John H. Polhemus
Morris Co. Up


Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.

polhemus.jpg (49401 bytes)

Fortunate is the man who has back of him an ancestry honorable and distinguished, and in this particular our subject is especially blessed. In the history of the Netherlands the family name figures conspicuously in connection with affairs of state, and its representatives bore an important part in many of the public events which are mentioned in the annals of the country. The family name was originally POLHEEM, but the Latin terminus "us" was affixed as a mark of eminence, according to a custom more or less observed in early days among men of learning and distinction. Anciently some members of the family enjoyed celebrity in the cities of Antwerp and Ghent, and in the former Eleazer POLHEMUS, a learned jurist, held the office of burgomaster in 1310.

Johannes Theodorus POLHEMUS, a minister of the Reformed church of Holland, was the progenitor of all the families of the name in America. On his arrival in this country he accepted a call from the church in Flatbush, where he labored from 1654 to 1665. He was afterward pastor of a church in Brooklyn until his death, which occurred June 9, 1676. He married Catherine VAN WERVEN, and their children were

  • Theodorus,
  • Daniel,
  • Elizabeth,
  • Adriana,
  • Anna and
  • Margaret.

Of this family Daniel POLHEMUS was captain of the troops of Kings county and served as supervisor of Flatbash in 1705. He was afterward county judge and was a most important factor in the public life of his locality. His death occurred just prior to 1730. His family included the following named:

  • Cornelius,
  • Daniel,
  • Hendrick and
  • Jacob.

The eldest took up his residence in Haverstraw, New Jersey, the second in New York, the third in Harlingen, Somerset county, New Jersey, and the fourth in Hempstead, Long Island. Hendrick POLHEMUS took up his residence on a large tract of land, extending from Harlingen to the Millstone river, and the homestead he established long remained in possession of the family. He had a son,

  • Major John POLHEMUS,

who was born in New Jersey in 1738, served in the French and Indian wars and rose to the rank of major, in the war of the Revolution. His death occurred in 1833.

Daniel POLHEMUS, son of the captain of troops of Kings county, took up his residence in New York. He had a son,

  • Henry, who was the father of John H. POLHEMUS.

Henry POLHEMUS was born in New York and married Helen MIDDLEWORTH, also a native of that state. They removed to Battle Creek, Michigan, where John H. POLHEMUS, the immediate subject of this review, was born, on the 11th of April, 1856. The mother died in Battle Creek, and the father soon afterward returned to the east with his family, locating in Somerset county, New Jersey. The son, John H., was then a lad of nine years. He completed his education in an elocutionary college in Middlebush, New Jersey and in 1876 came to Morris county, locating at Whippany, where he secured a clerkship. Soon afterward, however, he became proprietor of a general store, and he has since continued operations in this line, with gratifying success. He has studied closely the public taste and carried a large and well selected stock fitted to meet the popular demand; this, combined with his courteous treatment of his customers and his reliable business methods, has secured him a liberal patronage.

In 1880 Mr. POLHEMUS married Fannelia Beach MC INTTYRE, of New York, and in the community they have many warm friends. Mr. POLHEMUS is a Republican in his political connections, and he served as postmaster of Whippany under President Harrison. He is a director and now president of the Whiponong Hall Association, is a member of the Junior Order United American Mechanics and its auxiliary, the Daughters of Liberty, and of the Royal Arcanum.

This biography was scanned and contributed by Catherine Smith DeMayo.


This page was last modified on:  01 January, 2014

Copyright 1999-2014 by Brianne Kelly-Bly, all rights reserved.