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The Courter Ancestry 


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        Most of the following information is from the following two sources.  They are not widely available at this time.  I have two copies of each of these books and plan to donate one copy to the LDS Library in Salt Lake City.  I think that the authors would be happy to have their hard work survive and be made available to researchers. I have looked for current books on this Courter family in the LDS Library Catalog, on Google and other places and have not found them.  Consequently, I think it is important to reproduce at least a skeleton of the early family for future researchers.  This is not my original research and I do not take credit for it.  I am just trying to pass on the hard work of others. My only contribution here is sources.  I have checked them as much as I could.  This is necessary because there are some pieces of information here that are not in the sources. An example of this is the ship manifest of 1659.  The Courter Genealogy states the ages of the children.  I have also seen them on line as different ages.  I don't know if this information is in the original record, but it is not in the transcriptions of the ship manifest.  So I don't know if someone guessed at their ages or if this is from an actual record.  I feel the need to point out these things in the interest of accuracy.      

        There is another book named the History of the DeRiemers Family by John C. Greener, which is supposed to have an article about the Courter Family in early New York. I have not seen this book, but it is referred to in the Courter Genealogy.  I have been unable to find a copy.  It is not in the Salt Lake Family History Library.

Pioneering, A Story of the Courter Family was written by Clarinda Courter Houtz and privately published in 1951.  She mailed copies of these to all of her neices and nephews and their children.  One was sent to my father and one to myself as a descendant of Emmons Courter and Sarah Bennett. The information about Emmons and his father Jacob Courter is written from her memories. Her relatives added the information on descendants included on the last pages.  There is some information in the middle on earlier ancestors which may have been added by her family who helped her with publishing this. The booklet was apparently written shortly after 1938. It is quoted in its entirety in the Courter Genealogy.

The Courter Genealogy, Compiled by Carroll Oliver Courter, researched by Virginia Gross Courter, (Topeka, Kansas: Privately Published, 1976) Cover has name: The Courter Family

One of the difficulties of early research of Dutch families is the naming patterns in the 1600s. They used what are called patronymics. For example, Jurian Tomassen married Reyckje Hermans, the daughter of Herman Coerten. We know this because of his brother's will.  She used her father's first name as a surname.  There is a lot of variation.  

These naming practices are extremely confusing. On this page, I am using the exact name given in the reference in order not to add confusion. In some cases, I am not sure what the source of the proof is because the Courter Genealogy was written at a time when footnotes were not popular.  Instead there is a list of sources at the end of the chapter. I have tracked down their sources when I can find them.   In some cases I can't figure out where things came from.  My understanding is that they went to New York and New Jersey to research and used books I do not have available.

The other problem is the spelling.  Many of these records spell the name Koerten or Korten etc.  I have used the spelling I found in the source.  

Courter Genealogy
Direct Ancestors of Ray Courter in Red.  

There were several Dutch emigrants named Coerten about the same time. According to the Courter Genealogy, page 2, John Greener's article lists all of these emigrants and eliminates all of them as ancestors of the Courters of northern New Jersey.  He believed that the other Coerten emigrants either had no children, no sons, or the sons died or the families changed their names. All of them seemed to have come from different areas.  This is not surprising since Coerten was probably a patronymic rather than a surname.

Guerte Coerten

Guerte Coerten was the brother of Harmen Coerten.  His will is extremely difficult to read. It is difficult because the person translating this and transcribing this omitted clarifying punctuation, possibly to save space. It also reverses normal English word order at times. It is necessary to us because it proves the children of his brother Harmon Coerten.  It also proves where in Holland the two brothers came from.  Guelderlant is a province in Holland. See Gelderland in  If anyone reads Dutch, it is my opinion that a new transcription should be made.
1671, Feb 4, Coerten, Guert, from Voorthuysen in Guelderlant, now living at Bergen, will of (in Dutch).  Made before Claes Arentsen Toers, constable of Bergen.  Annuls testament made with his wife Geertje Jacobs Dueunaers 15 January 1657, because she has been unfaithful; also testament of 24 March 1664; and names as legatees the son of his sister, Pieter Hesselse, brother Thomas Jurianses, oldest son Ryckje Harmens , Mathys Hendricksen Smack, oldest son of Guertje Harmens, his brother's daughter, Jan Harmensen, brother's son Christyntje Claes, dau. of Claes Christeansen, universal heir brother Harmen Coerten.   EJD. Lib 3: page 146. 

O'CALLAGHAN, E.B. The Register of New Netherland, 1626 to 1674. Albany, NY: Edward Bailey O'Callaghan, 1865. Reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1995, 1996, 1998.  Available on Also free on Google Books. There are no other Coerter/Korten entries.  There is an index at the back of the book.  
Page 181. New Netherland Register of 17 April 1657:  Guert Coerten is listed here. [ I am not clear if this is a list of newcomers. The Courter Genealogy, page 2, states that Guerte Coerten was the first of the family to arrive in the new world and that he was a soldier in the West India Company here by 1645.]

The Courter Genealogy has the following from source: Doc. Col. Hist. New York, vol 1. page 497:
        The earliest reference to Guert Coerten is that "in July 1645, he and others complained to the Council that they had been menaced by the Indians who theatened to set fire to their farms."

Guert Corten received three patents from Governor Philip Carteret, dated, 12 May 1668, the second also dated 12 May 1668, and the third dated 12 March 1770. According to the Courter Genealogy, page 4, these lots are now in the central part of Jersey City, New Jersey. The land records are completely transcribed in: History of the land titles in Hudson County, N.J., 1609-1871, By Charles Hardenburg Winfield. This is available free from Google Books.  There are 32 mentions of his land in this book. It is this land which was desposed of in Guert Coerten's will of 1671 mostly to the children of Harmen Coerten. 

Harmon Coerten
Harmon1 Coerten, born ca. 1610, Voorthuizen, a village in the municipality of Barneveld, in the Dutch province of Gelderland. See Google maps for location.  His year of birth is from his 1664 affidavit. His place of birth is the will of his brother, Guerte Coerten. He was buried 26 November 1689, Bergen, New Jersey. Hermen Koerten died on 26 November 1689 at Bergen County, New Jersey. Harmen was buried at the Dutch Reformed Church, Bergen County, New Jersey. He was the 19th member of the Church. He was the 105th person to be buried there and the 48th to be covered with the pall at Dutch Reformed Church, Bergen County, New Jersey.  His wife was Aertje Gerrits, who was buried 2 December 1684, Bergen. She was described as the wife of Herman Koerten. She was the 78th person to be buried and the 26th with a pall, and the 9th in the Church at Bergen. [Source: The information on his death and the death of his wife is from "Burials in the Village of Bergen in New Jersey," The Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in Bergen, 1915. Note that the baptisms from this church were published in 1913, the marriages in 1914, and the burials in 1915. These three volumes are bound together into one volume and are available free on the LDS Books online. The records have been extracted onto The book does not have page numbers, but on the LDS site, the two deaths are on pages 237 and 239 of the database.

The following record is readily available on Ancestry and other sites.  It is also on The Olive Tree Genealogy. Olive Tree says it is from the book: Lists Of Inhabitants Of Colonial New York by Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan.  It is on page 164 of this book which is available free on google books. There are other Coerten/Kortens in the book but nothing else on Guerte or Harmen. The ages of the children are not in this source. The ages must be from somewhere else or perhaps just an estimate. They do not seem to fit the marriages dates as most young women married about 18. Jan married 1684 but was said to have been born in Holland so had to be a litte older.  
The ship De Trouw (The Faith) sailed from the Netherlands to New Netherlands, arriving Feb 1659. On board was Harmen Coerten from Voorhuysen and wife and five children, 5, 5, 7, 9, 17 years old.

        There is a fascinating map created using the 1660 survey on The Holland Society Webpage.  It looks enticing, but it is $200.  If anyone gets a look at the map, it would be nice to know if the Coertens were there. The Courter Genealogy, preface, says that they lived in New Utrecht on Long Island before they moved to Bergen in New Jersey. I am not sure when they made either move. At the time when they arrived, New Amsterdam was newly formed and hardly more than a trading post run by the Dutch West India Company.

The Courter Genealogy, says that Harmen lived in New Amsterdam in 1661. 

Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Volume 2, By John R. Brodhead, Berthold Fernow, Edmund B. O'Callaghan, available free on google books. This was shortly before the colony was surrendered to the British.
Page 480 and 481.  This is a fascinating account of 1664 incursion of John Scott into the community.  Harmen Coerten, aged 54, inhabitant of New Utrecht, is listed in the affidavit. His mark is on page 481. You should go and read the pages in this book. It is too long to retype.  

Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, Vol. 1: 1631-1687, by William Adee Whitehead. available free on google books.
Page 49: List of those who swore allegiance to England in Bergen on 22 November 1664, includes Harmen Court

Children of Harmen Coerten and Aertjie Gerrits.
The exact date of birth of the children is not known.  I am using the birth order which has been used by previous researchers.  It appears to be based upon the date of marriage.  If we knew their actual birth dates, we could probably predict the names of their grandparents because of the Dutch naming patterns.  There are only three named in the will of Guerte Harmens as the children of his brother.  

1. Gysbertje Harmens, (daughter) born perhaps 1642, Voorthuizen, as she married 30 January 1660, New Amsterdam, Arent Leonartszen from Amsterdam. Per the Courter Genealogy, page 5, he died before 1679. [This person is generally listed in different sources as the oldest child of Hermens Coerten. Also Courter Genealogy, page 5.] She is not mentioned in Guerte Coerten's will as a niece.  
Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York by Samuel S. Purple, page 25: 30 January 1660 Arent Leonartzen, Van Amsterdam, en Gysbertje Hermens, Van Voort Huysen.  I  think that this means that he is from Amsterdam and she is from Voorthuysen. This is the same town that Hermans Coerten was from.  The transcription makes the town into two words instead of one. This book is transcribed on but lacks the person's birth place. The marriages were also published in the The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (1875) Vol. 6, page 141, which is available on the LDS Books site. 

2. Reyckje Harmens, (daughter). Born perhaps 1649, since Reyckje Herman married 25 May 1667, Bergen, New Jersey, Juriaen Thomassen. They are referred to as a young woman and young man meaning that neither had been married previously. Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Bergen,  1914. The book is unpaged but it is on Image 184, LDS Books.  
From Courter Genealogy:  Jurian Thomassen came from either Rypend in Friesland or DeRyp in Northern Holland. The name of the place he came from was used as the surname by later gnerations.  Jurian Thomassen acquired property through his wife, Reyckje Hermens, daughter of Harmen Coerten.  This inheritance was from her uncle, Guert Coerten.  The Tomassmens had ten chilodren, five sons and five daughters. The sons, following the  custom of the time, took as a surname a construction of their father's name.  Later generations used the surname Van Reypen, Van Rypen, etc referring to the place the family originated.

3. Neeltje Harmens, born perhaps 1652, since Neeltje Hermens, young woman, married 23 July 1670, Bergen, New Jersey,  Johannes Magielse, young man.  "19 June 1670, certificate received to _____" Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Bergen, 1914.  The book is unpaged but it is on Image 184, LDS Books.  She also is not named in Guerte Coerten's will. She would have been married by the time he wrote the will in 1671.  

4. Guertje Harmens, married Hendreick Matthyse Smack, died 1708. Genealogical notes on the Smock family in the United States : from genealogical registers, local histories, church records, state archives and manuscripts in the possession of the compiler, Smock, John C. (John Conover), 1842-1926 Note: This compiler seems to have not understood the Dutch naming system and to have not realized that she was the daughter of Harmen Coerten. He was looking for a father surname Harmens. However, there is much interesting information about her husband and descendants in the book. It is available free on under books.  The book says they both died in 1708.

5. Jan2 Harmensen, born perhaps 1657.

Jan Harmentsen

Jan2 Harmentsen, since Jan Hermens, young man from Gerder in Gelderland, and Neeltje Janse Buys from Midwout, Long Island, were married 23 June 1684. "Married in presence of court and congregation of Bergen by R. Van Giesen." Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Bergen, 1914.  The book is unpaged but it is on Image 189, LDS Books.  He was born in Holland so was born before 1659. Guerte Coerten's will is difficult to understand, but it is clear that he says Jan Harmensen was his brother's son

1. Aertje, the daughter of Jan Hermense and Neeltje Jans, was baptized on 6 April 1686. She would have been named for her paternal grandmother --Aertje Gerrits. The witnesses were Jan Cornelis Buys [maternal grandfather] and Reyckje Hermenz [father's sister]. She must have died before 1692 because they baptized her sister with the same name.  
2. Aertje, daughter of Jan Hermansen and Neeltje Jans, baptized 4 April 1692, Dutch Reformed Church at Bergen, New Jersey. The witnesses were Hessel Pieterse and Elizabeth Eleysbeth.
3. Jan, born between 1687 and 1694, Acquackanonk, New Jersey. That is now a township in Passaic County, New Jersey.  

Jan Coerte, born between 1687 and 1694 Acquackenock, New Jersey.  Jan Coerte married 8 April 1711, Marytie Ariaense at the Dutch Reformed Church, Hackensack, New Jersey. [] Marytie died before 1730.  Jan Coerte married (second) Nelletjie Steg, 23 August 1730, Acquackanonk, New Jersey.
Children of Jan Coerte and Marytie Arianense
1. Johannis Coerte, born ca. 1712
2. Hendrick Coerte married Maria Slot.
3. Peter Coerte, no evidence that he married.
4. Neeltje Coerte, married Jacobus Speer 30 June 1740 in Acquackanonk, New Jersey
5. Hermanus Coerte born 25 May 1720, married Susanna Young 1 July 1745, Tawacha, New Jersey.[ I can find no record of this place.]
6. Ayre Coerte, born ca. 1722, married 1746, Lena Van Voorheese in Pompton Plains, New Jersey.
Children of Jan Coerte and Nelletjie Steg
7. Jacobus Coerte baptized 1739
8. Abraham Coerte baptized 10 January 1742.

Hendrick Coerte, son of Jan Coerte and Marytie Ariaense, married Maria Slot. They had three known children.
1. Peter Corter, baptized 8 October 1738, in Pompton Plains Dutch Reformed Church. Book 69: 83.
2. William Corter married Catrine Winters
3. John Corter married Cantreneu Hensompecer.      

Peter Corter, son of Hendrick Coerte and Maria Slot, baptized 8 October 1738, Pompton Plains, New Jersey [Pompton Plains is in Pequannock Township,in the Northeast corner of Morris County, New Jersey]  The name of his wife is unknown.  Caldwell is in Essex County, New Jersey. They had 6 known children:
Children of Peter Corter:
1. John C. Corter, born ca. 1761, married 4 July 1811, Jane Mead in Caldwell, New Jersey, died 25 May 1850.
2. Aaron Corter
3. Frederick Corter, died 25 November 1812
4. Jacob Corter, born ca. 1771, died 6 November 1855, Caldewell, New Jersey. Jacob married Ellen Jacobus.  
5. James Corter
6. Henry Corter

Jacob Courter
Jacob Courter was born ca. 1771, died 6 November 1855, Caldwell, New Jersey. Jacob married Ellen Jacobus.  Ellen was born about 1779, New Jersey, died 7 November 1856, Caldwell, New Jersey.  She was the daughter of James Jacobus and Catherine.
Children of Jacob Corter and Ellen Paxton:
1. John Courter born ca. 1800, Pine Brook, New Jersey married Sarah Francisco.
2. James Courter, born ca. 1805, Caldwell, New Jersey.
3. Isaac J. Courter born ca. 1807 Pine Brook, New Jersey. New Jersey Death Record: Isaac J. Courter, born 1809, died 18 Oct 1899, Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey. Widowed. [] He married a Hannah.
4. Joseph or Jacob. Jr., born ca. 1810.
5. Richard Jacob Courter, born 1 December 1811 Caldwell, New Jersey, died 15 June 1898, Winfield, Iowa.   He married Ellen Paxton.
6. Eleazer Courter, born ca. 1812, died 5 September 1888, married Sarah Maria Jacobus, 
7. Henry J. Courter, born ca. 1814, died 10 November 1872, Mountain View, Essex County, New Jersey.  He was the son of Jacob Courter and Ellen.[] He married Amanda D'Arcy.
8. Peter Courter, born ca. 1818, died 16 March 1892, Caldwall, New Jersey.[]  He did not marry.  

Richard Jacob Courter
Richard Jacob Courter was born 1 December 1811 Caldwell, New Jersey, died 15 June 1898, Winfield, Iowa.   He married Ellen Paxton, 12 August 1837, New Jersey. Ellen Paxton was born 14 May 1819, Paterson, New Jersey, died 1 March 1873, Winfield, Iowa.  She was the daughter of Richard Paxton and Margaret Garabrant.
Children of Richard Jacob Courter and Ellen Paxton:
1. Emmons Courter, born 25 July 1838, Newark, New Jersey.
2. Margaret Ann Courter, born 20 September 1840, died 26 March 1913, Fairfield, Montana, buried Winfield, Iowa.
3. Peter Courter born 9 February 1843, Newark, New Jersey, died 29 January 1916, Lawton, Oklahoma, married Margaret Bell Lee 6 March 1866.
4. Tunis Courter born 1845, Newark, New Jersey, died 9 August 1929, Chariton, Iowa, married 28 December 1870, Jennie Lynn.
5. Amzey Courter, born 2 October 1846, Newark, New Jersey, died Knoxville, Iowa, married 1 July 1878, Sarah Culver.
6. Jacob Courter, born 21 January 1850, near Columbus, Ohio, died 25 June 1938, Creston, Iowa, married Harriet Lynn 23 Marcy 1873.
7. Ellen Jane (Jennie) Courter born 25 January 1857 Ohio, died 22 October 1929, Lebanon, Oregon, married Frank Young.
8. Andrew, died in infancy.

The following information was primarily taken from the Courter Genealogy, by Carroll Oliver Courter, (Topeka, Kansas: Privately published, 1976) I have updated a few items and added a few items which are more available now.

            Richard Jacob Courter
, born 3 April 1877, near Downs, Kansas, died 5 May 1951, Beloit, Kansas, buried Athena Cemetery, near Jewell, Kansas. Richard married first 24 July 1902 in Seneca, Kansas, Amanda Edith Ford.Edith was born 4 September 1877, Seneca, Kansas, died 15 September 1950, Seneca, buried Seneca, Kansas Cemetery.  Richard and Edith were divorced and Richard married second on 8 May 1937, at Beloit, Kansas, Ollie Kuiken Slagle, born 8 August 1890, at Cawker City, Kansas. She was called Aunt Ollie by the family and worked in a café for many years.

        Richard was the son of Emmons Courter and Sarah Clarinda Bennett  Richard attended Kansas Agricultural College at Manhatten, Kansas. During his lifetime, he word at several occupations. He was a farmer, a cream and poultry station operator, grain elevator operator, filling station operator, and a painter.  At various times the family lived in Downs, Seneca, Wetmore, Ionia, Jewell, Kansas.

        Edith was the daughter of Joseph Ford and Sarah Hunt. Edith attended Campbell College at Holton. She raised chickens and gardened.  Her daughter Vera Courter Cooley had these pictures and made copies for me before she died.  She told me that this is Edith Ford, aged 9. The second is the wedding of Richard Courter and Edith Ford.
Edith Ford age 9


Children of Richard Courter and Edith Ford:
1. Vera Lucille Courter, born 26 December 1903, Seneca, Kansas. She was married Floyd Glendon “Glen” Lowry 7 October Wetmore, Kansas. She later married a Cooley.
2. Ray Virgil Courter born 4 March 1905, Senecan, Kansas, died May 1979, Kansas.
    Ray married first Ella Melissa Clover 21 June 1925, Kansas City, Kansas. Ella was born 1 December 1894, Cowley County, Kansas, died October 1869, Wichita, Kansas.  She was the daughter of Thomas Henry Clover sr and Martha Elizabeth Reed.
    Ray married second Maebelle, born 2 May 1902, died March 1986, Wichita, Kansas.
Ray graduated from Kansas University and moved to Wichita where was a pharmacist for many year.  He owned the 
Courter Pharmacy in Wichita, Kansas.
Pictures of Ray Virgil Courter and Ella Melissa Clover
3. Joseph Emmons Courter, born 18 October 1911, Wetmore, Kansas, died July 1985, Wichita, Kansas. He married Grace Duryea 20 July 1930, in Seneca, Kansas. He was a butcher and owned a grocery store.
4. Everett Floyd Courter, born 3 January 1917, Wetmore, Kansas, died 1 October 1954, Santa Clara County, California. He married 23 March 1940 East Milton, Massachusetts, Inez McAllister.  

Emmons and Sarah Courter, picture dated 1906.  It was reprinted by "Aunt Clara Howtz." She wrote the information on the back and sent it to Ray Courter.  
Emmons and Sarah Courter
Back of picture with


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