The Van Slyke Family

Retyped from Beers "History of Greene County" by Annette Campbell


The VanSlyke family, whose various members are now scattered along the banks of the Hudson River, from Catskill to Albany, appear to have originated with an ancestor, who became a large landholder in Greene county. The whole history of the family illustrates the virtues which belong to well-to-do and prosperous farmers. They have been characterized by a loyalty which has been pronounced in the support of religion in the Reformed Dutch church; and in moulding and making the history of local churches, none have been more influential.

 
The New Baltimore branch of the family, several generations back, can boast of an alliance, which brought to their children a strain of princely blood; they can put the name of the Prince of Orange on their family tree.
 
According to the traditions which may be gathered up, the earliest member of the family came from Amsterdam to this country about 1635. His name was William Peterse VanSlyk, as the name was spelled. He appears to have been associated with the enterprise of the Patroon Van Rensselaer of Fort Orange.  His son, Jacobus VanSlyk, was appointed by Governor Stuyvesant, in 1658 as "Voorleser", or lay-reader and instructor in religion, to the settlement of Esopus, now Kingston. Through his instrumentality a flourishing church was there founded. It is believed that another son had settled in Bruckelen (Brooklyn), whose name was Cornelis Antonissen VanSlyk. To this one, August 22nd 1646, Governor Kieft executed a patent or deed for a large tract of land, lying west of Catskill, toward Kiskatom, and extending for several miles northward.
 
It was intended that he should here plant a colony, after the manner of the VanRensselaers of Fort Orange.  It was, in fact, a transgression upon the claims, which were stretched much farther southward than Kieft would allow.  This gift to VanSlyk by Governor Kieft was a recompense for what VanSlyk had done for "this country, as well in making peace, as in the ransoming of prisoners."  Disregarding the patent which Governor Kieft had granted to VanSlyk, the Patroon VanRensselaer, with superior power, dispossessed VanSlyk, who did not care to contend, when he located himself on unappropriated lands between Coxsackie and New Baltimore, where, for 200 years, the VanSlyke family, or rather the Hudson River branch of it, with the Bronks and others with whom they have been closely allied, have been "lords of the soil."
 
The genealogical records of the family given below illustrate connections with other old Dutch families, as the VanWies, VanVrankens, Bronks, and Vanderzees.
 
The line of descent to Ephraim T. is through William Peterse, the first to settle in this county.
 
Tunis and Jannetje Hendrickse VanWie.
Pieter and Anna Rykse VanVranken.
Tunis and Alida VanSlyke.
Andries and __________.
Baltus and Harriet Lewis
Tunis B. and Judith Bronk, to
Ephraim T. and Baltus, of Hudson, Columbia County.
 
wpe1.gif (153058 bytes)Ephraim T. VanSlyke was born in New Baltimore, March 5th 1815, and resides 3 miles westward. He married Mary Vanderzee, of New Baltimore, September 21st 1840. The result of this union was five sons, two of whom are now living: A. Webster, born December 5th 1846; and Bronk, born July 20th 1852. 
 
The oldest surviving son of Ephraim T. VanSlyke is A. Webster VanSlyke, M.D., of Coxsackie, who after having pursued a broad course of study in medicine, is now enjoying eminent success as a practitioner.
 
The oldest son of Baltus, the Rev. J. G. VanSlyke, D.D., is now serving the First Reformed church of Kingston, N.Y., with eminent success as its pastor--a church which owes it origin, as indicated above, to the organizing efforts of Jacobus VanSlyk.
 
A very short distance from the old stone house, near the West Shore railroad station in New Baltimore, lately occupied by Mr. Frank Matthews, are still visible remains of a still older stone mansion. This was the original home of the VanSlykes, and in that old mansion five generations of the family have lived, and their lands were of wide extent in all directions.
 
We are indebted to the Rev. Evert VanSlyke, D.D., of Syracuse, for the genealogy of the VanSlyke family.

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