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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Fonda

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1002-1005 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 is probably one of the best known in the Mohawk Valley, as they have scattered into adjoining counties and, through intermarriage of their numerous sons and daughters, have relationship with nearly all the earlier Dutch families, particularly with the Lansings. The intermarriages of these two families were frequent, and as both were large land owners, their marriages frequently consolidated farms that were adjoining and formed a very large estate. The Fondas are numerous in Montgomery county, where the town of Fonda is named in their honor. One of the best-known old soldiers of Colonial days was Douw Fonda, "the Patriot," who was massacred at his home in Caughnawaga, father of the heroic Major Jellis (Jillis) Fonda, of the revolution, the close companion, friend, and comrade of Sir William Johnson, and of Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Fonda, who fought at Oriskany. The family was a unit in their loyal support of the cause of independence. Descendants are numerous in the counties of Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, Albany and Rensselaer. Largely an agricultural family, they are also found eminent in the professions and prominent in commercial life.

(I) The first Fonda of record in America was Jellis Douwse, at least he was the first of the name in the Mohawk Valley. He was a native of Holland, and after his arrival in America he engaged in the whaling industry. He was of Beverwyck as early as 1654. His wife, Hester, survived him, and in 1666 was the widow of Barent Gerritse. His descendants are very numerous in Albany county, but through imperfect records and a frequent repetition of names as they appear on church records, are very difficult to trace.

(II) Douw Jellis (Jillis), son of Jellis Douwse and Hester Fonda, owned land at Lubberde land (Troy) in 1676. He died November 24, 1700. He married Rebecca ————. Children:

  1. Jan, born 1668;
  2. Jillis (Jellis) Adam, see in following sketch;
  3. Isaac, baptized March 16, 1684, see forward;
  4. Rebecca, March 17, 1686;
  5. Anna, February 2, 1690;
  6. Claas.

(III) Isaac, son of Douw Jellis (Jillis) and Rebecca (————) Fonda, baptized March 16, 1684, married, December 30, 1707, Alida Lansing, born July 3, 1685, daughter of Hendrick and Elizabeth L. Lansing. Children, and dates of baptism:

  1. Douw, July 4, 1711;
  2. Hendrick, July 15, 1716;
  3. Abraham, August 10, 1718;
  4. Isaac Isaacse, see forward;
  5. Jacob, June 30, 1723.

(IV) Isaac Isaacse, son of Isaac and Alida (Lansing) Fonda, was baptized with his brother Jacob (perhaps twins), June 30, 1723. He married Cornelia (Cordelia) De Foreest [De Forrest?]. Children: Alida, Neeltje, Isaac J., see forward; Jesse, Jesse (2).

(V) Isaac J., son of Isaac Isaacse and Cornelia (De Foreest) Fonda, was baptized May 6, 1753. He married Antje Saantvoord. He was of Watervliet, Albany county.

(VI) Abraham, son of Isaac J. and Antje (Saantvoord) Fonda, was born August 26, 1796, died March 25, 1868, at the old Fonda homestead near Crescent, town of Watervliet, (afterward Colonie), Albany county, New York. He was a farmer in his younger days, and later a school teacher. He lived in the old homestead, was an active, influential member of "The Boght" Dutch church, of which he was elder for a great many years. He was a very strict man in religious matters and brought up his family to the strictest observance of the Sabbath, not permitting any form of work to be done nor one of the boys to even shave. He was a staunch Democrat, a man of strict integrity, and highly respected. He was three times married. His second wife was Maria Lansing, born July 11, 1800, died December 1, 1839. She bore him three children, of whom Jesse Abraham, (see forward) was the youngest.

(VII) Jesse Abraham, on of Abraham and Maria (Lansing) Fonda, was born January 14, 1834, at the old homestead near Crescent, and died there December 16, 1891. He was a farmer all his life. He was a member of "The Boght" Dutch Reformed church, and very careful and strict in religious observances, and was one of the leading members of the church for many years. He served the town as school trustee and overseer of highways for a long term of years. He was a successful man and much sought after for counsel and advice. He married, September 19, 1860, Jane Maria Lansing (always called Jennie), born on the farm where her son Clinton now resides, daughter of Francis T. Lansing and his second wife, Susan (Martin) Lansing. Francis T. was son of Adam Lansing; he was a member and an elder of "The Boght" Dutch church, and a prominent man of the town. He married (first), January 21, 1822, Jane Fonda; (second) January 22, 1829, Susan, daughter of Abraham Martin, born in Holland. He was a shoe dealer for a time in Schoharie county, New York. Children of Jesse A. and Jane Maria (Lansing) Fonda:

  1. Clinton, see forward;
  2. Richard Steel, born April 22, 1863, died February 18, 1879;
  3. Santvoord Lansing (always written Lansing S.), see forward;
  4. Abraham H., born October 27, 1867; with the American Locomotive Works at Schenectady, New York;
  5. Edwin M., see forward;
  6. Jesse A., born March 7, 1873; married Eva May Edwards, one child, Marion Evelyn; Mrs. Eva May Fonda is the only child of John Thomas and Mary (Stevenson) Edwards, granddaughter of Thomas Edwards;
  7. Isaac W., born October 15, 1876; married Jessie A. Romp.

(VIII) Clinton, son of Jesse Abraham and Jane Maria (Lansing) Fonda, was born in the town of Watervliet (afterward Colonie), Albany county, New York, October 14, 1861, on the old homestead farm, that was his home until marriage. He was educated in the public schools of the town; Middletown Academy and Egbert high school, Cohoes. His present farm is part of the old Francis T. Lansing farm, on which his mother was born. It is located one and one-half miles west of the city hall, Cohoes. Here he conducts a general farming and dairy business. Mr. Fonda is a modern farmer, employs the most advanced agricultural methods and twentieth century mechanical aids to successful farming. He was greatly interested in the work of the Farmers League of the town of Watervliet, attending many meetings in different parts of the town and delivered addresses on subjects of vital interest to the farmer. He is not a man of one idea, but is thoroughly up to date in every particular. The old Lansing homestead in which he lives was built one hundred and fifty years ago. Notwithstanding its great age, the building is in fine preservation, and affords an ideal country residence. He is a member of the Dutch Reformed church and worships in the "Old Boght" church, widely known for many generations and one of the interesting landmarks of the section. He is an active Republican; has served twelve years as school trustee and as frequent delegate to party conventions. He married, March 14, 1883, at Cohoes, Jennie, daughter of William and Jane (Henderson) Davidson, and granddaughter of William Davidson, who lived and died in England. He married Sarah Rae, who after the death of her husband joined her children in Cohoes, New York, where she died. Children of Clinton and Jennie Fonda:

  1. Jessie Clinton, born February 7, 1884, died February 10, 1884;
  2. Jennie May, born May 11, 1886; educated in the public schools and Emma Willard School of Troy, and the private school of Mrs. Henry A. Strong, of Cohoes, specializing in French and music; she resides at home with her parents;
  3. Bessie Jane.

William Davidson, father of Jennie (Davidson) Fonda, was born in England, came to the United States and settled in Cohoes, New York, where for over fifty years he has been connected with the Harmony Mills corporation. He is an active Republican. He married Jane Henderson, born in Scotland. They are the parents of ten children, all except the last three being graduates of Egbert high school. Children:

  1. Jennie, married Clinton Fonda;
  2. Annie W., married Byron Frey;
  3. Ada Delia, deceased;
  4. Mary Josephine, married Mark Beers;
  5. Clara May, a teacher of the public schools;
  6. Dr. William Henderson, graduate Egbert high school, Albany Normal, Williams College and Albany Medical College;
  7. Archie Allen;

three children, Sarah, William James and Charles Isaac, died in infancy.

Jennie (Davidson) Fonda was educated in the schools of Cohoes, graduating from Egbert high school, class of 1878. Previous to her marriage, she taught five school years in the city public schools. After becoming a farmer's wife, she became interested in fine poultry breeding, and became a well-known fancier. Her exhibits of Imperial Pekin duck and Wyandotte chickens are of the purest breed and type. She has exhibited at many fairs and poultry exhibitions, winning the success that delights the heart of an exhibitor. Her list of prizes and awards is really formidable and encourages her to strive for still better results.

(VIII) Santvoord Lansing, third son of Jesse Abraham and Jane Maria (Lansing) Fonda, was born on the old Fonda homestead farm (also the birthplace of his mother), May 22, 1865. He was educated in the public schools of the town and Egbert high school, Cohoes. He remained on the farm with his father until 1889, when he bought a farm just outside the northern limits of Cohoes, formerly owned by the Lansings, and has always been owned by a Lansing or a Fonda ever since it was originally granted to the original Lansing by the king. Mr. Fonda (who always signs himself Lansing S.) conducts his farm as a dairy, and is rated a successful man. He is independent in politics, and has served since 1904 as school trustee. He is frequently a delegate to the county conventions, but is not active nor deeply interested in political affairs. He is a member and a deacon of "The Boght" Dutch Reformed church, having served for several years. He married, March 1, 1886, at "The Boght" parsonage, Augusta H., daughter of Martin M. and Sarah I. (Dutcher) Shears, of Crescent, Saratoga county, New York. Martin M. Shears was born at Crescent, March 7, 1828, and is now living retired at Cohoes, where he was in business many years. When he was a young man he was captain of a boat that ran on the Erie canal. He was a son of Martin and Susan (Shaffer) Shears, of Saratoga county, New York. Sarah I. Dutcher was a daughter of Joseph Dutcher. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Fonda:

  1. Archibald Dean, born March 12, 1887, on the Fonda homestead at Crescent, where his father and grandfather were born. He was educated in the public schools; took a full course and received a diploma from the International Correspondence School at Scranton, Pennsylvania, on completing the electric lighting course. He is engaged on the farm with his father. He married, August 15, 1906, Caroline Maycock, and has a son, Lansing Archibald, born May 22, 1907.
  2. Arthur Valmore, born April 13, 1889, educated in public school, and is engaged on the farm with his father.

(VIII) Edwin Meneely, fifth son of Jesse Abraham and Jane Maria (Lansing) Fonda, was born at the old homestead, the birthplace of three generations of the family, October 22, 1869. He was educated in the public schools and until arriving at legal age remained upon the farm as his father's assistant. He then rented the home farm and cultivated it on his own account the following two years. He next leased the Isaac D. F. Lansing farm near Cohoes, that has been in the family about two and a half centuries, and after leasing and working it for seven years, became the owner by purchase. He makes a specialty of dairy farming, and is one of the successful, prosperous farmers of the town. He controls the retail sale of his dairy products, finding an abundant demand in the neighboring city of Cohoes. He is a Republican in politics, and takes an active interest in public affairs. Since 1902 he has been assessor for the town of Colonie. He follows the religious example of the family for generations, and is a member of "The Boght" Dutch Reformed church. He married, April 14, 1891, Jennie Grace, born at Half Moon, Saratoga county, New York, daughter of Lieutenant James H. and Anna (Peters) Clark. Children:

  1. Earl Fonda, born December 31, 1892, died June 29, 1893;
  2. Ruth Mildred Fonda, born August 20, 1903.

(The Clark Line)

Mrs. Jennie Grace (Clark) Fonda is of English ancestry. Her great-great-grandfather, Henry Clark, of England, was a soldier, and saw much hard service with the English army in foreign lands. While with the army in Arabia, crossing the desert, he was blinded by the heat and glare of the sand, and his latter years were passed in darkness. He came to the United States, but later returned to England, where he died. His great-great-great-granddaughter, Ruth Mildred Fonda, has a solid silver spoon, which came to her from James Clark, the revolutionary soldier, see forward.

(II) James, son of Henry Clark, was born in York, England, died on his farm at Half Moon, Saratoga county, New York. He came to the United States when a young man and settled at Fonda, Montgomery county, where he was engaged at his trade of tanner, learned in England. Owing to ill health he was obliged to give up this business and retire to a farm which he purchased at Clifton Park, later disposing of that and purchasing another at Half Moon, where he died. He married Margaret Post, whose mother was a daughter of Captain Garrett Putnam, born February 22, 1752, died in Montgomery county, New York, April 13, 1826. He was a captain of the Third Regiment, Tryon County, New York, Militia, and fought in the revolutionary war under command of Colonel Freeline Visscher.

(III) Lieutenant James H., son of James and Margaret (Post) Clark, was born in Fonda, Montgomery county, New York, November 22, 1842. He was educated in the public schools and began his long mercantile career (only interrupted by his military service) of half a century, as a clerk in Fonda. He enlisted at Clifton Park, New York, August 25, 1862, as a private of Company H, One Hundred and Fifteenth Regiment, New York Volunteers, and served with that famous regiment in seventeen battles and skirmishes, passing through them all unscathed until February 20, 1864, at the battle of Olustee, Florida, he received a severe wound that ended his military career, being honorably discharged December 24, 1864, by order of the secretary of war. He was promoted orderly sergeant very soon after his enlistment, and first lieutenant June 2, 1864. Later he was brevetted captain. These promotions were for "gallant and meritorious conduct in battle." Returning to Montgomery county he was with his father on the Clifton Park farm, teaching school in the winter. When the family removed to Half Moon, Saratoga county, he accompanied them and then began again mercantile life. He opened a general store in Half Moon and after he was on a secure basis extended his venture to other towns, until he had several stores in successful operation. He has continued and is still (1910) in business at Half Moon, having disposed of his outside stores. His residence and business in Half Moon has now continued for a period of forty years, and he also served for a time as postmaster. He is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church, serving as trustee and superintendent of the Sunday school. He is a believer in the principles of the Republican party and an active worker in local affairs.

Lieutenant James N. Clark is an active and prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and has written a great deal of war history that has been published in book form, in magazines and in newspapers. His prize story, published in the New York Tribune, was republished by many other papers, and received much favorable comment resulting in the receipt by Mr. Clark of hundreds of letters of inquiry. He wrote and published, in 1865, a history of the One Hundred and Fifteenth Regiment, New York Volunteers, entitled The Iron Hearted Regiment, which had a large sale and is still in demand. He married, June 12, 1863, Anna Mary Peters, of Visschers Ferry, New York, born August 21, 1842. Children: Jennie Grace, married Edwin M. Fonda (see Fonda VIII); Jared P., a merchant of Waterford, New York; married Bell Vosburgh; children:

  1. Isabella and
  2. Helen;
  3. William A., now engaged in the canning business at Fredonia, New York; married Bessie Harvey, of Troy, New York; daughter, Irene.

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