Lawrence Updike (Opdyck)

Lawrence UpdikeLawrence Updike
b. 1675 (Newton, Queens, New York)
m. 1701 (Burlington, New Jersey)
d. 17 May 1748 (Maidenhead, New Jersey)

Johannes Lourense Opdyck and Catherine Trintye

Louris Jansen Opdyck and Christine Stenclia
Louis Jensen Tryntye and Cyriqui

Tryntie Opdyck
Engeltie Opdyck
Lawrence Opdyck (Updike)
Annetje Opdyck
Albert Opdyck
John Opdyck
Bartholomew Opdyck
Elizabeth Opdyck
Agnes Opdyck

Aunts & Uncles:
Via Father:
Via Mother:
Catherine's family is a bit of a challenge to trace.

Agnietje Post

Lawrence Updike, Jr
William Updike
John Updike
Catherine Updike
Rachel Updike
Tunis Updike
Athaliah Updike



Historical Info.:





Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land.

NEW YORK, 1889,

(Son of Johannes, p. 154; son of Louris, p. 136.)

[Father of John Updike]
[Grandfather of Abraham Updike]

Born about 1675; died, 1748; married Agnes ......; was a planter in Maidenhead, N. J., near what is now Lawrenceville, between Princeton and Trenton.

The record of his baptism is doubtless among the missing registers of the early Dutch church on Long Island; he must have been born about 1675, as his father was born 1651, and Lawrence acted as trustee of the Maidenhead church farm in 1698. He and his wife baptised their son William, 1704, in the Dutch church of Raritan, N. J.; the pastor probably visited Maidenhead for the purpose, as the church building near Somerville was not erected until 1721, the same that was burned by the British during the Revolution. It is perhaps this record of baptism that led Dr. Messler, in his Cent. Hist. Somerset Co., to place Lawrence Opdyke among the heads of Dutch families from Long Island who settled along the Raritan; and this probably caused the error of the late Teunis G. Bergen, printed in a Somerville historical magazine in 1873, in stating that Lawrence was descended from Gysbert Opdykk.

Lawrence joined his father and brothers-in-law in subscribing at the Maidenhead town meeting in 1712 to the expenses of setting off Hunterdon County. The township elected him Overseer of the Poor in 1719, Overseer of Roads in 1719, and Commissioner in 1726, 1727, and 1729. The County Court records show him as Overseer of the Poor for Hopewell in 1725; this leads us to believe that his homestead may have been on the line between the two townships.

Lawrence appears to have been prosperous. His father and sons were large land-holders, and there is reason to believe that he was also. He was the highest bidder at the Maidenhead town meeting in 1730 for the 100 acre town lot. The absence of recorded conveyances to or from him is explained by the fact that in those days deeds were not generally recorded, but were preserved in old chests.

Lawrence was the author of the Updike spelling in New Jersey, and was the ancestor of almost every New Jersey Updike, excepting the Virginia branch. The will of his father, Johannes Opdyck, appointing him one of the executors, spelled his name with an 0; upon the back of the will, where was written the executors oath, his name appears in a clear hand as "Lawrence Opdyck; " but he signed this oath, "Lowrance Updick." In his own will of 1745, his name and those of his three sons are spelled "Updike," and his descendants have ever since so written their names.

Lawrence in his will mentioned a possible defect in the title to some of his lands,-" So as to be taken away By Law By Cox or any other pearson." This doubtless refers to a long and famous litigation concerning the title to all the lands in Hopewell. In the division of West Jersey into one hundred parts among the Proprietors, the tract called the "30,000 acres above the Falls of the Delaware" fell to Thomas Sadler and Edward Billinge. They sold it in 1685 to Dr. Daniel Coxe of London. This was the original township of Hopewell. The region had been fairly purchased from the Indians for Dr. Coxe by treaty of 30 Mch. 1688, for 100 fathoms of wampum, 30 guns, 20 kettles, 20 shirts, 80 hatchets, 100 knives, 300 pipes, 300 needles, and various other articles. Coxe was governor of West Jersey from 1687 to 1690, but conducted his office by deputy. In 1691 he conveyed the government to the " West Jersey Society." In 1700, " on the petition. of some of the inhabitants above the Falls for a new township, to be called Hopewell," that township was set off, containing the 30,000 acres and also a 10,000 acre tract of the Society,-including what are now Ewing and Trenton townships. The West Jersey Society, through their agent Thos. Revell, had made various conveyances to settlers, when Coxe claimed that he had parted with only the jurisdiction and not the title of the land. We find that there was some agreement made in April 1703, between Coxe and those that had then purchased, which was ratified at the meeting at house of Ralph Hunt, 26 Aug. 1703, mentioned under Johannes Opdyck. Further difficulties arose, and in 1731 fifty Hopewell landholders signed an agreement binding themselves mutually to defend their rights against ejectment suits brought by Col. Coxe. The contest continued many years; the cases were removed, on account of alleged prejudice in favor of the occupants from Hunterdon to Burlington County, where they were tried by Chief Justice Hooper and a jury of Quakers, and a verdict was rendered for Coxe The defendants made an unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Errors. This litigation was the great event of the period; the records of the case may be found in the archives of the N. J. Supreme Court. Although successful Coxe seems to have finally compromised his claims, as most of the defendants remained on their farms, some of which are still held by their descendants.

Lawrence was however more identified with Maidenhead, where he is found almost continuously during fifty years, from 1698 until his death in 1748. Barber and Howe's Hist. Coll. N. J. states that Maidenhead was settled about 1700; the many records already quoted by us show that the Opdyck family and others were settled there several years earlier. The `Presbyterian church was established there in 1709, when the people of Maidenhead and Hopewell applied to the Presbytery of Philadelphia for pulpit supplies, and Mr. Smith was directed to preach in Maidenhead on his way to and from New England. Their first house of worship was erected at what is now Lawrenceville, where the earliest settlers were buried; on one stone in the churchyard can still be read 1713, but the names are mostly illegible. Rev. Jedediah Andrews administered baptism 1713-4; Robert Orr was ordained as pastor in 1715; Rev. Joseph Morgan was preaching there to the people of both townships from 1731 until 1736, when David Colwell was ordained. In 1769 Maidenhead and Hopewell were still served by one pastor, who divided his time between the church at Lawrenceville, the church at Trenton, and the old meeting-house at Ewing. There was a famous law-suit in 1778, when the trustees of the Maidenhead church successfully defended their title to the 100 acres conveyed in 1698 by the West Jersey Society to Johannes and Lawrence Opdyck, the Andersons and others, in trust for the inhabitants of Maidenhead "for ye Erecting of a Meeting House and for Burying grounds and School House." The church sold this farm in 1804; a few years later another 100 acres were devised to them by Jasper Smith for a parsonage farm, and this still serves for the residence and support of their pastor. The first Hunterdon County Court was held in Maidenhead in 1714, and from then until 1719 alternately there, and in Hopewell at a private house on what is now Front Street in Trenton. The court records at Flemington contain an entry, 5 June 1716, " Court adjourned to Meeting House, Maidenhead." The front of the present church at Lawrenceville, 45 ft. by 32 ft., was erected in 1764. Additions were built to its rear in 1833 and 1855, making the edifice as it now stands.

The growth of Maidenhead was very rapid from its first settlement till 1750, and it continually sent out settlers who colonized the northern Jersey wilderness. These pioneers are proudly claimed by their respective counties, without however the knowledge of their real place of origin. The old Maidenhead Town Book, rebound and labeled "Lawrence Town Records," has lately been deposited for safe keeping with the Mercer County Clerk at Trenton, and will be found a mine of genealogical information concerning families in all parts of the State. It has a still wider interest, for the stream of colonization in the early part of the last century seems to have flowed largely from New England and Long Island to New Jersey. The grandchildren of those that moved about 1700 to Maidenhead spread beyond the boundaries of New Jersey into the western part of New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and their children and grandchildren, in turn, have settled in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.

(Son of Lawrence, p. 185; Son of Johannes, p. 154; Son of Louris, p. 136.)

[Father of Abraham Updike]
[Grandfather of Jacob A Updike]

Born about 1708; married 1738 Mary Bragaw of Newtown, Long Island; died 1790; was a farmer near Cherry Valley a few miles north of Princeton, N. J., in what was then called "the Western Precinct" or Hillsborough, later Montgomery township in Somerset County, and now Princeton township in Mercer County.

The records show: that he was the second son and executor of his father Lawrence (1748) but did not act as executor; that he brought a suit in Hunterdon in 1730; resided in Maidenhead township (where his father lived) in 1730, 2, 4; owned a large tract of land in Somerset Co., north of Princeton, in 1744, 1763, and 1764, through which three roads were laid out; was a landholder in Hillsborough township near Princeton in 1750, and in the same township in 1758 and 1763; his tract of land north of Princeton in 1765 was of sufficient importance to be a landmark in a map of the Middlesex and Somerset County Line, although not adjoining it; he traded at Princeton in 1767-8; made his will in 1783 in Somerset Co., and there died in 1790.

The large tract of land, so often above mentioned, was evidently just south of Cherry Valley in Somerset Co., and near the eastern line of Maidenhead and Hopewell townships of Hunterdon Co. He therefore settled and remained almost 50 years only a few miles away from his father's home in Maidenhead, and his tract probably adjoined and possibly included the land , on Stony Brook in Maidenhead, owned by his grandfather Johannes Opdyck. In the List of Marriage Bonds issued by the Secretary of the State of N. Y., published officially, Vol. 1, 69, appears the marriage of John Updike and Mary Bragaw of Newtown, Long Island, May 11, 1738. In Riker's Annals of Newtown, L. I., we find that the Bragaw family of Newtown were descended from Bourgon Broudard, a French Huguenot exile who fled from persecution in France to Manheim and thence came with his wife Catherine Lefebre in 1675 to Bushwick, Long Island. He and his wife were among the earliest members of the French Church in New York; in 1688 they moved to Dutch gills near Newtown and purchased there a large tract of land. Their son Isaac Bragaw, born 1676, was taught the trade of a weaver, acquired considerable property at Dutch gills, bought his father's farm in 1713, was a prominent supporter of the Dutch Church, and died 1757, aged 81. His will, on record in N. Y. City Surrogate's Office, mentions his daughter Mary as the wife of "Johannes Opdyke," almost the spelling of the old Johannes Opdyck, who had formerly been a close neighbor of the Broucard or Bragaw family in Newtown, instead of the spelling which the grandson John Updike always used. Isaac Bragaw had, beside Mary, children named Isaac, Peter, Ruloff, and Bergoon ; the last was a very tall and strong man and Captain of the Newtown Militia. John Updike may have came back to his grandfather's old home at Newtown to seek a wife for his great plantation in the Jersey wilderness; or he may have met Mary at the houses of her uncles who all moved to Somerset, N. J., where their descendants are now the well-known Brokaws. It should be a subject of pride for the descendants of John Updike that they have in their veins such excellent Huguenot blood. John named his first son Lawrence for his father according to the time-honored custom; and then named four sons for his wife's brothers mentioned above.

In many ways John Updike is an interesting figure. His descendants have been so numerous as to make him the ancestor of more than half the Updikes in America. He forms a midway mark in the emigration of his line to and from New Jersey. In 1697 his grandfather Johannes Opdyck came from Long Island with children and grandchildren in wagons to the richer land of the primeval forests of West Jersey, and there John was born, lived and died; almost precisely a century later, five of John's sons took up the march from New Jersey with their children and grandchildren in covered wagons back again to yet richer lands in New York State, but this time it was to the magnificent Lake Country, recently made safe for settlers by Gen. Sullivan's terrible punishment of the savages of the Five Nations during the Revolution.

Of John's nine sons there remained in New Jersey four, Lawrence, Isaac, William and Peter, and a son of his son Jacob. The descendants of these multiplied so rapidly that a road between Princeton and Hopewell, on which many of them lived, has been known for a century as the "Updike Road," and it became a byword there that twenty-four Updikes could be counted at every local gathering. About 1800, the other five sons of John moved together, or nearly so, to Tompkins County, the richest soil of New York State; and with them went one son of their brother Lawrence; there too in Tompkins County the descendants of these brothers multiplied so rapidly that their neighborhood was called the "Updike Settlement," and the graveyard of the old Log Church near Waterburg, N. Y., is filled with their tombstones. At about the time of this movement to New York State, two sons of Lawrence (the eldest of the nine brothers) moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, and from there to Indiana where they left a host of descendants. The later generations of the New Jersey, the New York, and the Indiana group, have continually sought wider fields and are now scattered over all of the Western and Pacific States. The descendants of one group occasionally meet those of another, but have no knowledge of their mutual relationship. But everywhere they have retained the same features and characteristics; they have been long lived, prolific, large, strong, honest, thrifty, and unassuming. The old records of Somerset Co., N. J., do not show a single tavern-license ever issued to an Updike, and scarcely a single Updike as ever appearing in Court proceedings.

The grave of John Updike is not known. It may be in the burial-ground on the old farm of his son William, on the "Updike Road," near Stony Brook and the boundary line of Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, where unlettered headstones mark the old graves.

John Updike's will was not mentioned in the General Index of Wills at Trenton, although referred to by his son Burgoon in a deed in 1793. The author therefore concluded that the will was destroyed with the other old records of Somerset Co. when the British and Tory raiders burned the Millstone court house during the Revolution; and he proceeded to gather all of John's children from other sources. The descendants of William; Peter, and Jacob knew that these three brothers owned farms just where the Road Book showed John's lands to have been; the Somerset Co. records confirmed this and also gave Isaac and John Jr. as adjoining owners; Lawrence, Rolif, Brogan and William served together in the Somerset Militia in the Revolution; Rulif and Abraham testified after the Revolution that Burgoon's property had been taken by British and Continental soldiers, Isaac's will showed that he was brother to Ruliph, Lawrence, Peter and William. The unusual names, of Burgoon and Roliff at least, connected them with John Updike's wife's brothers. The descendants of almost all remembered their great-uncle Burgoon Updike, and Burgoon's deed showed that he was a son of John. Still it was a great satisfaction finally to discover the lost will of John Updike in the vaults of the Secretary of State, and to find that it mentioned by name the same nine sons whom the author had ascribed to John Updike, thus verifying the accuracy of the work.

To the descendants of John Updike the early history of Somerset County must be highly interesting. There, as everywhere else in our country, the rivers were fuller in the last century than now. The Raritan was navigable up to the junction of the North and South Branches, and much of the heavy produce of the farms and mills was carried to market by water. The farmers floated their grain down stream in flat-bottomed boats to New Brunswick, rowing or towing back the next day. All the smaller streams of Somerset and Hunterdon were thickly dotted with mills. Large wagons, often drawn by six horses, passed over the Amwell road to New Brunswick, -as many as 500 vehicles in a single day. In 1748 the Raritan Landing was described as "being a market for the most plentiful wheat country for its bigness in America." New Brunswick hoped to rival New York in importance, and its lots rose to an enormous price.

New Jersey was the battle-field of the Revolution. Washington's army spent two winters at Morristown, one at Middlebrook (Bound Brook), and portions of two summers in Somerset County; the marks of its encampment at Chimney Rock are still visible, and the old houses used by him and his generals as their head-quarters during the winter of 1776-7 at Somerville and Bound Brook are yet standing, fine specimens of colonial architecture. The Jersey troops distinguished themselves on many occasions. The night after the Battle of Princeton, twenty Jersey militia drove off a British detachment of ten times their number, and captured at Kingston a valuable wagon train of woolen clothing, which was welcomed as a god-send by Washington's troops. They often captured boats on the Raritan coming with provisions for Cornwallis's forces at New Brunswick. Near Millstone, four hundred British foragers were badly routed by an equal number of Americans, largely raw Jersey militia. At Piscataway, 1,000 British troops were beaten back by 700 Americans, who were nearly all militia. At Spanktown (Rahway) the British were worsted by the Rebels in two encounters, in one of which the enemy were driven through the snow all the way back to Amboy, with a loss of one. hundred men, while we lost only fifteen. Similar encounters were of frequent occurrence during the Winter and spring of 1777. Washington wrote to Congress: "The Militia of New Jersey,-from this time forward, generally acquired high reputation, and throughout a long and tedious war conducted themselves with spirit and discipline, scarce surpassed by the regular troops." The New Jersey rolls show at least four of John Updike's sons to have been members of the militia thus so highly praised.

UpdikeFamily HooperFamily CoddingtonFamily PotterFamily GroverFamily VandervoortFamily RobbinsFamily
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