Monthly Archives: December 2013

The lost daughters of Dr. James Lawrence VanHook (1775-1854)

I was recently looking at some New Jersey vital records and ran across a death record for a Rebecca Church (born VanHook) who died in Cape May County, NJ on 19 May 1867.  The death record gives her parents as Lawrence and Judith VanHook.  The only “Lawrence and Judith” I knew of was Dr. James Lawrence VanHook of Cape May County, who moved to southern Wisconsin about 1849, then moved south in the early 1850’s to Jackson County, Iowa (about 70 miles crossing the Mississippi through Dubuque) and his second wife Judith/Julia Grace (supposedly the daughter of John Grace).   James Lawrence VanHook died in Jackson County about 1854.

James Lawrence VanHook has been researched quite a bit and the local DAR Chapter in Maquoketa, Jackson Co., IA is named for him.  However, there is some debate as to his birth date – and there is significant doubt that he is even the revolutionary war soldier that is honored by the DAR chapter!  (It is believed that the DAR chapter probably conflated this man with his father – Lawrence VanHook, born about 1755).

Dr. James Lawrence VanHook was the father of 2 families, the first one being 11 children with his first wife – Elizabeth Reeves; and the second family with Judith/Julia Grace of 3 sons and a daughter.   No “Rebecca VanHook” has ever been associated with this second family.  However, after quite a bit of further digging, it looks like Rebecca was his daughter and there was even another daughter named Sarah!

Sarah VanHook was born in Dennisville, Cape May Co., NJ (where James Lawrence and Judith were living) on 7 May 1830.  She married Reuben Bateman, a miller and son of Reuben Bateman Sr. and Hannah Forman on 25 Feb 1849 in Cape May Co., NJ.  The couple then must have traveled to Wisconsin with her parents, as Reuben Bateman is found in Prairie du Chien, Crawford County, Wisconsin working as a miller (and shown as “married”) in the 1850 US Census.  No record of Sarah VanHook/Bateman can be found in the census records, however their first son, Newell Bateman, was born in Wisconsin 5 Aug 1850.  The family also moved to Iowa with Sarah’s parents after 1850, where they are found in the 1854 Iowa State census for Manquoketa, Jackson County showing 2 males (Reuben and Newell) and 1 female (Sarah). While in Jackson County their second child, a daughter Elizabeth A. (Lizzy), was born about 1855.

By March of 1856, Reuben and Sarah were back in Dennis in Cape May County, NJ.  That month Sarah gave birth to twins – a boy and a girl – but it appears the infants did not survive.  In the 1860 US Census, Reuben is found in Kent County, Maryland working as a miller (but without his family).  I have not been able to locate Sarah or their daughter Lizzy in the 1860 census, however their son, Newell Bateman, was 9 years old and living in Cape May in the household of Uriah H. Cresse.  It is possible that Reuben and Sarah’s marriage was dissolving at this time.  Sarah died 11 November 1867 in Cold Spring, Cape May County, NJ.  In her death record her surname is given now as “Ireland” (indicating she may have remarried) and her parents names are shown as “William and Judith” VanHook (apparently her father’s name was incorrect by whoever furnished the information to the recorder).  Their son Newell M. Bateman grew up to be a blacksmith, married a woman named Atlantic Hampton in 1870, and died on a trip to Florida in 1918.

Rebecca VanHook, James Lawrence and Judith’s second daughter was born about 1832 in Dennisville, Cape May Co., NJ.  She married Daniel Church on 7 May 1856 in Cape May.  They had at least one daughter, Sylph?, born 5 December 1863 who apparently died young.  Rebecca died 19 May 1866 and is buried in the Tabernacle Methodist Church Cemetery in Erma, NJ with a large stone marker.  Daniel Church went on to married 3 more times (to Zipporah Leaming/Learning, Sarah Montgomery and Rhoda Garrison).  He outlived all his wives and died 3 Oct 1895 in Cape May.  In the 1870 US Census for Cape May, “Lizzie A. Bateman” (Reuben and Sarah’s daughter), age 15, is shown living with her uncle Daniel Church and second wife.

There’s still much additional research to do to fill in the gaps, but the daughters Sarah and Rebecca have never been listed with this family before.  Oddly, they are not mentioned in the will of Dr. James Lawrence VanHook dated 22 October 1852 in Jackson County, Iowa.  However, there is one line of that will that has always been curious – “I devise and give to my Grandson Edwin H Leaming all my medical books and stationary.”  Who was “Edwin H Learning?” – I believe this to be “Edwin R. Leaming” (see below) – but any relation to the VanHook family is not known.

Following from: An Illustrated History of Klickitat, Yakima and Kittitas Counties: With an Outline of the Early History of the State of Washington (Google eBook) – Unigraphic, 1904 – Kittitas County (Wash.) – page 569
Edwin R. Leaming, b. 14 Feb 1827, Cape May Co., NJ.  His parents were Christopher Leaming and Ann McCrey, and he married Harriett Pennington 6 Sept 1849 in Atlantic Co., NJ.  In the early 1850’s he moved to Jackson Co., Iowa and was presumed to be living there at the time of James Lawrence VanHook’s death.  Edwin Leaming only resided in Jackson County about 2 years – moving to Wisconsin, then moved to Kansas in 1858.  He enlisted in the Union Army there – and after the civil war he moved to Missouri.  In 1875, he moved to Washington State.  His children were Ezra (abt 1850, Atlantic Co., NJ), Edwin (abt 1853, Jackson Co., IA), Julia (abt 1855, Wisconsin), Irene Lois (abt 1863, Kansas), and William C. (abt 1867, Kansas).

You can link to the James Lawrence VanHook family here.



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