Category Archives: Van Wyck History

OUR DUTCH BLOOD: VAN WYCK and POLHEMUS ANCESTORS

My mother’s mother was Marie Louise POLHEMUS who married Courtland DIXON. Her ancestors were from the Dutch immigrants that settled in Brooklyn before the Revolution. Her mother was Marie Tiebolt Van WYCK and father was Theodorus POLHEMUS, both residents of Brooklyn.


Maria Tiebout Van Wyck was born circa 1815 at New York. She was the daughter of Jacob J Van Wyck and Cornelia Polhemus. Maria married Theodore Polhemus. Census Aug 12, 1850 Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, real estate value 6,000.00 Census Jun 19, 1860 Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, real estate value 10,000.00, personal property 50,000.00 Census-Occ Jun 19, 1860 a merchant Children of Maria Tiebout Van Wyck and Theodore Polhemus Cornelia Van Wyck Polhemus b. circa 1839, d. Apr 14, 1911 Rebecca Augusta Polhemus b. circa 1841 Theodore Polhemus b. circa 1842 Catherine Polhemus b. circa 1844 Garatta Polhemus b. circa 1851 Maria Louisa Phloemus b. circa 1856

Marie Louise Polhemus paternal grandfather Theodorus Polhemus and maternal grandmother Cornelia Polhemus were brother and sister. Cornelia married Jacob Griffen Van Wyck. Theodorus married Rebecca Ditmas.

The common Polhemus relative was Theodorus Theodorus Polhemus who had married Mary Tunis Tiebout. His father Theodorus built the family house in Brooklyn near Prospect Park, that would become the family house for four generations.

His father Abraham was involved in Brooklyn politics.

Abraham Polhemius was baptized March 19, 1697, in the Brooklyn Dutch Church and was living in July 1772 when deeded land in Jamaica to his son Johannes. About 1718 he married (1st) Gertrude Remsen, a daughter of Jacob and Gertrude (Vandervliet) Remsen, and (2nd) about 1733, Sarah_______. Throughout his life he resided in Jamaica and his name appears frequently in the records there. He was one of the Justices of the Peace present at the town meeting held April 21, 1753, and April 6, 1756, and a year later, on April 5, 1757 he was chosen Overseer of Highways for the town. Apparently, he had been a Justice of the Peace at that time for some years, the earliest record being for 1743. In 1743 there was dissatisfaction with the minister, Dominc Henry Goetschius, and serious charges were lodged against him. In his letter that year to the Classis at Amsterdam, the minister related that his accusers “brought Mr. Polhemius, my bitterest enemy, a justice of the peace from a village ten miles off” to take the affidavit and that the “orthography, style, punctuation, and the whole composition betrays the skill of Mr. Plhemius” On Sept. 4, 1741 Thomas Smith of Jamaica conveyed for 185 pounds to Abraham Polhemius and others, as agents and trustees of the Dutch Reformed Congregation in Queens County (embracing the towns of Jamaica, Newtown, Flushing, and Oyster Bay), ten acres of land in Jamaica. The transaction was recorded Oct. 16 1741

The Polhemus line continues back through another Theodorus to the Rev Johannesburg Theodorus Polhemus who came to settle in Brooklyn with his family about 1654 to serve as Domine in the Dutch church. He had been a missionary in Brazil.

The very interesting story of Reverend Johannes Theodorus Polhemus. He was born in 1598 in Zweickirchen, Rhenish, Bayern, Germany. Reverend Johannes Theodorus Polhemus originally preached in the Palatinate, Germany. Later moved to Holland and preached (where he married his wife?) and then back in Germany. They moved to Brazil in 1637 at the request of Count Maurice of Nassau, West Indies, who asked for a capable minister to come. The Synod of North Holland chose Johannes Theodorus Polhemus. Four ships left Amsterdam, Holland in October 1636 and arrived in Brazil in January 1637. The Dutch established colonies in Brazil in 1630 after conquering the Portuguese. Polhemus was sent to the island of Itamarca with Dutch settlers. His older children were born there. When the natives rebelled, the Dutch moved back to the mainland in 1647. In 1654 the Portuguese won the land back from the Dutch and the settlers were given three months to leave Brazil or stay and become Catholics. A fleet of 16 Dutch ships arrived to evacuate the Dutch Protestants and some Dutch Jews. Polhemus’ wife and children were on a different ship than he; they returned to Holland, but he did not. The Dutch ship Rev. Polhemus was on was captured by Spanish pirates. They in turn were overtaken by a French man-o-war ship called the Saint Charles. The French delivered the Dutch passengers to New Amsterdam in September 1654. Catherine Polhemus asked the church to give her the money owed to her husband so she and the children could join him in New Amsterdam. The West India Company gave Catherine some of the money owed to her husband, and she and the children sailed aboard the ship “Golden Otter” to New Amsterdam in 1656 and were reconnected with Reverend Polhemus. This story is a transcription from Genealogies of Long Island Families, Vol. I, The Reverend Johannes Theodorus Polhemus and some of his descendants.


12) The first Domine, coming in August, 1652, was Johannes Theodorus Polhemus, a former missionary to Brazil. He preached at Flatbush in the morning, and in the afternoon alternately at Breuckelen ‘ and Nieuw Amersfoordt. On his arrival the Director- General called the congregation together for their approval of him. They consented to receive him, and to pay a salary of one thousand and forty guilders. Later the people of Breuckelen objected to paying their proportion, on the plea that his sermons were too short. *(e.l.i.)

Rev Johannes Theodorus Polhemus married Catherine Van Wervan and had several children, one being Theodorus. His sister, Anna married Cornelius Van WYCK! Which starts the next search!

The Van WYCK- POLHEMUS connection

Cornelius Barentse Van WYCK married Anna POLHEMUS, the daughter of Rev Johannes and Catherine Polhemus.

Anna born about 1649, probably at Itamarca, Brazil, and was living in 1702. She married, about 1667, Cornelis Barentse Van Wyck, progenitor of the Van Wyck family in this country. He was a native of Holland and came to New Netherland about 1660 and settled in Midwout. His name appears on the tax lists as early as 1664 and he was allotted meadows in Canarsie (now a part of Brooklyn) in 1668. He was chosen Constable of Flatbush in 1675, and he took the Oath of Allegiance to William, Prince of Orange, on September 26, 1687, at which time he stated that he had been in this country twenty-seven years. He was living as late as 1712 as he was a witness on May 12th of that year at the marriage of his youngest daughter Adriantje. Cornelius & Anna (Polhemus) Van Wick had seven children

The Van Wyck family descends from Cornelius Barentse Van Wyck one of the first emigrants from the Netherlands who came over in 1660 and settled at Midwout (Flatbush) Long Island. He married Anna Polhemus a daughter of Theodorus Polhemus, the first reformed Minister on Long Island.* (Hollanders)

They had several children, their first born Theodorus lived in Brooklyn and Great Neck, Queens. He married Margaretta Brinckerhoff and they had several children.

Theodorus Van Wyck, son of Cornelius Barentse and Anna (Polhemus) Van Wyck. was born September 17, 1668, died December 4, 1753; married Margaretta Brinckerhoff. February 3, 1605, daughter of Abraham Jorise Brinckerhoff, born at Flushing, Holland, 1612, died, New York City, 1714, who married, May 20, 1660, Aeltje Strycker, daughter of Jan Strycker, born 1615, died 1699, a captain at Midmont, Long Island. 1673, and delegate to conventions, 1653-64-6;.

Their children were Cornelius b 1694, Abraham b 1695, Theodorus b 1697, Catharine b 1699, Susanna b 1701, Barent b 1702, Altje b 1706. It is the descendants of Cornelius that is in our direct line.

When CORNELIUS VAN WYCK was born on April 21, 1694, in Brooklyn, New York, his father, THEODORUS, was 25 and his mother, MARGRIETJE, was 19. He married HANNAH THORNE on February 19, 1717, in Fishkill, New York. They had seven children in 15 years. He died on January 28, 1761, in Fishkill, New York, at the age of 66.

From the FISHKILL historic society newsletter
In 1732, Cornelius Van Wyck (1694–1761), a surveyor, built a house with three rooms on 959 acres (approximately 3.88 km²) of land he had purchased from Catheryna Rombout Brett, the daughter of Francis Rombouts, who was one of the grantees of the original patent to the land in the area issues by King James II of England. Later (before the year 1757) the house was extended and the original structure became the east wing of the enlarged house. Since then, the building has remained a Dutch colonial construction featuring a characteristic central hall with two identical doors. During the American Revolutionary War, the property was the home of Isaac Van Wyck. However, because of its strategic location with regard to the Hudson River and major roads, the Old Albany Post Road (later US 9) running north-south and the road running east-west (later NY 52 and Interstate 84), it was requisitioned by the Continental Army. The building became the headquarters of the Fishkill Supply Depot, which was created on the orders of George Washington in 1775. The depot was a military camp and storage yard which became the main provider of artillery and food for about 4,000 troops stationed in the area to prevent the British forces from passing New York City and capturing the Hudson Valley (the latter a major strategic goal of the British at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War). 70 acres (28 ha) of land surrounding the house were used for a large encampment of over 2,000 soldiers and many facilities such as an artillery park for repairing cannons, a blacksmith shop, barracks, a storehouse, and stables were set up. The Van Wyck Homestead is the last remaining structure of the supply depot. Itserved as headquarters to General Israel Putnam and was visited by revolutionary leaders such as George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Alexander McDougall, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Inside the house, courts-martial were held in the home’s parlor. A walnut tree, which stood in front of the house until 1898 when it was toppled by a storm, served as a whipping tree for punishing soldiers. An iron claw which was attached to the tree for this purpose was recovered from the tree and is now on display in the house. The mock trial of Enoch Crosby, who had infiltrated a loyalist group and is considered as the first secret agent of the United States, was held in the building. The house is therefore the likely setting for James Fenimore Cooper’s novel, “The Spy” which is based on Enoch Crosby’s story. The Van Wyck house also served as the Quartermaster Department in charge of clothing the troops. In addition to its military functions, it also housed the printing press for the newspaper “New York Packet”, which was relocated to the Van Wyck homestead from British-occupied New York City. Besides the newspaper, orders for the Army were also printed and the newspaper’s publisher, Samuel Loudon, was appointed Postmaster for the State of New York with Fishkill becoming the official New York State Post Office.”

This was the start of the Van Wyck family in Fishkill. Cornelius moved there from Brooklyn about 1732. They had several children. Phebe b 1717, Theodorus b. 1720, Margaret b 1722, Catharine b 1725, Abraham b 1727, Maj RICHARD b 1729, Cornelius b 1732. Our descendants are through Major Richard Van WYCK.

Cornelius, “the Builder” (of the Van Wyck Homestead), as we often refer to him, died before 1775 as did two of his sons, Theodorus and Cornelius. A third son, Richard Van Wyck of Hopewell (1729-1810) did take part in the activities which led to American independence. He served as a major in the 2nd Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia. He was one of the signers of the Oath of Association professing allegiance to the American cause which was written at Jacob Griffen’s house August 15, 1775. There were six other adult Van Wycks among the 502 signatories. No Van Wycks refused to sign. Major Richard Van Wyck was also Chairman of the Vigilance Committee also known as “Committee of Safety or Observation” during the war. Richard’s home is still standing and is currently used as McHoul’s Funeral Home in Hopewell Junction, NY. Richard’s son, Cornelius R. (1753-1782), was 22 when the “Oath of Association” was signed by him. He was quartermaster of the 2nd Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia and captain in the Dutchess Minute Men. Family legend says that he was in the staff office of George Washington. A second son of Major Richard, Theodorus R. (1761-1839), saw service at age 16 when he was placed in charge of his father’s team to aid in removing General Putnam’s camp to Danbury. Theodorus also served on the Vigilance Committee. Isaac Van Wyck, grandson of Cornelius, “the Builder” Isaac Van Wyck, grandson of Cornelius, “the Builder”, (1755-1811), was ensign, 1775, then captain, 1778 in the 2nd Regiment of Dutchess County Militia under Colonel Dirck Brinckerhoff. As a private in 1777 he was under Capt. W. Swartwout guarding the passes in the Highlands. The pension application of William Hill states that under Isaac Van Wyck, he marched to West Point to garrison that fort in 1780 and then assisted in building a fort on Constitution Island. In the spring of 1781 a Massachusetts regiment was ordered to the Highlands. Upon arriving at Fishkill, they turned south on the Albany Post Road and stopped at the Fishkill Supply Depot encampment. One young soldier entered the tavern and warmed himself by the fire. However, feeling faint he was helped by the lady of the house who insisted he rest overnight before joining the troops at the barracks. That soldier was Deborah Sampson who had enlisted posing as a young man. The lady of the house may have been Elizabeth, or Betsy, Van Wyck, the 23 year old wife of Isaac. Whether the house had been a tavern and the helpful housewife was Betsy Van Wyck has not been able to be documented in any way. But, it is an interesting story. Cornelius T. Van Wyck, died in 1776 was the son of Theodorus and grandson of Cornelius, “the Builder”. He was captain in the 5th Regiment of Dutchess County Militia under Col. Jacob Griffen. He was killed in an ambush at the Battle of White Plains, October 31, 1776. Theodorus C. Van Wyck, also grandson of “the Builder” was known as Continental Dorus and did serve in the Revolutionary Army.
Published in Fishkill Historic Society News Letter 2014.

Major Richard Van Wyck, as noted took part in the Revolution and after settled in Fishkill. He married Barbara Van Voorhes and they had four children. Their third child Theodorus is our direct ancestor. Barbara Van Voorhes sister Mary Coert Van Vorhes married our GGGgrandfather Petrus Du Bois. He died from a horse fall and she then married the first cousin of Richard, DR. Theodorus Van Wyck also of Fishkill, in whose house the Jay Family stayed during the first part of the Revolution.

Richard Van Wyck M, #248408, b. 28 Dec 1729, d. 5 Apr 1810 Richard Van Wyck was born on 28-Dec-1729. He was the son of Cornelius Van Dyck and Hannah Thorne. Richard married Barbara Van Voorhees, daughter of Coert Van Voorhees and Catherine Filkin, on 12-May-1749. Richard Van Wyck died on 5-Apr-1810 at Fishkill, Dutchess County, New York, at age 80. He was also known as Richard Van Dyck. Children of Richard Van Wyck and Barbara Van Voorhees Cornelius R. Van Wyck+ b. 6 Jan 1753, d. 1 Oct 1820 Catherine Van Wyck+ b. 23 Nov 1756, d. 22 Nov 1825 Theodorus R. Van Wyck+ b. 19 Nov 1761, d. 7 Feb 1839 Hannah Van Wyck+ b. 30 Jun 1764, d. 13 Jan 1827.

Theodorus R. Van WYCK served during the Revolution as a young man at age 16. After the war he married Hannah Griffen and they had three children. Their second child was Jacob Griffen Van WYCK who is our direct ancestor.

A second son of Major Richard, Theodorus R. (1761-1839), saw service at age 16 when he was placed in charge of his father’s team to aid in removing General Putnam’s camp to Danbury. Theodorus also served on the Vigilance Committee.

Theodorus R. Van Wyck was born on Nov 19, 1761. He was the son of Richard Van Wyck and Barbara Van Voorhees. Theodorus R. Van Wyck was baptized on Jan 12, 1762 at Dutch Reformed Church, Fishkill, Dutchess County, New York. Theodorus married Hannah Griffin, daughter of Col. Jacob Griffin, on Sep 4, 1785. Theodorus R. Van Wyck died on Feb 7, 1839 at age 77. He was also known as Theodore R. Van Wyck. Children of Theodorus R. Van Wyck and Hannah Griffin Richard Thorne Van Wyck+ b. Sep 19, 1789, d. Apr 13, 1826 Jacob J Van Wyck+ b. Jun 5, 1791, d. Sep 4, 1828 Maria Van Wyck+ b. 1794, d. Dec 8, 1831

Jacob Griffen Van Wyck married Cornelia Theodorus Polhemus in 1814 in Laizhou, Yexian, Shandong, China. Cornelia Polhemus is the child of Theodorus and Rebecca Ditmas. They moved back to Brookly Their daughter Marie Tiebout Van WYCK married back into the Polhemus family, marrying Theodorus Polhemus, my great grandparents.

So we are back at the beginning. Theodorus Polhemus married Marie Tiebout Van Wyck and had several children, the youngest being my grandmother, Marie Louise Polhemus.

Long association with Brooklyn and Fishkill!