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Enter the Van Meters - When Sarah met Joost

In this post I will introduce you to a notable branch of relatives in the family tree as well as answering the question: Why did my DuBois ancestors move to New Jersey from New York?

Jan Joosten Van Meteren arrived aboard the ship "Vos" (Fox) at New Netherland on 12 April 1662. He brought with him his wife Maeyken Hendricksen and five children; three of them by Maeyken’s first husband Willem Krom (Gysbert, Lysbet and Geertje ages 15, 12 and 9) and two of his own, Joost Jansen age 6 and Catherine age 2 1/2. Jan was originally from Thielerwardt, a fortified town in Gelderland, Holland and his wife was from Meppelen, Province of Drenth, where they were married and their children were born. The family name is derived from Meteren, a town in Holland.

They settled in Wyltwyck during the summer of 1662, but Jan is not noted in the activities of the community until June of the following year when Indians raided the settlement and carried off women and children into captivity, including Catherine, the wife of Louis DuBois and their young daughter Sarah (see my post "Abducted!"). Also among the prisoners were Jan's wife and two of his children, Joost Jansen being one of them. Although he is not named in Captain Krieger's journal of the rescue expedition, it is elsewhere stated that due to his three month's association with the Indians at the time of his captivity, Joost Jansen had knowledge of their culture, trails, plans and feuds with other tribes. This experience allegedly had a huge impact on him, instilling in him a desire for a life of exploration and adventure.

After Jan Joosten took the Oath of Allegiance in October 1664, his name frequently appears in the records of Kingston as a farmer and a man of growing importance in civil and religious matters. The first instance of his purchase of land appears in a record for a 30 acre lot in Marbletown, NY in 1671. He was selected on 6 January 1673 as one of the four magistrates of Hurley and Marbletown to supervise the merging of the village of Nieuw Dorp into those of Hurley and Marbletown under English rule. Another magistrate was Louis DuBois. Notwithstanding the change of government, Jan continued in that office until the return of Dutch supremacy in 1675 when Governor Colve reappointed him to serve another term. He was also named Justice of the Peace for Esopus.

He then obtained land grants in the Province of East Jersey through a period extending from 1689 to the year of his death, 1706. In company with his son-in-law, Jan Hamel, who married his daughter Geertje Crom in 1682, Jan Joosten appeared in East Jersey where they jointly purchased a plantation of 500 acres on 18 October 1695 from Edward Hunloke. The property was located at Lassa (or Lazy) Point on the Delaware River, about 23 miles northeast of Philadelphia.

Jan Joosten next appeared as an individual purchaser of certain lands in Somerset County, NJ, the deed passing title from Governor Andrew Hamilton and his wife Agnes to him on 13 September 1700. The land was on the South branch of the Raritan River near the present town of Somerville, NJ and added to three other parcels, totalling 1,835 acres.

His will, written in Dutch, was filed with an inventory of his personal property on 13 June 1706 in the Burlington County Surrogate's Office. His wife was to retain full possession of the estate during her lifetime and then to be divided between the children, with Joost Jansen inheriting the largest portion.

After his experience living among the Indians for three months, an adult Joost Jansen frequently left home to spend many weeks at a time with various tribes. In this way he was among the first Europeans to explore the wilderness areas to the west of the coastal settlements. He was particularly impressed by the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

On 12 December 1682, Joost Jansen married his former childhood captive, Sarah DuBois, in New Paltz, NY. Joost and Sarah had five sons. John was the eldest, baptized in Kingston, NY on 14 October 1683. The others were Hendrick (Henry), Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There were also three daughters: Rebecca, Lysbeth and Rachel.

About 15 years later he moved his growing family to Somerset County, New Jersey on his father’s land which he later inherited.

It is uncertain exactly when Joost died, but Sarah was a widow by 1714 when she assisted sons John, Isaac, and Henry in releasing their holdings in Somerset County and putting their proceeds in Salem County investments. Another person who became involved in the purchase of land in the county was Sarah's brother Jacob DuBois.

The parties initially purchased 3,000 acres beginning on a branch of the Maurice River. They divided their lands by the compass; the DuBois family on the north side and the Van Meters on the south. They continued to purchase land until they accumulated about 6,000 acres in all starting at Daretown and continuing southeasterly.

There is no record, however, that Jacob DuBois ever lived in New Jersey. His eldest sons, Barent and Louis, emigrated to West Jersey shortly after their respective marriages and settled on their father's land. In 1733, Jacob divided 1,200 acres into four equal parts, numbered 1 to 4, beginning at the easternmost end. He deeded part Number 1 to his son Barent who had settled on and improved that portion; and part Number 2 to his son Louis, who had settled on that land.

This is how and why my DuBois ancestors moved from New Paltz, NY to southern New Jersey.

The Van Meters were a very restless family and fond of adventuring, exploring, and accumulating more and more land. Joost and Sarah’s son Henry settled in Salem County and, except for a few years in Virginia, lived out his life there. John and Isaac engaged in assorted land grants and ventures with other relatives and in-laws. Heeding the advice of their father, they moved southwest, first settling in Maryland and then the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The branches of the family tree continued to spread south and west, but a number remained in Virginia, establishing legacies there which reach to the present day.

I will be sharing more stories about some of these relatives in the future, so stay tuned for those!

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