Do You Have A Van Antwerp Story? Saturday, Nov 1 2008 

If you have a story about the family, a picture, or something you want to share about the history of the family, please let me know.  I am happy to post it and hope to make this a living site for our kids to have access to.

You can leave it as a comment or e-mail me at gvanantwerp @ mac . com.

Additionally, as I find things that I can’t reconcile, I’m going to create a dynamic list of questions about family history.  Any insights are welcome.


Eugene I Van Antwerp and Veterans Day Sunday, Nov 11 2018 

First, I want to thank all the Veterans for their service.

Second, I want to recognize this as the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and thank Dennis Skupinski from the World War I Centennial Commission in Michigan for his efforts to recognize the contributions of my grandfather Eugene I Van Antwerp.  This has resulted in a City of Detroit Proclamation acknowledging November 11th, 2018 as Eugene I Van Antwerp and Veterans Day in Michigan.  It has also resulted in a Special Tribute from the Governor of Michigan.  They are being presented to his four living children next weekend.

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For the family, I was doing some searching this morning and found some new pictures and a copy of his obituary to share here.

Eugene I Van Antwerp Photo update Sunday, Sep 16 2018 

I shared a picture of what I believed was Eugene I Van Antwerp on a horse in WWI.  It was not.  It was of a Major Sam Robertson from a book on the history of the 16th Regiment of Engineers.

Here’s a different picture of Eugene from May 1919 leading the 16th Regiment of Engineers (Railway) in front of the Michigan Central Railroad station.


The De Groot Family Sunday, Sep 16 2018 

Here’s some information on this part of the family tree…

THE De GROOT FAMILY, still numerous in Bergen and Hudson Counties, are of Holland descent. William Pietersen de Groot came to America in 1662, on board the ship “Hope,” with his wife and five children. They were from Amsterdam, Holland. Dirck Jansen de Groot, a native of Rylevelt, in Holland, came to New Amsterdam as a soldier in the Dutch service, on board the ship “Spotted Cow,” April 15, 1660, leaving behind him his wife, Grietie Gerrets, and two children. In April, 1663, Dirck’s brother, Staats de Groot, who, the ship’s register says, was a resident of Tricht, Holland, came to America on the same ship which had brought over his brother. Staats brought over with him his brother’s wife and children. Staats married, in 1664, Barbara Springsteen. Dirck and his first wife, Wybrig Jans, resided in New Amsterdam until 1679, when they removed to Flatbush, L. I., where they remained permanently. From Flatbush several of the children removed to Hackensack in 1695-96. Staats first settled at Brooklyn, where the assessment roll of 1675 showed him to be a taxpayer. He was of a roving disposition. In 1678 he was living in Westchester County, N. Y. He next turned up at Bergen, N. J., where, in June, 1678, his second daughter was baptized. While living at Bergen, where many of his relatives lived, he became in 1686 one of the Tappan patentees. He was at New Amsterdam in 1688, and probably never located on his Tappan lands. He died between 1688 and 1704, having deeded or willed his lands to his wife Barbara, who was a daughter of Casparus Springsteen, of Groningen, Holland. His children were Yoost, Neltje, Mary, and Geesie. Yoost settled at Tappan and his descendants spread into Bergen County. The descendants of Dirck and William Pietersen de Groot spread through Bergen County from Bergen and Hackensack, where they settled.
Source: Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, Editor, Cornelius Burnham Harvey, The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900, pages 162-163.

A Few Relevant Sites Sunday, Sep 16 2018 

For those of you intrigued by the family history, here’s a few additional links for you…

The Link to the DuTreux Family Saturday, Sep 15 2018 

I thought this was an interesting story about my 10th great grandfather.

The Du Treux family were from northeast France (present day Belgium), French speaking, who became Protestants. At the time was under Spanish rule, was marked by bloodshed, repression and wide-spread loss of life. Many of the Du Treux family fled. Some found sanctuary in England and a large family group went, in exile, to the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, which had recently declared its independence from Spain, the Du Treuxes and other families settled in Amsterdam. As skilled artisans, they found employment, assistance, civil and religious freedoms. Among these was Philippe Du Trieux, born ca. 1586 at Roubaix in what is now France. By 1614, Philippe Du Treux was a skilled craftsman in Amsterdam, serving as a dyer. In 1615, in the Church of old Amsterdam, he married Jacquemine Noiret, from Lille, France. In 1620, Jacquemine died, leaving Philippe with three small children Marie, Philippe Jr., and Madeline, who died in infancy. In the meantime, the West India Company was being established to develop international commerce and to serve as a military arm of the Netherlands. A brisk fur trade had developed in the Hudson Valley region of America, and in 1623 the West India Company made the decision to occupy the land between the Delaware Valley and the Connecticut River with permanent settlers. Philippe and his family, along with 29 other families, entered into a contract with the West India Company to relocate to America. Philippe and his family wife Susanna and children Marie and Philippe Jr. departed the Netherlands at the beginning of April 1624 on the ship “New Netherland” and arrived at present day New York in mid-May. He and fellow emigrants came as free men and were granted freedom in all religious matters. They settled in Manhattan. There, Philippe and Susanna’s family continued to expand four daughters and three sons. He became an employee of the West India Company and served until his death as the Court Messenger by Director Kieft in 1638. He received patent for lands in ‘Smits Valley’ in 1640. He owned a home on Beaver Street, near the Fort, which he sold in 1643, having acquired a sizable farm along the East River in 1640. This first landholding on American soil today is the site of many Commercial ventures. The land is located near the southern tip of Manhattan. It is on the shore south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Nearby Battery Park, there rests a beautiful monument erected in 1924 to honor the emigrants of the ship “New Netherlands. Donated by the people in Belgium, the tercentennial observance was supported by the leadership of four nations: Belgium, the Netherlands, France and the United States. Emigrant Philippe Du Treux is much of record under the Dutch on early Manhattan Island. Philippe and his eldest son, Philippe Jr., were killed in 1652.


The connection is:

  • Philippe was the father of Rebecca DeTrieux
  • Rebecca was the mother of Maria Symonese Groot
  • Maria was the mother of Daniel Danielse Van Antwerp
  • Daniel was the father of Gerrit Danielse Van Antwerp
  • Gerrit was the father of Daniel Gerritse
  • Daniel was the father of William Winne
  • William Winne was the father of Francis
  • Francis was the father of Francis Joseph
  • Francis Joseph was the father of Eugene Charles
  • Eugene Charles was the father of Eugene Ignatius
  • Eugene was my grandfather

Van Antwerps 1880 and 1920 Wednesday, Sep 5 2018 

These two images from Ancestry paint a quick picture of how the family migrated across the US.

Van Antwerps in the Revolutionary War Thursday, Aug 30 2018 

I’m sure there’s more (since there’s a lot of Van ?’s), but here’s a quick list from Ancestry.  I think Simon J and Simon are two people, but there’s also multiple John’s.  I show both the Lt and Pvt since they looked to be about the same time.

  • Ahasharus Van Antwerp
  • Arent Van Antwerp
  • Lieutenant John Van Antwerp
  • Louis Van Antwerp
  • Ahauranes Van Antwerp
  • Private John Van Antwerp
  • Captain Peter Van Antwerp
  • Simon J. Van Antwerp
  • Daniel Van Antwerp
  • Simon Van Antwerp
  • Alexander Van Antwerp
  • Seymon Van Antwerpen
  • Arent J. Van Antwerpen

Historic Legal Manuscripts Thursday, Aug 30 2018 

This PDF from the Schenectady Historical Society shows a long list of legal documents with about 50 or so involving Van Antwerp from as early as the 1600s.


Van Antwerp Drug Company Tuesday, Aug 28 2018 

The Bulletin of Pharmacy, Volume 28 has a feature on the Van Antwerp Drug Company in Mobile, AL in 1914.

Van Antwerp PharmacyVan Antwerp Pharmacy2Van Antwerp Pharmacy3

Van Antwerp Seed Catalog Tuesday, Aug 28 2018 

I found a PDF of the 1915 Van Antwerp Seed catalog from Mobile, Alabama. I don’t know much more about the store or the owners.

Van Antwerp Seed Catalog 1915

Niskayuna, NY Town History Tuesday, Aug 28 2018 

A few mentions of the early Van Antwerp family here on the history site for this town in NY –

The name Niskayuna is said to be derived from the Connestigione Indians who occupied the locality at the coming of the Dutch in about 1642, twenty years before Arendt van Curler founded Schenectady. The name, meaning “extensive corn flats,” evolved from the original “Canastagione.” What we now know as Niskayuna was once part of a much larger area. When the first settlers arrived here in the 1600s, these Indians occupied land on both sides of the Mohawk River including the current hamlets of Alplaus and Rexford and an area reaching as far east as Latham Corners in the Town of Watervliet (now Colonie) and the Stockade area of the City of Schenectady.
When the County of Schenectady was carved from Albany County on March 6, 1809, much of Niskayuna’s original area was ceded to other towns. Niskayuna, with just 681 residents, became one of the five towns and one city that comprised the new County of Schenectady. Adjustments to its western boundary made in the early 20th century decreased the Town’s area to its current 15.1 square miles.
In 1664, Harmon Vedder built the first home erected in Niskayuna. In 1687, the Van Antwerp Farm emerged at what is now 1727 Van Antwerp Road. In 1746, one of a line of blockhouses, ranging from Fort Massachusetts to Fort Hunter was built in Niskayuna by Governor George Clinton. In 1835, the Craig Hotel was built on Aqueduct Road.
In 1799, the Albany-Schenectady Turnpike (now Route 5) was built through Niskayuna and tolls were still being collected in 1886. The route of the Turnpike was laid out by surveyor Lawrence Vrooman, who became Niskayuna’s first Town Supervisor in 1809.
When built in 1805, a bridge across the Mohawk River at Rexford was known asAlexander’s Bridge, and two mills built by the same person were called Alexander’s Mills, the earliest name for the center of what grew to become a hamlet. As of 1822, the Erie Canal crossed the river into Niskayuna at Alexander’s Mills on an aqueduct 748 feet long and 25 feet above the stream. From that time onward, the hamlet became known as Aqueduct. There were two locks on the Canal between Schenectady and the hamlet of Rexford in the Saratoga County town of Clifton Park.
In 1843, the Troy and Schenectady Railroad was built along the Mohawk River with a station in the Aqueduct hamlet and another, still standing, in the Niskayuna hamlet. Halfway between these was the Rosendale hamlet opposite Niska Isle. In 1975 the Town acquired the Railroad’s abandoned right-of-way and converted it into a hike and bike trail.
In 1886 the Edison Machine works was founded in nearby Schenectady when Thomas Edison bought the abandoned buildings of the McQueen Locomotive Works from the descendants of Niskayuna resident Charles Stanford and moved his factory from New York City to Schenectady. The electrical industry was born in Schenectady and led to a dramatic increase in population in the City and in the Town of Niskayuna.
The Reformed Church of Niskayuna, organized about 1750, moved a short distance to its current location on Troy Road near the Colonie border in 1852. It is one of two Niskayuna sites listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The other is the George Westinghouse Jones home on the corner of Troy Road and St. David’s Lane, now the education center of the First Baptist Church.~[Editorial note: A third was added in 2010, a former one-room schoolhouse and later Grange Hall on Rosendale Road. The building is now owned by the Town of Niskayuna.]
In 1762, John Duncan (1722–1791) acquired an estate of about 800 acres of Niskayuna land in an area now known as Stanford Heights, named after the 1859 owners of part of that acreage. The Stanfords were the parents of Governor Leland Stanford of California and State Senator Charles Stanford of Schenectady. Duncan’s first home on the property was called The Hermitage, but it burned down in 1790. In about 1817 a second home, 100 yards to the north, was built by Hermanus Schuyler who later became Town Supervisor. Called Locust Grove by the senior Stanfords, the Stanford Mansion now sits on only 12.4 acres, all that is left of Duncan’s original 800. The property became the Ingersoll Memorial Home for the aged from 1922 until 2008 when the institution moved to a new and larger home on Consaul Road.
Prominent in the town 150 or more years ago were families whose names are still used to designate streets and places in Schenectady County: Bradt, Burger, Clute, Consaul, Craig, Cregier, Glen, Green, Groot, Lansing, Maxon, Mesick, Pearse, Reist, Scheckelman, Schoolcraft, Schopmeier / Shopmyer, Spoor, Stanford, Van Antwerp, Van Vranken, Vedder / Veeder, Viele, Vrooman / Vroman, Wemple, Winne, and Zenner.
Public transportation linked Niskayuna to areas to the north and east. By 1920, trolleys from Schenectady made their way up Union Street, once called Niskayuna Street, out the Troy Road to the east past many “stops” to Troy. Trolleys also ran along Van Vranken Avenue and up the newly created Grand Boulevard to Van Antwerp Road. They also ran along Aqueduct Road crossing the Mohawk River into Rexford and then north to Saratoga Springs.
The crossroads of Niskayuna, very close to the geographic center of the town, is the intersection of two streets that are each named for a clergyman whose first name was Eliphalet: Nott Street and Balltown Road. Nott Street was named for Rev. Eliphalet Nott (1773-1866), a clergyman, inventor, and president of Union College for 62 years. In 1785, a few miles north of Niskayuna, Rev. Eliphalet Ball (c. 1727-1797), a third cousin of George Washington, founded Ball’s Town, known as Ballston in Saratoga County. The road south from there, Ball’s Town Road, soon became “Balltown Road.” It comes into Niskayuna at the Rexford Bridge, crosses Nott Street and then Union Street, and continues past the Stanford Mansion to State Street.
After many years of meeting in an upstairs room of a fire station, the town government moved to a new building of its own on Balltown Road in 1950. With two further expansions it served the town for 44 years until a much larger Town Hall was completed on an extension of Nott Street in 1995.
Niskayuna is home to several institutions that have long and distinguished histories of their own: television station CBS6 (formerly WRGB), the Grand Boulevard Fire Company, the Mohawk Golf Club, Bellevue Woman’s Care Hospital, the Schenectady Curling Club, General Electric’s Global Research Laboratory, the research laboratory of Schenectady International, and the Knolls Atomic Power laboratory.
In 1962, Niskayuna became a town of the First Class, a formal state designation, and then in 1975, attained a status of still higher autonomy, that of Suburban Town. Niskayuna now offers all of the services of a city, and with its population of 20,295 according to the 2000 census, the town is more populous than 35 of New York State’s cities and is still growing.

Pictures of Jan Mabie House Monday, Aug 27 2018 

I’m not sure if it’s Mebie or Mabie or Mabee, but it’s a historical building related to the Van Antwerp family.  Here’s some pictures and sketches. (Update from Kim Mabee from the Maybee Society…It’s spelled all the different ways based on documents from the Schenectady County historical society.)

The oldest house still standing in the Mohawk Valley, the Mabee Farm Historic Site was originally settled by Daniel Janse Van Antwerpen, who established it as a fur trading post to meet Native American traders before they reached Schenectady. He received a deed for the property in 1671 from the English governor. In 1706, Van Antwerpen sold the farm to Jan Pieterse Mabee, and it was handed down through the Mabee family for 287 years!

Dudley Van Antwerp Sunday, Aug 12 2018 

Dudley Strickland Van Antwerp was born August 27, 1867, in Huntington, Indiana and moved with his family to Montclair in 1880. According to the Biographical Dictionary of American Architects, Van Antwerp studied architecture in New York and worked as a draftsman with several notable firms, including that of William B. Tuthill, the architect of Carnegie Hall (1891) in New York. Early in the 1900s, after practicing architecture in a New York partnership, Van Antwerp opened an office in Montclair, where he had an independent practice for more than twenty-five years. He died on January 17, 1934; a member of the American Institute of Architects, his obituary in the Montclair Times states that he designed 500 houses, indicating a prolific practice.

Hilda Fenn Van Antwerp (d. 1931), an interior decorator and painter who worked as an associate with her husband, was the daughter of Harry Fenn (1838-1911), one of America’s foremost watercolor artists and illustrators in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Mrs. Van Antwerp was born in England and came to the United States in 1889; she married Van Antwerp in 1901. Her father was Harry Fenn, a leading member of Montclair’s renowned artistic community of the 1870’s – 1890s.1

Harry Fenn (1837 – April 22, 1911), an English born illustrator, engraver, and painter, came to Montclair around 1865. Fenn contributed illustrations to John Greenleaf Whittier’s Snow-Bound as well as a popular series called Picturesque America edited by William Cullen Bryant. Fenn also produced watercolors, some of which are reproduced in this collection. The Fenn family lived in a house designed by Dudley Van Antwerp often referred to as The Cedars.

Some of his best known works: Wachtung Avenue Congregational Church in Montclair, the Monondock Inn, Caldwell, N. J., Club House at Empire City, N. J., and the Yacht Club in Bayside, Long Island, N. Y.



Resolution re: Eugene I Van Antwerp Saturday, Aug 11 2018 

The Chair of the Michigan World War I Centennial Commission has reached out to the Mayor of Detroit (Mike Duggan) to ask him to make November 11, 2018 Eugene I Van Antwerp and Veteran’s Day.  He did a nice job at writing up a short resolution (attached below).  I personally have reached out to the Mayor and encouraged the family to also.

VanAntwerp Detroit 2018

Major F. Van Antwerp Saturday, Jul 7 2018 

I’m still trying to find out more and how he fits into the family, but Debbie was kind enough to provide some information and history.

He served in WWI as part of the American Expeditionary Forces that built the light railways that helped win the war.  He served with the future owner of the Yankees, Hammond (of piano fame), and Colonel Samuel Arther Roberson.

John Van Antwerp MacMurray (1881-1960) Thursday, Jul 5 2018 

I found this relative and traced him back to our family tree.  He was the Ambassador to Turkey and Asst. Secretary of State.  You can also read about him on Wikipedia.

Career Foreign Service Officer

States of Residence: Maryland, New Jersey

  1. Assistant Secretary of State
    Appointed: November 18, 1924
    Entry on Duty: November 19, 1924
    Termination of Appointment: May 19, 1925

    • Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 3, 1925.
  2. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary (China)
    Appointed: April 9, 1925
    Presentation of Credentials: July 15, 1925
    Termination of Mission: Left post on November 22, 1929

    • Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned on December 17, 1925, after confirmation. Commissioned to China.
  3. Concurrent Appointments
    1. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary (Lithuania)
      Appointed: August 28, 1933
      Presentation of Credentials: December 20, 1933
      Termination of Mission: Left Kaunas on February 13, 1936

      • Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned on January 15, 1934, after confirmation. MacMurray had departed from Riga on February 12, 1936. Also accredited to Latvia and Estonia; resident at Riga.
    2. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary (Latvia)
      Appointed: August 28, 1933
      Presentation of Credentials: December 13, 1933
      Termination of Mission: Left post on February 12, 1936

      • Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned on January 15, 1934, after confirmation. Also accredited to Lithuania and Estonia; resident at Riga.
    3. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary (Estonia)
      Appointed: August 28, 1933
      Presentation of Credentials: January 4, 1934
      Termination of Mission: Left Riga February 12, 1936

      • Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned on January 15, 1934, after confirmation. Also accredited to Lithuania and Latvia; resident at Riga.
  4. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Turkey)
    Appointed: January 24, 1936
    Presentation of Credentials: March 16, 1936
    Termination of Mission: Left post on November 28, 1941

Robert Gordon Van Antwerp Monday, Jul 2 2018 

I was looking up something else and discovered a cousin who was a famous square dance caller with multiple recordings out there.

Robert “Bob” Gordon Van Antwerp was born Nov. 8, 1920, in Edmond, Okla., and passed away July 15, 2005.

While attending college at Oklahoma University, Bob met Roberta, the love of his life. They were married 61 years. In his last year of college, Bob was the captain of the All-Oklahoma Football Team and received an offer from the Detroit Lions to attend the team’s football camp as a new recruit. However, a knee injury changed his direction to recreation.

In 1944, during World War II, Bob was a bomber pilot and squadron commander with the U.S. Air Force. He piloted a B-17 for 35 missions. After returning to Oklahoma, he coached football and taught in Edmond. In 1947, Bob and Roberta moved to Long Beach, where his first job was as playground director at Houghton Park. Four years later, he was promoted to assistant district supervisor. His full-throttle energy and positive attitude led him to ascend through the ranks until becoming director of parks and recreation. He put countless hours in civic and community services.

Bob was an internationally known square-dance caller, and was inducted into the Square Dance Callers Hall of Fame, an honor given to a limited number of callers. He was known throughout the world as one of the most popular and well-publicized square-dance callers. Together, he and Roberta guided dancers on tours throughout 29 countries and 34 states. His square-dance recordings number more than 150 singles and six albums. After his retirement from the city of Long Beach in 1977, Bob and Roberta moved to Lake Tahoe, where he continued his square- dance calling. He called and choreographed square dances for more than 40 years.

From The Cosgrove Genealogy Monday, Jul 2 2018 

The attached book about the Cosgrove Genealogy has several pages starting at 267 about the Van Antwerp family.

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Van Antwerp Apartments Monday, Jul 2 2018 

I’m not sure of the history yet, but there is a Van Antwerp apartment building on Van Antwerp place in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Van Antwerp Park – Alabama Monday, Jul 2 2018 

A developer is building a new development called Van Antwerp Park.

“Van Antwerp Park is a 15 lot in-fill neighborhood in old Fairhope, one lot from Mobile Bay. Located on a beautiful 11 acre hillside and dry creek bed once nurtured by Mary Van Antwerp, a seven acre arboretum defines and anchors the homes in this unique wooded community.”


1949 Catholic Central Yearbook Monday, Jul 2 2018 

The 1949 Detroit Catholic Central yearbook had the following dedication to Eugene I Van Antwerp (Mayor of Detroit).


Original Letter From Msgr. Van Antwerp 1928 Saturday, May 12 2018 

A few months ago, I shared the story about Monsignor Van Antwerp and his role in forming Catholic Central High School.  The current president was kind enough to send me a copy of the original letter.  This was written to invite the Basilian Fathers to come run Catholic Central.

CC Letter.jpg

Van Antwerp’s Dairy Saturday, May 12 2018 

Here’s some pictures from the Van Antwerp Dairy Farm which was in Mobile, AL.


Van Antwerp & Son Apothecaries Saturday, May 12 2018 

I found a site which has lots of pictures from a Van Antwerp & Son Pharmacy in Mobile, AL from the late 1880s to 1960s.


Van Antwerp Stories 1977 Saturday, May 12 2018 

This is from the Detroit Free Press on July 4, 1977

The late Eugene I. Van Antwerp, mayor of Detroit in 1948-49 and a member of Common Council for 27 years, had a strong interest in genealogy. He passed it on, along with his genealogical records, to his 1 1th child, Wayne County Common Pleas Judge Daniel J. Van Antwerp.

THE JUDGE DREW UP A family tree which shows that all Michigan Van Antwerps including the late Councilman Philip J. Van Antwerp, former Cheboygan Mayor Francis J. (Joe) Van Antwerp and a long line of Van Antwerp priests and nuns trace their ancestry to one man. The patriarch is Daniel Janse Van Antwerp, who came to America “a little before 1656,” according to an article by Dr. Douglass Lee Van Antwerp in a New York genealogical journal.

Daniel Janse, as he is called by family members who speak of him as if they knew the gentleman personally, probably came from the city of Antwerp, which now is in Belgium. Having settled in Schenectady, N.Y., he worked asa farmer and magistrate, and for a while served as a trustee of the city. His chief talent, though, seems to have been that he was fruitful and multiplied. He had sons and they had sons, and their sons followed suit.

Five generations after Daniel Janse, Francis Van Antwerp, one of 1,340 descendants in the second through sixth generations of American Van Antwerps, became the first Van Antwerp in Michigan. He came to Detroit around 1830. No one knows why.

Francis married Appoline Vernier dit la Doucer early in 1830. and in 1831 they had a son, Francis J. Van Antwerp. Family legend has it that the Indian chief Tecumseh was the boy’s godfather, which would have been an interesting trick if they could have pulled it off Tecumseh died in 1813.

Francis and Francis J. were both blacksmiths, and Francis the younger bought carloads of coal to run his forge. He often purchased more than he needed and ended up selling the overflow at a profit. In 1885 he realized he had a good thing going and gave up blacksmithing founding the Van Antwerp Coal Co. at Congress and Rivard. The company folded in 1953, a victim of the trend toward oil use and lack of interest by family members.

FRANCIS J.’S SECOND SON, Francis S. J. Van Antwerp, spurned the coal business to enter the priesthood. He rose quickly through the ranks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and became domestic prelate, vicar-general of the Detroit Diocese and prothonotary apostolic, all high offices in the Catholic church. Msgr. Van Antwerp, called Father Van, was so well loved that after he died, in 1930, a group of those who had known him, “Father Van’s Boys,” met annually for more than 30 years to honor his memory.

Meanwhile, Father Van’s nephew, Eugene I. Van Antwerp, was gearing up to run for Common Council. Gene, a Democrat, served on the council from 1932 until 1948. In that period, he served a term as national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In 1947, he defeated incumbent Mayor Edward J. Jeffries Jr. on a platform which said, although not in so many words, “He ain’t done nothing.”

Two years later, City Treasurer Albert E. Cobo beat Gene using roughly the same argument. Undaunted, Gene returned to Common Council after the 1950 death of another member. As mayor, he had called for loyalty oaths to get communists out of city government. In 1952 he demanded that communist-inclined artist Diego Rivera’s murals at the Institute of Arts either “be ripped out or painted over.” Another of Rivera’s works had been removed from a Mexico City museum. “If Mexico, which has been a hotbed of communism, finds Rivera too much to stomach,” asked Gene, “why should we preserve his work in Detroit?”

When Gene died in office in 1961, a special election was held to fill the spot. The winner? Recently retired police inspector Philip J. Van Antwerp, Gene’s second cousin. Viewed as a liberal Democrat when first elected, Phil eventually became known as a maverick conservative. And in 1970 one of his maverick stands became notorious.

Mayor Roman Gribbs asked officials who got cars from the city to use their 1970 models one more year to save Detroit money. Eight councilmen went along: Phil Van Antwerp did not. “THIS MAY BE EGOTISTICAL, but I feel I’m a leader in this city, and if I’m not entitled to a few privileges, 1 might as well quit,” he said. He didn’t quit. He also didn’t get the car. Phil retired in 1973, and Gene’s son George B. Van Antwerp, an ex-priest, tried to take his cousin’s place as councilman.

George’s brother, Daniel J. Van Antwerp, had been elected judge of Common Pleas Court in 1970, and won gain in 1976. But this time the voters of Detroit rejected a Van Antwerp, as George fell more than 30,000 votes short. The name that had helped Phil and Dan in the past this time hurt as well as helped, George said.

But George’s cousin, Bernard Van Antwerp, who ran for the Wayne County Board of Supervisors in 1968 and 1970, said he found the name a blessing.

“Everywhere I’d ever gone in life, people had told me, ‘You should go into politics, with your name.’ ” says Bernie, a superintendent of body manufacturing for Chrysler. “I spent nothing on the primary in ’68 and did no campaigning. In fact. I went on vacation just before the primary. I just put my name in and I won.” Bernie lost the general election and lost the primary in 1970 when he switched parties to run as a Republican in his largely Republican district. Did his name get him as far as he went? “Definitely,” he said.

While older Van Antwerps say they do not remember thinking of their family as special when they were young, Bernie recalls his own childhood differently. “I can remember in 1948 when my uncle was mayor. He had a telephone in his car, and NOBODY had a telephone in his car that was super. I was very much impressed with the idea. And I was always being told, ‘You’d better behave yourself or you’ll ruin our good reputation.’ In ways like those, J learned that I wasn’t living like everybody.”

BUT AS FATHER VAN and Mayor Gene and Councilman Phil retreat into history, the family becomes dispersed, and the name means less and less. Bernie agreed the family’s influence is dwindling. “The city’s changing its composition, and as I get older I find that my name isn’t as prominent as it once was.” But, said the 38-year-old executive, he doesn’t put much stock in the whole name business anyway. “It’s really a lot of baloney,” he said. “It was a nice thing when I grew up, but I don’t regret that it’s declining. I’ve impressed on my own kids that they’ve got to make it on their own. The name it’s nice, but it doesn’t pay any dividends.”

Jessie Van Antwerp Huyck Sunday, Apr 8 2018 

First appeared in Fall 2001, as “A Remarkable Woman’s Vision,” by Janet Haseley, in The Rensselaerville Press, a quarterly newsletter of the Rensselaerville Historical Society.


Quiet, shy, and refined. Intelligent, determined, envisioning the future. On a first-name basis with national and world leaders. Though childless herself, she loved young people and encouraged them to develop their talents and abilities. A behind-the-scenes leader in civic, educational and cultural projects in Rensselaerville and Albany and beyond.

She memorialized her husband through the imaginative creation of what became a world-renowned nature preserve and biological research station. But she remained so much in the background that few realize that she was its creator and the guiding hand that supported its direction and provided its sound financial base.

She was Jessie Eliza Van Antwerp Huyck.

This year [2001] marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve, which Jessie established in Rensselaerville, N.Y., on September 5, 1931, 14 months after her husband’s death. She wanted to honor him by carrying out his wish that the natural beauty of the Rensselaerville area be kept as unspoiled as possible for the benefit of future generations.

“It will be a bird and wildlife sanctuary,” said Jessie according to a September 13, 1931, Knickerbocker Press (Albany, N.Y.) article. “It will serve to increase the general knowledge and love of nature, especially that of trees and wildlife. Reforestation and forest culture will be demonstrated. I intend shortly to establish a fund to finance the Preserve in perpetuity, I hope.”

The person the Preserve honors, Edmund (Ted) Niles Huyck, was born in Rensselaerville in 1866, and was an avid fisherman and lover of nature. The Rensselaerville Falls and Lincoln Pond were special favorites of his and he often said that he wanted them maintained in their natural state for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations of the people of Rensselaerville. Jessie gave to the Preserve the original 450 acres—which included Lake Myosotis, Lincoln Pond, the Rensselaerville Falls, the watershed of Ten Mile Creek, and the forested land surrounding them—as well as the Mill House and the Rensselaerville Grist Mill. Today the Preserve owns more than 2,000 acres.

From the beginning the people of Rensselaerville were involved in the upkeep of the Preserve and benefitted from its being open for public use. Annual “trail blazes” were organized to create and maintain trails. The blazes were coordinated by Winthrop Stevens, Jessie’s nephew and one of the original board members of the Preserve. In the first three years more than 7,500 trees were planted, bird nest boxes installed, and 10 silver pheasants and 70 ducks hatched and released.

In addition to preservation and conservation, Jessie saw to it that the Preserve devoted a major part of its work to education. From the first years, the Preserve awarded prizes to schoolchildren for nature study work and sponsored public showings of conservation films. The July 6, 1934 annual meeting of the Preserve reported that Win Stevens had published an article on bird on the Preserve in the National Audubon Society’s Bird Lore.

In 1932, Jessie established an endowment to support the Preserve and added to it in subsequent years. Throughout her life, she continued to finance the major needs of the Preserve, including, in 1933 and 1934, the cost of repairing the Lake Myosotis Dam, a job that required 1,475 yards of crushed stone.

In 1937, Cornell biologist Dr. William Hamilton spent two months on the Preserve, presented a talk on plants and animals, and recommended that scientific research be conducted there. On September 24, 1938, the Preserve’s biological field station was formally established and Jessie said she would pay to support at least three resident biologists who would live on the Preserve during the summer. Today the Preserve supports six to eight scientists each summer. They each lead a Huyck Hike (an activity that has been going on since 1956) and give public reports on their research. Recently an artists-in-residence program was added: Artists live at the Preserve for several weeks each summer creating nature art and sharing their talents with youngsters and others.

The Preserve’s educational programs to benefit local children include swimming instruction, begun in 1948; children’s nature study programs; day camps; and outreach programs throughout the year, both on the Preserve and in area schools.

Jessie’s insistence on education is remarkable because she never attended college herself. She was a graduate of the Albany Academy for Girls, but her father did not believe in higher education for women so Jessie and her six sisters were denied the opportunity to go to college. Jessie had a keen mind, however, and was very well-read and interested in a wide variety of subjects especially world affairs. She encouraged young women to go to college if they possibly could.

She was a director of the New York State League of Women Voters and the Foreign Policy Association in Albany and a personal friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and of Governor Averill Harriman. She was a member of the Cosmopolitan Club of New York City; served on the board of directors of the New York State College for Teachers; and, in the mid-1950s when she was in her late 80s, she was the honorary chairman of the Albany Academy for Girls’ building fund campaign.

She had a deep sense of world responsibility and was active in the World Affairs Council, which brought foreign-policy speakers to Albany. In 1957, when she was 88 years old, Jessie was a charter member of the SANE Nuclear Policy Committee, an activist group that opposed the production and testing of nuclear weapons.

For many years she gave summer secretarial employment to young women from China and Japan who were college students in the United States.

“Such broad interests have their own rewards—in the constant mental stimulation which tightens the passing years,” wrote newspaper columnist Ellen Scott in December 1958, less than a year before Jessie’s death at age 90. “Chronological age is unimportant when, as in Mrs. Huyck’s case, the world is your horizon.”

After her husband’s death, Jessie commissioned Francis Brown to write a biography of his life—Edmund Niles Huyck, the Story of a Liberal—that detailed his many civic and business accomplishments in the area of social welfare. Rose C. Feld, who reviewed books for the New York Times and the New York Herald and was also a contributor to the New Yorker, wrote a review of the book: “Long before this country had a program of social security for workers, Huyck sponsored the idea of old-age pensions, housing, health insurance, care of dependent children. A friend of Al Smith, he could always be depended upon to lend his support to reform legislation.”

After reading the book, the then-commissioner of education for the State of New Jersey, John Bossart, wrote to Jessie that he was so impressed with the enlightened thinking and application of progressive business practices of E.N. Huyck that he was giving a copy of the book to Wendell Wilkie, who was then campaigning for president of the United States. Bosshart said he wanted Wilkie to “learn how Mr. Huyck demonstrated a strong leadership in dealing with his men and at the same time was so sympathetic to their needs. Such a basic philosophy is necessary to any permanent solution of our great social problem.”

While planning what the book would cover, Jessie wrote to Francis Brown, “While Mr. Huyck was one of the highest type of American public-spirited citizen and businessman, that by no means tells the whole story. He was admittedly a man of charming personality, with whimsical humor, something of a poet, and at the same time practical to the point of being successful in all he undertook. This all went into the making of an unusual person. I am not alone in thinking so, and adds to the difficulty of interpreting him in words. Yet I am of the opinion it can be done.”

In her will, Jessie left large bequests to the Preserve and to the Edmund Niles Huyck Foundation, which she established as a separate entity to support charitable, scientific, and educational purposes, and to benefit the local people.

An editorial that appeared in the Albany Times Union after her death in 1959, said: “If Mrs. Huyck had any one outstanding quality it was that of self-effacement in her association with all of the organizations to which she gave of her time and energy. Her composite monument will not be found in ornate structures of granite and bronze, but rather in the hearts and minds of her countless friends and the many cultural institutions in which she was so vitally interested. . . . Through precept and example, she has left a legacy . . . which cannot be measured by the usual standards of material success.”

In a letter written in 1982, Katharine Huyck Elmore, Jessie’s niece wrote, “I am the only one left on the board [of the E.N. Huyck Preserve] who signed the original charter. At the time I feel that few, if any, of us appreciated Jessie Huyck’s vision of the future and how important protected land and research would be in the future. I feel even today she may not be appreciated or understood as much as she should be for what she has done for the community and the world beyond it.”

Biographical notes:

Edmund (Ted) Niles Huyck was born in Rensselaerville on May 17, 1866, and died on July 15, 1930. He was the eldest son of Francis Conkling Huyck, Sr., and Emily Harriet Niles. His father, Francis Conkling Huyck was a co-founder of the Huyck-Waterbury Mill (1870), which was a leading manufacturer of wool felts for the papermaking industry. When railroads didn’t come to Rensselaerville, it was too expensive to transport goods to and from there and in 1878, the Huycks relocated the mill to Kenwood on the Hudson River at the southern edge of Albany. The mill was later moved across the Hudson River to Rensselaer when the Kenwood Mills burned down. But the Huycks kept their home in Rensselaerville and had a continuing sense of obligation for the village and its people. The original Huyck-Waterbury Mill’s foundation is visible at the foot of the Rensselaerville Falls near the first footbridge.

Jessie Eliza Van Antwerp Huyck was born on November 5, 1868, in Albany, N.Y., and died on July 15, 1959, at age 90, in Rensselaerville. She was the seventh of eight children of William Meadon Van Antwerp and Susannah Irwin who were prominent in Albany’s business and social circles. Jessie and Ted Huyck were married on December 9, 1891, and famous architect Marcus Reynolds built for them what is known today as Huyck House on the grounds of the Rensselaerville Institute. The Institute property was originally the summer estates of the E.N. Huycks and Katharine Huyck and P. Lee Elmore. In 1963, the Elmores and Everett Clinchy (who was living in the Huyck House at the time) established the Institute on Man and Science (later renamed the Rensselaerville Institute) as a think tank and conference center. Today the Institute is a meeting place for all sorts of groups to engage in strategic planning and forward thinking. Other public programs include concerts, art exhibits, and a variety of education programs, some of which are done in collaboration with the Huyck Preserve.

Ted Huyck encouraged two of Jessie’s six sisters to live in Rensselaerville and their descendants have been active citizens of the village: McChesney, Stevens, Ten Eyck, Wilson, and Waldron families. The Ten Eycks and Waldrons are descendants of Grace Edith Van Antwerp who married a Waterman. The McChesneys, Wilsons, and Stevenses are descendants of Anna Van Antwerp who married a Stevens.

Follow-up on Van Antwerp / Clute Friday, Mar 30 2018 

As a follow-up to a prior post on the relationship the Clute family, I found this in the Lineage Book by the Daughter’s of the American Revolution.

Mrs. Louise Van Antwerp Brown - Daughters of American Revolution



Van Antwerp Hall Tuesday, Mar 27 2018 

There is a Van Antwerp Hall (opened in 1967) at Northern Michigan University which is named after Maude Van Antwerp who taught in NMU’s Education Department for 25 years.


From the book “Northern Michigan University, A Personal History, 1899-1943”, we find this about Maude:

Maude Van Antwerp - NMU

Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. Publishers Sunday, Mar 25 2018 

Every once in a while, a book from Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. will come up in a search about Van Antwerp.  I wanted to figure out the history, and I found “A History of the McGuffey Readers” which outlines it.

From the book…

The Confederate States, at the opening of the War, had within their limits no publisher of schoolbooks which had extensive sales.  Nearly all of the schoolbooks used in the South were printed in the North.  But there were printing offices and binderies in the South.  The children continued to go to school, and the demand for schoolbooks soon became urgent.  To meet this demand, a few new schoolbooks were made and copyrighted under the laws of the Confederacy; but others were reprints of Northern books such as were in general use.  The Methodist Book Concern of Nashville, Tenn., reprinted the McGuffey Readers and supplied the region south and west of Nashville until the Federal line swept past that city.  This action on the part of the Methodist Book Concern had the effect of preserving the market for these readers, so that as soon as any part of the South was strongly occupied by the Federal forces, orders came to the Cincinnati publishers for fresh supplies of the McGuffey Readers.  This unexpected preservation of trade was of great benefit to the firm of Sargent, Wilson & Hinkle.

[Wilson, Hinkle & Co.]

In 1866 the special interests were closed out, and Mr. Lewis Van Antwerp was admitted as a partner.  On April 20, 1868, the firm of Sargent, Wilson & Hinkle was dissolved.  Mr. Sargent retired and the new firm, Wilson, Hinkle & Co., bought all the assets.  At this date Mr. Robert Quincy Beer became a partner.  Mr. Beer had long been a trusted and successful agent and he was put in charge of the agency department.  Under this partnership the business gradually became systematized in departments.  One partner had in charge the reading of manuscripts and the placing of accepted works in book form, one had charge of the manufacture of books from plates provided by the first, and one of finding a market for the books.  At the first organization of the firm of Wilson, Hinkle & Co., Mr. Wilson was the literary manager as well as the director of agency work.  Mr. Hinkle was the manufacturer, having control of the printing and binding, and Mr. Van Antwerp had charge of the accounts.  Mr. Beer was brought in to relieve Mr. Wilson in the direction of agents.  But Mr. Beer died suddenly, January 3, 1870, and the surviving partners soon sought for another competent and experienced man to take his place.

[Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co.]

Mr. Caleb S. Bragg had for years acted as the agent for a list of books selected by him from the publications of two or three publishers and was a partner in the firm of Ingham & Bragg, booksellers of Cleveland, Ohio.  Mr. Bragg sold his interest in the business in Cleveland and became a partner in Wilson, Hinkle & Co., on April 20, 1871; and at the same time Henry H. Vail and Robert F. Leaman, who had for some years been employees, were each given an interest in the profits although not admitted as full partners until three years later.  Mr. Hinkle’s eldest son, A. Howard Hinkle, was brought up in the business, and the contract for 1874 provided that he should be admitted as a partner, with his father’s interest and in his place, when that contract expired in 1877.  The contract of 1874 was preparatory to the voluntary retirement of both Mr. Wilson and Mr. Hinkle.  Consequently, on April 20, 1877, the firm of Wilson, Hinkle & Co. was dissolved and the business was purchased by the new firm.  Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co., of which Lewis Van Antwerp, Caleb S. Bragg, Henry H. Vail, Robert F. Leaman, A. Howard Hinkle, and Harry T. Ambrose were the partners.  This firm continued unchanged until January 1, 1892, except for the untimely death of Mr. Leaman on December 12, 1887, and the retirement of Mr. Van Antwerp, January 2, 1890, just previous to the sale of the copyrights and plates owned by the firm to the American Book Company.

This sale, completed May 15, 1890, did not then include the printing office and bindery belonging to the firm.  These were used by the firm of Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. until January 1, 1892, in manufacturing books ordered by the American Book Company.  The American Book Company became, on May 15, 1890, the owners, by purchase, of all the copyrights and plates formerly owned by Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co.  The four active partners in that firm, each of whom had then been in the schoolbook business some twenty-five or thirty years, entered the employ of the American Book Company.  Mr. Bragg and Mr. Hinkle remained in charge of the Cincinnati business, Mr. Vail and Mr. Ambrose went to New York; the former as editor in chief, the latter was at first treasurer, but later became the president.

[A Vigorous Firm]

Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. issued many new and successful books and remade many, including the McGuffey Readers and Speller, Ray’s Arithmetics and Harvey’s Grammars.  Most of these met with acceptance and this was so full and universal throughout the central West as to give opportunity to the competing agents of other houses to honor Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. with such titles as “Octopus” and “Monopoly,” names that were used before “Trusts” were invented.  They also called the firm in chosen companies, “Van Anteup, Grabb & Co.”  These were mere playful or humorous titles in recognition of the fact that this firm had, by its industry, skill and energy, captured a larger share of the patronage of the people than was agreeable to its competitors, and they, in despair of success by fair means, resorted to the old-fashioned method of calling their antagonist bad names.  The best books, if pressed vigorously and intelligently, were sure to win in the end, and the people who used the books cared little what name appeared at the foot of the title-page.

St. Nicholas Society Saturday, Mar 24 2018 

From The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York: History, Customs, Record of Events, Constitution, Certain Genealogies, and Other Matters of Interest. V. 1-, Volume 1
The Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York: History, Customs, Record of Events, Constitution, Certain Genealogies, and Other Matters of Interest. V. 1-, Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York

They list several Van Antwerps –

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