Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Wynkoop and Bronks Part 2

Wife of 
Joshua Wynkoop
Dec. 26, 1853
In the 84 year
Of her age.
God my redeemer lives and often from
The skies,
Looks down and watches o'er my dust
Till he shall bid it rise.

After spending yesterday afternoon trying to figure out who Margaret Wynkoop is, I can say with some confidence that she is the former Margaret Arenhoudt, born about1770. The "about" is because the dates on her headstone calculate to 1769, the 1850 census lists her as 78 for a calculated birth year of 1772 and the book below has 1770. 

Lucky for me and my research, there is a book.  It is called called Wyncoop Genealogy in the United States of America, and person number 311 is our Joshua.  According to that book, his parents are Evert and Sarah Wynkoop and he was born September 19, 1770 in Ulster County in the Kingston/Saugerties area. He and Margaret Arnout (birth date June 10, 1770) married and, I  quote, "They lived and died and Bethlehem, Albany County, New York."  The end. No death dates, no nothing, for Margaret and Joshua.

The Wyncoop Geneology does list their eight children. The eldest, Evert, was born in 1796 and was baptized at Jerusalem Reformed Church, and the rest, John, Hannatie (that would be Anne), Abraham, Peter, Jacob, Garret and Sarah, were all baptized in the First Reformed Church of Bethlehem. 

Jerusalem Reformed Church (located in Feura Bush - then in the Town of Bethlehem) records also show them a having a daughter named Annatye, born July 28, 1794, baptized that same year. I wonder if this Annatye died young as I can't find another record of her, and Joshua and Margaret used the name Anna again for their next daughter (born 1800). 

Joshua Wynkoop turns up regularly in Bethlehem in the census and assessment rolls. There is even a reference to him registering his cattle mark in 1815.

The 1850 U.S. Census is enlightening. Both Joshua and Margaret are both 78 years old and living in the household of their son Abraham and his wife Sarah Albright (Abraham and Sarah were married June 22, 1834 under the auspices of the Bethlehem Reformed Church.) Also in the household are Abraham and Sarah's nine children.

In the 1855 U.S. Census, Joshua, age 82, is still living with his son, aged 82. By the 1860 Census, the household of Abraham and Sarah Wyncoop only has their children - 10 of them by now.

So, Margaret we know, died in 1853, and I am thinking her husband Joshua must have died between 1855 and 1860.  I like to think that he is buried next to Margaret in the family plot I noticed on Wildwood Lane, and his stone is lost.  I cannot find a record of him buried anywhere else. 

And, by the way, Abraham and Sarah Wynkoop and several of their children are buried at the Jerusalem Cemetery. Apparently he purchased a plot at the Jerusalem Reformed Church Burying Place for $5.

The Wynkoops, father and son, were well off.  That 1850 census lists Joshua having property worth $7,000 and Abraham at $2,000.

Now exactly where was that farm - why at the end of modern day Wildwood Lane of course.  The 1866 map clearly shows A. W. at the end of the lane and a little further north is A. Wyncoop.

And what happened to the farm?  I found a clipping where on February 1, 1883, the heirs to the estate of Abraham Wynkoop were determined to sell "on the premises, to the highest bidder the farm known as the Wynkoop farm, situated in the town of Bethlehem, 6 1/2 miles from Albany and 4 west from Cedar Hill."  The farm contained 135 acres.  And you know what? I measured on Google maps, and the farmhouse at the end of Wildwood Lane IS about 4 miles from Cedar Hill!  Another news report said the property was bid in at $95 per acre.

So, there you have it about this branch of the Wynkoop family.

Wynkoop coat of arms from the Wynkoop Family Research Library

On this snip of the 1866 map, the upside down Y intersection in the middle is today's Elm Avenue and Elm Avenue East. Near the top, you'll see Mrs. Houck - that is the four way stop at Elm Ave and Feuar Bush Road. Wildwood Lane is shown with a dotted line. 

Now, what about the Bronks, Peter, John and Wendell, also buried on Wildwood Lane?  

They are still a mystery.  I found no obvious connections between the Wynkoops and the Bronks.  No children marrying, no Bronk name in the Census near the Wynkoops.  Not even a Bronk on that 1866 map. There are several Bronks in the Red Book and there is a Peter who turns up in the 1820, 1830 and 1840 cenus. Plus there is this intriguing note in the records of roads: 

"May 28, 1830 Alteration, to the old Quisquethan Road from Peter Bronk's barn easterly through John Haswell's land."

The old Ouisquethan Road - Onesquethaw Road - is today's Feura Bush Road and the Haswells had several homestead along that road.  And Wildwood Lane is not too far off from that.   Just speculating here - more research needed!

Here's Cornelis Wynkoop - painted about 1743. Not sure how's he's related, but he sure is cute in his red outfit.  (From the Huntington Library)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Wynkoop - Bronk Burials

Do YOU see the stones in this picture?

While out for my morning walk on Sunday, I spied tombstones in the woods on Wildwood Lane.  I had to laugh because Wildwood is near my home, I walk there often and I never noticed these before.  They've only been there for 160 years or more - lol.  

Zooming in

Interestingly enough, this site is not in the Red Book (that is, Records of the People of the Town of Bethlehem Albany County New York 1698-1880 edited by the Christophs and published by the Bethlehem Historical Association. There is a digital copy over on the Bethlehem Public Library's Local History page if you want to take a look.)

Happily, Liz Bradt made a survey of town cemeteries in the 1980s and 90s (don't quote me on those dates!) and she recorded the stones.

Without further ado, here is who is buried there.

Margaret Wynkoop, wife of Joshua Wyncoop.  She died December 26, 1853 in her 84th year of her age.

Peter Bronk who died April 19, 1854, aged 50 years, 2 months and 13 days.

John P. Bonk who died November 29, 1857, aged 38 years, 2 months and 23 days.

Wendell Bronk who died November 25, 185?, aged 27 years, 8 months and 14 days.

Zoomed to the max

So, who are these people? We'll see what I can find out. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Hello my local history loving friends.  Big changes are coming in my life.  I am stepping down as Town Historian come the end of December, just a couple of weeks!  The Town Board gave me a nice send off this week with a lovely proclamation and many kind words about my work over the last 15 + years.

I will still be doing local history stuff, especially with the Bethlehem Historical Association.  And I will still be posting my history related thoughts here.  I've got lots of ideas for writing and researching, probably with some genealogy work thrown in. 

Honestly, I don't know what the bus picture is but I kind of like it!

And not to worry, the Town is busy interviewing candidates.  I am looking forward to seeing how the new Historian makes the job their own.  As Allison Bennett once told me, its time for someone else to have fun with it.

And for some more fun, here are some pictures of me from back in the day doing history things. 

Me and Ron Selkirk, I think this was 2009.

2009 Memorial Day parade with the Mulligans

Library exhibit October 2011

History paddle in 2018

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

A Slingerland Box Mystery

 The Slingerland Box at B.H.A.


Over the summer, the beautiful wooden box pictured here was donated to the Bethlehem Historical Association.  The outside is smooth wood with an inscribed plaque.  The inside is lined with silky looking fabric. There is a shallow space under the lid and a deep drawer. According to family lore, George Slingerland was a surveyor and this was his box for his surveying equipment.  However, the box itself refutes this.  It is simply too nice inside for a workman’s case.  I think it held a set of silverware. Follow along for how I got to this conclusion.

First, I started with the plaque on the case. It is inscribed:

Presented to
Mr. and Mrs. George W. Slingerland
by employees of the
National Express Company
New York City Division
September 1899


Mr. and Mrs. George W. Slingerland are George Wayne Slingerland (1847-1923) and Rosalie Mattice (1850-1929) who married in 1870.  George was born in Bethlehem’s hamlet of Slingerlands to William and Elizabeth Slingerland.

Tracing the couple through the census, we find them in Bethlehem in the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census and the 1875 New York Census.  He is listed as a farmer (at age 23 still at home with the parents), then a surveyor (in his own household with Rosalie and their young children) and then as a civil engineer.  Then there is a gap in the Census trail until the 1905 New Jersey State Census where he is living in Hackensack with Rosalie and is listed as a manager with the Express Company. The 1915 New Jersey and the 1920 Federal censuses have him in Hackensack as a superintendent with the Express Company. 

So far so good. I hope you connected the references to the Express Company and the inscription on the plaque.

George turns up often in the newspapers. One of my favorites is from the February 13, 1886 edition of the Albany Argus.   Under the headline “Express Officials Fraternize” it goes on to describe a party where employees of the Boston office of the National Express Company entertained their superintendent, Mr. Merritt Seely, at a “sumptuous” banquet at the Quincy house. Among the 30 gentlemen present were George W. Slingerland, assistant to the general superintendent at Albany. 

Apparently, George made a speech.  As the article reads:

He soberly drew a voluminous manuscript from his pocket, and read a humorous poem, which coved all the great events in American History down to the time of the formation of the National Express company. When this point had been reached, his poem “cracked” every official of the company.  This production convulsed his hearers, who “laughed till they cried.”

 I wish we had a copy of that poem!

Sometime around 1890, he and his family moved first to Brooklyn then to Hackensack likely for George’s work with the National Express Company.  Then along comes this article from the September 29, 1899 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  Let me just quote it:

George W. Slingerland, superintendent of the New York and Long Island divisions of the National Express Company, recently resigned his position to engage in other business.  He was agreeably surprised last night when arriving at his residence in the Brevoort, he found there his former assistant superintendents, route agents and principal agents, who on behalf of themselves and other employees, presented a magnificent silver service of eighty pieces as a testimonial of their appreciation and regard for Mr. and Mrs. Slingerland.

The article goes on to describe George’s work:

At the time of his resignation Mr. Slingerland had been with the company over twenty years, during the last thirteen of which he has been in immediate charge of its metropolitan service.  He originated and organized the first trolley express car system ever in existence, which operating over the Rapid Transit lines here has proven of inestimable advantage to the citizens and business interests of Brooklyn and Queens.

Did you notice the silver service mentioned in the article? And that the date of said article is September 29, 1899, the same date as inscribed on the box?  I am wholly sure that our box was the container for this set of silver.

These images of the King George pattern from the 1909 Goreham Hand Book of Stirling Silver give an idea of what the silver service might have been 

And what is an Express Company you ask? Basically they were in the business of moving packages and freight and maybe people. For example, here’s a snippet from The March 5, 1902 issue of the Standard Union:

Mrs. Eugene A. Philbin, has sued…George W. Slingerland as head of the Century Express Compony for $200 said to represent the vault of a package the plaintiff shipped by express on August 16 last to Seabright, and $50 for the failure of the package to reach its destination.

And a final, funny note if you do much historical research.  I was trying to find George’s obituary.  Did you know there were two George W. Slingerlands who died in 1923? Thankfully Rosalie is a unique name.  I often searched on her name while looking for George.


This photo of George Wayne Slingerland is from a public family tree.




Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A New Historic Marker at the Slingerland Homestead

Have you noticed the new historical marker on New Scotland Road in Slingerlands?  It honors the historic homestead of the Slingerland family in their namesake hamlet. The property was in the hands of that branch of the Slingerland family for over 150 years!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Thinking of Jane Kimmey Selkirk

 As you know, various historical items often come my way, including this lovely picture of Jane Kimmey Selkirk.  And as you know, I am on the hunt for all things related to the Selkirk family.

Jane was born in 1829, the daughter of Mr. Kimmey * and Maria Niver.  She married William Selkirk (1828-1913) in 1856.  According to Selkirk family genealogy records, Jane and William had 6 children, John, David, James, Jess, Robert and Edward.  

She lived her life in Cedar Hill and shows up regularly in the census living in Bethlehem. For example in the 1880 U.S. she is listed as "keeping house" with her husband, a carpenter, and three of their sons. Interestingly, in 1870 William is listed as a carpenter and hotel keeper. The 1855 N.Y. Census , the year before she married, captures her living with her sister Ann and Ann's husband Jacob Soop. 

Jane died in 1919 and is buried with her family in Elmwood Cemetery.

Below is a picture of Edward Selkirk.  I believe this is Jane's son who was a mail carrier in the hamlet of Selkirk for many years. Ed's full name is Edward Kimmey Selkirk - 1865-1946.

The picture below is labeled Jennie Selkirk.

This might be Jennie Selkirk, 1863-1884, daughter of Jacob Selkirk and Anna Vrooman. Jane Kimmey Selkirk is her aunt and Edward would be her cousin. She is also buried at Elmwood Cemetery.

But, it could maybe be Edward's wife, Eliza J. Exler (1874-1940), based solely on the middle initial of "J".  

Both Jennie and Eliza are buried at Elmwood Cemetery along with a host of other Selkirk and Exler relatives. 

Hope you enjoyed these new to me pictures of members of the Selkirk family.  And yes, they are connected to Revolutionary War veteran James Selkirk and his wife Elizabeth.  Jane Kimmey Selkirk would have been a granddaughter-in-law to them.  He husband William was their grandson. 


* I've got conflicting sources on Jane's father.  The family genealogy compiled by Theodore Selkirk says he's Jacob - Theodore cites a family bible.  Records of the First Reformed Church point to David Kimmey as does Findagrave.   More research needed, per usual!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Slingerlands Living History Walking Tour

 We are doing another Slingerlands Living History Walking Tour in a couple of weeks.  It is a fun way to learn some local history!

The Friends of the Slingerland Family Burial Vault present a Slingerlands Living History Walking Tour on Sunday afternoon October 16.   

Participants will enjoy an afternoon walking tour in the hamlet of Slingerlands that features costumed actors portraying local notables like Congressman John I. Slingerland and engineer William H. Slingerland. Other notables are star pitcher of the Slingerland Echo baseball team Adam Mattice and African American resident James Dickson. New this year are architect Grace Slingerland and attorney Ruth Miner

Tours step off at 2:00, 2:30 and 3:00 pm on Sunday October 16 from the picnic pavilion at the Slingerlands Fire Department, 1520 New Scotland Road.    

Advance tickets are required and can be purchased through Eventbrite.

 Questions? Email


Find out more about this event and Friends of the Slingerland Family Burial Vault at