COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
By Capt. Franklin Ellis59
Lindenwald, the widely known homestead of President Van Buren, is on the "post-road," two miles south from the village of Kinderhook. It was formerly the abode of the Van Ness family, whose members attained distinguished prominence, and made this place the resort, already in early times, of the great men of our country. On Mr. Van Buren's retirement from public life he purchased this farm, containing several hundred acres of rich and finely-located land, bordering on Kinderhook creek, and made such changes in the buildings as would adapt them to a private home of one who had occupied his high position in life. The place was well adapted for one seeking seclusion. In front of the house, which stands on a slight eminence about twenty rods from the road, is a grove of stately native trees, chiefly pines and lindens, which hide the unassuming mansion from the gaze of those passing on the highway, and give this spot a quiet dignity. Although there are but few lindens in this wald (grove) they are prominent objects, and as that tree is not generally found in the woods of this locality the name was not inappropriately applied. Its use in this connection has made it an endeared term among the admirers of Mr. Van Buren.
The mansion is not specially attractive, but has a solid and comfortable appearance. It is approached by winding drives from the street, where were lodges for men employed on the farm. In the rear was the farm-house and buildings connected therewith, and rare gardens and fishing-ponds, in which many varieties of the finny tribe disported themselves. On the south side of the mansion is a tall tower, from which the winding course of the Hudson, five miles distant, can be descried, and a good view of the Catskill is afforded. Interiorly there was a sense of comfort and plenty, without extravagant ornamentation. It was a home where a refined American gentleman might entertain the cultured and the great of all lands without removing himself from the presence of his peers,--the common citizen; and although the ex-President daily received homage from those in elevated places, he yet remained on terms of equality with his old neighbors and was uniformly kind and courteous to all. He was very fond of outdoor exercise, and daily took horseback rides along the lonely country roads, often extending them many miles.
Mr. Van Buren died at Lindenwald, July 21, 1862, passing away tranquilly, with no disturbing thought but the welfare of the endangered Union, which he had served in so many capacities. His remains were deposited in the Kinderhook cemetery, where the place of their interment is marked by a plain granite shaft about fifteen feet high. For some time Lindenwald remained the property of the President's family, but it was finally sold, and is now used, in a much neglected condition, as ordinary farm property. The only remaining members of President Van Buren's family in Kinderhook are two nieces, daughters of Laurence Van Buren.
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