HISTORY ...The Constable Family
Constable Hall is a limestone mansion that remained in the family for five generations before being preserved as a historic home, containing memories from seven generations.
Five generations of the Constable family have lived at Constable Hall from 1819 until the sale of the estate in 1948 for its specific restoration as a Historic House Museum.
Yet the Hall preserves memories of seven generations of this intriguing family. Here the visitor sees a surgeon's kit belonging to Dr. John Constable, an army doctor who came from Dublin to serve his British Majesty during the last of the French and Indian Wars. Guides at the Hall point out the sea chest used by William Constable, and the deed to approximately 3,800,000 acres which made the surgeon's son one of the biggest landowners of post-Revolutionary New York State.
The William Constable started his business career as an agent in the fur trade, rose to national prominence as an importer and exporter whose ships ranged the Atlantic coast and made trading voyages to the West Indies and Europe. In partnership with Robert and Gouveneur Morris he was one of the first Americans to trade with China after the American Revolution.
William Constable is remembered best for his part in Macomb's Purchase, the giant real estate speculation which included about a tenth of New York State. One of three New York City capitalists who negotiated the Purchase, he became the principal owner and chief developer. In selling huge tracts to European and American Land companies, and in attracting individual families from New England, William Constable opened up the settlement of the North Country.
His son, William Constable, Jr. settled in the North Country and built the lovely Hall on the pattern of a family-owned estate in Ireland. He was seriously injured when workmen were setting the 10-ton stone which floors the front portico, and died two years after the mansion was finished.
The builder's son, John, loved sports, and brought back many trophies from his hunting trips, while beautifying the estate by leveling the meadow in front of the mansion to make a one-mile horse racing oval.
The next heir, John's son Casimir, continued the family's adventurous spirit into the progression of engineering, where he is remembered as a pioneer in the introduction of the Bessemer process which transformed the steel industry of 19th century United States. Another graduate engineer, John Pierrepont Constable, inherited the estate from his uncle. An inventor, he worked for awhile in the laboratory of Thomas A. Edison.
The last generation of Constables who lived at the hall left the estate when they were children. Their memories, together with scholarly research and careful acquisition of family and period pieces, have recreated a 19th century home of significant and unusual charm.
A Time Capsule
Constable Hall is extremely fortunate to have retained much of its original furniture. The Hall itself has remained unchanged in plan or architectural detail through the passing years. It still houses much of the Constable Library, containing many original papers and smaller articles. It is a goal of Constable Hall to preserve the atmosphere of the era in which it was constructed. It stands, remote and undisturbed, the beautiful setting chosen for it so many years ago.