The Renwick Clifton House is a southern style mansion, built in 1812. The four Doric columns, which remain in the front of the house today, were originally made from the masts of an old sailing ship. The property once encompassed over 6 acres, inclusive of a carriage house. The carriage house is now a private residence and approximately 5 acres remain a part of this estate.
Situated above the Esopus on the south side of the Saugerties Creek, where the creek joins the Hudson River, the property taughts one of the finest views of the Hudson River. On a clear day you can see beyond Catskill. During their existence the Catskill, Prospect Park and Kaaterskill Mountain Houses were all in clear view.
It is assumed that John Watts Kearny was the original owner of this 1812 dwelling, located at 27 Barclay Street in the Village of Saugerties, NY.
John was a well respected NYC merchant. His father was a very wealthy Irishman and heir to the Garrison estate. They were also progenitors of the Kearny family, inclusive of General Kearny and Commodore Kearny.
Together with his brother Philip, he sold various merchandise on commission. His predominant trade was in Antwerp, where Kearny was a large shipper of produce.
When Napoleon Bonaparte issued the Berlin and Milan decrees and confiscated all the property he could find, Mr. Kearny and his brother were large sufferers. Many of their ships and thousands of dollars worth of their produce was confiscated.
Even after the devastation of Napoleon, John Kearny continued as a successful merchant in NYC, continuing to trade and sell produce as well as invest in ships.
John Kearny married Ann Watts, the daughter of Robert Watts and Lady Mary Alexander. Robert Watts was the son of John Watts, one of the most affluent NYC merchants of his time. Lady Mary Alexander was the daughter of General William Alexander (Lord Stirling) and Sarah Livingston, of the Livingston Family.
In 1830, he took up full time residence in his summer home, which is now “The Renwick Clifton House B&B. He resided at this residence until his death in December 1849.
While residing in Saugerties, John Kearny joined forces with his good friend and brother in law Henry Barclay. Henry Barclay was married to Catherine Watts, sister of Ann Watts.
John Kearny assisted Henry Barclay in the creation of dams and mills in the Saugerties area. The brothers in law were also responsible for the erection of the Trinity Church, located on Burt Street, also known as 9W.
Furthermore, John assisted Henry in taking Saugerties NY from a population of 700 to 7,000 inhabitants.
Ann Watts died at the young age of 36. John Kearny remarried Eliza Hammeken. Eliza was the daughter of George Louis Hammeken of Tunis, Africa and Elizabeth Ogden, of New Jersey.
There were many children produced during the course of both marriages.
Many of the Kearney’s were laid to rest in the Trinity Church Cemetery, located just down the street from the property, on Trinity Place.
The Kearny family owned the property for close to 76 years.
In 1888, Edmund Abdy Hurry purchased the property as a summer home. The Hurry family was one of the most distinguished (by way of lineage) families in NYC. Mr. Hurry was of direct decent from Gabrielle Clifton of West Yarmouth, Norfolk England, Murices Hares of Hurtmonceaux, Lord Salisbury, Baron Andreson, and prominent families such as Ives, Washington, Crosby, Adams, Morse, Floyd.
Mr. Hurry was an established NYC attorney with connections to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1862, during the Civil war, Mr. Hurry volunteered as a night nurse to the wounded and sick soldiers at Bellevue and other hospitals in NYC.
Edmund Hurry was married to Emily Ashdon Renwick, daughter of William Rhinelander Renwick (the sole owner of Glenerie, just outside of the Saugerties Township) and Eliza Smeads Crosby. Eliza Smeads Crosby was the sister of Chancellor Howard Crosby and a relative of John Adams.
Both the Hurry family and the Renwick family had close relationships with George Washington. Mrs. Hurry’s great grandfather was the surgeon to General Washington’s guard during the revolutionary war. Renwick Clifton Hurry, son of Edmund and Emily, later married Lucy Washington-Morse a direct decent from Samuel Washington, brother of George Washington.
Mrs. Edmund Abdy Hurry is also fourth in decent from General William Floyd, a signer of the declaration of Independence for the state of New York. In addition, Mrs. Hurry was a descendant of the Ives family of Courier and Ives.
It is note worthy to add that the late Dr Atkins was a distant cousin of Edmund Hurry.
Edmund and Emily produced 7 children, (2 boys and 5 girls) Renwick, Edith, Bessy, Helen, Mary, Rutgers and Emily.
The Hurry’s provided the house with its original name. They named the house "Clifton" because of its setting above the Esopus Creek overlooking the Hudson River and also as a tribute to Mr. Hurry’s family lineage, which includes the Clifton family coat of arms.
The Hurry family retained ownership of the home up through 1980. Aline Kent Hurry was the last of the Hurry’s to reside in the home. She died in 1976. She was 91 years of age upon her death. The house eventually fell into great disrepair.
In 1980, after 92 years of occupancy, the Hurry family relinquished ownership to John Cleplif and Carlos Ordoneze, who owned the house for a brief 3 year period.
In 1983 Roy and Mary Ickes purchased “Clifton”. Roy and Mary rescued the house from its then state of utter disrepair. It was apparent that the couple developed a deep affection for the property during their ownership. They made great efforts towards resurrecting and gathering the history affiliated with the house; much of which they left with us, upon their departure. The Ickes shared their home with many artist and musicians within the community, opening the house to concerts and art shows on many occasions.
November of 2004 was the beginning of a new chapter, for this grand home, so rich in history. The Renwick Clifton House Bed and Breakfast, owned and operated by proprietors Eric and Miriam Adams, was established. After two pain staking years of renovating, the house has been lovingly restored to beyond its original grandeur. We would like to extend our hospitality, as those who lived here before us did. Please come and visit. Experience history of the past and be a part of history in the making.