The Fraleigh family contributed to the development and changes in the agriculture for the more than two hundred years that they spent farming in Red Hook, New York. By observing their life and farming practices through the generations, we gain insight on the intricacies of the changes that occurred in Northern Dutchess County and even the Hudson Valley more generally.
We focus on the lineage of descendants from Johan Petrus Frolich [Fraleigh] (1720-1792) and Grietje Flegelaar Frolich (1724-1805) who purchased land in northern Red Hook in the late 18th century. As we follow the Fraleigh family's lineage—from Petrus Fraleigh passing his "homestead" to his son Philip and Philip's brother, Peter P., purchasing his own farm, later named Rose Hill—we witness larger changes in agricultural history that shaped the experiences of farmers in the Hudson Valley in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century.
The Frolich family, later changing their name to Fraleigh, came to Colonial America as a part of the second wave of Palatine immigrants to the Hudson Valley in 1710. At first, the Palatines were indentured servants, meaning they were under contract to provide labor in exchange for their transatlantic passage from Europe. However, in 1714 Henry Beekman invited the Palatines to settle his land by leasing it, and by 1719 Stephan Frolich [Fraleigh] leased some acreage along the Post Road (present-day Route 9, shown on the map below south of Rhinebeck) for his family. By 1723, Stephen built a large stone house and leased additional land from the Beekmans, paying twelve bushels (or schepels) of wheat and two fat hens each year for the rent.  His son, Johan Petrus Fraleigh, would inherit the land after Stephan’s death in 1749. He and his son and grandchildren through Peter P. and Philip were largely what may be characterized as yeomen farmers (see Labor for on yeoman farmers).
First generation in Red Hook
Petrus Fraleigh (1748-1839), the grandson of Stephan, purchased 92 acres of land just to the east of the Post Road in present-day Red Hook with his wife Elizabeth Feller Fraleigh (1751-1832) in 1787. This property would later be known in the family as the Homestead and would eventually be passed down to his son, Philip (1786-1874).
Peter P. Fraleigh (1772-1853), Philip’s brother and Petrus’s eldest son, bought 85 acres beside his father’s farm in 1798. He named this farm Rose Hill with his second wife, Lana Coon (1779-1852), when they married in 1812. Their only son, George William, inherited the farm from his father when he passed away.
Later generations at Rose Hill
George and his wife, Regina Waldorph Fraleigh (1820-1870) continued to run Rose Hill Farm through the mid-nineteenth century, witnessing the extraordinary changes to the agricultural landscape and adapting their farming practices to the new market systems and mass industrialization that followed the Civil War. When George died in 1866, Regina continued to run the farm until her death four years later.
George and Regina’s eldest son, John Alfred Fraleigh (1841-1914) purchased the farm after Regina’s death for a nominal sum. John Alfred and his wife, Lucy Curtis Fraleigh (1845-1913), began to diversify the farm by adding dairy cows to their livestock and starting a door-to-door milk route in Red Hook. They also added a third story to the Rose Hill farmhouse and added indoor plumbing, inviting summer boarders who were looking to escape from the city and retreat to a rural upstate farm for respite. 
Like most of their fellow Palatines who had previously farmed in the Rhine Valley, the Fraleighs came to Colonial America with the hope of obtaining land that would be given to them to farm. Instead, they arrived in the colony as indentured servants who were contracted to work for a number of years in the service of the New York Governor. It appears that most Palatines were released of this indenture when Governor Hunter’s naval stores project fell through. The practice of holding indentured servants continued into the nineteenth century, as evidenced by the deed written for a Martin Van Buren Lewis, a child from Poughkeepsie, who was indentured to George Fraleigh at the age of thirteen. Lewis was released from his indenture when he turned eighteen.
The yeomen, like Stephan Fraleigh and his descendants including Philip and Peter P. Fraleigh, were a romanticized class myth amongst farmers. The yeoman farmer did not participate in the markets. More market activity was focused on local sales and bartering. The stereotype of the yeoman farmer, which may be loosely applied to the Fraleighs in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, shunned market dependence and focused on providing goods for their nuclear family by their labor. This American iconography of self-sufficient farmers began to disappear by the 1850s, but it wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century when the yeoman type practically became obsolete. 
As the practices of farmers stratified from traditional yeoman, another stereotype emerged of a group of farmers concerned with providing food for the family while also turning a profit. These businessmen farmers grew agricultural products with the intention of selling them at market. In a world with limited transportation, this originally meant focus on local markets; when cars, trains, steamboats, and other forms of transportation became more mainstream, farmers were capable of expanding where their products could be sold.  We see the impact of this transition in the Fraleigh family about the time that George and Regina took over Rose Hill. From census records, we see that they are certainly growing more than their family could consume and producing it for a growing market that was made possible by expanding transportation networks, such as the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Unlike the yeoman, businessmen farmers not only worked with their nuclear family but their extended family and other hired help, as well.
When John and Lucy took over Rose Hill Farm, there was a rise in the variety of agriculture in these farms as dairy becomes a larger part of what they did. John and Lucy expanded the Rose Hill farmhouse in an effort to incorporate agri-tourism (capturing the Romanticism of rural life) into the way they worked and ran their farm. Towards the late nineteenth century they started having summer boarders who would come to the farm to escape the city life. Dairy farming eventually became less popular in northern Dutchess County with the rise of commercial apple production. 
The Role of Women on the Farm
It is important to consider the implications of Lucy’s presence and participation in the farm and dairy production. In historical accounts it is often easy to overlook the presence of women. The shifts in the structure of their lives and expectations on them are often hard to find. Lucy’s role in the farm gives insight into some of these changes, helping us have a well-rounded understanding of the history of this family. Lucy works with John as a partner so that her role extends well beyond being the caretaker of the home. Like other women working on farms, she takes on a leading role in the business. Being a part of the decision making process in regards to expanding the farm, managing the dairy, and making investments are all new things that women like Lucy were able to do. We see this with Regina Fraleigh as well. The change in women’s role in the farm gives a view into the changes in their life but also changes in the way families prioritized and planned their incomes. The investment into farm expansions and dairy farms is a trade off. Instead of spending earnings on materials that would provide immediate comfort to the families in the present, the priority became the future. Money was spent on investments for the farm in a hope to secure a more stable future, and women were increasingly a part of this decision.
It is indicated by the 1870 census that Regina Fraleigh took over the farm for a while and this instance gives a new perspective to the narrative we have of the life and times of the Fraleighs and other farming families like them during the nineteenth century. The story so far indicates that a patriarchal hierarchy existed in the running of farms but it is shown, in some ways, that as Nancy Grey Ostrerud explains in Putting the Barn Before the House, “Women were partners for their husbands in every way." Knowing that Regina took over the farm shows that women held a fair amount of knowledge pertaining to what it takes to run a farm as well. Osterud states that land was “most important in shaping women's sense of agency." This connection with the farm indicates the commitment women had with farming and agriculture independent of their connection to the land through their husbands. As Osterud notes, “Women’s sense of connection to the land was affected less by whether they had legal title to the property or by their emotional attachment to the landscape than by the life-historical process through which they came to, or departed from, the farms on which they lived." The very fact that Regina took over the farm and ran it is an example of this trend. 
The Fraleighs in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were largely subsistence farmers, growing mostly grains along with a variety of livestock. Mills were erected by the wealthy patent landlords across northern Dutchess County for processing these grains, and Red Hook was known as the “Breadbasket” of Dutchess County. At this time apples were only a minor crop, being only one among many crops, in the Hudson Valley. Orchards would have been small and often devoted to hard cider production or reserved for family consumption in desserts or cooking. 
During the Market Revolution from 1825-1865, dairy farming was made more viable for commercial production. Farmers in upstate New York State sold cheese to New York City using the canals as a way of delivery, but with the expansion of the railroad, in the mid-1800s, produce could be shipped faster without spoiling the product. Butter could be made more easily and thus had a lesser chance of spoiling before arrival. As a result, many Hudson Valley farmers began making butter instead of the more time-consuming production of cheese. Three Fraleighs appear in the United States Census of 1850 for Red Hook, reporting they had produced 2,500 pounds of butter but only 60 pounds of cheese. By the New York State Census of 1865 no farmer in Red Hook or Rhinebeck reported any cheese production.
The censuses from 1850 and 1860 show that George and Regina relied heavily on livestock during these decades. The value of their livestock increased between the 1850 and 1860 census, but the number of animals remained relatively unchanged except for sheep and swine. The increase in the value of their livestock in the 1860 census corresponds with an unusually high amount of swine that they had as compared to other animals as well as the 1850s and 1870s census. They stopped having sheep at their farm after the 1850 census.
By 1870, just before John Albert and Lucy purchase the farm, the census lists the value of their livestock at an all time low, and the value of the animals they slaughtered decreased at the end of 1870 census. This is also the first year Rose Hill listed the value of their orchard production as worth $100.
Previously, Fraleigh orchard production was listed as being worth nothing. In 1855 farmers in Red Hook reported 14,837 bushels of apples and 503 barrels of cider produced. Ten years later bushels of apples from Red Hook increased 61% and cider production increased 66%. Whereas no Fraleigh in Red Hook reported any apple orchards in 1850, George appears to have recognized this burgeoning commercial crop by 1865. He reported 400 apple trees, 337 bushels of apples, and 50 barrels of cider in 1865. Important to note here is that he also produced 500 pounds of butter, indicating that Rose Hill Farm was still quite diversified.
As much as during the antebellum years, late nineteenth century farmers in the Hudson Valley, such as John and Lucy, were often both fruit growers and dairy farmers. The agricultural statistics for Dutchess County in the decade after the Civil War show that the number of apple trees growing in the county increased by 71% while butter production decreased almost 6%. In Red Hook, the number of apple trees in cultivation increased an astonishing 150%, yet the yield was a little more than 40% less in 1875 than in 1865. The price of apples went up during the Civil War, prompting farmers across New York State to increase apple production. A depression in the apple industry hit in 1875, lasting ten years before it recovered in 1895.
Below is an abbreviated family tree of the Fraleigh family in Red Hook. For instance, we do not see Petrus's twelve siblings or all six of his and Elizabeth's children. The lineage shown here only traces the branches of the family that purchased and passed down through the generations two adjacent farms in Red Hook. Petrus's farm, later known as the Homestead, passed down through his son Philip's lineage. Philip's brother, Peter P., purchased adjacent land, later naming it Rose Hill, and passed this acreage down through his lineage. This family tree serves as a visual aid for the timeline and topics above and provides links to a page detailing each person's relations.
- Johan Petrus FrolichGrietje Flegelaar
- Petrus FraleighElizabeth Feller
- Peter P. FraleighLana Coon
- George William FraleighRegina Waldorf
- John Alfred FraleighLucy Irene Curtis
- George William FraleighRegina Waldorf
- Philip FraleighAnn Tieter
- Peter P. FraleighLana Coon
- Petrus FraleighElizabeth Feller
 Edward M. Smith, Documentary History of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County, N.Y. (Rhinebeck, 1881), 216; Nancy V. Kelly, Rhinebeck's Historic Architecture (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2009), 22. This payment was similar to other payments made to the Beekmans. For instance, a deed signed in 1718 between Andreas France and Beekman and his partner was similarly for bushels of wheat and "fat hens." See Clare O'Neill Carr, A Brief History of Red Hook (New York: The Wise Family Trust, 2001), 11.
 Clara Losee, "Fraleigh Family" Narrative, October 1973, Fraleigh Family Collection, Historic Red Hook.
 Donald H. Parkerson, Agricultural Transition in New York State: Markets and Migration in Mid-Nineteenth-Century America (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1995), 56.
 Ibid., 79-104.
 Losee, "Fraleigh Family" Narrative.
 Grey Osterud, Putting the Barn Before the House: Women and Family Farming in Early Twentieth-Century New York (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012), 48.
 Carr, A Brief History of Red Hook, 24.