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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Van Vorst

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1164-1166 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 name is derived from a small place in Gelderland near the river Yssel called Voorst. There was another place in Belgium in the province of Antwerp called Vorst. Of all the Dutch families who early settled within the limits of Hudson county, New Jersey, the only family that had a surname was the Van Voorst, now Van Vorst, and even his sat so loosely that Ide of the second generation was as often called Ide Cornelissen "Ide son of Cornelis as he was Ide Van Vorst." How many of the name came to America prior to 1650 is not known. In 1638 a suit was pending against Cornelis and Jan Van Vorst before the council at New Amsterdam. They were believed to be brothers. The first record of the family in the upper Hudson county is in 1681 when Jacobus Gerritse Van Vorst apprenticed his son Gillis to Jeromimus [Jeronimus?] Wendell for six years to learn shoemaking. The first of the family name in Schenectady records was Gillis, son of Jacobus, who in 1702 bought in the village of Johannes Oudukuk [Ouderkirk?] the lot on Union street lying next east of the church lot. It is likely that his father preceded Gillis to Schenectady, but 1702 is the earliest record there.

(I) Jacobus (English equivalent is James) G. Van Vorst, was born in Holland, 1641, and first appears on the records of Albany in 1681, when he apprenticed his son Gillis to Jeromimus Wendell to learn the trade of shoemaking. He settled, with his wife, (whom it is believed he married in Holland) in Schenectady at a date subsequent to 1686, as on that date he was a licensed carman (expressman) of Albany. He bought a lot on Green street, Schenectady, on which he built a log cabin which was followed as prosperity came to him by a more pretentious dwelling, also built of logs. Here James and his wife died on the same lot on which they first settled. They had issue:

(II) Gillis, son of Jacobus (James) G. Van Vorst, was born about 1670. He settled in Schenectady about 1700. He was formerly of Albany, where he learned the trade of shoemaker, having been apprenticed when a boy of eleven years. He bought land there and built upon it. He married, July 16, 1699, Elizabeth, daughter of Jan Baptist Van Epps, and widow of Teunis Viele. Children and date of baptisms:

  1. Jacobus, 1700;
  2. Johannes, November 9, 1701;
  3. Jacobus, see forward;
  4. Dirk, August 25, 1705;
  5. Gerrit, May 26, 1708;
  6. Douw, February 15, 1710;
  7. Jan Baptist, October 21, 1711;
  8. Sara, November 14, 1713;
  9. Elisabeth, February 4, 1716;
  10. Gysbert, January 17, 1721.

(III) Jacobus (2) (James), son of Gillis Van Vorst, was born in the log house erected by his father on Green street, Schenectady, New York, and baptized December 12, 1703. He lived for many years in Schenectady, then removed to a farm in the town of Glenville, Schenectady county, where he ended his days. He lived to a very old age. He married (first) Anna, daughter of Caleb Beck, February 14, 1728, in Albany. Married (second) Sarah, daughter of Jellis Fonda, May 20, 1749. Children by first wife:

  1. Margriet Vedder, baptized September 18, 1726;
  2. Caleb, 1730;
  3. Anna, October 22, 1732, married Claas Vander Bogart;
  4. Jellis, February 9, 1736;
  5. Engeltje, July 6, 1738;
  6. Johannes, February 8, 1741;
  7. Abraham, see forward;
  8. Jan Baptist, February 23, 1746.

(IV) Abraham, son of Jacobus (2) (James) and Anna (Beck) Van Vorst, was baptized April 3, 1743, died considerably over ninety years of age. He lived at or near "Burnt Hills" in Glenville, Schenectady county, New York. [Burnt Hills is in Saratoga County] He married Maria, daughter of Jacob Heemstraat. Children:

  1. Jacobus, see forward;
  2. Jacob, baptized June 4, 1772;
  3. Hester, August 9, 1773;
  4. Jacob, June 16, 1776;
  5. Anatje, March 21, 1779;
  6. Rebecca, March 15, 1782;
  7. Abraham, June 3, 1785.

(V) Jacobus (3) (James), son of Abraham and Maria (Heemstraat) Van Vorst, was born at the Glenville farm, baptized January 14,1770, died in Glenville, April 11, 1865. He was a farmer and a well-known character. His great age rendered him an object of great interest even in this family noted for longevity. He married Sarah Bovier, who reached an age nearly equal to his own. Children:

  1. Abram, born January 3, 1792;
  2. Jacobob [sic] Bovier, October 9, 1794;
  3. Maria, October 27, 1796;
  4. Nicholas, see forward;
  5. Jacob, June 1, 1804;
  6. Isaac, May 21, 1809;
  7. Esther, July 24, 1812.

(VI) Nicholas, son of Jacobus (3) (James) and Sarah (Bovier) Van Vorst, was born in Glenville, December 15, 1801, died 1890. He was a farmer of the town of Glenville all his active years. He and his wife were members of the Dutch Reformed Church. He married Temperance Doty, born in Dutchess county, New York, 1803, died in Glenville, 1889. Children:

  1. Martha, born 1823, died November, 1903; married Orren French, of Montgomery county, a merchant, who died in Amsterdam, 1895; children:
    1. Annie, died at age of sixteen;
    2. Charles, died at age of twenty-four.
  2. James C, see forward.

(VII) James C., only son of Nicholas and Temperance (Doty) Van Vorst, was born in the town of Glenville, Schenectady county, New York, February 28, 1828, died in Schenectady, New York, April 3, 1909. He was reared upon the farm, and was educated in the town schools. He drifted away from the farm and in Schenectady became interested in the operations of the then new railroad, New York Central. He received a position with the company, and after a few years was promoted to engineer and given a regular run. He continued in the employ of the New York Central for over half a century, remaining until he reached the age of seventy. He covered his run so long and faithfully that it was said that "every man, woman and child along the line knew him." During all these years of service he never wore glasses to aid his sight (this is also true of his father), and his period of active railroading enabled him to observe and keep pace with the wonderful improvements in construction, operation and rolling stock of railroads. He saw the light tie and rail disappear, rock ballast displace sand, ponderous engines crowded the little light ones off on the side tracks, and the palatial Pullman made the low and dingy early cars look too inferior for comparison. He kept pace with all improvement and never allowed himself to become antiquated. He was of a genial, generous nature, courteous and dignified. The appellation "An old school gentleman" must have been coined on purpose for him, so completely does it describe him. He married, in Albany, Caroline Conkling, born in Albany, 1834, died in Schenectady, February 22, 1899, daughter of Gurdon and Caroline (Tremaine) Conkling (see Conkling). Mr. and Mrs. Van Vorst had one child, Caroline E., born at Conklingville, Saratoga county, New York, educated at Convent Academy, Albany. She has resided all her life in Schenectady; she is a strong, self-reliant character, intellectual, social, genial and hospitable; she is an active worker in the music and art class of the Schenectady Woman's Club, and a member of the First Reformed Church.

(The Conkling Line)

Annanias Conklin, or Conkleyne, and his brother John are mentioned in "Savage," vol. 1, p. 441. [Actually, it appears to be p. 440] Annanias was made a freeman at Salem, Massachusetts, May 18, 1649. He removed in 1650 to East Hampton, Long Island, and his brother John to Southold, Long Island. An old gravestone there reads: "Here Lyeth Capt. John Conkleyne, born in Nottinghamshire, England, and died at Southold, Long Island, April 6, 1694, aged 64 years. Annanias had three children baptized at Salem, and four are mentioned at East Hampton. He died November, 1657.

(II) Benjamin, son of Annanias Conklin, or Conkleyne, died in 1709. He married Hannah Mulford. Four children.

(III) Annanias (2), son of Benjamin and Hannah (Mulford) Conkling, married Hannah ————. His will was proved August 26, 1740; it mentions nine children; Samuel, the fifth child, died before his father, making in all ten children.

(IV) Henry, eldest son of Annanias (2) and Hannah Conkling, was baptized February 22, 1701-02. He married, November 5, 1724 (according to the old Conkling family Bible at Rensselaerville) Mary Jones. Nine children.

(V) Daniel, sixth child of Henry and Mary (Jones) Conkling, was born at East Hampton, Long Island, April 24, 1737, died at Rensselaerville, New York, September 26, 1816. Revolutionary war records at Washington, D. C., show that Daniel Conkling served as private in Captain Edward Dunscomb's company of the Fourth New York Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Wissenfels, also designated as Captain William Jackson's company of the same regiment. His name also appears on the rolls, November 21 to September 5, 1777, and on following rolls to December, 1780, with remark: "Appointed Corporal December 1, 1776." New York state revolutionary records state he was made ensign, September 13, 1775, of Fourth Company, Second Battalion, Suffolk County Troops. He married (first) Abigail Parsons; five children. Married (second) Hannah Hutchinson; three children. Daniel Conkling removed to Rensselaerville, New York, where he was a farmer, of considerable means.

(VI) Daniel (2), eldest son of Ensign Daniel (1), and Abigail (Parsons) Conkling, was born at East Hampton, Long Island, died in Rensselaerville, New York, January 27, 1833. He married, February 16, 1796, Isabella, born February 19, 1771, died April 18, 1846, daughter of Thomas Lusk, of Stockbridge. Twelve children.

(VII) Gurdon, seventh child of Daniel (2) and Isabella (Lusk) Conkling, was born September 1, 1803, died May 8, 1874. He owned and operated the large tanneries at Conklingville, Saratoga county, New York, a village which he practically built for the benefit of the men employed in his extensive works there. His own residence was there later in life, and both he and his wife died there. They were members of the Presbyterian church. He married Catherine or Caroline Tremaine. Six children.

(VIII) Caroline, fifth child of Gurdon and Caroline (Tremaine) Conkling, married James C. Van Vorst (see Van Vorst VII).

Roscoe Conkling, the famous statesman and United States senator, was a lineal descendant of Annanias Conklin, of East Hampton, Long Island, and a relative of Gurdon Conkling.

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