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03 January 2012

'Fighting Squaw'

Which Catherine Vanderpool Was the "Fighting Squaw"?

We not only have a plethora of Abrahams, Johns and Wynants, but also of Catherines in the Vanderpool family. One of our Catherines is so popular she is "claimed" by two different families—the SEAs and the YOAKUMs—as having married into them. Some say she is the Catherine who was captured by the Shawnees in July 1763 at the event known as the Muddy Creek (now West Virginia) Massacre, led by Chief Cornstalk
Some claim she is the daughter of Abraham Vanderpool (bp. 1709 in Albany, New York) and others claim she is his sister. Neither group has produced a marriage record or any conclusive evidence to prove that their Catherine was a Vanderpool.
Abraham did have a daughter named Catherine by his first wife, Jannetje WEIBLING—she was baptized 14 May 1738, in the Second River (Belleville) Dutch Reformed Church in Essex County, New Jersey. We have no further information on her. However, she certainly cannot be the Catherine who married George YOAKUM (as some claim) in 1744 in Wallpack, [sic] New Jersey. Not at age six! Nor is she likely to be the Catherine who married a YOAKUM with a marriage date of 25 April 1751 in Virginia. In 1751, Abraham's daughter, Catherine, would have been only 13 years old..
The 1751 date apparently is taken from the date of a transfer of land from Abraham and Rebecca Vanderpool to George Yoakum. Dutch girls of this generation seldom married before 18 or 20, and again no evidence has ever been provided for such a marriage. In George YOAKUM's 1789 will in Hardy County, Virginia [Will Book 1, p. 37] his wife's name is given as Catherine, but that does not prove she was a Vanderpool.
The other piece of evidence researchers have used is the Virginia land transaction of Abraham Vanderpool and his (second) wife, Rebecca. The problem is that it has been misinterpreted, in my opinion. Abraham and Rebecca (grantors) transferred 430 acres of the South Branch of the Potomac to George Yoakum (grantee) on 25 May 17511.This property eventually (on 16 July 1806) went to George HARNOST [HARNESS] Sr., one of the heirs of the grantee. The land was not given to George YOAKUM (as a wedding gift or for any other reason) and nowhere in the record does it indicate any relationship between the grantor (Vanderpool) and the grantee (Yoakum). A grantee is someone to whom the title of property is transferred. It is suspected there were family connections among the Vanderpools, Harness and Yoakum families, but they have been not determined. It is possible that they were just neighbors on the Virginia frontier.
Abraham Vanderpool obtained this piece of property by a patent granted to him 19 October 1748 and because Rebecca signed when the property was transferred three years later, that's evidence that she was his wife at the time it was acquired, which helps to narrow down the date when they were married. Lord Fairfax, from whom Abraham obtained this patent (first title deed is usually called a "grant" or "patent") in 1748, leased his land under two types of patents. The first type was for 21 years at one shilling a year per each hundred acres. The second type was a three lives lease (the lifetime of usually the husband, wife, and youngest son). No quitrents were due the first year and thereafter the annual fee was minimal. The patent required the leaseholder to build a cabin with a masonry chimney, fence and cultivate land, and plant fruit trees. Which type of patent Abraham Vanderpool had is not known.
Of course, it is quite possible that Abraham's daughter, Catherine, married George YOAKUM, but at a later date, because she was too young to have been the mother of the children YOAKUM researchers have attributed to her—those born in the 1740 and early 1750ss. Others claim that Frederick Michael SEE (SEA/ZEH) (ca 1710-1763) married Catherine VANDERPOOL, the sister of Abraham. They have used her baptism record [30 June 1725 in the Dutch Reformed Church records in New York City], and some list a marriage date of ca 1744 in Wallpack, [sic] New Jersey or in Pennsylvania, but no solid evidence or any documents of such a marriage have been presented.
While Abraham's sister would fit for age and in proximity—if she had been living near her brother at the time—the later is doutful for by July 1741, Abraham is in Smithfield, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and there is another problem. We have a marriage on 18 January 1741 in Bergen County, New Jersey of a Catherine (aka Catrine) VANDERPOEL to a William SANDFORD (some say this original Dutch name was ZANDFOORT). If this is Abraham's sister, she would be a 16-year-old bride, which is young, but plausible, and Bergen County is next to Essex County, where the parents of this Catherine had resided since about 1725. If this is Abraham's sister, then she was already married in 1744 when it is claimed she married SEE .
A William SANDFORD of New Barbadoes Neck, Bergen County, New Jersey, left a will dated 22 Feb. 17492 in which he mentioned a wife, Catherine, and a number of children. Executors of his estate in April of 1750 were John VANDERPOOL and John LOW, with VANDERPOOL renouncing. It appears that this John VANDERPOOL was the brother-in-law in this instance and it is his sister who was the Catherine who married William SANDFORD in 1741. The family of Wynant Vanderpool and Catherine DeHooges (parents of John, Abraham, Catherine, et al) lived in Essex County, New Jersey, next to Bergen County, and brothers often are found in probate records pertaining to their siblings, especially those of their widowed sisters.
There is another problem though. If this Catherine Vanderpool is the sister of John and Abraham VANDERPOOL and is the one who married William SANDFORD in January 1741, she would have had eight children in nine years as eight children are mentioned in Sandford's 1749 will. Not impossible, but unlikely. Of course, the children mentioned in the will are his children (William SANDFORD's) and his widow, Catherine, is not necessarily the mother of any or of all of them. Another nebulous factor pointing to William SANDFORD's wife as being the sister of John VANDERPOOL is that another sister, Marguerite VANDERPOOL (bp. 1714), purportedly married a Johannes ZANTVORD (or SANDFORD), but no evidence or source is given and I have not yet found the record. Moreover, whether there is a relationship between these two SANDFORD (ZANTVORD) men has not been determined. If there is one, it might provide one more connection and suggest that these Vanderpool sisters married brothers or relatives—something that happened frequently.
Catherine (Vanderpool) SANDFORD was a widow in 1750 and might have later remarried, but she appears to have been left in comfortable circumstances,, and with eight children, it is not likely she would have removed to the wild frontier of Virginia from the relative comfort and safety of the Bergen County, New Jersey area to be where her brother Abraham was then located (he is found in various records of Augusta County, Virginia, ca 1746-1757).
There are a few other Catherine VANDERPOOLs perched upon our family tree, but they are too old or too young to even be considered in this instance as potential wives of YOAKUM or SEE.
I'll go out on a limb, so to speak, because everything in genealogy is subject to revision if and when new evidence surfaces, and suggest that it was Abraham's daughter, Catherine, by his first wife (born in 1738) who married as a second wife to Frederick Michael SEE, probably in the mid- to late-1750s and is the one known as "Fighting Squaw," a survivor of the 1763 Muddy Creek Massacre.


1. Abraham Vanderpool and Rebecca to George Yoakum. Date: May 25, 1751. Chalkey Abstracts, Vol. 3, pg. 293. Lyman Chalkley's three-volume Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745-1800 (Rosslyn, Va., 1912-1913; reprint, 1965).

2. New Jersey Wills, 1670-1750. SANDFORD/SANFORD. Extracted from Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, First Series Volume XXIII; Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Volume I 1670-1730; edited, with an introductory note on the Early Testamentary Laws and Customs of New Jersey, by William Nelson; Paterson, N. J., 1901. p. 401. Lib. E, p. 408. 1749, Feb. 22. Will of: SANDFORD, William, of New Barbadoes Neck, Bergen Co., yeoman;. Only son, William, my plantation (300 acres) and 150 acres of meadow on the eastward part. If he dies without lawful heirs, said land and meadow to be divided equally among my surviving children. Wife, Catherine, to have the use of same during widowhood. Residue of my meadows on New Barbadoes Neck to be divided equally between wife and daughters, viz: Mary, Benington, Sarah, Elizabeth, Francis, Rachel and Catherine. To said wife the great Bible, and to daughter Sarah the silver tankard. Executors John LOW and John VANDERPOOL. Proved 7 April, 1750. John VANDERPOOL renounces and John LOW qualifies. Witnesses James STILL, Elipt. JOHNSON, Thomas ALLING.