Herman Op Den Graeff

M, (26 November 1585 - 27 December 1642)
     Herman Op Den Graeff was born on 26 November 1585 at Aldekerk, County of Muir, Rheinland, Duchy of Prussia. He married, at age 19, Grietjen Pletjes, age 16, daughter of Driessen Pletjes and Alet Göbels, on Tuesday, 16 August 1605 at Aldekerk, County of Muir, Rheinland, Duchy of Prussia. Herman Op Den Graeff died on 27 December 1642 at Krefeld, Duchy of Kleve, Rheinland, at age 57 years, 1 month and 1 day.
     Herman Op den Graeff was born on 26 November 1585 in Aldekirk (Allekirk), County of Muir, Germany near the border of Holland and died on 27 December 1642 at Krefeld (Crefeld), Germany. He was married in Krefeld on 8 June or August (it is believed August) in 1605 to Greitgen Pletjes who was born on 26 November 1588 in Kempen, Holland or possibly Germany. She was the daughter of a Mr. Driessen born about 1550 and died on 27 December 1645 and Alet Göbels Pletjes who died on 7 January 1640. Many believe that this Herman could have been a son of Abraham Graeff, but it has never been proven.

     Herman was a linen weaver and merchant, born of Mennonite parents from Aldekirk about 12 miles from Krefeld, Herman and his wife moved to Krefeld in 1609. Herman was one of two delegates of the Krefeld Mennonite Church to sign the Dordrecht Confession in 1632 and served as preacher in the congregation at Krefeld. A certain Reformed member in the Morses Synod bitterly complained that 'some simple non-Mennonites felt themselves drawn'. In 1637, contributions were requested for the oppressed Reformed Church in Sweebrucke, Herman contributed from his own means in the name of the small Krefeld congregation 25 Reich Thanker, while the Reformed Congregation in Krefeld contributed only 22.

     Among the oldest Mennonites of Krefeld, the Op den Graeff family is one of the best known, since Herman Op den Graeff was the first preacher of the Mennonite community who is known by name. He is believed to be from Aldekirk and became a burger of Kempen in 1605, where he married Greitgen Pletjes Driessen in the same year. In 1608, records show that he was in Krefeld, where he died in 1642. During the Conference of Leading Mennonites in Dordrecht, he and another delegate from Krefeld signed the 18 Articles of their religious faith.

     Two glass paintings have been preserved from the Krefeld house of Herman Op den Graeff, which had been in the Kaiser-Wilhelm Museum from 1894. The 'Crefelder Zeitung' (a newspaper of that time) dated August 20, 1894, No. 421, describes these paintings, particularly the texts that were on the glass paintings at that time. Another reference about the glass paintings with a description of the Coat of Arms was found in the estate of W. Niepoth (Op den Graeff folder) in the archives of the city of Krefeld, who noted a letter dated November 17, 1935 from Richard Wolfferts to Dr. Risler: 'Saw the Coat of Arms glass pane in the old museum: 'Herman Op den Graeff und Grietgen syn housfrau' or the like. Coat of Arms - In the sign a silver swan in blue. Helmet decoration (I think): Swan growing.' At a third point, Nieper mentions the two glass paintings, which were in the local historical museum of the Linn Castle at the time his book was published in 1940. They were apparently transferred to the Linn Castle when it was furnished from the Kaiser-Wilhelm museum. It was Nieper, who finally published the texts on the glass paintings. Following is the reproduction of both texts according to the line structure of the copy that was received:


Gott fruchtigh from God is fruitful, devout
und gutt von seden, and good to all sides,
Luistigh frundtlich talked cheerfully
und war von reden, and kind.
Ist christlich und I am christian and
gefalt den herren, appeal to the Lord.
Bringt gunst und setzet I bring affection,
menneger zu grosser and one grants great
ehren. honor to me.
Herman op Herman op
Den Graff Den Graff
und Greitgen and Greitgen
sein hosfrow his wife.
A 1630 Anno 1630


Wer wyl uns scheyden von der Who will take from us God's
liebe gottes, Truebsal oder angst oder love, sorrow or fear or
verfolgung oder Ferligkeyt oder schwerdt? persecution or execution or sword?
Wie geschrieben steht um Deinen As written in your will,
willen werden wir getoedtet den we are being destroyed all day
gantzen tag. Wir siendt geachtet fur long. We are looked upon as
Schlachtschaaffe. Aber in dem allen sheep to be slaughtered. But we
ueberwinden wir weit um des overcome all for the one will who
willen, der uns geliebet hatt. has loved us.
Roem. 8 c 35 v Romans Chapter 8, Verse 35

     It is thought that most of those spelling their names currently as Updegraff, Updegraph, Updegrove, Uptegraff, Uptegraph, Uptegrave, Updegrove, Upthegrove, etc. are all probably descended from this Herman and Greitjen, the physical and mental characteristics of these persons seem to be persistent. They seem to be tall and spare in physique and have strongly marked features. Some say that the family is French-German, but the name sounds more like Dutch? A hand Bible that was printed in Amsterdam in 1633 was located in Newberrytown, PA by Clyde Updegraff Shank, who did a lot of research, he placed the Bible in the York Co., PA Historical Society on 21 August 1957. The Bible was at one time in the possession of Peter Updegraff (#3296) son of Isaac.

He was a linen weaver and merchant between 1605 and 1642.

Children of Herman Op Den Graeff and Grietjen Pletjes

Last Edited=23 Sep 2023