A reader recently told me that the building we fondly remember as the General Worth Hotel didn't always have that name. In the beginning, it was known as Badgley's Mansion House.
Although I was surprised to hear this, it makes perfect sense. The Greek Revival building that became known as the General Worth Hotel was built in 1837. At that time, William Jenkins Worth was building a reputation as a military tactician, but he wasn't yet the national hero that he would ultimately become. In 1837, Worth was fighting the Second Seminole War in Florida (1835-1842), during which, in 1838, he was promoted to colonel of the Eighth Infantry.
Worth achieved the rank of major-general, his highest rank, in 1846, during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). When the war was over, he commanded the army's Department of Texas and died of cholera in San Antonio on May 17, 1849.
After his death in Texas, Worth's body was temporarily interred in Brooklyn, and on November 25, 1857, he was buried, with great ceremony, beneath this monument at the intersection of Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and 25th Street in New York City. The ceremony included a procession that involved no fewer than 6,500 soldiers. It seems likely that, after all the pomp and circumstance in New York City, it occurred to folks in Hudson that it might be a nice idea to name the city's major hotel after its most illustrious native son.
All this background is by way of introduction to two advertisements that appeared in Hudson newspapers in 1842. Both make reference to Badgley's Mansion House, and both provide a little window into what life was like 170 years ago.
COFFINS, SHROUDS, &c. -- The public will please bear in mind that the only regular assortment of Coffins, Shrouds, Caps, Collars, Coffin-plates, &c. kept in this city, is at HEDGES' OLD STAND, opposite Badgley's Mansion House, and for cash, the cheapest.
LEECHES! LEECHES! -- Very fine, healthy European Leeches, just receeived and for sale, or carefully applied, by MORRIS DWIRE, next door above Badgley's Mansion House.