The Hallenbecks of Athens

The following Historical Sketch was published in the Examiner on 21 June 1884. It was titled The Hallenbecks of Athens". It was published with a leading line stating "for the Examiner" and signed only as: "Yours Truly, An Athenian"

Retyped by Sidney S. Castle


The Hallenbecks of Athens

Mr. Editor-From time to time your columns have been enriched with historical sketches, and I trust, this portraiture of the Hallenbeck race in Greene County may not be without some form of charm or attraction for the general reader. It is perhaps needless to say that the Hallenbecks are justly proud of their Holland origin and blood. It appears from the light of tradition that three brothers in the early part of the last century, enkindled with stories and dreams of the New World, left the shores of the dear old fatherland and embarked for the beautiful banks of the Hudson River , two of them settling in Columbia, but the third in Greene County. Of the latter’s three sons the historic lines are too faded and indistinct for character painting, yet one, William by name, transmitted undimmed the luster and dignity of an unblemished ancestry by bequeathing to the world a justly famous son, Isaac Hallenbeck, born in 1749.

Isaac Hallenbeck

In this gallery of family portraits he takes a prominent place. In youth exceptionally bright, and as a man wise to plan and quick to execute, with a keen, large appetite for business and a strong grasp of success, beginning life with scant means and a small grocery, his career until he became the processor of a fine estate and the founder in 1791 of the celebrated Black Horse Inn, known from Canada to Maryland. Located on the King’s road, this noted hostlery was a frequent stopping place for the distinguished Gov. Geo. Clinton, who on one occasion, said that in all his travels he had met with no farmer so intelligent and well-read as the subject under consideration. Honest, unflecked with a single stain of ill-gotten gain, highly respected by all who knew him, diligent in business to a remarkable degree, Isaac H. died in 1833 at the ripe old age of 84, leaving behind him an untarnished name and a bright, stimulating memory. He lived in happy wedlock with Mary Van Hoesen. His daughter, Hannah, won a social triumph in entering the matrimonial bonds with Major Van Loan. Of his three sons, Wm. I., Isaac Jr., and Casper I., none grew into such prominence and esteem as the last named one whom we must per force devote a paragraph.

Casper I. Hallenbeck

Having been nicely dowered by thrifty parents hands with an inheritance, he began life well equipped for achievement. Making the large farm on King’s road his pivotal point for gathering a fortune, by diligence and economy he accumulated quite a property. Through sensitivity shy of mixing in politics, he was crowned by his fellow-citizens with positions of honor and trust. In widely scattered maps and charts his surveying skill is still splendidly attested. Sweet in disposition, proverbial for his readiness to assist the needy, unexcelled as a man of affairs, alive to the interests of Zion and ambitious for God, foremost in the Lutheran church as a pillar of counsel and support, living a life of strict, flawless integrity, he passed into the skies on April 6, 1865 at the age of 82. To him belongs the credit of having been the main mover in the rebuilding of the present edifice of the Athens Lutheran church. Casper I.’s first wife was Rebecca, daughter of John Van Schaack of Coxsackie. The fruit of this marriage were Mary, John I., Isaac C., and Aaron. His second wife was, Anna, daughter of Abram Hallenbeck, Coxsackie, gave birth to Rebecca and Marcus E. and his third wife, Gertrude daughter of Abram Hallenbeck, Coxsackie, died without issue. Here, in somewhat statistical form, follow branchings of the family tree:

Mary, the oldest child and daughter, married Henry Hallenbeck of Athens; her four children respectively being Jehoiakim, John, Rebecca, Christina.

Isaac C., born June 20, 1812, married Catherine Jansen; Coxsackie, Three children, viz.: Jemima, Edgar, Millard T..

Aaron married Catherine Spoor, and lives in Troy. Two children-Casper and Anna.

Marcus E. married Mary C. Hizeerd. Five children-Edwin C., Anna P., William, Agnes, Rebecca. Marcus E. lives on a well-tilled farm of 172 acres, adjoining W. P. Hallenbeck, and counts a host of warmly attracted friends.

John I. married Anna Maria, daughter of Ebert Clough Oct 30, 1883. Eight children- Rebecca Eliza, Calvin, Casper I., Gertrude Maria, Warren, Arabella, Watson and Mary. Arabella died May 1, 1864, Casper I. married Mary E. Stevens; one child, George Hudson. Gertrude Maria married Chas. C. Stevens, Warren married Jane L. Spoor; five children, J. Frank, Barnett, Grace, Clarence, Laverne.

Of the sons of Casper I., none have carved out for themselves a career more signal and significant than John I., born June 10, 1810. Frail, feeble, wasted and pain-worn in boyhood from a disease that baffled the knowledge and skill of medical science, suffering thus until manhood an almost insupportable illness, he started life on the Clough farm, and there he has uninterruptedly lived for the last fifty years and amassed his wealth. He owns between five and six hundred acres of valuable land; but beyond even this area of productive soil, his enterprising nature out into a number of other capital investments. Modest to a fault, rich in quaint, pithy, striking sayings, a lover of the great in literature and men, alive to the events of the hour as a young, unwearible brain, just and even-handed in all his concerns, quick and generous in helping others, held in high esteem by everybody, holding several times the office of supervisor and other positions of grave public trust, he has earned for himself a name and character of which his posterity may well feel proud. On Dec 21st., 1878, his much lamented wife, Anna Maria, passed into the spirit-world.

Prentiss W. Hallenbeck

This sketch of the Athens Hallenbecks would not be complete without suitable mention of Prentiss W., youngest son of Wm. I. * and Rachel De Groat, born April 3, 1828 and married to Elizabeth Sager, Oct. 30, 1850. Five children survive the wife and mother who died March 13, 1871. Children-Ann Elizabeth, Wm. I., Rachel Viola, Francis and Garrio S.. Prentiss W. resides in the old Hallenbeck homestead built by his grandfather Isaac in 1791 on the old King’s road leading from Albany to Jersey City and know as the once famous Black Horse Inn. Named after the eloquent rector of Trinity church at Athens, reared under the influences of an intelligent and pious mother, full of business tact and talent, popular in political circles, expert in cultivating large tracts of land, twice elected supervisor, in 1864 raised to a seat in the Assembly, Justice of the Peace for years, in Summer, prettily and sumptuously housed in a villa among the Catskills, carrying considerable wealth in bond and mortgages, he has cut quite a conspicuous figure in the township.

                                                                        Yours truly, An Atherian

* Wm. I.’s children

1. Mary who married John H. Lampman; dead
2. Albert who resides at Wallingford, Conn.
3. Isaac who resides at Brooklyn, NY.
4. Rebecca, wife of Peter Day; dead
5. Casper W., died Nov. 5, 1873
6. Prentiss WS.

Wm. I., born Feb. 9, 1789, on the Hallenbeck homestead, was married to Rachel, daughter of Cornelius Degroat on Oct. 12, 1809. Wm. I., died April 1, 1849, aged 60 years and his wife Rachel April 3, 1877, aged nearly 84 years.


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