Roelof J. and Ezekiel Elting Family Papers (1703-1928)

Finding Aid Completed by Eric Roth, January 20, 1999
Last revised July 5, 2005
Volume: 1.8 cu. ft.
Acquisition: The papers were donated to the Huguenot Historical Society by Jacob Elting. Date is unknown.
Access: Unrestricted.
Copyright: Request for permission to publish materials from these records should be discussed with the Archivist and Director of the Huguenot Historical Society.

Biographical Note

The papers primarily document the lives of three individuals spanning three generations of the Elting family in New Paltz, New York: Roelof Josiah Elting C-19 [1] (1737-1795), his son, Ezekiel Elting D-36 (1763-1842) and his son, Jacob Elting E-56 (1803-1889).

Roelof Josiah Elting C-19 was born to Captain Josia Elting and Magdalene DuBois in 1737. In 1760 he married Mary Louw in 1760 at Kingston and had eleven children. Roelof occupied the Bevier-Elting House (now owned and operated as a museum by the Huguenot Historical Society), where he kept a store that was apparently started by his father, Josiah. Roelof sided with Conferentie party during the Coetus-Conferentie controversy in the Dutch Reformed Church during the 1750's and 1760's. In 1766, Roelof, along with members of the DuBois, Low, Van Wagnenen, Van Vliet, Ean and Auchmody families, left the Dutch reformed Church at New Paltz and organized the Conferentie Church, or "Owl Church," on Libertyville Road in New Paltz. [2] The church disbanded and rejoined the Reformed Church in 1774.

Roelof J. Elting was imprisoned as a suspected Tory during the American Revolution, despite the fact that he signed the Articles of Association in 1775 (Sylvester). Along with his brother Solomon and friend Cadwaller Colden, Jr., Roelof was banished to British-occupied New York. [3] Despite these problems, Roelof still managed to gain enough respect in the community to be elected to two municipal offices: Superintendent of Highways to the Hudson River (1772-1773) and Overseer of the Poor (1790). Roelof also served as one of the New Paltz Twelve Men for the share of Louis DuBois from 1791 to 1795. He died in 1795.

Roelof's second son Ezekiel Elting D-39 was born on Oct. 9, 1763, and in 1787 married Magdalene Elting D-35 (1769-1831), daughter of Abraham Elting and Dina DuBois. Ezekiel and Magdalene bore ten children. Ezekiel inherited the family homestead from his father and continued the family business. According to Heidgerd, "He was probably the most important business man in the community. He conducted a mercantile establishment in the house he built in 1799 on Huguenot Street, now known as the LeFevre House," [4] (and also invariably as the "1799 House" and "Ezekiel Elting House." This house is now owned and operated as a historic house museum by the Huguenot Historical Society). In 1800 he became a member by confession of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Paltz and served as Deacon from 1802-1803 and was elected Elder in 1812. [5] (RDC, p. 70). Active in local politics, Ezekiel served as one of the New Paltz "Twelve Men" for the patentee's share of Louis DuBois (1797, 1801-1824), and as Overseer of Highways (1793-1795). [6]

In 1822 Ezekiel entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law Peter LeFevre to build a grist mill, sawmill, fulling mill and woolen factory at Dashville Falls in the town of Esopus. [7] Ezekiel also engaged in the manufacture of potash and owned and operated a farm. According to Sylvester, "He was a man of correct business habits, of strict integrity, always ready to lend a helping hand to worth young men, but most intolerant of wrong-doing in any one. A man of excellent judgement, his advice was often sought by his neighbors. He was a Federalist in politics." [8] Ezekiel Elting died on December 12, 1842.

Ezekiel's son, Jacob Elting E-56 was born on Mar. 27, 1803 and in 1827 married Gitty LeFevre (1805-1841), daughter of Simon M. LeFevre and Elizabeth Deyo, by whom he had five children. After the Gitty's death in 1841, he married Elizabeth LeFevre (1805-1886) daughter of Peter LeFevre Jr. and Magdalene Elting, and had three children. As a boy Jacob attended district school at New Paltz ,and one term at the Esopus select school. "In 1839 Mr. Elting purchased of Elida Watkins the farm in Lloyd formerly owned by his uncle Solomon, and here he spent the latter half of his life." Like his father, Jacob was a member of the Reformed Dutch Church of new Paltz, where he served as Elder. In politics he was a Republican. [9] (Syl. p. 130a)

Jacob also established the Jacob Elting Burying Ground Association in 1875 for the purpose of operating a small private family cemetery on Huguenot Street in New Paltz. The organization is still presently active. Jacob Elting died on August 12, 1889.

Collection Description

The papers are organized into two series: 1) Account Books, and 2) Papers, which include correspondence, estate and legal papers, financial papers, genealogical research materials and miscellaneous papers. The bulk of the collection falls between 1768 and 1843.

The records of major interest are found in the correspondence files. The existence of letters prior to 1800 in Ulster County is quite rare and the letters of Roelof J. and Ezekiel Elting and Andries, Bryant and Simon DeWitt provide an excellent source of information on life in Ulster County during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Letters to and from Roelof Elting discuss a lawsuit with Benjamin Decker; various notes and bonds against the Eltings; slaves and goods received from Lt. Col. Burr (1778); local religious, political and family matters; a sale of property in Chenango, Broome County (undated); shipping flaxseed and other domestic goods to merchants in New York City, and the events surrounding several boundary disputes with the New Paltz Patent in the 1790's. Of specific interest is a letter from Johannes Snyder to the Friends of Constitutional Liberty Committee (Roelof J. Elting, Dirck Wynkoop, David Hasbrouck, Philip Elting and John Dumont) concerning a meeting at R. J. Elting's house "to Collect their Sense on the late daring attack on the Rights of Suffrage by the Majority of Conversers."

The correspondence of the DeWitt family includes a letter from Bryant DeWitt to his father Andries DeWitt concerns Gen. Scott's military expeditions against Native Americans in Kentucky (1792); several letters concerning the death of Nathaniel Bevier in 1795; a letter to Johannes Hoornbeck of Wawarsing from A. DeWitt concerning a bond to Nathan Vernooy (1797); letter to Andries DeWitt discussing relations between the United States and France (1798); and letters describing the work of physicians in Albany, yellow fever in Philadelphia, local politics and the media. And one undated letter (ca. 1800) gives descriptions and opinions of alterations being made to a house. Other correspondents include Henricus Schoonmaker, Cornelius Elting, Elting Varick, Johannes Jansen, Elizabeth DeWitt and David Graham.

Another batch of letters written to Jacob Elting, while he served as Elder of Reformed Dutch Church of New Paltz. These letters document the consistory's efforts to acquire a new pastor in 1844. These include a letter of recommendation of Rev. Ransford Wells of Troy, New York, and letters from Jacob A. Lansing; Ch. Whitehead, pastor of the Ref. Dutch Church of Walden; Henry Ostrander, Catherine Jansen, and William A. Cornell. One letter concerns the plans of the Executive Committee of the Ulster County Agricultural Society to inspect local farms (1844), and another letter from 1864 describes local efforts to send gift boxes to the 156th Regiment during the Civil War.

Also of interest in this collection are the several account books kept by Roelof and Ezekiel Elting. The accounts books of Roelof Elting date from 1768 to 1791 and primarily relate to the family store located in the Bevier-Elting House on Huguenot Street in New Paltz. These books document transactions involving the purchase and sale of domestic goods, foodstuffs, kitchen supplies, textiles and clothing, hardware, and specialty items such as tobacco, snuff, writing supplies, and other items. The accounts in these books are fairly scattered with not apparent organizational scheme. Among these five account books are two books containing entries deserving specific mention. One appears to be a store inventory from 1768 listing all the items in the store, although the prices are not listed. Another book contains journal-style entries from 1776 and 1777 written by Roelof Elting concerning his imprisonment as a suspected British sympathizer during the American Revolution.

Four more account books kept by Ezekiel Elting span the years from 1821 to 1845 and mainly relate to mill and farm expenses. The majority of the entries concern the purchase and sale of grains such as rye, corn, buckwheat, and wheat. Also present, however, are numerous entries documenting payments to laborers for sawing and chopping wood, carding wool, harvesting crops, and various other tasks. A name index at the beginning of each book serves as the main point of access to individual accounts. Another account book kept by Ezekiel Elting and his brother can be found in a collection of papers located at the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz. A brief description of this collection is provided below.

The estate papers mainly consist of bonds, deeds, mortgages, property descriptions, probate records, court papers, and agreements concerning properties in Ulster County (particularly New Paltz and Lloyd) owned by the Elting family in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Of interest are deeds of the Hasbrouck, Bevier, Deyo, LeFevre, Donaldson, and Roelof and Josiah and Noah Elting families (1703-1767); estate inventories of Roelof J. Elting (1773, 1779 and 1795) [10], Edmond Turner (undated), Elizabeth Schutt (1790), Nathaniel Bevier (1796), Mary Elting (1801); Mariah(?) DuBois (1839) and wills and probate records of Josiah Elting (1784) and Ezekiel Elting (1843). Several of the legal papers from the later nineteenth century concern the New Paltz Turnpike.

Also of note are undated field books to tracts and lots in the New Paltz Patent; undated copybook of Simeon DeWitt, Surveyor General of New York State; a receipt and agreement concerning the Reformed Church of New Paltz (1774-1790); register of poor persons applying for relief (1790); and account books, one of which contains entries written by Roelof Josiah Elting describing his imprisonment and probation during the Revolutionary War. There is also a document dating from 1810 drawn up by "The Society of Negroes Unsettled" of which Ezekiel Elting was elected foreman, provides evidence of attempts by the slave owners in New Paltz to solve the problem of runaway slaves. This document also lists several slaves who ran away from their owners. An attached document contains a list of persons and their supposed whereabouts. It is uncertain if these persons are runaway slaves or free blacks who may provide refuge to the runaways. Also contained in the collection are albumen print photographs from the mid-late 19th century of Clarence Elting, Maggie Peters, Myron and Gertrude Wurtz, and one tintype of Esther Elting. Two other photographs show the Mohonk Mountain House across Lake Mohonk and an unidentified Federal-style brick house with 1 st and 2 nd story porches that was presumably the residence of Clarence Elting.

Other collections of New Paltz historic papers providing further information of the Elting and collateral families and relative subjects include the LeFevre Family Papers: "The Bontecoe LeFevre's" (1703-1937), the Locust Lawn Collection (1672-1969), theJacob Elting Burying Ground Association Records (1875-1998) - contains some access restrictions, and several collections of DuBois and Hasbrouck family papers in the Huguenot Historical Society Archives. A Bible that belonged to Andries DeWitt is housed in the Huguenot Historical Society Bible Collection, Bible #41. The Elting Family Papers (1752-1927) located at the Elting Memorial Library Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection in New Paltz contains papers relative to this family, including an account book (1798-1799) and estate inventory (1843) of Ezekiel Elting; letters primarily of Ann Elting and Cornelius C. Elting (1837-1874); a military exemption of Josiah Elting (1864); marriage certificates of various Elting family members; and genealogical research materials. The overall condition of the papers is good and the handwriting legible. Some documents show signs of damage from tearing or fading. Signatures from several of the legal papers dating from the 18th century have at some time been removed.

Series Description

Series 1: Account Books (1767-1837) 0.5 cu. ft.

Contains nine account books kept by Roelof Josiah Elting and his son Ezekiel Elting. The five small account books of Roelof Elting pertain to items bought and sold at the family store, church expenses and other accounts owed to him by those with whom he did business. One account book describes his imprisonment and probation during the Revolutionary War. Accounts in these books are generally sporadic and may have supplemented more complete daybooks or yearly ledgers. The four account books of Ezekiel Elting are legal size, bound ledgers, which contain personal name indexes; one account book, (1827-1833) contains no index, despite following the same system as the others. The transactions generally pertain to the purchases and sales of domestic goods such as wheat, corn, liquor, leather, etc.; and also payments for labor. This series also includes one folder of loose papers that may have come from another account book, and one name index to several unidentified account books.

Series 2: Papers (1703-1928) 1 cu. ft.

This series includes letters, deeds, wills, survey maps, inventories, bills, receipts, photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, poetry and memorabilia. Papers are filed alphabetically by format (correspondence, estate and legal, financial, genealogy, miscellaneous) and thereunder chronologically. Oversize documents are housed separately in Box 4.

Box and Folder List

Box 1
Series 1: Account Books (1767-1837)

Roelof J. Elting (1767-1791)
Ezekiel Elting:

Box 2
Series 2: Papers (1703-1928)

Correspondence (1750-1870 scattered)
Estate and Legal Papers:
(1769-1789 and undated)
(1790-1821 and undated)

Box 3
Series 2: Papers (1703-1928)

Financial Papers:
(1770-1844 and undated, scattered)
(1773-1870 and undated, scattered) Receipts
Genealogical Notes of the Elting and LeFevre Families (1908 and undated)
Miscellaneous (ca. 1800-1928)
Photographs (mid-late 19th century)

Box 4
Series 2: Papers (1703-1928) - oversize

Estate and Legal Papers:
(1709 and undated) Property Survey Maps



[1] Identification numbers are taken from The Elting Family, Book I, compiled by William & Ruth P. Heidgerd and published by the Huguenot Historical Society, Inc. New Paltz, New York (1989). Unless otherwise noted, all genealogical information is taken from this source.

[2] LeFevre, Ralph. History of New Paltz and Its Old Families. Albany, New York . Fort Orange Press (1909): p. 148-151, 491.

[3] Heidgerd, p. 10.

[4] Ibid., p. 25.

[5] Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Paltz, New York. Collections of the Holland Society of New York, vol. 3. The Knickerboxer Press, New York (1896): p. 70.

[6] Information pertaining to membership in the "Twelve Men" and local government is taken from the New Paltz Civil Organization Records (1677-1838): "Proceedings of the Twelve Men (1738-1772)" and the "Annual Election of the Freeholders and Inhabitants of the Patent of the New Paltz" Meeting Minutes (1751-1823) - Book 1. mss. coll. Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, NY.

[7] Heidgerd, p. 17. For information on Peter LeFevre, see the LeFevre Family Papers: The Bontecoe LeFevres (1703-1905), also maintained in the Huguenot Historical Society Archives mss. coll.

[8] Sylvester, Nathaniel Bartlett. History of Ulster County.... Philadelphia , Everts & Peck (1880).

[9] Ibid.

[10] A 1795 vendue list of Roelof Elting's estate is located in the Garret and Roelof DuBois Family Papers (1771-1882).