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CONKLIN GENEALOGY

 

John Conklin (1598-1684)
From "glasseman" to mineralogist in 400 years.
(A work in progress.)

by Lawrence H. Conklin.

Note: All dates used in this essay are “new style.”

My seventh great-grandfather, John Conklin (1) was born in England, probably in Nottinghamshire, around the year 1598. His father, whose name is not presently known by me (but may well have also been John), was a glass-maker ("glasseman") and probably a  “Lorrainer,” that is, an immigrant Huguenot from the French province of Lorraine. John Conklin, too, was a glass-maker and had a younger brother, and partner in glassmaking, named Ananias.

Conklin Mann, in “The Family of Conckelyne, Conklin and Conkling in America,” and “The Line of John Conckelyne of Southold and Huntington,” published in The American Genealogist, Volume 21 (1944): pages 48-51 and pages 210-215 states—

After considerable reading on the story of the Italian, Lorraine and Norman glass-makers who came in a steady stream to England for several years following 1560, I venture a few opinions, which at best are mere guesses. My guess is that Conckelyne or Concklyne [or Concklayne and Conculyn] is an English corruption of a Continental name; that Ananias and John Conckelyne were of the second generation in England; that their forebears came from Italy, Lorraine or Normandy, perhaps by way of Antwerp. The ending ‘elyne’ or ‘lyne’ does not establish the name as Norman, Flemish or Scotch, as has been said. If, for instance, the great Venetian glassmaker Verzelini, could quickly become Verselyne in English parish records, there is no reason why a Florentine-Norman family such as Concini should not become Concelyne, Conckelyne or Concklyne.

Conklin Mann’s “guess” was, apparently, quite correct. Brian J.M. Hardyman, a noted English historian of the early glass-makers of England, supplied to me in 1995, by personal communication, information from his archives that leads me to believe that John Conklin was a descendant of Conculyns or Concklaynes. These two spelling variants of the Conklin name of a total of nineteen (!) recorded so far do, indeed, seem to be French. My migrant ancestor was likely part of that large number of skilled glass-makers, mostly Huguenots, who, escaping Roman Catholic France, arrived in England after 1572, the year of the St. Bartholomew massacre.

This mass immigration was vigorously encouraged by the reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth I. Mr. Hardyman recorded a glassmaker of certain Lorraine origins, one Francis Conklyn, who was working in Old Swinford, Worcestershire, around 1613. Cornelius Conklyn, a son of Ananias Conklyn, was christened in St. Mary, Old Swinford, Worcestershire on August 6th, 1637. One can reasonably assume that there were connections between Francis, John and Ananias Conklyn. Mr. Jason Ellis, another glass-historian of England, in replying to an advertisement that I placed in Family Tree Magazine, informed me that his research places a John Conklaine working as a glass-maker in Bagot’s Park, England in 1609. Conklin Mann also states that John and Ananias Concklyne are now (1944) accepted as brothers— “There is little room for doubt of the relationship, though I know of no absolute proof. Should Jacob Concklyne be added? Perhaps. In the Nottingham marriage records appears the following ‘12 April 1637, Jacob Conklyne of Awlsworth Parish Nuthall, glasemaker and Elizabeth Hickton of Watnall parish …’ We know that John Concklyne named a son Jacob although he never named one Ananias [not so unusual for one to pass up honoring a younger brother in such a manner]—nor, for that matter, did Ananias name one John.”

In the year 2003, DNA studies were conducted under the auspices of The Center for Molecular Genealogy at Brigham Young University. Descendants of John (I was one) and descendants of Ananias submitted buccal samples that were analyzed. It was proven that we all shared a common paternal ancestor. John and Ananias may have been first cousins but the DNA results, taken with the ancient tradition, in both lines, of their being brothers, almost certainly proves that they were, indeed, brothers.

On January 24th, 1625, my ancestor, John Conckelyne married Elizabeth Allseabrook at St. Peter's Parish, Nottingham, England. Elizabeth’s parents are recorded as John Mylner and Winifred Ludlam, so perhaps Allseabrook was a married name and she was a widow when she married. Elizabeth died around, but probably before, 26 Mar 1671 at Southold, New York. Between the years of 1628 and 1635 John and Elizabeth appear to have lived in Nutthall, a few miles northwest of the city of Nottingham. Around the year 1638 Ananias Conckelyne journeyed to Salem, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His brother John and wife Elizabeth followed him and arrived before the 30th of May, 1639. The brothers probably came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony under contract as glass-makers, and together, in 1640, they began what was the very first glass works in New England. Indeed, Grenville McKenzie, and others, say that it was the first in America! According to Salem records of 14 Sept 1640 cited by Mann, “John Concline [was officially] receaved an inhabitant of Salem.” Also, “Granted to John Concline ffive acres of ground neere the glasse howse [and] Granted half an acre more of land for the said John Concline neer the Glass howse.”

The surviving records of glass making in Salem lead to the conclusion that Obediah Holmes, Lawrence Southwick, Ananias Conckelyne and, perhaps, other undertakers [stockholders] formed a company in 1638 and later were joined by John Conckelyne. Evidently the Conckelynes were the master craftsmen while the others advanced the capital. Evidently, too, Holmes, Southwick and the other investors soon lost interest in the venture, which did not thrive, and the Conckelynes assumed the entire burden. Apparently nothing more elaborate than window glass and bottles were made. As late as 1879 “the scorić or slag which is still plowed up, seem to indicate that the glass was much lighter in color than the common bottle glass of early times.” The proof of the importance of this glassmaking venture can be found in the following: The General Court in Boston on 10 Dec 1641 voted that “if the towne of Salem lend the Glassemen 30 pounds, they [the town] shall be allowed it againe out of their next rate; and the glasse men to repay it againe if the worke succeed, when they are able.” In plain words, Salem could deduct the loan/advance from its town taxes payable to Boston even if the glass makers defaulted! Salem, on 27 Feb 1643, voted “its promise by the towne that the 8 pounds that hath been lent by the Court by the request of the towne to Ananias Concklyne and other poore people shall be repayed by the Court, at the next Indian Corne Harvest.” Things got worse for the glass makers and “A Humble petition of John and Ananias Conkcloyne [of 1 Oct 1645]…sheweth that your Petitioners have been imployed Divers yeares about the glasse work, and the undertakers now this three yeares neglected the same, so that your petitioners are not able to subsist and shall be necessitated either wholely to leave it off, or to remove elsewhere for better Accomodations of themselves; wherefore theere humble request first is unto this Honoured Court, that they might be freed fro m theire ingagment unto the former undertakers and left free to joyne with such as will carry on the work effectually except the former undertakers forthwith doe the same, that So the Worke which they Conceive to be a public good use for the country may not fall to the ground.”

No further connection of the Conckelyne brothers with glass-making at Salem has been found in the records and it seems probable that they turned to other fields. Apparently, Salem officials still were optimistic about the Conckelynes’ future in the town and, on 30 May 1649, they granted each of them 4 acres of meadow land. John visited several towns along the Long Island Sound during the autumn and winter of 1649 with a view to settling in one of them, and, in late April 1650, he, Ananias and members of other Salem families, including Thomas Scudder, removed to Southold, New York.

John was recorded as a property owner at Southold by January 1653 but probably owned land there as early as 1651. It is not easy to follow the record of John Conckelyne in Southold as many of the entries in the town records fail to specify “senior” or “junior.” His oldest son Capt. John Conckelyne (Jr.) was, by far, the more aggressive and active man. John may have gone to Hashamomack (that narrow neck that joins the town spot on the northeast) about 1657 when Capt. John married Sarah, widow of William Salmon, proprietor of Hashamomack. Some time prior to 1660, due probably to John Jr.’s claim to the important Horse Neck (Lloyd’s Neck) lands, John, Sr. and his youngest son Timothy Conckelyne (2) removed to Huntington, Long Island. On 4 Feb 1660, Huntington townsmen voted “that Timothy Conklin shall keepe both his own home lots and his father’s and to lay down all comonig [commonage] and medow belonging to his own hous.” Each of these home lots carried a 100-pound right in all divisions of commonage, and transactions by Timothy Conklin 40 years later show that he maintained title to the two home lots and their accompanying rights.

These rights were of considerable value. The General Assembly at Hartford, Connecticut, on 9 Oct 1662 made Goodman [John] Conclin and [Capt.] John Conclin Junr. of Southold, freemen of Connecticut. There was much commerce conducted back and forth across the Long Island Sound and the two Johns undoubtedly had their share. John Conckelyne Senior was, unquestionably, the John Conckelyne who paid 15 shillings for a share among the Monmouth, New Jersey, Associates in 1667. Two of the associates had been affiliated with him in Salem’s glass works. He was, however, apparently, never in residence at Monmouth. The John Conckelyne from Southold who served on a New York jury at the trial of a suit between the towns of Gravesend and Flatbush on 27 Sep 1666 was, probably, Captain John Conckelyne (his son and my seventh great-uncle), for there are indications that by that date he had a ship in Long Island waters and was serving as a civil representative of Southold in its relations with towns to the westward. On a tombstone in the Presbyterian churchyard, Southold, New York, is the following inscription- “Here lyeth the body of Captain John Conkelyne, born in Nottinghamshire in Englande, who departed this life in the sixth day of April att South Hold, Long Island, in the sixty fourth year of his age. Anno Domini 1694.”

He outlived his father, John, Senior, by only 10 years. On 26 Mar 1671, John Conckelyne Sr. conveyed to his son Jacob Conckelyne “all that my housings, whom [home?] lot, with the yards, orchards and gardens and all the rest of the accomodations thereunto belonging lying and being in Hashamomuck that is to say, All the upland both erable and woodland with the meadow and commonage thereon belonging.” This conveyance made Jacob an important landowner in Hashamomuck. It was John Conckelyne Senior’s last significant land transfer and, although he continued to hold certain lands until shortly before his death, there is nothing to indicate that he ever again maintained a household in either Southold or Huntington. It seems probable that the conveyance to Jacob took place shortly after the death of Elizabeth, John’s wife. Thereafter, he divided his time between the two towns, probably living for short periods, with his various children. A rich man and his money are welcome everywhere.

John Conckelyne Sr. was residing in Huntington in 1673, when on 6 Oct, after the Dutch had recaptured New York, the so-called “restitutio,” the town officials named him and three others as a committee to negotiate with the new Dutch Governor and to petition him to put Huntington “on good behavior” for one year and not to exact an oath of allegiance from the town. John Conckelyne Sr. of Southold, on 9 Jun 1683, sold to Richard Browne Jr. for 70 pounds, “my second lot of land lying in the lower Oyster Pond neck [Greenport.]” On 6 Jul 1683 he granted “unto John Concklyne Junr., my eldest son, all lands, etc., given and granted unto me when I was an inhabitant of Salem in New England.” John Sr. had held these latter lands for more than 40 years!

John Conckelyne(1) died 23 Feb 1684. His undated will was offered to the Court at Southampton, 18, 19 and 20 Mar 1684. Its contents are quoted from the Old Sessions Book of Suffolk County: I John Conklin being in my right understanding and perfect memory do bequeath my soul to God and my body to ye earth and my goods as followeth: viz to my son John I doo give ten shillings and to my son Timothy I doo give fifteen pounds, out of that which I was to receive for my land which my son John sold for me at Oyster Ponds. Also I doo further by these presents convey all my meadow lying in ye Oster Ponds neck unto my son Jacob Conklin, to him and his heirs forever, he paying Mr. Sylvester four pounds and ten shillings. Also I do give to Walter Noakes three pounds and all my wearing cloathes except my best coat. Also I do give unto my grandchild Rebecca Hubert [Hubbard] one horse or mare. Also I doo give unto Mr. Eliphalet Jones twenty shillings and I doo make my daughter Elizabeth Wood my whole and sole executor. (Signed.) John Conklin.

It is difficult to be certain to which “class of society” John and Ananias Conckelyne belonged, but it would seem to be that of solid burgher (burgess) or freeman class. The Allseabrook and Launder families of England, into which they married, were leading burgher families of Nottingham. When the time came for their children to marry, they did well. John’s two oldest sons married Southold’s richest widow and daughter of that town’s richest man, respectively. Ananias’ oldest son, Jeremiah, married, around 1658, the daughter of Lion Gardiner the most important man of eastern Long Island in his day.

There is, apparently, an amusing story in the book The Island by Robert Payne about that marriage. It says that Lion Gardiner was not happy about his daughter’s choosing Jeremiah Conklin, and Payne quotes him as saying that the Conklins were bottlers from Nottinghamshire and that they were farmers and handymen without large estates. Of course if he had really  been unhappy, the marriage would never have taken place. Recently, Honor Conklin of Albany gave me the correct quotation from the book:  “The quote from Robert Payne's The Island: ... p. 83, ‘These were tragic years for Lion, who had lost Elizabeth and was soon to lose his daughter Mary. In the summer of 1658 Mary married Jeremiah Conkling, and this was another marriage he disapproved of.  The Conklings were settlers from Nottinghamshire. They were farmers and handymen, without large estates.  He built Mary and her husband a dwelling house, but witheld the dowry of ten head of cattle he had given to Elizabeth.  Then he sat down to write his will.’”

Ananias Conckelyne’s line of descendants on Long Island, sometime around the year 1700, employed the affectation of adding the letter “g” to the end of their name and to this day there are more Conklings than Conklins in that area. The only other variant spelling currently in use, to my knowledge, is Concklin, which can be observed mostly in Westchester County, New York. (See footnote 1.)

My sixth great-grandfather was Timothy Conklin (2), the youngest son of John, Sr. He was born by 1640 in either England or Salem and became the founder of the prolific Huntington, New York, line of the family. He appeared in the records for the first time at Huntington, on 4 Feb 1660, when the town agreed “that Timothy Conklin shall keepe both his own home lots and his father’s and to lay down all comonig [commonage] and medow belonging to his own hous.” In March 1664 he witnessed a deposition made on Long Island by Capt. Robert Seeley. On 24 Dec 1667, he was voted six acres on the western side of West Neck, Huntington. When the town, on 16 and 17 Apr 1672, laid out the famous Ten Farms from the head of Nesaquage River to Crab Meadow, John Samis, Samuel Ketcham, Richard Williams and Timothy Conklin received the first farm at the river’s head. It has been frequently stated that Timothy Conklin’s wife, whom he married in 1671, was Martha Wickes, daughter of Thomas Wickes. A list of Huntington tax payers for 1673 contains Timothy’s name and a list of 1675 shows him as owner of considerable livestock. In 1683 he was assessed on holdings of 110 pounds, and in 1688 on 87 pounds. His purchase rights and holdings made him an important proprietor and he later distributed these rights by deed to his three sons Timothy (jr.), John and Jacob Conklin. When, in 1730, Henry Lloyd of the Manor of Queen’s Village (Lloyd’s Neck) made a summary of the history of the manor, he wrote— “Timothy Conklin of Huntington was tenant after James Lloyd’s death (1693) placed there by his executors or their attorney.”

This entry, other entries in the Lloyd Papers, and the town records of Huntington show that Timothy Conklin controlled the agricultural activities of the manor for several years. As late as 1708, ’09 and ’10, after Henry Lloyd made his home there, Timothy Conklin continued to rent large acreage from him. In 1698 he owed a rent balance of 18 pounds to the Lloyd estate. On 11 May 1697, John Ketcham, James Chichester and Timothy Conklin, Sr., acting as partners, bought important lands on the south side of Long Island from the Indians— “a certain neck of land lying on ye south side of this island called by the indians Araca by ye English ye West Neck being westernmost neck of Huntington bounds (Babylon.)” This ‘West Neck’ on the south side (Huntington South) should not be confused with ‘West Neck’ on Long Island Sound. Later, Timothy deeded his interest in this purchase to his son Jacob Conklin. He disposed of much of his land to his sons by 1710. It appears that he died in the Spring of 1714 at Huntington.

My fifth great-grandfather was Timothy Conklin (Jr.) (3). He was born 16 Dec 1670 at Huntington, the oldest son of Timothy, Sr. He first appeared in the town records in 1694 when he was assessed 7s. 9p. toward the cost of the Huntington Patent, granted the town by Governor Fletcher. On 22 Sep 1698, Timothy Conklin, Senr., deeded to “my sonn Timothy Conklin Junr., one halfe of my ould hous Lott yt was formerly my Fathers John Conklings togather with a hundred pound Right of Land and Medow belonging to ye same and at my Decease ye Remaining part of this sd Lott…” He also deeded to Timothy Jr., “my five acars peece of land lying in ye mill Ston Broock field,” together with dwelling houses, barns etc. His wife, whom he married around 1696, most likely had the surname Scudder and was Abigail or Sarah. The account book (1733-1740) of Gerret Van Horne, Huntington merchant, shows that Timothy Conklin’s wife both purchased goods and made payments on the account of Benjamin Scudder, Sr. in 1735. Timothy Conklin, Jr. served in Captain Thomas Higbee’s Huntington militia comp any in 1715 and signed the Queens Village Disclaimer on 11 Jun 1731. His name appears many times in Huntington town and land records. The will of Timothy Conklin jr., signed in 1735 and probated 14 Dec 1743, mentions his son (Ensign) Timothy Conklin “living on the main shore [Connecticut].”

My fourth great-grandfather, Timothy Conklin (4), called by me, for convenience of identification, Ensign Timothy Conklin, was born in Huntington 21 Feb 1699. His father, Timothy Conklin, Jr., was deeded, for the sum of 46 pounds, twelve shillings, by Thomas Brush of Huntington and his wife Susanna, land in Stamford, Connecticut. It was bordered on the Mianus River and Piping Brook and was bounded on the north by the Colony line. On 17 Mar 1720 he entered his “earmark,” a device for marking cattle for easy idenification, at Stamford. On 9 Mar 1720 George Dibble, Timothy Conklin and Benjamin Scudder, all of Huntington, as joint proprietors, divided part of their lands in Stamford that lay on the Colony line at roughly the same place as the land bought by Timothy Conklin, jr. from the Brushes. It is probable that Timothy Conklin, jr. gave his part to, his son, Ensign Timothy Conklin, or that the latter was the original proprietor. From “The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, From May 1726, to May 1735, inclusive...” compiled by Charles J. Hoadley, Hartford, Conn., 1873, Page 481, on 9 May 1734— “This Assembly do establish Mr. Timothy Conklin to be Ensign of the company or trainband at the parish of Standwich [Stamford] in the town of    , and order that he be commissioned accordingly.” He was one of the organizers of the Stanwich Congregational Society and was chosen tithing man for Stanwich Parish on 19 Dec 1734. Sometime before 1742 Ensign Timothy Conklin removed to the West Patent of North Castle, now New Castle township (Chappaqua), New York. On 13 Mar 1742 he sold his Mianus River-Piping Brook land to Adam Seaman. His first wife was Jane ___. His second wife was Sarah, probably born Tompkins. Ensign Timothy Conklin is recorded once in “Historical Records North Castle / New Castle. Colonial History & Minutes of Town Meetings 1736-1791 also Maps, Patents, Census Lists” in the year 1758— “Timothy Conklin [overseer of the highway] from Joseph Weeks’s road and so over to Phillipsborough southward of the widow Ossier’s and from said road along by James Purdys to Courtlands Line.” The will of Ensign Timothy Conklin of North Castle, dated 20 Feb 1758, names wife Sarah [Tompkins] to whom he gave one-third of estate during widowhood. To his grandchildren, “the eldest daughters of my sons John and Timothy,” he gave “all the effects of my first wife [Jane.]” To his son Nathaniel his team and tackling. To “my beloved daughters [unnamed] 10-pounds each, “and if either of the said daughters die without heir then her legacy to be divided among my sons that is then living.” Residue of estate to “my four sons, Timothy, John, Stephen and Nathaniel Conklin.” A codicil was added on 1 Apr 1761 giving daughter Phila a cow in addition to what she was left in the will. The will was probated on 9 June 1761 and was published in “Wills of Early Residents of Westchester County New York” by Pelletreau. Ensign Timothy Conklin’s descendants have long been identified with the townships of Mt. Pleasant, Yorktown and Cortland, New York.

My third great-grandfather, Nathaniel Conklin (5), was probably born in Stamford, Connecticut, around the year 1737. He settled in the West Patent of North Castle, now New Castle township, New York, to which place his parents removed about 1740. Conklin Mann says that it is likely he was the Nathaniel Conklin whose case appears in the minutes of the Committee and First Commission for the Detection of Conspiracies, 1776-1778. (N.Y. Hist. Soc. Collection Vol. I). He had apparently been accused of being a British sympathizer. “Fishkill, 30 Dec 1776: John Smith and others presented certificates of the character of Nathaniel Conklin, a prisoner in Worcester gaol and asked his release. He was ordered before the board on 1 Apr 1777 and on 15 Apr 1777 took oath of allegiance and was discharged.” I recently read a story of the many hundreds of Americans who, after being accused, correctly or not, of Tory sympathies were transported far from their homes and imprisoned. Some, like Nathaniel Conklin, were released, after a while, on their own recognizance after swearing allegiance to the Revolution but they were observed very carefully thereafter and their activities were monitored. Nathaniel Conklin and several other children and grandchildren of his father Ensign Timothy Conklin, were affiliated with the Chappaqua Friends Meeting (Quakers). The First Federal Census of 1790, Westchester County, and the Federal Census for 1800, New Castle, list Nathaniel Conklin. The latter credits him with one slave. In “Historical Records North Castle / New Castle. Colonial History & Minutes of Town Meetings 1736-1791 also Maps, Patents, Census Lists” Nathaniel Conklin is listed with the following town jobs between the years of 1766 and 1812— Poor master, fence viewer, highway commissioner/master, damage prisor (pricer), assessor, tax collector, impounder, deputy constable and collector for all Rates and Quitrents. If Nathaniel Conklin was not a leading citizen of North Castle / New Castle, he was certainly an active one. On 1 April 1794, he registered an earmark for his livestock as follows— “A step on the fore side of each ear happany under side of the near ear.”

Nathaniel Conklin died 3 May 1817 and left a will dated 17 Aug 1816. It named his third wife Anna, sons Stephen and Timothy, daughters Jemima, Sarah (left $500 each), daughters Elizabeth and Hannah to have house privileges until married. Daughter Amey Sutton (left $250 and if she dies, sum to go to her children). Residue of real and personal property to son Stephen. The will mentions obligations due from John Arthur on “negroe lease,” the “slave” from the 1800 census. Stephen was named executor. Nathaniel Conklin’s wife Naomi/Amey died 2 Aug 1808 at North Castle/Chappaqua and wife Elizabeth died 14 Jan 1813 also at North Castle/Chappaqua.

My great great-grandfather, Timothy Conklin (6), the second and youngest son of Nathaniel, was born about the year 1770 at North Castle/Chappaqua. Timothy Conklin’s first wife was Tamer ____ with whom he had eight children. She died 7 Aug 1825. He married Clarissa Gale before 19 Jul 1827 and they had five more children. Timothy was probably the Conklin who purchased, traditionally in 1820, the Dickinson-Conklin house at 275 Quaker Road, Chappaqua (still standing in 1972) that was sold by Hester Conklin, the widow of Timothy’s great grandson Alvin Conklin, to the muralist Ezra Winter in 1918. Alvin inherited it from his father, James B. Conklin. From “Friends Records” in the Haviland Records Room— 20 Dec 1827- “Timothy Conklin a member of our meeting has given way to unchaste conduct with an unmarried woman and hath married another not a member of our society, and he…not appearing in a disposition of mind to make satisfaction, we therefore disown him from being a member with us…” The woman he married, before 19 Jul 1827 and who was not a Friend, was Clarissa Gale. Clarissa’s grandfather, Griffin Gale (?-1807) of Mamaroneck, New York is listed in “An Acct of Lands leased & debts due for the Rents of the same for the year 1784 to the Commissioners of Sequestration for the County of Westchester” as one who had forfeited land as a Tory. His line produced the Rev. George Washington Gale (1789-1861) who founded Galesburg, Illinois in 1836 and Knox College in that town in 1837. G.W. Gale is recorded in Dictionary of American Biography. The only reason that Clarissa’s surname was uncovered was because of a chance remark made, over the telephone, by Esther B. Prentiss, my first cousin once removed, to Shirley Johansen (now Sloanne Dawson). Shirley was the first professional to work on the Conklin genealogy and made notes of everything. Esther said that a “great Aunt Susan,” had died at the Baptist House for Aged People in Brooklyn, New York. More than fifteen years later Roger Joslyn, professional genealogist, did what was needed and Susan’s mother’s maiden name, as recorded on her death certificate was found to be Gale. Timothy Conklin’s tombstone is probably the one marked “Timothy Conklin” in the Friend's Cemetery, Chappaqua, New York despite the fact that the “Friends” disowned him in 1827.

My great-grandfather, Charles Conklin (7), was born about 1828 in New Castle/Chappaqua, New York. His name turns up once as a boy in the 1830’s in “New Castle Historical Records…” Charles Conklin was living in New York City with his sister Phebe Jane Conklin in 1867, his mailing address listed as “NYC, Police” I have not been able to learn the meaning of that address. Perhaps he was in jail at the time. He is not recorded in the Manuals of the Common Council, New York City, as a policeman (which publication lists each and every one of them every year), but there is a family tradition that claims he was, indeed, a policeman. (A certain, surviving, family-heirloom, a billy-club, is pointed to as proof.) His death certificate lists his occupation as shoemaker, a trade he undoubtedly learned in Chappaqua because that place was an early shoe-making center. Perhaps he made shoes especially for policemen. He is listed in the Brooklyn City Directories as a “shoemaker” as follows: 1871-2. 153 10th St. 1873. same. 1875-6. 305 Mauger St. 1876. same. 1876-7. 237 Devoe St. 1877-8. 542 No. 2nd St. When he died on 9 Jun 1878 at 542 No. 2nd St., Brooklyn, he had been a resident of that city only eight years. Where he lived between the years 1867 and 1871 has yet to be determined. He was not recorded in the 1870 census. Miss Esther B. Prentiss, daughter of Esther Conklin Prentiss, told genealogist Shirley Johansen that she retained a pair of shoes made by Charles Conklin as well as a small trunkful of Conklin memorabilia.  For a multitude of reasons including, I guess, lack of interest, I never made contact with her. Esther died in 1981 and the shoes and whatever else she had are now lost.

Around 1864 or 1865 Charles Conklin married, probably in New York City, either Johanna Barker or Johanna Schoolmaker. For reasons of practicality, the name Johanna Barker was “chosen” by me as the name of this great-grandmother in the genealogy report presented with my application for admission into The Saint Nicholas Society. Charles Conklin’s son, Charles Timothy Conklin, recorded, on his marriage certificate, the name of his mother as Johanna Schoolmaker. His sister Esther, when she married, claimed it was Johanna Barker. Charles and Esther were born five years apart, so perhaps (but I really doubt it) they had different mothers with the same first name! Indeed, I had difficulty believing that Schoolmaker was a real name and not a mis-spelling of Schoonmaker until Roger Joslyn turned up that name, entirely un-related to my family, in some research that he was doing. To muddle things further, my aunt, Marie Conklin Schumacher, Charles Timothy’s daughter told me personally that this great-grandmother was named Johanna Van Riper! Indeed, my son Charles Van Riper Conklin was (probably mistakenly) named for her! The only information about Johanna so far, despite much extensive research done by Roger, comes from her death certificate, probably supplied by daughter Esther Conklin Prentiss. When Esther died, her daughter, Esther B. Prentiss, did not supply her grandmother’s maiden name (Barker, Schoolmaker, Van Riper or whatever) for the death certificate! Johanna What’s-her-name died 27 Apr 1892 at 615 Greenwich St, New York City and was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Queens, New York City. On her death certificate her father is named John Barker (born in England) and her mother is Maria ____. The Barkers, John and Maria with daughter Johanna, have not been located in censuses, directories or elsewhere. Charles Conklin was also buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

My grandfather, Charles Timothy Conklin (8), was born 7 Jul 1866 at, traditionally, North Moore Street in New York City. A thorough search was made for Charles Timothy Conklin’s birth certificate (as well as that of his sister, Esther) but it was not found. He often referred to himself as Charles T. Conklin, Senior. He was only twelve years of age when his father died, but he eventually formed a very successful trucking firm called Charles T. Conklin and Sons, to which purpose he encouraged (or, perhaps, required) his sons Charles Timothy, Jr. and, my father, Lawrence Henry to leave school well before graduation, an event that haunted Lawrence Henry for most of his adult life. Charles Timothy Sr. was a Freemason associated with the Greenwich, New York City Lodge, as were his two sons. From the F. & A.M. records— Charles Timothy Conklin, Sr.— Initiated 11 Sep 1925; Passed 22 Jan 1926; Raised 12 Feb 1926. He is listed in the Manhattan City directories as follows: 1893, Driver, home 417 Hudson St. 1894, Driver, home 417 Hudson St. 1899, Trucks, 194 Chambers St.; home 516 Hudson St. [It was at this time that he began his own, horse-drawn, trucking business.] 1900, Trucks, 194 Chambers St.; home 516 Hudson St. 1901, Trucks, 194 Chambers St. 1903, Trucks, 53 Jay St.; home 100 Leroy St. 1906, Trucks, 201 West St.; home, 100 Leroy St. 1907, Trucks, 201 West St.; home, 100 Leroy St. 1913, Trucks, 201 West St.; home, 332 Bleecker St. 1915, Trucks, 201 West St.; home, 334 Bleecker St. 1917, Trucks, 201 West St.; home, 334 Bleecker St. The trucking business thrived for many
years but eventually failed. Charles Timothy Conklin was employed as a porter/elevator man in lower Manhattan when he died, at 526 Senator St., Brooklyn, New York, on 19 Mar 1940

My father, Lawrence Henry Conklin (9), was born 31 Aug 1904 at 100 Leroy St., New York City. On occasion he referred to himself as Lawrence H. Conklin, Sr. He grew up in considerable affluence as the family trucking business prospered. His father took him out of school at an early age and, when the business failed, he had difficulty finding employment. He followed his father as a Freemason into the Greenwich Lodge and remained a lifelong member. During World War II he worked at the Kearney, New Jersey shipyards, barely avoiding the draft. After the war he worked for the interior decorating firm of L. Alavoine & Co., 712 Fifth Ave., New York City until his retirement at age 65 in 1969. He was particularly proud of the fact that his
boss’ younger brother, a friend, was married to Rosemarie Lombardo, sister to the band leader, Guy Lombardo, and he got to know the whole family well, including the maestro. Although he was, philosophically, a lifelong Republican and voted for every Republican presidential candidate including Thomas Dewey when he ran against F.D.R., he was registered as a Democrat and became a district leader. He had, apparently, much influence in “getting out the vote.” I remember vividly, one particulary contentious election day when he actually feared for his life. I sat parked in my car, near a polling place where he was working, with a loaded shotgun hidden under a towel on the seat next to me! He died (of natural causes) 15 Aug 1975 at 400 East 75th Street,
New York City. As I wrote this essay I found it most fascinating that there is much more information available about John Conklin (1) who was born in faraway England almost 400 years ago, than there is about my
great-grandfather, Charles Conklin (7) born 230 years later only 30 miles from New York City. I have decided that it is all a matter of class distinction. John was obviously an important person and Charles was not!

Footnote 1.  Here are the variant spellings of the Conklin name that have come to my attention so far. Conckelyne, Conkelyne, Concklyne, Conckelen, Concelyne, Conckline, Conckloyne, Kancklyne, Cakylinen, Concklin, Conklyn, Conclin, Concline, Konklyn, Conculyn, Conkelin, Concklaine, Conckelaine, Conkline, Conklen,  Conculin, Conclen, Conclan, Conklon, Coklan, Concklayne and, of course, Conkling. Some East Hampton, New York lines of the family added the “g,” as did all the descendants of Ananias Conklin, after 1700.

 

 

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