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Casparus Herman's Three Wives

Page history last edited by Liz Johnson 10 years, 10 months ago

Casparus Herman's Three Wives

by Elizabeth A. Johnson © 2013


Casparus Herman was the second son of Augustine Herman and his wife, Jannetje Varlet (daughter of Caspar). Casparus Herman was baptized in the Dutch church of New Amsterdam on 2 January, 1656. New Amsterdam, then a Dutch colony, later became the city of New York. Casparus was married three times, and had children with all three wives.


Augustine Herman, thought to have been born at Prague, Bohemia in 1605, was a man of many talents. He was well-educated, fluent in several languages, could draw and paint, and was trained as a surveyor. Early in his career in the colonies, he was an agent for the Dutch merchant house of the Gabry family. He was sent by the Dutch government on diplomatic missions to Rhode Island and to Maryland and Virginia. He made a map of the Mid-Atlantic seaboard region for Lord Baltimore of England in the early 1660's, in consideration for which Baltimore granted Herman 30,000 acres of land in the places that became Cecil County, Maryland, and New Castle County, Delaware.


Casparus Hermans, also a surveyor, was first married with Susanna Huyberts. There is no record of this marriage, but her name appears in the record of Casparus' second marriage at New Amsterdam. Casparus and Susanna had married before December 13, 1677, when the Labadist traveller Jasper Danckaerts mentions meeting Casparus Herman's wife "Susanneken" in his journal entry for that day [Journal of Jasper Danckaerts, 1679-1680 (James & Jameson, 1913), p. 130]. This Susanna was probably a daughter of Huybert Hendricksen and Maritje Hendricks. Her father Huybert was from Rodenkerchen, near Cologne, Germany. He and his family lived in New Amsterdam for a while, but he is probably the same man as the Huybert Hendricks who obtained two town lots in the town of New Castle (on Delaware) from Peter Wolferson Couwenhoven in October 1672. Three years later, Casparus Hermans, then age 20, was appointed as a surveyor of roads in New Castle County, so he had opportunity to meet his future bride in New Castle. Susanna Huyberts was baptized 15 December 1660 in the Dutch church at New Amsterdam. There was one daughter of her marriage with Casparus Hermans, whose name is now unknown. This daughter married Christopher Mansson, son of Mans Andersson/Mansson/Mounts. According to research by the late Dr. Peter S. Craig, Christopher Mansson had tenure of his first wife's inheritance --400 acres of "St. Johns Manor" at the west side of Elk River in Cecil County, Maryland --until her children reached adulthood.


Casparus Herman's wife Susanna Huyberts died before August 1682. As his second wife, Casparus married Anna Reyniers at New York on 23 August, 1682. Their record of marriage, in the New York Dutch Reform church, proves the name of his previous, deceased wife: "1682 15 Aug. Casparus Hermanszen, Wedr. Van Susanna Huyberts, Anna Reyniers, j. d. Van N. Yorke, de Eerste woonende aan de Zuytrivier, en tweede alhier. 23 Aug" [add footnote Purple]. The text, translated, reads: "Casparus Hermans, widower of Susanna Huyberts, [and] Anna Reyniers, unmarried woman from New York, the first living on the South River, and the second [living] here". After the English conquered Hew Netherland in 1664, the South River of the Dutch colony became known as the Delaware River, which separates the US states of Pennsylvania and Delaware from the state of New Jersey.


Anna Reyniers was almost certainly a daughter of Reynier Williams and his wife, Susanna Arents van Putten. Anna was their first child, baptized 23 February, 1661 in the Dutch church at New Amsterdam. Reynier Williams was from Oldenburg, then in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany. He came to New Amsterdam shortly before 1660, locating at the new settlement at Harlem, New York. He was a baker, and became a merchant of Harlem. He was literate and educated. He held the office of Orphanmaster at Harlem for a period, and wrote Harlem's city charter. His is another family who migrated to the Delaware region. He bought land in, and ultimately settled in Mispillion Hundred, Kent County, Delaware. His family was still living at New York in 1689, although he had purchased land in Kent County as early as 1677.


Casparus Herman and wife Anna Reyniers had a daughter Susanna, probably born in 1663 at his residence in St. George's Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware. She seems to have married James Cregier or Creager. In records of Cecil County, Maryland, both are found witnessing quite a few land transctions of Casparus' brother, Ephraim Augustine Herman.


It is unknown exactly when Annetje Reyniers died. David Riker in his "Genealogical & Biographical Directory to Persons in New Netherlands 1613 to 1674" [need fn page number] shows that 'Casparus Heermans' married third on 29 August, 1696 with one Katharine Williams. However, In 1695, a Catryne Herman witnessed deed of gift from Richard Carr to his brother-in-law, of land at "St. Johns Manor", where they all lived. There is no other Catherine Herman(s) in the area who could be this witness, except the last wife of Casparus Herman. Later records are found of Catherine Hermans as Casparus Herman's widow.


Deed of Gift. Richard Carr of Cecil Co., gent., son and heir apparent of Capt. John Carr, late of said Co., deceased, for the special love and affection he has for his brother-in-law Peter Clason of said co., planter, and because he is moving, gives to Peter Clason a moiety of a parcel of land at John Cousin's Creek and St. John's Manor. Said land is part of St. John's Manor and is on the west side of Elk River. Made 31 July 1695. Wits: Daniell Smith, Catryne Herman. Ackn: 31 July 1695 before Capt. Augu. Herman. Rec: 14 Aug 1708. John Dowdall, Clerk. [p. 52, Brown, Abstracts of Cecil County Land Records 1673-1751].


The person called 'Capt. Augu. Herman' in the above deed is Ephraim Herman, son of Casparus Herman and his last wife Catherine Williams. He had taken on the title "Augustine" after the 1697 death of his father. The title "Augustine", according to conditions set forth by the original Augustine Herman (father of Ephraim and Casparus, his first and second heirs) was to be used by the current heir and owner of his large Bohemia Manor estate.


Katherine Williams is likely to be the next-youngest sister of Casparus Harman's second wife, Anna Reyniers. This Catherine was baptized 5 December 1663 in the New Amsterdam Dutch Reform Church. Although Annetje Reyniers was called by her father's name (her patronym) in her marriage record, by the time his family removed to Delaware, the surname of all members of this family had become 'Williams'. In Quaker records of Kent County and in other Delaware records, Reynier, his wife Susanna, and his children were all known by the surname of Williams.


Although any number of women called Catherine could have become Casparus Herman's wife, it must be certain that Casparus knew the other family members of Anna Reyniers, his in-laws. On 1 December, 1680, "Crisparus" Hermans was awarded his petition for a grant of 800 acres in Kent County, Delaware by the court at St. Jones County, as that part of Delaware was then called [Brewer, Mary. Kent County, Delaware Land records Vol 1 1680-1701, p. 1]. 'Crisparus' is a transcription error and can be none other than Casparus Herman himself. As a landowner, a surveyor and overseer of roads, and as a businessman as well, Casparus had ample occasion to travel all over the state of Delaware, as well as other places in the mid-Atlantic Colonial region.


Arguments for why Casparus' last two wives Anna Reyniers and Catherine Williams were likely to have been daughters of Reynier Williams mostly have to do with proximity, timing and social class. Casparus Hermans (a young widower) was visiting in New York when he married Anna Reyniers in 1685. Reynier Williams and his family were also still living there at that time. There was no other Anna or Annetje baptized in the New Amsterdam Dutch Reform church by a father called Reynier in the time period before 1665, who would be eligible to marry in 1682. Augustine Herman's children were all baptized in the New York Dutch Reform church, and his son Ephraim was a member. Presumably Casparus attended this church as a youth, and attended later when he was in New York on business.


Reynier Williams appears to have been living in New York with his family from 1659 until at least 1689. Even though he purchased land in Delaware in 1677, he is listed in both the 1676 and 1677 tax assessments of New York city [MCC 1:39, 56]. Reynier's name appears on Dominee Selyn's 1686 list of members of the Dutch Reform church in New York, and his daughters Tryntie (Catherine) and Gertruyd Reyniers are listed just below his name. Anna's name does not appear on this list, but after she married Casparus Herman in 1682, she would have gone to live with him at his residence, then in St. George's Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware.


Casparus Herman was a well-travelled man, appearing at various places between New York, eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. He was a surveyor and overseer of roads in Delaware at certain times, and could easily have travelled as far as Kent County, Delaware. William Parsons (the first) of the "Blandford" plantation at Town Point in Cecil County, Maryland, who married Reynier Williams' daughter Mary, also owned plantations in both Kent County, Delaware, and in Cecil County, Maryland.


Another argument favoring the two Reynier Williams daughters as the last two wives of Casparus Hermans is that Casparus and his second wife Anna Reyniers named their only known daughter Susanna, which is the name of Reynier Williams' wife, Susanna Arents van Putten, and of Susanna van Putten' own mother, Susanna Jans van Schurenberg. Casparus Herman's deceased first wife's name was also Susanna, but more likely the daughter Susannah Herman was named after the grandmother, not after the dead wife. The Dutch did not very often name children after dead previous spouses. Their naming traditions generally favored giving their children the grandparents' names first.


It was not unusual in this era for young widowers with children to marry a sister of his deceased wife. Already a son- and brother-in-law, a man would be known and accepted by his in-laws. Inheritance of property of the widower's grandparents would continue in the family, and any business between the son-in-law and his father-in-law would not be complicated by the addition of a second father-in-law. The children of Casparus Herman's second and third wives all named their daughters Catherine (the name of Casparus' third wife and also the name of one of Reynier Williams' daughters). The only exception to this trend was Augustina Hermans, the youngest daughter, whose only known child was called Augustina. Catherine Reyniers Williams would have been the mother of Casparus' youngest children, and the aunt of his second daughter Susanna.


Casparus Herman's third wife and widow Catherine married John Jawert. They lived in Cecil County, Maryland, where she and he appear in various records. Until I can post these here, email me for further information. iris.gates AT gmail.com (put it together with the @ sign).


A Family Register of Casparus Herman's children and grandchildren is under construction, and will soon follow here. Footnotes for this article are also under construction. I was urged to publish this article earlier than planned. Check back again later for further, including updates and more information. Questions or comments are very welcome and will be answered. Thanks --Liz J


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© 2013 Elizabeth A. Johnson. Fair Use of selected quotations is acceptable for genealogical or research purposes, but copying the entire article is not. For extended permissions or for questions, contact the author at iris.gates AT gmail.com


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