The Massachusetts Studies Network

I am pleased to announce that my peer-reviewed research paper on my ancestor John Van Gelder has been published in New York State Museum Bulletin 511, Mohican Seminar 3, The Journey, An Algonquian Peoples Seminar, edited by Shirley W. Dunn. My paper, "The Impact of John Van Gelder: Mohican, Husbandman, and Historic Figure," is Chapter 10. It is a result of several years' research prompted by the biased and undocumented history that I found. This is my first published paper.

John Van Gelder was the son of Wappinger chief Awansous and a Mohican woman, born by 1698. His mother belonged to the Catskill band of Mohicans. By this time the Catkill band had already lost their land in the Catskill and Copake areas of New York State and had moved east of the Berkshires. In 1719 the banns of marriage were published for Van Gelder and the German Palatine woman Anna Maria Koerner, also known as Mary Karner. Her family was originally recorded as living on both sides of the Hudson River in the Palatine camps.

The Van Gelders settled in the South Egremont area of Berkshire County, not far from the Green River. Their family became involved in the battles for land among the rich New York landlords Van Rensselaer and Livingston, Massachusetts and the Mohican Indians. After that was resolved, at least twenty of the family served in the American Revolution. After losing most of their land after the war, most of the descendants moved away from the area. Those remaining had ties to other families.

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