Early Dutch Settlers

The Descendants Of Roelof Schanck

His Will, Which was Made April 10th, 1765 - His Son, Hendrick Schanck, and His Children, and the Disposition of His Estate

Roelof Schenck, by his wife, Geesie Hendrickson, had the following children:

      Sarah, born May 22d, 1715, married December 1st, 1734, Joseph Vanmater of VanMetteren, as spelled on records of the Marlboro Brick church. He was a son of Krin or Chrineyonce VanMater and Nelly VanCleaf. His wife Sarah died September 1st 1748.
      Katrintje baptized March 19th, 1717, died young.
      Kalrya or Catharine, baptized December 21st, 1718, married first, Simon DeHart; second, Peter Couwenhoven.
      Jan, born January 22d, 1721, married November 26th, 1741, Jacomintje Couwenhoven, died January 27th, 1749.
      Daniel, baptized May 26th, 1723, died September 20th, 1747
      Neeltje, born September 10th, 1724, married October 13th, 1744, Garrett Couwenhoven, died March 26th, 1800.
      Engeitje, baptized April 28th, 1732.
      Hendrick, born July 29th, 1731, married his own cousin, Catharine, daughter of Jonathan Holmes and Tuniche Hendrickson, his wife, and died August 24th, 1766, at the early age of 35 years. Catherine Holmes, his wife, was born May 14th, 1731, died May 12th, 1796. It is said she married a second husband, one John Schenck of Penns Neck.

Roelof Schenck made his will April 10th, 1785. It was proved March 3d, 1766, and is now on record in the secretary of state's office at Trenton in Book I of Wills, page 93 etc.

He describes himself as a resident of Freehold township, which then included that part of Marlboro township where he resided. He gives to his grandson, Ruliff, his land at the point. To his grandsons Ruliff and Cornelius, he gave the plantation he bought from Peter Voorhees. To his daughter, Nelly Couwenhoven, he gave one hundred acres of land near the church. All the rest of his lands, called Timber Neck, he devised in fee to his son, Hendrick, subject to payments of legacies amounting in all to eleven hundred and twenty pounds, as follows:

To his granddaughter, Geesie Schenck, 280 pounds. To his six grandchildren, the children of his daughter, Catharine Couwenhoven, viz: Simon DeHart, Geesie DeHart, Jacob Couwenhoven, Ruliff Couwenhoven, Mary Couwenhoven and John Couwenhoven, 280 pounds, share and share alike. To his three grandchildren, the children of his daughter, Sara VanMater, 280 pounds, share and share alike. To his daughter, Nelly Couwenhoven, 280 pounds. He also speaks in his will of the children of his deceased son, John. Hendrick Schenck, his son, and Garret Couwenhoven and Peter Couwenhoven, two of his sons-in-law, are appointed executors. The will is witnessed by William Tice, Cornelius Couvenhoven and John Tice.

This Roelof Schenck was a noted man in his day and did considerable business for others in the way of settling estates, etc. He served as foreman of the grand jury at the October term, 1754, of our county courts, and his name also appears quite frequently in public matters.

He devises to his only son, Ruliff, all his personal and real property, subject to use by his wife of half the profits of his real and all the profits of his personal property until all his children arrive at age. After this a fixed amount has to be paid annually to the widow, and she was also to have the use of one room in the dwelling house so long as she lived. This will was evidently made while the testator was sick and just before his death. The injustice of some of the provisions made trouble, and it is a warning that an important matter like the making of a will should not be deferred until a man is on his death bed. To make a fair and judicious will requires all the faculties of a well man. When a man's mind is clouded by sickness and his time is short, it is impossible to make a will which is just to all concerned. Such wills generally make trouble. The devise of all his real and personal estate to his son Ruliff was further subjected to the payment of 160 pounds to each of his four daughters, as they came of age. He appoints his uncle, John Schenck, of Middletown township, and Daniel Holmes and Obadiah Herbert of Freehold township, executors. The same persons witness his will as witnessed his father's will the preceding year.

On the fly leaf of an old English Bible still in existence, and which the writer has seen, is this inscription:

    "Ann Holmes, her book, given her by her mother, Caty Schenck, July 10th, 1792."

Then below is the following entry:

    "Presented to Ann Crawford by her aunt, Ann Holmes, 1815."

Between the Old and New Testament is a record of the births of the children of Hendrick Schenck and Catharine Holmes, his wife, as follows:

    Ruliff Schenck was born April 17th, 1752
    Sarah Schenck was born May 26th, 1755
    Mary Schenck was born March 17th, 1757
    Jonathan Schenck was born July 19th, 1761
    Catharine Schenck was born March 7th, 1762
    Eleanor Schenck was born March 17th, 1764
    Ann Schenck was born June 14th, 1766

Of these children Sarah and Jonathan died young.

Ruliff Schenck, the only surviving son, married December 22d, 1774, his own cousin, Sarah, daughter of John Schenck and Nellie Bennett, his wife, of Pleasant Valley, and died October 12th, 1800. His wife was born February 13th, 1759, and died April 13th, 1811. They are buried in the old Schenck and Couwenhoven burying ground heretofore described.

Mary married Jacob Couwenhoven, who was known as "Farmer Jacob" on account of his well-cultivated and productive farm. It is said that he was the most handsome man of the day in Monmouth county.

Catherine remained single.

Eleanor was married January 27th, 1797, by Rev. Benjamin Bennett to George Crawford of Middletown Village, and died there May 17th, 1850. Her husband was born December 5th, 1758, and died July 10th, 1834. They are both interred in the private family burying ground on the Crawford homestead at Nut Swamp.

Ann married Jonathan or John Holmes and died without issue.

Eleanor Schenck and her husband, George Crawford, had the following children, all born on the homestead in Middletown Village:

      Mary, born January 12th, 1800, married November 20th, 1817, to William W. Murray, and is buried by the side of her husband in the graveyard of the Baptist church at Middletown village.
      Ann, born February 22d, 1801, married February 12th, 1833 by Rev. Doctor Milledollar to Rev. Jacob Ten Broeck Beekman; died at the homestead where she was born and had always lived, May 18th, 1876; and was interred by the side of her husband in Fair View cemetery.
      Adaline, born February 16th, 1803, married John Lloyd Hendrickson and is buried by her husband's side in the private family burying ground on the farm where she lived and died at Middletown village.
      Eleanor, born January 26th, 1805, died December 22d, 1823, unmarried, and interred by her father and mother in the Crawford burying ground.

In Book K of Deeds, paged 380 etc., in the Monmouth clerk's office, is the record of a deed from John Schenck, surviving executor of Hendrick Schenck, deceased, to Catharine, the widow of Hendrick Schenck, deceased. This deed is dated February 25th, 1785, and consideration named therein is 1,000 pounds. The land is described as situated in Freehold township (now Marlboro) and was part of a tract of land formerly belonging to Roelof Schenck, deceased, and by him devised to his son Hendrick. After a particular description by chains and links, a general description is given as one hundred and ninety acres, bounded northwardly by Ruliff Schenck's land, westwardly in part by lands belonging to the Dutch congregation and in part by lands of James VanKirk, southwardly by Jacob Couwenhoven's lands and eastwardly by Garret Couwenhoven's lands. Thus it appears that the widow, although cut off by her husband's will from all interest in his real estate except the use of one room in the dwelling house, yet in twenty years thereafter obtained the absolute ownership of that part of his real estate on which the house and outbuildings stood, containing 190 acres. This is the same farm which Hendrick S. Conover, son of Tunis Conover, inherited, and which he sold to John McClellan within the memory of many now living. It is now owned by a son of the late Ruliff Hendrickson of Freehold.

Catharine Holmes Schenck, the widow, is said to have been a woman of great energy and business capacity. She made her will December 12th, 1795. It was proved May 31st, 1796, and is on record in the secretary of state's office at Trenton.

She gives her only son, Ruliff, (to whom his father had devised nearly all his property) five shillings. The above homestead farm of 190 acres she devises in fee to her three youngest daughters, Catharine, Eleanor and Ann, share and share alike. She gives her eldest daughter, Mary, wife of Jacob Couwenhoven, 200 pounds. She gives to her daughters, Catharine and Eleanor, her two negro slaves, Jack and Jude, and her old negro, Brom, who is to be kept on the farm and supported for life by her two daughters. Her negro woman, Elilzabeth, she gives to her daughter, Ann Holmes. Her large looking glass and a smaller one, with all her tables, are given to Catharine and Eleanor, and her third looking glass to her daughter, Anna. All the residue of her movable property is to be equally divided among her three youngest daughters, whom she also appoints executrices.

This will is singular for that period because of the appointment of females to settle the estate. Catharine Holmes Schenck must have held advanced ideas on the rights of women. Daniel Herbert, Thomas Herbert and Daniel Peacock were the subscribing witnesses to the will. Her daughter Catharine never married, but occupied the homestead farm until her death. She also became the sole owner of the farm. A deed dated January 13th, 1816, recorded in Book Y of Deeds, pages 814, etc., Monmouth clerk's office, shows that Ann Holmes, one of the three daughters to whom the mother devised this farm, had died intestate and without children, leaving three sisters, Mary Couwenhoven, Catharine Schenck and Eleanor Crawford, and the children of their brother, Ruliff Schenck, who had died October 12th, 1800, as her heirs at law. By the above deed Eleanor Crawford and husband released all their interest in the said real estate to Catharine Schenck. This Catharine Schenck died unmarried June 5th, 1816, and was interred by her father and mother in the Schenck-Couwenhoven burying ground at Pleasant Valley. Her will was made May 7th, 1816, proved July 1st, 1816, and is recorded in the surrogate's office of Monmouth county in Book B of Wills, page 10, etc. She gives to her four nieces, Mary, Ann, Adaline and Eleanor, daughters of her sister, Eleanor Crawford, all her beds, bedding wearing apparel and household furniture except a Dutch cupboard, to be equally divided among them. She gives her nephew, Garret, son of her sister Mary Couwenhoven, $500. She gave her four nieces above named $700 each, to be paid in one year after her death. She gives the Dutch cupboard to her nephew, Hendrick, son of her sister, Mary Couwenhoven. She also devised to him the 190 acre homestead farm, together with all the residue of her real and personal property, subject to payment of above legacies. She also appoints her nephew, Hendrick Couwenhoven, sole executor. This Hendrick Couwenhoven was married March 31st, 1805 to Ann B. Crawford. One of his daughters, Rebecca, married Tunis Conover and was the mother of William I. Conover who still (1898) owns and lives on the farm where his parents lived, in the township of Marlboro, near the Brick church.

James Steen of Eatontown is very conversant with the early history of Monmouth county, particularly in connection with the churches of the county; and in the last issue of his Eatontown ADVERTISER he makes the following correction in one of George C. Beekman's statements, which was made in last week's REGISTER:

"Judge George C. Beekman, than whom a better informed man on Monmouth history does not exist, is writing of the "Early Dutch Settlers." He mentions the fact of Daniel Hendrickson being the first person of Holland descent to hold the sheriff's office in this county, and says he was a communicant as early as 1709 in the Dutch church of Monmouth. The judge will be pleased to know that Daniel Hendrickson was sheriff, even before he was a member of the Dutch church. The first time was 1699, just before Dr. John Stewart of Eatontown, (1700) and the last time in 1707. Another Daniel Hendrickson, perhaps a descendant, was sheriff at the beginning of the Revolution."

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, April 6, 1898

More Early Dutch Settlers

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 1 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 2 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 3 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 5 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 6 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 7 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 8 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 9 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 10 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 11 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 12 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 13 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 14 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 15 Red Bank Register

  • Early Dutch Settlers Part 4 Red Bank Register