Ingraham Farmstead

A number of years ago, I researched a particular piece of property, that contained the remnants of an old farmstead. Cartographic research indicates that the farmstead was owned by Cornelius Ingram [sic] (Ingraham) from 1850 until the third quarter of the 19th century, when it passed, by either sale or inheritance, to D. VanVoorhies [VanVoorhies]. The house appears on both the 1903 and the 1943 USGS topographical maps of the area, indicating that it was still standing and, was presumably occupied through the first part of the 20th century.

At the time, I was conducting the research the foundations of the house and a second structure, subsequently identified as a carriage house, were all that was left of the farm complex. There was scant evidence of the dwelling, consisting of some siding and a few bricks from the chimney, which was located on the east side of the field stone house foundation. The front entrance to the house was identified by the heavy stone sill that spanned an opening in the foundation. An examination of the foundation, constructed of dry-laid fieldstone, indicates that there was a cellar under a portion of the house that may have been accessed from the exterior. It is likely that the cellar hole extended under only a portion of the house, which, based on the observation of a number of broken stoneware storage vessels and a stoneware jug on the north side of the house foundation, may have extended northward to a field stone retaining wall that is interpreted as part of a building foundation. The farm road that provides access to the Ingraham farmstead is lined with stonewalls. The location of the house, in what appears to be the interior of the farm, is of interest, since early houses are typically located adjacent to highways for easy access to neighbors and settled areas.

In the 1850 census, taken the same year that the map was published, Cornelius Ingraham is listed as being 48 or 49 years of age, suggesting that he was born between 1801 and 1802. He is listed as a farmer by occupation. He resided with two males, who are listed as his sons, James W. and Barny (Barry) D. Neither of his daughters are listed in the 1850 census; it is possible that the older could have married and moved from home, but it is unlikely that the younger one had done so, being at the most 15 years of age in 1850. It is possible that one or both of the girls had died, along with his wife, who is also not included in the census.  There is no valuation indicated for the Cornelius Ingraham farm, which may suggest that he occupied the farm as a tenant to his father, but it may also be an oversight.  The farm owned by John Ingraham was valued at $6,000.00.

In 1858, the next year for which a map is available, a J. Ingram is shown living northwest of the C. Ingram farmstead. The dwelling is situated in the interior of the site a circumstance that is unusual in the early and mid-19th century. It is assumed that this is the residence of the John Ingraham, who is listed directly below Cornelius Ingraham in the 1840 Federal census. While it is possible that there could be some peculiarity concerning the order in which the families were visited, the fact that these two families are listed one after the other suggests that they were near neighbors. John Ingraham is listed in the 1840 census as being between the ages of 50-60, making him old enough to be Cornelius’ father. Another male, between the ages of 20 and 30, resided in his household, along with three females aged: 50-60 (John’s wife Sarah), 20-30 and 15-20 (his daughters).  Although the second male is not identified in this census, research in subsequent years indicates that this is his son John C. Ingraham. Other near neighbors to Cornelius Ingraham, according to the map research, included D. VanVoohies, to the southeast, T. Drake to the northeast, and W. Pauling, on the farm occupied by W. Armstrong in 1850, to the southwest.

Although a farm owned by Cornelius Ingraham is shown on the 1867 map, he does not appear in the 1860 census. The reason for this is unknown, but among the possibilities, is that the family was away from home at the time that the census was taken. His father, John Ingraham, and his mother, Sarah, along with Sarah Gidley and Sarah E. Gidley are listed in that census, where Sarah E. Gidley, who at 17 was identified as a school teacher.  John Ingraham’s farm is valued at $3,000, significantly less than in 1850.  His personal estate was valued at $650.00.  As noted, it is possible that the land had become devalued for some reason, but more probable that this reflects a reduction in the size of John Ingraham’s farm through division or, less likely, sale.  John Ingraham died in 1865, several months after the death of this wife, and on the 1867, according to the F. W. Beers’ map of Dutchess County, the farm was owned by Daniel S. Ingraham, who was his grandson. In the 1860 census, Daniel, who was 14 years of age, lived with his family, which was headed by John C. Ingraham, a son of John Ingraham.

In 1870, Cornelius Ingraham again appears in the census records, where he is listed as a farmer, who was 63 years of age. His wife, Martha, then aged 41 years, is listed as keeping house. The difference in age, along with the presence of his sons and the absence of a woman identified as a wife in the household in 1850, strongly suggests that Martha was his second wife.  Cornelius Ingraham’s farm is valued at $3,500.00 and his personal estate at $700.00.  We do not have the average farm value for   in 1870, but assuming that a deflation in land values had not taken place, the value of the farm suggests that Cornelius Ingraham’s family could have been suffering from economic pressures. Daniel S. Ingraham, who was then 24, occupied the J. Ingraham farm northwest of the Cornelius Ingraham farmstead, with his wife, Emma, who was 23 years of age.  His farm was valued at $4,500.00 and his personal estate at $1,200.00, more than his uncle. Cornelius Ingraham must have died between the time the census was taken and 1876, when the farm was owned or at least occupied by D. VanVoorhies. The farm previously owned by Daniel S. Ingraham was now owned by John Young. The earlier census data indicated that D. VanVoorhies owned the farm southeast of C. Ingraham, and while it is possible that D. VanVoorhies purchased the Ingraham farm, it is possible that a member of the VanVoorhies family had married a daughter of C. Ingraham, who inherited her father’s farm. John Young, the occupant of the Daniel S. Ingraham farm, was listed in the 1850 census as a shoemaker along with his wife, Mary, daughters Hannah and Sarah, who were 8 and 3 respectively, and a son, Isaac, aged 15. It is not possible to confirm from the census data available that John’s wife, Mary, was a member of the Ingraham family, but it is possible, given that they were living on property that had belonged to the Ingraham family.  Deed research would help to clarify the question, but, speaking more generally, rural families would tend to divide and subdivide their holding to provide land for their children.  In the case of the Dutch families, the estate was equally divided between the male and female children, while in English families primogeniture was generally the rule, though exceptions can be found. It may be that the Ingraham family was providing for its daughters and their husbands, as well as for their sons.  The fact that the Daniel S. Ingraham farm had changed hands is supported by the fact that in the 1880 Federal census Daniel S. Ingraham is listed as a storekeeper.

Cornelius Ingraham’s wife, Martha, is not listed in the 1880 census, but because of her age, it can be assumed that she was still living, so perhaps she had moved away or remarried. In 1880, John C. Ingraham still owned the farm in Pleasant Valley.  John Young, occupant of the Daniel S. Ingraham farm, is listed in the 1880 census as 65 years of age, a farmer living with his wife Mary. There is no indication of the value of the farm at the time.

Historic topographical maps indicate that the Ingraham/VanVoorhies farmstead stood until at least 1943.  Unfortunately, these maps do not indicate the names of the owners at this time. Cemetery records indicate the Daniel VanVoorhies died in 1877, and his wife three years later in 1880 after the census was taken. At present, we do not know the owner of the farm following the death of Daniel and his wife, but, given the size of the VanVoorhies family, it is not unlikely that the farm remained in the family. The cemetery records do not list John Young or his wife Mary; however, in 1850 they were in their mid thirties, so by 1900 they would most likely have been deceased. They are listed in the 1850 census as having daughters, but by the 1860’s these children were no longer at home, and it is possible they had married, as they are not in the later census records. While it is possible that after John Young died the house passed to one of his son-in-laws, this cannot be confirmed based on the available data.


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