Early trade in Beverwyck/Albany

While I can’t really go back much further up the family tree with our Brooks of Albany, New York, I have been able to learn interesting things about John Brooks’ probable mother’s line, the Wendells.

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It is believed, at this time, that John Brooks, Senior, who died during the War of 1812 was the son of Frances Wendell and Peter Brooks who married in Albany, New York, probably in November 1771. (They applied for their license November 7 of that year, according to Dutch Church records1)

Frances was the great great granddaughter of the emigrant ancestor Evert Jansen Wendell. It is thanks to Evert and his progeny that people interested in such things, can learn much not otherwise known about early trading in Albany as regards the local Indigenous people.

Evert was born about 1615 in Emden, Germany, a town located at the mouth of the River Ems in Hanover. He came to New Amsterdam about 1641/2 in the service of the Dutch West Indies Company, and made a living as an import merchant, fur trader, tailor and cooper. He stayed in New Amsterdam until about 1651, at which time he moved his family of wife, Susanna du Trieux, and 3-4 children to Beverwyck/Albany.

Evert was active in Albany’s community as an elder in the Dutch Church, an orphan-master, and a magistrate. He and his first wife, Susanna, eventually had 8 children together*. Our Brooks descend from their son Jeronimous.

Native-Americans-and-English-Settlers

Evert and his sons were heavily involved in the fur trade, which would not be unusual, as it was a major industry in this time period.  The family also made its fortune trading, and when the pelts started becoming rare, due to the indiscriminate slaughter of the animals who were wearing them, they moved on to other types of trade. Much of which was tracked by Jeronimous’ son Evert, who kept an account book that has survived to this day, and is used to help those who study these things, learn more about the anthropological details of early trading in the Albany area. This account book has been translated from Dutch and studied in great detail.

To Do Justice to Him & Myself: Evert Wendell’s Account Book of the Fur Trade with Indians in Albany, New York, 1695-1726, by Evert Wendell

Fur_Trade
Map of the fur trade.

According to the introduction to this volume the Wendells also made money (and acquired land) by acting as interpreters, and were called in by both Indians and Europeans to assist in negotiations of all kinds. Including making trips to Canada to act as interpreters on military expeditions against the French.

This account book contains information on commercial trade on the Hudson with the Indigenous populous. Giving researchers details that were completely unknown previous to its publication. Things like the use of native agents, how credit was used, the type and quantities of goods traded, the origins of the native customers, and the level of native women’s trade participation, among many other bits of interest. Details specific to the Indigenous people themselves like types of tattoos they had and their naming practices are of particular interest also.

This account book’s greatest value is in the fact that it is the earliest known surviving fur trade record of colonial Albany, New York. I highly recommend this gem of a book, although the introduction is the most interesting part. The tables that finish the book off are mostly of interest to real researchers who love the nitty-gritty of this kind of stuff. I am afraid that’s too much detail for me.

The Wendell’s were a prominent family for quite a while in Albany and their success was largely due to the fact that they learned from their progenitor, Evert, that the best way to stay well-heeled, was to diversify. Which is why when the fur trade started to decline as a feasible way to make lots of money they stayed well to do. The sons and grandsons traded in many items (not just fur), lawyered, made shoes, interpreted, and tailored. One of the grandsons also began selling the first products from a chocolate mill! Mmmm…chocolate.

I find it fascinating that there are ancestors on both sides of our family that have so much history with Albany/Beverwyck and New York/New Amsterdam. And the more I read about these cities’ very early beginnings, the more fascinating I find them.


*Interesting side note regarding Evert and Susanna Wendell’s children — Elsje and Johannes: Elsie married Abraham Staats; Johannes married Elizabeth Staats. Both of these Staats were the children of Abraham Staats and Catrina Jochemse Wessels. Catrina is the daughter of the same Joachim Wessels, who married our ancestress Geertruy Hieronimous, of the ‘Warmongering Wessels of Albany’[see post], and is in fact their daughter. This gives a connection between both my mother’s and father’s side of the family in America, although only a cousin connection, as neither side descends directly from Elsje or Johannes Wendell.


Sources:

  1. Holland Society of New York (1926/7); Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Albany, New York, 1683–1809
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Early 1951 William Shepard to parents

 

Electronics Station
Headquarters 15th Air Force
March Air Force Base, Cal

Dear Dick & Dad:

Here is my quarterly letter. Everyone here is fine Alan is gaining weight and very soon will be 4#. He reminds us so much of you Dad. He has the same configuration. Dave is growing so fast now. He is talking a little and runs us all ragged. I believe that he has almost doubled his weight in the last five months. Sue us doing very well in school and is also growing up. She and Kenny do the evening dishes all the time now. Kenny is the same as usual. His latest obsession is to be tied up with a rope and then to see how quick he can get loose. I cant tie him up any more, he seems to wiggle out every time.

Lois recuperated quickly from having Alan. I guess he was so small that it wasnt so complicated as usual, although Margaret Johnston,

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says that Lois had a serious trouble & we are sure lucky to have Alan.

I have been traveling quite a bit lately, but hope to start staying at home next month. In spare time I work with the radio station, ride with the kids, and shoot a little.

The weather has been fine so I wont bore you with details. I think that you would be much better off here in the south west Dad. It never gets cold and is dry all the time.

I hope that we can stay here long enough for you to visit us. As soon as you can travel let us know and we can have everything ready. I expect to stay here for a while. We have some new pricutes to send you in a few days.

Goodby for now.

You Son
Bill.

Someone call the doctor!

Farming has always been known as a dangerous job, even more so when complicated machinery started being invented to make farming faster and more efficient, as the machinery was built with very little to no thought of operator safety at the time.

That being said, the following farm accident which occured about 1811 was caused by a scythe, a very old timey, uncomplicated and simple tool, although, apparently, still extremely dangerous:

     “When [(Dr.) John George Rogers] the doctor was a lad only fourteen years old, William Goble, a farmer living near Bethel [Clermont County, Ohio], was severly and it was thought fatally cut by a scythe upon his back and shoulder, and a messenger came for his father to come and dress Mr. Goble’s wounds; but the father being miles away on his professional duties, his wife persuaded her son, John, to go and attend the wounded man. The boy went, examined and dressed the wounds, and sewed them, putting in eleven stitches an inch and a half apart, and such was his success that his father on examining him the next day, declared it to be a perfect surgical job.”1

          Dr. John George Rogers was one of the most noted of the physicians and surgeons of the pioneer days of Clermont County, who practiced at a time when it was necessary for great sacrifice of personal comfort for the taking of long, arduous rides over poor roads in sparsely settled districts.
After having acquired the knowledge usually taught in the schools of his day, John was placed under the instruction of his father at home…His father, having a large practice, was often away from home and many of the duties were placed on his son, who in boyhood acquired great dexterity in extracting teeth, bleeding and many of the operations of minor surgery, as well as dispensing medicine in the absence of his father. When fourteen years of age, William Goble, a farmer near Bethel, was severely and thought to be fatally wounded by a cut from a scythe upon the back and shoulder, which in the absence of his father, the boy was compelled to attend. He took eleven stitches into the wound, with such success that the next day, upon examination, his father pronounced a perfect surgical job.2

The William Goble of this story was my 4x great grandfather. He managed to survive the accident, and surgery, and went on to live another 40 years, still farming. No doubt due to the loving care administered by his wife Ruth, and of course the ‘perfect surgical job’ of his young doctor.

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The scythe mentioned regarding the accident isn’t specified as being the type in this picture, it could have been a smaller hand scythe. Either way…ouch!

Sources:
1. The History of Clermont County 1795-1880, by Louis H. Everts. p414
2. History of Clermont and Brown Counties 1913, by Byron Williams p

November 27, 1950 Lois Shepard to in-laws

Nov. 27, 1950

Dear Dick & Dad,

Hope you aren’t snowed under but by all reports I guess you are. Eve called Bob last nite & it was pretty bad in Dayton. She left this morning. Sorta hated to see her go. One reason I haven’t written is that we’ve been busy & pretty much on the go as we wanted her to see a little before she left. Our furniture arrived Monday, almost a week after we arrived. Everything OK, but our big mahogeney coffee table & our magazine rack. The coffee table has a crack across one corner & the magazine rack was cracked on the side. Maybe we can collect Both can be fixed I guess.

The weather here is beautiful. Except for the 1st weekend & it dripped continuously then. Not exactly a rain but awful thick fog. And that’s when we drove

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into Los Angeles & Hollywood. We did get to see a little tho. Then Thanksgiving day we drove down to San Juan Capistrano It is beautiful country down there. Saw the Pacific ocean. Tho the Caribbean is prettier.

Bill took the kids horseback riding yesterday. They enjoyed it but Bill is a little sore today. He’s Staff Duty Officer today & won’t be home tonite.

We do like one house very much but I’ve still a lot to do. I’ve got a woman coming tomorrow to clean 75¢ an hour she charges. I guess I’ll have her one day a week & then she baby sits too. She lives almost across the street so it’s handy.

We had her Sat. nite & went to a dinner dance at the Club. Haven’t seen any of the folks that

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we knew at Ramey yet. The Schwaderers live in San Bernardino & it’s quite a ways. It certainly is handy to the field here. Almost as close as living on it would be

I feel sort of let down today. Partly cause Evelyn left & partly cause I cut Davids hair. Poor little stinker. He isn’t the same boy. He didn’t mind a bit & sure looks like Bill now. It was so cute when it curled but now it won’t. He looks cute but it’s such a change.

Evelyn gave me another Toni [perm] Friday. Looks pretty good this time. I still could get into my pink formal & that’s what I wore Sat. nite but I won’t be able to wear it again till after Minnie arrives.

Kenny & Sue seem to like their school They have a cafeteria & eat there lunch there  20¢ a day same as Minerva.

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They’ve learned to cross the street here OK & can go to the grocery for me. I hope to get started on my Xmas shopping this week or next but it just doesn’t seem like it’s that time of year yet.

I haven’t done much today & should get busy. We just stuffed things away to get them out of the road & now I have to get them arranged. I’m to get my stove put in this weekend. Be glad to have it to use again. I’ll write again.

Love
Lois

Lantz farm nature preserve

My mother and I took a trip out to Jacksonburg, West Virginia…lets see…well quite a few years ago now. The main reason for the visit was to attend a Hays family reunion, the secondary reason was to see what details we could find out about the Hays and related families. It was also nice to actually see where these ancestors had lived, worked and spent their lives.

No one at the reunion was really much help in filling out blank spots in my research, but we did meet up with one of our Stackpole cousins who gladly showed us around to a few of the cemeteries we would have been hard pressed to find on our own. (It is very hilly and hidden country out there.)

One of the places we were able to visit was the cemetery where my 5x great grandparents, Alexander and Margret (Minor) Lantz, are resting in peace. This quiet, restful, cemetery is at the top of a hill with lots of open space, and looks onto the Stackpole land that is on the next hill over. The view of the surrounding country was excellent.

I know very little about these grandparents, except that Alexander and Margret were always buying property. Many of these purchases were for land in the 100s of acres. Sometimes this property was purchased through auctions, the current owners not being able to pay their mortgages, so they were able to get incredible deals. This penchant for owning property has paid off in a great way for everyone, for it has made it possible for a lasting legacy of great value to be created.

I have come to learn that in 2006 the Lantz family farm, which consisted of 555 acres, was “gift deeded” to the Wheeling Jesuit University by Lantz family descendants, so that the land and farm would be preserved, and the area could be enjoyed by the public. The DNR has joined in a cooperative agreement with the WJU to co-manage the property:

…for its wildlife resources and to maximize public outdoor recreational opportunites including hunting, fishing, and hiking on the interpretive natural trails.1

lantzlandpic

The Field Trip article (below) gives a short history of the property, what you can see when you visit, and also talks about projects in the works. But first, here is the ‘Wyatt patent’ deed as mentioned in the article:

1826 Sep 30 Tyler County, West Virginia —
Jasper A Wyatt and wife and Augustus B. Wyatt, Tyler County
to
Alexander Lantz, of Wayne Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania

… in consideration of $600 of lawful money of the Commonwealth …land containing 177 acres situate in the county of Tyler on the South Fork of Fishing Creek and bounded as follows to wit:

beginning at a white walnut & two sugar trees on the bank of the creek thence
S E 46 poles to a white walnut at the mouth of Buffalo Run thence
S 15 W 70 poles to sugartree thence
S 27 W120 poles to a red oak thence
N 70 W 32 poles to chestnut oak and ironwood thence
N 20 W 60 poles to two beeches on a hill side thence
N 62 W 92 poles to an ash and sugar tree on the creek bank thence
N 20 E 44 poles to a white oak thence
N 40 E 20 poles to a small white walnut thence
S 75 E 60 poles to two hickories on the top of the hill and thence
S 86 E 165 poles to the beginning 

…together with all the singular houses, barns, buildings, stables, yards, gardens, orchards, lands, tenements, meadows, pastures, feeding commons, woods, underwoods, ways, waters, watercourses, fishing privileges…

Jasper Wyatt
Catherine [herXmark] Wyatt
Augustus [hisXmark] B. Wyatt2

LantzFarm copy
Lantz Farm article

While the property was certainly there, the preserve was barely a glimmer in the eye at the time we were visiting, and now I want to go back and see this wonderful place. Knowing that this property was a part of our family history kinda makes it feel even more special. If Alex and Margret did nothing else with their lives, they made it possible for a little part of world to be preserved.

 


Source:
1. [picture and quote pulled from the following article: http://www.wvdnr.gov/wildlife/magazine/Archive/07Fall/Providing%20a%20Better%20Tomorrow.pdf]
2. Land Deed [v2p190  image 1336-1337]; 
Deeds, 1815-1902; Tyler County (West Virginia) County Clerk; Deeds, v. 1-3 1815-1829  –  FHL film #855954

More information can be found at the following sites, there is also a facebook page:
http://wju.edu/mission/lantzfarm.html
https://wvexplorer.com/attractions/wildlife-management-areas/lantz-farm-nature-preserve-wma/