JOAB COTTON ACREE (1799-1885), born in Bertie Co, North Carolina, boldly migrated west at age twenty to Tennessee, selling his inherited property in the Cashie Swamp area. In 1821, just across the northern border in Todd Co., Kentucky, he was fortunate to marry Sophia Campbell Marshall, who had recently moved there with her parents, both from prominent Virginia families.
Joab made his living as a hatter. They led a quiet life on a modest plot of land in Montgomery Co., Tennessee, while raising eight children, including our ancestor, James, who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Only one child, their last, did not survive his youth, though a daughter later died when giving birth. The couple themselves expired four months apart in 1885, shortly after burying a second married daughter.
ISAAC ALLERTON, SR., (c1586-1659) born in England, was among the storied Pilgrims who came to Plymouth, Massachusetts, aboard the Mayflower in December 1620. He is said to have been the wealthiest of the group and the most worldly, as well as one of the best educated and least dogmatic in his religious views.
Isaac was accompanied on the voyage by his three children and pregnant first wife, Mary, whose child died stillborn on the ship, anchored in the harbor. The hardships of the terrible first winter brought death to nearly half the Pilgrims, including the weakened Mary. A few years later, Isaac married Fear Brewster, daughter of William Brewster, the Pilgrims' Elder (effective pastor). She had joined her parents at Plymouth in 1623. Their son, Isaac Jr., became our ancestor.
Isaac served as assistant governor for several years and journeyed back to England in behalf of Plymouth Colony three times. The colony's existence depended greatly upon his successful negotiations. Additionally, he is credited with founding the coastal trade and local fishing industry.
His liberal religious views, however, brought him into increasing conflict with Governor Bradford. A year or two after Fear died in 1634, he moved his trading activities to New Amsterdam, where he remained ten years before retiring to New Haven, Connecticut, with his third wife. When Isaac Sr. died in 1659, Isaac Jr., a Harvard graduate who had participated in his father's business ventures, soon became a widower himself and migrated to a new life in Virginia.
JOHN CARTER, SR. (1674-1740) was a son of Captain Thomas Carter, Sr. and Katherine Dale at their 'Barford' plantation in Lancaster Co., Virginia. He was educated in England. Before turning thirty, he migrated west to a newly-settled area in King & Queen Co. (later in Caroline Co.), eventually becoming a large landowner, marrying Margaret Todd, raising their family of four (as well as children by his previous wives) and dying in 1740.
Before marrying Margaret, John had been twice widowed, having wed in 1698 Frances Ball, a sister of Mary Ball, who was George Washington's mother. In other words, John was earlier married to our first president's aunt.
PENELOPE HAYES (c1767-c1820) was a daughter of Hardy Hayes and Sarah Freeman of Bertie County, North Carolina, whose families were early residents in the eastern Virginia/North Carolina border area. Hardy owned two plantations in the vicinity of Cashie Swamp near the town of Roxobel. At the age of about twenty, Penelope married John Acree, Jr., a son of John Acree, Sr., who was also a landowner at Cashie Swamp. (Sometimes, Penelope has been mistaken for a contemporary namesake in Bertie who was the daughter of Richard Hayes and married John Franton in 1786.)
Penelope's father had died before her marriage and her husband became official guardian of her three underage sisters in 1791. She and John had seven children, including Joab, our ancestor (vignette above). By the time Penelope died, about 1820, she had inherited one of her father's plantations, some 240 acres, which was then divided among her children. John soon married a second wife, known to posterity only as 'Milly', who survived him at the time of his death in 1825.
MATTHEW PEATROSS, I (c1658-?) was a 17th-century pioneer in Middlesex County, Virginia, who grew tobacco on his small farm, where he, his wife and three children lived in a crude log cabin. They lived, ate and slept in its single room, which was smaller than a modern garage. It had a dirt floor and a fireplace for warmth and cooking. There was, however, a loft where the children could sleep among the stored supplies, after climbing the ladder. The lone window, lacking glass, was closed with a shutter made of planks, like the door.
There was no school available for the children, who worked every day with their parents in the fields, their small vegetable garden and the house itself - as their ages and abilities permitted. The family spent most of its energies merely surviving. It was like that, year after year.
Socializing was limited to Sundays, when they walked through the woods to the local (Anglican) church, which was central to their lives. Before and after service, it was the only time when they could meet and converse with their far-flung neighbors, all of whom led an isolated existence. After leaving, the family would probably see no one else for a week.
DIANA SKIPWITH (1621-1695) was a member of a titled family with an ancestry tracing back to medieval European royalty. Born in England, she most likely arrived in Virginia in 1649/51 with her husband, Major Edward Dale, and brother, Sir Grey Skipwith (third baronet). They were fleeing the Cromwell 'usurpers' who had cost the Skipwiths lives and their family estate at Prestwould, Leicestershire. They remained steadfastly loyal to the monarchy, despite the recent beheading of their king.
Major Dale, who had been a Royal Army officer, and Lady Diana, as they were invariably addressed, became highly influential residents of the Virginia colony. They settled on the Rappahannock River in Lancaster Co., while Sir Grey raised his family across that river in Middlesex Co. The Dales' three daughters, born soon after their arrival in America, included our ancestor, Katherine, who married Captain Thomas Carter, Sr., a close associate of Robert "King" Carter, the wealthiest planter in the area.
Lady Diana occasionally appeared in court to participate in legal transactions in the presence of her husband, who presided as Lancaster's clerk for two decades and served also as justice, sheriff, militia officer and member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. The couple enjoyed a privileged life, dying five months apart in 1695.
RANSOM TINSLEY (c1762-1845) was raised as an orphan by his uncle and father's sister in Amelia County, Virginia. During the War of Independence he served as a young private attached to the forces organized by Col. George Rogers Clark to protect Kentucky. He was captured by the British and their Indian allies at Martin's Station (fort) in June 1780, and shipped/marched with scores of others, including women and children, to Detroit, where he remained a British prisoner until the war ended.
He then joined relatives and former neighbors in their move to Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in the mid-1780's. These people included his future bride, Sarah Foster, who went there with her parents. The couple were wed about 1788, when Sarah became a marriageable teenager. Their first child and our ancestor, William, was born the following year.
In 1791 Ransom purchased an 83-acre plot of land on FairForrest Creek, just west of Spartanburg, where the family presumably settled. They sold that property for an identical price in 1797 and soon migrated to Clark County, Kentucky, the area of Ransom's wartime experience.
For whatever reason, the family moved farther west in 1819 to Todd County, where Sarah soon died, no doubt exhausted from the difficult migrations and burden of raising twelve children. Ransom lived into his 80's, surviving not only his wife but also his thrice-married son William.
THOMAS TINSLEY, I (c1618-1702) immigrated to the Jamestown colony from England in 1638 at the age of twenty, having his passage paid by a man who received a 50-acre land grant in exchange. He followed that man's example, gaining one grant after another until he was able to amass a 300-acre Virginia plantation further inland, on Totopotomoi Creek in New Kent (now in Hanover) Co., where he built a house located twelve miles north of Richmond that stood for over 300 years. As a tobacco planter and importer of clothing and domestic luxury items, Thomas became a wealthy man.
In Jamestown he met his wife, Elizabeth Randolph, with whom he had seven children who grew into married adulthood. In 1676, one hundred years before the American Revolution, he participated in Bacon's Rebellion, which was a semi-successful conflict waged against the British governor by planters living on the Virginia frontier who demanded authority to wage war against marauding Indians.
HEINRICH FRIEDRICH AHRENHOLZ (1826-1900) and his wife, Caroline Christiane Friederike Helwig, arrived in NYC on August 29, 1864, with their eldest son, aboard the ship 'Johann Lange', which sailed from Bremen, Germany. Though our nation was in the midst of its Civil War, they were able to proceed by rail to their declared destination, St. Louis, Missouri.
They were, respectively, from the neighboring villages of Wieda and Zorge, which are now picturesque health resorts in the forested hills of Blankenburg but were then a part of the Duchy of Braunschweig, located, coincidentally, just 70 miles west of Raguhn, birthplace of their future son-in-law, Frederick Sachse (below). Following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps, Heinrich Friedrich was a blacksmith and may have been employed by the historic Wieda ironworks.
In 1900, Caroline, as the recently widowed mother of five grown children, affirmed to a census enumerator that her mother was born in Ireland, though both parents were thoroughly German.
FREDERICK WILHELM SACHSE (1863-1936) was born in his ancestral village of Raguhn, located just southwest of Berlin in the 'Sachse' (Saxony-Anhalt) area of nascent Germany. As a year-old infant, he emigrated with his parents from Hamburg (down the nearby Elbe River) to New York, proceeding onward to a German enclave in St. Louis, Missouri, in the midst of unrest in his homeland and our own Civil War.
Working as a carpenter, Frederick married Sophia Wilhelmina Ahrenholz, born in St. Louis to German parents who had also immigrated in 1864 (above). The couple lived all their lives in that city, while raising thirteen children, two of whom died young. Sadly, they separated in the 1920s.
In the years surrounding World War I, sensitive about his birthplace and anxious to affirm his allegiance to America, Frederick claimed to census enumerators that he was born in Illinois or New Jersey. He preferred to be called 'F.W.', having been named after the successive kings of Prussia, and insisted upon keeping his family apart from the German families on the south side of town, whom some considered suspect at the time.
Enjoying numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Sophia survived F.W. by two decades, living almost ninety years.
EMELINE ALICE COOK (1847-1934), of German heritage, came from Pennsylvania in 1855 to the Fulton/Miami county area of Indiana as a girl of eight, with her parents and seven siblings, after her family had lived awhile in Columbus, Ohio. Ten years later, she married William Pence, a 24-year-old Union soldier who had recently come home from the Civil War. They lived on a farm near Rochester. Unable to give birth to children of their own, they took in Clara "Carrie" Amelia Babcock, their next-door neighbor's young daughter, to raise. Clara's mother had evidently been widowed by the war and was burdened as a single parent of five.
In 1877 William, at the age of 36, abruptly abandoned Emma and ran off with Clara, who had just turned 17. The errant couple fled to Omaha and on to the west coast, where, living as "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," they quickly had two children, Archie and Ella, born respectively in Oregon and Washington state. Two years after she was deserted, six months after she was awarded a divorce with an alimony payment of $300, Emma married our great-grandfather, Alexander Noah Hoover, another Union veteran, who was suffering chronic ill health as a result of the war. Our grandfather, Charles Guy Hoover, was born to them three years later.
William and Clara returned permanently to the Fulton Co. area in the 1990s and died in the early 1920s, by which time their children had married and moved west. Grandfather Guy was exceptionally well treated and highly regarded by Alexander and Emma as their only child. After Alexander died in 1917, Emma went to live with her successful son's family in Chicago for seventeen years, until her death. The Hoovers and Pences lie buried in the same cemetery.
ANDREW HOOVER, SR. (1723-1783), originally named 'Andreas Huber', was an ancestor as well of President Herbert Hoover. He was born to Swiss-migrant parents in Ellerstadt, a village in the Rhenish Palatinate (now part of Germany), from which several of our ancestors originated. Leaving his parents behind, Andrew emigrated to Philadelphia in 1738 at the age of fifteen, residing first in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania, with two brothers who had preceded him. Six years later he married Anna Margaret Pfautz, who had arrived in Pennsylvania about 1726 with her parents.
The couple soon moved to Carroll Co., Maryland, where most of their thirteen children were born. In 1763 they treked through the wilderness to Randolph Co., North Carolina, where they finally settled on land Andrew purchased next to the Uwharrie River. Andrew built and operated a gristmill there and eventually owned several hundred acres. During the Revolutionary War, he contributed $500 to the cause - a large sum of money at the time.
Andrew and Margaret died about fifteen years apart, in 1783 and 1798 respectively. Originally Lutherans who had become Baptists, the family was attracted to the Quaker religion. Andrew is buried in a Quaker cemetery. Margaret, a few years before her death, joined that faith, as did their son, David, our ancestor, who led the fabled Hoover migration to Ohio at the turn of the century. (See vignette below on Nancy Mast, who was both his sister-in-law and mother-in-law).
NANCY MAST (1757-1851) was born in southeastern Pennsylvania as the eldest of twelve children. Her Swiss father John Mast, Sr. had recently married her mother after immigrating seven years earlier as an orphan in the care of his uncle (his father's brother). In 1764 the family, carrying four toddlers, migrated to Randolph County, in central North Carolina, where Nancy married James Curtis, Sr. in her teens. They became Quakers in that community and raised eight children before James died in 1795 at the age of forty-two.
Six years later, widowed Nancy, following her parents' deaths, decided to take her "family of teenagers" and accompany David E. Hoover, who led a large Hoover/Mast family migration through the wilderness to Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1801-2. David had determined to make this trek after a flood of the Uwharrie River had devastated their area and he had prospected for new farming land in that Northwest Territory. It was a journey through many miles of forest, mountains and rivers during a harsh fall and winter.
At the time, David was the husband of Nancy's sister, Mary. When Mary died four years after the group's arrival in Ohio, David soon married Nancy's young daughter, Elizabeth, becoming 'disowned' by his Quaker brethren for ignoring their discipline. Mary had provided him seven children. Elizabeth gave birth to eight more, including Daniel, our ancestor, and raised all fifteen of them in a pioneer log cabin in Randolph Township, named after the NC county from which they came.
Despite the hardships of the time, the children all reached adulthood. Elizabeth died as a widow in 1851, and so did her mother, Nancy, at the age of ninety-three.
ORSELTJE DIRCKS (c1635-aft. 1678, also an ancestor in the TenEyck branch) was the only known common ancestor of our marriage. Born in Hamburg, Germany, probably to Dutch parents, Orseltje married Jan Hendricksen in the Netherlands in 1653 and gave birth to our ancestor, Annetje. When Jan died in 1655, she married Teunis Jacobs, by whom she had a second daughter. But Teunis, too, died soon and young Orseltje found herself once again a widow, though a wealthy one.
In May 1658 she brought her infant daughters to New Netherland, proceeding to Albany to marry Anthony Jansen Westbrook. The couple operated a tavern/inn there, while she bore two more children and raised their combined offspring, two of whom died young.
In 1668 the family moved to Flatbush (Brooklyn), where they opened another tavern and where their last child, our ancestor, Dirck, was born in 1671. But when Anthony died there the following year, thrice-widowed Orseltje took their surviving children (Annetje, Johannes and Dirck) back upstate to Kingston, Ulster Co., where she petitioned to open a distillery in 1674. The children all married there.
When Michael DeMott, Annetje's husband, died about 1689, some thirteen years after their marriage, Annetje, following her sturdy mother's example, moved her large family to Brooklyn. Orseltje, if she had not died by then, remained in Kingston, near her sons.
JOHN GRAHAM (c1780-1825), reputedly of Scottish descent, and his wife, Frances Riggin, made a courageous decision about 1815 to move their family from Sussex County, Delaware, to the western frontier in southern Ohio. They set out with a one-horse cart, taking their five children, a girl and four boys, who included a newborn baby, as well as our ancestor, nine-year-old Harry.
Travelling over and through the rugged mountains of Pennsylvania, Frances and the children usually rode in the cart while John walked in front, leading the horse. Sadly, their baby boy died during the difficult journey. They buried him in Brotherly Valley at the foot of the mountains, carefully covering his grave with rocks to protect it from animals. After their arrival in Fayette County, Ohio, Frances gave birth to two more children before John died at the age of 45.
ALBERT ABNER OGDEN (1824-1902) was born in Pickaway Co., Ohio, four years before his father died at the age of thirty. Albert and his two sisters were placed under the guardianship of a neighboring farmer, Edmund Clarridge. The circumstances of their upbringing are unknown, but their mother soon married twice-widowed Pleasant Southward, who formally became their new guardian in 1842; so it appears that the family stayed together.
In early adulthood, Albert married Doracy Graham, who gave birth to seven children, including twin girls who died at birth, a girl who died in infancy, and two daughters who died as young adults. Only their two sons reached later maturity, one of whom was our ancestor, James - the notable blacksheep in our family tree, whose story is told in a separate VIGNETTE.
In 1880 Albert and Doracy, with their daughters and married son's family, joined James and his family who were homesteading in central Kansas. They lived together or nearby for several years, until James took his wife and daughters back east. Albert and Doracy remained on their Kansas farm until their deaths, she three years after their departure, he eleven years later.
WILLIAM SMALLWOOD WYNN, JR. (1795-1877) wrote an autobiography that appeared in a Pike Co., Ohio, newspaper in 1873, four years before his death at the age of eighty-one. He related that he knew nothing of his ancestry beyond his parents, who had moved with their eight children from Virginia to Ohio in the fall of 1800. The most vivid experience of his childhood was of the Scioto River flood that his family managed to survive with the help of neighbors and their boats, but cost them their cattle, sheep, pigs and only horse.
After his first wife died shortly after they were wed, he sired a son out of wedlock before marrying Hannah Carr, who had migrated with her parents from New York. They raised thirteen children, nine of whom still lived, and were currently raising two orphaned grandchildren.
He farmed all his life, but in earlier years transported corn and other staples by boat, one time all the way to Louisville, down the Ohio River. On the whole, he lamented, the boating was 'unremunerative'. He later helped to grade and gravel a new county 'turnpike' and did the stone work for a bridge, from which he profited. He also taught school for a year and was once elected justice of the peace. As a youth, he was drafted into the army to serve during the final months of the War of 1812, for which he received public land warrants and 'the enjoyment of a pension'.
ELI 'LORS' SKIPWORTH (1828-1880) was born to a large family in Maury Co., Tennessee. His surname was then Skipper. Soon after his father died, his mother, Lucretia (Hawkins) Skipper, moved north to Muhlenberg Co., Kentucky, about 1842, taking her younger children, including Eli. For some reason, she thereupon altered their surname to Skipworth. They had been neighbors of Skipwith/Skipworth families (the name was evolving) in Maury Co., and maybe that was significant in one way or another; but maybe, as some maintain, she was resolutely changing the name "back" five generations to its aristocratic origin.
Eli married Martha Ann Staples in 1848 and reared several children with her. However, he simultaneously raised a family with her younger sister, Mary Amanda, whom he never married. The two seem to have 'shared' Eli on the same farm. Whatever the arrangement was, it appears to have been harmonious, but was kept a dark family secret for over a century.
Eli fought for the Union during the Civil War, as did four of his brothers and his son, Samuel Winfield Skipworth (our ancestor by Martha). After widowed Samuel moved to New Madrid Co., Missouri, in the early 1870's and married his second wife there, Eli followed with Martha and several children in 1878 (Mary staying behind in Kentucky). He died there two years later, not long after writing letters urging a daughter's family to journey down river to help them at his new farm.
After his death, Martha moved with Samuel's family on to Kansas, but she eventually died in late 1891 in (curiously) Chico, California, where she was then collecting her widow's military pension checks. Possibly, she went there with Mary. Family lore alleges that the sisters comforted each other during their final years.
SWAN PETER NELSON (1847-1911), emigrated from Sweden in 1866 and found work as a saloon keeper in Davenport, Iowa. He soon married Nancy Redinger, born in Louisiana to parents who had immigrated to New Orleans from Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, moved up the Mississippi River to spend a few years in Missouri and settled in Davenport about 1855.
The couple had four children - Edward, Arthur, Ozella (our ancestor) and Minnie. They ran a boarding house and saloon, first in Davenport and later in Kansas City, Missouri, after moving there in the 1880s.
Two of Swan's sisters followed him to the Midwest in the 1870s, where they married and raised families. In 1884 Swan's parents themselves emigrated from Sweden to America, settling finally in Nebraska with a married daughter and her family who had made the trip with them.
Swan and Nancy separated in the mid-1890s. He re-married and, with his new wife, opened a boarding house southwest of Kansas City, while Nancy continued to run her business for another decade and died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, while visiting newly-wed Minnie. Swan died a year later and is buried with Nancy.
NICHOLAS STILLWELL, II (c1600-1671) left England in 1635, as a 35-year-old widower with his two sons, to become a tobacco planter on the peninsula where Virginia's York and James Rivers converged and the Indians were hostile.
In 1644 he was commissioned a lieutenant under William Claiborne to fight those Indians. During the campaign, the Dutch, resenting English occupation of one of their abandoned forts, captured Nicholas with his comrades and took them to New Amsterdam for awhile before letting them return home. The following year, uncomfortably involved by Claiborne in Virginia's dispute with Maryland over the ownership of Kent Island, he was compelled to abandon his post there, to give up his Virginia holdings, and to seek refuge in New Netherland.
He and his new wife, Anne VanDyke, lived first in New Amsterdam (lower Manhattan), but then settled in Gravesend (Brooklyn), where he became magistrate. In 1663 Nicholas served the Dutch in the Esopus War, fighting Indians again. The Dutch Governor then engaged him to assist his colony's defense, requiring a trusted officer conversant in English. When the British prevailed, capturing New York in 1664, Nicholas sold his Gravesend farm at a loss to purchase a retirement place on the southeastern shore of Staten Island.
After his death in 1671, Anne re-married twice and returned to England before her own death in 1686. Their son and our ancestor, Daniel, decided to move his family to the new Dutch settlements in New Jersey.
JOHN DEMOTT TENEYCK (1808-1895) was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, to Leah DeMott. He was christened as a two-month old infant at the Dutch Reformed Church in Readington Township and given the name John TenEyke DeMott, by which he was known throughout his childhood. He had no siblings.
Very bright and gently brought up, he, by the age of eleven, not only had beautiful penmanship, but excelled in drawing various sailing ships, then calculating their tonnages. His schooling further included translating foreign currencies into American dollars and cents.
By the time he married Joanna D. Stillwell in 1829, he was known as John DeMott TenEyck. Making his livelihood as a farmer in Hunterdon County, he and Joanna had six children - of whom three survived beyond early childhood: Jeremiah, John and Emily Teresa.
He died in 1895 - a little over a year after the death of his wife - and is buried with her and their three infant children in the Rockaway Church cemetery at Whitehouse, N.J. His son and our ancestor, Jeremiah, named his only son, John DeMott TenEyck, after his father - the first John DeMott TenEyck.
CATALYNTJE JERONIMUS TRICO (1605-1689, also an ancestor in the Williamson branch), wife of Joris Janszen Rapalje, was described as an "old Walloon widow" in May 1680, when she was publicly congratulated on having 145 progeny living in the New York area. Among her eleven children were three of our ancestors, Sara (the first European girl born in New Netherland), Judith and Elizabeth.
She and Joris were Huguenots (French Protestants) who had come to the colony on the first ship carrying settlers to New Netherland. They were raised in the Valenciennes area of France and married as teenagers just four days before their historic ship sailed from Amsterdam on January 25, 1624. They lived two years at Ft. Orange (Albany), where the ship deposited them, then twelve years in New Amsterdam, where they were moved with other early colonists when that area became dangerous, and finally the remainder of their lives just across the East River, in Wallabout (Brooklyn), where they were again among the first settlers. Joris was a magistrate and tavern keeper, as well as a landowner.
Their daughter Sara, in honor of her distinction of birth, was eventually presented a tract of land adjoining her father's farm by the authorities and became the acknowledged social matron in the Brooklyn area, after bearing eighteen children by two husbands.
RICHARD DENTON, III (1603-1663) is regarded by the Presbyterian Church in America as its first minister. Born in England, he graduated from Cambridge University in 1624, married, and preached in Lancashire, where his children were all born, before moving the family to America in 1635.
After ministering for more than two decades in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Amsterdam, Richard and his wife decided in 1658 to return to England, where they expected a bequest, finding themselves unable to survive on his meager earnings here. He died five years later. Their adult children remained in America, including our ancestor, Nathaniel.
Nathaniel's brother, Daniel, married young Abigail Stevenson shortly after his parents' departure, but in the late 1660's travelled to England and while there published a booklet describing the New Amsterdam (recently converted to New York) scene. Upon his return, he found his wife pregnant by an Army major, Daniel Whitehead, Jr. Divorced in 1672, Abigail married her young lover. Among their children was another of our ancestors, Elizabeth Whitehead. Abigail outlived both Daniels, marrying her third husband in 1705.
JOSEPH HULL (c1594-1665), born in Somerset, England, became a prominent, controversial minister in New England. After graduating from Oxford at the age of nineteen and becoming ordained by the Anglican Church, he married and sired seven children before burying his first wife and marrying Agnes Coffin, by whom he had at least seven more, including our ancestor, Benjamin.
In April 1635, soon after his second marriage, he emigrated to Boston with his bride, seven children, three servants and flock of sixteen accompanying families (more than one hundred people), who became known as 'Hull's Colony'. In Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine he was regarded as an Episcopalian with moderate Puritan views, though he tangled with the Puritans as well. He was for a time excommunicated.
In 1652, leaving his family behind, he returned to England for a decade, where he preached comfortably under the Cromwell regime until he was ejected for Puritan leanings upon the Restoration of the monarchy. He resumed his ministry in New Hampshire but died there three years later, leaving Agnes 'his books'. Several of his children became Quakers. A daughter was tragically disgraced as an unwed mother.
SWANTJE JANS (c1605-1686), born in Germany, moved with her parents in the early 1620's to newly-settled "Batavia" (Djakarta, Indonesia, which would remain a Dutch East Indies colony for more than 300 years). It was probably there that she married the first of her five husbands, Cornelis Adriaens Bleyck, a mason from the Netherlands who was building fortifications. They had six children, all of whom died young, except their hardy daughter, Ariaentje. Cornelis died, too, about 1638.
Swantje then lost two successive husbands, both Dutch East India Company skippers, within three years. Life in the area was obviously precarious and threatened male adventurers with additional hazards. In 1643 thrice-widowed Swantje married Cornelius DePotter, a widower employed by the same Company, by whom she had two children who died by the time the couple moved to New Netherland in 1651, taking their two surviving children, Ariaentje and Elizabeth - DePotter's daughter from his previous marriage, who would become an ancestor of Eleanor Roosevelt.
After DePotter died nine years later, Swantje remained a widow for nearly twenty years, well into her seventies. She saw both daughters married and re-married, before her own final marriage to widower Jan Strycker, who managed to survive her to wed again. Ariaentje was the mother of two of our ancestors.
MARGARET JANSEN MEYERS (c1638-1704) was born near Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, to Jan Meyers and Teuntje Straitsman, Germans attached to the Dutch West India Company, the expansive trading/colonizing agency that administered this rich sugar-producing region which the Dutch wrested from the Portuguese in 1630. Her father died before she was ten and her mother married Jurian Haff, by whom she had a son, Laurens - also an ancestor.
By early 1654, when the Portuguese finally won a nine-year war and obliged the besieged Dutch settlers to leave Brazil, Teuntje was again widowed, with a second daughter, Annetje, by her third husband, who was missing. She and her three children sailed to the Netherlands with most of the other settlers. The West India Company encouraged the displaced colonists to emigrate to New Netherland (New York). Margaret moved there in 1657 upon marrying Herman Jansen VanLennep, who was recruiting settlers. They were accompanied by her half brother, half-sister and Teuntje, who married for the fourth time upon arrival.
When Herman died two years later, leaving Margaret with a son, she married Hendrick Martensen Wiltsie, a professional soldier from Copenhagen (the beneficiary of an enduring, fabricated parentage written by a fanciful descendent). While living in New Amsterdam (lower Manhattan), the couple successfully sued a man for damages after his boat collided with their canoe. Teuntje had less luck in court, where she was fined on her second appearance for abusing neighbors who had insulted her.
Margaret and her husband moved to Wiltwyck (Kingston), where Hendrick was assigned to the Dutch garrison. That village was raided in mid-1663 by the Esopus Indians, who burned it to the ground, killing or capturing many residents. Hendrick, captured with one of his children, was erroneously reported killed, but both were rescued three months later. The following year Hendrick's military career ended when the English conquered New Netherland. He became a farmer and businessman at Newtown (Queens, NYC), where the couple reared their nine children. Margaret died in 1704. Hendrick re-married the following year and died at the age of 89 in 1712. Teuntje had died in 1662, soon after collecting wages owed her third husband, who had presumably died on the island of Guadeloupe; but he had miraculously appeared in New Netherland in the mid-1670s, re-united with his daughter and re-married.
JOHANNES THEODORUS POLHEMIUS (1598-1676) was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, in the heritage of his grandfather. Born in the Palatinate (now Germany), he was matriculated as a student of divinity at Heidelberg University in 1620 and assigned to the Netherlands. He Latinized his surname from 'Polemer' in accordance with the custom of clergymen at the time. Becoming a widower and unhappy with his situation, he applied for work abroad and was dispatched in 1637 to the new Dutch colony in Pernambuco, Brazil, where he married Catharina VanderWerven. Four of their six children, including our ancestor, Margarita, were born there, on the island of Itamaraca.
When the Dutch were evicted from Brazil, by the Portuguese in early 1654 and scrambled for passage out, his wife and children sailed on an early ship. His own ship, bound for Martinique, included 23 fleeing Jews among its passengers. It was forced by adverse winds or a Spanish ship to Jamaica, where the group was detained several months by Spanish authorities before they were able to gain passage from a Cuban port on a French ship, the Sainte Catherine, which took them to its destination - New Netherland. There, at the age of fifty-six, Polhemius was welcomed by needful congregations. His family, who had meanwhile arrived in Amsterdam impoverished, had to remain there two years until his congregations finally paid their way to join him across the Atlantic.
Earning a scant, intermittent salary that was always in dispute, Johannes was a minister shared by two villages in the Brooklyn area, having a two-hour walking distance between them. He did this for more than twenty years until his death, no doubt accompanied by fatigue, in 1676. Catharina lived a quarter century more, to nearly ninety years of age.
GEERTRUYD JOCHEMS WILLEKENS (1625-bef. 1678), of Hamburg, Germany, came to New Netherland with her first husband, Hendrick Gulick, and their baby, our ancestor Joachim, in 1653. Hendrick, unfortunately, died soon after their arrival. Geertruyd married that same year Claes Claessen Smit, a blacksmith, by whom she had her second child, our ancestor Neeltje. They were among the first settlers in New Utrecht (Long Island) in 1657.
The following year, Geertruyd apparently took her two young children to the Netherlands, perhaps to visit their grandparents. Such a voyage is difficult for us to conceive today, when we suppose immigrants would be disinclined to undertake hazardous trips back across the Atlantic; but such trips, while not commonplace, were not as unusual or dangerous as we imagine. The three returned to New Netherland in early 1659.
WILLIAM WILLIAMSON (c1734-1780) was the fourth in line to share that name - befitting his predominantly Dutch ancestry that stemmed from early 17th century immigrants. His father had come to New Jersey from New York City with his parents as a child and acquired an immense tract of farmland, consisting of several-thousand acres in Somerset and Middlesex Counties.
William married Agnes, who has not been further identified. They raised six children on their own 640 acres of land. He was a captain during the Revolutionary War - serving in the Second Regiment of Middlesex County. Reputedly, he was a friend of General George Washington, who occasionally visited his home. Agnes lived beyond William's death in 1780.
PIETER CLAESEN WYCKOFF (1625-1694) was the illustrious ancestor of many thousands of people having Dutch colonial lineage. His farm house, built about 1652 in the Flatlands area of Brooklyn, still stands restored as the oldest frame dwelling in this country, carefully preserved by the Wyckoff Association. Yet the origin of this personage is elusive, despite years of effort by numerous genealogists.
This much is known: He arrived in the Albany area in 1637 as an indentured servant and rose to become a prosperous farmer, magistrate, and one of the wealthiest men in NYC, owing largely to a fortunate marriage - his bride, Grietje VanNess, having received a substantial inheritance from her maternal grandmother. He assumed the surname Wyckoff when the English took control of New York in 1664.
But who were his parents? The most well-known account appears in this tree, which depicts him as the son of Claes Cornelisze VonSchouwen and Margaret VanderGoes, born on his seafaring father's ancestral Island of Oland off the southeast coast of Sweden, who came to America as a pre-teen six years after his mother's death in the Netherlands, accompanied by re-married Claes and his stepmother. Claes's ancestry has been traced back several generations through King Harald of England, the unfortunate Saxon loser at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
This account is considered fanciful by many researchers, who maintain there is no evidence that Pieter had any family relation whatever with this particular Claes, who was merely a convenient suspect in NYC, and that Pieter simply arrived as an impoverished young man from Norden, East Friesland (now in Lower Saxony, Germany), in accordance with immigration records. The matter remains unresolved but is of special interest to our family tree because three of Pieter and Grietje's eleven children became ancestors - Annetje, Mayken and Garret.