Select Beekman Miscellany



Here are some Beekman stories and accounts over the years:

Beekman Family Origins


The Beekman family had German origins.  Cornelius Beekman was a wealthy burgher of Cologne along the Rhine river.  A branch of his family were said to have been Flemish barons.

Cornelius’s son Gerard, born in Cologne in 1558, studied divinity at Frankendael and was conversant in the Latin, French, Italian, and German languages.  After completing his education he travelled extensively through Europe.

He became in time a distinguished Protestant theologian.  He was rewarded by King James I of England for his services in translating the Bible to English. The King granted him a Coat of Arms - a rivulet running between roses -and a crest of three feathers on a helmet of steel represented in profile.  His family motto was Mens Conscia Recti, meaning "mind conscious of the right." 

Then came the difficult times.  In 1618 the Catholics expelled the Protestants from Cologne and the Protestant churches there were burnt by an infuriated mob.  The Protestants repaired to Mulheim, about three miles south of Cologne, but were again molested.  G
erard himself was forced to flee in order to avoid capture by Spanish troops.  In so doing he had to sacrifice the property he had accumulated at Cologne.  He died a few years later at Emmerich close by the Dutch border in 1625.

By this time his son Henry had made his home in the inland Dutch province of Gelderland.  Henry’s son William, by his second wife Mary Baudertius, was the emigrant to America in 164
7.


Beekmans by the Water

The Beekmans had always been large landowners.  It was said that their preference was for a water view from their home estates.  This was true along the Rhine; on the Hudson or East rivers of New York; and on the Raritan or Millstone rivers of New Jersey. 

When the Princess of Portugal visited Holland in the 17th century, the Dutch Government received the permission of the Beekman family then residing at Nijmegen in Gelderland to hold a reception in her honor at their waterside home.



Beekman Family Lines

Wilhelmus Beekman (1623-1717) the immigrant to America in 1647, deputy and acting mayor of New York in 1680-83, m. Catalina de Boogh. 

- Maria Beekman (1650-1695) m. Nicholas Stuyvesant, son of Governor Peter Stuyvesant 

- Henry Beekman (1652-1716) sheriff of Kingston NY, m. Johanna Lopers 
-- Cornelia Beekman (b. 1686) m. Gilbert Livingston
-- Colonel Henry Beekman (1688-1775) m. (1) Janet Livingston and (2) Gertrude Van Cortlandt
--- Margaret Beekman (1724-1800) m. Judge Robert R. Livingston

- Colonel Gerardus Beekman (1653-1723) physician and one-time acting governor for New York.  He also held estates in Long Island and New Jersey, m. Magdaleena Abeel
-- Christopher Beekman  (1681-1724) m. Maria de Lanoy
--- Gerardus Beekman (1707-1778) m. Catherine Van Dyke
--- Christopher Beekman (1715-1764) New York merchant who died of smallpox, m. Sarah Cox 
---- William Beekman (1755-1834) Ohio pioneer, m. Sarah Furman
-- Dr. William Beekman (1684-1770), m. Catharine de Lanoy
--- James Beekman (1732-1807) New York merchant/owner of the Mount Pleasant mansion, m. Jannete Ketteltas
---- Gerard Beekman (1774-1833) m. Catherine Saunders
----- James W. Beekman (1815-1877), New York politician and arts patron, m. Abien Milledoler

- Johannes Beekman (1656-1751) forebear of a Beekman line in Kingston, m. Aeltje Popinga.


Beekman in Dutchess County, New York

The name Beekman became attached to the area in 1697 when Henry Beekman, a large landowner from Kingston, obtained a grant from the British crown for what was to be named the Beekman Patent.  The area was described as being broken and hilly upland and containing some of the finest farming land in the county.

The village of Rheinbeck along the Hudson river lay in Dutchess county adjacent to the Beekman Patent.  The village had gotten its name from the Rhine river, where many of the early settled had originated, and from the Beekman family who had encouraged their movement there. 

In 1713 the village had a mill, a church, a blacksmith shop, and William Traphagen’s tavern.  This tavern was renamed as the Beekman Arms in 1766 and is described as America’s oldest inn.  Many famous men have stayed there, from George Washington to F.D. Roosevelt.



Washington Irving's Take on Beekman


Washington Irving in his 1809 Knickerbocker List had this humorous take on the Beekman name:

"This great dignitary was called Mynhor Beekman who derived his surname, as did Ovidius Nase of yore, from the lordly dimensions of his nose, which projected from the centre of his countenance like the beak of a parrot.

 He was a great progenitor of the tribe of Beekmans, one of the most ancient and honorable families of the province, the members of which do gratefully commemorate the origin of their dignity, not as your noble families in England would do, by having a glowing proboscis emblazoned on their escutchcon, but by one and all wearing a right goodly nose stuck in the very middle of their faces."


Gilbert and Robert L. Beeckman

Gilbert Livingston Beeckman made his living as a successful dry goods merchant at 48 Broadway in Manhattan during the 1850’s and 1860’s.  However, he was ruined by the Wall Street crash of 1873 and died just one year later at the young age of 49.  

His widow Margaret retired with their family to Newport, Rhode Island to be near the summer home of the wealthy Louis Lorillard who had married her eldest daughter Katharine.  Louis probably helped with their family finances. However, Margaret’s other three daughters – Helen, Daisy and Martha – had to wait some time before they could be married, Helen and Daisy in 1886 and Martha as late as 1914. 

The youngest child Robert was just eight when his father died in 1874.   Eight years later he
left school in Newport to be a stockbroker in New York.  By 1887 he had become one of the youngest ever members of the New York Exchange.  He later was a member of the board of directors for several corporations, including a number in Newport, Rhode Island. 

Beeckman's first political office was as a Rhode Island state representative in the General Assembly of Newport from 1902 to 1912.  He was a state Senator from 1912 to 1914.  He was elected the Governor of Rhode Island in 1914 and held that post for three terms until 1921.   He married twice but had no children of his own.



Beekman Pioneers in Ohio

Mary Beekman Pillars was 78 when she was one of the “Old Folks Interviewed” in Pike county, Ohio in 1873.  She was the daughter of William Beekman, an early settler in the county.

Her father and brothers had come out to Pike county in the spring of 1801, cleared the land, and put in a crop. They then went back to Kentucky and in November following brought the whole family out.  They had to grind their corn in a hand mill and pound homily on a block.

When the family first settled, the wild beasts, such as bears, wolves, and painters, were so numerous that they could not raise either sheep or hogs and had to depend upon fish, bear, and deer meat and other game for subsistence.  Snakes were numerous and venomous.  Her mother was bitten by a copperhead and came near to losing her life when she (Mary) was about ten years old.

Mary herself remained at home until 1816. She was 21 years of age then when she married Josiah Pillars.





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