The Delord Family
1764 – 1825
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.
Elizabeth (Betsey) Ketchum
She was born as Elizabeth (Betsey) Ketchum in Redhook, NY, in 1784 to Jospeh and Phoebe Ketchum. Joseph was a veteran of the American Revolution who came to Plattsburgh in the first wave of settlers in 1785. The proprietors put him in charge of the new forge on the Saranac River and he was on his way to becoming one of the new industrialists in the area. But he died suddenly in 1794 while on a business trip to New York City and was buried in Trinity Church yard. He left a widow and three daughters, one of whom was Betsey. Phoebe had three daughters to feed and take care of. When Henry Delord proposed marriage, it probably seemed like a good idea to marry Betsey, who was then 15, to a successful 35-year-old businessman.
Marriages of that age difference were very common back then and quite acceptable. Betsey was well educated, could read and write, and brought to her marriage wide family relationships. She and Henry Delord were married in Peru, NY, in December, 1799. Their first and only child, Frances Henrietta Delord, was born in Plattsburgh in October, 1813. Betsey’s daughter and husband both died before she did. After Henry’s death in 1825, Betsey took over governance of her grand-daughter – Frances (Fanny) Delord Webb – with Fanny’s father Henry Webb.
Betsey remarried to William Swetland, a prominent attorney in Plattsburgh and New York state, on June 6, 1829. He had been a friend of the Delord family prior to Henry’s death. Betsey died in Plattsburgh on May 23, 1870, at the age of 86. To this day, her exact burial site is not known.
Frances Henrietta Delord
This is the wedding portrait of Frances Henrietta Delord, 18 years old. She married Henry Livingston Webb, a 37-year-old merchant from Albany. The wedding took place in the gold parlor room of the Kent-Delord Housek on July 18, 1832. The wedding dress, which cost the unheard of sum at that time of $47.19, is still in the museum collection.
After the wedding, she and Henry went on a year’s honeymoon in Europe. When they returned, she was pregnant and they returned to Albany where Henry was having a house built On February 11, 1834, Frances Henrietta delivered a healthy child, Frances Delord Webb (Fanny). She was ill for three weeks of childbed fever and Frances Henrietta died on March 15, 1834 at the age of 20. She was buried in Albany. Her death was a devastating loss to the family.
This is one of two portraits of Henry Livingston Webb in the museum collection. He was born April 5, 1795, ninth of ten surviving children of Joseph Webb Jr. and Abigail Chester, both of whose portraits are hanging in the museum. The Webb family was established in Hartford, CT, and George Washington stayed in the home of Henry Webb’s parents in May of 1781 to plan the Yorktown Campaign with Gen. Rochambeau. Henry was in the import-export business of china porcelain and crockery in Albany, NY. He met Frances Henrietta Delord while she was on a trip to Albany to visit friends. They were married on August 13, 1832 and went on a honeymoon trip to Europe.
Upon their return, she was pregnant with child and delivered her daughter, Frances Delord Webb in 1834 in Albany. The mother, Frances Henrietta, died three weeks later of childbed fever. Henry Webb’s young daughter was taken to Plattsburgh by her maternal grandmother Betsey Delord, for her first four years. Henry then moved Frances (Fanny) to the home of his maiden sisters in Hartford, where they saw to her education and finishing as a young woman. Henry’s health deteriorated and he sold his Albany store in 1844, ten years after the death of his wife, Frances Henrietta. He died in Hartford on October 12, 1846.
Frances (Fanny) Delord Webb
Born Frances Delord Webb in Albany, NY, she was the grand-daughter of Henry Delord. Her parents were Henry Webb and Frances Henrietta Delord. She is in her early 20’s in this painting. She was to marry Francis Hall of Hartford, CT. Her family, the Webbs, also were from Hartford. Both the Halls and the Webbs were wealthy, and both Frank and Fanny, as they were to be known, inherited much of their wealth. They never had to work for a living as we know it today. Fanny and Frank devoted their lives to community service. She lived out her adult life in Plattsburgh, NY, and was the last family member to live in the Kent-Delord House. She died there in 1913. She had no children.
Francis (Frank) Bloodgood Hall
This photograph of Francis (Frank) Bloodgood Hall was taken in 1856 with Fannie for their wedding portrait. He was born in New York on November 16, 1827, the son of Major Nathaniel Nye Hall and Margaret Bloodgood. Frank grew up in Hartford, CT, and Schenectady, NY. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and was a Presbyterian minister all of his life.
He married Frances (Fanny) Delord Webb on May 14, 1856. Frank was a chaplain for the 16th New York Regiment during the Civil War. He kept an extensive journal describing his camp life during the war. He refused any pay for service to his country. He was at the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancelorsville, and Salem Heights, VA. At Salem Heights he rode his horse out onto the battlefield to rescue wounded soldiers, and he was later awarded the Medal of Honor by Congress for that bravery in combat. After the war, he and Fanny returned to Plattsburgh and he established the Peristrome Presbyterian Church.
He was active in the Plattsburgh community and every year took a long hike in the Adirondack Mountains with friends. He was a minister to the prisoners at Dannemora state prison; a member of the State Charities Aid Association; an advocate for Fresh Air Children; and a frequent visitor to soldiers at the Plattsburgh Barracks. He joined his wife in the production of Fanoline skin salve. Frank died at the Kent-Delord House on October 4, 1903.
Mehitabel Nott married Jospeh Webb Sr. in 1749. He died in 1761. They were the parents of Joseph Webb Jr. who married Abigail Chester in 1774. Mehitabel later married a lawyer, Silas Deane, in 1763. They had one son, Jesse Deane. Mehitabel died in 1767. In 1769, Deane married another rich widow, Elizabeth Saltonstall Evards. Silas Deane served in the First Continental Congress and was later sent as an agent to France to secure arms and support for the American revolutionary cause. In this portrait, Mehitabel is seen with her son Jesse, age 2. She is holding a book and has her elbow on another book, indicating that she is a literate woman who can read and write. There is a parrot on her knee, an exotic bird, indicating that she has the wealth for exotic things.
Abigail Chester Webb was the wife of Joseph Webb, Jr., and the mother of Henry Webb. Henry married Frances Henrietta Delord, their daughter was Frances Delord Webb. Abigail was the grandmother of Frances Delord Webb, who was later to be known as Fanny Hall.