A ZABRISKIE MYSTERY SOLVED THROUGH eBAY
by Robert Griffin
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The late historian and genealogist George Olin Zabriskie was renowned for his well documented and detailed articles and books on New Jersey Dutch families. His magnum opus was a massive, 1,950 page two-volume genealogy on the Zabriskie Family.

Among the more interesting stories contained in Zabriskie’s book is that of Jacob C. Zabriskie,

grandson of the immigrant ancestor, Albrecht Zabriskie, and the son of Christian and Leah (Hopper) Zabriskie. According to George Olin Zabriskie, his ancestor, Jacob C. Zabriskie, who was born at Paramus, (Bergen Co.), NJ 22 Dec. 1724, owned the Zabriskie (grist) Mills at Red Mills (later known as Arcola and located on the Saddle River). He was an ardent patriot known as “King Jacob,” and served as a freeholder. He married Lena Ackerman, d/o Garret and Jannetje (Van Voorhees) Ackerman and sister of his brother Albert.[1] The author further explains in an Appendix to his book, “On 11 May 1778 he was a prisoner in the Provost Prison in New York City, reason therefore or duration of not now evident.[emphasis the author’s] In May 1779 Jacob was stabbed 15 times during a Tory raid. In Feb. 1780, Albert Zabriskie, a British spy, recommended to the British authorities that the Zabriskie Mills be seized during the raid being planed. The raiders did go to Red Mills, but left without burning the mills. In Mar 1780 and on 13 Feb 1781, Jacob received payment for wood and carting for the American forces.”[2]

In December 5, 2006, a New York Superior Court document dated July 1787 listed on the Internet auction site eBay sold for $178.49. It was mis-identified as a piece of Judaica, because the seller didn’t understand Jersey-Dutch naming patterns or the historical origin of the Zabriskie family in America:

New York Superior Court: Of the term of July in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.

City and County of New York SS: Jacob C Zabriskie complains of Andrew David Van Buskirk in custody. For this, to wit, that the said Andrew together with divers other persons unknown on the fifth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight at New Barbadoes in the county of Bergen, to wit, at the City of New York at the Dock-ward of the said City and in the County of New York with force and arms, to wit, with swords, guns, and bayonets, made an assault upon him the said Jacob, and him the said Jacob then and there took and imprisoned, and to the City of New York carried and therein prison kept for a long time, to wit, for the space of eight months and ten days and also the goods & chattels, of him the said Jacob, to wit, one mare of the price of five pounds, two guns, one hat, one great coat, and one blanket, of him the said Jacob of the value of ten pounds at New Barbadoes in the County of Bergen aforesaid, to wit, at the City of New York at the Dock-ward of the said City and in the County of New York found he the said Andrew then and there took and carried away, and converted and disposed of the same to his own use, & did to the said Jacob other injuries against the peace. And also for this that he the said Andrew together with divers other persons unknown afterwards, to wit, on the sixth day of April in the year last, aforesaid, at the City of New York at the Dock-ward of the same City and in the County of New York with force and arms, to wit, with Guns, bayonets, and swords, made an assault upon him the said Jacob and him then & there took and imprisoned and him the said Jacob in prison there kept for the space of eight months and ten days, and also the goods, Chattels to wit two pair of stockings and one handkerchief of him the said Jacob to the value of twenty shillings then and there found then and there took and carried away, and other enormities to the said Jacob then and there did against the peace of the people of the state of  New York and to the damage of the said Jacob five hundred pounds: and there of he bringeth suit.

Morris Attorney } Pledges of }
John Doorich
For the Plaintiff } prosecution }
City and County of New York SS

Jacob C. Zabriskie puts in his place Robert Morris his attorney against Andrew David Van Buskirk in a plea of trespass.

Thus, we learn of King Jacob’s imprisonment for 8 months and 10 days from April 5, to December 25, 1778. It appears he was released on Christmas Day.

Of Andrew David Van Buskirk, we know only a little, and nothing of his motives for kidnapping and holding Jacob C. Zabriskie. He never served in a military regiment, although a Loyalist.  The state of New Jersey ordered his arrest and in early July 1777, 150 militia under Major Samuel Hayes of Newark were dispatched to apprehend him.  In a letter from Hayes to Livingston reporting on the raid, he confirms his taking Andrew Van Buskirk on Barbadoes Neck.[3]  He mentions that Van Buskirk had taken the oath of allegiance to the State of NJ about 3 weeks prior and since that time sold provisions to the British, and he was arrested for having "committed high treason."  His property was confiscated two years later. Afterwards, this led Governor William Livingston to write to George Washington:

 “The Council of Safety has pretty well suppressed the Spirit of Disaffection in this County; & I hope by the vigorous measures lately adopted, we shall soon reduce that almost totally revolted County of Bergen to the obedience of the States.”[4]

Andrew was the son of David(4) (Andrew Laurens(3), Laurens(2), Laurens A.(!)) and Rachel Van Horn. He was b. Schraalenburgh ca. 1755 and m. 13 August 1779 Cornelia Van Norden. David(4), b. 3 Jul 1721, m.  at Schraalenburgh 27 Sept. 1744, Rachel Van Horn d/o Christian Cornelissen and Francyntje (Banta) Van Horn. Many members of the Van Buskirk family were known Loyalists and several fought for and served in British military units.

By: Robert D. Griffin
Past President BCHS
December 26, 2006


[1] “The Zabriskie Family,” George Olin Zabriskie, 1963, pp. 36-7.

[2] Ibid, pp. 1547 Appendix B

[3] New Jersey State Archives, Department of Defense, Military Records, Revolutionary War, Revolutionary Manuscripts Numbered, Document No. 3995.

[4] The Gilder Lehrman Collection on deposit at the Pierpont Morgan Library, GLC 1150.

 


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