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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
De Graff

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1574-1575 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.]

The De Graffs were among the early settlers of Schenectady, and were as a family distinguished in public life and highly-regarded in their several communities. They were connected by marriage with the Visschers and other prominent families of the valley. Colonel Frederick Visscher, the revolutionary hero and victim of the savage scalping knife, married Gazena De Graff, of Schenectady, and lived at beautiful "Datcascara Place," his country seat and latter day home of the De Graff family herein recorded. The founders of the family in the Mohawk Valley were Andries De Graff, who was of New Amsterdam in 1661, and Jan Andriese, his son, who was in Albany as early as 1655.

(II) Claas Andriese, son of Andries De Graff, died about 1697. He was an early settler of Schenectady. He lived in Glenville, at the "Hoek." He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Brouwer, of Albany; she died in 1723. Children: Abraham, Isaac, Antje, Sara, Elizabeth, Eva, Margarita, Jesse, see forward, Andriese, Rebecca, Claas.

(III) Jesse, son of Claas Andriese and Elizabeth (Brouwer) De Graff, was born in Glenville, Schenectady county, New York. It is said he was carried away captive to Canada by the French and Indians, but afterward returned. He married Aaltje (Adeline and Adela) Hennions in New York, October 20, 1705. Children:

  1. Claas, baptized December 25, 1706;
  2. Daniel, see forward;
  3. Elizabeth,
  4. Anna,
  5. Aaltje,
  6. Marytje (Mary),
  7. Catharine,
  8. Saartje (Sarah),
  9. Alida,
  10. Eva,
  11. Rachel, baptized June 29, 1729.

(IV) Daniel, son of Jesse and Aaltje (Hennions) De Graff, was baptized May 26, 1708, died March 12, 1790. He married Gazena, daughter of Simon Swits, June 26, 1735. She died January 22, 1801, aged eighty-eight years. Children:

  1. Daughter, died unbaptized;
  2. Susanna, married Andreas Truax;
  3. Jesse, died in infancy;
  4. Gazena, married Colonel Frederick Visscher;
  5. son, died unbaptized;
  6. Jesse, baptized January 13, 1745;
  7. Alida, married Johannes Vedder;
  8. Simon, born April 6, 1753;
  9. Elizabeth, died in infancy;
  10. Isaac, see forward.

(V) Judge Isaac De Graff, son of Daniel and Gazena (Swits) De Graff, was born in Schenectady, New York, November 16, 1757. He was a man of prominence, a devoted Patriot, and served in the revolutionary army, holding the rank of major. He was a friend of Lafayette, who administered to him the oath of office prescribed by congress. After the close of the war he returned to Schenectady, where he was appointed judge of the court of common pleas, holding that office during the greater part of the remaining years. He died December 21, 1844, just having passed his eighty-eighth birthday. He married Susanna, died March 14, 1829, aged sixty-eight years, daughter of Jan Baptist Van Eps. Children:

  1. Daniel, born June 16, 1780, died young.
  2. Annetje, died young.
  3. John I., born October 2, 1783; during the war of 1812 he rendered the United States government patriotic service in advancing money to equip the fleet on Lake Champlain that later defeated the British fleet. He represented his district in congress for two terms and was honored by President Van Buren with the offer of port of folios, secretary of the treasury, which he declined. He was one of the organizers of the Mohawk & Hudson railroad, the first railroad ever built in America; was a successful merchant, and several times mayor of Schenectady.
  4. Jesse, died young.
  5. Gazena, born January 13, 1788; married Abraham Oothout.
  6. Neeltje, born January 7, 1790; married Rev. D. Cuyler, of Philadelphia.
  7. Susanna, born February 12, 1792, died young.
  8. Susanna (2), born May 29, 1793; married Pieter Bancker; died June 29, 1855.
  9. Annetjie (Nancy), married Captain Philip R. Toll, of the prominent Toll family of Schenectady, a physician; served with distinction in the war of 1812 as captain of artillery; they removed to Fawn River, Michigan, where their son, Isaac R. Toll, became a distinguished public man.
  10. Jesse, see forward.

(VI) Judge Jesse (2) De Graff, youngest son of Isaac and Susanna (Van Eps) De Graff, was born in Schenectady, New York, January 9, 1801. He was graduated from Union College, and studied law with Alonzo C. Paige of that city. He was admitted to the bar, and removed to Albany where his professional career was marked with honor and success. He was appointed judge of the court of common pleas for Albany and was a wise and impartial judge. After retiring from the bench he busied himself with the care and improvement of his large estate inherited by his wife. He made the old Visscher mansion his home and entertained lavishly, their home becoming a social center. He died August 4, 1868, and is buried in Rural Cemetery, Schenectady, by the side of his wife. He married, August 10, 1830, Gazena Catherine, only child of Frederick Herman Visscher, who was son of Colonel Frederick Visscher, of revolutionary fame. Children:

  1. Susan, married William Fainham, of Troy;
  2. Charles Herman, died early;
  3. Alfred, see forward;
  4. Isaac Howard, died young.

(VII) Alfred, only surviving son of Judge Jesse (2) and Gazena Catherine (Visscher) De Graff to survive youthful years, was born at the old home, "Danascara Place," New York. He inherited "Danascara Place" and was the fifth generation in ownership of the beautiful estate on the Danascara creek. The property lies in the town of Mohawk, Montgomery county, three miles east of Fonda. He reconstructed and enlarged the mansion and added modern improvements, adorned the interior with valuable pictures, other works of art and a choice library. Among the relics and heirlooms preserved there was a silver dollar that had then been in the family one hundred and fifty years and is still preserved, having been a family possession for two centuries. Mr. De Graff lived the life of a country gentleman and the management of his estate was his only business. He married, October 14, 1869, Anna, only daughter of Cornelius Phillips, of the town of Florida, Montgomery county, who died in 1865, proprietor of the Phillips farm settled on originally by his grandfather, Cornelius Phillips, who was killed at the battle of Oriskany. His son William was the next proprietor and he handed it down to his son Cornelius, father of Anna, wife of Alfred De Graff. Children:

  1. Edith, married Fred S. Haslett;
  2. Howard A., see forward;
  3. Florence, unmarried.

(VIII) Howard A., only son of Alfred and Anna (Phillips) De Graff, was born at "Danascara Place," town of Mohawk, Montgomery county, New York. He received his early education in the public schools, prepared for college at Union Classical Institute, entered Union University, where he graduated, class of 1899. After leaving college he engaged in the banking business in Fonda. He is vice-president of the Fultonville National Bank and director of the Glen Telephone Company. He is a member of the Dutch Reformed church. He is a member of Fultonville Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and his college fraternity is Alpha Delta Phi. He married Elizabeth K., born September 15, 1884, daughter of James L. Northrup, of Johnstown, and granddaughter of Charles M. Knox.

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