I grew up in a small village (Windham, Greene Co) in the Catskill Mountains of New York state. After becoming interested in genealogy, I soon discovered that my ancestors had been in the same area since shortly after the 1800 census. After successfully documenting 5 generations, I have hit a major roadblock, and am in need of help from someone who lives in this area.
■ According to various sources, my 3rd great-grandfather, ANDREW HIDECKER [Highdecker, Hydecker, Heidecker] was born in NY circa Jun 1798 or 1799, and died Feb 1866.
■ Based on the age of the children, Andrew and his wife LYDIA WHITE (1800-1866), were married about 1826.
■ Lydia was the daughter of REUBEN WHITE (1749-1844) and THANKFUL HAMMOND (c1767-1831), and I have been successful in tracing this line to the immigrant THOMAS WIGHT (c1606-1673/4).
■ In the 1800 census, I find Reuben White living in Coeymans, Albany Co, NY. Living nearby is a John Hidecker. The makeup of John’s family resembles that of JOHAN JOOST HEIDEKER/ HEYDEKKER/ HYDERKERK/ HERDICKER/ WEYDEKKER and his wife APOLLONIA DUNTZ/ DUNN/ DUNCE/ DANTZT/ TUNS whose children (Catrina, Johannes, Jury Peter, and Maria) were baptized at the Gallatin Reformed Church in Gallactinville, Columbia Co, NY. Church records indicate Johan and Apollonia removed to Coeymans, Albany Co, NY sometime after Oct 1791. [If the youngest child were male, rather than the indicated female, my Andrew would fit into this family.]
■ In 1810, I find a John High Decker and wife living in Windham, Greene Co, NY with 2 males born between 1794 and 1800, neither being listed in the 1800 census. [My Andrew fits here.]
■ I find a deed record dated 10 May 1814 where Samuel and Sarah Hanson sell land to WILLIAM and ANDREW HIGHDECKER. However, for some reason, this record was typewritten, and I have been unable to locate a handwritten copy. I have found no further record of this William Highdecker.
■ The 1890 obituary of Andrew’s eldest daughter, PRUDA HIDECKER, mentions an Uncle Peter who lived in PA. (see bullet 4 above)
■ An 1886 Windham Journal newspaper article mentions that Reuben White’s eldest son, NATHAN WHITE (1778-1858), living in Bradford Co, PA, married KATRINA HIDECKER (1782-1856), a sister of Andrew Hidecker. (again see bullet 4 above)
■ An interesting tidbit from Dear Old Greene County, Hope Farm Press, 1915, p 217, "... In the barn of another hotel at Brosnaham's street, now Bronson street [Catskill, NY] a man named Highdecker hanged himself, and the incident killed his business. The writer remembers that in 1882 there hung on the wall in the Catskill Recorder office a long strip of ironwood bark drawn into a slip knot, and dusty with age, and near by it was the skin of a 6 foot rattle snake. With the bark slip knot an old settler had hanged himself, and he is led to believe it may have been Highdecker ..."
Lots of circumstantial evidence, but no smoking gun. I’m unable to definitively link Andrew to a set of parents, and I have not been able to find anything further on Johan Joost and Appolonia. I have unsuccessfully looked into the possibility that Johan could have been a Hessian soldier, or that perhaps he was one of this surname that entered Pennsylvania in the mid 1700s.
Can anyone help?