Remembering Our Ancestors: Abraham Vanderpool Sr.

The Vanderpool’s are another early settler family from our family tree who settled this continent in the 17th century.

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The Vanderpool’s and the Denney’s joined forces in 1796, when  Rebecca Vanderpool, grand-daughter of Abraham Vanderpool Sr. whom we wish to remember today, married James Denney, son of Azariah Denny and Sally Wise Felton, in Surry County, NC.  James Denney was among several sons of Azariah Denny that moved with their families to Ohio, and henceforth the Denny’s that stayed in North Carolina spelled their name with only one “e”, but the newly founded Ohio branch added the second “e” to their name and thus we, too, spell our name “Denney”.

But back to the Vanderpool’s.  Abraham Vanderpool Sr., our 7th (and 8th) great-grandfather, was baptized on February 13, 1709, in Albany, New York, that is to say, this week 310 years ago.  His father was Wynant Melgertse Vanderpool, and his mother Catherine DeHooges.  Abraham Sr. was already a 4th-generation American-born settler.  The pioneer member of that line, Wynant Gerritse van der Poel, came to the colonies with his wife and at least four children between 1652 and 1654. He had been born in 1617 a little place in the Dutch province of Drenthe in a village called Meppel, about an hour’s drive straight west from the eastern border of northern Germany.  The spelling of their last name was Americanized within two generations to “Vanderpool”.

drenthe
Postcard “Greetings from Drenthe”. Meppel is in the south-western corner of the province.

Abraham Sr., who made a living as a miner and had lost one of his brothers in a mining accident in 1743, married twice, first Jannetje Weibling, then Rebecca Isaacs.  By the time he married Rebecca, probably around 1748, Abraham Sr. had moved quite a bit south from New York, probably following mining opportunities.  He had settled in Augusta County, VA, where he lived through 1751 on the South Branch of the Potomac River (now part of counties in West Virginia).  This is where a son named Abraham Jr. was born to him and Rebecca, who was to become our 6th (and 7th) great-grandfather.

Greenbrier_River
The Greenbrier River near the town of Anthony in Greenbrier County

Abraham Sr.’s whereabouts between the years 1751 and 1756 is uncertain, but it is believed he was in the Greenbrier River area (Augusta Co., VA, now in counties of West Virginia) in 1756 or earlier.  This area is not far from Vanderpool Gap, discovered by John Vanderpool, assumed brother of Abraham.  Here is a photo of Vanderpool Gap.  If you click the (slightly cropped) picture, it will take you to the blog post where I found it.

vanderpool gap
View of Vanderpool Gap, Highland County, Virginia, looking west into Blue Grass Valley

Present day Vanderpool in Highland County, Virginia is also quite close by.

After a series of attacks by the Shawnee Indians along the Greenbrier, Abraham Sr.’s family retreated to safer locations.  By 1757, Abraham Sr.’s family had moved to Orange County, North Carolina.  Then their whereabouts for about ten years is uncertain.

But some families, including Abraham’s oldest living daughter Catherine, her husband Frederick See and their children, returned and settled again along the Greenbrier, believing that the Indians and their leader Chief Cornstalk were friends now.  They were wrong.  On 16 July 1763, several Dutch settlers were killed, especially men and older boys, in what came to be known as the bloody Muddy Creek Massacre.  Among the victims was Abraham Sr.’s son-in-law Frederick.  Catherine and her children were captured along with other women and children and taken across the Ohio River into what is now Ross County, Ohio.  About a year later, in November of 1764, a treaty with Cornstalk and the Shawnee was made and an exchange of prisoners was agreed upon, and so Catherine, who had proved herself to be undaunted by the horrors she had seen, having been called a “fighting squaw” by the Indians, and most of her children were released.  If you are interested in the whole story, follow the Muddy Creek Massacre link above.  It’s heart-wrenching.

muddy creek massacre
Marker at the Muddy Creek Massacre site.

By 1767, Abraham Sr. was established in Rowan County, NC.  The area of Rowan County they lived in became part of Wilkes Co. in 1777.  They appear in a tax list through Jun 12, 1778.

Abraham Vanderpool Sr. probably died on a date between Jun 12, 1778 and May 12 1779. His wife, Rebecca signed her will May 12, 1779 in Washington County, North Carolina (later Tennessee), where Abraham probably died as well, and where they are both buried.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Abraham.

Featured is a painting of historical Albany, NY, Abraham Vanderpool Sr.’s birthplace: North Pearl Street from Maiden Lane North, by James Eights, circa 1805.

8 comments on “Remembering Our Ancestors: Abraham Vanderpool Sr.”

      1. Very much so. It’s why I preferred to link to it rather than quote. Surely it was not an easy year of her life. The little episode with the old Indian woman gives us an idea of just how extreme the situation must have been, I guess.

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  1. Very interesting reading…i am also a decendant of james and rebecca.we are jackson county Denney’s. Im just starting into the research on the family and stumbled on your page….thank you very much for taking the time to post this!!

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    1. Welcome, and thanks for stopping by! We are in Ohio, too, just a wee bit further north. Which of James and Rebecca’s sons is your ancestor, then?

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      1. We would have came through jeremiah and his son william then thomas .we apparently came from gallia county into the Buckeye furnace area of jackson county….i see we have alot of relatives out there , we just havnt met many of them!!

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      2. Our line comes through Jeremiah’s younger brother John (or Jordan), his son Azariah Franklin, then on to Hudson. They all stayed in the area at first, then went to the other side of the Ohio to WV for a generation (that was Hudson’s son Steward Leslie) before settling in the area east of Columbus, OH, around Lancaster (that was Grandpa Lorain Franklin). I
        have heard of an annual Denney reunion in the area (southern OH), but know no details at this point. Genealogy is such a rewarding study!

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