My great-great grandfather's family history

Started by mens_issues, Jan 10, 2010, 12:50 PM

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Jan 10, 2010, 12:50 PM Last Edit: Jan 10, 2010, 01:07 PM by mens_issues
I have been fortunate to receive a document written by my great-great grandfather, Issac Billings Van Valkenburg, which describes the history of the Van Valkenburg family starting with his grandfather Jeronemus Van Valkenburg (a direct descendant of Lambert Van Valkenburg who came to New Amsterdam (later NYC) in 1644).  This was written in 1865, and was recently transcribed by me for the purposes of my genealogy.

Isaac was a Methodist minister in upstate New York in the latter part of the 1800s

Some of the passages from his family history are, I think, relevant to the lives of men and women as they really occurred in the 19th. century.  I realize this is quite long, but think it may be quite interesting.  

Here is the start:

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Jeronemus Van Valkenburg came from Holland to this country [United States] about the time or just before the American Revolution.  He settled somewhere about Schenectady but just where is not to the writer known.  But little is known of his early or of any of his history.  He married Margret Van Dyke, daughter of Henry Van Dyke.  One circumstance is related of him which gives some light upon his employment.  He and others were going down the Mohawk [river] with a raft of timber or lumber and by some means their then provision store became exhausted and for two or three or more days they had nothing to eat.  There were no families living on the bank of the river from who they could procure anything to eat.  At length in almost a famishing condition they came to a house and entered it and related their circumstances.  The woman of the house was very judicious and would not allow them to eat all they wanted at first but gave them a little bread and milk I believe in a teacup.  Though the men earnestly plead for more generous allowances, their kind hostess very wisely and firmly withheld it from them at first.  In a little time, she gave them some more bread and milk and as their systems could bear it she increased the rations, until they would feel satisfied without any physical injury.  This is but one of many and frequent hardships endured by our pioneer fathers.  The Mohawk and the Hudson of the middle of the nineteenth century present but a faint remembrance of what it was in those days.  Then deep and dense forest spread out on either side of the watershed with now and then a log house or a little settlement at long intervals of many times, many days journey.  Now the giant old forests have faded away before the sturdy woodsman's ax and a wilderness has given place to large cities and villages and prosperous towns and all along the bank the stately farmhouses and the well cultivated fields and richly waving harvests are seen.  While the magnificent steam boat proudly passes at [rapid rate] up and down the river.  

The latter part of his life he spent with his son Henry Van Valkenburg, who resided in the town of Marshall, Oneida County, New York.  He came to his death by the effects of wound in his knee caused by a scythe while he was mowing in the field.  He lived about three months after the wound was received.  It appears from this statement that his health was previous the circumstances which caused his death sufficient to labor in the field.  He died Oct. 18, 1829.  He was but once married.  His children were six in number.  Their names were as follows, Jacob, Henry, Angelica, Rachel, Margret, [and] Cornelius.


About the life of Jacob:

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Jacob the oldest son of Jeronemus and Margret Van Valkenburg was born [blank].  Probably during most of his life he has lived in Broom Co., N.Y.  I am not as yet able to learn much about him.   He had a large family and was a very good man.  He died some years since.  The circumstances of his death are somewhat as follows.  In the morning he left his home in usual health, to go to a neighboring village.  On his return he was taken suddenly and severely ill.  He went into a house to rest him.  After staying there some little time he again started on his way home.  He succeeded in coming within a mile of his home when his sickness would not allow him to go further.  He then went into a house and there after suffering the most excruciating pain died the next day.  Mother tells me she thinks he was a farmer, she never knew any thing to the contrary.


Isaac's father Cornelius:

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Cornelius Van Valkenburg was born June 14th 1805 in [Schoharie] or Schenectady Co. N.Y.  His father moved to Broom in Broom Co. in this state N.Y. before he Cornelius was seventeen years old.  They resided in that place not much longer than one year.  They then removed to the town of Paris Oneida Co., N.Y. where his father spent the remainder of his days.  Cornelius then went to live with a Mr. Miller in Hanover.  At this time when he was of the age of seventeen attended school.  This was about the first of his going to school.  His teacher was Virgil Boyne who has since become a very eminent preacher in the Congregational denomination.

He made his home principally at this Mr. Millers during the succeeding eight years.  The winter he was 17 he attended school about three months and this ended his schooling.  He was a hard working man.  He helped support his parents during the remainder of their lives.  He and his brother Henry bought a place in Hanover for which they were to pay $300.  Cornelius paid sixty dollars at the time of the purchase. This was all that was ever paid toward it.  But Henry occupied it during his life and his family have occupied it since.  Two of Henry's sons John and Henry bought the place since they have become old enough to work for themselves.  Cornelius was married 14 Sept. 1820 to Miss. Sarah Merritt of Kirkland, Oneida Co., N.Y.  They commenced life with nothing but their hands to help themselves with and though never [?] property they maintained an honest and respectable living.  In the spring of 1831they moved to College Hill and lived in a house then owned by Wm. Hutchens.  They were here two years and they moved to Isaac Merritte's where they remained until the fall of 1835 Christopher Clark was born while they lived at Isaac Merritte's.  Their next place of residence was in the eastern part of Kirkland in a house owned by Ruben Ellenwood.

On earth Cornelius Van Valkenburg had no continuing city yet he lived for one above.  He was highly respected for his integrity of character and now that he has been dead for 20 years his memory is still favorable cherished by his former acquaintances.  He was converted at 23 years of age in a protracted meeting held at the time in Hanover.  He did not make a public profession of his faith in Christ until 2 years after his conversion.  He then joined the Congregational Church in Clinton of which his wife was then a member.  It may be remarked that some 50 or 60 persons united with the Congregational Church in Clinton at the same time Cornelius was received.  From the time of his marriage he lived a devoted Christian.  He died of inflammation of the lungs after a sickness of five weeks Jan. 30, 1845 in the town of Smithfield, Madison Co., N.Y.  He was in his 40th year.  He left four children, Christopher Clark, Isaac B. Samuel C. and Hiram G. Van Valkenburg.  Hiram the youngest was five years old at the time of his father's death.


Isaac's brother Christopher Clark:

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C. Clark Van Valkenburg.  Was born in the town of Kirkland, Oneida Co., N.Y. Oct. 17, 1833.  He was a boy of more than ordinary musical genius.  He was 11 years of age when his father died and as he was the oldest of the family the heaviest share of assisting mother fell on him.  In this respect as well as in every other he was a dutiful son.  He was converted when he was about 17 years of age.  In the spring of 1853 he went to Windfield to learn the mason trade with Orin Williams.  During the summer of 1853 he joined the Sons of Temperance.  His piety was marked by all that knew him.  One man who knew him well the last summer of his life said to me (and that man was not a Christian) "If there ever was a Christian I believe that Clark was one."  He died Oct. 7th 1853.  His last sickness lasted about five weeks.  His demise was [Typhoid] Fever.  He was subject to [sessions?] of derangements during his sickness and in one of these he departed this life.  His age was 20 years wanting 10 days.  He was buried in the graveyard at West Windfield and there his remains still slumber.  He was at the day of his death a probation in the M. E. Church.  He had a generous nature; was kind and obliging to his brothers and friends and was free from bad habits of any kind, he was industrious and prudent.  He was subject to some ill treatment at some of his places of labor.  He always labored hard.  He spent the last winter of his life with his uncle Isaac Merritte in Oswego Co., N.Y.  He went to school that winter.  

Music was his passion, it was all he cared to learn.  Had he lived he would probably made great proficiency in that science.

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Isaac wrote this of his wife, Adelia:

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Adelia Ann Van Valkenburg.  Was born near Norwich, Chenango Co., N.Y. Oct. 17, 1835.  Her father's name is Orin [Brooks], her mother's name Hannah Brooks.  Her mother's maiden name was Abbott.  Adelia was an only daughter.  She had two brothers, William and [Lafayette].

Isaac and Adelia were schoolmates together the year before his father's death and here their acquaintance first commenced.  Adelia was always a very apt scholar in all departments of study.  As a girl she was always at home, unless necessarily absent, attending to household and other duties.  She was early taught industry and economy which are excellent accomplishments for one who is to enter the ministry.  From the time she was five years old until she was married she resided with her parents in Smithfield near Peterburg, Mead Co., N.Y.  She attended school at the Academy in Peterburg, Rev. J. Copland teacher, in the year 1854 + 5 pursuing studies in the higher English branches such as algebra, natural philosophy and astronomy.

She was always religiously inclined and from a child it was a daily practice to read a portion of scripture and pray.  She made a public profession of Christ in the winter of 1857 + 8.  She has always since married coped with poverty and trouble assisting her husband in maintaining an honest livelihood.  She is a devoted wife, a kind mother and a faithful Christian.  She is happy in the [itinerancy] and constantly labors to produce sunshine at home and abroad.

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It was a simpler time, although in many ways life was tougher (less technology).  it was also a lot less developed and overpopulated.  Many things were different.  There was no gender  feminism.  That's one thing that was definitely better for all men and women.
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