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AUGUST 1907 

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. 'v"";;^/ ES^rly history of the Court ri^ijht 

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i£arl\> Ibistor^ of 
Zbe Cortcs^lDan Hvortrph^l^an IkortricjbMkortriobt 

Qlmtrtrtglit iFamilg. 

^C^^*^^" than a third of a century's unreinittant study and research of 
^VJ>-> "'^ <^^'''y ^'"^ I'lt'^'' iiistory of the Couktkight Family has resulted 
""^^ in discoverini; and brinijini; to litjht many facts of exceeding 
importance to the Family and to History. 

CORTEZ. a Spanish Nobleman, enjoyed either the proud distinction or 
suffered the opprobrium of beinij the progenitor of a family of which we are 
of the XXth century representatives. 

History, research, study for years have persistently refused to open their 
vaults and lead us further back into the dim ages of the forgotten past beyond 
Cortez, the Spanish Nobleman. He is, therefore, our Alpha, while doubtless 
among the latest posterity will be found our Omega. 

Over in France, near tiic bttrders of Spain, Cortez had for a neighbor 
a man whose name has been heralded through the ages, and whose memory will 
be loved and revered by countless millions in the centuries to come — John 
Calvin, The Religious Rekormer, The Pro-testant. 

1Z -6 


.^^ J At that date all Europe and Continental Europe were in the throes of a 

tremendous religious revolution. The clergy, the nobility, the men of affairs, 
as well as the peasantry, became deeply concerned in the religious movement — 
in the tremendous wave which was sweeping over civilization. Never, perhaps, 
since the Christian Era were such scenes presented in the religious world. The 
name of John Calvin on every lip— either to be praised or censured. 

From the mighty vortex, which threatened the lives and property of all 
the people, Cortez, strong of mind and body, a leader among the people, arose 
in his majesty and publicly renounced the Church of State, and proclaimed the^ 
doctrine enunciated by Calvin; he become a Calvinist — a pro-testant/ Religious 
zeal was followed by intoleration, and doubtless many wrongs were committed 

^^"^^ under the cloak of the Church. Edifices of the Church of State were razed to 
the ground ; their paintings, figures and stucco work were utterly destroyed ; 
Protestant churches were erected on their sites, and great excitement and much 
confusion prevailed among the people. Spain witnessed with horror and blanched 
faces the people gathering in their might and throwing off the established 
Church. A resort to arms followed ; the legions of the Spanish army were 
assembled and gave battle. But Spain had too many guns for the Calvinists ; 
and the latter, after suffeiing great loss of life and much treasure, were obliged 
to retire into Flanders, later into Holland, and there, upon the river Lys, they 
builded a city, which they named Kortryk, in honor of Cortez, whose name had 
been changed to conform to the Dutch idea f>f the meaning* of the word, and he 


being a Nobleman, was entitled to tiie prefix " van " or " von " — his Dutcii name 
being van Kortryk. Many French Huguenots accompanied him and his army of 
protestants to Holland, and no contemporary writer disguises the fact that 
Cortez — afterward van Kortryk — was esteemed as none others were: hence they 
builded the city and gave it his name, that future generations might have his 
name and deeds perpetuated until the cause of protestantism would need no 
' monuments of stone or of brass to speak to the generations yet unborn of the 
deeds of prowess, of heroism of the Cortez — van Kortryk — wiio sacrificed all 
in life worth having, except honor, the respect of his people, the consciousness 
of doing right and worshiping God according to the dictates of his own con- 
science — but there, to-day, on the river Lys, stands the little old city, half 
concealed by the ivy and the honeysuckle, the monument erected by his 
neighbors to perpetuate the name of our progenitor — the Alpha of our people. 
,The discovery of this tact atone, well authenticated, undisputed, were there none 
others, fully justifies the writer for the long years of research in tracing the 
name and .history of the Family whose name he is proud to bear. 

After permanently making Holland their place of abode, protestant spires 
pointed heavenward, while persecution, at times unabated, still continued ; but 
the " Clan " MacGregor and the other " Clans " from the north of Ireland and 
south of Scotland were tlieir true and trusted allies; (the "Clans" were 
groups or communities of Calvinists, si>metimes called " Covenanters ;") and 
when they were needed, rushed to. their aid. and unitedly they would sweep 


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down upon the hordes of Spanish soldiery, and drive them from their soil. 

During the hundred or more years immediately following the arrival of 
van Kortryk into Holland, his descendants were blessed with much of this 
world's goods ; but, at length, tiring of almost incessant warfare, some of 
them— Jan Bastiaensen Kortryk, his stms and his brother Michael disposed of 
their property, and, having received glowing accounts of the new Harlem in the 
New World, concluded to brave tiie wrath of Old Ocean and seek homes where 
there would be less strife and religious persecution. 

On April l6th, 1663, Jan or John Bastiaensen Kortryk, his three sons and 
daughter, with their families, together with his brother Michael, sometimes 
called 'Chiel, and his family, together witii some of his Dutch friends and French 
Huguenots, refugees, t(.>ok passage on tiie good ship Brindled Cow — Jan Bergen, 
Master— and set sail fi)r America. It cost Jan (John) Bastiaensen Kortryk, for 
himself and famiiv, 20\ florins and 10 stivers (a florin is valued at forty cents 
and a stiver at two cents, making the cost of passai;e jiSl.SO). One hundred and 
thirteen years before the Declaration of Independence our name was trans- 
planted t(.> American soil. The good ship which safely carried these Dutch 
ancestors to the land oi the "Free" (or to become such more than lOO years 
later) bore the poetic (?) name of the " Brindl<?d Cow." In this degenerate (?) 
day, Shortht)rns and even Jerseys have to a great e.xtent supplanted the "Brindle," 
but, to the writer, a "brindled" cow commands his unqualified respect, and he 
dofTs his hat to "Old Brindle" It must be borne in mind that, until within a 


few years, both in the Old and New World, vessels and taverns (hotels) all had 

■ names of some beast or fowl. The writer remembers that but a few years since 

; down in New En)j;land he (.observed that the old custom still prevailed in the 

rural districts, and the "Bald Eai^ie Tavern," the "White Horse Tavern," and the 

like were quite common. It may be considered that the price paid for passage 

of the Kortryk family was an insignificant sum ; yet, when it is remembered 

that the purchase value of nK)ney at that time was about five times as great as 

of to-day, it will be seen that Herr Jan Bergen was pretty well paid for carrying 

these emigrants across the " pond." 

I Before renewing the acquaintance of the Kortryks, after their arrival in 

i America, permit me to sav, parenthetically, that much time and persistent labor 

s were spent in "keeping on the right track" in tracing the family while in 

J Flanders, and especially in Holland, for the reason that family names were the 

i -exception and not the rule ; the mass of people in Fatherland used only a 

patronymic form by adding to the child's Christian name that of the father. 

j Another trouble encountered was the habit of some of the Dutch of calling 

I themselves or permitting themselves to be called by "any old name," and the 

\ only way of obtaining accuiucy was by securing the name as entered on the 

i. church records and in titles to their lands— for when their names were entered 

j on church or title records, they saw to it that their true names, their real 

I names were properly inscribed. For instance, why did Jan or John permit 

; himself to be known as "Jan Bastiaensen," instead of his full name — his real 


name— of "Jan Bastiaensen Kortryk?" But when he bout,'ht real estate he was 
always sure to have his name wind up with " Kurtryk "—or when the church 
record was employed he was always determined to have, and he did have, his 
name written thereon in full— he seemed to want to be known on the "other 
side of Jordan " by his full name— and so it was always entered. 

The "Brindled Cow" reached port in the New World in safety. 

Cornelis Jansen (or the son of Jan), who emigrated with his father, 
Jan Bastiaensen, was born in 1645, at Beest, in Gelderland ; in 1665 he married 
Metje, daughter of Bastiaen Elyssen. and widow of Claes Teunisz van Appledorn; 
a lady who, after Jansen's early death in 16S9, proved her ability both to manage 
his business and enhance his estate, the use of which, under his will dated Feb. 
25th of that year, vshe was to enjoy till her death or re-marriage. Having been a 
trooper he gave his eldest son Johannes (John) "the best horse, and the best 
saddle, and the best boots, and the best pistols, and holsters, and carbine, and 
cutlass." He must have been his favorite child, for over and above his share of 
the estate, he left him "the k>t of land at Jochem Fieters, to- wit, the lot by the 
jfreat gate." He left four children— besides Johannes, above named, Laurens; 
Aefie, who married Jonas Lewis, an Englishman, in 16SS ; becoming a widow, 
she married Marcus Tiebaut, in 169S ; and Annetie, who married Adrian 
Quackenbos. The widow was usually called Metje Cornelius, sometimes Metje 
Jansen, and sometimes Metje Bastiaen ((ri>m her father). She drew from the 
"common lands in the several divisions, a considerable acreage— but in her title 


papers, it was always Metje Kortright ! In the last years of the XXVII century 
the name of Kortryk was so far anglicized as to be spelled and pronounced 
Kortright, and we can find no one of the family who was known as Kortryk 
after the year A. D. 1700. r. 

Johannes Cornells Kortright (John Cornelius) was born in 1673. and in 
1701 was married to Wyntie, the daughter of Cornells Dyckman. The next year 
he was made constable. He died in l7il and in I7l7 his widow became the 
second wife of Zacharias Sickels. Johannes (John) left three children, viz : 
Metje (who married John Bussing), Nicholas and Jaimetie (who married Johannes 
Van Wyck. Nicholas became a man of affairs, for he became constable of the 
town in 1729, and afterward collector. In 1731 he married Elizabeth, the daughter 
of Eide van Huyse, of Bloomingdale. On the death of his uncle Laurens, in 1726, 
the Kortright lands were divided, his portion being 101 acres; he accumulated 
considerable other real estate, and, at his death, on Nov. 19, l75l. he left a large 
estate. He had two sons and one daughter, viz.: John, born in 1732; Nicholas, 
born in 1743, and Frances, born in 1741, and who married John Norris, peruke- 
maker (a peruke is defined to be "a periwig; an artificial cap of hair.") Nicholas, 
a sail-maker, owned property in New York, where he lived, and he was a 
vestryman of Trinity Church from 1787 to 1792. He died in 1820, leaving 
children, two of whom were Nicholas and James, but of them and the rest ot 
his immediate family we can learn but little. 

Laurens Cornells (Cornelius) Kortright, the son of Cornells, the grand- 


son nf John Bastiuensen, was born in l6Sl. From HIM sprani,'()UK Family. He 
was married in 1703 to Helena, tine daiiiilUer of Captain Johannes (John) Benson. 
Soon thereafter becominti a widower, he married, in or about 1708, Martraret, 
the daui;hter of Arent Biissinvj. Laurens served as constable in 1708-9. He 
succeeded to the homestead on Harlem Lane, which at his death, fell in the 
division to his widow, Mari^aret, (called Grieta), together with other lands, 
leaving her quite a landed estate. The old homestead descended to her son 
Lawrence (the name Laurens anglicized.) 

Laurens Kortrinht's children by his tirst wife were Cornelius and Elizabeth, 
(she married Gilbert Garrison, of New York, in 1753) ; and. by his second wife, 
Aaron, Lawrence, Eve (who married Adolph Benson), Mattie (who married 
Abraham Myerj and Susannah (who married Aaron Myer.) 

Lawrence was the last of the name to hold the old homestead; he was 
never married and died in l76i. The old homestead was located upon what is 
now known as 6th avenue, its north corner touchintj 1 10th street, New York city. 
Liti)iation over the ownership of this property was begun by one Valentine Nutter 
ajjainst Lawrence's brother and his co-heirs (who had continuous possession of 
it until near the close of the century) when the "divers differences, controversies 
and disputes about the said lands" were compromised, the defendants were paid 
a consideration and deeds of release were ijiven to Nutter, after which he erected 
a new dwellini^ thereon and continued to live there till the year 1831 (beinij then 
90 years old), and until it was swept away by the opening of 6th avenue. 


Aaron Kortright married Margaret, daughter of John Delamater. He 
purchased the Delamater farm and later other lands. At length he and his 
nephew. Lawrence Kortright, merchant, of New York, made a trade of lands by 
which Aaron secured 241 acres in Orange county, whither he moved, and 
continued to live the remainder of his life. Many of the descendants of Aaron 
people western New York and Pennsylvania, to this day. 

Cornelius Kortright, eldest son of Laurens Cornelius, was born in 1704; 
he married Hester, the daughter of John Cannon, of New York, and owned 
property in Queen (now Pearl) street, where he conducted business. He was 
assistant alderman of Montgomery ward, 1738-40. His two slaves, implicated in 
the Negro Plot in I74t, were transported to San Domingo. He had six children, 
viz : Lawrence, John, Cornelius, Maria, Helena and Elizabeth. Lawrence, the 
eldest son, also a merchant, became very wealthy and prominent. In the old 
\ -French war he was part owner of several privateers fitted out at New York 

against the enemy. He was one of the founders of the Chamber of Commerce 
in 1768. He had large interest in Tyron county lands, and on his purchase the 
township of Kortright was settled. Before his death he conveyed his farm at 
Harlem to his son (Captain John). By his wife, Hannah (Aspinwall). he had 
one son and four daughters, viz : Captain John ; Sarah, who married Col. 
Heylinger, of Santa Cruz, in 1775 ; Hester, who married Nicholas Gouverneur in 
1790; Elizabeth, who married the Honorable James Monroe, who was twice 
(iovernor of Virginia and President of the United States for eight years; and 


Mary, who married Thomas Knox, Esqr. Captain John obtained his title durini^ 
the Revolutionary War — where he served with great valor and distinction. 

John, a brother of Lawrence, removed to Pennsylvania when a young 
man, became an agriculturalist, served during the Revolutionary War— sometimes 
known as Captain John — was the ancestor of our '• Courtright Family ". 

His son, Abraham van Courtright, (who was likewise a soldier of the 
Revokition), with his wife EtTa (whose maiden name was Drake, from 
the south of Scotland), together with their entire family of five children, 
consisting of three sons and two daughters, viz: John, Abraham van, Jesse 
D., Margaret, (who afterward became the wife of Walter McFarland), and 
Christiania, (who afterward became the wife of a Mr. Cahoon), moved to 
Ohio, in the year 1801. They came "over the mountains" from Luzerne 
county, Pennsylvania, (their former home), in two two-horse wagons, (with the 
old English beds), bringing with them necessary bedding, cooking utensils, axes 
and other implements, as well as a meagre supply of household furniture— and 
they also brought a cow. En route to their new home they remained over night 
at Lancaster— then a village built on the low lands just west of the hill, (upon 
which the Courthouse is now situated). They put up at the "Tavern", a 
two-story hewed log house, (regarded then as a very imposing structure), 
immediately in the rear of which was a stout stockade, where the horses, 
wagons, cow and other property were enclosed for the night, secure from the 
depredations of wild animals, both two and four legged. 


The next morninji the " Courtright family" bade adieu to the "Tavern" 
and started in a north-westerly course ; they plodded along covering as they 
supposed about fifteen miles; night coming on and the locality pleasing them 
they camped for the night; as was usual, (and necessary), one of the male members 
of the family doing guard duty. The next morning the sun shone brightly, the 
landscape was so inviting, and the locality being about where they designed to 
•locate, they determined to locate right there — and they did SO. A log cabin 
was erected without delay, and they were now at their own home in the 
" North-West Territory." The farm upon which the cabin was built has been 
owned by, in the possession of, and has been the home of some members of the 
"Courtright Family" from that day to this. 

Abraham van Courtright became recognized as a strong man intellectually 
by his neighbors far and wide, and from an old Justice's Docket in possession 
of the writer it appears that he was a Justice of the Peace tor several years on 
and after 1806. On the •' twenty-seventh day of (3ctober in the year of our 
Lord iJirist I8i7 " he executed his Will, (the original Will is now in the 
possession of the writer). He died June 12th, A. D. 1825, in the 77th year of 
his age, having been born on the 4th day of June, A. [). 1749. 

When this (Blooin) township was organized, it required a name, and 
many were suggested, when John (the grandfather of the writer) suggested the 
name of " Bloom " ; "why call it Bloom?" was inquired of him. In his quiet 
yet impressive way he answered — " My father and his entire family came from 


Bloom township, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania— that was our old home — and 

let us name it Bloom." The suggestion was adopted— and the township was 

named Bloom. 

The home of the "Courtright Family" was transplanted from Bloom 

township, in the old Keystone State, to Bloom township, in the Buckeye State, 

where many of the family have tilled their allotted sphere in life's great drama. 

Samuel W. Courtrigkt. 
Circleville, Ohio. August 22nd, 1907. 


The history of our Family from the time of Abraham van Courtright to 
the present, (fur want of time to complete), will furnish the subject of a paper 
to be presented Liter, which will be known as 

The Later History of the Courtkight Family, 
and by preserving this paper, a history of the Family, (so far as this branch is 
concerned), will then be ctmiplete. 

The difficult matter of securing the early history of the family from the 
tmie of Cortez, the original van Kortryk, to the dawn of the XIX Century has 
been accomplished. Any industrious, painstaking writer can prepare the next 


paper. It is true that in many instances the portrayal in detail has been too 
meager, yet it should be borne in mind that the difficulties encountered have 
been enormous and in some instances well nigh insurmountable. Accuracy 
has been the constant aim of the writer, fiction has not been drawn 
upon, and every statement furnished is believed to be strictly in accordance with 
historical facts. 

The name of the direct and remote descendants of the van Kortryk. 
emigrants of 1663 is legion, and it would require years of constant labor and 
many volumes to record their history. 

We have found Courtrights. Cartwrights and Cutrights (the name 
Courtright corrupted) in almost every advanced civilization— " from the rivers 
to the ends of the earth." 

Soon after the Revolution, by common consent, the name Kortright was 
completely anglicized and by like consent the "van" was omitted as a prefi-Y, 
so that the name we bear of COURTRIGHT became the family name. One head 
of a family called himself Cartwright, another Cutright, while still another took 
the name of Low, (direct ancestor i)f Seth Low, former Mayor of New York 
and President of Cfjiumbia Universitv). A few adhered to the "van " but the 
prefix has almost entirely disappeare.l. 

We havelound that from the earliest history most of the Fanfily have 
been Agriculturalists— st)lid, substantial, intelligent farmers, yet the learned 
professions, the Bench and Halls of Legislation have been honored by many of 


them — while others have carved their names in history by the sword wielded in 
achieving independence and in defense of their country. 

In the prosecution of this work many pleasing incidents have been afforded 
and many pleasant acquaintances have been formed, and the "uninitiated" 
would be furnished with a surprise it they knew of the great nuirberof persons, 
who have " turned up," claiming to be of the blood of the Courtrights. Quite 
recently a Senator from one of the Western states knew he was related— investi- 
gation proved that he was— but a leetle too remote " to be counted," 

Now " just one word nioie "— qir.te a number of the family entertain the 
belief that a " Coats of Arms " of tiie f-umily is extant, and want it "shown up:" 
while we believe the information is reliable and trustworthy, we have not yet 
been able to secure it. S<->me of the " Knickerbockers "—some of the " 400," 
who yet spell their nan-,e " Kortright "—I am sure could oblige us— and wlien we 
succeed in breaking through the " Chinese Wall" bv which they are surrounded, 
why— THEN WE WILL KNOW " Where we are at." S. W. C