John TenBrook 1738-1826


I knew the name TenBrook before I started doing genealogy.  It was my uncle’s middle name.  He was Gilbert TenBrook Jones, my father’s older brother.  My father never shared much about his family history, his father McMillan Jones had died when my father was very young and I don’t remember him talking about members of his father’s family except a cousin called “Tennie” whose name was Owen TenBrook Jones.  I started learning how to research genealogy after my father died in 1971.  I was able to visit Tennie and got some information from him as well as another of my father’s cousins Eleanor Yeomans of Danville, Illinois.  Both had information on John TenBroeck or TenBrook who had impressive service in the American Revolution. 


This John TenBrook is my 4th great grandfather.  To my inexperienced eye the information I had been given looked fine, John lost his father before he was born and was under the guardianship of his uncle Cornelius TenBrook of Harlingen, Somerset County New Jersey and had been married twice first to Katie Lowe and then to Katie Emmons.  He was prosperous until he sold his property for continental dollars after the Revolution. When I actually searched the available records I found problems with most everything.


His Uncle Cornelius did not come to New Jersey until November of 1746 when John was almost 8.  I have found no record that Cornelius was his guardian.  John was most likely married three times and his last wife was not Katie but Anna. His financial life had some ups and downs court records in New Jersey have him sued for debt. There is no record of his owning land in New Jersey except that which his last wife had inherited from her father which happened after they moved to Pennsylvania.  He didn’t live in Harlingen but probable grew up in North Branch and later lived in Readington.



He was a success in the military during the American Revolution.  He served in the 4th Regiment of the Hunterdon County Militia and reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The militia elected their officers so there was no buying a rank as in the British Army. 


John’s parents were part of the Dutch community his father was John (Johaness) TenBroeck born 1714 in Kingston, New York but had moved to New Jersey with a brother Wessel and lived on land purchased by in 1736 their father Jacob near what in now Rocky Hill, NJ near the Dutch Reform Church in Harlingen.


His mother was Catherine (Catheryntje or Tryntie) TenEyck who was born in New Jersey and was a second cousin to her husband.  They are believed to have married in early 1738 but no record of the marriage has been found.  According to all accounts the elder John died in September of 1738, a story being that he was killed by his slave (History of Montgomery Township) I have not found and records from 1738 to confirm this.  He died without leaving a will and his wife was named administrator October 22, 1741.



His baptismal record is found in the Readington Dutch Reform Church.

Date January 21, 1739 name Johannis parents Johannis TenBroek, Catheryntje his wife and witnesses Jacob TenEik (Ten Eyck) and Elizabeth TenBroek.  Those are the names of his maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother.

His mother remarried to Jacob Van Nest April 11, 1746.


The next record I have of him is the appointment of two guardians for him in 1753 Conrad and Mathew Ten Eyck those being the names of two of his maternal uncles.  1753 was the year that his mother’s second husband died and this would have protected the money and/or property he was due from his father’s estate from half-siblings and additional stepfathers.  Guardianships then were usually concerned with property not the care of the child. 

His paternal grandfather Jacob Ten Broeck died in 1746 in Kingston, NY

His paternal uncle Wessel Ten Broeck died in 1747 in Rocky Hill, NJ

His maternal grandfather Jacob Ten Eyck died in 1753 in North Branch, NJ

John would have been of age at 21 on December 21, 1759.


First Marriage

 No records have been found of his first marriage or birth of his first child believed to be

Catherine born March 2, 1765 and married John Emmons about 1785 her mother is probably “Katie” Low who probably died shortly after giving birth.

Around this time John TenBrook (Tinbrook) lived across the Delaware River from Frenchtown, NJ in Tinicum Township, Bucks County, PA. and ran the Ferry across the Delaware.


Second Marriage

The next marriage has better evidence even though it is indirect evidence.

Gerritje/Charity Van Nest is the mother of John’s first two sons:

Johannes (John) was born August 5, 1767 and baptized August 23, 1767 Readington Church, parents listed as Jan and Gerritje.

Gerret was born October 26, 1769 and baptized January 28, 1770 with “parents” listed as Jan TenBroock and Treintie Vrome (which is the name of John’s mother, the child’s grandmother, John Vroom was her third husband.)


Their mother Charity Van Nest TenBrook died January 2, 1770 according to the Bible of Garret TenBrook.

Son Gerret’s bible gives some dates and an abstract was published in the NY Genealogical and  Biographical Society Record, Volume 30  page 125,1899.

From “The History of Tioga Chemung Tompkins and Schulyer Counties, New York” page 318

“John Ten Brook was born in Somerset Co., N.J., Aug, 5, 1767. His father and grandfather, both of the same name, were born respectively Dec. 21, 1738 and Dec. 9, 1715. The latter died at the age of twenty-three, three months before the birth of his only child. The ancestry has been traced no farther back on the father’s side.  The mother of John Ten Brook of Elmira, Charity Van Neste by name was directly descended from Sarah Rappelye…..”


Third Marriage

The third marriage must have occurred not long after Charity died because the birth of their first child, my ancestor Andrew is given as November 3, 1771 and he was baptized on December 29, 1771 with parents Jan(John) and Annatie.

The name of his mother has been giving as “Katie” Emmons in family trees and DAR applications but my research indicates she was Anna/Hannah/Annatie Emmons and the eldest daughter of Andrew Emmons and his wife Saartje/Sarah Van Duyn baptized September 16, 1753 at Readington.

Children of this marriage were

Andries/Andrew my third great-grandfather born 1771

Sarah baptized March 14, 1773

Conrad baptized September 24, 1774

Jacob baptized June 23 1776

Abraham born about 1778

Jemima born about 1783

William born about 1786

Peter born 1795

The baptism of the first four children of John (Jan) and Anna (Annatie) are from the Readington Church Also know as the Church over North Branch



The document that ties John TenBrook wife Hannah (Anna) to Andrew Emmans is a Deed from John and his wife Hannah (Anne) of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania to George Schamp of Readington, Hunterdon County New Jersey

Book 22 page 59 for Hunterdon County, PA describing land owned by Andrew Emmons of Readington at the time of his death and divided between three of his heirs namely John Emmons, Hannah (Ann) TenBrook and Mary Schamp.  The deed was signed by John TenBrook and his wife listed as ANNE used a mark, The Deed maybe viewed on Family Search film 007901987 image 875.


The History of Lycoming County page 583 gives details of the TenBrook/Emmons connection although there are errors in the dates.

Andrew Emmons died in 1786. Letters of administration of his estate were granted September 20, 1786.  So the year of his death 1788 as listed in the History of Lycoming County is wrong, as is the year of John TenBrook’s settlement as he was there in 1784.


Lycoming County (Formerly Northumberland County) Pennsylvania

The first record I have found of John in central Pennsylvania is in the court records of Northumberland County May 1784 when Roland Chambers sued for debt.  The suit was modified in November to add the name of Cornelius Low.  And apparently was settled in 1785.

He is also listed on the Federal Tax list for 1783/1784 in White Deer Township as John Timbrook along with Cornelius Low and the Widow Low (page 555) Pennsylvania Archive Series 3 Vol. 19 page 556.

John appears in the 1790 Federal census as John Timbrook in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania (later Lycoming County)


John died September 10, 1826

John is buried in the Christ Lutheran Stone Church Cemetery in Allenwood, PA now on the grounds of a federal prison so is not easy to visit. He is listed on Find A Grave but his wife is not.  From the photo the headstone appears to be a replacement and not almost 200 years old.


Notes and Acknowledgements