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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Schermerhorn

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 677-680 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

This family was established in the Mohawk Valley by Jacob Janse Schermerhorn, born in 1622, in Waterland, Holland, though in 1654 his father was a resident of Amsterdam, Holland; died at Schenectady, 1689. At an early day Jacob Janse came to Beverwyck, where he became prosperous as an Indian trader and brewer. In 1648 he transgressed the law against selling arms and ammunition to the Indians. He was tried by order of Governor Stuyvesant and sentenced to banishment for five years and the confiscation of his property. Several leading citizens interfered in his behalf and succeeded in having the banishment clause of the sentence revoked, but his property was totally lost. These proceedings against Jacob Schermerhorn formed later a ground for complaint against Stuyvesant to the States General. He made his will May 20, 1688, and devised property worth 56,822 guilders (about $23,000), so the old pioneer soon retrieved his fortunes. His estate was considered very large at that time, and was exceeded by few except the patroons and men of high official rank. He married Jannetje Segers, a daughter of Cornelius Segerse Van Voorhoudt. He made his will May 20, 1688, and soon after died in Schenectady. He mentions in his will children:

  1. Ryer, see forward;
  2. Symon;
  3. Helena, married Mynder Harmeuse [Harmense?] Van Der Bogart;
  4. Jacob;
  5. Machletdt [Machteldt?], married Johannes Beekman;
  6. Cornelis;
  7. Jannetje, married Caspar Springstein;
  8. Neeltje, married Barent Ten Eyck; Lucas.

(II) Ryer, eldest son of Jacob Janse and Jannetje Segers (Van Voorhoudt) Schermerhorn, settled in Schenectady. He was one of the five patentees of the patent granted in 1684, and in 1700 was the sole survivor of the original owners of the township. Three of them, Myndert Wemp, Jan Van Epps and Sweer Terenise [Teunise] Van Velsen, were killed, February 9, 1698-99 [1690], and the fourth, William Teller, died at Albany in 1700. There were about eighty thousand acres of land in the Schenectady patent, all of which now came under the charge and management of one trustee, save the few farms that had been granted before. This one man power soon became distasteful to the people, who petitioned for a new charter which should give them power of choosing five trustees to hold office three years. The new charter was granted, but Schermerhorn paid no attention to it nor to his newly appointed fellow trustees. He still continued to act as sole "trustee for the town in receiving rents, issues and profits thereof, and in prosecuting suits of law in his own name only, without giving any account thereof" — this too in spite of his suspension from office by the governor. The secret of his stubborn persistence in the duties of the trusteeship was the fact that the first patent of 1684 was still binding, and he, as the sole survivor of the trustees, was vested with all the authority and power originally granted to the five trustees named in the first patent. The fee of the land was in him, his "heirs, successors and assigns," and could only be alienated by death or release in due form. The second charter was amended and on May 25, 1714, Schermerhorn appeared before the governor and council "and after a full hearing of all matters" against him, was suspended from "acting further as trustee of the said Towne"; but he continued obstinate, disregarding the demand of the new trustees for an accounting to them of his official acts. They then commenced suit against him in the court of chancery, he and his friends in turn instituting counter suits in the same court. These several suits and others continued down to the death of the second Ryer Schermerhorn in 1795, a period of nearly one hundred years, and were only settled by the New York legislature passing an act, March 26, 1797, which took all powers and duties in relation to the common lands, conferring them upon the mayor, alderman and commonalty of Schenectady. A commission was appointed under the act who finally determined all claims and closed their accounts, August 10, 1798. In 1690 Ryer Schermerhorn was a member of the provincial assembly from Albany county and justice of the peace; in 1700 he was appointed assistant to the judge of the court of common pleas. He was a man of unusual ability, firm will, undaunted courage, great strength and powers of endurance. His mills on the Schuylenburg Kil, together with farm No. 4 of Van Cuyler's [Van Curler's] "Bouwery," was held in the family two hundred years. He made his will April 5, 1717, and died February 19, 1719, leaving two daughters and three sons, all of whom had families. He married, July, 1676, Ariantje Bratt, widow of Hulmer Otten, who had left a daughter, Tryntje (Catherine), and also property in America and Holland. This caused special contracts and agreements at the time of second marriage, safeguarding her interests. Children mentioned in Ryer Schermerhorn's will:

  1. Jan (John, Johannes), inherited the homestead.
  2. Catatina [Catarina?], married Johannes Wemp.
  3. Janneke, married Volker Simonse Veeder.
  4. Jacob, see forward. 5. Arent, 1693.

(III) Jacob, son of Ryer and Ariantje (Bratt-Otten) Schermerhorn, died July 4, 1753. He inherited "8 morgans (sixteen acres) of the Hindmost Bouwery, 215 1/2 morgans of woodland," and a lot of land in the village of Schenectady. He married, October 20, 1712, Margarieta, died May 22, 1741, daughter of Johannte Teller and granddaughter of William Teller, the first settler of the name in New Amsterdam and a trader in Albany for fifty years, removing from thence to New York in 1692. He was one of the five associate trustees with Ryer Schermerhorn under the famous first patent of Schenectady, and the last but one to survive. Children, baptized: Ryer (2); Johannes; Jacobus, see forward; Willem; Arent; Andries; Simon; Susanna, married John Visger.

(IV) Jacobus, son of Jacob and Margarieta (Teller) Schermerhorn, was born January 3, 1720, died July 28, 1782. He was a farmer and owned land in different parts of the town. He married, September 4, 1762, Annatje P. Vrooman, died September 7, 1770, daughter of Peter Vrooman. Children:

  1. Jacob, born July 21, 1763, died April 26, 1787, and
  2. Johannes (John), see forward.

(V) John, son of Jacobus and Annatje P. (Vrooman) Schermerhorn, was born January, 29, 1765, died January 7, 1814. He married Catherine Bratt (Bradt), born June 29, 1764, died September 13, 1817, daughter of Jacobus and Elizabeth Bratt, a descendant of Arent Andriese Bratt, an early settler of Schenectady in 1662, and his wife, Catalyntje De Vos, daughter of Andries De Vos, deputy director of Rensselaerwyck (Albany). Children:

  1. Jacob I., see forward.
  2. Elizabeth, born December 3, 1790, died in childhood.
  3. Annatje, June 16, 1792, died in infancy.
  4. Eva, died in infancy.
  5. Jacobus Bratt.
  6. Annatje (2), July 7, 1798, married Anthony Van Slyck.
  7. Elizabeth (2), died in infancy.
  8. Simon, April 23, 1802.
  9. Arent Bratt, May 4, 1804.
  10. Peter Vrooman, May 11, 1806, died May 26, 1853, married Catharine Clute.

(VI) Jacob I., son of John and Catherine (Bratt) Schermerhorn, was born in Rotterdam, New York, March 26, 1789, died there April 20, 1849. He inherited part of the old Schermerhorn estate and added to it by purchase. He was a farmer, a strong Democrat, and was a member of the Reformed Dutch church, as had been his ancestors. He married Maria Vedder, died August 19, 1832, aged forty-five years. Children: John J., Simon J. (see forward), Catherine, Anna, Sarah, Alida.

(VII) Simon J., son of Jacob I. and Maria (Vedder) Schermerhorn, was born September 26, 1827, in the town of Rotterdam, Schenectady county, New York, on the homestead farm which had been in the family for seven generations. It adjoins the old Arent Bratt estate on which still stands the ancient brick house built by Arent Bratt in 1684, the oldest building in the county. Simon J. was a farmer and ably conducted all his business operations, brought his farm to a high state of cultivation, erected a substantial brick residence in 1857, and constructed new and ample farm buildings. He was a loyal Democrat and in 1862 represented his party in the New York state legislature. He served on the county board of supervisors, and as school commissioner. He was well known, respected and very popular. He declined many public offices, although with him nomination meant election, for he never had an opposing candidate, so well satisfied were even his political opponents of his ability, honesty and fairness. In 1892 he represented his district in congress, where he warmly supported President Cleveland and his policies. He was a great admirer of the president and a warm friendship existed between them. He early connected with the Second Dutch Reformed Church of Rotterdam, which he faithfully served during his lifetime, and for many years was an elder. He married, February 4, 1857, Helen, born 1837, daughter of Harmon and Eleanor Veeder. Her father, Harmon, died in the "Woestine" July 31, 1851. Mrs. Helen (Veeder) Schermerhorn was an active worker in the church with her husband and his true "helpmeet" all through life. Children:

  1. Jacob Edwin, died at the age of three years.
  2. Mary Veeder, January 6, 1860.
  3. Sarah, March 19, 1862, married William C. Marlette; they have one son, John Schermerhorn.
  4. John, July 12, 1863, married Matilda W. Turnbull. He died January 27, 1890.
  5. Alice Augusta, January 23, 1865.
  6. Andrew Truax, December 7, 1866.
  7. Jacob I., died in infancy.
  8. Simon, see forward.

(VIII) Simon, youngest son of Simon J. and Helen (Veeder) Schermerhorn, was born on the homestead farm in Rotterdam, Schenectady county, New York, April 3, 1874. He married, November 10, 1897, Julia A. Campbell, born June 22, 1876. Child: Simon John (2), born February 2, 1902.

(The Veeder Line)

Simon Volkertse Veeder, born 1624, belonged to the ship "Prince Maurice," in 1644, when that ship plied between Amsterdam, Holland, and New Amsterdam. He bought a lot in the latter city, sold it in 1654 for thirty beaver skins, removed to Beverwyck and thence to Schenectady in 1662. He owned a "bouwery" on the "Great Flat," and a village lot on the north corner of State and Ferry streets. He also owned land on the Norman's Kill. In his will he mentioned seven children:

  1. Pieter,
  2. Gerrit,
  3. Johannes,
  4. Volkert,
  5. Volkie, married Barent Janse Wemp;
  6. Geesie, married Jan Hendrickse Vrooman;
  7. Magdalena, married William Appel.

(II) Johannes, son of Simon Volkertse Veeder, was a farmer on the Norman's Kill farm and he also bought a share in the patent of Jan Hendrickse Van Bael in the same section. He married (first) November 19, 1697, Susanna, daughter of Myndert Wemp; (second) Susanna Wendell, of Albany, June 3, 1718. He had eight children, of whom Myndert was the sixth.

(III) Myndert, son of Johannes and Susanna (Wemp) Veeder, was baptized April 30, 1705. He married, December 19, 1733, Elisabeth Douw, of Albany. He had eight children, all baptized in Albany.

(IV) Johannes, eldest child of Myndert and Elisabeth (Douw) Veeder, was born July 29, 1734; baptized thirty days later; died September 26, 1793. He was one of the "Woestine" of Rotterdam, Schenectady county. He married Lena, daughter of Pieter Vrooman, July 6, 1759. She was born August 18, 1734, died December 20, 1813. They had five children:

  1. Pieter Vrooman, see forward;
  2. Margaret, born October 22, 1763;
  3. Myndert, September 14, 1769, died June 12, 1833;
  4. Annatje, October 30, 1771, married Frederic Bratt, died June 20, 1794;
  5. Elisabeth, baptized April 16, 1775.

(V) Pieter Vrooman, eldest child of Johannes and Lena (Vrooman) Veeder, was born November, 1760. He made his will December 18, 1823, and spoke of his wife Jane and sons John, Harmon and Myndert, and daughters Helen, Nancy, Margaret, Susanna and Maria. He died and was buried in the "Woestine" October 9, 1814. He married, July 28, 1789, Jannetje, born 1766, died March 13, 1848, daughter of Jan Baptiste Van Eps.

(VI) Harmon, son of Pieter Vrooman and Jane (Van Eps) Veeder, was born December 29, 1797, died July 31, 1850. He was a man of education and of brilliant intellectual qualities. He was a zealous member and liberal supporter of the Dutch Reformed church and a Whig in politics. He was a farmer of the town of Rotterdam all his active years. He married, in Florida, Montgomery county, New York, Eleanor Truax, born March 24, 1808, died May 21, 1904, aged ninety-six years, one month and twenty-seven days, daughter of Abraham and Maria (Swart) Truax, a descendant of Teunis Cornelise Swart, of Schenectady, and Philip Du Trieux, who was in New Amsterdam as early as 1624. Abraham Truax was born June 29, 1789, died May 26, 1862, son of Andries and Susannah De Graaf Truax. This was another of the oldest Mohawk Valley families. Andries Truax's first wife was Elizabeth Van Vranken, born February 4, 1758, died December 15, 1777, daughter of Rycker Van Vranken. She left no issue. Children of Harmon and Eleanor (Truax) Veeder:

  1. Mary, born April 4, 1833, died June 14, 1909; married Rev. James Gilmour, a minister of the Presbyterian church, and a professor of learning, died December 18, 1885. They were the parents of seven children, four of whom yet survive.
  2. Helen, born in the "Woestine," March 29, 1837; educated in the seminary at Schenectady; she married, February 4, 1857, Simon J. Schermerhorn (see Schermerhorn), whom she survives, a resident of the old Schermerhorn homestead in Rotterdam; she gives little evidence of her seventy-three years, has an unusually retentive memory, is greatly beloved and tenderly cherished.
  3. Dr. Andrew, born April 27, 1842; graduated from the Albany Medical School, Doctor of Medicine; located at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he practiced successfully until his retirement. He married Elizabeth Brown. Children:
    1. Harmon W., married Mary, daughter of Charles G. Ellis. She died, leaving one daughter, Mary E.
    2. Anna Gertrude, married James Burke, of Erie, Pennsylvania.
    3. Julia Dayton, died unmarried.

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See Also: Schermerhorn Family Genealogy

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