The Coxsackie Declaration of Independence Donated by the Durham Center Museum Written by Olive N. Woodworth On May 17, 1775, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence was presented in Philadelphia, the inhabitants of Coxsackie signed a Declaration of Independence of their own. The faded yellow parchment, found in an Albany attic some years ago, bears the names of 225 signers, most of them Dutch names of freeholders from the Coxsackie District of the Colony of New York. Within a month after this historic event on the Hudson, the Battles of Concord and Lexington had been fought, the British force had attacked Bunker Hill, and Washington had been summoned to lead the American army surrounding Boston. Much of the excitement of the times can be felt when this document is read; and history records that the revolutionary fever reached a peak thirteen months later, at Philadelphia, the Declaration of Independence was signed by all the colonies. The Coxsackie Declaration was discovered by Mr. John M. Clark, then president of the Albany Institute and History and Art Society, who presented it to the Institution, where it remains. The document was pronounced authentic by Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Wyer, who served, respectively, as State Historian and State Librarian at that time, and by the State Archivist. It was displayed among other selected material on the New York Freedom Train when it toured the State. Over the years, the writing on the document, faded and somewhat illegible; of the 225 signatures, only 211 are decipherable and presumed accurate. Some of the patriots, unable to write their names, signed with an "+" . The first signer, John (Johannes) Schuneman, was undoubtedly the fighting "Dutch Dominie of the Catskills", for the letters V.D.S., meaning Verbum Dei Servus (Minister of the Word of God) appear after his name. And there is enough authentic data on the Dominie to provide assurance that he drew up the Declaration personally. Anthony Van Bergen, the eighth signer, and Henry Van Bergen, the fourth signer, were Colonel and captain, respectively, of the Coxsackie militia during the Revolution.
PERSUADED that the Salvation of the Rights and Liberties of America, depends, under God, on the firm union of its Inhabitants, in a vigorous prosecution of the Measures necessary for its Safety, and convinced of the Necessity of preventing the Anarchy and confusion which attend the Dissolution of the Powers of Government: THAT the Freeholders and Inhabitants of Coxsackie District, in the County of Albany, being greatly alarmed at the avowed Design of the Ministry to raise a Revenue in America, are shocked by the bloody Scene acting in the Massachusetts Bay; Do in the most solemn manner, resolve never to become Slaves; and do also associate under the Ties of Religion, Honor and Love of our Country to adopt and endeavor to carry into Execution whatever Measures may be rendered by our Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention for the purpose of preserving our Constitution and apposing the Execution of several arbitrary and oppressive Acts of the British Parliament, until a reconciliation between Great Britain and America or constitutional principles (which we most ardently desire) can be obtained; and that we will, in all Things, follow the advice of our general Committee, respecting the purpose aforesaid, the preservation of Peace and good Order, and the Safety of Individuals and private property. Dated at Coxsackie the Seventeenth of May in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand seven hundred and seventy five. (signed by 225 citizens of Coxsackie) John Schuneman V.D.S. Theunis Van Vechten James Barker Henry Van Bergen John L. Bronck Jacob + Hallenbeck William + Hallenbeck Anthony Van Bergen John A Whitbeck Samuel Van Vechten Pieteer Conyne Thomas Hoghtelen Michael + Collyer Francis Salisbry Jr. Johannes + Jansen Lambert Van Valkenburgh Casper Hollenbeck Myndert V. Schaick William Van Bergen Casperse Hallenbeck Peter Bronck Leonard Bronck Abraham Hallenbeck Peter + Vanette Wilhelmus Vandenburg John Vanette Wessel Salisbury Carperse Halenbeck John Groog Abraham Salisbury Reychert Van den Berk Richard Johnson John Vosburgh Richard + Vandenberg Henry Wabber Arout Van Schaick Jacob Van Loon Jacob Hallenbeck A. Doonhalten Ebenezer Stanton William Brandow Jr. Edward Groom Haedirick + Schram Clement Overbagh Benjamin van Gerdener Frederick Schram William Jones Reuben Stanton Reuben van der Berk Wilhelme Sammon Jno Moore + John John + Goes Cornelius Connine Richard Ten + Broeck John + Hallenbeck John + Munday James Donney Joseph Groom Albert Van Loon Joachim + Ryal David Rose Gererdus Neukirk Matthias + Hallenbeck Storm Prosa Christian Blodaar John Persaly Burent Albartsen Benjamin Cornelius Dubois Benjam Dubois Henry Irison Nikasas Yare Matthias Van Con Jan Caspar Pare John Romear Benjamin+ Essex John van Steinburg Gared Peresen John C. Claus Jeremiah + Steenbergh John + Wall James + White John + Snyder Nicholas Van Loon Martin Hallenbeck John V. Schake John W. Bught Nickolas V. Schake Peter Van Burgan John Parree Isaac + Collyer Jacob + Livingston Thomas + Templar Joseph Nesbit William Groom Henry Knoll Isaac Witbeck William Wells Samuel Stogles Salisbury Hendrick + Smith William + Smith George Rosa Martin G. van Bergen Wilhelmus + Dederick Jary Van Loon Johan Wesdernich Solomon Schut Nicholas V. Scake Dirk Van Veghten John + Vosburgh Frederick Dederick Johan Niew J. Wood Wilhelmus + Oorbagh Laurance Dubois John Van Housen William + Klauw Jon Spoor Johannis Sousa Petrus Van Loon Albertus Van Loon John Rouge Pet + Schram Dirck Spoor Andres + Eaghler William + Cudney Frederick Scheck John Bronck John Van Loon Casper Hallenbeck Matthias + Boom Pete + Janson John H Schurmerhorn Hugh Denniston Laurence Winney Stephen Haight Thomas Garnett John Ellis John + Lampman Mod. Van Sand Henry Oothoudt Samuel Allen Abraham Camer Wilhelmus Lampman Herman + Becker Casper Hallenbeck Nicholas Van Loon Robert Thomas Jacob + Shoup Peter Van Loon Jr Abraham Van Loon Hendrick + Rose William Rea Philip Conyne Reychert van den Berk John + Schrader Arent + Cooss Philip Conine Jr John van den Berk Peter Conine Jam. Hearn Benjamin Smith Peter Smith John + Curby Francis Salisbury Cornelius Dubois John Dubois Thouny D. van Veghten Cornelius Schermerhorn Jacob Egbertsen Jun. Thomas Fish Peter Bogardus Thomas Aston Johannes + Brandow John Casper + Van Hoefer Thomas Burdick Arent + Fedder Peter Soufer William Schutt Jacob + Cook Coenrad Flaake Coenraet + Hoghtaline Richard + Houghtaline Baltus Van Slyk Jeremiah + Conine Peter Van Slyk Philip Bronck Martin V. Bargen Petrus + Brandow Jacob Van Vechten Abraham Salisbury Heiybartus Dubois Benjamin Dubois William + Brandow Gysbort Oosterhoudt Garret P. + Steenbergh Egbert Bogardus Johannes + Van Garde John Person Johannis Conyn Nicholas + Planke Abraham Van Garde Jam. C. Van Waganen Richard Conways John Taylor Goefrie Brandow
This web page is dedicated to two of my ancestors who were signers of the Coxsackie Declation: James Barker, an English lawyer, was born in London in 1727. "He was a prominent member of the English Bar, and his wife," Elizabeth Wooer, "was a lineal descendant of the Tudors." He arrived in New York just after the French and Indian War, purportedly settling Woodstock in the town of Cairo with 23 "former tenants" brought over from England. For this, he was known as "the Patroon". The Barker Patent covered 6,000 acres of land and extended from Woodstock nine miles north to the town of Durham on both sides of the Katksill. Mr. Barker died in 1820. Andres + Eaghler, who signed with a mark, was also known as Andrus Eiklor and Andrew Ecklar. He was born in Catskill, New York in 1732. He married Maria Schramm in March 1749. His will was probated on January 17, 1807.