(1) An article found at PBS (Public Broadcast System) website discussing the
background of Anthony Van Salee and his descendants. The article was published in
conjunction with a television series on race relations in America and focused on
multi-racial family lines. Anthony Van Salee had a dutch father (Jan Janszen Van
Harlaam) and an Arab-Muslim mother.
Anthony and Abraham van Salee were the ancestors of
the Vanderbilts, the Whitneys, Jacqueline Kennedy
Onassis and Humphrey Bogart.
They were among the earliest arrivals to 17th century New Amsterdam. In a number
of documents dating back to this period, they are both described as "mulatto". From
what scholars have been able to piece together about their background, they appear
to have been the sons of a Dutch seafarer by the name of Jan Jansen who had
"turned Turk" and become an admiral in the Moroccan navy. With the Port of Salee as
the base from which it harried European shipping, references to the fleet he
commanded are salted away in the old English sea shanties that are still sung about
the Salee Rovers. The mother of his two sons was probably a concubine he had while
trading in this part of the world before his conversion to Islam.
As a result of the anti-social behaviour of his white wife, Anthony van Salee was
induced to leave the city precincts of lower Manhattan and move across the river, thus
becoming the first settler of Brooklyn. Since Coney Island abutted his property, it was,
until sometime in the last century, also referred to as "Turk's Island"; the word, "Turk",
being a designation of his which the records used interchangeably with, "mulatto".
According to the documentation that people like Professor Leo Hershkowitz of
Queens University have sifted through, it would seem that Anthony van Salee never
converted to Christianity. His Koran, in fact, was in a descendant's possession until
about fifty years ago when, ignorant of its relevance to his family's history, he offered
it for sale at auction.
The Van Salee history also includes a more contemporary black collateral branch in
the U.S. Anthony's brother Abraham fathered an illegitimate son with an unknown
black woman. The son became the progenitor of this side of the family. Although
having to face constraints that their "white" cousins could at best only imagine, two of
these van Salees nevertheless left their mark in the annals of African American history.
Dr. John van Salee De Grasse, born in 1825, was the first of his race to be formally
educated as a doctor. A member of the Medical Society of Massachusetts, he also
served as surgeon to the celebrated 54th Regiment during the Civil War. His sister,
Serena, married George Downing who was not only an enormously successful black
restauranteur both in New York City and in Newport, RI, but a man who used his
wealth and connections with the East Coast's most powerful white families to effect
social change for his people. Because of his organization and his own contribution to
the purchase of Truro Park in Newport, one of the streets bordering it still bears his
name. Interestingly enough, this genealogy was done as part of an ongoing study of
the Ramopo in Tappan, NY, one of those red, white and black groups sociologists and
ethnographers are now working on and which in academese are referred to as "tri
racial isolates". It is because of what advantages their Indian heritage (no matter how
discernably negroid they were) legally and officially provided them that the
opportunity for "passing" in these groups was not only a more ambiguous political or
moral decision but, comparatively, a more easily documentable one as well.
Considering how important a role John Hammond of Columbia Records played in the
establishment of the black music industry, it would certainly be worth exploring the
possible influence his van Salee ancestry might have had on his career. Back then,
there would have been no option possible for publicly declaring himself black
according to the "one drop" racial code that was the law in most states until the
Johnson administration. With a Vanderbilt for a mother, his iconographical value to the
white majority was so important that had he dared to tamper with it, the KKK or some
such group would most probably have made him pay the ultimate price for having
desecrated his and the prestige of his relatives who had, after all, fairly well
succeeded in making themselves the equivalent of this country's royal family.
Hammond died a few years ago but since his son, following in his father's footsteps,
has become a recognized exponent of R&B his could prove to be a very important
interview for us.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis
Either Professor Hershkowitz, or Tim Beard, former head of the Genealogical
Department of the New York Public Library related this incident regarding van Salee
genealogy. At the time the Kennedy administration began implementing its civil rights
agenda, the New York Genealogical and Historical Society approached Mrs. Kennedy
hoping to discuss the opportunity her African ancestry, through the Van Salees, could
have in possibly assisting her husband to realize his social goals regarding race
relations. Mrs. Kennedy insisted on referring to the van Salees as 'Jewish,' and the
New York Genealogical Society did not push the subject further.
Humphry Bogart and Ruth Gordon in a scene from the 1927 film Saturday's Children.
He is a Van Salee descendent and she is a Pendarvis descendent. A few years later,
another descendant attempted to pass off the racial description of the van Salles in
the official records as nothing more than malicious rumor.
(2) An article found on the Internet mentioning a direct ancestor, Abraham Hubbard.
The article concerns the oldest remaining houses in the New York City borough of
Brooklyn. One of the ten oldest homes in Brooklyn was originally built by the Hubbard
family. Four of the ten oldest houses are listed as having been built by our ancestors.
Hubbard House,2138 McDonald Avenue, Brooklyn NY
Plantation 15 of the northwest square of s'Gravensande was bounded on
the east by the Indian footpath that was later to be called Gravesend Avenue
and now is McDonald Avenue.
It was allotted to Thomas Morrell who conveyed it
to Bartholomew APPLEGATE in 1653.
It belonged to Thomas DELAVALL in 1667,
to Samuel HOLMES in 1679,
to Nicholas STILLWELL 1692 and
to Joachim GUYLYCK (GULICK) in 1693. .
By 1769, six acres of it had come into. the possession of Coert JOHNSON who was
probably a descendant of the Hendrick JANSEN and Elizabeth LAKE who lived in
Gravesend when their son Court was baptized 25 December 1696. .
Coert JOHNSON had a son Hendrick who inherited the property and whose heirs
divided it into five parts in 1830. One of the parts went to Ellen JOHNSON (died 31
August 1865), widow of Abraham HUBBARD.
Who built the older part of the house that stands on her property? No one seems to
know. She transferred it to her son Samuel (baptized 13 December 1812) shortly after
she received it, and it was probably Samuel who added the south wing to the original
dwelling. He was living in the house as late as 1890.
His father Abraham HUBBARD was the son of Samuel HUBBARD and Ann EMANS,
Samuel's second wife. Samuel (born 25 April 1742) was the son of James HUBBARD
(b.18 June 1706 - d.23 October 1798) and Aeltje RYDER who were married in
James was the son of Samuel (b.3 May 1676) who was the son of "Serjeant"
James HUBBARD, one of the founders of s'Gravensande.
In 1655, Serjeant James had a wife named Martha. On 31 December 1664 he
married Elizabeth BAILIES or BAYLIS. He was named on the town's patent, was
its magitrate a number of times and its schout-fiscal in 1650. With two other
Englishmen he rebelled against the Dutch in 1655 and was imprisoned. He
represented Gravesend in the Hempstead Convention of 1665.
Before his death, which occurred prior to 1693, he put the following entry in the
Gravesend Town Book:
The record of mee James HUBBARD: To certifie mine or any other of
his brethern William: John: Henry & Margaret wth him selve ye
youngest of leaven Sonns & dafters: yet butt five known of here,
or our father Henry HUBBARD & our mother Margrett: of ye Towne of
Langham: in ye Countye of Ruttland yeaman: stands upon ye record
of ye regester To be ye 123: Generation: As I have received by
letters in ye yeare 1669: & my Children with ye Rest of my Bretherens
children are ye 124: Generation: wch I James HUBBARD of Gravesend on
ye wester end of Long Ile land desired To have Recorded on ye Townes .
Regester of Gravesend: for his children To add & to have Respect unto:
for there better knowledge of There Relations in ye parts of Urope ye
land of England in Cass of There Travells To those parts.
New Amsterdam circa 1660 (North is to the right)