Category Archives: Du Bois history

PETEY Memories

Petey Memories

Sunday, June 10. 2018

I am about three weeks from the final burial of my sister Petey’s ashes, next to her husband Ned. This will be in the hill grave yard behind the Tyringham Union Church overlooking the meadows out to the coble. I miss having her words and thoughts with me. In the past several years we spoke every Saturday morning at nine AM by phone and if she was in Tyringham I would take my dogs and have coffee with her at the table in the middle of the kitchen. Petey was very concerned about me. I had gone through a difficult period with financial insecurity, a wife who I loved but used alcohol to excess, job changes, and moves. Sharon had undergone need for surgery after a knee replacement had become infected and we spent one summer in her care in the house while she recovered. During this time our discussions were serious, but she never withdrew her support for me.

This past year before her illness had developed, Sharon had fallen and developed a blood clot on the surface of her brain. I was scheduled to be on the phone with her two or three times a week reporting on our progress and how I was doing. I did not miss a call! During this time, I moved from our rental house in South Lee to a Condo apartment in Lenox. I am sad she did not live to see our new home. Parts of her are here. Two pineapple candlesticks we had gotten her while we were in Panama are on our bookcase. We also have her portrait of William Weyman on our Livingroom wall. He was part of the start of our Mason genealogy.

At her funeral Betsy Miller gave for me an extraordinary homily, which Petey had discussed and planned with her. Betsy was able to weave in the four goals our mother had written to us before she died, the gospel readings Petey had chosen and how these were reflected in Petey’s life.

Mother’s goals were Faith, Love, Community Service, and Courage.

This opened for me an emotional floodgate of thoughts about both my mother and my sister. I hardly knew my mother, who died when I was nine, but her writings had a spiritual impact on my life. Then my sister who in many ways took over her role as mother when she was 17, played her part and carried out our mother’s goals. It opens a lot of family history much still in unknown shadows.

Let’s start with Mother. Her father had become a successful business man and banker and, in his later years, had moved to an estate he had built on Lake Manawaska in Ridgefield, Conn. He expired in 1921. My Grandmother I remember as being very severe. I have one picture of her holding me in forward outstretched arms! My Grandfather Dixon had come from a Scotch-Irish family with a strong religious background. His G-G-Grandfather was an important minister with the Scotch church and had been forced to leave because of rules set by the Anglican church on worship that he would not follow. His Grandson had immigrated to Westerly, Rhode Island about 1720.

My Grandmother came from Van Wyck/Polhemus Brooklyn heritage: families of the very early settlers on Brooklyn. They had three children. Theodore (Teddy) who became a stockbroker, Augusta (Gusseus) who never married and would often visit, and my mother. The Depression which came in 1933 was very hard on them and much of the family wealth, invested in Railroads by Teddy, was lost. My Grandmother died in 1941 and the estate in Ridgefield was sold. Gusseus was forced to live with much less means. I can remember Gusseus well. Both my mother and Gusseus were large ladies. Not obese just big. She had a good sense of humor and was always very caring to me. My main memory is that after the sale of all their property, the one thing not sold was a 1930 Packard Roadster with huge running boards, straight 12-cylinder engine and a trunk on the rear. My joy was being driven to Lee on the running board!

Our mother, the youngest child, was born in 1895 and married our father in 1924 at age 28. They moved to a new house in Hewlett, Long Island, that was built on Cedar Avenue, and it is there that my sister and I would grow up. My sister was born in 1925 and I came eight years later in 1933 with the depression. Our father had returned from serving in France during World War I. He had been stationed in St Nazaire receiving airplane parts on ship and arranging for them to be delivered. He was an early member of the United States Army Air Force, but never got near a plane! He had returned from France with early tuberculosis an illness that would affect him the rest of his life. He lived long enough to be treated with the 1960 antibiotic programs that for the first time was able to control the disease.

I know that our mother went through a serious depression after my birth and was admitted to a sanitorium for treatment. I also know that she took life very seriously. She had a strong faith in the church, love for my father and skills to become involved in several public service projects. She had been educated to the college level and had developed her skill with writing and language. It is her writings that have stayed with me.

After World War I was over it was planned to build a memorial to the war effort at the port of St Nazaire, where my father had been stationed. My mother wrote a detailed history of the event which has been reused today as they try to resurrect the statue. She also developed several pieces on family genealogy. Her album that she put together without computer and internet and was a huge effort and at present is on view at the Jay Homestead in Rye NY. She was very worried and opposed to the Nazi movement in Germany and wrote her reasons for opposition to a young German.

She was concerned about her two children and how they would develop. I can remember being 7 or 8 and the star of the Christmas Pageant put on at my Lawrence school. I ended the play by giving my stuffed Teddy Bear to Jesus. After the play several people gushed over my cuteness, and my mother quickly exited me from the adoration. She did not want to let them stoke my acting ego!

About 1942 she was diagnosed with aggressive breast Cancer. This started a long siege for her with surgical procedures that really could not stem the aggressiveness of the tumor. She needed an outlet for her fears and concerns of what her death would mean and turned to her typewriter. Many letters were written to her friend which I have used to talk about death and healing. It was during this time she wrote her letter to Petey and me.

Faith, Love, Service, Courage.

Betsy in her homily spoke more eloquently than I can write about these and how Petey lived by them. Faith was so important to both. Find your faith and keep it strong, but not intolerant of other people’s faiths. I know my mother kept this and our father did too. Petey really believed and kept her realization of the harm of intolerance. What is interesting is that we were all continually exposed to rejection and humiliation of people of other faiths by people in our community. Does not work. Her talk of love was also held by her and Petey. The connection of family and need, despite what happens for continued support. Respect, mutual interest, affection, sympathy and mutual understanding. WOW! Service was part of both lives. The fact that Petey volunteered 27 years as a Pastoral Care worker at the Hospital is enough. Petey had the ability to comfort and support so many people in the last phases of their life. This without faith, love and courage would not happen.

She died on July3, 1943, when I was 9 and Petey was 17, and left me tearful and devastated.

Let’s continue with Petey. She was 17 when mother died. I believe she had just graduated from Garrison Forrest and had enrolled at Barnard College which allowed her to live at home. Ned was at Columbia Law School. At the time of our mother’s funeral a very well meaning episcopal minister, Father Urbano, said to her “Petey, you have now become our Golden BRICK.” Petey reacted to the word brick. This she did not want. But BOSS LADY emerged. Ask her children!

My role with my sister continued until the day she died. Betsy Miller had it right in her homily. “Petey clung to God as the source of her being, as hope for every day and for eternity,” Her love for me was constant. As Betsy said, “It was the sense that no matter where you lived, no matter what you did, no matter how things turned out, you were at home in her heart, secure in her love, and encouraged by her hope in you.” This was basic morning kitchen table talk.

Her marriage to Ned was so solid. He was eight years older than her and sixteen years older than me. He also had a deep faith and sense of family love. He became another rock on which I depended. In many ways he became a father figure for me. He taught me to tie a bow tie in a way I could not forget. He tried to tutor me in Latin. Our move to New York meant a new school and I was behind in Latin. Also, I really didn’t like it. He tried to get Latin into my brain and I struggled with it.

After our mother died, I think in 1945, we moved into New York City and were taken in by my great Aunt, Teddy Mason. Her apartment on 1435 Lexington Ave had three bedrooms, two full baths, dinning room, kitchen with maid’s room and I think the rent was $150 a month. Thanks to rent control! She was my Grandmother’s sister. (My grandmother and grandfather had died at an early age. My father and his brother and sister were taken in by the Mason family who then lived on 57th street between Lex and Madison. Teddy was 5 feet tall, thin, and very anxious to please all. She was an active antivivisectionist and before her time a vegetarian. My Uncle Bob used to tease her unmercifully about always wearing alligator shoes. She loved to walk and when visiting us in Tyringham would walk 2 1/2 miles a day. She also became another mother figure for me as I was left in her care for one winter.

It must have been the winter of 1946 that my father’s tuberculosis reactivated, and they found that Petey had a primary lesion as well. They were both admitted to a TBC sanitorium I believe in Islip Long Island. I was left in Teddy’s care with my Uncle Bob looking on. Ned, who was now at Columbia Law School would come for lunch every Saturday, be fed eggplant which he did not like, and leave to spend the rest of the weekend visiting Petey and our father.

They were married in the summer of 1947 in Trinity Church in Lenox with a reception at Rozz’s barn, which was next to the Tyringham house. She was 21 and one year from graduation from Barnard with a math major. (our mother had given her a math gene) Ned had graduated from Columbia Law with honors. He was employed by the New York Law firm of Cravath Swaine and Moore. I was about to start my educational wheel with Millbrook, Williams, and Cornell Medical College and then residency at St Luke’s Hospital.

And children came to Petey. Louie in 1949, Neddy in 1951, Jamie in 1954, David in 1956 and Kate in 1963. They moved to Bethleham Pa about 1952. Ned had been given a job as lawyer with Bethleham Steel.

I was married in 1960 to Adrienne Allen in Toronto, Canada while in my residency at St Lukes. My brother in law was my best man. My second marriage was in 1984 in Tarrytown, NY at St Mary’s Episcopal Church. Again, my brother in law was best man. After the service he told me “John, twice is enough and I am not going to do that again!”

Our father died in Dec 1979 at age 89 and Ned’s father died in 1983 I believe in Tyringham at age 99. (A strange note. Our mother died in 1943 and Ned’s mother died suddenly in 1945.)

One of Petey’s tasks had become the care of the Grandfathers. Both were very different and difficult people. They lived in the same apartment house: (157 east 72nd St) on different floors but the same apartment. Our father was very dependent in an independent way and Ned’s father was very independent in a dependent way. When they visited Bethleham they would sit at opposite ends of the Living Room and expect Petey’s care. She never gave up on either and was a constant refuge for both.

By this time, I had three children and with my first wife was living and practicing Medicine in Rye New York. I was going through personal problems with my marriage and other urges that would lead me away from my mother’s hope for me on Love.

Then in 1980 I bled into my subarachnoid space around my brain while running and came close to having that end my life. I survived, and Thank God recovered with no residual damage, but it took a year for me to regain my executive functioning. This was hard for all around me. My children lived with the fear I would not survive and then lived with my loss of my reasoning. One of the results of this was that my marriage to Adrienne ended.

I was married a second time in 1984 to Sharon Paino, who I had met before my divorce. We moved from Rye to Charleston, South Carolina and I worked at the Medical University of South Carolina for ten years. I was then appointed a medical missionary for the Episcopal Church and was sent to Panama to set up and run clinics in areas of need. Part of my Petey memory was her visit with the mother of Eve, David’s wife, to Panama and our taking them to our clinic in the very Western part of Panama. She helped in the pharmacy and complained about my terrible hand writing! I think part of this was that she was very proud of what I had done.

When Panama ended about 2010, we moved back to the Berkshires and Petey and I developed a much closer relationship.

I miss that Petey base in my life. Her spirit continues to be present. I have come to realize that the spirit of our lives stays even though our life ends. The examples we set often without knowing stay attached to our spirit even with our death. My mothers spirit, based on her love for us, although I often strayed from it, was present my entire life. Petey’s spirit again based on the love that she had for me was with me my entire life.

As a physician her death from the aortic stenosis and atrial fibrillation was very predictable and Petey accepted this without fear. I always knew that she was very special for me. I will miss all the contact points we had. If I have a message to my children and Petey’s children, it is to value what our mother and Petey taught us. Live your life with:


LYME DISEASE. Current concepts


A lot of ticks! The important tick in transmission of Lyme is the tiny deer tick: Ixodes Scapularis. This is the tick that transmits Lyme infections. It also spreads Babesiosis and Human granulocytic anaplsmosis HGA, now called Ehrlichiosis.
It has a complex life. It has a two year life cycle. It starts as an egg and then passes through three stages, larva, nymph, then adult in the second year. It must have a blood meal at each stage to pass on to the next. Both nymph and adult transmit disease. Each stage has a preferred host for its blood meal. 

For Larva the preferred host is the white footed mouse. Nymphs who winter over present in the early spring of the second year prefer small mammals as host but will feed on humans. Adults more common later in the second year prefer larger mammals such as deer. They sit on leaves and grasp onto whoever gets near. Adult females will attach to dogs and humans and climb up legs and embed in protected areas. Skin folds etc. Adult ticks while small are easier to find than the smaller nymphs, but both can have Lyme rickettsia. The tick is found embedded in the skin with a small erythema around it.


How do ticks get borrelia bergdorfen? It circulates between Ixodes ticks and vertebrates in an enzootic cycle. Tick larva must feed on the blood of an animal infected with the spirochete which ends up in the tick larva mid gut. The spirochetes survive as the larva molts into a nymph. The nymph feeds on another small vertebrate passing the spirochete from its mid gut to the small mammal, thus completing the cycle. The spirochete will stay in the mid gut of the nymph as it progresses to an adult and female Adults feeding on larger mammals will pass the spirochete, but this ends the tick to animal to tick to animal etc spirochete cycle.

B. Bergdorfen is a spirochete with an outer membrane, an inner membrane and seven to eleven flagella to propel it. It is slow growing, with doubling time of 24 to 48 hours. Doxycycline does not kill it but alters its membrane and causes it to be unable to reproduce. It lives in the mid gut of the tick. When the tick embeds itself on you and starts getting its blood meal, the spirochete starts its trip out of the midgut and into the salivary gland of the tick and into you. This takes time. At least 24-48 hours. Key point. The chances of Lyme are very small if the tick is removed in the first 24 hours. Also the tick should not be compressed when removed. You do not want the contents of its body put into you. This may be a reason not to use Vaseline and soaps to help remove it. Bottom line: Look and remove ticks promptly. 

Problem is that in the early spring the nymph form is VERY small and often hard to see. They can give you Lyme.  

You go out into the grassy areas around your house. A deer tick nymph or female adult grabs you, it climbs up your leg to your bottom and embeds! You feel nothing. Once embedded it starts its meal of your blood. B Bergdorfen the rickettsia in its midgut is stimulated to migrate up to the tick salivary glands and into you. The trip takes at least 24 hours and maybe 48 hours. You have the first stage of Lyme. The tick is still embedded and there is a small red ring around the area.  

Help! You may try and pull off the tick, but often you may need medical help. If the tick has been on you less than 48 hours, I will remove the tick and reassure you that the chance of Lyme is very small. I will tell you the symptoms of Lyme: headache, fatigue, red circular rash with clear center, muscle aches, joint pain. If you develop these come back for treatment. At this time blood tests for Lyme will be negative. The two tests done are not as accurate as we would like and can give false negative and false positive results. Some practioners prescribe you a single dose of doxycycline as a preventative. This probably does not work because doxycycline is a bacterostatic drug, not bactericidal, so more than one dose is needed. There is little evidence a single dose does more than perhaps stop the erythema migrans red circular rash.  

If the tick has been embedded a longer period and if it is filled with your blood and you live in an area with a lot of Lyme they will recommend that you be treated, even if there are no other symptoms.  

If you have signs of an early localized infection with the development of a round circular rash often over 10cm in diameter with a central clear area you must be treated. This is erythema migrans and occurs about 70% of the time. It is the symptom of local skin spread of the spirochete and Lyme is very treatable in this early stage.

This stage of Lyme needs to be treated with antibiotics: Doxycycline 100mg twice a day for at least 14 days and better 20 days. Doxycycline alters one of the Lyme membranes and prevents the spirochete from reproducing. This is curative for early Lyme.

What is the progress of the Lyme spirochete, Borrelli Bergdorfen, once it has entered through the tick wound and is ready for action. It first spreads locally and thus the erythema migrans target rash. While your immune system will try to destroy it, it can resist this and quickly spread through your blood stream. This will cause an early disseminated Lyme in about one to four weeks. Erythema migrans rash may appear in different areas. Joint pains may start. It can have neurological findings. Bell’s palsy, paralysis of the facial nerve, may occur. You are sick. Headaches, fatigue etc. Antibiotic treatment with doxycycline is effective in cases of early disseminated Lyme but may require a longer course.  

After several months untreated or inadequately treated Lyme can develop into late disseminated Lyme. This is an area that there is a lot of medical confusion about. People with this need to see physicians who specialize in the treatment of late Lyme. It can disseminate as arthritis with joint pains, muscle weakness, cardiac as conduction delays, neurologic with headaches, memory loss, etc. Not fun. 


PETER JAY (1704-1783) and his dependent family

PETER JAY(2/4), born in 1704, was the only son and fourth child of Auguste, the first Huguenot Jay and his wife Anna Marie Bayard Jay. At age 18 he was sent to Bristol, England to live with his aunt, Francois Jay Peloquin, where he was educated. Following return to New York, in 1728, he married Mary Van Cortlandt. Mary Van Cortlandt was the daughter of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, one of the wealthiest families in the Province. Peter Jay lived as a successful merchant in New York City before moving in 1745 to the farm he purchased in Rye, NY.

Not much has been written about their family life. Seven children had been born to them before 1745. Two had died at birth. Of the living five, the oldest Eva was emotionally unstable,(but did later marry Henry Munro). The oldest son Augustus probably was autistic with a learning disability. He did not learn to read or write. Their fourth child, James was intelligent and was sent to England for Medical training. The next two children Anna Marie and Peter developed small pox when young which left them both blinded. “Blind Peter” inherited the Rye house on the death of his father, married, and lived there the remainder of his life. So of the five, only one would be able to live independently. This must have been a huge concern for Peter and Mary, and the main reason to move the family out of the city. He purchased land in Rye, New York and moved the family there. Their fourth son, John Jay was born at the time of the move. Two more children would be born. A fifth son, Frederick in 1747 and a daughter, Mary, who died at age 5. Peter Jay on moving to Rye retired from his business life and spent his life in improving the farm. He became a scientific horticulturalist, a heritage that was passed on to his sons.

In 1776 he was not involved with the political changes of the times. Two of his sons were. James and John were very much involved in the revolution and not living at home. Their oldest son, now Sir James, having been knighted for support for Kings College in New York was of the generation that hoped for a return to English rule, and was caught between being a loyalist and a patriot, which lead to great friction with his younger brother. After the revolution he settled in New Jersey and practiced medicine. Of course their younger son John, now a young lawyer, became very involved with the need of the colonies for total separation from England. He became a leader in this movement and was sent to Paris to negotiate a peace with England. He spent the war either in Spain or in France concerned about but well away from the family.

 At the time of the Revolutionary War, Rye became “no man’s land”, New York was in British control, and the family were forced to move. This was not easy and their youngest son Frederick became in charge of this. He arranged for them to move to Fishkill, N.Y. to a house owned by Theodorus Van Wyck. This must have been an extraordinarily difficult time. The Rye house had become a comfortable place for all the family with an active farm. Mary was in declining health with very severe arthritis. Eva (who had “hysterics”) had married Henry Munro in 1766 at age 37. He was a loyalist minister who lived in Albany. They had one child, Peter Jay Munro. During the Revolution she moved back to the family with her ten year old, while her loyalist husband had to escape and return to Scotland. Augustus, “Blind” Peter and blind Anna Maria were dependent children that needed care. The farm needed to be moved. There were several slaves and servants as part of the family that they needed for the care they could give. There was property that needed to be moved or protected. And with the revolutionary turmoil, finding transportation for all this was extremely difficult. Fishkill was a good days journey.

Mary died soon after the move in 1777. Then the family was robbed in Fishkill and a second move to safer Poughkeepsie was made. There was also a plan to move them all to Kent where much of their goods had been sent. This never happened. Peter died after the second move in 1783. Both were interred in the vault of Gysbert Schenck, Esq. at Fishkill, and were probably moved to the Rye cemetery in 1804 with the other family from the Family Vault in the orchard of Peter Stuyvesant in the Bowerie. 

His concerns about their survival and his financial worries were expressed by father Petter to son John in the following letter written in 1777.

Fish Kill, 29 July, 1777.

Dear Johnny,

I have received your letter of the 21 Inst:—The evacuation of Ticonderoga is very alarming; I wish it may soon be made to appear in a less gloomy light.

Hitherto Fady has not been able to succeed in providing waggons to remove your Books to Kent.—My thoughts have been much imployed of late about removing from hence in case of need, but the more I consider of it the more I am perplexd., for my present state of health admits of my undergoing no fatigue. Besides I conceive my going to Kent will be attended with an immense expence, for there I can hire no Farm to raise necessarys for my numerous Family, but must lodge them in different Houses and buy daily food &c for them, I suppose at the same exorbitant rate that is extorted from the distressed in other parts of the Country; so that unless I can get a Farm in order to raise so much as will in some measure answer the expence of the Necessarys of life, I am very apprehensive it will have too great a tendency to our ruin, for we may long continue in our present distressed situation before a Peace takes place. I am indeed at a loss what steps to take and therefore I could wish you were nearer at hand to consult with you and Fady what to do. Hitherto my present abode appears to me as safe as elsewhere, and it may be most prudent to continue here till we know what rout the Regulars take & their success if any they have; but in the mean time it may be best to remove some of my most valuable things by way of precaution, which we’ll consider of when you come here. If we can purchase another Waggon it shall be done.

Johnny Strang was here about a fortnight or three weeks ago when we was expectg. the Regulars were about coming up the River; he then proposed to send a box or two he has of yours at his Father’s to Salem, and promised to remove them from there in case of need & said he would be very careful of them. Nancy is now unwell & Peggy is very sick with an intermitting fever ever since her return from Albany.

I am yr. affecte. Father

Peter Jay.


They had left Rye in 1777. Peter died in Poughkeepsie in 1783. Soon after that the family must have returned to Rye. By 1784 the British had left NY and peace had come. “Blind” Peter et al must have come back to Rye.

The Will of Peter Jay shows his concerns and leaves specific funds for the care of EVA, AUGUSTUS, and “blind” PETER and ANNA MARIA.

The will of Peter Jay was written in 1782, a year before his death. Three codiciles were added.

The main will, written 27 and 28 of May 1782, states that he was late of Rye, Westchester County, now of Rombout of Dutchess County, and discusses the disposal of his goods, chattels, and credits. The executers of his estate were Frederick Jay and Egbert Benson

       500£ to be given to the executers for maintenance of son Augustus

    . 1800£ to be given executers for maintainance of dgt Eva Munro to also include the education and support of her son Peter Jay Munro. The sum was to be given to PJM when he turned 21.

       1800£ to be given executures for maintainance and support of blind Anna Marie

       Remainder to be divided equally among sons James, Peter, John, Frederick

       Farm in Rye given to blind PETER

      Choice of Bedford property to JOHN

      NYC property, Dockward with store house given to Frederick. This required release of asset by the family. An existing problem was that Henry Munro, back in Scotland would be very reluctant to do this. A penalty was built into the will that if this happened, grandson PJM would get no funds.

     Release of debt of the children except for James who needed to pay.

    Two negro women could choose a new master. Zilpha and elder Mary.

    Peter, John, and Frederick act as executures. Witnessed by three van Wycks


Use Spanish dollars not pounds

Purchase of land in Poughkeepsie to be sold as real estate holding.

Family portraits left to James.

Excuse JJ who is across the seas

Slave Plato to JJ

Slave Mary to any child. Money saved for her upkeep.


ROBERT LIVINGSTON, Chancellor of New York


Part of my family tracing of the Revolutionary period is the history of my second cousin five times removed Robert R Livingston, Jr. He was very much a contemporary of my g-g-g grandfather John Jay. Both were good friends as children and both went to Kings College Law School at the same time. Both were young lawyers in New York at the time of the start of the movement of the colonies for independence. They both became involved in this movement. Jay succeeded and Livingston who wanted success, came close but failed. Why? An interesting story.

First, where did Robert Livingston come from. He was part of the Aristocratic landed gentry of New York. His great grandfather was the first Lord of the Livingston Manor, a man whose father had been excluded from Scotland for religious views and moved to Holland. Here he learned Dutch which proved to be a great help when he moved to the colonies. Through his contacts he was granted Land Grants along the Hudson which became the basis of the 100,000 square mile holding that became Livingston Manor. He married Alida Van Schuyler of the Albany family whose first husband Nicholas Van Rensselaer had died leaving her with land. They had nine children. Their second son, Robert, a judge, was willed 13,000 acres on the death of his father called Clermont and this would became the home of their grandchild Robert Jr.

This was Robert’s problem. He inherited his position as an aristocratic snob. He was brought up in a family of wealth, well educated, and used to the English system of social class. It was a system where one was chosen for political position as a powerful land owner. Thus he assumed a role for himself in the new Democracy. From early times as an aristocratic snob he wished little to do with those in a lower order and felt those inferior to himself as incapable of political leadership. This created a difficult problem for him in the new democracy. It was very different from the Democracy that Washington, Hamilton, and Jay were trying to form as Federalists. As a protest after the Revolution he became a follower of Jefferson and left the Federalist Party.

What happened? He graduated from Kings College in 1765, at the time the King imposed the stamp act to collect taxes from the colonies. The feeling of the leading families in New York at that time was for a return to England rule not a separation. His father, as many others, became a reluctant revolutionary. Between 1765 and 1775 events in Massachusetts and elsewhere were occurring that made a peaceful return to English rule very unlikely. In 1775, Robert, because of his name, was selected to be one of five (Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Sherman, and Livingston) to draft what became the Declaration of Independence. Robert neither wrote or edited a word of this document. He was not present at its signing, was not at its presentation to the early congress, and did not sign the document. (His uncle Philip did).

Between 1777 and 1801 he served as Chancellor of New York, the highest judiciary office, and was known as Chancellor for the rest of his life. His rival John Jay had been named Chief Justice of the New York Court. This appointment put him in the position of administering in 1789, the oath of office to the First President of the United States, George Washington. The bible used is still on occasion used for this purpose. (Not Trump!!)

            B.         N.     N non.     
He felt he had the ability to be a leader in the new Democracy but his inability to separate himself from his Livingston aristocratic snobbery destroyed this. After he swore Washington in as President, he felt he should be rewarded with either position of Secretary of State or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Washington turned this down. His rival friend, John Jay, of course became the first Chief Justice.

As noted, he also went through a political change. He hated the decisions made by Jay and Hamilton as active New York Federalists. In 1789 he became a member of the Jeffersonian party in part to run against Jay for Governor of New York. (He lost badly). He believed in the Jeffersonian principle of Government FOR the people. He had a hard time with Government BY the people!!

This resulted in 1801 his appointment by Jefferson to serve as minister to France to negotiate purchase of port of New Orleans and Northern Florida. The French were not interested until 1803 when Jefferson sent James Madison to help. Napoleon was in sudden need of money. He sent for the two and offered to sell the entire French land holdings for 15 million dollars. Thus the Louisiana Purchase occurred. What is ironic is that Robert tried to change dates so all the honor would go to him. (It did not work and his political life was ended)

He then retired to his farm in Clermont. The original house had been burned to the ground by the British during the Revolution. In 1795 he had started construction of a new house. He had also become preoccupied by a variety of farming and other concerns and wrote and published a large number of articles on all sorts of subjects.

While he was in France he met and befriended Robert Fulton. This friendship continued. Robert Fulton married Robert’s niece, Harriet Livingston. When he retired to his farm he became involved with Robert Fulton and his new steam boat. In 1810 this successfully went from Clermont to Albany and back in 60 some odd hours!!


In 1770 he married Mary “Polly” Stevens and they had two daughters. He urged both daughters to marry cousins to maintain the name of Livingston. They did. Elizabeth married a cousin Edward Philip Livingston and had a number of  children. Margaret also married a cousin Robert Linlithgow Livingston and also had a number of children. Robert died at Clermont in 1813 after a number of strokes.



The American Revolution, independence from Great Britain, and our family history

The Revolutionary period between 1770 and 1800 was not a fun time to be living in New York City and the surrounding area. There were several of my descendants living in this area that had become successful with land acquisition and with trading opportunities. The Revolution would change all that. The need for the break from England as necessary was not an easy decision for New Yorkers to make. Some became progressively influential. This included John Jay, who was a young lawyer in New York when the Revolution started. There were some who strongly felt that ties with Great Britain should not be broken, but mended. This was an older group who came reluctantly to support the Revolution. This included property owner, The Lord of the Manor, Robert Livingston. Then there were those who stayed loyal to the King. This was Frederick Phillips, Lord of Phillips Manor. Some joined the militias and fought in the Revolution. After the revolution, debate was not over. Freedom from the King meant a new Government needed to be formed. The debate between State rights and new Federal rights was intense. John Jay, became a strong Federalist, in favor of a strong federal government. Part of the debate was the right to vote. Jefferson felt that one man (Not WOMAN) one vote should rule and Hamilton felt that only men of property should be allowed to vote and rule. How should they govern? How could they get balance between the States? The result was a revised Constitution but this needed to be ratified by the States. New York was very split by this: a majority wished to keep the sovernity of the State. In Poughkeepsie a group met designated to make the decision. Jay was part of this and the result was ratification of the new Constitution by two or three votes. In the emerging Democracy there was conflict of ideas for our new country. This influenced Jays and Livingstons and Clarksons and Van Courtlands and Phillipps and Van Rensselaer and Van Schuyler all my relatives. I will try and tell what happened to these several families before, during and after the Revolution.

It includes property: Jay’s mother and the Van Courtlandt Manor, the rest of the Livingstons and Livingston Manor, cousin Frederick Philippse and Phillips Manor, Killean Van Rensselaer and Rensselaerwick, Philip Van Schuyler and Schuyler land. The shift in control from property and wealth. Who should rule the country? It was the end of the influence of the Lords of the Manor.

It includes merchants and trade: Several of my descendants that lived in New York were successful traders. For them the Revolution and loss of New York to the British meant not only loss of trade, but loss of homes. John Jay’s father and mother were forced to leave their home in Rye and take refuge in safer area. No longer were the old trade routes safe.

It includes the story between these families. Pre revolutionary New York was small and there were many intermarriages between these families. Livingstons married Van Schuylers and Jays,  Van Schuylers married Van Rensselaers,  van Cortlndts married Jays, Van Schuyler married a Van Rensselaer and then when he died married a Livingston. Bayards intermarried as did Van Voorhees. These marriages all tied these families and their lands tighter together.

It includes the political changes. Tories vs Patriots. Federalists vs non Federalists, the new government, the need for a new constitution, the start of our Democracy.

It also includes how much Dutch blood we have! All the Vans!


There were at least five families we are related to that controlled large tracts of land before the Revolution from Great Britain. The Livingston Family and Livingston Manor on the Hudson, (1,200,000acres ) The Philipse Family and Philipse Manor in Westchester, (125,000acres ) The Van Courtlandt Family and Van Courtlandt Manor in Yonkers, (85,000acres), The Van Rensselaer Family and Rensselaerwyck in Albany.(750,000acres) and The Van Schuyler Family and land also in Albany (100,000acres) All were started either from Patroonships from the Royal Dutch Governor or as Royal Land Grants, Charters of the King. The land on these Manors was to be owned and leased by the Lord of the Manor or if Dutch, the Patroon. This feudal system of land ownership was to be continued, oldest son to oldest son.

The Manors and Patroonships did not survive. Soon after the end of the Revolution they ended. The feudal system could not exist with our new Democratic principles of freedom.


Robert Livingston (1654-1728), my 6th GGrandfather, was the first Lord of the Manor. He was also an example of our Dutch background. His father, a Church of England minister had been banned from his home country of Scotland for not recognizing the Presbyterian faith in Scotland. He took his family which included his young son Robert to Holland, where Robert learned to speak the Dutch language. Robert ended up coming to the Colonies, and became successful in part because of his ability to understand and speak Dutch. He was granted by Royal Charter of Great Britain in 1715 160,000 acres along the Hudson in what is now Columbia County, NY. This created the manor and Lordship of Livingston. He married Alida Schuyler, the widow of another major land owner, Nicholas Van Rensselaer, and daughter of General Philip Schuyler, owner of a large amount of Albany property. This brought together Livingston, Van Rensselaer, and Schuyler families and a lot of property. She was a very strong woman. She had one son with Nicholas and had nine children with Robert. Since Robert was often in NYC, she was responsible for managing the Livingston and Van Rensselaer property. We have a lot of Dutch blood!

Their oldest son Philip (1686-1749) became the second Lord of the Manor after his father’s death in 1728. In 1708 he married Catharina Van Brugh, the daughter of a former Albany mayor and they would live in Albany. They had 12 children and it was one of their sons that had impact on our family.

Phillips son, William, inherited property in New Jersey and became Governor of New Jersey during the Revolutionary time. He was a strong believer that separation with Great Britain was needed and influenced a young lawyer who was courting his daughter, Sarah of this. This of course was John Jay who married Sarah.

Philips oldest son, Robert (1708-1790) inherited Livingston Manor at the time of his father’s death. He had married Maria Thong in 1731 and they had thirteen children. He became the third and last Lord of the Manor. In 1766, after the death of his wife, he married Gertrude Van Rensselaer Schuyler.

Robert Livingston was Lord of the Manor during the Revolution. When he became Lord 1,000,000 acres of the Catskills mountains was added to the Manor property. He hoped for a compromise with England and was modestly supportive of the war of separation. He did supply the Army with important iron that was mined from his land holdings. His tenant farmers stayed as loyalists to the crown for most of the Revolution. His children were more supportive serving in the war effort. After the revolution ended the power status of the Manors also ended. At the time of his death Livingston Manor was divided unto 5 parts for his sons and were subsequently divided further. The Lord of the Manor was no more.


 My second Cousin Frederick Philipse III (1710-1786) was the third and last Lord of Philipse Manor. He had inherited the estate from his father at the time of his father’s death in 1751. This was a 125,000 acre estate that comprised much of Southern Westchester County. Frederick was a strong Loyalist and never wavered during the Revolution. He stayed in New York which was under British control during the war and then left for England in 1783 when the English left New York. All of his lands were confiscated by the state and sold off. Several thousand acres were sold to his tenant farmers. The property was decided into 200 parcels. Henry Beekman a Dutch NY businessman bought several of the parcels.

Frederick and his family continued to live in Great Britain. He died in 1786 and was buried in Chester Cathedral in Chester, England.

The taking of Loyalist land was a common practice and the sale of the land provided income to the state. The total of land lost by Frederick was 120,000 acres!

On November 28, 1776, the same year that 56 Americans signed the Declaration of Independence, well over 200 colonial New Yorkers placed their signatures on a “Declaration of Dependence.” These signers were Loyalists, citizens who remained faithful to their sovereign, George III, King of Great Britain. Prominent among the signatures was that of Frederick Philipse III, Lord of the vast Manor of Philipsburg and resident of the elegant mansion known today as Philipse Manor Hall. Frederick Philipse III and his family lived in luxury, well supported by rents from the many tenant farms on his property. Times were changing, however, and while others rebelled against Great Britain, Frederick III defended the Crown. His Loyalist beliefs were so strong that General George Washington ordered him arrested in 1776. Philipse and his family later fled to British occupied New York City and then to England, where the last “Lord of the Manor”, broken in spirit and health, died in 1786. His land and his mansion were confiscated by the New York State Legislature and sold at public auction


My 5th great grandfather, Frederick Van Cortlandt (more Dutch) bought about a thousand acres extending from the upper Bronx into Westchester County from cousin Frederick PHILLIPSE. He built a house in Georgian style but died before it was finished. He was married to my fifth great Aunt, Francina Jay who continued to live there until her death in 1780. The house was then inherited by their oldest son James (1727-1787) who was there during the Revolution. It was used as a grain plantation and grist mill. Unlike the other properties it was not rented out for farming. During the Revolution the house stood at the border between English NYC protection and the new countries holding, which was full of robbers, etc. George Washington stayed there in 1776 to plan the battle for White Plains and then in 1781 with the French commander Rochambeau where he tricked the British into thinking he was staying there while he fled to the North. The British used the house during the war and at wars end it was apparently in very bad repair. There was a period that no family member was living there. James had no children. He left the house and property to be divided after his wife died, between his two brothers, Augustus and Fredrick and his sister Eva White. The house and property were then sold to the City of New York in 1889 and have been part of the park system since then. The house is run by the Colonial Dames as a museum.

Frederick sister was my fifth GreatGrandmother Mary Van Cortlandt who married Peter Jay and was the mother of fourth GreatGrandfather John Jay. It was property that John Jay was given by her in Bedford NY that was the site on which he built his retirement home.

Rensselaerwyck was a Dutch Patroonships given to my first cousin 6 times removed Killiaen Van Rensselaer in 1629 of about 750,000 acres and stayed under Van Renssellaer control until after the Revolution. It contained land on both sides of the Hudson from Albany down. It remained in Van Rensselaer control until the death of Stephan Van Rensselaer in 1836, when the manor officially ended. In 1704 Killiaen as Patroon split a lower portion of the Manor to his brother Hendrick, which was the area surrounding Albany, and known as the Claverack VR Manor

Killian married Maria Van Cortlandt also my first cousin 6 times removed. She was a daughter of Stephanus Van Cortland and Gertrude Schuyler. They had 7 children that lived to adulthood.

The Van Rensselaer Patroonships lasted until the early 1800, when it was divided and ended.

The concept of a large tract of land under the perpetual control of one family with its income coming from rental of tracts of land and tax of 10% of produce could not continue in a country dedicated to freedom of individuals.

“The patroon system was from the beginning doomed to failure. As we study the old documents we find a sullen tenantry, an obsequious and careworn agent, a dissatisfied patroon, an impatient company, a bewildered government — and all this in a new and promising country where the natives were friendly, the transportation easy, the land fertile, the conditions favorable to that Conservation of human happiness which is and should be the aim of civilization. The reason for the discontent which prevailed is not far to seek, and all classes were responsible for it, for they combined in planting an anachronistic feudalism in a new country, which was dedicated by its very physical conditions to liberty and democracy. The settlers came from a nation which had battled through long years in the cause of freedom. They found themselves in a colony adjoining those of Englishmen who had braved the perils of the wilderness to establish the same principles of liberty and democracy. No sane mind could have expected the Dutch colonists to return without protest to a medieval system of government.”


There were two men who came from Holland and settled in the Albany area and by their success as traders (fur) purchased a large amount of land in the Albany area. They founded a trading community named Beverwyck. It was descendants from Philip Pieterse Schuyler that bred into my Van Rensselaer, Van Cortlandt, and Livingston family.

My 2nd Cousin 6 times removed was Philip Schuyler, born 1733. He married cousin Catherine Van Rensselaer and they had 15 children!! He inherited most of the Van Schuyler property and before the Revolution built the Van Schuyler Mansion. He became wealthy as a trader of material from the Albany area that he shipped down the Hudson to New York. He also became supportive of the Revolution from Great Britain, and served as General during the war mostly in the Albany area. After the war he served as one of the first United States Senators to serve from New York. He and his wife, Catherine Van Rensselaer, had nine children who were influential in the next generation. Their second daughter married Alexander Hamilton.


While they had extensive land, it was not as the other families given to them to manage as a Manor or a Patroon.

The total land holdings of these families before the Revolution in New York along the Hudson was well over two million acres. Not bad but not to last.


Trade and trading were very important in both pre revolutionary and post revolutionary New Amsterdam/New York. The story of two relatives that were involved with foreign trade and went thru large losses with the Revolution were Peter Jay and David Clarkson.


Augustus  Jay was the first Jay to come to the New World. He was a young man on one of his father’s trade ships and returning to LaRochelle found that his family had been forced to flee to England as a result of their Protestant beliefs and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes that gave them protection to worship. He was smuggled aboard a ship sailing for Charleston and made his way up the coast ending up in New Amsterdam. He met and married Anna Maria Bayard and his success as a trader resulted. Her grandmother was also Anna, the sister of Peter Stuyvesant. This was a very successful trading family!

It was their son Peter Jay, who married Marie Van Courtlandt, who continued as a merchant, and retired from New York in 1745, to move to the property he had purchased in Rye New York. This has recently been protected and restored as the Jay Heritage Center. It was here that their son John Jay would be born and brought up.

During the Revolution their world would be turned upside down. Rye became “no man’s land”. They were outside of British control, but lived with terrible dangers of being attacked by the British or undone by the Cowboys and scalpers that ran without control in the area. They had to leave the homestead in Rye and were moved initially to Fishkill which was safer and then to Poughkeepsie after they were robbed in Fishkill. They never return to their Rye farm and home. Marie died in Fishkill and Peter died in Poughkeepsie. Their children did return and continue living in Rye. Peter Augustus Jay, John Jays oldest son inherited the property in early 1800 and tore down the original house and built the Greek revival home that is there today.


The first David Clarkson (1698-1751) was the son of Matthew Clarkson, the first immigrant to the New World from England. He became a successful merchant in New York with several vessels and a big trade. His son, also David Clarkson (1726-1782) continued this. He was a very successful merchant with considerable trade with other countries. He also became a supporter of the revolution. During the war his home in Brooklyn was vandalized by the British and his home in New York burned to the ground. He escaped to his wife’s home in New Jersey. At the end of the war he had lost his trade and most of his income. His son Matthew Clarkson (1758-1825) had a distinguished record during the Revolution and after the war became director of the Bank of New York. During this time he made good investments and land purchase. It was his daughter, Mary Rutherfurd, who married Peter Augustus Jay.


The change from a new land under the control of England and its King or Holland and the growing realization that independence from these controls was necessary. The development of a Democratic system was a HUGE issue that sparked debates and actions that we are still living with. Again the one relative very much involved in this transition was John Jay. His early friend Robert Livingston was a different story.

JOHN JAY (1724-1829)

Jay was born the same year his father moved the family to Rye NY. He was educated, went to Kings College Law school, and became involved in the revolutionary cause. Part of this is that he courted and married Sarah, a daughter of William Livingston, the Governor of New Jersey, who strongly supported the separation with England. He was a young man at the time. He spent almost the entire Revolution mostly with his wife either in Spain or France. At the end of the war he was the person who negotiated the peace of Paris with the King of England. On return to this country he and his wife and family built a house on Broadway which became there home. He was really the first president of the United States but under the original constitution which had very weak powers for this position. He became very involved with developing a new Constitution and with Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Adams and others became a leader of the Federalist Party. Getting New York to ratify the new Constitution was a major effort for him and he was influential in the meeting at Poughkeepsie that by 3 or 4 votes ratified it. He then served as Governor of New York and moved from New York City to Albany. He retired when his term ended to his new house in Bedford that was built on Van Cortlandt land.

He was also active after the Revolution with spies! Under the Articles of Confederation a committee for detecting and defeating conspiracies was created. This became a Commission. It was made up,of a series of groups established in New York to collect intelligence, apprehend British spies and couriers and examine British sympathizers. Jay became the head of this. This was a secret service with a company of militia under its control that heard over 500 cases involving disloyalty and subversion. It had the power to grant bail or parole, to imprison or deport, to arrest, to convict. Jay was the first chief of counterintelligence.

One of his great friends when in Law School was Robert Livingston, a cousin.


The second son of Philip Livingston and Catharina Van Brugh, also Robert,(1688-1775) was known as Robert of Clermont. At the time of his father’s death, Robert was given 13,000 acres in the Southwest corner which became named Clermont. This Robert married Margaret Howarden. They had one son Judge Robert who married Marie Beekman. Their grandson Robert R. (1746-1813) lived during the Revolutionary period. He was a lawyer and a great friend early in his life with John Jay, who then became an enemy!!

A problem Robert had was with this heritage. It was being a Livingston, educated and a large property owner. He had terrible trouble with the democratic principle of allowing the vote to all citizens. He was a real SNOB! He felt that his birth right gave him privilege for political appointments. He yearned for political success which always turned to disasters for him. He seemed to always be the wrong man at the right time. As a young lawyer in 1776, Robert had been appointed one of a committee of five to write the Declaration of Independence. He apparently contributed not a word to this document and was not present when it was signed. When after peace, George Washington was inaugurated as President, Robert delivered the oath of office. He then felt that Washington was obligated to give him a cabinet position. His first choice was Chief Justice. Washington by letter turned him down, and of course the position went to his rival, John Jay. Ugh! During the effort to get the new constitution ratified in 1780 Jay joined with Washington, Madison, Hamilton and others as Federalists, Robert became an anti federalist in opposition. He also ran against Jay for Governor of New York and was badly beaten. He became a Jeffersonian Democrat. In 1798 he was appointed by President Jefferson to go to France and try to negotiate the sale of New Orleans to the United States. After three years of difficult negotiation James Munro was sent to Paris to try and get resolution. After Munro’s arrival Napoleon apparently summoned them and offered what became the Louisiana Purchase. Then Robert tried to change the dates so he would get all the credit! He ended living in Clermont in retirement on his farm.

During the revolution the British made one foray into Clermont and burned his house to the ground for his revolutionary principles. He rebuilt the house.


These families, except for the Phillips group, all became supportive of the break with Great Britain. Younger members of the families were active in the war in different ways. John Jay was sent first to Spain and then to Paris as a diplomate during the war. He was the person that drafted the peace agreement with England that ended the war. Others were active in the war.

Brigadier General Matthew Clarkson (my third great grandfather)

Matthew Clarkson was a young man of 17 when the war started. He volunteered as an aide to General Benedict Arnold, before Arnold turned to join the British. He was involved with the battle of Fort Ticonderoga, battles on Lake Champlain, and the battle at Saratoga. He became a major during the Saratoga campaign and was present at the surrender of General Burgoyne. He was appointed to the staff of General Benjamin Lincoln and served at the battle of Savannah, the defense of Charleston and the final surrender of Cornwallis at Charlestown. After the war he was commissioned Brigadier General of the militia of Kings and Queens counties and then in 1798 Major General of the Southern District of New York. After the war he married Mary Rutherford and their one child Mary Rutherford Clarkson married the oldest son of John Jay, Peter Augustus.

Letter From George Washington to Matthew Clarkson, 24 June 1782

Major Matthew Clarkson commenced his military Services as a Volunteer early in the present War. In the Year 1777 he received a Majority in the Army of the United States, and was present at the Surrender of Lieut. General Burgoyne at Saratoga, having been active in all the principal antecedent Engagements, which produced that Event—In the Year 1779 was appointed Aide de Camp to Major General Lincoln (now Secretary at War) then commanding Officer in the Southern Department, & in that Character served at the Siege of Savannah. In 1780 he acted as Major of a Corps of Light Infantry during the Siege of Charles-Town. In 1782 He returned to his former Situation as Aide de Camp to Major General Lincoln, and was present at the Reduction of the British Posts of York and Gloucester under the Command of Lieut. General Earl Cornwallis. Soon after this, when Major General Lincoln became Secretary at War, he was appointed his Assistant. In all which Stations, from my own Knowledge and the Reports of the General Officer under whose immediate Orders he has served, I am authorised to declare that He has acquitted himself with great Honour. Given under my Hand And Seal at the Head-Quarters of the American Army the twenty-fourth Day of June in the Year 1782.

Go: Washington


Brigadier General Robert Van Rensselaer (3rd cousin 4x removed)

Several Van Rensselaer men were active during the Revolution. Robert Van Rensselaer was commissioned a Colonel of the Eighth Regiment, Albany County Milita in Oct 1775. He continued to serve and was named Brigadier General, Second Brigade in 1780. He served under his brother in law General Philip Schuyler during the Battle of Fort Ticonderoga. He commanded the militia that pursued and defeated Sir John Johnson when on his raid in the Mohawk Valley in 1780.

Colonel Killian K Van Rensselaer(3rd cousin 4x removed)

He was. Child of Kilian Van Rensselaer and Ariaantie Schuyler. He studied law at Yale and when the war broke out served as a private secretary to his Uncle General Philip Schuyler

Brigadier General Henry Beekman Livingston(2nd cousin 5x removed)

Henry was the younger brother of Robert Livingston. He apparently had a violent temper and had anger at anyone of lesser breed. As soon as the Revolution started he formed his own troop and joined the battle. The first of these was the battle of Long Island which was a major loss of the Patriots. He was left on Long Island with a small group and was successful in harassing the English. He and his Company escaped across the sound. He served under a number of Generals and had problems following orders. He was involved in a number of battles in and around the New York area including the battle of Saratoga. He served under General Philip Schuyler and spent the winter with his troops at Valley Forge. Here they almost froze and starved. He was the Black Sheep of the Livingston family and had as much trouble getting along with them as he did his commanding Generals.

Major General Philip Van Cortlandt (3rd cousin 4xremoved)

He was active in politics. During the Revolution he served as Lieutenant Colonel and involved in the seige of Yorktown. During this he was cited for gallant conduct and mustered out of the service as a Brigadier General. After the war he continued to serve politically and was one of the persons present with John Jay to ratify for New York the new Constitution.




Major General Philip Schuyler(2nd cousin 5x removed)

The Schuyler family were very supportive of the war to separate the State from English control. Philip Schuyler took an active lead in this. He was a very large land owner in the Albany area. He was made a Major General and took command of the area surrounding Albany. This became an active battle front as the English made their way down Lake Champlain to Saratoga. He was not well and forced to give up his command quite early. General Horatio Gates was in command at the time of the battle of Saratoga. Several relatives served under him including Matthew Clarkson, Robert Van Rensselaer, and Henry Livingston.


The Revolution came to an end. The political definition of the new country slowly emerged. The English left New York. A new constitution that gave more central power but maintained the role of the States emerged. This meant a stronger central government with a presidential branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch. A bill of rights was passed. The scars of the war were diminished. Trade resumed. And we were free but still had a lot of problems to contend with.


A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation



                    I believe this was taken from Matthew Clarkson book on the history of the Clarkson Family

The family of Clarkson in CLARKSON America dates from January 29, 1691, when Matthew Clarkson arrived in New York City from England. Respected in the other country centuries ago, so has it continued to be here. It has given its share of patriots of prominence in the olden times and statesmen of standing after this government was formed. When heads of the best families in New York were in the main merchants, members of this family so engaged were men of integrity and, moreover, with their wealth, worked to benefit the worthy by activity on philanthropic and educational boards. The Clarkson arms, as borne by those of the name in America are: Argent, on a bend engrailed sable three annulets or; the crest, a griffin’s head couped between two wings proper.

(I)The line of descent takes one to Robert Clarkson, grandfather of the progenitor, and the reliable record found regarding him is that of his marriage to Agnes Lily, on September 9, 1610. Of the parish church of St. Peter, at Bradford, Yorkshire, England, he became warden in 1615, and it is at this place the name of Clarkson may be traced for five hundred years further back. From what is learned from the various entries upon registers, etc., one is able to state with conviction most positive that they possessed social standing, wealth, influence and excellent rank among families of their district in England. Through the total destruction of the old family home in Whitehall street in the New York conflagration of 1776, the most valuable early records were wiped out, so that what is known now is due to diligent research by members of the family.

Robert Clarkson served with the vicar as trustee for the sale of the Manor of Bradford some years after becoming the warden, yet he was a Puritan by inclination. At Bradford, he possessed a large estate, also at Idle, at Pudsey and at Manningham. He died March io, 1632, and was buried at St. Peter’s, which was a special privilege. He married (for his second wife), October 4, 1629, Hester, widow of Ezekiel Tailer, recorded as “per licentia,” which was peculiar, and seldom so unless among the highest gentry. His children were by his first wife.

Children: 1. Rev. William, became vicar of Adel, near Leeds, and held the “Lordship of Idle,” marrying Mary Clarkson. 2. Mary. 3. Robert, removed to London, where he became alderman and amassed a fortune equal to $200,000, marrying Hannah Taylor. 4. Rev. David, see forward. 5. Hester.

(II) Rev. David Clarkson, son of Robert Clarkson, was baptized at Bradford, England, March 3, 1622; was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge University, in 1641; was captured by Royalists in 1642, and after being confined ten months was released in time to take his degree. In 1645 he was appointed to a fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge, continuing for six years, when he served as minister at Crayford in Kent; then at Mortlake, in Surrey; but was rejected in 1662, by the terms of the Act of Uniformity. He engaged in a series of religious controversies, championing the cause of non-conformity vigorishly with his pen. He was a colleague of Dr. John Owen, in 1682, as pastor of an independent London church, succeeding the latter when he died. Reviews of his life speak of him as “a divine of extraordinary worth for solid judgment, healing, moderate principles, acquaintance with the fathers, great ministerial abilities and a godly, upright life.” His discourses were published in 1696. He died in the parish of St. Dunstan, Stepney, June 14, 1686.

Rev. David Clarkson married (first) in 1651, the daughter of Sir Henry Holcroft, Knight, of East Ham, Essex. He married (second) Elizabeth, widow of Wolrave Lodwick, daughter of Matthew Kenrick, of London, a Welsh family, claiming descent from David Kenrick, standard-bearer to the Black Prince, of Edward III.’s time. Children: Lettice; Matthew, see forward; Rebecca; David, married Lady Sands, widow of Sir William Sands; Gertrude; Robert; Katharine.

(lll) Matthew Clarkson, son of Rev. David Clarkson, was born in England, died in New York City, July 20, 1702. He was a nonconformist, as his father had been, and with his half-brother, Charles Lodwick, came to New York about 1685. The latter was a prosperous merchant here, and became mayor of the city. Matthew Clarkson returned to England after the revolution which placed William and Mary on the throne, and he petitioned to be made secretary of the Colony of New York, one of those signing this petition being the famous author, Daniel Defoe. He was finally appointed, and sailed with the newly-chosen governor, Colonel Henry Sloughter, on December 1, 1690. When he arrived here, several months later, he found that the government was in much confusion owing to the acts of Jacob Leisler, consequently he became engaged at once in an acrimonious struggle to obtain and maintain position, which resulted in holding office nominally while denied the emoluments. It was an unpleasant predicament, especially to hold such position with any degree of dignity, and yet he succeeded in winning great respect, for he did not rely upon office for standing.

Matthew Clarkson married, January 19, 1692, Catherine Van Schaick. She was the daughter of Hon. Goozen Gerritse Van Schaick, one of the earliest settlers of Beverwyck, or Albany, New York, who was prominent.

Children: 1. Elizabeth, died in infancy. 2. David, see forward. 3. Levinus, born in New York City; removed to Holland, where he died unmarried. 4. Matthew, baptized April 9, 1699, died 1739; married, June 1, 1718, Cornelia de Peyster, and had ten children, one of whom, Matthew, became mayor of Philadelphia and was delegate to constitutional convention. 5. Anna.

(IV) David (2) Clarkson, son of Matthew and’Catherine (Van Schaick) Clarkson, was born in New York City, January 19, 1694, baptized in the old Dutch church in Garden street, August 19,1694, died in New York City, April 7, 1751. Before he was eight years old both parents had died, consequently he went to live with a maiden aunt, Margrieta Van Schaick, and it is believed that he was subsequently sent to his relatives in England for rearing and to be better educated, for he engaged in mercantile pursuits there in 1718, when twenty-four years old. He came back to New York, and at first acquired an interest in ocean-going vessels; then becoming successful as a merchant; was an owner of several, carrying on an export trade. He was a representative to the provincial assembly from 1739 to 1751, with the exception of an interval of a year and a half, and was a patriotic citizen whenever encroachments of the crown aroused the people.

David Clarkson married, New York City, January 25, 1724, Ann Margaret Freeman, daughter of Rev. Bernardus and Margrieta (Van Schaick) Freeman, the latter being his mother’s sister, his aunt.

Children: 1. Freeman, died unmarried. 2. David, see forward.

3. Matthew, born March 12, 1733, died September 25, 1772; married, June 1, 1758, Elizabeth de Peyster; by whom: David M., married Mary Van Horne, and Matthew, married Belinda Smith. 4. Levinus, died in infancy. 5. Levinus, born October 8, 1740, died May 24, 1798; married, February 21, 1763, Mary Van Horne, whose two children, Charles and Henriette left issue, the former marrying Elizabeth, daughter of John Vanderbilt, and the latter marrying Freeman Clarkson, her cousin.

(V) David (3) Clarkson, son of David (2) and Ann Margaret (Freeman) Clarkson, was born in New York City, June 3, 1726, died at Flatbush, New York, November 14, 1782. He was given his early education in Europe, and continued to reside abroad until he was twenty-three years old. When he returned to America he engaged in business and had a large trade with many foreign countries. He built a home on Whitehall street, employing therefor Andrew Gaurtier, who subsequently constructed St. Paul’s Chapel. In those days lotteries were popular, often conducted by the states, especially when raising funds for educational and philanthropic work, and in 1754 he was the winner of one-half of the capital prize in the lottery for founding the British Museum, which yielded him the handsome sum of $25,000. He added underwriting to his business and became one of the wealthy citizens. When his brother, Matthew, who lived at Flatbush, died, he purchased the homestead and used it as his country seat. In April, 1775, he participated in the meeting of Kings county which chose delegates to a provincial convention. He was a member of the New York committee of one hundred and a delegate from New York City to the provincial convention, in which body he figured prominently. He was one of three citizens who offered to guarantee advances of money made to the colony for emergent purposes, the amount being $7,500. The command of a regiment was extended to him in 1775, but he declined. When the great fight took place on Long Island, in 1776, his house was rifled by the British, and his city home was entirely destroyed by fire, September 21, 1776, at which time the family lost its handsome furnishings and valuable records. Accordingly he removed to New Brunswick, New Jersey, but later returned to Flatbush. He was a member of the first board of governors of King’s College, 1754; was an original governor of the New York Hospital, 1770, and both vestryman and warden of Trinity parish, in fact a valued resident of the community.

David Clarkson married, New York City, May 3, 1749, Elizabeth, daughter of Philip and Susanna (Brockholles) French, granddaughter of Governor Anthony Brockholles. Philip French was the son of Philip and Anne (Philipse) French, the latter being the daughter of Frederick Philipse.

Children: 1. David, born in New York City, November 15, 1751, died June 27, 1825. 2. Freeman, born February 23, 1756, died November 14, 1810; married Henrietta Clarkson; by whom: William Kemble, married Elizabeth Van Tuyl; Charles, married Elizabeth Lawrence; Freeman, married Catherine Balch; Elizabeth, unmarried. 3. Matthew, see forward. 4. Ann Margaret, born February 3, 1761, died November 2, 1824; married, November 16, 1784, Garrit Van Home, whose married children were: Mary Elizabeth, married James Peter Van Horne; Mary Joanna, married Adam Norrie, of Scotland. ?. Thomas Streatfeild, born April 5, 1763, died June 8, 1844; married, October 30, 1790, Elizabeth Van Horne; he was a partner of his two brothers, conducting a large foreign trade at the northwest corner of Stone and Mill streets in New York, owning a number of vessels; their married children were: David Augustus, married Margaret Livingston; Elizabeth Streatfeild, married David Clarkson; Thomas Streatfeild, married Elizabeth Clarkson; Frances Selina, married Augustus Levinus Clarkson; Ann Augusta, married Clermont Livingston, and the unmarried children were: Frederica Cortlandt, Anna Maria, Frederica, Emily Vallete, Ann Margaret and Mary Matilda. 6. Levinus, bor n March 31. 1765, died September 28, 1845; married, February 25, 1797, Ann Mary Van Horne, and their married children were: Augustus Levinus, married (first) Frances Selina Clarkson, married (second) Emily C. McVickar; David L., married Margaret De Longy; Elizabeth, married Thomas Streatfeild Clarkson; Levinus, married Mary Livingston.

(VI) General Matthew (2) Clarkson, son of David (3) and Elizabeth (French) Clarkson, was born at his parents’ home on Whitehall street in New York City, October 17, 1758, died there, April 1825, and was buried at Flatbush, Long Island. He was receiving what was considered the best education of his day when the revolution broke out, and in 1775, before he was eighteen years of age, he enlisted as a private in a corps of American fusileers under command of Richard Ritzema. In February, 1776, he applied for appointment in one of the battalions being raised in New York, the former command not having been called upon to do active service, and on failing to be so appointed he joined a volunteer company which was commanded by his brother, David, and forming a part of the regiment of Colonel Josiah Smith. While in this command, he participated in the famous battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776, and was in the retreat of General Washington’s army when it was obliged to move westward and cross the river into New York City. He was appointed aide-de-camp on the staff of General Benedict Arnold, with the rank of major, July, 1777, on the recommendation of General Nathaniel Greene, and immediately filled the post. This took him into the division of General Philip Schuyler, who was expecting the advance of the large British army under General Burgoyne, who was advancing from Canada, and taking the water route had proceeded as far as Fort Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain, with little hindrance. He was wounded in an encounter at Fort Edward, New York, while endeavoring to rally a detachment which had been put to flight by the Indian allies of the British, but nevertheless he continued in active service until on October 17, 1777, Burgoyne surrendered at old Saratoga, or Schuylerville, this date peculiarly being the nineteenth birthday of General Clarkson, then major. When the famous American artist, John Trumbull, about a century ago, painted the picture of this great event in this country’s history on the walls of the rotunda at Washington, he included Major Clarkson’s portrait in the group of officers. He was wounded another time. It was during the battle of Stillwater, to the north of Albany, when struck in the neck with a ball while he was carrying an order of his general to the commanding officer of the left wing.

During the time General Arnold was in Philadelphia, Major Clarkson continued as his aide, and it was a little later, or in 1778, that he became engaged in a very bitter controversy with Thomas Paine through the medium of the newspaper. Paine was secretary for foreign affairs, and by reason of the heated argument was led into the act of giving government secrets to the public, which resulted in his forced resignation from the high political office. Major Clarkson was summoned to testify at the time of the proceedings of the civil authorities against General Arnold by the state of Pennsylvania, by reason of the latter’s conduct in the Philadelphia command. Major Clarkson refused to testify on the ground that a military officer was not subject to their jurisdiction. Congress took up the matter, with the result that he was reprimanded; but at the same time congress granted his application for permission to join the southern division of the army. Bearing a letter from Hon. John Jay, which spoke in unstinted praise of his ability, in the summer of 1779, Major Clarkson presented himself to General Benjamin Lincoln, of South Carolina, and was immediately attached to his staff. While in this position, he distinguished himself in an assault made on Savannah, Georgia, in the fall of that year, and he was the one to bear despatches to General Washington and congress which announced the unpleasant news of the enterprise’s failure. He was one of the staff officers who voted against the capitulation of Charleston. When that city surrendered, May 12, 1780, he was made a prisoner, but although paroled later on, he was not exchanged until late in the war. He was a determined patriot, for so soon as he was at liberty he cast his lot with a French naval expedition, sailing from Newport, which took sharp action with British vessels off the Virginia capes. He joined General Lincoln again as aide-de-camp in February, 1781, and took active part in all the large operations at the end of the war, being present at the surrender of Yorktown. Under Secretary of War Lincoln, he was made assistant. Congress granted him permission to engage in the French service in the West Indies, but through lack of warfare of any note he did not go there. He was commissioned brevet-lieutenant-colonel on November 1, 1783, and when peace was declared, retired. His valiant service put him in the position to become one of the early and most worthy members of the Society of the Cincinnati.

General Clarkson was chosen regent of the State University of New York, in 1784, and in the interest of that institution visited Europe. On his return to this country he married, and presently engaged in business, in connection with John Vanderbilt. He was appointed brigadier-general of the militia of Kings and Queens counties, in June, 1786. Among those concerned in the rebuilding of Trinity Church, he was one of the most prominent, and was made a vestryman. In political life he served as member of assembly, 1789-90, and had the honor of introducing a bill providing for the gradual abolition of slavery in New York. For a period, he was United States marshal for the New York district, served as state senator, 1794-95, and for a long time was commissioner of United States loans.

He was commissioned major-general of the southern district of New York, in 1798, and filled this position until he resigned in 1801. The following year, he was the Federalist candidate for the United States senate, and at the election received a majority of the votes of the upper house of the state legislature; but was finally defeated by the Hon. De Witt Clinton. He was elected president of the New York Hospital in 1799, a position held by his father before him; was one of the original vice-presidents of the American Bible Society, and president of the Bank of New York, 1804-25. So highly eminent a man as Chancellor Kent had a fine and true conception of his associate that his words merit the space in presenting and preserving a description of General Clarksons character:

No person appeared to me more entirely exempted from the baneful influence of narrow and selfish considerations, or who pursued more steadily and successfully the vivid lights of Christian philanthropy. He was eminently distinguished in the whole course of his life for benevolence of temper, for purity of principle, for an active and zealous discharge of duty, for simplicity of manner, for unpretending modesty of deportment, and for integrity of heart. It was his business and delight to afford consolation to the distressed, to relieve the wants of the needy, to instruct the ignorant, to reclaim the viscious, to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. Such a portrait is not to be drawn from all the records of heathen antiquity. It presents an elevation of moral grandeur “above all Greek, above all Roman fame.” It belongs to Christianity alone to form and to animate such a character.

General Matthew Clarkson married (first) May 24, 1785, Mary, daughter of Walter and Catherine (Alexander) Rutherfurd. He was the son of Sir John Rutherfurd, of Edgerston, Scotland, the younger brother of Hon. Robert, Baron Rutherfurd, and Catherine Alexander was the daughter of James Alexander, celebrated as a colonial lawyer, and sister of Major-General William Alexander, titular Lord Stirling, of revolutionary fame. Mrs. Clarkson died July 2, 1786. General Clarkson married (second) February 14, 1792, Sally, daughter of Samuel and Susan (Mabson) Cornell. Samuel Cornell was a descendant of Richard Cornell, an early settler on Long Island and the owner of much property in North Carolina, but who lost it by confiscation, being a Tory. By the first marriage he had a single child, and six by the latter marriage.

Children: 1. Mary Rutherfurd, born July 2, 1786, died December 24, 1838; married, July 29, 1807, Peter Augustus Jay, eldest son of Chief Justice John Jay and his wife, Sarah Van Brugh (Livingston) Jay.

(VII) David (4) Clarkson, son of General Matthew (2) and Sarah (Cornell) Clarkson, was born March 27, 1795, died June 3, 1867. He was a man who added distinction in more modern times to a family name already famous, leaving a reputation which has brought the family in every branch to be respected in the metropolis. While he one in the city held more honored reputation. In more than one way did he gain this prominence, even had he not been the son of an honored father. He was president of the New York Stock Exchange for many years, and a memorial in citing the many admirable qualities of his character says of him: “By the amenity of his manners, his high sense of honor, and his great executive ability, he won the personal respect and deference of its members.” After holding this position of eminence in the financial world, he was chosen president of the Gallatin Fire Insurance Company, and acted as such almost to the time of his death. He took a natural and great interest in a number of New York’s most worthy charities. In this respect he did not require urging, but was the one to draw others into co-operation, and in this field was appreciated by many boards of benevolent institutions. He was a long time a governor of the New York Hospital, following in this in the footsteps of father and grandfather, so that for one complete century, from 1770, when the board organized, to 1870, the name was on the board. David Clarkson married, March 27, 1822, Elizabeth Streatfeild Clarkson (his cousin), who died February 11, 1886, child of Thomas Streatfeild and Elizabeth (Van Horne) Clarkson.

Children: 1. Matthew, see forward. 2. Thomas Streatfeild, born December 16, 1824, died September 15, 1902, in New York City; married, December 16, 1852, Ann Mary Clarkson, daughter of Thomas Streatfeild and Elizabeth (Clarkson) Clarkson, who died in New York City, April 7, 1895 ; by whom: Annie and Emily Vallete, the latter marrying, July 31, 1901, William A. Moore.


B B B B Banyer Clarkson, who had a stutter, and his wife Helen, who had a lisp, have been two people whose story has been present with me since I was five years old and a small boy coming to Tyringham, Massachusetts for the summer. I was born in Nov 1933. Banyer had died in 1927 and his wife died 10 years later in 1937. My father, for reasons unclear to me, had inherited the estate and gardens they had built about 1900 in Tyringham called Riverside. Banyer’s mother and my Great grandmother were sisters, children of Peter Augustus Jay and Mary Rutherfurd Clarkson. So Banyer was my father’s first cousin once removed. Before he died he had indicated that he wished the house in Tyringham to be left to my father and so it was.

We moved in in June of 1938. I remember arriving and exploring all its rooms and land. We brought a new cocker spaniel puppy with us named Josh. The house to me was huge. You drove through gates guarded by two lion statues, that are still there, up a winding drive way to the back of the house. As you faced the house the front entrance was to the right. The kitchen and “maids” area to the left. You came into a small entrance area then went into the main and largest room with the stair case running up its back. The front had large windows with a view to the Cobble, the upside down mountain in the center of Tyringham. To the front was lawn and a big hill that went down to the gardens and was fantastic to roll down. On the right side of the house was a large porch with ?Lilac vines (may have been grape). To the left were woods with a stream running down. Actually there were two streams. If you walked through the woods it would clear into old pasture land filled with blackberries and then down hill through other pastures to the valley floor.

Upstairs was a large master bedroom, over the dinning room, and two smaller bedrooms, the first for my sister, Petey, the second for me. Then there was a big room, I think over the porch, and study that was filled with parts of Banyer’s life and interests. Rocks, barometers, national geographics, scrap books, stamps, old letters.

The house to the front looked out at the cobble but it looked over the garden. Growing phlox was Helen’s passion. This had been carefully laid out with stone walls and fountains. The garden was known in botanical circles. Helen was an early member of the Stockbridge Flower and Garden Club and had won several awards for her flowers. Her garden was photographed and included in 1916 book of famous American gardens. During our first summer, Sydney Howard, the playwright was run over by his tractor. Phlox from the garden were used at his funeral.

As a five year old the gardens were of little interest to me! I was more involved with a toy lawn mower! Also there were several pastures that needed to be mowed. This meant Duffy Clark and his team of horses came, and I could ride on them. Also trout. Fishing the small streams was to become a passion of mine.

In August of 1938, our first summer there, a hurricane can up the East Coast and a huge amount of rain was dumped on the valley. I can remember the sounds of water as it can rushing down the brook and turned to go down our drive way washing it out deeper than I was tall. The valley was flooded. Almost all the bridges were washed out and it was a devastation for several weeks.

We spent summers in the house for 4 or 5 years, then it was sold to Brooke and Buddy Marshall about 1942 and we moved to a farm house in the valley. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It quickly metastasized leading to her death in 1944. My father kept the farm house and I continued my summers in Tyringham for another ten years.

This was all possible for me because of Banyer. Who was he and what was his life like? Where did he come from? The Clarkson and Jay families had close connections. Peter Augustus Jay the oldest son of John Jay and Sarah Livingston, married General Matthew Clarkson and Mary Rutherfurd’s daughter Mary Rutherfurd Clarkson. Then their youngest daughter Susan Matilda Jay married Matthew Clarkson and they both had General Matthew Clarkson as a common grandfather! Their one child was Banyer.

My looking into my Clarkson genealogy brought me first to Banyer’s father Matthew who married Susan Jay. Matthew among other accomplishments wrote a two volume book that was leather bound giving the history of the Clarkson family. Forty-five volumes were published “for the family only”. I have from Banyer and my father volume 4. It is very readable and gives wonderful insight of the history and troubles that were occurring first in England and then in New York as Church and State went through their revolutions and the impact this had on family.

His wife, Susan Matilda Jay was the youngest daughter of Peter Augustus Jay and Mary Rutherfurd Clarkson so they were second cousins. In their early marriage they were very active socially. Mathew became tired of this social life and stated to his wife “that he wished henceforth to stay at home”. While accepting no invitations he had numbers of people visit them to discuss world politics.

I wish I had more information on Matthew. He inherited considerable wealth from his parents, David and Elizabeth Clarkson. He was well educated and a prolific reader. He was well traveled. I have a scrap book of three European tours he took with his wife. The first in 1858, 116 hotels are entered. In 1865, 52 hotels are listed and in 1876 they stayed at 79 hotels. I have the dates listed on the middle trip, which they took with their 12 year old son, Banyer.. It started in July 1876 in London. In July 16 they were in Interlaken Switzerland. In August in Zurich. From August 25 to Jan 21 they were in Lausanne. Jan 25 in Marseilles, France. Feb 21 at Shephards Hotel, Cairo, Egypt, and then Cooks steamer up the Nile. March 30 to May 6 1867 in Campo. May 8-9 sail Mediterranean to Damascus.. May 17 to May 27 ill with Syrian flu in Damascus. May 27 in Athens. June 17 in Milan, Italy. June 26 to June 29 in Paris. July 15 in London. July 19 in Liverpool. July 20 sail on the China for New York. Each of their trips lasted about a year.

He also cataloged all sorts of information from newspapers etc. I have three volumes that trace events in Europe as well as the United States. Much of the clippings from one volume are from the Civil War, in 1861-65.


“(VIII) Matthew (3) Clarkson, son of David (4) and Elizabeth Streatfeild (Clarkson) Clarkson, was born in New York City, June 23, 1823. He never engaged in professional or business pursuits, yet occupied his time most worthily in lines which particularly interested him and these were often to the advantage of others. He devoted considerable time to the compilation of his family’s history, and by his painstaking efforts perfected a volume which was privately printed and relieves forthcoming generations of any necessity for research back of the present time. He is a Republican, and a member of the Episcopal church, but has not accepted office ecclesiastic or political. He joined the Order of the Cincinnati and the Huguenot Society, and his latest place of residence was at his sister’s home, No. 16 West Forty-eighth street, New York City. Matthew Clarkson married, at Calvary Church, in New York City, April 14, 1852, Susan Matilda Jay, born in that city, November 29, 1827, died at her home, No. 160 West Fifty-ninth street, June 29, 1910, daughter of Peter Augustus Jay (eldest son of John Jay and Sarah Livingston), born January 24, 1776, died February 22, 1843, married, July 29, 1807, Mary Rutherfurd Clarkson, daughter of General Nathan Clarkson and Mary i. They had one son, Banyer”


The only child of the marriage, BANYER CLARKSON(pa6/33) , married Helen Sheldon Smith in 1900 when he was 47 and she was 43. They lived in New York and built a summer estate in Tyringham, Mass.

Banyer like his father lived off his inherited wealth and spent his time collecting and organizing for what he wanted. He wrote a book of a trip to the western deserts he took when he was in his 30’s. Many rocks were collected that were brought home and ended in the Tyringham house. He collected stamps which my father also inherited. He had a collection of letters written by John Jay and other revolutionary people, that may have come from his father. He had every issue of the National Geographic magazine. He had a collection of weather forecasting tools. Barometer with huge lead bowl, wind direction and velocity, rain Gauge, etc. A regret that I have is that I did not take better care of some of this!!

My brother in law, Ned Perkins, was a small boy, lived close to Riverside. He remembers Banyer getting in his horse drawn cart and driving to Tyringham General Store for mail. He would fall asleep as soon as they got started. His horse would take him to the store and shake to wake him up.

His wife Helen Sheldon Smith was known for the garden at Riverside. Her special interest was phlox and as mentioned above she used sheep manure from the sheep at Riverside Farm to fertilize the garden. The sheep were allowed to graze on the cobble, across the Hop brook, and kept the grass, etc down. Next came cows and now it’s a tractor!

She was very active with the Lenox Garden Club. The garden was photographed and published in a collection of famous gardens in the United States in 1906. She invited members of the Lenox Garden Club Council as their guests at Riverside, in Tyringham. “ this afternoon. (July 1906) Mrs. Edward Spencer read a paper on delphiniums, and there was a contest among members of the council who exhibited floral specimens.”

He had many philanthropic interests. Part of his life was involvement with the Jay Cemetery. He was one of the three original trustees and was active with the development of the Cemetery..

ObitNYGS: . “BANYER CLARKSON. 1854-1928. Banyer Clarkson, an Annual Member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, died October 20, 1928, at his summer home at Tyringham, Massachusetts. His funeral was held in St. Paul’s Church, Stockbridge, on Octo- ber 22. The interment took place in the Jay family cemetery at Harrison, New York. Mr. Clarkson was born in New York City on March 13, 1854, the son of Matthew6 Clarkson and his wife Susan Matilda Jay. He was descended in a direct male line from Matthew1 Clarkson (ab. 1665-1702), who emigrated in 1685, and his wife Catherine Van Schaick, through the following line: David2 (1694-1751), and Ann Margaret Freeman; David* (1726-1782), and Elizabeth French; General Matthew’ (1758-1825), and his second wife Sarah Cornell; David,5 and his wife Elizabeth Streatfield6 Clarkson (who was also his cousin, daughter of Thomas Streatfield’ Clarkson, a brother of Gen. Matthew Clarkson) ; Matthew6 and Susan Matilda Jay ; Banyer7 Clarkson. General Matthew’ Clarkson took a prominent part in the Revolution, and was one of the original members of the Society of the Cincinnati. His member- ship certificate, signed by George Washington at Mount Vernon, is still preserved in the family. Susan Matilda5 Jay, the mother of Mr. Clarkson, died June 29, 1910. She was a grand daughter of the Honorable John3 (Peter, 2 Augustus1) Jay (1745- 1829), first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and his wife Sarah Van Brugh Livingston, through his son Peter Augustus’ Jay (1776-1843), who married Mary Rutherford5 Clarkson, a daughter of Gen. Matthew’ Clarkson by his first wife, Mary Rutherford. It is thus seen that of Mr. Banyer Clarkson’s four grandparents, three of them were born Clarkson. Banyer Clarkson married on December 6, 1900, Miss Helen Shelton Smith, daughter of Denton Smith and Harriet Emmons Shelton. He was a member of the Sons of the Revolution, the Society of Colonial Wars, the St. Nicholas So- ciety, the Huguenot Society, and the Society of the Cincinnati. His residence in New York was at I I East 92nd Street. Mr. Clarkson had no children, and is survived by his widow. “