Louis Bevier Family Papers: The Rutgers Collection (1687-1921)

Finding Aid Completed by Eric Roth, September 3, 1999
Last revised October 4, 2004
Volume: 1 cu. ft.
Acquisition: Copies of the original papers were transferred to the Huguenot Historical Society by the Rutgers University Library in 1963.
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 chiefly document the lives of the five generations of the paternal line of the Bevier family from Louis Bevier (ca. 1647-1720) through Louis Bevier D-302 [1] (1779-1826). The three successors to this line are also occasionally represented in the papers. They include: Louis Bevier E-396 (1822-1911), Surveyor and Supervisor at Marbletown; Louis Bevier F-503 (b.1857), Professor of Languages and Dean at Rutgers University ; and Louis Bevier G-462 (1885-1963), New York City lawyer.

Louis Bevier, French Huguenot and New Paltz patentee, was probably born near Lille , France in the late 1640's. [2] Along with thousands of other French Protestants, Louis fled France in order to avoid persecution by the Catholic monarch King Louis XIV. Although the precise route of his flight is unknown, Louis and his family arrived in the German City of Winden in the 1660's. In 1673 Louis married Maria LeBlanc at the French Church in the town of Frankenthal , near the city of Speyer . They had a daughter named Maria, who was baptized on July 9, 1674, who apparently died in infancy. The next time Louis shows up in the records, he is joined by eleven other Huguenot refugees in adding his signature to the New Paltz Patent granted by English Royal Governor Edmond Andross in September 1677. Little is known of their journey to the New World, although it is surmised that they boarded one of the numerous ships leaving Holland headed for New York.

Active in the local military, Louis was appointed to Sergeant in Captain Matyson's Company of Foot in 1686 and later appointed Ensign in the Ulster County Militia under Captain Abraham Hasbrouck in 1698. At New Paltz, Louis helped to organize the French Church at New Paltz in 1683, where he later served as deacon and elder. In 1686 Louis was one of three commissioners appointed to hear and determine "all matters of difficulty not exceeding the value of five pounds." In 1689 Louis' wife Marie died leaving Louis with a house full of children to raise by himself. Since 1676, Marie had given birth to seven children: Jean, Abraham, Samuel, Andries, Louis, Esther, and Solomon. Local tradition states that sometime after his wife's death, Louis traveled back to Europe to claim his share of her inheritance. A story of Louis' return trip to France claims that while there he met his uncle, a good Catholic, riding on a white horse, who on recognizing him refused to talk with his renegade nephew. [3]

Louis must have received a significant amount of wealth from his relatives in Europe, for in 1712 his property was assessed at 300 English pounds, making him the wealthiest man in New Paltz. This wealth allowed Louis purchased lands in the present-day towns of Wawarsing and Marbletown for his sons to settled on and raise their own families. In his second will, dated 1715, Louis divided all of his property and wealth equally between his surviving sons and daughters, with one exception: that his son Samuel "shall have the preference or choice of the five parts for the reason that he has moved and come to dwell with me." [4] Samuel inherited the family homestead at New Paltz, supposedly built between 1692 and 1698. Louis Bevier died at New Paltz in July 1720.

Louis Bevier's fifth son, also named Louis (A-6), was born on November 6, 1684 and baptized at the French Church at New Paltz on April 6, 1685. He married Elizabeth Hasbrouck (1685-1760), daughter of Jean Hasbrouck and Anna Deyo on June 2, 1713 at the Reformed Dutch Church at Kingston, NY. Tradition states that the young couple lived at the home of Elizabeth 's father until 1715, when they relocated to Marbletown. In 1711, Louis is listed as a volunteer in Captain Wessel Tenbroek's company, which marched to Canada during the Queen Anne's War. He was later appointed Ensign of the "company for Paltz and Showagunk (sic)" in 1717.[5] In the same year, Elizabeth gave birth to their only son, also named Louis. According to Katherine Bevier, Louis served as town fence viewer from 1719-1721, Surveyor of Highways (1721-?), Trustee (1725-1730, and 1738), and Overseer of the Poor (1740) for the town of Marbletown as well as Elder of the Reformed Dutch Church there. [6] He died on February 19, 1753.

Louis' only son Louis Bevier B-30 was born on April 29, 1717 and baptized at the Kingston Reformed Dutch Church on June 9 of the same year. He married Esther DuBois (1718-1790), daughter of Philip DuBois and Esther Gumaer on October 10, 1745. They had five children. Louis became a member of the Foot Company of Captain Daniel Brodhead in 1738, but went on to become a prominent surveyor in Ulster County. At Marbletown, Louis served as Town Clerk from 1745-1758, Assessor (1760), Trustee (1762-1772), Justice of the Peace (1769), and Supervisor in 1772) Louis is also listed as a member of the building committee for the church in 1743. [7] He also served as deacon in 1753 and later as elder. At the church, Louis was involved in the Coetus-Conferentie dispute, supporting with the Coetus faction. Louis Bevier died on September 29, 1772.

Louis' oldest son David Bevier C-114 was born at the town of Rochester on October 27, 1746 and was baptized at Kinston on December 28 of the same year. As a child, David received his education at the Kingston Academy. In 1775, he signed the Articles of Association and joined the Ulster County Third Regiment, where he served as Adjutant. His regiment, under the command of General James Clinton, was stationed at Fort Montgomery in 1776 and Bemis Heights in 1777. [8] He also served as a member of the Committee of Safety from 1776-1778. On January 25, 1778, David married Maria Hasbrouck (1751-1816), daughter of Abraham Hasbrouck and Catherine Bruyn at Stone Ridge. They had six children. At Marbletown, David served as Trustee from 1778-1787, and Commissioner of Highways in 1780. At the Reformed Dutch Church there he was elected deacon in 1766, church master in 1773, and elder several times between 1777 and 1814. He died on June 17, 1822. David Bevier is also known for the house he built at Marbletown in 1800 which still stands and is now owned and operated as a museum by the Ulster County Historical Society.

David's oldest son Louis Bevier D-302 was born on February 13, 1779 and baptized at Marbletown ten days later on the 23 rd . Louis was educated at the Kingston Academy, where he studied Greek, mathematics, surveying, and geography in addition to other subjects. He remained at the family home at Marbletown and married Maria Elting (1785-1859), daughter of Cornelius Elting, on January 6, 1807. Together they had nine children. Louis served as a captain during the War of 1812, and was stationed at the "Quarantine Ground" on Staten Island. In 1820, Louis was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the 130 th Regiment of Infantry in New York State. According to Hasbrouck, Louis established a circulating library at Marbletown. [9] He died on October 25, 1826.

Collection Description

The papers primarily document three major subjects: 1) the real and personal estate holdings of the Bevier Family in the town of Marbletown, Ulster New York; 2) the Coetus-Conferentie controversy in the Dutch Reformed Church during the mid-18 th century and its effects on the Kingston and Marbletown congregations; and 3) the genealogy and family history of the Bevier family. The majority of the papers date from 1705-1824. The major strength of the collection is its comprehensive documentation of the early generations of the family and Marbletown during the 18 th century. A significant portion of the documents are in French and Dutch as well as English, and provide evidence of assimilation rates of the various early French and Dutch families who settled in Ulster County. The papers dating from the 19 th century are fragmented and contain several gaps, most notably between 1794 and 1822, and 1830 and 1845. There are very few papers after 1860, other than genealogical materials.

The papers are organized chronologically into folders by format or subject: Church Papers, Correspondence, Estate and Legal Papers, Financial Papers, Genealogical Research Papers, and Military Papers. The folders are organized alphabetically. In most cases, it has been easy to organize the papers in this way, but there are occasions where several documents of different dates were bound together (or copies stapled together). In these instances, the aggregations of documents are filed according to the seemingly most important date. Also, it has not always been possible to determine the content of the Dutch records, so it is possible that there is subject overlap between various folders within the collection.

The large majority of the papers concern property owned by the Bevier family at Marbletown. These records, filed under Estate and Legal Papers , include deeds, bonds, conveyances, wills, estate inventories, letters testamentary, court papers, articles of agreement, survey maps and other legal records. Of particular interest are the wills of Louis Bevier (1720), Petrus Elting (1755) Daniel Brodhead (1759), David Bevier (1822), Louis Bevier (1846), and Maria Bevier (1853). There are also estate inventories for Philip DuBois (1764), Louis Bevier (1770, 1773), unidentified (1777), David Bevier (1822), Louis Bevier (1827), and Louis Bevier (1846). Other items of note include a land sale of Antoine Crispell to Hugo Freer (1693), the Marbletown Patent (1703), a property survey book of Louis Bevier, and a slave sale to Adrien Newkirk (1766). Other families represented in the Estate and Legal Papers are Hasbrouck, Brodhead, Van Leuven, Nottingham, Pawling, Krom, Elting, Vernooy, LeFevre, Fischer, Merrit, and Browne.

The financial papers generally consist of papers probably copied from account books. These chiefly include indexes, accounts of sale or debts, records of bonds, and receipts. Of specific interest is a record of slave purchases dating from 1763. In many cases, the receipts and accounts concern real estate or taxes and may overlap with the records filed in the Estate and Legal Papers.

In addition to the legal and financial records, the collection contains material pertaining to affairs in the Reformed Church, military matters, and Bevier family history and genealogy. The church records are almost entirely in Dutch and have therefore not been completely reviewed for content. They apparently concern the Coetus-Conferentie dispute in the Dutch Reformed church involving the ordination of ministers. The military papers include certificates of appointment of Ensign Louis Bevier (1717) and Lieutenant Colonel Louis Bevier (1820); Brigade orders, rolls of officers, and a company book of Capt. Louis Bevier dating from 1814-1824 containing lists of officers, men transferred or discharged, ration lists, payments, accounts of camp equipment, and arms returned or received.

Also present in the collection are genealogical and family history materials, including transcriptions of early documents, ancestry charts, biographical note of family members, comparisons of signatures, obituaries, a handwritten history of the Reformed Dutch Church of Marbletown (1851), and a handwritten genealogical manuscript of Josiah R. Elting dating from 1834. There is also paper delivered to the Ulster County Historical Society by Louis Bevier in 1920 entitled "A Huguenot Settlement."

The small number of letters in the collection date from 1744-1766 and are written in French, Dutch and English. The correspondents, Louis Bevier B-3, Abraham Hasbrouck, Philip DuBois?, Moses Dupui and Petrus Schoonmaker, chiefly discuss health, business trips to Kingston and the family properties. One item of interest is a letter written in French from Louis Bevier to apparently his father-in-law Philip DuBois discussing the sale of slaves. In the letter, he argues for keeping families of slaves together and allowing them to choose their own masters.

This collection significantly overlaps four other collections of Bevier family papers: the Philip Dubois Bevier Family Papers (1685-1910) , the Louis Bevier Papers (1675-1719), and the Louis Family Bevier Family Papers: The Elizabeth Wright Collection (1721-1929), all of which are also available at the Huguenot Historical Society Library and Archives. Another collection entitled the Bevier Family Papers (ca. 1700-1850) is available at the Columbia University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library in Manhattan .

Other collections at the Huguenot Historical Society Archives concerning the Bevier Family include the Louis Coe Bevier Civil War Letters (1862-1922), the Harriet Bevier Urion Family Papers (1883-1903) , the Elting Family Papers (1703-1928), and the Town of New Paltz Civil Organization Records (1677-1839), which contains property maps surveyed by Louis Bevier B-30, as well as information pertaining to local offices at New Paltz held by various Bevier family members.

Box and Folder List

Box 1

Church Papers (ca. 1745-1789 and undated)
Correspondence (1744-1766)
Estate and Legal Papers:
     (1770-1800 and undated)

Box 2

Financial Papers (1745-1826 and undated)
Military Papers (1717-1824)
Genealogical Research Papers (1834-1920 and undated)
Receipts (1773, 1854-1899 and undated)

Flat Files

Property Survey Maps (1760-1918), oversize


[1] Unless otherwise noted, identification numbers and personal data are taken from The Bevier Family: The Descendants of Louis Bevier, Patentee of New Paltz, New York. The Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, New York (1970) compiled by Kenneth Hasbrouck.

[2] Bevier, Katherine. The Bevier Family. Tobias A. Wright, printer and publisher, New York. (1916): p. 11.

[3] Hasbrouck, p. 4.

[4] Ibid., p. 7.

[5] Ibid., p. 12.

[6] Bevier, p. 69.

[7] Sylvester, Nathaniel Bartlett. History of Ulster County, New York, with Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, Part Second. Philadelphia, Evans & Peck (1880): p. 196.

[8] An orderly book kept by David Bevier during his stations at Fort Montgomery and Blemis Heights is stored with the Captain Philip Dubois Bevier Family Papers (1685-1910).

[9] Hasbrouck, p. 50.