Saturday, April 2, 2016

From the Duke of York to Valley Forge

                Do you remember the children’s song “The Duke of York?”  The grand old Duke of York/He had ten thousand men/He marched to the top of the hill/Then he marched them down again/And when you’re up, you’re up/ And when you’re down, you’re down/And when you’re only halfway up, you’re neither up or down!

                Do you know what battle that song is about?  The Dutch established the first settlement in what is now New York, in the year 1617.  King Charles II of England decided that England had rights to the land, so in 1664 he sent four man-of-war ships, expecting a heavy battle to take Fort Amsterdam.  However, the fort was in a terrible state of disrepair, and the Dutch surrendered almost immediately.  The settlement was renamed New York, in honor of the king’s brother, the Duke of York.  It was a peaceful transition of power, and the Dutch were encouraged to stay and maintain their culture.

                How does this relate to our family?  One of the English soldiers in the Battle of New Amsterdam was our ancestor, Henry Pawling.  Henry was the grandfather of Rebecca Pawling, who married Abraham DeHaven, the rabble-rouser described in the previous post. 

                Henry was stationed at what is now Kingston, NY until 1670, when he was discharged as a Captain.  The soldiers were offered liberal land grants as an incentive to stay in the colony as private citizens.  Henry was also assigned by the governor to the job of laying out lots in the settlements of Esopus, Marbletown, and Hurley.  In 1676, there is record of Henry signing a petition for a minister to be sent to the settlement at Esopus, specifying that the minister should be able to preach in both English and Dutch. 

                Henry was appointed High Sheriff of Ulster County in 1685.  Esopus was governed by a group of men called the Board of Magistrates, and the High Sheriff was the presiding officer.  This board acted as a court, but also made decisions about public roads, and laws pertaining to the settlement.  In 1689, Henry was called back into military service along with 30 other men to handle problems with the French and Indians.  A peace treaty was made with the Indians, which was to be renewed each year.  The original treaty is in the Ulster County Clerk’s Office, and includes signatures of two of our ancestors, Henry Pawling and Tjrick De Witt.  The last known renewal was in 1745.

                In 1676, Henry married a Dutch woman, Neltje Roosa.  Neltje arrived in New Amsterdam in 1660 with her parents, a young child only seven years old.  Henry and Neltje had eight children.  Their son, John (or Jan, in Dutch) was baptized October 2, 1681, and is recorded in the baptismal register of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston.

                Henry built a stone house on the line between Marbletown and Hurley.  Since he had been hired to lay out the two towns, he built his house right on the boundary between the two towns “for the convenience of travelers and to make a nearer correspondence between the two towns,” according to the book Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley Before 1776.  The home was added on to several times, but is still being lived in.  At one time, the north end of the house was in Hurley and the south end was in Marblehead.  Now it is all considered to be in Marblehead.

                Henry purchased a land patent from William Penn for land in Pennsylvania, but never moved to that area.  He made his will in 1691, and it was probated 1695.  The will is still in the New York City records, and states in part:

“I Henry Pauling, of Marbletown, in ye County of Ulster, being sick and weak in body but of sound and perfect memory, praise be to God for ye same and knowing ye uncertainty of this transitory life and being desirous to settle things in order to make this my last will and statement in manner and form following…”   It names his six living children, and states that “if my wife be now with child and bare a seventh, it shall have equal share.”  Indeed, Neltja was pregnant and Mary was born in 1692.

                Henry’s oldest son, Albert, stayed in the house in Marblehead and took care of his widowed mother.  John and Henry moved to Pennsylvania, settling in Germantown. 

                John married Aagje DeWitt, daughter of Tjerck Classen DeWitt, on August 23, 1712, before moving to Pennsylvania.  They had at least seven children, some born in New York and some born in Pennsylvania.  His daughter, Rebecca, married Abraham DeHaven and is our direct-line ancestor.

                John built a large and successful farm in the Schuylkill Valley, near the junction of the Perkiomen Creek and the Schuykill River, in Montgomery County, PA.  His brother, Henry, built close-by.  The brothers became early members of the St. James Church in Evansburg.  John’s daughter, Eleanor, married Henry’s son, Henry III (yes, they were first cousins).  John also had a son named Henry, so it is very difficult to trace which Henry is on the various land transfers.  John died in 1733 and his brother died in 1739.  The land that Henry III inherited from his father, plus other land he purchased, was developed into quite a plantation.  He operated a ford across the river called Pawling Ford, close to another ford called Fatland Ford.  He built a mill, which became later known as Pennybacker Mills.  An iron forge was built nearby called Valley Forge.  The Pawling Farm is now part of Valley Forge National Park, acquired in 1984.  Only a few ruins remain of the stone house, the oldest part of which was built by Henry Pawling.
The Pawling Farm is on the left side, close to the river.
Map from Valley Forge National Park
               John was buried on the family property.  The cemetery still exists, but has not been well-maintained.


Sources (all available on the internet): 

Untangling the History of the Pawling-Wetherill House by Thomas Clinton McGimsey.
Valley Forge National Park Information
Pawling Genealogy by Albert Schock Pawling
Henry Pawling and Some of His Descendants by Katherine Wallace Kitts
History of Montgomery County Within the Schuylkill Valley by William J. Buck
Dutch Houses of the Hudson Valley Before 1776 by Helen Wilkinson Reynolds

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing all this. My husband recently found out that he is connected. This was wonderful reading.