Sunday, July 8, 2018

Chapter 61 - Our Sanford Ancestry

William the Conqueror
Unlike many of our ancestral families that we have researched over the years, within this particular family there are some stories that claim that our earliest known Sanford ancestor originated as far back as the early part of the 11th century AD. Their claim is that our ancestor, a man named Thomas de Sanford, was born in Normandy, France, and that he was a friend of William the Conqueror and took part in the invasion of England by the Normans back in 1066. It is also claimed that following their conquest, he was granted land in England. If it is true that there was a Thomas de Sanford and that he was my ancestor, both possibilities by the way are highly unlikely, then Thomas de Sanford would have been around my 26th great grandfather. This would have made a wonderful beginning story about my Sanford ancestry, but we are afraid that it might also be an incredible waste of time considering the total lack of evidence. Fortunately however, we have learned quite a bit about our Sanford ancestry although unfortunately not as far back as the Normandy invasion of England in 1066.

Current map of drive from London to Stansted Mountifitchet
While not all family historians would agree, it is generally accepted that the man who would be my 10th great grandfather was named Thomas Sanford (1556-1597). Thomas was born in the ancient village known as Stansted Mountifitchet, in County Essex, England. Perhaps not surprisingly, Stansted is known to have been first occupied by Anglo-Saxons prior to the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and then subsequently it was one of the many villages and manors that was brought under the control of a Norman leader following the invasion. Obviously a very old city even at the time of Thomas' birth in 1556 and the fact that Thomas' father is believed to have lived his entire life in the Stansted area and maybe even his ancestors makes one wonder if perhaps the family was not indeed a descendant of one of the early Norman invaders. The village of Stansted Mountifitchet is located about 40 miles northeast of downtown London.

Likely burial location of Thomas and Mary Sanford
St Andrew and Holy Cross Church
Thomas Sanford was around 25 years old when he married his first wife, Friswith Eve, in Stansted in 1581 however, and unfortunately their marriage lasted only 64 days as Friswith unexpected died at the age of only 20. Perhaps as a result of the loss of his wife although more likely due to business reasons or possibly the lessor cost of land, Thomas soon relocated to the nearby and smaller town of Much Haddam which was around 7 miles south of Stansted Mountifitchel and closer to London. Here Thomas started up a "glover" business which essentially consisted in the trading of fine furs and skins. Thomas apparently was quite successful in his new business and as a father. Based on what was written in his final will, the children by his second marriage around 1584 to my 10th great grandmother, Mary Lewes (or Mellett) (1563-1620), were all well educated and his will implied that he was "an active, enterprising citizen, and bore his part in public matters, though he did not achieve distinction in a political way." There was another document that noted that Thomas Sanford was appointed as one of two constables in the town of Much Hadham in 1585 showing that while not a major leader he nevertheless did serve in some of the public roles within his community.  Thomas and Mary had at least five children (named in his will) including my 9th great grandfather, Ezekiel Sanford (1586-1683) who was born or at least baptized on 20 February 1586 before Thomas Sanford's rather early death on 6 April 1597 at the age of only 41 year old. Most family historians point out that Thomas Sanford's final will was beautifully written implying that he was both intelligent in addition to his being well educated, however at the young age of only 41 he was unable to grant in his will a lot of land or money to his wife and children. Mary, my 10th great grandmother, outlived Thomas by almost 23 years and unfortunately we were unable to learn much about her life after her husband's death although Mary is believed to have married a man named John Haddsley shortly after Thomas's death. Assuming that this second marriage is a fact, it would make a lot of sense considering the very young age of all of Thomas' and Mary's children at the time of their father's death. It is assumed by most family historians that Thomas and possibly Mary (and probably second husband John as well) are buried at the graveyard alongside the St Andrew and Holy Cross Church in Much Hadham (see photograph above.)

Not surprisingly considering that my Sanford ancestors from England were neither wealthy nor important political individuals, we learned very little about the life of my 9th great grandfather, Ezekiel Sanford and most of what has been learned was obtained from old church records. We know that as the eldest son of his parents that he inherited a small amount of land in Stansted Mountifitchel when his father died, however, at the young age of around 20 or 21 he moved to the nearby village of Hatfield where he soon met and married 19 year old Rose Warner (1588-before 1707), my 9th great grandmother. Their marriage is estimated to have taken place in the year 1607. Ezekiel's lack of wealth was pretty well confirmed by the fact that following his marriage to my great grandmother, he and Rose lived with her parents at their home in Hatfield at least until the birth of their first two sons which took place sometime between their marriage date and maybe 1609. Unfortunately most of the church and other records that might have recorded information about the life of the Sanford family in Hatfield and then later around 1614 back in Stansted Mountifitchel have been lost so that nothing much is known about the life of Ezekiel including exactly where he and his family lived, nor anything about his trade or occupation. Many family historians report that Ezekiel and Rose had as many as eight children (some say even more) including at least three sons who emigrated to America including my 8th great grandfather, Robert Sanford (1615-1676).  Ezekiel Sanford is believed to have outlived his wife by many years and then finally dying at the age of 96 years old in 1683.

Early New England settlements
Before we discuss the life of my 8th great grandfather, Robert Sanford, we might mention that his mother's younger brother, a man named Andrew Warner, who was born in 1595, was probably very influential in convincing Robert and two of his brothers into emigrating to America around the year 1632. Considering that in 1632 the boys' father was only in his mid-40s, it certainly might well suggest that things were not going well for the Sanford family at the time, plus the fact that the current king of England, King Charles 1, was very unpopular, had dismissed the British Parliament, and his opposition to the Puritan reformers was driving many of  them out of England, was clearly a motivation for the young Sanford boys and many others to seek a better life in America. It is also a strong possibility that their father encouraged such a movement.  It is not clear however, that they all came over to America on the same ship with their uncle, but it is noted that most of them settled for a period in what would soon become the city of Hartford, Connecticut along with their uncle Andrew. Robert was only around 16 or 17 years old when he arrived in America with his two brothers, Thomas, who was around 25 years old, and Andrew who was only around 15 years old. The young ages of the three brothers would certainly strongly suggest that they may very well have traveled overseas with their older uncle Andrew Warner.

Map of Hartford showing original founders
(Picture can be clicked to enlarge)
Obviously based on their young ages there are no records that we could uncover about Robert and his brothers in America for at least a decade after their arrival. On the other hand, the life of their uncle Andrew Warner who is of course my 10th great uncle, is fairly well documented and if we assume that the young Sanford boys followed Andrew, then it is worth mentioning what Andrew did during his early years in America. We know that his first residence in America was in the community of Cambridge (originally named Newtowne) where he lived from 1633 until 1636. Cambridge was (is) located up the Charles River just a little west of Boston. Andrew almost immediately joined the local church and was soon chosen as a Cambridge selectman. Perhaps due to his involvement with the church and his friendship with the Rev. Thomas Hooker, he along with around 100 other men including the Rev. Hooker moved in 1636 and helped create the new settlement of Hartford located on the Connecticut River in the future state of Connecticut. Andrew Warner's name appears in the list of the founders of Hartford (and his name appears on the map of Hartford above.). The Sanford boys names do not appear on the list but then neither does Andrew Warner's wife's name appear nor do the names of their children all of whom obviously moved with their parents to Hartford. The list of course includes only the names of the male adults so it is entirely possible that my 8th great grandfather, Robert Sanford, arrived in Hartford with the other families in 1636 which would technically make him also an original founder of Hartford.

The first mention of Robert Sanford in Hartford and in America for that matter was the birth of his son and first child Zachariah Sanford in 1644. It is estimated that he married my 8th great grandmother, Hannah "Ann" Sarah Adams (1624-1682) in Hartford in 1643 when she was around 21 years old. Ann Adams according to many family historians was the daughter of Jeremy Adams (1604-1683) and Rebecca Taylor (1608-1678), my 9th great grandparents, and Jeremy's name also appears on the list of the original Hartford founders. It probably needs to be mentioned that there are also many family historians that adamantly dispute any claim that Robert Sanford's wife Ann was a daughter of Jeremy Adams and his wife. They may be right, therefore we will not spend any time describing this side of our ancestry. It is a well known historical fact that Hartford was originally settled by Puritans under the leadership of the Rev. Thomas Hooker. Hooker had encouraged his Puritan followers to leave the Boston area because he was very much disturbed with the "undemocratic ways" of the colony's government. What we found interesting in our research of the Sanford family as well as the Andrew Warner family for that matter, is that there was no mention of either of these families ever being Puritans. While it may be unlikely that Robert Sanford was an avid Puritan when he emigrated to America at the age of only 16 or 17, it would seem highly likely that he ultimately became a strong proponent not only having moved to Hartford but also because his new wife as the likely daughter of a Puritan and an early Hartford settler was undoubtedly herself a Puritan.

We unfortunately do not know a great deal about the life of our Robert Sanford although he was known to have been granted land in the Hartford area as well as land in nearby Windsor. He does not appear to have been in any major leadership positions in his town's government and when it comes to his occupation we learned only that he was a chimney inspector (or chimney viewer) in 1651/52, a leather sealer in most years between 1658 to 1672, and finally a fence viewer between 1662 and 1674. On the other hand he was an apparent leader in his family as between 1644 and about 1665 he and Ann had eight children which meant that Ann was pregnant about 30% of the time during her child bearing years. Their third child, Ezekiel Sanford (1648-1716) is my 7th great grandfather. Unfortunately Robert Sanford died fairly young at the age of 60 in the year 1676. His death is known to have hit him fairly quickly and unexpectedly as he only partially completed his last will and testament before he died. My great grandmother Ann only outlived Robert by a few years finally dying herself in 1682. It is assumed that they are both buried in an old "Ancient Burying Ground" in downtown Hartford known as the Center Church Graveyard. Unfortunately both of their gravestones have long ago been lost.

Hanging a Witch
Before we continue with the next generation of our Sanford ancestors, it is worth telling a brief and cruel story about Robert's younger brother Andrew Sanford (1617-1681), my 9th great uncle. Andrew like his brother Robert, also moved to Hartford probably with his brother and their uncle. Records show that in 1643, then 26 year old Andrew married a girl named Mary Botsford and then they like other young married couples of the time, began to raise children. Andrew worked according to some records also as a Chimney Viewer. A "chimney viewer" was a position responsible for making sure that all residents kept their chimneys clean. His brother Robert as we previously mentioned also held this rather silly position for awhile. Unfortunately in 1662 both Andrew and Mary got caught up in one of Hartford's worst historical actions. They were both accused of being witches. The Hartford records show that between 1647 and 1768, 38 individuals were accused of witchcraft including eleven of them between the years 1661 and 1663. Anyway, in the year 1662 Andrew was tried as being a witch but fortunately he was not convicted although many voted against him. His wife on the other hand was also tried shortly after her husband, but in her case she was found guilty and most historical records report that she was hanged. It is almost impossible to imagine that a community that was governed entirely by strong religious leaders operating in a country that was originally founded by individuals who sought liberty and religious freedom, that they would have sunk so low in their behavior to hang people believed to be witches. Oh well . . .

Original Sanford home still exists today
Ezekiel Sanford (1648-1716) was the third child and second son of Robert and Ann and my 7th great grandfather. He was around 22 years old when he made the decision to leave his parents and his birth home in Hartford and move in 1670 to what today is known as Bridgehampton Village in the Town of Southampton at the far eastern end of Long Island. The first European/American settlers relocated to Bridgehampton in 1656 although at the time the areas were separated by the Sagg Pond and were then known as Mecox on the western side of the pond and Sagaponack on the eastern side. We find it interesting that only a few years following Ezekiel's move to Long Island, the English, primarily those living in Connecticut, declared war on the Dutch who were living primarily on the western end of Long Island and by 1674 the English following an attack took possession of New Amsterdam and all of its occupied land and subsequently renamed it New York. There is no evidence that our Ezekiel Sanford was among those men from the Southampton area who joined with others in invading the Dutch held areas but then who knows. In any case, it is believed that in 1678, Ezekiel was leased 15 acres of land just south of Bridgehampton and alongside the west side of the Sagg Pond and it was here that he eventually built his home (see photo above). In 1679, Ezekiel married my 7th great grandmother, Hannah Mitchell (1662-1716). Hannah was born and lived in Hartford so it is possible that Ezekiel may have met Hannah when he lived in Hartford although when he left Hartford in 1670, Hannah would have only been around eight years old. It is possible that Hannah later moved to the Bridgehampton area with her father or one of her siblings although we could find nothing to verify this possibility. Some sources also suggest that they married back in Hartford although this would seem highly unlikely. In any case, following their marriage, Ezekiel and Hannah Mitchell Sanford soon moved into the home show in the above photograph and together they had at least five children born in their Sanford home between the years 1681 and 1694 including my 6th great grandfather, Ezekiel Sanford (Jr) born on 9 April 1681.

Old photo of  Ezekiel Sanford bridge over Sagg Pond
Ezekiel Sanford's (Sr) occupation was known to have been that of a wheelwright or someone who builds or repairs wooden cartwheels. Obviously with this carpentry talent it might explain in part why around the time of the mid-1680s his local town commissioned him to build a bridge over the Sagg Pond. Unfortunately for the local residents, the Sagg Pond ran along the eastern side of Bridgehampton all of the way down to the Atlantic Ocean and thus anyone wanting to cross had to make a long trip around the Pond. At least one source noted that the deal was that once Ezekiel completed the construction of the new bridge, then the 15 acres of land that he was leasing from the village would be given to him outright.

In any case, Ezekiel Sanford helped to solve the problem when he completed the bridge construction in 1686. The village itself was actually renamed "Bridgehampton" shortly following the construction of the bridge both to reflect the construction of the new bridge and to include the name of the village of Easthampton on the eastern side of the pond. While obviously the original bridge built by Ezekiel does not exist today, there is still a bridge crossing the Sagg Pond in almost the same location as our great grandfather's masterpiece. The road crossing the bridge is called Bridge Lane and still sitting on Bridge Lane on the western side of the pond is the old Sandford homestead. We found it quite interesting to learn the Sanford homestead remained in the Sanford family for over 325 years until it was finally sold outside the family.

Sagg Pond flowing to the Atlantic Ocean
My great grandfather Ezekiel Sanford died a fairly wealthy man at the age of 67 in February of 1716. He outlived my great grandmother Hannah by at least a decade and they are both believed to be buried in an old burying ground in Bridgehampton although their gravestones have long been lost. Their oldest son and my 6th great grandfather Ezekiel Sanford was around 34 years old and married at the time of his father's death. The modern day photograph above shows the Sagg Pond and in the distance the modern day bridge built to replace our ancestor's constructed bridge. The land owned by our Sanford family today is worth in the multimillion dollar price range.  

Howell's Water Mill, Southampton, NY
Despite spending a large amount of time researching the life of my 6th great grandfather Ezekiel Sanford (1681-1755), we really learned very little. As his parents' oldest son he undoubtedly eventually inherited their home on the Sagg Pond and he may have even lived there with his wife and many of his children even before his father's death in 1716. Ezekiel married my 6th great grandmother, Elizabeth Moore (1681-1738) in Bridgehampton in 1705. One of the interesting things about Elizabeth Moore's family is that her great grandfather on her mother's side, a man named Edward Howell (1584-1655), my 9th great grandfather, is included in the list of men named as the original settlers of Southampton in 1640. Southampton is located about seven miles west of Bridgehampton. Edward is also listed as the "acknowledged leader" and that he was born in Marsh Gibbon in Buckinghamshire, England. Historical records note that he served as a magistrate in Southampton (then called "Mecox") until 1653 and as Assistant of the Connecticut Colony (which controlled at that point western Long Island) from 1647 until 1653.

One of the fascinating things that our great grandfather Edward Howell accomplished during his time in Southampton was that he built a water mill for grinding grain, rye, and wheat into flour. This mill still exists today as an historical structure and it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Obviously our great grandfather was during his lifetime an extensive landowner, a fairly wealthy man, and generally credited with being the leader of the first English settlers in the future state of New York. The first settlers of New York before the English were of course the Dutch living in New Amsterdam. Edward's wife and my 9th great grandmother was Francis Paxton (1584-1630) and they had six children including my 8th great grandmother, Margaret Howell (1622-1707). Our Howell ancestry is described in far great detail in Chapter 45 of this family blog.

Moore Home in Newtown before it was torn down
My 8th great grandfather, the Rev. John Moore (Abt.1620-1657) married Margaret Howell in Southampton, Long Island around 1641. John Moore had move to Southampton around 1640 along with Margaret's father and many others including Margaret and he too is credited with being one of the original founders of Southampton. He had originally emigrated to Massachusetts from England in 1636. It is written that he purchased a home in Cambridge the following year (which is hard to imagine at the age of only 17), and subsequently he served as a magistrate in the town. Some family historians claim or at least suggest that he became associated with the founding of the school in Cambridge that later in 1639 became known as Harvard although here again it would seem more likely that he simply either attended Harvard or worked for them, as the school was originally founded back in 1636. It is believed that John Moore studied in England to be a minister and perhaps again at Harvard for he spent most of his life as a church minister particularly after John and Margaret and their family moved around 1651 from Southampton to Newtown, Long Island located in what was then part of the Dutch controlled area now known as New Amsterdam. John is credited with being among the original settlers of Newtown which was originally called Maspat, then called  Middelburg (or Middleburgh) and then following the English takeover of New Amsterdam in 1664, the name changed to Hastings. Apparently however, the early English settlers had long called their home, Newtown. Whatever its name, it was obviously the first English settlement in Queens County, New York. Together John and Margaret had seven children including my 7th great grandfather and their last child, Joseph Moore (1651-1724), who was born in Newtown in 1651. Unfortunately Joseph was only six years old when his father died at the relatively young age of only 37 in 1657. It was said that his father died of a "pestilence disease" which implies he died of some serious infectious disease that was totally unknown back in the 1600s . . . perhaps measles or chicken pox? Incidentally, one of the main leaders of the English move into New Amsterdam back in 1642 was a man by the name of the Rev. Francis Doughty, a strong proponent of Puritanism. When John Moore died in 1657, his wife and my great grandmother Margaret married in 1660 a man named Francis Doughty (Jr) who was not only the son of the Rev. Francis Doughty, but who was also a minister himself and soon took over the church previously run by John Moore.

The Old Hasley House built by Thomas Hasley about 1648
Unfortunately we were able to find very little about the life of my 7th great grandfather, Joseph Moore (1651-1726). He obviously spent his younger years living with his mother and his stepfather Francis Doughty in Newtown, which was then under the general control of the Dutch and the Dutch colonial governor, Peter Stuyvesant. In 1664 when he was in his early teens the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the English and things undoubtedly began to change included a rapid influx of English settlers. In 1673, the Dutch retook the leadership in the area but quickly this changed back to English control by the following year. Whether or not all of these changes were motivating factors for Joseph to leave western Long Island and move back to Southampton is not known nor do we know exactly what year he moved. All that is know is that Joseph Moore married my 7th great grandmother, Sarah Halsey (1658-1725) in her home town of Southampton sometime before their first child was born in 1681. It was a great match for Joseph for Sarah's father, my 8th great grandfather, Thomas Hasley (1626-1688), was not only one of the original founders of Southampton along with his brothers and his father but he was also one of the wealthiest men living in the area. In his will that was written in the year 1688, he mentions his married daughter Sarah and her husband Joseph Moore. One interesting thing that we did learn about Thomas Halsey, is that his father's wife and my 8th great grandmother whose name was Elizabeth or Phebe, is recorded by some as having been killed by indians in 1649. Unfortunately we were unable to find any details about this claim as it might have made an interesting additional tale in this chapter of our blog. One source however, did report that the Indians who killed my great grandmother were captured, tried and found guilty, and were executed.  Good ending. Anyway,

Joseph and Sarah Halsey Moore lived the rest of their lives following their marriage in Southampton. We do not know all of the names nor the exact number of children who were born to our great grandparents although only four children were named in Joseph's will that was "proved" on 30 May 1726 and originally written in 1723. Records show that their oldest daughter and my 6th great grandmother, Elizabeth Moore (1681-1738), was born or baptized on 29 October 1681. Elizabeth Moore as we mentioned earlier in this chapter was later to become the wife of my 6th great grandfather, Ezekiel Sanford (1681-1755). Also mentioned in Joseph's will is the fact that he lived next door to his then son-in-law Ezekiel Sanford and that he gave his slave Peter a half acre of land. Joseph Moore was also apparently fairly well off financially or at least enough to be able to own a slave and a considerable amount of land. Incidentally it is recorded that Long Island had the largest slave population of any rural or urban area in the north during the colonial period and that the future state of New York slave population had grown to almost 20,000 about the time of the Revolutionary War.

So we now again return to the story of our Sanford ancestors. Elizabeth Moore married Ezekiel Sanford in Bridgehampton early in the year 1705 and their first child was born in October of that same year. Ezekiel's father only a few years earlier had become quite well known in Bridgehampton having recently completed a new bridge over the Sagg Pond. We do not know for certain what Ezekiel did for a living although most of the families living in Bridgehampton during this time period were farmers including the leaders of the community. Ezekiel was undoubtedly a farmer. The original settlers of both Southampton in 1640 and later in Bridgehampton were Puritans who had moved from Connecticut. By the time of Ezekiel's birth however, most of the residents of the area were thought to be Presbyterians and we believe that the only church in Bridgehampton at the time was a Presbyterian church. Originally the eastern end of Long island was under the leadership of the Colony of Connecticut, however in 1665, then Governor John Winthrop Jr of New York announced that the towns on the eastern end of Long Island were now part of New York. All of these changes of course took place before Ezekiel's birth and the local citizens by the late 1600s were undoubtedly by that point accustomed to the changes. Some records of Ezekiel Sanford's public life report that he was at some point a local constable and that he had held a few town offices. He is also noted to have been a "lieutenant of the third Militia Company" although there is no record that he ever participated in any local battles  The French and Indian War began in 1754 shortly after his death in 1748,

Elizabeth and Ezekiel Sanford were know to have had around seven children as mentioned in Ezekiel's will although some other records show that they had eight children between their marriage in 1705 and Elizabeth's rather early death at the age of 57 in the year 1735. Not surprisingly, Ezekiel remarried following his wife's death. He finally died in 1755 at the age of 74. The daughter of Elizabeth and Ezekiel Sanford, Abigail Sanford (1712-1748) is my 5th great grandmother.

Abigail Sanford was 20 years old when she married my 5th great grandfather, Silas Sayre (1708-1747) in Bridgehampton in 1732. The story of my Sayre family ancestry is well told (I hope) in Chapter 13, "The Sayre Family" in this blog. What we learned is that Silas Sayre's great grandfather, Thomas Sayre (1597-1670) is one of the original settlers of Southampton back in 1640. We also just learned that two of Thomas' sons, Daniel Sayre (1633-1708), who was Silas Sayre's grandfather, and his brother Job Sayre (1637-1694), are both my great grandfathers. When we wrote the chapter about our Sayre ancestors, Chapter 13, we were not aware at the time that Daniel Sayre was also a great grandfather. Another interesting but surprising connection that we discovered is that one of Job Sayre's sons, a man named Job Sayre (Jr) (1672-1755) married a girl named Susannah Howell (1680-?) who was the great granddaughter of Edward Howell (1584-1655) who we mentioned earlier in this Sanford Ancestry chapter and who was also an original founder of Southampton. Obviously these communities were all quite small back in the early 1600s so it should not be surprising that find that one's children and grandchildren married their neighbors' children and grandchildren.

Anyway, the marriage of Abigail Sanford to Silas Sayre marks the end of my Sanford ancestry. My relationship to my Sanford ancestors is shown below.

5th Great Grandparents:  Abigail Sanford  m  Silas Sayre
4th Great Grandparents:  Elizabeth Sayre  m  Nathaniel Seeley
                                       (1760-1806)          (1756-1796)
3rd Great Grandparents: Elizabeth Seeley  m  Archibald Campbell
                                       (1790-1869)          (1770-1855
2nd Great Grandparents:    Jane Campbell m  Joshua Rappleye
                                       (1819-1891)          (1814-1888)
Great Grandparents:  Helena E. Rappleye  m  Asbury H. Baker
                                       (1860-1944)          (1860-1933)
Grandparents:               Charles S. Baker  m  Helen Spaulding
                                       (1885-1952)          (1887-1937)
Parents:                       Charles A. Baker  m  Marian C. Patterson
                                       (1916-2000)          (1916-1973)
Living Generation:    Charles A. Baker Jr.
                              Anne Baker Fanton
                              Joan Patterson Baker

And so ends another story . . . . . .

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Chapter 60 - Our Van Voorhees Ancestors

The Netherlands
My great grandfather Stevense Coerte Van Voorhees was born in the Province of Drenthe in the northeastern part of the Netherlands back around the year 1600. His parents, who of course were also my great grandparents, were Coerte Albertse and Mergin Hendrikje and they lived near the small town of Hees in Drenthe where they are believed to have raised at least eight children including their son Stevense. The Province of Drenthe during this period of history was rural and scarcely populated and consisted mostly of farmers who struggled to raise crops in predominately sandy and unfertile soils. By this time in history Drenthe had been populated by human beings for over 100,000 years, a fact that most likely contributed to their poor soils. It is not surprising therefore to learn that in the period of the 1600s many of the families living in Drenthe were known to have immigrated to America obviously with the hope that they would improve their lives in a "New World". It did not help that during this same period of history there was an almost constant war taking place between the Dutch and the English now called the Anglo-Dutch Wars, and most certainly Stevense Coerte did not want any of his children to be forced into this awful conflict. He was 60 years old when he moved his family to America in 1660 and it is pretty clear that his motive for moving was based almost entirely on his desire to find a better place for his children to grow up.

Stevense Coerte is believed to have married twice and had around ten children.  His first wife was my 9th great grandmother Aeltje Wessels whom he married sometime before 1633 or shortly before their first child was born. Stevense and Aeltje are believed to have had four children, three of whom survived to adulthood, including my 8th great grandfather, Coerte Stevense Van Voorhees, who was born around 1637. Unfortunately my great grandmother died sometime around 1645 or possibly a year or so later. Not surprisingly considering where and when they lived, the exact dates of her birth, her marriage, her death and the birth dates of her children are not known for curtain.

Stevense Coerte married for a second time around the year 1650, a woman by the name of Willemtje Roelofsen Seubering who also happens to be my great grandmother as three of her six children were also my great grandparents, an almost unbelievable circumstance. The fact that Stevense Coerte had four children who were my great grandparents is truly amazing and this unusual genealogy will of course form a major part of this family's story. His children with his second wife Willemtje include Jan Stevense Van Voorhees who was born in 1652 and who is my 9th great grandfather, Jannetje Stevense Van Voorhees who was born around 1658 and who is my 9th great grandmother and Hendrickje Stevense Van Voorhees who was born around 1659 and who is also my 9th great grandmother.

New Amsterdam 1664
Despite the rather rural area in which Stevense Coerte grew up and then raised his own family, he apparently had accumulated enough wealth to be able to afford to emigrate to America in the year 1660. Traveling with Stevense to America were his wife and all of his living children except for his eldest daughter, Marchisen Stevense, who had already married and elected to stay behind in the Netherlands. The ship upon which they sailed is believed to have been the De Bonte Koe or the "Spotted Cow" which set sail probably out of the city of  Amsterdam in the month of April and then arriving in New Netherlands or what would later be called the Island of Manhatten around six to eight weeks later in June of 1660. Obviously the Van Voorhess family were not among the earliest settlers in this Dutch colony which was originally settled back in 1625. The population of New Netherlands by this point had grown to almost 6,000 or 7,000 people (estimated 9,000 by 1664) with around 2,000 living at the western end of the island or in New Amsterdam. Fortunately for our Van Voorhees family they had friends who were already living in New Amsterdam including two of my grandmother's siblings and their families and thus they were not total strangers upon their arrival. Obviously considering their large family consisting of many young children, friends in the new world would have been a major benefit.

The strong character of Stevense Coerte Van Voorhees became very apparent soon after their arrival in America. Within six months after their landing, Stevense had purchased a little over 60 acres of land in what was then called New Amersfort and later Flatlands (and now Brooklyn) and included within the fertile land that he purchased that was perfect for farming, was an already built home, and a large and completely furnished brewery. Stevense Coerte is also credited with being one of the founders and original deacons and elders of the Dutch Reformed Church of Flatlands and in 1664 he was appointed as one of the magistrates of the town of Flatlands. He was obviously a highly respected individual within his new community. By the time of his death in February of 1683 at the age of 83, all of his children had married and it is estimated that by that point he had upwards of 30 grandchildren. The present day Van Voorhees Association which was organized back in 1932 by descendants of Stevense Coerte Van Voorhees, proclaims that there are more Van Voorhees descendants in America today than those of any other single early Dutch settler in America. Fascinating possibility.

New Amsterdam in 1660
There are several other historical issues that should be mentioned at this point. The first is that the Dutch during this period of history did not use surnames as we all do today. We have referred to our great grandfather as Stevense Coerte Van Voorhees, however the surname of Van Voorhees was not what the family called themselves when they arrived in America in 1660. Their second names were in fact a variation of their father's first name so in Stevense Coerte's case, the Coerte was his father's first name. You will also note that all of Stevense Coerte's childrens' second name was Stevense after their father's primary name. All of this changed however, when the

British took over control of New Amsterdam in 1664 only four years following the arrival of our Van Voorhees ancestors. Our Van Voorhees ancestors were forced in part by the British to adopt the surname "Van Voorhees" which roughly implied in the Dutch language that they were from the village of Hees, which of course was the case. And then several generations down from our original Van Voorhees settlers, the "Van" was removed from the surname and thus present day direct descendants have their surname simply as "Voorhees". Anyway . . . the oldest son of Stevense Coerte was named or at least referred to today as Coerte Stevense Van Voorhees.

Coerte Stevense Van Voorhees (abt 1637-abt 1702): Coerte Stevense, my 8th great grandfather, was the oldest son of Stevense Coerte and his first wife Aeltje Wessels and he was around 22 years old when he disembarked from the ship De Bonte Koe in New Amsterdam in 1660. In 1664, Coerte Stevense married my 8th great grandmother, Marretje Gerretse van Couwenhoven, who was then 20 years old and the daughter of Gerret Wolfertse Van Couwenhoven (1610-1645) and Aeltje Cornelius Cool (1620-1683). Marretje's father had immigrated to America with his parents around 1630, married his wife in 1635, and then Marretje, their 5th child, was born in New Amsterdam and baptized on 10 April 1644.  What is really interesting about my Van Couwenhoven ancestors is that one of Marretje's older brothers, Willem Gerretse Van Couwenhoven (1636-1663) is also one of my great grandfathers also on my father's side of my family. Obviously I have no shortage of Dutch ancestry.  Coerte Stevense, perhaps even more so than his father, was an active participant in his local government and in their Dutch Church of Flatlands as well as servicing as a Captain in their local militia. He also owned a large section of land in Gravesend located just southwest of Flatlands as well as 60 to 70 acres or more of land in Flatlands. He obviously was quite well off financially which obviously was a great benefit to his children when he died in 1702.

Coerte Stevense and my great grandmother Marretje had nine children who survived to adulthood including two of their children who are also my great grandparents, their oldest son Steven Coerte Van Voorhees who was born in 1667 and his sister, Annatie Coerte Van Voohrees, born in 1680. Annatie incidentally, married Jan Jorise Rapalje whose family's history story is told in Chapter 1 of this blog. Just to show how interwoven the families were during this period of history, the youngest son of Coerte and Marretje, a boy named Johannes Coerte (1683-1757) married another one of my great grandmothers, a woman named Sarah Van Vleit, although it was her second marriage and we are not directly related to any of their children.

Steven Coerte Van Voorhees (1667-1723): We actually could find very little about the life of our 7th great grandfather Steven Coerte Van Voorhees. We believe that he was born in Gravesend where his parents lived and he died in Flatlands. As his parents' oldest son he was probably fairly welloff financially but other than learning that he was an officier in the militia in Kings County, New York in 1715, we learned nothing else about his life and other public services.  We do know that he married my 7th great grandmother sometime in the late 1680s, a woman by the name of Agatha Eva Janse Van Dyck (lots of different spellings) and that they had as many as eleven children including my 6th great grandmother, Lucretia Van Voorhees, who was born in 1696. Lucretia incidentally, married a man by the name of Nicholas Williamson (1689-1779) who just happens to be the grandson of another of my ancestors, one Pieter Claesen Wyckoff (1625-1694) whose family story is told in Chapter 49 of this blog. From this point down our tree is as follows:
                        Lucretia Van Voorhees m  Nicholas Williamson
                             William Williamson  m  Geetje Hegeman
                               Sarah Williamson  m  Jeremiah Rappleye
                                  Peter Rappleye  m  Mary Covert
                               Joshua Rappleye  m  Jane Taft Campbell
                              Helene Rappleye   m  Asbury Harpending Baker
                      Charles Schenck Baker  m  Helen Mary Spaulding
                       Charles Asbury Baker   m  Marian C. Patterson
                   Charles Asbury Baker Jr.   m  Kathleen Therese Mahar

Jan Stevense Van Voorhees (1652-1735) is the fourth son of Stevense Coerte Van Voohrees (1600-1684) and he is one of four children of Stevense Coerte who all happen to be my great grandparents. In Jan Stevense's case he is my 9th great grandfather and also the son of Stevense Coerte's second wife, Willemtje Roelofsen Seubering (1619-1690). Jan Stevense of course, was only around eight years old when he arrived in America with his parents in the year 1660 and it is highly unlikely that by the time he married his first wife and my 9th great grandmother, Cornelia Reinierse Wizzelpenning (1656-1680) whom he married on 17 March 1678, that he had any memories left of his birthland. Cornelia's parents, Reiner Wizzelpenning (1635-1670) and Jannetje Jans Snedecker (1638-1713) are believed to have arrived from the Netherlands in the year 1658 when they daughter was only two years old so that she too like her husband had little to no memories of their homeland. They both grew up in the Flatland's area so it might not be that surprising that they knew each other at a young age. This assumption is pretty well confirmed by the fact that one of Jan Stevense's younger brothers, Albert Stevense (1653-1727) married one of Cornelia's sisters, Helletje Reinierse Wizzelpenning (1665-1691). Clearly the families were close.

Unfortunately my 9th great grandmother, Cornelia Reinierse Wizzelpenning, died on 7 January 1680 shortly following the birth of their only child, my 8th great grandfather, Stephen Van Voorhees (20 Dec 1679-18 Sept 1759) who was born only around three weeks before his mother's death. Cornelia was only 24 years old when she died. Jan Stevense remarried less than a year following my great grandmother's death and he had many more children, around ten more, but it was just not the same. Unfortunately we could learn very little about the life of my 9th great grandfather, Jan Stevens Van Voorhees other than the names of his children, where and when he was born and died plus the fact that based on his Will which was dated on 3 January 1723, he apparently was a fairly well-off individual since he owned quite a bit of farmland most of which was in the area of Flatlands. Incidentally, he signed his will with the name John Stevenson, obviously reflecting that the English were strongly influencing the Dutch by this point. Why he did not mention his surname "Van Voorhees" in this Will is curious.

Stephen Van Voorhees (1679-1759): Here again, we know very few details about the life of my 8th great grandfather. We know that based on his father's will he received slightly more in his inheritance than did his step brothers and sisters. Stephen apparently moved westward on Long Island for we know that in 1705 at the age of 28 he married my 8th great grandmother, Catrina Van Duyn (1683-1757), in Jamaica in Queens County located about 14 miles from Flatlands.  Stephen and Catrina had around eight children including my 7th great grandfather and their youngest son, Stephen Voorhees (1729-1799). From this point to the present day our family tree is as follows:
              Stephen Voorhees  m  Ann Baldwin
             Margaret Voorhees  m  Jothan Purdy
                    Andrew Purdy  m  Esther Miller
                       Maria Purdy  m  Thomas Maxwell
               Susan C. Maxwell  m  Mathew McReynolds Sly
             Mary Catherine Sly  m  Charles Henry Spaulding
      Henry Clinton Spaulding  m  Ella McBlain Reynolds
         Helen Mary Spaulding  m  Charles Schenck Baker
         Charles Asbury Baker  m  Marian P. Baker
             Charles A. Baker Jr  m  Kathleen Therese Mahar

 Jannetje Stevense Van Voorhees (25 Dec 1658-10 Sept 1709): Jannetje Stevense is my 9th great grandmother and the second daughter and fourth child of her parents, Stevense Coerte Van Voorhees (1600-1684) and Willemtje Roelofsen Seubering (1619-1690). Like her siblings she was born in the Netherlands and came over with her parents and siblings at a very young age in 1660. She was also quite young, around 14 years old, when she married my 9th great grandfather, Jan Martense Schenck (abt 1631-1688) in the year 1672. What is really more surprising however, is that her new husband and my great grandfather was around 40 years old when they married and there are no records that we could find that show that he had married previously. Jan Martense had arrived in America from Amsterdam with his two siblings in 1650 so the fact that he remained unmarried for about 22 years following his immigration would seem very unusual. Also unusual was the fact that Jan Martense Schenck's older brother Roelof Martense Schenck (1619-1703) was also my 9th great grandfather as in 1660 he married a girl named Neeltje Gerretse Van Couwenhoven (1641-1674). You may recall that we previously mentioned a girl named Marretje Gerratse Van Couwenhoven (1644-1708) who happens to be Neeltje's younger sister and who married Coerte Stevense Van Voorhees (1637-1699) (see above) who is Jannetje Stevense Van Voorhees older step-brother. So Jannetje's brother Coerte Stevense married a Couwenhoven daughter and her husband Jan Martense Schenek's brother also married a Couwenhoven daughter and they are all my great grandparents. Unbelievable these close family marriages and we have to believe that this was not that uncommon in our lowly populated "New World" in the 17th century.      

The history of my 9th great grandfather, Jan Martense Schenck is really quite interesting. He married Jannetje Stevense around the year 1672 and around the same time he purchased a large parcel of land on an island then named Molen Eylandt (later called Mill Island) on which he built a home for his new family. It is said that the total land purchased amounted to around 75 acres. On the adjacent map, Mill Island is shown off the coast of what was then called Flatlands, one of the six provinces of Brooklyn. The land that he purchased was bordered in part by the waters of the Jamaica Bay which then led to the Atlantic Ocean so not surprisingly he had built a large dock suitable for docking the ocean going ships of the late 17th century. Our great grandfather Jan Martense Schenck has been referred to in some historical writings as Captain Schenck as apparently his dock and its location allowed him to become a major trader of imports and exports between Holland and the New World which obviously would have led to his great wealth and notoriety. There are also some writings about his business that jokingly suggest that one of his good customers was the infamous pirate Captain William Kidd who was known to have lived in the area during the early part of his life. There is also some humorous writings that suggest that our great grandfather Jan Schenck may have even worked for or at least sailed with Captain Kidd shortly following his arrival in America although considering that Kidd was born in 1654, this hint would seem highly unlikely.

Schenck House before 1952
Upon purchasing the land on Mill Island, Jan Martense Schenck almost immediately built a new home, the construction of which was completed around 1675. Unbelievably the Schenck home is still in existence today. For approximately 275 years the Schenck house remained in its original location but then in 1952, the Brooklyn Museum made a commitment to save the house which was at that point scheduled for demolition. They then carefully dismantled the home and then after a decade of storing it, they opened a museum in 1964 which soon contained in part the reconstructed "Jan Martense Schenck House". 
Schenck House in Brooklyn Museum

Our great grandfather's home can still be visited to this day at the Brooklyn Museum and perhaps some day we shall do so. Jan Martense Schenck and Jannetje Stevense Van Voorhees were known to have nine children including their oldest son Martin Janse Schenck (1675-1730) who inherited his parents' home upon his father's death. Martin Janse Schenck is my 8th great grandfather. He married my 8th great grandmother, Cornelia Rochussen Van Wesselen (1663-1736) on 2 December 1703 and they lived in the Schenck home until their deaths at which time it was willed to their son and my 7th great grandfather, John Schenck (1705-1775).  The heirs of John Schenck who would include my 6th great grandfather, Martin Schenck (1738-1794) eventually sold their great grandparents home on the 15th of April in the year 1784. The Schenck home is today, despite the fact that it currently sits in a museum, considered by many to be the oldest surviving home in the New York City area. My family tree from Martin Schenck down to myself today is as follows:
                   Martin Schenck  m  Sarah Couwenhoven
            Antje (Ann) Schenck  m  John M Bogart
                       Sarah Bogart  m  Francis Baker
                        Elijah Baker  m  Susan Emmeline Osborn
       Charles Schenck Baker  m  Hannah E. Harpending
     Asbury Harpending Baker  m  Helena Ely Rappleye
       Charles Schenck Baker  m  Helen Mary Spaulding
          Charles Asbury Baker  m  Marian Coapman Patterson
               Charles A Baker Jr  m  Kathleen Therese Mahar

Hendrickje Stevense Van Voorhees (abt 1658-abt 1693): Hendrickje Stevense is my 9th great grandmother and the youngest child of Stevense Coerte Van Voorhees and Willemtje Roelofsen Seubering. She was only two years old when the family arrived in America so obviously she too had no memories of her birthplace in Amsterdam. While it was probably not that uncommon during this period of history as parents wanted their daughters to find husbands as early as possible, nevertheless her age of only 16 or 17 years old when she married in 1675 was still a bit unusual. Her husband and my 9th great grandfather was a man named Albert Albertse Terhune (1651-1709) who was at the time of their marriage around 24 year old.

Unfortunately we learned very few details about the life of my 9th great grandfather, Albert Albertse Terhune, and even less about the life of his parents. What has been written about the life of Albert's father is filled with contractions with everything from when he arrived in America, to exactly when he married, and even where he lived. That said, we have to admit that what we are now writing about my Terhune ancestors may not be entirely accurate. Albert Albertse Terhune's father was also named Albert Albertse Terhune. He is believed to have been born in the Netherlands around the year 1620 and in his late teens around the year 1637 or 1638, he emigrated to the New World or what would later be called New Amsterdam. There are some historians who suggest that he may have emigrated as an indentured servant which was not all that uncommon and would make sense especially since he travelled at a young age and without a family and then following his arrival he did not appear to immediately purchase any land or start a business. In fact most historians report that his first occupation was working under the control of the colony's governor general, a position he may have held for a number of years as nothing is known about Albert Sr. until he married his wife and my 10th great grandmother, Geertje Dircks (Denyce?) sometime just prior to 1648 when their first son was born.  From what other information we could learn about my 10th great grandfather, we know if nothing else, that he had a rather aggressive personality. In 1657, he and his wife rented a piece of property on an assumed former Nyack Indian tract of land out in New Utrecht on Long Island. He then went ahead and built a rather crude home on the property. Apparently the Nyack Indians later denied that they had sold the land upon which the Terhune home was built and when an Indian uprising was threatened, the Director General of New Amsterdam ordered that the Terhune home be destroyed. Apparently it must have been built without the proper authority to do so. My great grandfather refused to tear down his home and he was hence arrested and issued a fine. When he refused to pay the fine he was thrown in jail. He was eventually released and later moved his family to Flatlands where they purchased 50 acres of land and a home and he subsequently became a successful farmer. He died in 1685 but not before he and his wife had eleven children including his fourth child in 1651, my 9th great grandfather, Albert Albertse Terhune (Jr).

Terhune Home in Hackensack, New Jersey
My 9th great grandparents Hendrickje Stevense Van Voorhees and Albert Albertse Terhune had as many as ten or eleven children including the birth of my 8th great grandmother, Marritje Terhune (1685-1746) before her mother Hendrickje died in 1693 at the young age of only 34. One has to wonder if the role of being a mother of so many children plus being an almost annual child bearer might not have been a major cause of her early death. Despite the loss of his first wife, Albert married twice more, having five more children with his second wife who died in 1705 and then three more with his third wife who subsequently and perhaps fortunately outlived him. My great grandfather died on 9 September 1709 at the age of only 58 year old.  Fortunately for his large family he died a fairly wealthy man as shows quite clearly by the quality of his home shown in the photograph above. The photograph was taken of his beautiful home in Hackensack, New Jersey sometime before it was torn down in 1951.

Albert Albertse and his wife Hendrickje Stevense and their parents as well, lived in New Amsterdam during an interesting period of early American history. Albert Jr was about 13 years old when a small fleet of British ships landed in New Amsterdam in 1664 and ordered that the entire area was now to be under British control. The Dutch Governor at the time, a man named Peter Stuyvesant, was unable to get any support from the local Dutch settlers and he had no choice but to surrender. The following year the second Anglo-Dutch War began between the British and the Dutch and the war which was fought mostly in Europe or out in the ocean, ended in 1667 following a major Dutch battle victory followed with a peace treaty.  What appears to be really interesting is that even with a Dutch victory, the former city of New Amsterdam which was now being called New York, was still under the leadership of the British. What this apparently tells us is that the majority of the Dutch speaking people living in the New York area at the time did not relate in anyway to the home of their ancestors or in the case of Albert Jr., to the birth home of his mother. Incidentally, the Dutch regained control over "New Amsterdam" for a brief period in 1673 but by 1674 the British resumed control again and maintained control until their defeat during the American Revolution.

Map showing location of Hackensack
We really learned very little about the public life of my 9th great grandfather, Albert Albertse Terhune. We do know that sometime before 1689 he moved his family including by that point his second wife, to a new home near an area later to be known as Hackensack, New Jersey. It is believed that he had obtained a patent along with several other men on a large parcel of land, reported to be 5,000 acres, back in the year 1682 and eventually he ended up personally owning around 600 acres as well as a lovely home in northern New Jersey that he had built along the Passaic River as shown in the photograph above. [Some historians write that it was Albert's father who actually purchased his portion of the patent for the 5,000 acres. Both father and son had the same names so it is easy to understand the possible confusion.] Records show that Albert was a member of their local Legislature in 1695 and 1696 as well as an Elder in the local Dutch Reformed Church beginning in 1689. We have to believe that during his life he had gained a considerably amount of wealth, was a highly respected individual, and his family was saddened when he died on 7 September 1709.

The daughter of Albert Albertse Terhune and Hendrickje Stevense Van Voorhees, Marritje (Mary) Terhune was 21 years old when she married her husband, Hendrick Bertholf in the Dutch Reformed Church in Hackensack on the 29th day of March in the year 1707. The story of their family is continued in Chapter 56 - "Our Bertholf Family" in this family history blog. My family tree from this point is as follows:

               Hendrick Bertholf  m  Marritje Terhune
                Jacobus Bertholf  m  Elizabeth Bertholf
        Petrus "Peter"Bertholf  m  Angenietje Van der Bogart
              Elizabeth Bertholf  m  John Wisner
                    Henry Wisner  m  Maria Smith
                     Clara Wisner  m  Henry Clinton Spaulding
    Charles Henry Spaulding  m  Mary Catherine Sly
    Henry Clinton Spaulding  m  Ella Mc Blain Reynolds
        Helen Mary Spaulding  m  Charles Schenck Baker
         Charles Asbury Baker  m  Marian Coapman Patterson
            Charles A. Baker Jr  m  Kathleen Therese Mahar

Considering the very large number of my ancestors who emigrated from the Netherlands in the 1600s, it is not surprising that my DNA shows an "Ethnicity Estimate" of 63% Western European. Based on my family tree which is displayed on, it does seem to confirm that the majority of my "Western European" ancestors did in fact originate from the Netherlands with only a few from France and Germany. These ancestors were granted Dutch based surnames in this country such as Wyckoff, Bertholf, Couwenhoven, Bogart, Schenck, Williamson, Covert, Coapman, as well as numerous other names. As fairly recent examples, my mother's middle name was Coapman (originating from her Dutch 5th great grandfather Johannes Coapman), and my grandfather Baker's middle name was Schenck (from his Dutch 8th great grandfather Jan Martense Schenck). Considering how relatively small the Dutch population is in Europe compared to the rest of the world, it is fascinating how many Dutch ancestors we really have. Perhaps more stories should follow about the lives of some of our other numerous Dutch ancestors.



Friday, March 16, 2018

Chapter 59 - My Hickok Ancestors

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok
My 6th cousin, 4x removed
I was astonished when I recently discovered that I was a distant cousin of James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok who was born in 1837 and who died in 1876. When I was younger all of us knew about Wild Bill Hickok thanks in large part to numerous movies and TV shows that featured this man especially the 1936 movie titled The Plainsman starring the outstanding and then very popular actor named Gary Cooper. Fortunately for my cousin Wild Bill, his name and his often very make-believe stories still show up in movies, TV shows, novels, and even in comic books.  While this chapter of our blog is not about Wild Bill Hickok, we thought that it might be interesting to repeat a brief description of his life that we have copied from the Find A Grave website:

"Western Figure. Born in Troy Grove, near Ottawa, Illinois, he took part in the Kansas struggle preceding the Civil War, was a driver of the Butterfield stage line, and gained fame as a gunfighter. He was an assistant station tender for the Pony Express and the Rock Creek, Nebraska station. He served as a union scout in the Civil War. After the war he became deputy United States Marshal at Fort Riley (1866), Marshal of Hays, Kansas (1869), and Marshal of Abilene (1871). His reputation as a marksman in desperate encounters with outlaws made him a frontier legend. Hickok once shot and killed his own deputy in error, which was the downfall of his career as a lawman. After a tour of the east with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show (1872-1873), he went to Deadwood, South Dakota where he was murdered by Jack McCall while playing cards at the #10 Saloon. The hand Hickok had held, a pair of aces and a pair of eights, thereafter became known as "The Dead Man's Hand."

Wow, anyway James Butler Hickok was or is my 6th cousin, 4x removed and we share as our common ancestor his 5th great grandfather and my 9th great grandfather, William Hickok (?-1645), whose life story as we know it shall begin this new chapter in our blog. Incidentally, the spelling of our ancestor's surname in historical documents is all over the place including Hickox, Hitchcock, Hickox, Hickock, and more but just to keep it simple we are going to stick with the more modern spelling of the family name, Hickok.

Voyage to America in 1635
Not surprisingly we know little about the early life of my 9th great grandfather William Hickok including not knowing the names of his parents nor exactly when and where he was born, other than we know that it was in England. There are numerous websites online especially, that name his parents and his birth date and location, but most of that information appears to be just guesses. We really just do not know his background. It is also further recorded that William sailed on the ship "Plaine Jane" that departed from England in 1635 headed for Virginia. He is listed in the ship records as "William Hitchcock" age 27. While this at first appears to be nonsense since we know that William immigrated to New England, what is interesting is that a number of the other passengers onboard the Plaine Jane besides our William also ended up in New England.  This fact might suggest that the ship never intended on sailing to Virginia in the first place. From what we understand there were some restrictions about who was allowed to emigrate to New England and one of these restrictions was most likely that one must be a Puritan with a good background and a certain amount of wealth. There is no evidence that William Hickok met any of these requirements and the fact that soon after his arrival in America, he left the strongly Puritan area of Boston and moved to Connecticut might suggest that he did not emigrate for religious reasons as did so many others.

It is generally accepted that William Hickok met and married my 9th great grandmother in the year in 1641. Here again we know nothing for certain about my great grandmother's background other than that her name was Elizabeth. There are some websites and family trees that suggest that her maiden name was Elizabeth Coles or Cole and that she emigrated to the New World on the ship "Bachelor" in 1635. She was listed in the ship records as a "maidservant" to the Lyon (or Lion) Gardner family. If this is accurate this is fascinating since Lyon Gardner (1599-1663) and his wife Mary are my 12th great grandparents. Lyon was an officer in the English army who served in the Netherlands. He apparently was a military engineer and was later hired to serve for four years at the mouth of the Connecticut River in America to build a fort and establish a village which he named Saybrook. His maidservant, Elizabeth Coles, was listed in the ship's records as having been born in 1621. Who knows for certain if this Elizabeth Coles is our great grandmother. One thing that we do know however, about my Lyon family and Lyon Gardner is that he was an early settler in Connecticut and that his first two children were born in Saybrook, Connecticut in 1636 and 1638. The family later moved to Long Island where they remained for the rest of their lives. Incidentally their home on Long Island was actually off the northwestern coast of the island on a small island still known today as "Gardiners Island."  This history of the Lyon family might suggest that their maidservant Elizabeth Coles may have accompanied the Gardner family to Connecticut where she may have eventually met her future husband. What is known is that in late 1636 the Pequot Indians attacked what was then Fort Saybrook, and it is entirely possible that Elizabeth Coles was among a group of people that following the Indian war vacated the area in 1637 or 1638 and moved north up the Connecticut River possibly to Hartford that had been settled only a few years earlier. It is certainly possible that William Hickok was among the first group of settlers in Hartford around that same time period although he is not listed as an original settler of Hartford. If this is accurate, then William would have met his future wife in Hartford sometime in the late 1630s or very early 1640s. Another interesting coincidence is that one of the original founders of Hartford was a man by the name of Samuel Gardner who was born in 1615. Whether or not he was related to my great grandfather Lyon Gardner and his family living in Saybrook is unknown but it is very possible that Samuel and Lyon Gardner were brothers or cousins.

Unfortunately or at least adding to the confusion, there are other websites and family trees that suggest that my great grandmother's maiden name was really Elizabeth Stacy who was born in 1624 and who emigrated to America with her parents Simon and Elizabeth Clerke Stacy around 1635.  The family soon moved to Ipswich located about 35 miles north of Boston. Assuming that Elizabeth Stacy was still living in Ipswich around 1641 when she was around 17 years old, it is hard to imagine that William Hickok met her there and they later married and then moved to Connecticut, but then again, who knows. We are going to have to accept that my 9th great grandparents' names are simply William and Elizabeth (unknown) Hickok.

It would appear that William and his new wife Elizabeth moved to the new community of Farmington shortly following their marriage in 1641. The community of Farmington located about 10 miles west of Hartford, had been established by residents of Hartford only a year earlier following their purchase of the land from the local Tunix Indian tribe. William and Elizabeth Hickok are thus credited with being among the founding residents of Farmington. Farmington has the distinction of being the oldest inland community west of the Connecticut River and being the twelfth oldest community in the future State of Connecticut. Some of the earliest of the communities of Connecticut include Windsor (1633), Wethersfield (1634), Hartford (1636), Saybrook (1636), and New Haven (1637). It is estimated that by around 1637 nearly 1,000 people had moved from Massachusetts to Connecticut including many of my ancestors. Our Hickok ancestors undoubtedly soon constructed a small log cabin on their new property in Farmington and quickly cleared the land, planted crops, and most likely raised some farm animals. Their life of course would have been very difficult as it was for all of the original settlers of Farmington and other early rural communities. Nevertheless they were to have two sons born within a few years of moving to their new home, Samuel Hickok who was born in 1643 and Joseph who was born in 1645. Samuel is my 8th great grandfather and his brother Joseph is the 4th great grandfather of our cousin Wild Bill Hickok. Both boys would have been born in their parents small home and undoubtedly without the benefit of a doctor overseeing their births.

Multiple early deaths like smallpox
One of the websites that we reviewed while trying to learn more about our Hickok ancestors described the huge problem that all early settlers had with life in America. This same problem was undoubtedly an issue worldwide. The problem was the frequent and rapid spreading of diseases that caused multiple deaths due to such illnesses as smallpox, measles, influenzas, whooping cough, and other diseases for which there was no cure. Larger cities were of course the most vulnerable and in a city like Boston in the 1600s a spread of a disease like smallpox might have led to the death of hundreds. Unfortunately even small rural communities like Farmington were also vulnerable. William Hickok died sometime in late 1645 undoubtedly as a result of some great sickness that had hit his area. We are not sure of his exact age in 1645 although he was likely still in his 20s or early 30s. His two sons were still babies and Elizabeth was in her mid-20s. Very sad but not at all that uncommon.  Fortunately for my great grandmother, she remarried soon after William's death, a man by the name of William Adams in 1647 and together they had two children. But here again the spread of diseases once more hit the family and William Adams succumbed to the effect of his illness and died on 18 July 1655 followed only a few weeks later by the death of Elizabeth on 3 August 1655. The four children living in their family's home, now ages 3 to 12, were suddenly left alone in the world. One other comment is worth mentioning with respect to the plaques that kept hitting the New World in the 1600s. While the white people that had immigrated from Europe and England had a certain amount of resistance to the various germs that were causing the deaths particularly since they were responsible for carrying the germs across the ocean in the first place, the local Indians had absolutely no resistance.  It is easy to believe that these new white immigrants were stronger from a military standpoint that the native American Indians as they did after all carry guns, in reality one of the main reasons for the Indians inability to prevent the loss of their land was that their population was being devastated by illnesses and deaths.  A great sadness that is often overlooked.

There are no records that exist or at least that we could find, that tell us what happen to my then 12-year old 8th great grandfather Samuel Hickok when his mother and his then step-father died in 1655. We only know that at around the age of 24, Samuel married an 18-year old girl named Hannah Upson who also lived with her family in Farmington. What we find interesting is that Hannah's father, Thomas Upson, who also happens to be my 9th great grandfather, also died of an epidemic illness in Farmington around the same time period as Samuel Hickok's mother and his step-father. Thomas Upson's wife Elizabeth Fuller Upson, my 9th great grandmother, was fortunate to have escaped death during this epidemic and almost immediately following her husband's death she married a man named Edmund Scott.  Now here comes a little bit of speculation. Samuel Hickok and his brother and his step-sister and step-brother having lost their parents were undoubtedly sent to live with different families in Farmington. In the case of William he was possibly "adopted" by Edmund Scott and his new wife Elizabeth Upson Scott along with all of their family including Elizabeth's then 9-year old daughter Hannah Upson. This being the case, Hannah and Samuel grew up together, became wonderful friends and then more, and on 25 October 1664 they married. Pure speculation of course. Incidentally Hannah's father Thomas Upson, is credited with being one of the original founders of Hartford, Connecticut having first settled there in 1638. He shortly thereafter moved to the new settlement later to be called Farmington, in the early 1640s and he too is credited with being one of the founders of Farmington.  Thomas Upson did not actually marry Elizabeth Fuller, who was to be his second wife, until early 1647 and there is some evidence via a court record dated 21 August 1646 that Thomas and Elizabeth may have given birth to a daughter prior to their marriage. It was implied in the court records that "Elizabeth was sentenced to be severely corrected for an offense against morality" which certainly implies that she did something morally wrong. The exact date of Hannah Upson's birth is not known but it is usually noted as being sometime in 1646 or maybe before her parents marriage. Not that it really matters.

Waterbury on the Naugatuck River
Samuel and Hannah Upson Hickok were to have eleven children born between the years 1668 and 1692 including their first child and my 7th great grandfather Samuel Hickok Jr.  It always comes as a surprise to see families during this period of history up and move from their homes especially when the location of their new homes was in a total wilderness area previously occupied only by Indians. The defeat of the Indians during the King Philip's War that took place between 1675 and 1676, meant that more free land suddenly became available in western Connecticut. This opening obviously attracted new settlers who desired more land for their families and for farming. Nevertheless, despite the obvious difficulties created by moving, Samuel and Hannah along with their children and around twenty-five other Farmington families moved on or shortly following the year 1677 to a new area originally known as Mattatuck and later to be known in 1686 as the town of Waterbury located about 20 miles southwest of Farmington and around 33 miles southwest of Hartford. This area was extremely attractive to these new settlers as it was located on the Naugatuck River and the available land was in a large valley mostly void of trees and surrounded by hills. At the time of their move the oldest Hickok child who was my 7th great grandfather was only around nine or ten years old. Samuel Hickok's name is mentioned frequently in a book written by Henry Bronson and published in 1858 titled "The History of Waterbury." Also acknowledged in the book as original settlers of Waterbury were Samuel's brother Joseph and his brother-in-law and his wife's brother, Stephen Upson.

Early Map of Waterbury (Mattatuck)
"Serj Samuel Hickox" name on map
While there are not a lot of details in the various historical books and documents, Samuel Hickok apparently became a fairly prominent and influential man in his new community. In May of 1680 he was one of only two men who were selected to be their community's "townsmen" and he apparently held the position for a number of years. Records also show that he was appointed as a sergeant in their local militia referred to in documents as a "first train-band." There are no records that we uncovered that indicated whether he ever engaged in any battles or wars. Their Train-Band was formed in 1689 and their local group of only 32 soldiers was headed up by a Lieutenant John Stanley who just happens to be my 9th great grandfather and whose name also appears on the above map of early settlers in Waterbury. It was a small world. Anyway, Samuel is known to have owned land both in Waterbury as well as in Farmington at the time of his death and according to his will he was fairly wealthy leaving 434 pounds to his family. He is also credited according to the Waterbury history book with having one of the nicer homes in the area which makes us somewhat curious as to what might have happened to their home following the major flood that occurred in Waterbury in 1691 when the Naugatuck River overflowed.  Fortunately for Samuel and his family some of his wealth was obtained following the settlement of his father-in-law's will in 1671 which may have helped pay for some of the flood damage. Unfortunately for his community and especially for his family, Samuel died somewhat unexpectedly in March of 1694 at the fairly young age of  only 51. Samuel's youngest son had only been born a few years earlier so obviously his wife Hannah, my grandmother, was left alone at a still fairly young age to raise her younger children and manage their home. Fortunately for Hannah she was surrounded by friends and some of her children were in or nearing adulthood and one son had already married. She was undoubtedly well cared for until her death in 1707 at the age of 61 years old. At the time of Hannah's death the population of Waterbury had grown to around 200 people of which 10 were her surviving sons and daughters and around 24 were her grandchildren. Her family was obviously a major part of the population of the soon to be growing community of Waterbury. In 1707 the population of Connecticut was approaching 36,000 making it the fourth largest of the futures states behind Maryland, Virginia, and Massachusetts. Incidentally, while the next part of our story deals primary with Samuel's oldest son, Samuel Jr, our 7th great grandfather, we might mention that another of his sons and Samuel Jr's younger brother, a man named William Hickok (or Hickock) (1673-1737) has the dubious distinction of being Waterbury's first slave owner. Not much of a distinction by today's standards but apparently on the positive side he was at the time also fairly wealthy.

Samuel Hickok Jr, was around 22 years old in 1690 when he married 21 year old Elizabeth Plumb daughter of John and Elizabeth (Norton) Plumb from Milford, Connecticut. Exactly how Samuel and Elizabeth met is a mystery as Milford and Waterbury are around 30 miles apart which was quite a distance back in the late 1600s. The fact that the families may not have known each other might suggest that it was an arranged marriage which in 1690 might not have been that unusual. On the other hand both settlements sat on the shores of the Naugatuck River and its contributory the Housatonic River which would have greatly reduced the difficulty in travelling between the two communities. John Plumb's grandfather and my 9th great grandfather, Robert Plumb (1617-1655), emigrated with his father from County Essex, England to America around 1635 and he is credited with being one of the earliest settlers in Milford in 1639. His son John Plumb was born in Milford in 1648 and he married Elizabeth Norton in 1668. Elizabeth's family as turns out lived in Farmington, Connecticut which is almost 50 miles from Milford so here again is another example of how two individuals who lived so far apart were able to meet each other and eventually wed. We know very little about the Plumb family other than according to an early historian named James Savage, "he (John Plumb) was a man of distinction."

Unfortunately once again there are not a lot of details about the life of my 7th great grandparents Samuel and Elizabeth Plumb Hickok. It is written that at the age of only 18 he was granted a three acre parcel of land which would certainly suggest that even at a young age he was highly respected. There are also other records reporting other land grants and home construction but we believe that the most interesting record lists him as the first settler in 1702 of a settlement later known as Naugatuck located about six miles or so south of Waterbury. This distinction is noted on a historical marker in Naugatuck as shown to the left.

An Old Fulling Mill
Samuel is also recorded as having built a sheep wool mill in 1709 on a small river known as Fulling Mill Brook that flows westward just north of the Naugatuck settlement into the much larger Naugatuck River. Incidentally the word "Fulling" is defined on Wikipedia as "the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool) to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker."  Samuel and Elizabeth also built a home next to Samuel's Fulling Mill where they eventually raised ten children including their last child, a daughter named Silence Hickok who was born in September of 1613. Silence is my 6th great grandmother. Her name might suggest that she was very noisy as a baby and her mother was forced to yell "SILENCE." Wonder if it worked?  Unfortunately beginning around October of 1712 another "Great Sickness" sweep through the Waterbury/Naugatuck area and it is written that the sickness killed around 10% of the population and left many others seriously ill. The disease raged until around September of 1713 but not before it killed our great grandfather Samuel on June 3rd in 1713. One of Samuel's and Elizabeth's sons also died as a result of the disease.

Elizabeth Plumb Hickok was in her early 40s when her husband died and she was left with at least seven surviving children ranging in age between a few months old to around 20 years old. It is likely that all of her children were still living at home. Elizabeth lived until the age of 77 but we know nothing about her life following the death of her husband other than she undoubtedly continued to raise her children. Her youngest child, my 6th great grandmother Silence was 24 years old when she married Abraham Bennett in 1737. Her mother who was then around 68 years old, undoubtedly attended her youngest daughter's wedding as she had the weddings of all of her other children.

My 6th great grandfather Abraham Bennett was around 6 years old when he moved with his parents and siblings in 1621 from Fairfield, Connecticut located down on the Long Island Sound up to Ridgefield, Connecticut located about 37 miles west of Silence Hickok's home in Waterbury. Ridgefield had been first settled back in 1708 but despite the Bennett's later arrival, Abraham's father, James Bennett (1675-1725), my 7th great grandfather, apparently was fairly wealthy as he was thus able to purchase a large section of land in the area. Obviously the family does not own the same property today but nevertheless the Bennett name is still well known as there is a road in the Ridgefield area named  Bennett's Farm Road and a state park by the name of Bennett's Pond State Park. Abraham Bennett's great grandfather and my 9th great grandfather, James Bennett (1618-1659) settled in Fairfield back in 1644 around five years following the founding of the settlement in 1639. Grandpa James is believed to have sailed from England and arrived in Massachusetts on or before 1639. Whatever the date of his arrival, he is recorded as marrying my great grandmother, Hannah Wheeler, (1617-1659) in Concord, Massachusetts in 1639.

Abraham and Silence Hickok Bennett were to have around eleven children born between the years 1738 and 1767 including their son Abraham Bennett Jr, my 5th great grandfather, who was born in 1742. While the records are very unclear, the Bennett family eventually moved west into the future State of New York to a place later to be known as Warwick, in the future County of Orange. Warwick was first settled in 1764 so the family moved there sometime after this date. During the American Revolution Warwick was known to be the site of a Continental Army encampment and the records of the encampment show that both Abraham and his son Abraham were listed as Revolutionary War soldiers. Abraham Sr. would have been in his 60s during this period and it is doubtful that he actually fought in any battles although their Orange County Militia unit did fight at the Battle of White Plains and at the disastrous Battle of Minisink, so who knows. Anyway, Abraham died after the Revolutionary War around 1790 and his wife and my grandmother Silence Hickok Bennett died in 1795 thus ending the last of my Hickok ancestors. My relationship to my Hickok ancestors is shown below:

6th great grandparents:    Silence Hickok         m    Abraham Bennett
5th great grandparents:    Abraham Bennett     m    Jersuha Wanzer
                                          (1742-1795)                  (1750-1839)
4th great grandparents:    Comfort Bennett       m    Abigail Miller
                                          (1781-1864)                  (1787-1872)
3rd great grandparents:    Sally Bennett            m   Joseph Livesay
                                          (1814-1881)                  (1806-1882)
2nd great grandparents:   Ellen Livesay            m    David Reynolds
                                          (1841-1917)                   (1836-1899)
Great grandparents:         Ella Reynolds            m   Henry Spaulding
                                         (1863-1935)                   (1863-1889)
Grandparents:                 Helen Spaulding       m    Charles S Baker
                                         (1887-1937)                   (1885-1952)
Parents:                          Charles A Baker        m   Marian Patterson
                                         (1916-2999)                    (1916-1973)
Living generation:            Charles A Baker Jr
                                       Anne Baker Fanton
                                       Joan Patterson Baker

And so ends another story . . . .