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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Johnson

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1289-1291 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, although bearing an English surname, is originally of French and more immediately of Holland extraction. The ancestor of the family in America is Antoine Janssen Van Salers, (meaning Antoine, son of Jan from Salers) acquiring the name from an inheritance left him by a relative who resided in Salers, a town of France in Upper Auvergne. He was born in Holland and emigrated to America in 1631. Van Salers was dropped from the name in the third generation and the simple patronymic Janssen retained, composed of the Dutch compounds Jan and Zoon. Zoon was corrupted to Sen — Jan-Sen the same as English John-son and having the same significance as in English — son of John. Another family of a totally dissimilar name sprang from this same ancestor Antoine. His neighbors called him "Antoine, the Turk," and this nickname being perpetuated by some of his descendants as a surname, a distinct family has been orginated, bearing the singular and uncommon surname, Turk.

(I) Antoine Janssen Van Salers founded the town of Gravesend (Gravelands) at the southwestern extremity of Long Island, about twelve miles from Wal-boght (Wallabout, now Brooklyn Navy Yard) where his brother resided. The patent of lands there granted in his name, bears date of August 1, 1639 (see Book 1, p. 124, Albany Records), comprising one hundred morgans (something less than 200 acres), extending along the shore two hundred and fifty-three rods opposite Coney Island. His estate in 1673 was assessed at one thousand guilders. This family has been noted for great strength. Antoine, the ancestor, was a man of great vigor. His grandson William was equally remarkable for great size and great muscle; it being confidently asserted by his descendants that he carried at one time five bags of wheat from his barn to his house, seventy-five yards, up a steep flight of stairs, one bag under each arm, one in each hand and one in his teeth. Children of Antoine Janssen of Gravesend, and his wife, a Quakeress: Claes, died September 11, 1642; Pieter, died in 1696; had four sons: Hans-Pieter, Rem Jan, Daniel Rapelle and Jan; Barent, see forward; Hendrick, see forward.

(II) This line settled in Ulster and Dutchess counties, New York. Hendrick, youngest son of Antoine Janssen Van Salers, settled at Gravesend, Long Island; married ———— Stillwell, of that village. Sons:

  1. Jan, see forward;
  2. Claes, settled at Six Mile Run, New Jersey;
  3. Barent, settled at Gravesend;
  4. William, renowned for his great strength, settled at Gravesend and owned Coney Island.

Barent and William changed their names to Johnson.

(III) Jan, son of Hendrick Janssen, married, September 23, 1712, Catelina Schenck, born May 17, 1705. Children:

  1. Maria born 1733, married Douw Ditmarse;
  2. Catelina, 1735, died unmarried;
  3. Elizabeth, married Abraham Ditmarse;
  4. Catherine died unmarried;
  5. John, died unmarried;
  6. Barent see forward;
  7. Marlin, married Sarah Rapalje.

(IV) Barent, son of John (Jan) and Catelina (Schenck) Jansen, was born April 2, 1740. He took an active part during the revolutionary war against Great Britain and as a consequence lost much property, and both he and his family suffered much indignity at the hands of the British and Tories. He married, September 8, 1764, Ann Remsen; children:

  1. General Jeremiah, born at the Walboght, January 22, 1766, married Sarah Rapalje;
  2. Catelina, married Abraham Meseral;
  3. Jeronomes, died unmarried;
  4. John, died unmarried;
  5. John (2), born June 19, 1773;
  6. Jeronomes (2), married Mary Carpenter, of Goshen, New York;
  7. Martin, died unmarried.

(II) The line of Barent, third son of the emigrant, settled in Albany and Montgomery counties. Barent, son of Antoine Janssen Van Salers, the ancestor, died in 1698. He married and had sons: Jan Barents, Jeronomes De Rapelle and Lodewick.

(III) Jan Barents (Jan, son of Barent, so called to distinguish him from Jan, son of Henry), married and had a son Isaac.

(IV) Isaac, son of Jan Barents Johnson (as the name now generally became), was a farmer of Brooklyn. He married and had a son Barent.

(V) Barent (2), son of Isaac Johnson, died July 15, 1777. He became a farmer of Albany county, New York. He married (first) Maria Lymesen, February 1, 1753; (second) Maria, daughter of Captain John Guest, who died at Antigua, April 8, 1769. Children:

  1. Rev. John Barent Johnson, who became pastor of the First Dutch Church of Albany. The "two steepled church on Pearl street was born during his pastorate." He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Lupton, an officer of the British army, and after the war a merchant of New York City. He was noted for his eloquence and piety.

Barent (2) Johnson had other children, among them a son Jellis, see forward.

(VI) Jellis, son of Barent (2) Johnson, was born in 1767, resided in Albany county, New York, until after his second marriage, when he removed to Montgomery county, settling in what is now the town of Mohawk. This settlement was about the year 1818. He was a farmer for several years, farming on shares with the owners. For a time he conducted a hotel at Sand Flats near where he originally settled. He disposed of this and finally setled in the locality known as Stone Ridge, where he married a third wife. His first, whom he married in Albany, is not known; his second, also married in Albany, was ———— Bullock; his third, married in Montgomery county, was ———— Le Grange. Children of first wife:

  1. Susan, married Cornelius Shutts; children: Nora and Marvin.
  2. Evert, see forward.

Child by second wife:

  1. John.

Children of third wife:

  1. Elias L., has a daughter Helen now living in Fonda, unmarried (1910).
  2. Margaret, married Timothy Leonardson, now resides in Randall, Montgomery county, in his eightieth year.
  3. Avaline, married Jacob Gardener, who survives her, over eighty years of age, with children: Nicholas, Mary, Abraham, Frank and two others.
  4. Katherine, married James Schermerhorn, of Fonda, who still survives, past eighty; had children:
    1. Minerva,
    2. Matilda,
    3. Edith,
    4. Jane, wife of Lewis Green, of Fultonville.
  5. Mary, married Abraham Cable, of Mohawk.
  6. Minerva, married Moses Roof, both deceased, leaving a son, Grant Roof.

(VII) Evert, only son of Jellis Johnson by his first wife, was born in Albany county, New York, in 1811, died in Fultonville, New York, October, 1883. When he was seven years of age his father settled in Montgomery county, which was ever after the family home. He grew to manhood in Mohawk; for a time conducted a hotel in Glen; then became a merchant and a farmer at Stone Ridge, town of Root, later in life returning to Fultonville, having acquired a substantial competence. He was a man of good character, energetic, thrifty and industrious. He was public-spirited and kept abreast of the changing order of the times. He was an earnest Republican and a loyal supporter of party measures and candidates. He married, in Mohawk, in 1840, Catherine Lighthall, born in Ephratah, Fulton county, New York, in 1821, died in Fort Plain, New York, in 1892, daughter of Abraham and Lucy (Soles) Lighthall, lifelong residents of Fulton and Montgomery counties. Their family consisted of:

  1. Anna, a widow now living with her son Josiah Failing in Wisconsin.
  2. Olive, widow of Charles Starin.
  3. Oliver, a veteran of the civil war, and the One Hundred and Fifteenth Regiment New York Volunteers, now living in Fultonville at the age of seventy-five; receives a government pension — a tribute to the wounds he received in battle.
  4. Mary, widow of George Bedell, resides in Fulton county.

Children of Evert and Catherine (Lighthall) Johnson:

  1. Henry, see forward.
  2. Ann, born in 1845, was drowned in the Erie canal at the age of seven.
  3. George, born in 1853, died in 1903; married Dora Dwight, died in 1902, children:
    1. Evert,
    2. Myndert, a farmer of Saratoga county.
  4. Susan, married George Dillenbeck, a successful farmer of Root.
  5. Jane, married Charles Manning, of Gloversville, has a daughter May, married Ray Petrie, a dentist of Johnstown.

(VIII) Henry, eldest son of Evert and Catherine (Lighthall) Johnson, was born September 6, 1843. He followed the fortunes and removals of his father, assisted him in the farm work and in the management of his hotel until 1871, when he settled in Fultonville and entered the employ of William R. Chapman, as clerk in his general store at that place. Here he remained fifteen years, until the death of Mr. Chapman, using his earnings judiciously and investing them under his employer's direction and supervision, until he had to his credit the sum of $7,500 in Mr. Chapman's hands. So well known had he become as a wise, conservative and capable business man that he was appointed administrator of the Chapman estate, which he carefully and economically settled. He afterward purchased the general store, which he conducted for seven years in connection with a flourishing coal business he had established in the town. Disposing of the store he devoted his entire time and energy to his coal business until 1904, when he disposed of his business interests to devote his entire time to his official responsibilities, having been elected county treasurer. He has always taken an active part in town and county political affairs since his first becoming a voter. He cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864, and has strictly adhered to the doctrines of the Republican party ever since. He served his town three years as supervisor and three years as clerk. He was six years a member of the village board of trustees and president of the school board six years. In 1904 he was elected treasurer of Montgomery county, re-elected in 1907, and is now in office (1910). His administration of the county finances has been judicious and the same careful oversight exercised that characterized the conduct of his private affairs. He is a member and trustee of the Dutch Reformed church of Fultonville, and devoted to the welfare of his church. He married, in Fultonville, September 17, 1878, Alice, born in Glen, August 14, 1849, daughter of Jacob E. Gardiner. Children:

  1. Blanche, born in 1883;
  2. Edgar, October 22, 1884, died at the age of eleven years.

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