Ron's ancestors

I have a family tree that dates back to the late sixteenth century, with several lines including Dutch, Norwegian, Flemish and English branches. One line goes back to Peter Brown, the 33rd signer of the Mayflower Compact (1620), who married Martha Ford in 1624, another Mayflower Pilgrim.

    Two views of Mayflower II (all photos by Ron Terpening)

In the Flemish line, Sarah Rapalje was probably the first female child born of European parentage in the colony of New Netherland (b. June 9, 1625, at Albany). She was the daughter of Joris Jansen Rapalje of Walloon ancestry (a Huguenot refugee born in Valenciennes, French Flanders) and Catalyntje Jeronimus Trico (born 1606 in Priches, Hainault, Belgium), She married a Norwegian, Hans Hansen Bergen in New Amsterdam (now New York) in 1639.

Another of my ancestors, Hendrickje Cornelis (born around 1635 in Wageningen, Gelderland, in the Netherlands), emigrated with her husband on the ship De Trouw on December 13, 1660, giving birth to her second child during the crossing. She was taken captive by Indians in the 2nd Esopus War in June of 1663, along with three of her children. They were captured on June 7, 1663 and were held for three months before being released.

My oldest documented Terpening ancestor, Theunis Teerpenning, was baptized on February 7, 1697, in Ulster County, New York, and married Margrieta De Graaf on August 30, 1718. They had nine children together, the sixth of whom, Hendricus, was my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather (i.e., 7 generations back). Theunis and Margrieta lived in Kingston, New Platz, and Mormel, in Ulster County, New York, where Theunis was a farmer. In his will, proved November 17, 1748, he left his first born son (their third child) a choice of cows or horses. His next three boys, including Hendricus, received the farm, a tract of land on the Hudson River in Kingston totaling 171 acres. His girls (Hester, Marytjen [Mary], Brechje [Bridgit], Annatjen [Hannah], and Elizabeth), two married at the time, were to receive 120 pounds each, while Theunis's wife was to get 7 pounds a year.

Hendricus (baptized December 24, 1732) appears to have prospered on his one-third of the farm, since his will refers to rents, issues, and profits, and to their division. He married Maria (Anneke) Van Aaken on October 21, 1758, and both were members of the Reformed Dutch Church. His first few children, of eleven, were baptized at the Kingston Church, and his later ones at New Hurley. Levi Terpenning [note the two n's] was his third child. 

Levi (b. June 8, 1762 in Kingston, Ulster, New York) was a private who served in the 4th Regiment late in the Revolutionary War. William Gee, the father of Levi's first wife, Catherine (b. 1783, New Hurley, Ulster, NY), was a Major in the war. Levi had five children by Catherine, including my great-great-great-grandfather Henricus (Henry), and another five with his second wife, Anna Koole (Cole), before his death on November 26, 1835 in New Hurley, New York.

Hurley cemetery,
New York






Levi's son, Henricus Terpening (b. December 25, 1787, New Hurley), was a banker who served as an Ensign and 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Regiment of the Continental Army, Dutchess County, New York. Three sons of Henricus—William Henry, Josiah Byram and John—went West together, West meaning to Illinois, where Josiah and William Henry had adjoining farms in Henry County, Illinois in 1864. It is through Henricus's wife, Sarah Byram, whom he married on April 15, 1810, in Binghamton, New York, that the Mayflower line enters the family tree.

Many of the early Terpenings are buried in a private Terpening Cemetery located near Esopus, Ulster, New York, between Port Ewen and Ulster Park. The site is found only with difficulty, since it is off the road in the middle of a wooded area. Here are six photos of what the cemetery and some of the gravestones look like. The last one in the middle row of photos belongs to Selah Terpening (not one of my direct ancestors), who lived from 1825 to 1891.

    Path to cemetery  Terpening cemetery, upstate New York

Henricus (b. December 25, 1787 in New Hurley) had seven children with Sarah ("Sally") Byram, his first wife, including my great-great-grandfather, William Henry, their fourth child. Sarah died on January 14, 1846, and Henricus later married Hester Palmontier Barton († April 14, 1884), with whom he had another daughter. Henricus and Sarah lived in both Virgil and Cortlandville, Cortland County, New York. He died on May 6, 1870, in Virgil.

William Henry Terpening is the earliest ancestor for whom I have a photo. William Henry was born at Virgil Corners in Cortland County, New York, on April 22, 1818. He was a millwright, carpenter, and farmer. He married Eliza Ann Mason, with whom he had eleven children, including my direct ancestor, Marion Clifford. William Henry moved first to Indiana, where he met and married Eliza, and then, in 1851, to Illinois, and later to Iowa and Kansas, where he died on May 17, 1901, on his farm near Cuba, in Fairview County, Kansas. He was buried in Belleville Cemetery (lot 154) near his wife, who had died a year earlier, on September 24, 1900 (though the gravestone says September 25). His obituary, published in the Belleville Telescope on Friday, May 24, 1901, noted that "His life was not an exceptional one, but he had the usual ups and downs of life . . . . His death was due to heart disease and dropsy. . . . Besides his children he leaves a large number of friends to mourn his death."  

Terpening home, Albion, Kansas

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