The Hissem-Montague Family
This page begins the story of our family in America. The earliest record is when a John Heesom acted as a witness to a land sale in Burlington, New Jersey in October 1686. Because this is such an early date for this region I assume that John was an émigré and born in England.
When I first began this page I was uncertain about John Heesom's place in this genealogy and his antecedents, however, over time I've become fairly certain that he is in fact the single common ancestor of every Hissem, Hissam, Hissom, Hissim, Hessom, Hysham and Heysham now living in America. This theory received powerful confirmation when I discovered Y-DNA evidence that shows the Hissem family of America and the Heesom family of Hull, Yorkshire share a common ancestor about 10 to 12 generations ago. I show this to be (17) Georg Hesom, of Crofton, Yorkshire, the father of John Heesom.
However, the only Heesoms, so spelled, who live in America today, came here from Astbury, Cheshire in the 19th century. They are presumably part of our family, but one which split off from our line before the 16th century.
What moved people to emigrate from England to the American colonies? Opportunity is the most obvious answer. Young men went to Barbados, in the Caribbean, to make quick profits and then go home to live like grandees. Those that came to North America, however, did so on a permanent basis and principally for the farm land which was so scarce at home. While it was a scary proposition to leave their homes and take the long ocean voyage, it was for many the only way to improve their condition. Craftsman too were drawn to a land where they believed their skills would be in great demand.
Men who had emigrated wrote letters encouraging the stay-at-homes to follow their example. They described the great opportunities available, the rich lands there for the taking, fish and game of unheard of bounty, and the absence of landlords.
|Who Were the American Immigrants?
". . . the immigrants were largely young adults, sometimes accompanied by children, and a disproportionate number were male. And, as is also characteristic of most contemporary voluntary movements, they came in the main as single families or individuals rather than in larger groups, although clusters of kinfolk or former neighbors would frequently arrive sequentially in a "chain migration" . . . contrary to popular belief, poverty was not the chief spur driving the hopeful across the ocean . . . More probably, a certain critical threshold of incipient affluence, and the appetite for even more, had to be breached before passage was booked . . . Quite clearly, the immigrants tended to favor the aberrant creeds, whether of the theological left or right. Thus we find gross overrepresentation in colonial America of such non-establishment groups as the Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Mennonite, or Moravian, and perhaps British and German Baptists; and virtually all the French minority in the American colonies were Huguenot." - from "The Cultural Geography of the United States" by Wilbur Zelinsky
These were people who put an emphasis on individual initiative and social mobility. They were optimists who belived in economic progress and who were comfortable with technological change. In the main, they held by an achievement-oriented, mechanistic world view in which anything could be fixed or improved.
An interesting point to remember when considering the differences between England and America is that the divergence between them did not start in 1776, but as soon as the immigrants reached this shore. For our family that was in about 1686. The historical events that so shaped the evolution of English society and politics, for example the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the triumph of Parliament over the King, were heard in the Delaware river valley as faint echoes.
Another inducement to immigration was freedom of religion, but this might better be called freedom for religion. It was hard for people of the early 17th century to comprehend people of different religions living together peacefully, and being, at the same time, right with God. The Puritans who settled New England aimed not for religious freedom for all, but to create a pure society in which there was no deviation from their version of the truth. By the end of the century, however, enclaves did exist where freedom of religion was a fact. These included Rhode Island, West Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Puritans, Mennonites, Baptists, Moravians and Quakers each set out to create their own utopias in America. These were based not only on their particular religious beliefs, but in ideas about the relationship between citizens and their government. Not surprisingly, these ideas had the goal of leveling the social pyramid. The openness of Quaker governance made Philadelphia a magnet for immigration and it quickly became one of the largest cities.
Another push to immigration were the tide of events in England. The 17th century was an unsettled time. The century saw the English Civil War, the defeat and beheading of King Charles I in 1645, the reign of a dictator, Oliver Cromwell, until 1658, the restoration of King Charles II in 1660 and the attendant settling of scores, the Monmouth rebellion in 1686, the crisis of a Catholic King in James II, and the resultant English Revolution in 1688. Much of the unrest and bloodshed occurred in the north of England and a number of supposed rebels were rounded up and deported to America. For background see the swashbuckling novel by Sabatini or movie starring Erroll Flynn, "Captain Blood."
It was also a century of religious friction and controversy with High Church Anglicans, Catholics and Puritans frequently at war both verbally and physically. It was because of these kinds of problems that our “Pilgrim Fathers” first emigrated to the Netherlands and then to America.
The Puritan movement arose within the Church of England. It was a militant, biblically-based, Calvinistic Protestantism with an emphasis upon the "purification" of the church of non-scriptual dogma and ritual, hence its name. Popular with the lower and middle classes, they emphasized education and the improvement of daily life through hard work and innovation. They were strongest in the south and east of the country. In the north, an especially in Lancashire, the Catholic faith remained strong and there was much support for the more conservative tenets of the Church of England. The Puritans called the area a center of “papists and witches.”
Pockets of Puritan strength did exist in the north, most notably at Bolton, in Lancashire. Bolton Puritans founded the utopian community of Toxteth Park.
While Queen Elizabeth had been able to ride these religious tides, the Stuart Kings were far less deft. The first decades of the 17th century saw a rise in religious stridency and the development of a sharp political divide between King, aristocracy and Church of England on one hand, and Parliament, the middle class, and the Puritan church on the other. When King and Parliament came to blows, it became a religious war as well.
The victory of Parliament in the Civil War meant that Puritan mores became the law of the land. The theaters were all closed, many inns were shuttered, sports were banned, swearing was punished and even the wearing of bright clothes was discouraged.
Frightened by Puritan extremes and dismayed at the laxity current amongst Church of England clergy, many Englishmen turned to new religious sects, including the Anabaptists, Levellers, Ranters and Seekers that sprang up at this time. The ideas and many of the adherents of these doctrines, known generally as Dissenters, found their way into the Quaker faith. This religion got its start in Lancashire when its founder, James Fox, had a personal revelation atop the hill of Pendle, near Lancaster, in 1652. Known formally as the Religious Society of Friends, they believe in the ability of each human being to experientially access "that of God in every person," and avoid the heirarchy of an ordained clergy. The influence of the religion was strong, if not pervasive, in the North and Lancashire was known as a base of support for the religion.
Finally, who didn't emigrate? The satisfied and the established; that is, those who had more to lose than to gain. The timid, those who may have had little to lose, but no faith that they could do better somewhere else, also remained where they were.
In David Hackett Fischer's formulation, the British colonies in America were settled in four great waves of emigration from England.
- East Anglian Puritans came to New England between 1629 and 1640.Each of these migrations produced a distinct regional culture which can still be seen in America today.
- West Country Cavaliers and their Servants came to the Chesapeake between 1640 and 1675.
- North Midland and Welsh Quakers came to the Delaware Valley between 1675 and 1725.
- British, Scots and Irish from the borderland, the so-called "Scotch-Irish," came to the American Backwoods of Appalachia, between 1717 and 1775.
At the same time large numbers of Germans, mainly from the Rhineland, settled in New York and Pennsylvania, the "Pennsylvania Dutch." There were so many of them, in fact, that it triggered the first anti-immigrant sentiments.
|Historical Timeline: The Commonwealth Period:
1649-1658 Oliver Cromwell
After Charles I was tried and beheaded, and after a tumultuous period of Parliamentary rule, the leading general of the Puritan cause, Cromwell, was made Lord Protector. He ruled England through Parliament, but his absoute power over the Army made him a virtual dictator.1651 - The English Civil War concludes with victories for Parliament in the battles of Inverkeithling (Scotland), Wigan Lane, and Worcester. A young Charles II, crowned King of Scotland early in the year, escapes to France.
1652 - First War with the Netherlands, 1652-1654.
1654 - War with Spain, 1654-1660.
1658-1659 Richard Cromwell
Richard lacked his father’s political skills and General Monk, one of the Civil War's great generals, engineered the restoration of the House of Stuart.
My G-G-G-G-G-G-G-Grandfather and the first of our family to live in America. I am confident that George Hesom was John's father, and reasonably sure that William and Raphe were his grandfather and great-grandfather. I tie our family to the Heysham family of Lancaster, England, circa 13th century, because the town of the same name was called Hesom/Heesom during the 1680's. See below for members of the family that would become known as the Heysham's who, in the 17th century, used the Heesom spelling. The Heysham variant became current in England after 1700.
John's name has been in this genealogy for some time, but I had not fully appreciated his significance. Additionally, DNA information has only recently become available that dramatically strengthens his position as our forebear. John was baptized on 17 March 1650 at All Saints parish church, Crofton, in the West Riding, Yorkshire, England, shown at right.
"John sonne of George Esume Bap: 17 March " - from "Wakefield: The Parish Registers of Crofton, Co. York, 1615-1812" by William TownsendAll Saints' Church is a cruciform building of stone, built in about 1430 on one of the highest points in the village. The church is oriented on an East-West line so that the rising sun shines through the east window and the setting sun through the west. To the left is the nave, looking towards the east window. The graves of Edward Hesom (1642-1708), John Esume's elder brother, and Edward's descendents, Mathew Hesom (1671-1746) and Edward Hesom (1698-1756), are located in the churchyard. No tombstones survive.
Crofton, below, is a small village east of Wakefield, in the West Riding of the county of Yorkshire. Yorkshire is outlined in purple on the map below. See also Village Church for a 360 degree panoramic view of the village from the church tower.
The river Aire, which passes to the north of Crofton, leads northwest to its origin in the Pennine mountains. This marks the lowest point over the mountains, known as the Aire Gap. If John's ancestors did come out of Lancaster, as I believe they did, then they came through this most easily passable region. Lancaster is northwest of Leeds, just off the western edge of this map, but only 70 miles from the Wakefield/Crofton area. That's only an hour's drive today, but was that a great distance in the 16th century?
Following the Aire river east, it empties into the Humber Esuary, and then into the North Sea. The river passes the port city of Hull, from which many ships departed for the American colonies.
While the Esume spelling of the surname is fairly far removed from what I've been used to, phonetically it's a 'dropped-H' match for Heesom. Between 1629 and 1650 the following children were fathered in Crofton by a man, or men, named George : William Hesom, Elizabeth Esom, Anna Easom, Saraye Esume, George Esume, Edward Esume, Richard Esum, Beteres Hesum, and John Esume. A Jane Heysom, married in 1676 in Crofton, was probably a daughter as well. I find it unlikely that such a small village as Crofton would contain a Hesom, Esom, Easom, Esume, Esum and Hesum families, all unrelated, and all headed by a man named George. By the way, in an era before the first King George sat the throne, the most common given names for men were John, William, Thomas, Robert and Richard.
The Heesom's of Crofton were part of an extended family that lived in the villages of Crofton, Wragby and Ackworth, along the road between Wakefield and Doncaster.
They also used the surname spellings Hesom, Hesome, Heesome, Esom, Esum and Easom. The only use of the Heesham spelling by this family was when a nephew of John's, (19) Robert Heesome of Crofton, buried two of his children under that name. The Heesom's were a numerous family who lived just north of Sheffied, in today's West Yorkshire. They are impossible to ignore because, as you'll see below, so many of the Burlington, New Jersey émigré's came from Sheffield and the surronding area.
The modern descendents of the Heesom family of Crofton include not only the Hissem's of America, but also the Heesom's of Kington Upon Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Nicolette Heesom, of the latter family, was kind enough to inform me that a set of DNA samples had linked a Hissem of America, for whom I have a good paper trail, with a member of her family. The match was of 35 of 37 markers. I'm not exactly certain what this means, but at minimum it shows that our family had an English origin and that the two families share a single common ancestor about 12 generations back. The only ancestral candidate I've found at that generation was from the Crofton region already mentioned, (16) William Hesome (c1577).
See Heysham's of the East Riding for more information about the Heesom family of Hull.The Various Spellings of Our Name
In America John Esume was identified as John Heesom, Heesome or Heesem in court records, and as John Heesham for the administration of his estate. The man I've identified as his next known descendent spelled his surname as Hesom, an obvious variant of Heesom.
I believe our family lived in the village of Heysham, in Lancashire, in the 12-13th centuries, during the period when surnames were being developed. They took the village's name for their own, that is, a man named John from the village of Heysham became known as John [of] Heysham. In the 11th century the village was named Hessam in the Domesday Survey and by the 13th century it was often called Hesam or Heesam. In the 17th century the spellings Hesom and Heesom became common both for the village and for the family that lived in nearby Lancaster.
The surnames of Hesom and Heesom were then restricted to northern England. They were not found in southwestern England during the 17th century and a single occurence in London was the only one found in southeastern England until the 18th century. The Heesham spelling of the name was found almost exclusively in Lancashire during the 1600's, though there were two occurences of this spelling in Yorkshire, recorded late in the century, in 1693 and 1694. There were none in the neighboring Cheshire until 1759, and none in the rest of England until the 19th century.
The following are citations of the earliest use of the Heesom spelling of the surname and imply, at least to me, a relationship amongst all of these families of Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire.
Danyell Heesom of Highfield, Lancashire, churchwarden of Halton parish in 1634.While the Heesom's of Lancaster changed the spelling of their name to Heysham around 1700, those of Yorkshire and Cheshire have continued to use the Heesom spelling to this day. In America the spelling of the name drifted from Heesom to Hissem [Hissam, Hissim, Hissom, Hissum, Hessom] and, in some cases, back to Heysham and Hysham. Pronunciation
Oswaldi Heesome of Aughton, Lancashire, in the burial notice of his wife in 1637. His family and that of Danyell above later assumed the Heysham spelling.
Richard Heesome, of Northwich, Cheshire, from the Poll Tax of 1660.
Giles Heesom, Mayor of Lancaster and ancestor of the Heysham family of today, per the administration of his will in 1664.
Robert Heesome, of Wragby [near Crofton], Yorkshire, per his burial in 1669.
Widow Heesom, from the Yorkshire West Riding Hearth Tax Assessment of 1672.
William Heesome, of Worsbrough, Yorkshire, per his will of 1679.
George Heesom, of Wragby, Yorkshire, probably our John's elder brother, per his burial of 1701.
Robert Heesom of Capernwray, Lancashire, per his will of 1701.
Today Heysham is pronounced as Hee-sham, with the long 'e' sound, and has been so for at least the last 150 years. However, some early spellings of the name, like Hessam, Hesam, Hesaym and Hesham, infer that originally the first syllable may have been pronounced with a short 'e,' as Hess-ham, or Hess-am. The latter is how the Heesom family of East Yorkshire pronounces their surname today. I think it not unlikely that it was pronounced the same way in 1686.
The difference in the pronunciation of Heysham and Heesom may be explained by the Great Vowel Shift that took place in the English language between the 14th and 16th centuries. This change in pronunciation started in the southeast of England and diminished in force as it traveled north. One of those vowel shifts was that the long 'a' sound and short 'e' sound of some words became a long 'e.' So Hay-sham or Hess-am became Hee-sham. I believe the merchant family named Heysham, who lived in London circa 1700, adopted this new pronunciation due to their southeastern connections. Because this merchant family were both rich and famous as members of Parliament for Lancaster, the village adopted the same pronunciation. The families of Yorkshire and Cheshire, far from the source of change and divorced from the village, kept to the older rural pronunciation.
Dave Heesom of Warrington, which is on the border with Cheshire, says that his branch of the family pronounce their name as,
"he as in him, some as in a world war 1 battle [of the Somme], he-some, but cos of my better northern upbringing its now closer to he-sum."The latter is very like how we pronounce the name Hissem in America.
Diane Heysham, of the New York & Pennsylvania Heysham family - part of the Hissem family of America as I read the evidence - writes,
"I know when I was a little girl, people in Nelson [Pennsylvania] pronounced our name as Hessum while our family pronounces it as Hesh'um."
You'll see below how, when a descendent of John Heesom moved into the Dutch Minisink valley of Pennsylvania, where the correct spelling of the name was unknown, that spelling morphed into variations on Hessom and Hissom. I believe there were many reasons why this occurred, but the primary was that this was the way the name sounded.Young John Heesom's Youth & Education
While John was a boy the country was ruled not by the King, but by Parliament and the Puritans under the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. The last King, Charles I, had been executed in the Civil War, but in 1660, when John was 10 years old, the King's son, Charles II, was given the throne in a peaceful transfer of power. However, the biggest event of this period for John was when his father, George, died on 8 April 1657; John was just 7 years old. His eldest brother, William, 20 years his senior, would have become head of the family and lease holder of the family lands.
Crofton was at this time a farming community. John's elder brothers, William and Edward, were, in turn, churchwardens at All Saints church, an important position given to the more prosperous and responsible men of the community. At left is Slack lane, the country road that leads from the Doncaster road into and through Crofton. The photograph was taken early in the 20th century.
John's academic education was probably limited. I suspect he learned to read and write, and do simple sums, and little more. In later life he witnessed more than one land sale meaning, I assume, that he could read. The literacy rate in England in the mid-17th century was around 30 percent for men. John may have attended a Dame School, a private elementary school, so called because they were taught by a schoolmistress rather than a master. These usually met at a private home within the village, run by a maiden aunt or widow hard up for the necessaries. The quality of such an education varied enormously.
The next level of education available was the grammar school, where, starting at about the age of 14, a young man could learn Latin, logic and rhetoric in preparation for a university education. Grammar schools were founded in Wakefield and Pontefract circa 1590 so the opportunity was there, but a man destined for a career in farming, trade or the crafts, like John, would find little use for Latin.
|Historical Timeline: Reign of Kings; Restoration of the House of Stuart:
1660-1685 Charles II
Charles II led a bawdy court famous for its royal mistresses. It was not famous of its intellect. Restricted in his income by Parliament, the King accepted money from France’s King Louis XIV.
Dutch colonies in America were seized and given to Charles' brother James, the Duke of York (hence New York city).1665 - Second War with the Netherlands, 1665-1667. Bubonic Plague strikes London and 100,000 die.
1666 - The Great Fire, left, levels London (and frees the city of the plague).
1672 - Third War with the Netherlands, 1672-1674.
1675 - The Quakers found colonies in West Jersey.
1682 - The Quarkers found a colony in Pennsylvania
1683/84 - England has its coldest winter in living memory; the River Thames and the sea as far as 2 miles out from land freezes over.
From later records we know that while John Heesom was still in England he learned a trade, as a carpenter. For many young men the transition to adulthood was marked by entry into a service or apprenticeship contract. The was an especially apt move for the youngest son who could not expect to inherit land. This probably occurred when John was 14 to 16 years old, or 1664-66.
Carpentry was a skilled occupation, entry to which was controlled by a guild. John's brother, William, his guardian, would have paid a fee to apprentice his young brother to a master carpenter, and probably had to cover the cost of his room and board at the master carpenter's shop. This implies at least a moderate income. John's brother was probably a "statesman," that rising middle-class of farmers who owned their own land, or estate.
A Geoffrey Heysome - a distant relative? - was a carpenter of London in this period. Below relates how a man apprenticed himself to Heysome for seven years to learn the trade. The usual age to enter an apprenticeship in the 15th century was 14, but this increased over the centuries, probably being between 16 and 18 years old in the 17th century.
"Samuel wood the son of Tho: wood of waltham Abbey in the County of Essex malster hath putt himselfe appntice to Jeoffrey Heysome of Hounsditch [Houndsditch, London] for 7 yeares from michas day 1655 Dated the 28th day of Sept. 1655."Geoffrey's son, William, and Thomas Cocks were apprenticed to Heysome for a similar period 14 years later. Houndsditch is a street in the City of London, just outside the old wall, that connects Bishopsgate in the north west to Aldgate in the south east.
7 December 1669. "Willielmus Heyson filius Galfridi Heyson Civis et Carpenter London po: se appren eidem Galfrido Heyson ejus patri pro 7 ann a die ante diem Dat 7 Decem 1669." [William Heyson, the son of Geoffrey Heyson, citizen and carpenter of London, apprenticed to Geoffrey Heysom his father for 7 years from the day of 7 December 1669]
"Thomas Cocks filius Will. Cocks nuper de St Gyles in le Camps in Com midd waterman defunct po: se appren pred Jeffery Heyson pro septem ann ante Diem Dat 7 Decem 1669."
- from "Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters," Volume I: Apprentices' Entry Books 1654-1694.
An apprentice would begin as a simple assistant, cleaning the shop, toting and carrying, and being generally abused for being such a lazy boy. If he lived with the master he probably had a cot in the attic or other small, inconvenient space. In time, having observed the work of the master, the journeymen, and the more senior apprentices, he would be allowed to perform small jobs, making the rough cuts which the older men would transform into the final shape.
In 1678 elder brother William died and Edward, the third of George Heesom's sons, became churchwarden at Crofton, and probably head of the household. George's second son, George Jr., had previously moved to Wragby, several miles east of Crofton.
John would have been 21 to 23 years old at the end of his apprenticeship, in say 1671-73. At that point he would be accredited a Journeyman Carpenter. Before he could open his own shop, John would have to spend many years learning the fine points of his craft, then pass an examination given by the Master Carpenters of the Guild. The exam not only ensured the quality of the applicant's work, but served to limit competition to the other, established carpenters in the city.
I have no record of John's marriage, nor of any children, but most men married and began a family around the age of 30 and I expect John probably did too. By the time we have records for him in America, in 1686, his wife might have borne 3 or 4 children.
|What Sort of Man was John Heesom?
At the time he emigrated, in the 1680's, John was probably in his mid-30's. He was probably about 5' 6" tall, or about average for the day, with brown hair and, perhaps, blue eyes - a family trait. At his age he should have saved enough money to get married, or to emigrate.
The greatest historical influences in his life had been the Civil War, both in its violence and vision of freedom, and, subsequently, the Restoration of the King. He had grown up immersed in the mythology of the War. Some of his parent's neighbors would have been in Parliament's army; others attacked and plundered the halls of the absent lords. John probably knew houses in the village that had cabinents or benches which had been "liberated" from some great house. Other effects of the war were less positive to a boy. The Puritans, who were in the ascendency, made certain that both church and school were stictly kept, and little enjoyed. Theater and music making were also proscribed.
When John was about 10 years old all of this changed. The King, Charles II, was restored. The Church of England brought back the pomp of ceremony. The lord of the manor returned and began to assert his ancient rights.
The greatest societal influence on John may have been the rise of Quakerism. These solid, sober men who would not doff their hats or swear an oath probably appealed to a man who was unsettled by the reassertion of ancient privilege. At the same time they did not scare him, as did the harsh certainty of the Puritans.
John was an optimist, because he could see a better future for himself in America. He was not a fatalist, because he was not resigned to living the life of his fathers. He was an indiviudalist, because he took his life and his future into his own hands. If not a Quaker himself, he was sympathetic to the Quakers' ideas about government.Why Did John Emigrate?
The reasons for the mass migration to America have been exhaustively analyzed, but in John's case I wouldn't discount his particular issues as a Carpenter. In England John could not open his own shop until the Guild determined there was room for another Master Carpenter. On the other hand, the principals for the new Quaker colonies in America were actively recruiting tradesman to emigrate. So not only did America promise John the chance to own his own land, but to open his own shop as well.
By 1685 John, then aged 35, had decided to emigrate to America. In February of that year James II had succeeded to the throne. He was an avowed Catholic and short-lived rebellions erupted in southern England and Scotland upon his assumption of the crown. Did anxiety about a Catholic monarch push John to emigrate?
|Historical Timeline: Reign of Kings, The Stuarts
1685-1688 James II
Brother to Charles II. He publicy converted to Catholicism causing the people to fear a forced return of the Catholic religion upon his assension to the throne.
Soon after becoming king, in February 1685, James faced a rebellion in southern England led by his nephew, the Duke of Monmouth, and another rebellion in Scotland led by Archibald Campbell, the Earl of Argyll. These were quickly crushed. In a series of trials notable for their brutality, graft and unfairness, the King's judges condemned many of the rebels to transportation and indentured servitude in the West Indies; 250 rebels were executed. See Sabatini's "Captain Blood" for a novelized account of this period.
As a result of the rebellions James II enlarged the standing army, greatly alarming his subjects. He also began to bring Catholics into positions of command in the army. When Parliament objected, he prorogued them in November 1685. They never met again during his reign.
The King then began replacing government office holders with his Catholic favourites and dismissed judges who disagreed with his policies. The people began to fear that he intended to become an absolute monarch, in the style of Louis XIV.
The English Revolution followed the birth of a male heir to the King. The King and his household fled to France. The King's son, which the Protestant’s refused to believe legitimate, became known as the “Old Pretender.”
John would have asked his elder brother, Edward, for permission to emigrate and would perhaps have received his portion of his father's estate in a small cash settlement. He probably then took ship at Hull, just east of Crofton, down the Aire river. Hull is shown in the engraving to the left, oriented with East at the top.
John Heesom set out for the town of Burlington, on the Jersey shore of the Delaware river, where it met Assiscunk Creek, in the Quaker colony of West Jersey. The first colonists had arrived in Burlington in 1677 and in the subsequent years they had sent back glowing reports of the opportunities available, encouraging new settlers to join them.
"Here is good land enough lies void, would serve many thousands of families; and we think if they cannot live here, they can hardly live in any place in the world." - from a letter by "John Crips to Henry Stacy, written "from Burlington, on Delaware River,the 26th of the eight month, 1677."
The passage to America was, however, both unpleasant and dangerous in the small ships of the era. The trip involved weeks, if not months, of travel in a grinding boredom with no relief of scenery. The between deck spaces of the ship, where the passengers resided, were less than 6' high and only marginally ventilated; they stank of unwashed bodies, the bilge, where many relieved themselves, and the vomit of seasick passengers; the sailors called the passengers of the era "pukestockings." The food was also monotonous and often unhealthy.
To modern eyes the ships were unbelievably small - see the replica's at Jamestown for a revelation. They were "cockleshells" easily broached in heavy seas, foundering with all hands lost.
The cost of transit too was not inconsiderable:
"17. The Price for every Passenger, (that is to say) for Men and Women, Meat, Drink, and Passage, with a Chest, is Five Pounds sterling per Head: For Children of Twelve Years of Age, and under, Fifty Shillings per Head; Sucking Children, Nothing: For Goods, Forty Shillings [£2] a Tun Freight, to be Landed at Burlington, or elsewhere upon Delaware-River." - from "The Present State of the Colony of West-Jersey, 1681"During this period a domestic servant might make £3 a year; a skilled carpenter could make £24, so John Heesom paid at least 40% of his annual salary for his transit, that for his wife and any children, plus another month's wages for his freight. That freight would have included his carpenter's tools, household utensils, farming implements, seed, food to tide him over the first few months until the crops came in, and livestock such as sheep and chickens.
A stray. Interestingly, while there are many variants of the name, the use of the ending letter "n" is rarely one of them, except as a transcription mistake. John Heeson was a servant of Charles Carroll of Maryland. "During the 1760's and 1770's three different men oversaw it. The first, John Heeson, was sent to Papa from England in 1763 as a gardener. Annoyed that Heeson had brought along a wife, Papa nonetheless retained him to manage the Folly, but at an annual wage of only twelve pounds sterling, plus a shore of the crop, arrangements that might have precipitated his sudden departure in 1771. Whatever the case, the abrupt exit . . ." - from "Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782"
Since he settled in a Quaker colony, John may have been a Quaker himself, but the latest information I've found indicates that at his death, at least, he was Church of England. However, even if he wasn't a Quaker, he had at least been surrounded by their debate in the 1670's about finding a place of refuge for the practice of their religion.
While East Jersey was settled by English and Dutch colonists from New York, Long Island and New England, the West Jersey colony were settled initially by Quakers. The first revelation of James Fox, the father of Quakerism, occurred in Lancashire and the religion had a many adherents in northern England.
"Quakerism was a radical religion that attracted those generally independent by preaching the virtues of the family as the basic disciplining and spiritualizing authority in society as opposed to that of magistrates and church prelates. Thanks in part to their devotion to the decentralization of authority, many Quakers were more comfortable in the vast spaces of the American forests than were the New Englanders who had come from more densely populated villages in the southeast of England." - from "Daily Life on the Old Colonial Frontier" by James M. Volo and Dorothy Denneen Volo.
|The Quaker Colony
In 1664, having seized the Dutch colonies in America, King Charles gave all the lands between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers to his brother, the Duke of York, the future King James II. The Duke in turn gave two court favorites, John Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, the territory between the Hudson and the Delaware. It was called New Jersey in recognition of Carteret's governance and defense of the Isle of Jersey during the English Civil War.
About this time the Quakers, who were being discriminated against in England, had expressed the desire to find some peaceful place among the islands of the sea or in the wilderness of America where they might freely practice their religion and put into effect their ideas about government. In 1672 their mystic leader, George Fox, had come to America and crossed New Jersey, exploring the region for possible settlement. Fox related that
" . . . ye next day wee passed 50 miles, and found an old house, which ye Indians had forced the people to desert, and gott us some fire at ye heade of Dallaway bay; and the next day wee swam our horses over a River about a mile at twise [?], first to an Island & then to ye Maine land, the Island is called uper dinidocke [Mattineconk or Tennekonck]."The deserted house was the tavern of Peter Jegou, who had been driven from it by Indians in 1670, and was located on the eventual site of Burlington. The island is today known as Burlington island.
John Lord Berkeley, insolvent as many of the sprendthrift nobles of Charles II's court were, sold his share of the Jersey colony for ready cash in 1673 to Edward Byllynge, a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers. Byllinge, however, was not able to consumate the deal due to his own financial problems. Eventually three other Quakers, William Penn, Gawen Lawrie and Nicholas Lucas, were appointed as trustees of his estate. Penn thus became familiar with this tract of land which influenced his eventual choice for his own colony.
The leadership of the Society of Friends was eager to found a colony in America where they would be safe from persecution, and in which they could establish a commonwealth resting on the political, moral, and social tenets of their faith, what they called their "Holy Experiment." Byllynge and the trustees spent three years developing a plan for creating in New Jersey a haven for their fellow Quakers. A division line separating their lands, to be known as West Jersey [the Delaware river basin and southern New Jersey] from those of Lord Carteret's, then known as East Jersey [the coast and northern New Jersey], was established. West Jersey was organized as a joint stock company. The territory was divided into 100 properties to be sold at 350 pounds each. Any purchase of a share, or a part thereof, carried with it the right to participation in the government of the province.
The genius of the Quaker colonies, both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, was that they were designed as not just asylums for Quakers, but for all Christians, of whatever country, who wanted to flee religious oppression. Their form of government, too, was liberal and this acted as a magnet for colonization. A constitution provided for the annual election of a representative assembly, guaranteed freedom of worship and trial by jury. Byllynge became the non-resident governor.
West Jersey was then opened for sale and the trustees circulated an advertisement throughout the kingdom inviting Friends and others to purchase the lands and promote emigration. The advertisement advised that,
"whosoever had a desire to be concerned in this intended plantation should weigh the thing well before the Lord, and not headily and rashly conclude on any such remove, and that they do not offer violence to the tender love of their near kindred, but soberly and conscientiously endeavour to obtain their good-will and the unity of Friends where they live."Skilled artisans, "Carpenters, Blacksmiths, Masons, Taylors, Weavers, Shoemakers, Tanners, and Brickmakers," were sought especially.
Commissioners were sent out by the proprietors with power to buy land from the natives. In contrast to the story of the purchase of Manhattan, the Indians of the Delaware river received much more than $24 in trinkets. For example, a tract of land extending twenty miles on the Delaware River, lying between Oldman's Creek and Timber Creek, was purchased from the locals for "30 match-coats, 20 guns, 30 kettles, 1 great kettle, 30 pair of hose, 20 fathoms of duffels, 30 petticoats, 30 narrow hoes, 30 bars of lead, 15 small barrels of powder, 70 knives, 30 Indian axes, 70 combs, 60 pair of tobacco tongs, 60 tinshaw looking-glasses, 120 awl-blades, 120 fish-hooks, 2 grasps of red paint, 120 needles, 60 tobacco boxes, 120 pipes, 200 bells, 100 Jews-harps, and 6 anchors of rum."
An earlier, independent, Quaker expedition led by John Fenwick sailed aboard the GRIFFIN [GRIFFITH] in the fall of 1675 and landed at what became New Salem, New Jersey.
In August 1677 a group of 230 Quakers from Yorkshire and London sailed on the KENT and founded the town of Burlington on Assiscunk Creek. The town was initially called New Beverley, for a village in the East Riding of Yorkshire northwest of Hull. This was later changed to Burlington, for a village on the North Sea coast of the East Riding called Bridlington, pronounced by the locals as Burlington. Of historical interest, as the KENT sailed down the Thames enroute to the West Jersey colony it passed the barge of King Charles II. He asked who they were and when told they were Quakers bound for America he gave them his blessing.
"Burlington's founders combined two distinct groups--poor farmers and craftsmen from the north of England, and tradesmen and artisans from London." - from "Albion's Seed" by David Hackett Fischer.
In October the WILLING MINDE [the name is theological, as in "a willing mind to serve God"], with 70 settlers from London, and the Flie-boot MARTHA, from Hull with 114 Yorkshire Quakers, arrived. The SHIELD followed, also from Hull, with another 100 in December 1678 [a total of about 500].
Many of the Yorkshire Quakers who founded Burlington came from the region around Sheffield, including George Hutchinson, Samuel Oldale, Michael Newbold, Thomas Schooley and Mahlon Stacy.
1677. "To Thom, Earle of Danby, Ld. high TreasurerAt this time, just 20 miles north of Sheffield, there was a family of Heesom's living in the villages of Wragby, Crofton, and Ackworth. Our John probably left his home with "noe leave . . . to depart the realme."
May it please yr Lorship . . .
My Lord I thought it my duty to offer another matter to yr Lordshipps Consideration vizt, severall persons with their wives and children (in all to near the number of 200) many of them Quaquers and other dissenters inhabitants about sheffield and the adjoining parts of Nottinghamshire and Darbyshr have lately gone and are every day as yet going by the way of Hull to transport themselves to an Island in America called west Jersey, and are dayly followed by others upon the same design; Insomuch as soe many leaving the Country togather gives some discouragement to thes parts, that suffer already ffor want of people: Others going from us frequently for London Ireland and other plantations. One of the Menagers of this Affair (whom I bound over to the last sessions for enticeing away servants from their masters) owned publiquely that they had noe leave from his Maty [Majesty] or the Council to depart the realme;" - from the Letterbook of Sir John Reresby [then Sheriff of Yorkshire]
|Ships Arriving from England
The GRIFFITH from London arrived in West Jersey in 1675. Its passengers, under John Fenwick, settled the town of Salem, south of Burlington. The PHENIX, Matthew Shearer master, arrived in 1677 with more Salem settlers.
The KENT, Gregory Marlow master, arrived from London in August 1677 with 200 passengers. "It should be noted that many passengers alleged to have been aboard were from Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, and other northern counties. They probably loaded at a northern port, perhaps Hull or Liverpool, before the KENT arrived at London, which is why they do not appear in the London loadings." - Donna Speer Ristenbatt.
Thomas Olive - of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, haberdasher
The MARTHA, a "flie-boat," of Bridlington, Yorkshire, Thomas Wildtuys [Wildbuys, Wharcup] master, sailed from Hull in August 1677. It arrived in West Jersey in September 1677 bringing "114 passengers" for the Yorkshire Tenth, at Burlington. A flie, or fly, boat, right, was a flat bottomed Dutch vessel with a high stern and broad buttocks. They were of about 600 tons and mainly used for local coastal traffic. While a poor choice for ocean travel, note that Sir Walter Raliegh had one in his fleet that sailed to Virginia.
Thomas Wright - of Howden, East Riding, Yorkshire, about 20 miles west of Hull [9 miles northeast of Snaith], yeoman
WILLING MIND[E], John Newcomb master, sailed from London with 60 to 70 passengers, arriving in November 1677. Some settled in Salem and others in Burlington.
The SHIELD, Daniel Tower [Towes] master, also came out of Hull in "tenth month," December, 1678.
John and Godfrey Newbold - of Woodhouse, Handsworth parish, Yorkshire
Ship from London in 1678,
John Hollinshead, gent.
SUCCESS, Stephen Nichols master, from London, in April 1679.
ELIZABETH AND SARAH, Richard Friend master, in 1679.
ELIZABTH AND MARY, of Weymouth, Dorset, in June 1679. This may be the same ship as above.
JACOB AND MARY, Richard Moore master, in September 1679.
Richard RidgwayAfter 1679 the arrivals were much more numerous.
It is interesting that a John Heyres, probably a single man, came to Burlington, New Jersey from Hull, Yorkshire aboard the SHIELD in 1678 - from "The History of Burlington, New Jersey," by William E. Schermerhorn. While Heyres may simply be a phonetic spelling of the common Ayres, as in Lew Ayres, it intriguingly contains elements of the Heysham name and could be a mistranscription. A John Ayres does show up in Somerset county in the record of New Jersey wills circa 1739. Shipmates of John Heyres on the SHIELD included Godfrey Hancock and Thomas Revell, who teamed together with John Heesom to buy a mill, below, and John and Godfrey Newbold, two other single men. John Newbold's father, Michael, eventually ended up owning John Heesom's share of the mill.
A John Haracis signed the Concessions and Agreements of the colony. Who was he? He, like John Heyres, disappears from history after this one appearance. I'd like to see the original document to check the spelling [the simplest explanation, of course, is that the name was Harris]. There are a number of names that appear to be mistranscriptions. These include Fospe Ontstont [Ontstout], Turrse Plese [Psese], Nethorp, Surege, and Pledger. William Heulings [Hewlings?] catches my eye as well.
Strange to say, however, I have found a reference to Fospe Ontstout in the records of Elsingburgh, an early Swedish colony near Salem, New Jersey where some of the Quaker émigré's settled. There is recorded a colloquy between Fospe and his wife Terrese, who spends all of his money looking after the needs of strangers, reducing him to beggary.
|The Concessions and Agreements of the Proprietors, Freeholders and Inhabitants of the Province of West New Jersey In America
When the Quakers made their plans to settle their newly purchased colony of West Jersey they understood that there were already settlers in the area, mainly Dutch and Swedes. There was some question as to whether these earlier settlers would recognize the new proprietors and subject themselves to their government. The Concessions and Agreements were drawn up in 1677 as an agreement between the Proprietors, the new Quaker Freeholders and the current inhabitants. The proprietors and settlers about to sail for West Jersey signed it in England. The document was then brought to West Jersey where it was circulated and signed by many of the settlers already there.
The "Concessions and Agreements" reflected both the Quaker's religious beliefs and their adherence to the ideals of the Enlightenment. It was the most libertarian document of its age and has been called "the broadest, sanest, and most equitable charter draughted for any body of colonists up to this time." It established the West Jersey colony's common law and its civil liberties. These included annual elections with a secret ballot, an expanded concept of democracy through the establishment of a powerful Assembley elected by all free men, no taxation without the consent of the governed,
"They are not to impose or suffer to be imposed any Tax Custome or subsidie Tollage Assessment or any Other duty whatsoever upon any colour or pretence how specious soever upon the said Province and Inhabitants thereof without their owne consent first had or other then what shall be imposed by the authority and consent of the Generall Assembly and that only in manner and for the good ends and uses as aforesaid."trial by jury, safeguards against bribery and corruption, open meetings ("sunshine laws"),
"That in every general free Assembly every respective member hath Liberty of speech that no Man be interrupted when speaking ... and that the people have Liberty to come in to hear and be witnesses of the votes and the inclination of the Persons voting."equal property and legal rights for Native Americans and the most sweeping affirmation of religious freedom to that time.
"That no men, nor number of men upon earth, hath power or authority to rule over men's consciences in religious matters; therefore it is consented, agreed and ordained, that no person or persons whatsoever, within the said province, at any time or times hereafter shall be any ways, upon any pretence whatsoever, called in question, or in the least punished or hurt, either in person, estate or privilege, for the sake of his opinion, judgment, faith or worship towards God, in matters of religion; but that all and every such person and persons, may from time to time, and at all times, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their judgments, and the exercise of their consciences, in matters of religious worship throughout all the said province."This generous document made the West Jersey colony an attractice haven for both economic adventurers and spiritual pilgrims.
This document was agreed upon and signed in England by 151 emigrants. These included Edward Byllinge, his trustees, William Penn and Gawen Lawrie, Yorkshire commissioners, William Emley and Robert Stacy, and Thomas Barton, William Biddle, Thomas Budd, John Butcher, Thomas Eves, Thomas French, Thomas Gardiner, Godfrey Hancock, Thomas Hooten, George Hutchinson, Samuel Lovett, John Newbold, Samuel Oldale [Oldaled], Thomas Revel, Thomas Schooley, Isaac Smart, John Snowden, Mahlon Stacy, and Thomas Wright. Many of these men would become the elected representatives of the colony in 1682.
The original Council of West Jersey Proprietors was composed of men who had purchased large blocks of land, and were designated by the British crown to govern the surveying, granting, and purchasing of land within West Jersey. The Proprietors negotiated with the local tribes of the Lenape to purchase land in the Burlington area, and also approved the Concessions and Agreements of 1676, the original laws of the region.
Proprietorships have been transferred by inheritance and in some cases by sale of land, and the holders of proprietorships have met in Burlington every April since 1688. The complete records of the Council of West Jersey Proprietors are housed in the Surveyor General's office on West Broad Street near High Street.
John Heesom was not otherwise named as a passenger in any of the early vessels or as an owner of one of the original lots in the town. This may mean that he came over as a servant. Almost all of the proprietors were listed as "with his wife, children and servants." If he had come over as an indentured servant he would have served his master for 4 years to pay for his passage, say from 1678 to 1682. Samuel Smith noted in his 1765 book, "History of Nova Cæsarea,"
"Many that came servants, succeeded better than some that brought states [estates]; the first inured to industry, and the ways of the country, became wealthy . . ."
|Burlington, West Jersey
At the site of the Burlington settlement the Yorkshire and London Quakers divided the region between them. The Yorkshire commissioners "chose from the falls of Delaware [Trenton] down [to the Rancocas, or Raccoon Creek, south of Burlington], which was hence called the First Tenth [or Yorkshire Tenth].
It was later decided that High street, which ran nearly north and south through the center of Burlington, would provide the division line between the 1st and 2nd Division, rather than the Rancocas creek as first proposed. In the town 20 properties were laid out, 10 for the Yorkshire proprietors, to the east of High Street, and 10 for the London, on the west. Each lot was ten or eleven acres which was for a house, an orchard and a garden. Farm and pasture land were outside the town.
"The Yorkshire people held patent to the First Tenth and claimed the best town lots on the high ground fronting the river and the prime spots for laying out plantations along the tidal creeks. Although unhappy with their inferior town plots, the London Quakers stayed long enough in Burlington to help construct a meetinghouse, central market square, courthouse, and public buildings. By 1679, however, several London Quakers who had signed the Concessions as original shareholders started looking for better properties downriver, where a group of Dublin Quakers had arrived recently in the Third Tenth." - from "Camden County, New Jersey" by Jeffery M. DorwartBurlington would become the second most prominent Quaker community in America, after Philadelphia.
By 1679 there were 800 Quakers living along the Delaware. "The colonists who founded West Jersey before 1681 were about 1,400 altogether. Nearly all were reported to be Quakers." - from "Albion's Seed" by David Hackett Fischer. They were joined by Irish Quakers from Dublin who settled in Gloucester county, afterwards known as the Irish Tenth. The influx after 1682 decreased dramatically when William Penn founded his colony, which became the new magnet for colonization. By the end of the 17th century the West Jersey population was more than 3300 with nearly 70% of them being Quakers of English or Irish origin.
In 1687 Byllynge was succeeded as governor by Dr. Daniel Coxe (1640-1730), physician to Queen Anne.
At about this same time a Quaker Meeting House was first built on High Street, hexagonal in shape. Prior to this the Quakers had been meeting in private homes. Note that the Burlington meetinghouse’s shape acoustically reflected [pun intended] Quaker notions of egalitarianism. From the inside of the building, the ceiling panels acted as a set of six sounding boards, equally amplifying voices originating anywhere in the room. This building was replaced in the 1780's.
In 1691 the doctor sold out to the West Jersey Society, a London-based company of real estate investors. At this point affairs in West Jersey ceased to be dominated by the Quakers. In 1702 the Society surrendered control of the government to the crown.
Note that records of the Burlington, West Jersey colony, after its initial settlement, begin in the fall of 1680 with the surveys of Thomas Revel.
|Education in Colonial Burlington
In 1682 the West Jersey Assembly passed an act setting asides "all rents, issues and profits" from the island of Matinnecunk, today known as Burlington Island, "for the maintaining of a school for the education of the youth within" Burlington and the First and Second Tenths. Little, however, is known about education in the 17th century. In 1767 the citizens in a town meeting resolved to "constitute a Public Free School. In 1774 "about 25 poor children" were provided instruction there.
I have no information on John before 1686. For instance, he was not listed in the Burlington county Assessment List of 24 April 1684. Included were many names we will see again below.
"Att a meeting of those Proprietors & free holders in ye first Tente ye 24th of ye 4th moneth 1684 by virtue of a warrant to them directed, for ye Chuseing therein Assessors and Receivers for ye Assessmt or rates enacted by ye Generall Assembly; And also for ye giveing in each psons quantity of Land in ye sd. Tente, both of undivided Shares, & Certain Tracts.John Heesom, Emigrant, in America
. . .
The Names of ye Proprietrs & ffreeholders & ye number of Acres they possesse:
Robert Stacy . . . 270 Acres
Tho: Revell . . . 150 Acres
Tho: Budd . . . 200 Acres
Tho: Wright . . . 500 Acres
Samll Oldale . . . 100 Acres
Michael Newbold . . . 400 Acres
Godfrey Hancock . . . 400 Acres
John Snoden . . . 200 Acres
Robt and Tho: Scholey . . . 200 Acres
Mahlon Stacy . . . 700 Acres"
- from "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography"
The first evidence of John Heesom in America was when he witnessed a deed of sale of Peter Harvey to Thomas Curtis in the fall of 1686.
"10 October 1686, Peter & Sarah Harvey, yeoman, of First Tenth, West New Jersey to Thomas Curtis, husbandman, of Buggbrook, West New Jersey, £4, 40 acres [in the Second Tenth, part of the land formerly belonging to Benjamin Scott dec'd, and by him assigned to Sarah Harvey] . . . service of said Sarah to Benjamin Scott. Signed Peter Harvey and Sarah Harvey. Wit: Christopher Snoden, John Heesom & Thomas Revell" - from "West Jersey, New Jersey Deed Records, 1676-1721" by John David Davis- Sarah, the daughter of Thomas Curtis, had, in 1681, bound herself as a servant to Benjamin Scott for 4 years in return for which he was to give her 40 acres of land. Sarah subsequently married Peter Harvey and apparently sold or transferred her new lands to her father. Buggbrook was the name of Thomas Curtis' estate, named for the town in Northamptonshire he emigrated from.
|The Snoden/Snowden Family
(18) Christopher Snowden (c1660)
Of Cuckney, Nottinghamshire and Burlington, West Jersey. Christopher appears in Burlington records from 1684 to 1700. He may have been the brother or cousin of John Snowden who signed the Concessions and Agreements, below. Cuckney is about 10 miles north of Edwinstowe, where John was born.
"1684, Nov. 2. Do. Jonathan Wood of Ewes, Parish of Maltby, Co. of Yorke, husbandman, to Christopher Snowden of Kuckney, Co. of Nottingham, yeoman, for 1/2 of 1-32 of a share of W.J.Cuckney village, in Domesday Cuchenia, is situated in North West Nottinghamshire, just a couple of miles east of the Derbyshire border at Whalley Thorns and about 6 miles across the corner of Derbyshire to the Yorkshire border. This is south of Wakefield.
A Christopher Snowden of Cuckney, Nottinghamshire, a possible father of our Christopher, married Mary Shiercliffe. He was referred to both as a yeoman and a gentleman in a number of property transfers in Nottinghamshire, England in the 1680's.
Christopher Snowden died in 1711 in Burlington county.(18) John Snowden (1662)
(17) William Snowden (c1606)
He was born in Edwinsboro, Nottinghamshire, the son of William. Edwinsboro may be today's Edwinstowe. This is a village in the heart of the Sherwood forest.
"1681-2 Feb. 6 . . . John Snowden of Mansfield [W.J.], yeoman, son of Wm. Snowden of Edwinsboro, dec'd . . ." - from "Calendar of Records in the Office of the Secretary of State. 1614-1703" by William Nelson and Berthold Fernow"William Snowden of Edwinsboro, Co. of Nottingham," yeoman, and John Hooton bought land in Burlington "of Richard Mew, July 6-7, 1677." William may have come to America, "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record" calls him a settler, but others claim he died in Edwinsboro in 1681.
John appears in Burlington records from 1680 to 1699. He was a proprietor of the colony, inheriting from his father, and signed the Concessions and Agreements. He lived in Mansfield, West Jersy and, later, in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. John died in Philadelphia in 1736.
Six months later John Heesom purchased a one-third interest in a grist mill, and the adjoining land, in partnership with Thomas Revell and Godfrey Hancock, two estate-men and signers of the Concessions and Agreements.
"On April 20, 1687, Thomas Wright, then living in Chesterfield township, conveyed six acres of his Burlington plantations [including a mill] to "Godfrey Hancock of Steetly near Burlington, Thomas Revell of Baythorp W.J. [West Jersey], both yeomen, and John Heesom of Burlington, carpenter, on Assiscunk Creek in Burlington township, adjoining Samuel Oldale . . . " - from "Burlington, a Provincial Capital"Assiscunk creek empties into the Delaware river at the town of Burlington. The name, from the language of the Lenni Lenape Indians, means "muddy place, or stream." To the right is a drawing of a typical water-driven mill of the era. Thomas Wright had originally come from Howden, East Yorkshire, which is about 20 miles west of Hull [9 miles northeast of Snaith], a yeoman. Godfrey Hancock came from Handsworth, Yorkshire, which is just southeast of Sheffield. Thomas Revell came from of Derbyshire, and was described as both a scrivener and a gentleman.
"The second gristmill in the neighborhood of Burlington was located on the Assiscunk Creek — probably on the south side of the creek — a good mile and a half from Burlington. There is some evidence [today] of the dam on both sides of the creek, particularly on Howard Birkett's farm on the southern side. . . . The mill was on the Thomas Wright plantation, on which the Masonic Home now stands." - from "Burlington: a Provincial Capital" by George De CouThe Masonic Home was an orphanage and is now a retirement home - my, how the country has aged! - on Jacksonville road. The home itself is quite a distance from the creek so this must be a reference to the plantation, not the mill.
"This old mill, probably known as Newbold's Mill, apparently did not operate for very many years. It was a tide-mill and according to local tradition the dam was washed away and the foundations of the mill damaged during a flood and never repaired." - from "Burlington: A Provincial Capital" by George De Cou
|The Tide Mill
A tide mill is a specialist type of water mill driven by tidal rise and fall. A dam with a sluice is created across a suitable tidal inlet, or a section of river estuary is made into a reservoir. As the tide comes in, it enters the mill pond through a one way gate, and this gate closes automatically when the tide begins to fall. When the tide is low enough, the stored water can be released to turn a water wheel.Mill Race Sluice
Tide mills are usually situated in river estuaries, away from the effects of waves but close enough to the sea to have a reasonable tidal range. These mills have existed since the Middle Ages, and some may go back to the Roman period. - from Wikipedia.
I've also seen this sale rendered somewhat differently in another source.
"1687 April 20. D[itt]o [Bond]. Thomas Wright of near Crosswicks, W. J., [which is between Burlington and Trenton] yeoman, to Godfrey Hancock of Steetley near Burlington, Thomas Revell of Baythorp, W. J., both yeomen, and John Heesom [Heeson] of Burlington, carpenter, for 6 acres on Assiscunck Creek in Burlington Township, adjoining Samuel Oldale." - from "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey; Calendar of Records in the Office of the Secretary of State. 1614-1703" by William Nelson, Berthold Fernow or "New Jersey Colonial Records, West Jersey Records: Part 3 - Volume 21 Calendar of Records 1664-1703."Yet another version of the deed has,
"20 Apr 1687, Thomas Wright, yeoman, of Crosswick, West New Jersey to Godfrey Hancock, yeoman, of Sheetley [sic], near Burlington, West New Jersey, Thomas Revell, yeoman, of Boythorx [sic], West New Jersey & John Heesom, carpenter, of Burlington, West New Jersey, £3, one acre on Assiscuk Creek for a mill. Signed Thomas Wright. Wit: Samuel Wright & Godfrey Hancock Jr." - from "West Jersey, New Jersey Deed Records, 1676-1721" by John David DavisNote that this version is for one acre vice 6 in the other citations. A price of 3£ doesn't seem like a lot of money, though note below that 12£ could buy 100 acres at this time. Note also the witnesses, who were the sons of two of the principals.
|John Heesom's Associates
The men John associated with in this land transaction were amongst the most important in this young community.Godfrey Hancock
He arrived onboard the SHIELD in 1678 and was a signer of the Concessions and Agreements. He had a 200 acre plantation. The Hancocks and the family of Thomas Schooley may have been related; note that Robert Schooley, of Ackworth [nearby Crofton], also arrived on the SHIELD. Thomas' father, John, married Isabelle Hancock, the daughter of Robert, in Sheffield, England. He joined Thomas Revell, below, in a lawsuit against Thomas Mann for trespass. Revell and Hancock were sued by Peter Jegou, an early Dutch settler, for the trespass of "these new comers, called Quakers," of his land. Godfrey was one of the first representatives to the West Jersey Assembley, along with Mahlon Stacy, Thomas Wright, and Thomas Revell. By the way, one of the requirements to be in the Assembley was ownership of at least one thousand acres of land. Godfrey's wife was Mary Petty.Thomas Revell
Also Revel. Of Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Thomas was an Anglican and referred to as a "gentleman." He arrived onboard the SHIELD in 1678 and was a signer of the Concessions and Agreements. A cousin to Mahlon Stacy, one of the major creditors of Edward Byllynge. He and Mahlon also appear to have been close to the Thomas Wright family. Revell was active in West Jersey politics. He was appointed by a group of Proprietors as "Agent for the Honorable West Jersey Society in England" to survey and sell land and issue deeds. He served as Surveyor General, Registrar of the Proprietors of West Jersey, and Clerk of the Provincial Assembly. A member of the Governor's council. He was also a Justice of the Court.
Thomas Revell's house, left, was at the time of this photograph at its original location on Pearl street, just off High street. In the 20th century the home was moved to 213 Wood street. This house is the oldest building remaining in the region. It was constructed in 1685 by George Hutchinson, a wealthy Quaker distiller, and sold to Thomas Revell who used the house as an office from 1696 to 1699. Local tradition associates this house with young Benjamin Franklin who received gingerbread there as he was en route from Boston to Philadelphia. In the early 19th century the house was purchased by the Annis Stockton Chapter of the DAR to become their clubhouse. The Colonial Burlington Foundation acquired and restored it in the 1950s.
Of Howden, East Riding, Yorkshire, which is west of Hull. He and his wife, Ann, arrived from Yorkshire on the ship MARTHA in 1677. Before leaving England he purchased "one fourth part of a propriety of land in West Jersey" from the Yorkshire Quaker company. He was a signer of the Concessions and Agreements, though he was one of the last to do so. While most signed in England, the document was brought to America on the KENT and the later purchasers signed there. He had 500 acres on Assiscunck creek adjoining the town limits. Samuel Oldale held the land next to his. Wright later moved to Chesterfield township and built a plantation of similar size. He was a Quaker.
How did John fit into this group and what does this association say about John's time of arrival and status in the community? That is, did he come over as an indentured servant, a valued craftsman, or as a man with his own estate? While there is not enough information to really tell, I am willing to make some conjectures.
- First, John must have had some cash in order to take part in the purchase of the mill - there were no banks offering loans and no reason to think his associates would advance him the money. He could have obtained that through years of hard work and frugal living of course, perhaps arriving in the colony well before the 1687 purchase date, but John's subsequent history of indebtedness over a period of almost two decades argue's against this picture of industry and thrift. My guess is that John started with some amount of money, a legacy or a stake from elder brother, Edward, and then let it be frittered away.
- John's partners, and those with whom he later had legal dealings, were amongst the most well-to-do in the community. I don't think it is a stretch to assume that John belonged to this group, even if he was on the lowest rung of that ladder.
- Also, I would not assume that just because John was a carpenter that meant he was from a lower, more penurious order. Many of the more successful men in the community had trades. Richard Ridgway, who at one time owned 600 acres in Maidenhead, was a tailor.
The 1/3rd interest John had in the grist mill should have been of great value.
"Gristmills became an important industry in the new province and were frequently the foundation of substantial estates. The miller retained one tenth of the grain as toll and as his overhead was low, the mill being operated by water power, the arrangement proved to be quite profitable. The mill played an important part in the political and social life of the community. Not infrequently the miller was a leading citizen and politics as well as the weather and the crops were discussed while the farmers were waiting for their grist." - from "Burlington, A Provinicial Capital"The miller has always been depicted in folklore as greedy and grasping because of this toll. See Symkyn, the miller, in Chaucer's "The Reeves Tale" or Sandyman, in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" for typical examples.
As a carpenter John should have been able to make a good living in a new and growing community. This was an era before the log cabin and all homes and shops would have been built in the traditional English manner requiring skilled labor. Note that the Quaker Meeting House in Burlington had been built by Francis Collins, carpenter, between 1682 and 1687. Did John help?
I've been reading a new biography of Betsy Ross and it notes that her great-grandfather, Andrew Griscom, arrived in the Burlington colony a poor man in 1680, but rose to prominence and wealth in Philadelphia as a carpenter, general contractor, and developer.
Carpenters were considered to be highly skilled craftsman and made anything from furniture to entire houses.
As towns became organized in the American colonies guilds were established. In 1724 the master carpenters of Philadelphia banded together in the Carpenters Company, the first builder's guild. The guilds played a large role in the coming Revolution. In Boston the carpenters were the "host" group for the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia was built in 1770 to house the carpenter's guild. The Continental Congress met in Carpenters Hall and the Declaration of Independence was signed there.
Other trades also worked in wood. The sawyer sawed the wooden planks for building. A joiner was a highly skilled carpenter who made furniture, similar to a cabinet maker, and other fine-work. A boardwright made tables and chairs. The turner made lathe-turned items, like table legs. A cooper made wooden barrels. A woodcarver made decorative pieces. A wheelwright made wagon wheels. A cartwright built and repaired wooden carts. Here "wright" means craftsman or builder.
It was at about this time that news was received from England that James II had been dethroned by William and Mary in the bloodless rebellion of 1688, sometimes called the "Glorious Rebellion." There was a great deal of agitation in the colonies, with some adhering to the old King, who became known as Jacobites. I suspect the Quakers, at least those not dependent on the Governor's patronage, were generally unconcerned.
|Historical Timeline: Reign of Kings, The House of Orange
1689-1702 William & Mary
William of Orange and his queen, Mary, the daughter of James II, seized the throne without bloodshed, in part engineered by John Churchill, a forebear of Winston Churchill. James II fled to the court of France. This became known as the "Glorious Revolution." William was the son of William II, prince of Orange, in the Netherlands, and Mary, was the eldest daughter of King James II of England.
William III led a European alliance that worked ceaselessly, and successfully, to restrict the power of King Louis XIV’s France.
By 1700 the population of England and Wales had grown to 6 million.
Godfrey Hancock of Steetley, one of John's partners in the grist mill, died late in 1687. The date of his will, or the document following, must be off a year, as you will see.
"1688 [Julian?] July 31. Hancock, Godfrey, of Steetley, Burlington Co., yeoman; will of. Wife Mary. Children--John, Godfrey, Judith, Mary, Phebe (in England). Farm of 112 acres, bought of Jacob Cozens, to which 80 a. are added. Home farm and a mill, lately set up. Personal estate. Executors--the wife and son Godfroy. Witnesses--Samuel Oldale, William Ogbourne, Tho: Revell. Proved 21st day 6th month (August), 1689." - from "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey"I wonder why Godfrey's other partner in the mill, John Heesom, wasn't a witness? Early in 1688 John Heesom and Thomas Revell acted as witnesses to a sale of land by Godfrey's widow, Mary.
"24 Jan 1688 [Gregorian?], Mary Hancock (widow of Godfrey Hancock), of Steetley, Burlington Co., West New Jersey & her daughter Judith Hancock, of same to William Foster, planter, £11.35, 100 acres. Signed Mary Hancock & Judith Hancock. Wit: John Heesom, Thomas Torry, Isaac Hargrave, Robert Butcher & Thomas Revell." - from " West Jersey, New Jersey Deed Records, 1676-1721" by John David DavisMary still held a share of the mill at this time and she and the other mill owners were apparently on good terms. The next year, in May 1689, Mary sold off another 100 acres for £10, this time to John Tueley. The witnesses, Thomas Torry, Thomas Revell and William Foster, did not include our John. Interestingly, three days later Tueley sold the same property to John Parker Sr. for £12. A John Butcher signed the Concessions and Agreements and was the largest landowner in Burlington with 650 acres in 1684.
The following begins an unfortunate string of money problems for John Heesom, and a possible falling out with his surviving partner, Thomas Revell. Had John over extended himself with the purchase of the mill in 1687? Also note what will become the recurring theme of innholders, that is tavern keepers, and acts occurring under the influence of alcohol.
"Court of Common Pleas, held May 8th 1689."These two cases followed immediately one after the other, that is before the same judges on the same day.
- "Abraham Senior [of Burlington, dyer, innholder. Senior was indeed his last name] - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Action - Debt - Withdrawne." pg 100
- "Thomas Revell - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Action - Debt - Withdrawne." - from "The Burlington Court Book: A Record of Quaker Jurisprudence in West New Jersey, 1680-1709," pg 100
John had dealings on the opposite bank of the Delaware river, in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. The following record is from the courtbook of Bucks county. It shows that John, the defendent, had been again taken to court, this time by Richard Ridgway, the plaintiff. It is not clear what the case involved, but it was probably for debt.
11 Jul 1689. "At a Court of Quarter Sessions held by the kings authority in the name of William Penn Proprietory & govrnr of the aforesaid Province & Counties annexed the 11th day of the Seventh month 1689 at the Court house for the sd County being the 9th yeare of the proryetorys govrmtThe book's index lists
. . .
Richard Ridgway plt agt [plaintiff against] John Heesome deft [defendant] withdrawn by the plts ordr"
- from "Records of the Courts of Quarter Sessions and Common Pleas of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1684-1700," page 204
"Heesem, see HeesumBut no page numbers are shown, nor as far as I can see is the name Heesem or Heesum shown in the book. I found a more complete version, in handwritten form, in another text.
Heesome, see Heesum"
"Richard Ridgway agt John Heesem [sic] in a plea of ease withdrawn by order of Ricd Ridway" - from "Extracts from Minute Book of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions Courts of Bucks County, Penna. 1684-1730"The other pleas made on the same page were a "plea of debt," a "plea of lease," and a "plea of assault & trespass." While the handwriting in the Heesom case certainly appears to be "ease," the handwritten e looks a lot like the l in the "plea of lease." A plea of lease was a breach of covenant, contract or lease. It turns out, however, that a plea of ease, or convenience, is a proper legal term used to collect a note or debt.
In John Heesom's favor, there were a lot of suits and counter suits in these records and those of Burlington, so John's frequent visits to the court may not have been unique. I see that Thomas Brock, who was the plaintiff in a case against John, pled guilty to "extortion of ferriage." While my first thought was that this had something to do with a ferrier, a man who shoes horses, I note that in the previous year Thomas Brock had married the widow Joan Huff, who owned the Burlington ferry through her late husband. Apparently Thomas had tried to enact excessive fees for the ferry and had been called on it by the court.
A native of Berkshire, England, Richard arrived in Burlington, West Jersey, on the JACOB AND MARY, of London, in September 1679. Soon thereafter he crossed the Delaware river and purchased land and established a town near "ye falls of Dellaware," in what became Falls township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania - today's Morrisville on the map to the right.
"None of the early settlers of Pennsylvania and New Jersey was more successful and influential than Richard Ridgway." - from "Genealogy and Descent of Thomas French" by Howard Barclay FrenchThomas and Robert Schooley, early settlers of Burlington, had, by 1680, moved there as well. Settlers who had arrived in the MARTHA, WILLING MINDE and SHIELD also settled there. The Quakers amongst them crossed the river to attend services in Burlington. Richard's first wife died in Bucks county.
"Richard Ridgeway, who lived on the river in Falls, opposite Biles' island, was probably the first landlord in the county, being licensed to keep an "ordinary" August 3d, 1686." Ridgeway arrived in the county before 1682. Later of Maidenhead, Burlington county. - from "The History of Bucks County" by William Watts Hart Davis
A very successful speculator, in 1690 Richard purchased 600 acres in Maidenhead, just north of Trenton, New Jersey, moving there with his second wife. He made several more large purchases and trades of land in the coming years. He finally retired to Springfield township, Burlington county, dying there in 1722. - from "Genealogy of the Descendents of Thomas French" by Howard Barclay.Bucks county
The county was one of the original three established by William Penn in 1682. Until broken up in 1752, it extended from Philadelphia county to the New York colony line.
The following is from the very next meeting of the Court of Common Pleas in Burlington, the case in Bucks county having occurred between times, in July.
"Court of Common Pleas, held August 6th 1689."I suspect these withdrawn actions were indicative of an out-of-court settlement of debts owed : I sue you in order to bring you to the table for serious negotiations. How did John get himself into such a pass that everyone, including his mill-partner, were dunning him for payment? Can we assume that the charges brought against John were all valid?
- "Joan Huff [Mrs. Thomas Brock, see below, innholder] - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Action - Debt - Withdrawne." - from "The Burlington Court Book: A Record of Quaker Jurisprudence in West New Jersey, 1680-1709," pg 100
Thomas Brock was landowner and innholder in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. He was on record as owning cattle in the county as early as 1684. He was a founder, along with Samuel Oldale, of the town of Bristol, across the river from Burlington. "Next to Richard Ridgeway the earliest recorded petitioner to keep a public house in this county was Thomas Brock. On the 15th of February, 1705, he petioned the court to recommend him to the governor for a license to keep a house of entertainment in Bristol the ensuing year, stating that he had been in the county about twenty years, and had been principally occupied in keeping public house [sic], and that he is "now grown ancient, and is destitute of any other employment."" Thomas Brock was sheriff of the county 1693-5.
Joan Rossell, the widow of Michael Huff, late of the "Ferry House over against Burlington, Innkeeper," married Thomas Brock, innholder, in 1688. Thomas may have obtained the ferry with his marriage.
While John was suffering these problems his partners in the mill sold their shares; perhaps they found that the mill didn't pay. Godfrey Hancock's widow sold her share in November 1689.
"12 Nov 1689, Mary Hancock, widow of Godfrey Hancock, and their daughters, Judith & Mary Hancock, all of Burlington, West New Jersey [sold her third interest] to Joshua Newbold, carpenter, of Burlington Co., West New Jersey . . . Thomas Revell and John Hoesam [sic] building mill. Signed, Mary Hancock, Judith (X) Hancock & Mary (X) Hancock. Wit: Abraham Senior, John Smith & John Curtis." - from "West Jersey, New Jersey Deed Records, 1676-1721" by John David DavisMary Hancock's deed definitely stated that the six acres had been purchased by Godfrey Hancock, Thomas Revell and John Heesom from Thomas Wright on April 20, 1687, "for mill purposes" - from "Burlington, a Provincial Capital." What does "building mill" mean?
And again, slightly different in another reference.
1689 November 12. "Mary Hancock of Steetley, Burlington Co., widow, as executrix of her late husband, Godfrey Hancock, and of her son Godfrey Hancock, both dec'd, Judith and Mary Hancock, her daughters, to Joshua Newbold of Burlington Co., carpenter, for one third of the land bought by said Godfrey Hancock senior with Thomas Revell of Boythorp and John Heeson [sic] of Burlington of Thomas Wright of near Crosswicks Creek April 20, 1687, for mill purposes. 265 1689 Nov. 12. Do." - from "New Jersey Colonial Records, West Jersey Records: Part 4 - Volume 21 Calendar of Records 1664-1703."Thomas Revell sold his interest to Joshua Newbold on the same day, leaving John Heesom a minority holder against the Newbold's.
"12 Nov 1689, Thomas Revell, yeoman, of Burlington Co., West New Jersey to Joshua Newbold, carpenter, of same, £33, land and mill, purchased of Thomas Wright. Signed, Thomas Revell. Wit: Eliakim Higgins, John Joyner & Thomas Higgins." - from "West Jersey, New Jersey Deed Records, 1676-1721" by John David DavisThe £33 Thomas got for his share of the mill was quite an increase from the £3 paid for it.
John Heesom's problems with money continued.
"Court of Common Pleas. held June 3, 1690."
- "William Fryley [a successful carpenter of Burlington whose name is on a number of deeds] - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Declaration and bond Read and the bond proved per 2 evidences (vizt) [viz, vizt = videlicet, namely] Christopher Snoden and John Fleckna, both Attested, The Court thereupon Award judgement upon the bond for payment of 12£ 13s. the principall Debt with dammages and Costs of suite. And execution made out." pg 103
"Court of Common Pleas, held June 5, 1690."
- "Edward Hunloke [a judge of the court and deputy Governor] - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Withdrawne." pg 111
"Court of Common Pleas, held August 6, 1690."
- "[Renew Execution] William Fryley - Plaintiff - John Heeson [sic] - Defendant - Execution satisfyed in parte." pg 112
- "John Heeson [sic] - Plaintiff - James Blake - Defendant - Withdrawne." pg 113
Sometime in 1691 John finally decided to sell out his share of the mill. However, the man he sold it to, Samuel Oldale, had legal issues which complicated the issue. Oldale already owned land adjacent to the mill property.
"Samuell Oldale upon the Accusation of Anne Hartley Indicted, Anne Hartley Attested and sent to the Grand Jury . . . Anne Hartley Attested, Deposeth that the Prisoner [Samuel Oldale] (her Father in Lawe) about Harvest last lay with her and had Carnall Copulation with her once, and afterwards about a moneth after hee once againe had carnall Copulation with her . . . the way hee Induced her to it was by telling her that hee had as many tymes as he pleased layne with her Sister Betty before shee dyed: This the Deponent saith shee heard being in the next roome. Traverse Jury finde him Guilty. And the Court February 23 agree upon and passe this sentence following, vizt, Samuell Oldale . . . Fyne thee in the Summe of 20l. to be paid for the use of the Publick."
Or O'Dell. He was a mason, born in Sheffield, Yorkshire and arrived in New Jersey in 1677 on the MARTHA. He was a freeholder and a signer of the Concessions and Agreements. He had a plantation on Assiscunck creek. Apparently he was also a curmudgeon. He built a bridge across the creek and tried to get his neighbors to pay a toll on it.
Samuel Oldale had pled not guilty and refused to pay the fine. As a result, the court auctioned off his property, including John Heesom's share of the mill.
"March 21th 1690/1691. Att a private Court then held at the House of Richard Bassnett [innholder and Justice of the Peace] in Burlington for the County thereof in West Jersey. There present Edward Hunloke, James Marshall, Richard Bassnett Justices.Apparently John Heesom had negotiated the sale of his share of the mill to Samuel Oldale, but at the time of the auction had received only a promise to pay from him. Since Edward Hunloke ended up with the mill I assume (hope) that the bond that Oldale gave to John was paid by Hunloke. The £28 that Hunloke paid compares with the £33 that Thomas Revell got for his share of the mill.
The Sheriffe then made his returne of the warrant of Execution against the Estate of Samuell Oldale for his Fyne of Twenty pounds and Costs and Charges of Court wherein judgment past against him last Court held February 20th last: Upon the said Oldales refusall of payment of the said Fyne and Costs and Charges. Vizt, The Sheriffe hath Seized the Third part of his Mill and of the Land belonging thereto with the Utensills and Appurtenances And hath sold the same by publick proclamation and burning of an Inch of Candle or Auxion [auction] the 18th instant to Edward Hunloke for Twenty Eight pounds: Whereupon John Heesom haveing bargained heretofore with the said Samuell Oldale for the said Third parte of said Mill Land and premises, and haveing onely given a Bond to said Oldale for the makeing a Tytle of the same premises: by the appointment and free consent of said Oldale (who alsoe gave and delivered in the said Bond) made and Executed the Deed of Conveyance of said Third parte of Mill Land and premises to the said Edward Hunloke." pg 123
|Burning of an Inch of Candle
A sale by the inch of candle specifies an auction at which bids could only be made during the period it took to burn an inch of candle. After that time the property was given to the highest bidder.
On the same day Samuel Oldale was being tried for rape, he was brought to court by Joshua Newbold for meddling in mill operations. Newbold had purchased the other two thirds of the mill from Thomas Revell and Godfrey Hancock's heirs.
"Joshua Newbold - Plaintiff - Samuell Oldale - defendant. Jury, John Shinnn and fellows Attested, declaration Read: Plaintiff proves his Tytle to two thirds of the Mill Land and premises by virtue of two deeds Recorded. It appeares the defendant hath noe present Legal tytle but an equitable right [the bond to John Heesom, mentioned above]. It being required by the Court of the Defendant to show how hee comes to take and hold possession of the premisses."The jury found for the plaintiff, awarded him 40s. damages and costs of the suit. However, the next year Oldale and Newbold were back requesting the court aid them in putting an end to their differences. Apparently Oldate never accepted the loss of his properties at auction.
Edward Hunloke sold his share of the mill to the Newbolds who became the sole proprietors.
1691 April 14. "Do. Edward Hunloke of Wingerworth, Burlington Co., merchant to Michael Newbold of said Co., yeoman, for one third of the land on Assiscunck or Birch Creek, bo't by Godfrey Hancock, Tho: Revell and John Heesom of Thos: Wright April 20, 1687; also 1/3 of the corn mill on the said land, which thirds grantor bought of said John Heesom March 21 last past." - from "Calendar of Records in the Office of the Secretary of State. 1614-1703" by William Nelson, Berthold Fernow
|The Men Who Bought John Heesom's Share
A justice of the court, member of the Governor's council, and Deputy Governor of West Jersey from 1688 to 1690 under Dr. Coxe. In 1691 Coxe sold his interest in the province to the West Jersey Society and Hunloke lost his position.Michael Newbold (1623)
Or Newbould. Michael was a landowner of Woodhouse, the parish of Handsworth, Yorkshire. This is about 4 miles southeast of Sheffield. His wife was Ann Topping. He sent his son, John, with a relative, Godfrey Newbold, onboard the SHIELD to investigate conditions in the New World. John Newbold signed the Concessions and Agreements [for his father?]. In the same year he purchased over 800 acres from the West Jersey proprietors and, in 1680, arrived in Burlington with his wife and 9 of their 11 children. At his death in 1692 he was one of the largest landed proprietors in New Jersey. The inventory of his estate was valued at almost 800 pounds. He was not a Quaker, attending instead the Church of England.
Of Michael's sons, Michael Jr. was the only one to leave a male line intact. He served on the traverse jury [a kind of grand jury], and was a justice for Burlington county. Joshua Newbold, who inherited the grist mill, married Hannah Revell, probably the daughter of Thomas Revell.
And John's problems continued . . .
"Court at Burlington, held May 8th 1691."So, John Heesom was brought to court about a dozen times for debt and he brought one man to court for the same. Interestingly, tavern keepers were often associated with John's debt issues. Was this because he ran up large bar bills, or simply because so many men ran taverns?
- "Thomas Brock [innholder] - Plaintiff - Versus - John Heesom - Defendant - Continued. [i.e. from the Joan Huff action, above?]" pg 124
- "Christopher Snoden [yeoman, licensed innholder in Burlington] - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant. Jury Attested, declaration read, and Bill obligation for 9£ 14s. 7d. Debt. The defendant declares hee beleeves the Bill was Executed by him, but saith hee was drunk when hee did it. Henry Pope Attested saith hee sawe John Heesom the Defendant seale etc. the Bill, and that to the best of knowledge hee was sober; And as to the 34s. 11d. in the declaration mentioned due per booke, the Plaintiff produced his booke but it makes nothing out, John Fleckna [a friend of John Heesom's? Also attested at the Fryley case] Attested saith that the Defendant and hee the deponent, and others came to the Plaintiffs house and brought Rum with them at their owne charge, And that they drunke the same at the Plaintiffs And the said Plaintiff putt the same Rum to their charge, at the same rate as sold in an ordinary: The Letter of Attorney alsoe Read from the Defendant to the Plaintiff wherein it appeares the Defendant impowered the Plaintiff to Act for him as in the Plaintiffs declaration mentioned. The Jury are agreed of their Verdict, and for the Plaintiff, vizt, as to the Bill under hand and Seale they find 7£ 14s. 7d. remaining due, As to the 34s. 11d. the booke debt they find nothing thereof due, And as to the Charges paines etc. mentioned in the declaration as Attorney for the defendant they find 4£ 18s 0d with 6d dammages and Costs of suite. Judgment thereupon Awarded." pg 124
"August 8th 1691 Court of Sessions"
- "Thomas Brock - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Rests." pg 128
"November 3rd 1691 Court of Sessions"
- "Thomas Brock - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Rests." pg 130
"November 3th 1693 Court of Quarterly Sessions"
- "Richard Bassnett [gentleman, justice of the peace, innholder, he arrived in Burlington in 1678] - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Action - Case withdrawne." pg 157
"Court of Quarterly Sessions and Pleas held August 8th 1694."
- "Isaac Marriott [a prominent Quaker merchant, he served in the Assembly] - Plaintiff - Versus - John Heeson - Defendant - Action - Debt Withdrawne." pg 170. By the way, Isaac Marriott's "negro man servant" was convicted of buggering a cow. Just thought you'd want to know.
"Court of Quarterly Sessions and Pleas held November 10th 1694."
- "William Righton [a Quaker merchant & mariner, he had a plantation called Bermuda on the Delaware river] - Plaintiff - John Heesom - Defendant - Continued." pg 175
I wonder if these debts were the result of land deals gone bad, or at least of a temporary embarassment of funds due to deals that had not yet come to fruition? For most of the debt actions we do not know how much was owed, but for those that we do, the amounts are relatively large; not large perhaps in the way we think of money today, but in 1688 Mary Hancock sold 100 acres for 11£ 35s and the next year John Tueley sold 100 acres for 12£. Values varied, of course. In 1692 William Fryley sold a house and lot in Burlington for 12£.
- A bond for payment of 12£ 13s to William Fryley. Remember that John had been given a bond by Samuel Oldale "for the making of a Tytle" to the grist mill previous to receiving payment. I assume that was a bond for payment. So had John bought land from Fryley that he not yet paid for?
- A Bill obligation of 9£ 14s 7d to Christopher Snoden. Perhaps this was something similar to the above. John also gave a "Letter of Attorney" to Snoden that impowered him to act for John. Were those actions business deals that John now owed payment upon?
- Is it possible that John Heesom's legal issues were normal? That all land speculators spent time in court resolving technicalities in obsure land transactions? Finally, I suspect that for every story of a man getting rich from land speculation there was one that was made poor. John appears to have been the latter.
|Bond for Payment
A bond is a guarantee in which the principal guarantees to perform the obligation stated, in the case of a payment bond, to properly pay the obligee.Bill of Obligation
A bill of obligation was a legal document describing a debt between two parties. It was held by the plaintiff and sealed with the debtor's seal. Our paper currency is called a dollar bill because it is a bill of obligation from the government.Letter of Attorney
A written instrument under seal, by which one or more persons, called the constituents, authorize one or more other persons called the attorneys, to do some lawful act by the latter, for or instead, and in the place of the former. The authority given in the letter of attorney is either general, as to transact all the business of the constituent; or special, as to do some special business, particularly named; as, to collect a debt.
So much of the financial issues above sound like an 18th century English novel - think of the section of Defoe's "Moll Flanders" where the heroine and her draper husband squander his fortune, Fielding's hero "Tom Jones" living high on borrowed money, or even the hero of O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series falling into land speculation schemes. Was something happening to the middle class in this period that matched the government's discovery and mis-use of credit?
I have no further information about John until his death, in 1705. This is, I suppose, a good thing since the Court Book, referenced above, goes through 1709, meaning that John got into no further troubles with the law. It is also true that poor men are rarely taken to court for debt since they cannot pay. However, neither can I show where John lived since the Administration of his Estate is silent in this matter.
|Burlington in 1698
"Burlington is now the chiefest Town in that Country, by reason that the late Governor Cox, who bought that Countrey of Edward Billing, encouraged and promoted that Town chiefly, in settling his Agents [Revell] and Deputy-Governors [Hunloke] there, which brings their Assemblies and chief Courts to be kept there; and, by that means it is become a very famous Town, having a delicate great Market-House, where they keep their Market . . . There are kept also in the Famous Town several Fairs every Year . . . There are also two handsom Bridges to come in and out of the Town called London and York-Bridges. The Town stands in an Island, the Tide flowing quite round about it." - from "History" by Gabriel Thomas, 1698.
"Burlington at this period was made almost an island--quite so at high water--by a small stream flowing through the low, marshy meadows back of the town, and connecting the Assiscunk Creek with the Delaware." - from "Friends in Burlington" by Amelia M. Gunmere. The stream was called the Moat on at least one map, or more usually the Island creek. See the map below.
The eastern part of the town, settled by those from Yorkshire, had access across the moat via York bridge, which led to Perth Amboy and New York.
"The street running easterly from High street aforenamed to the bridge called Yorkshire Bridge, south of the present settled part of the city, shall be called Federal Street." - from "Charter and By-Laws of the City of Burlington"The western part of the town, settled by those from London, had access via London bridge, which led to Salem.
"The street running from Broad Street southerly, over the bridge called Lond Bridge across the Island creek, shall be called Washington Street." - from "Charter and By-Laws of the City of Burlington"
I think the following could be a mistranscription for our John's name. This survey mentions a John Huson. It would not take much to mistake the double-e of Heesom for the two uprights of the u in Huson, especially if the letters were drawn in a thin and crabbed fashion. The m, of course, was often mistaken for an n. Then Huson=Heeson.
"1699-1700 Jan. 30. return of survey by Tho: Gardiner, for Nathaniel Pope, of 545 a. on one of the Southerly branches of Rancocus [Rancocas] Cr. between John Huson and Christopher Weatherill." - from "Calendar of Records in the Office of the Secretary of State. 1614-1703" by William Nelson, Berthold Fernow- Thomas Gardniner, of Burlington, became Nathaniel Pope's trustee upon his mother's death. A Quaker, he signed the Concessions and Agreements. He founded the Gardiner family of New Jersey, including Richard Gardiner, commander of the New Jersey Frontier Guard in which John Heesom's grandson, Thomas Hesom, served, below. Gardiner died in 1712 with a personal estate valued at almost 1,000 pounds.
"In 1661, Elizabeth Dawson, Elizabeth Brown, Jeremy Burton and Christopher Weatherill were committed to Beverley [East Yorkshire, England] gaol for religious meetings at the house of Thomas Hutchinson, and because they would not promise to refrain from so meeting in future."Thomas Hutchinson was the brother of George Hutchinson; both were from Yorkshire and came to Burlington in 1678 together in a ship out of London and became proprietors of the colony. Christopher died in 1711.
The south branch of the Rancocas extends into the Pine Barrens.
- Unfortunately for the theory above, there was a John Hudson, carpenter, living in Wellingburrough, Burlington county. He had land fronting on Northampton river which later became known as Rancocas creek. Since Huson might easily be Hudson, this appears to kill the conjecture.
The south branch is a tributary of Rancocas creek. It rises in central Burlington county, near Chatsworth, and flows generally northwest, passing through Vincentown, Eayrestown, Lumberton, and Haines port. It meets the north branch just west of Mount Holly. Tributaries, Friendship creek, Stop the Jade Run, Haynes creek, and the southwest branch of the Rancocas, join just north of Leisuretown.
John Heesom, under the surname Heesham, died in 1705. He may have been as young as 55 at the time. What is not clear from the reference below is where John was living at the time of his death. Was he still in Burlington, or had he moved north to Trenton where his grandson, Thomas, was born about 15 years later?
Name: John Heesham, Date: 08 November 1705, "Administration on the estate of, granted to Margaritt Loveridg [Loveridge], principal creditor." - from the "Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Vol. I, 1670-1730; Unknown Counties, NJ"This probably meant that John died intestate and that an adminstrator was appointed by the court. From 1680 it was the general practice to deposit wills, inventories of estates, accounts of executors and administrators, and other papers pertaining to such matters, as well as odd documents, like nuptial agreements and marriage licences, with the Provincial secretaries. An interesting comment on the conditions of the colony was the inclusion of a "muscatoes curtain" and a "musketernett" in many of the inventories.
Margaret Du Mont Loveridge was the widow of William, an innkeeper living in Perth Amboy. Just because William was an innkeeper - and John Heesom had proven he was familiar with the inside of a tavern - does not mean that John's debts were just very large bar bills. William Loveridge was also a land speculator, as I've assumed John was as well.
William Loveridge, an inn holder, was from the parish of Wool, in Dorsetshire, England. His father, William Sr., a hatter, had emigrated to Connecticut in 1659, then to Virginia, and then Albany, finally dying at Catskill, New York. - from "Revised History of Harlem: Its Origin and Early Annals" by James Riker. William Jr. married Margaret Du Mont of Ulster county, New York before 1682. - from "Revised History of Harlem: Its Origin and Early Annals" by James Riker. She was baptized on 28 December 1664.
William lived in Perth Amboy, East Jersey.
"1700-1 Jan. 9. Will of Charles Goodman, Collector of His Majesty's Customs at Perth Amboy. William Loveridge of Perth Amboy, vintner, sole heir and executor of real estate (a bank-lot in Perty Amboy) and personal property." - from "Calendar of Records in the Office of the Secretary of Sate, 1664-1703" by Berthold Fernow and William NelsonHe was indicted for keeping a disorderly house - from "First Settlers of Ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge, Olde East New Jersey" by Orra Eugene Monnette. William died at Perth Amboy, in 1703.
"1702-3 Feb. 18. Loveridge, William, of Perth Amboy, inn holder; will of. Wife Margaret sole heiress and executrix of real and personal estate. Children--William, Walran, John, Margaret, Temperance, Hannah and Sarah. If the wife should remarry, Samuel Loveridge, Michael Direckson van Veightie and Thomas Gordon to advise her as executrix. Witnesses--Zachariah Weekes, John Barclay, Thomas Gordon. Proved September 15, 1704.Perth Amboy is about 40-50 miles northeast of the Burlington-Trenton area. Piscataway is about 7 miles west northwest of Perty Amboy. Margaret Du Mont Loveridge (1664)
Wallerand Du Mont
She was baptized on 28 December 1664 in Kingston, Ulster county, New York. Maraget's father, Wallerand Du Mont [DuMond], came to New Amsterdam from Coomen, Flanders in 1657 and married Margaret Hendricksen in 1664. Margaret Du Mont married William Loveridge in Kingston before 1682. After her husband's death in 1703 she managed his extensive properties, including the Loveridge Patent in Catskill.
What does it mean that John Heesom's principal creditor was the widow of a man who lived in East Jersey and had little to do with the Burlington settlement? Did John have such wide-ranging interests, or had Loveridge bought some of John's debts and obligations?
While it may only be a common legal term, "principal creditor" implies that there were other creditors and that there may not have been enough money to discharge all of John Heesom's debts. In other wills of the period the wife was made the administrator. That John's wife was not chosen may mean that the court did not think she was competent. Margaret Loveridge, a skilled business woman in her own right, may have been better equipped to disentangle John's legal obligations and get the best value for his assets.
I've found another document which shows,
"Unrecorded WillsMiddlesex county is in northern New Jersey, but was that where John died or where the administration of his estate was affected? Note that Perth Amoby, in Middlesex county, was where Margaret Loveridge, the "principal creditor," lived.
. . .
Heesham, John. Vol. 10, p. 143. B. I, p. 122. Middlesex. Int, 1705." - from the "New Jersey Index of Wills"
John was also found in the Parish Register of St. Mary's, the Anglican church in Burlington, apparently confirminng that he was not a Quaker, at least at the time of his death, and that he died in Burlington. The parochial register was begun in 1702 and continued for 134 years. In 1720, however, was was a hiatus until 1733, when the record took up again.
The Anglican church was erected in 1703 under the direction of the Reverend John Talbot, who served from 25 March 1703 to 25 March 1725. The church was originally known as St. Anne's, for Queen Anne, but was changed to St. Mary's, for her sister, the subsequent Queen, in 1709. The register was, at least up to the year 1719, filled almost exclusively with the entries of baptisms. No burials are recorded and only three marriages. There are 3,000 names listed, of which one was John, presumably of his death.
"A Complete List of Names in the Parish Register from February 20th 1702/3 till March 28th, 1836, with the Pages in Said Register Where They are FoundIf no burials were listed, what could this have been? I cannot believe this is anything but the death of John. Other names in the register include John Ayers [the John Heyres above?], Coxe, Hunloke, Reed, Ridgway, Schooley, Wetherill [weren't they Quakers?] and Wright. This leaves a lot of families missing. Note that we know that Thomas Revell was a church warden in 1706; where's his family?
. . .
Heeshan [Heyshan? Herhan? it's obscured]. John, 64." - from the "History of the Church in Burlington, New Jersey" by George Moran Hills
John's significance is that he lived in the West Jersey colony, which encompassed Trenton, where his grandson, Thomas Hesom, was born in about 1720. Many residents of Burlington did move to Trenton as it began to surpass the older town in commercial importance.
|Burlington in History
On High Street, just south of the intersection with Broad street, are the birth places of James Fenimore Cooper, the author of "The Last of the Mohicans," on the left, and Captain James Lawrence, USN, on the right. The latter famously said "Don't give up the ship" when he received his mortal wound during the battle between the CHESAPEAKE and the SHANNON during the War of 1812.
|The Village of Easom
There was a place called Easom, or Easham, in Burlington county, circa 1695,
"1684 10th m. (Dec.). Do. Do. Do. for Henry Ballenger, of 262 a. at the Vale of Easham, adjoining William Hulin.Could this have been the site of a homestead of a man named Easom [or Heesom]? This spot was, however, also known as Evesham. That may be because Evesham was the correct name, or people couldn't believe that Easom was right, so substituted a similar name that sounded more plausible.
|Historical Timeline: Reign of Kings
Sister and heir of Mary and daughter of James II. She died without issue.
In 1704 the Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, defeated the army of Louis XIV at the battle of Blenheim. His many victories over the French crippled the power of the Sun King in his final years on the throne and restored the balance of power in Europe.
|How Our Name Evolved in America
From its first recording in this country, in 1686, through 1745 the family surname was rendered as Heesham, Heesom or Hesom. This was in line with general practice in England prior to 1700. Heesom and Hesom were common throughout England, while Heesham (and Heisham) were found in northern England. The Heysham spelling only became standard after 1700 with the prominence of Robert and William Heysham, wealthy sugar merchants of London, who were also Members of Parliament.1687-1694 - John Heesom - Burlington county court cases
1688/9 - John Heesome - Bucks county court case
1705 - John Heesham - his will
1745 - Thomas Hesom - marriage record (with Catherina Kleyn)
1746 - Thomas Heson - petition
Thomas Hesom's marriage to Catherina Kleyn would introduce a Dutch element into the name, which was the double-s. When an Englishman heard "He-som," he spelled Heesom, Hesom or, later, Heysham (remember, Thomas probably wasn't literate so he couldn't give advise on spelling). When a Dutch man heard "He-som," however, he spelled Hessom or Hissom because there was a Dutch language analog. The village of Hessum, or Hessem, is in Overijssel, in the central Netherlands, and the surnames Hessum and Hessem (sometimes with the Van prefix) are current in that country. Daniel Coste van Hessom was the pseudonym of a Dutch writer in 1738. Hissem-Reifen is a trading company in Utrecht today. So, when Thomas' children were baptized, the Dutch minister, Johannes Fryenmoet, would tend to write their names in the Dutch fashion and the double-s stuck.
They say the exception proves the rule, and in this case that exception would be Molly Heysham. She had been taken prisoner during an Indian raid in the Blue Mountain region [Brodhead creek] and released upon the British capture of Fort Niagara. Undoubtedly illiterate, her name would have been written down by a British officer, or other literate member of the command, who knew that in the England of 1759, when you heard He-som, you spelled Heysham, for the rich merchant family that lived in London.1746 - John Hisson - birth record (mother: Catherina Kleyn)
1748 - Ann Hesson - birth record (mother: Catherina Kleyn)
1754 - William Hisson - birth record (mother: Catherina Kleyn)
1755 - Thomas Hisson - witness to a baptism
1756 - Thomas Heson - Pennsylvania milita muster report
1757/8 - Thomas Hysom/Hessom/Hisom - New Jersey militia muster reports
1759 - Molly Heysham - freed by British troops at Ft. Niagara
1761/2 - Thomas Hesom - will and inventory of the property of Thomas Brink
1766 - Thomas Hesam - land warrant
1767 - Thomas Heysham - land warrant
1772 - Thomas Hysem - property tax list
1776 - John Hissam/Hessam - New York regiment muster reports
1776 - Thomas/Abner/William Hissom - muster reports throughout 1776
During the Revolution, from 1777, and up to 1800, the family name was often rendered as Heysham or Hysham. This was the name of the more famous Captain William Heysham family of Philadelphia who were related to Robert and William Heysham, above. Though our family was only distantly related to them, if at all, I think the "gravitational pull" of that family's fame as Revolutionary leaders caused our line's name to be altered during this period. Note that this rule does not apply to the one brother, John, who spent his time in a New York regiment, apparently outside the influence of the Philadelphia family.1777-1782 - John Hissam/Hessam/Hasam/Hysam/Hessom/Hasom/Hesom/Hessem/Hessum/Hesum - New York regiment muster reports
1778 - Thomas Heysham - militia muster
1780 - Thomas Hysham - militia muster
1782 - David/Thomas Hysham - militia muster report
1783 - Thomas Hissam - list of householders in Wyoming valley
1783 - Thomas Heysham - guardianship records
1784 - John/Thomas Hysham - militia muster report
1784 - Thomas Heysham - petition for arms lost
1785 - Thomas/Thomas Jr./John Heysham - Federal tax rolls
1786 - Thomas/Thomas Jr. Hisham - Federal tax rolls
1786 - John Heysham - land warrant
1786-1790 - Thomas Heysham/Hysham - military pay reimbursements
1788 - Thomas/Thomas Jr. Hissom - Federal tax rolls
1788 - Thomas/Elizabeth/James Sullivan Heysham - grandson's baptism
1789 - Thomas Hysham - land survey
1790 - Thomas/Thomas Jr./John Hysham - Federal census
1793 - Thomas/Thomas Jr. Heysham - land survey's
1800 - David Hysham - Federal census (Northampton county, Lower Smithfield township)
Around 1800 the family name drifted back to the Dutch-influenced Hissom, Hissam or Hissem, again with minor variations. In David's family the Heysham name continued in use the longest. Why would this be? My guess is that it had to do with the ages of the brothers. Thomas, born in 1750, was 26 years old when the war began and he used the Hissom spelling in military muster reports throughout 1776 and probably became habituated to its use. I believe this would tend to anchor the use of this spelling and, even if for a short period a different spelling was used, he would tend to return to the spelling he had used so often, so early in life. The eldest brother, John, showed a similar pattern. David, born in 1762, was only 14 when the war began and probably never signed his name using any but the Heysham spelling and so became habituated to it. While the census and tax rolls would record his name as Hissam/Hissem, his own signature and his tombstone were as Heysham.1800 - John Hissim/Thoms Hissem - Federal census
1810 - John/Thomas Hissem - Federal census
1814 - James Hissam/James Hissom - enlistment papers
1818 - John Heisam - declaration in support of pension request
1818 - Thomas Hissim - deposition in support of John Hissim's request
1820 - John Heisam - list of persons receiving pension
1820-1834 - John Heisham - list of persons receiving pensions
1820 - John/Thomas/David Hissem - Federal census
1825 - John/Thomas/David/Jesse/Levi Hissam - Tyler county tax records
1830 - John Hissim - Federal census (Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania)
1830 - David/Thomas Sr./Thomas Jr. Hisam - Federal census (Tyler county, Virginia)
1830 - James Hisum - Federal census (Monroe county, Ohio)
1833 - Jesse Hissam - deed book
1834 - David Heysham - signed declaration for obtaining a pension
1834 - John Heisham - note of death in pension listing, also as Heisam, Heissam, and Hessom
1834 - David Heysham - his tombstone
1838 - Jesse Hisham - land survey
1839 - Jesse/Levi Heysham - deed
1845 - Jesse Hissem - deed
1840 - James Hissam/Jesse Hissem/Thomas Heysham - Federal census
1850 - Thomas Heysham/James Hisum/Jesse Hissam - Federal census
1853 - Thomas Heysham [of David] - his tombstone
1853 - Thomas Hissem [of David] - his will
1860 - David/Abner/Francis/James Hisam/Jesse Hissam - Federal census
1870 - Abner Hissam/Frank/James Hissem - Federal census
1880 - Abner Hisam/Frank Hissam/James Hissom - Federal census
1881 - James Hissom - biography
My family, of the David Heysham branch, only began to use the Hissem spelling late in the 19th century when (23) Abner Hissam (1830) consciously made the change circa 1878. The same thing occurred in the Thomas Hissom branch when (24) Joseph A. Hissam (1860) made the change before 1886.
My G-G-G-G-G-G-Grandfather. This man would be the missing link between (18) John Heesom of Burlington, who died in 1705, and (20) Thomas Hesom of Trenton, who was born in 1720, below. He may have been born in either England or America, his dates of birth being anywhere from 1670 to 1700, that is, he could have been born to a father who was from 20 to 50 years old at his birth. In turn his son, Thomas Hesom, would have been born to a man between 20 to 50 years old - not unreasonable either.
There are few birth or baptism records for this period, and if John's son was not involved in court or with land transactions there is little chance of tracking him. I did spend an unfruitful day in the New Jersey Archives, in Trenton, to attest to this.
What might his given name have been? His father was John, his grandfater George, and his father's eldest brother, who acted as a father to John for most of his life, was William. I would guess that his name was one of those.
Based on the paucity of records, and his father's financial status as death, I will assume this man was a labourer, the hired help of some richer man.
He married unknown and was, in about 1720, settled in the village of Trenton, then known as the Falls of the Delaware, on Assunpinck creek, where his son, Thomas, was born [assuming that "of Trenton" in Thomas' marriage bans, below, means birth rather than just most recent previous residence]. It is likely that he had other children, but they also are unknown.
|Trenton, New Jersey
The Delaware river divides Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and stretches on into New York. The river basin had first been settled by colonists from the Netherlands and Sweden. The Dutch settled to the north and on the eastern shore of the Delaware [which they knew as the South river], spreading out from their colony in New Amsterdam [on the North river, or Hudson]. The Swedes settled to the south along the mouth of the Delaware. The area of Trenton, however, was settled late, starting in the late 1670's after England had exerted her dominance and forced the Dutch and Swedish colony's to swear allegiance to the British King. Under English control the area, first known as Nova Caesarea, was divided by its proprietors into East & West Jersey. West Jersey was settled by the Quakers, who began to arrive before their famous settlement of Pennsylvania.
Old Trenton was located at the northern bank of the Assunpink creek where it joined the Delaware river. This marked the river's fall line. While the town was originally called the 'Falls of the Delaware,' there is no actual waterfall, just a stretch of shallow, rocky water that denies passage further up the river to deep draft ships. The fall line is a classic 'break in transport' point where one mode of transportation, such as ocean-going ships, must transfer their cargo to another, either barges or mule trains in this case. It creates ideal conditions for the establishment of a city.
The first permanent settlement at the falls was that of Mahlon Stacy and other Quakers [none of whose names are known] in 1679. The Stacy party, who were from Yorkshire, sailed aboard the SHIELD from Hull and landed at Burlington in December 1678. Many of these colonists were named, but the list also includes many unnamed servants who probably later moved out on their own. [One of the SHIELD's passengers who was named was John Heyres. I'd love to think this is a misprint for Heysham] The Stacy party then moved north to the Assunpink creek to take up their claim. Mahlon Stacy appears to have laid out his lands as a manor with tenements, which were occuppied by renters, clustered close together for mutual protection. From the "Journal of a Voyage," by two Dutchmen who passed through the nascent town in 1679:
Mahlon Stacy died in 1704. In 1714 Mahlon Stacy Jr. was bought out by William Trent and by 1719 the area was being called Trent’s town or Trenton, perhaps because the original name was such a mouthful. At the time of Thomas Hesom’s birth it was still a very small village, containing perhaps fewer than fifty houses, but large enough in relation to the rest of the colony to have been recently made the seat of the royal courts. In 1719 William Trent built a fine house which he named Bloomsbury Court. It passed through several owners, including a Dr. John Cox [Uncle of Francis Bowes Sayre, a son-in-law of William Heysham of Philadelphia]. This fine old house was the scene of many social gatherings in Colonial days and afterwards. It is said that, “General Washington and his lady enjoyed the hospitality of Bloomsbury Court, and the Marquis de La Fayette, Rochambeau, and other noted Frenchmen, were entertained there.” The home still stands today.
Is it significant that this man named his son Thomas, a biblical name vice a traditional British one? The longer our family lived in America the more common the use of bible names such as Abner, David, Jesse, and Levi became. This probably indicated a conversion to a more fundamentalist religion, such as the Methodism later seen in the family.
I also don't know when he died, but early in 1756 his son, who had been living in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, is found in the Hunterdon county, New Jersey militia. This was in the immediate aftermath of savage Indian attacks on frontier Pennsylvania and New Jersey that drove most of the settlers south and east, out of the region. Since Trenton was then in Hunterdon county, is it possible that the young man brought his family back to live with his parents? The old man would have been 56 to 86 years old.
|Other Immigrants in West Jersey
Emigres from Long Island, East Jersey and New England came into the West Jersey region starting in the 1690's. They were by religion, Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Church of England.
|The Delaware Indians
The regions natives were known to the colonists as the Delaware, and to themselves as the Lenni Lanape. They claimed all the lands from the river to the sea. They were predominantly hunters and fishers, though they grew corn, beans, sweet potatoes and squash, along with tobacco. They lived in wigwams. These were temporary structures that could be easily moved. They were never very numerous and after the arrival of the Europeans, even less so. In 1648 it was estimated they had 2000 warriors, giving them a total population of about 8000. By 1721 there were few left, having been decimated by smallpox and rum. From the journal of a woman who came to America as a young girl, settling in Burlington:
|Historical Timeline: Colonial America
1706 Benjamin Franklin born on 17 January in New England.
1720 Colonial population reaches 475,000. Philadelphia is second largest city with a population of 10,000.
1740-1748 King George's War / War of the Austrian Succession involves colonies in conflict with the French and their Indian allies.
|Timeline: The Reign of Kings, The House of Hannover
1714-1727 George I
George was the Elector of Hanover and the first of the Hanoverian line of British rulers. He spoke only German. His mother, Sophia, was the granddaughter of King James I of England.1715 - First Jacobite rebellion. From Jacobus, the Latin name for James, the deposed King James II of England. The Jacobites wanted James II's son, James Francis Edward Stuart, known as the "Old Pretender," to be King. He was a Roman Catholic.
|A Heeson Stray in the Delaware Valley
(19) Plunket Heeson [Fleeson] (c1700)
An upholsterer "lately from London and Dublin," circa 1739 - from "Irish Furniture" by James Peill. Other researchers claim he was born in Philadelphia in 1712. He was a shopkeeper and his shop's sign was recorded:
"Easy-Chair, by Plunket Heeson, upholsterer, 1739." - from "Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania: Being a Collection of Memoirs, Anecdotes, and Incidents..." by John F Watson.His shop was on Chestnut Street, in Philadelphia. He was described as an upholsterer or wallpaperer, circa 1789 per "Wallpaper, Its History, Design and Use" by Phyllis Ackerman. He apparently had a factory on Chestnut street for producing the paper. There was also a Plan [Plun?] Heeson in the list of merchants of Philadelphia who subscribed to the Non-Importation Agreement, along with Captain William Heysham.
During the war he made the tent that was used by General Washington at Valley Forge, circa 1778. He was a Justice of the Peace and President of the Court from 1782 to 1785. He died in August 1791.
My G-G-G-G-G-Grandfather. According to the record of his marriage, Thomas Hesom was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on the shore of the Delaware river. I would assume the date for his birth to be about 1720 since he was referred to as a junge mensch, or “young man,” in the Dutch record of his marriage. I am taking young to mean 20 to 30 years old, or a birth date of between 1715 and 1725. I've read that junge mensch may have only meant a groom who had never been married before. That is, you were either a young man or a widower. However, if that is the case, I'll still stand by this date range for his birth, though perhaps weighting it a littler more towards the older end of the scale. I believe I can show that Thomas died circa 1793, meaning he would have been between 68 and 78 years old at the time, which is not unreasonable.
There were three denominations active in Trenton at the time where Thomas might have been baptized; the Society of Friends, or Quakers, Church of England, and Presbyterian.
|The Chesterfield Meeting of the Society of Friends
The Quakers of Trenton were from the beginning affiliated with the Monthly Meeting in Chesterfield, or Crosswicks as it is now known. This is south of Trenton, between it and Burlington, where John Heesom had lived. The original minute book of this Meeting is preserved at the Trenton Meeting House. The Chesterfield Meeting was settled about the year 1680. A meeting house was built at Chesterfiled in 1693 and replaced by a brick structure in 1707. By 1736 the Meeting had branches at Chesterfield, Springfield, Mansfield, Stony Brook, Bethlehem, Bordentown and Trenton. A meeting house was finally built in Trenton in 1739. The leader of the Trenton Meeting at that time was William Morris, who had come from Barbados and established himself as an importer of West Indian products. A burying ground was also established that became part of the present Riverview cemetary of Trenton.
It is possible that Thomas' parents were Quakers. The movement got its start in northern England and there were a number of adherents in Yorkshire and Lancashire. The Quakers settled the Trenton area as early as 1679, and Thomas' grandfather, John Heesom, lived in Burlington, New Jersey, a Quaker colonly. I don't, however, see any evidence from Thomas' later life that would indicate a Quaker upbringing. He was certainly not a pacifist.
|The Hopewell Episcopalian Church
The Reverend John Talbot, a missionary of the Church of England's Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, had a congregation at Burlington, New Jersey at St. Mary's church, as early as 1702, but also served the people living around the Falls, starting in 1703. Eventually, in about 1705, a church was erected in Hopewell township, just north of Trenton. It was probably a rude affair of log construction. No trace of this church exists today, having been superceded in 1747 by the present St. Michael's church in Trenton. The original church, known as Christ Church, did not have its own minister. The names of the some of the itinerant ministers who conducted services and attended to the pastoral needs of the congregation were gleaned from the records of the S.P.G. They included the Rev. Thoroughgood Moore 1705-07, the Rev. Mr. May before 1714, the Rev. Thomas Holliday 1714-17, the Rev. Robert Walker, the Rev. William Harrison 1721-23 and the Rev. William Lindsay 1735-45. See Schuyler, "A History of St. Michael's Church, Trenton." This implies that the congregation was never large.
All of the baptismal records of the Heysham family in Lancaster are from St. Marys church, which was Church of England. The only baptisms recorded for the Heesam family of Yealand Conyers and the Heesom family in Crofton, Yorkshire were also Church of England. Many of the settlers, especially those of Ewing, just north of Trenton, had come from Long Island and Newtown, and would have been Church of England. Note also that not all of the settlers in the Quaker colonies were Quakers.
|The Maidenhead, Hopewell & Ewing Presbyterian Churches
The Presbyterian faith in West Jersey got it start from two sources, emigration by the Puritans of New England and Presbyterians out of Scotland and Ireland.
There were four Presbyterian churches in the vicinity of Trenton. The oldest was in Maidenhead township, due north of Trenton, now in the town of Lawrenceville. In Hopewell township, northeast of Trenton, in the village of Carleton, which is now known as Ewing, was another. It was founded in 1708 and its first facility, a log cabin, was built in 1712. This was replaced by a frame structure in 1728. In 1726 congregation members who lived in Trenton village complained about the long walk to Carleton and built their own church. Still part of the Carleton congregation, it was referred to as the 'town' or 'new house' church while the parent church was called the 'country' or 'old house' church. There was another 'daughter' congregation in Hopewell township in what is now the village of Pennington. In 1719 the township was divided in two, the southern half becoming Trenton township. Both the old house and new house churches were in this region. The Pennington church was now the only church in the Hopewell township and became known by the Hopewell name.
Reverend Orr, of Ireland, was the first pastor of these churches, serving them all from 1715 to 1720. He was followed by the Reverend Moses Dickinson from 1720 to 1722. There was no minister for some years until the Reverend Joseph Morgan took over. He served from 1729 to 1737. All of the Trenton area churches were then in the Presbytery of Philadelphia.
By the 1690's the region's Quakers were being joined by settlers from Long Island and East Jersey. These were of English and Scotch ancestry, with a sprinkling of Welsh, Dutch and French Huguenots. Other English families came from Burlington, to the south, and the New England colonies. These included members of both the Church of England and the Presbyterian faiths. The Puritan Congregationalists that settled Massachusetts Bay colony were Presbyterians, but were governed by their 'congregations' instead of a by a ruling group of 'presbyters,' or elders. Note, however, that the Congregationalists, lacking a hierarchy, tended more to doctrinal drift, moving into Arminianism, unitarianism, and transcendentalism. In England the Congregationalists and Presbyterians formed the United Reform Church.
The Baptists, another Reform movement, may have had a congregation in Hopewell as early as 1715, probably meeting in the homes of its members.
|Historical Timeline: Reign of Kings
1727-1760 George II
1745 - Second Jacobite rebellion. James II's grandson, Charles Edward Stuart, known as the "Young Pretender" or "Bonnie Prince Charlie", leads an attempt to overthrow Protestant rule.
In 1750 the population of England and Wales has grown to 6.5 million.
The Seven Years War in Europe, called the French & Indian War in America, 1757-1762.
Thomas' name was spelled variously throughout his life. He was Thomas Hesom in the record of his marriage in the Smithfield Reformed Dutch Church (RDC) in 1745; as Thomas Heson in a petition of 1746; Thomas Hison in a muster report of 1756; as Thomas Hisson or Hesson in the Walpack RDC church records of of his childrens’ baptisms; as Thomas Hesam in a land survey of 1766 and Thomas Heysham in another survey the next year; as Thomas Hisham in the 1786 Tax rolls, as Thomas Heysham in the baptismal records of two of his grand-children in 1788, and as Thomas Hysham in the 1790 Federal census. All of these differences may be ascribed to two basic causes, (1) spelling just wasn't that important, nor were rules of spelling established, in the 18th century, and (2) these entries were made, for the most part, by semi-literate clerks and ministers who commonly spelled the names phonetically. As I research his birth, I am looking at almost any two-syllable surname whose first syllable starts with an H, and whose second syllable starts with an S and ends in an M or N.
I do have another theory about the Heysham name. I used to think that my branch of the family were just back-country yokels, simple farmers perhaps too dumb to spell their own names correctly. It was their city cousins, those educated men of business who lived in Philadelphia and in Lancaster, England who spelled it properly. I now think differently. In 1687, when Thomas' grandfather first showed up in America, I don't think there was a correct way to spell the name; any spelling that phonetically sounded like Hee-shom or Hee-som was "good enough." It was only around 1700, after John Heesom had emigrated, that the spelling in England began to standardize around Heysham. Why would that happen? I think it was because it was around that time that a branch of the family that normally spelled their name that way became famous as rich merchants and members of Parliament. All other spellings, including that for the town of Heysham, tended to codify around this now well-known version. When people thought Hee-shom, they spelled Heysham. In America, outside the sphere of influence of this branch of the family, the name drifted from Heesom through the variants mentioned above. However, at the time of the Revolution it was, for a short time, spelled more often like Heysham. Why was that? I think it was because it was around that time that a branch of the family, cousins of the famous Heysham's above, became famous in Philadelphia as patriots. When my family moved west, away from that sphere of influence, the spelling drifted away again.
Reference the discussion above, now I have to figure out why a land survey of 1767, below, had Thomas' surname spelled as Heysham. I only learned about that document recently. Was it spelled that way in the original? If so, could the clerk have been someone who knew the "correct" spelling and fixed it himself? I find it odd because Heysham is not a spelling you'd try inadvertantly. William Heysham of Philadelphia first rose to prominence in 1765 as a signer of the Non-Importation agreement, in response to the Stamp Act, and as a manager of the Society for the Relief of Poor Masters of Ships. Could this possibly have made the name well known enough to affect the spelling of Thomas' name?
I'm not sure who Thomas' parents were, but at some point they left Burlington, New Jersey, where Thomas' grandfather, John Heesom, had originally settled, and moved just a little further north, to the nascent town of Trenton, then known as the Falls of the Delaware. Many others in the Jersey colony did the same, establishing a major city at the furthest point up the river where ocean-going vessels could dock.
It is not clear whether Thomas Hesom actually grew up in Trenton, nor do I know what became of his parents, but they were probably farmers or farm laborers, as were most of the early settlers in New Jersey. They were not listed among the large stake-holders in the colony so they may have been tenant farmers, working the land of one of the large landowners, like Mahlon Stacy. There are few records for this area in the early 1700's.
At some point prior to 1745 a young Thomas Hesom, he was probably 20 years old at the time, decided to leave Trenton, strike out on his own, and moved north, up the Delaware river valley.
Thomas probably hiked up one of the Indian trails that meandered through the dense forests, paralleling the river, on past where the Lehigh river joined the Delaware, at the new community of Easton.
Passing through the Blue Mountains, at the northwestern corner of the map to the right, he arrived at a new community on Brodhead creek, then called Dansbury. Today this is the town of Stroudsburg, in Lower Smithfield township, Northamptonn county, Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania had the reputation as the best "poor man's country;" the land was cheap and plentiful, taxes were low, the laws were fair, and no state church hounded religious dissenters.
The area north of the Blue Mountains had been opened to general settlement starting in 1737, though, based on disputes surronding the Walking Purchase, the local Indians did not vacate the area until 1742. Thomas may have begun to move north as soon as the word spread that the local Indians, the Lennai Lenape, had agreed to leave, opening the first new land available for sale in a generation.
To the left is a photograph of the Delaware river on the route from Trenton to Smithfield. During the 18th century the entire area was thickly forested.
As travelors went north on the river they entered the Delaware Water Gap, below, a region of high cliffs where the river cuts through the Kittatinny, or Blue Mountains. These mountains extend diagonally, from the northeast to the southwest. If Thomas had hiked north, he would have passed through the Wind Gap, a pass in the mountains not far to the west of the Water Gap.
Not far past the gap, as the Delaware river turns to the right, a large stream, the Brodhead [Analomink] creek, opens to the left. It flows out of the northwest, then loops back southwest, then west again as it meets the Pocono creek coming out of the southwest. It was here, at the joining of the two creeks, that Jacob Stroud later settled and built his stockaded home which became the present-day town of Stroudsburg. According to his son's recollection, Thomas Hesom settled a few miles up Broadheed creek. See the map below.
Why would a man go so far into what was then a dangerous frontier to settle? I assume it was because that's where land was the cheapest.
|Northampton county, Pennsylvania
Lower Smithfield township, on Brodhead creek, was originally in Buck’s county, but due to the breakup of large counties and the shifting of county borders, it was successively part of Northampton county, starting in 1752, and of Monroe county, starting in 1853. Middle Smithfield township, on Bushkill creek, found itself in Pike county, just to the north.
Buc = Bucks county, Nhm = Northampton
Northampton county was split, diagonally, by the Blue mountains, today known as the Kittatinny Range. To the south was the rich Lehigh valley. To the north the sparsely populated land was cut by a succession of ridges and narrow valleys.
|The Walking Purchase
The settlement of this section of Pennsylvania was controversial. In 1686 William Penn, the colonies proprietor, had agreed to buy land in what became Bucks county from the Indians "as far as a man could walk in one and a half days." The Indians understood this to mean about thirty miles. Penn’s sons, however, trained two athletes in 1737 to walk at a record clip, cleared brush from their path, had horses to carry their supplies and provided transportation for them at river crossings. In the end the “Walking Purchase” was doubled in size by this ruse. Feeling cheated, the Indians refused to leave. It was only in 1742 that the Iroquois, the overlords of the local tribes, were convinced, or perhaps bribed, to force their clients to move. However, the Quaker peace with the Indians was destroyed and the settlers were to suffer from Indian attacks during the years to come.
The first white settlers north of the Blue Mountains had been Dutch and Huguenots out of New York and New Jersey in Mininsinck in the 1720's. They were followed in Northampton county by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who settled Allen, Washington and Mount Bethel townships in the latter part of the decade. These were followed by the Germans in Milford, Macungie and Saucon townships - by the end of the century Northampton was a German colony. Amongst the mainly Lutheran Germans were Mennonists, Dunkers, Schwenckfelders, Reformers and Amish. Finally, the Moravians arrived beginning in 1740.
For an excellent history of the county, see History of Northampton County.
|The Dutch in the Delaware Valley
In the 1690s the western part of what is now Orange County, New York, as well as a 40-mile section of the Delaware River from present day Stroudsburg, Pennyslvania, north to Port Jervis, New York, was known as the Minesink. This name, Indian in origin, was given to this area by the Dutch and the Swedes who first settled it. Some say it refers to the zinc mines, while others say it refers to the Indians who lived there. Thomas and Bernardus Swartwout are named on the first land patent for the area.
The settlers would cross back and forth across the Delaware River from New Jersey, where it was already fairly well civilized and where a road had been built connecting the region to New York, to the Pennsylvania side. It was common for settlers to live in New Jersey and have their farm in Pennsylvania. It was not until the end of the Revolution that the Indian threat on the Pennsylvania side of the river subsided.
Did Thomas Hesom buy land in the "Walking Purchase" from the Pennsylvania proprietors before he left Trenton? If so there may still be records of the purchase. William Allen, a land agent for the Penn family, was a principal in the "Walking Purchase." Another land agent who specialized in the region north of the Blue Mountains was Robert Levers, of Lower Smithfield. The early Dutch and Huguenot settlers, such as the De Pui's, had been forced to repurchase the land they had lived on since 1725.
|Lower Smithfield Township
One of the earliest settlements in the "Walking Purchase," north of the Blue Mountains, otherwise known as the Kittatinny Range, was Lower Smithfield township, just west of the Delaware river on Brodhead creek. While southeastern Pennsylvania, around the city of Philadelphia, was heavily Quaker, northeastern Pennsylvania was dominated by the Dutch, who spread out from their Hudson river valley colony of New Amsterdam, across the northern New Jersey county of Sussex, and into Bucks county. Later Moravian Germans entered the region in great numbers so that the "Pennsylvania Dutch" dialect, actually German, became as frequently heard as English.
Coming up the Delaware river, through the Water Gap, there is a small creek to the left, Cherry creek. The next waterway is Brodhead creek, which flows through the center of the township. It was originally named the Analomink. This creek and its watershed were famous for brook trout when the Minnisink tribes camped and fished on these waters. The waterway that branches off the Brodhead at the Mission is the Pocono, on which the Hesam family had land warrants in the 1790's. Further up the Delaware is the Bushkill. Thomas Hesam had two properties on this creek in 1766/67.
Daniel Brodhead, whose family had come to the New York colony in the reign of Charles II, negotiated with the heirs of William Penn for a large plantation tract in 1734 and settled in the lower area of Analomink creek, soon to be renamed the Brodhead in his honor. The settlement that grew around his plantation, now Stroudsberg and East Stroudsburg, was originally called Dansbury, or Old Dansbury, also in his honor.
Daniel Brodhead donated several acres of land to the Moravians who established a mission and a school to the Indians. Daniel was ever after known as a "faithful friend" of the Brethren.
|The Moravian Mission
There were Moravian ministers in the Minisink who took care of the German population, as well as prosletizing the Indians. The ministers included:
"James Burnside, b. Meath, Leinster, Ireland, June 1708; . . . minister at The Minisinks (the area between Delaware Water Gap, Pa., Paulin's Kill, N.J., and Wallkill, N.J.), 1745-1749; Bethlehem, Pal, Brodhead Settlement at Dansbury, Pa., 1747-1749; Wallkill (Sussex) N.J., 1747-1749; farmer; member, Provincial Assembley of Pa., 1752; Moravian; d. near Bethlehem, Pa., Aug. 1755."
The Moravian mission was attacked and destroyed by the Indians in 1755 during the opening phases of the French & Indian War. Fort Hamilton, a wooden stockade, was built in response in 1756, part of a line of forts built by the colonial government, but it fell into decay after the war.
In 1760 Jacod Stroub settled there and built a large stone house. He built a stockade around it in 1776 and named it Fort Penn. His son, Daniel, founded the town of Stroudsburg.
"...Lower Smithfield, on the Delaware, above the present village of Stroudsburg, had but a few clearings opened in 1751, occupied by Charles Broadhead, Samuel Dupue, John McMichael, John Carmeckle, John Anderson, James Tidd, Job Bakehoren, and Henry Dysert. The were held under proprietory auspices." - from "History of the Lackawanna Valley" by Horace Hollister, 1869Roads up from Bethlehem and Easton in the south were established in the 1750's to join the area forts together, but there had been Indian trails through the mountains long before the white man came. These included the 'Wind Gap' pass at Fort Penn.
"The Wind-gap, unlike the far-famed Water-gap in the same cluster of mountains, is a deep depression of the summit of the range, is quite level on both sides of the road for a considerable distance, and exhibits none of the majestic precipices of the latter. The earth is covered with masses of angular rocks, among which shoot up cedar and other trees and shrubs, chiefly of the coniferæ order; but the road, by industry, is made quite smooth. The hills rise on each side of the Gap to an altitude of eight hundred feet, clothed and crowned with trees. It was through this pass in the mountains that two expert walkers crossed to a spur of the Pocono when measuring the extent of a district of country northwest of the Delaware, for the proprietors of Pennsylvania, in 1737 . . . The turnpike road through the Wind-gap, and across the valleys and mountains, to Wilkesbarre, was made by [General] Sullivan for the passage of his troops in 1779, when marching to join General Clinton on the Tioga [this was the Sullivan campaign in revenge for the Wyoming massacre]. Before that time the pass was little more than a rough Indian war-path, and its obscurity made the hurried flight of the people from Wyoming over the solitary region more perplexing and dreadful than it would be now." - from Lossing's "Field Book of the Revolution"Trails also existed along the valley creeks. Dupui, an early settler, spoke of using the frozen Delaware river as a road into New Jersey. On the east side of the Delaware an old mining road paralleled the river up into New York.
Much of the previous information came from the site Search for the Parents of the North Carolina Helms Brothers.
I suspect Thomas arrived in Smithfield a couple of years prior to his wedding, say in 1743. This would be just after the Delaware Indians finally quit the area, ordered out by the Iroquois, and would allow him time to build up a farm and the assets sufficient to support a wife. Farmsteads tended to be scattered along rivers and streams, about half a mile apart. Population density in Northampton county averaged fewer than twenty people per square mile. The population of the township in 1742 was stated to have been 500.
A man had to move carefully in courting a woman. Custom dictated that he request the father's approval before he approached the woman. Intermediaries were often used to help determine if the woman would accept the man's approaches before he made that awesome step. Any father would want to know that his daughter would be well cared for, so he ascertained whether his prospective son-in-law was of good moral character and could support the girl. Dad also didn't want his daughter coming back home later with grandchildren in tow for him to support. If the suitor proceeded without the father's approval he could be brought to court by the parents for stealing the affections of their daughter. Watch the move "The Quiet Man" for some aspects of this circumspect ritual.
A Dutch bride would be domestic and self-effacing, thrifty in managing households and eager to raise a large family. If possible, the Dutch in America preferred to marry within their own church and ethnic group. This may say something about the social position of the Dutch family Thomas married into.
On 3 February 1745 the banns were read and on 24 February Thomas Hesom, "a young man," married Catherina Kleyn, "a young woman," in the Reformed Dutch Church of Smithfield township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania. He was of Trenton, New Jersey. She was born in Smithfield, but both were dwelling there at the time of their marriage. The church in Lower Smithfield was, until 1752, a log cabin affair, located "below the road [River Road] toward the river." Seven years later a new church was built of stone, up the River road in Shawnee.
|Banns of Marriage
The banns of marriage, or simply the banns, are the public announcement in a parish church of an impending marriage between two specified people. Banns is from the Middle English meaning "proclamation." This declaration allowed time for interested parties to identify possible impediments to the marriage, including a current wife (see the novel "Jane Eyre"), a vow of celibacy, lack of consent, or the couple's being related within the prohibited degree of kinship.
The terms young man and young woman, usually listed in their Dutch abbreviations, j.m. & j.d. [junge mensch und junge dochter - young man and young daughter], were common phrases in RDC registers and meant "not previously married." Banns were a custom of the RDC and had to be registered three Sundays before the marriage was to take place. This announcement was made from the pulpit in the presence of the congregation and well as in the church register. After the annoucement that Thomas Hesom and Catherina Kleyn planned to marry, the minister probably included the admonition, "if any of you has reasons why these two should not be joined, speak now or forever more hold your peace."
|A Dutch Wedding
The great majority of Dutch Americans married relatively young, before the age of twenty-five, and they tended to marry within their own ethnic and religious group. Their weddings were affirmations of the extended Dutch American family.
Before the wedding day the bride and groom's parents would host a party. The guests would bless the couple and wish them happiness. The bribal shower we know today originated in the Netherlands. If a Dutch bride did not have her father's blessing for the wedding, her friends would "shower" her with gifts to help compensate for the lack of a dowry.
As soon as an engagement was made public, the banns were announced in church for three successive Sundays, and the marriage was celebrated with dispatch. This was usually done on a Sunday amid the whole congregation as part of public worship and as a communal blessing of the union. However, the Reformed church distrusted ceremony and the church service was used for teaching and exhortation rather than for show. The Calvinist doctrine believed that sin was everywhere and that sorrow was unavoidable. The marriage liturgy began,
"Married persons are generally, by Reason of Sin, subject to many Troubles and Afflictions."but quickly reminded the couple that you "may be assured in your Hearts of the certain Assistance of God in your Afflictions." The ceremony that followed described the duties of the husband and wife toward each other, toward their community, and toward God. Three vows are given, the weddings vows of husband to wife, and wife to husband that we are familiar with, but also the couple's vow to God. The couple then joined hands as the symbol of their union.
The Dutch ceremony was not an exchange of property between father-in-law and groom; the father of the bride did not give away the bride. Dutch women enjoyed stronger inheritance rights and a more elevated status than their English peers. In cases of Dutch-English intermarriage, the couples usually ended up Dutch Reformed.
After the wedding there was a communal feast which was, in its excess and boisterousness, decidedly un-Calvinist.
The marriage service was performed by Reverend Johan Caspar Freynmuth. An excellent resource for area birth, death and marriage information is My Raub Ancestry.
|The Kleyn Family
The name Kleyn is a form of klein, a nickname for a small man - Hugh Barents de Kleyn of New Amsterdam, for instance. Also, as Klein, Kline, Klyn, Klyne, de Kleyn, Kleyne and Cline.
The family may be either Dutch or German. An Ulderick Kleyn [Cleen], born in Staden, Hesse, in Germany, came to New York in 1640 as a soldier. On 28 July 1641 "Ulderick Cleen, jm Uyt Hessen" and "Aefje Pieters, jd van Amsterdam" were married in the New Amsterdam RDC. They moved to the Dutch community of Albany after 1642.The Kleyn's of Smithfield
The following are the Kleyn's of Smithfield that I've identified so far. We know that Anna Kleyn was the daughter of Johannis Kleyn and Elsjen Leydekker of Kingston, Ulster county, New York. I tie Anna to Johannis and our Catherina as siblings through the Smithfield Reformed Dutch Church and their shared witnessing duties. Margriet Kleyn may have been another sister because she too ended up in Smithfield having children in the mid 1740's, though that is a bit more tenuous. Kleyn’s, Klein’s, Kline’s, and Cline’s continued to live in Smithfield for another hundred years.
(18) Joa: Jacob Kleyn (c1678)
Joa: = Johannes. He could be the father of Johannes, below, if we push his date of birth back a bit. Otherwise he may have been an older brother or uncle.
"A Johannes Klein sp. Thomas Brinck and wife Antje Kleyn with a Catherina Kleyn in 1748 (Walpeck Ref. Chbk.); this Walpeck congregation also had a Thomas Hesson and wife Catherina Kleyn at an early date (HJ). Perhaps this family belongs with Johann Jacob Klein and his descendents (HJ)." - from "The Palatine families of New York" by Henry Z. Jones and Hank JonesJohannes was born on in about 1678 in Kingston, Ulster county, New York. He married Anna Orsela Keyser in about 1703 in New Hurley, Ulster county, New York. She was the daughter of Dirck Corneliszen Keysler and Agniet Jacobsen Coens, born in about 1682 in Kingston.
Their children were,
(18) ?? Kleyn
Johannes was born in about 1690 in Ulster county, New York. He first married Elsjen Leydekker. Elsjen was born in about 1695 and died before 1728. Johannes second married Angenietjen Bosch [Bush], both of New Marbletown, on 11 February 1728 in the Kingston RDC - from "Baptismal and Marriage Registers of the Old Dutch Church of Kingston" by Estelle Stewart J. King and Roswell Randall Hoes. Note that Thomas Hesom and Catherina Kleyn, were witnesses at the baptism of Johannes Bosch and Mary Johnson's daughter, Cathrina, in 1755. Does this indicate a family relationship? Johannes children were,
(19) Johannes Kleyn (1690)
Anna Magdalena, the daughter of Johannes Kleyn and Elsjen Leydekker [Lydecker], was baptized on 26 September 1714 in the Kingston RDC, Ulster county, New York. Witnesses were Harmen Bietser and Anna Magdalena [no surname given]. I believe Catherina Kleyn was her sister.
Anne 'Antje' married Thomas Brink [Brinck] in about 1740 at Walpeck, Sussex County, New Jersey. Thomas Brink's first wife had been Francis Schoonhoven, his 1st cousin [Francynljen Schuonhuvcn]. Francis was the daughter of Heodrick Clacsse and Cornelia Swartwoul[t] – from “A Brink Book”by Laurel Shanafelt Powell. She died in 1737 in Sussex county, New Jersey.
Thomas Brink was born December 1685 at Hurley, Ulster County, New York and was baptized at Reformed Dutch Church, Kingston, Ulster County, New York. He was the grandson of of Lambert Huybertsen Brink, through his eldest son, Huybert Lambertsen Brink and Hendrickje Swartwoul[t]. Thomas died in 1761 at Walpeck, Sussex County, New Jersey at the age of 76.
Nicholas Van Schoonhoven, whose sister was Francis, Thomas Brink's first wife, was a Walpack business partner of Thomas' – from “Invading Paradise: Esopus Setters at War with Natives” by Andrew Brink. Nicholas,, in company with his brother-in-law Thomas, purchased 1,210 acres of land at Lower Walpack, just above the river bend on 10 October 1725. In 1737 he donated and deeded the grounds for the First Walpack Church, near the bend, to the “Christian people” of that community. – from “The Rosenkrans Family in Europe and America.”
Though Thomas Brink was of the generation before Thomas Hesom and Catherina Kleyn, I believe Catherina and Anne were sisters, mainly because they were having children at about the same time.
(19) Johannes Kleyn (1690)
She was born in Esopus, Ulster county, New York. Margriet first married Benjamin Eekerli [Ekele]. Their son Benjamin was baptized in the Kingston RDC on 4 September 1743, no witnesses named. Benjamin Sr. died and Margriet then married Jan [John] Gerritsz Decker, widower of Barbara DeWitt, on 8 November 1747 at the Lower Smithfield RDC. This was two years after Catherina Kleyn's Smithfield marriage to Thomas Hesom. Margaret was John's second wife. John had been born in Kingston, Ulster county, New York in 1688.
(19) Johannes Kleyn (1690) ??
He probably married Eva Brink.
(19) Johannes Kleyn (1690) ??
She was born in Smithfield, according to the record of her marriage. She married Thomas Hesom in 1745 at the Lower Smithfield RDC.
Why were Thomas and Catherina married in the Dutch Church? The Kleyn family was Dutch and this was undoubtedly their church. It may also indicate that Thomas was a Presbyterian/Calvinist. The Presbyterian and Reformed Dutch Churches were both part of the Reformed church movement. They were organizationally independent, but shared the Calvinist doctrine, the RDC rigidly so. Where churches were few, Presbyterians, Reformed Dutch, Reformed German, Huguenots and Congregationalist adherents, all Calvinists, would use the same facility. If Thomas' parents were Presbyterian or Puritan, and raised their son as such, this would help explain why he was married and had his children baptized in the Reformed Dutch Church.
The Moravians had a church and school at their mission in Dansbury which many of the German residents attended. The Moravian Church, of Unity of the Brethren, had been founded on the teachings of the Czech reformer John Huz. The church saw a renewal in the 1700's through the patronage of a Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf of Saxony which led to Moravian settlement in America. After a failed attempt in Georgia, the Moravians successfully established the settlement of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Their missionary efforts spread from there.
|The Dutch Reformed Church
Four Dutch Reformed Churches in the Minisink were organized in the Delaware river valley in 1737 by the Reverend George Wilhelmus Mancius [Mansius] of Kingston, New York. They were,
The Mahackemeck church in the town of Deerpark, formerly known as Minisink, in Orange county, New York, at the northern end of the Minisink valley. It was about half a mile south of Port Jervis, near the junction of the Neversink and Delaware Rivers. It was burnt during the Revolutionary war. The present church is known as “The Reformed Dutch Church of Deerpark."
The sermons at Reformed Dutch churches were notorious for their length, and the dreadful seriousness of their parson's delivery.The Reverend Johannes Casparus Fryenmouth
In 1741 the first regular pastor was Johannes Casparus Fryenmouth. He serviced all four congregations from his parsonage at Nomanock, near Minisinck village, in Sussex county, New Jersey. The first 20 baptisms at the church, from 1741 to 1744, were judged by the Classis of Amsterdam to have been unlawfully done. Those beginning in December 1744 were marked as "By me, Joh. C. Fryenmuth, beginning the lawful service."
Also as Fryenmoet or Freynmuth. Johannes was born in Switzerland in about 1720 and emigrated to America circa 1740. He married Magdalena Helena Van Etten on 23 July 1742 at the church in Port Jervis. By the way, Magdalena's sister, Jannetje Van Etten, married Manuel Gonsalus who was associated with Thomas Hesom's family, below. John van Etten, Thomas Hesom's Captain in the militia, married Maria Gonsalus. Reverend Fryenmouth performed the marriage of Thomas Hesom and Catherina Kleyn, and baptized their children John, William and Anne.
"He [Fryenmouth] was very popular as a preacher. So great was his popularity that quite a strife occurred between certain churches which wished his services. The churches of the Delaware and of Ulster county were the contestants. A correspondence took place between them of a very spicy nature, and evincing no little spirit of rivalty as to wealth and worldly standing . . . In 1756 an Indian massacre compelled him [Fryenmouth] to flee from his home, and he went to Raritan . . ." - from "A Manual of the Reformed Church in America"Reverend Fryenmouth's last baptism at Smithfield was dated 22 September 1755, after which he fled the Indian attacks that began that winter. Johannes became pastor of the Claverack and Kinderhook churches, in New York in October 1756. He quit the Claverack church in 1770, but continued to minister at the Kinderhook church until his death in 1778. The Reverend Johannes Henricus Goetschius
Though never listed as the minister of this church, he preached and gave baptisms in Smithfield from 12 February 1758 to 26 November 1759. "He was below the middle size, of a vigorous constitution, abrupt in speech, but his language was clear and expressive. He was a man of much erudition, a thorough Calvinist, and an accomplished theologian." Other sources more bluntly call him a man of violent passions who once wore a sword into the church anticipating a violent reaction to his sermon. He was pastor of the Church of Hackensack from 1749 until his death in 1774. He also taught at Queens, now Rutgers, College.The Reverend Thomas Romeyn
After the treaties of Tadeuskund ended the Minisinck war in 1758, a new pastor, the Reverend Thomas Romeyn [Romain, Romien], was installed. "The Colonial Clergy of the Middle Colonies" by Frederick Lewis Weis says that Thomas was in the Minisinck in 1760 and his first baptism was given on 15 April 1760.
The Romeyn family had emigrated from Rotterdam in about 1661. Thomas was born at Pompton, New Jersey on 2 March 1729. He studied theology and graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1750. He was ordained in the Reformed Dutch Church in Holland in 1752. He initially preached in Long Island, then moved to the Minisinck, where he served from 1760 to 1770, his last baptism being given in October 1770. Thomas moved to the Fonda church in 1771. He died on 22 October 1794 at Fonda, New York.The Reverend Elias Van Benschooten
Or Van Bunshoten/Bunschooten. After Thomas Romeyn's departure in 1771 the churches of the Minisinck were unserved until the Reverend Van Benschooten [Benschoten] arrived in the fall of 1785, a period of fifteen years. He took charge of three churches, Maghagamack [Port Jervis], Minisink and Walpack. He continued his services until 1795. One half of his services were in Dutch, the other in English. It was he that baptized Thomas Hesom's grandchildren, James Heysham Sullivan and Joab Heysham.
As early as November 1745 Thomas and Catherine's first child, Mary, or Molly, was born. A frontier woman could expect to be pregnant or nursing from the time of her marriage until the menopause, having a child every two years or so. First wives often did not live to reach the menopause. Catherine's children would have been born at home, the new mother attended by her female friends and relations, and perhaps an older woman who acted as midwife to the district. Catherine would have been back to work within days of the delivery; the house and her family could not survive without her. The first daughter in a Dutch family was usually named after her maternal grandmother. Can we assume that Catherina's mother was named Mary?
By the way, a second daughter was usually named after the paternal grandmother, while the first two sons were named for their grandfathers, that of the paternal side getting first dibs in this case.
I suspect that Thomas' household was bilingual, the children probably favoring the Dutch, or German, of their mother and of most of the surronding community over the English of their father. The sermons they heard in the church too were most often given in Dutch. It is interesting that Thomas' last name was, at this early point, most often recorded as Hesom or Heson in the English-dominated legal records, while it was spelled as Hissom in the Dutch-dominated church records.
|Life in Early America
The early pioneers were a restless group, pulling up stakes frequently, continually moving westward in search of new land and greater opportunity. When they looked for a place to settle, they usually chose a heavily wooded plot. The belief at the time was that open, unforested land indicated poor soil. If trees didn’t, or wouldn’t, grow there, then the soil must be bad. The western prairies, now home to vast wheat and corn fields, where then called a desert for this reason. This choice dictated that the first few years on a site were filled with the backbreaking work of clearing the forest.
In the first year a section of trees was felled and a small crop of corn was planted amongst the stumps to provide a minimum of food for the family over the next winter. On the next year stumps could be cleared, the roots having begun to rot. Slowly a man could begin to clear enough land to produce a surplus for sale. In the Middle Colonies they grew wheat, barley, oats, rye, and corn. After a home and outbuildings were built, and the necessary fences were in place, most of the felled trees were burned, there being no ready market or way of transporting the logs, unless the homestead was located on a river. In that case the logs could be floated on the water, lashed together into great rafts, and poled down the river to the first big town.
American's were considered to be poor farmers by visiting Europeans. The American method of farming resulted from the differences in land value with the Old World. There land was expensive and labor was relatively cheap, so great effort was put into 'scientific' farming to increase and preserve the land's output. The aristocrats of the era took a great interest in modern methods and even King George III took pride in his farming. In America, in contrast, nothing was so plentiful, or so cheap, as land while labor was scarce and expensive, so little effort was put into preserving the land. After some years of intensive farming the land was played-out and the settlers moved on. At left is an early plow.
Wildlife was plentiful. Men hunted deer and smaller game without the restrictions of the Forest Laws of the Old World. Birds, such as pheasant and turkey, were also available in abundance. One report noted flights of pigeons so large that they darkened the sky and flew so low that men could knock them from the air with a stick. The early settlers also harvested fish from the sea and from streams. Brodhead creek was and is an excellent trout stream. Oysters were available in such abundance that they were considered a “poor man’s” dish.
Outside the few large cities, most houses were constructed of unsplit logs, made plentiful with the clearing of the land. They were rude dwellings with dirt floors and, unless the chinks were carefully filled, often drafty.
The women were always industrious. A woman's place was in the home, but it was a huge and necessary job. A man might marry for love, but he could not effectively run a farm without the aid of a wife. In addition to caring for the younger children, the wife maintained a vegetable garden and a flock of chickens, churned the butter, made all the meals [and in this era 'from scratch' meant milling the flour and killing & plucking the chicken], spun and wove linen and woolen, sewed new clothes, mended torn items, washed the clothes by either beating them against stones in the river or using a simple washboard and tub, and saw to the family's moral upbringing. There were no hours when her hands were not busy. The idea that "cleanliness was next to godliness" was, in part, recognition of how hard cleanliness was to achieve.
For the common diet, milk and bread, and a pie, formed the breakfast meal, and good pork or bacon, and a wheat-flour pudding or dumplings, with butter and molasses were given for dinner. Mush, or hominy, with milk and butter, and honey, formed the supper. Chocolate was only occasionally procured and used with maple sugar.
When wheat and rye grew thick and tall on new land, and all was ready to be cut with sickles, the men, and many of the women and older chidlren, entered the fields. About twenty acres of wheat could be cut and shocked in half a day.
Rum was the common beverage. A bottle was handed about at all venues, each taking his draw from the neck of it, by a swallow or more. At weddings, and even at funerals, mixed and stewed rum, called spirits, was an expected and common entertainment. Rum was even put on toasted bread occasionally. Beer and ale were also brewed, often at home. Taverns were plentiful, even in the country. George Washington had his own favorite recipe for the beer he brewed at Mount Vernon.
The first settlers were accustomed to wear a strong and coarse dress, such as buckskin. It was used for both breeches and jackets. As times became more settled oznaburg cloth, made of hemp tow and flax, began to be used for shirts and coarse tow for knee-breeches. Stockings of cotton were usually worn with knee breeches, but farmers and other laborers usually protected these costly items with leggings of burlap or leather. By 1790 trousers were replacing knee-breeches. Most of these clothes were colorless. Dyes made from sumac berries or the hulls of walnuts or butternuts were available, but produced only a limited range of rust, brown or yellow grey colors. These were referred to as drab, snuff, liver or sad-color. The Colonial tri-cornered hat was seldom worn in the country. The English round hat of felt with a wide brim provided better protection from sun and rain and was to endure as the familiar slouch hat.
One of the many blessings of living in the new America was health. The cramped cities of the old world had bred disease and poor diet had made bodies weak and susceptible. Along the Brodhead, on the contrary, fish and game were plentiful and there was abundant land for crops of grain and for vegetables. Homes were well heated in winter due to the boundless forests. Farm families lived miles from the next homestead so contagious diseases could not catch hold. As a result a mother and father could expect the majority of their children to reach adulthood. Thomas Hesom had five sons who reached adulthood, and probably as many daughters. See the John Heysham of Lancaster page for a chilling counter example. No wonder the country grew so quickly.
Aaron Depui, the son of Nicholas, kept a store at Shawnee from 1743 to 1747. He sold flour, cloth, wearing apparel, including hats, saddles and bridles, rifle shot, and, of course, rum. His ledger for 1743-44 was still available in the late 19th century and included the names of most of the inhabitants of the Minisink, such as Anton Westbrook, Rudolphus Schoonover, James Hyndshaw, Daniel Brodhead, Nicholas Westfall, Christopher Denmark, Johannes Bush, Manuel Gunsals, Barney Stroud, Garret Decker, Jacoby Kuykendall, Thomas Brink [Thomas Hesom's brother-in-law], Isaac Van Campen, Barnabus Swarthout [the husband or father-in-law of Thomas Hesom's second wife], and the Reverend Freymouth. Thomas Hesom was not listed, but 1744 was still very early for him.
At this early time the Dansbury community was not administratively organized.
"The first attempt to organize Smithfield township was in 1746. In June of that year the inhabitants petitioned for a township "to begin at the gap in the [Blue] mountains where the river Delaware runs through, and from thence five or six miles, a north and by west course, and from thence to the north corner of Christoffel Denmark's plantation, and from thence with a straight line to the river Delaware, and thence the several courses thereof to place of beginning." On the back of the petition is endorsed the words, "Plan next court." The following names were signed to the petition: Patrick Kerr, Christoffel Denmark, Bernard Stroud, Valentine Snyder, William Clark, John Pierce, Robert Hanuch, Nathan Greimby, D. Westbrook, Nicholas DePui, Daniel DePui, James Hyndshaw, Aaron DePui, Isaac Tak, Richard Howell, Redolphus Schoonover, John Houay, John Courtright, Thomas Heson, Henry Huber, William McNab, Samuel Vanaman, Brinman Sconmaker." - From "The History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania," CHAPTER XXXVII, by W. W. H. Davis, 1905.The history above says the men noted signed their names. Can we assume the authors meant exactly that and that none of them made their mark? Does this prove that Thomas was literate, as at least his two oldest sons were not? Thomas did witness a will in 1761 which implies literacy. This petition appears to have been rejected, or ignored, because similar requests were forwarded in 1748 and 1750. I don't have a complete list of the signers of those petitions.
John Christoffel Denemarken/Denemerken/Dennemaken was from an old Dutch family of Ulster county, New York. In 1755 he had son, Bernardus, who was baptized in the Walpack church. Witnesses were Bernardus Swartwout and Lisabeth Brinck. The latter would be Thomas Hesom's second wife.Bernard Stroud
Bernard, who was born in England, and his wife Keziah Harker moved to Smithfield from Hunterdon county, New Jersey in about 1745. Their son, Jacob, was apprenitced to Nicholas DePui. Jacob later founded the town of Stroudsburg and was "lord of the manor" in Smithfield township.The DePui's
They were an important family and early settlers, arriving in the region above the Blue Mountains before 1725. Samuel DePui's homestead was on the river, at Bushkill. Nicholas DePui had a tract near the Round Meadows, near John Howey and Thomas Hesam. Aaron DePui lived on the south edge of the community, between the Pequetin and Blue mountains where Cherry cheek empties into the Delaware.James Hyndshaw
His second wife was Maria, the daughter of Benjamin DePui, whom he married in the Smithfield church. James, a deacon and elder of the church, witnessed the will of Rudolphus Schoonover. During the French & Indian Wars he was a Lieutenant of the militia. Fort Hyndshaw, near Bushkill, was built at his homestead.Rudolphus Schoonover
He was born in 1705 in Kingston, Ulster county, New York. He settled in Smithfield, near Bushkill, where he had a grist mill. He died in 1756 in Lower Smithfield. Schoonover was a friend of both Emanuel Gonsales and Lieutenant James Hyndshaw. His son, Rudolphus, married Hannah Hyndshaw and later served in the Northampton county militia during the Revolutionary War.John Howey
John Howey [Howay, Houwy, Hooey, Houay and Howeyus] was born in Ireland circa 1715 and emigrated, He bought property on Big Bushkill creek in 1738 "adjoining Rudolphus Schoonover." His son, John, was baptized in 1745 in the Walpack church while three of his children, including his son Boudewyn, were baptized in the Smithfield church. His homestead on the Big Bushkill river was burned during the Indian raids of 1755 and he fled south with his family, living in Tinicum, Pennsylvania for a time. In 1766 he owned the land on the Bushkill next to Thomas Hesam, see below. John Howey died in Smithfield, circa 1782. See John Howey for more.
A second petition to establish a township was submitted in 1748 and apparently approved. Thomas was not listed as one of the petitioners, though Henry Countryman (Hendrike Cuatoneyman), a neighbor identified below, was.
|The Big Bushkill
More than one creek is named Bushkill. The waterway of concern to us is the Big Bushkill. The Little Bushkill creek empties into the Big Bushkill which then flows into the Delaware river near the village of Bushkill, at Wallpack Bend. A view of this confluence is shown at the left in a painting by Frank E. Schoonover. This is just north of the Lower Smithfield community. There is another Bushkill that flows south out of the Blue Mountains, towards Easton.
While I have generally assumed that Thomas lived on Brodhead creek in Lower Smithfield township since his son, David, claimed years later to have been born there, it is equally possible that he lived on the Bushkill, to the north. Reasons why this might be so:
- Lower Smithfield township originally had its northern border set along Bushkill creek, so anyone living on the southside of the Bushkill valley would have been a resident of Lower Smithfield township.
- Thomas had property on the Bushkill surveyed in 1766 and 1767, and in 1769 he was noted to have land on the Bushkill next to that of Paul Kinter [Kintner].
- His brother and sister-in-law, the Thomas Brinks, lived in Walpack, just across the river from the point where the Bushkill flowed into the Delaware river.
- He used the Walpack church for his children's baptisms.
- When Thomas took the inventory of Thomas Brink's property upon his death in 1761, the man who took it with him was of Upper Smithfield.
- During the French & Indian Wars he joined a militia unit whose area of responsibility was along Bushkill creek. The militia unit's commanders, Van Etten and Hyndshaw, were residents of the Bushkill valley.
- Thomas' second wife, Elizabeth Brink (a cousin of Thomas Brink), was of Walpack and her first husband, Bernardus Swartwout was of Upper Smithfield.
The Bushkill was later part of Middle Smithfield township. A link to that township's history page is at Middle Smithfield.
|The Village of Bushkill
"Bushkill village is in a picturesque location, opening pleasantly towards the Delaware. It is also just over the Monroe border, in Pike County, long ago described by Horace Greeley as "famous for rattlesnakes and Democrats," but now more noted for its fine waterfalls and attractive scenery, its many streams draining numerous beautiful lakes, and dancing down frequent roaring rapids in the journey to the Delaware. The falls of the Little Bushkill near the village is the finest cataract in Pennsylvania." - from "America, Picturesque and Descriptive" by Joel Cook
On 20 August 1746 a son, John, was born. He was christened on 14 September 1746 in the Reformed Dutch church in Walpack, Sussex county, New Jersey. His parents were Thomas Hisson and Catherina Kleyn. Witnesses were Thomas Brinck and Antje Kleyn syn Huys vr. Antje, or Anne, was Catherina's sister. Since the first son was usually named after his paternal grandfather, can we assume the missing link was a John Heesom? The family probably gathered in Walpack for the christening dinner.
|A Dutch Christening Celebration
The arrival of a new baby was an event of great happiness in the Dutch household. There were varying customs following the birth of the child, particularly the customs involving the baptism of the child and the celebration which ensued. According to the resolutions of the church, the child had to be baptized as soon as possible after birth, this usually meant about a week later, or when the mother was able to attend.
For the baptism, the child was dressed in a christening robe which was as costly as the parents' means would allow. The child's bonnet showed whether the child was a boy or a girl - six plaits for a boy and three for a girl. Once the baby was dressed, neighbors and friends were invited to come and visit, and light refreshments were offered. Then the christening-party started for the church.
The father had to be present at the baptism, and it was left to him to bring brothers or sisters as witnesses, provided these were members of the Reformed Church and did not stand under "censure" or excommunication.
Once the christening-party returned from church, the child was blessed by the father, and dressed in another outfit, called a presentation robe, to be presented to the friends and relatives who were invited to the christening dinner.
In the meantime, the berkemeyer, or large glass goblet with a cover, filled with sugared Rhine wine, or the silver brandy bowl, was passed around. The christening dinner was a very costly and elaborate affair and differed little from the wedding feast. During the dinner, the child was again presented to the guests, when songs were sung and speeches and toasts were made. Among these delicacies were the suikerdelbol gaan, or sugared roll, kraamvetjes, cakes made hollow and filled with sugar. Aniseeds covered with a coating of white sugar, rough for boys and smooth for girls, were also served. The kandeel pot, caudle cup or cinnamon cup, was never missing. This was a tall drinking cup filled with Rhine wine sweetened with sugar. In it was placed a stick of cinnamon, - a long one if the child were a boy and a short one if a girl. When this was handed, the sugar was stirred in the cup with the cinnamon stick by the person who presented it.
Uninvited guests sometimes entered the house on the sly on such occasions, for the more merriment and drinking the more honor for the baby. Being at a christening was long remembered, and in later years people often remarked to a young man or woman, "Oude Kennis, ik heb bij je nog een stik met suiker gehad", "Old friend, I had a sugar piece with you."
At the christening dinner gifts for the child were presented or promised. These presents were kept in the "show cabinet" where the bride's wedding gifts and the bridegroom's pipe were on exhibition. - from "Dutch New York" by Esther Singleton, 1930, and "The Dutch and English on the Hudson".
A daughter, Ann, was christened on 30 October 1748 in the Walpack church. This time Thomas' name was spelled Hesson, though Catherina's name was spelled properly. Dirk Kermer and Jacomyntje Keyser, syn Huys vr. were witnesses. That probably means they were relatives, but I haven't determined at what point. The second daughter in a Dutch family was usually named for her paternal grandmother.
Catherina Kleyn and Johannes Kleyn, probably Catherine's brother, were witnesses at the baptism of Johannes, the son of Thomas Brinck and Antje Kleyn, on 25 December 1748. - from "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record." Antje, as stated above, was probably Catherine's sister.
In 1748 the village of Smithfield was established near the present site of Stroudsburg.
A Thomas Jr. was born in about 1750 and Abner probably followed in 1752, though these weren't in any church registers that I have been able to find. I suspect they were christened at another of the Dutch churches in the region, one whose records were lost or haven't been put on the internet. The second son in a Dutch family was usually named after his maternal grandfather. The subsequent sons would be named after the father's brothers.
The population of Smithfield township in 1752 was estimated to be about 500, or between 70 and 80 families. By this time Lower Smithfield was becoming a prosperous community, with three saw mills and a grist mill. On Bushkill creek Manuel Gonsales had a grist mill and a public house, or tavern.
A son, William, was baptized in 1754 at the Walpack church and Thomas Sr's' name was again spelled Hisson. Johannes Kleyn and Eva Brink were witnesses. The Old Stone church in Lower Smithfield, pictured to the right, was built in 1753 by Nicholas DePui, Samuel DePui and Abraham Van Kampen. The builders' initials appeared on the church's cornerstone and are part of the foundation of the present church.
Note that while I'm usually pretty willing to accept different spellings for the Heysham/Hissem surname, when you get to Hesson you begin to run into a name that was being misspelled from another root name. That Hesson ends up being German, derived from Hussong-Hessong-Hesson, and sometimes Hisson. There was a colonial era Pennsylvania family descended from Balthazar Hussong. They were members of the German Reformed Church.
At this time about 3,000 European settlers lived in the Upper Delaware river valley, though the area north of the Blue Mountains was still considered to be "thinly settled."
|Historical Timeline: Colonial America
1754-1763 French & Indian War. For the settlers these wars meant an increase in the severity of Indian raids. In the Treaty of Paris the French gave up all of their territory east of the Mississippi to England.
1760 Population of American colonies reaches 1.5 million.
Thomas Hisson and Catharina Kleyn syn Huys vr. [the wife of] were witnesses at the baptism of Cathrina, the daughter of Johannes Bosch and Mary Johnson, on 2 February 1755 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Walpack, New Jersey - from "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record." Catherine's mother may have been a Bosch.
What in America was known as the French & Indian War, and in Europe the Seven Years War, began in 1755 and lasted until 1763. During this period the generally friendly, or at least not hostile, relations the Pennsylvanians had with the Indians broke down under the provocation of French insurgents and the long simmering anger over the Walking Purchase.
All through the summer and early fall of 1755 there were whispers of alarming disaffection among the Indian tribes. Inflamed by French provocateurs and emboldened by the English General Braddock's defeat in July 1755 by a combined French & Indian force in the west, they saw a chance to win back lost territory.
The thunderbolt finally fell in November with an attack on Moravian settlers on the Mahoning Creek.
"A letter from Bethlehem, dated December the eighteenth , states, "that a party of Indians had gathered behind the Blue mountains, to the number of two hundred, and had burned the greatest part of the buildings, and killed upward of a hundred of the inhabitants; and that they threatened the upper Moravian places, as Christiansbrun, Gnadenthal, Nazareth, and Friedenthal." - from "The History of Pennsylvania" by Thomas Francis Gordon
27 November 1755. "The Dwelling-house, Meeting-house and all their Out-houses were burnt to Ashes, with all the Grain and Hay, the Horses, and more than forty Head of fat Cattle for the Use of the Brethren at Bethlehem and their other settlements." - The Pennsylvania Gazette, Dec. 4, 1755. - from "Extracts from American Newspapers, Relating to New Jersey. 1704-1775"A few days later the Indians hit the Smithfield community, attacking the farm of Daniel Brodhead, near the mouth of the Brodhead creek. This attack was repelled and the Indians proceeded to the homes of other settlers in the area, burning homes, barns and ricks, and killing and scalping many of the settlers.
"Mr. Broadhead estimated the number of warriors at two hundred. This attack upon the settlement was marked by the same atrocity characterizing much of the border warfare. As all the Susquehanna and Lackawanna Indians except the Monseys [the Minsi tribe of the Lenni-Lenape, or Delaware] were disposed for peace in the spring of 1757, Mr. Miner [in his "History of Wyoming"] concludes that the Oneidas and Senekas [sic] from the lakes formed the war party." - from "History of the Lackawanna Valley" by Horace Hollister, 1885
"Nazareth, Dec. 11, 1755.
"Another letter, from Union works, Jersey, of the 20th [December 1755], says, "the barbarous and bloody scene which is now open in the upper parts of Northampton county, is the most lamentable that perhaps ever appeared. There may be seen horor and desolation; populous settlements deserted; villages laid in ashes; men, women, and children, cruelly mangled and massacred; . . ." To this letter was annexed a list of seventy-eight persons killed, and more than forty settlements burned." - from "The History of Pennsylvania" by Thomas Francis Gordon
The region, long used to peace, succumbed to panic and the people fled, seeking safety in the south. It was reported soon after that the river, from Broadhead creek south to Easton, was deserted in the aftemath of the attacks. Of the settlers driven out of the Brodhead creek region, a diarist wrote,
"They came like hound-driven sheep, a motley crowd of men, women and children . . . with clothes not fit to be seen by mankind . . . and some with scarce a sufficiency of rags to cover their nakedness." - from "The Stroudburgs in the Poconos" by Marie Summa and Frank SummaOverall, more than 300 settlers in what is presently Monroe county lost their lives. Many refugees failed to return after the warfare ceased.
Militia forces from the surronding country sought to aid those north of the Blue Mountains, but with little success.
"Colonel John Anderson, who was on his March towards Gnadenhutten [the Moravian Settlement] with some of the New Jersey Militia, and a Company from the Irish Settlement, . . . judged it improper to advance against so large a Body at that Hour, and therefore retreated back to the Gap of the Mountains, to secure that Pass till he should obtain further Intelligence." . . . and that the Deponent [Moses Totamy], upon the Credit of the above Report was removing his Family, from the Forks [of the Delaware] to Trenton for Safety." - The Pennsylvania Gazette, Dec. 4, 1755. - from "Extracts from American Newspapers, Relating to New Jersey. 1704-1775""The Forks of the Delaware" is at Easton, south of the Blue Mountains, where the Lehigh River empties its waters into the greater Delaware. It is across the river from Warren county, New Jersey.
29 November 1755. "By three Expresses arrived from Northampton County within three Days past, we have Advice, That last Monday Night the French and Indians burnt a small village seven Miles beyond the Gap, and killed all the People but two; and Tuesday Night burnt a House above the Mountain, six Miles from where Delaware crosses Penaqualing, or Pequetin, Mountains, all in the aforesaid County." - from "Extracts from American Newspapers, Relating to New Jersey. 1704-1775"The Pequetin mountains are a small range just north of the Blue, or Kittakinny, Mountains and just south of the Brodhead creek region. The Pequetin and Blue mountains are separated by Cherry creek, which empties into the Delaware river at Aaron Depui's 1725 homestead.
Those who chose to stay despite the danger collected themselves together in some one house for a common defense. "After Indians began attacking homesteands in Lower Smithfield Township in Northampton County, for example, nine families gathered at Philip Bozart's dwelling, while "a great Number" of others convened at the farms of two other neighbors. These houses were frequently fortified in some manner and stood as makeshift forts, the main purpose of which was to protect women and children. Thus, even after they heard gun shots at a nearby house, the people at Bozart's house "were afraid to venture to go and see what had happened that Day, as they had many Woman [sic] and Children to take Care of, who it they had left might have fallen an easy Prey to the Enemy." - from "Friends and Enemies in Penn's Woods."
An inscription on a stove plate cast in 1756 memorialized the dreadful times:
"This is the year in which raged the Indian war parties." - from "Sweet Land of Liberty: The Ordeal of the American Revolution in Northampton County, Pennsylvania," by Francis S. Fox.
The Hesoms lived off Brodhead creek, about four miles upstream [on Marshalls Creek?] from Daniel Brodhead's farm. They too were hit by Indian attacks and Thomas' daughter, Molly, was taken prisoner. She was carried off and it is not clear whether the family ever saw her again.
"Raiders also used psychological war against civilians. Particularly on the northern border of Pennsylvania, Indian raiders mutilated the bodies of women and children, displaying them at crossroads or other locations where they would be sure to be discovered. These tactics were largely responsible for the mass panic on the frontier and proved immensely successful in persuading thousands of settlers to abandon their homes." - from "Breaking the Backcountry" by Matthew C. Ward.
|A Captive of the Indians
Molly was probably outside the house, perhaps drawing water for her mother, when an Indian raiding party attacked and seized her. During extended raids, as occurred along the Brodhead creek that day, the Indians would tie their captives to a tree, then come back for them as they made their retreat. If the settlers organized quickly and counter-attacked, the Indians would kill these captives and take their scalps to prove their participation in the raid.
The next few days would have been a horror to the 10 year old Molly. For those who have read "The Lord of the Rings," think of the capture of Merry and Pippin and their forced march across Rohan. The raiding party lived by its speed and stealth. Any prisoner who could not keep up with their killing pace, those who stumbled, those who slackened, were summarily tomahawked. Molly would have noticed and would have been terrified to show any weakness.
It is not known where the party took Molly initially, but it would not be out of the ordinary for them to have run the entire way to the French forts on Lake Ontario, either Niagara, on the west end of the lake, or Oswego, at the east end. There Molly might have been sold to the French as a house servant or field laborer, but may as well have been adopted into an Indian family to replace one of their own lost in battle, especially as she was young. Some female captives married local French settlers. Another film to consider is John Ford's "The Searchers" for the tale of a young girl taken by the Indians, and later rescued. Note the equivocal feelings evinced about a woman who had been "amongst" the Indians.
Thomas' neighbor on the Bushkill, Emanuel Gonsales, also had a daughter, Elizabeth, who was captured by the Indians at this time.
"Elizabeth was captured by the Indians at the age of seven years, while she and her father were hunting for the horses on the Delaware flats in the rear of Bushkill church. The Indians started in pursuit of them, and Mr. Gunsaules escaped by jumping into a washout, where he remained concealed, but little Elizabeth ran in a different direction and was overtaken. That night, on encamping, the Indians talked of killing her, but an old man among them objected, saying that she was a smart girl, and he would take care of her. She accompanied them to Canada, where she remained thirty-two years, sharing the life of the tribe and marrying a chief, by whom she had two children who died before maturity. An old Indian who visited the former haunts of his people at Bushkill remarked to Mr. Gunsaules that if he would give him a drink he would tell where his daughter was, and on learning of her fate Mr. Gunsaules went to Canada with a neighbor and found her as described. She remembered that her name was Lizzie, but had forgotten her family name, and although her husband and chief was dead she did not wish to return to her native country and abandon the mode of life she had followed so long. She was finally induced to go however, and later married Peter Quick, of Belvedere, New Jersey."
|Weapons of the French & Indian Wars
The main firearm of the French and English armies, and their Indian allies, was the flintlock, smoothbore musket. The "long rifle," so called for its unusually long rifled barrel, was a uniquely American development. This type of firearm was made popular by German gunsmiths who immigrated to southeastern Pennsylvania in the early 1700's, bringing with them the technology of rifling from where it originated. The accuracy achieved by the long rifle made it an ideal tool for hunting wildlife for food in colonial America. By the 1750's it was common to see frontiersmen carrying the new and distinctive style of rifle. Rifled firearms saw their first major combat usage in the American colonies during the Seven Years war - derived from Wikipedia.
A large number of the homesteads along the Brodhead and Bushkill were burnt. The following is from a letter describing the destruction. Note that Samuel Depui's homestead was on the Delaware river, just south of the Bushkill.
Thomas Hesom's neighbor on the Bushkill, at least in 1766, John Howey [as Hoey above], and Mr. [Henry] Countryman, a neighbor of Thomas' in 1789, had their homesteads burnt.
Philadelphia, December 25.
Extract of a Letter from the Union Iron Works in
the Jersey, dated December 20, 1755.
"The inclosed is a List of the Persons killed, and of the Houses Burnt on the Upper parts of Northampton, as near as I could collect, which may [be] depended upon as authentick; for I have strictly enquired of the Particulars, and chuse rather to deminish than add - The barbarous and bloody Scene which is now opened in the above Place is the most lamentable that perhaps ever appeared; -- there is no Person who is possessed of any Humanity, but would commiserate the deplorable Fate of those unhappy People: There may be seen Horror and Desolation;-- populous Settlements deserted;--Villages laid in Ashes;--Men, Women and Children, cruelly mangled and massacred; -- some found in the Woods, very nauseous for want of Interment: Some just reeking from the Hands of their Savage Slaughterers, and some hacked and covered all over with Wounds. -Samuel Depuy seems to be very near being in the same deplorable Condition, and will unavoidably share the same Fate with his Neighbours; for the fatal Blow is impending. - on his applying to Mr. Stewart and myself, we raised a fine Company of Men to go to his Assistance, and when we arrived there, we were informed that Broadhead's House which is about five Miles further up, was surrounded and besieged by the Indians: Upon which we marched to his relief, and escorted him and his Effects to Depuy's, with what Cattle and Provisions we could find in the Neighborhood. - We continued thereabouts four Days, and all the while heard nothing but Outcries and Alarms, and our Centries were fired upon by some Indians hovering about Depuy's House, which may be deemed a sure Prognostick of its Destruction. Last Tuesday Morning we had Intelligence of some Indians being in the Swamp, about two Miles distant form Robert Allison's; whereupon we went in Quest of them with the utmost Expedition, and soon got sight of them, driving off a Parcel of large Hogs, when we imprudently dismounted our Horses, but we were obliged to halt, and acknowledge ourselves no Match for them at the Heels : However we recover'd the Hogs, and had we kept our Horses, we would have undoubtedly have taken and killed every one of them."
On the back of the above was wrote, -- I have, while sealing this Letter, an Express, acquainting, that the Indians have crossed Delaware in a large Body. -
A List of the people killed, and the Houses burnt,
by the Indians at the Minisinks.
John Rush, his Wife, Son and Daughter, 4
Lambert Brink, 1
Benjamin Tidd and Family, 10
Matthew Rue, 1
Daniel Williams, his Wife, and five Children, 7
Piercewell Goulding, 1
Mr. Head, and ten of his Family 11
Cornelius Vanaken, and Guizebert Vancamp With fifteen of their Families 17
Several Palatines, and their Families, supposed to be about, 20
Hans Vanfleara, 4
Adam Snell, no Account of his Family, but Supposed about 5
in all 78
Robert Hannah's ; William James'; senior ; William M'Nabb's ; Robert Allison's ; John Atkins's, Esq; John Fish's ; Robert Harris's ; Thomas Hill's ; Giles Churchill' ; Jacob Petty's ; William Lawrence's ; Abraham Garno's ; Dennis Rozor's ; Robert Park's ; Ephraim Culver's Saw and Grist Mills ; John Drake's, senior; John M'Michael's ; Samuel Gutteridge's; Francis Jone's ; Abraham Hartman's ; Daniel Brundidge's ; Benjamin Tidd's ; junior ; Solomon Jenkins's ; William Tidd's; John Tidd's ; Capt. Johnson's ; Joshua Parker's ; Job Beckhorn's ; John Hiliman's ; Mr. Countryman's ; Daniel Reever's ; Samuel Drake's ; Daniel Logan's ; Abraham Miller's ; Jacob Sly's ; Jacob Roror's ; William James's, junior ; Bodewine Vanderlap's ; William Whittin's ; and John Hoey's.
- The N.Y. Mercury, Dec. 29, 1755" - from "Extracts from American Newspapers, Relating to New Jersey. 1704-1775"
The frontier populace was terrified, and vengeful, and in reaction Pennysylvania took unprecedented steps. It declared war on the Indians, agreed to raise a militia, built a series of frontier forts and put a bounty on Indian scalps. This sea-change in Pennsylvania politics horrified the Quakers and caused them to leave the government en-masse, severing their 70-year hold on government.
Benjamin Franklin was commissioned a Colonel by the Governor to take charge of the forts' construction, as well as of the entire line of operations along the Northampton frontier.
"While the several companies in the city and country were forming and learning their exercise, the governor prevail'd with me to take charge of our North-western frontier, which was infested by the enemy, and provide for the defense of the inhabitants by raising troops and building a line of forts. I undertook this military business, tho' I did not conceive myself well qualified for it. He gave me a commission with full powers, and a parcel of blank commissions for officers, to be given to whom I thought fit . . . It was the beginning of January when we set out upon this business of building forts. I sent one detachment toward the Minisink, with instructions to erect one for the security of that upper part of the country, and another to the lower part, with similar instructions;" - from Franklin's "Autobiography"See Autobiography, Chapter XVII, for Franklin's "Defense of the Frontier." Two of the new frontier forts were Fort Hamilton, on Brodhead creek, and Fort Hyndshaw, on the Bushkill.
|The Frontier Forts: Forts Hamilton and Hyndshaw
The initial Indian attacks on the Hoeth and Brodhead families in the winter of 1755 caused a panic. The Pennsylvania Assembly agreed to raise a militia and the militia members overwhelmingly voted Benjamin Franklin, a member of the Assembly, as their "general." The Governor and the proprietors, political opponents of Franklin, were not happy, but felt they could do little to oppose the popular Franklin. They appointed Franklin and James Hamilton "military commissioners" for the county.
The commissioners arrived at Easton, just south of Lower Smithfield township, on 23 December 1775. They directed that the first of a line of forts be constructed in what today is the town of Stroudsburg, on Brodhead creek, at the homestead of Peter La Bar. This fort was named Fort Hamilton in honor of James Hamilton, Franklin's fellow commissioner, and was built in January 1756 by a team of volunteer militia under the command of Captains Trump and Ashton. This, and the other frontier forts, were rude affairs, more stockades than fortresses. Trump became its first commander.
Attacks continued during the building of the fort and those families trying to return to their homes, even when under armed escort, did not escape the threat. The family of Hess was almost completely wiped out in this manner. About this same time a Palatine, while breaking flax on the farm of Philip Bossert in Lower Smithfield, was shot and killed by an unseen Indian. One of Bossert's sons ran out of the house on hearing the gun and was also shot and killed. Philip, himself, then appeared and exchanged shots with the enemy and was saved only by the arrival of his neighbors which caused the enemy to retreat.
Fort Hamilton was not considered a post of especial importance. While it was in a geographically important position, it stood in a more or less sparsely settled district. The sudden outbreak of hostilities in that vicinity caused an excitement which resulted not only in its immediate erection, but also in the building of Fort Hyndshaw just a few miles away, as well as the occupation by a garrison at Samuel Dupui's house, which was located midway between the two forts, on the river road.
Fort Hyndshaw was a seventy-foot square stockade, with two bastions, around the Hyndshaw home, which was at the mouth of Big Bushkill creek where it emptied into the Delaware riverk; James Hyndshaw was a mill-owner. Note that the road from Fort Hamilton to Fort Hyndshaw led past Depui's, which was along the river and that we are told it was an "open road from Depui's to Fort Hyndshaw." Captain Van Etten also had his homestead on Bushkill creek. I suspect the fort was on or near the river road, protecting it at the point where it crossed the river, via the Walpack Ferry, to Walpack township, in New Jersey. Closer to Lower Smithfield, Depui's fortified home served a similar purpose.
From January 1756 to July 1757 Fort Hyndshaw was the extreme northeastern post garrisoned by Pennsylvania troops. It was evacuated on orders of Governor Denny and the men moved to Fort Hamilton. - from "Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier, 1753-1758" by William Albert Hunter
For a modern attempt to locate the site of Fort Hyndshaw, see The History of Middle Smithfield.
For defense the colony planned to erect 12 stockaded forts, 15 miles apart, that could house 50 men each. These fortifications were to run from the Upper Delaware Valley southwestward across the colony to the Susquehanna river to act as guard posts to protect and prevent raids on the more populated areas in the southeast. Four forts were planned for Northampton County, but only two were built, Fort Hamilton, in present-day Stroudsburg, and Fort Hyndshaw, standing along Bushkill creek near present-day Bushkill, in Pike county. The armchair strategists will quickly realize that these forts would constitute less a wall than a sieve and isolate their small cadre of defenders to be picked off one by one.
In January 1756 Benjamin Franklin issued the following instructions to raise a force for the protection of Upper Smithfield [Bushkill].
At Bethlehem, in the County of Northampton
January 12, 1756
To Cap’t Vanetta [John Van Etten], of the Township
of Upper Smithfield.
1. You are to proceed immediately to raise a Company of Foot, consisting of 30 able Men, including two Sergeants, with which you are to protect the Inhabitants of Upper Smithfield assisting them while they thresh out and Secure their Corn, and Scouting from time to time as you judge necessary, on the Outside of the Settlements, with Such of the Inhabitants as may join you to discover the Enemy’s Approaches and repel their Attacks.
2. For the better Security of the Inhabitants of that District, you are to post your men as follows: Eight at your own house, Eight at Lieutenant Henshaw’s [Hyndshaw], Six with a Serjeant at Tishhock ____, and Six with another Serjeant at or near Henry Cortracht’s, and you are to settle Signals, or Means of Suddenly alarming the Inhabitants, and convening your whole Strength with the Militia of your District, on any necessary Occasion.
3. Every Man is to be engag’d for one month, and as the Province cannot at present furnish Arms or Blankets to your Company, you are to allow every Man enlisting and bringing his own Arms & Blanket, a Dollar for the Use thereof over and above his Pay.
4. You are to furnish your Men with provisions, not exceeding the Allowance mentioned in the paper herewith given you and your reasonable Accounts for the same shall be allowed and paid.
5. You are to keep a Diary or Journal of every Day’s Transactions, and an exact Account of the Time when each Man enters himself with you, and if any Man desert or die you are to note the Time in your Journal, and the Time of engaging a new Man in his Place, and submit your Journal to the Inspection of the Governor when required.
6. You are to acquaint the Men, that if in their Ranging they meet with, or are at any Time attack’d by the Enemy, and kill any of them, Forty Dollars will be allow’d and paid by the Government for each Scalp of an Indian Enemy so killed, the same being produced with proper Attestations.
7. You are to take care that your Stores and Provisions be not wasted.
8. If by any means you gain Intelligence of the Design of the Enemy, or the March of any of their Parties towards any Part of the Frontier, you are to send Advice thereof to the Governor, and to the other Companies in the Neighborhood, as the Occasion may require.
9. You are to keep good Order among your Men, and prevent Drunkenness and other Immoralities, as much as may be, and not Suffer them to do any Injury to the Inhabitants whom they come to protect.
10. You are to take Care the Men keep their Arms clean and in good Order, and that their Powder be always kept dry and fit for Use.
11. You are to make up your Muster Roll at the Month’s End, in order to receive the Pay of your Company, and to make Oath to the Truth thereof before a Justice of the Peace, and then transmit the same to the Governor.
B. FRANKLIN- from the Pennsylvania Archives
The company was organized and provisioned as follows,
"For Capt. Vanetta's Company
of Upper Smithfield
Captain 7s. 6d. per Day
Lieutenant 5s. 6d. per Day
Serjeants 2s. per Day
Private Men at the Rate of Six Dollars per Month.
The Company to consist of a Captain, Lieutenant, 2 Serjeants, and 28 private Men.
The Province furnishes a Gun, Ammunition, and a Blanket for each Man, to be return'd when the Service is over. But as the Commissioners cannot at present procure Arms or Blankets, they agree to allow 7s. 6d. for the Use of a Gun and a Blanket to each Man for the Time they are engag'd in the Service, or Half that Sum for either of them.
Provisions allowed to the Forces, vizt:10 lb. and 1/2 of Bread or MealBy Order of the Commissioners
3 lb. of Pork
3 lb. of Beef, and
1 lb. of Fish, (mackrel) [all per week]
1 Gill of Rum per Day for each Man; half to be given in the Morning, and half in the Evening.
Note, That when Fish is wanting a Pound of Beef shall be allow'd instead thereof: and if Pork be wanting 4 lb. of Beef shall be allowed instead of the 3 lb. of Pork.
Endorsed: For Capt. Vanette" - from the Founder Online website
Van Etten must have foreseen this request because on the same day Thomas Hesom and 45 other men signed up for militia duty. Even more interesting, the law that authorized this wholly voluntary militia required that the Allegation below be read to the company, and each man, after at least three days consideration, had to sign it in the presence of a justice of the peace.
"Allegation of Soldiers, 1756."In one source Thomas' name is mangled as Hizoth. That source indicates that "Several of the signatures are too badly written to permit their transcription with full confidence of accuracy." I'd like to see the original document. I suspect that neither heson or Hizoth is correct.
Jany 12th, 1756.
We the Subscribers, do hereby engage ourselves to serve as Soldiers in his Majesty's Service under the Command of Captain John Vanetta [Van Etten], for the Space of one Month, and who ever of us shall get drunk, desert, or prove cowardly in Time of Action, or disobedient to our Officers, shall forfeit his Pay. This Agreement we make in Consideration of being allow'd at the rate of Six dollars pr. Month Wages, One Dollar for the use of a Gun and Blanket to each Man who furnish himself with them, and the Provisions and Rum mentioned in a Paper hereunto annex'd."Signed [among others]
". . .
Hugh Clark. H his mark.
Corme rine, V his mark.
James E molen, his mark.
Gert van Binslehaten.
gidon van aken.
. . ." - from "Officers and Soldiers in The Service of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1744-1765," the Pennsylvania Archives. See also "Old Dansbury" by Ralf Ridgway Hillman.
Thomas signed his name while several others only made their mark, that is, they were illiterate. I don't know if there was any significance in Thomas' name being all in lower caps; capitalization in the list above does seem to be inconsistent.
"There were thirty men in Van Etten's company in January and February 1756 . . . The company continued in service for at least a year and a half, although some changes in personnel doubtless occurred after the first enlistment period expired." - from the Founder Online website.
"During the month of January, the Indian aggressions were continued, but were not so extensive as in the prior and succeeding months. The latter part of February, and throughout the month of March, they were very active and mischievous along the whole western and northern border." - from "The History of Pennsylvania" by Thomas Francis Gordon.
Fort Hamilton was garrisoned in June 1756 with a Lieutenant and 15 men. Fort Hyndshaw was garrisoned by 30 men under Captain John Van Etten and Lieutenant James Hyndshaw in 1756. Since Van Etten was his commanding officer, this probably means that Thomas Hesom was at Fort Hyndshaw, when he was serving.
On 20 April 1756 a letter to the Governor reported on “Capt. Vanetten at Minisinks, a Lieut. [Hyndshaw] And 30 men.” The fort was called Hyndshaw in honor of their Lieutenant, James Hyndshaw, and also because it was on his property. Note that in the Allegations above there were 46 signatories, not 30, none of which were Van Etten or Hyndshaw, though two men, John Kirman and John Stull, were shown as Sergeants. I suspect the use of the number 30 was a general one and that Captain Van Etten was happy to have as many men as he could hold on to.
|Captain John Van Etten (c1720)
He was born in Knightsfield, Ulster county, New York in 1720 and married Maratje "Mary" Westfael. He was commissioned a Captain of the militia by Benjamin Franklin and placed in charge of Fort Hyndshaw. He was later in charge of Fort Hamilton in Smithfield. In 1754 he was judge of the orphan court and was, in 1760, coroner of the county. He later moved to North Carolina.Lietenant James Hyndshaw (c1720)
He was born in about 1720 and was a contemporary of Thomas Hesom. He first married Hanna Varway, but she died. He then married Maria Depuy. He was a deacon and elder, and later an overseer of the Smithfield Dutch Reformed Church.
As early as 1755 James was an officer in provincial service, a Lieutenant under the command of Colonel James Burd. In 1756 he was a Lieutenant in Captain Wetterholt's [Nicholas Wetherholt] company, in charge of provincial forces stationed at Fort Hyndshaw. - from "Pennsylvania Archives." Late, in 1761, Captain James Hyndshaw was sent by the Governer to observe the Connecticut settlement in the Wyoming Valley and made a deposition of his findings.
Captain Van Etten kept a journal of his time as commander of Fort Hyndshaw and Fort Hamilton which is a combination of army drudgery, boredom, and occasional battle with the elusive Indians. See Fort Hyndshaw for more about the fort and the Captain's journal. Van Etten and James Hyndshaw were selected to head this unit because they resided in the Upper Smithfield region. Since Thomas signed up with them does this imply that his farm was closer to that region than to Lower Smithfield, as previoulsy thought?
|The Frontier Forts: Forts Hamilton and Hyndshaw
Commissary James Young, while inspecting the forts in that same year, made the following report, writing from the “Fort 10 miles above Depues, Commonly call’d Hyndshaw Fort.”
I drew much of this information from Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania. It also includes Captain Van Etten's log, which well describes the long periods of boredom, interrupted by grissly actions like the following.
"My Serj’t Leonard Den, with 2 men of, for subsistence to Sam’ll Depues, having got within about 2 miles of s’d Depues, s’d Sej’t was shot, the 2 men Return’d and inform’d me of it, where upon an alarm was beat, and the neighbours all gather’d to the fort; myself with 7 men went of immediately and found him Kill’d and Scalp’d, and intirely Strip’d and shamefully cut, that his bowls was Spred on the Ground, I immediately sent of 3 men to s’d Depues for a Wagon, which being come we carried him to s’d Depues, where we kept guarde that night . . . Early in the morning we Buried him in a Christian manner, & all Return’d to Fort Hyndshaw."In April 1757 Captain John Van Etten took charge of Fort Hamilton, but by March 1758 it had been abandoned as a military camp.
I don't know how long Thomas remained with these volunteers. It is clear that the government thought the emergency would be a short one, hence the one-month enlistments, but the attacks continued causing many to flee. Thomas Hesom's Middle Smithfield neighbor, John Howey, fled south, as did Henry Countryman and John Hillman.
[7 April 1756] "Today the two English families, - Hillmans and Countrymans, - moved back to behind the Blue Mountains. The two wives were sisters, and both died on the same day last February." - from the Dansbury Diaries, p. 214They had moved to Nazareth, where the two sisters were buried, but soon moved back north. They were living in Fort Hamilton, on Brodhead creek, in 1757, see below.
The Heysham's had another daughter, Elizabeth, who I think was born around 1756. I base that year on her probable age when her first son was baptized and where there exists a gap in the birth order. There was no minister to baptize this child. The Reverend Fryenmoet had fled the Indian troubles, moving to Kinderhook, New York in 1756 and a new minister was not found until 1760 [or 1764], when Thomas Romeyn began his service. After the first daughters of a Dutch family had been named after their maternal and paternal grandmothers, the subsequent daughters were named after the wife's sisters.
Attacks, mainly on isolated homesteads, continued in 1756 and 1757, the Indians "all painted and white Feathers on their Heads." In one attack the newly raised militia was heavily defeated. From a letter of Benjamin Franklin to the Governor:
In April 1757 Andreas Gundryman [Henry Countryman's son], about 17 years old, went with two horses and a sleigh to fetch some fire wood that lay about 80 'perches' from Fort Hamilton, in order to bring it to his father's house, about 10 perches from the Fort. Two guns were heard to fire. Upon investigation Andreas Gundryman was found, just 300 yards from the fort, lying dead and scalped to the eyes.
In June 1757 George Ebert, 16, went with two wagons from Plainfield Township to assist the inhabitants of Lower Smithfield who had a few days before been attacked by Indians, to bring off some of their best effects. While working together they were attacked by fifteen Indians and 3 of the men were killed. The Indians then took the other two men hostage. The next day the Indians fell in with another company of about 24 Indians who had as prisoners Abram Miller, his mother, and Adam Snell's daughter. Coming to some Indian cabins they saw another prisoner, a girl about eight or nine years old. She told them that she had been a prisoner since Christmas. While Ebert and his friend were eventually able to escape, Abram Miller's mother and Adam Snell's daughter were both killed, being unable to keep up with the Indian party.
In the same year two soldiers of the garrison at Fort Hamilton were walking among the scrub oaks and were killed by a party of Indians in an ambush. Detachments of soldiers were also sent from the fort to guard the harvesters, but the soldiers were too few to perform the duties required of them. Needless to say, the settlers were alarmed and the government could afford them little or no protection. They wrote to the governor:
"The Petition of the Few Remaining Inhabitants of the Township of Lower Smithfield, in the County of Northampton, and in the Province of Pennsylvania:"
In July 1757 Fort Hyndshaw was abandoned removing the Bushkill region's only protection. The Countryman and Hillman families, whose homes had been burnt in 1756, lived in Fort Hamilton, in Lower Smithfield. I expect most of the remaining families sought to sleep within that fort's protecting walls.
[July 1757] "At eight in the morning I called the men to exercise and gave them the necessary counsel how to behave according to the orders given to me by the Colonel; at which time complaints were made to me by some of the men, that some neighbors that resided in the fort were lousy [infested with lice], by which means the whole garrison would soon be in the same condition. I then ordered the corporal with three men to assist him to make a search, and he found that one Henry Cuntraman and his family, and one John Hillman and his family, were lousy. I ordered them out of the fort to their own houses, it being but eight or nine rods from the fort. I then employed the men to clean the fort within doors and without, which was accordingly done." - from the Journal of Captain VanettenA rod is 16.5 feets, so the homes described were only about 150 feet from the fort. I assume these were temporary shelters, replacing the homesteads that were burnt in Middle Smithfield.
". . . the "country all above this town [Easton] for fifty miles is mostly evacuated and ruined. The people have mostly fled into the Jerseys." - from "The First Century of Hunterdon County, State of New Jersey"The Hesom family fled as well, moving across the Delaware river to New Jersey. I don't know when they left, but Captain Vanetten's Journal shows an uptick in violence in April 1757, including the death and disembowelment of a Sergeant from Fort Hyndshaw. Was Thomas' daugther, Elizabeth, who was born about this time, born in Pennsylvania, or in New Jersey where the family had taken shelter during the awful Indian onslaught?
In May/June 1757 we find Thomas Hesom serving in the New Jersey militia.
|New Jersey Prepares for War
As the war with France and its Indian allies expanded New Jersey's Governor worked with the colonial Assembly to find means to combat the "Perfidious French with their Cruel Allies the Savage and Barbarous Indians." In March 1756 an Act was passed to raise a force of 250 men to support and replace the militia already in place "at the several Forts on the Frontiers."
Soon after reports were received of two Indian attacks, including one on the home of Anthony Swartwood. His wife and three children had been murdered and Anthony Swartwood and three of his children were missing.
The Act of 1756 had also authorized the construction of frontier forts. Four blockhouses were built in Sussex county along the Delaware River. By 1757 there were a total of six blockhouses: the largest, at Fort Johns, was the headquarters for the New Jersey colonial defenses, in Walpack township. Fort Nominack was to the north and Fort Walpack, at the old church, was to the south. There was also Fort Van Camp, in Pahquarry township, Fort Cole, at Port Jervis and and Fort Shipeconk, about 6 miles south of there. Eventually there would be a 14 forts and posts in northwestern New Jersey.
Towards the end of 1757 Pennsylvania sent a plea for assistance against the Indian "outrages" to the other colonies, but, in light of the Quaker Assembly's previous reluctance to fund a militia, New Jersey's Governor Belcher wondered, "if the people of Pennsylvania, who may readily raise twenty thousand or thirty thousand men, will do nothing for the defense of their country, or for saving the lives of their wives and children, I am afraid the Assembly of this poor little Province will not think it reasonable to send their people out of the Province."
Extract of a Letter from Lower Smithfield, to a Gentleman in the Jerseys,
Governor Belcher ordered a muster of the militia in Morris, Essex, Hunterdon, and Bergen counties against the French and Indians who are "burning and murdering at the Forks of the Delaware." New Jersey sent a 500-man regiment north to New York as part of the planned conquest of Canada and a further 200 to the defense of the frontier in Sussex county. On 22 October 1757 an act was adopted to provide 30 additional men to protect the frontier due to fresh alarms. An additional 150 men were authorized on 12 August 1758. The act also provided for the acquisition of 50 strong and fierce dogs to assist the troops in the pursuit and attack of Indians.
In March 1756, in response to the Indian raids, the New Jersey Colonial Assembly had passed "An Act for making current Ten Thousand Pounds, in Bills of Credit, to enable the Inhabitants of this Colony to protect and defend their Frontiers from any Invasions which may be made upon the same by the Enemy." This act made provision to defend the frontier along the Delaware river in Sussex county. It directed that a series of blockhouses be built and that a frontier guard of 250 men be raised to garrison the blockhouses.
"The first inroads of the savages were down the Susquehanna through Berks and Northampton Counties, across the Delaware into New Jersey. Some of the scalping parties penetrated within thirty miles of Philadelphia. A letter from Easton, dated December 25th, 1755, states that the "country all above this town for fifty miles is mostly evacuated and ruined. The people have mostly fled into the Jerseys . . . During the winter of 1755 and 1756 marauding parties of French and Indians hung around this western border. To guard against their incursions, a chain of forts and block houses was erected along the mountains and at favorable points on the east bank of the Delaware." - from "The First Century of Hunterdon County, State of New Jersey" by George S. Mott, 1878
Four blockhouses were built originally.
"The four sites selected were Fort Reading, twelve miles above East on in the modern town of Belvidere, Fort Van Campen on the property of Colonel Van Campen [who was head of the Sussex county militia], Fort Wallpack next to the present day Lower Wallpack Cemetery, and Fort Nominock, or Nomanock, opposite the island of the same name. Early in 1756 Governor Belcher appointed John Johnston and John Stevens to design and construct the four forts. Belcher's plan was to locate the forts within sight of each other, but the mountainous terrain and heavy forestation made this impossible. Rather, additional forts were added to the original four blockhouses. The exact date of construction for each is not known. By October 1757 there were seven fortified positions along the Delaware from Fort Reading to Fort Gardiner north of Port Jervis" - from "Historical Base Map: Delaware Water Gap Nation Recreation Area, New Jersey" by Lenard E. Brown
Jonathan Hampton was a quartermaster in the Frontier Guard and prepared a map, to the right, of New Jersey's frontier forts constructed as of 1758. The map is oriented northwest and shows the Delaware river, on the left, turning right as it passes Easton. The river turns to the right again, just after passing through the Water Gap, at Brodhead creek. The Walpack Bend is at the middle of the map, at the top. Further to the right is Port Jervis, New York, where the river swings hard left. Port Jervis marks the end of Sussex county. Note that at this time Sussex county, New Jersey included today's Warren county, thus it extended along the Delaware river past Easton. The river at the bottom is the Hudson, and New York City. An easier to interpet map is included below, to the right.
The yellow highlighted names on the map are the forts, usually just palisades around stout-built farm houses:
- Fort Reading, "a good blockhouse 36-ft square" inside a 60 foot square palisade, on Pequest riverFort Johns was the Guard's headquarters. Fort Brink was located around the house of Samuel Brink, not Thomas Hesom's brother-in-law, Thomas Brink. Both of the Forts called "New" may have only been notional at the time. There is no evidence for the exitence of a Fort at the Water Gap.
- Post No. 1, a two story stone house owned by a man named Ellison, a 13 man station
- New Fort at the Water Gap
- Fort Van Campen, a 20 foot square stone house surronded by a 65 foot square palisade
- Fort Walpack, the first frontier fort to be built, in 1756, a wooden church and a small blockhouse in a 50 foot square palisade
- Post No. 2, Adam Dingman's palisaded fortified house, a 9 man station
- Fort Johns, or Shapanack, a 120 foot square palisade enclosing two log houses, the home of Colonel John Rosencrans of the local militia, a 52x26 foot stone dwelling and a 50x24 foot blockhouse.
- Post No. 3, an 8 man station
- Fort Nominack [Namanock, Normanock], "same as VanKamps"
- Fort Brink, a 50x24 foot wooden dwelling within a 60 foot square palisade
- Fort Coles at the fork in the river at Port Jervis
- Post No. 4, the house of Urian Westfall, just to the right of Fort Coles, an 11 man station
- Another New Fort, on the right hand fork
- Fort Gardiner, below this latter fort and off the river, a wooden dwelling, 5 loghouses, palisaded 100 foot square, 2 swivel guns
Fort Walpack, directly across the river from Bushkill creek, encompassed the church in which Thomas Hesom's children had been baptized. "Hampton's map [above] shows a fort designated "Walpack" within the Walpack Bend, describing it as a wooden church and small blockhouse within a fifty-foot square palisade." The photograph to the left indicates what a stockade and blockhouse of the period would have looked like.
I think it likely that when the Hesom family first fled from their farmstead they went to Fort Hyndshaw, just to the north of them. Think of how the people, during the medieval period, sought safety in the castle when enemies invaded their lands. The difference here was that it would not be safe to return to the Hesom farm for at least another year. Later, when the Indian attacks became more than they could withstand, they fled across the Delaware river into New Jersey, probably residing, at least for a time, in Fort Walpack.
The Walpack church, a log cabin, would have provided a safe sleeping place for the women and children, while the men manned the walls and the blockhouse. Armed patrols would scout the local area and provide relief when rising columns of smoke revealed another Indian attack on an isolated farmstead.
Thomas may have become a member of the New Jersey militia in 1756, though his first muster report was not recorded until May 1757. The following notice was published by the New Jersey militia commander in July 1756.
"This is to give notice to all able bodied freeman not inhabitants of the county who are willing to enter the service of the province of New Jersey in defending the frontier parts of said province, that on their application to me the subscriber at Fort Johns or elsewhere in the county of Sussex they shall immediately be enlisted and be upon the province pay at TWO SHILLINGS proclamation money per day dated 22 June, 1756 (signed) Colonel Jacob De Hart Commander of the forces on the frontier service."Thomas, forced off his land, would have been reduced to being a common laborer in a New Jersey flooded by other refugees. The pay promised in the advertisement above would have been enticing. He would also have been eager to revenge the loss of his daughter and his homestead.
"A tour of duty in the Guard lasted 30 days, and consisted of ranger style patrols of 6 to 8 men between the chain of thirteen forts . . ." - from Watching the Minisink.
The frontier guard did not remain inside their stockades. Captain Salmare, of Fort Van Campen, is recorded on a scouting mission across the river, in Pennsylvania, in January 1756 with 25 men when they "found upwards of 50 Indians attacking" the house of Daniel Depuy. The patrol drove off the attack in which two men in the house had been killed. 18 survivors were led to safety, across the river, at Fort Van Campen.
In early May 1757, under the authority of the Act mentioned above, Governor Belcher of New Jersey sent a force of 120 militia to the frontier. This was in response to a "Complaint & Certain Advice of the Indians Killing and Scalping Several Persons." These men were divided into 3 companies, Capt. Lemuel Bowers' Morris county company, Capt. Andries Ten Eick's Somerset county company, and Capt David Stout's Hunterdon county company. Capt Stout's unit was, according to one source, in Colonel John Johnson's regiment. A muster was taken and Thomas Hyson was listed as serving in Captain Stout's company. The enlistments with the Frontier Guard, like that of the Northampton militia, were for one month.
"A Muster Roll of the Detachment from Hunterdon County under the Command of Captain David Stout from the 9th May 1757 to the 11th June following InclusiveNote a couple of things. One, Thomas Hisom was listed directly after the Sergeants. That may mean he was considered to be somewhat senior, analagous to a Corporal. He was later a Sergeant. Second, both Captain David Stout and Sergeant Andrew Smith were from Hopewell township in Hunterdon county, a township which included Thomas Hesom's birthplace, Trenton. Stout and Smith disappear after this.
Capt. David Stout
Lieut. John Wood
Daniel Territt, Sergt.
Lewis Pierce, Sergt.
Daniel Ganoe, Sergt. Ranger
Andrew Smith, Sergt.
Lawrence Hoff . . ." - from “Muster Rolls of Forces on the Frontiers of New Jersey, 1757-1758” by Thomas B. Wilson, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Volume 62, No. 1, January, 1987
I don't recognize the names of any of the other men in this muster. The other county militias were from Morris and Somerset counties. A couple of scenarios suggest themselves.
- Thomas may have fled south, all the way to Hunterdon county, where Captain Stout recruited him for his company. Could Thomas have even returned to his birthplace, Trenton, which was in Hunterdon county at the time? Might his parents have still been living there?
- The other scenario is more prosaic, but makes more sense to me. Captain Stout and most of his company probably came from Hunterdon county, but, after having been ordered to the frontier by Governor Belcher, other men were recruited locally, from around the Fort, and were placed in Stout's company to bring the unit up to strength, or to replace soldiers whose term of service was completed. Thomas was most likely one of these local recruits.
Hunterdon County was created in 1714 and was, at the time, the largest county in the state. It extended from the Assunpink Creek in Trenton to the New York state border. Old Hunterdon county was split in 1739, the northern part forming Morris County. Morris county was split in 1753, the western part, bordering the Delaware river, forming Sussex County. Sussex was split in 1824, the southern part forming Warren county. In 1838 Hunterdon county was split again, the southern part forming Mercer County, which included Trenton. Somerset was an inland county.
|Captain David Stout
David Stout was born in 1706 in Hopewell, Hunterdon county, New Jersey. He inherited a farm from his father, Jonathan Stout, in 1722 located east of Hopewell borough, on Stony Brook road. Hopewell is north of Trenton. In the 1750's Hopewell township encompassed Trenton. The head of the Hunterdon militia company - from "Pioneers of Old Hopewell" by Ralph Ege, 1908.
On 3 June 1757 the New Jersey Colonial Assembly passed "An Act for the raising and maintaining One Hundred and Twenty effective men, for the Defense of the Frontiers of the Colony of New Jersey." The privates were to be paid 20 pence a day [£2 10s per month], the sergeants 2 shillings, Lieutenants 3 shillings and the Captain 4. Each was to provide himself with "with a good and sufficient Musquet, Cartouch Box, Powder-Horn, Cutlas or Hatchet, Blanket, Knapsack, and Wearing-Apparel."
This force replaced the county militias, raised by the previous Act, which had come forward to defend the frontier. Captain Richard Gardiner, of the Sussex county militia, took command on 8 June 1757 and another muster was taken. Of the earlier county force of 120 men, 84 had gone home and were replaced by 79 new men. Thomas Hesom remained on.
"Muster Roll of the Provincial Forces Commanded by Capt. Richard Gardiner on the Frontiers of New Jersey from the 8th of June to the 20th day of July 1757Note again that on a list of 120 men, Thomas is entered very high. In addition to his three Lieutenants, Captain Gardiner was directed by the Act to designate six Sergeants and six Corporals.
Capt. Richard Gardiner
Lieut. John Wood
Lieut. John Rickey
Lieut. John Stull
Sergt. Samuel Butler
Benjamin Chamberlain . . ." - from “Muster Rolls of Forces on the Frontiers of New Jersey, 1757-1758” by Thomas B. Wilson, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Volume 62, No. 1, January, 1987
Amongst the Privates were Nicholas Brink, Anthony Bush, Hermanus Decker, Daniel Depuy, Jacob Swartwout, and Benj'n Swartwout who look like Bushkill creek residents.
- Nicholas Brink was of Walpack.
- Hermanus Decker was of Walpack.
- Daniel Depuy was of Lower Smithfield. In 1752 he, his brother Samuel, and Abraham Van Campen directed the construction of the RDC at Lower Smithfield.
- Benjamin Swartwout was of Upper Smithfield.
|Captain Richard Gardiner
Richard Gardiner was a Justice of Sussex County and Agent for the East Jersey Board of Proprietors in the County. In other documents he was referred to as a Colonel. He was a descendent of Thomas Gardiner, of Burlington, above.
At each enlistment, that is every month, the "soldier was was required to take an oath from Col. Abraham Van Campen, Richard Gardiner's co-commander, or Judge John Rosencrans with an officer as witness. A certificate would then be issued to the captain stating the recruit's age, height, complexion, and place of residence. These certificates would be compiled into a muster-roll, and at the end of the pay period, the paymaster would examine the certificates and certify the muster-roll." I wonder if those certificates still exist? Notice that frontier forts were built around the homes of all three of these officers.
Another muster was taken in September 1757.
"Muster Roll of Provincial Forces Stationed on the Frontiers of the Province of New Jersey under the Command of Capt. Richard Gardiner . . . from the 20th July to 12th September 1757 first day included.The preceding muster, and those to follow, are from a compositie list, so in some of the musters Thomas' name was shown as Hysom and in others as Hessom. All of the Privates noted above were present, with the addition of Cornelius Schoonover and Jacob Brink as those who look like Bushkill creek residents.
Capt. Richard Gardiner
Lieut. John Wood
Lieut. John Rickey
Lieut. John Stull
Sergt. Samuel Butler
Sergt. Joseph Barton
. . .
Hysom/Hessom, Thomas, Sergt. . . ." - from “Muster Rolls of Forces on the Frontiers of New Jersey, 1757-1758” by Thomas B. Wilson, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Volume 62, No. 1, January, 1987
The frontier was still a dangerous place. A John Doty was in Captain Richard Gardiner's company of the New Jersey Frontier Guard. He was killed and scalped in the fall of 1757 in a skirmish with Indians near the Delaware river - from an email on Rootsweb.com.
Another muster was taken in October 1757.
"Muster Roll of Provincial Forces Stationed on the Frontiers of the Province of New Jersey under the Command of Capt. Richard Gardiner . . . from the 12th September to 18th October 1757 first day includedAll of the Privates noted above were present, with the addition of Jacob Stroud.
Capt. Richard Gardiner
Lieut. John Wood
Lieut. John Rickey
Lieut. John Stull
Sergt. Joseph Barton
. . .
Hysom/Hessom, Thomas, Sergt. . . ." - from “Muster Rolls of Forces on the Frontiers of New Jersey, 1757-1758” by Thomas B. Wilson, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Volume 62, No. 1, January, 1987
Another muster was taken in December 1757.
"Muster Roll of Provincial Forces Stationed on the Frontiers of the Province of New Jersey under the Command of Capt. Richard Gardiner . . . from the 18th October 1757 to 2d December first day included.All of the Privates noted above were present, with the addition of James Brink for Jacob Brink, and John Lambertson. Jacob Swartout disappears.
Capt. Richard Gardiner
Lieut. John Wood
Lieut. John Rickey
Lieut. John Stull
Sergt. Samuel Butler
Sergt. Joseph Barton
. . .
Hysom/Hessom, Thomas, Sergt. . . ." - from “Muster Rolls of Forces on the Frontiers of New Jersey, 1757-1758” by Thomas B. Wilson, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Volume 62, No. 1, January, 1987
Another muster was taken in January 1758.
"Muster Roll of Provincial Forces Stationed on the Frontiers of the Province of New Jersey under the Command of Capt. Richard Gardiner . . . from the 2d December 1757 to 16th January 1758 first day included.In the first half of that year things were still ugly on the frontier.
Capt. Richard Gardiner
Lieut. John Rickey
Lieut. John Stull
Sergt. Samuel Butler
Sergt. Joseph Barton
. . .
Hysom/Hessom, Thomas, Sergt. . . ." - from “Muster Rolls of Forces on the Frontiers of New Jersey, 1757-1758” by Thomas B. Wilson, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, Volume 62, No. 1, January, 1987
"The building of the block houses and the enlistment of additional troops did not prevent entirely the Indian incursions [into New Jersey]. On May 15, 1758, about two o'clock in the afternoon, thirteen Indians rushed into the house of Nicholas Cole in his absence. They pinioned Mrs. Cole, tomahawked her son-in-law, scalped her eldest daughter, aged thirteen, a boy of eight, and her youngest daughter of four. They ran their spears into the infant in the mother's presence; they rifled the house and carried off Mrs. Cole and her son Jacob. On the same day another party killed and scalped a settler in Anthony Westbrook's field near Minisink; took two Germans captive, and joined the party which had massacred the Coles. Cole, upon his return home, secured the aid of soldiers from Fort Nomanock, buried the dead, and prepared to waylay the Indians on the road to Wyoming. About two o'clock at night the Indians were heard coming down the hill into the main road to cross the Delaware; one of the party fired upon the Indians who immediately fled, and Mrs. Cole and her son made their escape. On the same fifteenth of May, a man was wounded near Samuel DePuey's." - from "Sussex County Sesqui-Centennial" edited by Jacob L. BunnellThomas does not appear in any subsequent musters, which were taken in April and July 1758. By the time of the last muster only 50 members were noted arguing that, while the crisis had not entirely passed, the mission of the Frontier Guard was on the wane.
Captain Gardiner reported that on 12 June a Sergeant and 9 men of the frontier guard drove off two war parties trying to cross the Delaware river, one of 10 and the other of 14 braves, and recovered part of their plunder.
3 July 1758. "In the Course of my return I met with reports of a fresh invasion with a more numerous Enemy being intended . . . and therefore soon after I got home I sent orders to four Colonels of Militia from whom I had had no detachments, to muster 50 Men each & hold 'em ready to march to the assistance of Captn Gardner Commanding Officer of the frontier guard, whenever he should give notice of his wanting 'em, without waiting for orders from me . . . So that We have now on the frontiers 200 Men, who may be reinforced by 200 more in 2 days time: the whole force sufficient to oppose Any Enemy We can expect. But I hope That this business is over for the present: For as I informed your Lordships that I believed It would not have happened if the frontier guard had not been drawn off & I expect It will cease upon reestablishing a guard there." - from a letter of Governor Francis Bernard in "Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Post-Revolutionary History of New Jersey"The Governor sent a letter of complaint to the Delaware, or Lenai-Lenape, Indians blaming them for attacks on the "upper parts of the Delaware" which resulted in a conference held at Burlington on 7-8 August 1758. At this meeting the Indians requested a further meeting with the governments of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to establish a peace treaty.
Based on the level of hostilities I would guess that Thomas and his family stayed on the New Jersey side of the Delaware river, until after September 1758.
After 1757 the inroads of the Indians became less frequent. Efforts were made to bring about peace with the various tribes and the Delaware tribe was won over to the British side. As a result it was decided to abandon the Forts of the Minisink and the soldiers were moved south of the Wind Gap. In 1757 Fort Hyndshaw was abandoned and in 1758 Fort Hamilton was also given up. The Mohawk, however, were still fighting on the side of the French and in June 1758 they attacked the settlements north of the ungarrisoned Fort Hamilton.
Despite these latter attacks, peace did return to region by the end of 1758. At about that time the Quakers helped negotiate a settlement with the Eastern Delawares that dramatically calmed the situation in Pennsylvania.
Beginning in 1758 the new British Prime Minister, William Pitt, put into action a strategy which dramatically altered the situation in America, and around the world, throwing the French onto the defensive and leading to the most sweeping victory in war in the history of England.
A treaty was completed with the Delaware and Shawnee at Easton on 26 October 1758 and frontier life was not disrupted again until Pontiac's War in 1762. New Jersey reported that,
15 June 1759. "There has not been the least disorder committed near our frontier since the Treaty of Easton: I have disbanded the frontier guard, & the Country is in great tranquillity." - from "Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey"Thomas Hesom resigned from the New Jersey militia and returned to his homestead on Broadhead [Bushkill?] creek. Of course, I can't be certain that the property Thomas held on the Bushkill in 1766, below, was the same land he farmed before the Indian wars, but I don't see any reason why he wouldn't return to land he had already cleared.
The region quickly regained its prosperity.
"By 1758 Minisink flour was being transported to Philadelphia in large flat-bottomed Durham boats." - from "Pioneer America"Durham boats "were used as early as 1758, by John Van Campen, for the transportation of flour to Philadelphia, manufactured from wheat grown in the Minisink. Mr. Van Campen's mill was at Shawnee, and stood near where Mr. Wilson's mill is now located." - from "The Delaware Water Gap" by Luke Wills Brodhead. For a number of years the Van Campen grist mill was the primary market for the grain produced by Highlands farmers, and there is mention of John Van Campen transporting flour from the mill to Philadelphia in flat-bottomed Durham boats as early as 1758.
|The Durham Boat
The Durham Boat was a large wooden boat produced by the Durham Boat Company of Durham, Pennsylvania as early as 1750. They were designed by company owner Robert Durham to navigate the Delaware River and thus transport the products produced by the Durham Forges and Durham Mills to Trenton, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They were flat-bottomed boats with high vertical side which ran parallel to each other up to a point 12 to 14 feet from the boat's ends, where they then tapered. The boats were constructed of 1.25 inch thick planks andmeasured 40 to 60 feet long by 8 feet wide by 42 inches deep. They displaced a draft of 3.5 inches when light and 28 inches when fully loaded. They were designed to be able to carry a maximum load of 17 tons while traveling downstream and two tons while traveling upstream. Thus they could carry 150 barrels of flour or 600 bushels of corn. It took three men to operate the boats. Moving downstream they used 12 foot to 18 foot long "setting poles" mainly for steering and when moving upstream they used these poles to push the boats upriver. The crew walked back and forth on "walking boards" built into the sides of the boats. Some were later fitted for the use of oars.
These boats are most famous for their use in Washington's crossing of the Delaware during the American Revolution.
On 25 July 1759 British troops under the command of Sir William Johnson captured the French fort at Niagara after a long siege. Inside they found
"numerous English men, women and children, who had been held captive there, some of them for years . . . One young woman was Molly Heysham, carried off in a raid in "the Blue Mountains," probably the Virginia frontiers [sic], four year before;" - from Publications of the Buffalo N.Y. Historical Society.The Blue Mountains, known in New Jersey as the Kittatinny, formed the southern border of Lower Smithfield. The author of the citation above has confused this region with the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. Note the use of the name Heysham which the more cosmopolitan British officers would have "known" was the correct way to spell the name. Molly must have been carried off in 1755 and could have been as old as 10 at the time, or 14 when finally released. This would probably be the minimum age at which she could have been described as a "young woman" vice a child. The captives had been used as servants and laborers by the French and Indians of the fort.
"Heysham, Molly. Made captive "at the Blue Mountains," probabably in Virginia [sic], about 1755. She was found at Fort Niagara, with numerous other prisoners, when it surrendered to the British, July 25, 1759, and was no doubt sent to New York by way of Oswego, with the other rescued prisoners of the French and the surrendered garrison, which included a number of French women and children." - from "The Tale of Captives at Fort Niagara; Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, volume IX"Oswego was a French fort on the south shore of Lake Ontario. It was due north of Smithfield, in present day New York state. Molly's story was also cited in a contempory source, the New York Mercury of 20 August 1759.
There is no other evidence for Molly's existence so it cannot be determined whether she ever saw her folks again, but it was a long way back to Smithfield through hostile Indian territory, in the middle of a war that was to last 4 more years. I suspect she married a nice young man near the fort and settled down where she was.
|Historical Timeline: Reign of Kings
1760-1820 George III
The American & French Revolutions. Napoleanic Wars. During the King’s fits of madness the Prince of Wales ruled as Regent (the Regency period). Also Elector, later King, of Hanover.
By 1800 the population of England and Wales had exploded to 16.3 million.
In 1761 we have our first official records showing Thomas living again in Lower Smithfield township.
"Taxables in 1761.--Following is a partial assessment list of Smithfield for 1761:That is, while Thomas was taxable, he paid no taxes. Perhaps this is a reflection of the losses he incurred in fleeing the Indian attacks of 1755/56. After all, he did not return to his homestead until late 1758 or 1759. The tax list contains the usual assortment of Depui's, Shoemakers, etc., but I did not see Thomas' one-time neighbor, John Howey. We know that he escaped south during the troubles and he may have dawdled on his return. Samuel Depui, a wealthy man, had the highest assessment, at £60; a neighbor of Thomas, Henry Countryman, was at £4, and John Hillman, at £5. The latter's not bad after having been ejected for being lousy. 8 men out of a total of 78 had an assessment of £0.
"A Tax of three pence per pound and -- shillings per head Laid on the Estate and Inhabitants of Northampton in pursuance of an Act of general Assembly of this Province Entitled an Act for raising of County Rates & Levies to Defray Publick charges of each respective counties to pay for Representatives service in the General Assembly & to Defray the charges for Building & for Destroying wolves, Foxes heads & crows with such other uses as may be redolent (relevant) to the publick service and Benefit of each county Respectively.
Assessed the 1st Day of September 1761.
. . .
Lower Smithfield Township
Garck Vanfleet, Collector
. . .
Thomas Hessom . . . 0" - from "History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania"
Thomas was witness to the will of Thomas Brink of Walpack, the husband of Catherina's sister, Anne.
"1761, Dec. 8. Brink, Thomas, of Walpack Twsp., Sussex Co., yeoman; will of. Wife, Anne, 1/2 of my whole estate, and at her death the whole to be given to my 11 children, viz., Nicholas, James, Eve, Hendrika, Rachel, Cathrine, Sarah, John, Thomas, Yanatie, and Franzintie. Executors — Emanuel Gonsales, of Upper Smithfield, Northampton Co., Penna., and my wife. Witnesses — Thomas Hesom, James Bartron, Joseph Chestnore. Proved June 25, 1763.The Brink family lived in the Walpack precinct not far from the church. Of the children in Thomas Brink's will above, Nicholas, James, Eva, Hendrickje and Franzintie were the children of Thomas' first wife, Francis Schoonhoven, the others belonged to Anne.
1762, July 7. Inventory, £64.3.0, made by Thomas Hesom, and John Westbrook. Lib. 11, p. 466."
- from "Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Administrations, etc" by Elmer Tindall Hutchinson, 1947
Thomas' inventory partner, John Westbrook, may be Johannes Cornelius Westbrook, who was born in 1725 in Kingston, Ulster county, New York. He moved to Walpack, where he resided no later than 1754. There is also a Joseph Westbrook, of Ulster county, who settled in Walpack township circa 1750 - a brother? He was captain of the militia, probably circa 1763.
Thomas Brink's executor, Emanuel Gonsales, was a leading member of the community. His name is widely noted throughout this page. James Bartron, of Walpack, was the son of David Bartron. His daughter, Sarah, would marry Thomas Brink's youngest son, Thomas Jr., in 1786.
|What the Heck was Manuel Gonsales Doing in Colonial Pennsylvania?
This was Emanuel Gonsales, sometimes as Gonzalez, Gunsaulus, or Gunsalis.
The suffix is sometimes Dolk or Duck and, while some researchers want to read this as Duke, I suspect, in line with Spanish surname practice, it denoted the family name of Emmanuel's mother. He was probably a Spanish Puritan or Huguenot who fled Spain, or more likely the Spanish Netherlands, for America. There were supposedly three brothers who came at the same time: Peter, Manuel and Richard, but there is no further information on the other brothers or their descendents. Emmanuel lived amongst the Dutch in Ulster county, New York. He first married Marritje Christoffels [Christophers] Davids. His second wife was Rebecca Westfall. Manuel died on 18 April 1758 and was buried in Wurtsboro, Sullivan county, New York.(19) Emmanuel Gonsales (1694)
(18) Emmanuel Gonsales-Duk (c1670)
The eldest son of Emmanuel and Marritje, he was baptized on 16 November 1694 in Kingston, Ulster county, New York. He married Rymerick Quick on 25 September 1719 in Kingston. He settled in Wurtsboro. His father, Emmanuel Sr., died while visiting him there and was so buried in Wurtsboro.(20) Emanuel Gonsales (c1720)
(18) Emmanuel Gonsales-Duk (c1670) (19) Emmanuel Gonsales (1694)
Emanuel is mentioned in many documents about the Minisink, usually associated with the leading men of the community. He first married Rachel Louw. His second wife was Jannetjen, the daughter of Jacob van Etten.
"March 23, 1750 Manuel Gonsales, widower of Rachel Louw, dwelling at Memmekatting to Jannetje Van Etten, young woman, born at Nepenack and dwelling at Nameback, married the 23d ditto." - from "Jacobus Jansen Van Etten" by Eva Alice ScottShe was born 20 April 1729. They resided near Bushkill, Pennsylvania.
Emanuel Gonsales was an associate of Redolphus [sic] Schoonover and Lieutenant James Hyndshaw, Thomas Hesom's commanding officer. In 1763 Lt. Hyndshaw and Emanuel Gonsales organized a petition of Pennsylvania's Colonial Governor, Andreas Digman, to obtain state assistance in the face of renewed Indian attacks. Hyndshaw recommended that Emanuel be designated the Commissary for the district during the emergency. Emanuel was also mentioned in the 1773/4 will of Bernardus Swartsworth [Swartwout] Sr., of Delaware township, as a friend. Bernardus was the father-in-law of Thomas Hesom's second wife, Elizabeth Brink. Emanuel was the exectutor of several Denmark family wills in the 1750's.
During the run-up to the Revolution Emanuel was elected to the Committee of Observation for Northampton county in 1774. Others included Peter Kachline, Jacob Arndt, John Wetzel, and Nicholas Depui Sr, the leaders of the community.
Emanuel Gonsales [could this be his son?] served in the Revolution as First Lieutenant of the 10th Company, Mamakating Precinct, of James Clinton's Second Regiment of the Ulster county militia. He fought at Fort Montgomery, as did John Hissom, Thomas Heson's eldest son.
The will of Manuel Gonsales, of Delaware township, was probated on 20 March 1789.
In 1760 or 1762 David, my forebear and the last son of Thomas Hesom, was born. Since there is no record of his baptism this may indicate he was was born on the earlier date, before a new minister was found to replace the one who had fled at the beginning of the Indian troubles. Note that his sister-in-law said that he was 2-years older than he claimed.
Catherina Kleyn died after about 1760-2, perhaps in the birth of her last child, David, or during the Indian troubles of 1763-64.
|Pontiac and the Indian Troubles of 1763-1764
For five years the peace was kept, with only occasional attacks and reprisals. In 1763, however, the chief of the Delawares was killed by a party of Mohawk warriors, burnt alive in his own house. The Mohawk had been accustomed to look upon the Delawares with contempt as "women" and not true warriors, and were not happy with the Delaware's role in securing a peace. The Mohawk then blamed the death on local white settlers which incited the Delaware to break the peace. This occurred at the same time as the rising of Pontiac's War in the west.
Pontiac had put together a wide-ranging alliance of tribes, some of whom descended again on Northampton county, the outlier of Pennsylvania settlements. Smithfield was struck hard and many cabins were burned and their occupants killed. Refugees once again clogged the trails heading south. Panic spread as far as Philadelphia, where the Assembly met to address the danger. Attacks continued in the Smithfield region into 1764. The defeat of Pontiac in the west, and the effect of an aroused militia, finally succeeded in stopping the attacks, but not before more than 60 settlements had been burned.
There is an excellent old movie, "Drums Along the Mohawk," starring Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert, and directed by John Ford, that gives a good feel to life on the frontier under the threat of Indian attack.
As news of military disasters in the west trickled in over the early summer of 1763, the Smithfield settlement became alarmed that the savage raids of 1755 were about to be repeated. The citizens asked the governor for aid in their defense.
August 14th 1763.Johann Jacob Wetterholt, the courier of the letters above, had led a company stationed at Fort Hamilton in Lower Smithfield. I believe he may have been the Captain Wetherhold/Wetterhold who also commanded a company at Samuel Depui's "fort" in 1756. He was killed while defending a homestead in Allen township, south of the Blue Mountains, in October 1763. This attack was part of a large raid in October 1763. The Assembley, in Philadelphia, responded by voting ". . . the sum of twenty-four thousand pounds be granted to his majesty, for raising, paying, and victualing eight hundred men (officers included), to be employed in the most effectual manner for the defence of this Province." - from "History of Northampton County, Pennsylania" of 1877. An aroused militia soon put these attacks to an end.
Friend Andreas Digman
Last night we got home from Bethlehem, & we give you this notice as quick as possible, and by advise to us, we are desired that the whole of the inhabitants of Upper Smithfield Township [Bushkill] might meet together at some convenient place in said Township, which we think may be most proper at your house, therefore it is highly needful, in order to settle an affair which will turn out to the advantage of the whole in general, especially if these, like troublesome times should continue. If you think proper to warn the whole of the people above you, all above sixteen years of age, for the more the better, we shall use our endeavor to warn all to your house and be there next Tuesday, at ten O Clock before noon because it requires haste. Other news we will let alone until we meet. Our respects to your family. We are your friendsManuel Gonsales
August 17, 1763
Dear Sir, I have taken your advise as soon as I possibly could yesterday, I went up to the Middle of Upper Smithfield [Bushkill], and there met with 62 of the Inhabitants, and there wrote a Petition, which they all cheerfully signed, & is here enclosed, but nevertheless after all my trouble taken when it came to raise money amongst them for defraying expenses for two men & their horses in bringing down said Petition to the Governor & others, the whole could not, or rather would not, nor did it raise more than 20/11 for said expenses. The rest about that if you please I will leave to you to judge, at your discretion. Such like usage puts me in mind of what you was pleased to say as relating to the people up this way when I was last with you. After I left them last night, a few of them met, and had signed the within Petition which you may see, went over on the Jersey side, and there got one William Ennis & a New England man to write another Petition, and in spite to the now inclosed one they signed yesterday and unknown to the Inhabitants have fixed their names to the same in order that they may have Commissions for any men that might be raised for the defence truly intended, and then if they can procure to their will the men so raised will be accepted towards the upper end of the Township and no good done, only a few families, and then that will be a constant frolick and drinking of rum, much like the Indian mode. Now Sir in relation to the man carrying the petition with an intent to make this one void, his name is John Cordright, he has been in the Jersey Blues, last war, and there he did desert, and he is the one that pretends to expect the Captain's Commission (for any men if any should be raised) for Upper Smithfield. A great deal more I could make good if I was personally present. I am sincerely sorry for the greatest part of this Township and as it would be hard for them to suffer for 5 or 6 obstinate, selfish & ignorant, in said Township, and therefore I desire your favor you will please as soon as may be send the within to the Governor, who I hope will consider our Township, which is really the frontier up the Delaware, I hope & beg if the Governor & Assembly will be pleased to grant the assistance of only 30 men, which will be rather better than Eastons 25. Now Sir, if we may be allowed 30 men, pray use your interest that I may be Captain of the same, as I have been heretofore long in the service, and always behaved well, and did my duty carefully & cheerfully, let Andreas Dingman be Lieutenant as he lives about the middle of the Township, and is a good honest farmer. Let Manuel Gonsales be Commissary to find the men, who will undertake it, and do it well at 5/6 per week. If anything is likely to be done in our favor pray let me know, and I will come down to Bethlehem as soon as I hear from you. Please give my kind Complements & regards to Mrs. Horsfield, and accept the same Dear Sir.Your real friend most Humble Servant
My compliments to Mr. & Mrs. Bomper, J.H.
To Timothy Horsfield ESQR
Per favor of Captn Jacob Wetterholt
August 18th. 1763
Since enclosing the petition to you sent by Captn Jacob Wetterholt it has been in my mind to put a date to the Petition or the letter is entirely forgot. Be pleased to put the date to the petition the 16th inst. to the letter the 17th. The reason of my forgetting was the noise, and rather the botheration of the people at that time round about me, and the want of a convenient place to do such like business in. But nevertheless Sir, I wholly depend on your doing everything in your power and good will, for the back Inhabitants of Upper Smithfield Township, which always I hope, shall be able to return with great thanks & acknowledgments.I am dear Sir Your very humble Servant
To Timothy Horsfield ESQR
North of the Blue Mountains, however, the raids continued in the more sparsely defended township of Smithfield.
"Extract of a Letter from Philadelphia, dated Oct. 27. 1763.
Our Indian depredations on our frontiers still continue. Last night an express arrived in town, with an account of twenty-four people being murdered in Smithfield township by those savages. Is it not a pity so many innocent people should be thus butchered in their own houses, from time to time, an no steps taken to prevent it, although these depredations began the latter end of May, and near two hundred of our inhabitants have been murdered; yet no proposals have been made for securing the people by the several governors, nor any plan laid before them for a general union of the colonies : and unless such an union be formed for their defence, thousands of his Majesty's innocent subjects will lose their lives, and the colonies be thrown into the utmost confusion, and thereby ruined." - from "The London Magazine" of 1763
"February 10th, 1764, Indians, to the number of fifty, attacked the farm of James Russel, Northampton county, near Fort Penn [today's Stroudsburg]; burnt his barn, killing one of his sons, and carrying off another. Officers at that post pursued, but did not overtake the Indians."By the autumn of 1764, however, the defeat of Pontiac in the west and the effectiveness of the militia response had induced the Indians to request a peace.
"February 26th, John Russel, brother of the lads before mentioned, was attacked by three Indians. He took to a tree, and received three fires from each, returned as many, and drove them off. One shot passed through his hat, another through the sleeve of his coat, and the third wounded him slightly in the calf of the leg." - from "History of Northampton County, Pennsylania" of 1877
In the aftermath of the French & Indian Wars England and their American colonies begin to drift apart. The British government was consumed by the need to pay off their massive war debt while the Americans, no longer needing protection against the French, became less and less inclined to defer to British interests and concerns.
|The American Revolution Begins
For the first 150 years of the colonies' existence they had been loyal subjects of the crown. Following the French and Indian Wars, 1754-1763, tensions between colonists and the government in London began to rise. The problem was that the colonies had been left alone to govern and protect themselves for so long that they had begun to see this as their right. A clumsy attempt by the King and Parliament to reassert their authority caused a gulf to develop between King and subject.
First, in an attempt to ease tensions with native Americans, George III signed the Proclamation of 1763 which prohibited settlement west of the Appalachian mountains. Frontier farmers, like the Heyshams, felt that their government had betrayed them in favor of the Indians.
In 1764 the Parliament took several measures to raise money to pay off the war debt. These included the Sugar Act, which increased duties on imports and prohibited the import of foreign rum, and a reorganization of the customs system to better enforce current trade laws which had often been ignored in the past. These actions resulted in an increase in smuggling and in bitter confrontations with authorities. At this point, if the King had asked the colonial governments to help him raise money they probably would have done so, after the normal debate, through taxing themselves. As it was, they felt ignored and their rights, as Englishmen, violated.
In 1765 the Parliament passed the Stamp Act. This was a tax on correspondence and legal documents meant to to pay for the defense of the colonies. The colonists, who felt they had already paid for their own defense through their militias, organized a boycott of British goods that forced the repeal of this law in 1766. The Quartering Act, also passed in 1765, required the colonists to house British troops and supply them with food. This raised ancient fears of a standing army. Why, the citizens asked, do you want to quarter troops in our towns when the danger was on the frontier, unless it was to suppress our rights? The Sons of Liberty formed in many towns to fight these laws.
The Townshend Acts, more taxes, were enacted in 1767 and more boycots ensued. Taxation without representation evolved as the key issue in 1768. Customs officers were increasingly subjected to threats and violence.
In March 1770 British soldiers fired on a Boston mob that had been harassing them. Five civilians were killed and six injured. The event was propagandized into the Boston Massacre.
"The roads constructed in the Minisink prior to the year 1800 were little more than bridle-paths, and the streams were without bridges, so that wagons were not in use, excepting very rudely-built carts, made entirely of wood, for service on the farm only. The wheels were solid, made from cross-sections cut from a large log, with holes through the centre to admit the axle. The products of the land, the hides and furs of wild animals, etc., were conveyed to market in winter on sleds, while the lighter articles for sale or barter were conveyed on horse-back. As in all newly-settled countries, this was, from necessity, the favorite mode of travel. All classes became fearless riders, and it was not unusual to see two and sometimes three of a family on one horse riding to church . . ." - from "History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania."
A researcher of the Howey family notes a warrant for a property in Smithfield, Pennsylvania in 1766:
"John Howey shown next to Thomas Hessam in Smithfield. Warrant Appl. #2538; Survey map C-86-136" - from "Ancestors of Robert T. Howey."Since Thomas' name was noted in the list of land warrants I'll assume that means that he owned his land.
I recently received an email from Ed Howey.
The East Side Register, warrant #1681 shows:
While researching my ancestor, John (of Smithfield) Howey, I came across a couple of warrant survey maps which showed John as owner of property that adjoined property of Thomas Hessam. John Howey appears as a notation on the maps of Thomas Hessam property. At this particular time, John Howey was actively engaged in transactions for land near Big Bushkill Creek in the area that is now southern Pike/northern Monroe county.
The East Side Warrant Register lists 2 warrants issued to Thomas Hessam--ES1681 granted 7/1/1766 for 300 acres in Middle Smithfield, Northampton County; and ES2538 dated 4/1/1767 for 200 acres in Lower Smithfield. The former provided a survey map location--C- 86-136. The other warrant did not provide a survey reference. It does not appear that John Howey held property along Brodhead Creek, although I can't say that he did not with certainty. Also, Thomas Hessam may have acquired property other than that granted in the above warrants. For research, start at Land Records.
"Date: 2 July 1766. No. 1681. Applicant: Thomas Hesam. Acres: 300. Copied Where: C 86. Survey Copied: 136. Descripton: in Lower Smithfield Tp Nn Co Westward of Samuel Depu and John Howey including his improvement. Survey: M. SmithfieldNote that in this survey Thomas' surname was actually spelled as Hesam, not Hessam. Samuel Depui's homestead was on the river road, just below Bushkill creek, near the Delaware river [see the map towards the top of the page]. A later grant deed indicated that Thomas' land was west of the road between Marshall Creek and Bushkill, i.e. the river road. By the way, Marshall creek was named for Edward Marshall, the successful walker, or runner, in the "Walking Purchase." James Hyndshaw 1723
Retd 5 July 1814 to Samuel Johnston"
The patentee in 1814 was Samuel Johnson. He is mentioned, as is Thomas Hesom, towards the bottom of the page at Johnson. Johnson's patent was dated 5 July 1814, but the warrant of Thomas Hesam was dated 2 July 1766.
The plat map for Thomas' land is at C86-136. The plat description reads:
"In pursuance of an application dated the 2nd day of July 1766 No. 1681 surveyed the 23rd day of March 1811. The above described Tract of land Granted unto Thomas Hesam, situate in the valley over the River hill [Kill] in Middle Smithfield Township, about two miles from the River Delaware in Wayne County containing one hundred and thirty three acres, and twenty eight perches and allowance of six pr. ct. fee.
To Andrew Porter Esquire Surveyor General-Penna.
pr. Jno Brink D.S."
What does "situate in the valley over" mean? I suppose this means that Thomas lived up the slope of the valley, or perhaps just on the other side of the ridge. In writing about the River Road that connected the towns of the Minisink along the Delaware river, a writer notes, "This road extended from present-day Stroudsburg to Milford PA and Port Jervis NY, and follows the course of present day Route 209. Since there were a number of residents in Bushkill in the 1750's (Peters, Hyndshaw, Schoonover and Gonzales), a lesser road or bridle path must have existed from Bushkill across the ridge known as the Hog Back to the Walpack ferry, as well." A 'hog back' refers to a ridgeline, sharply peaked like the backbone of a wild pig. There is an "Old Hogback Road wetland" in the Walpack region.
"The Delaware, coming from the northeast, impinges upon the solid sandstone wall of the "Hog's Back," the prolongation of the ridge dividing the two "Buried Valleys." This ridge bristles with attenuated firs, and hence its appropriate name. The Big Bushkill and Little Bushkill Creeks, uniting, flow in from the the west, and the Delaware turns sharply eastward and back upon itself around the ridge into the other valley, and resumes its course southwest again down to the Water Gap." - from "America, Picturesque and Descriptive" by Joel Cook
If Thomas' property was about two miles from the River Delaware, and in the valley of the River Kill, that would put it near today's Shoemaker - see Google Earth for this spot on the Bushkill. Shoemaker is part of Middle Smithfield. In 1769 Daniel Shoemaker was a near neighbor of Thomas', as were Paul Kerper, Hans Dewit and John Howey. See Paul Kerper's warrant #3782, below. On the hand drawn map of the region, above, this would be about 1/3rd of the way to the homestead of Henry Van Wey. However, this was not in Wayne county. I assume that was a clerical error.
Thomas' neighbors per the plat were Isaac Sidman, Paul Kerper, Martain Overfield, Philip Trach, Conrad Kinter [Kintner], John Tock and Samuel Gunsaless [Gonsales, Gonzales].
- Isaac Sidman of Easton, just south of the Blue Mountains, was a surveyor and real estate speculator. I suspect Sidman was absentee landlord of the Bushkill property. Early in the Revolutionary War he was elected a Lieutenant Colonel of the Flying Camp, under Peter Kichline [Kachlein], but he was subsequently removed for lack of experience. Thomas Hesom's sons, William and Abner, belonged to Kichline's battalion. Sidman died in 1807.
- Paul Kerper may be the Paul Kerper of Reading, in Berks county, northwest of Philadelphia. He is listed in the warrant register.
- Martain, or Martin, Overfield was the son of Paul Overfield, an emigre from Germany. He lived and died in Middle Smithfield, but he would have been only 10 years old in 1766, so his inclusion indicates the plat map was made at a later date, though not in 1811 when Samuel Johnson became patentee because Isaac Sidman had already died in 1807. Martain served in Captain Henry Shoemaker's 5th Company of the 5th Battalion of the Northampton county militia from 1780 to 1782. Martin Overfield had 25 acres per the Tax List of 1796 of Middle Smithfield. Martain Jr's daughter married the Sarah Mosier, a relation of Maiten Mosier, above.
- Philip Trach [Track]
"Ezekial Schoonover with Hannah, his wife, of Delaware Twp., Pike Co., Pa,, deed to Philip Trach of Middle Smithfield, property conveyed by Richard Penn. former Governor of Pennsylvania, to William Allen and by Allen to Barnardus Swartwood, and from Barnardus to his dau, . . ." - from "Twigs from Family Trees" by Edward Coolbaugh HoaglandBernardus Swartwood Jr. was the first husband of Elizabeth Brink, the second wife of Thomas Hesom. His father, Bernardus Sr., died on 24 March 1774 in Lehman township, Northampton county. Philip and Peter Trach were on the Tax List of 1814 for Delaware township. A Philip Track was in the 1820 census of Upper Smithfield, Pike county.
|Bushkill Village and the Gonzales Family
Bushkill was first settled by the Gonzales or Gunsaulis, the Smiths, Schoonovers, and later the Hellers, Peterses and others. Manuel Gonzales, a Spaniard, lived in Bushkill as early as 1750, and perhaps earlier. He had two sons,- Manuel and Samuel. A Gonzales is buried at Wurtsboro', and is said to be the first white man buried in Orange County. His name was Manuel, that and Samuel being favorite names in the family.
Old Manuel Gonzales had seven daughters. Among them were Catharine (wife of John Turner) and Elizabeth, who was taken to Canada by the Indians when seven years old. She and her father were hunting for the horses just back of the Bushkill Church, on the Delaware flats. The Indians saw them and started in pursuit. Mr. Gonzales jumped into a washout near the river and was concealed, but little Lizzie ran in a different direction and was captured. They heard her scream when she was taken. The first night of their encampment they wished to kill her, but an old Indian said, "No, she was a smart little girl, and he would take care of her." They took her to Canada, where she lived for thirty-two years, and married an Indian chief, by whom she had two children, who died. An old man afterward came to Bushkill and remarked that if Gonzales would give him a mug of cider he would tell him where his daughter was. The man's description was so accurate that Mr. Gonzales and a neighbor went in search of her. They found her as described, but she did not wish to return. Although her husband and children were dead, she was with difficulty prevailed upon to abandon the life she had so long followed. She remembered that she had lived beside a large river, that a horse jumped over the fence and killed itself, and certain apples that she used to eat. She also remembered that her name was Lizzie, but she had forgotten her other name. She married Peter Quick, of Belvidere, after her return.
Manuel Gonzales married Betsy Overfield, and lived and died in Lehman. He had one son, Manuel, who married Sarah Courtright, and lived in Smithfield, a little below Bushkill. His children were Betsey (wife of Barney Decker, a farmer in Smithfield), Ann (wife of George Kintner), Margaret, Susan (wife of Martin Overfield), Sarah (wife of Jacob Cortright), Heister Gunsaulis (married Elizabeth Trach and lived near the homestead), William (married Mary Kirwan, and lived near the former), James and Samuel moved to New York, and Mary married Andrew Fritchee.
Samuel Gonzales married Elsie De Witt, moved from Bushkill to Smithfield and lived on a farm; Catharine was the wife of Jacob Miller, a farmer, who lived in Smithfield; Mary married John Shoemaker; Sarah was the wife of Henry Peters, a merchant in Bushkill. He was appointed postmaster in 1812. It is not certain that he was the first postmaster, but he was the earliest official remembered. Israel Bensley lived in the log house where Mrs. E.E. Peters' hotel now stands. That is also the old Manuel Gonzales place. Henry Peters was a son of Peter Peters, of Philadelphia. He was a merchant, hotel-keeper and postmaster until 1857. His widow resides with her children, and is in her ninetieth year. She possesses a retentive memory and has furnished the writer with most of the facts in relation to the Gonzales family. - from the "History of Pike County"
The East Side Register, warrant #2538 shows:
"Date: 27 April 1767. No. 2538. Applicant: Thomas Heysham. Acres: 300. Copied Where: ___ Survey Copied: ____ Description: bounded by a tract called the Round Meadows in the possession of Nicholas Depui & John Howeys land inclg his impt in said Towp & Coty. Survey: ___."
Round Meadows . . .
Thomas married again sometime in, or soon after, 1768. Based on baptismal records of the Lower Smithfield Dutch Reformed Church and other records, I believe he married Elizabeth Brink Swartwout. She was Lambert Brink's great-grand-daughter, through Lambert's youngest son, Pieter Lambertsen Brink, and his son, Cornelius. She was the widow of Bernardus Swartwout Jr., who died in 1768. I think the local minister, seeing Thomas, with five sons and no wife, and Elizabeth, with six sons and no husband, brought the two together for their mutual benefit. I do not believe the two had any children together.
While I still like the story above, I now think the marriage of Thomas and Elizabeth was a family arranged affair. Thomas Brink, who lived across the Delaware river in Walpack, was Thomas Hesom's brother-in-law, they having married the sisters Ann and Catherina Kleyn. He was also the cousin, from the preceding generation, of Elizabeth Brink and his mother was a Swartwout, related to Elizabeth's late husband, Bernardus. So, while Thomas Brink had died earlier in the decade, family relationships existed that brought Thomas Hesom and Elizabeth Brink Swartwout together.
|The Brink family
The word Brink means "park, square or village green" in the Dutch language.(17) Lambert Huybertsen Brink (1638)
He was born in 1638 in Wageningen, Gelderland, Netherlands. He married Hendrickje Cornelisse while in the Netherlands and before his emigration to America. He arrived in New Amsterdam in December, 1659 aboard the GELOOVE (FAITH). On 12 February 1696 he made and executed his last will and testament, which will was proved on 11 April 1702. He died in Hurley, Ulster county, New York.(18) Huybert Lambertsen Brink (1656)
(17) Lambert Huybertsen Brink (1638)
The eldest son of Lambert and Hendrickje. He was born in July 1656 in Gelderland. He married Hendrickje Swartwout on 16 March 1679 in Kingston, New York. He died in Hurley, New York.(19) Thomas Brink (1685)
(17) Lambert Huybertsen Brink (1638) (18) Huybert Lambertsen Brink (1656)
Thomas Brink was born on 6 December 1685 in Kingston, Ulster county, New York, the third son of Huybert and Hendrickje. He first married Francis Schoonhoven on 15 May 1729 in Kingston. ". . . Thomas Brink purchased 1,210 acres of land at Lower Walpack, just above the river bend Oct. 10, 1725, and donated and deeded 1737, to the "Christian people" of that community the church and burial grounds for the First Walpack Church, near the bend." - from "The Rosenkrans Family in Europe and America" by Allen Rosenkrans. Nicholas, James, Eva, Hendrickje and Franzintie were the children of Thomas and Francis.
Second he married Anne Kleyn, the sister of Catherina Kleyn, Thomas Hesom's wife, in about 1740. He died in 1761 in Montague, Sussex county, New Jersey. Rachel, Catherine, Sarah and John were Thomas and Anne's children.(18) Pieter Lambertsen Brink (1670)
(17) Lambert Huybertsen (Brink)
He was the youngest child of Lambert and Hendrickje, baptized on 26 Jun 1670 in Kingston/Hurley, Ulster county, New York. He died on 2 May 1757 in Minisink, Orange county, New York. He was married to Geertruy Matthysen Nieuwkirk in about 1692 in New York.(19) Cornelius Brink (1697)
(17) Lambert Huybertsen (Brink) (18) Pieter Lambertsen Brink (1670)
Cornelius was born on 25 July 1697 in Kingston. He married Maria Cool (Kool) on 14 December 1724. She was christened on 20 June 1708 at the Kingston Dutch Reformed Church, Ulster County, New York. Her parents were Harom Kool and Cornelia Vanleuven. The Kools (Cools) had been in America since before 1647.(20) Elizabeth Brink (1732)
(17) Lambert Huybertsen (Brink) (18) Pieter Lambertsen Brink (1670) (19) Cornelius Brink (1697)
She was christened on 29 October 1732 in Kingston township, Ulster county, New York, or was born about 1732 in Walpack township, Sussex county, New Jersey, depending on your sources. She first married Bernardus Swartwout Jr. on 24 December 1753 in the Walpack Dutch Reformed Church, New Jersey. He died in 1768. She then married Thomas Heysham.
The Swartwout sons of Elizabeth Brink were Samuel (1754), Anthony (1756), Benjamin (1758), Moses (1761), Gerardus (1766) and Levi (C1767). They were all born in the adjacent Lehman township of Northampton county.
|The Swartwout Family
Also as Swartworth, Swarthwout, Swartwoot and Swartwood.(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634)
He was born on 1 June 1634 in Amersterdam, Noord Holland, the Netherlands. He married Eva Albertsen Bradt.(18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634)
He was born on 11 May 1664 in Wiltwyck, Ulster county, New York. He married Jannetje Jacobus Coobes. The Swartwout family had acquired a patent for land in the northern end of the Minisinck, in an area today known as Deerpark, from the Governor of New York in 1697.(19) Bernardus Swartwout Sr. (1697)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634) (18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664)
He was born on 31 October 1697 in Kingston, Ulster county, New York. He married Grietje Decker. This is in the counties of Orange and Ulster. Bernardus died on 24 March 1774 in Lehman township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania. He had writeen a will on 7 June 1773:
“In the name of God Amen. I Bernardus Swartsworth [sic] of the township of Delaware in the County of Northampton of the Province of Pennsylvania, Yeoman, being weak in body but of sound disposing mind and memory (blessed by God therefore) do this day being the seventh of June in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following (that is to say) . . .Notice that Manuel Gonsales was listed as a "good friend." (20) Bernardus Swartwout, Jr. (1728)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634) (18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664) (19) Bernardus Swartwout (1697)
The first husband of Elizabeth Brink. Bernardus, the younger, was born on 28 January 1727 in Kingston (or Rochester), Ulster county, New York (some sources say New Jersey), the son of Bernardus Swartwout Sr. and Grietje Decker. He married Lisabeth Brinck [sic] on 24 December 1753 in the Walpack Dutch Reformed Church, New Jersey. He died in 1768. Bernardus did not leave a will so his wife, Elizabeth Brink along with Jacob Swartwood, her brother-in law, and the eldest surviving son of Bernardus Swartwout Sr, filed for and were issued Letters of Administration to probate his estate. The total value came to 53 pounds, 16 shillings & 8 pence. Their boys changed the spelling of their names to Swartwood (Anglicizing it). After Bernardus’ death, Elizabeth married Thomas Heysham. Thomas then raised the Swartwood boys.
The children of Bernardus and Elizabeth were Samuel, Anthony, Benjamin, Moses, Gerardus, and, I think, Levi.(21) Samuel Swartwood (1754)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634) (18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664) (19) Bernardus Swartwout (1697) (20) Bernardus Swartwout, Jr. (1728)
He was born in about 1754 in Lehman Township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania. There is a Samuel Swartwood in the General Muster Roll of the Eighth company, 6th Battalion of the Pennsylvania Militia of 14 May 1778.(21) Anthony Swartwood (1756)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634) (18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664) (19) Bernardus Swartwout (1697) (20) Bernardus Swartwout, Jr.
He was born in about 1756 in Lehman Township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania. An Anthony Swartwood is listed as a Private in the Muster Roll in the Second Battalion of Associators in the County of Northampton and Province of Pennsylvania which is to component part of the Flying Camp of ten thousand men commanded by Colonel Hart and in Captain Henry Hagenbuch's Company 6 August 1776 at Perth Amboy. This was the same unit that William & Abner Heysham were in. From Perth Amboy the unit marched into the Battle of Long Island.(21) Benjamin Swartwood (1758)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634) (18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664) (19) Bernardus Swartwout (1697) (20) Bernardus Swartwout, Jr.
He was born in about 1758 in Lehman township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania. He died on 3 January 1776 [some sources claim 1778], a casualty of the Revolutionary War, probably while imprisoned in New York City according to Davis's 1877 "History of Northampton Co, PA." He appears to have fought at the battles of Long Island and Fort Washington in Captain Rundio's Company. William & Abner Heysham were taken prisoner at the same time and held in the prison hulks in the bay. Abner probably also died in captivity.(21) Moses Swartwood (1761)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634) (18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664) (19) Bernardus Swartwout (1697) (20) Bernardus Swartwout, Jr.
He was born on 14 March 1761 in Lehman township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania (other sources indicate Walpack, New Jersey). He was in the pay roll of Captain Christopher Keller's company of the Fifth Battalion of the Northampton County Militia commanded by Colonel Nicolas Kern on the expedition to the Wyoming Valley [Luzerne county] in August 1784. John Heysham may have been as well.
He married Mary Magdalena Arnold in about 1786. A Moses Swartwout was listed as a Federal pensioner living in Pennsylvania in 1820. He died on 11 September 1844 in Upper Mount Bethel, Northampton county, Pennsylvania.(21) Gerardus Swartwood (1766)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634) (18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664) (19) Bernardus Swartwout (1697) (20) Bernardus Swartwout, Jr.
He was born on 24 May 1766 in Lehman township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania (others, based on the below, say Walpack, New Jersey). He was christened in the Dutch Reformed Church, Walpack township, Sussex county, New Jersey.(21) Levi Swartwood (c1767)
(17) Roeloff (Tomys) Swartwout (1634) (18) Antoni Thomas Swartwout (1664) (19) Bernardus Swartwout (1697) (20) Bernardus Swartwout, Jr.
He was cited in David Heysham's Declaration for a Pension as a stepson of Thomas Heysham. Not otherwise listed as a child of Bernardus Jr. Was he so young at the time of his grandfather's death that he was overlooked in the will? Levi's father, Bernardus, had predeceased his own father by at least 5 years so this will should have been inclusive.
Levi was cited in the baptismal records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Smithfield on 5 April 1793 - A Levi Swartout and his wife, Rachel White, had their daughter, Mary, christened. There were no witnesses. More importantly, on 16 June 1791 Levi Swartwood and his wife, Rachel White, had their daughter, Elizabeth, christened. Witnesses were Thomas Heysham and Elizabeth Brink.
Levi apparently followed his step-brothers, John, Thomas and David Heysham, to Westmoreland county. In the 1800 census of Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania as Levi Swartwood, 26 to 44 years old [1756-1774]. Levi was, perhaps, 33 at the time.
In the 1810 census of East Huntingdon, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania as Levi Swartwood, 45 and over. In the 1820 census of Tate township, Clermont county, Ohio as Levi Swartwood [Smallwood in Ancestry.com]. In the 1830 census of Jackson township, Monroe county, Ohio as Levi Swathwood. Monroe county is just across the river from Tyler county, West Virginia where his cousins, Thomas and David, settled. In the 1840 census of Perry township, Monroe county, Ohio as Levi Swartwood [Smartwood in Ancestry.com].
In a warrant registered in 1769 for Paul Kerper, a neighbor of Thomas' in the 1767 warrant above, both John Howey and Thomas were again mentioned, in the East Side Register warrant #3782:
"Date: 3 January 1769. No. 3782. Applicant: Paul Kerper. Acres: 300. Copied Where: A 13. Survey Copied: 57. Description: joind Hans Dewit & Daniel Shoemaker to include a Lime Stonehill & piece of Bog Meadow & joind John Howey & Thomas Hi--men Lower Smithfield Top Nn Co. Survey: M. Smithfield Monroe.
57 acres to Maiten O. Mosier et.al. June 6 1870"
Here is the plat map: A13 57. However, I don't see Thomas Hi--em on that map. I do see "Late John How[ey] now Philip Reigs" and Henry Shoemaker, probably Daniel's descendent. Apparently the map is of the owners at the time Maiten O. Mosier got title to Kerper's land in 1870. Note that the map shows the "track of land situate on the River kill" at a point where the creek takes an almost 180 degree turn from northeast to southwest. There is such a spot about 2 to 3 miles up from the Delaware river.
I can't make much of the 1769 entry above, other than that Thomas and John Howey continued to be neighbors through 1769, and were neighbors of Paul Kerper, Hans Dewit and Daniel Shoemaker. Since I don't suppose Thomas and John followed each other around buying land next to one other, I assume this must be the same property of 1766 in the Bushkill valley, Middle Smithfield, above. Edward Howey, a researcher of that family, emailed:
Re C-86-136 map:
I can't locate this property exactly but there are some clues from the names of neighbors. This survey was made in 1811.
-In 1770 John Howey sold 130 acres to Abner Overfield, probably ancestor of MARTIN OVERFIELD shown on map.
-In the 1810 census, Conrad KINTNER lives nearby John and Robert Howey, grandsons of 4Ggrandfather John Howey. Emanuel GONSALLES appears on the same census page.
-In 1810, Middle Smithfield Township adjoined Delaware Township (location of John Howey's warrant land), the boundary being a stretch of Big Bushkill Creek.
It would seem, therefore, that Thomas's property was near big Bushkill Creek. We can't tell if he ever lived on the property from this information. If Thomas lived on the property he should show up in one of the early censuses. In those days of land mania there were many absentee land owners.
I don't think Limestone Hill was a formal name. In those days they used local terms to try to locate places--The Long Meadow; The River Hill, etc.
Thomas was listed in the Proprietary tax of 1772 for Lower Smithfield township, Northampton county. Also listed were his neighbors John Howey and John Tock, from the 1766 warrant. I am belaboring this to make the point that the continued association of these neighbors proves that Hesam=Heysham=Hi-men=Hysem.
"Howey, John, fa'r, 1.6.8The tax was 1 pound, 6 shillings, and 8 pence. No other Hissom-variant names were listed. However, when I look into the same Tax List of 1772 in Ancestry.com, it shows the tax as,
Hysem, Tho's, fa'r [farmer], 1.6.8
. . .
Tock, John, lab'r., 13.4"
- from "Proprietary, Supply, and State Tax Lists of the Counties of Northampton and Northumberland for the Years 1772 to 1787" by Northampton County (Pa.)
"Hysham Thomas 1, 11, 1It has a subsequent section that looks like,
Hysham, Thomas Jnr 0, 5, 7"
"Heysham Thomas 350 ac and 2 Horses 2 Cows . . . 1.8.2I'm not sure what the change in format in the document means. In another page Thomas' name is spelled as Hysem. Both Howey and Thomas had 1 "horned cow." It also looks like Thomas had 10 acres of cultivated land and 30 acres of uncultivated land. John Howey had 25 acres under cultivation and another 143 not being farmed. Son Thomas Heysham Jr. was also listed, but only on the tax page.
. . .
Heysham Thomas Junr. 2 Cows . . . 0.1.6" - from Pensylvania Tax and Exoneration 1772
Items referenced for the Howey/Howay/Houay family that I need to look into include (should I ever get to Pennsylvania):
- Marriage Index: New Jersey, 1680-1900. Produced by Family Tree Maker Family Archives.See also Some Baptisms and Burials and More.
- Warrant Registry, 1741-1752, microfilm roll, Pennsylvania Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
- Copied Surveys, microfilm roll, Pennsylvania Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
- Bucks/Northampton County Deed Book.
- Bucks County Court of Common Pleas File #4556, Spruance Library, Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
- Collections of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, Vol. V, VIII and XL.
- Register of Wills, Main Office, City Hall Room 180, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. - "The Reformed Dutch Church Records and the Presbyterian Church Records at Smithfield"
|The American Revolution Begins
In June 1772 a customs schooner ran aground off Rhode Island. Colonists attacked it and set it on fire. In the same year Committee's of Correspondence were formed in several colonies to improve their communications about the evolving situation.
In 1773 a Tea Act took effect taxing imports of tea and granting the East India company a monopoly on the trade. In an atmosphere of accelerating tensions, the Sons of Liberty boarded several ships in December 1773 and threw their tea into Boston harbor. The Boston Tea Party electrified the country and there was a great outpouring of support for the city when the British government closed its port in retaliation in 1774.
In April 1775 the Battles of Lexington and Concord kicked off the American revolution. While Pennsylvania had initially looked for volunteers to serve, the supply of eager young men rapidly dried up. The militia law of March 1777 required all adult males, 18 to 53, to join and attend musters. In 1777 Thomas Sr. would have been about 57, so it is no surprise that his name was not on the militia lists.
Thomas Hesom supported the American views opposing England in the runup to the Revolution and was described by his son as "a violent Whig." All of his sons served the revolutionary cause in one capacity or another. The eldest, John, was in a New York Line regiment; Thomas was in a Pennsylvania Rifle regiment; William and Abner were "Associators" in the Flying Camp; the youngest, David, served in the militia as an Indian Scout.
In August 1776 Thomas lost his two sons, William and Abner, at the Battle of Long Island; presumed killed, their bodies were never found. Thomas Jr. eventually came home, probably in January 1778, having completed his term of service and joined the militia. John remained in service throughout the war, though he probably visited his parents a number of times. Young David remained home, serving as a Ranger in the local militia.
|The Course of the American Revolution
To this arm-chair general the British Strategy for the war seems opportunistic, switching from one theater of operation to another as initial plans failed and new opportunities seemed to arise. What the British needed to do, and failed to accomplish, was to corner and defeat the American army. General Washington, the "old fox" as his enemies called him, was always able to slip away when the odds turned against him.War in New England (1775-1776)
England initially attempted to squash the incipient rebellion by putting an army in Boston and disarming the rebels. When their attempt on Lexington and Concord resulted in a humiliating retreat, the countryside rose and put Boston under siege. General Washington was then brought in and, putting cannon on the heights above the city, forced the British to evacuate.War in the Mid-Atlantic (1776-1778)
At this point the British determined to take decisive action and brought in a large army, landing in the New York area where they believed there was a large Loyalist following. This action was initially successful as Washington's army was swept out of New York and back across New Jersey. However, Washington's unexpected attacks at Trenton and Princeton, and vigorous militia action over the winter, forced the British out of New Jersey.
For the new year the plan was a coordinated attack up from New York City by General Howe and down from Canada by General Burgoyne to split a rebellious New England from the rest of the, presumably, more peaceful colonies. This plan went awry when General Howe instead decided to use his army to take Philadelphia. General Burgoyne was subsequently defeated at Saratoga which led the French to join the war. With the prospect of an attack from the sea by the French fleet, General Howe found Philadelphia untenable and retreated back to New York City, obviating the entire year's strategy.War in the South (1778-1781)
Britain's War Leaders now became convinced that there was substantial Loyalist support in the South that would rise up once a British army made it safe to do so. Again, this plan was initially successful and, when Charleston, South Carolina was taken, American military resistance in the South collapsed. However, the British efforts to raise a Loyalist army and to protect the Loyalists against patriot forces failed. In addition, new American generals instituted a Fabian strategy to bleed the British army in a number of skirmishes as the British moved north towards Virginia. Behind the advancing British army the Americans insinuated their forces, reconquering the South, with the exception of the major ports, which were under the guns of the Royal Navy.
The British moved to and fortified a position on the Virginia coast, awaiting resupply by the Navy. Seeing an opportunity, General Washington and his French allies moved south, out of their bases north of New York City, as a French fleet came up out of the Caribbean. Together they trapped the British at Yorktown and ended the war.Peace (1783)
No further land offensives were launched after Yorktown and a peace treaty was finally signed in 1783.
It's not clear if the following was a census or a tax list, but if the latter there were no tax amounts listed. This is from a transcribed list at the Historical Society in Stroudsburg.
"Lower Smithfield Township-Northampton Co. 1779
. . .
. . .
Hysham, Thomas Jr."
By 1781 the main theater of war had moved away from Pennsylvania, but the Indian threat remained real.
April 28 1781. "Last Wednesday night a party of Indians, consisting of twenty-five, with two Tory pilots, crossed the river Delaware opposite Minisink, the principal settlement of that country. At daybreak they proceeded to the house of Thomas Brink, whom they made prisoner, with his two little sons, then plundered and destroyed every thing of any value in the house. From thence they went to the widow Brink's, distance about one hundred yards, robbed her of every valuable thing in the house, and destroyed all her provisions; then marched to a house near by, where lived two young men by the names of Westbrook and Job. They entered the house while the family were asleep; the men waked in a surprise, sprung out of bed, and made all the resistance possible, but being greatly overpowered by numbers, fell a sacrifice to savage Indians and Tories, and experienced that torture in death, which nothing but British and savage cruelty could invent. At this house they made Job’s wife, and a girl about thirteen years old, prisoners. . . . They took Mr. Brink and his two boys over the river with the first party." - from "A Diary of the Revolution"Was Thomas Brink the son of Thomas Brink Sr. and Antje Kleyn? Was the widow Brink our Antje? Actually I think this was a different man, living much further north.
In 1781 both Thomas Sr. and Jr. were listed in the Tax List for Northampton county.
"Hysham, Thomas 1 11 1
Hysham, Thomas Jnr 0 5 7"
In March 1782 the government of Lord North fell. Lord Rockingham succeeded as Prime Minister of England and sought immediate negotiations with American peace commissioners. In April talks began in Paris.
The following source contains another indication of the close relationship between Thomas and the Swartwood boys, in this case, Gerardus:
Court on March 1783Gerardus was the youngest of the Swartwout boys mentioned in their grandfather's will, the the second youngest overall. In 1783 he would have been 17 years old. I believe that Emanuel Gonzalez was the executor of Bernardus Swartwout's will and, hence, became guardian of his sons on Bernardus' death. I assume Thomas was petitioning the court to adopt Gerardus. Levi, the youngest Swartwout boy, was perhaps already adopted and the other boys were on their own.
Guardian for Gerardus Swartwood, over 14 yrs, grandson of Bernardus Swartwood, Delaware Twp.
Petitioner: Thomas Heysham, next friend
Guardian: Emanuel Gonzalez [Gonsales] - from "Genealogical Abstracts of Orphans Court Records - Northampton County, Pennsylvania, Volumes A-E - 1752 - 1795" by Candace E. Anderson
After the war there existed a pent-up demand for new land and westward migration. In a letter dated 24 April 1783, a Thomas Hissam was included in a list of Householders in Wyoming [a valley in Pennsylvania up the Susquehanna river, only 60 miles from Lower Smithfield] who wished to support the laws of Pennsylvania. A separate list shows those who supported the laws of Connecticut. This reflected the continuing issue with residents from Connecticut who claimed the valley for their state. Which Thomas was this, our Thomas or his son? Note that David, Thomas Sr.'s youngest son, lived in Luzerne county, the location of the Wyoming valley, from about 1795 to 1798. On one list, in "The Susquehannah Company Papers," Thomas' name was transcribed as Hissam and on another as Hassham.
If Thomas had gone to the Wyoming valley, then he soon returned. I suspect that the man above was Thomas Jr.
"Deed Poll, 6 October 1784, for 20 pounds, 16 shillings, 2 pence:I think this means that the land of the Sewell's and of Thomas and his neighbors were both adjoining that of Robert Traill. Thomas' neighbor, William Wills, and the Sewell's are referenced again below, in 1789.
Grantor: Robert TRAILL, esquire, high sheriff of the county
Grantee: William HENRY, Nazareth, esquire
Property: 227 1/4 acres in Lower Smithfield Township adjoining land surveyed for James HAYS but now of Stephen or Robert SEWELL, land late of Daniel BRODHEAD but now of James and [sic] DRINKER, Alexander FLEMING, William WILLS, Thomas HISSAM . . ." - from "Abstracts of Deeds and other Property Records, Northampton County, Pennsylvania" volume 3
The Federal Tax of 1785 for Lower Smithfield township, Northampton county for married freemen.
Heysham, Thomas, 350 acres, 2 horses, 2 cattle, 0 sheep, 1.8.2 taxInterestingly, Thomas and Thomas Jr. are not together on the list that otherwise appears to be alphabetical. Thomas Jr. was amongst the names appended to the end of the list, almost as an afterthought. David was probably still living at home at this time, not marrying until 1786. Was John already living in New Jersey by this time?
. . .
Heysham, Thomas, Jun'r, 0 acres, 0 horses, 2 cattle, 0 sheep, 1.6 tax
In the 1786 Septennial census of the taxable inhabitants of Lower Smithfield township, Northampton county as Thomas Heysham, with Thomas Heysham junr. Where was John?
The following may be for the same event as above, but has some interesting differences.
"Taxables for 1786.--Further information as to who were the early or eighteenth century settlers in Smithfield is afforded by the following list of taxables for 1786, made by James Schoonover, assessor. This return shows the names of the taxable inhabitants at that time, their occupations or professions, the number of acres of land held by each taxable, also number of horses, horned cattle, grist-mills, saw-mills, negro servants and rented land. Where no remark is made in relation to occupation farming may be understood.I do not understand the middle initial and I assume it's a transcription error.
. . .
Thomas H. Hysham . . . 100 [acres]
Thomas Hysham, Jr.." - from "History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania"
The 1786 Federal Tax for Lower Smithfield township, Northampton county for married freemen shows,
"Hisham, Thomas, 100 acres, 1 horse, 3 cattle, 0 sheep, 7.2 taxThat's a big drop, from 350 to 100 acres. 1786 was the year that David married and he was probably still living with his father at the time the tax was recorded.
. . .
Hisham, Thomas, Jun'r., 0 acres, 0 horses, 2 cattle, 0 sheep, 1.2 tax" - from "Proprietary, Supply, and State Tax Lists of the Counties of Northampton and Northumberland for the Years 1772 to 1787" by Northampton County (Pa.)
The following may also be either a census or tax listing, minus the taxes assessed. There was a state census in 1786 with the same notations.
Lower Smithfield Township 1787
Hysham, Thomas Sr.
Hysham, Thomas Jr.
The 1788 Federal Tax for Lower Smithfield township, Northampton county for married freemen shows
"Hissom, Thomas, 0 acres, 2 horses, 1 cow, 2.3 taxWhere was John? Thomas Sr. was also listed in the Tax List of 1789 for Lower Smithfield.
Hissom, Thomas, Ju'r., 100 acres, 2 horses, 1 cow, 5.5 tax
Hissom, David, 0 acres, 1 horse, 1 cow, 1.8 tax" - from "Proprietary, Supply, and State Tax Lists of the Counties of Northampton and Northumberland for the Years 1772 to 1787" by Northampton County (Pa.)
"Hysham, Thomas senr 0 [acres of land] 2 [horses] 2 [cattleWhere was Thomas Jr?
. . .
Hysham, David 100 1 1"
On 29 August 1788 Thomas Heysham and Elizabeth Brink were witnesses to the baptism of grandchildren James Heysham Sullivan, the son of Daniel Sullivan and Elizabeth Heysham, and Joab Heysham, the son of David Heysham and Elizabeth Bush, at the Smithfield church. There were a total of 12 baptisms done that day.
There were a number of land transactions in February and March 1789 involving Thomas. The following is a land acquistion on 4 February 1789 by Thomas Hysham Sr. The land was located on the River Road, near Marshalls Creek. This is a couple of miles north of present-day Stroudsburg.
"Thomas Hysham Sr. Makes application to the Land office for the state of Pennsylavania for 100 acres of Land lying in Northampton County in Lower smithfield township with an improvement on or Near the Road Leading from Minisink to Easton, and near Marshalls Creek. Wee the subscribers Justices of the peace in and for the County of Northampton Doe Certify that the Land above applied for is improved near three years according to our best information witness our hand, this 4th Day of February 1789.The above was a hand-written letter. The formal document, signed by Thomas Miffline Esq., President of the Supreme Executive Council, described the land similarly as "One hundred Acres of Land including an improvement on or near the road leading from Minesink to Easton Near Marshall's Creek in lower Smithfield Township." Thomas was required to pay for this land at the rate of 10 pounds per hundred acres with interest to commence from 1 February 1786.
The following mentions Thomas' lands near Marshalls Creek. With the mention of Elizabeth and William Wells, below, I think this must be the same land Thomas held in 1784, see above.
"Deed Poll, 6 February 1789, for 5 shillings plus several articles which had been sold to the grantor by "his order" [her father] from Captain Timothy JAYNE:Where was Hog's Place, or Hoge's Place as it was called below? I suspect we need to look for a man named Hog, Hoge or Hogge. When Thomas' sons, Thomas and David, moved to Tyler county, West Virginia, they had James and Isaac Hoge as neighbors. A Coincidence?
Grantor: Elizabeth WILLS, Lower Smithfield Township
Grantee: William WILLS, father of Elizabeth
Property: all right, title interest to 200 acres, a tract called Hog's Place in Lower Smithfield Township west of the main road from Marshall Creek to the Bushkill bound on south by lands surveyed to Thos. HISHAM, on west by Mr. SEWELL, on north by Henry COUNTRYMAN, and on east by the road
History: 20 August 1787, warrant issued to Elizabeth WILLS for 200 acres, then survey made on 5 December 1787
Witnesses: Joseph HEATON, Timothy JAYNE; acknowledged by grantor before Benjamin VanCAMPEN, esquire, Justice of Court of Common Please, 7 February 1789; recorded 17 March 1789." - from "Abstracts of Deeds and other Property Records, Northampton County, Pennsylvania" volume 3
Johann Heinrich "Henry" Countryman had been a long time resident of the area. His homestead was one of those burnt during the Indian attacks of 1756. Henry was said to have farmed for Dirck VanVliet and had a house on this property in 1750. The VanVliet tract was in present-day Stroudsburg. Another researcher, Charlotte Ronemus, writes that, "The area between Marshall's Creek and Bushkill has an area called Resica Falls. The Countrymans/Countramans lived there alongside the Vanwhy's and Howeys. The County and Township lines kept moving not the physical address. I suspect the main road was once what is now Rte 402 as we did find Howeytown Road off that road." The question is, what does "west of the main road from Marshall Creek to the Bushkill bound on south by lands surveyed to Thos. HISHAM" mean? Marshall Creek and Bushkill are both streams and villages, however I'm not sure if the villages existed at this time. A road from one river to the next means from one crossing to the next. That sounds like the old river road which went from Dansbury/Stroudsburg, past Samuel Depue's, to the Bushkill where Dingman's ferry was located. That is probably more the tract of the 209, not route 402. So, Thomas' land was probably on the west side of the river road, and north of Stroudsburg.Thomas' lands are again referenced below.
"Mortgage, 6 February 1789, for 226 pounds:So, if the village of Marshall Creek existed in 1789, then Thomas' land was south of it. The village is today on Route 209, the old river road, where is crosses the water route, Marshalls Creek; see the mark "A" in the map to the right. The creek flows for about 10 miles through Middle and Lower Smithfield townships before joining Brodhead creek, just above where the latter joins the Delaware river. This is today just beyond the eastern border of Stroudsburg. The next reference was a quick sale of the land warrant issued to Thomas in 1789. He, like many in the region, sold to Jacob Stroud.
Mortgagor: William WILLS, Lower Smithfield Township, freeholder
Mortgagee: Colonel Jacob STROWD, Lower Smithfield Township
Property: 140 acres, a tract called Hoges' Place in Lower Smithfield Township along road between Thomas HISHAM's and Marshall Creek adjoining SEWEL's line, vacant land, Henry COUNTRYMAND [sic]
History: tract was part of the 200 acres descibed in preceding deed poll
Witnesses: Timothy JAYNE, Joseph HEATON; acknowledged by grantor before Benjamin VanCAMPEN, esquire, Justice of Court of Common Please, 7 February 1789; recorded 17 March 1789." - from "Abstracts of Deeds and other Property Records, Northampton County, Pennsylvania" volume 3
On 13 March 1789 a survey of 100 acres for Thomas Hysham Senr. was registered - from The Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, Vol. 26 (Northampton County).
"1789 March 13thI suspect this 100-acre property was transferred to Jacob Stroud, below, who was gathering up a great deal of property in the region.
Strowd V. Hysham
Thomas Hysham SS [the second letter is definitely S, but the first could be J or T. Perhaps this stands for Sr.] Makes application to the Land office for the State of Pennnsylvania for 100 acres of Land lying in Northampton County in Lower Smithfield Township on or Near the Road Leading from Minisink to Easton, and neer Marshils Crick. Wee the Subscribers justices of the peace in and for the County of Northampton Doe Certify that the Land above applied for is improved neer three years according to our best information Witness our hands this 4th Day of Febru 1789.
Robt Traill" - from Pennsylvania, Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952
"Quit Claim, 20 March 1789, for 41 pounds:Thomas paid 10 pounds for the 100 acres, so he made a good profit of 31 pounds. Compare this with this son, John, who got 5 shillings for his quit claim of 400 acres to Jacob; hopefully Jacob also paid the 40 pound tab for the land.
Grantor: Thomas HYSHAM, the elder (HEYSHAM, Sr.), Lower Smithfield Township, yeoman
Grantee: Jacob STROWD, Lower Smithfield Township, esquire
Property: all right, title to a warrant for 100 acres in Lower Smithfield Township adjoining Alexander FLEMMON [Fleming], Coll. [Colonel?] William WELLS, James HAYS, and CRAIG's meadow
History: 13 March 1789, warrant issued to HYSHAM
Witnesses: Joseph HEATON, Andrew F. ALDEN; acknowledged by grantor before John SHAW, Justice of Court of Common Pleas, on 22 October 1789; recorded 25 October 1790" - from "Abstracts of Deeds and other Property Records, Northampton County, Pennsylvania" volume 3.
Craig's Meadow is south of Marshall's Creek, on route 209. A Craig's Meadow road joins the 209 just south of the golf course. Railroad timetables of the 19th century indicate there was a small community of this name and trainstop at this location, though it was so small as to merit only a gravel platform.
Thomas Hysham was in the 1790 tax list, required to pay 0, 1, 2. His son, David, owed 0, 1, 1.
In 1790 the first Federal census was held. Thomas Hysham and his sons, Thomas Jur., John and David, were listed as living in separate households in Lower Smithfield township, Northampton county. In Thomas' household were 2 men over 16, 1 boy under 16, and 3 women. The woman just above Thomas, Rachel Vancampen, had two slaves. I had previously misread the record thinking Thomas had those slaves. Thomas' other known sons, William and Abner, died during the Revolution at the Battle of Long Island.
Rachel Johnson was the widow of Benjamin Vancampen, of Lower Smithfield township. Benjamin died in 1789 and his will mentioned "9 slaves to be freed at age 28y." Benjamin was a rich farmer. In 1772 he owed a tax of 22.4.0 to Thomas Hysem's 1.6.8. Does the census imply that Rachel and Thomas lived next to each other?
|Slavery in Pennsylvania
While not wide spread north of the Blue Mountains, slavery had existed in the Delaware valley since its settlement by the Dutch in the 1600's. Its later Quaker settlers were also not adverse to slave-holding, at least initially. However, worried by the propriety of owning another person and not wanting to appear worldly, by 1758 the Yearly Meeting had proclaimed that slave-ownership to be a bar to membership and in 1774 made it a cause for disowning. In 1778 serious discussions of aboliton began.
"Easton, Northampton County, Sept. 13, 1779. Committed to this Gaol, the 8th inst. William Sisko, a mulatto, who says he belongs to James Byers, living in Paxton Township, Lancaster County. His Master is therefore desired to come, pay the Charges, and take him away. Peter Ehler, Gaoler." - from an advertisement in "The Pennsylvania Gazette," September 15, 1779.The pace of events was accelerated by the fact that slavery had never been a large part of the Pennsylvania economy and just did "not work" in the wheat growing regions of the state. A gradual emancipation act for Pennsylvania was passed in 1780. It did not free the slaves, but set the state on a course to be free of slavery in 28 years. On a more positive note, the law did immediately raise all restrictions, except the right to vote, from free blacks in the state.
"According to the records of Smithfield at that time , they showed that John Van Campen had 4 [slaves], Benjamin Van Campen had 5, Nicholas Depui had 2, Jacob Stroud had 4, and Garrett Brodhead 1." - from “The Unwritten History of Smithfield Township."
On 16 June 1791 Thomas Heysham and Elizabeth Brink were witnesses at the baptism of their grandchild, Elizabeth Swartwood, the daughter of Levi Swartwood and Rachel White, at the Smithfield church. Levi was Elizabeth's youngest son by her first husband, Bernardus Swartwout Jr.
In 1793 there were two Thomas Heysham Jr.’s listed in "Warrantees of Land in the County of Northampton," both for 400 acres, but no Thomas Sr. The date of this survey was 26 February 1793. The repetition could be a misprint or mis-transcription. The use of Jr. implies that a Sr. was still living, though it might also mean a very recent decease. In a similar citation, on 26 February 1793 two 400 acre lots were surveyed for Thomas Heysham Jr. on the "Main Branch Lehigh" river. John and David also had land surveyed in this area at the same time. See Northampton. The plat map, however shows that one of these sections was for Thomas Sr. See C93 158.
"By Virtue of a Warrant dated the 26th February 1793 Surveyed the 25th October 1793 to Thomas Heysham Senr [written in] the above described tract of land situate on a branch of Pokono or Jone's Creek in the County of Northampton Containing Three hundred and Seventy Acres one hundred perches and the allowsance of Six P Cent &c."
Pocono creek branches off Brodhead creek just below Stroudsburg.
The citation above is the last reference I have to Thomas Hesom Sr. and I assume he died not long after; he would have been perhaps 68 years old. I don't have any information about his wife, Elizabeth Brink Swartwout Hesom, but if she survived her Swartwout sons would probably have taken care of her.
There were no witnesses at the Smithfield church baptism of Levi Swartwood's next child, Mary, on 5 April 1793, which may imply the death of Thomas between February and April 1793.
Thomas Heysham Sr. was not noted in the 1800 Federal census; only Thomas' youngest son, David Hysham, was still living in Northampton county at that time, while both John and Thomas Jr. had moved to Westmoreland county, in western Pennsylvania. David Hysham, and Levi Swartwood, were both in Westmoreland county by 1810.
Thomas and Catherine had the following children:
(21) Mary Heysham (1745)
(21) John Hisson (1746)
(21) Ann Hesson (1748)
(21) Thomas Hissom (1750)
(21) Abner Hissom (1752), he dieded in 1776 at Long Island
(21) William Hisson (1754), he dieded in 1776 at Long Island
(21) Elizabeth Heysham (c1756)
(21) David Heysham/Hissem (1762)
I expect we're missing some female children; somewhere there was a Jane, an Alice and a Katherine.(21) Mary Heysham (1745)
On 25 July 1759 British troops under the command of Sir William Johnson captured the French fort at Niagara, on Lake Ontario, after a long siege. Inside they found,
"numerous English men, women and children, who had been held captive there, some of them for years . . . One young woman was Molly Heysham, carried off in a raid in "the Blue Mountains," probably the Virginia frontiers [sic], four year before;" - from Publications of the Buffalo N.Y. Historical Society.The Blue Mountains, known in New Jersey as the Kittatinny, formed the southern border of Lower Smithfield. The author of the citation above has confused this region with the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. Note the use of the name Heysham which the more cosmopolitan British officers would have "known" was the correct way to spell the name. Mary almost certainly could not read or write, her brothers John and Thomas certainly could not, so she could not have helped with the spelling.
Molly must have been carried off in the winter of 1755/56 when the first raids of the French and Indian War hit the Brodhead creek area. Assuming she was born 9 months after her parents married, she could have been as old as 10 at the time of her capture, or 14 when finally released. This would probably be the minimum age at which she could have been described as a "young woman" vice a child. The captives had been used as servants and laborers by the French and Indians of the fort.
"Heysham, Molly. Made captive "at the Blue Mountains," probabably in Virginia [sic], about 1755. She was found at Fort Niagara, with numerous other prisoners, when it surrendered to the British, July 25, 1759, and was no doubt sent to New York by way of Oswego, with the other rescued prisoners of the French and the surrendered garrison, which included a number of French women and children." - from "The Tale of Captives at Fort Niagara; Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, volume IX"Oswego was another French fort on the south shore of Lake Ontario, but east of Fort Niagara. It was due north of Smithfield, in present day New York state. Molly's story was also cited in a contempory source, the New York Mercury of 20 August 1759.
A fortress that has been surrendered to an opposing army after a long siege is not a safe place, especially for a young girl, even if she was a British subject. The victors, having themselves suffered in making the siege, very often took their revenge on the inhabitants. Pillage was common, as was rape, and Fort Niagara was stript of everything, including in some documented cases of the hinges off doors. The French, their families and their servants, or slaves, were roughly handled, even though the British commander tried to keep things under control. The Indian allies were the most problematic, known to murder and scalp their victims.
The British siege of Fort Niagara in July 1759 was part of a campaign to remove French control of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions, making possible a western invasion of the French province of Canada in conjunction with General James Wolfe's invasion to the east.
The Fort, located at the juncture of the Niagara river with Lake Ontario, was the second most important fortification in French Canada, after the Heights of Quebec, though it was not the center of any great population. In 1725-6 the French built a "stone house" on the eastern side of the river's mouth, and later protected that with a star fort. The entire work covered eight acres including the fortress, barracks, a vast trading post, and gardens.
On 6 July 1759 a British force of about 3,000 men landed east of the fort in secret, having come over Lake Ontario in boats, and had their camp and entrenchments established before the French were aware of them. Repulsing attempts by the French to dislodge them, the British established their siege, proceeding along traditional lines. On the 17th the British occuppied the opposite shore of the river's mouth, mounted batteries, and began to fire on the fort from that direction as well. By the 22nd there was a large breach in the walls of the fort and heated shot was used, starting fires at several points within the fort. On the 29th a French relieving force was ambushed and routed. When advised of this event the French commander agreed to surrender. The official surrender occurred on the 25th, after which the fort was pillaged; it was only with difficulty that the Indian allies of the British were kept from killing the surrendering French.
Two men of interest to our later story were also present at the siege, the Indian leader Joseph Brant, and the British John Butler. Both were involved in the Wyoming Massacre.
Molly is a common English nickname for Mary. There is no other evidence for Molly's existence so it cannot be determined whether she ever saw her folks again, but it was a long way back to Smithfield through hostile Indian territory, in the middle of a war that was to last 4 more years. I suspect she married a nice young man and settled down where she was.
In England if the original name contained an "r" it was common for the nickname to contain an "l." Hence, Prince Henry was known as Prince Hal in Shakespeare's play "Henry V," Sarah became Sally and Mary was Molly, or Moll.
A second meaning for Moll is as a disreputable woman. As early as 1604 it was a synonym for prostitute and a moll house was a term for a brothel. Daneil Defoe's novel, "Moll Flanders," perhaps picked up on this shady connotation in the name for his loose-living heroine.
A daughter of Thomas Heysham. She was christened on 30 October 1748 in the Dutch Reformed Church at Walpack, New Jersey. She was referred to in church records as Ann, the daughter of Thomas Hesson and Catherina Kleyn. Witnesses were Dirk Kermer and Jacomyntje Keyser, syn Huys vr. [wife of …] - from "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record." Ann married unknown and no children are known.
**Dirk Kermer was baptised on 23 May 1697 in the Kingston Reformed Dutch Church, Ulster, New York. He married Eva Schoonhoven on 24 October 1719. She appears to have died sometime between 1726 and 1748 (Eva’s mother was Cornelia Swartout – small world). He then married Jacomyntjr Keyser, who was the daughter of Jacob Keyser and Marytje de Lange. She was born in 1709. The Keyser’s were Swedish and the de Lange’s were Dutch. All of these families lived in Marbleton and Ulster, New York, but were part of the Minisinck Reformed Dutch Church.(21) Abner Hissom (1752)
Abner was born in about 1752 in Lower Smithfield township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania. His name was not entered in the Walpack Reformed Dutch church register, as it was for his older brother, John, and younger brother, William. This may be because he was baptized at one of the other churches in the region. A single traveling minister served four churches in the Minisinck valley and, I presume, children were baptized where and when he was available. The Pennsylvania archives lists an Abner Hissom, born in Pennsylvania is 175?. There are similar entries for Thomas and William Hissom.
Like his brothers, I assume that Abner got an education in farming, animal husbandry and woodcraft from his father. Any formal schooling he may have received would have been severely limited. He may have been able to read and write, and do simple sums; nothing else was really necessary. His political education in these increasingly turbulent times would have occurred at church and in the tavern. Frontier farmers, used to making their own way, had lost the automatic deference for authority their forefathers had in England - no one was tugging his forelock as the lord road by.
There was also conflict within the colony that fueled revolutionary feeling. The Quakers of Philadelphia and the southern counties had ruled the colony for generations. In great part this was due to gerrymandering. The northern counties, settled mainly by Dutch, Scotch-Irish, and German Calvinists, had not been granted the same number of representatives in the Assembly as the southern counties, though they had an equal population. The "northerners" were resentful and saw the impending revolution as a chance to get around the Quaker dominated Assembly by going directly to the Continental Congress.
The other complaint with the Quakers was their pacifism. The Assembly repeatedly refused to grant the funds needed raise a militia to defend the frontier. The northern counties, forced to defend themselves against Indian attack without the Assembly's help, resented the "free-ride" the southern counties got from their military actions. This resentment flared during the Revolution when Quakers refused to aid the patriots and traded, as neutrals, with the enemy.
A year of violent confrontations in 1775 between colonists and the British army, mainly centered in Massachusetts, had roused the populace. Fault lines were now clearly apparent in support for the crown with Northampton county a hotbed of Whigish sympathies. The demand for equal representation found a ready audience in the county which gained a reputation for radicalism.
The newly signed Declaration of Independence was being read to the public and it galvanized support for the Revolution. George Washington, commanding General of the Continental army, put out a call for troops and asked that a "flying camp" of 10,000 men be created as a mobile reserve.
|The Flying Camp
In June 1776 General Washington appealed to the Continental Congress for more troops. He wanted a 10,000 man strategic mobile reserve, or Flying Camp. The term Flying Camp was a literal translantion of the French camp volant. On 3 June 1776 the Continental Congress resolved, "That a flying camp be immediately established in the middle colonies." The Northampton Flying Camp were “special battalions of Pennsylvania Line troops recruited from the Pennsylvania Associators.” Other militia units from New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia also created Flying Camps. Their duties would include protecting their state from invasion, protecting the Continental Army's supply lines, suppressing roving bands of Tories and acting as a ready reserve should Washington have need of reinforcements.
Pennsylvania sent some 2,000 Associators, many of who were quickly drafted into service by General Washington for the defense of New York. Of the Pennsylvania men, Heckman writes, “…some of these had seen service in border Indian warfare, and all of them were frontier hunters and sharpshooters…” Gallagher describes the Pennsylvania long rifle as the “preferred weapon of farmers,” who “could hit a target the size of a deer’s brain at 150 yards.” Experience gave the British great respect for the effective range of this showpiece of Pennsylvania German technology, some fearing to expose themselves to American riflemen at anything less than 300 yards.
The Flying Camp had a brief but eventful existence. It was fraught with difficulties almost from its inception and, never realizing its full potential, was disbanded by the end of November 1776, shortly after the fall of Fort Washington. For more information, see Dr. Francis E. Devine’s “The Pennsylvania Flying Camp, July-November 1776,” in the magazine Pennsylvania History (46: January 1979, pages 59-78).
Pennsylvania had no militia. The Quakers who originally founded the colony were by religion opposed to violence of any kind and would not authorize a colonially funded military. The Military Association, or "Battalion of Associators," was an invention of Benjamin Franklin created to act as a militia to defend Philadelphia against privateers, in 1747, and Indians during the French & Indian wars.
In 1774 the people of Pennsylvania were ordered to prepare for the worst. They started organizing companies for military use, and enlisting and drilling volunteers between the ages of 16 and 50. The Associators were the militia of Northampton county, existing before a Militia Act was finally enacted in 1777. The website of the Pennsylvania State Archives describes the Associators as “volunteers who comprised the Military Association, a civilian reserve designed to repel any invasion of Pennsylvania . . ."
The Association collapsed in the aftermath of the New York campaign and was replaced on the state level by a militia in 1777.
Abner and William Hissom, below, enlisted as privates in Captain Timothy Jayne's company of the First Battalion of Associators in the County of Northampton. This was some months after their brother, Thomas, had joined the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment. The Northampton battalion was under the command of Johann Peter Kichlein. From the Pennsylvania Archives, Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File:
"Private Abner Hissom, Active Duty, Line, Flying Camp (Northampton), Captain Timothy Jayne's Company, 1st Battalion, Time of Service: 9 July 1776"Abner's enlistment was probably for a period of 6 months; most of the Pennsylvania Flying Camp enlistments expired on 1 December 1776. Note that his brother, Thomas, had signed up with the rifle regiment until January 1778. The Northampton county battalion never attained more than half-strength.
|Johann Peter Kichlein
His last name is rendered as Kachline, Kechline, Kichline and Kichlein. Known as Peter, he was born in Nassau, Weilberg, Germany in 1722. He attended the University of Heidelberg before coming to America in 1742 and settling in Northampton county, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Committee of Safety and of the first Constitutional Convention, and, later, was was chief burgess of Easton, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1789.
He commanded the Northampton Battalion of the Flying Camp at the Battle of Long Island, where they covered the retreat of the Continental forces, and saved the army from capture. He was wounded and captured, and was not exchanged until 1778. "One writer has said that 'Long Island was the Thermopylae of the American Revolution, and the Pennsylvania Germans were its Spartans.' He forgot to add that Colonel Kichlein was its Leonidas."
From "The Muster Rolls and Papers Relating to the Associators and Militia of the County of Northampton" -
|Captain Timothy Jayne
Timothy Jayne, of Northampton, Pennsylvania formed the Kaltius Battalion during the Revolutionary War. He had 49 members in his company, all of whom were supposedly captured at Fort Washington, with only eighteen of them returning, the others having died on the Jersey prison ship. Captain Jayne was exchanged on 8 December 1776 and was commanding a Northampton militia company in 1778.
By the end of July the companies of the Flying Camp had begun their march, passing through eastern Pennsylvania to Easton, where they joined under the command of Colonel Kechline. Captain Timothy Jayne’s company was drawn up at New Brunswick, New Jersey on 27 July 1776, where the other units soon joined them.
"Muster Roll in the First Battalion of Associators in the County of Northampton, & Province of Pennsylvania, which is to compose part of the Flying Camp of Ten Thousand Men, Commanded by Col. Hart, and in Capt. Timothy Jayne's Company, July 27th, 1776, at Brunswick."It would seem that the other companies in Kichline’s battalion arrived a little later. Nagel, of Kern’s company, says that after reaching Easton, “in a few days [they] crossed the Delaware, and marched to New Brunswick, where they arrived on Saturday evening, and left on Monday, and from thence they marched by way of Amboy…” Hagenbuch’s company arrived in Perth Amboy at least as early as 6 August . . . " - from "Samuel Wirth: Historical Information".
. . .
From New Jersey, the men were transferred, piece-meal, to Manhattan and then on to Long Island, some of them not reaching the island until 26 August, the day before the Battle of Long Island. For the battle, the American force were divided into five divisions, with Kechline's Associators assigned to General Sullivan's division. “John Sullivan… commanded a division composed of Lord Stirling’s brigade — one Maryland regiment, one from Delaware, a Pennsylvania rifle regiment [Miles’ - to which Thomas Hissom, Abner's brother, belonged], a Pennsylvania musketry battalion [Atlee’s], and three corps of Pennsylvania militia… Up to a short time before the battle, Sullivan’s [division was] posted in and about the city.” Their encampment was below Brooklyn, some two miles south towards Staten Island.
John Sullivan's division included, in Lord Stirling's Brigade, Samuel Miles Rifle regiment, with Thomas Hissom, and Peter Kachlein's militia, with William and Abner Hissom.
|The Battle of Long Island
The British landed on Long Island on 22 August and from that date until the main battle there were serious daily skirmishes involving Pennsylvania riflemen. The Americans actually fought quite effectively in these skirmishes and caused a fair amount of trouble, especially to the Hessians at Flatbush. A Hessian officer involved in this skirmishing said of the Pennsylvania riflemen, “[they] have some very good marksmen, but some of them have wretched guns, and most of them shoot crooked. But they are clever at hunter’s wiles. They climb trees, they crawl forward on their bellies for one hundred and fifty paces, shoot, and go as quickly back again. They make themselves shelters of boughs, etc.”
The Americans formed a line on high ground some distance in front of heavy fortificatons they had built on Brooklyn Heights.
The British plan of battle was to heavily engage, and hold in place, the middle and right of the American line, where Kechline's forces were located. British scouts had discovered that the American left was not secure so, while the Americans were thus engaged, the majority of the British army would swing around the American's left, flanking them to fall on the American rear. The Battle of Long Island began on 27 August 1776 and, as contemporaries noted, the American's got a “drubbing” and were “prettily taken in.”
The battle began early with a surprise pre-dawn attack by the British. The Pennsylvania rife men fought well, displaying great markmanship and even withstanding withering fire in open positions, but the British were not really interested in forcing the Amerrican line. The outcome was determined when the British successfully entered upon the American rear and caused a panic. The "History of Lehigh County" states that “…there was great danger of the annihilation of the greater part of the American forces, when Kichlein’s men, with part of Lutz’s and Atlee’s commands stemmed the tide sufficiently to allow the demoralized troops to rally under the guns of General Putnam’s fortifications [at Brooklyn Heights].”
"Genl. Howe in his despatches says that Genl. Grant was killed by Kachlein's men . . . At this moment Kachlein's riflemen arrived . . . They opened an effective fire upon . . . the British"
Once the Americans had fought their way back to their fortifications in the Brooklyn Heights area, the battle subsided because General Howe hesitated to storm these positions. Some have suggested that this hesitation was directly attributable to the catastrophic outcome of just such a head-on attack on the fortified positions at Bunker Hill. There the British attackers had been repeatedly mowed down in shocking numbers and were only able to take the American positions when the defenders’ gunpowder ran out.
On 29 August, General George Washington effected a brilliant, Dunkirk-like evacuation under cover of darkness and fog, recruiting boats from sympathetic locals and removing all of his surviving troops (approximately 10,000!) across the East River to Manhattan. The plan was betrayed at the last minute by Tories who observed the evacuation and sent a servant to inform the British. But British troops arrived only in time to fire a few desperate shots at the last boat disappearing into the fog. Legend has it that Washington himself was the last man to leave.
Kichlein and at least two of his four captains, Henry Hagenbuch and Timothy Jayne, were captured during the battle. Another, John Arndt, was wounded. Hagenbuch and Jayne were later released, on 8 December 1776, in a prisoner exchange. Kachlein was paroled on 29 December 1776.
For more on the battle, see Samuel Wirth: Historial Information.
A deposition by a soldier in Kern's company describes the last frantic moments of the battle on Long Island,
"at about four o’clock in the afternoon his Colonel [Kechline], who was commanding on foot, collected about two hundred of them together and had their arms put in order, for we were in a hollow, and the enemy on a hill. He said he would break through their lines and escape to New York. When we got about half way up the hill, the fire of the British came so hard, and so many fell, that the Colonel ordered a retreat. In a few minutes he was taken prisoner, and we all fled in confusion into some briars and high grass, along a pond. About sunset the British and Hessians came upon us and took us prisoners."Another source adds,
"At the battle of Long Island this company [Jayne's] was captured by the British, confined on the prison ship "Jersey," but fifteen of them surviving their incarceration." - from "Genealogical and Personal History of Northern Pennsylvania" by John Woolf JordanFrom the Pennsylvania Archives is a note, undated, from Captain Timothy Jayne,
"The following were taken in the Battle of Long Island prisoners, belonging to my company . . .Does this mean during the battle on the island or during the campaign and retreat which might include the later battles on Manhattan? Also, who took this muster [Jayne had been captured] and how did they know William and Abner were prisoners vice deceased? There were many gruesome tales of Americans being bayonetted after surrendering.
Abner Hissom . . ."
Captain Jayne was released in a prisoner exchange on 8 December 1776.
A number of Kechline's men did make it behind American lines and took part in the evacuation. After the battle General Washington ordered Kechline's Battalion to be joined with Colonel Hand's 1st Pennsylvania battalion. The unit never regained its strength or independent identity. Eventually the remnants of Kechline's four companies were placed under Colonel Baxter and attached to Hart's Battalion. They garrisoned Fort Washington, on Manhattan. I think the following goes here. From "The Muster Rolls and Papers Relating to the Associators and Militia of the County of Northampton":
Flying Camp, Northampton County Battalion:
Colonel, [Joseph] Hart
Lieutenant Colonel, Peter Kechlein, 17 July 1776
1st Battalion, led by Colonel Hart
- 1st Company - Captain John Arndt, 9 July 1776, total men, 92. Of the 1st Battalion.
- 4th Company - Captain Timothy Jayne, 9 July 1776. Of the 1st Battalion. 1st Lt Peter Middaugh, 2nd Lt Benjamin Ennis, Ens Abner Everitt, total men, 49
2nd Battalion, led by Lieutenant Colonel Kechlein
- 2nd Company - Captain Henry Hagenbuck, 9 July 1776, total men, 120. Of the 2nd Battalion.
- 3rd Company - Captain Nicholas Kern [Horn?], 9 July 1776, total men, 57. Of the 2nd Battalion.
Here's an interesting note dealing with the after effects of the losses suffered by Colonel Kechlein's battalion,
"This minute," Colonel Joseph Hart reported from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, on September 2, 1776, to Pennsylvania's Council of Safety, "I received information . . . that there was two or three companies of the Third Battalion in said county [Bucks] commanded by Colonel Kichline who do not intend to march forward in defence of their country." - from "The Day is Ours!" by William M. Dwyer.This sounds very similar to the mutiny of units of the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment.
|The Battle of Fort Washington
After the defeat in Long Island the issue still remained whether to attempt to hold Manhattan in the face of the British Fleet. Failing to make the correct decision in time, it was soon too late to safely remove the garrison. Fort Washington commanded the highest point on Manhattan and most of the remnants of the Northampton County associators had been positioned there. During the battle the Northampton county men, under Colonel Baxter, initially fought outside the fort, behind earthworks on high ground about half a mile to the east. Greatly outnumbered in the British attack, they were driven back to the fort and Colonel Baxter was killed.
In the end their position was hopeless. Under continuous bombardment and outnumbered 15 to 1, their commander finally surrendered the fort.
Abner's younger brother, Thomas, was also at the battle of Long Island. After the war he joined Captain Jayne and others in requesting reimbursement from the Pennsylvania government for the 'loss of arms' at Fort Washington. It is not clear whose arms these were. They could have been Thomas' or those of his brothers. Note that in this early period all American soldiers would have carried personal firearms, not government issue. However, this seems to indicate that at least one of the three brothers was at the fort.
The Moravian records, at Bethlehem, contain the following about the Flying Camp's experience at Long Island:
"In these days, parties of militia on their return from New York, passed, bringing the intelligence that a battalion from the county (First Battalion, Lieut. Col. Kechlein), had suffered severely at the engagement with the British on Long Island, on the 27th of August last, having left most of its men either dead or wounded." - from "The Pennsylvania-German in the Revolutionary War" of 1908, by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Richards(21) William Hisson (1754)
William, the son of Thomas Hisson and Catherina Kleyn, was christened on 19 May 1754 in the Dutch Reformed Church, Walpack, Sussex county, New Jersey. Witnesses were Johannes Kleyn and Eva Brink - from "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record." I assume Johannes was related to Catherina, William's mother; perhaps her brother?
This is in northwestern New Jersey, between Warren county, to the south, and New York, to the north. Its western border is the Delaware river. It is part of the Minisinck Valley.
Why was William, and his brother John, christened in Walpack, across the river from Smithfield township? Did Catherina return to a church closer to the rest of her extended family for these important rites? Another proposed solution is that, as a traveling minister supported several churches in the area, this baptism was conducted in Walpack because that’s where the minister was at the time.
The Pennsylvania archives also lists a William Hissom, birthdate 175?. There are similar entries for a Thomas and Abner Hissom.
Most of the information that applies to Abner, above, applies equally to his brother. They served togehter in the Northampton Battalion of the Flying Camp. From the Pennsylvania Archives, Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File:
- Private William Hissom, Active Duty, Line, Flying Camp (Northampton), Captain Timothy Jayne, 1st Battalion, Time of Service: 9 July 1776.William is also on a Muster Roll of the First Battalion of Associators in the county of Northampton, 'which is to compose part of the Flying Camp of Ten Thousand Men,' Commanded by Colonel Hart and in Captain Timothy Jayne's company, 27 July 1776, at New Brunswick.
I wonder why William's brother, Thomas, didn't join the same unit as well? See above for the story of the Flying Camp and the Battles of Long Island and Fort Washington.
From the Pennsylvania Archives is a note from Captain Timothy Jayne, "The following were taken in the Battle of Long Island prisoners, belonging to my company . . . William Hissom, Abner Hissom . . ."
If he survived his capture William would have been confined to the prison ships. Of the 2,200 Pennsylvania Germans captured at Fort Washington, about 1,900 perished within two months, according to the proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society. There were prisoner exchanges and paroles, but it is probable that William remained on the ships for about 6 months to a year. Abner appears in no further records.
American Prisoners of the Revolution
The British took so many American prisoners at Long Island and on Manhattan that prison space became a premium. Every conceivable building was turned into a prison: three sugar houses, several Dutch churches, the Old City Hall, and Kings College [now Columbia] for a while. These soon became packed, and bad food and infectious disease quickly took their toll.
The British used the ships at Wallabout Bay, later the site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, for naval prisoners on this side of the Atlantic. The prisoners included men captured on American privateers, merchant ships, French, Spanish, and Dutch vessels, and British Army prisoners of war. After April 1780, the JERSEY was the receiving ship where names were entered into records. At left is the monument at Fort Green Park to the prisoners who suffered at Wallabout Bay. The bones of a number of these prisoners are buried beneath the monument.
|The Prison Ships
More Americans died in British prison ships in New York Harbor than in all the battles of the Revolutionary War. There were at least 16 of these floating prisons anchored in Wallabout Bay on the East River for most of the war and they were sinkholes of filth, vermin, infectious disease and despair. It is estimated that half of the inmates, who totaled over 13,000, died during their captivity. The ships were uniformly wretched, but the most notorious was the JERSEY.
Built in 1735 as a 64-gun ship-of-the-line, the JERSEY was converted into a prison ship in the winter of 1779-1780.
The sacrifices and suffering of the survivor's of the Flying Camp were taken into account when the Militia Act of 1777 was put into effect in Northampton County. John Nicholas Kline explained: “The remnant of the Flying Camp Militia was put into class no. 8 with the avowed reason that they, (if called out at all) should be the last, as they had suffered much in the service before."
On 18 July 1786 there was a survey of 400 acres in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania in the name of William Heysham [there are in fact two citations for William, but they are identical]. The Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, Vol.26 (Northampton County) shows a William Heysham with 400 acres. Date of Survey; Sept. 7, 1789. These were most probably references to land deals made by Captain William Heysham of Philadelphia.
Only Thomas, Thomas Jr., John and David Hysham [Hissom] were listed in the 1790 census of Lower Smithfield. Below is Jacob Stroud's mansion, built in Stroudsburg in 1795.
A daughter of Thomas Heysham. Though I have no record of her birth I picked 1756 because there was room in the birth order there for her. She married Daniel Sullivan.(22) James Heysham Sullivan (1786)
He was born on 20 August 1786, but not baptized until 29 August 1788, the same day as his cousin, Joab. The baptism was performed by the Reverend Elia Van Bunshofen at the Reformed Dutch Church of Smithfield, Pennsylvania. At one time I thought James was illegitimate because he was called James Heysham and his father's name was Sullivan, but after a review of the baptismal records I note that illegitimacy was clearly indicated, where appropriate, and that children were shown only by their given names, so the notation James Heysham only meant that he had two given names, not that his father was a scoundrel.
Witnesses at the baptism were Thomas Heysham and Elizabeth Brink. Note also, the baptism date for Joab Heysham, David Heysham’s first son, was held the same day, though they were born years apart. The delay in James' baptism was in part due to the lack of a minister, there was none in the Minisink between 1770 and 1785. The further delay may have been because of the backlog or, having done without for so many years no one was now in a hurry.
James married Mary Blackburn on 11 November 1836 in Jefferson county, Pennsylvania. Mary was born in 1805, making her 29 years old to his fifty [the dirty old man]. Jefferson county is in northwestern Pennsylvania and was once part of Westmoreland county, gaining its current form in 1830. Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating ground hog, makes his home there.
The following are Heysham-Hissems that cannot be placed and which may be erroneous. That is, they have no real relationship to the family. Some of these are Germans, the name being a variation on Hussong, Hesse and, perhaps, Heismann.New York Hissam's
In the 1800 census of Charlton, Saratoga county, New York as Deborah Hesam. In the household were 2 boys under 10, 1 boy 10 to 16 years old, and a man, 26 to 45 years old. Women in the house included 1 girl under 10, a women 16 to 26, and another 26 to 45. There were also 2 slaves. Normally I would assume the two adults, 26 to 45, were married, but since Deborah was the head of the household, I assume not.(??) Daniel Hissam
In the 1810 Federal census of Flushing, Queens county, New York as Daniel Hissam. Last name could be Kissam. I suspect this family was Dutch. The household contained 2 boys under 10, 1 aged 16 to 20, and one man 45 or over. Women included two girls 10 to 15, one 16 thru 25, one 26 thru 44. One other was under the title "all other pree persons. Two slaves were listed.
Note that in the 1870 census of Ward 14, District 8, New York City there is a black family of Jacob Hissam, 77, John Hissam, 56, and Fanny Hissam, 3. Suspect these were the slaves and their descendentts of Daniel Hissam.Benjamin Hissam
In the 1810 Federal census of Flushing, Queens county, New York as Benjamin Hissam. Last name could be Kissam. The household contained two boys 16 thru 25 years old, and one man 45 or older. The women included one girl 10 thru 15, one 26 thru 44 and one 45 or over. Two other free persons were listed.Hewlitt Hissam
In the 1810 Federal census of Flushing, Queens county, New York as Hewlitt Hissam. Last name bould be Kissam. The household contained one boy 10 thru 15 years old, and a man 45 or over. The women included four girls under 10, 1 10 thru 15, and one 26 thru 44.
The following are from the 1820 Federal census.William Hissam
Living in Fairfield township, Fairfield county, Connecticut in 1820. The household contained one man and one women, 26 to 45 years old. No children were listed.
The following is from the 1840 census of Ward 13, New York City, New York.Joseph Hissam
The household included one man 30 to 40 years old and another who was between 60 and 70. I suspect Joseph is the younger man, taking care of his aged father, who could be any one of the New York Hissam's above. There is also a woman in the house, 50 to 60 years old.Colonel Heson
From the Pennsylvania Archives, 6th S., XIV, 129.