The Washerwoman’s Genes

July 24, 2006

How it was

Filed under: Story — by WWG @ 8:57 pm

Judge Hasbrouck was readying to sell his house on Hasbrouck Street in Port Ewen, the commercial hamlet within Esopus, and found a shad net left behind by the previous resident. It was useless to him, so he gave the net to his neighbor, the father of a young man named Hugh Clark.

A local teen named Charles Lifer had a boat but no net. Hearing of young Clark’s bonanza, he made a deal with him. He would teach Hugh to row the boat and would share the catch with him, if Hugh would make his net available for shad fishing in the spring. That’s how, at age 8, Hugh became a commercial shad fisherman. He continued this profession for the rest of his life.

His picture—as the oldest shad fisherman—now hangs in the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Rondout, Kingston, across the creek from Port Ewen.

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