Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of the VAN METRE Family


         The VAN METRE Family — There are many variants of the name — Van Metren, Van Metre, Van Meter, Van Matre, and Vanmetre. In the early history of Berkeley County, the spelling was Van Matre. Enough research has been made into the history of the family to establish that Emanuel Van Meteren was the Dutch Consul in London, England, in the 17th century; he was an historian and an acquaintance of Hendrick Hudson, the explorer. The coat of arms of the Dutch Van Metern family are: quartered; first and fourth of silver with a fleur-de-lis, gules; with second and third of gold, with two feses; gules accomplished with eight martlets of the same color arranged in orle. Crest; a fleur-de-lis. It is said the name is derived from Metern, a town of Guerlderland, Holland. There are two early settlers from whom the Virginia pioneer family is descended from:

         Jan Joosten Van Matre (unsure of the spelling – the article did not use his last name), the founder of this family, arrived at New Amsterdam (New York City) September 12, 1662, from Tiederwelt with his wife and five children ranging in age from 2-15; moved to Wyltrick, Kingston, New York, that same year. In 1663 the Minnisik Indians raided and burned Wyltrick and carried off his wife and two children, but they were rescued. Was a schephan at Wiltwick; was elected (1667), a deacon in the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1673, was one of the four magistrates of Hurley and Marbletown, New York; swore allegiance to the English in Ulster County, New York, 1689; in 1695 purchased 500 acres of land in Burlington County, New Jersey, on the Delaware River on the present site of Burlington County, New Jersey, on the Delaware River on the present site of Burlington, New Jersey; bought a large piece of land in Somerset County, New Jersey and died near Raritan, that state. He married Machyken Hendrickson of Meppelen Province of Dreuthe, Holland. Their son was:

         Joost Janse Van Matre (again, unsure of the spelling — not included in the article, though it did list his sons with the Van Matre spelling), born in Europe about 1656; son Jan, baptised October 14, 1683; settled somewhere on the Raritan River in Somerset County, New Jersey, then moved to Maryland and settled on the Monocacy River; in 1726 received a grant of land in Frederick County at the mouth of Metre’s Run, which empties into the Monacacy. When Governor Gooch of Virginia was giving away large tracts of land in the Shenandoah Valley, he advised his sons John (Jan) and Isaac Van Matre to avail themselves of this opportunity to get a large tract of land for little or nothing. Their father, John Van Matre, had visited that region a few years before on a trading expedition with the Indians. John and Isaac Van Matre received 40,000 acres of land in this grant, much of which is now in Berkeley and Jefferson counties. Some of the descendants of these men were Isaac Van Metre of Kearneysville; Floyd Van Metre and Allen Van Metre on the Arden Road; George W. Vanmetre, for many years County Surveyor of Berkeley County; E.W. Vanmetre, Washington, D.C.; and James Henry Vanmetre.


    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928.

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