Early Dutch Settlers

Albert Couwenhoven And His Twelve Children

Albert was the Sixth Child of William Gerritse Couwenhoven by His Second Wife - His Will and the Will of His Son Cornelius

Albert Couwenhoven came from Flatlands, Long Island, to Monmouth county, and settled on lands in the township of Freehold (now Marlboro) where Selah Wells now lives. We find his name and that of his wife, Neeltje or Eleanor Schenck, daughter of Roelof Martense Schenck, and his second wife, Annetje Wyckoff, among the communicants of the Brick church in 1709. His Dutch bible is still in existence, with dates of the birth of all his sons and daughters entered in his own handwriting. He had the following children:

    William, born March 7th, 1702, married Libertje, daughter of Benjamin VanCleaf and Hank Sutphen, his wife. She was baptized May 19th, 1705.

      He settled in what is now Manalapan township, and left a will recorded in the office of the secretary of our state.

    Ruliff, born September 8th, 1703, married Antje, daughter of Jan Strycker and Margaretta Schenck, his wife, She was baptized December 20th, 1708.

    Antje, born August 21st, 1705, married Abraham Polhemus, supposed to be of the Somerset county or Long Island People.

    Jannetje, born September 30th, 1707, married Joseph Coernel.

    Altie, born January 30th, 1709, married Hendrick, son of Hendrick Henkrickson. He was born November 11th, 1706, and died July 28th, 1783.

In book G of deeds, page 59, Monmouth county clerk's office, is record of a deed from Tunis Covert of Freehold township to Cornelius VanBrunt and Hendrick Hendrickson of New Utrecht of Long Island, for 203 acres and 96 acres in Freehold township. On pages 61-62 of the same book is record of a deed dated May 1st, 1719 from Abraham Emans of Freehold township to Hendrick Hendrickson and Jaques Denys of New Utrecht, Long Island, for a tract of 96 acres in Freehold township. It therefore appears that there were other Hendricksons who bought land in Monmouth county besides Daniel and William, who came here prior to 1700 and settled on lands at what is now Holland, in Holmdel township. The early Dutch settlers were in the habit of visiting once or twice a year their old homes in Kings county, Long Island, and marriages likely occurred between the young people here with the young people in Long Island. The Dutch generally preferred to marry among their own people, and it was not often that any of them were caught by the "daughters of Heth," or the sons of the Philistines.

    Margaret, born June 21st, 1714, married December 8th, 1731, Daniel, son of Johannes Polhemus. He was born in 1706 and died September 26th, 1763. She died June 7th, 1780.

      Both are buried in the family burying ground of the Polhemus family at Scobeyville, Atlantic township.

    Sarah, born June 21st, 1714, married May 19th, 1737, Johannes, son of Benjamin VanCleaf, and Hank Sutphin, his wife. He was baptized June 3d, 1711.

    Peter, born October 12th, 1716, married May 19th, 1740, Williampe, daughter of Hendrick VanVoorhees and Jannetje Jansen, his wife. She was born January 25th, 1722, and died August 12th, 1803. He died October 1st, 1771, and was buried in the yard of Marlboro Brick church.

    Nellie, born February 7th, 1719, died unmarried August 22d, 1738. She was buried in the Schenck and Couwenhoven burying ground.

    Garrett, born June 16th, 1721, married November 8th, 1742, Sarah, daughter of Hendrick VanVoorhees and wife aforesaid.

    Jan, born February 18th, 1723, married October 19th, 1744, Catharine, daughter of said Hendrick VanVoorhees and wife.

    Cornelius A., born October 29th, 1728, married in 1750 Antje, daughter of William Williamson and Antje Couwenhoven, his wife. She was born September 13th, 1730 and died September 14th, 1757, and was buried in Wyckoff Hill grave yard, near Freehold. He married for his second wife July 12, 1770, Mary Logan, who was born August 9th, 1748 and died May 2d, 1838.

The Logan family is now extinct in in Monmouth county. Cornelius Couwenhoven died January 23d, 1802, leaving a last will proved before Caleb Lloyd, surrogate of Monmouth county, April 15th, 1802. Cornelius and his second wife are buried in the Schenck and Couwenhoven burying ground. He had a son named Cornelius, born May 18th, 1771, who married Elizabeth, a daughter of Harmon Conover and Phoebe Bailey, his wife, and who died December 20th, 1814. He was also buried in the Schenck-Couwenhoven burying ground. His oldest son was named John C. Conover. He was born November 10th, 1797, and married December 3d, 1820, Elizabeth, a daughter of John A. Vanderbilt, and Mary MacKildoe. She was born September 11th, 1803 and died January 30th, 1860. He was the last owner of the Albert Couwenhoven homestead. He died November 26th, 1852, and this farm then passed out of the family.

Albert Couwenhoven and his wife, the parents of the above-named twelve children, were buried in the Schenck and Couwenhoven burying ground.

Albert Couwenhoven left a will, about two-thirds of which was taken up with the "imprimis," or introduction, and the revocation of former wills. This introduction set forth that Albert Covenhoven (which he had adopted as a simpler spelling of the old name Couwenhoven) was weak and sick in body, but was of sound mind and good memory and understanding. Then followed what was practically a prayer for salvation. The last paragraph of the introduction to his will said that "I give my body to the earth from where it was taken, in full assurance of its resurrection from thence at the last day. As for my burial, I desire it may be decent, without pomp or state, at the discretion of my executrix and executor hereinafter named, who I doubt not, will manage it with all requisite prudence. As to my worldly estate, it is my will, and I do hereby order, that in the first place all my just debts and funeral charges to be paid and satisfied out of my movable estate."

The first paragraph of the will proper shows that Albert Covenhoven, although he died 150 years ago, in September, 1748, yet held much the same ideas and the same objections to his wife marrying again as are held by many men of the present time. In the first paragraph of the will Albert Covenhoven gave and bequeathed unto Eleanor, "my dearly-beloved wife, all my whole estate, both real and personal, for her own proper use, benefit and behoof, as long as she remains my widow and no longer."

The next paragraph of the will gave to his eleven well-beloved children, William, Ruluf, Anna, Jane, Alice, Margot, Sarah, Peter, Jarrat, John and Cornelius, after the death or widowhood of his dearly beloved wife, all his whole estate, both real and personal, as goods, chattels, lands and tenements, to be equally divided amongst them so that each of them, or each of their heirs and assigns, should have the eleventh part of his whole estate.

Next Albert Covenhoven left to his son William, in recognition of his being his oldest child, the sum of three shillings, which sum he ordered to be paid to him "in a convenient time after my decease."

Albert's "dearly-beloved" wife, Eleanor and his "well beloved kinsman," William Covenhoven, son of Cornelius Covenhoven, were made executrix and executor. This paragraph was followed by the revocation of all former wills, and the usual paragraph in regard to signing and sealing the will.

Last of all came a paragraph which showed that Albert Covenhoven was not of as good mind and memory as he states in the introduction to his will, for he adds this:

"My will and desire is that my well-beloved son Jarratt have the use of one hundred pounds for ten years, whenever he wants it. This was writ before signing and sealing it being forgot to be mentioned."

The witnesses to the will were Jan Covenhoven, Matteys Piterson and William Williamson.

The will was made September 6th, 1748, and Albert Covenhoven died a few days later. The will was probated on the third day of October, 1748.

Cornelius Covenhoven, son of Albert Covenhoven, who made his will September 11th, 1793, spelled his name the same as his father spelled his, he not yet having changed the spelling to Conover. In this will almost every word begins with a capital letter.

Cornelius, like his father, took up about half the body of the will with an introduction. It begins with the form now current, "In the name of God, Amen." And this was followed by a homily on the certainty of death and the equal certainty that Cornelius would have a glorious resurrection "through the mighty power of God." The custom of putting a little sermon at the beginning of wills prevailed for a very long time, and it prevails to some extent at the present time, though not nearly so much so as in days of old.

Cornelius seems to have had the same fear that his widow would marry again as his father had before him, though he was much more liberal in that event than his father was with his mother. This may have been due to the fact that he had married twice; and so felt that his wife ought not to be cut off wholly from her inheritance in case she followed his example. But his father had also married twice, and in his will he deprived his wife of any share in his estate if she should marry again. In providing for his widow, Cornelius made provision for her in case she should not marry again, and other provision in case she should marry. He said: "I Give & Bequeath To my Loveing Wife Mary Dureing her Widdowhood a Comfortable Living as Usual With My Son Cornelius on My said Farm and have the Use of one Room with a Fire Place and Firewood Brought to her Door one Good Feather Bed & Furniture and One Negro Woman Named Jane so long as She shall Remain My Widdow and in Case my Said Wife Should Remarry my will is that my said wife have the sum of fifty pounds paid her by me son Cornelius, And one feather Bed & Furniture In Lieu of her Dower or Thirds."

The spelling and capitalization of the words in the will are given above exactly as they are in the original will. There is hardly a punctuation mark in the entire will. The document illustrates the general lack of "book-learning" in those days, even among the well-to-do.

This will was made shortly after the Revolutionary War. In almost every state of the original thirteen a different value had been put on English money. Although the United States government was making United States money in dollars and cents, yet throughout the thirteen original states for many years after the Revolution the greater part of the money used was English money, and reckonings were made principally in pounds, shillings and pence. In order that there should be no dispute as to the value of the fifty pounds his widow was to get if she re-married, Cornelius put in his will that the fifty pounds to go to his widow, as well as all other sums of English money mentioned in the will, should be taken at the rate current in the city of New York.

Cornelius Couwenhoven must have been "well-fixed," for he directs his son Cornelius to use the sum of six hundred pounds (equal to $3,000) to support his son Albert, and after the death of his (the elder Cornelius's widow), and the death of his son Albert, to divide equally whatever might be left of the six hundred pounds among his four other children, William, Nelly, Alice and Sarah, or their children. The spelling in the will of the names of these children shows that the Dutch spelling of proper names had given way to the English spelling.

Besides the bequests mentioned above Cornelius Couvenhoven bequeathed to his daughter Sarah "an Out Sett Equal in value To the Out Sett I Gave my Daughter Nell To be Delivered to her by my executors out of my Moveable Estate at the Time of My Decease." A clause is added to this which reads thus:

"My Covered Waggon & Horses & Harness & the Remainder of My Horses & Cattle and Such Moveables That I may have and Negroes at the time of My Decece, to be Equally divided amongst my children, To wit: William, Nellie, Allice, Cornelius & Sarah or their children."

The remainder of the estate is given to his son Cornelius. The executors appointed are Stoffel Logan, a brother-in-law, and Tobias Polhemus, a friend. The witnesses to the will were Garret Covenhoven, Ruth Covenhoven and Joseph Throckmorton.

Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, May 25, 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 4 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 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 10 Red Bank Register