Uncle Dave's book

Friday, July 4, 2014

52 Ancestors #24: Johannes Kells, Revolutionary Soldier

     Johannes (John) Kells was born on 24 Feb 1741 in Claverack, Columbia, New York and baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church of Linlithgo. He was the son of Hendryk or Henry Kells and Anna Margaretha Eswein. Her family were German Palatines from Pfalz, Germany. His antecedents we are not sure of currently. On 20 Dec 1763, Johannes' marriage to Maria Elizabeth Ennes Anderson is recorded in the same Linlithgo Church.  They had eight children, two girls and six boys.

     In the Revolutionary War, Johannes was a private in Capt. Andrew Finck, Jr.'s Company in the First Battalion of New York Forces. He enlisted on 12 Mar 1776 for a period of three years.  In Oct of 1777 he was Fort Schuyler in the Mohawk Valley of New York. This fort played a key role in helping the Americans defeat the British in Western New York.

     Johannes Kells is enumerated in the 1790 Census as the Head of a Household in Claverack, Columbia, New York. An interesting part of the Census record is that it says that he owned 5 slaves. I hadn't realized that people in New York owned slaves at this time but it was very common. New York passed a law in 1799 for gradual freeing of the slaves and in 1827 slavery was abolished fully. I don't know if I mentioned this to my mother who would have been shocked that any of her ancestors had ever owned slaves! Johannes died between 1798 and 1800 in Claverack.

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