Part #16 of 24:
NYCHS presents
excerpts from
The Rikers:
Their Island, Homes, Cemetery and Early Genealogy in Queens County, NY
by permission of its author, an 11th generation Abraham Rijcken vanLent descendant, Edgar Alan Nutt.
He retains & reserves all copyrights. To supplement the book's few images, NYCHS has added others with appropriate identification. Above left: Image of the book's front cover. Above right: Detail from 1852 map on Page 48 (color added).

Below: Excerpts from Page 120 to Page 126 of
Chapter Five: The Riker Genealogy

[Note: Because the book's 5th Generation entries number more than those in any of the seven other generations listed, NYCHS presents them in two sections. As with the other generations, the format followed in these Chapter Five excerpt web pages is explained in Part 11's opening Author and Webmaster's notes.]

Above: View of a cemetery that is one of the few remaining historical links to the Rikersville, S.C., cited in the main text entry for fifth generation Henry Riker. The cemetery of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim ("Holy Congregation House of God") in now north Charleston includes the remains and stones removed from the Rikersville Cemetery (1857-1888) and two other defunct graveyards.

That Rikersville burial ground had been initiated by Congregation Shearit Israel ("Remnant of Israel") formed by traditionalists after KK Beth Elohim began using organ music and adopted other innovations in the early 1840s.

The Charleston area in the latter 19th Century also had an African American burial ground known as the Rikersville Baptist Cemetery.

The "Gen. C. H. Stevens," mentioned in the Henry Riker entry text as establishing industrial Rikersville with Henry's grandsons David Riker and Robert Henry Riker was Brig. Gen. Clement Hoffman ďRockĒ Stevens (right). At the time South Carolina seceded from the Union, he was an officer in a Charleston bank and railroad construction firm.

His proposal to build an ironclad gun battery from pine and railroad iron was adopted. It took part in the bombardment of Fort Sumter that started the Civil War. Quite possibly the Rikers brothers, as Stevens' business associates, also had a hand in the battery project.

Rikersville, S.C., figured later in the Civil War as the location of First South Carolina Hospital, a Confederate-run POW institution.

Mary Todd Lincoln's brother, Doctor George Rodgers Clark Todd (left), was a Confederate army surgeon assigned there. During his war service there and elsewhere, he allegedly abused ill and wounded prisoners.

At one point, his actions were considered so outrageous that even Confederate colleagues complained and he was transferred. Being Abe Lincoln's brother-in-law, perhaps the doctor felt need to keep showing hostility to the Union and its soldiers, despite his patients' medical status.

The above caption and images do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's 2004 book and have been added to the web version by NYCHS. Click the cemetery image to access its source, the web site of K.K. Beth Elohim which describes itself as the first Reform Jewish congregation in the U.S. Click Stevens' image for its source, Mikel Uriguen's excellent web site, Generals of the American Civil War. Click Dr. Todd's image for its source, the web site of the 20th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry.

[Second of two sections]


Born - July 25, 1764 [son of 4th generation Abraham Riker].

Baptized in Tappan.

Died in Beaufort, S.C.


Born - Beaufort, S.C.; lived in Savannah, Ga.

Died at sea by May 4, 1826.

Married, children --
David -- born 1822; died Feb.4,1894.

Robert Henry -- born 1824, Savannah; died Sept. 2, 1883, Diamentine, Brazil.

Henry was reported by James Riker to have died in Beaufort, N.C.

However the 1790 Heads of Families Census for the Beaufort, S.C., District includes Abraham.

Therefore it appears that the two Beauforts were probably confused and that he had lived in South Carolina, not North Carolina.

Abraham was a shipís captain.

Abrahamís two sons, together with Gen. C. H. Stevens, built an industrial empire in their Rikersville village, including a flour mill, lumber mill, foundry, and railroad car factory, all of which were destoyed in an 1865 fire.

The younger son after the Civil War (in which he served the Southern cause) removed to South America where he married, reared a family, and remained for the rest of his life.

His daughter, Sarah Virginia, returned to the United States for schooling, lived in Nashville with her older sister Leila, and stayed in this country to marry and raise a family.


Born - Sept. 3, 1766, in Tappan [son of 4th generation Abraham Riker].

The caption immediately below the original farmhouse image on which the above is based reads: "Jan Mabie House. Rotterdam, N.Y. 1670. Oldest Structure in Mohawk Valley." Jan was the son of Abraham Rijcken vanLent's friend Peter Casparszen van Naerden.

Fifth generation Peter Ryker's marriage Nov. 20, 1793 to Casperus Mabie's daughter (main text, above left) brought even closer the two families whose connections trace back to their respective progenators' friendship.

Peter Casparszen who began the Mabie line in the New World, served at witness at the Feb. 17, 1647, baptism of Abraham Rijcken's son Hendrick. Fourth generation Abraham Riker married the daughter of Sophia Mabie Conklin in 1747. Abraham Maybie served as witness at the baptism of 5th generation Samuel Riker's daughter Mary.

The above caption and image do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's 2004 book and have been added to the web version by NYCHS. Click the homestead image to access its source page on the web site of Schenectady County Historical Society which operates the Mabie Farm as an educational resource for the public.

Died - April 21, 1844; buried in Tappan Cemetery.

Married - Nov. 20, 1793, to Margaret, daughter of Casperus and Wilhemptje (Eckerson) Mabie; lived in Closter, N.J.

Born Aug. 22, 1765, she died April 12, 1841.

Born - Sept. 7, 1794; baptized in Tappan

Married Feb. 21 (or 22), 1810 to Jacob David Haring; two children.


Born - May 19, 1768, [son of 4th generation Abraham Riker].

Baptized June 17, 1768. Witnesses Abraham Blauvelt & Elisabet his wife.

Died - Oct. 8, 1799, in N.Y.C. of yellow fever.

Married - Dec. 19, 1788, Rachel Moore (More, Moor).

Born - March 14, 1790; baptized April 11, 1790, in Tappan.

Born - Nov. 17. 1791; baptized Dec. 11, 1791, in Tappan. Witnesses Abraham Mabie & Fanny Moor.


The icon (right) depicting the general outline of Tioga County's Town of Spencer displays a white circle to indicate where the Village of Spencer is situated within it. Originally settled circa 1794 by Benjamin Drake, the village was known as, quite aprropriately, Drake's Settlement. Drake built a gristmill along the Catatonk Creek and also operated a tavern. In 1806 the town was organized and named Spencer for noted jurist Judge Ambrose Spencer.

Nine years later, Major Tunis Riker and his wife Eleanor came from NYC. He established himself on a farm where he also pursued his carpentry craft. There by one count 12 children were raised. The farm eventually was taken over by his son Oliver P. Riker, who was born the year the Tunis Riker family moved to Spencer -- 1817. In less than a decade after Tunis' arrival, he had become a community leader. Records show that he was among trustees to whom land was deeded in 1826 for construction of a Congregationalist church, the first house of worship built in Spencer.

Besides a considerably attenuated connection in the Riker family history, Abrose Spencer (left) figures prominently in New York correction history.

As a legislator from Hudson, N.Y. (Assembly 1793-1795, State Senate 1795-1804), Spencer initiated and carried through the bill abolishing the death penalty except for treason and murder.

He played a key role in introducing legislation establishing New York's first state penitentiary, commonly called Newgate Prison, erected in then suburban Greenwich Village.

As NYS Attorney-General (1802-04), Spencer successfully prosecuted a seditious libel charge against a Hudson, N.Y., Fedralist editor defended by Alexander Hamilton. It was the last case ever tried by that young Founding father. Ultimately the conviction was overturned and the position that Hamilton had put forth -- truth as a defense against a libel charge -- became codified into law.

After serving as an associate (puisine) justice 15 years, Spencer was appointed NYS' chief justice in 1819, a post he held four years. Later he served as Albany mayor (1821-29) and in the U.S. House of Representatives (1829-31).

The above caption and images do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's 2004 book and have been added to the web version by NYCHS. Click the images to access their respective sources: a Tioga County site's Towns & Villages page, and Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York web page on chief justices.


Born - Aug. 10, 1770, [son of 4th generation Abraham Riker].

Baptized June 17, 1768. Witnesses Abraham Blauvelt & Elisabet his wife.

Died - Jan. 7, 1864, [at age 94] in Tioga County.

Married -
1st -- Dec. 10, 1790, Ellen (Eleanor) Moore (sister of Rachel Moore, who married Tunis' brother Samuel Ryker);

2nd - June 29, 1851, [at age 81] to Mary Ann, daughter of George & Ludnda (South) Fisher of Spencer, Tioga County. [She was 78.]

[Sons] Thomas, Samuel, and Perry.
Born - Nov. 23, 1792; baptized Jan. 27, 1793, in Tappan.

Born - 1806. died March 22, 1885 at age 78 months 26 days; buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Spencer, Tioga.

James L..
Born - circa 1814; died Oct. 9, 1892, at age 78; buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Spencer.

Oliver P.
Born - 1817; died 1898; buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Spencer.

[Daughters] Maria and Jane.
Eliza (may be Elizabeth Ann whose data follows).
Born - March 26, 1811, NYC. Died Oct. 3, 1895, Osage, Iowa

Married - Aug. 1, 1838, to Levi H. Fountain, NYC; had son Tunis Riker.

In the War of 1812 Tunis Riker was a major in the 42nd NY Infantry Regiment and was pensioned effective August 1, 1815 at $300.

In 1817 he moved with his family to Tioga County. . . Tunis was a carpenter.


Born - 1755; a sail maker; [son of 4th generation John (Johannes) Riker].

Died - Oct. 11, 1795, in 41st year, of yellow fever.

Married - Martha Relyea. daughter of Henry Relyea.

The Riker genealogy entry for Abraham Lent [son of 4th generation Jacobus Lent], in the main text above, refers to his only son James as "merchant, judge, congressman who died Feb. 22, 1833, in Washington, DC."

William Cullen Bryant High School was built in the 1920s and named in honor of that 19th Century American author, poet, lawyer and New York Evening Post editor. Bryant advocated prison reform, opposed slavery, and campaigned for improved public education.

Established by private citizens in 1807 and ceded to the Christ Church vestry in 1812, it was the Washington Parish Burial Ground. Its identity as Congressional Cemetery evolved beginning in 1816 when the vestry started setting aside burial sites for the interment of Congressmen and others in government. The sites generally were used for officials who, like Rep. James Lent, died in office in D.C.

The practice of erecting cenotaphs (left) to mark empty graves of Congressmen whose remains, like Rep. Lent's, had been removed for reburial in their home states was discontinued in the 1870s.

But on May 19, 1981 the first cenotaph to be erected in 105 years at the Congressional Cemetery was dedicated in honor of Rep. Thomas Hale Boggs, the 92nd Congress Democratic majority leader who disappeared Oct. 16, 1972, on an flight over Alaska. The wreckage was never found.

The red "X" in the modified Congressional Cemetery map detail below approximates the location of Rep. Lent's cenotaph based on given coordinates Range 29, Site 68.

Click any of the Congressional Cemetery images above to access its relevant web page on the images' excellent source site of The Association for Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery.
The images and caption do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's 2004 book and were added to the web version by NYCHS.

Married - James Patton.

Married - Capt. John Hacker.

Married - John Wade.

Married - John I. Decker.


Born - 1763; [son of 4th generation John (Johannes) Riker].

Died - 1799 or 1800.

Married - November, 1793, Margaret, daughter of Lamb Turner.

John Turner.



Born - Sept. 21, 1771; [son of 4th generation Samuel Riker].

Died - Oct. 17, 1817, Port au Prince, Santo Domingo. Memoriaiized in Rikers Cemetery #105.

Married - in. June (or February) 6, 1802, Margaret, daughter of Nathaniel Moore. Born June 23, 1784, she died Sept. 11, 1842

Nathaniel Moore. Died between 1842 & 1850, Texas;

Samuel. Born, 1805. Died, 1849.

Andrew. Born, 1808. Died, 1837.

Abraham. Born, Sept. 26, 1812, twin of Anna Lawrence. Died, July 7, 1839, Jonesborough, Texas.

Martha Moore. Born, June 11, 1811. Died, March 15, 1889.

Married - Nov. 18, 1834, John Clewes Jackson. Born April 7, 1809.

Anna Lawrence. Born, Sept. 26, 1812, twin of Abraham. Died Nov. 3, 1889.

Margaret S. Born, Aug. 17, 1816. Died, Feb. 22, 1864.

Andrew Rikerís home in Newtown, named Oak Hill and the subject of a brief history in Chaper 3, was on Newtown Road at its junction with Bowery Bay Road.

Long since gone, it was later the home of his daughter Martha and her husband and which she later moved to New Jersey.

Andrew was a merchant sea captain, and there is record of his commanding the ship Eagle which on August 27, 1803, brought a group of Irish emigrants from Ireland to New York City.

During the War of 1812 he was a privateer in command of the ships Saratoga and Yorktown; and at one time he was captured near Newfoundland but later parolled,





Born - Feb. 15, 1745 [son of 4th generation Jacobus Lent].

Died - April 13, 1816, Trains Meadow (now called Jackson Heights, Queens).

Buried in the Riker Cemetery. Although the 1919 inventory of burials in the Riker Cemetery, the basis for Chapter Fourís list [web presentation Part 10], does not include this Abraham and hence is not assigned a grave or grave stone number, the October 16, 1928, inventory made by Mrs. W. A. Barber does, and she lists his death, supposedly taken from a grave stone that was not found in 1919, as having been on April 13, 1816 at the age of 71 years.

Married Diana, daughter of William Lawrence. She died March 29, 1833, at age 77.

Born 1782.

Married Jane Bull of Connecticut. She died March 29, 1833, at age 77.

Merchant, judge, congressman who died Feb. 22, 1833, in Washington, D.C.

She died Aug. 25, 1805, at age 43 years 17 days. Riker Cemetery marker #82. Married Anthony Barclay; British Consul General; son of the Rev. Henry & Mary Barclay.

Margaret. Unmarried.


Born - May 31, 1754 [son of 4th generation Jacobus Lent].

Was the last Lent to occupy the Lent-Rapelye house & farm on Bowery Bay

Died - April 29, 1797; Riker Cemetery marker #55.

Married Dec. 9, 1792 to Rensie, daughter of Martin Rapelye.

Born Aug. 30, 1797.

Jacobus. Died March 3, 1793, at age 16 days. Riker Cemetery marker #49.


Born - May 10, 1756 [son of 4th generation Andrew Riker].

Died - Jan.28, 1843, at age.86 years 8 months, 18 days. Riker Cemetery marker #5.

Married March (or May?) 9, 1779, Mary, daughter of John Delanoy. Born 1758 or 1759, she died April 12, 1844, at age 82 years 5 months 9 days. Riker Cemetery marker #5.

Peter Born 1780; Unmarried. Died Nov. 10, 1829,at age 49 years 18 days; Riker Cemetery marker #6.

John R. Born 1786. Unmarried. Died Feb. 14, 1823 (or 1825?) at age 37; Riker Cemetery marker #26.

ABRAHAM. Born Nov. 30, 1789;

Elizabeth. Born 1783?. Died 1851? Married 1st Benjamin Franklin Welch, 6 children; 2nd: Andrew vanHorn,

Abraham Riker lived and died on Rikerís Island. one half share of which he received under his fatherís will. During the Revolution he lived in Peekskill where he served as an armorer and where his wife served as a cook and laundress, both reportedly receiving the same pay.

The earlier chapter concerning the islandís history details his mortgage and the eventual conveyance of his share of the island by his own executor to two sons of his brother Peter, next below.

While his will has not been found, there is an inventory of his personalty, as entered without an appraisal in the earlier chapter; in addition there is a receipt for $132.06 for the sale of 14078 pounds of hay and 55 bushels of corn. Receipts by the legatees [indicate] an estate of at least $3270.72 . . .


Born - May 25, 1760 [son of 4th generation Andrew Riker].

Died - Feb. 5, 1851; Riker Cemetery marker #9.

Married May 19, 1782 to Mary Kelly, daughter of Capt. Edward Kelly. Born 1763, she died May 25, 1827 at age 64. Riker Cemetery marker #8.

"Landmark" in the above Sleepy Hollow Landmark Condominium sign at 18 North Broadway refers to the site being the ground where once stood the historic -- indeed legendary -- van Tassel/Mott House.

Reputedly, the Elizabeth van Tassel house purchased by Hannah Riker's husband, Jacob Lawrence Mott (mentioned in the main text right), was the real life model for the van Tassel home that Washington Irving sketched in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow as the grand setting for Ichabod Crane's attempts to court Katrina van Tassel.

A friend of the Jacob and Hannah Mott family, Washington Irving was often a guest at their house. He was reported to have implied in a chat there with Mrs. Mott that his description of Katrina's home in the "Legend" tale had been written with "this house in mind," referring to the post- Revolution van Tassel house that Hannah's Quaker preacher husband bought in 1825.

Women's rights and slavery abolition leader Lucretia Coffin Mott's husband, James Mott (right), himself a leader for those causes, and Jacob Lawrence Mott, Hannah Riker's husband, had ancestral roots back to the same Adam Mott, British tailor, who in 1635 arrived in New Amsterdam and who received a land grant in Green Point, L.I. (Brooklyn) in 1646. Like Jacob, Lucretia was recognized as a Quaker preacher.

Lucretia Coffin Mott connects via the Coffin line to one of New York's most pioneering prison reformers, famed Thomas Mott Osborne (right) of Auburn and Sing Sing.

His grandmother on his mother's side was Martha Coffin, Lucretia's sister. One of Thomas' maternal aunts married William Lloyd Garrison Jr.; and an uncle married a relative of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Mott, Coffin and Osborne kinfolks were active in sundry reform movements. That shared interest is reflected in the Osborne family papers described elsewhere on this web site. The images and caption do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's 2004 book and were added to the web version by NYCHS. Clock the landmark sign image to access its source the web site of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Historic Fund for more about the famed village. Clock the James Mott sketch for a PBS web site essay on the Quaker influence for reform. Click the Thomas Mott Osborne image for more on his family background.

Born April 1, 1784; Williamsburg, NY

Born Sept. 4, 1789; NYC.

Born Jan. 3, 1792.

William Charles.
Born Aug. 22, 1795. Died Aug. 11, 1837; Riker Cemetery marker #10.

Born Sept. 19, 1898. Died after March 15, 1851. A carpenter, lived in Tarrytown, married Phebe.

Born June 16, 1787. Died July 17, 1870. Married Aug. 6, 1806, to Jacob Lawrence Mott in Christ Church, NYC, Born. Sept. 13, 1784; Mott, a Quaker preacher, lived Tarrytown. 7 children.

According to an unverified report Peter Riker during the Revolution was a loyalist. His occupation was that of a cooper. For most of his life be lived on Rikerís Island, a half share of which he received from his fatherís estate.

An earlier chapter details both the 1847 leasing of the island by him and his sons Henry and Peter, and the sale of the island by his heirs less than two months after his death.

Where he lived after leasing the island is not known, but he was at an advanced age and may have gotten himself in trouble if he is the same Peter Riker who is enigmatically reported in 1849 as having been ďbrought up for being drunk and disorderly and threatening the watchmanĒ, and in 1850 as ďan old residenter of the Penitentiary, (who) was furnished with a ticket of admission yesterday to his old quarters, his conduct entitling him in the opinion of the Justice to this mark of meritĒ.


Born - March 7, 1771 [son of 4th generation Jacobus Riker].

Died - Sept. 16, 1850, NYC;

First: February 1791, to Deborah Leverich, daughter of William L & Dorothy Leverich.

Born 1772, she died April 9,1818 at age 4S years 10 months 5 days. Riker Cemetery marker #31.

Second: May 1, 1831, to Ann Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac Martin. She died April 10, 1875 in Hoboken, N.J.

Fifth generation Daniel Riker's wife, Deborah Leverich, and his father-in- law William L. Leverich, were descendants of the Rev. William L. Leverich (depicted left), who is credited with being the progenitor of the Leverich family in America.

In 1662 when the Rev. Leverich purchased land in Newtown for his sons, he was technically not yet pastor to the Newtown congregation but ministered periodically to it while still remaining pastor of the Huntington church that he helped found and had served since arrival on Long Island in 1653.

Though born, raised and educated in the Church of England, he had joined nonconformist Puritans who came to America for "freedom to worship God." His own first sermon in the New World, given at Dover, N.H. in 1633, was said to have been the first sermon ever preached by an ordained minister in what became New Hampshire.

Both as a Newtown Presbyterian minister and as a land owner, the Rev. Leverich was a prominent figure in Queens during the 15 years prior to his death in 1777. His descendants in Queens were numerous and maintained for about a half century (1780 - 1854) a family cemetery in Trains Meadow (Jackson Heights) across from their homestead. The cross in the map (below left) marks its approximate location.

Comparing the Leverich cemetery list entries with the genealogy entry for Daniel Riker in the Edgar Alan Nutt book text, one comes across a poignant link.

Daniel Riker's wife had a "big sister" named Patience who was about 14 when Deborah was born. Before Patience's marriage to Henry Stanton, she must have helped take care of baby Deborah. Patience Stanton was only 27 when she died in 1785. Deborah Leverich was only about 13 at the time. But even after Deborah married Daniel Riker, she didn't forget her deceased sister. Among her eight Riker children, she named her second daughter Patience Stanton Riker, in memory of her beloved older sister who had died so young. Perhaps not coincidentally, Deborah herself was about 27 when she gave birth to the girl she named for the sister who died at 27.

The Leverich homestead is long gone, but Leverich Street (right & below) is still there. The burial ground is entirely surrounded by houses and apartment buildings. It is inaccessible to the public.

The caption and images do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's book and have been added here by NYCHS. Click image of the Rev. Leverich and dog to access its source, the Leverich Family History and Genealogy site of Thomas Leverich of West Windsor, NJ. Click map detail, much modified from Mapquest original, to access more about the cemetery on his Leverich Family Burial Ground web page.. Click Leverich Street and sign images to access their source, Ken Walsh's interesting Forgotten NY.

Born Dec. 25, 1791; baptized (as Jacobus) Jan. 29, 1792 in Newtown First Reformed Church. WILLIAM LEVERICH.
Born Dec. 8, 1792; baptized (as Leverage) Jan. 26, 1793.

Born Jan. 26, 1800.

Joseph Lawrence
Born Aug. 17, 1805. Died Oct. 27, 1823; Riker Cemetery marker #35. Unmarried.

Daniel B.
Born July 26, 1836. Died Dec. 7, 1844; Riker Cemetery marker #40.

Maria Rapelye
Born Dec. 22, 1795. Died March 3, 1828, at age 32 years 2 months 10 days. Riker Cemetery marker #35. Married Nov. 2, 1825 to Samuel Valentine. Daughter Maria died Sept. 4, 1828. Riker Cemetery marker #35.

Patience Stanton
Born Feb. 25, 1798. Died July 17, 1870. Married March 4, 1841 to John T.Welling.

Ann Catherine
Born May 1, 1803. Died Oct. 31, 1826. Unmarried

Hannah (Ann) Eliza
Born March 20, 1807. Married May 17, 1826, to George Elder

Susan Ann
Born Jan. 10, 1832. Died August, 1852. Married Nov. 13, 1850 to Isaac Webb. Daughter Eliza Jane.

Daniel inherited his fatherís farm that had been settled by his grandfather on the Tuder Patent south-westerly of Bowery Bay.

In January, 1827 he moved to New York City after having sold the property to Charles Rapelye.


Born - July 17, 1771 [son of 4th generation Hendrick Riker].

Died - March 24, 1828;

For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Those still oft-quoted lines come from a poem penned by a lawyer who also was among America's most popular poets in the mid- 1800s: William Ross Wallace (right) husband of Daniel Riker's daughter Ann Polhemus Riker whom he wed in October 1856. It was Wallace's second marriage. He was 37; Miss Riker, 34. They raised three children. The name of one of them become part of the title of a published poem by her father: A Letter To My Daughter Margaretta.

Influential editor and poet William Cullen Bryant spoke highly of Wallace's writings: "They are marked by a splendor of imagination and an affluence of diction which show him the born poet."

Poet Bryant's photo (left) was taken by pioneer lensman Matthew Brady whom William Ross Wallace helped get Edgar Allen Poe to pose for a picture.

In an April 1891 interview published in The World, Matthew Brady (right below) recalled:

"I had great admiration for Edgar A. Poe, and had [Poe's friend] William Ross Wallace bring him to my studio. Poe rather shrank from coming, as if he thought it was going to cost him something. Many a poet has had that daguerreotype copied by me."

William Ross Wallace was born in 1819 in Kentucky where his father, Princeton educated Presbyterian cleric Rev. Matthew Green Wallace, ministered to various congregations. Later the Rev. Wallace settled in Terre Haute, Indiana.

William studied law at Hanover College, the Presbyterian affiliated institution that Rachel Rycker's husband, church elder Samuel Smock, helped found in Indiana's Jefferson County.

Beginning in 1841, attorney Wallace practiced law in NY but as a pastime also wrote poetry, songs and some novels during the next few decades, contributing to Harper's, Godey's Lady's Book, NY Ledger, and Louisville Journal. He died May 5, 1881, in NYC at 72.

Although elite literary circles recognized Poe (left) during his own time as a talent, he had personality problems undercutting his uneven attempts to secure and retain a steady livelihood. He died on a Baltimore sidewalk in 1849 at 40.

In Marginalia, Poe wrote of his friend: "Among our men of genius whom, because they are men of genius, we neglect, let me not fail to mention William Wallace, of Kentucky."

Though good friends, Edgar Allan Poe and William Ross Wallace were opposites as writers. In contrast to Poe's dark, moody, and introspective writing, Wallace verses focused outward on uplifting and patriotic themes, particularly the Union cause and the American Revolution.

They were published in leading general periodicals and won a diverse audience. Some had music written for them and became popular songs. Union soldiers played and sang them around camp fires. Wallace himself edited a military song book printed by Beadle & Co., 141 William Street, NYC, a major publisher of low- cost but popular reading material often called "dime novels" (right) and "penny dreadfuls."

A few digitally sequenced versions of music written for Wallace verses are available on the Internet.

Click the ear icon left to hear the music for the Sword of Bunker Hill, Wallace's poem about a dying Revolutionary vet entrusting that relic to his son. Click the following red- lettered name of its web source to access the poem: Lesley Nelson- Burns' The Contemplator site.

Click the ear icon right to hear the music for the Keep Step With the Music of Union. identified as Wallace's "National Song" in a July 1865 NY Times report on its premiere. Click the following red- lettered name of its web source to access the poem: Benjamin Robert Tubb' Public Domain Music site.

Wallace's The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world ranks among the most quoted lines of verse in America. Many versions of the poem can be found on the web. A fine one can be accessed at the (click) World eBook Library site.

The Liberty Bell and Last Words of Washington by Wallace can be accessed on the (click) University of Virginia American Studies web site.

Five pages of Wallace poetry that appeared in the Nov. 1851 issue of International Magazine of Literature, Art, and Science are available on-line at the (click) Cornell University Library's Making of America site.

Cornell University Library's Making of America site also lists links to 16 other Wallace poems in three 19th Century periodicals: The American Whig Review, The United States Democratic Review, Harper's New Monthly Magazine. One listing includes (click) 6 Wallace poetry links. The other listing includes (click) 10 Wallace poetry links.

But while Wallace words enjoyed much success in their era, his work -- unlike Poe's -- broke no new literary ground and now holds mostly historical interest as period pieces typical of the era.

The above caption and images do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's 2004 book and have been added to the web version by NYCHS. Click the images to access their respective sources: W. Virginia University College of Law Prof. James R. Elkins' Strangers to Us All: Lawyers and Poetry, Library of Congress' American Story web page displaying a Harvard University Art Museums photo by Brady of Bryant, the National Park Service's Baltimore Edgar Allen Poe House web page, Library of Congress' American Memory photo of Brady. Northern Illinois University Libraries' The House of Beadle & Adams and its Dime and Nickel Novels.web site.

April 28, 1804 (or April 5), Helen, daughter of Abraham Polhemus. She was born in 1783.

Born 1809.

Born 1813.

Born 1815.

Born 1816, went to New Haven.

Jane Rapelyea.
Born 1807. Married March 4, 1841 Robert M. DeWitt.

Christina Titus.
Born 1811. Married William B. Kellurn.

Born 1819. Married: First Feb. 13, 1842 to Alpheus Y. Stocking, Second to Moses Tapley.

Ann Polhemus.
Born 1822. Married William Ross Wallace.

Born 1826. Married Oct. 5, 1846 to Harvey Stocking.


Born - Feb. 8, 1777 [son of 4th generation Hendrick Riker].

Died - May 28, 1821 of apoplexy.

May 24, 1806 to Sarah, daughter of CoL Edward Meeks. Born in 1782, she died Oct. 11, 1830, at age 48.

Joseph Lopez Dias. Born April 9, 1813; baptized Christmas Day 1813 in Christ Church, NYC [along with his sister, Josephine Sophia]. Godparents: John and Sophia Diaz. Married Nov. 8, 1841 Delia Smith.

Josephine Sophia.
Nov. 28, 1812 [see baptism note immediately above].

Sarah Ann.
Married (possibly Dec. 20, 1848, James Wearer).

Peter Riker was a silversmith with a place of business at 378 Pearl Street in.New York City; and in the 1800-1803 period was an officer in the Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons.

[Webmaster note: Peter Riker's father-in-law, Col. Edwards Meeks, apparently had been in the Meeks family furniture and cabinetmaking business in lower Manhattan on Broad Street not too far distant from the Riker silversmith shop on Pearl Street. Broad and Pearl Streets intersect as do the crafts of silversmithing and cabinetmaking.]


Born - Sept. 10, 1756 in Rockland, NY [son of 4th generation Abraham Riker of Newtown].

[MATTHIAS] was a Private in the NYS Militia, Pensioned Nov. 1, 1833 at $46.66.

Died - Sept. 8, 1837 in NYC.

Ann (Annetye), daughter of Henry Nagel.

Henry (Hendrick)

JOHN (Jan).
Born Feb. 5, 1778; Baptized Feb. 22, 1778 in Tappan Dutch Reformed Church.


Born - May 22, 1753.
[son of 4th generation Abraham Riker of Newtown].

Died -
May 21, 1825 in Hoboken, N.J.

daughter of Jacobus & Sarah (Nagel) vanValen.

[Sons] JOHN, born circa 1773. ABRAHAM, born circa 1783. James.

[Daughters] Sarah, married John V. W. Warner. Jane, born Nov. 14, 1789

Fifth generation John Riker's marriage to an Onderdonk connected the Rikers with yet another family line involved in settling New Netherlands.

Onderdonks appear in Rockland and Orange County, NY, records at least as far back as the early 1700s. They fought in the War for Independence. The Children of the American Revolution (logo above) has a Rockland County chapter: the Lieutenant Abraham Onderdonk Society. His name also appears among those listed as "our Revolutionary Ancestors" by members of the Washington Crossing Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Captain Jacob Onderdonk headed a patriot company from the Haverstraw precinct of then Orange County. Post-Revolution tax rolls show Capt. Onderdonk residing Clarkstown, Rockland County. So did more than 8 other Onderdonks.

In 1686, the British had established the county system and designated as Orange County what includes all present day Rockland and part of what is now Orange County. The Haverstraw precinct was established in 1719 and was made a town in 1788, including what now are Stony Point, Ramapo and Clarkstown towns.

In the early 1640s, long before Brits ruled the Hudson Valley, a Dutchman was the schout, both sheriff and prosecutor: Adrian Van der Donck, (left) generally regarded as the progenitor of the Onderdonks in America. Later, he acquired much acreage north of New Amsterdam, setting himself up so well that folks began calling him Jonk Herr (young gentleman) from which was evolved a city's name: Yonkers.

Acquiring a wife in 1645 -- Marie Doughty, daughter of the Rev. Francis Doughty -- he also acquired the Doughty farm on Flushing Bay. Van der Donck evolved into Onderdonk. They multiplied in "pre-Nassau" Queens. Adrian Onderdonk was among delegates sent to the Continental Congress from Great Neck and Cow Neck (Manhasset) after the Battle of Lexington. Andrew Onderdonk was an ensign in the Great Neck and Cow Neck Company of Revolutionary Troops.

Ridgewood, Queens, and Manhasset, Nassau, have roads and landmark Onderdonk homes. The Greater Ridgewood Historical Society's home, the Vander Ende-Onderdonk House (below), is the oldest Dutch-American fieldstone house in NYC. Built by Paulus Vander Ende about 1709, it was bought about 1800 by other Dutch farmers, the Onderdonks whose several generations lived there nearly 100 years.

The caption and images do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's book and have been added here by NYCHS. Click logo image to access its source, the Children of the American Revolution's NYS Society site. Click the portrait image to access its source, John Van Wicklin's Family of Adrian^1 Van Der Donck site. Click home image to access a Greater Ridgewood Historical Society web page.


Born - circa 1748 [son of 4th generation Abraham Riker of Newtown].

Died - by 1852.

Dec. 11, 1771 to Maria, daughter of Andries Onderdonk of Tappan.

Born in March, 1750, she died in 1852.

Born Aug. 29, 1773. Baptized Oct.10, 1773 in Tappan.

Born 1775..

Born circa 1780. Died by 1852 Married April 30, 1806 to Rebecca Jacobs


Born - April 13, 1758 [son of 4th generation Abraham Riker of Newtown].

Died - Oct. 31, 1833 in NYC.

1st circa 1777 to Margaret (Margrietye), daughter of William & Elena Nagle.

Born Jan. 17, 1753, she had died by 1817.

2nd July 14, 1817 to Abigail (Farseur) Woolsey, 2nd wife & widow of Jacob Wilsey/Woolsey.

She was born circa 1747.

Born June 28, 1778.

Born 1775. May 28, 1780; baptized June 25, 1780, Tappan Dutch Reformed Church. Died young.

Born April 26, 1792; baptized in Tappan. Died young.

March 10, 1786; baptized April 9, 1786 in Tappan. Died young.

In his July 27, 1832 claim for a Revolutionary War pension, which he subsequently received retroactively to March 4, 1831 at the rate of $80 per year, Gerardus listed the record of his service and battles: three 9-month enlistments plus several indefinite periods of service, from the spring of 1776 until the warís end; at Long Island, White Plains, Fort Lee, Trenton, and in various details in New Jersey and New York;

The 1852 modified map detail right depicts proximity of the George M. Woolsey estate in Astoria, Queens Co., to Rikers Island.

A half century earlier the Rikers and the Woolseys had drawn closer than geography. When fifth generation Gerardus Riker, 59, widower, married Abigail Woolsey, 69, widow of Jacob Woolsey, in 1817, they were but strengthening the Rikers/Woolsey connection that their children had forged 16 years previous.

Gerardus's son by his first marriage, William Riker, had married Abigail's daughter by her first marriage, Elizabeth, in 1801. Indications are that the union of William and Elizabeth resulted in 8 children. Gerardus and Abigail's sharing that many grandchildren together may have been a factor leading to their forming a marital union of their own. Also that Gerardus' other three children all died young perhaps figured into his closeness with his surviving son's family and mother- in- law.

North River sailing master Captain George D. Woolsey (above left), reminisced in the late 1800s about certain Hudson River captains of Woolsey ancestry, commenting that "branch of the Woolsey family, like all of that name in this country, came from one original stock, who came to this country in 1623 and settled at Flushing, Long Island, where they owned a plantation and were established."

Whether the date 1623 and the location Flushing are correct as starting points for Woolseys in American (not all genealogists agree), Long Island does appear to have been home for sundry Woolseys from the mid- 17th Century.

Son of a grocer and tobacconist, George Woolsey Jr. came to New Amsterdam in 1643 from Holland where he, a native of England, had been raised. Four years later he married Rebecca Cornell in Flatbush. They first set up home in Flushing. By 1661 he was a freeholder in Jamaica, Long Island, and by 1673, became town clerk. Later, his son, also named George, ran a general store in Jamaica.

This George Woolsey's remains were buried in the family's own cemetery in a pre-Nassau Queens area called the Dosoris, the northernmost part of Glen Cove and vicinity in Oyster Bay Town. Also buried there were the remains of his son, the Reverend Benjamin Taylor Woolsey (tombstone above); grand- son Commodore Malancthon Taylor Woolsey, and great- grandson, George Muirson Woolsey. This last cited descendent's middle name and his death in 1851 make him a plausible fit for the deceased in the 1852 map property tag line "Estate of George M. Woolsey."

The exploits of Commodore Malancthon Taylor Woolsey (left) in the War of 1812, particularly at Sackett's Harbor, Lake Ontario, (as well perhaps as his ties through marriage to the very influential Livingston family) prompted the inclusion of a lengthy section on him by author James Fennimore Cooper in his 1846 Naval Officers.

Son Malancthon Brooks Woolsey (right) also had a distinguished naval career and rose to the rank of commodore like his father. He served before, during and after the Civil War. The U.S. Navy named a WWII destroyer in his honor, the USS Woolsey.

Something of the adventurous spirit of the several Woolsey captains and commodores who had roamed rivers and seas must have been passed along to 18- year- old Agnes Woolsey, a 7th generation descendent.

When her father, Theodore Dwight Woolsey (left), Yale's longest serving president, heard her uncle's family had invited her to join them on a tour of Europe, he expressed doubt. He told her that "[You are] too young to travel abroad... your mind needs the improvement of further study before you can see more than the outside of things [there]."

Accepting his challenge, she kept a journal of the trip. It was later published with the daughter-twinking-daddy title of Too Young to Travel Abroad: Journal of a Year of European Travel in 1856-7." A century and a half later, the 18-year-old's travel journal (cover image right) is still in print and readily available via the web. The same cannot be said about her father's far weightier tomes.

Her book has even been made available in braille and "talking books" form, thanks to Agnes' grand- daughter, Mrs. Louise Tallman, long active in American Foundation for the Blind's Helen Keller Society and the New Hampshire Association for the Blind.

The caption and images do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's book and have been added here by NYCHS. Click the map detail for the full and uncompressed Area of the Rikers Homes map from Bishop Nutt's book. Click Captain George D. Woolsey's image to access its source, the Hudson River Maritime Museum site's web page of his personal reminiscences. Click the Rev. Woolsey tombstone image to access its source, Mary S. Van Deusen's Major Henry Livington Jr. site's web page on the cleric who was Henry's "grandfather-in-law." Click the Commodore Malancthon Woolsey images to access their source, Naval Historical Center.web pages on them. Also see Mary S. Van Deusen's Major Henry Livington Jr. site's web page on them. Click the Theodore Dwight Woolsey image to access its source, Yale University Library Manuscripts & Archives site's Commencement Day, July 26, 1860 photo. Click Agnes Woolsey's book cover image to access its source, the American Foundation for the Blind site's web page on her granddaughter Louise Tallman.

In the claim he made several conflicting references to his age and indicated birth year, and these have been interpreted as indicating that the claim was that of a different Gerardus, one possibly born in about 1755 rather than the subject of this entry whose April 13, 1758, birth date is recorded.

However the inconsistent ages in the claim may be attributed simply to an uncertain memory.

As noted above in the entry for his uncle Gerardus, it is possible that the latter's military record may in part include that of the present Gerardus although his rank as ensign as specified by Stryker cannot be confused with the present Gerardusí rank of private.

Gerardus was born in Closter and lived there until about 1802 or 1803 when he removed to New York City. The census of 1810 and that of 1830 both list Gerardus as living in the 9th Ward, as per pages 117 and 337 respectively, .


Born Oct. 5, 1761 in Tappan. [Son of 4rd generation Abraham Riker.]

Died after 1852 (may be buried Sept. 21, 1853, in Brooklynís Green-Wood Cemetery, Section 95, Lot 4284).

[Author Note:The about- to- be heirs of James Riker's son, John Jay Riker, on Oct. 9, 1850 bought for the latter Lot 4282/83 in which 20 family members are buried; adjoining Lot 4284/5, which may have been part of the same purchase, has the burials of an additional 8 Rikers. Many of the 28 individuals are not readily identifiable as to family relationships.]

- 1st 1786 Anna Dorothy (Dorthea, Doritha), daughter of Andrew Zimmerman.

She was born circa 1763 in Harrington and died Jan. 19, 1805. They had 8 children.

- 2nd. Feb. 2, 1806 to Mary, by whom he had three children. She was the daughter of David Hustace.

Her first marriage was to Gabriel Briggs by whom she had 2 children.

(She also may have been buried in that Green-Wood Cemetery lot Nov. 20, 1866.)

[Author's Note: In the same Lot 4282/85 are at least four Briggs family members, although apparently not Gabriel. There is no indication of their relation- ship with either him or otherwise with the Riker family, and they include Charles A. Briggs 1789- 1859, D.A.B, M.B.B., & Abigail R. Briggs 1844-1920.]

Born circa 1787.

Born Dec. 4, 1789. Baptized Jan. 3, 1790 in Dutch Reformed Church. Died (presumably prior to May 20, 1809)

Born 1793.

William H.
Born 1804 in Harrington, NJ. Died June 16,1829

James, Jr.
Born May 20. 1809. Died June 12, 1881; buried. June 14, 1881, in Sect. 95, Lot 4282/85. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

Elijah H.
Born Sept. 1, 1815; lived on Gansevoort St., NYC. Died Feb. 19, 1885; buried Feb. 21, 1885, Lot 4282/85; but note: another Elijah buried Sept. 22, 1867, same lot.

Elizabeth. Born circa 1790.

The main text left mentions Ann Dorothy Riker's marriage to Cornelius Haring in the first half of the 19th Century. But Lent/Riker/Haring linkage seems to extend at least as far back as the early 18th Century. In 1725, Catrina Lent, daughter of third generation Abraham Lent, married Elbert Haring who later became owner of the second largest farm in colonial Manhattan, covering much of what is now Greenwich Village. In the mid-18th Century, construction began on the Capt. Abraham A. A. Haring House (1973 image above) that is now part of Rockleigh Borough, N.J., National Historic District.

He had it built for himself and his bride, Catharina Lent, whom the excellent Rockleigh Borough historical web site considers as quite possibly the gt-gt granddaughter of the progenitor Abraham Rijcken vanLent. Neither she nor her son survived the child's birth in 1758.

Widower Haring married Jannetje Verbryck more than two years later. They had three children. The date of her death is not known but in 1780 he married Margrietje Blauvelt.

A captain in the N.J. Revolutionary Ranger Troops, Haring became a POW in 1780 and is believed likely to have been among 11,000 patriots who died aboard the 25 British prison ships (images above left and below right) in the Hudson and East Rivers. The most notorious grouping of those hulks was anchored in the Wallabout waters in the vicinity of what is now known as the Navy Yard.

The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, (below left) designed by Stanford White and dedicated Nov. 18, 1908 by President Taft, stands in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, as tribute to those POWs who died on the ships from beatings, starvation and neglect.

If a person were able to get atop its nearly 150 foot Doric column somehow ( the interior staircase and elevator were removed more than a half century ago) and looked north, he or she would see the Wallabout Bay from whence were gathered so many of the patriot POWs bones buried in the monumentís crypt. About 136 years before the American Revolution the Riker family progenitor Abraham Rijcken vanLent received a patent for land at Wallabout Bay, but decided settle instead in Newtown, Queens, where he also acquired a patent. However, the Rapelje side of the Riker family did help establish the Walloon community at the Wallabout in the 17th Century.

Capt. Abraham A. A. Haring's widow wed 4th generation John (Jan) Ryker whose mother was a Haring. As mentioned, fifth generation James (Jacobus) Riker's daughter, Ann Dorothy, married Cornelius Haring. Their son, William C. Riker, married Elizabeth Riker. Fifth generation Peter (Petrus) Ryker's daughter Elizabeth married Jacob David Haring. So the Harings must counted among the early colonial family lines intersecting and merging with the Rikers.

The caption and images do NOT appear in Edgar Alan Nutt's book and have been added here by NYCHS. Click the Haring home image for more about it from its source. the Rockleigh Borough historical web site. Click a prison ship image, then the other, for more on them. Click its image for more about the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument.

Born Jan. 3, 1791.

Ann Dorothy.
Born circa 1795. Married Cornelius Haring; her children included William C. Riker who circa 1870 married Elizabeth Riker.

Born July 12, 1801. Died Dec. 28, 1877; Quincy, IL Married on April 25, 1820, to William Augustus Berrien, who was born. Nov. 8, 1798, son of William & Elizabeth (Hadley) Berrien. William and Sophia had 6 children.

Born 1806. Married a Bussing; children, John & Susan A. .

This James Riker may be the one who was a sergeant in a New Jersey Militia unit during the revolutionary war although he did not specify his rank in his Nov. 9, 1832, deposition in support of his brother Gerardusí pension application, #S 11293.

That application includes his own claim of having served from November 1777 for two 9-month enlistments in companies of New Jersey Rangers and that subsequently he and his brother served for a succession of 1-month terms out of Closter.

Although his own pension claim has not been located it appears that he received a $72 yearly pension.

He lived in Closter and Harrington, Bergen County, New Jersey, and later in New York City.

Navigate using directionals (Next or Previous).
Or navigate using Part numbers & titles below:

Table of

home = NY
Island was
'Camp Astor'
NYCHS presents excerpts from The Rikers: Their Island, Homes, Cemetery and Early Genealogy in Queens County, NY by permission of its author, an 11th generation Abraham Rijcken vanLent descendant, Edgar Alan Nutt, who retains & reserves all text copyrights.

Rikers Island's role in NY correction history warrants our providing material on its "pre-Correction" background that is so bound up with Rikers family history. Bishop Nutt's book serves as an excellent vehicle for doing that. His approach is not exclusively or narrowly genealogical. More than simply tracing lineage, he places his family history in wider chronological and geographic contexts through which his exhaustive research tracked it, thus reflecting much other history -- of the island, county, city and country.

Strictly genealogical citations, notes, and codes in the printed book have been reduced or dropped in these excerpts. This presentation includes a book print copy information page.

NYCHS retains and reserves all rights to images of photos it took during the June 5, 2005 homestead tour and the September 1998 Samuel Perry Center dedication and their captions as well as captions of inserted images not taken from the printed book.