Thursday, May 5, 2016

Aaron Prall Family - Gen-4 Part I

Fourth Generation

1.  Aaron Prall110 was born about 1698 in Staten Island, Richmond Co., New York.11 He was baptized on 7 Sep 1698 in Port Richmond Reformed Dutch Church, Staten Island, Richmond Co., New York.1213 [three entries before Aaron's bp. and the entry following are dated 7 September.] Between 1722 and 1756 he was a Farmer and grist miller in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. Aaron died between 9 Mar 1757 and 18 Oct 1757 at the age of 59 in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey.14 Aaron was the second son of Pieter and Maria [Christopher] Prall of Staten Island, Richmond Co., New York. He was baptized there in 1698 and was undoubtedly named for his grandfather Arent Jansen Prall, the Immigrant. He was reared in the North Division of the island near both his Prall and Christopher kin.
He appeared on the Staten Island census of about 1706 among the "boys" at about age nine
  He is listed immediately after brother Johannes in his father's will, so it can be assumed that he was the second eldest son.
Aaron may have spent his childhood years on his father's 40-acre farm adjoining his grandfather Arent's land at Karle's Neck near New Springfield near the center of the island. [Rich. Co. Deeds B:604] His mother died between 1711and 1713.
  Peter married Aaltje Garrison/Gerritsen by 1713 and sold the 40-acre farm. It may have been about this time that the family moved to Morningstar, said to be now part of Port Richmond on the northern shore of the island.
Neither the name of Aaron's first wife nor the date of their marriage are known.* Their daughter, Alida, was born prior to 1724, as she was of age when her grandfather, Peter wrote his will leaving her a legacy. Alida's mother may have been named Sarah - the name Alida gave her eldest daughter.

Around 1724, Aaron's brother, Peter II moved to sparsely-settled Amwell Twp., Hunterdon Co. in western New Jersey about 15 miles north of Trenton. Amwell Twp. was established by Royal Patent [a grant of sovereign lands to individuals] in 1708, at which time it was part of Burlington Co. In 1713-14 the northern part of Burlington was set of as Hunterdon Co., with the county seat at Trenton. [Flemington became the county seat in 1780 when Mercer Co. was established with Trenton as the county seat.]

Peter arrived after the census of 1722. By May 1726 he was established enough to be in a position to lend money. [W. Jersey DBk K-294] Aaron and his younger brother Cornelius may have moved to Amwell Twp. about the same time as Peter. They settled on a large tract of virgin land on the southwest side of the Neshanic River about three miles northeast of the present-day town of Ringoes. A major Indian trail, named the York Road by the English, ran through the property. [Today Highway 513 closely follows that route.]

Their father had purchased the southern "750" acres of Thomas Stevenson's "1000-acre" tract for 150 pounds in 1716 when the boys were in their teens. Stevenson, a Pennsylvania land speculator, had purchased the land just two weeks earlier. [W. Jersey DBk K-294]
  Their father acquired the northern 250 acres at a later unknown date.  The early surveys were notoriously inaccurate. From a study of later deeds it appears that the "750" acres was closer to 1000; the "250" closer to 350 acres.
Aaron, Peter, Cornelius, John [who settled in Pennsylvania] and son-in-law Daniel Larue each received a portion of the elder Peter's land. Aaron's allotment was the "250" acres to the north. [This tract is now within the boundaries of present Raritan Twp.] The deed to this land, like many of the early deeds that stayed in the family for several generations, was never recorded. A study of later deeds has confirmed all but a small section of the northwest corner.

Aaron and his brother-in-law, Daniel Larue jointly received a 50-acre tract on the western side of the larger tract.
  The 50 acres was referred to as a "moiety." It appears that Aaron and the Larues settled near each other on this tract, with Aaron settling on the north side of the creek. Two houses, one on each side of the run, shown on the 1886 [revised 1903] U.S. Geological Survey Map, may be the original home sites. That the tract was designated as a "moeity" implies that Aaron and Daniel were equal partners in business together. They may have been tanners. Jacob Sutphin, a tanner, may have been the Jacob Sutphin who owned property in the area in 1789. The Joseph Higgins, who was appointed by Mary Prall as the sole executor of her will, may also have been a tanner. [Higgins lived about a mile up the Neshanic River from the Pralls.]
On 1 June 1728, Aaron Prall married Marytjen [Mary] Whittaker in the Dutch Church [the only church] in Kingston, Mary's hometown. Aaron was 30 and Mary was 28.

Mary was the daughter of James Whittaker and Lysbet Titsoort of Kingston. Her paternal grandfather was Edward Whittaker, who had been one of the English soldiers sent to "liberate" New Netherlands from Dutch rule in 1664. Whittaker later dealt in livestock and, on a lesser scale, slaves. He was a notoriously hot-headed character in Kingston during the 1660s and 70s.
  Mary's paternal grandmother, Hannah [Joanna] Wakeman-Hackelton, was no less colorful, having escaped the gallows in Connecticut and a tempestuous relationship with Edward Whittaker prior to their marriage. Mary's maternal grandfather, Abraham Titsoort, was a rugged blacksmith of Dutch heritage. He came from Schenectady, New York, and had been one of the first to settle among the friendly Indians of the upper Delaware River region near present-day Port Jervis.
The couple married "on presentation of a license" rather than by the more common method of posting banns, so Aaron was not a resident of Kingston at the time. Kingston was an important trading center on the Hudson River, being half-way between New York City and Albany. Aaron may have served his apprenticeship in Kingston or may have been there on business when he met Mary. Also, his paternal grandparents had lived in Kingston, and he may have been visiting relatives in the area. [His maternal grandmother's DuBois kin were still prominent in the Kingston-New Paltz area.]

After the wedding, the couple moved to Aaron's home in Amwell, where they lived for 27 years. The couple reared six children: James, Cornelius, Edward, Elizabeth, Benjamin, and Jemima. [It is interesting to note that all of the children appear to be named for Mary's side of the family. Only the name Cornelius appears in both lines.]

Aaron's brother Cornelius, who had been ill for some time, died in the fall of 1733. Aaron served as co-executor of the estate with Cornelius's widow. Edward Whittaker, presumably Mary's brother visiting the area, had witnessed the writing of the will the previous winter. [NJ Wills 3:377, #95]

In 1737, Aaron sued John Hoff over a 7 pound debt. [Hunt. Co. Court of Common Pleas Min., 5:24]

In 1738, Aaron voted for John Emley and Benjamin Smith to serve in the New Jersey General Assembly.

In 1751, Aaron acquired 150 acres from Mary's father James Whittaker.
  [No other 'James Whittakers' appear in the family.] Today the land is at Larison's Corner, a few miles down the York Road toward Ringoes. Whittaker had acquired the land in 1745. The property extended from York Road southeast to Mallory [Back] Brook and was later resurveyed and found to be 163 acres.
 Aaron was listed as a slave owner in 1755.
References to Aaron Prall appear in the Amwell Township Meetings Records of 1741 - 1780. On 8 March 1757 "memorandum that, then the overseers of the poor of this town have agreed with Aron Prall to keep John Carr in meet, drink, washing, and lodging sufficient for him to keep the town indemnified from said John Carr except clothing, which the said town is to find for the ensuing year for which the said Aron Prall is to have ten pounds eight shillings to be paid by said overseers of said town." [Also recorded in the records on 9 March 1757]

Aaron Prall died intestate between the 9th of March and October 1757, most likely in Hunterdon County. On 18 October 1757, son James deeded the Whittaker land to his brother Cornelius, who settled on the portion along Back Brook where he operated a grist mill. [Hunt. Co. Deeds 39:345]

Mary made a return trip to Kingston in 1758. In November of that year she was a witness at the baptism of Jacobus Whittaker's baby Benjamin.

On 20 September 1760, Mary, being "very sick and weaken", had her son Edward draw up a will. [West Jersey Will Bk. 11:137 / Inv. # 544J] Her will was witnessed by son Edward and James Fulkerson. The will was clearly in Edward's handwriting. Mary appointed Joseph Higgins her sole executor. Higgins had moved to the area from Somerset Co. in 1722 and lived a short distance up the Neshanic.

Mary died in the fall of 1761, aged 61, at her home in Amwell. The inventory of her estate included the following: a Negro girl valued at 40 pounds, a Negro boy valued at 30 pounds, livestock worth about 27 pounds, household items appraised at about 20 pounds, 54 pounds in cash, and 84 pounds in bonds and debts. Mary left her estate to be divided equally among her three youngest children, Elizabeth, Benjamin and Jemima. Benjamin had not yet received his portion of his father's estate, so Mary stipulated that if Benjamin did receive his share from brother James "equal to or upwards of 1/3 of my estate" that he was to give his share of Mary's estate to his sisters. [W. Jersey Deeds 11:137]

The will was probated on 9 November 1761.

Edward witnessed, and probably wrote, his mother's will. Neither he nor Cornelius were mentioned in the document. Proof of their relationship to Aaron and Mary came in later estate papers and court records.

 [Note]: In many sources Aaron is listed as "Aaron C. Prall." The only verification of the middle initial comes from Elmer Garfield Van Name's "Pierre Billiou, The Walloon: Staten Island Pioneer," revised 1958, citing the Staten Island Dutch Church records as the source. [The old church records are too fragile to be searched.] Aaron signed his name "Aarant Praall" as co-executor of brother Cornelius' estate in 1733. Son Edward spelled his father's name "Aaron Prall" when he wrote his mother's will in 1760. Perhaps Van Name mistook the 't' for a 'C'.]
[Note]: Hunterdon Co. Deed Bk. 39, p. 435: Cornelius Prall and wife to Abraham Williamson: This document establishes James as the eldest son of Aaron, who died intestate before Oct. 19, 1757. [Date of transaction.] James sold land to Cornelius and wife, Sarah. Garrison Prall was a witness. Also mentioned in the document is James Whittaker, probably Mary's father. That Aaron is also the father of Cornelius is established in a later 1771 arrest warrant that names Cornelius as the "son of Aaron."

Several Larue sources claim that Aaron's first wife was Jane Larue, who has been identified as the second wife of his brother,Johannes.The Garret Larew supplement [p. 7] states that Esther married Cornelius Prall, the brother of Aaron [also given as Christopher] Prall, the husband of Esther's sister, Jane Larew. [see bio on Johannes Prall.]

Aaron Prall and Unknown [Prall] were married about 1721 in Staten Island, Richmond Co., New York.15 Aaron is noted as a widower in 1728. Unknown [Prall] died before 1728.


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