Hukle's American Book Series
FACT TO FICTION AND BETWEEN
Utilizing Genealogy To Create Historical Fiction
Gloria Waldron Hukle
Published February 2018
Genealogy can often be used as a base for the historical fiction writer. Following the lives of our ancestors brings us into a setting such as New Amsterdam so that time and place both encircle and thread the novel. However, in this writer’s opinion, the line that is drawn between fact and fiction is one word, and that word is 'possibility'.
The true story of the New York Waldron family who immigrated from Holland mid-1600s, settling on the corner of present day Wall Street and Broadway, and a decade later at Harlem, is point of entry for thousands of descendants of Holland born Resolved Waldron.
After a number of years exploring multiple sources throughout New York and Pennsylvania (libraries, museums and historical sites), reading personal journals, letters, church records and documents, and accounts translated from Dutch into English, I came to know the facts about the “Moses” of my father’s North Creek, New York family.
As author of “The American Waldron Series Novels” I have come to believe there exists merely a thin veil between the noisy, crowded streets of New Amsterdam and the solitude of my small, cluttered office. Fictional characters are the glue joining together an abundance of documented people and occurrences. They are drawn from the core of the author’s creativity.
The facts of Resolved's life provided insight about the personality of the man. For instance, choosing to remarry on his birthday indicates a strong personality with ego to match, as well as a positive, optimistic outlook on life. The persona written into the character, Resolved Waldron, is also revealed to us by way of a factual account written by two religious missionaries by the name of Sluyter and Dankers who visited Waldron at Harlem in 1679. They wrote in their journal of their experience during the stopover (later edited by H.C. Murphy). [This is part of the first volume of the Memoirs of the Long Island Historical Society, Brooklyn 1867.] “We remained overnight at the house of Resolved Waldron, the Schout [sheriff] of the village [Harlem] who had formerly lived in Brazil, and whose heart was still full of it.” Sluyter and Dankers also were clear about the “hilarious time they had …” From these words we learn that Resolved was a social, outgoing man, who had lived in Brazil and had enjoyed it. In the course of my research I found no other documentation that Resolved Waldron had been in Brazil, so I relied on the testimony of his guests. Maybe this is where my imagination kicked-in; the reader is introduced early-on to a Resolved who is one heck of a clever story teller. Obviously, he convinced his guests. He also convinced me.
(Manhattan Seeds of the Big Apple available most books sellers, although author signed copies available at www.etsy.com/shop/GloriaHukleBooks
SOULS OF THE SOIL
Souls of the Soil, (PUIB 2017 ) is driven by both the strengths and the weakness of the human spirit.
Without a doubt the actual 1756 murder of Cornelius Waldron, a prosperous farmer and slave owner living in what would become Upper New York State, provided first inspiration for a fourth work titled "Souls of the Soil" .
Cornelius Waldron born 1705 at Albany was the son of Manhattan born Peter Waldron who settled at Albany with his family. It was Peter Waldron , (first born grandson to Resolved Waldron of New Amsterdam) who purchased the land north of Albany where the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers meet, today Waterford, New York.
Yet curiosity about my great-great grandmother, Phebe Carey Delaba and distant rumors whispered she was part Native American and abused by her father, that gave birth to characters, Tom and Steve Carey..
For the record, through extensive research I've discovered that Phebe was not a Native American, but her mother, Esther Carey, born Esther Smith, could have been part Native American. I would have loved to have known Esther as every word written about her in her obituary applauds her kindness, generosity , love of God and family. Esther married John Carey and they lived their life in the Adirondack Mountains of New York at North Creek. In fact, John Carey's roots go back to the first Carey who settled at Plymouth and taught Latin in the mid 1600s.
I suspect that many of us wonder if it is true that our ancestors do speak to us.
For those who wondered what happened to little Aeltie.
VERY OLD MANHATTAN HISTORY-WHAT HAPPENED TO LITTLE AELTIE who you met in "Manhattan Seeds of the Big Apple"?
Aeltie Waldron Vermilye second daughter of Resolved Waldron of New Amsterdam.
At nineteen, Aeltie Waldron (a small child who Tennake Waldron protectively sooths in my novel "Manhattan Seeds of the Big Apple" and elderly woman in "Threads An American Tapestry") married Johannes Vermelje, a man twice her age. Vermelje, like Aeltie, was born in Holland. Vermelje was a majestrate, brewer, court messenger, who owned many properties on Manhattan Island in the mid-l600s. He is probably best known historically for the part that he played in the Leisler Rebellion. Vermelje was a member of Jacob Leisler's council and a man who barely escaped the loss of his head in l690. Only four years earlier Johannes had been praised for his generosity to the Harlem Reformed Dutch Church where, like his father-in-law, Resolved Waldron, he served as an Elder and the two had set in the church cornerstone in 1686.
In her later years Aeltie moved to Yonkers, New York. As a widow she is sometimes known as the Widow Vermillion.
New York Colonials Who Made Their Mark
In the year l725 Pieter Waldron of Albany made his mark, “PW” on his last will and testament. Fate (or as I prefer to think of it…God’s hand, often weaves a dramatic tapestry of relationships.
Pieter Waldron (Walderom in some old records) was born in Manhattan in l675. One of seven children, he was the son of Holland born William Waldron, a cooper by trade, and Engeltie Stoutenburg who, according to the records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New York, he had married on Feb. l0, l671. Pieter (named after his maternal grandfather) was also the grandson of Resolved Waldron who readers have met in my first novel, Manhattan: Seeds of the Big Apple.
A Manhattan trained mason by trade, Pieter Waldron settled in Albany, New York, circa l699, with his pregnant young wife, Tryntje (Catharina) Vandenbergh Waldron, and an infant daughter, Engeltie. Leaning on his strong Dutch heritage, the man with the English surname did well with his multiple ventures despite being a newcomer within the tight Albany inner circle. He engaged in the fur trade, eventually purchasing property at Halfmoon (present day Waterford, New York) He served in the Albany Militia, as fire master in the third ward of Albany, and was a constable and a surveyor. Waldron’s success was reflected not only in his will of l725, but also in a l720 portrait, which has been attributed to the Schuyler Limner who painted many successful people of Waldron’s time, such as Robert Sanders. Sanders went on to become Albany’s twenty-third Mayor in l750. Some believe that the Schuyler Limner was the portrait painter Nehemiah Partridge.
Pieter Waldron left behind a wife and nine children. He was interred in the churchyard adjoining the Albany Dutch Reformed Church. His grave along with those of his wife and their son, Cornelius, and hundreds of others, would be moved several times, first to the cemetery near the Madison Avenue Dutch Church and later again to an area of what is today Washington Park. After the Civil War the remaining dust that once was the people of old Albany was moved one final time to a section of the Albany Rural Cemetery at Menands, New York. (Ref: Mr. Peter Hess, Author, Albany Historian, President of Albany Rural Cemetery)
Pieter was my 9th generation grandfather, and his daring move from well established roots of Manhattan to Albany at the close of the 17th century long stirred my imagination. I wondered why a young man would leave his comfortable New York City ties behind to settle in the precarious Albany frontier. And I was curious about the links he shared with those who stood beside him as he communicated his last wishes: their connection to church, the Native American fur trade, and first settlers of both Albany and Manhattan. I begin with the signature of the man whose name might be most recognizable: Myndert Schuyler who was the l3th Mayor of Albany (l7l9-20 and again l723-l725).
The Schuyler family was large and powerful in the Albany area, the first of them arriving in New Netherland during the first half of the l600s. Myndert, who was just a few years older than Pieter Waldron was the son of David Pieterse Schuyler. His mother was Catharina Verplanck whose father had come from Holland twenty years before with an interest in purchasing land to start a trading post. In the year l657, at eighteen, Catharina married David Schuyler at New Amsterdam. A few years later, Myndert was born near present day Menands, New York, on the Schuyler farm. He would be one of eight children.
Myndert’s uncle, Phillipse Pieterse Schuyler, was a carpenter, who along with his brother David was the first of the Schuyler family to arrive on these shores - sons of a Holland baker. From a humble start these Schuylers had made a fortune in the fur trading business using the fruits of their labor to buy land and build houses. Phillipse Schuyler owned land at Albany, New York, and at Halfmoon. Some of the latter might well have later been purchased by Pieter Waldron. Phillipse Schuyler was also once a neighbor to Pieter’s grandfather, Resolved Waldron, in New Amsterdam, one of his houses being a block over from Resolved Waldron.
Myndert was a member of the Assembly and Capt. of the Militia. He was a merchant and Indian Commissioner for many years. Following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, he was also an investor. He purchased land near present day Bethlehem outside of Albany where, coincidentally, one of Pieter’s daughters would live with her family (Van Wie). He also owned land at Schoharie, New York. Like Pieter Waldron’s country property at Halfmoon mentioned in his will, these places were the wild lands of those times, rich with animals and trees that became pelts and lumber. Myndert Schuyler died at age 83 and was buried beneath the Albany Dutch Church.
Gerrit Lansing, Jr. (born l693) was the first man listed as witness to Pieter’s will. Like Schuyler and Waldron, Lansing was also a member of the Albany Dutch Church, and like Waldron, father to young children, a member of the militia, an assistant firemaster, and living in the third ward of Albany. He was the son of Gerrit G. Lansing and Catharina Sanders Glen Lansing. I wondered if perhaps Pieter had met the Schuyler portrait painter via Gerrit’s mother.
I suspect that the Lansings and the Waldrons socialized together. Gerrit married Engeltie VanDeusen whose sister, Catharina, was married to Matthias Vandenbergh (Pieter Waldron’s brother-in-law); all Colloney Rensselaerswyck people.
Isaac Vandeusen (Isack) appears to be the second signature. I believe that this Isaac may have been Pieter Waldron’s cousin by marriage. Isaac Van Deursen was the son of Abraham (Isaacs) Van Deursen and Anna Sickles of Albany. He married Anna Waldron. She was the daughter of Daniel Waldron (son of Joseph of New Amsterdam) and Sara Rutgers. [With the generous help of VanDeusen Family historians John Van Duzer and Frank Bennett, I have come to understand the problem with researching any Vandeusen is that the surname often changes; i.e., Vandeusen, VanDusers, Van Duzen, V. Deurse, Van Deursen, Pieterse va Deusen, or even just, Pietersen.]
Isaac Vandeusen was a descendant of Abraham Pietersen VanDeusen, baptized in l607 in Holland, who arrived around l630 at New Amsterdam…the first of the Vandeusen’s to arrive in America. Abraham Pieterson (as he was then known) was a miller for the Dutch West India Company when he came over from Holland. Eventually he became a wealthy tavern keeper and prominent figure in New Netherland, being one of the first twelve Dutch representatives in the new land. Several of his children and grandchildren ended up in Albany. Some Vandeusen’s are to be found in the Colloney Rensselaerswyck (present day Rensselaer, New York) census of l720: Killian, Wouter, Melgert and Rut (Rutger) VanDeusen. One of Rutger’s daughters married Mathias Van Den Bergh, who was Tryntje Waldron’s brother. A year before Pieter’s death, he and his Tryntje were the sponsors for the baptism of Cornelia Van Den Bergh.
Waldron and Pieterson connections dated back to old Manhattan long before Pieter moved to Albany. When he was four his father (William) tried to organize twenty-two coopers into a union. This might have been the first attempt at unionization in America. A year later, William and his business partner Pietersen (Rikers gives no first name) were sworn in as cullers (Feb. l6, l680).
English born John Collins is the third witness to Pieter Waldron’s will. Collins was the first official Albany attorney. There were others who handled the legal affairs of residents of Albany and surrounding wilderness, such as the flamboyant Evert Wendell, but Wendell mostly handled the Dutch and apparently had not been legally trained as had Collins.
Like Pieter Waldron, John Collins was a newcomer to the Albany scene with ties to Manhattan. Collin’s wife was Margarita Schuyler, an Albany born twenty-nine year old widow who had spent a decade living in New York City with her first husband before she married Collins.
I find it interesting that widow Margarita returned to her Albany roots to live with her mother around the same time as Pieter relocated his Manhattan family. Perhaps Pieter and his young wife had accompanied Margarita home to Albany on the sloop “Royal Albany”, a vessel that operated between New York City and Albany and was owned by Capt. Gerrit Hardenbergh whose son-in-law was one John Waldron (although I think not of Resolved’s family-perhaps a cousin from England).
Pieter Waldron had other interesting maritime connections. His uncle, Samuel Waldron, had a share in the Frigate ship “Hoorn” which by order of Governor Sloughter was put into public service, but unfortunately was captured by the French during King William’s War (l689-97). The loss was no doubt a serious financial blow to Samuel.
Surely the Waldrons and the Schuylers were at the very least acquainted from the days of Pieter’s youth. Margarita’s father, Philip Pieterse Schuyler, in addition to his vast land holdings in Albany and the surrounding area also owned a house on Block C of New Amsterdam, while Pieter’s grandfather, Resolved Waldron, maintained a residence on Block B. Collins also dabbled in “the trade” (fur trading) and was named to the Commissioners of Indian Affairs. Like Pieter he purchased land on the frontier.
In May of l742 Myndert Schuyler reaffirms with an addendum that Garrett Lansing, Jr. did sign as administrator to Pieter Waldron’s will and that Garret swore that these men did sign in the presence of the testator and that Pieter Waldron was of sound mind when he made his will.
So why did Pieter Waldron leave Manhattan? Perhaps the catalyst for his move had something to do with the terrible times the Waldron family endured toward the end of the l7th century. Pieter’s uncle, Capt. Johannes Vermilye (Aeltie Waldron’s husband) had been Jacob Leisler’s Chief of the Military. Leisler, his son-in-law, Milborne were accused of high treason. In l691 Leisler along with Milborne were hanged and then beheaded in lower Manhattan after a drunken Governor Henry Sloughter signed their death warrant. Vermilye languished in prison in New York for a year before being acquitted. Possibly he was let go through the intercession of his wife’s family.
It took six years for Johannes and Aeltie Vermilye to regain their confiscated Manhattan properties. In l695 Parliament reversed the court sentence. I suspect that these troubled times for the Vermilye and the Waldron families were catalysts for Pieter Waldron’s move northward in l699.
Pieter Waldron was fifteen when his grandfather Resolved died in l690, the Waldron patriarch’s shoulders heavy with the burden of debts perhaps incurred as he tried to help his children. Two thirds of his Harlem estate had to be sold off by his heirs to pay debts while one third was retained for his widow, Tennake. On November 23, 1690 Samuel Waldron purchased the paternal family farm at Van Keulen’s Hook (Harlem) for 3,800 Dutch guilders.
Several of Pieter’s grandsons were pre-Revolutionary War “Sons of Liberty.” Today thousands of descendants can be found nationwide.
Look for Waldron, Collins, Vermilye, Wendell and scores of other colonials who made their mark on America in my third novel, “Threads - An American Tapestry”.