Monday, August 25, 2014

Beeks line: Joost De Baun

Joost De Baun was probably born as Joseph De Beaune in Beaune, Cote d'Or France, about 1643.  Beaune is located in the east central section of France, west of Switzerland.  He and it is believed his family were staunch Protestants and at the time of his birth, Protestants had some protection in the Catholic country of France.  However, the tradition is that he was the only member of his family to escape torture and massacre by the dreaded Inquisition.  He is believed to have fled to Flanders about 1670, where he married, with his wife living only a few years.   

This much is tradition and supposition, as far as I can tell, because I have found no documentation for any of these "facts".  I would love to be able to sit down and talk with Joseph/Joost, to ask him if this is a fair representation of his early life.  It sounds like it could have the makings of a good book or even a movie, with danger, persecution, flight, a first tragic marriage, and religious faith all playing a role in the story.  I'd love to know how he made his escape, and why he went to Flanders rather than to Switzerland, which geographically was much closer, or even to Germany, as others before him had done. I'd also love to know what he did for a living.  Beaune is in the middle of Burgundy wine country, and if he had been trained in some aspect relating to wine, what did he do when he went to Flanders?  He obviously had learned to read and write, (see later in post) so perhaps he was a clerk, or perhaps he had enough family or church connections to be a merchant of some sort.

Sometime in the next few years he went from Flanders to Middleburg, on the Zeeland islands of Holland.  Joseph changed his name in Holland to Joost De Baene, and he married Elizabeth Drabbe or Drabba, who was from Holland.  Her ancestry has not been traced as far as I can find, except that her father's name is believed to be Thomas.  They married about 1681, and by 1683 were the parents of their first child, Jacobus.  (There are reports that the marriage didn't take place until 1684 and occurred in the New World. So again, we are not really sure of this much and would dearly love to find some documents from the time period to settle some of these questions once and for all.)

Joost and presumably Elizabeth and Jacobus left Holland in 1683 and immigrated to Bushwick, Long Island, New York.  We don't know whether it was for religious, economic, or other reasons that they chose to immigrate, but they were part of a large number of "Dutch" families that came during the 1600's.  He quickly became clerk of the small settlement of Bushwick, but a year later moved to New Utrecht, Kings County, New York, where he was clerk as well as schoolmaster and reader of the Reformed Dutch Church.  (New Utrecht is now part of Brooklyn, which is part of New York City, but at the time it was just a village, founded in 1657 as a largely Dutch community). 

Joost and Elizabeth lived here for about 15 years, raising their family of five children. Jacobus, Karel (Charles), Matie, Christian, and Catherine would have kept their parents busy, and since Joost was the school master we can assume that the boys and hope that the girls learned to read, write, and "cipher".  The family was also active in the Dutch Reformed Church there.  For three years in this time period, family life may have looked a little different. Joost was removed from his posts in 1689 due to being on the "wrong" side of a political dispute, but was returned to all his offices again in 1692.  We don't know he provided for his family during this time period.  In 1698, the family moved to New Rochelle, where he had apparently gone to be the schoolmaster, and was also one of the surveyors of fences.  He acquired land in 1698 and then sold in at the end of 1701, and moved on to the area around Rockland Lake, in Rockland County, NY.  Perhaps he taught school here, too. 

The family made one final move, to the Huguenot colony near Hacksensack, New Jersey, where farming was their source of income.  Joost may have felt more at home here, with the Huguenots, but we wonder about his Dutch wife. Fortunately, by now the Dutch Reformed church at Hackensack felt like home to both of them.  He served as elder and as church master, and was instrumental in getting the steeple raised on the church building.  Joost died sometime between 1718 and November of 1721, and Elizabeth is believed to have died about 1724. 

He left a heritage of a strong religious faith, a desire for freedom, and the love of learning to the four children who survived him.  He also left the mystery of his early years, and the sadness that we may never know who made up his first family-his father, mother, and siblings. 

The line of descent is:

Joost De Baun-Elizabeth Drabbe
Matie De Baun-Samuel Demarest
Samuel David De Maree-Lea Demarest
Sarah De Maree-Benjamin Slot
William Lock-Elizabeth Teague or Tague
Sarah Lock-Jeremiah Folsom
Leah Folsom-Darlington Aldridge
Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Harshbarger children. grandchildren, and great grandchildren