Thursday, February 14, 2013

Collateral Discovery

The word is out that, in four years, The Home for the Aged, at the corner of Union and Seventh streets, will close.

In the past, Gossips has reported that The Home was founded in 1883, the idea of twenty-eight Hudson women, one of whom was Anna Bradbury, the author of History of the City of Hudson, New York, who lived her last years at The Home, and that, at the beginning, from 1883 to 1895, The Home rented rooms in this building at Union and Fifth streets before purchasing the home of Robert and Sarah McKinstry, at the corner of Union and Seventh streets, which has been the location of The Home for the past 118 years.

A recent search of the newspapers on Fulton History for more information about The Home uncovered this bizarre story about one of Hudson's more eccentric residents of the past. The story appeared on October 2, 1906, in the New York Herald. It also appeared in the Utica Herald Dispatch, the Oswego Daily Palladium, the Binghamton Press, and the Syracuse Daily Journal, but strangely no mention of it has been discovered in the Hudson Evening Register.


HUDSON, N. Y., Monday--Pots of gold filled with coins dating back to the reign of George III, bearing the date of 1776 and bills tied in knots, stuffed into vases and cups, were found to-day in least expected places of the Robinson homestead here, where four weeks ago neighbors found the body of Miss Frances Carolyn Robinson. Until the hidden money was found it was supposed that Miss Robinson left not more than $6,000, but now with the finding of the concealed treasure the estate is brought up to more than half a hundred thousand dollars. It is estimated that $50,000 was found in the house to-day.

The finding of the hidden treasure will cause a contest of the will that Miss Robinson left. She was an aunt of Dr. Alexander Robinson of New York city, and he with the next of kin will take the matter into the Surrogate's Court on the ground that Miss Robinson was of unsound mind, although she was always regarded as alert in business transactions. The will divides the estate into four equal parts, one to the American Seaman's Friend Society, one to the American Bible Society, a third part to the American Tract Society and the fourth portion to the Hudson Home for the Aged. Already lawyers have been engaged by both sides for the will contest.

Miss Robinson was an odd character, sixty years old and a recluse, known to every one of prominence in the city. It was always supposed that in her early days she had had a romance. Her father was one of the old time clipper ship captains whose boast was the number of trips that he had made around the world. The curios that Captain Robinson picked up in his cruises were many. Among them were the George III coins that formed part of the treasures found to-day.

No one supposed that Miss Robinson has any money to speak of, so that when she was found dead there was no especial activity among the next of kin, outside of having an inventory taken. It was while this inventory was being made that the first jar of coins was discovered under a back staircase. These coins were all at the bottom of the jar and the rest of the space was stuffed with spools and loose thread.

A systematic search of the house was then made. Pitchers filled with coins were found behind doors covered with rags and sacking. Under carpets were found bills tied up and more coins. More money was found over the coping and in the garret. There was hardly a room in the house that did not conceal money. All the property has been turned over to the public administrator.

County Judge Mark Duntz will represent the next of kin when the will comes up for probate in the Surrogate's Court and Smith Thompson, president of the Farmers' National Bank of this city, the executor, has retained Brownell & Tilden who were Miss Robinson's attorneys during her life.

Gossips Note: A search of the Hudson city directories in the History Room at the Hudson Area Library failed to discover the location of "the Robinson homestead," Miss Robinson's home, and has so far not yielded any information about Frances Carolyn Robinson or her next of kin.


  1. I did a little Ancestry searching. Frances might have been older than 60 when she passed. There is a Dr. Alexander L. Robinson, born about 1864, probably in Greenport. His parents were George W. Robinson (born abt 1824 NY) and Cornelia (born abt 1835). They lived in Greenport. There is also a Frances Robinson. Her birth dates vary between 1826-1831 and looks to be a sister of George.

  2. Shutters were such an important design element, the loss of which makes a structure look cold.

  3. @Vincent: Totally agree!

    The building would make a great hotel in the right hands.

  4. You're quite right about the shutters, Vincent. I think that the old habit of having awnings on every window in the summertiime had a similar effect of softening exteriors, especially on brick and stone buildings.

    -- Jock Spivy

  5. A little bird alighted on my transom the other day and tweeted that a certain major real estate holder (not Galloway) was pursuing this property as an hotel. When pressed for details, the avian Mata Hari averred that this person is noted for his alacrity with numbers and has made a business out of it and has a's that for Gossip?