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Vandergrift News - March/April 1997


The Netherlands

 During the colonization of New Netherland, Holland was at war with Spain. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, of the Spanish branch of the House of Habsberg, was also the King of Spain. When he left the throne, he left both Spain and the Netherlands to his son, Philip II, who was Spanish by birth. Consequently, he had little liking for the Northern territories of the Netherlands. Because of his oppressive rule, war was declared against Spain by Holland, resulting in what would be an 80 year event. The Dutch efforts to achieve their independence carried on from 1568 until 1648.

With barely enough time to catch their breath, the two Anglo-Dutch Wars began, the first of which was 1652-1654, the 2nd lasting three years, from 1664 to 1667. The latter resulted in the Netherlands being lost to England. Not only were there wars in the homeland, but in the Colony of New Netherland, several conflicts were taking place between the Dutch residents and the Esopus, and other New York tribes.

These Indian disputes resulted in the loss of properties and human life, which included women and children. The first of these wars was 1659-1660, and began after the Indians, having been provided a quantity of brandy, got drunk and began fighting. The guards at the newly built fort, hearing the noise, re-acted by firing their weapons, resulting in one of the Indians being shot in the head, and, of course, the Indians then had to retaliate. It has been told that in one of these wars, Paulus was severly wounded by a tomahawk.


Curacao History

 The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) were discovered in 1499 by a lieutenant of Columbus, Alonso de Ojeda, who found the islands inhabited by Caiquetos, a tribe of peaceful Arawak Indians, who had fled Venezuela from a more bloodthirsty tribe, the Caribs. De Ojeda claimed the islands for the Spanish, but because there was no gold there they were declared "useless islands." The Awarak community was largely transported to work on Hispaniola, and nowadays no full blooded Indians are found on Curacao. The island remained Spanish throughout the 16th century, but fell to the Dutch in 1634. C uracao became an important trading post and a base for excursions against the Spanish.Some of the plantation houses "landhuizen," stem from this period. They were used for agricultural purposes, some as cattle farms and some were country estates for the rich merchant families that lived in Willemstad. Most of these "landhuizen" still exist today. Some of them have decayed into ruins, but others have been restored and serve now as restaurants or museums.Conflicts in Europe and the Americas in the 18th century led to Curacao becoming a commercial meeting place for pirates, American rebels, Dutch merchants, Spaniards and Creoles from the mainland. In 1800 the English took Curacao, but withdrew in 1803, only to occupy it again in 1807. In 1816, Dutch rule was restored and the island was declared a free port. The Nine Men New netherland The Nine men was a board of men chosen from the principal classes of the community; Merchants, Burghers and Agriculturists. It is here, on this board of Nine Men, that we find Paulus Van Der Grift, along with Allard Anthony, 2 February 1652. The duties of the Board were: First, to promote the honor of god, the welfare of the country and the preservation of the Reformed Religion, according to the discipline of the Dutch Church. Second, to give their opinion on matters submitted to them by the Director and Council.Third, three of the nine; one Merchant, one Burgher, and one Farmer, were to attend for a month in rotation on the weekly court, as long as civil cases were before it, and to act as Referees, or Arbitrators on cases referred to them. If any of these three could not attend because of sickness or absence , his place was to be filled by another of the Nine Men of the same class. Six retired from office annually, to be replaced by an equal number selected from twelve names sent in by the entire Board. They held their sessions in Da vid Provoost's school room, and were the immediate precursors of the Burghomasters and Schepens.


The Irish Immigrant Joseph Vandergrift/Vandegrift
PVT. 10th Louisana Inf. Co. C.

Joseph enlisted .in the 10th Louisiana Volunteer Infantry on July 22, 1861. The 10th Louisiana was a part of Nicholls Brigade, and was very active throughout the Civil War. Joseph received his military training at Camp Moore,LA, At the time of his enlistment he was 28 years old, and a described as being 5' & 7 1/2" tall, withbrown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He was married, had children, and listed his occupation as a painter, he had been born in Ireland. According to his roster, his first battle was at Williamsburg, VA., on May 4, 1862. From Williamsburg he went on to fight at: Savage Station, Manassas (2nd Bull Run ), Shantilly, Nalvern Hill, Cedar Run, Harper's Ferry,on September 15, 1862, all in VA.,Antietam, Md. , on September 17, 1862, Chancellorsville, VA.,in May of 1863, Winchester ( Open Creek ). on June 15, 1863, and Gettysburg, on July 2nd & 3rd , 1863. Joseph fought at Culp's Hill at Gettysburg on July 2nd & 3rd. He was wounded during the early morning hours of July 3rd, and taken prisoner by federal troops. He was imprisoned at David's Island, New York, were he died from his gun shot wounds on July 31, 1863, he was 30 years old. Although Joseph was born in Ireland, the prefixes Van & Der are Dutch, and indicate that Josephwas of Dutch ancestry. Both the spellings above are used throughout his records. Research: KMSLouisana State Achives.KMS/kar

The New Jersey Farmer

Vandegrift, William J.
PVT. 150th Penna. Vol. Inf. Co. E.

William J. Vandegrift, was born at General Wayne, Pa., on September 3, 1838. He was 24 years old when he enlisted in the 150th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry on August 20, 1862. He was described as being 5' 9" tall,143 pounds, with brown hair and gray eyes. He listed his occupation as a farmer. The 150th Penna. was a very active regiment throughout the Civil War and took part in numerous Battles. William's first battle was at Antietam { Sharpsburg } MD., On September 17, 1862. He also took part in the Battles of Manassas, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and the Wilderness. William's name can be found on the monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield. The regiment was part of Stone's Brigade, I Corps. Army of the Potomac. The first battle of Gettysburg began July 1 1863, about 8 AM, on Mc Pherson's Ridge, just North and West of the town,when two brigades of Confederate Major General Heth's Division engaged in battle with the dismounted cavalry of Union General John Buford. About 10 a.m. Major General John Reynolds' I Corps, including the 150th Penna., arrived at the battlefield after a long march from Virginia, to relieve Buford's Cavalry. The battle line was spread out for 5 miles from McPherson's Ridge, to Oak Ridge, and along the Hagerstown Road. The fighting was fierce, and historians credit the 150th Penna., as having fought tooth and nail. However, by late afternoon the Union troops were forced to withdraw across the valley to Cemetery Ridge. The I Corps. had lost 66 % of its men including Maj. General Reynolds who had been killed earlier. The 150th al one had lost 75 % of its men, either dead or wounded. They almost lost their regimental flag that day, which was later located in the luggage of the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. William was one of the fortunate survivors of this battle, and on July 2nd , he would take part in the Battle of the Wheatfield and though the night of the 2nd, into the 3rd, the battle of the Culp's hill. On July 3rd rifle fire from the 150th and other regiments on Cemetery Hill would take a de adly toll on the Confederate soldiers of Pickett's Charge. On May 5, 1864, William fought at the Battle of the Wilderness, in Virginia, where he was shot in the left hand. the injury caused severe damage to the bones of the hand and the ring finger was amputated. He was returned to active duty with his regiment in July 1864. In May 1865 he was promoted to corporal and he was mustered out of the service June 23,1865, from Elmira, New York. After the war William moved around quite a bit. He resided at various times in the Germantown & Manayunk sections of Philadelphia, West Chester and other locations in Chester & Montgomery counties. Finally, he purchased a farm in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey, where he spent the rest of his life. In 1871, he applied for a military pension which was granted in May of that year in the amount of $2.00, per month. affidavits in his file attest to the fact that he had severe rheumatism in his hand, which interfered with his ability to farm. In 1905, his Pension was $10.00 per month and in 1907 it was raised to $12.00 . William, never married and there is no mention of heirs to his estate, nor where he is buried. He died at his farm on August 27, 1908, at the age of 70 years. Contributed by Kathleen Smith of Philadelphiaresearch; KMS National Archives, Wash. D. C. KMS/kar

Jacob Leendertszen van Der Grift

Jacob Leendertszen Van Der Grift, like his brother Paulus, was in the employ and service of the West India Company of Holland aboard the ship "Swol", plying between Curacao and New Netherland. It carried 22 guns and 76 men, and in 1644 it was directed to New Amsterdam and, being an old ship, was sold upon its arrival. At that time Jacob chose to remain in New Amsterdam and became a bottler. On July 19th 1648, he married Rebecca Fredrickszd Lubbertsen, daughter of Fredrick Lubbertz and Styntje Janszd. Having married well, Jacob prospered in more than one way. On March 7, 1652 he was commissioned by the Burghormaster and Sheppens of New Amsterdam as Measure of Grain. and in 1656 he was made a "Small Burger" of New Amsterdam. In 1662 we find Jacob a resident of Bergen, New Jersey, and that same year, on May 29, he moved to Breuckelen, Long Island. In 1665 he moved onto the Strand of North River (The Hudson), where he was asked to account of the expense of quartering 100 English soldiers on the Dutch Burgers. On October 9, 1667 he received a patent from Governor Nicholis for the land on the island of Manhattan, on the North side of the Great Creek (Harlem River), which in 1668 he sold to Isaac Bedloe. He then moved to Noordwyck on the North River, where he purchased land from his brother Paulus. Between this date and 1686, he again moved to Newton or Newtown, Long Island, and continued to live there with his wife and family until he died. It is believed he is buried in the cemetery of the Old Dutch Reformed Church in Newtown (now known as Elmhurst, Long Island). The theory Jacob is buried at the Dutch Reformed Church in Newtown does carry weight, as he is listed as witness to several of his grandchildren's baptismsat that church. After the death of Jacob, in 1697, Rebecca removed to Bensalem Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and records show she was living there in 1710.

Name: Jacob Leendertsz VANDERGRIFF
Father: Leendert Evertz VANDERGRIFF (abt 1587-)
Mother: Maritje POUWELSD (abt 1585-)
Individual Facts Chr 23 Oct 1622 in Amsterdam, Holland
Marriages/Children 1. Rebecca Fredrickszd LUBBERTSEN Marriage 19 Jul 1648
Children Maritje Jacobse VANDERGRIFF (bp. 29 Aug 1649)
Christian Jacobse VANDERGRIFF (26 Feb 1651)
Annetje (Anna) Jacobse VANDERGRIFF (16 Mar 1653)
Leendert Jacobse VANDERGRIFF (19 Dec 1655)
Nicholas Jacobse VANDERGRIFF (5 May 1658)
Frederick VANDERGRIFF (20 Aug 1661) Rebecca VANDERGRIFF (-)
Rachel Jacobse VANDERGRIFF (20 Aug 1661)
Johannes VANDERGRIFF (26 Jun 1667)
Bibliography: Information from work of Bill Fudge which came to me through descendants in my line.
Information received from Kathleen M. Smith.


Christopher Vandegrift - 1773

"A Vandergrift Family Tree", Compiled by Rowland Holcomb, with information from Erskine Vandergrift

Christopher Vandegrift - 1773 By Erskine Vandegrift

My great-great grandfather Christopher Vandegrift was born August 8, 1773. He died January 11, 1844, and was buried with his wife at the Liberty Cemetery near Odenville, Alabama. He was a methodist minister and farmer. His wife was Rebecca Amberson. Their Children were: William, John, Jim, Leon ard, Ellen, Margaret, and Betsey. Christopher with his family left Chester County, South Carolina about September 1821 for Alabama. Their mode of travel was the schooner type drawn by horses, using stretchers to add two to four horses to the wagons when the pulling requirement became greater. All the children were grown and afforded good man power when ever it was needed. (four boys and three girls) They came by way of Jasper County, Georgia and while lingering there a short while they met a young Presbyterian minister by the name of Peter Harden who on first sight fell desperately in love with the daughter Ellen and she in turn "fell for him," but time was short for the Vandegrift's must be on their way. So the old folks finally gave in for their hasty marriage and so they did on November 21, 1821 and on to Alabama they came, the Vandegrift's and Hardens. Everyone must have been very happy because of the happy couple, good traveling weather, and rapid progress. About the middle of December they had approached the Coosa River at Greensport, what is now Lock No. 1 near Ashville, Alabama and had afforded a crossing at the shoals. They reached their point of destination a few days later and set stakes at what was called Walnut-Grove, later called Jones-Cut, which is about one mile east of Odenville and at the entrance of the first cut along the Seaboard Airline Railroad. Peter, with his bride Ellen, did not tarry long until they settled at what is now Odenville. The home still stands (which has been added to from time to time) known as the Harden home. His son, Crow Harden (by a second marriage) lived there most of his life. After his death, Willard Hodges and wife (Nell, daughter of Crow) have lived there. Christopher with his boys lost no time in clearing the forest for planting. The first house was a one room affair made of logs and boarded roof with plain dirt floor until a better house could be built. The first summer was the hardest as there was a shortage of corn in the community, and they had to ride as far as Guntersville to get corn for planting. Trading centers were no closer that Guntersville, Huntsville, Talladega, Selma, and Montevallo. Christopher preached very often in the few distant Methodist churches riding ten to twenty miles by horseback to meet his preaching engagements. One of his Bibles is in fairly good state of preservation and is held in custody by his great-great-grandniece, Mrs. Ruth Phillips Batson. It is a New Testament, translated out of the original Greek and with former translations. It was printed in Philadelphia in 1813. In this bible, there are fly leaves containing scriptural references of various topics. From all I can gather, he held true to the fine tradition of his forebearers in living a strict Christian life and holding his family in subjection of moral living and church life. His business dealings were fair and honorable, keeping records of all transaction whether great or small. He, with his family, worked hard and managed well to acquire a well equipped home and plenty of products from his farm and homespun goods to keep them without want. I do not think Christopher ever served in any wars except maybe skirmishes with the Indians although his father was a soldier of the revolutionary war. Two of his grandsons were named for him and a number of granddaughters and great-granddaughters were named after his wife Rebecca. As before stated, she was Rebecca Amberson, born in Chester County, S.C., March 10, 1777. She died March 3, 1852.


Frances Matilda Vandegrift

Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson Frances Matilda VANDEGRIFT was born on 10 Mar 1840, to Jacob & Esther Thomas Keen Vandegrift, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Francis "Fannie" Vandegrift lived near Indianapolis until 1864, when she decided to join her husband, Samuel Osborne, who had already moved near Carson City, NV (prospecting). She and her children, Samuel Lloyd and Isobel Stuart Osborne, went by train to New York, then boarded a steamship to Panama, walked across the isthmus, by steamship to San Francisco, and finally stage coach to Carson City and Austin, Nevada, where she supported the family as a laundress. In 1869, the family moved to Oakland, CA, where Fannie studied painting. In 1875, she left Osborne and took the children to France and Belgium to pursue her art studies, and it was there she met Robert Louis Stevenson and the couple was living together by 1877. In 1878, she returned to San Francisco and Monterey, CA. After a reconciliation with Osborne failed, she divorced him. Stevenson joined her after an arduous journey, described in "Across the Plains". They were married in 1880 and lived in Great Britain in 1880-1888. In 1889, searching for relief from RLS's health condition, which may have been genetic in nature. The Stevenson family (including his mother) went by ship to Tahiti, Hawaii, Gilbert Islands, and ultimately Western Samoa (see footnote). The year following the family's arrival in Western Samoa, they began building their estate, Vailima, on 400 acres of lushly forested land behind Apia, and lived there until Stevenson's death, from a massive brain hemorrhage, in 1894. The last four years of his life were spent with his wife, her son Lloyd, and his adopted family of Samoans. Fannie continued living in Samoa until 1897, at which time she sold the land and returned to San Francisco until shortly before her death on 19 Feb 1914 in Santa Barbara, CA. She was buried in Jun 1915, at the summit of Mount Vaea, next to her husband. Her daughter Isobel was amanuensis for RLS, and was, herself, and author, writing "This Life I've Loved", and other works. Fannie's son, Lloyd, served as Vice-Consul of Western Samoa, and was also an author, publishing several books of his own, including "An Intimate Portrait of RLS", and collaborated on several works with his famous step-father.These works included: "The Wrong Box" (1889) *"The Wrecker" (1892) "The Ebb Tide" (1894) Bibliography: "Life of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson". Josephine Vandegrift, Charles Scribner, NY 1920; "Fanny Stevenson, A Romance of Destiny". Alexandra Lapierre, Carroll & Graf, NY 1995. "This Life I've Loved", Longman Green, 1937. Island Magazine. Article by Lawrence Millman. May/June 1995 Issue. Basic information contributed by: Kathleen M. Smith, Paul Vandergrift, and John Carter. Thank you~ * The Wrecker An electronic edition of this book is now on the Internet. To find the URL, go to a search engine, then type in "Lloyd Osbourne". Footnote: Western Samoa is not to be confused with American Samoa, and is located in the Pacific, off the coast of South America.