Elizabeth Van Liet & Benjamin Johnson, Hector Tp, Schuyler Co, NY

Elizabeth Van Liet m. Benjamin Johnson

Hector Tp., Schuyler Co., NY

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This research is an example of a good hunch that finally was proven wrong. It is known that Elizabeth, surname unknown, married Benjamin Johnson around 1807 in NJ and later moved  to Hector Tp., Schuyler Co., NY around 1828. The hunch was that this Elizabeth is Elizabeth Saylor, daughter of Samuel Sayler and Margaret Jones of Springfield Tp, Burlington Co., NJ. Tim Parrott of Iowa City made the initial discovery of this couple and made the conclusion as described below.

Use these links to jump up and down this web page.
  1. Overview
  2. Land records
  3. Surrogate Court Records


What supports the idea that Elizabeth Johnson is a daughter of Samuel Sayler and Margaret Jones?
There is a story that has been titled the "Doyle Story" that states that:
"Thomas Jones a weaver from England married Elizabeth Taylor in the U.S.A. and their daughter Margaret married Samuel Saylor who was born in Germany and came to America when he was 8 years old. They settled in Burlington New Jersey where they raised 10 children. Mary, Elizabeth, Francis, William, Samuel, John settled in the U.S.A., Charles, Samuel, Lavinia and Margaret came to Canada and settled in Prince Edward County shortly before the war of 1812.
The Doyle story comes from the family of Lavinia who married a Bowerman in Canada. The Bowerman family have had a long interest in family history culminating in the work of Albert Bowerman in the late 1880's who collected stories from the elders. It is from this root that the story was recalled and recorded in the 1970's by Dr. Henry Doyle, a Saylor and Bowerman descendant. The story is very detailed in names and actions and does not spin heroic stories that make us suspicious of the truth. Source: See the overview section of the Samuel Saylor & Margaret Jones web page for details about the Doyle document.

Elizabeth and Francis Sayler have not yet been found. Those that are identified so far have information on these web pages: Mary (Saylor) Shutts, Samuel Sailer, John Saylor, William Sayler, Charles Saylor and Lavinia (Saylor) Bowerman.

Sister Mary (Saylor) Shutts and brother John Saylor migrated to Hector Tp, Schuyler Co., NY in the early 1800's. Tim Parrott reasoned that it is possible that Elizabeth and Frances followed this route and has found these facts:
  1. Tim wrote, "Since both Mary (Saylor) Shutts and John Saylor ended up (at least for a time) in Hector, Tompkins (now Schuyler) county, New York, I wondered if these other two "missing" sisters could have been following the same route with their respective husbands. Also, since several of Mary's relatives are buried in the McIntyre Settlement Cemetery in Hector and John Saylor himself is buried in that cemetery, I decided to check all the other burials there. There was no Francis/Frances, but there were two Elizabeths. One of the Elizabeths was Elizabeth (McIntyre) Mears, an older sister of Major McIntyre, who married Mary (Saylor) Shutts' oldest daughter, Sarah Wright Shutts."
  2. The OTHER Elizabeth, however, seems to be of HUGE interest! Elizabeth Johnson, wife of Benjamin Johnson, buried in the McIntyre Cemetery, died 16 Apr. 1875, aged 86 years, 6 months, 16 days (i.e. born 31 Sept. 1788). Benjamin Johnson was also buried at the McIntyre Settlement Cemetery. According to his tombstone, he died 20 Oct. 1863, aged 78 years, 8 months, 10 days (i.e. born 10 Feb. 1785).
  3. There is a listing for a "Benjn Johnson" included as a resident of New Hanover Twp., Burlington Co., NJ in 1810. The 1810 U.S. Census of New Jersey did not survive. Ancestry.com offers the "U.S. Census Reconstructed Records, 1660-1820." Tim assumes the information is probably compiled from tax lists, voter lists, etc.
  4. The 1855 Census of New York states that both she and her husband were born in New Jersey! Now, if we only knew what Elizabeth Johnson's maiden name was! I know it's a long shot, but I still think it's worth investigating, given the concentration of extended family members at Hector, New York.
  5. "In addition to all this, I did see that Benjamin and Elizabeth Johnson had arrived in Hector by the 1830 census, and were living NEXT DOOR to John Saylor when the 1830 census was taken! The fact that Benjamin and Elizabeth Johnson were living next door to John Saylor in the 1830 U.S. Census seems way more than coincidental! Both families are originally from New Jersey, both families were buried in the McIntyre Settlement Cemetery ..."
  6. Benjamin Johnson and Elizabeth were probably married about 1807 in New Jersey. Benjamin would have been about 22 years old; Elizabeth, about 19. I base this on their son John Johnson's birth in New Jersey on 26 March 1808.
  7. I'm not sure where the family was in 1820, but they were definitely in Hector, Tompkins (now Schuyler) County, New York, by 1828. This is based on two records:
    • In the 1855 New York State Census of Hector, Tompkins Co., NY, Benjamin Johnson, his wife Elizabeth, and their son John claim they had all been in Hector for 27 years, thus arriving about 1828.
    • There is a tombstone in the McIntyre Settlement Cemetery in Hector, reading:
      JACOB, son of Benjamin & Elizabeth JOHNSON,
      died Aug. 2, 1828: . 9 Y. 2 M. 6 D.
      Thus, their son Jacob was born 27 May 1819 (somewhere in NJ or NY), but died in Hector in 1828.
  8. According to the 1865 New York State Census, Elizabeth was married only once (to Benjamin Johnson), and she was the mother of 11 children. The only two known by name are John Johnson (1808-1891) and Jacob Johnson (1819-1828). There is another infant daughter buried in the McIntyre Settlement Cemetery, but she apparently died at birth and was not given a name.
  9. As I noted earlier, I believe Benjamin and Elizabeth Johnson would have been married in New Jersey about 1807 (based on 1808 birth of son John), and it doesn't seem like they would have married much before that, since Benjamin was only 22 at the time and Elizabeth only 19.
Tim did run across a marriage record (which he believed was unrelated to our search) for a Benjamin Johnson and Elizabeth Vliet, who were married on 4 Apr. 1805 in Hunterdon County, NJ. However, that Benjamin Johnson appears to have stayed in Hunterdon County, and is included in later census records, even after "our" Benjamin Johnson had arrived in Hector, NY. "Our" Benjamin and Elizabeth also would have been only 20 and 17 years old at the time of the 1805 marriage.

The land records for Benjamin Johnson in Ulysses and Hector Towns, Tompkins County have been examined. Remember that the Town of Hector was formed in Cayuga County in 1802; then it came under Seneca County from 1804 to 1817; followed by becoming part of Tompkins County from 1817 to 1854 when it finally came under Schuyler County where it remains today.

The land deed indexes have dozens of entries for Benjamin Johnson. Most transactions involve Benjamin Johnson and his wife Jane of Ithica. He was a prominent attorney, born in 1783 in New Hampshire and died in Ithica in 1848. Any sale of land involving Lot 75, Hector Tp., probably involves Ben Johnson and his wife Jane. Below a land sale involving his estate is noted.

Surrogate Court records
The breakthrough at identifying Benjamin's land came via his will. Benjamin Johnson died in 1863 and his will is transcribed below. In it he names his wife Elizabeth, that lot 85 "belonged to me" in the town of Hector and that he had a grandson Benjamin Brown, son of Isaac Brown.

Therefore, we can identify his land purchase in 1833 for part of lot 85, 61 acres, in the town of Hector. He also purchased more of the lot in 1845 and the details are transcribed below. He did not name his wife in these deeds so the will was needed to direct us to the correct transactions. The purchase in 1833 aligns with the 1855 census statement that the family came to Tompkins County in 1828.

Along with the will, the probate records also contained the Final Settlement, dated 12 years later in 1877 and his children are named. The Final Settlement is transcribed below and along with other sources Tim has constructed this list of 9 of the 11 children of Benjamin Johnson, (b. 10 Feb. 1785 NJ; d. 20 Oct. 1863 Hector, Schuyler Co., NY.) and his wife Elizabeth (b. 1788 NJ; d. 16 Apr. 1875 [Find a Grave], Hector, Schuyler Co., NY).
  1. John Johnson              b. 26 Mar. 1808 NJ; d. 1 May 1891 Hector, Schuyler Co., NY; m. Mercy, b. 27 Sept. 1815 CT or NY; d. 26 Nov. 1865 Hector, Schuyler Co., NY.
  2. Sara A. Johnson          b. ? ; d. after 1877; m. Mr. Pease.
  3. Clarissa Johnson         b. 1814 NJ; d. Mar. 1909 Hunterdon Co., NJ; m. George W. Rea, b. 5 Mar. 1812 NJ; d. 21 June 1880 Hunterdon Co., NJ.
  4. Elizabeth Johnson      b. ca. 1816 NJ; d. 25 Dec. 1866 Schuyler Co., NY; m. William H. Hazlitt, b. 2 Oct. 1816 Sussex Co., NJ; d. 8 Nov. 1895 Tompkins Co., NY.
  5. Jacob Johnson             b. 27 May 1819 NJ; d. 2 Aug. 1828 Hector, Tompkins (now Schuyler) Co., NY.
  6. Catharine Johnson      b. 30 Aug. 1822 NJ; d. 24 May 1914 Doniphan Co., KS; m. Jacob F. Miller, b. 22 July 1818 NY; d. 1 Oct. 1889 Doniphan Co., KS.
  7. Mary Johnson             b. 25 Oct. 1825 Tompkins (now Schuyler) Co., NY; d. 18 Apr. 1907 Troy, Doniphan Co., KS; m. Isaac Brown, b. 8 Apr. 1822 Tompkins (now Schuyler) Co., NY; d. 13 Dec. 1894 Troy, Doniphan Co., KS.
  8. Ellen Johnson             b. Aug. 1829 Hector, Tompkins (now Schuyler) Co., NY; d. after 1905 Elmira, Chemung Co., NY; m. Nicholas Mickel, b. 17 Apr. 1823 Rensselaer Co., NY; d. June 1892 Hector, Schuyler Co., NY.
  9. infant daughter           buried 19 Jan. 1839 Hector, Tompkins (now Schuyler) Co., NY.
And now things turn in a new direction
The key to solving the mystery of the mother’s maiden name was actually the family’s connection to Doniphan Co., KS. The daughters Catharine and Mary both moved there with their families, and I was able to find some short biographical sketches that mentioned old Benjamin and Elizabeth, but always neglecting to mention Elizabeth’s maiden name. For example, the following about the daughter Mary’s husband, Isaac Brown.

ISAAC BROWN, farmer, Section 31, P. O. Troy. This worthy fellow citizen is a native of New York, and was born in Tompkins County, now Schuyler, April 8, 1822; his father, Thomas Brown, and his mother, Jane, were natives of the Empire State. Isaac was reared as an agriculturist and always adhered to that branch of industry. Lived in New York State until 1872, when he came to Kansas, locating a short distance west of Troy; removed to his present home a few years ago. He was married in 1843 in New York, to Miss Mary Johnson a native of that State. She was born October 25, 1825; her father, Benjamin, and her mother, Elizabeth, were natives of New Jersey. The children born to Mary and Isaac Brown were seven. Helen M., Benjamin J., Ellen E., Mary V., William H., Adel K., and Libbie M. The family is identified with the Methodist Church.
Source: William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas ~ Doniphan County, Part 8):

Fortunately, I eventually found that the daughter Clarissa’s son, Joseph C. Rea, also settled in northeastern Kansas, near his aunts, uncles and cousins. It was then only a matter of time until I found the following biographical sketch in the Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1900), pages 424-425:

“A native of New Jersey, he was born in Hunterdon county on the 12th of December, 1841. His paternal grandfather, Alexander Rea, was a soldier in the war of 1812 and married Miss Mary Stires, a lady of French descent. George Rea, the father of our subject, was also a native of Hunterdon county, New Jersey, and was reared and educated in that state. Having arrived at years of maturity he wedded Miss Clara Johnson, a daughter of Benjamin Johnson, one of the heroes of the Revolutionary war. Her father was of English birth and died at the extreme old age of one hundred years. His wife was in her maidenhood Miss Van Fleet, and she was still older at the time of her demise, which occurred after she had passed her one hundred and third year. George and Clara Rea became the parents of nine children, namely: William; John; Mary Elizabeth, the wife of John Otton, of Troy; Joseph C.; Emma; Lott; Samuel, of Great Bend, Kansas; Mrs. Amanda Drynple and Mrs. Alice Gano. The father of these children died in New Jersey at the age of sixty-eight years. In politics he was a Democrat and religiously he was connected with the Baptist church, in which he served as a deacon for many years. The mother is still living in New Jersey, at the age of eighty-seven years.”

The conclusion
So, it appears that “our” Benjamin Johnson was indeed the Benjamin Johnson who married Elizabeth Vliet (variously written as Vliet and Fleet, both of which are pronounced the same) in Hunterdon County, NJ, on 4 Apr. 1805! I did notice in the records of Hunterdon County that the "Van Vliet" family (of Dutch origin) was quite numerous there.
Tim was already nervous about the connection, after finding that list of Benjamin and Elizabeth's heirs/children in the 1877 settlement document. None of the usual Saylor family names were represented: Samuel, Charles, Francis, Lavina ... But now he is 100% convinced that this is NOT our "missing" Elizabeth Saylor.

Hector Town, NY
Hector Town was formed in Cayuga County in 1802.
Hector town was part of Seneca County 1804-1817.
Hector became part of Tompkins County in 1817 and then in 1854 it became part of Schuyler County.

Cayuga County, NY Land Record Index

Starting 1794 to 1822
Image 99 to 102
No Benjamin Johnson found as a grantee.

Tompkins County Land Records
Grantee Index 1817 to 1860 A to K
Ben Johnsons - many start at image 492

Grantor Index 1817-60, A-K
Many Ben(jamin) Johnsons starting at image 617
There are dozens of land records involving Benjamin Johnson and his wife Jane of Ithica. He was a prominent attorney, born in 1783 in New Hampshire and died in Ithica in 1848. One of his probate records is "Ben Johnson, heirs of, bk 56, p. 210, [image 420]." Jesse Johnson appears to be the executor and thus most likely a son of Benjamin. This family is not connected to the Benjamin Johnson of Hector Tp.
1817/18 Ben Johnson (grantor),

Mortgage Index 1816-60, starting at image 94
Mortgage index arranged by book Must scroll through.

Deeds 1817-18, Book A, image 125
28 Aug 1816, Ben Johnson, of Ulysses, County of Seneca, sells to Richard Manning of the same place, for $10,  100 acres  in town of Ulysses  NW corner of lot 91 being the farm on which James Campbell now resides. Reg 23 Jul 1817. [page 113]

Deeds 1818-1821, Vol B-C, image 675
16 May 1817, Ben Johnson of the town of Ulysses, purchases lot 69, town of Hector, land of Samuel and John Seeley seized by court order and sold to Ben Johnson of the town of Ulysess, Tompkins County (late of Seneca County) for $800, no wife named. Entered 30 Sep 1819. [p. 98]

Deeds 1817-18, Book A, image 285
8 Sep 1817, Ben Johnson of Ulysses, County of Tompkins, NY sells to Benjamin Laning of the same place, $161, part of lot 75, Town of Hector, bordering land owned by William Gault, 100 acres. Registered 7 Nov 1817. [p. 263]

Deeds 1817-18, Book A, image 575
14 Apr 1818, Ben Johnson of Ithica, County of Tompkins, NY sells to Adam Sales of Ulysses, , $367, part of lot 75, Town of Hector, bordering land owned by Benjamin Lanning, 46.5 acres. Entered 14 Apr 1818. [p. 547]

Deeds 1817-18, Book B&C, film 850997, Vol B, image 471
27 Feb 1819, Ben Johnson of the town of Ulysses, County of Tompkins, NY and Jane his wife sells to Samuel Hanley of Hector, , $250, part of lot 75, Town of Hector. Entered 14 Mar 1819. [p. 435]

Deeds 1817-18, Book B&C, film 850997, Vol C, image 676
22 Sep 1817, Ben Johnson of Ithica, County of Tompkins, NY sells to Samuel S Seely for $1, 50 acres of lot 69, Town of Hector. Entered 20 Oct 1819. [p. 99] Samuel Seeley is one of the men who lost the lot due to debts when his land was forced to be sold by court order. See image 675 above.

These deeds are for "our Ben"
Deeds 1833-34, Vol Y-Z, image 162
8 Jun 1833, Benjamin Johnson buys for $600 from Sullivan D Hubbell and wife Susannah, all of the town of Hector, lot 5 of lot number 85 town of Hector, 61 acres, recorded 14 May 1834. Benjamin's wife is not named. [p. 295]
Deeds 1846-47, Vol VV-WW, image 584
2 Apr 1845, registered, Benjamin Johnson [wife not named] of Town of Hector, Tompkins County, for $440 buys from Horatio D Miller and Electa his wife, part lot 85, and bounded in part by the farm of Benjamin Johnson, 15 acres and 2 acres. On the 2nd day of April in the year 1845 before me the subscriber a judge of the Common Pleas of said county came Horatio D Miller and Electa his wife to me known to be the grantor described in and who executed the within deed ...that she [Electa] executed the same without any fear or compulsion from her said husband.  [signed] John Saylor

New York Probate Records, 1629-1971, Tompkins County
These films need digging into.

Benjamin Johnson - Surrogate Court Records
Benjamin Johnson, package number 738, died 20 Oct 1863, probated 28 Apr 1864,
  • Will recorded Bk 2, p. 67, below
  • Letters Testament Bk 1, p. 137, below but wrong person
  • Decree Granting Admin Bk 2, p. 372,
  • Inventory Field 29 Mar 1877,
  • Decree of Judicial Settlement Bk 1, p. 436 below
Source: New York Probate Records, 1629-1971, Schuyler County, General Index 1855-1970 A-Z, film 850009, image 219. Elizabeth Hazlitt is not found on the appropriate page 176, image 191.

Will of Benjamin Johnson
4 May 1861, In the name of God I Benjamin Johnson of the Town of Hector, County of Schuyler [formerly Tompkins] .. declare this my last will ..
First: I give unto my beloved wife Elizabeth Johnson all my household furniture and cloathing of every kind ... also  use & control of about 2 acres belonging to me situated on lot 85  in the town of Hector.
Second: I give to my said wife the interest of $2000 to be hers absolutely ...
Third: I give ... to my grandson Benjamin Brown, son of Isaac? Brown $50 and I direct that the interest thereof be paid to him after the decease of my wife from the time of her decease till he shall arrive at the age of 21 ...
Fourth:  ... the bequests to my wife Elizabeth Johnson are in lieu of her dower and in bar thereof
Witnesses: John W Brown, Solomon Craver, John W Osborn, all of Hector, Schuyler Co, NY.
Source: New York Probate Records, 1629-1971, Schuyler County, Wills 1854-70, V 1-2, film 850009, V 2, p. 67, on line at familysearch.org, image 388

Letters Testament
NY Probate records 1629-1971, Schuyler County, Letters Testamentary 1855-1903, V 1-3, online at familysearch.org, image 89, Vol 1, p. 137 is supposed to be Ben Johnson but it is not.

Final Settlement
At a Surrogate's Court, Held at the Surrogate's office in Watkins in and for the County of Schuyler on the 29th day of March A.D. 1877 ...
In the matter of the Final Accounting of William Hazlitt as administrator with the will annexed of the estate of Benjamin Johnson, Deceased ...
Balance for Distribution $2303.71 ...
It is Ordered, That the said accounts be, and the same are, finally settled and allowed, as adjusted and filed by the said Surrogate and it appearing that there is remaining in the hands of the said administrator with the will annexed after the payment of the debts, charges and expenses of the said estate the sum of $2303.71 it is further Ordered, Adjudged and Decreed that the said administrator with the will annexed distribute said sum so remaining in his hands as such administrator to the persons entitled thereto as follows:

To       Clarissa Ray   the sum of       $329.10
"          Ellen Mickle   "      "      "         329.10
"          John Johnson "      "      "         329.10
"          Sara A. Pease "      "      "        329.10
"          Cath. Miller    "      "      "         329.10
"          Mary Brown   "      "      "        329.10
and that said administrator retain in his hands the like sum of 329.10 the same being the amount to which his wife Elizabeth would have been entitled were she now living, the said Elizabeth having died Dec. 25, 1866, leaving no children but leaving her husband William Hazlitt her surviving who resides at Trumansburgh N.Y.
Source: Schuyler County, New York, Probate Records. Final Settlements 1858-88, Vol. 1, pages 436-437, image 250.

Extra Bits
Testator Index
Here is useful Tompkins County genealogy link to use.