Kuykendalls - by Donald Kuykendall The origin of the Kuykendall name is Dutch. Genealogists such as Dr. George Benson Kuykendall, author of ``History of the Kuykendall Family'' (1919), have traced the name to an area near Wageningen overlooking the Rhine river. Drawing from sources such as the Archives of the State of New York, the Holland Society, and records from 17th century Holland, Dr. Kuykendall explains that the name Kuykendall was not used as a surname in the modern sense until our Dutch ancestors had been in this country over fifty years. During the 17th century in Holland, only people of great prominence or social position used the family name as we do today; instead, they preferred the father's given name with the suffix ``sen'' attached. For example, our ancestor who immigrated from Holland to Fort Orange, New York, was called Jacob Luursen because his father was named Luur. Consequently, the name of Jacob's son was written as Luur Jacobsen in Dutch Reform Church records in 1650. When he arrived in the New World in 1640, Jacob signed his full name as Jacob Luursen Van Wageningen, the word ``van'' meaning ``from,'' thus establishing that he was from Wageningen, Holland, although some genealogists believe he was actually born in Land Van Kuyk, a county about 12 miles south of Wageningen. Our first American-born ancestor, Luur Jacobsen, was also the first to use the surname ``Van Kuykendall.'' My sources say that he added the name when he reached the age of 21, according to Dutch custom. However, he did not use ``Van Kuykendall'' except for some official documents such as baptism records of his children. From this point on, however, Luur Jacobsen's children used the surname ``Van Kuykendall'' as a last name, probably due to the influence of English customs after New Netherland became New York under British control in 1664. Luur's son Matthew is listed as ``Mattheus Van Kuykendaal'' in marriage records dated April 3, 1715. Also, another son named Cornelius appears to have dropped the Dutch ``Van'' at some point as he moved into Minisink County in what is now New Jersey, as all of his children were baptised with just the surname ``Kuykendall.'' It is widely believed that most Kuykendalls of the present are descendants of Matthew Van Kuykendall and Cornelius Kuykendall, so our use of the name stems from them and their children who moved out of the Hudson and Delaware river valley south into various parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and finally Alabama. Jacob Luurson Jacob, our first ancestor in America, was born in or near Waginengen, Holland, the son of Luur (last name unknown). He married Stynje Douwes in Amsterdam on August 28, 1638; Stynje was from Enkhuisen, Holland, born in January 1617, the daughter of Douwe Wiggersz and Agniete Coensen. A 1662 fire in the town hall of Wageningen prevents us from finding any older records on Jacob Luursen or his family. In 1640, Jacob, Stynje, and their baby daughter Styntie arrived in Fort Orange, New Netherlands (now Albany, New York) on the ship Princess owned by the Dutch West India Company. Since 1629 this company had set up patroonships whereby wealthy Dutch could obtain huge tracts of land if they successfully colonized the area. One such patroon was Kiliaen Van Rensselaer whose holdings included most of present-day Albany, Columbia, and Rensselaer counties. Rensselaer had his business office in Amsterdam but his home was in the Gelderland province from which the Luersens came, so it is likely that Rensselaer personally recruited the brothers and gave them land leases to ensure that they would become permanent settlers. Rensselaer's patroonship is mentioned as the only one that lasted into the 1700's. Jacob and his brother Urbanus (with wife Jannetie Claes Boanes) came to America to work for Rensselaer, possibly as mechanics. However, some of my records include details of shipping by the Dutch West India Company in which Jacob Luersen is specifically mentioned as an officer. New York Historical Manuscripts contains a September 6, 1641 declaration of officers of the ship The Angel Gabriel who urged the captain to head for New Netherlands because of the disabled condition of their ship, signed by Jacob Luersen as Chief Boastswain Jacob, like other Dutch settlers, was granted a lot in Beverwyck near Fort Orange on October 25, 1653. Records show that he built a house and had a garden there until his death on April 29, 1655. He was survived by his wife Stynje, daughters Styntie, Jacobyntie, and Agneit, and only son Luur. Luur Jacobson Born in Fort Orange, New Netherlands, on May 29, 1650, Luur grew up as the colony was being firmly established on the banks of the Hudson River. His early years were spent in Esopus County (now Kingston, New York) and Rochester, especially after the death of his father Jacob in 1655 and Luur's mother Stynje was married to Claes Teunissen in 1657/8. In 1680, Luur married Grietje Artze Tack (1663-1720), daughter of Annette Ariens and Aert Pietersen Tack of Kingston. The couple had eleven children, eight of whom were baptised in the Dutch Reform Church in Kingston Luur and Grietje died after 1720 in Minisink. CORNELIUS Kuykendall The fourth child of Luur Jacobsen Van Kuykendall, Cornelius was born in Kingston on May 30, 1686, and married Maritje Westvael in 1705 in Minisink. Maritje was the daughter of Johannes Westphal and Maritji Kool; Johannes' parents, Jurian Westphal and Maritje Hansen, had emigrated in the 1600's from Westphalia, Prussia (present day Germany). Cornelius dropped the ``Van'' in the family surname, probably influenced by his English-speaking neighbors in the Minisink and Deerpark, New Jersey, areas where his first four children were born. One record states that after 1747 Cornelius with his youngest sons Johannes (John), Abraham, and Petrus (Peter) moved south into Pennsylvania, Virginia, and finally North Carolina. Cornelius' sons were accompanied by the sons and grandsons of Matthew Van Kuykendall, a brother of Cornelius, so that the majority of the Kuykendalls were in North Carolina by about 1750. JOHN Kuykendall Johannes Kuykendall, born Jun-5-1717 in Minisink, NY, m. Elizabeth Decher on Apr-19-1745. There's a good chance his son was Jacob, who died at Battle of Kings Mountain. Jacob's son Richmond; b. 1768 in York Co SC, had the son- James; b. Dec-25-1795 in Barren Co KY, m. CELIA THOMPSON on Sep-4- 1820 in Garrard Co KY. James d. Jul-24-1860 in Platte Co MO. ============================================================= Abraham Kuykendall The most fascinating account is that of Abraham, whose life spans the colonial, revolutionary, and frontier eras of the United States. Even more intriguing are the mystery of a pot of buried gold and tales of Abraham's ghost still said to haunt a creek called Pheasant Branch near Flat Rock, North Carolina. Born in Deerpark and baptised on October 18, 1719, Abraham moved to the Minisink area with his parents, then south into Pennsylvania, then down into western North Carolina through the famous Cumberland Gap. He married his first wife, Elizabeth, about 1743 and fathered eleven children between 1755 and 1792. Abraham's story begins with the Revolutionary War, during which he mostly served in civil rather than military roles. Listed as a member of the North Carolina Militia in 1770, he was also a member of the Safety Committee for Tryon County, North Carolina, from July, 26, 1775. Historical records of Tryon County list Abraham as Captain Kuykendall on and after July 1776. Very little of the war was fought in North Carolina and records suggest Abraham served in procuring supplies in North Carolina and sending them to Washington's army farther north. Shortly after the war began, he was also appointed Commissioner of Tryon County, responsible for building a court house, prison, and stocks, and for establishing a boundary line between Tryon and Mecklenburg Counties. He also became Justice of the Peace of Tryon County in December of 1778, and continued in these roles when Rutherford County was formed during or after the Revolutionary War. These appointments show Abraham to be a man held in high regard by his fellow citizens. He stayed in this area east of what is now Asheville until about 1800 when, for unknown reasons, he moved further west to sparsely populated Henderson County, closer to Asheville. By this time he was over eighty and having lost his first wife Elizabeth, he had quickly remarried a young, attrative woman named Bathseba. As a veteran of the Revolutionary War, he was given a grant of land of six hundred acres by the State of North Carolina in an area that was primarily virgin timber. In time, he came to own over one thousand acres, including all of the Flat Rock community. There he established a tavern to accomodate travelers along the Old State Road used by people driving herds of cattle, horses, and mules from Kentucky and Tennessee to the markets in lower South Carolina and Georgia. It was a busy road because it was one of the few that linked the mountain areas of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee to towns further east. Abraham built the tavern and holding pens for livestock; we are told the inn was unusually large and its accommodations better than the average pioneer inn offered in those days. Family tradition also makes much of his beautiful young wife Bathseba who bore him four sons and helped entertain travelers. He had a reputation for serving good food and drinks of strong, raw whiskey made at his own still. The tavern was established sometime between 1800 and 1804, and its reputation for good lodgings made Abraham a rich man. He insisted travelers pay in gold or silver coins and only accepted gold when selling parts of his huge tract of land. Soon the old soldier-pioneer innkeeper had accumulated quite a fortune and began to fear for its safety. There were no banks in this remote area or anywhere in the state of North Carolina, so valuables were kept in strong boxes, large trunks made of thick white oak, held together with strips of iron and locked with large padlocks. These precautions did not satisfy the aging Abraham, especially since his young wife had a habit of spending her husband's treasure on frivolous goods brought in by pack peddlers. Family tradition maintains that Bathseba liked to dress in bright colors and wear lots of rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. The peddlers served as travelling department stores, bringing all kinds of goods to frontier women in isolated areas, and they must have realized what a good customer Abraham's young wife was, with all her husband's wealth at her disposal. One dark night, old Abraham secretly transferred his gold and silver coins from his strong box to a large iron wash pot, an item common to pioneer households. He then awoke two of his slaves who were very strong and young. He blindfolded them and ordered them to carry the pot down the road and into the forest with only a pine knot torch lighting the way. He guided them through the dense forest where he removed their blindfolds and told them to dig a hole under a bent white oak tree near a clear sparkling branch. When it was deep enough to satisfy him, Abraham had the two slaves bury the pot, covering the spot with leaves and brush to hide it. Again he blindfolded the young men and led them back to the inn. On pain of death he warned them never to tell a soul a single word of what they had done for him that night. Some time after, when Abraham was 104 years old, he set out alone to get some of his treasure for a business deal. Taking a shovel, he left the inn, never again to be seen alive. When he failed to return, a search begun and he was found dead, lying face down in a mountain stream that flowed through the forest. Those who found him concluded that he had stumbled or tripped while trying to cross the branch, probably hitting his head. Either badly dazed or unconscious, he had rolled into the stream and drowned. Only then did it become common knowledge that Abraham had buried his wealth in a large iron pot. The two frightened slaves told the family what they could of that strange night, but all they could tell was that the money was beneath a large white oak near a mountain stream. Thus began frantic searches along the banks of Pheasant Branch where Abraham was found, and some still search today. Soon after the old man's death, stories began to be told at campfires and hearths around Flat Rock. People travelling at night during the full moon told of seeing the figure of a bent old man frantically digging first in one place and then another. Those brave enough to go after the phamtom recalled how it disappeared before their very eyes. Stories persisted and grew. One terrified traveler on horseback told of crossing Pheasant Branch just as he heard the rattling of a wagon just ahead and then saw a solitary figure of an old man in a one horse wagon, beside which sat a large black wash pot. As the traveler drew along side, the wagon, horse, man and wash pot suddenly vanished. Soon only the most foolhardy travelled after dark near the vicinity of Pheasant Branch, and family traditions kept the story of the gold and the ghost alive. Many have searched in vain for the treasure, including descendants of the two slaves Abraham blindfolded and led through the woods to bury the pot, but none of it has ever been found. BACK TO THOMPSON PAGE