Where oh where is Peter Jay

Where oh Where is Peter Jay??

I have been questing the final resting place of Peter and his wife Mary Van Courtland the mother and father of John Jay with little success!

Peter JAY and his wife Mary Van COURTLANDT were buried in the private vault of Gysbert Schneck in Fishkill New York in 1782 (Peter) and 1777 (Mary). This we know from the book, “Memorials of Peter Augustus Jay”. But where oh where are they??

Peter Jay and family had left Rye in 1776, when it became no man’s land during the Revolution and unsafe with Cowboys and Skinners during the Revolution. They first moved to Fishkill and lived in the house of Theodore Van WYCK, MD who had married Mary Coert Voorhes, the widow of my GGGgrandfather Petrus Du Bois at that time.

(Mary and Petrous youngest son was Cornelius who moved to New York City and is my GGGrandfather. His son Henry Augustus married the daughter of Peter Augustus Jay, Catharine Helena Jay, which is how I get into the act!)

Mary VC Jay died in the house in Fishkill in 1777. The house in Fishkill was robbed soon after and the family lost most of their property. This caused Fady to move the family to Poughkeepsie where they stayed until the dangers in Rye were over. John and Sarah Jay were in Spain and Peter Augustus Jay was mostly in New Jersey with his Livingston grandparents, although he was a frequent visitor to Fishkill and Poughkeepsie.

“House of Col John Brinkerhoff/Theodore Van Wyck
Notes from Van Voorhis Book: _Born 1702__Col. John Brinckerhoff. A prominent [sic] citizen of the colonies prior to the Revolution. He joined the American Army. A soldier & a patriot. He was the intimate friend of General Washington. His confidential adviser during the dark days of the War for Independence. His home was the head‑quarters of Gen Washington. Who spent a night & day there in secret correspondence with Comt_ Rochambeau the French minister. The time of the anxiety respecting the arrest of Major Andre. As soon as the darkness of the second night shielded them from observation; they departed upon horses. Through the Highlands. in time to arrest the ‑‑British Spy The Brinckerhoff house erected 1738. Remains unaltered. At Swartoutville._”

“Dr. Doros Van Wyck made it his home with his father-in-law, Co., John Brinckerhoff.During the Revolution, it was occupied jointly with the Jay family, including the distinguished partriot, Governor and Chief Justice John Jay. It was from this home that John Jay set off on his mission to France to aid in negotiating the Treaty of Peace with England.”

I do not know where Fady or Frederick moved the family to in Poughkeepsie. The family at that time was father Peter Jay, the two blind children, Peter and Anna Marika, Augustus, and servants. Fady was married to Margaret “Polly” Barclay. Peter Jay was in declining health and he died in Poughkeepsie in 1782. There is documentation that he also was buried in the Vault of Gysbert Schenck but where is it!!!

With the death of Peter Jay, the Rye house was inherited by “Blind” Peter and the family must have returned to Rye about 1783.

Fady inherited property in the East Bay and probably left Poughkeepsie about the same time. His first wife Polly Barclay died in NYC in 1791. Faddy remarried in 1794, the first cousin of his older brother “Blind” Peter’s wife. This marriage was not popular with the family! Fady died in New York in 1799 and I do not have evidence of where he was buried. Probably the family vault.

This is a lot more information than the story probably needs, but the whereabouts of the Vault of Gysbert Schenck has been a family mystery.

My wife and I decided to take a trip to Fishkill this summer in part to see if we could find where they were buried.

It is just off the Taconic where it meets Interstate 84 and crosses the Hudson on the Hamilton Fish Bridge, (another cousin!,) at Newburgh. Still a quiet town with a strong sense of its history. It for a short while early in the Revolution was the capital of New York State, and as part of its history was a center where Washington, Jay and other of our Revolutionary leaders met. Spies et al. It has been changed by IBM, a prison, and a huge trucking storage center!

Much of my Du Bois ancestry is here. My original to this country ancestor was Peter Du Bois who immigrated to Fishkill from Leyden, Holland, and started the Dutch Reform Church there. He is buried in their cemetery! Also my mothers family go back to Van Wycks who were original settlers of Fishkill.

However no Gysbert Scheneck! Also the old house of Theodore Van Wyck had been torn down. It had badly deteriorated and was on property owned by IBM. We did find in Hopewell Junction which is an adjoining town a Vault, but full of Van Wycks! No Peter Jay.

We made contact with several people who had a big interest in Fishkill and it’s surroundings history which may give us some clues, but there seems to be no record of a vault of Gysbert Schneck. Could he be in Poughkeepsie?

So we are still looking! Another blog may follow!

JJ

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