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You are here: Home » Families » Schermerhorn Genealogy » Schermerhorn Chronicles » Chapter I (Part 2 of 2)

Schermerhorn Genealogy and Family Chronicles:
Chapter I: General History (Part 2 of 2)
Go back to: part 1 of Chapter 1 | ahead to: part 1 of Chapter 2

[This information has been taken from pp. 27-54 of Schermerhorn Genealogy and Family Chronicles by Richard Schermerhorn, Jr. (New York: Tobias A. Wright, Publisher, 1914).]

Jacob Janse Schermerhorn
The name of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn is a familiar one in the early colonial records of Albany, New York. Previous to 1648, however, his activities are not easy to trace, and it appears that he was known during this period as Jacob Jansen, van Amsterdam. It is said that he was born in 1622 (Pearson's Albany Settlers), and it is quite likely that he was among the colonists who sailed from Holland on the ship Rensselaerswyck, Oct. 8, 1636. In the Van Rensselaer-Bower Mss. it is recorded that Jacob Janse, van Amsterdam, was a carpenter by trade, and was engaged for four years, beginning Apr. 2, 1637, at wages of 40f. a year. Part of this time he was employed by Albert Andriesz (Bratt), and in the harvest of 1640, he served under Cornelis Teunisz, van Breucklin. Other references to him contained in the same Mss. are to the effect that on May 1, 1640, he received 32f. extra for "faithful service to the Patroon," and that in 1641 he was employed by Van Curler to do some copying. From that date until Aug. 20, 1643, when his account was closed by Van Curler, he was engaged with other carpenters, building houses and barns. It is thought that he was one of the young men or boys who came over with Albert Andriesz (Bratt) to assist in the building of a mill at Rensselaerswyck, the contract for which Bratt had entered into with Patroon Van Rensselaer.

But in 1643 Jacob Janse had just reached the age of 21 years and perhaps had gathered together a little capital, sufficient to embark in enterprises of his own, and as the fur trade was of the most importance, he is next found following this vocation. At this time came the realization that his name must be used in full, as should become the position in affairs which he proposed to make for himself, and hereafter Schermerhorn was added. The appellation "van Amsterdam" had been used merely as designating the place of his former residence and to distinguish him from other Jacob Jansens. Jacob Janse Schermerhorn had at one time undoubtedly dwelt in Amsterdam, as his father is mentioned as living there in 1654. A certain document refers to "Jacob Janse Van Schermerhorn, formerly a citizen of Waterland, Holland." Waterland was the name of a large territory in North Holland, in which the town of Schermerhorn is located.

Jacob Janse Schermerhorn evidently prospered as a fur trader and in 1649 is mentioned as an "importer" and possessing property which was "somewhat considerable." His enterprise evidently led him into taking advantage of all means available for the substantial increase of his possessions. A business partner of his, Jacob Ryntgens, who dwelt in New Amsterdam, secretly purchased firearms from the employees of the West India Co., and delivered them to Jacob Janse in Albany, who in turn sold them to the Indians. It seems this was against the law, and although Stuyvesant claimed the right to conduct this very same business, and did so openly, he evidently desired to restrict it entirely to himself. He claimed Ryntgens and Schermerhorn were guilty of a felony, and had them arrested and sentenced to banishment with the confiscation of all their property and goods. They were arrested May 29, 1648, and sentenced July 9, 1648. (It is in connection with the papers relating to this action, that the name Schermerhorn is first found in the Colonial Records.) The sentence of banishment was remitted, August 1, 1648, through the interposition of the "Nine Men" and other influential colonists who thought the sentence undeserved. This action of Stuyvesant formed one of the grounds for a stringent remonstrance, the following year, against his administration, as expressed in a document dated July 28, 1649, addressed to the "Mighty Lords States General of the United Netherlands," and sent by the colony of New Netherland. There were very few of the early traders of New Netherland, who did not experience the same kind of difficulty as that in which Jacob Schermerhorn found himself enmeshed, when Stuyvesant decided to make an example of him. It is well to realize certain facts of the case in this connection. In regard to selling to or trading with the Indians, firearms and liquors, this was what all traders did, not necessarily on account of greed of wealth, but because it was necessary for them to trade with these materials, in order to do any business at all. The Indians would demand their liquor and guns, and would invariably set apart a certain amount of their trade capital for the acquirement of these articles.

Although the banishment of Ryntgens and Jacob Janse was remitted, their estates remained confiscated. This, however, seemed to daunt our ancestor but little, and he evidently lost no time to plunge into active business again. It is quite evident that neither he nor his partner suffered from reputation on account of this early embarrassment, as in 1660-1, Jacobus Reynst (Ryntgens) appears as one of the Deputies and Directors of the West India Co., at Amsterdam, and commissary to the General Privileged India Co., and Jacob Janse served as commissary or magistrate at Fort Orange (Albany) for many years (1652, 54, 56, 57, 58, 64, 71, 72, 74, 75, and probably other years). There were three magistrates and the office was one of the most important in the Colony. In 1676 he is mentioned as constable of Albany. He was also a prominent member of the Reformed Dutch Church at Albany, organized in 1642 by Domine Johannes Megapolensis. He was a member of the Church Consistory, kept the records himself in 1666, and was one of the committee to audit the church accounts for the greater period between 1665 and 1686. His name is recorded as twelfth male member of the Church.

He made at least two trips to Holland and probably more which the records do not show. The first trip was made in 1654, and in connection with this he acted as attorney for some of his Albany friends. He visited Holland again in 1668 and then, with a party of other New Netherlanders, loaded the ship "King Charles" with "Goods and Cargoe fitted for their country." A recent order of the King's had prohibited more than one ship to sail yearly, where before three had been allowed. A petition, signed by Jacob Janse and his companions, requested a concession for them in this particular case, which was granted.

Jacob Janse was always ready to help out his neighbors and friends, as is evidenced by the many times the records show he had given bond for various people. That he was a stern man and not easily to be trifled with, may be judged, through the records of the suits brought by him against others, for slander, trespass, moneys due and other matters.

He was a large property owner. Exactly what his possessions were previous to 1648, when his property was confiscated, is not known, but on Nov. 29, 1652, he received a patent of a lot in Beverwyck (Albany) and on Oct. 25, 1653, he received a patent for two lots in the same place. These may be the same lots, one of which is described as being in his name in 1664, 60 ft. x 240 ft., on the east side of North Pearl St., between Maiden Lane and State St., and the other held by him, 1676-3, 26 1/2 ft. x 49 ft., on the corner of an alley, on the north side of Pearl and Chapel Streets. In his will his property is described as follows: "My lot of ground lying at the river side at Albany where Cleyn de Goyer lived, which formerly belonged to Cornelis Segers (his father-in-law). * * * my farm at Schotak, the Pasture over against Marte Garitsen's Eylandt, my two houses and lots in ye City of Albany, the one over against Isaak Sybanks and the other where my son Simon Schermerhorn lived, next to Johannes D. Wandelaer, my house and lot at Schenectady where I now dwell." He also must have owned property in New York, as on Oct. 23, 1656, he entered into suit against Paulus Schrick for non-payment of rent, which action is found among the "Records of New Amsterdam."

It is also recorded that on Dec. 31, 1700, the administrators of the estate of Jacob Jansen Schermerhorn deeded to the Reformed Church of Albany, * * * Pasture land, south of the city, west of the great pasture to the church, along wagon road toward the woods (patent of May 16, 1667), also a lot in the Great Pasture (patent to Jacob Schermerhorn, Nov. 9, 1652).

Just when Jacob Janse moved to Schenectady cannot be exactly determined. It was probably not long after its settlement in 1662. At least, he must have been a resident in 1673, during which year his wife was called to give court testimony concerning a certain happening in Schenectady. His son Ryer was a freeholder in Schenectady before 1684, and at the time Jacob Janse made his will in 1688 he (Jacob), was residing there.

After the death of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn, his wife received the income from his estate, which was valued at 56,882 guilders (about $23,000). This included the real estate mentioned and the moneys in Holland. After his wife's death in 1700, the estate was equally divided among the children.

From the foregoing, it is not difficult to fairly judge the character of our ancestor, Jacob Janse Schermerhorn. Coming from Holland, while a mere youth, probably in company with friends or possibly with relations, he indicated his ability at an early date, and rose to positions of trust and importance while still a young man. He possessed great determination and resolution as is shown by his ready ability to make a second fortune after the first one had been taken away from him. He occupied positions of prominence and responsibility in the colony, even before he had reached middle age, and his name is continually associated with others who occupied high positions of authority in the Colony's government. He was broad gauged and conducted his business on a wide scale, dealing directly with his mother country, Holland, and was presumably the owner of vessels plying the river trade between New York and Albany, and part owner, at least, of vessels carrying goods from New York and Holland. Undoubtedly, he acquired most of his fortune as an Indian trader, but his real estate holdings must have brought considerable competence to him and subsequently to his family. He was possessed of a good education, such as educations were in those times, which is indicated by his early transcribing of his accounts and his duties in the church and as magistrate. Were the early records complete, undoubtedly much more would be shown to the credit of our early ancestor. The transgressions of the early settlers were naturally more conspicuous in the records than their virtues. The transgressions of Jacob Janse were evidently no more than actions constituting the overstepping of certain legal bounds, the latter, in most cases, unjustly proscribed. Of his virtues, we are able to judge only by reading between the lines in the account of the actual facts on record.

The authorities for the statements rendered in this biography may be found referred to in Louis Y. Schermerhorn's Genealogy of the third branch of the Schermerhorn family, Philadelphia, 1903, and the Van Rensselaer-Bower Mss., N. Y. State Library, 1908. Considerable amplification has been possible by giving closer study to the books and Mss. mentioned by Louis Y. Schermerhorn.

Copy of Will of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn
Recorded in Albany County Clerk's Office. Book I, Page 26, Wills.


The one and Twentieth day of may, 1688, in the fourth year of ye Reign of our most Gracious Sovieraign Lord, James the Second, by ye grace of god of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King: I, Jacob Janse Schermerhoorn of ye Towne of Schinnechttady in ye County of Albany, yoeman, although Some what weake and sickly in body, yett of good, Perfect, Sound Memory, Praised be Almighty god therefor, do make and ordain this my Present Will and Testament, Containing therin my Last Will in manner and form following; yt is to say: first I commend my Self and al my whole estate to the Mercy and Protection of Almighty god, being fully Persuaded by his holy spirit through the Death and Passion of Jesus Christ, to obtain full Pardon and Remission of al my Sinns and to Inheritt Everlasting Life to which the holy Trinity, one Eternall Deity be al honour and glory, forever, amen, and touching Temporall Estate of goods, Chattells and Debts as the Lord hath been Pleased farr above my Deserts to bestow upon me, I doe order, give, Bequeath and Depose the Same in manner and form following.:

Imp. — I give, grant, Devise and bequeath to Ryer Schermerhoorn, my Eldest Sonne, before any Division or Partition be made of my Estate, my lotte of grounde lying at the River Side at Albany, where Cleyn de goyer Lived, which formerly belong to Cornelis Segerse, as itt Lyes Inclosed within fence, — To have and to hold the said Lotte of grounde to ye said Ryer Schermerhoorn, his heirs and assigns, forever.

2d. My will is that my well beloved wife, Jannetje Schermerhoorn shall Possess and Enjoy during her widowhood, all ye Rents and Profitts of all my Reall Estate, virt: of my farm at Schotak, the Pasture over against Marte Garitsen's Eylant, my two houses and Lotts in ye City of albany, the one over against Isaak Sybanks (?) and the other where my Sonne Symon Schermerhoorn lives next to Johannes D. Wandelaer, my house and Lott at Shinnechtady where I now Dwell.

3d. I do Likewise give and bequeath to my said Wife all my other Estate in this County, moveables and Immovables, goods and Chattells, Plate, Jewels, wares, Merchandise, &c. and Debts to me owing and Ready money, nothing whatever exempted and this all during her widowhood, and that neither my Eldest Sonne or any of the rest of my children shall Disturb my wife after my Decease so long as She Continues widow, leaving it wholly to her to give such Portion or Portions to my four children yett under age, virt. Cornelis, Jannetie, Neeltie, and Lucas Schermerhorn, as the other Children have had when they married, and as She in Conschience Shall See Convenient. But if it should happen that my Said Wife should Remarry, then my will is that she give a full and Perfect Inventory of ye whole Estate, Reall and Personall, the Just half or moyety whereof, I do give, grant, Devise and Bequeath unto my Dear and well beloved wife, Jannetje Schermerhoorn, and the other half or moyety to my nine Children, Virt., Ryer, Symon, helena, the wife of Myndt. harmense, Jacob and Machtoll, ye wife of Johannes Beekman, Cornelis, Jannetie, neeltje and Luykas Schermerhoorn, to be Equally divided among them, Part & Part alike, or among their heirs upon their Decease and yt. the Law or Custome of Joynt Tennancy shall herein cease and each child whether they Survive or not may dispose of their Proportion and Share of ye Reall Estate as well as Personall. But if my said foure Children, Cornelis, Jannetje, Neeltje and Lucas be not come to age or married before my sd. wife happens to Remarry or Decease, my will is that they shall have the Same Portion Severally as the oy'r Children had when they married before any Division be made and then share alike with their Brethren and Sisters. And if my said wife shall Decease without remarrying, my will is that the whole Estate, Real and Personall be equally Divided among my Said nine Children for the behoof of them, their heirs and assigns, severally, forever, all Part and Part alike, and if any of my Sonnes or Daughters do Decease before ye age of one and Twenty years and before their marriage that then in Such Case, the Portion of every of them so Deceasing shall Remain and be to ye Survivours and Survivour of them. My will is yt. all my Cloaths, Linning and Wooling and other apparell belonging to me shall be Divided Equally among my Sonnes and all the wearing apparell and Stricken (trinkets) or Pendants Belonging to my wife shall be Equally Divided amongst my Daughters.

6th. Further it is my will that the hollands money that is in Amsterdam under ye hands of Mr. Sykirk (?) shall remain untouched during my wife's widowhood and natural Life and that she shall Receive ye Rents thereof as hitherto I have done.

7th. And whereas my Sonne in Law Myndt. harmense has a Thousand gilders of said hollands money upon Intrest, my will is yt. he pay Interest for ye same to my wife and if he pays the Principall then he is to share alike with the oyr Children in ye Estate, else it is to be Deducted of his Proportion of ye money that is in holland under Mr. Sykirk (?).

8th. I do freely remitt and Discharge my Sonne Jacob Schermerhoorn that Livs upon my farm at Schotak of ye Rent which he is owing for ye same and which will be due to ye Day of my Decease, not willing that my Executrx. or Admx. shall any wise molest him, the said Jacob Schermerhoorn, Junr. or his heirs for ye same, but is nevertheless obliged to give an True and just acct. of ye half of Increase of ye horses and Cattle.

9th. And Lastly I make, constitute, ordain and appoint my Dear and well beloved wife sole Executrix of this my last will and Testament and to her Care and Tuition also I leave all my Children that are undr. age and I will that my Said wife do maintain them and ye Education of my Said children during there minority and I do hereby nominate and appoint my said wife Tutrix to them and every of them until such time as they shall severally Come to age, and wille and appoint that my said wife to be administratrix and have ye administration of my goods and Chattells and that my Sonnes Ryer and Symon be assistants to their Moyr. in the administration of the Estate and in looking after the Education of there Bretheren and Sisters yt. are under age. In witness whereof I have hereunto Sett my hand and Seale In Albany at the house of Mynd. harmense, ye Day and year first above written.


Signed, Sealed & Delivered
in the presence of
Gideon Schaets.
past. Jacob Staets.

NOTE — The wording, spelling and capitalization of the foregoing document are copied exactly as they appear, but proper punctuation is inserted for facility in reading.

Cornelius Segerse Egmont (Van Egmont, Van Voorhout) and Family
Jannetie Egmont (Van Voorhout), wife of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn, was born in Holland in 1633. Her father made a contract with Patroon Van Rensselaer, August 25, 1643, and in this document he is referred to as Cornelise Segertse Van Egmont. He sailed for America in Sept., 1643, by "Het Wapen Van Rensselaerwyck," with his wife, Brechje Jacobsen, 45 years old, and 6 children. He was about 44 years of age. His children were Cornelis, 22; Claes, 20; Seger, 14; Lysbeth, 16; Jannetie, 10, and Neeltie, 8. He was engaged as a farmer and was one of the first farmers of consequence in Rensselaerwyck, nearly all of the others at this time being fur traders. He took up the farm formerly occupied by Brant Peelen, deceased, which was one of the two farms on Castle Island, near Albany. In 1646, he took over from Adrian Vanderdonck the other farm for the remaining 3 years of its lease, and thus came into possession of the entire island. In 1651, an inventory of the farm of Cornelis Segers showed that he was the owner of 13 horses and 22 cows, and that the farm contained 70 morgens, and the rent was 1210 guilders. This farm was called Welysburgh. From 1657 to 1660 Cornelis Segerse was the owner of a lot in Albany on the cast side of North Pearl Street, between Steuben Street and Maiden Lane. Another Cornelis Segerse, probably his grandson, was the owner, between 1667 and 1729, of a lot on the southeast corner of Columbia Street and Broadway, Albany, to the River Road. Dec. 10, 1660, Cornelis Segers conveyed to Gerrit Slichtenhorst a house and lot in Albany, probably the one above referred to.

In his will, dated Nov. 22, 1662, the signature appears as Cornelis Segersen Van Voorhout. At this time his wife was living and his son Claes Cornelissen is mentioned as deceased. His son Seger had died in the same year on June 24. His son Cornelis was mentioned in his will, his daughter Lysbeth, wife of Sr. F. Boon, his daughter Jannetie, wife of Jacob Schermerhorn, and his daughter Neeltie, wife of Hans Carelsen. The children of his deceased son Claes were also mentioned. His daughter Lysbeth had been previously married to Guisbert Cornelisz Van Weesp, tavern-keeper.

Claes Cornelise Egmont (Van Voorhout), son of Cornelis Segers, occupied a farm on Papscanee, near Albany, between 1648 and 1658. In 1651 this farm contained 78 morgens (156 acres), and held 7 horses and 7 cows. The Albany Church records include the baptisms of two sons of Jacob Claes Egmont, viz., Nicholas, Apr. 13, 1684, and Jacob (born after his father's death), Dec. 27, 1685. Jacob Schermerhorn and his daughter, Machtelt Beekman, were sponsors at this latter baptism. In 1663 the following children of Claes Cornelise, then deceased, were mentioned: Mary, aged 12 yrs.; Jacob, 10 yrs.; Lysbeth, 8 yrs., Tryntje, 5 yrs. Arrangements for their education were made in this year by Jacob Janse Schermerhorn and others. This branch of the family is, so far as is known, the only one to have carried the name of Egmont down to subsequent generations.

Cornelis Cornelise Van Voorhout (as he signed his name), eldest son of Cornelis Segerse, resided apparently near Albany until about 1668, his name appearing in the Rensselaerwyck rent rolls, 1652-68. Some time after this it is likely that he removed to New York, as the marriage of his two sons, Seger and Jacob, are found among the records of the New York Dutch Church. These marriages occurred in 1678 and 1686 respectively, and the names as given are Jacob Corn. Van Egmont and Seger Corn. Van Egmont. There is no further indication that either the name of Van Voorhout or Van Egmont was carried down to later generations in this branch of the family.

The third son, Seger Cornelise, whose wife was Jannetie Teunis, daughter of Teunis Dircks Van Vechten, died in early life (June 24, 1662, aged 23). It is quite likely that his descendants were those who carried down to succeeding generations the name of Segers. At any rate, the name of Van Voorhout was used only in the first two generations of the family in this country, and even so, very infrequently. The name of Egmont survived for a time, but as a family in America, has been little known. The name of Segers, however, exists to-day and was apparently the generally accepted name for the family, who are descendants of Seger Cornelius.

It is most probable that though Cornelius Segers undoubtedly came direct from Voorhout to this country, he belonged to the original Egmont family of Holland, from which the town of Egmont takes its name. Voorhout is a small place near Leyden, and about 20 miles southwest of Amsterdam. Egmont is about 10 miles west of Schermerhorn and 20 miles northwest of Amsterdam. An early genealogist of the family seemed to believe that Jannetie Van Voorhout and Jannetie Egmont were two different personages and each a wife of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn. This, of course, is incorrect, although it is easy to see how the mistake may have occurred. Among the New York Dutch Church records is a marriage record as follows:

"Feb. 20, 1650. Jacob Janszen, y. m. Jannetie Jacobs y. d. Van Amsterdam."

The early church records were quite crude, and it has been noticed by the author that correctness in registering surnames was by no means invariable. This is quite possibly the marriage record of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn and Jannetie Egmont.

Jannetie's sister, Lysbeth, married Francis Boon, a young French Indian-trader who, after accumulating some money, established himself in New York, his place of business being on the west side of Broadway, opposite Bowling Green. He became very wealthy, finally removing to the West Indies, where his wife died.

Historical Fragments of the Egmont Family
The family of Egmont, prominent in Holland in the eleventh century, traced their descent from the Pagan kings. Their chateau was on the North Sea, about three miles west of Alkmaar, and from 1423 to 1558, they were at the height of their power. The family was divided into several branches and had in it 9 knights of the Golden Fleece.

Pre-eminent among all of the Egmonts was Lamoral, Count of Egmont, Prince of Gavre, "one of the most brilliant characters in history," as one historian records. He was born in the castle of La Haimaide, in Hainault, Nov. 18, 1522. In 1542, at the death of his brother Karl, he succeeded to the title and estates of the family, which, besides those of Holland, comprised the principality of Gavre, seven or eight baronies and a number of seignories.

In his youth Lamoral was page to the Emperor, Charles V, and when twenty-three years old he married Sabina of Luxembourg, Duchess of Bavaria and Countess Palatine of the Rhine, sister of the elector, Frederick III. Few royal weddings have been more brilliant. The Emperor, his brother Ferdinand, King of the Romans, with the Archduke Maximilian, all the Imperial Electors and a concourse of the principal nobles of the empire, were present on the occasion.

Lamoral participated in various campaigns during the reign of Charles V, who when he was only twenty-six, invested him with the order of the Golden Fleece, and appointed him to several confidential missions, such as sending him to England to seek the hand of Queen Mary for Philip II. After the succession of Philip to the throne, Lamoral gained great distinction in many of the campaigns of that period. He incurred the hatred of the Duke of Alva at the battle of St. Quentin, which would not have been fought except for the violent persuasion of Egmont in opposition to the advice of Alva. It was a brilliant victory, and Lamoral was the principal figure in the affray. In the following year he distinguished himself in the battle of Gravelines, and with this became the idol of the people. As a reward for his services he was made in 1559, by Philip II, Stadtholder of the Provences of Flanders and Artois and a member of the Council of State for the Low Countries. At the conclusion of the war, by the treaty of Cateau Cambresis, Egmont was one of the four hostages selected by the French king, as pledges for its execution. The attempt made by Philip to convert the Netherlands into a Spanish dependency and govern it by Spanish ministers, excited the resentment of Egmont and other ministers of the Netherlands aristocracy. Though Egmont was a good Catholic, nevertheless he had no desire to see his native country in the throes of the Spanish Inquisition. In January, 1565, he and others went to Spain to make known to the king the state of affairs and protest against the autocratic proceedings of Cardinal Granvella, the all-powerful minister of the regent Margaret of Parma, the latter having been appointed against the will of the Protestant party. He was received by Philip with ostentatious cordiality and flattered by the whole court, but the real object of his mission was evaded and he returned home without having accomplished anything for his people. The treacherous Philip, notwithstanding his fair promises to Egmont, sent instructions to the regent to abate nothing in the persecutions. Immediately after the arrival of the Duke of Alva in 1567, who had been sent as lieutenant-general of the Netherlands, Counts Egmont and Horn were seized and imprisoned in Ghent, afterwards being removed to Brussels, where they were tried by the "Council of Blood." Sentence was pronounced on the 4th of June, by Alva himself, in spite of the intercession of the Emperor Charles V, the elector Palatine, the Order of the Golden Fleece, the State of Brabant, and the piteous pleadings of his wife, who, with her eleven children, had by this time been reduced to want and had taken refuge in a convent. He was beheaded the next day, June 5, 1568, in company with Count Horn, and in the storm of indignation which arose, they were glorified as martyrs to Flemish freedom. This memorable episode proved to be the prelude of the famous revolt of the Netherlands, which ended in independence. In 1865 a monument to Counts Egmont and Horn, by Fraiken, was erected at Brussels. Louis Gallait (1810-1887), a Belgian painter, has among his chief works, "Egmont Preparing for Death," "Alva Looking Upon the Bodies of Egmont and Horn," "The Last Moments of Count Egmont." Goethe made of this historical episode the theme of a tragedy.

Egmont Genealogy
JOHN II, son of John I, Count of Egmont (who became Seigneur d'Egmont in 1409 and died 1452); m. MARIE, niece of Reynaud IV, last Duke of Gueldre and Juliers.


Arnold, m. a dau. of John of Arckel.
William, Duke of Guilders, d. Feb. 19, 1483.
Frederick, Count of Buren, m. Marie de Culenbourg.
Arnold Egmont had a son, Adolph, Duke of Guilders, who m. Catharine of Bourbon. They had a son, Charles, b. Nov. 9, 1467, who left four illegitimate children, one of whom, Charles, was Count of Guilders and Egmont.

William Egmont had a son, John, who became Count of Egmont. The latter's son, John IV, who d. 1516, also Count of Egmont, m. Francoise, Princess of Gavre. Their record follows

Frederick Egmont, Count of Buren, had a son, Floris, Count of Buren and Egmont, who d. Oct. 14, 1539, at Buren. The latter had a son, Maximilian, who d. in Brussels in 1548. The latter had a daughter, Anne, b. 1533, who m. William, Prince of Orange. They had two children, Philip and Mary. At the time of her marriage Anne Egmont was considered the greatest heiress in the Netherlands.

JOHN IV, Count of Egmont, son of John III, Count of Egmont; d. Apr. 18, 1528; m. FRANCOISE of Luxembourg, Princess of Gavre.


A daughter, who m. Count Vaudemont.
Karl (Charles), d. 1541, leaving no heirs.
Lamoral, Count of Egmont, b. Nov. 18, 1522; m. Sabina, Duchess of Bavaria.
Louise Vaudemont, grand-daughter of John IV, Count of Egmont, married Henry III, King of France.

LAMORAL, Count of Egmont, b. Nov. 18, 1522; d. June 5, 1568; m. in 1545, SABINA, Duchess of Bavaria, who d. June 19, 1598.


Philip, b. 1558; d. 1590, at the Battle of Ivry; m. Marie of Horn.
Charles, Count of Egmont, m. Marie of Lens, Baroness of Aubignie.
and eight daughters.
Philip Egmont was made Chevalier by Charles II of Spain, but he proved a traitor and was pronounced a disgrace to his family. The posterity of Lamoral was represented in the person of a Count of Egmont (Procope-Francois), descendant of Charles, who died in Aragon in the North of France in 1707, aged thirty-eight. He was a General of Cavalry in Spain, and a Brigadier in the French Army.

The Schermerhorn Family of Holland
The annals of the Schermerhorn family in Holland have never been thoroughly investigated, although some effort was made, fifteen or twenty years ago, by William C. Schermerhorn of New York and Louis Y. Schermerhorn of Philadelphia, but without particular success. It is known, however, from New York State records, that Jan Schermerhorn, father of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn, was living in Amsterdam in 1654. As late as 1884, a tombstone set in the floor of the old church at the village of Schermerhorn, Holland, was in existence, recording the fact that "Jacob Ryer Schermerhorn died Jan. 25, 1645, and his wife, 1665." These were probably the grandparents of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn, Ryer being such an individual family name, that its occurence here forms an undisputable connecting link. The above facts are all that are known to be recorded of the ancestors of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn.

The family of Schermerhorn evidently originated at the village of Schermerhorn, Holland. The town evidently being named from its geographical location, it is quite likely that the family took their name from the town. This probably signifies that the family who took the name of Schermerhorn at some early date was the family known to be most closely identified with the village or locality of Schermerhorn, thereby being, perhaps, large property owners and people of some importance. On the other hand it may have been through a casual circumstance that some individual adopted the name of Schermerhorn at some early period, being a resident in the town or in some way intimately connected with it. An old tradition has come from Holland that an orphan boy was adopted by the village authorities in some past age, and took the name of Schermerhorn. Imagination has perhaps enlarged upon this tradition, for, as it comes through one source, the story goes that this orphan boy was of noble, and some even said, royal blood. The legend has been quoted in many versions, none of which is probably correct. The story is one of too easy imagination and too crude to be true.

In the matter of surnames, most individual family names in Holland, as well as in other countries, originated from the names or localities of family landed possessions. In other cases the surname was derived from some peculiar physical or mental characteristic of the first of the family to "make a name for himself;" in still others it pertained to his business or occupation. Many of the Dutch settlers in America acted in accordance with this, for at that time there were few distinct family names in Holland. Some took the name of their home district in Holland, while others reached further back in family history. Many who had distinct family names did not use them until some time after their coming to America, in some cases, in fact, the actual family name not appearing until the second or third generation in this country. The names of Van Antwerp, Van Arnhem, Van Buren, Van Valkenburgh, Van Petten, Visscher, Bakker, Beekman, etc., were taken by the early Dutch settlers in America, in accordance with what has been said in the foregoing, some of the names already known in Holland, and others entirely new. In the majority of the cases, however, the succeeding heads of Dutch families simply took their father's name as a surname, adding se, sen, or similar terminations. Jan, whose father was William, would be Jan Williamsen; Peter, whose father was Henry, would be Peter Hendricksen, etc. The early records of the Dutch Church of New York contain little else but this class of names, and the first records of the Albany Church are hardly different, although in the latter, the "Vans" soon became quite common, as the necessity became apparent for those having similar names to make the necessary distinctions. Though it does not appear that Jacob Janse Schermerhorn used his proper surname during the early period of his residence in America, he took it later on, and thereafter adhered strictly to it.

There are a number of families bearing the name of Schermerhorn still existing in Holland. The following record was written out for Miss Sophie E. Schermerhorn in 1884, by a member of the Holland Schermerhorn family:

Anno 1731, Dirk Schermerhorn, Hoofdonderwyzer to Noord Beemster.
Anno 1809, Evert Schermerhorn, Landbouwer in de Schermeer Gemeente, Akersloot.
Dirk Schermerhorn, Burgomeester, der Gemeente Sintmaarten, Gest. 1813.
William Schermerhorn, geboren 18 December, 1799.
(Willem and Dirk, zoons v. E. S.)
Willem Schermerhorn, Geboren, 10 Juli, 1851.
Jacob Schermerhorn, Geboren 17 Maart, 1855.
A letter received in September, 1913, from the Rev. Nicholas J. C. Schermerhorn of Nieuwe Niedorp, Holland, gives the following: "There are still Schermerhorns in Holland. These belong to two groups, one of them descending from Willem and the other from Dirk Schermerhorn. Those two were descended from one Evert." These two families are mentioned in another letter, written to William C. Schermerhorn in 1894. The head of one of these families was at that time the Burgomaster of St. Martins, and the head of the other, one of the syndics of Akersloot. These two families did not claim close relationship to each other, but there is no doubt that they were from the same original stock from which Jacob Janse descended, though the actual connection of the family with the village of Schermerhorn must have ceased several centuries ago. At present, a Schermerhorn is a member of Congress in Holland, and it is said the name is well known there. Undoubtedly this Holland family has been one of distinction, as may be readily judged by a perusal of the letter of Miss Sophie E. Schermerhorn, which follows:

113 Noorderstaat,
Amsterdam, Nov. 26, 1884.
North Holland.

Dear Sister & Brother:—

When I first came to Amsterdam, I sent a postal to Schermerhorn (village) saying I should visit the old church at Schermerhorn and if any of the family name lived there, I should be glad to meet them. But I could not speak their language or understand it. My card was sent to Otterleek to Burgomaster Glyius (?), whose wife was a Schermerhorn. Then they wrote to Mr. Blouboor (?), whose wife was Gretia (?) Schermerhorn (now dead), but he and his family live there. He came to see me and made arrangements for me to go to Alkmaar, where Burgomaster (or Mayor) Glyius (?) would meet me. I took my interpreter with me, Mrs. Van Soest, an English widow of a Hollander. We were met by Mr. Glyius (?), who drove us in his real Dutch carriage about three miles over a smooth brick paved road, through a very finely cultivated farming district, drained by 50 large windmills, like that in your Winter Scene I painted, only some are much larger. This tract of land or town is called Schermermeer and the village is in the center, and the old church steeple at Schermerhorn is seen from all parts. As we neared his home we turned into a thickly wooded avenue leading to the house. At the door we were met by Vrouw Glyius (?) with her cap and beads, according to the custom. She gave me a very kindly welcome, then the two sons and then the two daughters, all grown up and good looking. The girls took me by the hand and led me into the house, then to the dinning [sic] room where I first drank coffee. Then after a little while, we had tea and luncheon. While at luncheon Uncle William Schermerhorn from Heilo, a very fine old gentleman, aged 85, arrived. We visited and talked a while. It would have pleased you to have seen them point out in my face the family resemblance. There was a pause and Uncle William Schermerhorn said something, with a look earnest and sad. I asked what it was he said. The reply was, "At last, this is something (said very slowly) very remarkable, that one of the family, and she a woman, should come back after so many years to seek us. And that I should live to see this day. What joy! What pleasure!" He took my hand and shook it so kindly and said: "You are welcome among us. Come to my home. I shall feel honored by a visit from you." After two hours we bid him good-bye, with a promise to visit another time. Then Mr. and Mrs. Glyius (?), Mrs. Van Soest and myself went in the carriage to the Village of Schermerhorn three miles distant, quite a little Dutch town, to see the church, which I found a very fine old church even yet, and still in use. It was built first in the year 1450, then rebuilt in 1634 and is now the same except the windows are not all painted, having been replaced; but they are all of small piece glass, about four inches square, and about 1000 pieces in each window. Then there are several fine Mosaic glass settings, of fine patterns. I did not attempt to count the glass pieces. The paintings on these windows were certainly the finest work in color shading I have seen anywhere in Scotland or England, and I have been in several Cathedrals, Castles and Palaces, where all had glass paintings. (I have visited Windsor Castle, and the King's and Queen's Palace here in Holland.) They were so finely painted, I could not think of copying. Some were very amusing, others were of scriptural subjects, but mostly coat-of-arms. There was one central glass with the name Schermerhorn, surrounded by paintings which represented the country and trades of the people. On each side of the door and aisle hung one of De Ruyter's little model ships, like the ones in which he went to war. They have a nice looking organ, — this is new and of recent date. I was so interested I did not wish to go with only one hour's look, but when I went back the second time to visit the family, I went to Schermerhorn again. The floor of the church is made up of tombstones. In looking around at some of the amusing representations on these stones, I was happily surprised to find this inscription: "Jacob Ryer Schermerhorn, died Jan. 25, 1645, and his wife 1665." This was our grandfather's name, who died in New York. I rejoiced to think our ancestors were so much respected as to be buried in this fine old church, where the Protestant religion had been preached for so many years. The families here that I have met did not seem to know anything of the families in America; a number had gone from here but never had written. Uncle William Schermerhorn's Uncle Evert went to America, but was never heard from, and as his father died when he was young, he knew nothing about him. If I could talk to them myself, I could find out more. My interpreters will not ask half I wish them to, thinking it is not necessary. Besides they have no interests only to talk and have a good time themselves. * * *

The Schermerhorn Family of America
The Schermerhorn family of America is a well known family, and since the first settlement of New York State, has been closely identified with its history and development. Originally identified with a few individual localities in the upper Hudson River district, the different branches of ihe family gradually scattered to various other communities throughout the state, and when the western tide of emigration set in, many of the family followed in its wake and sought new fields of enterprise in the far distant territories of the Middle West and West. As they were among the first to break the virgin soil of the East, so many of later generations helped form the earliest settlements of some of the now thickly built up western districts. At the present day the Schermerhorn family is scattered throughout the whole extent of the United States, as far south as Alabama, Louisiana and Mexico and as far west as California and Oregon. There have been in the past a few families who settled in Canada and perhaps their descendants still dwell there.

To speak of the family as a whole and to view their mental and physical characteristics from a common ground may seem more or less inconsequential, and an effort perhaps leading to no definiteness. But it is interesting to the author, at least, and he believes that there certainly are many of these characteristics common to the Schermerhorn family of early days which have found their way down through successive generations, and have been particularly emphasized in certain individuals. Willfulness and strength of purpose are most predominant in the family. The stern inflexibility of character which carried Jacob Janse successfully through so many trying situations, and led Ryer Schermerhorn and his descendants to fight strenuously for their rights through four generations, these indications of iron will, perseverance and sturdy courage are still recognized in many of the family living to-day and earlier generations have borne much evidence of the same characteristics. Other family heritages are those of generosity, hospitality and kindliness. In their relations to the community at large. while naturally of a friendly disposition, they have been generally content to live quietly among themselves, and though not of retiring nature, they have been reserved to the extreme. They have not sought public office to any large extent, their instinct appearing to be to avoid unusual publicity and conditions leading to conspicuous notice. But they are strongly opinionated and their reserve has its limitations where fighting for a principle is concerned. The physical characteristics of the Schermerhorns may be generalized only to a slight degree. In pioneer times, undoubtedly the lighthaired ones predominated, and it is quite likely they are in the majority to-day. Early tales describe them as particularly tall men and of powerful frames. For a Schermerhorn to be over six feet tall was not, by any means, unusual, and even to-day their stature is quite above the average. The Dutch cast of feature remains among those of the present time, and will undoubtedly so continue far into the future. Broad foreheads, large noses and kindly eyes have been the most distinctive. The expression of the eyes is probably the most consistent of all Schermerhorn characteristics. It is the expression of kindheartedness and friendliness, and it is particularly noticeable as common to most of the old Schermerhorn portraits, even in the cases of those as far separated in relationship as could be. These foregoing characteristics are judged by the author not from a few casual instances, but from the general impression he has received from his extended correspondence with many members of the family, from the many members of the family he has known and from the tales he has heard them tell.

The Schermerhorn family has perhaps been one of the most truly "Knickerbocker" of all, as the word "Knickerbocker" is interpreted. This may be easily noticed by examining the genealogical records and realizing how in many cases pure Dutch blood has for many generations been carried down in the family, in some cases even to the present day. Often it may be seen that intermarriages took place among Schermerhorn families, although very seldom where a closer relationship than that of second cousin was the case. But this indicates a strong regard for their own kind. "Being a Schermerhorn" has always carried with it a most serious sense of honor and self respect.

It may be interesting to consider the fact that even should the Schermerhorn family completely die out, still their name would be naturally preserved through their association with things in the past which have made this name a by-word. Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn is known to everyone who has ever visited there. The Schermerhorn Building in New York City, with entrances on Wall Street and Broadway is an old building and very well known. Schermerhorn Hall at Columbia University will remain indefinitely as a monument to William C. Schermerhorn, who was responsible for its erection. A very handsome apartment hotel in upper New York City also bears the name of "The Schermerhorn." In the up-state district, Schermerhorn Island still appears on the map, lying near Schodack. East Nassau was at one time named Schermerhorn in honor of John W. Schermerhorn, and a district in Hudson, now a part of the city, but once lying to the east of it, was called Schermerhorn's, on account of the large holdings of another John Schermerhorn in that district. In Schenectady Schermerhorn's Mills have been the familiar name for a certain district since the seventeenth century, and there is a Schermerhorn Road within the city limits named after the family. In Cortland, N. Y., there is a Schermerhorn School and a Schermerhorn Building, named after the Schermerhorn family who were at one time very prominent in the neighborhood. In other parts of the state and country the name is also found closely connected with objects and institutions which time will never efface.

As to the occupations of Schermerhorns, the majority, in the early generations, have been farmers, such being the case with most of the old families of America. The education of their children has evidently been their chief concern, and it may be truly said that the Schermerhorn family has been particularly well represented in schools and colleges. Many of them have in turn become teachers, and their influence in this connection has been felt in the far West as well as in the East. Many have become clergymen and their duties have called them to all parts of the country. Others have become lawyers and engineers, and in most cases they have occupied positions of importance in their respective professions. Their patriotism has always been ardent. From the time of the Indian Wars of the Colonial days to the more recent Spanish-American War, Schermerhorns have gone readily to the front and manfully done their share. They have served as private soldiers and also at the head of their commands. Many have bravely waved farewell to their families, never to return, and the dreaded Confederate prisons of the Civil War have claimed more than one Schermerhorn victim.

Thus from the first settlement of the New World, the Schermerhorns have borne their full burden in the development of this country. They have hewn down the massive trees, turning dense forests into peaceful meadow land and have contributed to the many industries subsequently arising. They have assisted in developing the commerce of the nation and have participated in the making and maintaining of this country's laws, serving in village, town, capital city and the Capitol of the country. They have been foremost in church work and noted for their influence in maintaining the high standards of the early religion. They have contributed generously to educational and charitable affairs, and more than a few institutions of such nature are inseparably connected with the Schermerhorn name. And also when their country called they have shed their blood in its cause.

Schermerhorn Soldiers of Early Colonial and Indian War Times
June 17, 1692
Cornelius Schermerhorn, on the roll of Major Peter Schuyler's Co.

Cornelius Schermerhorn, member of Capt. Abr. Van Alstyne's Co. of Albany Co. Militia. Cornelius and Jacob Schermerhorn, members of Capt. Johs. Mingael's Co. of Albany City Militia. Jacob and Jan Schermerhorn, members of Capt. Johs. S. Glen's Co. of Schenectady Militia. Arent Schermerhorn, member of Capt. Harmen Van Slyck's Co. of Schenectady Militia. Lucas Schermerhorn, member of Col. Thos. Farmer's New Jersey Regt.

Cornelius Jacob Schermerhorn, 2nd Lieut. of a Schodack Co. of Rensselaerwyck Militia.

Barent, Cornelius, Derrick, Daniel, Hendrick, Jacob, Jacob C., Jacob J., John, Lukas, Ryer and Samuel Schermerhorn, members of Capt. Joachim Staat's Co., Sir Wm. Johnson's Regt. Cornelius, Johannis, Roelif and William Schermerhorn, members of Capt. Jacob Hallenbeck's Co. (Greene Co.). Johannes and Ryer Schermerhorn, members of Capt. Gerrit Lansing's 2nd Schenectady Co. Freeman and Jacob Schermerhorn, members of Lieut. John Glen's Schenectady Troop of Light Horse. Aaron, Jacobus William, Jacobus, Lourens and Seyman Schermerhorn, members of Capt. Nich. Groot's Co. of Schenectady Militia. Abraham and Reyer A'n Schermerhorn, members of Capt. Andries Truex's Co. of Schenectady Militia. Cornelius, Jr., Jacob, John, John, Jr., and William Schermerhorn, members of Capt. Cornelius DuBois' Co. of Catskill Militia.

Jan. 5, 1758
William Schermerhorn commissioned 1st Lieut. of Schenectady Militia

Jan. 17, 1764
Jacobus Schermerhorn commissioned 1st Lieut. of Schenectady Militia.

1760-70 (?)
Jacob Schermerhorn commissioned Major of Light Horse to be formed in the Northern District.

Schermerhorn Soldiers of the Revolution
Commissioned Officers
Daniel Schermerhorn, 4th Albany Co. Regt.; Lieut. Oct. 20, 1775; Capt. Apr. 1, 1778. Freeman (Bernard) Schermerhorn; 2nd Albany Co. Regt. (Schenectady); Ensign, June 20, 1778. Jacob Schermerhorn, 2nd Albany Co. Regt. (Schenectady); Lieut. Col., Oct. 20, 1775. Jacob Schermerhorn; Albany Co. Exempts; Capt., 1779-80. Jacob Schermerhorn; 4th Albany Co. Regt.; 1st Lieut. Apr. 1, 1778. Jacob Schermerhorn; 5th Albany Co. Regt.; 1st Lieut., Oct. 20, 1775; 4th Albany Co. Regt.; 2nd Major, April 1, 1778; 1st Major, ————. Lucas Schermerhorn, 4th Albany Co. Regt.; Capt. Oct. 20, 1775.

Listed by Regiments
2nd Regt. Albany Co. Militia (Schenectady). Aaron, Andrew, Bartholomew, Garret, Henry J., Jacob, Jacob J., John, John J., Nicholas, Richard, Ryer, Maus and Simon Schermerhorn, privates; Jacob Schermerhorn, Captain; Freeman Schermerhorn, Ensign.

4th Regt. Albany Co. Militia (Lower Rensselaer Co.). Cornelius, Jacob, Jacob H., Jacob I., Jacob R., Philip and Samuel Schermerhorn, privates; John R. Schermerhorn, Sergeant.

6th Regt. Albany Co. Militia (Upper Rensselaer Co.). Jacob Schermerhorn, Private.

8th Regt. Albany Co. Militia (Columbia Co.). John, John, Jr., and William Schermerhorn, Privates.

11th Regt. Albany Co. Militia (Coxsackie). Cornelius and Jacob Schermerhorn, Privates.

Graham's Dutchess Co. Regt.. Cornelius Schermerhorn, Private.

Willett's Levies. John L. Schermerhorn, Private.

Third Line Regt., C. D. Wynkoop, Col. Jacob Schermerhorn, Private.

Claimants for Land Bounty Rights
2nd Regt. Albany Co. Militia. Abraham, Freeman, Garret, Jacobus, Maus, Reyer A. and William Schermerhorn.

4th Regt. Albany Co. Militia. Daniel, Jacob, Jacob J., John W., Philip, Reyer, Hendrick and Samuel Schermerhorn.

8th Regt. Albany Co. Militia. John J. Schermerhorn.

9th Regt. Albany Co. Militia. John Schermerhorn.

11th Regt. Albany Co. Militia. Cornelius, Hendrick, Jacob, John and Johannes Schermerhorn.

4th Regt. Dutchess Co. Militia. Robert Schermerhorn.

5th Regt. Dutchess Co. Militia. Cornelius Schermerhorn.

6th Regt. Dutchess Co. Militia. John Schermerhorn.

Pension Roll, 1833-34
Garret, John I., Lawrence and Bartholomew Schermerhorn, all of Schenectady County.

Family of Jacob Janse Schermerhorn
First Generation
JACOB JANSE, son of Jan Schermerhorn; b. 1622 in Holland; d. 1688 in Schenectady, N. Y.; m. JANNETIE EGMONT; b. 1633 in Holland; dau. of Cornelius Segerse Egmont (Van Voorhout) and Bregje Jacobsen.


(2) Ryer, bp. June 23, 1652, in New York; m. Ariaantje Arentse Bratt (see page 55).
(3) Simon, b. 1658; m. Willempie Viele (see page 149).
Helena, b. about 1660; m. about 1684, Myndert Harmense Van der Bogart, son of Harmen Myndertse Van der Bogart and Gillisje Claese Schouw.
(4) Jacob, b. about 1661; m. Gerritie Hendrickse Van Buren (see page 183).
Machtelt, b. about 1663; m. about 1683, Johannes Martense Beekman, son of Marten Beekman and Susanna Jans.
(5) Cornelius, b. about 1668; m. Maritie Hendrickse Van Buren (see page 305).
Jannetie, b. about 1672; m. July 28, 1695, in New York, Caspar Springsteen.
Neeltje, b. about 1674; m. Sept. 30, 1700, in Albany, Barent Ten Eyck.
(6) Lucas, b. about 1676; m. Elizabeth Janse Damen (see page 391).
Old Dutch Songs

(Much sung on New Year's Day.)

Sint Nicholaas, goed heilig man,
Trekt uw beste Tabbard an,
En reist daarmee naar Amsterdam,
Van Amsterdam naar Spanje,
Waar Appelen van Granje,
En Appelen van Granaten,
Rollen door de Straten.
Sint Nicholaas, myn goeden vriend,
Ik heb u altyd wel gediend,
Als gy my nu wat wilt geven,
Zal ik u dienen al myn leven.


Saint Nicholas, good holy man,
Put your best Tabbard on, you can,
And in it go to Amsterdam;
From Amsterdam to Hispanie,
Where apples bright, of Orange,
And likewise those pomegranates famed
Roll through the streets all unreclaimed.
Saint Nicholas, my dear good friend,
To serve you ever was my end;
If something to me you will give,
You I will serve long as I live.


Trip a trop a troontjes,
De varkens in de boontjes,
De koetjes in de klaver,
De paarden in de haver,
De eendjes in de water-plas,
De kalf in de lang gras —
So groot myn kleine poppetje was!


Riding on the parent's knee,
Thou shall ever happy be
As the little pigs among the beans,
The cows among the clover,
The horses among the oats,
The ducks splashing in the water,
The calf in the long grass —
So tall my little baby was!

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