Paul Gibson Burton's articles on Cornelis Melyn in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record resume in pages 132-147 of the Apr 1937 issue. In this chapter Mr. Burton provides extensive information on the families of all of Cornelis' children who were known to have issue. I'll only present here the portion pertaining to my own ancestor, Susanna (Melyn) Winans.
CORNELIS MELYN, PATROON OF STATEN ISLAND
AND SOME OF HIS DESCENDANTS
CONTRIBUTED BY PAUL GIBSON BURTON*
(This article began in RECORD 68:3; continued from RECORD 68:17)
... 10. SUSANNA2 MELYN (Cornelis1) bap. 14 June 1643; m. 25 Aug. 1664, JOHN WINANS; d. 1687-1693.
Susanna Melyn was the first of Cornelis Melyn's children born in the New World. She was baptized in the New York Dutch Church 14 June 1643, her sponsors being her sister Cornelia and Lijntje Jochems. The latter was doubtless a daughter of Jochem Pietersen Kuyter, the political ally of Cornelis Melyn, and the neighbor of the Melyn family on the present Broad Street, Manhattan. The only mention of Susanna Melyn that has been found in the early records occurs in connection with the prosecution of her brother Jacob and Sarah Tuttle, of New Haven, which has already been described. She married at New Haven, Connecticut, 25 August 1664, John Winans. As has already been mentioned, it was a double wedding, her widowed sister Maria Paradys being married to Matthias Hatfield at the same time.
The name of John Winans has not been found in any colonial records prior to the date of his marriage to Susanna Melyn, and well organized efforts to discover his pre-American origin have been unsuccessful. It has been generally assumed that he was a Netherlander, but in view of the old family tradition which is given below, coupled with the origin of his brother-in-law, Matthias Hatfield in Danzig which has been mentioned, it is possible that John was also from Danzig. The fact that both were weavers is interesting as another possible link between them. John Winans signed his name both in this form and as "John Wynants", the latter a distinctly Southern Netherlandish form, and of course it is quite possible he was of a Flemish family residing in Danzig.30
The tradition in the Winans family was written down by Professor Samuel Ross Winans when a young man as it was told to him by his father.1 The latter was born in 1796 and was hale and hearty until Professor Winans was well past thirty; a long link into the past for two generations. In later years, when Professor Winans was engaged in gathering material about the Winans family, this tradition was often reported by members of the family widely separated as to both age and distance.
A composite of several versions of the tradition, found among Professr Winans' papers, is as follows: "One Conrad Winans lived in Poland (in Prussia: i.e. Prussian Poland; in Danzig; and other variants) at the time of the great Plague--the Black Death. Deaths were many and sudden. He dreamed tbat three mice ran across the floor and two dropped dead. He awoke and called to his two sisters, and they answered, but in the morning he found them dead. He fled at once to Holland and there married. Came to America. Had grant of whole of Staten Island. Great parchment deed described, etc. Indians were troublesome and he moved to Elizabeth. When a large farm in the neighborhood of Rahway was offered him in exchange for a yoke of oxen, his wife protested and would not go into the woods to have her son murdered by the Indians. An orchard of his planting; some trees standing as late as 1820. Was a tailor. Spoke English brokenly. Name sounded like Kuhnrodd."
Like most traditions, this Winans story apparently contains some possibilities and, at the same time, some contradictions. Some items obviously refer to other than Winans ancestors, and there is the familiar "telescoping" of generations. No emigrant with the given name Conrad has been found, but there was a Conrad Winans, son of John Winans and Susanna Melyn. The great plague in Prussia in 1564 destroyed 24,000 in Danzig alone. The grant of the Staten Island patroonship to Cornelis Melyn, possibly evidenced by a "great parchment deed", now lost (for which, however, the famous mandamus already described may have been mistaken), accounts for that part of the tradition. Searches at Danzig have thus far yielded nothing of value.
John Winans came to New Jersey with a number of other residents of New Haven, and was one of the Associates who founded Elizabeth Town, as has been mentioned in the biographical sketch of Matthias Hatfield. He was a weaver, and was one of the half dozen leading men in the community in means and influence. He died in December 1694. His will dated 14 February 1687/8 was proved 15 January 1694/5. The will mentions his wife Susanna and their eight living children, but between the drawing of the will and the date of his death, his wife had died and he had married (about 1693) a second wife, Ann Robertson, by whom he had one son. The inventory of John Winans' estate, taken 17 June 1695, totaled £271 15s. 8d., and included gold and silver plate and a library of books.31
Children of John Winans and Susanna Melyn:2
33. i. John3 Winans, born 1 July 1665 in New Haven, Conn. Died before 3 October 1674, on which date a second John was baptized. + 34. ii. Susanna3 Winans, b. 9 Feb. 1667, m. _____ Henry Baker; d. _____. + 35. iii. Elizabeth3 Winans, b. about 1669; m. Ebenezer Lyon; d. 1 July 1739. + 36. iv. Samuel3 Winans, b. about 1671; m. _____ Zerviah _____; d. 27 September 1747. + 37. v. John3 Winans, b. about 1673; bap. 3 October 1674, New York Dutch Church; m. (1) _____ Remember _____; m. (2) __ March 1725, Mrs. Frances (Moore) Doddridge; d. 5 November 1734. 38. vi. Joanna3 Winans, b. 1675-1678; named in her father's will, but nothing further known. + 39. vii. Conrad3 Winans, b. about 1680; m. Sarah Palmer; d. about February 1727/8. + 40. viii. Jacob3 Winans, b. about 1682; m. _____ Mary _____; d. 4 January 1722/3. + 41. ix. lsaac3 Winans, b. about 1684-1685; m. _____ Hannah _____; d. August 1723.
Child of John Winans and Ann Robertson:
William Winans, b. about 1694; m. _____ Hannah _____; d. 1762-1763, leaving two daughters, but no sons. This William Winans was not a descendant of Cornelis Melyn, but is mentioned here for the benefit of those interested in the WINANS family...
* In collaboration with Alfred LeRoy Becker.
REFERENCES AND NOTES3
- New Haven Vital Records, printed 1:20. Samuel Winans,4 a grandson of John Winans and Susanna Melyn, sealed his will, dated 4 September 1758 (New Jersey Wills, at Trenton), with a signet showing a young Bacchus astride a wine cask, and holding a hunch of grapes, a canting device. The crest of the arms of the Limburg family of Wijnants is somewhat similar, and it is possible that the Limburg and Antwerp families of Wijnants are of the same stock. There was considerable interchange of population among the maritime cities of Europe, particularly those constituting the Hanseatic league, of which Danzig was a member.
- Hatfield, History of Elizabeth (indexed); New Jersey Archives, printed 21:217, 23:515.
(To be Continued)