THE SETTLEMENT OF PHILIPSBURGH
By MacKenzie, entered by Lisa Shea
The old record book of the "Christian Church of the Manor of Philipsburgh" begun in 1715, gives the following account of the origin of the Manor :- "About the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 1680, his Royal Majesty of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith etc., was pleased to agree by prerogative, consent and license, to grant to the Hon. Lord Frederick Philipse to purchase without restriction at a real estate sale, a certain stretch of land and valley lying in Westchester County in America, beginning at the north of Spuytenduyvel Creek and extending northward along the River to the kill of Kitchewang, as specified in the license and patent granted by the state." * The royal patent was granted in 1693 when Frederick Philipse was confirmed as lord of the manor known as Philipse Manor or the Manor of Philipse.
* First Record Book of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, pp 4, 5. The first tract of the Philipsburgh lands purchased by Philipse from the Indians was the Pocantico tract Dec 10 1681. This included land west of the Saw Mill river of Yonkers Kill from above the mouth of the Pocantico River southward to Biseghtick Creek between Tarrytown and Irvington. On the thirteenth of April following, he added the Biseghtick tract extending southward from Biseghtick Creek to Wysquaqua Creek. On Sept 6 1682 he bought the land west of the Saw Mill River between Wysquaqua Creek and the Great Rock in Hastings. It was nearly two years later, June 5 1684 when he acquired the Nepperhan tract between the Saw Mill River and the Bronx River north of Yonkers, and the Sink Sink tract between the Pocantico tract and the Croton River did not come into his possession until Aug 5 1685. (Bolton's History of Westchester County, 2bd ed Vol I, pp 268-270, vol II p507)
The earliest records use the name of Philipsburgh to designate any part of the Manor, but in the later records a clear distinction is made between Yonkers, lower Yonkers, and Philipsburgh, the latter being the part of the Manor lying north of Yonkers. The colonial town of Philipsburgh organized about 1742, comprised the present towns of Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant and Ossining. Here most of the old Dutch families of the Manor settled, and here near the shore of the Hudson, about midway between Yonkers and the Croton River, stands the old stone church built in 1697 which for generations was the religious center of the community, and in the burying ground around it, hallowed by many associations, rest the founders of the settlement, for the most part in nameless graves, there being no extant inscriptions before 1750. Not far from the church stood the Manor House and mill.
The old record continues:- "After the above mentioned Lord Frederick Philipse had bought and come into possession of his land tract, he contracted with a number of people to come and live upon it without charge, that the land might be quickly put to use and settled." This rent free offer, of course, was for a limited time. While all the land was occupied under lease, the buildings erected up on it, known as "improvements," were owned outright by the tenants and were regularly devised or sold to a succeeding tenant with the consent of the lord of the manor.
The old rent rolls of the manor, if published (note: they existed - they did), would afford a wealth of historical and genealogical information about this large section of Westchester County. Until this is available (without this information) any account of the settlement must, of necessity, be based upon such incomplete evidence as is now at hand.
It is a matter of record that Frederick Philipse had built, or was building "Certain Mills and Other Edifices" at the mouth of the Pocantico River in the late spring of 1682, * a few months after his purchase of the land from the Indians. This marks the beginning of a settlement in Philipsburgh.
* See the complaint of the Governor and General Court of Connecticut as quoted in Hall's Philipse Manor Hall pp 67-8.
The first settlers on record in the vicinity of Tarrytown were Lourens Matthys Bankert and Jochem Woutersz Van Wert. Both came before 1688. It may well have been that Frederick Philipse brought Lourens Matthys from Flatbush to Tarrytown in the spring of 1682 to look after his affairs at the upper mill. The fact that he named five of his children after members of the Philipse family, and that they acted as sponsors to several of his children, would suggest his status as a trusted and privileged employee.
Jochem Woutersz probably came here about 1683. About or shortly before 1690 they were followed by the Ecker brothers Wolfert and Jan, also from Flatbush. Whatever other residents there may have been before 1690 would seem to have been transients who shortly moved on, leaving no descendants and no record of their existence here.
During the first years of the settlement, the growth of the community was slow. At the time of the organization of the church in 1697, there were probably not more than seventy five persons of all ages living in Philipsburgh. * The next few years showed a more rapid growth, a number of families having settled here around or just before 1700. In 1712 the population was 309 and 39 salves. **
* The statement of Governor Bellmont that there were only "twenty poor families" in Philipse Manor in 1698, is an understatement. There were nearly forty. Nineteen families are on record as living in Philipsburg at that date:- Lourens Matthys Bankers (7), Deliverance Conklin (4), David Davids (3), Barent de Witt (5), Abraham de Revier (3), Wolfert Ecker (5), Jan Ecker 94), John Foseur (4), Francois Guiliamse (6), Jan Harmse (3), John Hyatt (7), Thomas Hyatt (2), David Storm (4), Peter Storm (3), Isaac Sie (5), Peter Sie (2), Jochem Woutersz Van Wert (6), Gerret Van Wert (5) and Robert Williams (5). The number in parentheses are the number of persons in each family as determined from church and other records, totaling 83. A few other families who were definitely here shortly after 1698 may have come before that date. The census of 1698 lists twenty one families living in Yonkers, Lower Yonkers.
**8 Census record:- 7 men and 7 women over sixty, 62 men and 61 women between sixteen and sixty and 86 boys and 86 girls.
The settlement before 1700 would seem to have been confined to the shore of the Hudson except for the See family at Nanegeeken, now Thornwood, and David Storm at East View. The earliest Dutch, Huguenor and Walloon families were located chiefly in the vicinity of Tarrytown and Irvington, with a few to the north of Tarrytown.
Isaac Sie, born in France (some say Paris) probably about 1645, accompanied his parents Isaac and Esther Sie and his sister Mary to England. He probably married there and had son Peter born there. The whole family came to New York in the ship that brought over Sir Edmund Andros arriving Nov 1 1674. Isaac and Maria settled in Harlem where their son Jacobus was born. About 1777 they moved to the Fresh Kill on Staten Island next to Johannes Martling. He and his sons settled in Nanegeeken about 1695.
The earliest settler on the shore north of Tarrytown was Robert Williams who settled in Kitchewan (Croton) Point where he married in 1689 Grace Cerant or Haring widow of John Beselie. Shortly after he moved down into Philipsburgh and lived on a leasehold a little below the Croton River. Some time between 1711 and 1714 his step-son Francie Beselie settled on a leasehold just north of his.
Engel Hoff, son of Engelbart Hoff born in Norway, settled in Cortlandt Manor before 1704, married Maria (dau. Of Robert) Wiliams and moved down to Philipsburgh about 1708, probably living on his father-in-law's leasehold.
John Bulyea, son of Louis Boulier born in Saintonge, France, married Helena daughter of Robert Williams in 1718 and in 1723 was living on a leasehold just below his father-in-law's land.
Jonas Gerretson born in Westchester about 1680 married Cornelia de Groot in Tappan 1708 and about 1712 settled in Philipsburgh, probably on the leasehold just east of Sing Sing later occupied by his grandson Marvel.
Jacob Van Tassel, son of Jan Cornelia Van Tassel of Cortlandt Manor, married Aeltje daughter of Dirck Storm and settled here before 1699 on a leasehold part of which is now the site of Sing Sing prison.
Next below his land was the leasehold of Carel Davids b. Laval, Canada, son of Jean Davids and his wife Esther Vincent born in France. About 1685 they moved to Kingston and about 1690 to Newton, L.I. Carel and his brother David and sister Angelica settled in Philipsburgh before 1697.
Paulus Rutan, son of Abraham Rutemps, b. New Palz, Ulster Co., 1686 settled in Philipsburgh where he married in 1708 Carel Davids' sister Angelica and probably lived on his brother-in-law's leasehold until he moved to Rosendale, Bergen Co., NJ about 1723.
In 1723 Frans Van Dyck was living on a leasehold just below that of Carel Davids. Born in New York, son of Jacobus Franz Van Dyck, he married in 1713 Ursula daughter of Peter Montross and settled in Philipsburgh about 1720. Some time after 1737 he moved to Crum Elbow Precinct, Dutchess Co.
Joseph Hitchcock, grandson of Edward Hitchcock of New Haven, born in Westchester about 1678, settled in Philipsburgh where he married Margaret daughter of William Aertse. His leasehold in Scarborough would seem to have included the site of the Sparta cemetery.
William Aertse, son of Aert Willemazen and Wyntje Elberts, born in New Amsterdam about 1640 married Styntje Nagel in 1677. He is recorded a freeman of New York Nov22 1698, a victualer by trade. About or shortly after 1703 he and his family, except Aert, settled in Philpsburgh on a leasehold just below that of Joseph Hitchcock. William died before May 1716 and the leasehold was occupied in 1723 by his oldest son John. His descendants have been known variously as Aertse, Arser, Auser and Orser. Most of them were descended from his son Evert.
Somewhat further south was the leasehold of Aert Williams, or Aertse, son of William Aertse. Born in New York in 1678 he married Mary daughter of James Mott of Mamaroneck. Some time between 1710 and 1718 he moved to the "Bay of Philipsburgh."
Deliverance Conklin son of John and Helena, born in Rye probably about 1670, moved to New York where he married Engeltje sister of Jan Buckhout and about 1697 settled in Philipsburgh, probably on the lower part of the pocantico River on the leasehold bought from the Commissioners of Forfeitures by his great grandsons Isaac and Jacob.
Jacob Gardenier, son of Albert Jacobs Gardenier and Maria Harmense Lieverse and grandson of Jacob Jans Flodderse of Severwyck, was born in Kinderhook about 1683 and moved with his parents to Yonkers about 1692. He married Sara Van Wert daughter of Jochem Woutersz, and would seem to have lived on the lower part of Bedford Road.
In the immediate vicinity of Tarrytown, the first recorded settlers, as already stated were Lourens Matthys Bankert and Jochem Woutersz Van Wert. Lourens Matthys probably came to Tarrytown about 1682. Jochem Woutersz was born about 1637 but whether in the Netherlands or in one of the Dutch settlements on Long Island is not certain. He married Christina Jans. They lived in Flatbush until they settled in Tarrytown before 1688, probably about 1683. He and his wife were both living in 1716. His son Gerret born in Flatbush about 1668 married Catherine sister of Deliverance Conklin and lived on the west side of Broadway about opposite Sheldon Avenue. Jochem's son Jacob, a few years younger than Gerret, married Belitje Hoppe a step-daughter of Abraham Devoe, and lived on a farm just below Prospect Avenue, probably part of his father's original leasehold.
To the north of Gerret Van Wert, just about Sheldon Brook, Abraham Devoe settled about 1703. He was born in Europe 1667, a son of the Huguenot refugee Nicholas Devoe who came from England with the Sies in 1674. Abraham married Mynno daughter of Paulus Jurckse and widow of Paulus Hoppe. They lived in Hackensack until about 1700 when they moved to Staten Island where they stayed about three years. In later years his leasehold was occupied by William Hunt.
Abraham de Revier, the first elder of the Philipsburgh Church, came from the Island of Casantin the parish of Gouda in South Holland with sons Abraham and Johannes and settled in Philipsburgh, probably in the vicinity of Tarrytown, before 1697.
Abraham Martling, son of John Marteline born in the dutch West Indies, was born on Staten Island 1693 and settled in Tarrytown probably in 1714. The next year he married Rachel daughter of his neighbor Abraham Devoe. He built about 1714 the stone and frame farmhouse which was torn down about 1897 to make room for the present grade school on the corner of Broadway and Hamilton Place. He was a blacksmith by occupation, was a justice of the peace and the first recorded town clerk of Philipsburgh, an office which he held for seven years. His grave stone with its Dutch inscription is still standing in a good state of preservation directly to the rear of the old church, one of the oldest stones in the cemetery. Just north of his farm was that of Jan Ecker the first deacon of the church. A son of Stephen Eckker "from Ham out of the land of Marde," he married Magdalena Vonck June 4 1693 but left no descendants in the male line.
Jan's elder brother Wolfert Ecker was born in Flatbush probably about 1668. Some time before 1691 he settled on the bank of the Hudson in Southern Tarrytown where he built the Dutch farm house immortalized by Washington Irving as "Wolfert's Roost." * This house was owned by Major Jacob Van Tassel during the Revolution when it was burned by the British in retaliation for some depredation committed by the doughty Jacob within the British lines. After the war it was rebuilt and was bought in 1802 by Capt. Oliver Ferris whose son Benson sold it to Washington Irving in 1835. All of the Ackers of Westchester County are descended from Wolfert and his wife Mritje Syhouts whom he married in January 1692. The Ecker-Ekkerson family of Rockland County was of a different origin. Just north of Wolfert Ecker's farm Glode Requa settled about 1729.
* The first Chronicle of Wolfert's Roost is not to be taken too seriously. The irascible Wolfert privy counselor of Peter Stuyvesant, who left New Amsterdam in high dudgeon in 1664 and retired to the solitude of his wilderness kingdom on the shore of the Tappan Zee, is not to be found on the sober pages of history.
In Irvington just below Wolfert Ecker, Barent Dutcher settled about 1699 and married Deliverance Conklin's sister Mary. He was born in Esopus in Ulter county about 1675, a son of Jan Willemazen de Dutcher.
Peter Buys (Boyce) a son of Adrisen Pieterse Buys who came from Thiel in Nord Brabant, was born in Bergen NJ 1679. He married Geertje Hoppe a step-daughter of Abraham Devoe in 1702 and lived in Pasasic until about 1707 when he and his brother Jacob settled in Philipsburgh. His leasehold which included the present center of Irvington, was bought from the Commissioners of Forfeitures in 1785 by his grandson William Dutcher.
Jan Buckhout, son of the sea captain Matthys Janszen Buckhout, was born about 1682 probably in New York. He settled in Irvington before 1708 and married Laurens Matthys Bankert's daughter Mary. They lived on the south east corner of Broadway and Harriman Road. He was a captain in the militia in and before 1758. His second wife whom he married in 1753 was the widow of Thomas Lawrence of Eastchester whose younger children Jan brought up. According to his gravestone, he died Apr 10 1785 aged 103, leaving 240 descendants. One can only regret that we have not a complete list of them.
His next door neighbor was Jan Harmse. He was born in New Amsterdam in 1658, son of Harmen Janszen Van Lennep and Margaret Mayring. Jan's young mother was left a widow shortly after his birth and in 1660 she married Hendrick Martenszen Wilsze and went to Kingston to live. Jan lived with his mother and step-father in Kingston and Newton, L.I. He married Aeltje Abramse (Lent). They lived on the Arme Bouwery (Astoria) then a part of Newtown, until they settled in Irvington sometime before 1697. The old stone and frame house still standing on the Murray estate 100 South Broadway, is believed to have been built by him around 1698. He died January 1743 aged about 85.
Just south of his leasehold was the leasehold of Herrick Cranckheit who married in 1708 Helena daughter of Gerret Van Wert. A son of Theunis Hercx and Sophia Hendricks Wilsze, he was born on Long Island about 1685 and moved with his parents to Ryck's Patent before 1694.
In the lower part of Irvington stretched the fertile fields of Thomas Storm, eldest son of Gorus Storn and Engeltje Van Dyck of Yonkers. He was born in Gowanus, L.I., in 1691 and moved to Yonkers as a small child .He married Christina daughter of Gerret Van Wert and lived in Irvington or just below the line in Dobbs Ferry. He died in 1769. His grave is in the Hunt plot on the hill overlooking the old Dutch burying ground of Sleepy Hollow whence it was moved about 1895. He was the ancestor of the Storms of Dobbs Ferry and of Stormville, Dutchess Co.
In the early seventeen hundreds his brother Claes Storm settled on the saw Mil River at Elmsford, and some time after 1705 Cornelis Van Tassel, son of Jan Cornelis of Ryck's Patent settled a mile below Elmsford. Later other Dutch families spread out into the upper Saw Mill River valley.
One of the earliest settlers in the vicinity of the East View was probably David Storm. He was born in Osch in the Maiery of the Bosch in North Brabent May 15 1661. He settled in Cortlandt in 1691 and moved to Philipsburgh about 1694., when he married Esther daughter of Isaac Sie. It is not certain whether he settled then in East view, but in 1742 his son David was living on a farm on the south side of the County House Road and east of the Saw Mill River, probably the leasehold of his father in the early seventeen hundreds.
Across the street his son-in-law William Hammond settled and built the existing Hammond house probably in the spring or summer of 1719. He was born in Bermuda and settled in New York where he married Mary daughter of Walgraef or Walgrave. She was a step-sister of Jan Buckhout of Irvington, so it is not surprising that he chose a Philipsburgh girl for his second wife. He married Esther Storm in November 1714 but continued to live in New York until 1718 or 1719.
The part of Philipsburgh included in the present villages of Dobbs Ferry and Hastings was first known as Wysquaqua from the stream of that name flowing thru Dobbs Ferry * There were evidently some settlers here before 1693. Those I have been able to identify with certainty are Johannes Jurckse who moved to Haverstraw about 1693, Barent de Witt who moved from Westchester county shortly after 1708, Jacob Dekay and John Cornelius collectors in 1692, Matthys Buckhout who moved back to New York before 1696 and probably John Hyatt St.
* Under the terms of Frederick Philipse' will, Wysquaqua Creek, known also as William Portugese Creek (1700) and Dols Brook (1723), formed for half a century the boundary between the upper manor owned by Adolph Philipse with his manor house in Tarrytown, and the lower manor owned by Frederick Philipse 2nd with his manor house in Yonkers. On the death of Adolph in 1749, Frederick came into possession of the whole manor.
Thomas Hughson settled here before 1705 but how much earlier is uncertain. His leasehold would seem to have extended from the present Ashford Avenue northward to the land of Thomas Storm. The "lane by Hughson's house" mentioned in 1723, was undoubtedly the present Cedar Street, and we may well conjecture that his house stood about where Witt's garage is now located. The names of his children leave no doubt that his wife was a sister of his neighbor Johnny Dobbs.
Hughson's next door neighbor was Joseph Conklin, youngest son of John and Helena. He was born in Eastchester about 1680, settled in Dobbs Ferry before 1701 and married John Hyatt's daughter Rebecca. His house stood on Broadway a little below the present intersection with cedar Street. He left few Conklin Descendants in Philipsburgh. His son Jacob moved to Rockland County, Isaac to Peramua NJ, John to Fishkill and Thomas and Gilbert to Cortlandt.
John Dobbs, more familiarly known as Johnny Dobbs, was probably born on Barren Island in Flatlands. He settled on a leasehold just below Joseph Conklin about or shortly after 1700. His son William, who married in 1730 Lea daughter of Jacob Van Wert, ran the ferry that gave its name to the locality, and an inn, perhaps that later known as George Knox' Tavern on the corner of Broadway and Walnut Street. His son John lived in New York and son Walter in Cortlandt.
John Hyatt, son of Thomas Hyatt of Stamford, moved to Mile Square in Yonkers before 1689, and was probably one of the early settlers of Wysquaqua, having moved from Mile Square before the census of 1698 was taken, but how long before is not certain. His daughter Rebecca was the first child whose baptism is recorded in the Sleepy Hollow church records Apr 21 1697. In 1723 his son John was living on Broadway just below John Dobb's house n what now comprises the oldest part of the residence of Mt Messmore Kendall.
Just below the Hyatt leasehold in 1723 was the leasehold of John Conklin Jr. son of John Conklin and Mehitabel. He was born in Yonkers about 1695 and married Jane daughter of Jacob Valentine. He lived on Broadway until some time after 1731 when he moved to Columbia County where he died before 1748.
Amos Levines, a grandson of the Huguenot émigré Etinne le Vigne, settled in Hastings before 1723 just below John Conklin Jr., and below him was Jacob Wilsea, a half-brother of Jan Harmae. He was born in Newtown, L.I. 1676 and settled in Hastings about 1702.
John Conklin, a brother of Deliverance and Joseph, was probably born in Rye about 1674. He settled in Lower Yonkers where he married Mehitabel Tippet widow of Joseph Hadley about 1694. He and second wife Lydia settled in Hastings about 1705. In 1723 it is recorded that he had recently built himself a new house just north of the "Great Rock".
A number of the early settlers I have not been able to locate with any degree of certainty, among them Lodewyck Ackerman (about 1704), Francois Guiliamse (before 1697), Hendrick Lamberts (before 1705), John and Peter Foseur (before 1697), George Jewel (about 1711), probably Irvington, Peter Storm (before 1696), and Thomas Van Dyck about 1697.
The land east of the Saw Mill River between Yonkers and Elmsford was settled later, and almost exclusively by families of English origin. In the second quarter of the eighteenth century the extensive farms of John and William Underhill, Capt. Gilbert drake, Joshua Odell, Caleb, Joseph, John, Thomas and Nehemiah Tompkins, Israel Hunt and John Rossel occupied a large part of this territory. Later they were joined by Gilbert and David Pugsley, caleb Archer, Isaac Lawrence, Israel Honeywell, James McChain and Thomas Tompkins' nephews Joseph, Nathan, Stephen and John Appleby. Towards White Plains John Hunt settled about 1746 and Michael Chatterton before 1748. Maher-shalal-hash-baz Nelson lived just below Chatterton Hill, and below him was the farm of Joshua Barnes which gave the name Barnes' Corners to the locality later known as Harts corners, now Hartsdale. Above Chatterton Hill, John Martine of New Rochelle settled before 1732.
Except for Isaac Sie and his four children who settled in Nanageeken before 1692, the eastern and northern part of Mount Pleasant was largely settled after 1725 by English families. Among these settlers before 1750 was Captain William Leggett and his cousin Thomas Leggett, Samuel Drake, Joseph Gedney, Jonathan Baker, Benjamin Kipp, Joshua and Barak Cornell, Samuel and Joseph Haight, James Pearce, William Matthews, Jonathan Paulding Horton William Anderson, Thomas, Jacob and Abraham Underhill, Richard Washburn, Edward Griffen, Zephaniah Birdsall, James Hunter and Samuel Davenport. Daniel Champenois, son of the Huguenot refugee of the same name, came from New Rochelle before 1743 and lived next to Birdsall and Hunter.
While there were some removals during the colonial period from Philipsburgh to Orange (Rockland) County, Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia, and Albany counties and New York City, it was not until after the Revolution that any large emigration took place. Between 1783 and 1790 scores of individual families moved away, mostly to the northern and western parts of the state. Later the trend was westward to Ohio and beyond. Some of the families chronicled on these pages have completely vanished from these hills and dales, leaving little to remind one of their existence but their names inscribed on crumbling and lichen encrusted gravestones.
It is the hope of the compiler of these records of bygone days, himself a descendant of a number o these families, that they may be of interest to the many thousands of other descendants scattered throughout the land, and that they may be of service to them in tracing their lineage back to the founders of the community made famous by the ever delightful tales of Washington Irving.
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