Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chapter 41 - Our Cozad/Cossart Ancestors

Hannah Cozad Harpending
This portrait of my 4th great grandmother, Hannah Cozad Harpending, hangs prominently in the Dundee Area Historical Society in Dundee, New York.  I took this photo of her portrait almost a decade ago while we were spending our summers near Dundee and as I was just beginning to study our ancestors and write stories for this blog. Chapter 9 in this blog tells the story of Hannah's husband, Samuel Harpending and our Harpending ancestors. One thing that I did not know at the time was that Hannah and Samuel were actually distant cousins (3rd cousins, once removed) as they shared a common great grandfather, Jacques Cossart (1639-1685) who was the first Cossart to immigrate to America.  With that said, we shall begin in this chapter to tell the story of ours', and Hannah's and Samuel's ancestors, the Cossarts.

There have been many historical writings about our American Cossart family including some that trace their ancestry as far back as the 12th century. While the Cossart family name may have been recorded in ancient records it is still very presumptuous to assume that a 12th century man bearing the surname Cossart automatically must be one of our ancestors.  One of the best known books that traces the various Cossart families was The Early Generations of the DuPont and Allied Families written by Col. Henry Algernon DuPont and published in 1923.  In his extensive book Mr. DuPont uses dozens of pages to describe in detail the various early Cossart families including the wealthy "bourgeoisie" Cossart family line from Rouen, France and the various other early and unrelated Cossart families from Northern France including Picardy, Normandy, and Paris.  Despite his extensive research, Mr. DuPont readily admitted that he was unable to definitively identify any of these families as being the ancestors of our Cossart great grandfather, Jacques Cossart, who immigrated to America in 1662. It is hard not to agree with Mr. DuPont's conclusions, although in lots of subsequent writings about the ancient Cossart origins as well is in many of the Cossart family trees on Ancestry.com, his conclusion that we simply do not know the family's origins, is being ignored. In this chapter of our Blog we are going to begin with the earliest known and documented of our Cossart ancestors, the father of emigrant Jacques Cossart, Jacques Cossart Sr.

It is generally accepted that Jacques Cossart was born around 1595 although there is no evidence to confirm that his birth location was Picardy in France. Many of the writings suggest that he was a French Huguenot, a Protestant, and that his family had left France to escape the persecution of Protestants by the predominant Roman Catholic government and population of France. This may very well be correct although around the time of Jacques' birth, there was somewhat of a lull in attacks on Protestants in France and in 1598 the French King Henry IV actually signed a document known as the Edict of Nantes which essentially restored civil rights back to the Huguenots. Another possibility is that Jacques Cossart's parents were actually French-speaking people living in either the southern or eastern part of Belgium who were Protestants known as Walloons.  The general consensus seems to be that the family lived in Liege in present day Belgium before they moved eastward  into Holland. Whether the family was living in France or in the Spanish controlled Belgium during Jacques's youth, when the French King Henry IV was murdered in 1610, attacks on Protestants in both countries dramatically increased which probably caused the Cossart family to quickly relocate to Amsterdam in Holland where there was a greater degree of religious tolerance.

Leiden around 1620
It is a total mystery as to what happened next to Jacques Cossart's parents.  The next thing that we learn is that somewhere around 1630, then 35-year old Jacques Cossart married Rachelle Gelton, who is believed to have been around 20 years old and from Liege when they married in Amsterdam, Holland. Two years later in 1632 a child was born whom they named Rachelle obviously after her mother. Sometime later the new family relocated to Leiden, then Holland's second largest city after Amsterdam, where in 1639 my 8th great grandfather, Jacques Cossart Jr., was born.  There is a record of his baptism on 29 May 1639.  Leiden was an obvious choice as a place to live during this time period.  Not only was it popular as a home for Protestant refugees from both France and Belgium but earlier Leiden had been home to many of the English "Pilgrims" who later immigrated to America on the Mayflower in 1620.  The city was particularly prosperous as a result of its textile industry which obviously provided jobs for its rapidly increasing population. There are some accounts that report that Jacques Cossart Sr.  prospered while in Leiden or possibly later in nearby Rotterdam and that he died a very prominent citizen. We could unfortunately find no documentation that supported these statements. We also could not find any conclusive records of the death dates of either of my 9th great grandparents, Jacques Sr and Rachelle. 

My 8th great grandfather, Jacques Cossart, married my 8th great grandmother, Lea Villeman on the 14th of August in 1656 in the Walloons Church (Dutch Reformed) in Leiden when he was only 17 and she was around 18. There are some writings, notably author J.A. Cossairt, that claim that their marriage took place in Frankenthal, Germany although one has to be skeptical that at such a young age they would have relocated such a far distance to end up getting married alone and probably without family and friends present.  The argument however, is bolstered by the records that show that their first three children were baptized in Frankenthal: three daughters born in the years 1657, 1658, and 1661.  While in the late 1500s Frankenthal was a prosperous town inhabited largely by Dutch Protestants, in 1621 the Spanish besieged the town during the Thirty Years War followed with subsequent troop occupation by both sides, which resulted in the trade and industry and the town itself pretty much destroyed.  What would have attracted the young newlyweds to relocate over 300 miles into Germany is a complete mystery especially since there were numerous jobs available in Leiden. It is possible that Jacques had gotten into some kind of trouble in Leiden or perhaps their parents were opposed to the marriage and they fled to Germany to get away, or perhaps as some believe, they never when to Frankenthal in the first place.  We do not know.  What is know however, is that the young couple and their family returned to Leiden by around 1661 assuming of course that they had left in the first place. They did not remain in Leiden for long.

New Amsterdam 1660
On the 12th of October in the year 1662, the ship "De Pumerlander Kerch" (Purmerland Church) embarked on a voyage to the new world and the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam.  Onboard the ship were around ninety passengers including my 8th great grandparents, Jacques and Lea Villeman Cossant and their two young daughters. Obviously one of their three daughters had died sometime before the voyage. The voyage to America was not free so obviously Jacques Cossart, then only 23 years old, had been given or earned enough money to pay for the passage for himself and his family as well as enough money to be able to start a new life in America. It is really fascinating to consider what would have motivated a young man with a young family to leave a highly developed and prosperous city like Leiden in Holland to travel for three months on a small and crowded ship across a cold and rough sea to start a new life in a primitive town like New Amsterdam. As far as we can determine his move was not made for religious reasons. Perhaps Jacques Cossart was motivated to move by the Dutch West India Company which controlled the trade in the Dutch lands in the New World and was very actively encouraging immigration to New Netherlands.  Possibly he believed that given the right opportunities he would gain great wealth though his efforts. Whereas Holland was crowded and controlled by wealthy older men, the New Netherlands offered him the real possibility of achieving his goals for himself and his family. 

The population of all of New Netherlands is estimated to have been around 8,000 including men, women and children at the time of the Cossart's arrival in early 1663. The population in New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island would have been somewhat smaller, estimated to be maybe 1,400 residents in total living in around 200 poorly constructed wooden homes in a contained area of less than one square mile. There was a large fort, Fort Amsterdam, on the west and front side of the village which was occupied by the Dutch governor and the Dutch soldiers. Inside the fort was a large church.  Just outside the fort on the water side were several windmills and a large hanging gallows. On the north side of the village was a wooden wall (Wall Street) and on the other sides there was water.  The village was probably not an impressive sight from their ship, especially considering the view of the large hanging gallows, as it sailed into the harbor in January of 1663.

City of New Amsterdam in the year 1660

Jacques Cossart and his fellow emigrants must have been surprised when they first entered the village of New Amsterdam for it would have been totally unlike anything that they had encountered in the past. Besides the rundown condition of the buildings and the muddy streets, the population of the city unlike say Boston during the same time period, was very diverse.  For one thing it is estimated that maybe 20% of the people in the village were black Africans who were mostly slaves. Most of them however, resided in a community just north of the wall. The rest of the population was a mixture of various cultures although most were French and Dutch with a few Germans, Swedish, and even English.  Dutch however, was the predominant language. Incredibly many of the immigration records into New Amsterdam have survived and what we learn from these records is that the population of this small colony was growing rapidly during the time period of the Cossart's arrival.  What is surprising is that they were able to absorb so many new arrivals into their small village.  In March of 1663, Jacques and the other new immigrants petitioned the local Dutch government for grants of land as well as seed grains and provisions to cover a period of six months. It seems that their grants may have been awarded since there is a record of Jacques Cossart and his family living near the south end of present day Broadway Street on a parcel of land now occupied by the Produce Exchange Building which is bordered by present day Whitehall and Marketfield Streets and Bowling Green Park. On the above map, the location of his home was just east of Fort Amsterdam near a street identified as "Het Marckveit" or as later anglicized to Marketfield.  Obviously, the public market in old New Amsterdam was a short walk from the new home of Jacques and Lea Cossart and their family.

Unfortunately from the existing historical records we are able to learn only bits and pieces about the life of Jacques Cossart.  We know that he joined along with his wife, the Reformed Dutch Church in April of 1663. In October of 1664, following the takeover of New Amsterdam by the British in the prior month, he signed an oath of allegiance to England. Shortly thereafter he and his neighbors found themselves living in the newly named community of New York.  There is another record dated the first of January in the year 1666 wherein Jacques Cossart was appointed as a "collector of revenue," or tax collector, in the village to help cover the cost of the clergy and the soldiers. He was to receive a 4% commission on everything that he collected.  It was doubtful that his new position would have enhanced his position in the community.  While still living in their home on Manhattan Island, Jacques and Lea were to have an additional four children born between the years 1665 and 1673 including TWO of my great grandfathers, David Cossart who was born in 1671 and Anthony Cossart who was born in 1673.  While we have found fairly good records about the lives of their four children born in America, what is really strange is the total absence of any records about the two children that came with Jacques and Lea on the ship to America.  They were both daughters and perhaps their early marriages combined with some lost records resulted in their both being lost in history.  

Early towns that were combined to form Brooklyn
Jacques and Lea and their children lived in the lower Manhattan area until around 1674 when they and a number of other residents of the village which by that point had doubled in population, elected to move out of Manhattan and across the East River to Long Island to a village that was known at the time as Boswyck (later anglicized to Bushwick).  Bushwick later became absorbed into the city of Brooklyn. Their move was probably motivated in part by the population growth on Manhattan and by the fact that their neighborhood was starting to deteriorate as the wealthier residents were beginning to move away from the older sections of the village. Combined with the fact that the Dutch had recaptured Manhattan Island in 1673 did not help matters, especially since once the British recaptured the area only 15 months later in 1674 and their distrust of the Dutch citizens led to serious discussions about their forcible removal, which of course would have included our Cossart family. Although they were never forcibly removed, by 1674 the Cossart family had relocated to Bushwick and were soon owners of 40 acres of farm land and a new home.

From this point forward until his death in 1685 at the relatively young age of 46 we know little about the life of Jacques Cossart. It is written that he was a miller by occupation although this fact could not be confirmed.  In 1683 it was recorded that Jacques Cossart paid taxes on his land and personal property in the amount of 114 British Pounds and besides owning 18 acres at the time he also owned 2 horses, 5 cows, and 1 hog.  He was not a wealthy man by any means but he obviously was relatively successful.  A few years after Jacques's death my 8th great grandmother remarried a Frenchman named Charles de Niseau. The exact year of her death and the location of the graves of both Jacques and Lea Cossart is not known although their remains are undoubtedly somewhere buried under the buildings or roads of modern day Brooklyn, New York.

At the beginning of this story about our Cossart/Cozad ancestors we noted that Hannah Cozad and her husband Samuel Harpending, my 4th great grandparents, were distant cousins.  David Cossart (1671-1740), son of Jacques and Lea Villeman Cossart, was the great, great grandfather of Samuel Harpending.  David's daughter, Lea Cossart, married Samuel's great grandfather John Harpending. Information about the Harpending line of our family tree can be found in Chapter 9 of this blog.

Anthony Cossart who was born in 1673 was only 12 years old when his father died and he undoubtedly went to live with his mother and her new husband after their marriage.  The first historical record of Anthony other than his baptism was his marriage in the Dutch Reform Church in Bushwick on 2 August 1696 to a young girl from Schenectady, New York named Elizabeth Tymensen Valentine, my 7th great grandmother. The church record of the marriage stated that besides her being from Schenectady that "beyde woonende alhier" meaning that both newlyweds were living here or presumably they were both living in the Brooklyn area as of 1696. Many of the writings about their marriage state that the marriage took place in Schenectady but this seems to be unlikely especially since Schenectady was pretty much destroyed in February of 1690 when the French and Indians attacked the city, killed many of its inhabitants, and burned most of their wood-constructed homes to the ground.  What is really a mystery (that we failed to resolve) is that Elizabeth's father and my 8th great grandfather, Jan (John) Tymensen Valentine is almost universally listed as having died in Schenectady in 1690 leading one to assume that he must have been killed during the "Schenectady Massacre" which occurred early in the second month of the year. Unfortunately, not only is his name not mentioned in the official listing of those killed during the attack or subsequently kidnapped and removed to Canada, his name also cannot be found in any of the old Schenectady records at least that we reviewed.  Many of the family trees on Ancestry.com also list Jan Valentine as having been born in Schenectady in 1649 which is completely ridiculous since Schenectady was not even settled until 1661.  Here is what we suspect to be true. The Valentine family was Dutch and originally settled in New Amsterdam.  Jan Valentine was a fur trader which led him to live for a time in or near Schenectady with his wife Catherine Tamamizer.  Their daughter Elizabeth was born there around 1675. Since Jan Valentine was not a permanent settler in the Schenectady area his name was never listed as a resident, a homeowner, nor a member of the church. After his death at some unknown date and location, his wife and daughter returned to the Brooklyn area. Here Elizabeth met and married Anthony Cossart. One other interesting possibility about the parents of Elizabeth and Anthony's in-laws, is that Jan did not died and he and Catherine moved to New Jersey with their daughter and son-in-law. A baptismal record of one of the daughters of Anthony and Elizabeth dated 1708 at the Dutch Reformed Church of Raritan (New Jersey) listed as the witnesses of the baptism "Jan Thuenissen and Catherine Tammizer, his wife."  Sure looks like Elizabeth's parents may have been alive and well in 1708.

The next historical record that exists that mentions Anthony Cossart is the 1701 Census of Brooklyn that lists Anthony with his wife, two children, an apprentice, and 10 slaves.  The mention of the slaves and particularly the quantity of slaves came as quite a surprise.  The Dutch were well known as slave owners but the real surprise in Anthony's case was that at only 28 years old he owned 10 slaves.  This quantity would suggest that he was fairly well-off financially as slaves were expensive to both buy and maintain. He must have been quite an entrepreneur at a young age as there is no evidence to suggest that he would have inherited a lot of money from his parents especially considering that he had two older brothers.  Furthermore an earlier census taken in 1698 shows Anthony living with his wife, 1 child, 1 apprentice, and no slaves showing that he must have purchased the slaves between 1698 and 1701. Anthony was a farmer and probably a large farmer, living in a community called Cripplebush or Cripple Creek that was near Bushwick (where his parents had settled) and according to some sources near where the Brooklyn Naval Yards were eventually built. Incidentally, my great grandparents Joris Janseen Rapalje and Catalyntje Trico owned land upon which the Brooklyn Naval Yards were later built and while they died before Anthony Cossart was living in Cripple Creek, it is entirely possible that Anthony may have known the Rapalje sons.  The story of my Rapalje (Rappleye) ancestors is told in Chapter 1 of this blog.

It was a little surprising to learn that in March of 1703 Anthony and Elizabeth decided to sell their home and farm in Cripple Creek and move to New Jersey somewhere in present day Somerset County which was originally founded in 1688. The vast majority of the earliest settlers in this area were people of Dutch ancestry who were moving from the New York City and Long Island areas.  There is some confusion however, as to exactly where Anthony and Elizabeth purchased land probably in the year 1704. Some of the Cossart family historians state that they moved to Piscataway whereas others write that they "migrated to the Raritan area". To some degree these are both correct when one considers the changing boundaries and names changes over the years. The "Raritan area" might be referring to the Raritan River area which runs from west of present day Raritan, through Somerville, Bound Brook, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and on into the Raritan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. While there is a present day Township of Piscataway, the whole area was once part of the Piscataway Indian lands so to say that they moved to Piscataway may be understandable since the entire area was once referred to as Piscataway. In any case, the distance between the cities of Piscataway and Raritan is only around 12 miles. Based on where some of the Cossart children were baptized at the First Reformed Church of Raritan which is actually now in present day Somerville in north Somerset County, we have to believe that the village of Somerville was near the original location of the Cossart homestead.  Somerville was not called Somerville until around 1800 which might explain why it does not appear on the above Northern Jersey map of 1700. In a description of early Somerville it was noted that it was "originally a sparsely populated farming community." That sounds about right.

There are also two additional records that place Anthony Cossart in Piscataway during the early 1700s. In 1715 he was listed as a militia soldier in the New Jersey militia in Colonel Thomas Farmer's regiment, 4th Company of "Woodbridge and Piscataway".  A more interesting record shows the name of "Anthony Cozar" as a witness to the Will of Edward Doty of Piscataway, Middlesex County dated 18 October 1717.  Here again we see the location as Piscataway but what we do know based again on baptismal records of Edward Doty's children, was that he was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church of Raritan (later Somerville) at least in 1712 and 1714.  It would seem that he may have been a neighbor of our Cossart (Cozad, Cozar) family in an area later to be named Somerville.  Even more interesting is that Edward Doty was the grandson of Edward Doty, one of the passengers on the Mayflower in 1620 and as it turns out my 9th great grandfather on my mother's side of my family.  The Edward Doty who died in 1717 and was a friend of Anthony and Elizabeth Cossart (my father's side of my family) was my 1st cousin, 9 times removed.  Wow. What a coincidence.

Anthony and Elizabeth were to have six children together including my 6th great grandfather and their oldest son, Jacob Cossart, who was born in Cripple Creek (Brooklyn) in 1701. Three of their children were born at their home in Somerville in New Jersey, the oldest being born in 1712.  Unfortunately my 7th great grandmother died at the relatively young age of 46 in the year 1720.  Anthony still a relatively young man at that point married for a second time a woman by the name of Judith Hendricks who was 24 years younger than Anthony and had lost her husband.  Judith and Anthony had three children together. Anthony died at the age of 83 in 1756.  We could not determine where he and his two wives are buried.

Jacob Cossart's life is a little confusing particularly when it comes to where he lived in New Jersey since based on the reported different birth locations of his many children he was on the move quite a bit. It is said that he was a minister during his adult life which if true might help explain his seemly frequent relocations. Whatever the circumstances, here is what we have to offer about the life of my 6th great grandparents.  Jacob Cossart was only 21 years old when he married a young girl of English descent by the name of Hannah Cox on 19 April 1723. Hannah's father and my 7th great grandfather was a man named Phillip Cox who was born in England in 1677 and immigrated to America with his parents at the age of 13 in 1690.  They settled in what was then known as Elizabethtown (now just Elizabeth, New Jersey) which was originally founded back in 1664 by English settlers. At some point in his early life probably around 20 years old, Phillip moved southward around 25 miles to where he met his future wife Hannah Trembly in Woodbridge, New Jersey. They married on the 24th of September in the year 1698. There is some controversy as to the names of Hannah Trembley's parents although it would seem based on her surname that at least her father was of English descent.  We mention this because Hannah Cox was undoubtedly Presbyterian based on her parent's religion. On the other hand her new husband Jacob Cossart had been raised in a Dutch Protestant Church.  This may have been a problem, at least for Hannah's father (her mother had died long before Hannah's marriage) and consequently Jacob Cossart may have agreed to change his religious faith to that of a Presbyterian to appease the family.  This change was a very unusual move especially in the year 1723. What is even more unusual is that Jacob Cossart not only changed churches, but he may have became a Presbyterian minister.  We were unable to confirm this possibility.

Counties of New Jersey
Jacob and Hannah's first child, a son named Jacob was born in 1723/24 probably near Jacob's birth home in Somerset County somewhere in the area of present day Somerville in Bridgewater Township located just west of Bound Brook.  It was here that many of the earliest Dutch had settled including both of Jacob's parents who were still alive and were probably present at the birth of their grandson. We know that shortly following the birth of their son, Jacob and Hannah moved north up into Morris County into an area later know as Succasunna Plains in Roxbury Township.  In the time period of around 1725, Roxbury Township was scarcely populated by mostly white farmers and still a few Indians. While they were mostly English settlers many from Connecticut as opposed to Dutch settlers from New York, there were no churches and probably few if any commercial businesses or any structured government in place.  Land costs were inexpensive and the land was probably still forested so Jacob was undoubtedly faced with a lot of hard work to build his new home, clear his land, and plant the crops. One other interesting feature in early Roxbury and Succasunna Plains was the existence of ore mining that had started in the late 1710s. It is possible that the mining operations and the possible job opportunities may have attracted Jacob Cossart who was still in his mid-20s, although there is no evidence to support that possibility.

Most of the Cossart family trees on Ancestry.com and many of the Cossart family histories report that of their children born between 1727 and 1742, they were all born down in Bound Brook, New Jersey or close by in Somerset County some 30 miles south of Succasunna.  We believe however, that the Anthony Cossart family never left the Succasunna area until at least 1750. We also believe that all of their children with the exception of their first child were born on their family farm in Morris County.  Unfortunately if there were any records of their children's births or baptisms other than the baptism of the last child, a daughter named Leah who was born in 1743, none of the records have survived. In Leah Cossart's case, her baptism is recorded at the First Presbyterian Church at Morristown.  As of 1743 there was no Presbyterian church located in Succasunna. Incidentally, if there were no local churches in the area including the church in Morristown that was not established until 1742, it is kind of hard to see where some family historians credit Jacob Cossart with being a minister.  He definitely was not listed as a minister or pastor at the Morristown church.  Anyway, the additional evidence that the Jacob Cossart family remained in Morris County is that their first five children were all married in Morris County between the years 1742 and 1760.  The marriage of their oldest son Jacob was recorded in Morris County in 1742, one year before his sister Leah was born. It is not clear what motivated Jacob Cossart to move his family back to Somerset County although possibly his father's death in 1756 may have been a factor.  Whether or not Jacob inherited money with his father's death is not known but it is likely and possibly a motivator to relocate. As we have outlined below it is likely that Jacob with his family moved south into what is today part of Warren Township in northeast Somerset County.

Old Presbyterian Graveyard Bound Brook, NJ
Jacob and Hannah Cox Cossart's youngest son, Anthony Cozad, my 5th great grandfather, was born on their family farm in Succasunna, Roxbury Township, Morris County, New Jersey in 1740 and he was in his early teens when his parents moved back to Somerset County.  In 1762, Anthony married my 5th great grandmother, Catherine Coon, who was at the time only 16 years old.  When his father Jacob died in 1772 ten years after their marriage, one of the witnesses on his will was a man named Thomas Coon who was probably an old friend of Jacob's, a neighbor, and the father of his daughter-in-law Catherine Coon Cozad. This would of course make Thomas Coon my 6th great grandfather.  Jacob and Hannah Cossart are buried in graveyard of the old Presbyterian Church in Bound Brook, New Jersey in what we have read was the family plot of the Coon family.  In Jacob Cossart's Last Will and Testament he leaves his modest assets to his wife and family but nothing is left to the church which if he were a minister might seem a little unusual. Another indication that the Coon and Cossart/Cozad families were friends and most likely lived near one another (as described in subsequent paragraphs), is that two of Catherine Coon's younger siblings, a brother and sister, married children of Anthony Cozad's older brother Jacob or put another way, Anthony was their uncle. We will not wonder if they called their older sister, Anthony's wife, their Aunt Catherine. Just kidding. What is also interesting is that Anthony Cozad was an executor on his father-in-law's will written just before Thomas Coon's death in 1785 and even more interesting was that Anthony as well as his father Jacob Cossart were both witnesses on Catherine's grandfather's will in 1761.  His name was also Thomas Coon and the fact that the two Cossart/Cozad were part of the will shows just how close these two families must have been.

Catherine Coon Cozad was only 17 years old when the first of her ten children was born.  She was 41 years old when her last child was born and only 44 years old when her husband Anthony prematurely died in 1790 at the relatively young age of only 50.  His will was written only two weeks before it was "proved" and the inventory of his assets compiled, which would imply that he had not anticipated his early death. He left to his wife Catherine in his will the right to use their home "to bring up my children, until they go to trades," and with four children under the age of ten when he died, Catherine was not about to move from the family home any time soon.  Strangely, Catherine Coon Cozad never remarried and when one her young daughters, 24-year old Hannah Cozad, my 4th great grandmother, married my 4th great grandfather Samuel Harpending in 1806 and then in the Spring of 1807 headed by wagon to central New York, Hannah's mother, Catherine Coon Cozad, went with them.  Catherine died in 1824 at the age of 78 having outliving her husband by 34 years.  She is buried near Dundee, New York in the oldest cemetery in Yates County located behind The Starkey Methodist Church.  Her name on her gravestone noted her as "Katherine Casad." My wife and I visited this cemetery around a decade ago with no idea that my 5th great grandmother was buried there alongside at least 216 other graves. 

There is very little historical documentation about Anthony Cozad and the few times that the name is mentioned we have to wonder if the Anthony Cozad mentioned might actually be his cousin Anthony (1739-1800) who was about the same age as our grandfather but he lived over in Middlesex County as opposed to Somerset County. The mix up may have occurred when the Sons of the American Revolution in 1954 accepted our Anthony Cozad  (1740-1790) as a Revolutionary War soldier and as a result granted membership to his descendant Charles C. Cosad.  Only problem here was that he is listed as having been a Private in the Middlesex County Militia.  One has to suspect that the Middlesex private was actually his cousin Anthony who lived in Middlesex. On the other hand our Anthony's father-in-law, Thomas Coon, was a private in Captain William Moffatt's Company, in Colonel Frederick Frelinghuysen's 1st Regiment of the Somerset County Militia, and if our Anthony Cozad was a soldier during the Revolution, this is likely the regiment in which he served.  Unfortunately we could not find any records to support this belief.  If our Anthony Cozad was in this regiment then he might have seen a lot of action during the American Revolution as there were many battles large and small fought within New Jersey including the nearby Battle of Bound Brook.

Townships in Somerset County, New Jersey
One other unfortunate circumstance is that we could not find any baptismal records for the births of Anthony's and Catherine's children which would normally tell us where the parents were living at the time of the births.  It is extremely unlikely that he was not a member of any church and it is a real possibility that the baptismal records were simply lost. An issue of the Somerset County Historical Quarterly reported that Anthony was a "warm supporter of the Mt. Bethel Church" located in present day Warren Township in Somerset County. What intrigued us about this was that before 1806, Warren Township was actually part of Bernards Township which is the location most often listed for the births of Anthony's and Catherine's children. Furthermore, Bernards Township (or Bernards Town) is listed as the location where Anthony Cozad was living when he prepared his will in 1790.  This might suggest that the family was actually living in present day Warren Township and possibly near Mount Bethel Church as opposed to present day Bernards Township.

Old Mount Bethel Church and Cemetery
Mount Bethel was founded in 1767 so it is possible that the Cozarts were early members but in any case they would have been members of this church long after all of their children had been baptised. We learned after reviewing the website of the "Warren Township Historical Society" that the Coon family was one of the earliest settlers in Warren Township as was a man named David Smalley. Obviously the Coon family was close to Anthony Cozad as he married their daughter but equally important is that David Smalley was not only listed as an executor on Anthony's will but his daughter Rachel Smalley married Samuel Cozad, son of Anthony and Catherine.  Combine this information with the fact that there is a small burg located near Mount Bethel Church named Coontown, convinces us even more that there is ample evidence to show that the Anthony Cozad family lived in Warren Township in Somerset County, near the Mount Bethel Church, near Coontown, and as it turns out only around five miles north of Bound Brook where Anthony Cozad and his parents and many members of the Coon family are buried. The suggestion as some have made that Anthony Cozad died in Bound Brook or in Millstone located just south of Bound Brook appears to be without merit. Anthony's will suggested that he was not well-off when he died as his assets totaled only a little over 160 English pounds. We found this description written about early Warren Township to be quite revealing: "A sparsely-populated region of marginal farmland and rocky hills."  Does not sound like a great place to find a prosperous farm in the late 1700s. That being the case we should not be surprised to learn that a many of the children of Anthony and Catherine left the area after their father's death and after they reached adulthood.  Two of their daughters however, Mary and Catherine, married local men, brothers Reuben and Joshua Compton, and they are all buried in the Mount Bethel Cemetery in Warren Township. Our 4th great grandmother, Hannah Cozad, followed the pattern of many of her brothers and sisters by moving away, in her case with her new husband Samuel Harpending to Central New York not long after the close of the American Revolution.  And so ends our story of our Cossart/Cozad ancestors.


1 comment:

Travis Moran said...

Very thorough and interesting. I am just beginning to search/ learn my family tree. My mothers side, Starr, are Cozad's. Thank you for sharing!!