Magdalena Van Etten Ennes, 1751 - 1819

Over the course of the years exploring the genealogy of the Ennes family the problems encountered have included a seemingly endless stream of rumors, one purposeful misdirection, legends, third hand translations, lost records, a mysterious bible, faulty 19th century newspaper reports of a vast inheritance and conflated battles fought in one place or another with an ever growing number of nameless casualties, and finally a host of Minisink young folk heading off  to settle a new town in the late 18th century just as one is getting comfortable with the old guard left behind.

All in all it ends up with people crossing rivers in search of a livelihood, burying a neighbor, attending a wedding, growing old or giving birth. Sometimes the mist lays heavy across the water obscuring the view and sometimes the sun rises and burns through the fog.

The tale of  the "Widow Ennes," Magdalena Van Etten, who married and buried Lt. Benjamin Ennes, and long rumored to have followed their children up the tributaries of the Susquehanna River into New York State has proved out.  

Last Will & Testament of Magdalena Ennis, of Spencer, Tioga County, N. Y.

"...I give and bequeath to my Eldest son Alexander Ennis whom I likewise Choose, and constitute, make and ordain my only and sole executor, of this last will and testament One Sixth part of my property also to have full power to ___ the money due from the State of Pennsylvania and to be allowed a fair and reasonable compensation for all his trouble and expenses as executor for all business..." 

Magdalena further wills portions of her property to "my second Son Johones Ennis,"  "my two daughters Elizabeth Decker and Mary Ennis," "my third son Emanuel Ennis," "my fourth son Benjamin," "my son in Law Abraham Decker,"  and lastly, "my son in Law Wilhelmus Ennis" (husband of daughter Mary).

The Witnesses to Magdalena's Last Will and Testament of February 9, 1819 were Isaac Swartwood, Hannah Vangorden and Aiusy (?) Ennis.  Magdalena left her mark, whether out of illness or illiteracy is unknown, beside the signature "Magdalanah Ennis" of this record made by Robert Lawrence, Esq.  Within months, by the 17th of November of that year, Magdalena would be dead.

May she rest in peace.



"New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971," images, FamilySearch (,213928801 : accessed 22 September 2015), Tioga > Will and Proceeding index 1800-1936 vol A > image 49 of 196; county courthouses, New York.

"New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971," images, FamilySearch (,213948601 : accessed 22 September 2015), Tioga > Wills 1818-1840 vol C-D, 4, 8 > image 34 of 478; county courthouses, New York.

"New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971," images, FamilySearch (,213948601 : accessed 22 September 2015), Tioga > Wills 1818-1840 vol C-D, 4, 8 > image 35 of 478; county courthouses, New York.

Related MVG articles:

The "Widow Ennes," Magdalena Van Etten, of Delaware Township, 1798

The 1780 Account of the Battle of Conashaugh 

The Battle of Conashaugh Affidavits

1922 Photo Essay: The Bluestone Industry of Pike and Wayne Counties PA

The dense, hard, and fine-grained sandstone of the Catskill Formation once known as "Delaware Flags" and sold as "Blue Stone" during the heyday of the 19th century bluestone industry in northeastern Pennsylvania, was extensively documented by Ralph W. Stone of the Pennsylvania Geological Survey in August of 1922. He traveled with an assistant and frequently camped out along the way. Stone’s subsequent article, The Flagstone Industry of Northeast Pennsylvania, Penn. Geo. Survey Bulletin 72, would appear in 1923.  A selection of his 1922 photos from the Pennsylvania Geological Survey Historical Photograph Collection follows.  Click the photos to enlarge.

Delaware River bluff, State highway near Dingmans Ferry

Hand painted lettering on the rear of the cab and doors identified the vehicle as officially "Penna Geological Survey". 

Flagstone quarry, J. V. Hood, Dingmans Ferry, Pike County

John Van Sant Hood, teacher and Justice of the Peace in Dingmans Ferry in 1917.


Delaware River bluff and Milford Knob

The Devonian era mapped bedrock unit, Mahantango Formation, Hamilton Group.

School house, built of Catskill sandstone, Milford

Note "stone from Dwarf Kill, five miles west of Milford," Pike County.  Building contractor Edwin Stanton Wolfe, 1903. 

Flagstone quarry (Point quarry), Lackawaxen, Pike County

Sandstone (Catskill) curbing, Lackawaxen, Pike County

Sandstone (Catskill) from Kilgour quarry, Lackawaxen Station

Sandstone quarry (Catskill), A. H. Woodward & Son, Kimbles, Pike County

Sandstone quarry (Catskill), Standard Blue Stone Company, Kimbles, Pike County
The consortium of the Standard Blue Stone Company, based in New Jersey, included Frank Kilgour, son of the "Bluestone King" John Fletcher Kilgour (1841-1904). John F. Kilgour established the bluestone industry in Pennsylvania, gaining and losing two fortunes over the course of his life.  In the early spring of 1922, the Standard Blue Stone Company, under court ordered Partition, auctioned off 7500 acres in twenty nine tracts located in Milford, Lackawaxen, Shohola, and Westfall Townships.  Frank Kilgour, with Arthur W. Clapp of the Erie Railroad, would assume control of the company.     

Sandstone (Catskill) in canal aqueduct (abandoned), Lackawaxen, Pike Co.
Note "Building Stone. Shows chisel marks..." The Roebling Aqueduct, Delaware & Hudson Canal, opened in 1849. 

Flagstone quarry, John H. Bowen, Aldenville, Wayne County

Flagstone at 514 Church Street, Honesdale, Wayne County

"Quarried at White Mills, six mile out. Measures 7' 11" x 22' 3". Home of Mrs. Anna O'Connell"

Sly Lake (near Lake Como), Preston Township, Wayne County

Geologic Map of Pike County, Pennsylvania, 1978, Topographic & Geologic Survey
For the article, “Bluestone in Pike County,” Pennsylvania Geology, June 1978, ninety-two inactive quarries were examined in Pike County.  As noted by the author, W. D. Sevon, the 19th century quarries were located on steep sided slopes by the river within convenient reach of railroad transportation. Bluestone slabs were used for flagstones, veneer,  tread, coping, sill, wallstone, slab stock, hearthstones and mantles. Peter Becker, Managing editor of the News Eagle, in his recent article,  A Legacy of Stone: Bluestone Quarries, profiles the last of the bluestone men, "Wayne Holbert, of Lackawaxen, still quarries and sells bluestone, a business that started with his great grandfather in the late 19th Century."

Works of the Kilgour Blue Stone Co., Ltd. Parkers Glen, Pike Co PA. 1886. 

Cornerstone of the Pike County Courthouse, Milford PA.

1850 ~ "The Republican Watchman" Sullivan Co., NY

In the March 1, 1929, edition of The Republican Watchman, the newspaper continued a series of articles on "the interesting historical events of Sullivan County, covering more than a century, taken from the old files of the Watchman."

Surnames:  Acker, Allen, Angell, Baker, Barton, Benedict, Bloomer, Brigham, Brown, Clark, Coleman, Conant, Crist, Crumley, Devens, De Voe, Downs, Drake, Fish, Fitch, Fuller, Gable, Gale, Gordon, Hall, Harding, Hawks, Hill, Horton, House, Howell, Jackson, Knapp, Kortright, Layton, Leroy, Lines, Little, Loper, Loveless, Low, Misner, Morrison, Moulthrop, Neil, Niven, Parks, Pelton, Penfield, Pinckney, Quinlan, Ramsey, Ray, Royce, Rumsay, Sibert, Skinner, Smiley, Smith, Stanton, Stewart, Stoddard, Taylor, Terry, Timerson, Timlow, Towner, Tuthill, Van Benscoten, Van Duzer, Van Orden.

Special thanks to Tom Tryniski of Old Fulton New York Postcards for hundreds of hours of fascinating research on his site and including the 1929 news clippings of 1850 Sullivan County NY history herein. The New York Public Library has devoted a page to Tom's efforts: Fulton History: Old New York State Historical NewspapersDonations to his efforts, through Paypal or in the form of good used hard drives, will no doubt be welcome.

An 1830 Excerpt from Pike County's "The Northern Eagle and Milford Monitor"

Copies of the earliest Pike County newspapers are scarce, so this excerpted sketch of "Milford, Pike County" appearing under the byline, Milford Eagle, as reprinted in Samuel Hazard's The Register of Pennsylvania, Vol 5, April 3, 1830, p 214, may well be the only version of the article in existence. The author of the sketch, as submitted to the paper, is not named.

Alfred Mathews, in History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties, Pennsylvania, states the first paper appeared in 1827 as The Eagle of the North.  After continuing for a year or more as The Eagle of the North, the paper becomes The Northern Eagle and Milford Monitor under the editorship of Benjamin A. Bidlack, in 1828.  The December 11, 1829 issue is published by Francis A.L. Smith.  The Eagle and Monitor appears in 1831 with J. H. Westfall printer and publisher.

Historical Collections of the State of  Pennsylvania, Sherman Day, 1843

Milford, Pike County
"... Our public buildings are a court house, meeting house, and an academy, all new and handsome buildings.  Of private houses, there are about 60, containing a population of at least 300.  There are two grist mills; two saw mills; one fulling mill; one carding machine works; one oil mill; four blacksmith shops; two turning lathes by water; one printing office; a post office; seven stores, including an apothecary's shop; eight taverns; one tannery; of professional characters, we have one minister of the Gospel; one school master; three doctors; six lawyers; of  mechanics, there are two wagon makers; two cabinet makers; one coach maker; one patent pail maker; two hatters; two painters; three masons; five carpenters; four blacksmiths; one tanner and currier; two saddlers and harness makers; two millers; two mautua [mantua, i.e. women's dress makers]; one trunk maker; six shoemakers, and four tailors.

By this it will seem that a few more mechanics are wanted, such as chair makers, gunsmith, watch maker, turner, and some more carpenters and masons, &c. -- Milford Eagle

The 1830 census listing heads of household of the village of Milford, based on the known residents, Francis A. L. Smith, Samuel Dimmick, Andrew Armstrong, and Cyril [C.D.] Pinchot, can be found beginning approximately here. See also Mathews' essay on Later Settlers, and the Resource Inventory of the Milford Historic District. The village of Milford was not set aside as a borough until 1874.  The following update would appear in Volume 6 of The Register of Pennsylvania:

Hazard's Register of Pennsylvania, Vol. 6, 1830, p 96.

"The work of erecting the court-house was begun in 1814 and the stone building still standing and used as a jail was completed in 1815... At first there was no bell upon the court-house, and when the judges and lawyers and persons interested were to be summoned, the sheriff mounted the cupola and blew most piercing blasts upon a huge tin horn. This was superseded by a huge triangle, upon which the sheriff or a tipstaff dealt resounding blows that were not unmusical, and this, in turn, gave way in 1844 or 1845 to the bell which for many years announced at proper seasons that justice was about to be judicially administered. Mathews, Chapter 1, Civil History, p 836.
The 1815 - 1873 Pike County Courthouse, Milford, Pennsylvania.

The September 4, 1830 issue of The Register of Pennsylvania would carry a brief description of the village of Stroudsburg under the byline Pike County Eagle.

"The Boy Hunter of Sullivan" 1886 ~ Dueling Journalists

The following accounts of a late December bear hunt in the wilds of Sullivan County, New York appeared in two newspapers. The earlier - by mere days - of the two articles, "The Boy Hunter of Sullivan" was published by The Sun, and recounts a highly dramatic semi-fictionalized version of the hunt. The second article, "Bear Hunting In Southern Sullivan" published by Monticello NY's Republican Watchman, is a straightforward correction of the first, written by that paper's special correspondent, G.G.J.      

Clarence Shattuck, Aged 12, Kills Two Bears and Shames the Veteran Nimrods

The Boy Hunter of Sullivan, The Sun, Dec. 26, 1886

Bear Hunting In Southern Sullivan, Republican Watchman, Dec. 31, 1886

The Hunters: Jack Boyd, Lewis Boyd, William H. Crane, W.L. Cole, Frank Dewitt, Charles Gordon, Elmer Gordon, Stoddard Gordon, Charles Gumaer, Reeves Harkins [Hankins], Clarence Shattuck, F.L. Shattuck, Charles Stearns.

I suspect the author of "The Boy Hunter of Sullivan" is Edward H. Mott (1845-1920) who wrote for The Sun during this period.  His popular syndicated "Pike County Folks" columns, and various sketches of the Pike County, Pennsylvania hunter Jerry Greening, would later be collected into a book of the same title. The special correspondent to the Republican Watchman, G.G.J., has not yet been identified.

Hunter Carrying a Large Bear, 1909, Library of Congress

Excerpt, Sullivan County Bears, Stephen Crane, New York Tribune, 1892


Special thanks to Tom Tryniski of for hours of fascinating research on his site and the news clip of "Bear Hunting in Southern Sullivan." Donations to his efforts, through Paypal or in the form of good used hard drives, will no doubt be welcome.

Revolutionary War Damage Estimates, 1783, Upper & Lower Smithfield

The treasure trove of 18th century records on the Pennsylvania frontier published by the PA State Archives include this 1783 compilation of damages sustained by the residents of Upper and Lower Smithfield, in then Bucks County, from the soldiers and adherents of Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. The period of time covered by the estimate is 1775 through 1782; the township assessors are not named.  

John Emmons, David Vanauken, George Sallady, Cornelius Dewitt, Elijah Middagh, Simeon Westfal [Westfall], Joseph Shawers.

Joseph Cole, Joseph Ridder [Rider], Zachariah Shenkins, James Vanauken, Esq., Henry Peterson, Abraham Decker, James Shimers [Shimer], Lewis Meid, William McCarty, John McCarty, John Conklin, Israel Wells, Peter Quick, Morgan Deshay, George Heatter [Heater], William Halbert [Holbert]  


 James Rosencrans Osterhoud, Ephraim Ferguson, Thomas Quick, Benjamin Hains [Haines?], James Wells, Benjamin Cartright [Courtright], John Emmons, John Taylor, Elias Decker, Cornelius Decker, John Rosencrans, Andrew Dingman [Jr.], Samuel Decker, John [Johannes Sr. or Jr.?] Vanetten [Van Etten]
 Henry Barnet, Henry Lawall, Peter Trexler, Commissioners of Northampton County

Pennsylvania Archives, Series 1, Vol. 9, Samuel Hazard, 1854.
HathiTrust edition.
Google eBook edition.


The Great Minisink Trail in 1747 ~ Navesink to Minisink Island

While browsing the engravings in the New York Public Library Digital Collections this set of three 1747 maps came to light, Map I, II & III to accompany A bill in the chancery of New Jersey, at the suit of John [Dalrymple], Earl of Stair ... against Benjamin Bond, which were intended as an aid in presenting the issues of land purchases in the lawsuit which subsequently became known as the Elizabethtown Bill in Chancery.

Map no. I* cover the seaboard from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina; Map no. II covers central New Jersey's then Morris county, present day Sussex & Warren Counties; Map no. III covers the area around Elizabeth, New Jersey, between the Raritan and the Passaic Rivers. The maps were engraved by James Turner and "Printed by James Parker, and a few Copies are to be Sold by him, and Benjamin Franklin, in Philadelphia."

The illustration of Map no. II, click here to enlarge, includes the Muskonetcunk River, Hupatkong Pond, the 17th century "in the Dutch time" Upper and Lower Roads from the Zuidt River to Nieuw Amsterdam, and the ancient "Indian Path", the Great Minisink Trail, from near Clay Pit Creek in Navesink on New Jersey's seaboard  to the Council Fire of Minisink Island on the Delaware River.

Cartouche of Map no. I, 1747

"A persistent tradition among the descendants of the old settlers of New Jersey states that the Indians lived most of the year in the valley of the Delaware, and came to the coast only at certain seasons to hunt and fish.  The results of our survey, while only preliminary, tends to confirm this.  Along the shores of the great bays of east New Jersey from Navesink to Cape May there are a few traces of permanent settlements.  The shell heaps and camp sites that abound betoken frequent use of the same spot during the fishing season, but not continuous occupation.  Village sites and burial grounds are few and far between, Tuckerton and Beesleys Point being notable exceptions.  The great mass of villages and cemeteries, with their countless variey of relics, are along the Delaware River and its tributaries." ~  A Preliminary Report of the Archaeological Survey of the State of New Jersey, Skinner & Schrabisch, 1913, p 16.

John R. Giles in The Story of Waterloo Village, notes:  "Around 1750, a businessman from New York City, Garret Rapalje, [1730-1796], built a dam at the outflow of the Great Pond.  This initial reshaping of the water's course raised the water level behind the dam by about six feet.  This increased water depth resulted in the Great Pond and the Little Pond being merged into one ... this early version of Lake Hopatcong....Mr. Rapalje then built an iron forge, called the Brookland Forge, just below the new dam.  This forge operated for over thirty years."

For more recent maps of the Lenape trails in New Jersey see: The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries 1606 - 1968, by John P. Snyder, reprinted by the New Jersey Geological Survey, 2004, plates 2 & 3.

* Note: We've reported a bug to the NYPL on Map no I, which fails to enlarge to the correct map.

"A Quaint Old Document of the Machackemech Church"

The Evening Gazette, Sept. 3, 1897

A Quaint Old Document Of The
Machackemech Church

How the People of the Neversink Valley Provided to Pay for the Services of Occasional Preachers - What a Trunk in a Dutch Farm House Revealed.  (From Church Life).

    "Mr. Benjamin C. Swartwout, of Huguenot, N.Y., has in his possession an old trunk which belonged to his great-great-grandfather, Philip Swartwout, and which contains some very interesting documents pertaining to the Revolutionary period, and before that event.  Among these papers was found one written in Low Dutch on a single sheet of paper water marked with the Crown of England, to indicate that the stamp duties on the sheet prescribed by the English Government had been paid, known as the Stamp Act, and which led to the revolt of the colonies and the final separation from the Mother Country.

This quaint old document purports to be a subscription list to pay for the services of the minister who should come to preach in the Machackemech (now Port Jervis) church, which was then without a pastor.  Although this paper bears no date, it is evident that it was issued just prior to or during the Revolutionary War, and could not have been later because some of the persons whose signatures appear on it, perished in that war.

Rev. Thomas Romein, who was the second minister in charge of the Minisink Valley churches, resigned in 1772, and for a period of 13 years thereafter, until 1785, when the services of Rev. Elias Van Bunschooten were secured, the Machackemech congregation, (and presumably the churches lower down the valley), was supplied occasionally by ministers from Marbletown and elsewhere, who married the people during such visitations, baptized children, and on Sunday preached to the inhabitants from the pulpit of the old log Machackemech church.

By the terms of this salary list, which is the oldest paper of its kind in all this region, the subscribers were to pay at the church when the domine had performed his service the sum set opposite their respective names. ... This ancient subscription list is interesting and valuable as denoting the heads of families who composed the Machackemech congregation at the  beginning of the Revolution.  Anthony Van Etten, who heads the list, was Justice of the Peace, ancestor of the Neversink Valley Van Ettens, and was killed toward the close of the war. Philip Swartwout was Justice of the Peace and Chairman of the Committee of Safety.  It is owing to his careful filing of the papers containing his official acts and relating to the church that much of the unwritten history of the Revolutionary period in this section has been preserved.  He was killed in 1779.

Sketches of many of the names in the list below have been already published in Church Life and need not now be repeated.  Thomas Kyte was the school master; Johannes Westbrook was a Captain of militia, who lived on the farm of the late Abram J. Cuddeback, near the Driving Park, and Jacob R. Dewitt, Captain of a company of rangers for gruarding the frontier, and brother of Mary Dewitt, who was wife of James Clinton and mother of New York's famous Governor, Dewitt Clinton.  Space will not permit further mention of the names contained in the document in Low Dutch, which is as follows:

The Evening Gazette, Sept. 3, 1897

Anthony van Etten, Philip Swartwoud, Thos Kyte, Benjn Depuy, Hrramus VanInwegen, Johannis Wasbroek (Westbrook), Jacob R. Deweidt (Dewitt), Samuel Depew, John Wallis, John Parw, Cornelus Vaninwagen, Bangemin Coddeback, Jacobus Swartwoud, Jacob Grammar (Gumaer), Deies Grammawr (Gumaer), Petrus Grammawr (Gumaer), Josap Drack, Ezegel Gumaer, Moses Depew, Henderick Daccor (Decker), Anthony Bunscoten, Jacobus Daiwes (Davis), Johannis Quick, Isack van Whe.

 The following is a free translation of the text of the foregoing document:  " We, the underwritten, promise to pay to the Consistory of Magagemeck for the salary of the preacher who ministers to us, every time that he serves us, each to subscribe with his hand to pay at the church the day the service is performed." 

~ Transcription of "An Ancient Salary List" The Evening Gazette, Port Jervis N.Y., September 3, 1897.

Minisink Valley Reformed Dutch Church Records, 1745 "Church Members" p 281.

Machackemeck Gravestone Inscriptions

Many of the signatories of this document and/or their next generation descendants are buried in the Gumaer Cemetery, Godeffroy, NY and the Machackemeck Burying Ground in Port Jervis, NY. 

The present location of the "Quaint Old Document" is unknown by us at this time.  One can only hope a scan or film digital version, with fresh translation, will appear online at some point in the future. The 1897 commentary on the document may contain errors, please verify any historical or genealogical leads it may offer. Special thanks to Thomas M. Tryniski's Fulton History for the newspaper clipping snapshots. Please consider donating to Tom Tryniski or any of the local Tri-State NJ, NY & PA historical societies faithfully working to preserve the Minisink Valley heritage. 

See also our compilation ~  "Most Wretchedly Spelled" ~ Variants of Maghagh-kamieck.

The Minisink Subscribers to the 1795 "Young Mill-Wright & Miller's Guide"

Mark Thomson, Esq. estate inventory

Browsing through Inventories, Volume A, 1803-1808, of the Sussex County, New Jersey Probate records, my attention was immediately drawn to the heading, Printed Books, in the Estate inventory of Mark Thomson, Esq., as sworn to at Newton in 1806.  Thomson (1739-1803), a Colonel of the First Regiment Sussex County New Jersey Militia, a Representative in the fourth and fifth Congresses, 1795 - 1799, and a slave owner, built a mill on the Paulinskill. The settlement on the site would become known thereafter as Marksboro.

Further research into the ninth title listed in the Thomson Inventory led to the University of Pittsburgh's rare 1795 first edition of The Young Mill-wright and Miller's Guide by Oliver Evans.

One of the notable features of this edition is the bound in Subscriber pages at the end of the book, a list of well-to-do patrons who sought "to encourage the work," in the words of the author, through underwriting the cost of publication in return for a discount. Typically this would be the first print run as delivered to the subscribers, subsequent runs would lack these pages further reducing the cost. Many of the subscribers would order multiple copies of the work.

The list of subscribers, a virtual Who's Who of the young Nation, included George Washington, then President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, former Secretary of State, numerous Senators & Representives, but most interestingly, it also included a handful of lesser known men in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Among them were second and third generation millers and mill-wrights whose ancestors had settled in the Minisink Valley.

Isaac Swartswood [Swartwood]

The 1795 Subscribers:  Isaac Swartswood [Swartwood] in present day Pike Co PA; Abraham Van Camp [Campen, Jr.], mill-wright in present day Warren Co. NJ; Jonathan Baker, mill-wright, and Hugh Forsman in present day Monroe Co. PA; James Douglas, Abraham Haver, and Ralph Hunt in Sussex Co. NJ.  Among the author's advertisers for Mill stones & equipment is William Byrnes of New Windsor NY.

Numerous others are residents of neighboring Hunderton (sic) and Summerset (sic) counties in New Jersey, and in present day Northampton Co. PA.  Most, but not all, of the alphabetically listed subscribers are followed by city or county (subject to later boundary change), with states being abbreviated with a single letter.  A number of subscribers have no identifying region so I may not have recognized their surname or variant as resident in Tri-state NJ, NY & PA.

A brilliant inventor and engineer, Oliver Evans would hold the third patent ever issued in the United States. His book would transform milling technology, remain a staple manual for millers, and would be revised and reprinted in fifteen editions through 1860.  James Poupard (1769-1814) the meticulous engraver, also illustrated for the American Philosophical Society's Transactions, including A Chart of the Gulph [Gulf] Stream, with remarks by Benjamin Franklin, 1786.

No less interesting in the Mark Thomson, Esq. estate inventory, on the page following Printed Books and under the headings Slaves for Life and Dutch Servants, were 12 individuals ~ but that is a story for another day.