Henry Delord

Henry Delord

    This is the only known portrait of Henry Delord, painted when he was about 54 years old.  Henry had this portrait, and those of his wife Betsey Delord and their 9-year-old daughter Frances Henrietta Delord, commissioned to send back to his family in France, whom he had not seen for almost 20 years.  Henry (Henri) was born to a middle to upper class family in the southern French city of Nismes on July 15, 1764.  At the age of 20 he emmigrated to the island of Martinique in the French West Indies.  He worked on his uncle's sugar plantation, later moving to the island of St.Lucia.  Henry's crops were cotton and sugar cane and his labor was provided by his numerous slaves.  When the turmoil from the French Revolution, and war with England, caused an uprising among the slave population, Henry fled to the United States.  He traveled to northern New york as a land agent for Bernardous Swartout, a large landholder.  Henry soon settled in the Quaker establishment in the town of Peru, about 10 miles south of Plattsburgh, NY.  In 1799, Henry married Betsey Ketchum.  He was 35, she was 15.  In 1810 he bought the cottage and three acres of land in Plattsburgh owned by Judge James Kent, who was later to become the first Chancellor of New York State.  Henry was seeking a home closer to the hub of commerce in Plattsburgh and the shipping on Lake Champlain.  In 1811 and 1812 he expanded the home to the full-size Federal-style house that exists today.  Henry became a gentleman farmer, experimenting with many herbs and vegetables.  He established the Red Store on his property, selling everything from lumber to liquor to lace.  Prior to the Battle of Plattsburgh in 1814, Henry was persuaded by General Macomb to extend credit to the officers and enlisted men stationed in Plattsburgh.  This led to his undoing as he was left with a fortune in paper IOU's that he was never able to collect after the War of 1812.  A broken man, he died at the age of 61 in 1825.  He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Plattsburgh.

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