A Chronicle of the SEE family and their Kindred
written and compiled by Irene See Brasel (1892 - 1963)
Scanned, edited and published here by Henry M. Conor, her fourth cousin, twice removed.
About the Author
Irene Melba See was born 9 Sep 1892 in Kinmundy, Marion County, IL, the fourth child of Michael Henry See and the first child of Michael's second wife, Alice Harrell . She married on 6 Apr 1921, to Glenn Dale Brasel of Salem, IL. They moved to Hoopeston, IL in 1922, where Glenn coached football, basketball, golf and tennis at the then named John Greer High School for the next 24 years. She raised three children; Priscilla Susan b. 10 Sep 1922, Edith Dorothea b. 15 Aug 1924 and Ned Gwynne b. 1 Feb 1928.
Irene was a member of the First Christian Church of Hoopeston, the Barbara Standish Chapter of the D.A.R., and the Hoopeston Hobby Club. She began in the 1940's to record the result of her genealogical research in handwritten notes, which later became her Chronicle. The exact date of her last efforts is not known, but notations on the Family Group Sheets included in the book are dated 1960. She passed away on 5 July 1963, after an extended illness.
Irene's ancestry is as follows:
* George Ludwig (See) Zeh b. 1689 d. 23-Aug-1751 m. Mary Margaret (Tschudi) Judy b. 1699
* * Michael Frederick See b. 1712 d. 14-Jul-1763 m. 1744 Catherine Vanderpoel b. 30-Jun-1725
* * * Michael See b. 1751 d. 17-May-1792 m. 1776 Elizabeth Morris b. 8 Aug 1753 d. 1800
* * * * Michael See b. 1 Apr 1785 d. 10 Sep 1827 m. 29 Jun 1808 Nancy Jane Greenlee b. 10 Mar
1794 d. 23 Jun 1871
* * * * * Henry W. See b. 27 Feb 1822 d. 14 Jun 1863 m. 21 Jul 1850 Judith Allman b. 12 Sep
1828 d. 30 Mar 1892
* * * * * * Michael Henry See b. 5 Oct 1856 d. 29 Jan 1940 m. 28 Oct 1891 Alice Harrell b. 21 May 1873 d. 28 Oct 1944
* * * * * * * Irene Melba See b. 9 Sep 1892 d. 5 Jul 1963 m. 6 Apr 1921 Glenn Dale Brasel
The Chronicle was provided to me, and permission to distribute it, by Susan Brasel Stoner, for which my thanks.
A CHRONICLE OF THE SEE FAMILY AND THEIR KINDRED - Compiled by Irene See Brasel
The figures of our forefathers may appear as dim silhouettes, as one peers down a vista of several hundred years, but not boldly revealed by the stories of their courage and daring, ambitions and accomplishments, their sorrows and sacrifices. Indeed, they have demised to us a legacy which could enrich and shape our lives with its inspiration and challenge. The thought of sharing this inheritance, impels me this effort of preserving these stories and records to re-create the colorful life of their times.
"It is my opinion that he who receives an estate from his ancestors is under some kind of obligation to transmit the same to their posterity." --- Benjamin Franklin
Family origins are often difficult to trace. One cannot regress many generations until facts may sometimes give way to legend and tradition. This is true of the family tree of the Sees which rooted in the remote past has stood through the centuries like the live oak of the South, its verdant branches hung with festoons of mossy tradition. With this in mind an attempt is made here to preserve in order the truth of this family history as fully as can be established against the back-drop of the religious and political movements of the past. Pursued by ruthless persecution and oppression, they moved from country to country, where the meager records of their sojourns have been lost in the countless wars among the European nations.
The origin of the Sees of America is said to be Swiss, probably from the lake regions of Zurich and Lucerne. During the Reformation, they came under the influence of Ulrich Zwingli (l484-1531) the great Swiss Protestant reformer, a contemporary of Martin Luther and John Calvin, and thence forward were firm and staunch Protestants.
Eventually, Zwingli's followers, for economic reasons, left Switzerland to find new homes. In France the Swiss Protestants associated with and became very friendly with the followers of Calvin. About 1560 this sect became known as Huguenots. Under Henry of Navarre they prospered and expanded. When he became Henry IV, they were granted even greater religious freedom, in the edict of Nantes. Henry IV was assassinated in 1610, and severe persecution immediately followed under the Cardinals Richelieu (15 -1642) and Mazarin (1602-61) and King Louis XIV, who revoked the edict in l685.
At the close of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) the German provinces of Silesia, Moravia, and Bohemia were practically depopulated. To restore their ravaged territory, the rulers offered attractive concessions to settlers, including religious freedom.
The Sees had long withstood the relentless persecution of the French government for they now considered themselves Frenchmen. Now, they decided to move to a less dangerous realm where they would be secure in their faith. To Silesia they went along with thousands of others - a migration that was to prove an irreparable loss to the economy of France.
The Sees seemingly were satisfied in the country of their adoption and soon became Germanized. Here, they became identified with the Schwenkfelders, a sect of Baptists. Their founder was Caspar Schwenkfeld von Ossing, a Silesian Knight and Councilor to the Duke of Liegnitz of Prussia. For two hundred years, his followers were tolerated by the German emperors. At last, they, too, were subjected to persecution.
In 1708 an inquiry was ordered made of the Schwenkfelder doctrine and practices. These apparently conflicted with the Catholic church, so in 1720 a commission of Jesuits was appointed to go there and convert them by force. By 1725 this persecuted sect sought shelter in Upper Lusatia, Saxony. After eight years they resolved to immigrate to America to the colony of Georgia.
After arriving in Holland, a new decision was made to go instead to Pennsylvania "to the asylum for the harassed sons and daughters of the relics of the Reformation, whither William Penn himself invited the persecuted of every creed and religious opinion," to quote Professor Rupp. Some came in 1733 but the greater part in 1744.
Prior to this, many had fled to Holland and others to England. Peter See is said to have been one leaving his family in Silesia. If true, doubtless he was the Peter See, who left France in 1667. He is said to have gone to the New York colony in l686 at the same time as the first English governor general, Sir Edmond Andros. There is proof that Isaac See and his wife Esther and their son Isaac and his wife Maria were of the number who came on the vessel with Gov. Andros.
They had escaped from France, gone to England and remained until the boat sailed. They were accompanied by two relatives, Nicholas DeVaux and Jean LeCompte All settled in Harlem. Many of Isaac See's descendants reside today in Duchess and Westchester counties in New York. Among the Revolutionary soldiers, who claimed Isaac See as their ancestor, was Isaac See (1741-l806), who assisted in the capture of Major Andre, September 22, l780. Riker says in his History of Harlem - "The See family whose name is recorded early takes several forms of Cie, du Cie, Siek, Zy, and Sie." Another source says the Swiss form was Seevis, with the ending dropped later.
Many ships were chartered to convey the thousands of Swiss, Germans, and Huguenots seeking peace and security in the colonies. The British government encouraged this wave of immigration. One notes the vessels were of British registry with British masters. There were the Small Snow, the Bilander, Brigantine, and others. Passengers numbered from 75 on the Snow to 412 on the larger ships.
Philadelphia was the point of entry and its docks and wharves were scenes of activity as the vessels made return trips with regularity. Passenger lists named the heads of families and boys under sixteen years of age; females were unlisted. The immigrant was required to sign an oath of loyalty to the government upon his entry. The original lists of the names of these Swiss, German and other immigrants were on file in the Secretary's office in Harrisburg and published in 1857 by Prof. Daniel Rupp in an edition called A Collection of Thirty Thousand Names, etc. In list 32, September l8, 1733, was Palatines, the Brigantine, Pennsylvania, Merchant of London, John Stedman Master, from Rotterdam last from Plymouth. Passengers were 71 males above 16; 56 females, 37 males under 16, 64 males and females under 16 - in all 191. The name of John Ludwig See appears.
The family comprised of George See and his wife, Margaret Judy (Tchudi) See, their sons Frederick (1712), Michael (1730), and George (1732), their daughter Eleanor (1710), and her husband, Mathias Yoakum; seemingly all were born in Silesia, or the Palatinate. John Bernhard See, who arrived November 25, 1740 was their son. He was then 26 years of age according to the captain's list of the "Loyal Judith." The long interval between John and the two younger sons may be explained by the fact that other children were born but died. Circumstances seem to indicate that these dates are approximately correct. In list 78, November 25, 1740, Palatines imported in the ship Loyal Judith, Lovell Paynter, Commander from Rotterdam, last from Deal - 265 passengers. Johan Bernhard See.
Research has failed to uncover any record of the Sees' ten year sojourn in Pennsylvania where they are related to have lived in Bucks County. John See or Johan Bernard See was the third child. According to his signature on the loyalty oath, he was twenty-six years old when he arrived in Philadelphia in 1740, thus making his birth to occur in 1714. There is no record of any marriage.
The story goes that when John See went to the Greenbrier and tried to locate his brother, he knocked at a cabin door after dark one night and said, "I am trying to find my brother, Frederick See." It was indeed the home of Frederick, who instantly said, "Well you have found him. That is my brother, John; I know that voice," although they had not seen each other for some time.
On August 19, 1756, Frederick Sees was bonded with Adam and John Dickinson as administrator for John Sea. (Found in Abstracts of Wills, August Co., Virginia) John was about forty-two years old at the time of his death.
GEORGE LUDWIG AND MARGARET JUDY SEE
These are our first American ancestors in so far as recorded proof is obtainable. They had endured hardship and peril to reach a domicile where religious freedom was vouchsafed. They were destined to end their days in the valley of the South Branch described as the "garden spot of America, everywhere rich land, abounding in turkeys, deer, and game" to quote George Trumbo. It also abounded in Indians, one might add. Life was fraught with danger.
The Indians constantly harassed the settlers and few dared venture far from the forts; almost every habitation had to be fortified. Many lost their lives or property. Andrew Trumbo told of Conrad Harness' murder with his wife and baby coming from the Presbyterian services where the baby was christened. (From Rev. Shane's interviews with Virginians in Kentucky in Preston and Virginia papers). George Yoakum, grandson of Mathias Yoakum relates an encounter with the Indians.
The trough was where the river went down a narrow gorge between the mountains for six or seven miles. Col. Van Meter had a fort at the upper end of the trough where one Waggoner commanded at the time and 36 men collected to go to Lynch fort.
The men separated at the Falls of the South Branch right where one Moore now lives, a brother to my Lord Moore. Eighteen went back down the trough. They saw thirty six Indian fires as they came down. The Indians were cooking near the mouth of the trough. They ran into the bushes when they saw the eighteen whites coming. The whites went up to the fires and the Indians opened fire on them. This battle lasted all day. The "guns got right hot." One mile from this battleground across the plantation was the fort. When the fort sent no help, they threw their guns into the river and swam across. When they reached the fort, Waggoner would not open the gates. They had to run two miles to Lynch's Fort on Buttermilk.
Several were killed; others were wounded. Waggoner afterward sent for some of these men and when they came he had them flogged for calling him a coward.
Michael See (referred to as Michael Adam See by some sources) was three years old when the family came to the Colony of Pennsylvania. Michael See (1730) married Barbara Harness (1732) daughter of Michael Harness in 1750. They were the parents of George, Adam, Mary (Polly), Hannah, Christina, Barbara, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Dorothy (Dolly).
George See, the youngest child born 1732, and his wife Christiana were the parents of seven children. Her family name has never been learned. Their children were: sons George, Adam and John, and daughters Phebe, Mary, Elizabeth and Catherine.
On August 28, 1751, Frederick See qualified as administrator of the estate of his father, George See. Final settlement was made the following year August 24th, when it was appraised and sold or divided. This is found in Chalkley's Abstracts Vol. 1, p. 30. Romney was the old county seat of Hampshire County at that time, and became county seat of Hardy County when Hampshire was divided.
One of the earliest wills on record is that of Margaret See, the widow of George See. It is as follows in its entirety:
"In the name of Cod and men the Will and Testament of Margaret See. To my oldest son Frederick See I leave and bequeath one shilling sterling. To my son George See I leave the rest of my Goods and Chattels to be equally divided between Michael See, Felty Yokeham, Jacob Yokeham, Mading See, Barbara N. See, Mary See and Jacob See this Being my Last will and testament all other wills heretofore to be void and of no efect as witness my hand and seal this 28th day of March 1757 one thousand seven hundred and fifty seven. Signed sealed and delivered in Presents of us
James Taoffs (?) Margaret X See
"At a court held fore Hampshire County the 14th Day of February 1758 on the motion of George See son of Margaret See who made oath according to Law Certificate is granted him for obtaining Letters of Administration of said Decedent's Estate with her last will and Testament annod (?) Security who upon the said George together with Michael (Harry and William Cunningham) his Securities entered into and acknowledged their Bond in the Penalty of One Hundred Pounds for his due Administration of the said Decedent's Estate of Performance of her Will which is ordered to be recorded."
It is to be noted that Margaret See names three sons Frederick (he is said to have been provided for previously), George, and Michael and two grandsons Felty and Jacob Yokeham. Then follows the names of Mading See (could it have been Madeline?), Barbara N. See, Mary See, and Jacob See. Since we have the names of all of the children of the above sons and of Eleanor See Yoakhum' s boys, perhaps these are also her grandchildren, children of John See deceased in 1756.
It might be well to observe here, that by some various descendants of George (or as George Ludwig as given) and Nargaret See use the names, Michael Frederick and Michael Adam, in referring to their eldest son and their third son. The Sees had lived many years in the German provinces and acquired many of the manners common to those places. They followed the German's custom in naming their sons. However, all county court records, historical accounts, census and tax reports use the names Frederick See and Michael See. Particular evidence is given in Margaret's will made March 28, 1757 and recorded in Hampshire County, Virginia, in which she names her sons, Frederick See, Michael See and George See.
Conrad Yolkcom and George Yolkcom, sons of Eleanor See and Mathias Yolkham, returned to the Greenbrier prior to the Revolutionary War and both served in defending the frontier against the Indians as is attested in the Public Service Claims (original document in Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia). The names of Conrad Yokem and George Yokim are on the tax lists for Greenbrier compiled 1783 to 1786. Records of other sons of Mathias and Eleanor See Yolkham are to be found in Hampshire County.
The First Census of the new United States taken in 1790 gives Hampshire County Virginia as the residence of eight of the Yolkham sons; viz, Page 22 "Yoakum, George, four whites; page 24, Yoakum, Jacob six whites, four blacks; Yoakum, Philip P. six whites one black, and Yoakum, John four whites." On page 72, "Jacob Yoakum, nine white souls, one dwelling, one other dwelling. Philip Paul Yoakum, one white soul, one dwelling, three other buildings, John Yoakum, six white souls one dwelling, one other dwelling."
In Harrison County page 70: "Michael Yoakum, four white souls, one dwelling, Elizabeth Yoakum, five white souls, one dwelling and two other buildings."
George Yoakum, grandson of Mathias and Eleanor See Yoakum, born December 3, 1763 at Harness Fort in Hampshire County now Moorefield in Hardy County, W. Virginia said, "My father was married on Dan River in North Carolina. When Moorefield was laid out I was about six years old and drew for my father Jacob Yoakum in the lottery, and drew the lot next to the court house, the best one in town."
George Yocum (1763) was married 1786-7 in Mercer County, Kentucky (Harrodsburg) to Rebecca Powell. Their children were: Jacob (l787-l848); Sarah married David Tremble; Amelia (1793-1883) married Samuel Darneille; Abel married Susan Frame; Elizabeth (1794) married John Frame; Nancy married Benjamin Shafer Davis; Stephen Powell (1800-1874); George W. Jr., and three unnamed daughters.
It will be noted there is a question regarding Jacob Yoakum in the list of Mathias Yoakum's sons. Evidently there is an error in the order of their birth and he must have been the third rather than tenth if he were father of George Yoakum in the above paragraph.
From Abstracts of Wills of Hardy County by E. L. Judy which appeared in D.A.R. magazine, June 1940. Items selected were of generally leading pioneer settlers of the South Branch Valley. Philip Powle Yokum - sons John, Jacob George, Philip and Michael; daughters Barbara Starr and Elizabeth, widow of James Renick; and children of daughter Catherine Beverly. Personal representatives were John and Jacob Yokum. Witnessed by Anthony Baker, Jr., Anthony Baker, Sr., William Heath, William Cunningham, and Adam Harness, December 9, 1807. On June 12, 1810, Michael and Jacob Yokum were witnesses of the will of John Harness.
Again from the Abstracts of Wills of Augusta County Virginia, Augusta County Court, page 318-319 - March 21, 1764, Charles Lynch's bond (with William Thompson and Alex Thompson) as administrator of Valentine Yoacum. The same bond for administrator of Frederick Sea estate entered the same date.
FREDERICK SEE (1712-1763)
Frederick See was the oldest son of George and Margaret Judy See. He came to Pennsylvania with his parents and their family in 1733 which would be at the age of twenty-one. He married Catherine, the daughter, perhaps of Abraham Vanderpool who came to Pennsylvania in 1738. At that time the Sees were still in Bucks County. They were the parents of six children: Lois, George, Michael, Catherine, Elizabeth and John.
In 1744 the Colony of Virginia purchased all the land east of the Ohio River from the Indians and opened it to settlers. Favorable reports of this land reached the Sees in Bucks County. So, Frederick went to this frontier wilderness to inspect it, walking the entire five hundred miles there and back. This fact was related by his wife Catherine in later years. as well as the following incident; one night along the way, Frederick came to a small town and applied at the inn for a bed, and was informed that there was none.
Noticing a vacant house nearby, he asked permission to use it; it was granted, but he was told the house was "haunted." However, undaunted, he took his Bible and blanket, rolled up and went to sleep. Awakened by a noise in the night, he arose and stood by the door. As the "ghost" entered Frederick hit him over the head, tied him up securely and returned to his slumber. The next morning he called the landlord of the inn. It developed that the "ghost" was a negro, whose master had sent him to play the part and so depreciate the value of the property by the report that it was "haunted" and thereby enable him to buy the house which was priced beyond his means. The land proved very satisfactory. Here in the rich valley of the lower branch of the Potomac, the family moved in 1745 and took up their abode close to Colonel Van Meter's Fort in the locality of Moorfield, Hampshire County, Virginia, in the later years this area became Hardy County. In 1751 Frederick went to their holdings along the Greenbrier and so became one of the first settlers of the region.
The Sees, Yoakums, and Harness' were the first settlers in the South Branch Valley. Mathias Yoakum, Michael Harness, and George Stump were the first white men to bring wagons into the valley. Westfalls, Hornbecks and Abraham Vanderpool were others to come. Since Abraham Vanderpool witnessed a great many documents for the Harness, See, and Westfall families and since he was with the Sees on the Greenbrier in 1753, it has been suggested that he was Frederick's father-in-law.
In a memoir dated July 15, l798 and spread on the Records of Greenbrier County, Virginia, in Deed Book 1, page 754, John Stuart says: "In an old original patent, dated June first, 1750, granting privileges of taking up certain lands, paying for each 50 acres, one shilling yearly, also cultivating and improving a three-acre part of each fifty acres, every year. Surveys were made with dates giving information as to early settlers. 1750-Nov. 22, Felty Yockum 48O; 1751-Apr. 22, Frederick See, 48O; May 1, George See, adjoining Archibald Clendenning 360; Oct. 1, John See, Now Days at Deep Spring, 250.'
Thus these earliest settlers on the Greenbrier River were kinsman. Frederick See and his two brothers John See and George See and his nephew Felty Yoakum.
Frederick See established his home on this land in Greenbrier in the Big Levels section on Muddy Creek. Here he brought his family and a settlement grew up around him. Other kin followed, two other Yoakum boys, Conrod and Valentine, and Abraham Vanderpool were here in 1753.
In 1755 war broke out between France and England. The Indians were incited by the French to make war on the back-country inhabitants of Virginia (the original territory of Old Greenbrier). All who were then settled on the Greenbrier were obligated to retreat to the older settlements for safety. Beginning in 1762, the settlement of Greenbrier was renewed. Among the settlers were Frederick See, Archibald Clendenning, Joseph Carroll, Felty Yoakum and others with their families; to the number of more than a hundred.
Two small blockade forts had been erected as strongholds into which the settlers were to flee at the approach of danger. One fort stood below the present town of Alderson, West Virginia, and the other at the juncture of Mill Creek with Muddy Creek. Another house-fort was that of Archibald Clendenning's, about three and one half miles southwest of Lewisburg in what is now Fort Spring district.
On June 16, 1763, Cornstalk*, chief of the Shawnees, and sixty warriors suddenly appeared at the settlement at Muddy Creek. They came professing friendship and bringing with them much game which they had procured enroute. The inhabitants feeling secure in the belief that the hostilities (1755-1762) were over remained outside the fort (as did their neighbors the next day at Clendenning's). Preparation for a huge feast was soon underway and Frederick See killed one of his few precious cattle to supplement the venison and wild game supplied by the Indians. * Indian name: Keigh~tugh-qua
At a given signal the next day the Shawnees fell upon the settlers, killing and scalping all the men except one, plundering and burning their homes, and taking the women and children prisoners. Leaving a few warriors behind to guard the terrified, dazed and anguished group, Chief Cornstalk and his band went some twenty miles to the Clendenin settlement, again wearing the mask of friendship to disguise their horrible purpose.
Clendenin was a brave man and a hunter of renown and believed himself to be on good terms with all the Indians, who came to hunt deer and elk in these savannahs. On the day of the massacre, he had just returned from an excursion near the spring of Lewisburg and had three fine elk. The advent of the Indian's friendly visit and the return of the hunters soon attracted all the people, between fifty or a hundred to his home near the stockade being twenty paces apart. The Indians were entertained and feasted on the fruits of Clendenin's hunt and every other item of provision which could be mustered.
An old woman, who was one of the settlement, having a very sore leg and having understood that the Indians could perform the cure of an ulcer, showed it to one near her and asked if he could heal it. His answer was to bury his tomahawk in her brain and raise a fearful war cry. This seemed to be the signal for a general massacre. Too late, Clendenin with one child in his arms, started for the brush but was felled in his tracks. Again, every man was killed (except Conrad Yolkum) and the women and children made captive.
Conrad Yolkum, suspicious of the Indian's professed friendship when they arrived at Clendenin's, took his horse out under the pretext of hobbling it at some distance from the house. Soon afterward, he heard the report of guns and outcries from the house and alarmed, mounted his horse and rode as far as Lewisburg.
Deciding that he must have been mistaken, he rode back to ascertain the truth, but as he neared Clendenin's a number of Indians fired at him. Fortunately all missed, and he fled, going to the fort on Jackson River, spreading the alarm as he went. But the people refused to believe this warning and were massacred at will by the few pursuing Indians, who continued their raid to Carr's Creek in Rockbridge County.
The Indians completely destroyed the settlement and then herded their prisoners, including Mrs. Clendenin and her baby and two small children, westward to Muddy Creek where they joined the captives there and all were kept for several days, awaiting the return of the small Indian band that had gone into Rockbridge county.
Driven to despair by the cruel and unprovoked murder of her husband and friends, Mrs. Clendenin boldly charged the Indians with perfidy and treachery and although the bloody scalp of her husband was flaunted in her face and the tomahawk threateningly raised over her head, she never ceased to revile them.
When the Shawnees were all re-assembled at Muddy Creek, the Indians set out for Ohio. In going over Kenney's Knob, the prisoners were in the center and Indians front and rear, Mrs. Clendenin slipped into a thicket unnoticed. Her escape was revealed when the baby she had handed to one of the women began to cry. Mrs. Clendenin though pursued, managed to elude her foes and returned that night, a distance of ten miles, to the tragic scene of the massacre.
She covered her husband's body with trash and rails and hid in an adjacent cornfield where she spent the night agitated with fear and despondency. Later, as she regained her composure and strength, she resumed her flight and reached the Jackson River fort in safety. Eventually, the two children of Archibald Clendenin's were restored to their mother. Ann Clendenin's grave in the Old Welch graveyard was marked at a ceremony during the 160th Anniversary of Greenbrier County, June 1938.
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids