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Schermerhorn Genealogy and Family Chronicles:
Chapter V: Descendants of Cornelius Jacobse Schermerhorn (Part 1 of 4)

Go back to: part 5 of Chapter 4 | ahead to: part 2 of Chapter 5

[This information is from pp. 305-320 of Schermerhorn Genealogy and Family Chronicles by Richard Schermerhorn, Jr. (New York: Tobias A. Wright, Publisher, 1914).]

The Fourth Branch

No characteristic name has been given to this branch of the Schermerhorn family on account of their failure to identify themselves with any one particular locality. The descendants of Cornelius Jacobse Schermerhorn, fourth son of Jacob Janse, dwelt, in the early days, in various sections along the Hudson River. The earliest place of settlement of this branch, after leaving Albany, seems to have been in the Manor of Livingston (now Columbia County) and later generations took up their residences in Greene, Dutchess and Rensselaer Counties.

Although Cornelius Jacobse Schermerhorn appears to have been engaged in a shipping business between Albany and New York, his descendents evidently did not follow in his footsteps. They became pioneers in reclaiming the wilderness, and the majority of them in the early days, seem to have been particularly occupied in farming, several of them being owners of large properties.

They married into families of their own class and maintained a strong Knickerbocker characteristic down to a late day, and the families into which they married were representative of the best type of Dutch stock. They have maintained a high standard in the education of their children, which is well illustrated in the type of the present generations of this branch of Schermerhorns. There have been many in the professions, in fact the merchant's career has not seemed to have found favor with them. On the whole they have been a reserved, kindly type of people, wholly unpretensious, living quietly and with great regard for their own kin. The descendents of quite a number of the earliest male members of this family have not been traced in this genealogy, quite likely on account of their being without issue. In later generations, the number of these descendents of Cornelius Jacobse, bearing the Schermerhorn name, has steadily decreased, but it is commonly noted how those of the daughters' families, even though their name has changed, still eagerly cling to their right to be classed as Schermerhorns.

Cornelius Jacobse Schermerhorn was apparently the first of the family to participate in the Colonial Wars, and his descendents have borne their share in the later conflicts of the nation.

Second Generation


CORNELIUS JACOBSE, son of (1) Jacob Janse Schermerhorn and Jannetie Egmont; b. about 1668; m. Mch. 21, 1695, in Albany, MARITIE HENDRICKSE VAN BUREN; dau. of Hendrick Cornelise Van Buren and Elizabeth Van Slyck; she was bur. Feb. 1, 1730, at the Albany Dutch Church.


Cornelius Jacobse Schermerhorn is referred to as in his minority in his father's will, dated May 20, 1688, so that he could not have been born earlier than 1668. It is quite likely he was fully at the age of 16 years, however, when in 1684 he is referred to as Master of the Sloop "Star," which in that year made at least four trips between New York and Albany. In the old days lads matured early, Jacob Janse himself being but fourteen when he arrived in the New World. Jacob Janse had transferred his residence from Albany to Schenectady in 1686, and at this time it is probable that most of the Schermerhorn family were with him, excepting his son, Jacob, who lived at Schodack, and the daughters Helena and Machtelt, who had married previously and remained in Albany. Cornelius and his sister Jannetie, after their father's death, probably lived with their brother Symon and his family in Schenectady Village, as they are mentioned among the refugees of the Schenectady massacre in 1690, who received a portion of the supplies that were distributed among the sufferers. The rest of the family must have been living at "Schermerhorn Mills," which was some distance from the scene of the massacre. The next mention of Cornelius Schermerhorn is on June 17, 1692, his name being among those of a party of 27 Ulster Co. men who were detached for Col. Peter Schuyler's Company, probably for service against the French and Indians. This is hardly significant of his residing in Ulster Co., at this time, because shortly afterward in 1695, he was married in Albany, and lived there until some time after 1722. The census of June 16, 1697, lists Cornelius as the head of a family living in Albany Co., consisting of one man, one woman, and two children. Jan. 11, 1699, he is listed among the Albany Co. residents signing the oath of allegiance to King William. It is likely that he continued his occupation as sailing-master, as it is noted that his son Hendrick's baptism in 1699 is registered at the Dutch Church in New York City, and on May 7, 1702, Cornelius rendered an account for "towing pinnace" and giving passage to soldiers from New York to Albany. At this time his sloop was named "Mary," probably after his wife. It is probable, for another reason, that Cornelius continued in the shipping line for some time after his marriage, for we find that his name was the only Schermerhorn family name carried down to later generations in Simon Schermerhorn's family, other than Simon's name itself. Thus as Simon's business was shipping, and as Cornelius' early occupation was the same, the above assumption is natural, and Cornelius probably had close business relations with his brother Simon in New York. However, Cornelius Schermerhorn did not hand down this occupation to his descendents. He must have settled down to a more centered life by 1708 when it is found that he was, on Oct. 14, appointed constable of the 1st Ward of Albany. On Nov. 27, 1722, he was appointed firemaster of the 3rd Ward of Albany, and in October, 1715, his name is found on the muster roll of Capt. Johannes Mingael's Company of Albany City Militia. On June 11, 1720, he is listed as a freeholder in the 2nd Ward of Albany.

Third Generation


JACOB C., son of (5) Cornelius J. Schermerhorn and Maritie H. Van Buren; bp. Oct. 4, 1696, in Albany; m. May 14, 1718 in Albany, JOHANNA (ANNA) BEEKMAN; bp. Dec. 4, 1696, in New York; dau. of Martin Beekman and Neeltje Slingerland.


Jacob C. Schermerhorn was an early resident of the City of Albany, N. Y. He was appointed firemaster of the 2nd Ward of Albany, Nov. 21, 1721, and Constable, Sept. 29, 1723. Some time later he removed to the Manor of Livingston and Oct. 15, 1732, was admitted to membership in the Linlithgo Reformed Church, his daughter Marritje joining at the same time. He was a deacon in the church in 1730 and elder in 1740, 48 and 51. His children, Johannes, Jacob, Hendrick and Neeltje were admitted to this church July 17, 1751. Jacob Schermerhorn made his will Nov. 19, 1760, and it was proved July 13, 1761. It is recorded in the Surrogate's Office, City of New York, the original being in the Office of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals, Albany, N. Y.

Little is known of the family and descendents of William Schermerhorn, son of Jacob C. He resided in Claverack, Columbia Co., N. Y. and later probably at Hudson. His name appears on the muster roll of Capt. Johannes Plass' Co., of Columbia Co. Militia in 1775. The census of 1790 lists the family of William Schermerhorn as follows: William Schermerhorn — residence, Hudson — 2 males over 16 (inc. father) — 4 females — 1 slave. The baptismal records of his family cannot be found.

Hendrick Schermerhorn, son of Jacob C., resided in the Manor of Livingston and apparently left no male descendants.


CORNELIUS C., son of (5) Cornelius J. Schermerhorn and Maritie H. Van Buren; bp. Sept. 9, 1705, in Albany; m. ANNATJE DEKKER; dau. of Jan Dekker and Tysje Bogart.


Whether Cornelius J. Schermerhorn died in Albany, or moved elsewhere after 1722, cannot be determined, but apparently his son Cornelius, some time about 1734, settled in what is now Greene and Ulster Co., in the neighborhood of Saugerties, some distance west. (A number of his children were baptised at the Catsbaan Church, which was located a short distance from Saugerties.) His name appears with others, "inhabitants near the division line," Oct. 26, 1749, in a petition that the surveyor-general be ordered to run the division line between Albany and Ulster Counties. On Oct. 25, 1734, he had purchased, in company with Stephen Van Alen, a parcel of property in this district, consisting, apparently, of 1640 acres. He had also purchased from Henry Beekman and Gilbert Livingston another tract, consisting of 1960 acres, called by the Indians, "Kiskatamechtsche." This land, or a portion of it, at least, he apparently sold, Sept. 11, 1764, receiving 940 pounds for one-quarter of 1650 acres. It may be that he then removed to Dutchess Co., N. Y., where in 1766 his son John C. was married.

Fourth Generation


JOHANNES, son of (266) Jacob C. Schermerhorn and Anna Beekman; bp. May 13, 1727, in Albany; m. (1) July 7, 1749, in Germantown, JANNETJE VOSBURGH; bp. Aug. 11, 1723; dau. of Abraham Vosburgh and Claartje Brussy; m. (2) ELIZABETH DEDERICK; b. Feb. 15, 1735; dau. of Frederick Dederick and Eva Graat.

Children by first wife:

Children by second wife:

In his early life John Schermerhorn lived in the Manor of Livingston, where his parents and his brothers resided. In 1758 he removed to the Catskill neighborhood, where he remained until after the Revolution. He then settled on the outskirts of the City of Hudson, Columbia Co., and this section was at one time called Schermerhorntown. He became eventually the owner of a considerable amount of property in this neighborhood.

In 1786 he obtained a license for keeping a tavern in Hudson, which was probably located in this eastern section of the town. He made his will Jan. 9, 1798, which was proved Aug. 10, 1807.


JACOB, son of (266) Jacob C. Schermerhorn and Anna Beekman; bp. May 3, 1729; m. ELIZABETH WHITAKER.


Jacob Schermerhorn was admitted to membership in the Linlithgo Reformed Church, Manor of Livingston, July 17, 1751. He removed from this district at some later period after his marriage and settled in the neighborhood of Wynantskill, N. Y. He made his will Dec. 14, 1805, which was proved Sept. 5, 1806, and is filed in Troy.

The property of Jacob Schermerhorn is indicated on the Van Alen map of 1785-90. It contained 284 acres, leased to him by Patroon Van Rensselaer, Feb. 1, 1790.


TUNIS, son of (266) Jacob C. Schermerhorn and Anna Beekman; b. ————; m. HENDRICKJE KONYN; dau. of Leendert Konyn and Hendrickje Cool.


The name of Tunis Schermerhorn appears on the list of members of the Reformed Church of Linlithgo, Jan. 1750.


CORNELIUS, son of (267) Cornelius C. Schermerhorn and Annatje Dekker; bp. Apr. 3, 1738, in Catsbaan; m. LYSBETH COOL.


Cornelius Schermerhorn probably lived in the Manor of Livingston, N. Y.


JOHN C., son of (267) Cornelius C. Schermerhorn and Annatje Dekker; b. Dec. 28, 1744; bp. in Germantown; d. Jan. 22, 1832; m. Sept. 23, 1766, in Rhinebeck, ANNATIE OSTERHOUT; b. Feb. 20, 1743; bp. in Rhinebeck; d. Dec. 14, 1826; dau. of Abraham Osterhout and Ariaantje Van Vredenburgh.


John C. Schermerhorn may have been born in the "Blue Mountain" district back of Saugerties, where his father's property lay, although his baptism is recorded in the old Germantown Church, Columbia Co. A great many of the Dutch families from Ulster Co. removed to the Rhinebeck precinct, included among whom were the Osterhouts, into which family John C. married, at Rhinebeck, in 1766. His father had sold his "Blue Mountain" property in 1764, but whether he disposed of all of it, cannot be determined, although it seems safe to assume that it was about this time that he removed with his family to Rhinebeck. The families of Cornelius and Jacob, brothers of John C., appear, however, to have settled in Columbia and Rensselaer Counties. In 1775 the name of John Schermerhorn is found as signer to the Articles of Association (binding to the Revolutionary cause) in Rhinebeck. It is not positively known that John C. took active part in the Revolution, but old people of the family say that his brothers did. Where the Schermerhorn property in the Rhinebeck Precinct was located it has been impossible to determine. Undoubtedly many of the old records of this district were destroyed during the Revolution, and those that do exist are sadly scattered, being found in Albany and Kingston as well as Poughkeepsie. It has been stated by one of his descendants that Cornelius, eldest son of John C., was born (1767) at "Nine Partners" where two roads met, forming four corners, and near the Ten Broeck residence. "Nine Partners" at this time included Rhinebeck. On an old map dated 1789, a Schermerhorn residence is indicated on the Albany Post Road just north of the Village of Red Hook, which was in the Rhinebeck Precinct. According to the records of the Rhinebeck Flatts Reformed Church at least six of John C.'s children were baptized at Red Hook. John Schermerhorn was deacon in the Rhinebeck Reformed Church in 1785, and in 1786 his place was taken by Isaac H. Kip. The baptism of his youngest son, Peter (born Aug. 1, 1786), does not occur in the Rhinebeck Church, therefore it was probably in 1785, or the early part of 1786 that John C. moved from Rhinebeck. He settled at or near what is now known as Nassau Village, in Nassau Township, just beyond the town ship limits of Schodack. He held three or four hundred acres in this district. In 1787, his name appears as Lieutenant in Lieut. Col. Jacob C. Schermerhorn's Albany Co. Regiment. This position as officer would seem to indicate some earlier military experience, although no positive record can be found of it. However, it is a fact that John Schermerhorn was a claimant for Land Bounty Rights as a member of the 6th Dutchess Co. Regt. In 1790 he is listed as a resident of Rensselaerwyck with a family of 2 males over 16 (inc. father) — 4 males under 16 — 4 females (inc. mother) and two slaves. Either his son John or Cornelius had at this time started out to shift for himself, as there is one son, over 16, missing from the census list. It probably was John who, tradition states, was "lost at sea or killed at war."

The reason for John C. Schermerhorn's removal from Rhinebeck was undoubtedly that of great property loss incurred by Revolutionary ravages, which were very severe in Rhinebeck, owing to the great number of Tories among its inhabitants, and also to the fact of the town being in the path of Sir Henry Clinton's destructive maneuvres, on his expedition up the Hudson. British marauding expeditions laid waste to much of the country on the east side of the river between Fishkill and Livingston Manor. Tradition states that John C. suffered great loss in these days, and many times his house in Rhinebeck was ransacked by Tories, and his money and silverware stolen. Old people in the family claim that when in Rhinebeck he had been a man of some considerable estate, and his removal to the undeveloped districts of Rensselaer Co. was for recuperation, pure and simple. Old members of the family were accustomed to visit in Rhinebeck frequently, in later days, and while there is no recollection as to just whom they visited there, there are memories of tales of fine manor houses, and negro servants in livery, and other suggestions of early associations, which were linked with a great measure of position and prosperity than were perhaps realized in the rough lands of the later home. Nevertheless, the children of John C. were well educated and well brought up, and they married into the most important families of Rensselaer Co. at that time, the Van Rensselaers and the Vanderheydens. John C. procured title to the permanent homestead property in Rensselaer Co., in 1797, when it was formally transferred to him by the Patroon, Stephen Van Rensselaer. It consisted of 325 acres. Undoubtedly, he moved there direct from Nassau (Schodack included Nassau at that time). In 1799 he deeded a portion of the Rensselaer Co. property, amounting to one-fifth, to the wife of his son Jacob (Maria Vanderheyden), and it was with this family that he made his later home. In 1802, he deeded to his son Cornelius the remainder of his property.

There are few stories existing, descriptive of John C. Schermerhorn and his activities. Undoubtedly, many of the early family records and possessions were lost during the course of the family's migrations. The oldest of the family, who might have been able to give an account of many interesting details of early family history, have been dead for a score of years, and in the past generation, interest in these things had not been awakened. The land which John C. purchased in Rensselaer Co. was heavily wooded and mostly virgin soil. He first operated a saw-mill on a bordering creek, to make practical use of the timber he cut from his land. He erected a substantial residence, barn and outbuildings, which passed out of the family when Cornelius disposed of this portion of the property in 1804.

The sale advertisement describing the latter portion of the estate reads as follows: —

"A farm in the County of Rensselaer… It contains 268 acres of land, well timbered with several choice kinds, such as white and black oak, hickory, maple and some yellow and white pine… watered by continuous streams and many living fountains. On the premises is a good house with three rooms to the floor; a good barn 42 x 35, two hay barracks, cow houses and a good saw-mill (English type) on a never failing stream. There is a good orchard on said farm, of about 250 bearing apple trees besides other fruit trees, which in bearing will make 50 barrels of cider. For pasture or any kind of grain, this land is not excelled by any in the Manor of Rensselaerwyck. A satisfactory title can be given for the above described farm, subject to a yearly rent of 21 3/4 bushels of wheat, four fat hens and one day's service with carriage and horses. The price is 2500 pounds, 1000 to be paid down and the residue in three equal yearly payments, with interest, and secured by a mortgage on the premises. Jan. 31, 1804."

It is not known to what extent John C. Schermerhorn interested himself in the public affairs in the community. He was not a young man when he removed to this neighborhood. At the time of the organization of Rensselaer Co. in 1791, an old county record includes his name among the assistant judges of court, March 15, 1791. This was at the first meeting of the officers of the new County of Rensselaer, which had been formed Feb. 7, 1791. He is stated to have been light-haired and blue-eyed, and not above medium height, and very jolly. His sons were all very tall. His wife Hannah Osterhout was dark-haired and a little taller than her husband. A granddaughter, Catherine Schermerhorn Shipherd stated in a letter to her grand-daughter that "She (John C.'s wife) was a woman of superior mental ability, and her son Jacob inherited this keenness of mind." Hannah Osterhout's ancestors were of considerable prominence. Her grand-father, Capt. Lourens Osterhout, was one of the patentees of Hurley, Ulster Co., and one of the first settlers of Rhinebeck Precinct, in which community he was a leading spirit. The latter's wife was a daughter of Capt. Arie Roosa, formerly of Kingston and Hurley, Ulster County, and one of the three patentees of the Rhinebeck Precinct. The father of Arie Roosa, Albert Heymans Roosa, was a prominent and picturesque character in Ulster Co. at the time of its early settlement. He served in many official capacities and was also an officer in the militia. Both the Osterhouts and Roosas were families of considerable influence in the early days of the Esopus Colony.

Of the children of John C. Schermerhorn, the sons Cornelius, Jacob and Peter were the only ones whose posterity have survived. John died at an early age and David wandered away to Central New York, and according to a family bible, "died at Mexico, N. Y." It is said that David left a wife and children, but no one has ever been able to trace them. Abraham was unmarried. He enlisted in the war of 1812, under Capt. John C. Wool, and died Nov. 6, 1813, at French Mills, (Fort Covington), Franklin Co., N. Y., probably from an epidemic which broke out among the soldiers stationed there. He was nearly seven feet tall. All of John C.'s children were well educated, that is, well, for those days, and from all accounts much better than the average young people of the period.

John C. Schermerhorn and his wife are buried in the old family burying ground on the Homestead Farm in Rensselaer Co., and the head stones which have weathered the storms of over three quarters of a century, bear inscriptions which are still decipherable.


JACOB C., JR., son of (267) Cornelius C. Schermerhorn and Annatje Dekker; bp. Jan. 20, 1754, in Linlithgo; m. July 1, 1780, in Kinderhook, CHRISTINA LODEWYCK.


At the time of his death Jacob C. Schermerhorn Jr., lived in the Town of Schodack and died about 1803.

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