionel Smythe, 
Seventh Viscount Strangford, September 4, 1779. 
There can be no doubt, from the foregoing 
characterization of this Miss Philipse, as well 
as from the encomiums upon the beauty and wit 
of other ladies of this celebrated family in their 
respective generations, that they were exception- 
ally charming and were of the aristocracy in the 
best sense of the word. 

172 Philipse Manor Hall 

While life passed thus gaily in the city, events 
less pleasing continued to occur in the vicinity 
of the Manor House. The principal event of 
the next year, 1780, in that locality, was the 
landing and encamping of some 16,000 British 
troops at Philipse's upon Clinton's return from 
Charleston, S. C. The diary of Lieut. John 
Charles Philip Von KrafEt of the Hessian troops 
stationed on Manhattan Island, under date of 
June 23, 1780, says that on that day he " saw 
all the Grenadier and English regiments passing 
from Staten Island in large ships and sailing up 
the North River where they landed at Philips' 
house and were obHged to pitch a hut camp." 
Even Judge Thomas Jones, the Tory historian, 
in nis " History of New York in the Revolution," 
is. compelled to indignation by the disgraceful 
conduct of Clinton's troops. He says that 
parties " were daily sent out who robbed the 
poor inhabitants of their cattle, their horses, 
their hogs, their sheep, their poultry, their 
garden stuff, their Indian com, their hay, their 
household furniture, in short, of eversrthing they 
could lay their hands upon; burnt houses, barns 
and stables; insulted women and imprisoned 
their husbands. Thus suffered innocent farmers 
who had nothing to do with the controversy. 
A noble emplojnnent this for a British Army of 
16,000 men under the command of a British 
General sent to America to crush a rebellion! " 

The Heart of the Neutral Ground 173 

In 1 78 1, the Manor House again marked more 
clearly the center of the neutral or debatable 
ground than any other landmark that can be 
cited. About it the contending forces circled, 
sweeping up to it from both sides, sometimes 
passing it, but never leaving it within the per- 
manent lines of either camp. The southern- 
most fortification of the Americans at this time 
was at Dobbs Ferry. 

Before daybreak on July 3,1781, General Lincoln 
and 800 Americans, who had come from Peekskill 
by way of Croton Point and the Hudson river, 
landed near the Manor House and proceeded 
southward with a view of surprising the works 
at the northern end of Manhattan Island; but 
were discovered and the enterprise was not 

On Jvily 6, the French army joined the Ameri- 
cans in the northern part of the Manor. During 
the next six weeks, the Americans conducted 
foraging expeditions southward toward Philipse's 
like that of Scammel's on July 29, while the 
British from the south conducted similar expedi- 
tions northward toward the same point, like that 
of De Lancey's Corps on August 5. On one 
occasion — July 2 1 to 23 — the Americans made 
a reconnaissance with a force of 5,000 men as far 
as Kings Bridge. The right column under 
General Parsons marched down by the Manor 

174 Philipse Manor Hall 

House on the night of the 21st and returned by 
the same route on the 23d. 

The precipitous nature of the Palisades opposite 
Manor Hall prevented greater activity at Yonkers 
during the Revolution. The only means of 
ascending the western shore between Fort Lee 
and Piermont was the narrow and difficult defile 
at Closter. Except for the ascent of the British 
troops at the time of the capture of Fort Lee in 
1776 and the descent of Lincoln's troops in 1781 
on return from the Fort Lee reconnaissance, the 
Closter trail was generally avoided for more 
convenient landing places. Hence, when the 
American and French armies broke camp in the 
northern part of the Manor on August 17, 1781, 
preparatory to marching to Yorktown, Va., they 
proceeded to Dobbs Ferry and to Kings Ferry 
(Verplanck's to Stony Point) to make their 

With the virtual termination of the war at 
Yorktown, the Manor Hall did not drop out of 
the official literature of the Revolution. In 
1782, while the armies were resting on their arms 
awaiting the conclusion of the peace negotiations, 
an incident occurred which brought the Hall 
conspicuously into the correspondence of the 
opposing commanders-in-chief. On April 12, 
1782, a detachment of British at New York hung 
in cold blood an American prisoner of war named 
Captain Huddy. Washington, upon learning of 

The Heart of the Neutral Ground 175, 

the act, held a council and decided to have 
recoiirse to the lex talionis unless the British 
commander-in-chief punished the perpetrators. 
Lots were drawn to determine upon which of 
several prisoners of equal rank the retaliation 
should be inflicted, and the name of . Captain 
Asgill, a British officer of noble family, was 
drawn. Captain Lippincott, the leader of the 
lynching party, was court-martialed by order of 
Sir Guy Carleton. In July, Sir Guy requested 
from Washington a passport with which to send 
Chief Justice Smith to the American Head- 
quarters with the proceedings of the court- 
martial. This Washington peremptorily refused, 
but said that he would send Major-General 
Heath to Philipse's Manor House at Yonkers to- 
meet such officer of equal rank as Sir Guy might 
send. The Manor House (called " Phillips s 
House ") is mentioned at this time in five official 
docimients from Washington to General Heath — 
one dated July 30, one July 31, and three dated 
August 3. Heath was ordered to repair to the 
Manor House on August 5 to meet the representa- 
tive of the enemy, but he was to take care that the 
proceedings of the conference were committed 
to writing to avoid all misconceptions; and he 
was to countenance no procrastinating or evasive 
tactics. The British representative was to be 
given distinctly to understand that either the 
murderer of Captain Huddy was to be given up,. 

176 Philipse Manor Hall 

or a British officer should suffer in his place. 
But the conference, involving the threatened fate 
of the innocent Captain Asgill, never took place. 
On August 3 Sir Guy Carlton wrote Washington 
that he would not trouble him to send an officer 
of such high rank merely to be the bearet of a 
bundle of papers, but that they would be sent 
in the ordinary course of conveyance. The 
papers showed that Lippincott was acquitted; 
and while Washington was preparing to have 
Asgill executed, the latter's mother. Lady Asgill, 
appealed to the French government to intercede 
in behalf of her son. As a consequence of diplo- 
matic representations from America's helpful ally. 
Congress, on November 5, directed Washington 
to set Asgill at liberty. 

This is but one of innumerable instances which 
show that while events may not have occurred 
in the Manor House, it was a conspicuous land- 
mark in the literature of the Revolution and its 
preservation is a valuable help to an under- 
standing of the history of that period. 

On Thursday, November 20, 1783, a person 
looking out of an east window of the Manor Hall 
might have seen a little cavalcade of horsemen, 
uniformed in blue and buff, riding down the old 
Post Road past the entrance to the Manor House 
groimds, and, clattering over the bridge across 
the Neperhan, disappear among the hills and 
woods to the south. The treaty of peace had been 

The Heart of the Neutral Ground 177 

signed; the British had begun to withdraw their 
forces, and the Httle cavalcade was composed 
of Washington,* Governor Clinton and others, 
en route to New York to take possession of the 
city on Evacuation Day. 

* On the preceding night Washington had stayed at 
Edw. Cowenhoven's at Tanytown. On the night of the 
20th he slept at the Van Cortlandt Mansion near Kings 




T^HE dissolution of Philipse Manor, foreshad- 
* owed in the chapter on the attainder of 
Frederick Philipse, although justified by the laws 
of war, nevertheless cannot be contemplated 
without a stirring of those kindlier human senti- 
ments which generous minds entertain toward 
those who conscientiously differ from them in 
matters of principle. 

The expatriation of a family which had promi- 
nently and honorably been identified with the 
poUtical, religious, social and commercial life of the 
Colonies for a century and a quarter and four gene- 
rations of which had been native bom Americans; 
the losses and sufferings of those who chose to sacri- 
fice their property rather than sacrifice their 
honest convictions; and the dispersion of the once 
great property of Philipse Manor until the very 
slaves which the one time proprietors left behind 
became dependents on public charity and were 
buried in the Potter's field, present a tragedy 
well calculated to arouse, even in Americans, 
mingled feelings of regret, respect and 


The Dissolution of the Manor 1 79 

The breaking up of the Manor property was a 
gradual process, beginning almost immediately 
upon Philipse's violation of his parole in 1777 
and ending after the close of the war. The 
appropriation of certain portions of Philipse's 
property — live stock, hay, wood, etc. — which 
began about two years before the act of attainder 
was actually parsed, was made imder resolves 
of the State Convention passed on March 7 and 
March 8, 1777. On the former date, the Con- 
vention empowered the Commissioners appointed 
to inquire into, detect and defeat all plots against 
the rights and liberties of America to send for 
aU citizens of the State confined by parole or 
otherwise except those charged with actually 
taking up arms against the United States or 
aiding the enemy, and offer them an opportunity 
to declare their allegiance to the State. Such as 
took the oath of allegiance were to be discharged. 
Such as refused to take the oath were to be directed 
to repair with their families, household goods 
and apparel, to New York City or some other 
place in the possession of the British. Such as 
refused to appear before the Commissioners were 
to be considered as having gone over to the 
enemy. With respect to the latter class, it was 
voted that " the personal property of such per- 
sons shall be seized and sold at public vendue 
and the money arising therefrom shall be paid 
into the treasury of this State and be subject 

i8o Philipse Manor Hall 

to the disposition of the futtire Legislature 
thereof; unless, upon the appearance of such 
delinquents before the said Commissioners pre- 
vious to such sale of their personal property, a 
sufficient reason be assigned for their non- 
attendance." On March 8, 1777, it was resolved 
that the Commissioners take possession of all 
the personal property of the persons named and 
sell the same at public vendue, and to file with 
the Treasurer of the State accounts of the sale, 
" leaving nevertheless to each of the families of 
the persons aforesaid their apparel, necessary 
household fttmiture and as much provisions as 
will be sufficient for their subsistence for three 

The act of attainder and confiscation, as stated 
on page 156, was passed October 22, 1779. 

Under these and other acts of the Convention 
or Legislature, the sale of the personal and real 
property of the so-called Loyalists was conducted 
by commissioners called Commissioners of Seques- 
tration and Commissioners of Forfeiture. The 
former disposed of the personal property and the 
latter at first had to do with the real estate only. 
Later, the duties of the Commissioners of Seques- 
tration were merged with those of the Com- 
missioners of Forfeiture. 

The sale of the confiscated real estate did not 
take place until the close of the war. The dis- 
posal of the personal property began in 1777 but 

The Dissolution of the Manor i8i 

nattarally was limited at first to the area within 
American control. The manuscript records in 
the State Comptroller's office at Albany and the 
Department of Manuscripts in the State Library, 
although incomplete,* give many glimpses into 
the proceedings attending the dispersion of the 
Philipse property. 

The records are interesting also as giving the 
current prices of various articles at that time. 
An abstract of vouchers and evidence of the value 
of firewood, timber, etc., taken by the army of 
the United States during the war from seques- 
trated estates, for the use of the army, as valued 
by appraisers chosen by Charles Tillinghast on 
the part of the United States and George Trimble 
on the part of the State shows property to the 
value of £s,66o, 15s., 6d. taken from Colonel 
PhiUpse's estate. Rails were reckoned at 30 
shillings a hundred, wood at 8 shillings a cord, hay 
at 3 pounds a ton and com at 3 shillings a 
bushel. On April 15, 1777, the Commissioners 
sold 12 sheep taken from Colonel Philipse at 31 
shillings apiece. On April 24, they sold a mare 

* There is to be found no record of the sale of the house- 
hold effects of the Manor HaU. As the HaU was within 
the British lines during the greater part of the war, there 
was ample opportunity for removing the furniture and 
other personal property to New York City, so that, unless 
some of the family plate and other valuables of small 
compass were concealed in secret closets, as is alleged in 
a current tradition, it is probable that the family left 
nothing of value to be sold. 

i82 Philipse Manor Hall 

taken from him for 3 shillings — either a pretty 
poor beast or a very low price, but there is no 
mistake about the price in the record. On May 
2, they sold a white mare for £10, 3s., on May 5 
another mare for £21, los., on June 4 a pony 
mare for £4, and on June 10 a horse for 
£8. In April they sold a chain weighing 
103 lb. for £10, 6s. And so the fragmentary 
documents run. 

Having asstmied the proprietorship of Phil- 
ipse's property, the State likewise assumed 
ownership of all accounts due to Philipse prior 
to July 9, 1776, and liability for all accounts 
payable by him accrued prior to that date. 
Among the various accounts so assumed and paid 
by the State, of which the documents in the 
Comptroller's office bear record, is one due from 
Philipse to " Samuel Fraunces of the City of 
New York, Innkeeper," for the sum of £27, 6s., 6d., 
rendered by Fraunces in 1784 and paid by the 
State. . Fraunces was the famous publican who 
kept Fraunces' Tavern in New York, who catered 
to Washington, and whose daughter, while 
Washington's housekeeper in 1776, frustrated a 
plot to poison him. Fratmces' autograph may 
be seen attached to the receipt for Philipse's 
account at page 133 of volume XLVI of " Manu- 
scripts of the. Colony and State of New York in 
the Revolutionary War " in the State Comp- 
troller's office at Albany. 

The Dissolution of the Manor 183 

The sale of the real estate of the Manor took 
place in 1785. On September 9, that year, 320 
acres — or, as some of the manuscripts at Albany- 
say, 386 acres, — including the Manor Hall, were 
sold to " Cornelius P. Low of the City of New 
York, Gentleman," for £14,520. An idea of the 
increase of values since that date is gained from 
the fact that while 320 acres in 1785 brought 
only £14,520, the single scant acre on which the 
Manor Hall stands is now estimated to be worth 

The total of the sales credited to the Philipse 
estate in the manuscript records at Albany is 
235,413 pounds, 14 shillings, 3 pence. The vari- 
ations in the rate of exchange and in the relative 
value of sterling and Continental money were so 
great that it is almost impossible to express the 
equivalent of this stun in American currency 
to-day. An idea of the value of Philipse's indi- 
vidual loss may be gathered from the fact that 
before he died he applied to the British govern- 
ment for compensation and was allowed 62,075 
pounds sterUng, or about $300,000. Philipse's 
estate, by reason of gifts and sales from time to 
time during his tenure, did not, at the time of 
the Revolution, comprise the whole of the original 
Manor. The value of the latter was estimated 
by an EngUsh work in 1809 to have been between 
600,000 and 700,000 pounds, or from $3,000,000 
to $3,500,000. 

184 Philipse Manor Hall 

The fate of Mary Philipse (Mrs. Roger Morris) 
was so closely connected with that of her brother 
that the records about the Morris property in 
New York City are also of interest. The fur- 
niture and plate of the Morrises were sold at 
auction in New York in 1783. The Morris 
Mansion and lands on Harlem Heights, New 
York City, were appraised June 7, 1784, by the 
American authorities, at £2,250. The fate of 
the property is indicated in the following entry 
under date of July 9, 1784, on page 6 of the 
voltune entitled " Forfeited Estates " in the Hall 
of Records, New York City: 

" Sold to John Berrian and Isaac Ledyard for 
the sum of two thousand two hundred and fifty 
pounds all that certain messuage or dwelling 
house bams stables out houses and farm situate 
in the Out Ward of the City of New York on the 
heights commonly called Haerlem Heights con- 
taining IIS acres, forfeited to the People of this 
State by the conviction of Roger Morris Esquire." 

A formal conveyance of this property from 
the Commissioners of Forfeiture, Isaac Stouten- 
burgh and Philip Van Cortlandt, to John Berrian 
and Isaac Ledyard was recorded August 13, 
1792, on page 452 of Liber 47 of Conveyances in 
the Hall of Records. The description of the 
property in this conveyance is in the same general 
terms as those given in the above record of sale» 
dated July 9, 1784. 

The Dissolution of the Manor 185 

Meanwhile, on April 12, 1783, Colonel Morris 
addressed a memorial* to the British Government 
praying for compensation. The Government val- 
ued the fee simple of their estate at £20,000 and 
their life interest at £12,505. For the latter 
they received compensation. In 1787 the 
Attorney-General of England decided that the 
reversionary interest of the children in the prop- 
erty on the death of the parents was not included 
in the attainder and was recoverable. In 1809 
Capt. Henry Gage Morris, R. N., and two sisters 
sold this reversionary interest to John Jacob 
Astor of New York for £20,000. The deed to 
Mr. Astor was signed in London in the presence 
of the Lord Mayor. Soon thereafter the pur- 
chaser notified the various tenants of the land, 
but took no legal steps until after Mrs. Morris' 
death in 1825. Meanwhile, several tenants, hav- 
ing purchased their farms from the State of New 
York after the confiscation, refused to pay rents 
to Astor, and he instituted suits of ejectment. 
This led to complications which were finally 
adjusted in 1828 by a compromise between 
Astor and the State, by which the State paid 
him $500,000 for the reversionary rights which 
he had acquired from the Morris heirs. 

* This memorial is to be seen in the Public Records 
Office in Chancery Lane, London, in " Duplicate Despatch 
No. 67, Miscellaneous New York Papers, 1783; No. 590, 
Colonial Office Records, America and West Indies." 

1 86 Philips e Manor Hall 

An old map of the Philipse patent, on which 
the respective shares of Susannah, Mary and 
Philip Philipse are indicated, shows Mary's 
portion in that estate to have been 51,000 acres. 

The legal difficulty of eradicating the rights of 
the Philipse family to real estate acquired over 
two centuries ago appeared in a bill which was 
passed by the New York Legislature in 191 1, 
" To extinguish the claim of the heirs of Philip 
Philipse by the acquisition of their mineral and 
mining rights in certaia lands in the counties of 
Putnam and Dutchess heretofore conveyed by 
the Commissioners of Forfeiture of the State of 
New York." It provided that " if Mary Philipse 
Satterlee, Margaret Gouvemeur Philipse and 
Catharine Wadsworth Philipse, as sole remaining 
heirs of Philip Philipse, and claimants to an 
undivided one-third interest in the mines and 
minerals in 100,000 acres, more or less, of certain 
lands in the coimties of Putnam and Dutchess 
heretofore sold by the people of this State as 
forfeited by the attainder of Roger Morris, and 
Mary, his wife, and Beverly Robinson, and 
Susannah, his wife " would reHnqviish all their 
rights therein, they should be paid $225,000. 
The bill, however, was vetoed by Governor Dix.* 

* The existence of these old mineral rights of Philipse 
Manor frequently prevents the giving of a clear title to 
real estate and is said by the representative of a prominent 
title insvirance company of New York seriously to retard 
real estate development in certain parts of the old Manor. 

The Dissolution of the Manor 187 

One of the most striking facts recalled by an 
examination of the old documents relating to the 
dissolution of Philipse Manor — a fact almost 
forgotten in these modem days — is the former 
existence of human slavery in the Colony of 
New York. The records of the sales of Philipse's 
property inform us not only of the value of hay, 
cordwood, sheep and horses, but also of the 
value of a human being with a black sldn at that 
time. On July 3, 1777, a negro boy named 
George was sold for £100, and on May 21, 1778, 
a negro man named Pompey was sold for £150. 
These able-bodied servants were taken within 
the American lines during those years. Con- 
cerning the fate of Philipse's other able-bodied 
slaves we are left to conjecture. Allusions in 
official correspondence in 1783 indicate that the 
British, upon evacuating New York, took many 
negro slaves with them; and it is probable that 
the Philipses took with them such of their own 
slaves as were serviceable. The aged and infirm 
appear to have been left behind. Some became 
charges upon the public care of the town of 
Yonkers and at least one upon the care of another 
town, Flatbush. For thirty-three years after the 
close of the war, and perhaps longer, these 
unfortunate people remained pitiful reminders of 
the departed glory of their former masters. 
" For the maintenance of Tom and Mary, two 
old helpless negroes, late the property of Fred- 

1 88 Philipse Manor Hall 

erick Philipse, Esq." so reads an old yellow docu- 
ment, "from the 13th Octr. 1786, to the 17th 
Jany, 1790, 169 weeks and 5 days," David Hunt 
was paid at the rate of 12 shillings a week for 
each, and for keeping another " old negro belong- 
ing to the said estate " for 232 weeks he was 
paid at the rate of 6 shillings a week. In 1795 
the rate for Tom and Mary dropped to eight 
shillings a week. Betty and Csesar were two 
other negroes, " late the slaves of Frederick 
Philipse whose estate was confiscated " who were 
maintained by the overseers of the poor of the 
town of Yonkers. The latter rendered biUs 
annually to the State of New York, and the 
State paid them. From April 24, 1809, to 
April 24, 1810, Caesar cost $2 a week for main- 
tenance, or $104 for the year, plus $22.50 for 
clothing. In 18 14 he cost $120 and Betty $90 
for maintenance. Betty was still living in 1816 
when she was being maintained at the rate of 
$1.75 a week. 

Another of Philipse's slaves named Wall 
became dependent on the town of Flatbush; and 
in the last bill rendered by that town to the 
State on his account, from January 19 to Feb- 
ruary 12, 1 813, we get an idea of how these poor 
creatures came to their end. 

The Dissolution of the Manor 189 

To paid Abraham Van der Veer for blankets 
and sundry articles furnished for the use of 
Wall $6.28 

Stephen B. Schoonmaker for boarding and 
lodging ditto 

John Scott for a shirt for ditto 

Mary Cornell for washing Wall's clothes 

Dr. Nicholas Schoonmaker, medicine and 
attendance for do. 

William Algeo for making coffin for do. 

Francis Rayner for burying Wall 

$22.90 1/2 

With this sombre scene, we let down the cur- 
tain on the tragedy of Philipse Manor. 

Although the War for Independence nominally 
ended the ancient Manor system in America, yet 
so deeply was it ingrained in the customs and 
land tenures of the State that traces of it persisted 
in the Hudson river Manors farther north* for 















* It is interesting to recall how difficult it was to eradi- 
cate the manorial system in New York State. After the 
new order had been established, the proprietors of the 
Manor grants contrived a form of deed by which the 
tenants agreed to pay rents and dues almost the same as 
before. These tenures were odious to the tillers of the 
soil, but they were borne without violent resistance until 
about 1839. Then the opposition manifested itself in 
what is known in our State history as the Anti-Rent War. 
The tenants of the Patroon Van Rensselaer, who had 
lately died, organized associations of farmers for the pur- 
pose of devising means of relief. This was followed by 
open resistance to the service of legal process for the 
collection of manorial rents. In Grafton, Rensselaer 
cotmty, a man was killed by a band of anti-renters, but 
the criminal was never discovered. The insubordination 
to law became tantamount to civil war, and the agrarian 
disturbance became so serious that Governor Seward had 
to order out the militia. In 1841 and 1842 Governor 
Seward recommended arbitration and appointed three 

igo Philipse Manor Hall 

more than sixty years after the war. Philipse 
Manor, however, having been confiscated, im- 
mediately became free soil, so that the Manor 
House stands as a monument, not only to the 
Manor system when it flourished, but also to the 
earliest and most complete emancipation from its 
tenures when it was outgrown. 

commissioners to investigate and report, but nothing was 
accomplished. In 1845 Governor Silas Wright declared 
Delaware county in a state of insurrection and recom- 
mended legislation for its suppression. At length the 
conviction of a few persons for resistance to the laws and 
their confinement in prison put an end to the operations 
of masked bands of outlaws. In their grievances, the 
anti-renters had a great deal of popular sympathy, which 
finally found expression in a clause which was inserted in 
the revised Constitution of 1846 abolishing all feudal 
tenures and incidents, and forbidding the leasing of agri- 
cultural lands for more than twelve years. 



T TPON acqiiiring the Manor Hall property from 
^ the Commissioners of Forfeiture September 
9, 1785, Cornelius P. Low paid one-third of the 
purchase price and gave his obligations for the 
balance. Having difficulty in finding ready 
money to pay the remaining two-thirds, he sent 
a petition to the Legislature dated February 22, 
1786. asking an extension of time and stating, 
among other things, that " your petitioner has 
already spent a very large sum of money in 
repairs and improvements and hath contracted 
for further reparations by which the value of the 
premises will be greatly enhanced." Mr. Low 
never occupied the property, but sold it on 
May 12, 1786, to William Constable, another 
New York City merchant. On April 29, 1796, 
the latter sold it to " Jacob Stout, Gentleman " 
of New York for £13,500, and on April i, 1802, 
Mr. Stout and his wife conveyed it to Joseph 
Howland of Norwich, Conn., for $60,000. Mr. 
Howland, after giving several mortgages on the 
property, made an assignment as an insolvent 
debtor on January 8,1812. By a bill in chancery 
filed December 31, 1812, a mortgage given by 
Howland to Stout was foreclosed and the prem- 

192 Philips e Manor Hall 

ises were sold by the master April 20, 18 13, to 
Lemuel Wells of New York. Mr. "Wells died 
February 11, 1842, intestate, and a partition sale 
took place May 21, 1844, when Lemuel W. 
Wells, a nephew of Uhe last owner, bought in the 
property. On December i, 1849, Mr. Wells sold 
6.62 acres to William W. Woodworth. On Oc- 
tober 18, 1862, it was sold under foreclosure of 
mortgage to James C. Bell, who, on May 2, 1868, 
sold to the village of Yonkers the reduced tract 
on which the Manor Hall now stands. The 
building served as the Village Hall until 1872, 
when it became the City Hall, in which capacity 
it was used until it was surrendered to the cus- 
tody of the American Scenic and Historic Preser- 
vation Society on July 3, 191 1, pursuant to 
resolution given on page 207 following. 

The movement for the preservation of this 
interesting landmark may be said to have begun 
in 1868 when the then village of Yonkers pur- 
chased it for the sum of $44,000 for a village hall. 
Since then, with the growth and incorporation 
of the City of Yonkers, real estate values have 
increased so greatly that the property is now 
estimated to be worth at least $100,000. 

The acquisition of the Manor Hall by the 
municipality in 1868 distinctly contemplated the 
historical value of the structure and the desira- 
bility of some form of public control which should 
remove it from the vicissitudes of private owner- 

The Preservation of the Manor Hall 193 

ship. In 1877, tlie Board of Aldermen, on 
motion of Frederick Shonnard, adopted a resolu- 
tion providing for the appointment of a per- 
manent Committee on Historical Relics who 
should have certain responsibilities with regard 
to the Manor Hall and grounds. This com- 
mittee did a great deal to stimtdate interest in 
the Hall and the history of the city which had 
grown up aroimd it. On October 18, 1882, the 
bicentennial of Yonkers was commemorated with 
the greatest popular demonstration that Yonkers 
had ever seen, up to that time, and still further 
impressed upon the public mind the dignity of 
the old landmark. 

For several years thereafter the people of 
Yonkers enjoyed a sense of security in the pos- 
session of their cherished relic; but, in 1895, the 
proposition to erect a new municipal building in 
the space between the Manor Hall and War- 
burton Hall on the north, and extending from 
Music HaU to the south line of Manor Hall on 
the west, indicated the danger to which the HaU 
was exposed even with mtmidpal ownership under 
certain conditions and evoked the most vigorous 
protest from various civic organizations and 
leading citizens. Among the former were the 
Yonkers Historical and Library Association, 
Kekeskick Chapter of the Daughters of the 
American Revolution, Yonkers Chapter of the 
Sons of the American Revolution, the Empire 

194 Philip se Manor Hall 

State Society of the Sons of the American Revo- 
lution and the American Scenic and Historic 
Preservation Society. The last named society 
had been founded that year, and one of its first 
acts was the adoption on November 26, 1895, of 
a respectftd entreaty to the Yonkers Common 
Council not to disturb the architectural condition 
or relations of the building or reduce the dimen- 
sions of the site upon which it stood. This 
memorial was signed by the Hon. Andrew H. 
Green, President, Gen. Horace Porter, Judge 
Henry E. Howland, Walter S. Logan, and Wil- 
liam H. Webb, Executive Committee. Among 
the prominent residents of Yonkers and West- 
chester county who by voice, pen and other 
resources have been leaders in the championship 
of the old building and who are entitled to grate- 
ful remembrance for their services to the cause 
may be mentioned Judge T. Astley Atkins, Dr. 
G. B. Balch, William Allen Butler, LL.D., Miss 
Mary Marshall Butler, Rev. S. Parkes Cadman, 
Rev. David Cole, D.D., Gen. Thomas Ewing, 
Theodore Gilman, John C. Havemeyer, Col. Wil- 
liam L. Heermance, Hon. Norton P. Otis, Col. 
Ralph E. Prime, G. Hilton Scribner, Hon. Fred- 
erick Shonnard, Judge Stephen H. Thayer, Hon. 
James Wood, and others. Responding sjmipa- 
thetically to the overwhelming expression of 
public sentiment, Mayor John G. Peene on 

The Preservation of the Manor Hall 195 

December 23, 1895, vetoed the ordinance for the 
new building. 

In October, 1896, the building was threatened 
with destruction by the burning of the wrapping 
of the furnace pipe in the cellar, and in July, 
1898, the roof caught fire from the portable stove 
of a plumber. In both instances, the building 
was saved by James W. Carter and wife who for 
about fifteen years prior to the vacation of the 
premises by the city government were custodians 
of the building. 

In 1900, it was proposed to remodel the police 
stables on the Manor Hall grounds for use as a 
firehouse and a contract for the work has been 
let; whereupon some of the gentlemen already 
named contributed about $2,500 to recoup the 
contractor and secured the entire removal of the 
unsightly structure. About this time the Manor 
Hall Association was formed and did valuable 
work in defense of the biiilding. Since then, 
the old building has stood alone in its native 
simphcity and picturesqueness save for the 
beautiful soldiers' monument which had been 
erected in 1891 on the east lawn and some small 
brick additions in the rear. 

The dangers from which the building had been 
saved admonished those interested that steps 
should be taken to remove it from all utilitarian 
uses and preserve it solely for its educational 
and civic value. In 1903, after a conference 

196 Philipse Manor Hall 

with the various local societies which had been 
working for the salvation of the Manor Hall, a 
bill was drafted and introduced in the Legisla- 
ture by Senator Charles P. McClelland and 
Assembljmian Francis G. Landon, appropriating 
$50,000 for the purchase of the property by the 
State and committing it to the custody of the 
American Scenic and Historic Preservation 
Society. The latter provision was the voluntary 
suggestion of the Yonkers societies. On April 
4, 1903, the Common Council of Yonkers signified 
its willingness to contribute to the State the 
remaining value of the property, estimated at 
$50,000 or more, by formally approving the bill 
and urging its passage. The bill failed of passage 
and was introduced again in the Legislatures of 
1904 and 1905 by Assemblyman George N. 
Rigby with no better success. 

Meanwhile, the old building had become the 
local Faneuil Hall — the recognized place of meet- 
ing for historical purposes and the shrine of 
patriotic pilgrimages by the public school children 
and adults. On October 16, 1907, the Civic 
League of the Women's Institute of Yonkers, of 
which Miss Mary Marshall Butler was President, 
devoted its first meeting of the season to the 
subject of Manor Hall, when addresses were 
made by Judge Thayer and the writer of these 
pages. On the following day, Mrs. William F. 
Cochran wrote to Miss Butler, asking her to com- 

The Preservation of the Manor Hall 197 

municate to the American Scenic and Historic 
Preservation Society her offer of $50,000 for the 
purchase of Manor Hall from the City, upon 
condition that the title should vest in the State 
and that this Society should be custodian. On 
November 11, 1907, the Trustees of the Society 
adopted the following resolutions: 

" Whereas, Miss Mary Marshall Butler of 
Yonkers has communicated to the Trustees of 
the American Scenic and Historic Preservation 
Society the offer of a person whose name at 
present is not disclosed to give $50,000 for the 
purchase of the Manor Hall of Yonkers upon con- 
dition that it shall become the property of the 
People of the State of New York and shall 
be in the custody of this Society, to be pre- 
served in perpetuity as an historical monument 
for the benefit of the American people; -there- 
fore be it 

" Resolved, That the American Scenic and His- 
toric Preservation Society hereby signifies its 
consent to accept the custodianship of said Manor 
Hall property, with sincere appreciation of the 
generosity, public spirit and patriotism of the 
Donor, and of the responsibility which the trust 

" Resolved, That in this generous act, the Donor 
not only has proffered the means of preserving 
one of the most interesting antiquities of the 
Colonial Period of the United States, but also 
has given a notable impiolse to the movement 
in tins country for the perpetuation of the land- 
marks of American history for the promotion of 
education, patriotism and civic spirit. 

iqS Philipse Manor Hall 

" Resolved, That with a knowledge of the long- 
cherished wishes for the preservation of the Manor 
Hall and of the diligent and self-sacrificing labors 
of many patriotic citizens for many years to that 
end, the Trustees of this Society hereby express 
to the Donor not only their own grateful apprecia- 
tion but also the confident assurance of that of 
the People of the State of New York when the 
benefaction shall be made known to the public. 

" Resolved, That the Trustees express their 
particular pleasure at having received this gener- 
ous tender through Miss Mary Marshall Butler, 
not only on account of their high regard for her 
character as manifested in her many-sided philan- 
thropic work, but also as the daughter of the late 
William Allen Butler, one of the Charter Members 
and original organizers of this Society and one of 
the most earnest workers for the rescue of the 
Manor Hall. 

" Resolved, That the President be authorized to 
appoint a committee of Trustees and Members of 
the Society with power to confer with the Donor 
or the Donor's representative and to take such 
steps as may be necessary and expedient to carry 
out the Donor's generous purpose." 

Subsequently the President appointed a Com- 
mittee* to take charge of the negotiations. The 

* The Committee of Trustees and Members consisted of 
Colonel Henry W. Sackett, Chairman; and Reginald P. 
Bolton, Miss Mary Marshall Butler, Miss Helen R. Cross, 
Hampton D. Ewing, Henry E. Gregory, Samuel V. Hoff- 
man, Hon. George W. Perkins, Hon. N. Taylor Phillips, 
Colonel Ralph E. Prime, Hon. D. McN. K. StaufiEer, and 
Hon. Stephen H. Thayer. The names of the members of 
the present committee in charge will be found at the 
begiiming of this book. 

The Preservation of the Manor Hall 199 

Committee drafted a bill to carry out the purpose 
of the benefaction, and it was unanimously 
approved by the Common Council of Yonkers 
December 9, 1907. On January 13, 1908, the 
new Common Council added its indorsement, 
making the third Common Council to approve 
of State ownership with custody in this 

On January 7, 1908, the Hon. Francis W. 
Carpenter introduced in the Senate the bill to 
provide for the acquisition of the Manor Hall 
property by the State, and on January 9 the Hon. 
Harry W. Haines introduced it in the Assembly. 
With a few verbal changes, the Assembly passed 
the bill with only one dissenting vote on February 
19. The Senate Committee made a slight further 
amendment and reported the bill favorably as 

AN ACT to provide for the acquisition by the 
people of the State of New York of the 
Philipse Manor House and grounds in the City 
of Yonkers, Westchester coimty. 

The People of the State of New York, represented 
in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows: 

Section i. The City of Yonkers is hereby 
authorized and empowered to convey by its 
deed, to the people of the State of New York, 
aU that certain parcel of land situated in the city 
of Yonkers, Westchester county. New York, with 
the buildings and improvements thereon, known 
as the Philipse Manor House property, or the 

200 PMlipse Manor Hall 

Manor Hall property, which is bounded on the 
east by Warburton avenue; on the south by Dock 
street; on the west by Woodworth avenue, and 
on the north by the southerly line of the property 
of the Warburton Hall Association, upon pay- 
ment to said city, at any time within two years 
after the passage of this act, by any citizen or 
citizens of this state, of the sum of fifty 
thousand dollars, contributed and given for 
the purpose. 

§ 2. Upon delivery of such deed, duly executed, 
to the Comptroller of this State, in form approved 
by him, title to such said premises shall be and 
is hereby accepted by the people of the State of 
New York; the purpose and object of such deed 
and acceptance being that the said Manor House 
and grounds shall be preserved and maintained 
forever intact as an historical monument and a 
museum of historical relics and for such histori- 
cal and patriotic uses. 

§ 3. The American Scenic and Historic Preser- 
vation Society shall be and is hereby constituted 
and appointed custodian of said property for the 
State upon conveyance thereof to the State as 
herein contemplated; and said society, as such 
custodian, shall have control of and jurisdiction 
over said property to preserve and maintain the 
same in accordance with the purpose and object 
stated in section two of this act until the Legisla- 
txire shall otherwise direct. 

§ 4. The City of Yonkers is authorized to use 
and occupy the said property as it is now used 
and occupied, tmtil the completion of the new 
municipal building or city hall, now in course of 
construction in said city, unless other provision 
shall sooner be made for the public business now 

The Preservation of the Manor Hall 201 

transacted therein, and during such occupation 

and use shall maintain and preserve the property* 

§ s. This act shall take e£Eect inunediately. 

The Senate passed the bill without opposition 
on Monday, March 30, 1908, and the Assembly 
passed it in concurrence. On April 13, the 
Yohkers Common Council accepted the bill and 
on April 27, Governor Hughes signed it. It is 
chapter 168 of the Laws of 1908. 

On Wednesday evening, July i, 1908, the title 
to the property was formally conveyed to the 
State of New York with brief but impressive 
ceremonies in the Council Chamber in the Manor 
Hall. The Chamber was filled with officials of 
the State, City, and American Scenic and Historic 
Preservation Society and citizens of Yonkers and 
New York. The Hon. Stephen H. Thayer, 
Chairman of the Manor Hall Committee of the 
American Scenic and Historic Preservation 
Society, presided and made the opening address, 
explaining the significance of the meeting. Miss 
Mary Marshall Butler, representing Mrs. WiUiam 
F. Cochran, made the presentation address, 
concluding by deUvering to the Hon. Nathan A. 
Warren, Mayor of the City of Yonkers, Mrs. 
Cochran's check for $50,000. Mayor Warren 
handed the check to Gideon H. Peck, Treasurer 
of the City of Yonkers, who delivered the receipt 
therefor to Miss Butler. The Mayor then made 
an address, concluding by delivering the deed 

202 Philipse Manor Hall 

of the property to Earl H. Gallup, representing 
State Comptroller Martin H. Glynn. As the 
document which transferred the title of the 
property from the City of Yonkers to the State 
of New York was handed to the Comptroller's re- 
presentative and the Manor Hall became a Public 
Montmient, the impressiveness of the moment 
was felt by all present and they rose and remained 
standing during Mayor Warren's concluding 
remarks. Mr. Gallup, for the Comptroller, 
accepted the property in behalf of the State of 
New York, and was followed by George Frederick 
Kunz, Ph.D., Sc.D., President of the American 
Scenic and Historic Preservation Society; Edward 
Hagaman Hall, L.H.D., Secretary of the Society; 
Hon. T. Astley Atkins, Vice-President of the 
Yonkers Historical and Library Association; 
Theodore Gilman, of the Yonkers Chapter of 
the Sons of the American Revolution, and Hon. 
Daniel H. Cashin, President of the Yoiikers 
Common Council, who made brief addresses. 

The Manor Hall property, as conveyed to the 
village of Yonkers by James C. BeU and Harriet 
Thomas Bell, his wife, by warranty deed dated 
May I, 1868, for the consideration of $44,000, 
embraces "All those fotirteen certain lots, pieces or 
parcels of land situate, lying and being in the Town 
and Village of Yonkers, County of Westchester and 
State of New York, which, taken together, are 
bounded and described as follows: Beginning at 

The Preservation of the Manor Hall 203 

a point on the Westerly side of Warburton Avenue 
distant 175 feet South of the Southerly line of 
WeUs Avenue, and running thence Westerly and 
parallel to Wells Avenue 200 feet to the Easterly 
side of Woodworth Place; thence Southerly along 
the Easterly side of Woodworth Place 179 feet 
6 in. to the Northerly side of Dock Street; thence 
Easterly along the Northerly side of Dock Street 
to the Westerly side of Warburton Avenue ; thence 
Northerly along the Westerly side of Warburton 
Avenue 150 feet,* more or less, to the point or 
place of beginning. Together with all the right, 
title and interest of the parties of the first part of, 
in and to the adjoining half of Warburton Avenue, 
Dock Street and Woodworth Place." Since the 
above quoted conveyance was made, Warburton 
avenue has been widened 10 feet and Dock street 
about 5.5 feet, reducing the width of the Manor 
Hall grounds from 200 to 190 feet and the depth 
from 179.5 to 174 feet. The plot contains a 
little less than an acre. 

The deed from the City of Yonkers to the State 
of New York reads as follows: 

" This Indenture, made the first day of July 
in the year one thousand nine hundred and eight 
between ' The City of Yonkers ' a municipal cor- 

* Owing to the rounding of the comer of Warburton 
avenue and Dock street, 150 feet does not express the 
actual frontage on the avenue. That figure represents 
only the straight portion of the frontage. The actual 
frontage is about 174 feet. 

204 Philipse Manor Hall 

poration duly corporated under the laws of the 
State of New York, party of the first part and 
The People of the State of New York, party of 
the second part, 

" WITNESSETH, That the said party of the first 
part, for and in consideration of the sum of one 
doUar lawful money of the United States, paid by 
the party of the second part, and other good and 
valuable considerations does hereby grant and 
release unto the said party of the second part, its 
successors and assigns forever All that certain 
parcel of land situate in the City of Yonkers, 
Westchester County, New York, with the build- 
ings and improvements thereon, known as the 
Philipse Manor House Property or the Manor 
Hall Property, which is bounded on the East by 
Warburton Avenue; on the South by Dock 
Street; on the West by Woodworth Avenue and 
on the North by the Southerly line of the property 
of the Warburton Hall Association. 

" The premises hereinabove described being the 
same premises described in Chapter 1 68 of the Laws 
of the State of New York passed in the year 1908, 
and pursuant to which act this conveyance is made. 

" Together with the appurtenances and all the 
estate and rights of the party of the first part in 
and to said premises. 

" To Have and to Hold the above granted 
premises imto the said party of the second* part 
its successors and assigns forever. 

" And the said party of the first part covenants 
with said party of the second part as follows: 

* The habendum clause of the original deed erroneously 
read: " To have and to hold the above granted premises 
unto the said party of the first part," etc. The error was 
cured by a subsequent instrument so as to read as above. 

The Preservation of the Manor Hall 205 

" First, That the said party of the first part is 
seized of the said premises in fee simple and hath 
good right to convey the same. 

" Second, That the party of the second part 
shall qtiietly enjoy the said premises. 

" Third, That the said premises are free from 

" Fourth, That the said party of the first part 
will execute or procure any further necessary 
assurance of the title to said premises. 

" Fifth, That the said party of the first part, 
will forever warrant the title to said premises. 

" In Witness Whereof, the said party of 
the first part has caused these presents to be 
signed in its name by its Mayor and its corporate 
seal to be hereto affixed and attested by its City 
Clerk, the day and year first above written. 
" (L.S.) The City of Yonkers, 

" By Nathan A. Warren, 

" Mayor. 
" Attest 
" John T. Geary, City Clerk. 

" State of New York ] 

" County of Westchester > 
" City of Yonkers. J 

" On the first day of July in the year nineteen 
hundred and eight before me personally came 
Nathan A. Warren to me known who being duly 
sworn did depose and say that he resided in ' The 
City of Yonkers ' that he is the Mayor of said 
' The City of Yonkers ' the corporation described 
in and which executed the above instrument; 
that he knew the seal of said corporation; that 
the seal affixed to said instrument was such 

2o6 Philipse Manor Hall 

corporate seal; that it was so affixed pursuant to 
ordinance of the Common Council of said ' The 
City of Yonkers ' duly enacted and thereafter 
duly approved by the Board of Estimate and 
Apportionment of said city and that he signed 
his name thereto by like order. 

(L.S.) " Daniel J. Cashin, 
" Notary Public, Westchester County, N. Y. 
" Recorded in the office of the Register of the 
County of Westchester in Liber 1846 of Deeds, 
Page 271, on the 24 day of July, A. D. 1908, at 
8 o'clock — minutes a. m. Witness my hand 
and affixed seal. Edward B. Kear, Register." 

On July 24, 1908, the Yonkers Common Coimcil 
adopted the following resolutions, approving of 
the transfer of the property and thanking Mrs. 
Cochran for her gift. 

" Whereas pursuant to the provisions of Chap- 
ter 168 of the Laws of 1908, and an ordinance of 
the Common Council, the premises known as the 
Manor Hall property were on the first day of 
July, 1908, conveyed to the People of the State 
of New York to be forever held, under the 
custody and supervision of the American Scenic 
and Historic Preservation Society, for patriotic 
and historical purposes, and 

" Whereas the Comptroller of the City has 
certified that consideration for such conveyance, 
namely $50,000.00, was on said first day of July, 
1908, paid to the City of Yonkers by Eva S. 
Cochran, of said city. Therefore be it 

" Resolved, that the Common Council of the 
City of Yonkers hereby acknowledges receipt of 
said sum of $50,000.00 in payment for said 

The Preservation oj the Manor Hall 207- 

premises, and approves and confirms the con- 
veyance of said premises as aforesaid. 

" Resolved further that the Common Council 
hereby expresses its sincere appreciation of the 
generous patriotism of said Eva S. Cochran in 
insuring, so far as may be, the preservation and 
the care of the historic building arotmd whose 
walls the City of Yonkers has grown. 

" Approved July 27, 1908, 

" Nathan A. Warren, 

" Mayor. 
"Adopted July 24, 1908, 
" John T. Geary, 

" City Clerk." 

On July 3, 191 1, the Common Council adopted 
the following resolution: 

" Whereas, all of the City offices having been 
removed from Manor Hall to the new City Hall,, 
therefore be it 

" Resolved, That the possession of Manor Hall 
be and the same is hereby delivered to the Ameri- 
can Scenic and Historic Preservation Society as. 
custodian for the State of New York." 



THE Manor Hall is about five minutes walk 
from the New York Central and Hudson 
River Railroad Station, It is a stone and brick 
structure shaped like a reversed letter L, its 
long arm extending toward the north and the 
short arm toward the west.* Its north end is 60 
feet from Warburton Hall; its east front 75.5 
feet from Warburton avenue; its south front 
22 feet from Dock street; and its western end 
about 52 feet from Woodworth Place. 

The building measures 26.1 feet across the north 
end of the long arm; 91.85 feet along the east 
front; 62.15 feet along the south front; 25.32 feet 
along the west end of the short arm; 36.43 feet 
along the north side of the short arm; and 66.65 
feet along the west side of the long arm. It 
will be noticed that the sum of the measurements 
of the western exposures (25.32'+66.65'=9i.97') 
slightly exceeds the length of the east front 
(91.85'). A similar discrepancy is observable 
between the total measurements of the north 

* The points of the compass mentioned in this descrip- 
tion are only approximate. The direction of the principal 
length of the building is about twenty degrees east of 
north and west of south. The dimensions here given are 
in feet and decimals. 


The Manor Hall Itself 209 

and south exposures. The building is not 
perfectly symmetrical in whole or in detail. 

The east wall is 1.7 feet thick. The other first 
story walls vary from 1.89 to 1.93 feet in thick- 
ness. The second story stone walls are about 
0.25 of a foot thinner. All window spaces are 
squared up with brick. Beneath the window- 
sills, the brick-work is not as thick as the adjacent 
wall, and it extends low enough to permit inside 
window seats in the recesses within. The struc- 
ture is two stories high, with attic in the hipped 
gambrel roof. The lower slopes of the roof 
contain dormer windows. The upper slopes of 
the roof are inclosed with a balustrade, the space 
between the rails being nine feet. There is a 
cellar under the southern portion of the house, 
including the space under the East Hall and the 
Dining Room. 

Near the middle of the south front, there is a 
Colonial porch, about ten feet wide and six feet 
deep, with side seats between the pillars and 
pilasters. The steps are of red sandstone. On 
each side of the porch are two windows. In the 
second story, in the spaces corresponding to the 
door and four windows of the first story, are 
five windows. The windows and doorway are 
not spaced S5mimetrically. 

In the second story of the east front are eight 
windows. Underneath them in the first story 
are corresponding windows, except that the spaces 

2IO Philipse Manor Hall 

under the third window from the south and the 
second window from the north are doorways 
with porches similar to that on the south front. 

There are also windows and doors in the other 
sides of the building. 

Where the windows have shutters, those of the 
first story are outside and those of the second 
story inside. 

The jambs of the south front door are beveled, 
flaring outward. The jambs of the windows, 
except those of what was the old kitchen at the 
north end (not the cellar kitchen) are beveled, 
flaring inward. 

The east front is of red brick laid in Flemish 
bond. All other sides are rough gneiss rubble. 
When the building passed into the custody of the 
American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society 
in 1 9 1 1 , the brick front was painted yellow and the 
stone sides plastered with stucco, in which con- 
dition they had been for years ; but by mechanical 
means, and the application of strong lye and 
acids, the paint and stucco have been removed, 
restoring the antique appearance of the building.* 

It has been said that the bricks were imported 
from Holland — a statement more frequently 

* The work of restoring the Manor Hall has been done 
under the auspices of the American Scenic and Historic 
Preservation Society and the immediate supervision of 
G. Howard Chamberlin, architect, with means gen- 
erously given to the Society by the late Mrs. William F. 
Cochran and her son, Alexander Smith Cochran. 

The Manor Hall Itself 211 

made with respect to Colonial buildings than the 
facts probably warrant, although as early as 
1633 we find records of ships coming from Holland 
with bricks as ballast. Bricks were also imported 
from The Netherlands piirposely for building, 
and in the records of New Amsterdam we find 
reference to the appointment of " tellers of bricks 
and tiles coming from Patria and other places " — 
Patria being the Dutch fatherland. But the 
Dutch inhabitants of New Amsterdam did not 
depend on the old country entirely for their 
bricks, for they began to make them for them- 
selves within two years of their settlement. A 
letter of Donainie Michaelius, dated August 11, 
1628, says " They bake brick here, but very 
poor. There is good material for burning lime, 
namely, oyster shells, in large quantities." 

The bricks used in the Manor Hall are more or 
less irregtilar in size, but generally measure about 
8 by 4 by 2 inches, except where modem bricks 
have been inserted in repairs. Some, however, 
measure 8|x4X2, 8|x4X2, and 8x4|xi|, 
and a few yellow bricks found in making repairs 
are 7 x 3! x if . There are also many large red 
bricks 7i x 7I x zf in size in various parts of the 
construction. On accotmt of these irregularities, 
efforts to identify the age of the building by the 
bricks have been unsuccessful. Whatever their 
sotorce or age, they are not standard bricks of the 
English Colonial period. Chapter 138 of the 

212 Philipse Manor Hall 

laws of the Colony of New York for 1703 fixed the 
standard size of bricks, as it doubtless had been 
for years before, at 9 by 4I by 2§ inches. No 
person, master or servant, was permitted to make 
or suffer to be made within the Colony bricks of 
any other size. Bricks were imported, however, 
from Holland and other places, up to the time of 
the Revolution, for an act of March 8, 1773, "to 
regulate the sale of bricks within the city and 
county of New York," reiterates the dimensions 
above named but excepts such bricks as anyone 
might make for his private use and " bricks im- 
ported from Europe." 

The prevaiUng proportions of the Manor Hall 
bricks — the breadth one half the length, and the 
thickness one half the breadth — are very sug- 
gestive of Dutch bricks. From the Groot Placaet 
Boeck of Holland we find that in 1645 and again 
in 1662, and presumably for years following, it 
was required that bricks made in that country 
should be twice as long as they were wide and 
twice as wide as they were thick. Dutch bricks, 
however, were not all of the same size. " Mop- 
pen " were ten inches long, Amsterdam measure.* 

* The Amsterdam inch was just a trifle longer than the 
English inch, although the Amsterdam foot was appreci- 
ably shorter than the English foot, there being only 11 
subdivisions or inches in a Dutch foot. Following are the 
equivalents according to " Verhandeling over Volmaakte 
Maaten en Gewigten" by J. H. Van Swinden, Amsterdam, 

1 Old Amsterdam foot . o . 2830594 meter 

I Old Amsterdam foot . 11 . 144272 English inches 

I Old Amsterdam inch i .013115 English inch 

The Manor Hall Itself 213 

Leiden or Rhine brick (Le3^se ofte RMjnse steen) 
were 7+ inches long (7 duim stijf.) Yssel brick 
(Ysselschen steen) were 6| inches long. The old 
Manor Hall brick do not correspond to any of 
these Dutch measurements, and yet they are 
not of the English standard, and it is highly 
probable that they were imported.* 

All sills and lintels are of pine or oak. 

Rimning the whole length of the east front and 
of the western side of the long arm of the L imder 
the second story window sills is a string course 
of two layers of brick, projecting about three 
inches. Under the string course on the east 
front is a beautiful Colonial cornice. 

When the house came into the custody of the 
Scenic and Historic Society in 191 1, there was, 

* The bricks in Fort Crailo in Rensselaer, N. Y., said to 
have been erected in 1663, are very irregular in dimen- 
sions, measuring 2 by 4 by 8i; 2 by 4 by 9; 2 by 4 by 9! ; 
and 2 by 4! by 9J inches. They are mainly 2 by 4 by 9. 
When the Van Rensselaer Manor House was demolished, 
Marcus T. Reynolds, architect of Albany, found be- 
neath the basement floor and concealed by earth an 
arched vault, evidently part of a previous structure, per- 
haps an out-building of the Manor House of 1666. The 
bricks varied in size but averaged l^ x 3i by 6 inches. 
The colonial bricks of the later Manor House were 2 by 
4i by 9 ii size. The imported yellow Dutch brick of 
Praunces' Tavern in New York, erected 1719, also vary in 
size but average about if by 3! by 7 inches. The width 
is the most variable factor, ranging from 3 to 3 J inches. 
What appear to have been Dutch bricks found in the fire- 
places of British camps on upper Manhattan Island by 
R. P. Bolton and the writer measure from if to i^ 
inches in thickness; 3i inches wide and 7 inches long. A 
brick said to have come from the old building at No. i 
Broadway measures the same. 

214 Philipse Manor Hall 

in the angle of the building, a brick addition about 
30 by 36^ feet in size built by the city and 
used for the accommodation of the janitor's 
family. This addition succeeded a frame struc- 
ture erected by the Woodworth family and 
used as a billiard room. There was also a 
brick addition about 10 x 17! feet on the 
west side of the extreme northern end of 
the building, used by the city for a safe or 
vault. These have been removed, making room 
for a porch 12 feet wide which has been built 
along the western side of the building to replace 
that which probably belonged to the original 

Ascending the South Porch, one comes to a fine 
Colonial doorway with fan-shaped transom. The 
door is a ponderous double door, constructed, in 
the Dutch style, in two parts, so that the lower 
half can be closed while the upper half remains 
open. Mrs. Lamb says that this door was brought 
over from Holland in 1681 by the wife of the first 
Lord of the Manor. Inside, one sees the great 
iron hinges, and the heavy lock, the latter 6 x 10 
inches in size. 

The south door gives entrance to the South 
Hall 10.8 feet wide and 21.4 feet deep. It is 
partly occupied by a staircase 4.3 feet wide, 
which makes two square turns in the ascent to 
the second story. The stairs and balustrade flare 
to a width of 6.75 feet at the bottom. The 

The Manor Hall Itself 215 

stairs are of the close-string construction, unlike 
the stairs in the East HaU in which the angle 
between riser and tread at the outer end is left 
open. The balustrades are of pine. In the rear 
wall over the first landing is a window. In the 
rear wall under the second landing is a door. 

A doorway in the western side of the haU leads 
into a large room, which may be caUed the West 
Parlor, measuring 23.1 feet by 21.4 feet between 
walls. The latter dimension has been reduced, 
however, to 19.5 feet by the closets on the north 
side which have been built out flush with the fire- 
place. The wooden mantelpiece with its con- 
ventionalized flower design and some of the other 
woodwork in this room are very old. The fire- 
place had been closed with bricks twice prior to 
191 1. In opening it, in the work of restoration, 
an interesting iron fire-back, bearing the royal 
arms of Great Britain, was discovered. In the 
first quarter of the oval escutcheon are the three 
lions passant gardant of England impaled with 
the lion rampant of Scotland. In the second 
quarter are the three fleurs-de-lis of France. 
In the third quarter is the harp of Ireland. The 
fourth quarter is much corroded, but for reasons 
stated hereafter we know that it contained the 
arms of the house of Hanover; namely, two Hons 
passant gardant for Brunswick, impaling a lion 
rampant for Limenburgh; in the base a horse 
courant for Saxony; and on the center of the 

2i6 Philips e Manor Hall 

quarter an escutcheon charged with the crown 
of Charlemagne. Surrotmding the foregoing is 
the Garter, upon which is distinguishable most of 
the motto, " Honi soit qui mal y pense." The 
crest is a royal helmet surmounted by the im- 
perial crown, upon which is a lion statant gardant 
imperially crowned. The arms are supported 
on the dexter side by a Hon rampant gardant, 
imperially crowned, and on the sinister side by the 
conventional unicorn, gorged with a coronet to 
which is attached a chain. In a scroll under- 
neath the arms are legible some letters of the 
motto,. " Dieu et mon Droit." Within a whorl 
of the scroll on the dexter side is the rose of Eng- 
land and in a corresponding position on the 
sinister side is the thistle of Scotland. 

The period of this fire-back is the eighteenth 
century, certainly between 17 14 and 1801, and 
probably between 17 14 and the Revolution. 
The presence of the arms of England and Scotland 
impaled (that is, side by side) in the first quarter 
indicates that the date is subsequent to the 
legislative union of those two countries in 1707 
during the reign of Queen Anne; and the motto, 
" Dieu et Mon Droit," shows that it was subse- 
quent to the accession of George I, for the royal 
motto of Aime was " Semper Eadem." The 
presence of the fleurs-de-lis in the second quarter 
indicates that the date is prior to November, 
1800, when George III laid aside the titiolar 

The Manor Hall Itself 217 

assumption of King of France and abandoned 
the fleurs-de-lis. For these same reasons we 
know that the arms in the fourth quarter were 
those of the house of Hanover. As it is unlikely 
that anyone would have erected the royal arms 
in the Manor House after the Revolution, the 
date of the fire-back is narrowed down to between 
1 7 14 and 1783 at least. 

The fire-back measures about 2 feet 10 inches 
each way, and is one of a pair, its counterpart 
being in the fireplace in the East Parlor. 

In the fireplace in the West Parlor were found 
some brown Dutch tiles with quaint figures 
representing cavaliers in armor, and women with 
strange, hom-Uke head-dresses, holding birds 
perched on their hands. To restore the fireplace, 
tiles of a conventional pattern, matching in color 
the old tiles, were imported from Holland. 

In the South Hall, corresponding to the door 
to the West Parlor, is a door in the east side of 
the hall leading to the famous East Parlor in 
which Mary Philipse was married to Roger 
Morris and many other brilliant social events took 
place. This room is 22.6 feet square between, 
walls, but it has been shortened to 20 feet one 
way by building closets on the north side flush 
with the fireplace. The walls and ceiling of this 
room are preserved in their original beauty. 
The fluted composite pilasters embracing the door- 
ways, the broken arch over the mantelpiece 

2i8 Philipse Manor Hall 

looking-glass, the paneled wainscoting, the deep 
window seats, and the arabesque ceiling are 
charming relics of Colonial elegance. 

The center piece of the ceiling of the East 
Parlor is an elaborate arabesque, at the outer 
edge of which are eight figures. Beginning at 
the north and going around the circle to the 
eastward, the figvires represent a Cupid, a Girl 
with Mandolin, a Cupid, a Man with Bag-pipe, 
a Cupid, a Man with Hautboy, a Cupid, and a 
Girl dancing and singing. A beautiful border 
runs around the ceiling near the wall and at the 
cardinal points and in the comers are embellish- 
ments as follows: On the north side over the 
mantelpiece, flowers and tropical birds; in the 
center of the east side, a portrait medallion of a 
man; in the center of the south side, the same as 
on the north side; in the center of the west side, 
another portrait medalUon of a man; and in 
each of the four comers, a wreath of flowers 
and arabesque. In each of the northeast and 
southwest quarters of the ceiling is a bird, ap- 
parently a pelican, with wings elevated; and in 
each of the northwest and southeast quarters 
is a hunting dog. Living descendants of the 
Philipse family recognize in the medallions a 
resemblance to family portraits, but the personal 
identity of their prototypes has not yet been 
satisfactorily established. 

The mantelpiece on the face of the chimney 

The Manor Hall Itself 219 

at the northern end of the room is a fine piece 
of Colonial woodwork, the head on the frame of 
the mirror and the surrounding border of roses 
and oak leaves being hand-carved out of solid 
wood. When the building was surrendered by 
the city government in 191 1, the fireplace was 
closed and had a mantel shelf and sides of bluish 
stone, said to have come from a quarry belonging 
to Mr. Woodworth who owned the building prior 
to 1868. This incongruity has been removed, 
the fireplace opened, and imported Dutch tiles 
of a conventional pattern in blue on a white 
background inserted. In this fireplace is an iron 
fire-back of the same pattern as that in the West 

On the west side of the mantelpiece is a closet, 
equal to the depth of the chimney and the height 
of the ceiling. During municipal ownership a 
narrow stairway led from this closet to a vault 
in the cellar used for the care of city records. 
This stairway has been closed in the process of 
restoration. There is a tradition that there was 
once a secret passage-way here, leading to an 
underground, arched chamber, the location, 
extent and purpose of which chamber are now 
wrapped in mystery. Many strange tales are 
told of this " cave " or passage-way. By some 
it is said to have extended to the river front and 
to have been designed as a secret avenue of 
escape in time of danger.- By those who believe 

220 Philipse Manor Hall 

the stories about the first Lord having engaged in 
traffic with privateersmen and pirates, it is said 
to have been the passage by which forbidden 
goods were clandestinely introduced into the 
Manor House. These stories, whether true or 
not, are a part of the folk-lore of the house and 
give it the indescribable romance that gradually 
grows up about an ancient structure Uke this. 
There is further suggestion of this mystery in the 
cellar under the East Parlor, referred to here- 
after, but in spite of the most persistent efforts 
of the architect in the restoration, no tangible 
evidence of the secret passage has been discovered. 

The door east of the fireplace in the East 
Parlor leads to the East Hall. 

The East Hall, also entered through the South- 
east Porch, is 11.05 feet wide and 23 feet deep, 
extending east and west. Like the South Hall, 
it is partly occupied by a broad staircase with 
picturesque balustrade terminating in a great 
spiral at the newel post. This stairway also 
makes two square turns in its ascent. Over the 
first landing is a window and xmder the second a 
rear door. Although the South Porch is more 
elaborate than either porch on the east side, the 
East Hall is superior architecturally to the South 
Hall. This is particularly noticeable in the bal- 
ustrade of the staircase, which is made of mahog- 
any instead of pine, as in the South Hall, and 
the whorl of which arotmd the newel-post is more 

The Manor Hall Itself 221 

generous than in the South Hall. The balusters 
in the East Hall are of a beautiful spiral pattern 
while those in the South HaU are lathe-turned. 
In the restoration, it was necessary on account of 
the tenacious incrustations of varnish and dirt, 
to remove the balustrade temporarily and take it 
apart in order to soak and clean the mahogany 

North of the East Hall is a room 17.8 feet by 
22.7s feet in size, formerly used as the family 
Dining Room. Some of the woodwork here is 
original. In the middle of the northern parti- 
tion there was formerly a huge fireplace and 
mantel. When the Manor Hall was remodeled 
for occupancy by the village authorities in 1868, 
this whole chimney was removed, and the upper 
part was illogically rebuilt over a western win- 
dow, continuing up through the roof. At the 
same time, the partition at the north end of the 
room was reversed, so that its paneled front 
would make an ornamental reredos for the 
Judge's bench in the Court Room adjacent to 
the northward, the fireplace opening being closed. 
In the restoration in 191 1, the misplaced chimney 
was removed, the partition returned to its 
original position and a fireplace constructed on 
the foundation of the old one. Dutch tiles, 
with a blue rose pattern on a white background, 
were imported for this ptupose. 

North of the Dining Room the remainder of 

22 2 Philipse Manor Hall 

the ground floor was formerly divided into a 
Larder and a Kitchen, the latter being entered 
through the Northeast Porch. When the 
interior was altered forty-three years ago, all 
of this space was thrown into one apartment, 
22.75 feet by 34.83 feet in size, for a Court Room. 
The Judge's bench was at the southern end, 
backed by the old mantelpiece paneling which 
was formerly part of the Dining Room cabinet 
work. As before stated, this Dining Room 
partition was reversed in 191 1 to its original 
position, but no effort was made to replace the 
partition or partitions which originally sub- 
divided the modem Court Room. In the west- 
em wall of the Court Room, opposite the door 
in the eastern wall, was originally a door which 
had been partially btult up and converted into 
a window. In the restoration the doorway has 
been re-opened. At the northern end of the 
Court Room, in what was probably the north 
wall of the Kitchen, is a shallow fireplace. There 
are indications in the exterior surface of this wall 
that there was once a Dutch oven here and that 
the fireplace had been altered. In the restora- 
tion, this fireplace has been opened and tiled 
with pictorial Dutch tiles imported for the 

Returning to the South Hall and going up- 
stairs, one finds in the West Chamber, corre- 
sponding in size to the West Parlor below, much 

The Manor Hall Itself 223 

of the early woodwork. The great open fireplace 
is oi^e of the attractions of this room. It was 
originally Hned with blue and white Delft tiles, 
five inches square, with extremely quaint designs 
representing Biblical scenes with citations to the 
passages in Holy Scriptures which they illustrate. 
One design, illustrating Luke xix, 4, represents 
Zaccheus in a tree, and Christ and two compan- 
ions passing by. Another, illustrating Mathew 
ii, 13, represents Joseph fleeing to Egypt with the 
young child and mother riding on an ass. Others 
illustrate the miracle of the loaves and fishes 
(John vi, 7), the removal of the body of Jesus 
from the tomb (John xix, 38), and other scenes 
from the New Testament and the Apocrypha. 
Of the original tiles, only 106 remained in 1911. 
The architect found, however, that tiles of the 
same pattern were still being made in Holland, 
and more were ordered from the old coimtry to 
complete the restoration. The new tiles closely 
resemble the old ones but an expert can dis- 
tinguish a slight difference in the shade of blue.* 

* The old Biblical tiles are probably i8th century 
products. An article on Dutch tiles in the Bulletin of 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art for December, 1908, 
says: " One can trace three distinct periods in the devel- 
opment of the Dutch art of tile making — the first extend- 
ing from about 1580 to 1630; the second from 1630 to 
1670; and the third, summarily speaking, from the end 
of the 17th to the end of the i8th century. . . . During 
the third period. . . . whole compositions, portraying ani- 
mated scenes especially of a Biblical or pastoral character, 
are crowded on to one tile." 

224 Philipse Manor Hall 

In this fireplace is an old stove-plate — a slab 
of iron 24 x 26 inches square, upon which, crudely 
cast in relief, is represented Elijah being fed by 
the ravens. Underneath this scene is an almost 
illegible inscription in closely crowded capital 
letters, some of the letters being joined together 
and there being no spacing between the words. 
In the restoration in 191 1, a counterpart was 
brought to light and placed in the fireplace in 
the East Chamber. From a careful study of the 
two, the writer has deciphered the inscription 
as follows: 


Spacing the words we have the German quota- 

zv VERS." The letter " v " in next to the last 
word is the equivalent of " u," and the last 
word is an abbreviation of " versorgen." 
What appears in the inscription to be " zwers " 
therefore stands for " zu versorgen," meaning 
" to feed," and the whole line means: " I have 
commanded the ravens to feed thee." The 
" DiBD " under the left hand end of the line and 
the "K17C" under the right hand end stand 
for " Das I Buch der Koenige 17 Capitel," or 
" the first Book of Kings, seventeenth chapter." 
At the bottom of the plate are the date and 
initials " 17 bsdw 60." The 1760 is the date of 

The Manor Hall Itself 225 

the casting. The initials BSDW stand for 
Benedict Schroeder and Dietrich Welcker, iron- 
masters, who at that tiihe owned Shearwell 
Furnace near Oley, Berks county, Penn. This 
is not a fire-back, Uke the English fire-back pre- 
viously mentioned, but a stove-plate, having 
been cast originally as part of a "five-plate non- 
ventilating stove," although it may have been 
used as a fire-back. A "five-plate stove" was 
a primitive iron stove enclosed with iron plates 
on five sides and open on the sixth side, built 
with the open side against the wall. The cast- 
ing of ornamental stove-plates was an industry 
of the early Pennsylvanian Germans. They 
represent a little known but very interesting 
chapter of American history and of German 
folk-lore. Several replicas of the Manor Hall 
stove-plate exist, one of them being in the re- 
markable collection of stove-plates and fire-backs 
belonging to the Bucks County, Perm., Historical 
Society.* Similar fire-backs are known to exist 
in old houses in Kingston and the Mohawk 
region dating about the middle of the eighteenth 
century. They are often mistaken for Dutch 

Somewhere in the northern end of the West 
Chamber there is (or was years ago) a secret 

* Probably the best authority on the subject of stove- 
plates and fire-backs is Henry C. Mercer of Doylestown, 
Perm., President of the Bucks County Historical Society. 


226 Philipse Manor Hall 

closet, now hidden or obliterated by the closets 
btiilt on either side of the chimney place for the 
use of the City Clerk. The Hon T. Astley 
Atkins distinctly remembers it, but no trace of 
it was found in the restoration. 

Across the Upper South Hall, over the East 
Parlor, is the East Chamber, corresponding in 
size to the parlor below. The early woodwork 
of this room is an interesting architectural 
feature. The fluted pilasters and the broken 
arches over the doors and mantelpiece on the 
north side of the room are of a design different 
from those in the room below. The mantel- 
piece is highly enriched by solid wood carving 
around the mirror representing fruit and birds, 
and in the broken arch over the mirror are the 
three pltunes of the Prince of Wales. 

The fireplace has been restored with Dutch 
tiles imported for the purpose. They have 
octagonal designs, representing in yellow, blue 
and green, landscapes in which appear castles, 
sail boats, fishermen, etc. In the fireplace is an 
iron stove-plate like that in the West Chamber, 
representing Elijah being fed by the ravens. 

Passing through a doorway in the north side 
of the East Chamber one comes to the spacious 
Upper East Hall, corresponding in size to that 

A door on the north side of the hall opens into 
what has been used by the City Government 

The Manor Hall Itself 227 

as the Common Council Chamber, occupying 
the remainder of the second floor, 22.75 feet by 
53.2 feet in size. Formerly, a central hallway 
extended the length of this floor with bedrooms 
opening off on either side. To accommodate the 
city fathers, the attic floor over this space was 
removed, thus giving the Cotmcil Chamber the 
height of both the second story and the attic. 
The brackets and trusses supporting the roof 
of this enlarged apartment present an architect- 
ural incongruity, but the means at the disposal 
of the custodian society for restoration were not 
sufficient to warrant any changes in this respect. 
Returning to the Upper South Hall and ascend- 
ing to the attic, one comes to apartments less 
picturesque and commodious, but to some people 
not less interesting than those below. These 
are the old slave quarters. The rude plank 
floors, the thin partitions and doors, the wooden 
latches, the wooden hinges with leather washers 
to prevent squeaking, the unceiled attic roof 
showing the ancient hewn timbers of the gambrel 
or curb roof, and the little dormer windows are 
all quaint reminders of the period when slavery 
and villeinage existed on the Manor and when 
no less than thirty black and twenty-six white 
servants were quartered in this third story dormi- 
tory. Some of the hand-hewn timbers are num- 
bered in Roman numerals, having been fitted 
before being assembled in the firial construction. 

228 PMKpse Manor Hall 

Exposures of some of the lath-work show that the 
original laths were hand split. As before stated, 
that portion of the attic occupying the northern 
fifty-three feet of the house has been thrown into 
the room space of the Council Chamber below, 
so that the present attic accommodations give 
no idea of the extent of the quarters which the 
fifty servants occupied. 

Ascending by a stepladder to the roof, it is 
found that the great L-shaped space within the 
balustrade is not a flat platform, as it appears 
from below, but consists of the upper slopes on 
dther side of the ridge pole which characterize 
the gambrel or curb roof. From this uncertain 
footing a fine view of the Hudson and Palisades 
is had. Upon the eastern balustrade were placed, 
at the time of the bicentennial celebration in 
1882, huge wooden letters and figures as follows: 
" 1682 MANOR HALL, 1882." In the re- 
storation of the roof the badly decayed balustrade 
has been rebuilt, the dates and name omitted, 
the roof reshingled, the modem flagpole removed, 
and the misplaced chimney before referred to 

The cellar extends only under the southern 
portion of the building, the East Hall, and the 
old Dining Room before mentioned. For the 
safety of the building, the furnace and hot air 
pipes have been removed from the cellar and a 
steam heating plant has been installed in a small 

The Manor Hall Itself 229 

brick building erected in 19 11 for this purpose 
and as a caretaker's lodging in the northwestern 
comer of the grounds. Subterranean steam pipes 
from this detached building connect with the 
newly installed radiators in the Manor House. 

The West Cellar under the West Parlor is said 
to have been the Kitchen of the First Lord. It 
is paved with stones eighteen inches square, some 
of which are fossiliferous and the source of which 
is unknown. A mass of modem brickwork was 
removed in the restoration. The brick arch 
supporting the fire place in the parlor above 
appears to have been altered since the building 
was originally constructed and if there was once 
a practical fireplace in this cellar, all trace of 
the flue-opening has been obliterated. 

In the corresponding East Cellar one can see 
the basement walls, two feet or more thick, the 
hewn oak floor timbers overhead, and what looks 
Uke a large open fireplace with hewn timber lintel. 
It is not apparent whether this was a practical 
fireplace or is simply the support of the fireplace 
in the East Parlor above. Against the south 
and west walls is an inner wall of masonry, four 
feet high and three feet thick, the purpose of 
which is not known. The total thickness of this 
low mass of masonry and the western wall against 
which it abuts is between six and seven feet. In 
the restoration, it was penetrated, with a view 
to discovering whether it contained the secret 

230 Philip se Manor Hall 

passage which tradition persistently associates 
with the building, but no trace of such passage 
was found. It is possible that the low wall was 
used for the support of wine casks. 

In the grounds opposite the Northeast Porch 
which shelters what was once the Kitchen door, 
and about twenty-five or thirty feet therefrom, 
was formerly the drinking well, with a large 
cavity in one side for cold storage. 

Upon the southeast corner of the mansion is a 
fine bronze tablet bearing the arms of the Philipse 
family, reduced copies of the medallion busts 
which appear on the ceiling of the East Parlor, 
the seal of the Yonkers Historical and Library 
Association, and the following inscription: 

" Manor House of The Manor of Philipsburg. 
The Manor was created in 1693 and by Royal 
Charter granted to Frederick Philipse. By act 
of the Legislature of the State of New York, the 
Manor was confiscated in 1779 and sold by Com- 
missioners of Forfeiture in 1785. The Manor 
House was purchased by the Village of Yonkers 
in 1868 and became the City Hall in 1872. This 
tablet was erected by the Yonkers Historical and 
Library Association in 1899." 

Associated with the Manor Hall as the civic 
center of Yonkers and standing upon the east 
lawn of the grounds is the Soldiers and Sailors 
Monument. This was erected tmder the auspices 
of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument Association 
and was dedicated on September 17, 1891, with 

The Manor Hall Itself 231 

elaborate ceremonies in the presence of 20,000 
spectators. It was given by the Monument 
Association to the City of Yonkers and is included 
in the deed to the State of New York with the 
other Manor House property. 

The monimient consists of a base, die plinth, 
die, cap, pediment cap, shaft plinth, shaft and 
capital of dark blue Barre granite, thirty-five feet 
high, surmounted by a granite statue of a Color 
Bearer eleven feet high, making the total height 
forty-six feet. Around the base of the shaft are 
four bronze statues, each seven feet high, repre- 
senting the Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry and Naval 
services. The monument is inclosed with a low 
granite coping about seventeen feet square. 

Under the Infantrjmian is the inscription: 
" Patriotism — To honor the men of Yonkers 
who fought to save the Union. 1861-1865. — 
Slavery Abolished." 

Under the Artilleryman: "Endurance — The 
Union is the Palladium of our Safety and Pros- 
perity. (Washington.) — Credit Maintained." 

Under the Cavalryman: "Valor — My para- 
mount Object is to save the Union. (Lincoln.) 
— Let us have Peace. (Grant.) " 

Under the Navyman : " Courage — The Union 
Must and Shall be Preserved. (Jackson.) — The 
Union Saved." 

The monument was planned by George H. 
Mitchell, of Chicago. The four bronze statues 

232 PhiKpse Manor Hall 

were modeled by Lorado Taft, after the 
designs for the first three by J. E. Kelly, of New 
York, and after a design for the fotarth by Lieuten- 
ant Washington Irving Chambers, U. S. N. 

The monument cost $10,500; the granite in- 
closure $1,000; and the dedicatory exercises, 
contingent expenses, and the publication of a 
memorial volume, $3,500, making a total of 
$15,000 raised by the association. This sum was 
contributed by about 550 individuals and by 
fifty organizations and entertainments. The indi- 
vidual subscriptions ranged from three cents to 
$1,050. The names of those who contributed 
their means and services to the erection of this 
memorial, together with the names of those in 
whose memory it was erected and an account 
of the dedicatory exercises, are to be found in a 
voltmie entitled " Yonkers in the Rebellion," by 
Hon. Thomas Astley Atkins and John Wise 

As to the date of the erection of the Manor 
Hall, the majority of printed histories express 
the opinion that its southern portion was built in 
1682 and that its northern portion was added in 
1745. The present writer, after a painstaking 
study, has been unable to find primary authority 
for these statements, and must be content with 
presenting the pros and cons as they appear from 
secondary sources and from the probabilities of 
the case. 

The Manor Hall Itself 233 

In considering a question of this sort, one must 
discriminate between first-hand and second-hand 
information. Authors who copy from earlier 
works are secondary authorities, and their testi- 
mony is open to question unless their authority 
is known and known to be primary. By primary 
authority is meant an original record, such as a 
deed, a will, a letter, a map, a diary, or some 
other authentic contemporary evidence. Often- 
times, a single subordinate clause in such a docu- 
ment throws a flood of light on a much vexed 
problem. The words, " the Dutch chtirch erected 
and built at PhiUpsborough by my late hus- 
band," in the will of Catharine Van Cortlandt 
Philipse, definitely fix the date of the Sleepy 
Hollow church prior to 1702, the year in which 
her husband died. The date 1699 which is 
claimed for it cannot be far, if at all, out of the 
the way for that building. The declaration: 
" Whereas, I am now about finishing a large 
stone dwelling house on the plantation in which 
I now live," in Jacobus Van Cortlandt's will, 
dated 1749, confirms beyond any doubt the 
figures " 1748 " on the date-stone of the Van 
Cortlandt Mansion in Van Cortlandt Park, New 
York City. No such fortunate discovery has 
yet rewarded the search for the date of the 
beginning of the Yonkers Manor House.* 

* The Van Cortlandt Mansion, built by a descendant 
of Eva Philipse, is an interesting building. It is built 

234 Pkilipse Manor Hall 

Among the secondary authorities, Lossing, the 
artist-historian, who has done so much to iden- 
tify the sites and perpetuate the memories of 
American landmarks, appears to have been the 
earliest writer to ascribe the date 1682 to the 
Manor Hall. In his " The Hudson from the 
Wilderness to the Sea" (1866) he says: "The 
older portion was built in 1682. The present 
front, forming an addition, was erected in 1745 
when old Castle Philipse at Sleepy Hollow was 

Martha Lamb, in " Appleton's Journal," Vol- 
ume XI, (1874,) in one of a series of articles on 
" Historic Houses of America " which she and 
Lossing contributed to that publication, says: 
" It is a curious mixture of Dutch and English 
architecture and belongs properly to two eras, 
as a part of it was erected in 1682 and the re- 
mainder in 1745." 

Bolton's " History of Westchester County," 
(1881), says that " the present (eastern) front 
was erected circ. 1745; the rear at a much earlier 
period — which is reported to have been bviilt 
soon after the Philipse family purchased here, 
A. D., 1682." 

entirely of rough stone, and is L-shaped, the wings point- 
ing to the north and west like the Manor Hall. The 
windows are cased with brick, after the fashion of the 
Manor Hall. The south front, which is the most orna- 
mental, measures 55 feet and 2 inches in length at the 
level of the window-sills; the east front 51 feet and 7 
inches; the north end of the north wing 22 feet, and the 

The Manor Hall Itself 235 

Scharf in his "History of Westchester County" 
(1886), says: " It is claimed that the south end 
was built in 1682." 

Allison, in his " History of Yonkers " (1896), 
says: "At the time it was erected (probably 
1682) it terminated in the rear by a huge slanting 

Cole, in his " History of Yonkers," also leans 
toward the date 1682. 

Mrs. Lamb, in the article before quoted, makes 
the most specific statement on the subject, and 
it is greatly to be wished that her authority for 
it were known. She says that the door of the 
South Porch was manufactured in Holland in 
1681 and was brought here by Mrs. Margaret 
Hardenbrook Philipse for this building. If this 
could be established, it wovild fix the date of part 
of the building between 1681 and 1691, the year 
in which Mrs. Philipse died. 

At the time of the bicentennial celebration in 
1882, the year 1682 was accepted as the date of 
the building and was placed in large figures on 
the roof, together with the name " Manor Hall." 
But Shonnard & Spooner, in their " History of 
Westchester County," (1900), referring to this 

west end of the west wing 24 feet. The broken arch over 
the mantelpiece of the south east parlor is in the same 
general style as some of the woodwork of the Manor Hall. 
The bricks used in the window casings are larger 
than those used in the Manor Hall and there are 
many other ardiitectural difiEerences. (See footnote on 
page 79.) 

236 Philip se Manor Hall 

fact, add: " It is sturdily maintained by respec- 
table authorities on the early history of Philips- 
burgh Manor that the dwelling did not have its 
beginning until many years later." 

Bacon, in his "Annals of Tarrytown and Sleepy 
Hollow," says: " There is not a shadow of trust- 
worthy evidence that the house of Yonkers can 
lay claim to a date prior to the marriage of 
Eva Philipse with Van Cortlandt," (1691). 

The Hon. T. Astley Atkins, an indefatigable 
searcher into the past, referring, in an article 
published in the Yonkers News January 15, 1910, 
to the second Lord of the Manor, says: " This 
Frederick Philipse died in the year 1751, and 
his son Colonel Frederick Philipse, of Revolu- 
tionary notoriety, succeeded to the title of Lord 
of the Manor. The Barbados Lord of the 
Manor" [meaning Col. Philipse, the third 
Lord,] "probably built the Manor House upon 
taking up his inheritance at Yonkers." 

Having presented the foregoing statements by 
others, the facts and probabilities of the case as 
they appear to the present writer may now be 

In the first place, there is intrinsic evidence in 
the building that it was not all built at the same 
time. It is true that there is no apparent break 
in the stonework of the southern facade (now 
exposed by the removal of the stucco) nor in the 
brick-work of the eastern facade. Nevertheless, 

The Manor Hall Itself 237 

the following suggestive facts appear with respect 
to the southern portion of the house. 

(i) No two exterior wall spaces between win- 
dow and window, door and window, or window 
and comer, in the southern facade, are alike. 
Frederick Philipse, the First Lord of the Manor, 
was an architect builder, and it does not seem 
probable that if he had built or supervised the 
building of all the southern portion, these irregu- 
larities would have occurred. This suggests that 
the southern portion of the house represents in 
some way two different periods of erection. 

(2) The most noticeable lack of symmetry is 
in the wall spaces on either side of the south door, 
the space between the door and the next window 
to the eastward being 3.8 feet greater than the 
corresponding space between the door and the 
next window to the westward. Glancing now at 
the plan of the building, one is struck with the 
thickness of the wall between the South Hall and 
the East Parlor, a thickness unnecessarily great 
for an ordinary partition. If that wall was once 
the exterior wall of a building comprising only 
that portion of the Manor Hall represented in 
the plan by the South Hall and West Parlor, the 
south door would have been symmetrically 
located, the wall space between the door and the 
comer of the building being the same as the 
space between the door and the next window to 
the westward. 

238 Philipse Manor Hall 

(3) An examination of the southern facade 
clearly discloses the line of demarcation between 
the foundation and the wall above it along that 
portion of the front represented by the South 
Hall and West Parlor, but not along that portion 
of the south front represented by the East Parlor. 
In the former portion the foundation wall, ter- 
minating about two feet above the ground, 
projects about two inches beyond the wall above 
it. In the latter portion there is nothing exter- 
nally to indicate where the foundation ends and 
the wall begins. 

(4) The paved floor of the cellar under the 
South Hall and West Parlor is at a higher level 
than the floor under the East Parlor. 

(s) The unexplainable mass of masonry be- 
tween the two cellars, alluded to on page 229, 
suggests even more strongly than the unnecessary 
thickness of the wall above it between the South 
Hall and East Parlor, the conjimction of two 
periods of construction. 

The writer's conclusion on this point is, that 
at least the foundation walls of that portion of 
of the Manor Hall represented in the plan by the 
South Hall and West Parlor represent one period 
of construction, and that the remainder of the 
building is the product of one or more subse- 
quent periods. 

An interior examination of the foundation wall 
on the east side of the cellar under the East 

The Manor Hall Itself 239 

Parlor and the corresponding wall under the East 
Hall and Dining Room, suggests, by the different 
ways in which they are finished at the top, that 
they also represent two different periods, thus 
making three different periods represented by all 
the foundation walls at least. 

As before stated, the stone-work of the southern 
facade above the foundation appears to be con- 
tinuous and the brick-work of the eastern facade 
appears to be continuous. Whether they and 
the other walls were erected simultaneously upon 
fotuidations partly or entirely older than them- 
selves or whether the walls represent different 
periods, there is no certain way of judging now. 
There is evidence, however, of local alterations 
in the external walls for chimneys and fireplaces, 
and if all parts of the superstructure of the 
building are not contemporaneous, it is possible 
that the brick window casings of the older 
portion are alterations. 

As to the time of various extensions and im- 
provements of the house, the following dates of 
important family events may be recalled. In 
1702 the First Lord of the Manor died and the 
Manor was divided between his son Adolph and 
his minor grandson Frederick. The Yonkers 
portion went to Frederick and the northern por- 
tion to Adolph. During Frederick's minority, 
Adolph had the practical management of the 
whole, although nominally the yotmg Frederick's 

240 Philip se Manor Hall 

share was in the care of his grandmother. There 
has been no suggestion, however, that Adolph 
made any improvements at Yonkers. In 1716, 
Frederick, the Second Lord, became of age. He 
had been bom in the Barbados and educated 
under his grandmother's care, in England, but 
returned to New York about this time, entered 
into his inheritance, married in 1 7 19, and that year 
began to take an active part in public affairs, as is 
evidenced by his repeated election as Alderman 
of New York and his frequent appointment as 
Commissioner of Highways in Westchester 
County. Judge Atkins thinks the house was 
built about this time. Mrs. Lamb says that 
under hitn the Manor House swelled to thrice its 
original size, and she accredits to him the carved 
woodwork and arabesque ceiling. Allison, in his 
History of Yonkers, says: " It was he who en- 
larged the Manor House on the Neperhan in 
1745 by extending it to the north and changing 
its front to the east." In 1750, Adolph died and 
the whole Manor was consolidated under Fred- 
erick, the Second Lord. About this year Fred- 
erick's sister, Susannah, was married. In 1751 
Frederick, the Second Lord, died and Frederick, 
the Third Lord, inherited the Manor. In 1756 
the Third Lord was married, and in 1758 his 
sister Mary was married in the house. These 
later occasions suggest dates when the house may 
have been furbished up. 

The Manor Hall Itself 241 

In the interior work of the southern portion of 
the building there is evidence of elaborate reno- 
vation about the middle, or just a little after the 
middle, of the eighteenth century. The Dutch 
tiles and the iron stove-plates of approximately 
that period strongly suggest this. 

Coming now to the date of erection, we can 
begin with certainty at the period of the Revo- 
lution and work backward. The original water- 
color drawing which the Hon. D. McN. K. 
Stauffer discovered in Philadelphia in 1895 
among some pictures imported from England and 
which is dated " June 18, 1784," shows the 
building as it appeared at the close of the War 
for Independence. The sketches from which it 
was made were probably drawn some years 
earlier during the English occupation. Corre- 
spondence before quoted shows the building to 
have been occupied by the PhiHpse family during 
the War. Lossing's circumstantial description of 
the marriage of Mary Philipse and Roger Morris, 
printed in Harper's Monthly Magazine, Vol. liii, 
page 642, is apparently from a source which must 
be accepted and carries the date back to January, 
1758. Mrs. Lamb, in her History of New York, 
says that Governor George Clinton (the Admiral) 
spent several days at the Manor Hall in 1745 
on his way back to New York from Albany, 
where he had been in attendance at an Indian 
conference. Her authority for this statement 

242 Philtpse Manor Hall 

does not appear, but the fact seems highly prob- 
able. Bolton, in his History of Westchester 
county, and Mrs. Lamb both say that Mary 
Philipse was bom in the Manor Hall in 1730. 
This statement, probably derived from a family 
source not now available, is about the limit to 
which we can reasonably go with reference to 
any considerable portion of the present Manor 
Hall, except the old foimdation before referred to. 
Passing now from the region of reasonable 
certainty to the region of reasonable inference, 
and considering only the old foundation, it seems 
highly probable that a strong if not large building 
once stood upon that foundation early in the 
history of the possession of the first Philipse. 
We know from Van der Donck's remonstrance of 
1652 that Van der Donck erected buildings at 
the Yonkers mill-site prior to that date. The 
suit of the miller Martin Hardwyn against 
Philipse in 1674 shows that at that time there 
was a community on the Neperhan in which 
Philipse had a controlling and apparently ex- 
clusive interest. We know that at that time 
there was great apprehension in the colony of 
New York on account of the Indians. In 1675 
there were massacres in Maine, Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island and Connecticut, concerted by the 
powerful Indian King Philip. An uprising in 
New York was feared. The Wickquaskeek 
Indians, whose ancient home was only s| miles 

The Manor Hall Itself 243 

north of the Neperhan colony, were under sus- 
picion and by the Governor's order were kept 
under surveillance. Governor Andros also or- 
dered all towns to keep double and strict watch. 
Some of them erected defenses. If any man had 
incentives to erect a strong house for the defense 
of his property and tenants, Philipse had. It 
was customary for the head of a great plantation 
in either the Hudson or the Mohawk valley in 
those days to erect at least one strong building 
which served the double purpose of proprietary 
residence and asylimi of refuge in time of danger.* 
The date commonly ascribed to the original 
edifice, 1682, is coincident with Philipse's pur- 
chase of the land adjacent to the Yonkers plan- 
tation on the north, by which he completed a 
chain of possessions extending from the northern 
bounds of Lower Yonkers on the Spuyten Duyvil 
up to the Pocantico at Sleepy Hollow, a distance 
of 13 or 14 miles. It seems very probable that 
if he had not begtm a strong house on the Neper- 
han before, he would do so now, with possessions 
of such great extent. The complaint of the 
Government of Connecticut to the Government 
of New York, dated May 11, 1682, that sundry 
persons " and Perticularly Mr. ffrederick Phillips 
Have Erected Lately and are Erecting Certaine 

* Fort Crailo at Rensselaer, and Port Frye near Pala- 
tine Bridge, are types of several such buildings, still 
standing, ranging in age from 1663 to 1755. 

244 Philipse Manor Hall 

Mills and Other Edifices . . . neere lonto Hud- 
son's River," etc., taken together with a state- 
ment from the same source dated October lo, 
1684, concerning " Frederick Phillipps upper 
Mills over against Tappan," (impljring the 
existence of the lower mills on the Neperhan,) 
suggests the Neperhan as one of the localities of 
his activity in building. The testimony of 
Barent Witt, on August 14, 1689, that he lived 
at " Weskeskek " on land of Frederick Philipse; 
that several Frenchmen landed with alarming 
news from Canada about the Indians; that he 
told Philipse and Philipse laughed at the news, 
indicates that at that period Philipse spent a 
portion of his time at his lower mills, and it is 
not to be thought that the richest man in the 
Colony of New York, who was also an 
architect builder, would have neglected to 
provide himself with a substantial shelter on 
such occasions. 

Whatever inducements Philipse may have had 
to erect a similar structure at Sleepy Hollow, and 
whatever may be the age of that building, he 
certainly had very strong reasons for building at 
Yonkers. In addition to those previously men- 
tioned, part of the Yonkers property was ah-eady 
cleared before he acquired the Sleepy Hollow 
land, and afforded the strongest attractions for 
a residence. His business was well developed 
there long in advance of the building of his upper 

The Manor Hall Itself 245 

mills. Yonkers was about midway between the 
Pocantico on the north and the nearest settle- 
ment on the south at Harlem. And as business 
must have caused him to travel frequently be- 
tween his country possessions and the City, a 
house at Yonkers would have been much more 
convenient than one ten miles farther north at 
Sleepy Hollow, in those days when travel was 
either by horse or by sloop. 

The conclusion of the writer is that while it 
may not be safe to give an earlier date than 
about 1725 or 1730 to any considerable portion 
of the superstructure of the Manor Hall, it is 
very probable that the old foundation represents 
a portion of the smaller original Philipse dwelling 
erected within a dozen years of 1682, that is to 
say, approximately between 1682 and 1694. If 
there is any error in this estimate, the ratio of 
error to the total age of the building is probably 
comparatively small — a ratio which, of course, 
will continue to diminish as the age of the btdld- 
ing increases, and which, in proportion to the 
great volume of historical interest that attaches 
to the btdlding, is a practically negligible quantity. 

If the gentle reader is not satisfied with the 
foregoing deductions, a more satisfactory con- 
clusion must be deferred until the missing docu- 
mentary link be found. Until then, the ancient 
building must continue, like the Sphinx, to ask 
a question which itself refuses to answer. 

246 Philipse Manor Hall 

Over all of that which has here been described 
so imperfectly there hangs an indescribable 
atmosphere of mystery. There are questions of 
construction suggested by the unsymmetrical 
measiirements which appeal to both the architect 
and the antiquarian and which can not yet be 
answered. There are, or were, well-authenticated 
secret closets or passageways whose whereabouts 
have been lost. There is a strong belief among 
some of the students of the building that the 
Philipse family did not take away all of their 
belongings, and that hidden somewhere in the 
mysterious recesses of this ancient pile are relics 
of the departed glory of Philipse Manor which 
would shed a flood of new light on the history of 
this picturesque and famous monument to two 
and a quarter centuries of our social and pohtical 

One cannot look upon the Old Manor Hall 
without being moved to compare its present with 
its former environment. If these aged walls could 
speak, they could tell a wonderful story of the 
changes which they have witnessed during the 
128 years which have elapsed since Washington 
and his suite rode by on their way to take pos- 
session of New York upon its evacuation by the 
British. At that time, wooded hills stretched 
indefinitely to the north, east and south. To the 
west a narrow bank, with a grove of trees, sloped 
to the Hudson river, not 300 feet distant. Within 

The Manor Hall Itself 247 

150 feet of the South Porch, the Neperhan river 
flowed by, unobscured save by the mills with 
their three great overshot wheels and half a dozen 
smaller buildings on the north bank. At the 
foot of Dock street, about 300 feet west of the 
house, the north bank of the stream projected 
into the Hudson a little point, at the end of 
which was a rock containing a huge iron ring 
used in warping vessels into the little Neperhan 

Such was the scene at the close of the Revolu- 
tion. Seventy years later there had been com- 
paratively little growth. In 1813 there were only 
twenty-six buildings of all kinds scattered over 
the adjacent 320 acres. The Manor House and 
a dozen others were available for dwellings; five 
were saw, grist, plaster, and fulling mills; five 
were bams and sheds; one was a shop; and one 
was old St. John's church. 

To-day, a city of 80,000 inhabitants has grown 
up around the old Hall; the forests have disap- 
peared; the Neperhan has almost been buried 
from sight; the Hudson has been driven back by 
filling in; and the whole aspect of the region 
changed; but the Manor Hall remains, a silent 
monument to the changes of time and the 
mortality of generations. 



T^HE oldest known picture of the Manor 
•^ Hall and its surroundings is a sepia 
drawing found by the Hon. D. McN. K. 
Stauffer in an old print shop in Philadelphia 
in 1905. It is entitled and signed " A view 
of Phillip's Manor and the Rocks on the 
Hudson or North River in N. America. 
June 18, 1784. D. R. Fecit." In this picttire, 
drawn from a point south of the Neperhan and 
looking northward, the Neperhan occupies the 
foreground, plunging over a milldam at the right 
and joining the Hudson on the left. Below the 
dam there is a cluster of rocks in midstream. 
On the north bank, just below the dam, are three 
large overshot wheels, furnishing power for the 
adjacent mill directly in front of the Manor Hall. 
Three large and half a dozen smaller buildings 
adjoin the mill, while over the roof of the latter 
appears the south front of the Manor House. 
In the right background appears the primitive 
forest, while in the left flows the Hudson, beyond 
which appear the Palisades or " the Rocks on 
the Hudson." The point of view is such that 
the northern wing of the Manor Hall cannot be 


The Manor in Picture and Literature 249 

In the Bicentennial Loan Exhibition held in 
the Manor Hall October 18-28, 1882, there was 
a drawing of the Manor Hall, dated 1850, loaned 
by Mrs. Lyman Cobb, Jr. 

There are many engravings of the Manor Hall, 
all comparatively modem, and almost all repre- 
senting the eastern front. Scharf's " History of 
Westchester County " has engravings represent- 
ing the building as it appeared in 1842 and 
1886. The other Histories of Westchester 
Coimty have pictures of their respective 
periods. Lossing's " Hudson from the Wilder- 
ness to the Sea " has a picture of the period 
of 1866. Mrs. Lamb's article in Appleton's 
Journal, Volume XI, has a woodcut of 1874. 
Irving's " Life of Washington " has a steel 
engraving of the building as it appeared in 1855. 

The Misses Philipse of New York City have 
a charming portrait of Mary Philipse (see plate 
X) painted by John Woolaston, who came over 
from England and pursued his art in New York 
between 1754 and 1757. It was probably 
painted in i7S7. the year before her marriage 
to Roger Morris. 

A portrait of Roger Morris by Benjamin West 
(see plate XII) and a portrait of Mary Philipse 
painted by John Singleton Copley after her 
marriage (see plate XI) are in possession of 
Amherst Morris of England, a great-grandson 
of Col. and Mrs. Morris. Colonel Morris. 

250 Philipse Manor Hall 

is represented in his uniform. His wife 
is depicted in a white satin gown with a 
gold embroidered belt. Around her shoulders 
is draped a spotted pink sUk fichu. Her hair is 
raised over a cushion, a la mode, but is not 
powdered. The painting of this portrait by 
Copley possesses additional interest from the fact 
that Washington sat to Mm in 1755, the year 
before Washington met Mary Philipse. 

Copley married Alice de Lancey of New York 
and was a fashionable portrait painter among 
New York women. His portraits are not only 
valuable as representations of the costumes of 
the period, of which he was a faithful delineator, 
but he, in turn, exercised no little influence over 
the dress of the period. He was a lover of fine 
dress, and not only dressed himself with attention 
to form and color, but also had his own theories 
about women's dress which he carried out elab- 
orately in his pictures. His granddaughter says 
that " the beautiful costumes which we admire 
to-day in the stately portraits of owe grand- 
mothers' times were the results of his combined 
taste and study." He paid scrupulous attention 
to the values of the dress, hair, head-coverings, 
and jewels, and to such deliberately introduced 
features as birds, dogs, sqiiirrels, corsage 
bouquets, etc. 

Copies of the portrait of Colonel Morris by 
West and the portrait of Mrs. Morris by Copley 

The Manor in Picture and Literature 251 

are in Nunbumholme Rectory, York, England, 
and also in possession of their great-grandson, 
Herbert Morris Bower, lately Mayor of Ripon, 
England. To the latter the American Scenic 
and Historic Preservation Society is indebted 
for the photographs made from his copies, which 
photographs now hang in the Manor Hall at 

There are in the New York Historical Society 
two portraits, which the Hon. John DeWitt 
Warner, of New York, formerly counsel for the 
American branch of the PhiUpse family, believes 
to be the likenesses of Col. Frederick Philipse 
(Third Lord of the Manor), and his sister Sus- 
annah, (Mrs. Beverly Robinson). These can- 
vases were given to the Historical Society, 
closely rolled up, by Miss Richard, January 27, 
1873. They are crudely cut from their frames 
and in very bad condition. Miss Richard stated 
that the portraits were presented to her by a 
member of the Hamilton family. The pedigree 
of the paintings, however, is so obscure that the 
Society carries them on its catalogue as " Un- 
named." Mr. Warner's conclusions as to their 
identity are based on the following traditions and 
facts: It is the family tradition that about the 
year 1750, Judge Frederick Philipse (the Second 
Lord of the Manor) had painted the portraits of 
all the living members of the family, namely, 
himself (Judge PhiHpse,) his wife Joanna, his 

252 Philipse Manor Hall 

sons Frederick and Philip, and his daughters 
Susannah, Mary and Margaret, — all in the best 
manner possible. It is said that these portraits 
long adorned the walls of the Yonkers Manor 
House; that some of them were left in the house 
when it was abandoned by the family during the 
Revolution, and that those of Mrs. Joanna 
Philipse and her daughter Susannah were dam- 
aged by slashing and bullets. Up to about 1880 
the family knew only of the portraits of Philip, 
Mary and Margaret. Upon learning of the 
canvases in the Historical Society, Mr. Warner 
examined them with technical assistance and 
became convinced that they were those of Fred- 
erick and Susannah, as before stated. The feat- 
ures of the former closely resembled those of his 
father Judge Philipse and agreed with the family 
tradition of his appearance. An artist skeptic 
having called Mr. Warner's attention to the 
obviously inferior work in a certain part of the 
portrait of Philip as compared with the alleged 
portrait of Frederick, Mr. Warner himself was 
puzzled until he looked at the back of Philip's 
portrait and found the inferior portion to be a 
patch filling a large hole in the original canvas. 
The portrait which is thought to be that of 
Susaimah so closely resembles the known portrait 
of Mary in feature and costume that it was at 
first thought to be a replica of the latter. Expert 
comparison of the technique of execution, the 

The Manor in Picture and Literature 253 

artist's mannerisms, the pigments used, the 
costiraies depicted, etc., and an analysis of the 
known facts concerning the family's portraits, 
have left no doubt in Mr. Warner's mind as to 
the identity of these portraits, although the 
Historical Society still catalogues them as 
" unnamed." 

A portrait of Mary Philipse belonging to 
Augustus Van Cortlandt was exhibited in the 
Manor Hall Bi-centennial Loan Exhibition in 

There is in the Van Cortlandt Mansion in 
Van Cortlandt Park, New York, a water-color 
drawing of a landscape — not the Manor Hall — 
attributed to the brush of Mary Philipse. 

As to the literature of Philipse Manor — the 
Manor at large, the Manor Hall itself, and the 
Philipse family occupy conspicuous places in 
the original contemporary records of the Colony 
and State down to about 1785; in the secondary 
histories of New York City and Westchester 
County written since that date; and in a growing 
number of works of fiction. The Manor Hall is 
mentioned in European guide books for tourists 
to America and also in Baedeker's " United 

Perhaps the best work of fiction dealing directly 
with the Manor Hall is " The Continental 
Dragoon: A Love Story of Philipse Manor 
House in 1778," by Robert Neilson Stephens. 

254 Philipse Manor Hall 

An interesting story for children is "A Loyal 
Little Maid " by Edith Robinson, but it cannot 
be relied on for historical acctiracy. Judge 
T. Astley Atkins, of Yonkers, the delightful 
antiquarian, has in manuscript some twenty- 
five chapters of legends of the vicinity which 
it is to be hoped will be printed. The following 
by him may be fotmd in the Yonkers (N. Y.) 
Statesman (newspaper): "Legend of the Manor 
Well," May 24, 1890; " Mile Square Legends," 
September 4, 1890; "A Legend of the 
Manor: The Secret Closet," May 29, 1891; 
"A Legend of the Nepperhan," October 9, 1891; 
"Tessie Morton: A Legend of the Nepperhan 
Valley" (date tinknown); and "The Under- 
ground Room," about December 9, 191 1. He 
is also the author of two monographs, now out 
of print, entitled "Adriaen van der Donck" and 
"The Manor of Phillipsburg." 

The best work of fiction dealing with the Manor 
at large during the Revolution is " The Spy," 
by J. Fenimore Cooper, a tale of the Neutral 
Ground in 1780. Sabine, in his "American 
Loyalists," and other authors have suggested that 
Mary Philipse was the prototype of the heroine 
Frances Wharton. This can hardly have been 
the case, as Mary Philipse had been married 
twenty-two years at the period of the story. It 
is not tmHkely, however, that the political situa- 
tion of the Philipse family suggested some 

The Manor in Picture and Literature 255 

features of the plot, but the author has so skill- 
fully located the scene elsewhere and taken such 
Hcense with historical facts that he cannot be 
charged with having portrayed any member of 
the Manor Hall family. A like similarity may 
be detected between the clandestine maritime 
ventures of a character in Cooper's " Water 
Witch" (period 171- ) and the alleged traffic 
of the first Lord of the Manor with privateersmen 
and pirates, but by giving his character the title 
of the Patroon of Kinderhook, locating his seat 
farther up the river, and making the period 
subsequent to the first Lord Philipse's death, he 
must be acquitted of an attempt to portray the 
latter worthy, however weU he may have depicted 
the customs of the times. A sequel to Cooper's 
" Spy " will be found in " The Spy Unmasked," 
by H. L. Barnum. For a short story of condi- 
tions in the Manor at large in the Revolution, 
nothing Is more delightful than Irving's 
"Wolfert's Roost." Roe's "Near to Nature's 
Heart " may also be read with pleasure.