Benjamin F. Church, Milwaukee pioneer builder and my third-great-grandfather, was the son of Caleb Church and Hannah Baker of Ulster County, New York, according to several sources. These include his brother Samuel’s biographical sketch in Commemorative biographical record of Ulster County, New York, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, and of many of the early settled families, Part 2, and the genealogy book Descendants of Richard Church of Plymouth, Mass.
You can a read a brief sketch of Caleb and Hannah on page 322 and a list of their children on page 323 of the Richard Church book. Samuel Church’s biographical sketch is also online. A recent viewing of Caleb’s will via Ancestry.com confirms the names of his and Hannah’s children.
But there the Church and Baker families seem to stop. Some of Caleb’s descendants believed he is descended from Richard Church who married Elizabeth Warren, daughter of Richard Warren, a Mayflower passenger. But that is unconfirmed, so the family is in the “Unplaced Members of the Plymouth Family” in the Richard Church book, as explained on page 321.
I have just hired a professional genealogist based in New England, who frequently visits Ulster County, to help discover more about Caleb Church who, son Samuel said, was born in Dutchess County. Ulster County is west across the Hudson River from Dutchess County, in the southeast corner of New York. The researcher will start with finding the full probate records for Caleb Church and for a Samuel Church who named Caleb his brother and co-executor of his will.
While that is underway, I decided to research further the parents of Caleb’s wife Hannah Baker, who was a wife, mother to 10 children and a Quaker minister. A descendant of Phoebe Church, sister or half-sister to Caleb, recalled Hannah Baker’s parents as Adam and Maria Baker of Ulster County. Could I make the connection?
Adam Baker in Histories and Census Records
Among those listed in the Town of Marlborough, Ulster County, in 1779 was Adam Baker. In 1788, Adam Baker was in the group responsible for road work from the Plattekill Road as far as the bridge west of Absalom Cases’s. These mentions are in History of Ulster County, New York: With Illustrations and Biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers, page 78.
The 1790 Census has an Adam Baker in New Marlborough, Ulster County, New York, with a household of 2 males over 16, one being Adam; 1 male under 16, and 9 females. This family could easily include wife Maria and a daughter Hannah.
1875 Map of Ulster County, NY from Wikipedia
In 1800, the Town of Plattekill was created out of the Town of Marlborough, which are both in the southeast corner of Ulster County. The 1800 Census has Adam Baker, now of Plattekill, with a household of 3 males and 3 females; the oldest male and female in the 45 years and older range, matching ages for Adam and Maria. Some of the daughters would have married and been out of the household.
Early censuses do not have the names of household members, just ticks showing gender and age range. So here was a likely Adam Baker, but no way to find a daughter Hannah. So I turned to Ancestry.com again to see what else I could find about an Adam Baker of Ulster County with a wife Maria. Voila!
Baptisms of 6 Daughters, including Annatje
Up came baptisms of several daughters of Adam and Maria Baker at the New Hurley Dutch Reformed Church in Ulster County in the database U.S., Dutch Reformed Church Records in Selected States, 1639-1989. The New Hurley Reformed Church, founded in 1770, is located north of the hamlet of Wallkill, midway between it and Gardiner to the north, in the Town of Plattekill. The right place for our Adam Church. There were twins Rachel and Sarah Baker or Bakker in 1778, Jannetje Backer in 1780, Antje Bakker in 1783 and in Arriantje Bakker 1786. But no Hannah, who sources say was born 4 March 1773 or 4 March 1775, but I believe more likely 4 March 1774.
Recognizing that Adam’s surname was recorded as Baker, Bakker and Backer, I did a slightly wider search to see if there were more daughters baptized. Sure enough, there was Annatje Backer , baptized 8 May 1774 at New Hurley, Ulster, New York, parents Adam Backer and Maria Trysyn. (Maria’s maiden name also was recorded with varied spellings).
Research shows the Dutch or Low German name Annatje is a diminutive of Anna, and Anna and Hannah are variants, so Annatje is equivalent to Hannah in English.There she was, I believe — Hannah Baker, likely born 4 March 1774, then baptized about 2 months later, a pattern seen with her five known sisters. They were baptized one to two months after birth.
So on this Father’s Day 2016, we’ve confirmed the father [and mother] of Hannah Baker, one of my most fascinating female ancestors. Happy Father’s Day indeed!
NOTE: Since writing this post, we have learned that Hannah’s sister Rachel married Charles Mackey while sister Antje, who went by Ann or Anna, married Elias Mackey, the two men apparently cousins. After the couples sold land in Plattekill, Ulster County, in the 1805-1806 period, they moved west to Otsego County, New York. I am grateful to Patricia A. Metsch who shared with me her research of the Mackey families of Ulster County and the marriage of the two Baker sisters.
NOTE: It is true that Adam and Maria Baker named two daughters with similar names — Annatje,who went by Hannah, and Antje who went by Ann or Anna. While families in that era often reused a given name when a child died, I believe that in this case Annatje and Antje both survived and married. The names are distinctive enough, and each woman used a different Anglicized version of their Dutch name as adults. A similar naming occurred when Hannah’s son Benjamin and his wife Permelia named their first two daughters Hannah Maria and Ann Augusta. The first daughter went by Hannah or Maria, the second by Anna, Annie and Nannie. Hannah Maria was born 21 Sept 1840 while Ann Augusta was born 6 July 1843. They were both baptized at Trinity Chapel, an outreach of Milwaukee’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, on 3 May 1846.
NOTE: Antje “Anna” Baker and her husband Elias Mackey named their first daughter Hannah Maria Mackey, another naming parallel and remembrance of family members.
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