Another Clarke Family Residence in NY

From Hyde Hall Facebook Archives, 2010

Hyde Hall isn’t the first of the Clarke family residences built in upstate New York. In Fort Plain, for instance, once stood Clarke Hall, the summer residence of George Clarke, acting royal governor of New York, and his wife, the former Anne Hyde, daughter of a royal governor of North Carolina. They were the paternal great grandparents of the builder of Hyde Hall and had Clarke Hall built around 1738 overlooking Otsquago Creek, close to the Mohawk River.

A history of Fort Plain describes the house as being of “considerable pretension,” adding it was “two stories, with a hall passing through the center and large square rooms on either side. The second floor was reached by a broad stairway, with white oak bannisters and easy steps of the same material.

The house had a frontage of nearly 40 feet and its walls were built of a slaty stone taken from the bed of the neighboring Otsquago.”

Clarke’s wife died in 1740, and he apparently sold Clarke Hall shortly before returning to England in 1745. Eventually the house was torn down by a later owner, though its foundations, cellar, and cellar fireplace are now part of the Fayant house, shown here.


Major Edward Clarke (1716-1776)


So just how did the Clarke family’s Jamaica connections begin? A major link in this highly renumerative chain was the fortuitous marriage of this red-coated gentleman, paternal grandfather of Hyde Hall’s builder, George Clarke: Major Edward Clarke (1716 — 1776).

Third son of George Clarke, acting royal governor of New York, and a grandson of Edward Hyde, royal governor of North Carolina, he took as his bride, around 1741, Elizabeth Haughton (ca. 1711 — 1764), third daughter and co-heiress of the Jamaica planter Col. James Guthrie. More significantly she was the third wife and widow of sugar baron Col. Richard Haughton, who died in 1740, five years after their marriage, leaving Elizabeth with a significant portion of his fortune and a young son, Samuel Williams Haughton (1738 — 1793, later Speaker of the Jamaica Assembly).

The Clarkes apparently lived in Jamaica for a significant portion of their marriage and had two children: George Hyde Clarke (1742 — 1824), the reprobate of Hyde Hall in Cheshire, and Ann Clarke (ca. 1744 — 1763), who died at age 17 and whose memorial inscription describes her as “their beautiful daughter.”

This painting of Edward Clarke is in the possession of a descendant in England.

Portrait of Jane Storrs Cooper Worthington


The magnificent full-length portrait of Jane Storrs Cooper Worthington (1843-63) was commissioned by her husband, John Worthington, in 1865.   Painted by German artist Carl Ludwig Brandt, the portrait shows “Jenny” standing on the rocks at Newport, Rhode Island with the sea roaring behind her.    Its large scale (102” tall X 76” wide) is appropriate for display in the kind of huge space such as one finds in the drawing room or dining room at Hyde Hall.  We are very pleased to accept this portrait on loan from the Cooper Family. Jane Storrs Cooper Worthington was the grand-daughter of Ann Low Cary Cooper Clarke (1783-1850), whose husband, George Clarke, built Hyde Hall.

Portrait of George Clarke by William Henry Powell


George Clarke, Jr.

Detail from a Portrait of George Clarke, (1822-1889)
This portrait is contained in a rectangular gilt frame;  subject of portrait is a young man in sailor outfit.

In a letter dated 1839 he talks of posing for the picture and asks his mother to bring his patent leather belt and straw hat the next time she comes to New York since he will need them for the portrait.

Portrait of George Clarke by William Henry Powell

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