Title: Reynolds, Cuyler, Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical & Family Memoirs, 4 Vols. (NY: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., 1911)
Title: Pearson, Jonathan, Contributions for the Genealogies of the First Settlers of the Ancient County of Albany (Gen. Pub. Co., Inc., reprinted 1984)
Note: al and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in SCPL's Reference collection at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.] (Now in Google books.) The original ancestors [of] the Gansevoort families of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys in New York state lived in a town called Ganzfort, which was situated on the boarders of Germany and Holland. Wesselus Gansefortius, otherwise known in his own day as Wessel Gansevoort and also as John Wessel Gansevoort, was born at Groningen, Holland, in the year 1419, in a house standing in the Heerestraat, near the Caroliweg, and which can be recognized by the family arms which remain to this day in the front stone. The arms themselves appear to present an emblem of agriculture and commerce, from which it may be assumed that the Gansevoorts of early times were engaged in those avocations. And besides the family name of Gansevoort (doubtless derived from the village of Ganzfort, in Westfalen), he bore in later times among men of eminent learning the name of Basilius, and the title of Lux Mundi (light of the world), and also the name of Magister Contradictionis (Master of Contradictions or Debates). For this latter title he is probably indebted to his continued attacks against the errors and abuses of the church. He also has been referred to and mentioned as the forerunner of Luther, and he favored the school of absolute nominalism in philosophy. He was a leader in the pre-Reformation movement in Holland, and ranked among the most learned men of his time; was an intimate friend in early life of Thomas á Kempis, studied at several of the great schools of Europe, and was offered and declined a professorship at Heidelberg. At Paris he was the instructor of two men who afterward achieved wide fame, Reuchlin and Agricola, and subsequently he visited in Rome when Sixtus IV. was Pope. He had been on terms of intimacy with Sixtus when the latter was superior-general of the Franciscans. It is related that he was asked by Sixtus what favor he could do for him, and in answer Wessel asked for a Greek and Hebrew Bible from the Vatican library. "You shall have it," said the Pope, "but what a simpleton you are; why did you not ask for a bishopric or something of that kind?" "Because I do not want it," replied Wessel, a reply truly characteristic of his high tone and independent spirit. On religious subjects his views were broad and deep, and he promulgated with boldness the doctrines of the Reformation forty years in advance of Luther, who held his character and attainments in high esteem and who published an edition of part of his works. His name, still retained by the family in this country, is reverenced in Groningen, his native city, where in 1862 an ancient tablet to his memory was restored by the authorities of the city and placed in the large church with demonstrations of public regard. The Hon. Harmanus Bleecker, when minister to The Hague, stated that there was no doubt of the descent of the family from this philosopher, and papers in possession of the family of the late Judge Peter Gansevoort, of Albany, show the fact more clearly. In 1860 his tomb at Groningen was visited by judge Gansevoort and his son, and a few days previous to their arrival the remains had been disinterred and were lying in the cloister of the Holy Virgins, to which place they had been removed from the chapel of the University to make room for modern improvements. His tomb also had been removed and was lying in pieces ready to be reërected. It was of the medieval style and surmounted by a bust of Wessel, such as was usually placed over tombs of that description. The bust was of marble, but, like that of Shakespeare at Stratford, it had been painted in different colors. It showed him to be a man of intellect and benevolence, and the inscription on the tomb was elaborate and magniloquent. The bones of the body were in perfect preservation and were regarded by those in charge with great reverence, and they were reinterred with ceremony. It is a somewhat singular fact that at the time of the arrival there of Judge Gansevoort and his son, the house of their ancestor Wessel Gansevoort was being demolished to make room for a more modern building. It contained above the front door a marble slab on which was carved the same coat-of-arms as that borne by the family in America, viz.: 4 quarters, a ship and wagon. Wesselius Gansefortius died October 9, 1489. It is said that during his last sickness he complained that through various considerations and reflections he felt his belief in the great truths of the Christian religion shaken, but not long before his death he was heard to exclaim with great thankfulness, "I thank God, all these vain thoughts have gone, and I know nothing but Christ and Him crucified." Such then are something of the qualities and characteristics of the great scholar and philosopher, who, without doubt, is the remote ancestor of the family of the Gansevoort surname purposed to be treated in these annals. It is not known in what year the first Gansevoort emigrated to the Low Country of Holland, but it is known that the first of the surname on this side of the Atlantic Ocean appeared in New Netherlands in the year 1660. (I) Harme Van Ganzvort (he so wrote his name in all of his business and family transactions so long as he lived) came to America and settled at Catskill, on the Hudson river, in 1660. There he had an extensive manor, doubtless acquired from the Indians, but afterward his lands were granted to others. It is related by one chronicler of the family history that Harme lived for some time at Catskill, on an estate more recently owned by the Van Vechten family, and that he was unjustly deprived of his property by one of the Dutch governors who went by water from New Amsterdam to Albany and on his passage up the river anchored his vessel opposite Catskill creek. There the governor went ashore with his secretary or aide, walked up to the Ganzvort dwelling, and was hospitably entertained by the proprietor. The secretary expressed his admiration of the estate, solicited a grant of it from the governor, and secured it. In consequence of this, Harme Van Ganzvort, who had no other title to the land than that of possession and the consent of the Indian owners, was compelled to leave and locate elsewhere. From Catskill he removed with his family to Albany, where, having been brought up to the trade of a brewer, he set up in that business and continued it so long as he lived. His home and brew house were at the corner of Market street and Maiden lane. This property has been kept in the family and on the site now stands Stanwix Hall. Harme Van Gansevoort (or Van Ganzvort) died July 23, 1710. He was a man of character and ability, a member of the Lutheran church. Of his means he gave to the society of that church a lot of land on which to erect a house of worship, and beneath the pulpit in the church his remains were buried. The lot is on South Pearl street, where the market house was built in later years. His wife was Marritje Liendarts, who died in 1742. Children: Elsie, married, 1689, Francis Winne. Maria. Aguitie, married, 1698, Teunis Williams. Anna, married, 1692, Jacobus De Warrien. Lysbeth, married, 1701, Johannes De Wandelaer. Hillitie, married, 1706, Albert Van Derzee. Catarine, married, 1714, Asent Pruyn. Leonard, born 1681 (see post). Rachel, born 1686, married Teunis Hamerin. Lydia, born 1690. Rebecca, 1693. Hendrick, 1696.
Note: [This information is from Vol. I, Pp. 65-72 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogic
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