Sarah Rapelje

Here’s a cool genealogical note. It has come to my attention that through mother’s Brooks line, we descend from the first white female born in New Netherland.

Sarah Rapelje was born in Fort Orange on July 9, 1625. She was the daughter of Joris Jansen Rapelje and Catalina Trico, Walloons who arrived in 1624 from the Dutch republic as the first settlers brought by the Dutch West India Company to start an official colony at Fort Orange.

Their arrival in 1624 also wins them the prize for being the ancestors who came the earliest to the New World, (only 4 years after the Mayflower folks).

When Sarah was married in 1639 to Hans Hansen Bergen (so we do have Norwegian ancestors on mother’s side!) she was only 14-15 years old. As compensation she was given this medallion:

Sarah Rapalje Tankard
This medallion was later put into a tankard, and eventually donated to the Brooklyn museum of Art (1926).1

She had eight children with Hans, until he died in 1653. Then she married again this time to Teunis Gysbertse Bogaert, and had seven more children. Yowza! (Humphrey Bogart descends from her last child, and only son, born to Teunis.)

Sarah died in 1685, at the age of 60. That’s a pretty good age for the times, and place, and after having had 15 kids. To learn more about Sarah and her family visit her Wikipedia page: The family has much history in Brooklyn.


Letter August 23, 1951 William Shepard to parents

23 August 51

Dear Dick & Dad,

I am planning on coming home about October 1st. Will get a week’s leave and can drive you back to California.

Was going to buy a new car, either in Detroit or Columbus. The deal I had to get a plymouth in Detroit fell through and I am afraid to wait until October to buy a car at Rodenfels as they may either go up in price or not be available.

So we bought a new chevrolet station wagon here. Tell Ed it broke my heart to give up those goodyear tires. Dammit!

If you have any suggestions to offer please write so we can get every thing straightened out.

Dad, if you feel lke it, there is a plane ticket waiting for you to fly out.

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It will only take about 12 hours and we can meet you in Los Angeles. You could come out before I go back to drive Dick out. Just write & let me know if you would like to fly and Ill make the arrangements and send the ticket.

Have a good end to your vacation. I eat a couple of lake trout for me.


Letter June 25, 1951 William Shepard to parents


June 25, 1951

Dear Dad,

Better late than never. Happy “Fathers Day” I was going to get a present but didnt find anything suitable, so perhaps you can get what you need with the check.

Dick has written that you are recovering very well from your sickness. We are happy for that. She also mentioned you would be going to Canada for the summer. Be sure to take it easy and dont try any work. I know you will enjoy being up there and wish my family could go too.

Kenny and Sue are having a good time on their vacation. It would be better if we lived more in town as they dont have many other children to play with, but I do like living in the country.

David has grown a lot since you last

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saw him. He is going to be the largest one of my boys. Starting to talk now. Alan is coming out of it now, and is about average for his age. That is remarkable considering the slow start that he had. He is a very good baby, doesnt cry much or isnt much bother.

We have a new addition to the family now. Just bought a female collie pup. She is black, white and a little tan. Very quiet and intelligent. She should be fairly large by the time you folks come out for the winter.

We are planning on you and Dick spending the winter with us. I think you both would enjoy this country. When it gets time for you to come out, perhaps I can come back to help drive. Well thats about all except Happy Fathers Day again

Your Son Bill