Family Stories

An Enjoyable Long Weekend Spent with the Dutch Cousins

After a long weekend attending the Dutch Cousins Gathering, I can honestly say they are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met.  The words that come to mind are friendly, openhearted, kind – and they are just as passionate about genealogy and their family history as anyone I’ve ever met.  Coming from as far away as California, Oklahoma, Illinois, New York and other home bases, they truly formed one family once they were gathered.

This was the eighth gathering of descendants of Dutch families who came from New Amsterdam to New Jersey to Conewago Colony in Pennsylvania.  In the 1780’s these families came on flatboats down the Ohio River, or cross country via the Wilderness Trail, to settle the Low Dutch Tract in Kentucky.

Friday morning we met at the Kentucky State University Harold R. Benson Agriculture Building, a few miles south of Frankfort.  Even though no Dutch blood flows through my veins, to my knowledge, I was welcomed into the fold.  In the foyer outside the meeting room, family history tables and book displays drew my immediate attention.  At the registration desk everyone received their name badge and a Dutch Cousins bag.

Charlie Westerfield

President Charlie Westerfield gave us a hearty welcome and the day began with a flag ceremony.  We were also welcomed by Senator Whitney Westerfield, himself a descendant of the early Dutch settlers.  Members wore their robin’s egg blue shirts, with Dutch family names listed on back.  The roll call of family groups was interesting, and I recognized many names due to the large Dutch contingent who came to Mercer County towards the end of the 18th century.

Julia Norton, Charlotte Olson, Phyllis Brown

Of course there was time in between activities to talk and share information on our ancestors.

Dr. Kirk W. Pomper, Director of KSU Land Grant Programs, gave an interesting talk on Paw-Paw trees, their use and study by the university.  The number of varieties, and regional growing areas in the United States and Canada, were very surprising.  He has overseen the development of new paw-paw varieties produced by the university that are sold to nurseries nationwide.

The Bluegrass Dulcimer Society.

After a delightful lunch the Bluegrass Dulcimer Society played many tunes for us.  A group photo was taken outside, using a drone.  The sun was shining, a beautiful blue sky sported white fluffy clouds – it was a magnificent day.

The evening speakers were Dr. Stephen Henry, Vince Akers and Dr. Scott Giltner.  Dr. Giltner is a member of the Governor Isaac Shelby Chapter of the SAR, and is Color Guard Commander.  His presentation on flags was amazing – a very interesting talk about our country’s flags, including a few used before the revolution.  I believe there were about ten flags total, and many I had never seen.

Dr. Steve Henry discussed The Parklands, lands along Floyd’s Fork that have been set aside as ‘safe, clean, accessible areas that will be well-used and well-loved by present and future generations.’  There are 100 miles of new trails for hiking and biking, 19 miles of canoe trails along the creek, children’s playgrounds and walking paths, facilities for family picnics and community events and accessible fishing holes, canoe launches, recreational fields and more.

This lovely area was very near the scene of the Westerfield Massacre that happened in 1781.  Vince Akers, Dutch Cousins historian, told of the massacre where over twelve people were killed and two girls captured by Indians when James Westerfield and several other families were moving from Jefferson to Mercer County.  This tragedy did not stop these early settlers, their sights were set on Mercer County near James Harrod’s station, south of Fort Harrod.  They moved a short time later and flourished.  How apt that triumph trumped tragedy.

Floyd’s Creek at The Parklands.

Saturday the group took a bus tour, arriving at The Parklands in time for lunch under one of the pavilions.  Dr. Steve Henry joined us for a portion of the tour.

Driving through the area we arrived at the junction of Brown’s Lane, Bowling Parkway and Kresge’s Way in the St. Matthew’s area of Jefferson County.

This is the location of the Low Dutch Station historical marker – ‘In 1780 Hendrick Banta led large group of Dutch pioneers from Pennsylvania.  They rented land from John Floyd [yes, the creek is named for him] and built Low Dutch (New Holland) Station here, one of six pioneer forts on Beargrass Creek.  Fleeing from Indians, group later bought land from Squire Boone in Henry and Shelby counties.  This property was acquired in 1810 by James Brown of Maryland, a leading agriculturist.’

We also stopped at the Long Run Massacre marker – ‘One mile south.  Scene of massacre, undoubtedly the bloodiest in early Kentucky, which took place, 1781.  A Miami Indian party killed over 60 pioneers en route from Squire Boone’s Painted Stone Station to safety of forts at Falls of Ohio.  Next day, reinforced by British Captain McKee’s Hurons, they killed 16 of 25 militia led by Col. John Floyd to bury massacre victims.’

At the same spot on US 60, one mile east of Eastwood, was the marker for Abraham Lincoln, the president’s grandfather, who was killed by Indians in May of 1786, while working in his fields with several of his sons.  Mordecai ran for his rifle and killed the Indian before he scalped his father, at least saving him that indignity.  Kentucky was a dark and bloody ground during the early settlement period just after the Revolutionary War.

Our final destination on the tour was the dedication of the new Westerfield Marker in Bullitt County located at 1868 West Hebron Lane, Shepherdsville.

The Dutch Cousins procured funding for this marker.  This was a memorable occasion for all those involved.

Back on the bus and headed back to Frankfort, Vince Akers and others told the history of the areas we drove through, and one of the ladies recited a stirring poem she wrote for a gathering of the Conewago Colony.

Eddie Price

Arriving back at the agriculture building we prepared for dinner – another delicious meal prepared by Family Affair of Harrodsburg (they catered all meals for Friday and Saturday).  Afterwards Eddie Price, author of Widder’s Landing and One Drop – A Slave!, spoke about the Battle of Blue Licks which occurred in the Nicholas County area in August 1782.  Eddie is such a great speaker and makes you feel as if you are in the middle of all the action.

Patricia Childs, Eddie Price, Julia Norton

And his books were a big hit, as always.

Sunday the group moved to Mercer County, to the Old Mud church and cemetery.  Old Mud Church is a treasure and was restored by the Dutch Cousins group – they not only know their history, they preserve it.

Russell Gasero

A worship and communion service was held at 2:00. Russell Gasero spoke.  He is the archivist of the Reformed Churches of America, formerly the Dutch Reformed Church.

Before the service, many walked through the cemetery, finding their ancestors gravestones, some easily readable, some lettering very faint.  But to trod the ground that our forebears walked is a blessing in itself.  We know they are buried there and will not be forgotten.

Website for the Dutch Cousins –



20 replies »

  1. The gentleman that spoke on the early flags is Dr. Scott Giltner. He is a member of the Gov Isaac Shelby Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution. He is the Color Guard Commander for that Chapter.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful write up for the Dutch Cousins Reunion. For those of us unable to attend, you certainly made us feel as if we were able to do so. Judith Smith Cassidy

    • I would like to be able to add my new book to your list of books, titled THE HISTORY OF LOW DUTCH SLAVERY FROM NEW NETHERLANDS TO KENTUCKY AND BEYOND. I just published it in August, so it is new, and covers many of the families who attended the reunion. To my knowledge this type of history has not been done before, and family members of descendants of slave owners over the years, such as Vince Akers, Bob Vanarsdale and others contributed their family papers for inclusion as well as descendants of slaves over the years. Families include, Banta, Houts (Houtz), Smock, Armstong, Brewer, Vanarsdale Cozine, Demarest, Dorland, Ryker (abolitionists), Brinkerhoff, Kuykendal, Cleland, Bice, Vannuys and others. Also members of the US Colored Troops from Camp Nelson, Lexington Slave Traders, Forks of the Road in Natchez, sickness and death. Everything is documented in the footnotes and I pretty much let the original documents speak for themselves.

      I have been sharing your articles on Barbara Whitesides FB site Dutch Cousins of Kentucky for quite some time, when the pertain to the Low Dutch. This is my biography: I have been a Family Historian for about 40 years, have published numerous articles for publications such as

      1), The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, The Genealogical Society of New Jersey,”Charles Suydam’s Mill and Dam Disputes, Rarity Landing,” May 2012, vol. 87, No. 2, Whole No. 296: 53.

      2). The New Netherland Connections, (NNC), editor Dorothy A. Koenig, “A Bible Shared by Some Van Arsdalen, Dorlant and Lott Families,” Vol. 7, No. 3, 2002, 58-62: “Discovery of the Original Deacon’s Poor Chest and Baptismal Records of the Low Dutch Congregation of the Conowago,” Vol. 12, No 4, 2007: NNC: “The Deacons Records of the Conewago Congregation, York County, Pennsylvania 1777-1803,” Vol. 13, No. 3 2008, 70-82 and NNC Vol. 13, No. 4, 2008, 93-108, NNC “Which Charles Fonteyn? Sorting Our the Fonteyn-Fountains-Vantynes-Vantines of Somerset and Middlesex Counties, N. J. (assisted by Mike Morrissey and David Smock,) from 1681-1800,” Vol. 14, No. 4, 2009: 87-96, and NNC, Vol. 15, No. 1 2010: 1-10, and NNC, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2010, 29-39 and NNC “Journey of One Hundred Years,” Vol. 15, No. 3, 2010, 76-88 and NNC, Vol. 15, No. 3, 110-123.

      3). North Louisiana History (North Louisiana Historical Association) The Murder of William D. Vanarsdel, Vol XLIV: 151, 2013. The Maxwell Award in 2013.

      4). “Simon Vanawsdall vs Joseph Cornelius, Injunction 1821,” St. Clair Co Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vo. 37, No 3, 2014: 161-170, Bellview, Ill, 62222-0431.

      5). Books: Barbara A. Barth, The Dorland Enigma Solved, A Revision of the Dorland Genealogy, Edited by Judith Smith Cassidy and Harry Macy, Jr., (Sandisfield, MA: Diane Barth Swartz, 2006).

      6). THE VANARSDLE FAMILY OF KENTUCKY, MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA, A Shared History of Slave Owners and Their Slaves, June 6, 2012.


      Judy Cassidy

  3. Hello,

    I enjoy your emails. I have a question:

    Is there a place to find out about such reunions? I suspect I am descended from Low Dutch settlers, but had no idea there was such a gathering. I also wonder who I would contact about joining such a group.

    I’d also like to know when the Kentucky Geneaology Society (I think that’s the name) has its annual meeting, which you wrote about recently.

    Thank you for any help you can provide.


    Genie Graf Midway


      • Also, I have a facebook site with over 400 descendants of the Low Dutch/French Huguenots ..DUTCH COUSINS IN KENTUCKY… an offshoot of the There are lot of folks there that would help you in your quest, files of information downloaded onto the main page and also photos of past gatherings, the Old Mud Cemetery, trip to NYC to visit our roots……be glad to have you.

      • There is also a facebook site DUTCH COUSINS IN KENTUCKY with over 400 members of the group mentioned in this story. I administer the page and it is filled with files and photos with a lot of cousins willing to help with any question you might have. We are affiliated with the group in the story and would love to have you check us out. All you need to do is look for the page in facebook and ask to join…I check the site several times a day. If you don’t know how you fit in, we will try to help you figure it out.

      • There is a facebook site affliated with this group in the above story….DUTCH COUSINS IN KENTUCKY. We are descendants of the families that arrived in KY starting in 1780 from York County, PA. There are files and photos and a lot of willing descendants ready to give you a helping hand. All you need do is find DUTCH COUSINS IN KENTUCKY and ask to join…I check it several times a day and if you don’t know a family name…we will see if we can figure it out for you. Look forward to hearing from you. Barbara Adams Whiteside

  4. Thanks for the education on Low Dutch! This was so interesting. Does anyone with a “Van” in the last name mean this? I am a descendant of Carrie Van Cleave buried in Marion County.

    • A list of Dutch names from the Dutch Cousins website:
      Banta, Bonta, Banter, Bohon
      Bergen, (Berkas?)
      Bice, Boice, Boyce, Dice, Buys, Buijs, Boyce
      Bodine, Bedine
      Bogert, Bogart
      Brewer, Brouwer, Bruner
      Brinkerhoff, Brinkerhof, Blinkerhoff, Tickerhoof, Tickerhuff
      Brokaw, Broca, Burcaw, Bercaw, Barklow, Degraw
      Carnine, Conyn, Conine, Canine, Carmine, Cole
      Cosart, Cozzart, Cossatt, Cassat, Canine, Cazatt, Cersart, Crosser, Kennine, Kinnine, Cozatt, Cozarte, Cozart, Cozad, Cosarte, Cossarte
      Comingo, Comingore, Comonger, Commonger
      Conover, Cochenauer, Covenover, Covinover, Cownoyen, Cownover, (Cowenhoven?), Coshon, Cleton, Chamberlain
      Covert, Coovert, Kosvert, Kovert, Cover
      Cozine, Cosine, Casine, Crosine, Cousine, Kosijn, Cosijn, Consyn, Consine, Consynze, Cosin, Cosyns, Cosynsen, Cosynsze, Cousyn, Cousny, Couzine, Crozine, Cosyne
      Debaun, Debond, Debound, Deband, Deboun
      Demaree, De Marest, Des Marest, Dumeree, Dimaree, Deamorist, Demarist, DeMaris, Demarest
      Demott, DeMotte, Dedaum
      Dorland, Darland, Dorling, Darling, Durlind, Derlind
      Duree, Durie, Diree, Duryee, (originally du Ryzs) Dates, Durboraw
      Fulkerson, Holgerson, Volkertszen
      Fleuty, Fonteyn, Fontine, Yeury
      Huff, Hough, Huffman, Hite, Hoff, Houghtalins
      Konning, Koning, King, Koenig, Kyle, Conninck
      Latshells, Lashel, Latchel, Lasshels, Lassheles
      Lys, List
      Lyster, Lister, Loyster, Leister, Loister, Louster, Luyster
      Monfort, Monfor, Munfort, Monford, Minefore, Menfore, Montfort, Monfoort
      Riker, Ryker, Rykker
      Rinerson, Rynearson, Rynersen, Ripperdan
      Scomp, Schamp, Deschamps
      Shuck, Schenck
      Slot, Lock
      Smock, Smok, Smoak, Schrock
      Snedeker, Snyder, Snider
      Stagg, Stegge, Stage, Stechk
      Terhune, Terheuns
      Tewmey, Toomey, Tumey
      VanArsdale, Van Arsdalen, Vanosdel, Vanorden, Van Ordon, Vanorsdale, Vann Ausdell, VanArsdall, VanArder, Vanarsdall, Van Norsdell, Van Norsdall, Van Aersdaelen, Van Nosdall, Fenosdal, Fenorsdall, Fanosdol, Van Ausdall, Vananglin, Van Ansdale, Van Orsdel, Van OsdoL (INCLUDES: Includes many variations of Van Arsdalen thru Van Norsdall)
      VanDiver, Vandiveer, Vandivier, Vandine, Vandyke, VanDevere, Vandervier
      Vanderbilt, Vanderbelt, Van Derbilt
      Vanderipe, Van DerRipe
      Vanderslice, Van Derslys
      Van Dyne, Van Dine, Vandine, Finine, Fintine, Vanande, Vantine
      VanDyke, Findike, Wandike, Vandyke
      VanHarling, Van Herling, Van Harlingen
      VanZant, Vanzent
      Vanmeter, Van Meter
      Van Nuys, Vannice, Van Nis, Vannys, Vannuyse, van Huys, van Hyte
      Vaughn, Vann
      VerBryck, Verbrike, Verbryke
      Voris, Vorhees, Voorhees, Vores, Voress, Van Voorhees, Voorheese, Van Vorous, Voras, Van Voorkiss, Vource, Vorce, Voorus, Voorheez (and MANY more variations. Go to the website
      Westerfield, Westervelt, Vesterbilt, Winterbill
      Whitenack, Whiteneck, Weytekneght
      Wyckoff, Wikoff, Wickoff
      Yeury – see Fleuty

    • There Van Cleaves marrying into several of the Low Dutch families…facebook site DUTCH COUSINS IN KENTUCKY may be able to help you. Van Cleaves also married into the Boone family.

  5. Loved meeting my new cousins and especially enjoy the unique experience at the Van cemetery, lets keep in touch

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