Category Archives: Immigrant Stories

Pieter Winne (1609-c1690), Flemish Fur Trader

Pieter Winne is the 9th great-grandfather of Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt and Sandy; and 10th great-grandfather of Asher, Owen, Caitlyn, Becky, Emily, Jack, Jill, Jordan, Mike and Brian.

Pieter Winne was born the son of Franciscus Winne (1585-c1672) and Jannetjie (surname unknown) in Ghent, Flanders (now in Belgium), and baptized there in St. Bavo’s Cathedral on April 14, 1609.

Pieter moved to Amsterdam, married Aechie Jans Van Schaick, date unknown, and together they emigrated to the Dutch colony of Curaçao in the West Indies, where their son, Pieter, was born in 1643.

Aechie died in Curaçao in 1647. Pieter Sr. subsequently left the West Indies, arriving at Fort Orange, New Netherlands, in 1652, and becoming a tenant farmer and operator of a sawmill at Rensselaerwyck, near present-day Bethlehem, New York.

Mid-17th century Beverwijk

Mid-17th century Beverwijk

By 1655 Pieter had built a house in Beverwijck (renamed Albany by the British in 1664), become a fur trader, and married Tannetje Adams, a settler from Friesland. Pieter and Tannetje would have 12 children: Adam (our ancestor; 1658), Livinius, Frans, Allette, Killiaen, Tomas (another ancestor, c1664), Lyntje, Martin, Jacobus, Eva, Daniel, and Rachel (by virtue of her marriage to Jellis Fonda the 5th great-grandmother of legendary actor Henry Fonda).

In addition to prospering in the fur trade, Pieter purchased a sawmill in Bethlehem 1673 and another in 1677. In July 1675, he bought one half of Constapel’s Island in the Hudson River below Albany for the price of 69 beaver skins.

From 1672 to 1684 Pieter served as a magistrate for Bethlehem. He was also active in the Albany Dutch church, serving in a number of capacities.

On September 28, 1676, Pieter served on an “extraordinary court” convened by the governor and council of New York to resolve a dispute between the Reverend Nicolaas Van Rensselaer and Dominie Gideon Schaets concerning some allegedly heretical declarations made by Van Rensselaer in a sermon he preached on August 13, 1676. The decision of Pieter and the court was “that Parties, shall both forgive and forget as it become Preachers of the Reformed Religion to do; also that all previous variances, church differences and provocations shall be consumed in the fire of Love; a perpetual silence and forbearance being imposed on each respectively; to live together as Brothers for an example to the worthy Congregation, for edification  to the Reformed Religion, and further for the removal and banishment of all scandals.”

Pieter Winne died in his early 80s, sometime between May 1690 and May 1693. On May 7, 1693, Pieter’s widow Tannetje married Martin Cornelisse Van Buren, great-great grandfather of President Martin Van Buren. Tannetje died before 1697.

Pieter Winne has the distinction of being our double ancestor: Pieter’s granddaughter, Lidia Winne, daughter of his son Adam, married Jacobus Moll (Mull) c1703, while his great-granddaughter, Rebecca Barheit, descendant of Adam’s brother, Thomas, married Jacobus Moll’s son, Johannes,  Rebecca’s second cousin, c1745.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Biographies, Immigrant Stories


Classic Photo: Mother and Son, c1850

gmelin and mom

Portrait of my great-great-grandfather, Paul Heinrich Albert Gmelin AKA Albert Gmelin (1842-1903), with his mother, Christiane Luise Keppler Gmelin (1805-1867), c1850. At age 25, Albert left his native Pfullingen, Württemberg, arriving in New York on June 5, 1867. The first news he would have had from home was that his mother had died on June 2.


Family Legends: The Abbreviated Life of Adolf Andersen

We grew up marveling at the ancient wooden chest in my grandfather’s den with the late owner’s name in faded script on the front. Adolf Andersen had been the brother of my grandfather’s mother, Helene Andersen Riis. She had come into the possession of the chest after Adolf’s death. Today that chest has an honored place in the home of Helene’s great-granddaughter Lisa in Minnesota. Strangely enough, Minnesota figures prominently in the investigation of this family legend.

Legend: According to the story we heard growing up, Adolf was a seaman of about 17 and the antique chest his sea chest. Adolf had won some money gambling, and some Swedes, who had either lost the money to Adolf or had seen him flashing the money about, murdered him and stole the money.

Verdict: False. Couldn’t be further from the truth.

Frederik Adolf Andersen (1876-1896)

Frederik Adolf Andersen (1876-1896)

Frederick Adolf Andersen was the youngest of nine Andersen children, born in Idestrup, Denmark, on January 8, 1876. Whether Adolf ever went to sea or not cannot be verified, but it seems highly unlikely, for on March 16, 1892, 16-year-old Adolf filed emigration papers from his hometown, Idestrup, with Minneapolis, Minnesota, his declared destination.

Adolf traveled to Bremen, Germany, where he boarded the S. S. Saale of the North German Lloyd Line, a steamship conveying cargo and a small number of passengers. Adolf traveled steerage class, sharing some kind of space or compartment (the accommodations are unclear) with four others from the Idestrup area : Lars Pedersen Riel, 16, of Bjorup; Niels Pedersen Riel, also 16, of Bjorup; Rasmus Hansen, 23, of Lidstrup; and Jens Jensen, 24, a Dane now living in Minnesota. All gave either Minneapolis or St. Paul as their destination. The Saale made a stop at Southampton, England, before crossing the Atlantic to arrive at Hoboken, New Jersey, on April 6, 1892. Adolf was processed at Ellis Island the same day, entered as Adolph [sic] Andersen and again with the declared destination of Minnesota. His occupation is entered as laborer. He traveled with one piece of luggage, undoubtedly the wooden chest.

At that time a number of employers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa and the Dakotas sent agents to Denmark to recruit immigrants for work as laborers or to take up railroad land grants. Under the so-called “redemptioner” system, some immigrants would receive free passage in exchange for four to seven years’ employment to repay the cost of the voyage. It’s a fair guess that Jens Jensen, the 24-year-old Danish ex patriot, was either a recruiter or an agency chaperone.

One wonders if Adolf’s older brother, Hans Jørgen Andersen (1867-1941), influenced Adolf’s decision to come to Minnesota. Hans, a farm laborer and soon-to-be brick maker, had emigrated one year earlier, in 1891, with a declared destination of St. Paul, Minnesota. At least Adolf knew he’d have family not far away.

In Minnesota, Adolf met and married (date undetermined) Katherine Josephine “Kate” McCauley, who had been born in Scotland and had emigrated to Minnesota in 1890 by way of Northern Ireland and Canada. Their marriage was a brief one, for Adolf died of consumption (tuberculosis) at the tender age of 20 on May 31, 1896, in Hasty, Minnesota. He was buried in  Acacia Cemetery in Clearwater, Minnesota.

The story takes an interesting turn here: Adolf’s widow, Kate, then married Adolf’s brother, Hans Andersen, on August 23, 1897, in Buffalo, Minnesota. Kate and Hans remained married until her death in 1929. They had three children: Anna Marie Violet (1898), Laura Carolyn (1903), and Waldemar Peter (1904).

So, Adolf died of natural causes, not murder, on the plains of Minnesota. Where does the story of the murderous Swedes come from? Did Helene make it up, and , if so, why? That she had a virulent disdain for Swedes is well known. Denmark and Sweden had been at war on and off since end of the Viking era and often held each other with some disregard. Did Helene invent the story out of general anti-Swedish animosity to pass on her feelings to her children (which didn’t work, by the way, as two of them married Swedes)? And how did she keep those children from hearing the truth from their Uncle Hans or their “Muster” (mother’s sister) Marie? Were Hans and Marie in on the deception as well? If so, what did they have to gain from a lie? And wouldn’t Kate, Hans’ wife and Adolf’s widow, then have to be in on it as well?

Could Hans have told the murder story to Helene? Again, what purpose might that have served? Marrying a brother’s widow was not that uncommon in that place and time, but could Hans have believed others in the family might not approve? Did Helene know Hans’ wife was Adolf’s widow? Surely Helene communicated with her brothers at the time Adolf emigrated or got married. Was there some guilt on Hans’ part in encouraging Adolf to come to Minnesota where he would fall ill and die so young? Hans must have been the one to send Adolf’s wooden chest to Helene; perhaps it came with a tale of how it came into his possession.

My intention is not to cast aspersions on anyone. I only do the research and uncover the facts. The rest is anyone’s guess.

Alas, lots of questions and few prospects for answers.


William Wells (1605-1671), Long Island’s First Sheriff

William Wells is the 9th great-grandfather of Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt, and Sandy; and the 10th great-grandfather of Asher, Owen, Caitlyn, Becky, Emily, Jack, Jill, Jordan, Mike, and Brian. 

William Wells (born Welles), baptized February 5, 1605, in Norwich, Norfolk, England, was the son of William and Elizabeth Welles. His father, the minister of St. Peter of Mancroft’s Church in Norwich and Chaplain to Queen Anne, died when William was 15.

William was educated in the law and became a lawyer. He emigrated to New England in 1635, settling first in Lynn, Massachusetts, moving to New Haven, Connecticut, c1639, and to Southampton, Long Island by 1643. By 1649 William had settled in Southold, Long Island.

William married Bridget, a widow of Henry Tuthill and mother of two children, John and Elizabeth, in 1653. Bridget died only months afterward, and William then married Mary or Marie Youngs in 1654. A daughter, Bethia, was born in 1655, followed by Abigail (1657-1658), Patience (1658-1659), William (1660), Mary (1661), Joshua (1664), and Mehitable (our ancestor; 1666).

William shows up in a legal capacity in a number of local records, including his appointment from 1657 to 1661 as Deputy to the General Court of New Haven (the eastern part of Long Island being a part of the Connecticut Colony until 1664), Constable of Southold from 1657 to 1659, and Town Clerk and First Deputy in 1660.


In February of 1665 William represented Southold in a convention of deputies assembled in Hempstead, Long Island, by New York’s first colonial governor, Richard Nicolls. On the adjournment of the convention Nicolls appointed William “High Sheriff of New York Shire on Long Island”, a post which he held until 1669.

William Wells died in Southold on November 13, 1671. He was buried in the old Burial Ground adjacent to the Presbyterian Church, beneath a substantial monument made of brick and cement. The inscription on the monument reads:

“Here lies ye Body of William WELLS of Southold Gen’t Justice of ye Peace & First Sheriffe of New Yorke Shire upon Long Island who Departed this Life 13 Nov 1671 Age 63 ~ yea here hee lies who speaketh yet though dead ~ on wings of faith his soule to Heaven is fled ~ His pious deedes and charity was such ~ that of his praise no pen can write too much ~ As was his life so was his blest decease ~ Hee lived in love and sweetly dyd in peace.”

William Wells (1605-1671), Old Burial Ground, First Presbyterian Church, Southold, NY

William Wells (1605-1671), Old Burial Ground, First Presbyterian Church, Southold, NY

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Biographies, Immigrant Stories


Pierre Monnet (?-1712), Huguenot Emigrant

Pierre Monnet is the 9th great-grandfather of Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt, Sandy, and the 10th great-grandfather of Asher, Owen, Caitlyn, Becky, Emily, Jack, Jill, Jordan, Mike, Brian.

Our Monnet/Manee roots are in Poitou, France

Our Monnet/Manee roots are in Poitou, France

Pierre Monnet was born in Poitou, France, c1670s, and naturalized in London in 1688. An English civil record, the Letters of Denization, cataloging French émigrés, shows Peter [sic] Monnet and his wife Catherina [sic] and their son Peter [sic] living in London in 1685/1686. Pierre’s father, Pierre Monnet, was a French Huguenot who fled his native Poitou to escape religious persecution. His mother, Catherine Pillot, had been born in London of parents, Israel Pillot and Jeanne Goudry Pillot, who were also Huguenot émigrés from Poitou.

The younger Pierre left England for the New World, exact year unknown, and settled on land for which he received a patent on Staten Island. He married Marie LeFebvre and had four sons, Abraham (our ancestor; born in 1707), Peter, John and Isaac. In contemporary records, Pierre is listed as a master weaver.

Pierre made a will, dated June 19, 1707, naming his wife and children. He died only a few years later, as evidenced by the probate of his will on April 8, 1712. Pierre was likely no older than age 50 at the time of his death.

Pierre’s name appears in his will as “Pierre Manett,” a stepping stone on the way to the family surname’s soon mutation to the phonetically equivalent “Manee.”


Daniel Mackhoe AKA Daniel Cone (1626-1706), Prisoner and Slave

Daniel Mackhoe/Cone is the 9th great-grandfather of Richard, James, Gary, Lisa, Carl, Jane, Bruce, Cathy, Ron, Stacey, Matt, Sandy, and the 10th great-grandfather of Asher, Owen, Caitlyn, Becky, Emily, Jack, Jill, Jordan, Mike, Brian.

Scottish soldiers at the Battle of Dunbar, 1650

Scottish soldiers at the Battle of Dunbar, 1650

Born: 1626, Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: October 24, 1706, East Haddam, Connecticut
Father: unknown
Mother: unknown
Spouses: Mehitable Spencer (married 1661, East Haddam, Connecticut), Rebecca (nee ?) (married 1692 in Haddam, Connecticut)
Children: Ruth, Hannah, Daniel, Jared, Rebecca, Ebenezer, Nathaniel, Stephen, Caleb

1626 – Born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1651 – Served in the Scottish army as a loyalist to King Charles II.
1651, September 3 –Taken prisoner at the Battle of Dunbar by English troops under the command of Oliver Cromwell.
1651, September 3 – 11 – Was among 5,000 Scottish prisoners forced to march to imprisonment at Durham Cathedral. 2,000 died en route, 1,600 more died at Durham before the end of October.
1651, October 20 – Parliament orders the Scottish prisoners to be sent to New England as indentured slaves.
1651, November 8 – Transferred to custody of the ship “John and Sara” at Gravesend, London. Recorded in the ship’s manifest as “Dan: Mackhoe.”
1651, November 11 – Departed London for Boston aboard the “John and Sara.”
1651, December – Arrived in Boston and subsequently sold by Thomas Kemble of Charles Town to John Giffard, the agent for the Undertakers of The Iron Works of Lynn (now Saugus), to work at hard labor.
1657, March – Known to be free and living under the name Daniel Cone in Connecticut.
1661 – Married Mehitable Spencer (born c1638 in Lynn), daughter of Gerrard and Johannis AKA Hannah (nee Hills) Spencer, in East Haddam, Connecticut. Gerrard Spencer came to America at age 16 with John Winthrop’s first fleet in 1630 to establish the Massachusetts Bay Company.
1662, January 7 – Daughter Ruth born.
1662, May – Granted land along the Connecticut River in Haddam, Connecticut. The land had been purchased by the General Legislature from the Wangunk Indians earlier in the year.
1664, April 4 – Daughter Hannah born.
1667, January 21 – Son Daniel born. Daniel is our 8th great-grandfather.
1669 – Became Commissioner Public in Haddam.
1669, March – Son Jared born.
1670, February 6 – Daughter Rebecca born.
1673, March – Son Ebenezer born.
1675, May or June – Son Nathaniel born.
1678, March – Son Stephen born.
c1680 – Moved to East Haddam.
1682, March 19 – Son Caleb born.
1690 – Moved back to Haddam.
1691 – Wife Mehitable died in Haddam.
1692 – Married Rebecca (nee ?), widow of Richard Wakeley, in Haddam.
1706, October 24 – Died in East Haddam, CT.


Posted by on October 13, 2013 in Biographies, Immigrant Stories

%d bloggers like this: