Johannes, the youngest son of Louris and Christine Opdyck, was a planter in Dutch Kills, Long Island and then in Maidenhead and Hopewell, New Jersey. He was nine when his father died. He and his eldest brother, after the death of their father, each made wills favoring one another in the event of death. Two years later, their mother generously relinquishes the portion of the estate given to her by Peter for the rearing of Johannes. Two years after this, both Otto and Johannes sell the farm at Gravesend and move to Dutch Kills. In 1670, Johannes receives another generous gift of 45 acres of upland and several acres of salt meadow from his step-father. 
In 1697 the enterprising Johannes moved to New Jersey. There are several surviving documents and court records showing this successful planter and businessman purchased and sold many plots of land. Documents also show he was not only well-educated but possessed a strong personality. Though Johannes continued the Dutch tradition of signing his name Johannes Lourens, meaning Johannes son of Lourens, his children are invariably called op Dyke or Opdyck. Only at the behest of his lawyers, when signing his will, did Johannes sign Johannes Opdyck
From Notes for Johannes Opdyke: Was a planter at Dutch Kills, Long Island and in Maindenhead and Hopewell, NJ. With true Dutch obstinacy he long clung to his patronymic name, writing his name Johannes Lourense, meaning Johannes the son of Lourens. This shows that his education was good, for accurate Dutch scholars tell us that Lourense is the correct patronymic of Lourens, of which Louris is another form. Later he added a w, Louwrense. In eight different deeds his names is written, with slight variations of spelling by the clerk), Johannes Louwrensen op Dyck; and in one, in 1713, Johannes Opdyck. The same lands which he purchased under one name, he sells under the other. His children are invariably called op Dyck, or Opdyck. On his last bed of sickness he once more relents and signs Johannes Opdyck to his Will. If anyone wishes to find his farm, cross East River to Hunters Point and follow one mile up the north bank of Newtown Creek until he crosses the north branch; it is the tract between the east bank of this branch and the main creek and runs eastward toward Calvary Cemeter. It is now part of Long Island City and adjoins Brooklyn.
Chronology from The Op Dyck Genealogy by Charles Wilson Opdyke 1889:
Mar. 16, 1660 Christina Lorns, widow of Louris Jansen Opdyck applied for appointment of Guardians for her children Peter, Otto and Johannes. She then married Lourens Petersen. Peter, the eldes son of Louris Jansen Opdyck upon the division of his father's Estate voluntarily surrenders to his mother Stincha Loras the interest of his portion for bringing up his younger brother (Johannes), to whom he leaves the principal in case he dies; his younger brother then leaves to Peter his whole portion in case he dies. The following year Lourens Petersen conveys lot 34 at Gravesend with farm implements to Peter and Otto for their share of the Estate, they acknowledge receipt of 300 guilders, the portion of their brother Johannes Loras. They also agred to pay their mother Stincha Loras interest on Johannes portion.
Mch. 10, 1670. Johannas Loroson of Maspeth Kills buys of his father-in-law (step-father) Lorens Petersen, land 45 rods broad and 300 rods long, with salt meadows thereto belonging, "between the land of Jno. Riders and the sd land of Jno. Woolstencraft....for a certain parcel of money in hand paid." The dimensions given, in Dutch measurement, show the land to have been 45 acres in English measure. (Newtown Rec. I, small page 134)
Feb. 1, 1678. I Johanes Loroson above sd doe and by these present assing(assign) and make over unto Humfry Clay Juner his eayrs Executor or assing for Ever this bove Land or Madow with all the Rites therein spasifyet in the bove sd bill of sayle. Signed Johanes Lourense (Newtown Rec I, small page 134)
Aug. 11, 1671. Johannes Lourensen witnesses a deed of land at Mespat Kills from Loras Peterson to Otto Louris (Newt. R., I, small page 71)
Aug. 6, 1673. Johannes Lourense and others sign a certificate of the election at Newtown of two deputies to wait upon the commanders of the Dutch war ships (probably the ships that had just captured New York) (Newt. R., I, small page 176)
Sept. 1675. Johanes Lorus appears on "A List of the Estate of Newtowne, Septr. 1675," for 1 male, 10 upland (his house lot or arable land), and meadow, 1 cow, 1 three year old, 2 two year olds, 1 one year old, and 1 pig ....(Doc. Hist. NY., II, 267)
Jan. 31, 1678. Johanes Loroson buys from Lorens Peterson, both of Maspeth Kills, land, dwelling, orchard, etc, 1 pair of oxen, all materials belonging to the farm, copper kettle, land bounded by land of Peter Roulloson to the east and on the west land that was William Shakerlyes for 2500 guilders of wampam or the value thereof, to be paid in tobacco and wheat and peese, to be paid in four payments, the first to be paid in April the year 1676 (don't get this as the document is dated 1676) 1000 guilders; the second in April 1677, 500 guilders; the third and the last of April 1678 and 1679 500 guilders pr year all the full sum to be paid. Receipt for 1720 guilders paid the same day (newt. R., I, 133)
Nov. 19, 1680. Receipt for full 2500 guilders "wampum value."
Feb. 2, 1678. Johanes Lourense sells to Humphry Clay Jr. the land that he had bought from his step-father in 1670. (Newt. R., I, 134)
Apr. 1, 1678. Johanes Lores and Peter Rouleson are each allotted by the town of Newtown about 10 acres of land "for ther owne forever not interrupting any man's lots"...(Newt. R., I.)
Sept. 24, 1678. Johanies Lores appears on "A List of the Estates of the Inhabitance of Newtown, on L.I.," for 1 head, 20 land (20 acres under tillage), 2 oxen, 3 cowes, 1 3 year old, 5 year old, 2 horses, 1 2 year old, 1 swine (Doc. Col. Hist. NY XIV, 738)
Dec. 11, 1678. Johanas Loreson had laid out for him of upland "10 acers or therabouts nex to Peter Rouloson's 80 rods long, 20 rods wide, running as the other doth, fronting both towards Woolstencraft's meadow, lying nere Burgers Slus"....(Newt. R., I 96.)
Oct. 7, 1679. Johanes Loroson buys the 10 acres laid out in 1678.
Oct. 13, 1679. Johanes Loroson buys of John Desent 7 acres that was laid out Sep, 29, 1679 "bounded on the W. by Johanes Loroson land, on the E. by land of Thos. Parsell, on the S by Jno. Woolstencraft, and on the N by the path that goes to Rivers Mill, running 20 rods in breadth, near the Narrow Passage that goes into Hell Gate Neck"...(Newt. R., I, 149)
Proof of birth date of Johannes: Feb. 3, 1680 Johanes Loroson testifies in a suit at Newtown bet. Dr. John Greenfield and the widow Roelofson and gives his age as "29 yers or thereabouts" (Newt. Ct. R., 112)
May 4, 1680. Johanes Loroson is def in action of debt due bill brought by Robert Barlee..."The court finds for the Deff, and that it is a needless ute and the plt is to pay the cost (Newt. Ct., R., 117)
June 23, 1680. Johanes Loroson is def in an action of debt "due by bill" brought by Robt. Barlee. "The Court finds for the pltf. that the bill is due and is to be paid in three dayes according to bill at Johanes house in Newtowne: thay alsoe find the sute to be needles and upon that acount the pltif is to pay the Cost (Newt. Ct. R., 118)
Nov. 20, 1680. Johaness Lorason sells to Thos. Parcell 27 acres "or thereabouts". The description shows this to be the ten acres laid out for Johannes in Dec. 1678, and the ten and seven acres bought by him of Desent in Oct. 1679...(Newt. R., I, 185)
Aug. 23, 1681. Johen Laurensen Ptf, Edward Tayler Deft. Tayler accused of cheating Johannes at cards. was found guilty. (Kints Co. Ct. Rec. 21. Co. Clerk's office. Bkln) and on Dec. 12 1682 Johannes Lourenson gave receipt for y pounds in full payment for the judgment. (Queens Co. Deeds, A., 2)
June 22, 1682. Johannes Lawrenson testifies before Court of Sessions at Gravesend in a criminal prosecution against Katharine Shaycroft...(Kings Co. Ct. Rec.)
Sept. 5, 1682. Johanes Loroson is def in an action of debt brought before the Town Court at Newtown by Jno. Woolstencraft. Judgment for pltf with costs; and Johanis Loroson brings an action of debt in the same Court against Jno. Woolstencraft. Judgment for pltf with costs. (Newt. Ct. R., 140, 3)
Oct. 3, 1682. Johanis Loroson is def. in an action of trespass on the case brought by Peter Johnson Buckhood. Wm. Alburtis, "aged 30 years or thereabouts." testified on oath that "Buckhood came to this deponent's house and desired me to come to price some damage that Johannis horse and cattle had done him; and when I came thither I saw Johannis cattle in Peter's pasture, and the sd Peter told me that he had his horse in hould also; so myself and Thos. Parsell looked over the damage and value it to four scippell of Indian corn. And so we went to the wife of Johannis to demand the damage, her husband being not at home. So she made answer if her creatures had done the damage she would pay it. So the sd Peter questioning whether her husband would agree to it. So I advised the said Peter to let the woman have the cattle, and to keep the horse whilst her husband came home, and further sayest not." Roullif Peterson, "aged 27 years or thereabouts" testified on aoth that "Buckhood ased Johanis Loroson whether he would pay the damage that his creatures had done, and the sd Johanis sd he would not pay him a stiver; so, Replied Peter, I will bring the horse to the pound. So replied Johanis, you may if you will, for I will never fetch him out, and further saith not." Judgment for the pltf with costs and "if Johanes Loroson will not Replefe his horse and pay the Cost, then the horse to be sold forthwith...(Newt. Ct. R., 142, 3)
Dec. 5, 1682. Johanes Loroson is def. in an action of trespass on the case brough by Jno. Rider. Judgment for the def. with costs (Newt. Ct. R, 146, 7)
Dec. 5, 1682. Johanis Loroson is def in an action fo debt brought by Jno. Woolstencraft. "I, John Rider, am ready to depose that Johannes Lawrence brought a bridle and saddle belonging to Mr. Woolstencraft to my house and some time after itt being night he told me hee tooke them out of my house and went to Jamaica where hee lost the saddle but had left order to see to gett it else he must pay for it. Judgment for the pltf and that the def do return the saddle, bridell or the value with cost of suit. (Newt. Ct. R, 164, 7); Johanis Loroson enters an action of slander against Jno. Rider. Judgment for pltf and the def to pay pltf tenn shillings and cost of sute. (Newt. Ct. R., 146, 8); Johanis Loroson enters a complaint against Wm. Alburtis, judgment for the def with cost (Newt. Ct. R., 146, 8)
Dec. 20, 1682. At a Court of Sessions held at Gravesend, "the Constable of Newtown presents Johannes Lourenson for giving the Justice abusive language and saying he would doe Justice to some and not to others. Upon his submission to ye Ct. and Justice Betts,...the Ct. will pass it bye at this time." (Kings Co. Ct. Rec., 14)
Sep. 1683 Johanis Loroson appears on a "Rate List of Newtown 1683" for 1 head, 20 acres land, 2 horses, 4 cows, 3 sheep (Doc. Hist. NY II 290)
Feb. 1684. Johanes Lores his Marke is two half pennyes on the of Eare: One on the upper Side, and the other on the Under Side; and a slitt in the neare Eare on the Under side of the Eare, a littel Slanting (Newt. Ct. R., 248)
May 7, 1684. Johanes Loroson enters two actions of debt against the Estate of Mathias Barry (Newt. Ct. R., 160-4; Newt. R., I, 274)
Sep. 3, 1684. Johanes Loroson testifyeth upon oath that he heard Edward Stevenson say he was to give John Bull ten shillings for to trim his orchard, but he had better have given him some pounds to Lett it alone, for he had Cut halfe the trees off, and further saith not. (Newt. Ct. R., 164)
June 17, 1684. Johanes Loroson and Peter Buckhood take quit claim from Jno. Pallmer and wife of land bought from Rich. Britnell by her father, Robt. Clark (Newt. R., I, 271)
Feb. 4, 1685. In a suit between Johanns Loroson and Thomas Wandall, Rev. Morgan Jones testified "that about the 2 day Janewary Last past this dep: being att the hous of Mr. Wandall, Johanis Loroson came thare and tould Mr. Wandall he came to speeke with him about the Land that he was goeing to fens In: and Johanis tod. Mr. wandall that he would Cut downe his fense: and Mr. Wandall sd if you doe I will cut you. Whareupon this dep. did advise them to put ther busines to some sucfitiant nabor and named Captayn Beets, and further sayth not." "Mr. Wandall doth declare before the Ct. that he willl deliver and allow Johanis Loroson and Peter Buckhood all the land that doth belong to them....(Newt. Ct. R., 168)
May 9, 1685. Johanis Lourense signs a survey agreement relating to lands at Mespat Kills. (Newt. R., I, 366)
Sep. 24, 1686. Johanis Loroson appears among the Purchasers and freeholders of Newtown.
Nov. 25, 1686. Johannis Lawresse appears as a grantee in the Dongan Patent to Newtown (Thompson's Hist., L.I., II 142)
Apr. 6, 1687. Johannes Lourensen draws one of the "Little Lots" on the S. bounds of the town (Newt. R)
Apr. 6, 168. Johannes Lourensen, "inhabitant of Maspeth Kills in the bounds of Newtown," signs a retraction of rash words he had too freely indulged in, namely: "that Newtown records was false" (Newt. Ct. R)
Dec. 1687. Johanis Loroson is def in an action brought by Edward Coleborn, for taking away the pltf's canoe to go to Manning's (Blackwell's) Island. The def showing that he had leave, obtained judgment (Newt. Ct. R, 271)
Jun. 21, 1690. Johannes Lourense is mentioned in a deed from Thos. Parcell and wife to Bourgon Bragaw as having formerly owned 10 acres between Burger's Sluice and the Narrow Passage at Mespat Kills
Dec. 24, 1693. Johannes Louwrenson of Maspet Kills in ye bounds of Newtown conveys to Jus. Abit "a draft lot as it fell to him, the sd Johannes Louwrenson, by lot, and to be laid out southwardly of the sd town." This seems to have been the lot drawn by Johannes Apr. 6, 1687. (Newt. R., I, 302 or 502?)
Aug. 28, 1695. Johanes Lowerenson of Mespatts Kills, yeoman, buys from Mathias Boockhols the S. half of lot....(N.Y. Rec. XXVIII, 258)
Apr. 22, 1697. Johannes Louwrensen op Dyck of Newtown, LI Province of NY yeoman buys of Thomas Green, for 101 1/2 pounds 250 acres above "the ffalls of the Delaware in ye Province of West New Jersey" (at which falls is now built Trenton).
July 12, 1697. Johannis Louwrensen op Dick of Maidenhead in Burlington Co. NJ, yeoman, buys of Thomas Revel 1050 acres above the Falls of Delaware. (West Jersey Deeds B. p 594 Trenton)
July 13, 1697. a Mortgage from Johannis Louwrensen op Dick to Tho. Revell to secure payment of 5 pounds, 5 sh., yearly etc. (same, p 594)
Nov. 3, 1697. Johannis Louwrensen op Dyck of Maidenhead, yeoman, buys of Jno. Dixson 200 acres at Maidenhead for 40 pounds, paid in full (same, p 600)
1697. Johannis Louwrensen op Dyck Ear Marks for ye Right Ear 2 half pennies on both sides thus...& ye Left a Slitt on ye under side ye Ear thus...(Burlington Recs. 1680. Trenton)
March 18, 1698. Jer. Bass and Thomas Revell, Agents for the West Jersey Society for 5 shillings, deed to Ralph Hunt, John Bainbridge, Johannes Louwrensen, and other residents, .....100 acres in Maidenhead, in trust for the inhabitants of "for ye Erecting of a Meeting House and for Burying ground and School House...(same, p 655)
Nov. 3, 1698 and again on Nov. 3, 1699. Johannes Louwrensen a member of the Grand Jury for Burlington Co. (Burl. Court book, Supr. C't, Trenton, 158)
May 14, 1700. Johannes Louwrensen, yoeman of Maidenhead, Co. of Burlington, Province of West Jersey deeds to Richboll Mott of Hempstead, Queen's Co. upon Island of Nassau in Province of NY for 200 pounds 1050 acres in West Jersey.
Nov. 3, 1702. Johanis Lorrenson, Grand Juryman. Court held at Burlington (Burl. Court Book, p 192. Supr. C't. Trenton)
Aug 26, 1703. At a meeting at house of Ralph Hunt in Maidenhead Twp.,...John Bainbridge, Ralph Hunt, Theophilus Phillips, Samuel Hunt, Joshua Anderson, Benjamin Harden, Jonas Lawrense, Joseph Sackett, et al (39 in all) having heard read the agreement of April 20, 1703 between Dr. Daniel Coxe, Esq. and Thomas Revell on behalf of the purchasers of land within Maidenheadand Hopewell, signify their consent thereto, (West Jersey, AAA, 8 Trenton)
Nov. 7, 1705. Johannes Lawrence in suit with John Hampon Sr (or Harrison) for 360 pounds...(Supr. Ct. Min 1704-15, p 19 Trenton); May 10, 1706. same suit discontinued by consent of both parties.
Sept. 29, 1707. Johanas Lowrense yeoman of Maidenhead buys of Thomas Standeland 12 acres for 20 pounds on the N side of Assanpink Creek below Mahlin Stacy's Mill bridge,........provided Johanas Lowrensen does not stop the course of the creek to impedite Mahlin's mill....(West Jersey DD 382 Trenton)
July 18, 1709 Johannes Louwrensen and Cahterine his wife, both of Maidenhead sells to Enoch Anderson of Hopewell, NJ yeoman land N side of Assanpink Creek below the Falls of Delaware 12 acres for 20 pounds. Signed Catherine (X) Louwrensen, Johannes Louwrensen (West Jersey, DD 38, Trenton)
Jan. 1, 1712. "At a Town Meeting to endeavor for the promoting of a County in the Upper part of the Province....The subscriptions ranged from 2 pounds down, among them was Johannes Louwrensen 15 shillings (Maidenhead Town Book)
Aug. 8, 1713. Johannis Opdyck of Maidenhead, Burlington County, NJ yeoman, gives quit claim deed to Thomas Skillman of Newtown, Queens Co., LI of land at Mespatt Kills in Newtown. Same land Johannes purchased on March 10, 1669.
Nov. 1, 1722. Johannes Lowrezson Opdyck sold 150 acres in Maidenhead to Enoch Andrus. (West Jersey AB 110 Trenton)
The Will of Johannes Opdyck, February 12, 1729
In the name of God amen. The twlfth day of February in the year of our Lord 1728-9 I Johan Opdike of Hopewell in ye County of Hunterdone in ye provence of West New Jersey Husbandman, being very sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto god theirefore, Calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my Last will and testament: that is to say principly and first of all I give and Recommend my soul unto the hands of god that gave it, and for my body, I Recommnd it to the Earth to be buried in a Christian Like and desent manner, atcretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but at the geniral Reserrection, I shall receive the same againe by the mighty power of god and s touching Such worldly Estate, wherewith it hath pleased god to bless me in this life,I give and devise and dispose of the same in the following maner and form; Imprimus I give and bequeath to my well beloved son Louerence Opdike twele shillings; Item that William Critchfield shall have his bils and bonds delivered up withoout any mollistaion. Item I give to my grantson Cornelius Anderson all my weareing cloths and Irn Cittle one plater and four plates Item I likewise constitute and make my well beloved Sone and grantson Louerence Opdike and Elikim Anderson my Executors of my Last will and testament and after paying all my debts that the above written Leagusies may bee fulfilled I also bequeate that after all depts be paid that the Remainder Shall be Eauilly divided amongst my Eight Children and now are Living and I do hereby utterly disalow and Revoke and disanull all and every other testaments wills and bequeathed Ratifying & Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seale the day and year above writen.
Signed Sealed published pronounced and declared by ye said Johanes Opdike as his Last will and testament in the preasents of us the Subscribers, vis- John Anderson Francis Vannoey Proved March 26, 1729. Lib. 3, p. 15 1728-9 March 24. Inventory of the personal estate, £13.5; made by Robert Laning and John Read. 1731 April 7. Account of the estate by the executors, above named, who have paid for the coffin to John Smith 18s., for rum, sugar and spice to John Brains £1.13, for a barrel of cider to Abraham Anderson 9s., biskakes 16s., all at the funeral; Cornelius Anderson for nursing during the last illness £3.16.
↑ Title The Op Dyck genealogy, containing the Opdyck--Opdycke--Updyke--Updike American descendents of the Wesel and Holland families Author Opdyke, Charles Wilson, b. 1838,Opdycke, Leonard Eckstein, 1858-1914 signatures, Info and records for Johannis pg 150-181
↑ 3.03.13.23.3 Source: S40 Title: World Family Tree Vol. 5, Ed. 1 Abbreviation: World Family Tree Vol. 5, Ed. 1 Author: Brøderbund Software, Inc. Publication: Release date: August 22, 1996 Note: Customer pedigree. Page: Tree #2469 Note: Date of Import: Oct 27, 1998
↑ 4.04.14.24.3 Source: S941 Author: Opdyke, Charles Wilson Title: Op Dyck Genealogy Publication: Name: Weed, Parsons & Co.; Location: Albany, New York; Date: 1889; Page: p. 155 - 167
Source: S29 Title: Ancestry Family Trees Publication: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.; Repository: #R1 Repository: R1 Ancestry.com
Thank you to David Lawrence for creating WikiTree profile Opdycke-26 through the import of Broughton Family 8 1 13_2013-08-13 for web.ged on Aug 16, 2013.
WikiTree profile OpDyck.-2 created through the import of export.ged on Jul 19, 2011 by Chérie Woodlief.
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Note N14842Our sketch of Louris showed Johannes in 1660 at Gravesend at nine years of age losing his father; Johannes and his eldest brother Peter making wills in each others' favor; and their widowed mother Christina marrying Lourens Petersen, who two years afterwards generously relinquishes Peter's contribution made for the lad's support. Two years later the three boys sell their farm at Gravesend and the family removes to Dutch Kills, and there in 1670 Johannes receives from his step-father 45 acres of upland and several acres of salt meadow, on or near the old Brutnell patent. From this time until his moving to New Jersey in 1697, we find more than 60 mentions of his transactions on the Newtown records; during the following 33 years of his life in West Jersey we find more than 40 mentions of his acts there in the records of his Township, county and State. The greater part of all these refer to his numerous purchases of land and his suits in court, but others reveal his strong personality. We have found also six of his autographs, given above, and one document entirely in his own hand. With true Dutch obstinacy he long clung to his patronymic, writing his name Johannes Lourense, meaning Johannes the son of Lourens. This shows that his education was good, for accurate Dutch scholars tell us that Lourense is the correct patronymic of Lourens, of which Louris is another form. Later he added a w, Louwrense. In eight different deeds his name is written, (with slight variations of spelling by the clerk), Johannes Louwrensen op Dyck; and in one, in 1713, Johannes Opdyck. The identification is certain. The same lands which he purchases under one name, he sells under the other; his stock-mark is always the same; his handwriting is always the same. His children are invariably called op Dyck, or Opdyck; they are thus married and thus baptize their children in the Dutch churches of New York and New Jersey, and they thus appear on hundreds of other records. And it is noticeable that the name is written in the Dutch form op Dyck; where it is otherwise, it was doubtless the work of an English clerk, until the family finally accepted the change. Johannes however "is of the old rock;" the Dutch patronymic is enough for him, and he rarely changes. In fact, if he had added his family surname it would be a reason for believing him not a true Hollander, but an Englishman, Frenchman or German. On his last bed of sickness, the old man once more relents and again signs Johannes Opdyck, to the will which the lawyer has so drawn; the neighbors so witness, the executors so prove, and the Governor so admits it to probate.
His home, during all the years he remained in Newtown, was on the old Brutnell patent, which covered 100 acres on the east side of Dutch Kills at the hook or point of entrance into Mespat Kill. Two miles east of him was Maspeth or English Kills, the old ruined settlement of Richard Smith and his Taunton friends, broken up 20 years before by the savages. Three miles still further east was the more recent New England settlement, begun 12 years before under the name of Middelburg,- a violently seditious colony, the leader of the English villages of Long Island in seceding to Connecticut and proclaiming allegiance to Charles II,- whereupon it called itself Hastings. At the English capture, the Duke of York named Long Island "Yorkshire," changed the name of Hastings to Newtown, "in the West Riding of Yorkshire," and gave it jurisdiction of Maspeth and Dutch Kills. The records of the town from 1659 are preserved in the Clerk's office at Newtown; they contain the minutes of the town court to 1688, land titles to the Revolution, and town meetings until now. It was always an intensely English town, with an English Independent preacher, church and parsonage; in 1660, out of 35 males all were English but one Swede.
Johannes' home, as we have said, was five miles west, among a few Dutch farms planted 24 years before,- when the primeval forest was disturbed only by Indians, wild beasts and fowl, deer, beavers, and innumerable plumed songsters. The neighborhood could tell its own stories of dangers, Pieter Andriessen had been carried away captive by the savages nine years before, and the tale must have often been told by the young Andersons while courting Johannes' three daughters. Only five years before, three Indians had come to the house of another Dutch settler at the Kills, and learning, while picking and boiling pigeons by the fire, that he had 80 guilders worth of wampum in the house, had that night murdered him, his wife and two men. The Dutch farmers had concentrated for safety on Smith's Island (now Maspeth Island), which they called Aernhem after the capital of Guelderland; but their village had been broken up by order of the Council, that it might not hinder the growth of Bushwick, and the cottages had been removed. If any one now wishes to find Johannes' farm, let him cross the East River to Hunters Point and follow one mile up the North bank of Newtown Creek until he crosses the north branch; it is the tract between the east bank of this branch and the main creek, and runs eastward toward Calvary Cemetery. It is now a part of Long Island City and adjoins Brooklyn.
Johannes' first 50 acres here, bounded westerly by Burger's Creek," acquired when he was not yet 21 years old, may have been a gift of affection, for we find him the next year witnessing another deed of land at the Kills, to his brother Otto, from the step-father. Johannes' manhood was recognized two years later, when he signed a certificate of the election at Newtown of two deputies to wait upon the Commanders of the Dutch war ships. This is memorable as his first autograph so far found, but far more memorable as being made upon an occasion of great Dutch rejoicing. Holland and England had been at war, and two Dutch Commodores, returning from the West Indies, quietly sailed their fleet up New York Bay, anchored under the fort, and summoned the English garrison to surrender, which it did without a shot. How joyfully the news must have flown from house to house at the Kills: The Dutch have captured New York! The English towns on Long Island hastened to send their delegates to surrender the staff of office and English colors to their Dutch conquerors. As the Newtown deputies were Englishmen, it is believed that Johannes had the pleasure of acting as interpreter on this occasion. The next year a peace between England and Holland returned the province to the English, in exchange for Surinam yielded to the Dutch.
This was the end of the Dutch sovereignty in North America. But the city which they founded has become the commercial centre of the continent, and the whole province still retains many of the features of its original settlers. Our Christmas merrymakings and gifts. New Year calls with their cakes and punch, Santa Claus with his tiny reindeers, Mayday movings and Easter eggs, are traditions and customs which we owe to our Holland ancestors.
One year later, Johannes appears upon the Newtown census of 1675, as having ten acres under tillage and five head of cattle. We must recollect that the settlers enclosed only so much of their land as they kept in a high state of cultivation, pasture being free upon the common lands of the town. These common lands were allotted to the settlers from time to time, and Johannes soon receives ten acres as his share. By this time he is married to Tryntie (Catherine), and has named his first daughter Tryntie. He has been diligent and is now a prosperous farmer, able to buy the farm of his step-father, (50 acres of the Brutnell patent,) with the dwelling house and farm buildings, oxen and farming utensils "and a 12 gallon copper kettle,"- for all of which he pays 1,000 guilders down and 1,500 more before two years have expired, "paid in tobacco, wheat and peese," according to agreement. This year, 1678, he has 20 acres under tillage, three horses, two oxen and nine head of cattle. He receives another allotment of 10 acres of town land, and sells his first 50 acres to Humphrey Clay who has been running a ferry over Maspeth Creek and wishes a farm convenient to his boat-landing. The next year Johannes buys 17 more acres; and the following year he purchases 20 additional of the Brutnell patent, valuable land already under cultivation. Then he sells 27 acres he has acquired of the town land.
The court records of Newtown, as in all other early colonies, are an amusing history of local disputes. Men bring suit against their neighbors for poor fences, for trespasses of cattle, for every little ground of quarrel; then there is a return suit for slander; and soon all are good friends again. Johannes is a party to twelve suits brought to a decision, of which he wins eight; others are settled by mutual agreement, or compromise in his favor. He found it necessary to maintain his rights perhaps the more frequently for the reason that he was a Dutchman among Englishmen.
He evidently has a very strong sense of right and wrong. When his stock gets into Buckhout's pasture he "will not pay a stiver" to take his horse out of the pound, the fault probably being in Buckhout's fence. He has sharp words with Thomas Wandell about the encroachment of the latter's fence, and carries the matter to court, and Wandell is forced to make a just partition. An unnecessary suit is brought against him for a borrowed saddle, which he has lost but intends to replace; - he sues the officious witness in this case for slander, and punishes him in damages. He himself is often a witness, amusing the court with a story of how the threatened lawsuit of Dr. Greenfield has been already settled by a kiss of the lovely widow Roelofsen, - who, we are not surprised to find, soon, marries again. At another time, he testifies "that he heard Edward Stevenson say he was to give John Bull ten shillings for to trim his orchard, but he had better given him some pounds to let it alone, for he had cut half the trees off it." He enjoys a game of cards, and, following the practice of all ranks of society at that day, he is not unwilling to play for a little money with honest men. But when he finds that his antagonist has cheated, he refuses payment and prosecutes the swindler relentlessly until he convicts him of the crime before judge and jury in the Mayor's Court of New York. He lacks the bump of veneration and tells the Newtown Justice that "he would do justice to some and not to others," whereupon of course he has to make his submission to the outraged majesty of the Court. Again, believing an allotment of town lands to be unfair, he declares in righteous indignation that the town records are false, and is made to retract by the land-grabbers who were always in a majority at Newtown.
But this is not the business of his life. He cares for his farm, and appears again upon the census in 1683 as a large cultivator. He is careful to record the ear-mark of his stock; he buys a ball face horse with one white foot behind," "at an outcry;" he is interested in orchards, where the far famed Newtown pippin originated; he has his last purchases of land surveyed; he is one of the grantees under the Dongan patent; he joins with his old antagonist Wandell and another in an agreement to purchase 88 more acres; he receives another town lot; he is 12 times a witness to the deeds of others, and has become an authority in real estate even with his old court antagonists, from one of whom as godfather the son of Johannes receives a bequest by will.
Nor did Johannes forget that he was only four miles distant by water from New York, whither an hour's tide or a light oar would carry him on the then quiet river, past grassy banks under primeval forest trees. He bought a lot on Gold Street, by deed duly recorded at the time on the New York City records, as can be seen now at the recorder's office. No doubt he and his family often paid a social visit to their Dutch friends in that flourishing little town, who would in turn row up the river on a visit to the Kills for a rubber of whist. We are satisfied that on such occasions no more attempts at cheating were tried upon Johannes. If the guests lingered and their return home was delayed until after the nine o'clock city bell, their way through the streets of New York would still be lighted by the lanterns hung by poles from every seventh house.
On his farm Johannes raised wheat, peas, rye, corn, flax, and especially tobacco. His orchard produced in abundance apples, pears and peaches. As he cleared new land, he made the wood into pine-staves, a common article of export, for which Newtown elected two inspectors. There was also a town inspector of meat and fish barrelled for exportation; and Johannes' residence on the creek, near the river islands and Hellegat, would supply him with fish before he could leave off the recreation." His eldest son Lawrence, (named in true Dutch style for the grandfather), could easily bring down with his gun a fat deer. The second son, Albert, could furnish the house with stores of wild fowl, or amuse himself with spearing and trapping the valuable beaver. The daughters, Tryntie, Engeltie and Annetie, would readily find in the woods an oversupply of strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, huckleberries, cranberries, plums and grapes for the table. The garden furnished melons and any vegetable one chose to plant, with all the fruitfulness of a virgin soil. "You shall scarce see a house but the south side is begirt with hives of bees which increase after an incredible manner,"-wrote Denton in 1670.
Surplus products he exchanged by barter, for currency was scarce; we find one man buying a house and farm with 600 lbs. of tobacco, 1,000 clapboards and half a fat of strong beer;" another exchanging "a negro boy" for land. Prices were: beef 2d, pork 3d, butter 6d per pound; wheat 5s, rye 2s 6d, corn 2s per bushel; victuals 6d per meal, labor 2s 6d per day, lodgings 2d per night, board 5s per week, beer 2d per mug.
His stock gave him little trouble. He sent the swine to the meadows on the south side of Long Island that they might live upon the shell-fish on the beach and not injure his corn fields. His cattle and young horses had grass knee-high on the town commons in summer, and his own meadows furnished them in winter the salt hay which was found necessary for their health.
Wolves were his worst enemies. It is related that one of the Newtown farmers, going at dusk to turn loose his horses, was beset by a number of these beasts from a neighboring swamp, and drove them off only by springing upon a stump and lashing them lustily with the halters. The place still called Wolf Swamp is on the east side of the Narrow Passage. As we find Johannes mentioned 1679 and 1690 as having owned ten acres adjoining the Narrow Passage," he may have been the farmer who fought wolves with halters. For their destruction the town offered a bounty of twenty shillings a head, to be paid by the constable, who nailed the heads over his door. They were caught by the Indians in traps or killed with powder and shot which the whites allowed for this purpose. The Indians had in 1666 sold their last hunting grounds, and few remained at Newtown. Their stone axes and arrow heads are still ploughed up; extensive deposits of burnt shells, the remains of their clam roasts, have been used to fertilize the farms; the marks of their burial places are at this day obliterated, but the localities are known.
The neighborhood was given another serious alarm in 1675 by the Indian war in New England. Through the advice of the Governor, the English of Newtown surrounded their meeting house with a stockade for a refuge, kept a "double and strict watch," and seized all the canoes on the north shore. But the defeat of the savages in New England and the death of King Philip put an end to their fears. The Dutch farmers at the distant Kills must have fortified their homes, or built a fort of their own; we are told that Bushwick and other villages were surrounded by palisades until 1720.
Johannes had to attend militia drill four days every year, and one day the general training of the Riding. We picture to ourselves a strong, solid, determined figure, with brown hair, blue eyes and Opdyke features, carrying "a good serviceable gunn, a good sword, bandoleers or home, a worme, a scowerer, a priming wire, shot bag and charger; one pound of good powder, four pounds of pistol bullets, or 24 bullets fitted to the gunn, four fathom of serviceable match for match-lock gunn, or four good flints fitted for a fire-lock gunn." Thus equipped he would repair on horseback to Newtown to be instructed "in all postures of warre, watching and warding." If he failed to attend, he must pay a fine, which went to furnish the company with halberds or battle-axes, drums and colors. Disorderly conduct on parade was punished with the "stocks, riding wooden horse," &c. The drill was begun and ended with public prayer, and followed by a town meeting where laws were enacted that settlers must maintain fences, grub the highway, and remove stumps in front of their lots. On such occasions the character of newcomers was investigated before they were allowed to settle; a new clergyman was called and given fifty acres for his support. Johannes must have voted for the town-meeting declaration which abolished the compulsory tax to maintain the Independent Church, substituting "a free-will offering, what every man will give." He doubtless dropped down the river in his skiff to attend the Dutch Church at New York, or drove his stout farm team and wagon to Brooklyn or over the hills to Flatbush. Unfortunately a great part of the old church records of Brooklyn and Flatbush are now lost.
The census of 1683 showed that Johannes had more cultivated acres and stock than the average of his fellow townsmen. Newtown then contained about 500 population, one eighth as many as New York, for that now mighty city could boast that year only 4,000 people.
In 1687 the Newtown militia mustered 125 men. In 1692 its first fulling mill was erected. It always encouraged honest craftsmen to settle, by giving them land. The distant little neighborhood at Dutch Kills formed an independent community, where every farmer practiced some useful mechanical branch.
Thatched roofs were passing away. Toil had brought comfort, but no luxuries. Carpets were yet unknown. Furniture was of heavy oak. The table was still set with pewter platters and plain earthenware. Few families used table forks, for it was the universal fashion to eat with the fingers. The usual dress was of homespun linsey-woolsey. For a prosperous farmer the dress suit was a black or grey coat of this material, tight breeches of deerskin fastened with huge buckles at the knee, long hose, stout shoes with brass or silver-plated buckles, and a large beaver hat. We suspect however that Johannes retained the Dutch belted doublet, easy shortclothes, and tapering hat. Neighbors showed more friendship than now; if needed, they assisted in harvest, or brought their teams to help cart home the winter store of wood when cut. Wives and daughters came to the corn-husking and the spinning-frolic, plying their wheels at the latter until the flax or wool of the hostess was converted into thread. We doubt if any could show a neater house or whiter yarn than Catherine and her girls.
The time arrives when Johannes is blessed with a large family of children; two of his daughters are married, and three infantile voices call him grandfather. Dutch Kills are too small for his household and herds. His sons and sons-in-law want more room. Restless spirits are talking of the Jerseys as a very paradise for climate and soil, -how its government is liberal, taxes low, land plentiful and cheap. Letters are read, and experienced men are quoted, that between the Raritan and the Delaware is a rich rolling country where clear streams are crossed with every mile of travel, "where you shall meet with no inhabitants but a few friendly Indians, where there are stately oaks whose broad-branched tops have no other use but to keep off the sun's heat from the wild beasts of the wilderness, where is grass as high as a man's middle, that serves for no other end except to maintain the elks and deer, who never devour a hundredth part of it, then to be burnt every Spring to make way for new." Can we wonder that Johannes and his family longed to settle upon those broad acres? We imagine these keen resolute men and courageous women thoughtfully discussing the matter by the winter fireside, while the plan was encouraged by the unanimous voice of the children, fired with the spirit of adventure.
The history of the Jerseys was more familiar then than it is now. The Dutch West India Company had never successfully settled "Achter Kol," as they sometimes called it, excepting along the Hudson. On the Delaware River the Indians had murdered the first Dutch colonists at Gloucester and Fort Nassau, the Dutch and Swedes had joined in driving off an English colony from Salem, and the Dutch fleet had captured and shipped back to Europe the Swedish colonists between Camden and Cape May. In 1664 there were a few small settlements on the Hudson and Delaware, containing not 500 people in all. The interior lay buried in mystery, unsettled and unexplored. Some paths led the Indians from the mountains to gather stores of shell and fish at the seashore. Two old Indian trails kept open the communication between New York and the forts on the Delaware, and the infrequent intercourse was maintained by letters and packages carried from tribe to tribe by Indian runners. Charles II granted the territory to his brother the Duke of York who sold it to his friends Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, naming it after the island of Jersey which Carteret had held for Charles against the Parliament. Berkeley sold West Jersey for £1,000 to Fenwick and Byllinge, who transferred it in 1674 to William Penn and other Quakers. The West Jersey Constitution and Laws, adopted at Burlington, gave more religious and political freedom than was then elsewhere known; it was far more the cradle of liberty in America than the boasted Rhode Island, Maryland, or Pennsylvania. East Jersey was bought at auction by Penn and his Quaker friends in 1682 for £3,400, and the Jerseys were then united in one government under an Assembly meeting at Elizabeth Town,- which had been named for the wife of Sir George Carteret. The West Jersey Proprietors continued to conduct land sales at their office in Burlington, where their surveys are preserved to this day by their Surveyor General. The new settlers of the Jerseys were at first largely the persecuted,-Quakers and Baptists from England and New England, Covenanters from Scotland, and Huguenots from France. Shiploads came from England, direct from imprisonment for religion's sake. A few Dutch and English from Long Island settled in Monmouth County or were scattered along the Raritan. There were not 2,000 males over 16 years of age in the Jerseys in 1697, when Johannes made a journey of investigation, saw the land that it was good, and bought in April 250 acres "above the Falls of the Delaware."
In May or June the whole family moved from Dutch Kills in wagons and in carts, with horses and oxen, furniture and farming utensils,-their herds of stock in the rear doubtless driven by a negro slave or two, who formed part of the establishment of every prosperous planter in those days. Their route lay through Flatbush to a ferry at the Narrows, across Staten Island, and up the Raritan to its lowest fording-place, Inian's Ferry. Here they were perhaps joined by the women and children who had come in the easier way by boat on the Bay. Thence they followed the old Indian trail, then called the King's highway," across the State,-in recent days the turnpike from New Brunswick through Princeton to Trenton, none of which towns were even contemplated at the period we are describing. In the party were Enoch, Joshua and Cornelius Anderson, husbands of Tryntie, Engeltie and Annetie. We can faintly imagine the delight of all at the far rolling views, the ever-varying scenery of hill and dale, the richness of the vegetation, and the beauty of the babbling brooks by whose sides they encamped and ate of the fish, game and fruit of the untrodden forest.
The letters of the first West Jersey settlers read as though they could scarcely find words to express their enthusiasm. "It is a country that produceth all things for the support and sustenance of man in a plentiful manner. If it were not so, I should be ashamed of what I had written before." I have travelled throughout most of the places that are settled and some that are not, and in every place I find the country very apt to answer the expectations of the diligent." I have seen and known this summer forty bushels of wheat of one bushel sown, and many more such instances I could bring which would be too tedious to mention."" The country is a brave country." "As good a country as any man need to dwell in." "As good as any in England." The Delaware was universally described as "a goodly and noble river,"-the soil was rich and fertile." "The air," wrote Gabriel Thomes in 1698, "is very delicate, pleasant and wholesome, the heavens serene, rarely overcast, bearing mighty resemblance to the better part of France." They found the country good; "so good," wrote one, "that I do not see how reasonably it can be found fault with. The country and air seem very agreeable to our bodies, - I do believe this river of Delaware is as good a river as most in the world."
On went Johannes and his family across Millstone River and Stony Brook, to the Eight Mile Run of the Assanpink, six miles east of the Delaware River, close to what is now Lawrenceville of Lawrence Township in Mercer County. It was then Burlington County of West Jersey, up to the New York State line; and the whole unsettled country north of the Assanpink, from the Delaware to the old province line, was called Maidenhead after a castle in England. From it three years later was set off Hopewell Township; and it was not until 1714 that Maidenhead, Hopewell, and all north of them were set of as Hunterdon County.
Johannes had chosen well, and his locality was soon settled by the most enterprising of his old neighbors of Newtown. Most of the names which we find on the records belonging to Maidenhead are those which we have found for 50 years previous at Newtown. No better men ever settled in the wilderness. They made the land blossom as a garden, and their names are now borne in all parts of our country by deserving descendants, who have however forgotten their worthy ancestors at Maidenhead. But these pioneers have left their mark, and Lawrence Township is now filled with fine old farm mansions surrounded by grand shade trees and richly cultivated fields. The stranger recognizes at once the presence of long continued prosperity and historical associations. The author passed through it on horseback, from Princeton to Trenton, before he knew its history or its connection with his ancestors, and he was much struck by it even then.
There is a well-preserved tradition among the descendants that the carts of the Opdyck settlers were turned up at night to shelter the women and children until a few days work with axes and stout arms had prepared the first log-houses,-into which the family moved with sensations of which perhaps we in our days have no conception.
Food was abundant; it was from the mouth of the Assanpink that Mahlon Stacy wrote a short time before: I have seen peaches in such plenty that some people took their carts a peach gathering. I could not but smile at the conceit of it. They are a very delicate fruit and hang almost like onions that are tied on ropes. My brother Robert had as many cherries this year as would have loaded several carts. It is my judgment by what I have observed, that fruit trees in this country destroy themselves by the very weight of their fruit. As for venison and fowls we have great great plenty. We have brought home to our houses by the Indians seven or eight fat bucks of a day; and sometimes put by as many, having no occasion for them: and fish in their season very plenteous. * * * There is plenty of beef and pork and good sheep, and cheap. * * * The common grass of the country feeds beef very fat. * * * In Burlington there are eight or nine fat oxen and cows in a market day and very fat. * * * There are plenty of most sorts of fish ever seen in England, besides new ones not known there; * * * and fowls plenty, as ducks, geese, turkeys, pheasants, partridges and many others. * * * I live as well to my content and in as great plenty as I ever did, and in a far more likely way to get an estate."
Meanwhile Johannes himself, exploring further, has on July 13th bought, four miles to the northwest, 1050 acres (in fact 1300 acres) extending If miles north and south, 2 miles east and west, and including the site of the present village of Pennington, the largest single purchase in Hopewell. Four months later he buys 200 acres more, adjoining the" land laid out for the town's use." All of these are deeded to Johannes Louwrensen op Dych; and in this name he records at Burlington his same old ear-mark of stock. Early in the next year he appears third on the list of 33 male inhabitants of Maidenhead who take a deed of 100 acres in trust, for ye Erecting of a Meeting House and for Burying Ground and School House;" the list includes his son Lawrence and his three Anderson sons-in-law. Then, during three years, he is a member of the Grand Jury at Burlington. He seems to have owned a tract on Stony Brook within Maidenhead," according to a deed in 1701 from Ralph Hunt to Wm. Alburtus. He sells his large purchase of what is now Pennington for £200, double what it cost him. In the Supreme Court at Burlington he defends a suit which is withdrawn the following year. He buys 12 acres in what is now Trenton and sells it to his son-in-law Enoch, who becomes later one of the founders of that city, and is already Judge of Common Pleas of the Court held at Burlington. In 1708 Johannes writes with his own hand the certificate signed by Ralph Hunt and himself, and quoted later. Four years later he joins in a Town Meeting where he, his son Lawrence, and two of his sons-in-law, are among the largest subscribers to the expenses of setting off Hunterdon County. The next year "Johannes Opdyck of Maidenhead" gives a quitclaim deed for the 50 acres on Dutch Kills which he received from his step-father in 1670 and sold in 1678 to Humphrey Clay.
The New Jersey records from 1697 to 1713 describe him as of Maidenhead. In 1714 he is mentioned in a deed as adjoining Alexander Lockhart and Captain Hallet, upon Stony Brook in Hopewell; this may be the date of his removal to the new Township where he owned several tracts of land. It was in Hopewell that his son Albert was one of the founders of the Baptist Church, and that Annetie's husband Cornelius Anderson had a mill near a school-house, was tax-collector and one of the founders of the first Presbyterian church (at Ewing), as was also Tryntie's husband Enoch Anderson, who owned a large part of Trenton, then in Hopewell. Trenton then "contained scarcely a house;" and in a private dwelling there (perhaps Enoch's) was held the new Hunterdon County Court from 1714 to 1719, and alternately at the church meeting-house in Maidenhead. In 1721 Johannes was 70 years of age, yet some evil-doer in Hunterdon County stood in such terror of the old man's physical vigor as to apply to the Court for protection. The early records of Hopewell Township are lost, as are those of the Presbyterian churches of Maidenhead and Hopewell. A Dutch Clergyman from Bucks County, Pa., baptized in Hopewell six children of Annetie, Tryntie, and Engeltie in 1710 and 1712; Lawrence baptized a son in the Dutch church of the Raritan in 1704. The records of the Dutch churches are in the language of Holland, as was their preaching; we know therefore that Johannes and his children still clung to the Dutch religion and language even in the Jersey wilderness.
It would seem from mentions in deeds for adjoining land that Johannes must have owned yet other tracts than those above described. The two large volumes at Trenton, called Bass and Revel's Books, contain chiefly deeds from the West Jersey proprietors, and are written so fine as to strain the eyes to read even with a magnifying glass. Conveyances from individuals were not usually recorded but were preserved only in private chests and attics. It is only from another conveyance forty years later that we learn that Johannes, a few years before his death, sold or gave to his son-in-law Enoch 150 acres of his first purchase. He no doubt followed the old custom and while still living divided the bulk of his property among his children.
During the 32 years of Johannes' life in West Jersey, the country was a sparsely settled frontier. Trenton was just started; Princeton and Pennington were not yet begun. The only thing like a village, in all of West Jersey north of Burlington, was this settlement now called Lawrenceville, where his son Lawrence and son-in-law Joshua Anderson remained and were prominent. The trading was done at Burlington, which in those days was a rival, of Philadelphia. In 1715 there were only four or five houses along the King's Highway between New Brunswick and the "Falls of the Delaware"(Trenton), but in 1730 it was described with pride as " a continual lane of fences and good farm-houses," and eighteen years later as the best peopled place in America outside of the towns.
When we imagine Johannes' Jersey home, we think of no high-posted and canopied bedstead, tall clock or tiled fire-place. We picture a long log-house, with half doors, and chimney wide enough to hold the family and smoke the venison, with great logs hauled in by oxen through the opposite doors. The floor is carpeted with white sand from the sea-shore. On the walls are deer-skin suits and fur coats; from the beams hang guns, powder-horns and nets. Above in the garret is stored a heavy heap of grain. No bolt is on the door; with true Dutch hospitality, rum, sugar, and molasses, or the barrel of cider, stand ever ready for the- guest. Outside the house are nailed wolf and panther heads. In the rear are the oven, the forge, the carpenter's shop, the wooden ploughs and the sickles. On the front stoop, beneath the shadows of giant forest trees, sits Johannes watching his great-grandchildren swinging on grape-vines from boughs one hundred feet above, while his sleek horses and large Holstein cattle lie in the tall grass of the meadow on the Run, and the yellow grain waves its forty-fold increase in the newly cleared fields.
Feb. 12, 1729, at the age of 78 years, Johannes Opdyck made his will in Hopewell. His wife was already dead. In the touching formula and quaint spelling of the day, he left his property to be equally divided among his eight children then living, and appointed his son Lawrence and grandson Eliakim, son of Annetie, his executors. Two months later he died and the will was admitted to probate by Governor Montgomery; it is now preserved, with a few others of that period, in the vaults of the State House at Trenton. The statement of his executors is beautifully engrossed and stitched with silk cord,-in a style superior to that of other similar papers there filed; we have reproduced its first page.
The burial place of Johannes and his wife is unknown. The graveyards of the old Dutch church at Harlingen and of the Presbyterian churches of Lawrenceville and Ewing contain many tombstones of sufficient antiquity, but their inscriptions are now illegible. Perhaps the aged couple was solemnly laid to rest in some private enclosure amidst the forest they loved so well, where the keenest eye may now search in vain for their leveled hillocks and gray stones.
Let us revere the name of our sturdy ancestor, who in two States met the savage, the wild beast and the wilderness, and left in their stead the farm, the mill, the school, the organization of Township and county, the determined Dutch love of freedom under just and equal law. It was a long stride in civilization. His descendants have inherited the benefits of his life as unconsciously as they have many of the traits of his character.
- The Op Dyck genealogy, containing the Opdyck--Opdycke--Updyke--Updike American descendents of the Wesel and Holland families. 1889. p. 155-167.
Will of Johannes Opdyck
In the name of god amen, the twelfth day of february in the year of our Lord 1728-9 I Johan opdike of Hopewell in ye County of Hunterdone in ye provence of west new Jarsey Husbandman, being very sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto god theirefore. Calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my Last will and testament: that is to say principly and first of all I give and Recomend my Soul unto the hands of god that gave it, and for my body, I Recomend it to the Earth, to be buried in a Christian Like and desent manner, at the Discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but at the geniral Reserrection, I shall Receive the same againe by the mighty power of god and as touching Such worldly Estate, wherewith it hath pleased god to bless me in this Life, I give devise and dispose of the same in the following maner and form: Imprimus I give and bequeathe to my well beloved son Louerence opdike twelve shillings; Item that william Critchfield shall have his bils and bonds delivered up without any mollistation. Item I give to my grantson Cornelius Anderson all my weareing Cloths and one Irn Cittle one plater and four plates Item I Likewise Constitute and make my well beLoved Souq and grantson Louerence opdike and Eliahwi anderson my ExecAitors of my Last will and testament and after paying all my depts that the above written Leagusies may bee fulfilled I also bequeate that after all depts be paid that the Remainder Shall be Equilly divided amongst my Eight Children that now are Living and I do hereby utterly disalow and Revoke and disanuU all and every other former testaments wills Legusies and Executors by me in any wayes before this time named willed and bequeathed Ratifing & Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & Scale the day and year above writen.
Signed Sealed published pronounced and declared by ye Said Johanes opdike as his Last will and testament in the preasents of us the Subscribers, vis - John. Anderson
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Johannes by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Johannes: