Jewells of Fishkill - Rombout Patent Dutchess Co. New York
Historical Sketch of Jewells of Fishkill
By Roger Jewell 1/21/2014
The early tax records of Colonial New York record eight families of Jewells paying taxes from 1748 until 1779. Who were these people? We need to know if we are to understand the General group I call the Jewells of New York.
As a place to start we need to re-examine the will of George Jewell, (Joris Juel in Dutch).
Abstracts of Wills Vol VII 1766-1771, page 10:
Page 259.--In the name of God, Amen. I, GEORGE JEWELL, of Phillips Manor, in
Westchester County, being weak in body, this 17 of November, 1759, I leave to
my son, Staats Jewell, 15 shillings. I leave to my wife Martha one third of
my movable estate and £10. All the rest of my movable estate to my five sons,
Staats, William, Abraham, Isaac, and John. And they are to pay to my
daughters, Sarah Downing and Rachel Lemater, £5 each. I make my sons Abraham
and William executors.
Witnesses, Joseph Gidney, John Gidney, Daniel Miller. Proved, July 15, 1765.
It is the last three sons listed that we find on the Rombout Precinct, because that is what the Town of East Fishkill was called when we first become interested in it. Old George Jewel was a sawmill man. He came to Irvington, Westchester County, New York in 1711. It was called Greenburg at the time, but most of us better recognize the Village name of Tarrytown or Sleepy Hollow. He leased a mill site on Phillips Manor on the edge of a farm owned by Old Captain Jan Buckhout one of the earliest settlers in the area.
Two of his sons William and Abraham married daughters of old Captain Buckhout. The Buckhout family genealogy, make this very clear. Abraham married Sarah on November 1st, 1735 and William married Elizabeth on September 30, 1738. The key to our story is the two younger men. John married Engeltje, on July 26, 1740, the daughter of Harmon Jurksee and Isaac married Rebecca, on November15, 1740, daughter of Richard Somes. .
But we must not get ahead of our story. John born in 1720 grew up in his fathers big wooden house and working in his water powered sawmill and possible wood working shop. By 1735 he would have been working full time for 15 years in the woodworking industry of Irvington. Some of this work was probably for ship building in New York. We believe this because his older brother Staats was listed as a cordwinder at the time.
About the same time a man named Francis Rombout had a Girl named Catherine. He and two other men owned the Rombout Patent secured much earlier in 1685. However the family had done little with it. The Rumbout girl married Roger Brett and they began to develop the patent. Roger Brett accidentally drowned leaving the young woman with her 35,000 acre 1/3rd inheritance by her self. She was Called “Madam Brett”. Unlike the other Patent holders of Dutchess County, Madam Brett was willing to sell some of her lands. She started selling them in 1718. One of the first buyers was Direck Brinckerhoff who bought 2000 acres. Selling land to smaller owners changed the character of the Rombout Patent, which about this time became the Rombout Precinct. Other men like Peter Montfort and Harmey Hilliker also bought significant amounts of her land in the late 1730’s and early 1740’s. But in 1748 the acreage was still mostly wooded. Many Indians still lived in the area along Fishkill Creek. The local Indian name was, Wiccopee.
This is a good place to emphasize the difference between the Dutch and English thinking in New York. When the English Duke of York took over New York in about 1668, England had recently came back under the rule of the King. The Aristocratic Ruling class of Royals made all the real decisions. Their wealth was based on the inheritance of land of the Manors. A few rich Dutchmen were also invited into this class. There was however a difference. The wealth of the Dutch population had been secured through trade not blood. The Dutch City of New York (New Amsterdam) was created for trade. Most of the wealth of New York was based on fur trade and shipping. Van Cortlandt’s Manor was created from beer trade wealth and the Buckhout and Jewels were involved in the shipping business. The original Buckhout was a ships captain and it appears the Jewels supplied lumber and parts from the local oak and pine forests to build ships. This dichotomy was to later become very important in Dutchess County.
By 1740 when young John Jewell married Engeltje Jurckse, Madam Brett had sold several thousand acres and leased a lot of farms with quite gererious conditions. In 1743 Madam Brett and 20 others started the store at Fishkill Landing and began commercial trade with New York on a big scale. The so called Store purchased the locally produced Wheat and Corn ground it into flour and sold it in New York. Of course they also sold the merchandize items the local farmers needed. There was eventually a long dock in front of the store.
Back in Irvington John and Engeltje had a son John in the fall of 1740 and another Harmon in 1745. His older brother William and his Brother-in-law, Mathew Buckhout had moved up on the Croton River and started a sawmill by Pine’s Bridge. They were tenants on the Van Cortlandt Manor. This was between 1740 and 1746. Pierre Van Cortlandt moved up by Peekskill in 1748 after the death of his father. I believe it was to a large extent the energy of young Van Cortlandt, who also owned1/3 interest in Rombout development that this population expanded so rapidly.
When John took his two sons up to the Fishkill in 1747 or 48 he was in the prime of his life. Twenty seven years old, at least two children, 15 years experience as a sawmill man in the local industry. He was just exactly the type of man needed to remover the oak timber covering the potential farm land of Madam Brett’s 35,000 acre inheritance. It should be understood. There were three owners to the 85,000 acre Rombout Patent. One of them was Stephen Van Cortlandt. Like Madam Brett, Van Cortlandt was assisting to put the Manor lands into commercial production instead of subsistence farms...
When Madam Brett leased or sold the farms south of Wiccopee along the creek she knew two things would happen. These skilled sawmill men could harness the power in this small stream and produce products for the ship building companies in New York. They could also produce wheels for the carts and carriages need to carry on the trade she desired to be involved in. At the same time they would clear away the big trees to open up the fields and pastures of the farms she was trying to sell. To the New England farmers these trees were just in the way. But to the young sawmill men they were a valuable resource.
By 1748 both John and Isaac had moved north and were paying taxes in Fishkill (Rombout Precinct) Dutchess County. We are unsure if they bought or leased at first and purchased later. I believe John built a small family sawmill on Wiccopee Creek about a mile south of Madam Brett’s free road, (Highway-52). His children grew up there and by the time of the French and Indian war they were young men.
Engeltje died and John Sr. remarried Jane (Jannetje nostrand) Montfort on sept.25, 1765. His older brother Abraham moved up to join them and was paying taxes by 1761.
In 1767 Harmon (about 22 years old) secured his own farm and went on the tax rolls. His wife was Elizabeth Hilliker, a daughter of Hendrick Hilliker. A man named Harme Hilliker also had bought 600 acres a little to the south east of the Jewell farms. John’s son George got his own place in 1772, his wife’s name was Louisje Montfort. His older brother John Jr. married Theopilia Conklin, November 5, 1764. The oldest brother John Jr. didn’t get his own farm until 1772, he was by then 32 years old. He may have been running his fathers farm or presumably a mill.
It is easy to imagine old Harme Hilliker and his family also working as timber men. After all no one family could farm 600 acres. This seems it was probably never his intention to farm the lands he had purchased. Local history says he had sold off most of the land by the time he died. If he and John had worked together in the wood industry it would be very logical for a Hilliker girl, Elizabeth to marry one of John’s sons, Harmon.
The two Montfort girls may have been the daughters or sisters of Peter Montfort who moved down from Fish Kill Flatts a few years earlier.
Local and family records clearly put the Jewell families in the area of Wiccopee Creek. The were intermarried with the Hillikers and the Shaws. Both of these families were located along the south line of Rombout Precinct in the Wiccopee Creek valley. The Jewells arived just before the large influx of farmers in the 1750’s and 60s. This is based upon a later Jewell farm in that area. However, the original Jewell location may have been farther east and north, but I have little to go on here except the location of Montfort Road and Hopewell Junction.
The Jewells probably were associated with the church group in Fishkill instead of the one up in Poughkeepsie. The animosity that existed between Livingstone’s aristocratic management class and the small land owner merchant class exhibited itself in the challenges during the rent wars of 1766. This rupture or conflict became even stronger in the early stages of the Revolution. The Dutch merchant trading class had no real issue with the king. They had a bigger issue with the greed of men like Robert Livingstone.
Livingstone and a few other large land owners perceived themselves as “English Lords.” I believe it was this rejection of being part of English Parliamentary process that cause these wealthy New York land based Englishmen to rebel. They had different issues than the Massachusetts Englishman who opposed interference in the American trade system in general. The Dutchmen who were able to buy land were more likely to be Tories, The Dutchmen who could not buy land and had to rent as tenants eventually related to the poor New Englanders. But the general animosity of the Dutch to the Aristocratic Manor Lords, either American or British, eventually brought most Dutch to the patriot side. The only exception to this seems to be those who hated Livingstone more then the King.
In the end, after the Revolution was over, most discontented Dutch tenant farmers either bought land or moved onto the lands of a Dutch Manor like, Van Cortlandt, General Schuyler, or Stephen Rensselaer. Eventually most went west to the military tracts.
Below are these families as listed in a Canadian Family Tree I found on the web. I feel it is quite accurate. I also think it was Abraham’s family that went to Canada. Isaac’s boy Richard was also accused of being a Tory because he refused to sign the supports papers. This refusal was because they were current members of the New York Colonial Militia. To sign was considered treason and they would have been immediately arrested.
226. ABRAHAM JEWELL b. Philipsburgh ca. 1715, m. 1NOV1735 SARA BOECKHOUT (bpt. 18APR1716), d/o Jan and Maria (Bancker) Boeckhout, possibly moved to Hopewell in Dutchess Co., NY. Their children were: 2261. ABIGAIL JEWELL m. 1756 PETER WILLIAMS 2262. ISAAC A. JEWELL bpt. 10APR1739, served under Capt. Verplanck in 1759 2263. METTlE (“MARTHA”) JEWELL bpt. 30APR1743, m. 1769 RICHARD SOMS 2264. JANNITJE (“JANE”) JEWELL bpt. 22AUG1744 2265. AALTJE (“AELTJE”) JEWELL bpt. 15NOV1746 2266. REBECCA JEWELL bpt. 22JUN1748 2267. ANNIE JEWELL bpt. 30AUG1749, m. JOSIAH SECOR (surname is Secord in Canada) 2268. ABRAHAM JEWELL bpt. 4JUN1751 2269. SARA JEWELL bpt. 3SEP1753 m. 1775 JOHN Van NOORSTRAND 226J. MARIA JEWELL bpt. 3MAY1757 m. 1781 PETER VERMILYE 226K. EZEKIEL JEWELL bpt. 20OCT1759 226L. JACOB JEWELL
Note: It is likely these are the Jewells who went to Canada, but the Church Records in Dutchess County indicate Ezekiel came back to East Fishkill and raised a family. RLJ
227. ISAAC JEWELL bpt. Philipsburgh 23AP1717, m. 15NOV1740 REBECCA SOMS, d/o Richard Soms. Moved to Hopewell, Dutchess Co., NY ca. 1747. Their children were: 2271. MARTHA JEWELL m. 1761 THOMAS TRAVIS 2272. JACOB JEWELL m. 1766 ANN WILLIAMS 2273. RICHARD JEWELL bpt. 1746 2274. MARY JEWELL bpt. 1753, m. 1766 ABRAHAM KING 2275. SARAH JEWELL bpt. 1756 m. 1777 JOHN COMPTON
Note: Records indicate Isaac Junior, Jacob and Richard were members of the Colonial Militia in 1775. It would have been treason for them to sign the petition supporting the congress. This is explained in the list turned in. Later they were in Cornel Ludington's Dutchess County 7th Militia. This unit was quite active around Peekskill and Fishkill. They took a serious beating around Pines Bridge. Jacob and Isaac Junior may have been killed, but Richard did show up after the war in the records of Stephen Rensselaer’s lands east of the Hudson. Probably a “Free Farm??”
228. JOHN (“JAN”) JEWELL bpt. Philipsburgh 21JUN1720, m. 26JUL1740 ENGELTJE JURCKSE, d/o of Harmen Jurckse. Moved to Hopewell, Dutchess Co., NY ca. 1747. Their children were: 2281. RACHEL JEWELL bpt. 1742 2282. JOHN JEWELL bpt. 1744, m. 1st 1764 THEOPHILIA CONKLIN; m. 2283. HARMEN JEWELL b. Philispburg, NY, bpt. 19APR1746, m. Hopewell, NY 21SEP1763 ELIZABETH HILEKER, d/o Hendrick Hileker 2284. GEORGE JEWELL b. Hopewell, NY ca. 1748, m. (banns recorded 23JAN1770) 1770 LOUISA (or LETITIA) MONTFORT, widow of Gideon Townsend. They possibly lived in New Hackensack. 2285. WILLIAM JEWELL b. 1758
Note: This is the family that moved to Saratoga County. John and two of Harmon’s sons moved right after the war. The rest stayed along the Wiccopee Creek until 1818 when everyone went out to the Weedsport area in Cayuga County. The records indicate a John Jewell sold his farm along the Wiccopee Creek and left after the War of 1812. This was probably one of Harmon’s or George’s sons. He must have owned the old farm or mill.
War of 1812 records indicate George’s son George married s Shaw girl just after the war. They may then have moved up to Jewel’s Corner since we find Jewells and Shaws in that community. The Shaw farm was just south of the Jewell farm, probably along Whiccopee Creek. It is likely both of John’s (1740) brothers Harmon and George had died and are buried in Fishkill Town before the younger family members moved west.
This summarizes what we know of these families at this time. I will update it as more information becomes available.