A Brodhead-Schoonhoven Conundrum

One of this blog’s readers, Donna K., is in a conundrum about her Brodhead ancestry. She is a descendant of Garret Brodhead (1733-1804) and his first ‘partner’ Cornelia Schoonhoven (b. 1733).  I use the word ‘partner’ because Donna has found no evidence of a marriage. Garret and Cornelia had one son, Garret (b. 1756), from whom Donna descends.

It is common knowledge among descendants that Garret went on to marry Jane Davis (b. 1736)—presumably after Cornelia died—and had a number of children with Jane. My fourth great grandfather, the Honorable Richard B. Brodhead (1772-1843), was among them. The Brodhead Family Association’s history book (Vol. I, p. 72) records a 15 Mar 1759 marriage between Garret (“blacksmith”) and Jane (“spinster”).

But Donna has discovered compelling evidence, largely from those responsible for compiling the Schoonhoven Mastertree, Part 1, that Cornelia did not die but married Daniel Marvin and had more children with him:

66. Cornelia “Kate” Van Schoonhoven (Henricus “Henry Nicolas”, Hendrick Claessen, Claes Hendrickse Hendrich1 Van Schoonhoven) was born Abt January 1732/33 in Kingston, Ulster County, NJ d 1782?. She married? (1) Garett Brodhead.b 1745? d 1840?  She married 1760 in Sandyston, Sussex County, NJ to (2) Daniel Marvin. bp abt 1727 CT d 1788? (Sources vary on dates of birth and death)

Children of Cornelia Van Schoonhoven and Garett Brodhead are:
187 i. Garrett Brodhead bp abt 1756.

Children of Cornelia Van Schoonhoven and Daniel Marvin are:
188    i. Maria Marvin b abt 1763 in Sussex Co NY.
188.1 ii. Cornelia Marvin b abt 1765
188.2 iii.Rachel Marvin, born October 20, 1766.in Sussex Co NY.
188.3 iv. Hendrikkus/ Henry Schoonhoven Marvin, born February 02, 1771in Sandyston, Sussex County, New Jersey
188.4. v. Catherine Marvin b Aug 30, 1772 in Walpack Sussex Co NJ
188.5  vi. Daniel Marvin
188.6  vii. Judith Marvin

Other points Donna makes are the following:

  • It seems highly likely that Garret and Cornelia either never married or had an early divorce. A divorce was unlikely because of the times.
  • Garret, the son of Garret and Cornelia, may have been raised in the household of Cornelia’s father since he is mentioned in his grandfather’s will. Another possibility is that he went with his mother when she married Daniel Marvin, since a Garret Schoonhoven (“187 i” in the Schoonhoven tree) is mentioned as part of that household.
  • Garret Sr. married Jane Davis in 1759 when his son with Cornelia is three years old.
  • Cornelia marries Daniel Marvin in 1760, when her son with Garret is four years old.
  • Cornelia and Daniel Marvin have their first child, Daniel, in 1761.
  • Garret Jr. is known as Garret Brodhead Schoonhoven until adulthood (this assertion is based on the fact that he is mentioned as such in his grandfather’s 1771 will).
  • Garret Jr. enlisted in the Sussex County NJ Militia in 1776 as Garret Brodhead, Jr. I t seems likely that he enlisted in Sussex County because that is where he grew up. (His father served in Pennsylvania’s Northampton Militia.

Donna has contacted someone involved with the Schoonhoven master tree. That person noted that some of the Schoonhoven girls were “pretty wild” and that it could very well be that no marriage ever took place between Cornelia and Garret.

Anyone with information that could shed light on the foggy circumstances of Garret Jr.’s earliest years is asked to kindly share it. You can leave a comment or contact me via the email address in the About page. Donna is eager to learn anything else she can about her ancestor, and I must say I’m a bit curious myself!

Categories: Brodhead, Davis, Schoonhoven | 4 Comments

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