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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
De Forest

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 447-449 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.]

Melchort De Forest, of Asvesnes, France, was the father of Jean De Forest, the first Protestant of the De Forest family, and was the grandfather of the first De Forest emigrant to America. He married Catherine de Fosset, of Mons. Jean, their youngest son, married Anne Maillard, and settled in Holland along with thousands of his countrymen, Walloons and Huguenots.

(I) Jesse, son of Jean and Anne (Maillard) De Forest, was born about 1575. There is no important information concerning him after December 1, 1623, when in a tax list of Leyden, Holland, opposite his name is the entry "gone to the West Indies," which may have meant anywhere in North or Central America. Up to 1606 he appears as a merchant residing at Sedan, France, and in 1615 he appears in the Walloon registers of Leyden, where he was residing in 1620, the time of the departure of the Pilgrim fathers for America. He conceived the design of planting a colony of his own people in the New World, and this design he carried from year to year and from state to state until he had brought it to execution. He gathered a colony of fifty or sixty Walloon and French families, "all of the Reformed faith," and prayed the King of England to grant them a settlement in Virginia and "to maintain them in their religion" by undertaking their protection and defence. The petition or demand was signed by fifty-six men, mostly heads of families, the first of whom was Jesse De Forest. They prayed the King that he would grant them a territory of sixteen miles in diameter where they might cultivate fields, meadows, vineyards, etc., and article seventh of the petition reads:

"Whether they would be permitted to hunt all game, whether furred or feathered; to fish in the sea and rivers, and to cut heavy and small timber, as well for navigation as for other purposes, according to their desire; in a word, whether they might make use of everything above and below ground, according to their will and pleasure, saving the royal rights and trade in everything with such persons as should be there to privilege."

The petition was not acted upon favorably. He continued his enrolling, and looked for aid from Holland in getting the colony to America. Here Jesse De Forest disappears from distinct sight. It seems clear, however, that his first and perhaps only colonizing venture, was to that part of South America which the Dutch called the "wild coast," or Guinea. To this region two successive bands of settlers were despatched from Leyden in 1623. The fleet which Jesse De Forest accompanied sailed out of the Neuse, twenty miles south of Leyden, December 23, 1623. Nothing further is known of him. He was a man of fixed purpose, which he carried into execution, but whether he sleeps beside the Oaypok or beside the Hudson is not known. He had aroused and directed the emigrants who founded New York as well as those who established a dwelling place in Guinea and among the Carribean Islands. He married Marie du Cloux, and their seventh recorded child, Isaac, is the founder in America of the De Forests of Schenectady.

(II) Isaac, son of Jesse and Marie (du Cloux) De Forest, was baptized at Leyden, Holland, July 10, 1616. With his brother, Henry, then thirty years of age, Isaac, who was ten years his junior, quitted Amsterdam, October 1, 1636, in a small vessel called the"Renssalaerwyck," which belonged to Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, the first patroon. They reached New Amsterdam in safety and settled upon the broad fertile flat called "Muscoota," now the site of Harlem, upper New York City. Henry had a grant of two hundred acres; Isaac, a strip of one hundred acres along the Harlem river and part of the later day Morris Park. Henry, the wealthier and apparently the abler of the two brothers, died July 26, 1637. The interests of his widow were safeguarded by Dominie Evarardus Bogardus, as her attorney. She married again. Isaac was still unmarried, and for several years remained at Harlem raising tobacco and selling it at New Amsterdam for transport to Holland. On June 9, 1641, he married "Sarah du Trieux of New Amsterdam, spinster," daughter of Phillip du Trieux and Jaqueline Noiret, founders of the Truax family of America. He became a wealthy tobacco dealer and brewer of New Amsterdam, and was appointed in 1658 by Governor Stuyvesant and council a "great burgher." When the English fleet took New York in 1664 he was one of the persons of distinction seized and held. His will is dated June 4, 1672. He died in 1674. His widow died in 1692. Their children were:

  1. Jesse, born 1642, died young;
  2. Susannah, born 1645, married Peter De Reimer;
  3. Gerrit, born 1647, died young;
  4. Michael, born 1649, died young;
  5. John, born 1650, "chivurgeon," [i.e., chirurgeon] or physician;
  6. Philip, born 1652, a cooper;
  7. Isaac, born 1655, a baker;
  8. Hendrick, born 1657, a glazier;
  9. Maud, born 1666, married Bernard Darby;
  10. David, born 1669, a glazier.

(III) Philip, fifth son of Isaac and Sarah (du Trieux) De Forest, was born in New Amsterdam, in 1652. He became the founder of the Albany branch of the De Forests. He married, January 5, 1676, Tryntje, daughter of Isaac Kip, and removed to Albany. He served as high sheriff, and held many offices. He died in 1727, and was buried August 18 of that year. Children:

  1. Sara, baptized in New York, January 2, 1678.
  2. Susanna, baptized in Albany, April 1, 1684.
  3. Mertje, July 25, 1686.
  4. Isaac, February 20, 1689.
  5. Jesse, January 13, 1692, married Neeltje Quackenbush.
  6. Catrina, November 25, 1694.
  7. Johannes, September 12, 1697, married Marie Quackenbush.
  8. David, September 8, 1700, see forward.
  9. Abraham, February 21, 1703, married Rebecca Symonse Van Antwerpen.

(IV) David, fourth son of Philip (of Albany) and Tryntje (Kip) De Forest, was a farmer. He married Abigail Van Alstyne, November 8, 1717. Children:

  1. Philip, baptized February 21, 1719, died young.
  2. Philip, May 1, 1720.
  3. Jeanetje, March 11, 1722.
  4. Marten, May 14, 1724, see forward.
  5. Catharine, September 15, 1728.
  6. Susanna, September 26, 1731.
  7. Maria, April 21, 1734.
  8. Jacob, March 3, 1737.

Marten, Philip and Jacob lived on adjoining farms in North Greenbush, Rensselaer county, New York.

(V) Marten, third son of David and Abigail (Van Alstyne) De Forest, was baptized May 14, 1724. He was a farmer of Greenbush, Rensselaer county. He married Tanneke Winne. Children:

  1. Catarina, baptized September 15, 1751.
  2. Peter, baptized April 15, 1753.
  3. David, September 21, 1755.
  4. Phillipus, January 15, 1758.
  5. Willem, April 13, 1760.
  6. Catharine, May 6, 1762.
  7. Rachel, born March 23, 1764.
  8. Jannetie, born September 14, 1766.
  9. Marytje, January 29, 1769.
  10. Jacob, see forward.
  11. Daniel, baptized August 4, 1774.

(VI) Jacob, fifth son of Marten and Tanneke (Winne) De Forest, was born in Greenbush, New York, May 28, 1771, died in the town of Rotterdam, Schenectady county, New York, June, 1854. He went to Duanesburg, Schenectady county, New York, in 1780. In 1809 he went to Rotterdam, and late in life removed to the village of Schenectady. He married (first) February 2, 1794, Anna Lansing, who bore him five children. He married (second) July 30, 1808, Mary Wiley, died April 11, 1859, who bore him four children. Children:

  1. Cornelia, married Andrew White;
  2. Jacob, born October 23, 1797, married Anna Schermerhorn, and had twelve children, of whom the eldest was Colonel Jacob De Forest, a distinguished soldier and officer of the civil war, died 1909;
  3. Tenetta;
  4. Sarah;
  5. Obadiah Lansing (see forward);
  6. Anna;
  7. John;
  8. Marten; and
  9. James.

(VII) Obadiah Lansing, son of Jacob and Anna (Lansing) De Forest, was born in the town of Rotterdam, New York, August 8, 1806, died April 17, 1859. He was reared to agricultural pursuits, and in addition learned the trade of cooper. Leaving the farm he located in Schenectady, where he had a shop and worked at his trade. He was active in local politics, and was a leader. He was elected deputy sheriff on the Know Nothing ticket, and in 1855 was elected sheriff of Schenectady county, serving three years, 1856-59. He was a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Free and Accepted Masons. He married, in Rotterdam, Sarah Vedder, born in Rotterdam, March 19, 1808, died February 18, 1867 (see Vedder). She was a member of the Dutch Reformed church. Children:

  1. Ann Lansing, born November 29, 1826, died July 20, 1849, during the epidemic of cholera that devastated the section in that year; she was unmarried.
  2. Rebecca, born October 20, 1829; married Stephen D. Gates, of 1006 Union street, Schenectady; she survives him and is a resident of Schenectady.
  3. Jacob, born November 29, 1832, died January 28, 1895; like his father, was sheriff of Schenectady county; he married (first) Agnes Dorn; one living daughter, Anna, unmarried; married (second) Alice Turnbull, now deceased; children: Henry, Mellia, Burdella.
  4. Ella Vedder, born February 27, 1837, died February 19, 1895; married Christopher Van Slyck, deceased.
  5. Frank V., born April 11, 1843; he is now retired from business and resides at 105 Brandywine avenue, Schenectady; married Rachel Schraff; children living at the present time: Walter, Nellie, Frank V. Jr., Belle, William, Martha, Jay and May.
  6. Henry S., mentioned below.
  7. Lansing, mentioned below.

(VIII) Henry S., third son of Obadiah Lansing and Sarah (Vedder) De Forest, was born February 16, 1847. He was educated in the high school of Schenectady and at Poughkeepsie Business College. He has for many years been actively engaged in the real estate business in Schenectady, transacting a very large business in this line. He is a director of the Citizens' Trust Company, in which he is the largest stockholder. He served as city recorder of Schenectady from 1881 to 1885, and as mayor from 1885 to 1887 and from 1889 to 1891. During his business career he has erected more than twelve hundred houses in Schenectady, and his own home, located on the corner of Union street and Seward Place, was erected at a cost of $150,000, being the finest in the city. Mr. De Forest is an exceedingly energetic and enterprising citizen, and is highly regarded in the community. He is a member of St. George Lodge, No. 6, Free and Accepted Masons, also of the Mohawk and Golf clubs. Mr. Henry S. De Forest was elected to the House of Representatives on the Republican ticket on November 8, 1910, in the Twenty-third Congressional District, comprising the counties of Albany and Schenectady. He carried both counties, his plurality being over 1900. His Democratic opponent was Hon. Curtis N. Douglas, of Albany, a brother-in-law of Governor John A. Dix, who was elected on the Democratic ticket at the referred to election of November, 1910.

Henry S. De Forest married, September 6, 1876, Lucy E., daughter of Harmonus [Harmanus?] Van Epps. Children:

  1. Beulah De Forest, married William Howard Wright, son of Professor Thomas W. Wright, of Schenectady; children:
    1. Lucie De Forest, died, aged five years;
    2. Vivian;
    3. Elva;
    4. Henry De Forest.
  2. Pearl De Forest, married George K. Morris, of Amsterdam, New York, a manufacturer; no issue.

(VIII) Lansing, fourth son of Obadiah Lansing and Sarah (Vedder) De Forest, was born August 17, 1849. He learned the trade of machinist, after which he went to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he was for nine years employed as foreman of the railroad company's machine shops. In 1895 he returned to Glenville and now resides there. He is a member of the Reformed church, and a Democrat in politics. He married, November 12, 1873, Philena C., born in Rotterdam, New York, May 13, 1856, died in Glenville, May 14, 1910, daughter of Richard D. and Cordelia (Gregg) Cook, both natives of Schenectady county, New York. Richard D. Cook, son of Richard M. Cook, was a photographer of Schenectady; he enlisted in the Union army in 1861, and was captain of a company of the Thirty-fifth Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers, in which he enlisted; he died in the military hospital at Elmira, New York, June 1, 1865, of disease contracted in the army. His wife, Cordelia (Gregg) Cook, died three weeks previous to his death. They had one child, Mrs. De Forest, above mentioned. Children of Mr. and Mrs. De Forest:

  1. Lansing B., born September 12, 1874; a farmer of Glenville; married Ella E. Baldwin, of Wisconsin; children: Ruth M. and Helen.
  2. Ella Vedder, born June 7, 1881; married Charles Kline, a farmer of Glenville, resides with her father.

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