Update on the Caldwell War of 1812 Papers

A portion of a letter in the Caldwell family collection.

I wanted to give an update to the Caldwell family War of 1812 preservation project that I have been a part of.  The digitization was completed some time ago and I finished the transcription for the Moffat Library this past January.  Everything was put together, finalized, and the papers are now available for FREE online at the Hudson River Valley Heritage site (hrvh.org).

There is a super neat twist to this tale though that didn’t get published but I wanted to share here.  The Quassaick Chapter, NSDAR, that I am a part of, received their charter in a ceremony in 1893 at the Hasbrouck House, better known as Washington’s Headquarters, in Newburgh, NY.  So the Headquarters has special meaning for us, especially since we’re celebrating our 125th anniversary this year as a chapter.  Andrew Caldwell, one of the authors of the Caldwell papers, was one of the key proponents in preserving the Hasbrouck House (aka Washington’s Headquarters) after it went into default and went up for public auction in Goshen.  A bank bought the house but State Commissioner Andrew Caldwell petitioned then Governor Fish of NY that the Headquarters should be saved and preserved.  Governor Fish approved the idea, and arranged to pay the bank off.  The loan was paid off and the state took possession of the house in 1850.

So, in essence, Andrew Caldwell preserved the Headquarters, allowing us to have our chapter inauguration there in 1893, so just seems appropriate that we as a chapter should be the ones to fund the preservation of his family papers from 206 years ago.

Below is the press release I issued for our chapter and the library.

Joint War of 1812 Preservation Project Complete

 

Newburgh, New York– The Quassaick Chapter, NSDAR, and the Moffat Library of Washingtonville recently completed a year-long project to preserve and digitize a set of four letters belonging to the Caldwell family of Blooming Grove from the War of 1812 era.  The library has other letters from the family that had been previously transcribed by the Blooming Grove Town Historian, but these are the first letters to be digitized and put online for public view.

 

These letters relate to Captain Richard Caldwell, who died at Plattsburgh, New York, during the early months of the war. The collection includes his officer’s commission from John Chrystie, requesting him to raise a company of men from Blooming Grove, New York, to serve in the 25th U.S. Regiment. There is a poignant letter from his brother Andrew to Ensign George McChain, 25th U.S., inquiring into the circumstances and final moments of his brother’s death.  The final two letters from William Caldwell, and Andrew J. Caldwell relate to the retrieving Richard’s possessions and transferring power of attorney following his death.  The collection also contained a collection of newspapers that featured articles about the descendants of the Caldwell family and their legacy in Orange County.

 

As a multi-step project, in March 2017, Matthew Thorenz, head of Reference and Adult Services of the Moffat Library, and the chapter’s Public Relations chair, Jill Moore, transferred the collection into new acid-free preservation sleeves and boxes that the chapter had provided through the project’s funding grant. The digitization process began in April 2017 through Hudson Archival in Port Ewan and transcription was provided by Jill Moore, who is also a professional genealogist, in January. The letters and their transcriptions became publicly viewable on April 5th, 2018, through hosting by the Hudson River Valley Heritage (hrvh.org), and can be found by searching for “Caldwell Family” in the digital collection section for the Moffat Library.

 

The Moffat Library and the Quassaick Chapter, NSDAR, are extremely proud of this patriotic preservation endeavor and invite the public to visit the Hudson River Valley Heritage website to view these glimpses into Orange County’s history.

 

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