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Van Sicklen-Lossing/Lawson & Brower Heirs
Posted by: Richard Alan McCool Date: September 26, 2001 at 10:16:51
In Reply to: Re: Van Siclen/Van Sicklen Controversy revisited” by Van of 1585

Dear Van,

While Ed is "face-value-evidencing" himself out of his proper ancestry, perhaps you will engage me regarding the Van Sicklen-Lossing/Lawsons?

I have before me a court document filed with the Supreme Court, Kings County, New York 10 August 1912. In the brief, the Plaintiff John Johnston alleges that he is entitled to a portion of the proceeds from the sale of land in Gravesend. Of this land it is said in article

"v. On information and belief that thereafter said Cornelius Van Sicklen died seized of said lots one (1) and eleven (11) and twelve (12) and that by reason of the descent and conveyances thereafter, the parties to this action are now seized of and said lots of land in the shares and proportions herein stated."

These lots were laid out in 1766 by the Town of Gravesend within what was called "Hugh Garretsen's Meadow."

As a point of reference, we have from Pelletreau's "Families of Historic Lineage" that ".... Reinier was a leading man of Gravesend, where he took part in church and civil affairs. On April 15, 1698, he bought of William Wilkins for £185 twenty acres and some smaller lots in Gravesend. He also bought of John Gulick, John Griggs and Samuel Garretsen, of Gravesend, for £196, all their rights in the mill standing on Storm or Stoorm Kill, at Hugh Garretsen's, so called, with the dam and all the property and right belonging to the said mill, of which he conveyed 12 February 1703, to his wife Jannetje, the one third part, as per the records of Gravesend."

In his will, executed 18 November 1703 and probated 21 February 1707, Reinier Van Sicklen provides [New York Surrogate's Office. Liber 4:336 (McCool transcription from a photostat of the original)]:

        "In the name of God Amen the Eigthteenth Day of November in the second yeare of the Reigne of our soveryne Lady Anne now of England the Queen, and in the Yeare of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and three I Reynier Van(?d) Sickelen of the towne of Gravesend in Kings County on nassua Island in the province of new York being of good and perfect memory praised be Almighty God Therefore I doe make this my last will and testament in manner and forme following That is to say first I Recommend my Soule unto almighty God who gave it and my body to the earth to be buryed in such Devine and Christian Like manner and in such place as by my Executors here after after (sic) named shall be thought fit and Convenient (I think this word is "convenient" RAM).

       Item I give grant Devise and bequeath unto my Loving wife Jannetie all and singular my houses Lands commons orchards gardens meadows and hereditaments in possession Reversion or Remainder within the town and Liberites of gravesend During her naturall Life provided always that if my said Wife happens to Remarry that then she shall Injoy and have but only the third part of the houses land meadows and hereditaments above said During so longe as life of my said wife (Remains a widow–crossed out)

       Item I give grant Devise and bequeath unto my Eldest son Ferdinandus his heires and assignes for ever after the Desease of my said wife Jannitie but the two thirds thereof upon the Remarriage of my saud wife In manner as aforesaid all and singular my houses Lands commons orchard gardens meadows and hereditaments as above exprest that is to say at the Remarriage of my said wife then the above said Estate shall be valued to Its worth by the Executors of this Will and my son Ferdinandus above said shall pay legacies to his four brothers to witt of the estate above and according as It shall be vallued as above said keeping to himself the fifth part of said Estate and five pounds Lawfull money of this province my said son Ferdinandus shall have more as four brothers for his birth Right and the above said Legacies shall be paid to his said brothers as they Com of Lawfull age to them their heirs and assignes for ever but in Case any of my Children shall die under age then the rest shall devide them or there Proportion Equally.

       Item I give grant Devise and bequesth unto my Loving Jannitie all and singular my goods and chattlels Rights and credits where so ever when so ever the same are or shall become due ffor and during her natural life but if In case my said [word wife missing-RAM] happens to Remarry then to have and Injoy but the one third part of said goods and chattells as above said and at the Remarriage of my said wife or after her (?Desease) then my goods and chattlels Rights and credits to be devided among my children Above said.

       Lastly I doe hereby make and ordaine my Brother Johannis Van Sickelen my brother (Jhn, crossed out) John Alburson my brother John Van Hoorn and my brother gerritson (looks like ‘gerritson' to me–RAM) Van Hoorn hole and sole Executors of this my Last Will and testiment In witness whereof I the said Reynier Van Sickelen have here unto put my hand and seale the day and Jeare first above written."

From this will, we see that Ferdinandus^3 Reinierse Van Sicklen is to have the land after his mother's remarriage or death. Among the heirs of said Ferdinandus^3 Reinierse Van Sicklen is his youngest son Cornelius^4 Van Sicklen, who married first Femmetje Vanderveer and second Catherine Johnson.

I cannot tell if "said lots one (1) and eleven (11) and twelve (12)," which were "by reason of the descent and conveyances thereafter" and the subject of the 1912 lawsuit, are part of the original possessions of Reinier^2 Van Sicklen and reaffirmed by the division of Hugh Garretsen's Meadow by the Town of Gravesend, or are additional lots of land granted to his grandson and heir Cornelius^4 Van Sicklen in the right of Ferdinandus^3 Reinierse Van Sicklen. Either way, these lots came to Cornelius^4 Van Sicklen--and they are his heirs who are parties to the 1912 suit.

John Johnston. Plaintiff, in making his deposition, swears, "...That he has read the foregoing complaint and that the same is true of his own knowledge, except as to matters, therein stated to be alleged, upon information and belief, and as to those matters he believes it to be true."

This was

"Sworn to before me this 10th day of August 1912
Theo. B. Hennenlotter
Commissioner of Deeds
New York City"

As the New York City Commissioner of Deeds, Theodore B. Hennenlotter was called upon by the courts to help in such lawsuits, as, of course, we might expect. As a result, Hennenlotter became something of a genealogist by dint of the necessary research of the deeds, conveyances and last wills and testaments involved in the cases for which his expertise was required. He reduced his research on these old families to 3X5 cards and alphabetized them by family surname. These cards are now a part of the Brooklyn Historical Society Collections. For lack of a more precise title, I have come to call these "The Hennenlotter File."

To get back to the 1912 complaint, John Johnston states

"vi. On information and belief that the plaintiff is seized and entitled to an undivided 2005987 / 26195400 part."

Yes, you are reading that fraction correctly :)

What follows in the copy is the work of Mr. Hennenlotter. That is, who are the rightful heirs and what are their proper proportions of the estate. As you can tell from the fraction above, there were quite a few descendants. Obviously, some heirs were entitled to a larger proportion than others depending upon their degree of consanguinity to Cornelius^4 Van Sicklen.

I have these papers from the late Lee Roy Lennington, of Texas, who had them from Nancy Foster, of Ohio, who had them from her mother, who is named as an heir by Hennenlotter. Lee Roy Lennington recompiled the list provided to the Court by Hennenlotter, who provided names and shares (in fractional amounts) willy-nilly, into alphabetical order. This is very helpful for an at-a-glance review of the families involved. As you may guess, the Linningtons, Lawsons and Clumps comprise the largest number of individual heirs. And you know that these Van Sicklen-Linnington and Van Sicklen-Lawson heirs removed to Canada. Both Lee Roy Lennington and Nancy Foster were descendants of these émigrés.

I asked my wife to recompile the Hennenlotter/Lennington list by proportion and further to convert those impossible fractions into percentages. My idea was to try to see which heirs had what degree of consanguinity to Cornelius^4 Van Sicklen based upon the size of their shares. Ultimately I had hoped to use this to help me with compiling the descendants of Cornelius^4 Van Sicklen but I have since given that study over to others. No Eastlings (var. sp.) nor Voorhees folks turn up.

It would not be sensible, nor useful to my point, to list all of the heirs, but I will note that the largest percentage was due Hendrick Van Sicklen: 12.69% (rounded). Next was the plaintiff John Johnston: 7.65% (rounded). [I don't know the outcome of the case, but it looks like Johnston had a case :)]

The next-largest shares belonged in the 3% range, these being Edward C. M. Fitzgerald and James R. Stillwell. These are followed in the 2% range by Mary L. F. Austin, Matthew Lawson (Rachel Lawson), Court Van Sicklen and Phebe Remer.

The next grouping I will abbreviate to familiar names concerning the Van Sicklen-Lawsons, these being entitled to 1.8 >1.5 % shares: George V. Van Sicklen, Cornelius Van Sicklen, Peter Klump, Elizabeth Klump and Minnie Conover.

The Frears show up in the 0.5 percenters with Walter Frear, Alexander Frear and William Frear; followed by Malvina Lawson and William Lawson (with wife Margaret Ann). At the bottom rung of the 0.5 percenters are those names that are apt to have more significance to your studies: Cornelius Van Sicklen (0.5071 %), Ruth E. Odell (same %), Theodore Van Sicklen (same %) and Sanford Brower (same %).

My question is, given your study of the Van Sicklen-Lawson-Brower connections, whether you can fit the 0.5 percenters into the established family groups descending from Cornelius^4 Van Sicklen?

Richard


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