The Lineage of the Clinton Family.
The Lineage of the Clinton Family.

The Lineage of the Clinton Family.
by Benjamin Myer Brink

    THERE is no family of Old Ulster whose services have been so great and whose honors have been so abundant as the Clinton family. George Clinton Governor George Clinton was the first Governor of the state of New York, which office he filled for twenty-one years and then served eight years as Vice-President of the United States; and his brother James Clinton was one of the most active generals in the Revolution. De Witt Clinton, the son of James, was United States Senator and held the office of Governor of New York for nearly ten years and linked his name forever to its history by pushing through to its completion the Erie Canal.
    The Clintons were a historic family of England. Their rise was co-eval with the beginning of its history from the Norman conquest. With William the Conqueror came his cousins Renebald and William, who were largely endowed with estates by him in recognition of their services. Renebald, by gift of the Conqueror, held the lordship of Clinton in Oxfordshire, and took the surname of Clinton. His eldest son and heir, Sir Geoffrey, the founder of Kenilworth Castle, was Chamberlain, Treasurer and Justice of England in the reign of Henry I. He was succeeded by his son Geoffrey and he by his son Henry; he by his son Henry. He died without issue and his title and estates reverted to his uncle’s descendants, one of whom was created Lord Clinton and Say by Edward I., whose descendant was created Earl of Lincoln. Charles Clinton, who emigrated to America, was the great-great-great-grandson of the second Earl of Lincoln. The readers of Sir Walter Scott’s immortal story, Kenilworth, will recall the passage in the description of Kenilworth Castle in Chapter XXV which is: “On the exterior walls frowned the scutcheon of the Clintons, by whom they were founded in the reign of Henry I. (1100-1135).” During the subsequent centuries the families descended from this Clinton race bore a potential part in the making of English history. Our concern to-day is with the Old Ulster branch.

    WILLIAM CLINTON, a great-grandson of Henry, 2nd Earl of Lincoln, was an officer in the army of Charles the First. After that monarch’s downfall he was obliged to fly to the Continent. He afterwards went to Scotland and married a lady of the family of Kennedy, heads of which were the Earls of Cassillis. He then passed over to Ireland, where he died, leaving a daughter Margaret, and a son, James, then two years old.

    JAMES became an officer in the army of Queen Anne. He married the daughter of one of Cromwell’s officers, Elizabeth Smith. They had three children - Mary, Christina and Charles, who after the death of their parents, came to America and settled in Little Britain on the Hudson, in Ulster County, New York.

    CHARLES married in Ireland Elizabeth Denniston. They had seven children, three born in Ireland and four in America. Their children were:
    I. CATHARINE, born in Ireland August 11th, 1723, married Captain James McClaughry, June 22nd, 1749; died without issue Nov. 28th, 1762.
    II. JAMES, born in Ireland March 31st, 1726; died on the passage to America, August 28th, 1729.
    III. MARY, born in Ireland July 11th, 1728; died on the passage to America, August 2nd, 1729.
    IV. ALEXANDER, born in Little Britain April 28th, 1732; married Mary Kane of Shawangunk, November, 1757; died at Shawangunk, a physician, March 11th, 1758, without issue.
    V. CHARLES, born in Little Britain July 20th, 1734; died April 3rd, 1791, a physician and surgeon, unmarried.
    VI. JAMES, Brigadier-General in the Revolutionary army, was born in Little Britain August 9th, 1736; died there December 22nd, 1812; was promoted to Major-General at the close of the war.
    VII. GEORGE, the Governor, born in Little Britain Sunday, July 26th, 1739, and died in Washington, D. C., April 20th, 1812. He was the Governor George Clinton and Vice President of the United States.

    JAMES CLINTON (VI.) known as General James, married first, Mary De Witt, of Deerpark, and second, Mrs. Mary (Little) Gray, widow of ______ Gray, an immigrant from Ireland. By his first wife he had:
    I. ALEXANDER, who though but a lad at the time, was a lieutenant in Colonel Lamb’s Regiment of Artillery in the Revolutionary War, and served until its close. He was drowned in the Hudson River in his 22nd year. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati.
    II. CHARLES, married Elizabeth Mulliner. He had three children - Mary De Witt, who married Captain Robert Gourley; Alexander, who married Adeline A. Hamilton; Ann Eliza, who married James Foster, Jr.
    III. DE WITT, Governor of the State of New York, also Mayor of the City of New York. He first married Maria Franklin; second Catharine Jones. By his first wife he had ten children. Four of them died young. The others were: Charles Alexander, married Catharine Hone; James Henry, died at sea; George William, married Laura C. Spencer; Mary married David S. Jones, Franklin, died unmarried; Julia, died unmarried.
    IV. GEORGE, married Hannah Franklin, sister to Maria, wife of his brother De Witt. They had three children - Mary Caroline, married Henry Overing; Franklin died young; Julia Matilda, married, first George C. Tallmadge; second James Foster, Jr.
    V. MARY, married first, Robert Burrage Norton; second Judge Ambrose Spencer. She had two children by her first husband - Clinton, married Sally Pearsall; Mary, married Alexander C. Spencer. No issue by second.
    VI. ELIZABETH, married Lieutenant William Stuart of the Revolutionary Army, and a member of the Society of the Cincinnati. They had seven children.
    VII. KATHARINE, married first Samuel Lake Norton, brother to her sister Mary’s husband. No issue. Second, Judge Ambrose Spencer, her sister’s widower.

    General James Clinton’s children by his second wife, Mrs. Mary Gray, widow, were six in number: James, died young; Caroline H., married Judge Charles A. Dewey, of Northampton, Mass.; Emma L., died at the age of 21, unmarried; James Graham married Margaret Conger; they had one son, DeWitt: Letitia, married Dr. Francis Bolton: they had two children, Thomas, who died young, and James Clinton, who married Laura Tallmadge; Anna married Lieutenant Edward Ross, U.S.A.

    GEORGE CLINTON (VII), married Cornelia, only daughter of Petrus Tappen and Tjaatje Wynkoop, his. wife, of Kingston, February 7th, 1770, and had:
    I. CATHARINE, born in New Windsor, November 5th, 1770; married first John Taylor of New York, October 25, 1791. Her husband died November 26th, of the same year, and June 4th, 1801, she married Major-General Pierre van Cortlandt. She died at Peekskill January 10th, 1811.
    II. CORNELIA TAPPEN, born in New Windsor, June 29th, 1774; married Citizen Edward Charles Genet, Minister from the French Republic to the United States, November 6th, 1794, and died March 28th, 1810.
    III. GEORGE WASHINGTON, born in Poughkeepsie October 18th, 1778, married Anna Floyd, daughter of General William Floyd, September 19th, 1808; died March 27, 1813, leaving one son, George William Floyd, born in Poughkeepsie October 31st, 1809, died unmarried in New York, May 12th, 1842.
    IV. ELIZABETH, born in Poughkeepsie July 10th, 1780; married Matthias B. Tallmadge October 25th, 1803; died April 8th, 1825.
    V. MARTHA WASHINGTON, born in Poughkeepsie October 12th, 1783; died February 20th, 1795.
    VI. MARIA, born in New York October 6th, 1785; married Dr. Stephen D. Beekman; died April 17th, 1829.

    To this is appended the Wynkoop line of the wife of George Clinton.

    I. CORNELIUS WYNKOOP. The date of his birth is unknown; he died about 1676. His wife, Maria Janse Langendyck, died about 1679. They lived at Rensselaerwyck until 1664-1667, and then settled at Esopus (Kingston). Their children were:
    JOHANNES, Maj., born in Albany; married 1st, Judith Fransen Bloodgood; 2nd. Cornelia Ten Broeck.
    MARIA, born in Albany; married Moses Du Puis.
    EVERT, born in Albany, March 24th, 1665; married 1st. Gertrude Elmendorf; 2nd Antje Kiersted. He died July 31st, 1746.
    GERRET, born in Albany or Esopus; married Hilletje Fokker, known also as Helena Eltinge.
    NICHOLAS, bap. at Kingston, October 15th, 1668.
    CATHARINE, bap. at Kingston, June 18th, 1671.
    BENJAMIN, bap. at Kingston, April 18th, 1675; married Phemertje Van der Heul.

II. EVERT WYNKOOP. He married Gertrude Elmendorf August 26th, 1688; and (2nd) Antje Kiersted, daughter of Roelof and Eyke (Roosa) Kiersted.
    The children of Evert and Gertrude Wynkoop were:
    CORNELIUS, bap. October 13th, 1689; married Barbara Matthysze Van Keuren.
    JACOBUS, bap. May 26th, 1691; married Jannetjen Bogardus.
    NICHOLAS, bap. April 23rd, 1693.
    GRIETJE (Margaret), bap. June 2nd, 1695.
    MARYTJE (Maria), bap. September 11th, 1697.
    CATHARINE, bap. December 17th, 1699 married Johannes Decker.
    ANTJE (Anne), bap. April 26th, 1702; married Johannes Swart.
    TECLA, bap. February 18th, 1705.

    The children of Evert and Antje Wynkoop were:
    JOHANNES EVERTS, born October 12th, 1707; married Catharine Schut.
    TOBIAS, bap. May 7th, 1710; died in infancy.
    MARETJE (Maria), bap. August 10th, 1712.
    HEZEKIAH, born January 16th 1715; married Maria Davenport.
    TOBIAS, bap. April 28th 1717; married Leah Legg.

    III. CORNELIUS EVERTSE WYNKOOP. Baptized in Kingston October 13th, 1689; died before 1717; married Barbara Matthysze Van Keuren, baptized October 11th, 1685; daughter of Matthys Matthyszoon and Tjaatje (DeWitt) Van Keuren. Barbara Wynkoop married (2nd) November 5th, 1727, Pieter Tappen.
    The children of Cornelius E. Wynkoop and Barbara, his wife were:
    EVERT, Captain, born January 29th, 1709; married Ariaantje Schepmoes.
    TJAATJE, bap. October 8th, 1710; married Petrus Tappen July 2nd, 1736.

    IV. TJAATJE WYNKOOP TAPPEN. The children of Petrus and Tjaatje Wynkoop Tappen were:
    CHRISTOPHER, bap. June 5th, 1737; died in infancy.
    PETER, bap. Sep. 11th, 1738; died in infancy.
    CORNELIA, bap. August 10th, 1740; died in infancy.
    CHRISTOPHER, bap. June 13th, 1742; married Anne Wynkoop.
    CORNELIA, bap. November 25th, 1744; married Governor George Clinton February 7th, 1770.
    PETRUS, bap. June 28th, 1748.


    There was another branch of the Clinton family whose connection with American affairs must be given. It is that of George Clinton, the royal governor of the Colony of New York from 1743 to 1753. He was the youngest son of Francis, sixth Earl of Lincoln, and was thus a kinsman of Governor George Clinton of the state of New York. He was an admiral in the British navy and died in 1761 while governor of Newfoundland. His son, Sir Henry Clinton, succeeded General Howe as commander of the British forces in America in January, 1778. Previous to this he had served in the British army in this country from the beginning of the Revolution, for he was at Bunker Hill and active in His Majesty’s service until June, 1782. Thus when Governor George and General James Clinton were disputing the passage of the Hudson in October, 1777, the enemy’s forces were led by their kinsman, Sir Henry Clinton. He died at Gibraltar, Spain, December 23rd, 1795.


    Townshend and Sanford’s Great Governing Families of England in the article "Clinton" gives this estimate:
    "It is really a great house, though strangely lacking in hold on the popular imagination, and for seven hundred years has thrown a scarcely intermitted succession of men who have spent their lives in the furtherance of England’s greatness and policy.
    “If it has never had genius, it has also never produced a traitor, and if it has never risen to the lofty position of one or two of its rivals, it has not in its records chapters which it would give estates to conceal.
    “Always in front, but never in command, this great family has the clearest pedigree in all England, and yet none has been more systematically lyed about.”


    From his old home in Ireland Charles Clinton brought to America this church letter from his pastor:
    “Whereas the bearer, Mr. Charles Clinton, and his wife Elizabeth, lived within the bounds of this Protestant dissenting congregation from their infancy, and now design for America
    “This is to certify, that all along they behaved themselves soberly and inoffensively; and are fit to be received into any Christian congregation where Providence may cast their lot. Also, that said Charles Clinton was a member of our Session, and discharged the office of ruling elder very acceptably; this, with advice of sessions, given at Corbay, in the county of Longford, Ireland.



Olde Ulster Magazine
February, 1905
Volume 1, No. 2
Pp. 52-60

Created April 11, 2001; Revised September 9, 2002
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