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                            JOHN RUCKMAN I (1590-1650)

 

Who was he? The know facts.

John Ruckman(1)   was born in 1590(2)
Before 1626(3) he married Elizabeth (unknown)
(4)and had a son John Ruckman born in 1626.
In June of 1635 he (age 45), Elizabeth (age 31) and John Jr. (age 9) sailed on the Abigail from England to arriving in Boston about October 8, 1635. The ship experienced an outbreak of smallpox.
Before 1643(5) he shows up in a list of residents in Sandwich, Mass.. 
He is mentioned in Lynn(6), Mass. Records before 1644.
In 1646(7) he was granted one of 28 plantation lots at Gravesend, Long Island.
On September 7, 1646(8) He was appointed collector for the poor at Gravesend.
In November of 1646(9) he sold land in Gravesend to Thomas Appelgate.
In Sept. 1647, John Ruckman and Richard Uzell bought of Roger Scott a plantation formerly of Robert Pennoyer, and Sept 4, 1649, bought of the same parties a house and lot also formerly of Pennoyer(10).
His will was dated March 13,1650(11), and was proved May 2, 1650. No mention is made of his wife in any records after the passenger list in 1635 or in his will, so it is probable that she died before 1650. His will mentions only a son John who was a minor in 1650 (guardians dismissed when he came of age in 1655(12)-which would place his birth 1634-1637, probable the son John named in the passenger list died from the smallpox outbreak on board the Abigail in 1635 or the age the passenger list gave should have been 9 months instead of 9 years). It seems probable that this John was his only living child as he wrote in his will that if his son died a minor his estate should go to his friend Bowne's children.

Who was he? What we can infer from other records.

While we can't make a detailed history of his life, we can infer a lot of information about who he was and how he lived by the examining the historical records of the areas he lived in and from information about his friends and neighbors.

The Abigail.

A group of Lady Moody's acquaintance left England for Boston July 7, 1635 aboard the Abigail of London (the same ship John Ruckman and family was on). She had close ties to John Winthrop's (also on the ship, and later governor of the colony) family and it is thought she may have been on the Abigail herself, tho not listed as a passenger (some immigrants did this to avoid detection by the English authorities).

The Winthrop group included 50 men out of the 220 passengers (they had a patent for lands in the lower Connecticut valley and were to build a fortress and houses for men of quality.

Lady Moody was in Boston for a time, but between 1638-1640 was described as "of Lynn" which is about 10 miles from Boston.

The ties between John Ruckman, the Abigail, Lady Moody and the Winthrop group while not clear cut, do make it appear that John Ruckman may have been an associate of Lady Moody back in England and possibly part of the Winthrop group. In addition, if he was the John Ruckman christened in 1590 in Merstham, Surrey Co., England- it would place him near London.

The town of Lynn, Mass.

Lynn was incorporated in 1630 and was originally called Saugus. In 1637 it was renamed Lynn after Lynn Regis in England. In 1635 (the year John Ruckman would have arrived) shoe making and tanneries were established, which later brought prominence to Lynn.

It's possible John Ruckman worked in the leather industry.

Lady Deborah Moody's followers;

There's not much doubt John Ruckman was a friend and follower of Lady Moody and seems to have been among the early followers of hers from Lynn, Mass. (if not a follower when he was back in England). It is most likely he was a fellow anabaptist like her other early followers. She witnessed his will in 1650.

Her followers were mostly Anabaptists- they did not believe in baptism for children until they were old enough to make their own decisions.

Gravesend also attracted Seekers who didn't believe in ministers interpreting gods will for them.

Gravesend also attracted Mennonite types who rejected the Sunday Sabbath

Gravesend also attracted Quakers- Lady Moody may have become a Quaker. First Quaker meeting in America was held at her house at Gravesend although there's no record that she joined their faith.

It is believed Lady Moody bought a fairly large boat and departed from Boston with a group of men and woman (and cattle and hogs) and sailed around the cape, landing first at Providence, Rhode Island where Roger Williams had founded a colony of similar minded dissenters. Lady Moody and her followers weren't satisfied with the autocratic manner in which that town was run and they then sailed to New Haven, Conn., a settlement founded by John Davenport which was also not run to their satisfaction. Finally they set anchor at the southern extremity of Manhattan in the Dutch colony of New Netherlands at Fort Amersterdam about June of 1643 and Lady Moody negotiated with the Dutch for permission to start their own settlement on Long Island.

Since John Ruckman was an early follower of hers, it is likely he was with her on this trip, examining the various communities.

Town rules of Gravesend:

Required to attend town meetings or pay a fine of 5 guilders (about $2.00 now days)

All were allotted boweries (farms)

All should also have 50 Morgen (about 100 acres) of upland with meadows for their stock

Each man required to maintain his section of stockade fence (20 poles) any who failed to do so would be fined (fines went to the poor, John Ruckman was appointed the first collector for the poor in 1646 was probably in charge of collecting fines)

Any who failed to build a house by May 31, 1645 was to pay a fine and forfeit his land to the town. This was probably delayed because of the Indian Wars till after September of 1645.

Every man required to own a 20' ladder, a gun, 1 lb of gun powder and 2 lbs of lead for the defense of the stockade (the stockade was a wooden palisade 15' to 20' high surrounding the perimeter of the town (a square of 16 acres)

Each inhabitant was to pay the town clerk 1 guilder (about .80 cents now days) each year.

The Indian Wars on Long Island and Gravesend's Relationships with the Indians.(13)

The problems the Dutch had with the Native Americans on Long Island began long before 1643. About twenty years earlier some of the previous Governors (Peter Minuit) servants had stolen furs from and killed a native who had come to town to trade his furs, but his nephew escaped and nursed his desire for revenge for twenty years, then he killed Claes Swits, a wheelwright, while pretending to be trading beaver furs. Then governor Willem Kieft retaliated with extreme brutality against natives who had nothing to do with the attack. This incident escalated into a war just before the time Lady Moody and her followers arrived on Long Island.

Lady Moody's timing may have been good. Because of the native attacks some of Governor Kieft's advisors had sent a request over his head to the States-General in Holland seeking a new governor because of Kieft's attacks on the natives and the resulting cost to the colony in abandoned fields and destroyed settlements. Governor Kieft considered Lady Moody's group would be a valuable addition to the colony and Lady Moody became the first woman to receive a charter for a settlement (informally, probably in June of 1643).

The land for Lady Moody's settlement was purchased from the Canarsie Indians.

In September of 1643 the Mohican Tribe attacked and killed Anne Hutchinson and five of her six children and her son-in-law Mr. Collins and then attacked another settlement started by an Anabaptist minister John Throgmorton in the area of what is now Throgs Neck in the East Bronx. After that the Mohicans crossed over to Long Island and attacked a newly built settlement called Newtown. Gravesend was next on the list, but because the residents of Gravesend had such good relations with their neighbors the Canarsie Tribe, they were warned in advance that the Mohicans were coming and were prepared for the coming attack by clearing the surrounding area of brush and undergrowth. Nicholas Stillwell divided the men into two groups and they waited in Lady Deborah's house in silence as night fell. The Mohicans, thinking they were asleep, crept up slowly towards Lady Deborah's house. When they were a few yards away the command was given for the first group of men to fire, which killed many of the Mohicans. The first group fell back to reload while the second group took their places and fired another round which killed more of the attackers. By the time the second group had fallen back to let the first group fire again, the Mochicans had retreated.

Later several of the men at Gravesend were recalled to New Amesterdam because of fear of an attack there, leaving Gravesend shorthanded. Lady Moody and her followers repulsed several more attacks before going to the security of Fort Amersfoort. Other settlements on Long Island were destroyed and the English killed. Long Island was reported destitute of inhabitants and stock. Only the homes of Lady Moody and her supporters remained. As stated in Governor Winthrop's Journal (2:137-138) "The Indians having killed and driven away all the English upon the main as far as Stamford, (for so far the Dutch had gained possession by the English), they passed on to Long Island and there assaulted the Lady Moodey in her house divers times, for there were 40 men gathered thither to defend it."

Finally on August 30, 1645 the Dutch Governor Kieft and six Native American leaders signed a peace treaty which concluded five years of sporadic warfare.

We can be pretty sure that John Ruckman was among those 40 men that defended Gravesend in the fall of 1643 from the attacks of the Mohican Tribe.

In 1650 the town of Gravesend purchased more land from the Canarsie Tribe in return for:

"2 gunnes, 15 els of Cloath, 3 fatham of wampum, one kittle, twoe hatchetts, two howes, three knives, one longe cloath coate, one pair of sissers, two combes, one sword, thirtie Alle blades"

In 1651 there was another attack on Gravesend by the Indians.

On a deed dated May 7, 1754 Guttaquoha, declared to be the owner of Coney Island (called Narriockh by the natives) conveyed the island to the town of Gravesend in exchange for "fifteene fatham of sewan [sea shells used as money], two gunns and three pounds of powder [total value of about $15].






SOURCES

1. A. A History of Monmouth and Ocean Counties- Embracing a Genealogical Record of the Earliest Settlers in Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Their Descendants. By Edwin Salter. E. Gardner & Son, Publishers, Bayonne, NJ, 1890.
Page L
"Ruckman- John Ruckman is named among those who paid for shares of land in Monmouth in 1667 and the same year was awarded town lot number one in Middletown. The name John Ruckman first appears at Sandwich, Mass. 1644, mentioned with Peter Gauntt, George Allen, Richard Kirby and others whose descendants subsequently came to New Jersey. He was probably the same subsequently named at Gravesend, L.I., where he sold a share of land to Thomas Applegate Nov., 1646. His will was dated March 13, 1650, and proved May 2d, of the same year. Samuel, Thomas and John Ruckman, named in the early years of the Monmouth settlement, 1700-1715 and thereabouts, were probably his sons. The will of Thomas Ruckman, of Monmouth, was dated May 2d, 1714, and names w. Rachel and seven children."
NOTE: Samuel Ruckman, Thomas Ruckman, and John Ruckman were the sons of John Ruckman 2nd. . John Ruckman 1st 's will is pretty clear that he had only one son (and if that son had died a minor, his property would have gone to his friend Bowne's two sons)
...B. This Old Monmouth Of Ours. By William S. Hornor. Published by Clearfield Company Reprints & Remainders.
NOTE: There appears to be a lot of errors in this genealogy of John Ruckman descendants. The names John, Jonathan, Thomas and Samuel were used for several generations with results that cousins of the same age had the same names, making it very confusing and difficult to unwind the family lines.
Page 182 (concerning the genealogies of the first lot holders of Monmouth Co., NJ)
" RUCKMAN. John Ruckman (1), is supposed to have been of English origin. He was of Sandwich in 1644, removing to Gravesend, where he died about 1650. His children are thought to have been- Samuel (2), Thomas (3), and John (4)."
NOTE: Samuel Ruckman, Thomas Ruckman, and John Ruckman were the sons of John Ruckman 2nd . John Ruckman 1st 's will is pretty clear that he had only one son (and if that son had died a minor, his property would have gone to his friend Bowne's two sons)
"Thomas Ruckman (3), was of Waterford, West Jersey, where he died about 1712. The name of his wife was Elizabeth. The children were: Ann (5); Sarah (6), who married a Mr. Hannack; Mary (7); Elizabeth (8); Judith (9), and Ruth (10).
NOTE: Believe this Thomas Ruckman was actually Thomas Buckman-will is listed under both names in New Jersey Archives First Series Vol XXIII Abstracts of Wills Vol. I.
"JOHN RUCKMAN (4), was a Baptist, and one of the Gravesend men. He was awarded Middletown Lot No. 1, afterwards the site of the residence of the late Judge Beekman, and out-lot No. 3. He is supposed to have been born in 1644. He was a Deputy-Patentee. His children were- John (11); Sarah (12), born Oct. 4, 1667, married 10-27-1685, Eleazer Cottrell; Samuel (13); and, Thomas (14)."
NOTE: Depending on the legal age at the time he had to have been born between 1634 and 1637 since he was a minor in 1650 and his guardians were dismissed in 1655, also had a son Jonathan according to land records.
"JOHN RUCKMAN (11), son of John (4), is said to have died in 1749. The given name of his wife was Sarah. He removed to Hunterdon County, and was father of both sons and daughters.
NOTE: Believe this John to be the son of Thomas (14).
" THOMAS RUCKMAN (14), son of John (4), was of Freehold, where he died cir. 1715. His children were: Rachel (15), Sarah (16), Ruth (17), Hannah (18), and Mary (19)."
NOTE: Also listed in his will were sons John and Thomas. It's also claimed he had a son James born after his death in 1715/16.


2. The year of his birth comes from ...A. English Origins of New England Families- from The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. 2nd Series Volume 1. Selected and Introduced by Gary Boyd Roberts. Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1985.
Page 361 (concerning 1635 trip of "Abigail" and abbreviation for Jonathan/John/Joseph)
"Among others listed for the same trip of the "Abigail were (Hotten's List):"Jo: West, Jo: Freeman, John Rookeman, 45 years, Jo: Rookeman, 9 years,"
...B. Results Of Some Researches Among The British Archives For Information Relative To The Founders Of New England- made in the years 1858, 1859 and 1860. Originally collected for and published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and now collected and enlarged by Samuel G. Drake. Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1969.
Page 32 thru 36 (passengers on the "Abigail" June of 1635, Rookeman listed on page 34) "In the Abigall p"red: p'r Cert: from the minister of their Conformitie and from the Justices that they are no Subsedy men: "
John Rookeman 45
Elizabeth Rookeman 31
Jo: Rookeman 9
...C. The Planters Of The Commonwealth. A study of the Emigrants and Emigration in Colonial Times: to which are added Lists of Passengers to Boston and to the Bay Colony; the Ships which brought them; their English Homes, and the Places of their Settlement in Massachusetts 1620-1640. By Charles Edward Banks. Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore 1972.
Pages 161- thru 167 (passengers on the Abigail, Rookman on page 166)
"Abigail of London, Richard Hackwell, Master. She listed passengers for New England from June 4 until July 24, and sailed from Plymouth, as her last port of departure, about August 1, with two hundred and twenty persons aboard and many cattle. She arrived at Boston about October 8, infected with smallpox."
John Rookman 45
Mrs. Elizabeth Rookman 31
John Rookman 9

3. This date is based solely on the age of their son John being 9 years old in 1635. They were definately married according to the passenger listing at the time of their immigration to Plymouth Colony in 1635. See endnote number 1.

4. The name of John's wife comes from the same passenger lists in endnote number 1. These have been the only mention of her I have come across, with no clue to what her maiden name may have been.

5. Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England. Edited by Nathaniel B. Shurtleff. Printed by the press of William White, Boston, 1857.
Page 184 (concerning lists of those admitted to the freedom of the colony, together with those who took the oath of fidelity and those able to bear arms in the year 1643)
Town Name
Sandwich, John Ruckman

6. ...A. A Dangerous Woman- New York's First Lady Liberty. The Life and Times of Lady Deborah Moody (1586-1659?). By Victor Cooper. Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland, 1995.
Page 98 (concerning Lady Moody's followers)
"Also from Lynn were Edward Browne, Richard Stout, John Ruckman and William Bowne."
Page 110 (concerning distribution of "planter's lots")
"At a cost of fifty guilders each they were allocated to applicants who included a number of persons mentioned in Lynn records prior to 1644- William Thorne, Edward Browne, Lady Deborah Moody, James Hubbard, John Ruckman and William Bowne."
NOTE: 50 guilders equal to about $125 in current money.
...B. Genealogies of Long Island Families- From The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.
Page 158 (concerning the Indian attacks on Long Island)
Page 159
"The first town minutes of Gravesend, now carefully preserved in the Supreme Court Building in Brooklyn, were badly damaged in times past, and only parts of the first few pages are left. They appear to be concerned with the distribution of planter's lots only, that is, farms of some forty acres each. Quite probably house lots had previously been assagned and built upon. The names William Thorne, Edward Brown, Lady Deborah Moody, Sergeant James Hubbard, Richard Stout, John Ruckman and William Bowne are all found in Lynn records prior to 1644." further on it states "There can be little doubt that William Thorne and the others who received planters' lots were associates of Lady Deborah Moody in the founding of Gravesend in 1643. Presumably all except Baxter were among the forty men who defended the settlement against the Indian attacks the same year, and among the twenty-eight who signed the Amersfort agreement soon afterwards."

7. A. Register In Alphabetical Order Of The Early Settlers of Kings County, Long Island, N.Y., from its First Settlement by Europeans to 1700; with contributions to their biographies and genealogies, compiled from various sources. By Teunis G. Bergen. S.W. Green's Son, New York, 1881.
Page 208 (concerning division of town lots at Gravesend)
"By an agreement entered into at "Amersfoort" while Lady Mody and her associates were located there during the Indian war, as per Lib. 2 of Gd rec., it was concluded that in the settlement of Gd each associate should be accommodated with a certain quality of land within a certain fence to be erected, which said land should be divided into 28 shares or parts, each to receive a part and also a building-plot. Under this plan in 1646 plantation-lots were granted to"
John Ruckman
...B. Genealogies of Long Island Families- From The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.
Page 159
"The first town minutes of Gravesend, now carefully preserved in the Supreme Court Building in Brooklyn, were badly damaged in times past, and only parts of the first few pages are left. They appear to be concerned with the distribution of planter's lots only, that is, farms of some forty acres each. Quite probably house lots had previously been assagned and built upon. The names William Thorne, Edward Brown, Lady Deborah Moody, Sergeant James Hubbard, Richard Stout, John Ruckman and William Bowne are all found in Lynn records prior to 1644." further on it states "There can be little doubt that William Thorne and the others who received planters' lots were associates of Lady Deborah Moody in the founding of Gravesend in 1643. Presumably all except Baxter were among the forty men who defended the settlement against the Indian attacks the same year, and among the twenty-eight who signed the Amersfort agreement soon afterwards."

8. A Dangerous Woman- New York's First Lady Liberty. The Life and Times of Lady Deborah Moody (1586-1659?). By Victor Cooper. Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland, 1995.
Page 111 (concerning first election of town officers at Gravesend, Sept. 7, 1646)
"John Ruckman was appointed collector for the poor."

9. A. Register In Alphabetical Order Of The Early Settlers of Kings County, Long Island, N.Y., from its First Settlement by Europeans to 1700; with contributions to their biographies and genealogies, compiled from various sources. By Teunis G. Bergen. S.W. Green's Son, New York, 1881.
Page 14 (concerning genealogy of Thomas Applegate)
"Thomas, in N.A. as early as 1641, bought John Ruckman's patent in Gd, Nov. 12,1646, as per Gd rec."
...B. Historical And Genealogical Miscellany- Early Settlers of New Jersey and their Descendants. By John E. Stillwell. Vol. III Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1970.
Page 2 (concerning Thomas Applegate)
"From Rhode Island Thomas Applegate came to the Dutch settlement of New Amersterdam, and upon the creation of the English town of Gravesend, on Long Island, he became one of it's earliest settlers.
1641. He was located in New Amersterdam. T.G. Bergen, Esq.
1645. He was one of the Patentees of Flushing, Long island.
1646, Nov. 11. He bought John Ruckman's plantation in Gravesend."

10. Register In Alphabetical Order Of The Early Settlers of Kings County, Long Island, N.Y., from its First Settlement by Europeans to 1700; with contributions to their biographies and genealogies, compiled from various sources. By Teunis G. Bergen. S.W. Green's Son, New York, 1881.
Page 222 and 223 (concerning genealogy of Robert Pennoyer)
"In addition to this patent, he appears to have owned other land in Gd (his patent being outside the original boundary of the town), for in Sept. 1647, John Ruckman and Richard Uzell bought of Roger Scott a plantation formerly of Robert Pennoyer, and Sept 4, 1649, bought of the same parties a house and lot also formerly of Pennoyer, as per Gd rec."

11. Information on his will from:
...A. Register In Alphabetical Order Of The Early Settlers of Kings County, Long Island, N.Y., from its First Settlement by Europeans to 1700; with contributions to their biographies and genealogies, compiled from various sources. By Teunis G. Bergen. S.W. Green's Son, New York, 1881.
Page 245 (genealogy of John Ruckman)
"RUCKMAN, John, (sup. English) among the first settlers of Gd, where he obtained Nov. 18. 1646, a grant for a plantation-lot, which he sold shortly after to Thomas Appelgate, as per town rec. His will is d. Mar. 13,1650, and pro. May 2 of the same year, in which he devises his property to his s. John, appointing Wm Bowne his guardian. If his s. dies a minor, he devises his property to John and James, sons of said Wm Bowne. Signed his name "John Ruckman." "

...B. Long Island Source Records. From the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Selected and Introduced by Henry B. Hoff. Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1987
Page 105 (concerning Kings Co., NY wills)
"Will of John Ruckman of Gravesend. Dated March 13, 1650. Proved May 2, 1650. To son John Ruckman, all property. Appointing James Hubbard and William Bowne & Edward Browse Executors. Mr. Bowne to have charge of son until he comes of age. If son die, Estate to John Bowne and James Bowne, sons of William Bowne. Witnesses: Deborah Moody, John Tilton.(Gravesend Records, Liber 1, page 39)"

12. Historical And Genealogical Miscellany- Early Settlers of New Jersey and their Descendants. By John E. Stillwell. Vol. III Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1970.
Page 30 (concerning William Bowne)
"The 13th of Mch., 1650, John Ruckman, of Gravesend, by his will, made him one of the trustees of his minor son, who came of age, in 1655, when his guardians were dismissed."

13. Concerning the attacks by Natives.
...A. Genealogies of Long Island Families- From The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.
Page 158 (concerning the Indian attacks on Long Island)
...B. A Dangerous Woman- New York's First Lady Liberty. The Life and Times of Lady Deborah Moody (1586-1659?). By Victor Cooper. Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland, 1995.
Page 101 to 105 (concerning the Indian attacks on Long Island)
...C. Genealogies of Long Island Families- From The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.
Page 159
"There can be little doubt that William Thorne and the others who received planters' lots were associates of Lady Deborah Moody in the founding of Gravesend in 1643. Presumably all except Baxter were among the forty men who defended the settlement against the Indian attacks the same year, and among the twenty-eight who signed the Amersfort agreement soon afterwards."