Saturday, December 24, 2016

N. C. Folger: An Afterword

For most of the month of December, Gossips has been reporting information uncovered about Nathan Cyprian Folger, a Hudson native who spent most of his adult life in New Orleans. On December 6, we told about the "new wholesale clothing manufactory" that N. C. Folger established here in Hudson in June 1857, in partnership with James Clark, to supply his retail clothing establishment in New Orleans. 

A major line of clothing sold by N. C. Folger's Clothing Store was "plantation goods." One type of "plantation goods" was something described as "Negro Traders' Clothing"--what slaves were dressed in for market day.

An article about Folger and Clark's enterprise in Hudson, which appeared in the Daily Star, reveals that "Negro Traders' Clothing" was exactly what was being manufactured here in 1857, at the corner of Warren and Fourth streets, in the building that is now Face Stockholm: "Among other things we noticed several hundred suits of coarse blue satinett, designed for slaves, as market day attire. The vests are of a uniform style, colored and figured up to the highest standard of negro taste."

We also reported that in September 1861, five months after the Civil War began, a federal marshal shut down the operation here in Hudson and seized "merchandise, money, and other property." According to the item that appeared in the New-York Daily Tribune, there was evidence that the manufactory had been "for some time furnishing clothing, hardware and other contraband articles to the rebels."

In reporting the incident a week or so later, the Red Hook Weekly Journal speculated that the manufactory would soon be reopened because "we hear it asserted that Mr. Folger has no interest whatever in the establishment." On January 1, 1962, James Clark issued this notice, which appeared for several consecutive days in the Daily Star.
All of this has been shared before, but it is repeated now to provide background for the latest discovery. On the suggestion of a Gossips reader, I contacted Joseph Gatti, historian for the Town of Livingston, who told me an amazing story and gave me permission to share it.

Once upon a time, there was a building at the corner of Warren and Fifth streets, where the vacant lot is now. The building, remembered as Charlie's Corner, was destroyed by fire. When the ruins of this building were being taken down and the lot cleared, which Gatti remembers as happening in 1977, he was part of the crew doing the cleanup. When they were working in the cellar, they discovered a door that opened into a room under street. In that room was a chair, and on the chair were gray uniforms--Confederate Army uniforms. 

Gatti has no idea what happened to the uniforms after he and his coworkers came upon them. Another mystery is why, if they were made in Clark and Folger's manufactory at Warren and Fourth street, they ended up being stashed in an underground hidey-hole a block away at Warren and Fifth.


  1. Speaking of "hidey-hole" I checked out the corner building before FACE purchased it. On the top floor was a rather insignificant door that opened up to a narrow maize of staircases that ran between the adjoining townhouse. Allegedly back in prohibition days that was the escape route from the ballroom to S. 4th street.

  2. This is very timely for me! Thank you. I am working on gathering any information I can on abolitionists in the area. Interesting to see the 'opposite' also going on.