Edward Smith

Edward Smith (-1700) was born probably in Penryn, Cornwall, England and he along with and brothers Robert Smith (1706/7) and Renatus Smith (-1719) probably arrived by sea about 1677.  Since it is known that Robert arrived as a free adult without indenture, it is assumed his brothers did as well.

Edward Smith married Anne Shepherd  (1685-1735).  She was born in 1685 in Talbot County, Maryland, the youngest daughter of Francis Shepherd (1648-1692) and Ann (Hannah) Norris (1650-post-1685).  Anne inherited Continue reading

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Solomon Clayton

Solomon Clayton (c. 1685-1739) was born 1685 in Maryland, probably in Queen Anne County. IMG_0363He became a successful landowner who held several political posts in the state.  His granddaughter married the Governor of Maryland 41 years after his death.

His father was William Clayton (ca. 1655-1721) and his mother’s name is unknown but his stepmother was Joan (?-1730), the widow of Robert Gough.  Solomon had Continue reading

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William Clayton (1682-1728)

William Clayton (1682-1728/9) was born about 1682, probably in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.  He was the eldest son of Willam Clayton (c. 1655-1721). The identity of his mother is unknown but his stepmother was Joan (?-1730) who was the widow of Robert Gough (?-1705).

William had a younger brother Solomon Clayton (1685-1739) and three sisters Rachel, Alice, and Margaret.  When his father Continue reading

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William Clayton (1655-1721)

William Clayton (c. 1655-1721) was born about 1655, probably in England.    He is the earliest known Clayton settling around the Eastern Shore of Maryland.   His name “Clayton” was used for many generations to come.  There is an earlier noted William Clayton (pre-1665) who could be his father but that remains inconclusive.

The historical context of William’s life is noteworthy.  In 1664, New York became English  after Governor Peter Stuyvesant surrendered the Dutch New Netherland colony to the British following a naval blockade.  That same year,  Maryland passed a law making Continue reading

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William Clayton Pre-1665

This William Clayton (pre-1665) is enigmatic.  He is probably the father of William Clayton documented to be born about 1655 and the grandfather of William Clayton and Solomon Clayton who served in the Lower House of Maryland.  Each of these ancestors lived on the Eastern Shore.IMG_0363

The mystery around William Clayton is his relationship to the other Williams and Solomon.  The counties involve Talbot, Queen Anne, and St. Mary’s in Maryland in the mid 1600s.  There are two known records that indicate an adult William Clayton living on the Eastern Shore in 1665. Continue reading

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Viet Musig

Viet Musig (Muzigh, Mesick) was born near Heidelberg, Germany about 1690 during a time of religious intolerance for Protestants by Catholics.  He married and immigrated with his family to New York by sea in 1710.  He created a foundation for future Mesick descendants and lived until at least his mid eighties to see them extend Continue reading

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Hendrick Mesick

Johann Hendrick Mesick (1714-1809) was born December 29, 1714 in Germantown, Columbia County, New York.  A first generation American — before the Revolution — in which he later fought.  He was active in his church, raised a family, lived to be 95 years old.

His parents were Viet Musig (Mesick) and Anna Catharina who immigrated in 1710 and settled in town of Livingston, NY where they built a log house.  As a first born son, Hendrick later settled in the northern part of Livingston Manor on Claverack Creek near Glenco Mills on a joint life-leased Continue reading

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Hermann Betzer

Hermann Betzer (Bitzer, Pitzer) was born in 1669 in Hachenburg, Germany.  Under horrific ill conditions, he emigrated by sea with other Palatines in search of a new life. Hermann settled in the East Camp, known as Germantown, NY where he became an original settler, remaining there the rest of his life.240px-Hachenburg_im_Westerwaldkreis

Hermann Betzer‘s parents were Peter Betzer (c. 1650-?) and Ann Els Zimmermann (c. 1650-?)

Hermann  was Continue reading

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Jacob Best

Jacob Best (c. 1690-) (aka Bast, Beest) was probably born about 1690 in the neighborhood of Schonbach and Herborn about 40 km. north and a little to the west of Frankfurt, Germany.  He arrived by sea to America to become the patriarch of Best family.

On January 21, 1705, a Johan Jacob Bast married Margret, daughter of Johannes Kurtz from Schonbach.  This couple had a son baptized March 21, 1705 named Johann Jost. This may have been Jacob’s first wife and child.  

Jacob Best immigrated to England Continue reading

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Johannes Best

Johannes Best (c. 1718) was born in Central Camp, Columbia County, NY about 1718.  He was a first born American and son of Jacob Best (c. 1690-c. 1780) and Anna Christina Dederick who were Palatine immigrants.

Johannes Best married Eva Lounart about 1749-50.  She was daughter of Philip Lounart of Graevenwiesbach, near Heintzenberg, Germany and later of “Rhinebeck Precinct, Livingston Manor, Yoeman”  and Anna Margareta Kuhn.

They settled in the north part of Livingston Manor in Clermont, home of the Livingston family.  LinlithgoMesickBest

Johannes and Eva had many children:

Child Born Married Departed
Jury (George) Best Marytje Hooft
 Eva Best Hendrick Platner 23 Oct 1770
 Johannes Best, Jr.
24 Apr 1751 Margaret Mesick 25 Oct 1820
 Elizabeth Best c. 9 Apr 1758 Jacob Power
 Jeremias Best c. 22 Feb 1761
 Wilhelmus Best c. 20 Nov 1763 Mary Platnaar (Platner) 30 July 1829
 Anna Best c.  18 May 1766 Philip Rockefeller
 Jacob Best Elizabeth (Eva) Smith
 Benjamin Best
 Catherine Best Elias Young
 Hendrick Best none
 Peter Best Christina Best 1778

Johannes’ children tended to marry locally. Johannes Best and another ancestor Viet Musig were neighbors with houses next to each and their farms bordered each other.  This proximity little doubt contributed to the marriage of their children Johannes Best and Margaret Mesick — turning neighbors into in-laws.  Johannes’ daughter Anne (Catherine) Best married widower Philip Rockefeller.  Johannes’ son in law was active in the community:

In May, 1775, Philip Rockefeller and John Kortz represented the German Camp (Germantown) district in the first Colonial Congress to be held soon after in New York City. On May 28, 1778, he was made Adjutant of the 10th Regiment, known as the Manor of Livingston Regiment of the State of New York. 

It is possible that on the register of the Dutch church of Johnstown, Johannes Best is noted as deacon in January 7, 1759 and as elder in December 18, 1763.Christviewmonte

He served in the Revolutionary War in the Tenth Regiment (Land Bounty Rights) under Captain Conrad Cline  and in the Independent Company under Captain Petrus Van Gaasbeck.  Five of his sons also served in different bodies of troops constituting the Albany County Militia: Benjamin, William, John, Jr., George J., and Peter.

One of the earliest wills recorded in the office of the Surrogate of Columbia County is that of Johannes Best dated December 10, 1787 and probated April 4, 1788. He names his sons Benjamin and John, and George Best, son of his brother Harman as Executors.  He speaks of himself as “being sick and weak of body, but of sound and perfect mind and memory” yet desires that his burial shall be “decent without pomp or state.”

In his will, he mentions his “dear and lovely wife” to whom he bequeaths two negro women, named “Bet” and “Rose.” He mentions his sons, Jacob, Johannes, Benjamin, Wilhelmus, and Jeremiah, and his daughters, Catherine, Eve, Elizabeth, and Hannah. The witnesses were Solomon Martin, John Minchlaer, and Leonard Ten Broeck.

Having ancestors who were slave owners during this time period is a powerful legacy.   A description of slavery in Clermont can be found here.

Eva Lounart Best survived her husband and was alive in 1790, occupying the old homestead on the right hand side of the road to the Manor House Clermont Manor House from the Linlithgo Reform Church which was the first house.

Resources

Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs – Best

 The Family of Best in America

The transactions of the Rockefeller family association…with genealogy (Volume 2)

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