Vredenburg Searcher Vol. 3, No. 2, and Vol. 3, No. 3. Fall 1995

William J Vredenburg of Skaneateles, NY
Peter Vredenburgh of Springfield, Sangamon County, IL


I have recently heard from Ruth Ann Kelley of Hart, Michigan. She has sent along a copy of a printout from the automated archives CD of Michigan land grants for the name Vredenburg, Fredenburg etc. She has identified Alfred Fredenburg and Jacob Fredenburg as sons of Stephen Fredenburg. She asked if I could identify Eli and John B. Fredenburg. I have identified Eli Fredenburg as the son of John Fredenburg and Anna Shower, and John B. Fredenburg and the husband of Bathia Van Hagen. This family came from Ghent, NY to Orleans County, New York, and then to Michigan in the 1830s. Eli Fredenburg is my great great Grandmother's brother. She was born Henrietta Vredenburg in 1822. Her birthplace is listed as Ontario, Canada, but it is possible it may be Ontario County, New York. Any person with any data on these Michigan pioneers, contact this publication with your thoughts. There has been such a great response to this publication, that we are now only printing things received several months ago. We need more reporters in other parts of the US.

Our Readers Write

Michele Fredenburg of 325 S. Third St. #142 Las Vegas, NV 89101, has contacted me. She is searching for the father of Emmet Fredenburg who may have been born in New York in 1874. I believe that Emmet was born in Michigan. He married Louise in 1899 and had four known children whose names were Myrtle, Aldine, Francis, and Emery. This family moved from Michigan to Missouri. Anyone who can add to this family's history, please contact Michele at the above address.

page 2

William J. Vredenburg of Skaneateles, New York William

John Vredenburg, (sometimes referred to as William I. Vredenburg) was one of the most prominent early settlers of the village of Skaneateles, Onondaga County, New York.

William J. Vredenburgh

William J. Vredenburgh

He was the great-great grandson of Willem Isaacszen Van Vredenburg and Appolonia Barents Cool, great grandson of Johannis Van Vredenburg and Johanna Monfour de la Montagne, and grandson of Willem Van Vredenburg and Willemyntje Nack.

His father was John William Van Vredenburg, born 6 March 1730 at the Reformed Dutch Church of New York, died 30 September 1794. His mother was Marytje Van Wagenen, born 12 May 1734, died 27 March 1773, daughter of Gerritt Van Wagenen and Teuntje Van Den Burgh. John William Van Vredenburg and Marytje Van Wagenene were married 12 May 1755 and had the following children:

1) Teuntje (or Tryntje), born 25 March 1756, baptized 31 March 1756 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church, married Abraham Varick, baptized 29 April 1750, son of John Varick and Jane Dey. Abraham Varick's brother, Robert Varick, was the first elected mayor of New York, 1789-1791.

2) Willem, born 31 May 1758, died 13 July 1758.

3) Willem Johannis, (Subject of this article).

4) Willemyntje, born 17 October 1762, baptized 31 October 1762 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church, married Dr. William Wheeler of Red Hook, New York.

5) Johannis, born 5 May 1764, baptized 16 May 1764 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church, died 30 August 1764.

6) Gerritt, born 23 September 1766, baptized 5 October 1766 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church, died 8 September 1767.

During the American Revolution John William Van Vredenburg served three years in the New York Militia and Continental Army, including the company of Grenadiers from 1775-1776. As a result of his efficient service in Colonel Lasher's Regiment at the White Plains Camp, he was promoted from the rank of Sergeant to Lieutenant. The document recommending his promotion, dated 26 October 1776, reads, "John Vredenburg, whose Captain & Lieutenant are gone up to the Regulars, and has done the duty of the whole company since, and has acted as Captain."

John William Van Vredenburg was probably the "hatter" who with his wife Mary mortgaged a lot and storehouse in the dock ward of New York "opposite to his messuage of dwelling, storehouse & other lott of ground fronting the street commonly called Dock Street Wharf" and that sold to David Masterton "A parcel lying in the dock ward under water" and opposite his "certain store house adjoining the dock or street commonly called Little Water Street." The Dock Street mentioned is presumed to be the same as Great Dock Street, subsequently renamed Pearl Street. The "messuage or dwelling" was probably old homestead No. 46 or 62. From 1771 to 1773 he sold beaver hats for 2.50 each (four for 9) and he also cleaned them. He is believed to have been living at Red Hook, New York during the Revolutionary War, at which time his brother-in-law, H. C. Van Wagenen was in charge of the store.

William John Vredenburg was born 18 April 1760 in New York City, and baptized 20 April 1760 at the Reformed Dutch Church of New York.

William John Vredenburg enlisted at age seventeen in Captain Peter Van Renssalaer's Company, Colonel James Livingston's Regiment. By June 23, 1791 he attained the rank of Captain. He was a Colonel in the new York State Militia, a title he retained ever afterward.

On 30 April 1789 he escorted George Washington from the ferry, riding proudly a the head of his company, to the corner of Broad and Wall Streets to be inaugurated.

He was in height about six feet, and it is said that he had a handsome and commanding face and that he was a fine specimen of the perfect gentleman.

He married twice. On 3 September 1780 he married Elizabeth Townsend, born 25 April 1763 in Stamford, Connecticut, residing on Cherry Street in New York, born 27 April 1763, died 14 July 1798, daughter of Platt Townsend and Elizabeth Hubbard of Oyster Bay. The marriage took place in New York City while the British were still in occupation. William John Vredenburg had the following children by his first wife, Elizabeth Townsend:

1) Maria Hubbard, born 3 September 1785 in New York City, baptized 4 November 1785 a the New York City Trinity Church Parish, died 24 April 1876 at Skaneateles. On 29 April 1800 she and her sister, Eliza Vredenburg, entered a celebrated boarding school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania conducted by the Moravians. Maria left around September 1801, but Eliza remained at least until March 1803. On 29 September 1803 Maria married Charles John Burnett, Sr., born 1774 in London, England, died 16 February 1856 at Skaneateles, New York, son of John Burnett and Elizabeth Kinch of Oxfordshire, England. The Marriage service was held in the parlor of the Charles Burnett's residence in Skaneateles.

In early life Charles entered the mercantile house of a relative at Lisbon, Portugal. In 1794 Charles was engaged in commercial business in Malaga, Spain. After residing in Lisbon for a while, and also at Malaga, Spain, he went to Gibraltar in 1796 due to the war between Spain and England. Afterward he returned to England. Soon after he came to this country and settled in Skaneateles in 1803 with William John Vredenburg, with whom he had previously had business relations while in Spain and Portugal. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen on 22 July 1803 at the New York City Court of the Justice of the Peace. He served as Postmaster of Skaneateles, New York form 1817 to 1843, and he served as warden of St. James Church from 1824 to 1856.

Maria Hubbard Vredenburgh

Maria Hubbard Vredenburgh
(From a silhouette)

2) Eliza, born 1790, married 24 December 1811 in Skaneateles, New York Honorable James Porter of Skaneateles, New York.

3) Cornelia born 1793 married 24 December 1810 Walter Weed, a merchant of Albany.

4) Evelina, born 1795, died 1834 in New York City, married 14 July 1814 Enos Thompson Throop of Auburn, New York, born 21 August 1784 at Johnstown, New York, died 1 November 1874, son of George Bliss Throop and Abiah Thompson of Dutchess County, New York. Enos Throp was a member of Congress, 1815-1816; elected Lieutenant Governor of New York State, 1828; succeeded Governor in 1830 and served until 1833; and Charge d'affaires at Naples, 1838-1842. The family resided in Auburn, New York and they had three children, all of whom died in infancy. About 1840 Enos purchased a farm in Michigan, and resided about 4 miles from Kalamazoo.

5) A son, died in infancy.

6) A son, died in infancy.

Sometime between February and May 1799 William John Vredenburg married Mary Rozier Gilzean, a resident of Newton on Long Island, widow of Dr. William Gilzean. She was a young widow, an English lady of culture and refinement. From her late husband she inherited 30 acres in Newtown. William John Vredenburg had the following children by his second wife, Mary Rozier Gilzean:

7) William T., married Narcissa I. Dascomb.

8) John Varick, born 5 February 1802, married 4 December 1825 Marianna Schuyler, born 27 July 1800, daughter of Harmanus P. Schuyler and Mary Dean of Locust Grove near Schenectady, New York.. He removed to Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio.

William John Vredenburg was brought up a merchant, and was largely in the shipping and commission business. After the Revolutionary War he was engaged in a commission and storage business with his father. His place of business was on Stone Street, near the lower end of Broadway. At another period his place of business was on the northerly side of Water Street, the building running through the block to Pearl Street and on the opposite side stood his residence, which was not far from Broad Street. He combined as early as 1785 with John Currie. The firm name Currie & Vredenburgh sold various consignments (mostly for captains of vessels) of goods in store on 21/2 percent commission - flour, butter, flaxseed, beeswax, beans, Indian corn, apples, snuff, barrels of codfish, peas, buckwheat, barrels of beef, pork, chocolate, hardware, dry goods, bow saws, joists and laths, planks and boards, casks, boxes, trunks, nails, and buckskin breeches. The partnership was dissolved in 1787.

In 1788 he was selling and purchasing goods (flour, butter, salt, rum. etc.) through Captain Batt. Flowers along the Atlantic Coast (New York, Pennsylvania, along the Delaware River, and in the Carolinas).

He also invested in purchases of land in Vermont. He engaged in the importation of Redemptioners. As early as 1790 he was a large operator speculating in military lots, soldiers' claims, and all kinds of pay and public securities due to officers and soldiers. He bought bounty lands of 600 acres each; for most he paid an average of 3.40 to 3.80; for some he paid as high as 8.0.0. On the list of Military Patents, dated 28 December 1792, he held 69, more than nearly anyone else, totaling 45,600 acres. He also purchased "Sufferers Lands." These were claims on the south side of Lake Erie set aside by the State of Connecticut.

Beginning in 1793 he engaged in foreign trade, sailing to Malaga, Spain, to France and other ports in Europe with barrels of rum, coffee, tea, corned beef, prime beef, and flour. He owned a number of vessels and chartered others, including the Belvidere (ship, New York to London), Prince & Liberty (schooner, New York to St. Croix), Nancy (brig, bought for the trade to Le Chat), Cape Charlotte (voyages to Honduras and Guadaloupe), Sally (schooner, sold for $1,400), Betsy, Fox (brigs), Harriet (schooner), Almena (sloop), La Victorieuse (corsaire), Justina, Esther, and Eliza. In addition to trading with Europe, the West Indies, and South American ports, he engaged in trading ventures with China, obtaining tea, silk, porcelain, and ginseng in exchange for American products.

In 1789 he was living on the corner of Great Dock (or Pearl Street) and Broad. From 1794-1799 he rented a residence at No. 3 Stone Street in New York from Thomas Storm for 50 quarterly. He also lived on Staten Island. He appears to have been living at Newtown, Long Island when he remarries, but his "home" was still No. 3 Stone Street, in New York. He rented a house and farm owned by Mrs. Smith of Newtown, Long Island from 1 May 1799 until about 17 April 1802.

William J. Vredenburgh Home on Boston Road

William J. Vredenburgh Home on Boston Road
From a drawing by Maria Vredenburgh

In May 1803 he moved his family to Skaneateles. He constructed a colonial mansion in the years 1804-1806 at the eastern boundary of the village, which overlooked the whole expanse of Skaneateles Lake. The house was sold after William's death and subsequently destroyed in a fire in 1872.


William J. Vredenburgh mansion, Skaneateles, NY

William J. Vredenburgh Mansion
Skaneateles, NY

While residing in New York City William attended the Episcopal Church and he also held a pew at Old Trinity Church. After moving to Skaneateles he was one of the Wardens of St. Peter's Church in Auburn, New York.

He was for may years a prominent citizen of Onondaga County. He was appointed deputy Postmaster of Skaneateles form about 1803 until 1813. He was a member of the New York Assembly for Onondaga County, 1805-1806; Judge of the Court of Common Pleas; Justice of the Sessions, 1804-1805 and again in 1808. He was given charge of he colonial manuscript land papers of New York and also the State Survey of the Military Tract and the Land Ceded to Massachusetts. Colonel Vredenburg died at Skaneateles 9 May 1813.

Page 6

History of Sangamon County, Illinois

VREDENBURGH, Peter, who helped build up and develop one of the leading lumber enterprises of business since 1878, and is in every respect a self-made man. His business career has been remarkable, beginning when he was a boy of eleven years, at which time he herded cattle for five months for twenty-five dollars. He is a native of Sangamon County, born in Curran Township, February 7, 1837, son of John S. and Ann E. (Doremus) Vredenburg, the former born in Somerset County, N. J., March 11, 1809, and the latter born in New York City, October 12, 1810. The father removed to New York City in 1821, and he and his wife lived in that city several years after their marriage, two of their children being born there. They removed to Sangamon County in 1835, arriving there July 20. They located first in Curran Township, later moving to Springfield. They had two children born in Curran Township and four in the city of Springfield. John S. Vredenburgh engaged for a time in mercantile business, but later confined his attention chiefly to his growing lumber business. He served two terms as Alderman and was Mayor of the city from April, 1864, to April, 1865. He and his wife ere parents of eight children, namely: Maria V. D., Frances D., Peter, Thomas D., John S., Jr., Anne E., Margaret and LaRue.

Until he was ten years of age Peter Vredenburgh attended a subscription school taught by Francis Springer and for two years studied under the direction of Peter Van Orman. He lived with his parents until nineteen years of age, then went to Peoria and sold lime for D. Martin & Company, of Springfield, and to years later moved to Alton in the interests of the same firm. He was afterwards engaged in a similar firm. He was afterwards engaged in a similar line of business at Decatur, and soon after this spent four years conducting his father's farm. In partnership with J. T. Smith. Later he purchased this farm, comprising 334 acres, and still owns the property. About the time of the Civil War Peter Vredenburgh became a member of the lumber firm with which his father was connected, which was doing business under the firm name of E. R. Ullrich & Company, buying the interests of Mr. Ullrich, and a year later returned to the farm and resumed agricultural pursuits. He sold his lumber interests to his brothers upon their return from the Civil War and remained upon his farm until 1878, when he purchased the lumber business, which was then owned by his father, becoming sole owner and proprietor, and operating under the name of Peter Vredenburgh Lumber Company. The business was incorporated in 1900, and he sold stock to his five sons.

Mr. Vredenburgh rented a small planing mill in Springfield in 1898, but a few years later felt warranted in erecting a mill of his own. In 1903 the firm purchased 9,000 acres of pine timber land in the vicinity of Pine Hill, Ala., purchased and improved a large mill and erected several new buildings which were equipped with modern machinery, a valuable asset in conducting a business of the kind. Peter Vredenburgh, Jr., who was well informed in every detail of the lumber business and had gained valuable experience, moved to Alabama to assume charge of the southern branch of the work. The lumber yards at Springfield burned in 1904., but were rebuilt on a larger scale, and the business has been constantly increasing. The value of their product increases in value from year to year, as the available supply decreases. Some seventy men are employed in the planing mill, about forty in the yard and office, and about one hundred in the plant in Alabama. Mr. Vredenburgh also employs about ten men on his farm, which is conducted under the supervision of his son-in-law, Mr. Merrick. From their vast lumber estate in the South the company ships lumber by the carload to all parts of the united States, and their retail lumber yard in Springfield is believed to be the largest of its kind in the country. The annual output from Alabama is immense and the growth in all lines of the business has been largely the result of the energy and force of character displayed by the hear of this gigantic enterprise. He has been indefatigable in keeping in touch with the many details of the work under his control and in preparing his sons to assist him has secured their future welfare.

Mr. Vredenburgh was married in Springfield, December 27, 1866, to Miss Mary A. Canfield, born in New Jersey, July 5, 1846, daughter of Joiah F. and Abigail (Clark) Canfield, the former born in Morristown, N. J., and the later in Philadelphia. Josiah Canfield was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church and moved to Sangamon County, where he owned land, about 1855, remaining in the county about forty years, then went to the New Jersey coast for his health and died there. His widow survived him, having been born May 24, 1819. Mrs. Vredenburgh graduated with the Class of 1866 for Springfield High School and has since been prominent in the alumni association. She is active in church and benevolent circles and is also a member of the Woman's Club, of Springfield. The family have a delightful home at the corner of Sixth and Edwards Streets. Ten children were born to Mr. Vredenburgh and his wife, namely: Abbie C., born January 31, 1868; Francis D., born March 3, 1870, died April 12 of the same year; John S., born February 16, 1871, was married October 19, 1902, to Mary R. Gillespie, and they live in Springfield; Anna Elizabeth, born October 5, 1873 was married May 24, 1809, to C. S. Merrick; Peter, born January 10, 1876, married Miss Pussy Hoskins, January 12, 1897, and they have two children - Thomas Sellers, born December 16, 1898, and Peter, born January 7, 1904; Thomas D., born March 24, 1878, was married May 10, 1899, to Miss Lucy Pease and they have two children - W. Ogden, born February 9, 1900, and T. Doremus, February 9, 1902; Robert O., born February 24, 1880, was married June 20, 1900, to Miss Jessie C. Sholes, a native of Sangamon County, and they have one child, Clarice, born April 15, 1902; LaRue, born July 29, 1882; Edward W., born March 27, 1887, died April 10 of the same year; Reynolds W., born March 13, 1888. All the sons are engaged in business with their father and have received good business training.

In religious views Mr. Vredenburgh is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, and he is interested in every measure he believes will advance the welfare of his community. In business dealings he has always been actuated by motives of honesty and integrity, and has reached his present successful position through open-handed transactions, having a reputation that is unsullied by doubt of his honesty of purpose and upright character. He is a great lover of his family and home and has always had their interest in mind in formulating his plans. He is genial and kindly of manner and nature, and has a host of sincere friends, and among whom he is a he is very popular. He is a Democrat in State and National politics, but in local affairs works and votes for the man rather than the party. He has served as a member of the School Board of Springfield, but has preferred to give his undivided attention to his own life, through he is intensely interested in current events and issues and ready to do his duty as a private citizen.