The Origin, History and Genealogies of the
Rulison Families in America
Letter from Henry F. Rulison
to R. W. Reese
July 26, 1915
Original Saved Over the Years by
Margaret H. Cory
Transcribed by Laura G. Cory
The following letter and genealogical notes are transcribed from a letter by Henry R. Rulison written to Reuben W. Reese to be used as information for a Reese family reunion. The document, handwritten on eight pages with the addition of the cover letter and three maps, has been passed down over the years to Addie Green (a niece of R. W. Reese), to Addie's daughter Maude Cory, and subsequently to Maude's daughter-in-law, Margaret Cory.
I did not change any of the spelling or grammar in the document. I did correct a few genealogical numbering errors in order to eliminate confusion, and bolded some names for added clarity. The underlines are copied from the author. The numbering structure is repeated for two lines of the family, so overlapping numbers remain. The author does not cite specific sources.
R.W. Reese was the youngest son of Hannah Rulison. Henry Rulison tailored the notes to focus specifically on the descendants of Hannah. Also, the author included a paragraph on his specific life and accom-plishments.
I have no information about the disposition of the extensive set of genealogical materials that the author described at the end of the document.
I have not verified any of the information in the document.
(International Harvester Company Letterhead)
My dear cousin:-
Inclosed you will find in condensed form the origin, history, and genealogies of the Rulison families in this country, with particular reference to the ancestors of Hannah Rulifson. (The names of her children are given, but the descendants of these children are omitted, on the assumption you and others of the family already possess their record.) Perhaps undue space and importance is given to Roelof Ruloffson and his descendants, a large branch of the family, which has borne some good fruit, and a twig of which is your humble servant. It is inserted in the thought that it will interest you and the others of the family, as showing my relationship to the Reese families. Inclosed are several maps showing the spaces and counties in which Rulisons lived in early days. One shows where Abraham Rulifson settled in Montgomery country, N.Y., his farm, and the farms of three of his sons. Farm 2 shows where Hannah Rulifson was born. These maps should be referred to as one reads the record.
I have no record of the brothers or sisters or parents of Martin Reese, as no one has ever given me any information concerning them, and am sorry that I am unable to aid you in tracing the genealogies of the family. Some time, when I visit the Genealogical department of the Newberry Library in Chicago, I will see what I can find about the Reeses, and will let you know.
I mail you to-day a package containing 75 photogravures of myself, to be given to such persons attending the reunion as may wish them. If more are needed I will send them. I would like to have the name and address of the persons receiving the "picture", that I may know who have, or have not, a copy. If an account of the reunion is published, I should be glad to receive a copy of the paper containing it.
The same day that your reunion comes off, there will be one of the Ruliffson-Wells families held at Scottsville, Monroe Country, N.Y. These families are the descendants of Harmon Ruliffson, a brother of Abraham Rulifson, who was born in 1760, and lived near Gilboa in the southern part of Schoharie Country, N.Y. at the same time Abraham Rulifson lived near Mill Point, Montgomery County, N.Y. It is a strange fact that these two branch families, living in 1910 some 25 miles apart, knew nothing of each other until my records informed them of the relationship. And now they visit each other, and when writing to each other they commence the letters by saying, "My dear cousin,"
I should be very glad to see you when you come to Chicago, and show you my book of records. It is immense, and contains many biographical sketches of intense interest. My work is far from being complete, for almost every week I discover Rulisons - lost Rulisons who have wandered from the fold. Births, marriages, and deaths occur somewhere among the families, which necessitate new entries in my record almost every week. Come over and see me soon.
With best wishes for a large attendance at the reunion and a pleasant time all around, I am
Affectionally yours - always
Henry P. Rulison.
The Origin, History, and Genealogies of the Rulison Families in America.
In the fifteenth century there were living in Germany families by the name of Ruloff, or Rulof. The name is derived from Rudolphus, an early German emperor. From Rudolphus is derived the names Rudolph, Dolph, Ralph, and Rolf, the latter in Hollandish being Roelf and Roelof. It means a counselor, advisor, one authorized to give advice or counsel, as to conduct, etc. It was originally used as a given or baptismal name, and later as a family name.
Several families of Ruloffs emigrated from Germany to Denmark, and the family name of their children born there became Ruloffson, the sons of Ruloff. Other families of Ruloffs emigrated from Germany to Holland, and their children born in Holland were called in the Hollandish way of naming, Roelofsons. So there were in Denmark families of Ruloffsons, and in Holland families of Roelofsons, and these families were related by ties of blood.
It is a matter of history that the Dutch from Holland established a settlement at New Amsterdam (New York City) in 1614. During the years that followed emigrants were coming over continually from Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The Dutch found homes in New Amsterdam, Long Island, northward along the Hudson River and Mohawk River in New York. Some went westward across the Hudson into New Jersey, the Dutch settling through the northern tiers of counties of New Jersey, the Germans farther south along the Raritan River and its tributaries, in Middlesex, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties.
In 1664 the Dutch government surrendered New Amsterdam to the English, and the city was named New York. There were Roelofsons (Dutch) living in the city at this time. Among the property owners in New York City in 1674, at the final cessation to the English, was Boile Roelofson, who lived on Broad Street (Broadway). He was Dutch, and his property was listed, or valued, at $2000. His wife was named Bayken Arentse Roelofson, and they were members of the Dutch Reformed Church, as were most of the Dutch settlers. Jan (John) Roelofson lived on what is now William Street in New York City. A record of the Court of Sessions held at Gravesend, in the West Ryding of Yorkshire upon Long Island, Dec. 21, 1676 reads - "Plaintiff, Capt. John Manning; Defendant, Peter Roelofson. The Case is withdrawn without cost, early this very morning, being an action of trespass on the case." (Capt. Manning in 1673 was acting as governor of New York, in the temporary absence of Gov. Lovelace.)
The first definite and authentic account of the German-Danish Ruloffsons in this country is found in a work entitled, "The Early Germans of New Jersey - Their History, Churches, and Genealogies." From data found in this work is compiled an account of
The Ruloffson Families in New Jersey
#1 Laurens Ruloffson was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1689. His parents were Germans, or of German descent, who had lived in Denmark for some time. His given name, Laurens, is derived from the Latin Laurentus, whose variants are Laurentz, Laurence, Lawrence, etc. It means one who has been laureated, orcrowned, by way of eminence or distinction. Thus in his full name are united the ideas of both wisdom and royal rank.
Like many other young men in Denmark, Holland, and Germany in those early days, Laurens Ruloffson emigrated to America to better his fortunes in the New World, where hundreds of his native countrymen and relatives (Dutch) had preceded him. He arrived in New York City in 1714. The basis of his marriage to Catharine Schuman, daughter of Herman Schuman (German), a potter, were published in the Lutheran Church in that city, May 16, 1715, and he was married in this church June 26, 1715. His wife was born in Feb. 1695, and died in July, 1776. Shortly after his marriage he moved to New Jersey and settled in Middlesex County, near the present city of New Brunswick on the Raritan River (see map of New Jersey). The fertile valleys of the Raritan and its tributaries, in Middlesex, Somerset, Morris and Hunterdon counties were almost exclusively occupied at an early date by German settlers, and it was but natural that he should seek a home among his own native people, speaking the same language and professing the same religious faith. These German emigrants were eminently a religious people and were all members of the Lutheran church. Laurens Ruloffson's occupation was probably that of farming, as was that of the other settlers at that time. He died in 1771. Among his children (families were large in those days), only two will be considered, namely: - Roelof Ruloffson and Hermanes (Hermon) Ruloffson.
#2 Roelof Ruloffson, son of Laurens Ruloffson (#1), was born in Middlesex county, New Jersey, Sept. 26, 1717. When a young man he went westward from Middlesex county, through what is now Somerset county, to Hunterdon county, N.J. (See map). As families were large in those days, the grown-up sons, in order to relieve the fathers of their support, left the parental roof and sought homes in a comparatively unsettled region, where land was cheaper and more easily obtained. In Hunterdon county lived Frederick Bodine and his wife Saartje (Sarah) Rappelyea (French). Frederick's father was Francis Bodine, the son of Jean Bodine, a French Huguenot who came to New Amsterdam and then settled on Staten Island, where he died in 1695. Frederick Bodine had a daughter named Catherine, and she and Roelof Ruloffson were married June 1739. Their children were Lawrence, John, Christian and Leah. Catherine then died, and Roelof married for his second wife Elisabeth Leek, and their children were Isaac, Anna, Abraham, and Henry. Roelof Ruloffson was probably a farmer. He died in Nov. 1783. His will was written May 22, 1783 and probated Jan. 2, 1784.
#3 Lawrence Ruloffson, son of Roelof Ruloffson (#2) was born in Hunterdon country, New Jersey, Nov. 28, 1740. He married Elizabeth Barnhart, who was born Jan. 28, 1743. In 1768 Lawrence lived in Tewksbury township, Hunterdon Co., N.J. and was one of the trustees of the Lutheran church at New Germantown, having seven and a half acres of land attached thereto. (See map). This church was associated with the Lutheran church in German Valley, Morris Co., N.J., one of whose trustees was Isaac Ruloffson, brother of Lawrence. In those pioneer days one pastor preached in a number of what was called Associated churches, and each of these churches contributed to the support of the pastor.
After the Revolutionary War, and prior to 1790, Lawrence moved with his family to Montgomery county, New York, which at that time included the northern half of Schoharie county and a part of Herkimer and Otsego counties. He settled on a farm near Esperance, on Schoharie Creek, in Mohawk township. The U.S. census of 1790 recorded him as the head of a family of three sons over 16 years of age, one under 16, and three daughters - all living in Mohawk township, Montgomery county, N.Y. The census record spelt his name Ruluffson, but would not vouch for the correct spelling of names. Lawrence died April 8, 1814; his wife died Sept. 8, 1820. Of the children no further mention will be made here except that of his oldest son Herman, also called Harmon.
#4 Herman, or Harmon, Ruloffson, son of Lawrence Ruloffson (#3), was born in New Jersey, Aug. 19, 1770. He went with his fathers family from New Jersey to Montgomery Co., N.Y. prior to 1790. He lived near Esperance, now in Schoharie Co., N.Y. In 1796 he married Polly Prudence Butler, who was born Sept. 22, 1769. It was claimed for her a relationship to the family branch of Benjamin F. Butler, a general in the Civil War. From 1776 to 1780 Montgomery county was raided several times by roving bands of Indians and tories. In the raid of 1780, under the command of Sir John Johnson, a British tory, her family fled to a stockade, or fort, in the township of Florida, Montgomery Co., N.Y. for safety. She was the mother of two children, Parker Rulison, born in 1798, and Mary Polly Rulison, born in 1800. She died in 1800. In 1801 Herman Ruloffson married Sarah Jones, of Welsh ancestry. She was born June 3, 1780. She was the mother of ten children - Nelson J. born 1802; Cornelius, 1804; Charles, 1806; Hannah, 1809; Lydia, 1811; Rhoda Ann, 1813; Minerva, 1814; Wesley, 1818; Harmon, 1820; and Hiram Mills, 1822. (In 1800 the children changed the spelling of the family name from Ruloffson to Rulison). In 1820 Herman Ruloffson (Rulison) and his family moved from Schoharie Co., N.Y., and settled on a farm in the township of Theresa in Jefferson country, N.Y. He died July 11, 1836, and his wife Nov. 14, 1861.
#5 Parker Rulison, son of Herman Ruloffson (#4) and Polly Prudence Butler, was born in Schoharie Co., N.Y. May 27, 1798. He went with his father's family to Jefferson Co., N.Y. in 1820. He married Eliza Burhans, daughter of David Burhans, June 15, 1826. She was born in Ulster Co., N.Y. Dec. 10, 1807. David Burhans was a descendant of Jacob Burhans, who was born in Holland in 1600, and who came to this country as an officer under Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New Amsterdam and New Netherlands. Eliza Burhans' mother was Elizabeth Flagler, a descendant of Zachariah Flagler, who was born in Holland, and came to America prior to 1700, and settled near Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Parker Rulison after his marriage was a merchant, and afterward a dairy farmer. He died Dec. 6, 1872. His wife died Oct. 6, 1864. His children were - Mary Jane, Duane, Adda Ann, George, Henry Flagler, Wesley, and Marcus. In 1915 all were dead except Henry Flagler.
#6 Henry Flagler Rulison, son of Parker Rulison (#5) was born in Jefferson county, N.Y. July 25, 1840. He was educated at the academy of Evans Mills, Jefferson Co., N.Y. - at the Jefferson County Institute, a college preparatory at Watertown, N.Y. - at the Wagner Institute of Science in Philadelphia, Pa. - at Rush Medical College in Chicago, Ill. He was for eighteen years principal of high schools in Illinois, seven years State Institute conductor in Illinois - four years editor-in-chief of the publishing house of S. C. Griggs & Co., Chicago, whose works were college and University textbooks. He was the author of several educational textbooks and scientific papers, some of which have been translated into foreign tongues. In 1900 he entered the service of the International Harvester Company of Chicago, in the Bureau of Information, in which position he was in 1915. In 1905 he commenced the compilation of the Rulison and allied genealogies, which in 1915 contained some 18000 names. In 1861 he married Mercy Amelia Bentley of Evans Mills, N.Y. She was born in 1844, and died in Chicago, Aug. 20, 1910. Of six children, three died, and three sons were living in Chicago in 1915.
#7 Hermanes (Harmon) Ruloffson, son of Laurens Ruloffson (#1) and Catharine Schuman was born in Middlesex county, New Jersey in July, 1719. He married Margaretta Van Horn, daughter of Abraham Van Horn (Dutch). No record of her date of birth. She died in 1790. Hermanes was probably a farmer, and lived near New Brunswick, Middlesex county, N.J. He died in March, 1805. His children were twelve in number, as follows: - (children spelt the family name Ruliffson).
#8 Laurence Ruliffson - born Nov. 28, 1741 married Anna (Hannah) Young, Nov. 4, 1781
#9 Abraham Ruliffson - b. April 20, 1744. Married Hannah Van Horn.
#10 Catharine Ruliffson - b. Feb.20, 1746. Married John Trimmer.
#11 Anna Ruliffson - b. Sept. 8, 1748. died in Sept. 1791.
#12 Mary Ruliffson - b. Feb. 10, 1751. Married Conrad Swackhamer Feb. 3, 1774. d. Sept. 24, 1791.
#13 Margaret Ruliffson - b. Nov. 7, 1752. Married Christopher Hildebrant, Jan. 25, 1781.
#14 Rulof Ruliffson - b. Dec. 8, 1754. British soldier in Revolutionary War.
#15 Eleanora Ruliffson - b. April 18, 1757. Married Peter Wirz, Feb. 3, 1774.
#16 Harmon Ruliffson - b. Sept. 15, 1760. Married Susanna Beemer, Aug. 1, 1784. d. March 24, 1851.
#17 Cornelius Ruliffson - b. March 6, 1763. Married Jane ------- Will probated March 10, 1827.
#18 Frederick Ruliffson - b. Feb. 14, 1765. Married Elshe Low in 1803.
#19 Elizabeth Ruliffson - b. April 26, 1768. Married John Scobi, Feb. 14, 1793.
No further record of these children will be here given except that of Abraham (#9).
(#9) Abraham Ruliffson (spelt also Rulifson), son of Hermanes Ruloffson (#7) and Margaretta Van Horn, was born in Middlesex county, New Jersey, April 20, 1744. He married Hannah Van Horn. After the Revolutionary War, and prior to 1790, he moved with his family from New Jersey to Montgomery county, New York, and settled on a farm near Mill Point, on Schoharie Creek (See map of Montgomery Co., N.Y.), ten miles north from his cousin, Lawrence Ruloffson (#3), who settled near Esperance, on Schoharie Creek, in what is now Schoharie Co., N.Y. The U.S. census of 1790 recorded his as living at that time in Mohawk township, Montgomery County, N.Y., and as the head of a family of three sons over 16 years of age, and three daughters. He died about 1820, and was buried near his home, a boulder now marking the site of his grave. His old homestead has always been in possession of a Rulifson, and is now (1915) owned by one of his descendants. No record at hand of the birth or death of his wife. His children were: - Hermanus (Harmon), Ralph, Abram, Elizabeth, Catharine, Polly, Margaret, Mary and Frederick.
(#10) Hermanus (Harmon) Rulifson, son of Abraham Ruliffson (#9), was born in Middlesex County, N.J. about 1767. He went with his father's family from New Jersey to Montgomery Co., N.Y., where he married Margaret Forncrook in 1806. She was the daughter of Christopher Forncrook, a soldier in the Revolutionary War. She was born in 1760, and died Jan. 14, 1865. (Any female descendant of Christopher Forncrook is eligible to membership in the "D.A.R.") Hermanus was a farmer, and his farm adjoined that of his father, on the west (See map of Abraham Ruliffson's farm, and of three of his sons). He was killed in 1833 by the overturning of a load of grain he was hauling at night. His children were twelve in number, as follows: -
#12 Abram Rulifson - born Nov. 25, 1812 - married Mary Ann Snyder. Died in Centralia, ILL April 19, 1891.
#10 Hannah Rulifson - born March 27, 1809 - died Sept. 5, 1899 - married Martin Reese.
#11 Catharine Rulifson - born in 1810, married John Peltingill.
#13 Ann Eliza Rulifson - born in 1814 - died in Oneida Co., N.Y. Married Chauncey Bacon.
#14 Christopher Rulifson - born 1816 - died young.
#15 Elsie Jane Rulifson - born in 1817 - died young.
#16 Ralph Rulifson - born Jan. 4, 1818. Married Maria Passage in 1842, died Dec. 9, 1913.
#17 Philip Rulifson - born in 1820 - died Aug. 19, 1834.
#18 Margaret Rulifson - born in 1822 - married Andrew Johnson twin
#19 Martha Rulifson - born in 1822, married Melancthon Raymer sisters
#20 Helen Rulifson - born in 1824 - married Ezra Shattuck.
#21 Henry Harmon Rulifson - born in 1827, married Nancy Putnam. Died in 1907.
#10 Hannah Rulifson, daughter of Hermanus Rulifson (#10) was born near Mill Point, Montgomery County, N.Y., March 27, 1809. She married Martin Reese, born near Mill Point, N.Y., Nov 17, 1802 - died April 27, 1879. They moved to Berrien County, Mich. in 1848. He was a farmer. She died Sept. 5, 1899. Their children were as follows: -
#22 Martha Reese - born 1827, married 1st Daniel Hoyt - 2d Hiram Grosvenor. Died about 1910.
#23 John Harmon Reese - born 1829. married 1st Harriet A. Penton, 2d Polly Goss, 3d Ona E. Hess
#24 Cynthia Reese - born 1830 - married William Green.
#25 Jane Eliza Reese - born 1831 - died 1850.
#26 James Harvey Reese - born 1832 - died 1867.
#27 Juliette Reese - born 1835 - married John Q. Buckman, who died.
#28 David Addison Reese - born 1836 - accidently killed in 1853.
#29 Charlotte Reese - born 1838 - died 1840.
#30 Daniel Harrison Reese - born 1840 - married Mary Ellen Birdsall - Civil War soldier.
#31 Charles S. Reese - born 1842 - Civil War soldier. Captured - died in Rebel prison in 1862.
#32 Chauncey B. Reese - born 1844. Married Caroline M. Sly - Civil War soldier.
#33 George W. Reese - born 1846. Married Martha (Mattie) Coveney - died 1888.
#35 Margaret Reese - born 1850 - married Perry Madison, who died 1912.
#34 Reuben W. Reese - born 1849 - married Eva. S. Bickford
Historical and Descriptive
Shortly after the settlement of New Amsterdam by the Dutch in 1614, Dutch and German emigrants began to settle in the fertile districts along the Hudson River as far north as Albany, and westward along the Mohawk River. These early pioneers underwent great hardships and braved many dangers, for the country was a wilderness, and parties of French and Indians often raided the settlements and scalped men, women, and children with unbridled ferocity. To defend themselves against these savage attacks and to protect the women and children, blockhouses and forts were built and surrounded by palisades. About 1650 Arendt van Curler purchased the Great Flats at Schenectady, and Dutch and German colonies, or settlements, "spread forth like a blossoming plant, northwest and southwest of Albany."
The valleys of the Mohawk River and its tributaries were very fertile, and here the early settlers made their homes. The country north of the Mohawk was a succession of hills, gradually rising to the base of the Adirondacks. The valley of Schoharie Creek lay to the south of the Mohawk, and extended to the foothills of the Catskills, in which mountains the stream had its source. To the west of Schoharie valley were the high lands in what is now Otsego County, N..Y. In this highland region, in places over 2000 feet in height, the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers had their source. All this part of the State before and during the Revolutionary War was called Montgomery County.
The county was divided into districts, and the districts into townships, called towns. The Mohawk district included Fort Hunter at the mouth of Schoharie Creek, Caugnawaga, afterward called Mohawk town, and Florida town. This district was 35 miles from Albany, and was settled by the Dutch and Germans in 1650. The district of Canajoharie included Cherry Valley, now in Otsego county, and Harpersfield, now in Schoharie and Delaware counties. The Palatine district, north of the Mohawk River, included Stone Arabia and German Flats near the town of Herkimer. Later, Schoharie and Otsego counties were formed from Albany and Montgomery counties. In 1790 there were but 17 counties in the whole State of New York.
After the close of the Revolutionary War, when order and safety to settlers obtained, the inhabitants of Montgomery county began to receive accessions of their countrymen from New Jersey and other states. Among the first to arrive with his family from New Jersey was Lawrence Ruloffson (#3), the son of Roelof Ruloffson (#2), as noted before. The date of his moving from New Germantown, Hunterdon country, N.J. is not definitely known, but it was prior to 1790. About the same time there arrived with his family from New Jersey Abraham Ruliffson (#9), the son of Hermanes Ruloffson (#7), brother of Roelof Ruloffson (#2), as noted before. Lawrence and Abraham were first cousins, and both the grandsons of Laurens Ruloffson (#1) from Copenhagen, Denmark. Lawrence settled near Esperance, now in Schoharie county, on Schoharie Creek, and Abraham settled near Mill Point in Montgomery county on Schoharie Creek - about 10 miles distant from each other. Later, in 1795, there arrived from New Jersey with his family a brother of Abraham Ruliffson (#9) whose name was Harmon Ruliffson (#16), who married Susanna Beemer. He was born in 1760 and died in 1851. During the Revolutionary War he had served as a private in a company of the Fourth Regiment militia from Hunterdon Co., N.J. He settled on a farm in the town of Gilboa in the southern part of Schoharie county. His children were eleven in number, some born in New Jersey and some in New York State, as follows: -
Born in New Jersey: -
#35 Mercy, born 1785 - married Peter Stryker.
#36 Margaret - born 1787 - married Samuel Bartley.
#37 Experience - born 1789 - married John Parks.
#38 Mary, born 1791 - married Theophilus Howard.
#39 Susanna, born 1793 - married Michael Brinningstool.
Born in New York State:
#40 Elizabeth - born 1796 - married Mr. Buskirk.
#41 Harmon - born 1798 - married Susanna Wellman Stevens.
#42 Isaac, born 1800 - married Margaret Bly.
#43 Ruliff, born 1802 - married Candace Gleason.
#44 Peter S. - born 1805 - married Eliza Ann Stewart.
#45 Lydia, born 1808 - married Lemuel Pierce.
The Rulisons (Rulifsons, Ruliffsons) in New York State
The three Rulisons, Lawrence, Abraham, and Harmon, were the heads of three great branches of the Rulison family tree in New York State. The compiler of this history has a very complete record of the descendants of each branch, as well as a record of all the Rulisons mentioned in the preceding pages, and their descendants, numbering some 6000. He also has the record of some 500 of the Roelofsons, the Dutch branch, who are now to be found living in many States of the Union. The record contains many biographical sketches, some of great interest. The compiler also has a record of nearly all the families allied to the Rulison families by marriage, and it contains about 13,000 names. All the records were procured by hard and unwearied labor through some fifteen years search, and he has been aided by many willing members of the family who have given data of great value. His sincere thanks are here given to all who have kindly assisted him. To the compiler and his helpers, the work has been a labor of love and family pride.
The compiler of these records sends greeting and best wishes to all in attendance at the Reunion of the Reese-Rulison families, and shall be glad to answer any inquiries concerning members of any of the branches that he may possess.
Henry F. Rulison.
Henry F. Rulison's Hand-drawn Maps
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