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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Rulison

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 879-881 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.]

There are varying accounts of the founding of the Rulison family in America. One authority states that in early times there was a Ralof or Rulof engaged in a rebellion against the crown. He was one of a band of liberty-loving men who sacrificed themselves in the cause of freedom. He was imprisoned, but his three sons, who were engaged in the rebellion with him, escaped to America. Here they took the name of the father, to which they affixed sons — Rulof-sons. They separated in the New World, one settling in northern New England, one in Pennsylvania, and one in New York state. This is tradition only, yet there are corroborating circumstances that make it at least probable. The authentic history of the family begins with Laurens, of New York and New Jersey.

(I) Laurens Ruloffsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1689. His parents were native Germans who for a time resided in Copenhagen. Laurens emigrated to America, where he is recorded in 1714. The banns of marriage were published in the Lutheran church of New York City, May 16, 1715, and he was married June 26, following, to Catherine Shuman, born February, 1695, died July, 1776, daughter of Herman Shuman, a potter of the city. He later removed to Middlesex county, New Jersey, where he engaged in farming. He died in 1771. Children:

  1. Laurens (2), born probably in New Jersey, baptized March 27, 1716.
  2. Roloff, born in Middlesex county, New Jersey, September 26, 1717, married (first) Catherine Bodine, baptized at Readington, New Jersey, 1709; (second) Elizabeth Leek, born October 27, 1732.
  3. Elizabeth, born about 1719, died about 1805.
  4. Hermanus, born in Middlesex county, in July, 1719, died 1805; married Margaretta, daughter of Abram Van Horne; she died in 1790.

After the close of the revolutionary war, when law and order again reigned, an exodus began from New Jersey to Montgomery county, New York, of farmers who had become aware of the rich promise of the Mohawk Valley. Among the first to arrive was Laurence Ruloffsen, a son of Rulof and grandson of Laurens, the emigrant. His date of coming was prior to 1790; about the same time arrived Abraham Ruloffsen, the son of Hermanus. He was a cousin of Laurence and brought a family with him. About 1795 a brother of Abraham named Hermanus or Herman (after his father) came from New Jersey with his family. These three grandsons of Laurens Ruloffsen of Copenhagen founded the three branches of the Rulison family in New York state. The name became generally spelled Rulison, but there are families of the same ancestry who spell it differently.

(II) Abraham, son of Hermanus (or Herman) and Margaretta (Van Horne) Rulison, was born in New Jersey, April 20, 1744, died about 1820, buried on the homestead farm. He removed to Montgomery county, New York, prior to 1790, and settled on a farm near Mill Point, on Schoharie Creek, ten miles from the farm of his cousin Laurence, who had preceded him by a short time. The census of 1790 records Abraham Rulison as living in Mohawk township, Montgomery county, that town then including the present town of Glen, where his farm was really located according to present boundaries. In the census he is described as having three sons over sixteen years of age and three daughters, consequently he was married in New Jersey and most of his children were born there. His wife's name was Hannah Van Horn. Children: Herman, Ralph, Abram, Elizabeth, Catherine, Polly, Ludwig, Margaret, Mary and Frederick, see forward. Each of the four sons settled on separate farms in the immediate neighborhood of Mill Point. Herman's adjoined the homestead. He married Margaret Forncrook, born 1790, died 1865, and had issue. Ralph's farm was the third on the south of the homestead. He married Elsie Forncrook, and had issue. Abram's farm adjoined Ralph's; he married Thankful Penny and had issue. Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, married Henry Voorhees and had issue. Catherine, married Stephen Hand and had issue. Of Polly there is no record. She may have died young. This may also be true of Ludwig, of whom there is no record. Margaret married David Austin and had a son David. Mary died in 1876.

(III) Frederick, youngest child of Abraham Rulison, was born in 1800, in Montgomery county, where he died December 5, 1847. He succeeded to a part of the original Rulison homestead at Mill Point, where he spent his entire life. This farm is still in the family. He married Catherine Voorhees, born 1802, died 1857. Children:

  1. David A., see forward;
  2. Daniel V., married Dorothy Fical;
  3. Jane Ann, and
  4. Mary E.

(IV) David A., eldest child of Frederick and Catherine (Voorhees) Rulison, was born on the homestead, February 18, 1824, died August 29, 1909. He married Pauline Voorhees, daughter of one of the oldest families of Glen. She was born 1831, died 1888. Children:

  1. Frank H., see forward.
  2. Spencer, born September 1, 1854, married Gertrude Danalstine, of German parentage, and had two children:
    1. Leslie, married Sadie Ladean, and has a son, Leslie Rulison (2);
    2. Earl, born 1881, and married Ann Firth.
  3. Ada, born September 25, 1856, married Andrew Turnbull, no issue.
  4. Mary Jane, born January 18, 1860, married (first) Allen Overbaugh and had Howard, Mabel and Ethel Overbaugh; married (second) Hilts Young, a successful farmer of the town of Florida; no issue.
  5. Nettie, born October 7, 1864, resides in Glen, unmarried.

(V) Frank H., eldest son and child of David A. and Pauline (Voorhees) Rulison, was born on the homestead farm, February 9, 1852. He succeeded to the ownership of the homestead that has been in the family so long. It is thus described: "Farm No. 1 located on the plateau on the banks of Schoharie Creek overlooking the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys, one of the most beautiful landscapes of Montgomery county, noted for the beauty of its scenery," and is known as "The Old Homestead Dairy Farm." He is a prosperous farmer, known among his friends as a man of strict integrity, generous impulse and kindliness of heart. He is a member of the Improved Order of Red Men, and in political preference independent. He married Dora Merry, born in the town of Florida, Montgomery county, New York, March 18, 1857, where she was reared and educated. She is a daughter of John Merry, born in Florida, 1819, died 1888, and his wife Rhoda, born 1825, died April 13, 1881. John Merry was a son of Calvin and Elizabeth (Perkins) Merry, born and reared in Duanesburg, Schenectady county, New York, later in life removed to Montgomery county where they settled in Florida, dying there in old age. The children of Frank H. and Dora (Merry) Rulison are:

  1. Frank D., born October 24, 1884, died July 4, 1886;
  2. Letitia, born May 19, 1886, received a musical education under Professor Edgar B. Smith and is the organist of the Methodist Episcopal church in Amsterdam, New York;
  3. Mildred, born May 22, 1893, student at the high school, Amsterdam.

For much of the information contained herein, we are indebted to Mr. Henry F. Rulison of Chicago, Illinois, with the International Harvester Company, eleventh floor, Harvester building.

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