Samuel Gordon Smyth.

A genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre family, from civil, military, church and family records and documents (Volume 2) online

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Online LibrarySamuel Gordon SmythA genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre family, from civil, military, church and family records and documents (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 49)
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Member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

and of the

Historical Societies of Montgotnery and Bucks Counties in Pennsylvania

Press of

The New Era Printing Company

Lancaster, Pa.


Copyright, 1909
By Samuel Gordon Smyth



With sentiments of affectionate esteem, this volume is respect-
fully dedicated to my dear friend and kinsman, Major S. A.
Duke, of Baxter, Arkansas, whose counsel and support, wisely
and practically rendered, has sustained the compiler of these pages
through many years of patient, but persistent, endeavor; and in
grateful recognition of the knowledge and the pleasure the writer
has absorbed from his genial personality, his cheering optimism
and his common-sense philosophy during the happy days of our
companionship at home and abroad.

Samuel Gordon Smyth.
" Rylmont,"

West Conshohocken, Pa.,
July. 24, 1909.


" Pride in descent from men of the type of our early colonists, is held
to be entirely consistent with our democratic institutions. They were the
pioneer Americans, men who under great discouragements and with vast
labor, planted strong and deep the foundations of our commonwealths.
It is worth while to make this fact plain. . . . hence, the spirit of pre-
serving the memory of the great though humbly worked-out deeds of our
ancestors in the gloomy obscurities of the colonies in their forest days."

Boston Transcript.

" The very base of family feeling is respect for the past, for the best
possessions of a family are its common memories. . . . We must learn
again to value our domestic traditions. A precious care has preserved
certain monuments of the past. So antique dress, provincial dialects, old
folk-songs, have found appreciative hands to gather them up before they
should disappear from the face of the earth. What a good deed to guard
these crumbs of a great past — these vestiges of the souls of our ancestors !
Let us do the same for our family traditions, save and guard as much
as possible of the patriarchal — whatever its form."

From Rev. Chas. Wagner's Simple Life.



This work now before you is a genealogy and history of the
related families of John Van Meter, Thomas Shepherd and John
Duke: settlers between 1730 and 1750 of the Northern Neck in
the Valley of Virginia ; conspicuous figures in the formative
period, as their descendants have been in later developments, —
of Frederick and Berkeley counties in what is now western Vir-
ginia. The annals of those earlier days are of the hardships and
adventures of border-life in the pioneer-period and concerns, too,
the welding of diverse racial elements into an American body-

In the adventures and the work, as the annals graphically evi-
dence, these fathers were conspicuous and foremost, and the
story of their respective descendants who were related in so
remarkable and unusual degree, is the story of the establishment
of a community upon which the character of the fathers is in-
delibly stamped and which has exercised an appreciable and pro-
gressive influence in every part of the Union. It is the outgrowth
of conditions in a period that has no parallel in the history of
any other country at any time, and out of which, and from such
as these, has been evolved this wonderful American nation.

It is not without a sense of his own personal limitations and the
responsibilities of such an undertaking, that the compiler has
essayed the role of a family biographer and genealogist. It is
the fruit of many years of patient investigation and study; and
of a determination to preserve, in some tangible form, the results
attained. It grew out of circumstances where, in at least two
instances, the work of others along the same lines was left unfin-
ished and became subsequently lost.

The compiler has made extensive and painstaking research in
state and county civil records, inilitary rosters, church and Bible
registers and in private documents and correspondence. He has
industriously consulted and collated all reputable authorities, and
with patience and thoroughness, has traced and compared family
histories and local traditions, verifying or correcting these essen-
tials of trustworthy genealogy.

The work is a tentative genealogy, meaning that the factor of
error and omission, if not altogether eliminated, has been mini-
mized and reduced to a negligible quantity. It is given to the
reader without further apology, as the compiler's best effort to
approximate the truth in the family's history.

This opportunity is taken to express the compiler's grateful
appreciation of the valuable assistance and counsel given him in
the preparation of this work by Mrs. C. C. Foster of Indianapolis,


Ind. ; ]\Irs. Wm. P. Mercer of Elm City, N. C. ; Miss Sally Lee
Powell of Shepherdstown, W. Va. ; Major S. A. Duke of Baxter,
Ark.; Col. J. T. Holmes of Columbus, Ohio; Clinton Gage, Esq.,
of Oak Lane, and Dr. John W. Jordan, Librarian of the His-
torical Society of Pennsylvania, of Philadelphia; Prof. W. A.
Obenchain, Pres. of Ogden College of Bowling Green, Ky. ; Prof.
J. C. Hubbard of Clarke College, Worcester, Mass. ; Prof.
Charles Magee of Conshohocken, Pa.; W. W. Van Meter, Esq.,
of New Orleans, La. ; Hon. R. T. W. Duke of Charlottesville, Va. ;
Rev. F. T. McFaden, D.D., of Richmond, Va. ; ^Irs. W. Sam'
Goodwyn of Emporia, Va. ; and by many others whose interest
in this work has been practically demonstrated either by contri-
butions of data and information ; by sensible advice or in other
channels — lent a helping hand in its development: to each of
whom my sincere thanks are now extended.

West Conshohocken, Pa.,
July 24, 1909.





In the New World 3

American Origins 7

Louis DuBois 22

Jan Gysbertson Van Meteren 25

The Virginia Grant and Settlement 26

The Hite Grants and Assignments 29

The Deed of Gift 30

Will of John Van Metre 31

Descendants of Sarah Van Metre, 1 37

Descendants of Johannes Van Metre, II 37

Descendants of Mary Van Metre, III 43

Descendants of Rebecca Van Metre, IV 43

Descendants of Isaac Van Metre, V 56

Descendants of Elizabeth Van Metre, VI 57

Descendants of Henry Van Metre, VII 58

Descendants of Rachael Van Metre, VIII 96

Descendants of Abraham Van Metre, IX \. 96

Descendants of Jacob Van Metre, X 122

Descendants of Magdalena Van Metre, XI 132

The Van Meters of Penn'a., Maryland and Virginia 132


The Shepherds of Washington County, Maryland 141

The Land Grant to Thomas Shepherd 147

Thomas Shepherd : His Will, Etc 150

Thomas Shepherd of Shepherdstown 154

Will of Elizabeth Shepherd 159

Customs and Dress of the Pioneers 160

The Ohio Company and its Object 162

Nemacolin's Path 162

Journey of William Brown to the Ohio 163

The Route to " the Ohio country." 163

Chronological Record of David Shepherd 164

The Pluggy's Town Expedition 180

Official and other Correspondence 182

Will and Inventory of David Shepherd 186

Will of Moses Shepherd 187




Notes on the Teague Family 189

Descendants of David Sheplierd, 1 191

Descendants of Sarah Shepherd, II 201

Descendants of Elizabeth Shepherd, III 205

Descendants of William Shepherd, IV 216

Descendants of Thomas. Jr., Shepherd, V 222

Descendants of John Shepherd, VI 229

Descendants of Mary Shepherd, VII 234

Descendants of Martha Shepherd, VIII 235

Descendants of Abraham Shepherd, IX 244

Descendants of Susannah Shepherd, X 248


Derivation of Family Name 257

English and Irish Sources 263

Duke of Colonial Virginia 264

Duke of Colonial Carolina 277

John Duke, the Pioneer of the Valley 291

His Settlement in Frederick Co., Va 297

The Harper's Ferry Dukes 302

The Descendants of John Duke 304

The Descendants of William Duke, II 317

The Descendants of Francis Duke, III 352

The Descendants of John Duke, IV 373

The Descendants of Robert Duke, V 374

James Duke of Charlestown, W. Va 379

Duke of Norfolk Co., Va 383

Duke of Brooke Co., W. Va 386

Duke of Durham, N. C 388

Duke of Indiana 39°

Other Duke Families 39^

Dukes' in First U. S. Census, 1790 395

PART IV. Appendix

The Van Metres of Fairfield Co., Ohio 399

The Kentucky Van Meters ' 400

Morgan Van Metre 402

The Hedges Family 4^3

Van Mctre-Mitchell-Funston 404

Extracts from Shepherd Mss 4^6

Rezin D. Shepherd 408

Henry Shephfrd 408

Index 410




Arms of the Van Meterens of Holland (frontispiece)

Emmanuel Van Meteren, Dutch Consul and Historian 8

The Van Meteren House in Holland 9

Capt. C. J. Van Metre 74

Mrs. E. A. Obenchain 75

Major W. A. Obenchain 84

Samuel Roberts Van Metre 117

W. W. Van Meter, Esq 132

Crest of the Shepherds of Devonshire, England 141

Crest of the Shepherds of Shepherdstown Virginia 141

Col. Moses Shepherd 192

Mrs. Lydia B. Shepherd-Crugar 192

Rev. Thomas Mclntire, Ph.D 197

Mrs. Harriet Mclntire Foster 200

Arms of the Dukes of Suffolk, England 257

An Early Home of the Dukes in Devonshire, England (birth-
place of Sir Walter Raleigh 264

Hon. R. T. W. Duke, Sr 271

Hon. R. T. W. Duke, Jr 271

Tombs of Nannie Duke Jones and Miss Annie C. Lee 288

Fac-simile pages of old Duke Record 294

Ruins of The U. S. Arsenal, Harpers Ferry, W. V 302

Seige of Fort Henry, Wheeling, W. Va 307

Francis K. Duke, Esq 325

Samuel Gordon Smyth 339

Mrs. Mary E. Duke-Smyth 339

Rev. Frank T. McFaden, D.D 343

David Duke 355

Hon. S. A. Duke 358

Col. Charles Talbot Duke 368

Henry J. Duke 377

John W. Duke 392




Long years before the English people had obtained a foothold
in the present State of New York, the Dutch, one of the then
world-powers, had carefully explored, took possession of and was
rapidly planting her sons upon a vast province which extended
from the Connecticut River on the east and passed over the Dela-
ware to the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay ere the other mari-
time nations were aware of the significance and extent of the
Dutch dominion in the New World. Upon this magnificent terri-
tory was bestowed the name of New Netherlands. From the
day, in 1609, when Henry Hudson rode the waters of the North
River in the famous " Half Moon" till the present — the impress
of the Dutch is ineradicably stamped upon the land and its inhabi-
tants. The exploring expedition of Captain Hudson which as-
cended the river that bears his name had for its object one more
attempt to find the fabled and long-sought passage to the western
sea and though it failed to achieve that purpose, yet it marked
one of the earliest epochs in the romance of western colonization
and in this historic event one of its most interesting features is the
realization that it was brought about through the influence of one
of the family of Van Meteren. We are told by the late John
Fiske — who was one of our most learned historians — that it was
due to Emmanuel Van Meteren, himself a famous historian in
his day, and at the time Dutch Consul, resident in London, that
Captain Henry Hudson was persuaded to enlist in the service of
the Dutch East India Company and was given command of the
expedition which opened the era of Dutch influence in America.
Whether or not the advice of Consul Van Meteren was extended
to his own family and acted upon by some of them in later genera-
tions, it is impossible to say ; they came, however, whether his
counsel was responsible or not. From Hudson's period, through
all the succeeding years, to Governor Leisler's time, the Dutch
rule over New Netherlands was supreme. As the years passed
on there came from the cities and provinces of Holland an ever-
increasing stream of immigrants made up, for the greater part,
by farmers, traders, burghers and mariners ; men of respectability,
thrift and enterprise. They found among the waterways in and
about New Amsterdam snug harbors and havens so like those
beyond the sea, but more promising in freedom and prosperity
than those they had ever before known. They were a numerous
and flourishing people; the tide of their progress met the flow of
Puritan colonists who came down the coast from the bleak and


rock-bound shores of Massachusetts Bay ; they spread over the
southern end of Long Island, and here were founded the Dutch
towns of New Utreclit, Flatbush, Gowanus, Gravesend, Breuck-
lyn, until the multiplying communities interlaced each other, while
over the Hudson were the villages of Bergen, Communipaw and
the fishing hamlets of Staten Island. Their inhabitants were
mostly rivermen, but the prosperous burgher of the busy marts
of Manhattan came to abide among them and lived in the tidy
boweries that stretched along the Sound shores, or up the " lordly
Hudson " or down to Staten and Coney's Islands. Crossing the
Kill-von-Kull, they mixed with the incoming Scotch and English
settlers about Perth and when mere village limitations no longer
marked their bounds they passed on, with the trader and the
peltry hunter, to more distant conquests.

Grants of land — many of them of princely size — were made on
the upper reaches of the Hudson ; their proportions extended far
into the forests until the realms claimed from the wilderness by
the invading Dutchman extended to the northern lakes. It was
then that the patroonships were introduced and witnessed the
translation of Old World feudalism — patterned from the baronies
of the fatherland — to the primitive wilds of the forest-girt
Hudson. The Indians receded toward the interior, but in his
passing, as in parting with his ancient possessions, he occasionally
exacted revengeful recompense as he fell back before the advance
of a relentless and resistless force. The love of barter was strong
in the Dutch character ; it was infectious and dominant, and its
insidious influence drew largess from the tribesmen inhabiting the
uttermost parts of these Dutch dominions ; here and then was
laid the foundation of that spirit of commercialism which, long
since, made New York dominant in the trade of the western

In the second decade of the latter half of the seventeenth cen-
tury a settlement was founded on the west shore of the Hudson
among the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, some sixty odd
miles above the bay, by the Dutch and some French Huguenot
immigrants who had obtained patents there. These pioneers were
joined by others from Manhattan and its surrounding commu-
nities and in a short while the fertile valleys of the Wallkill and
the Esopus sheltered a group of thrifty villages. Thus in the
decades between 1660 and 1680 the settlements known as New
Village (Hurley), Wyltwick, Esopus, Marbletown (Mormel) and
New Paltz were founded in close proximity to each other. Be-
hind them rose the bulwark of the Catskills and beyond these
mountains, and out of their western slopes, the head springs of
the Delaware rose and so provided a trail for the tribes of the
mountains by which they found intercourse with their southern
contemporaries. Over the three thousand and more acres of fer-
tile lands peopled by these different social refugees, a new Pala-


tinate arose and the pilgrims from the Rhine sought here that
peace and tolerance which was denied them in their old homes
beyond the sea. But, while escaping the religious and political
persecutions and the devastation of their property abroad, they
were destined to meet here new terrors and stranger experiences
in the very sanctuary which Providence seems to have raised up
for them. Suffering and disaster in terrible form awaited them
from the Indians and many were thus actually martyrs for con-
science sake. In 1663 the savages fell upon the inhabitants of
Esopus with barbaric fury ; the village of Hurley was burned,
several of the settlers were killed and wounded, and, retreating
toward the Minnisink Mountains, the Indians carried away many
captives, among whom were the wives and children of the Du
Bois and Van Metre families. This attack, styled in the narra-
tives of colonial history the Second Esopus War, dispersed many
of the settlers ; some of them, going far to find security, passed
down the Delaware Valley to the Dutch settlements in the vicinity
of New Amstel (New Castle, Del.), where a few permanently
remained. Months later, the Indians who had caused this trouble
were found and punished by Captain Alartin Kreiger and a band
of Dutch soldiers, and the captives, on the very eve of diabolic
torture, were rescued and restored to their families. It was not
long after this event that peace and prosperity once again reigned
over the Hudson Valley region.

One benignant feature which grew out of intercommunal rela-
tions and interests of the villagers who were of differing racial
temperament, was the harmony which prevailed throughout the
settlements. The Dutch and the French Huguenots forget their
political antagonisms, their social and religious lines of cleavage,
and fraternized in a common bond of sympathy and self-protec-
tion. These conditions were constantly strengthened and at length
unified by intermarriage and its resultant kinship, so that before
the first native generation had reached maturity the social, civil
and economic environment had become so radically changed that
the Dutch tongue was used principally in the domestic circle and
the French languge in civil and ecclesiastical affairs.

There was one church in the earlier days : the Reformed Dutch.
It was located at Wyltwyck (Kingston), where all might wor-
ship, where most of the children were baptized. Here was kept
by successive pastors or dominies, with rare fidelity and thorough-
ness, the records of marriages and baptisms. These records were
carefully preserved and were recently edited and published, and
for the period from 1662 to a comparatively recent date now form
a valuable index of the inhabitants of that part of Ulster County,
N. Y. In scanning the pages of this register one finds the names
of foreparents of families now scattered world-wide. From this
place many of the descendants of those early settlers migrated to
the newly settled parts of Pennsylvania, or were of those who



pressed on into ^Maryland and Virginia, and later were in the
forefront of that conquering host of heroic pioneers who carried
civihzation into the south and west, and so redeemed the wilder-
ness and banished forever the scourge of the redmen.

Coincident with the settlement of New York by the Dutch a
Swedish colony was planted on the west side of the Delaware
during the reign of Gustavus Adolphus. Peter Minuit was sent
over from Sweden by his sovereign to govern the little colony.
In the space of the dozen or more years that New Sweden flour-
ished, several small settlements were made on either side of the
Delaware by these people, principally along the creeks and about
the coves of the river. The aggressive trading propensities of
these hardy men and the rapid expansion of their communities
excited the jealousy and invoked the wrath of the Dutch, and
very soon precipitated a dispute with the government at New
Amsterdam. It was claimed that the Swedes had encroached
upon the territorial rights and were colonizing the Dutch posses-
sions. The controversy was suddenly brought to an end in 1655
by the appearance among the Swedes of the formidable and irre-
pressible Governor Stuyvesant, who, with an armed force behind
him, compelled the surrender of the subjects of Charles X., who
was then the Swedish king in the place of Queen Christina, the
renunciation of the Swedish pretensions and the acknowledge-
ment by them of the overlordship of New Netherlands to all the
lands by them inhabited on both sides of the Delaware (Fiske's
Dutch and Quaker Colonies, Vol. I., pp. 208-210). Stuyvesant
lost no time in persuading some of his people, then Hving in New
Amsterdam and its adjacencies and colonists freshly arriving, to
emigrate to this new and subjugated country. He was successful.
After this time many ships coming direct from Holland with their
loads of settlers were directed to the Delaware settlements, and
here, too, in time, the same process of assimilation between the
Swedes and the Dutch took place as was then being enacted be-
tween the Dutch and the French Huguenots on the shores of the
upper Hudson.

On the east shore of the Delaware, or South River, as it was
called by the Dutch, the Swedes had been seated for some years,
their possessions extending southward from Fort Nassau, nearly
opposite the present city of Philadelphia, to Fort Elsinborg near
Penn's Neck. There were several little settlements along the
small streams intervening between these points ; here the same
commingling between the racial types was occurring. The river
formed no barrier, but rather a convenience, for their intercourse;
both races being of a maritime tendency, the river afforded them
a natural highway for their trading and easier access to their
villages than by the roads which had to be cut through the forests
and swamps. Thus we find them on the banks of Raccoon,
Cohansey, Maurice, Salem, Timber and other creeks on the eastern



shore, and along the Christiana, Brandywine, MisspilHon, White
and Red Clay and other creeks on the west side of the Delaware.
These settlers often crossed the river to attend the churches on
the opposite shore, the mills and the trading stations.

There was an overland path between the Dutch settlements at
New Amsterdam and at New Amstel ; it crossed the Passaic, the
Rahway and the Raritan rivers and touched the Delaware at the
Falls, now Trenton, N. J., and thence, by fording, to the Penn-
sylvania side and keeping along its western bank to the sites of
the old Swedish plantations on the Pennepack and on the Schuyl-
kill they passed down to the present town of New Castle, Del.
At Christiana Creek they could follow its northerly direction until
at a point where the Delaware peninsula was the narrowest they
could cross overland to the Head of Elk and by that tributary
reach the Chesapeake and farther on to the more distant points
in the provinces of Pennsylvania and Maryland and the colony
of Virginia. The overland path of 1675 was called the Kings
Highway ; later it became the main artery of communication
between New York and Philadelphia. It remains to-day a well
preserved and popular thoroughfare between those two important
eastern cities.

Another path much traveled in colonial days was the one used
by the settlers of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, in the
Province of East Jersey, to reach the settlements along the Dela-
ware. This one crossed Burlington County from the first named
points and intersected the Delaware at Matinicunk Island (be-
tween Bristol and Burlington) and joined the " King's Path" on
the Pennsylvania side of the river.

It was by these primitive routes that the various and widely
separated settlements in the middle colonies were connected and
by which they continually acquired growth from the ever-
increasing flow of pioneers, who, setting their faces southward
from the earher and more thickly settled parts eastward, formed
the stream of emigration which pierced the Blue Ridge at the
Potomac and rapidly absorbed the virgin valleys beyond. Thus
it is set forth in order that we may more readily trace and follow
the trend of our progenitors in their earlier movements and final
settlement in Maryland and Virginia.


Our first introduction to the search for the Van Metre ancestry
comes to us, strangely enough, through the work of the American
historian, John Fiske, in his " Dutch and Quaker Colonies " (Vol.
I., p. 70 et seq.), in which he refers to Captain Hendrick Hudson
and states that : " . . . the moment that history first actually knows
him is the first day of May, 1607, when he sailed from Greenwich



in command of an Arctic expedition ; but we also know that he
was a citizen of London; and the Dutch historian J'an Meteren,
who was Consul at London, tells us that there was a warm friend-
ship existing between Henry Hudson the navigator, and Captain
John Smith." Farther along, in a reference to the Dutch East

Online LibrarySamuel Gordon SmythA genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre family, from civil, military, church and family records and documents (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 49)