The Worland Family in America and Beyond

I began my life in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, on an island filled with forests and wild rhododendrons. I was separated from my Worland family there at an early age. Recently, I was reunited with my family and learned of my heritage. And so, this journey to know my ancestors began. The Worlands, Gideons, Newtons, Conards... they were the colonists, the settlers, the pioneers. They fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War. This is their story, and the story of a nation. -Deci Worland MacKinnon

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

March 1731, Pennsylvania

March 25, 1731- Abraham Isaac Op den Graeff dies in Skippack, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Abraham was born in 1660 in Krefeld, Germany. At the age of 19, he married Catherina Trintje Jansen,  at the Krefeld Reformed Church.
Abraham was the youngest of the three Op den Graeff brothers who came from Krefeld on the ship 'Concord'.
He and his brothers had paid for 2,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania from Jacob Telner (who had an original land grant for the land from William Penn, dated Mar. 9, 1682) while still in Europe. 828 acres of this land was located in what is now Germantown. The Eastern State Penitentiary now stands on part of the original tract at Craterford, Pennsylvania.  

"We whose names appear are to these presents subscribed, do hereby certify unto all whom it may concern, that soon after our arrival in this province of Pennsylvania, in October, 1683, to our certain knowledge Herman of de Graff, Dirk op den Graff, and Abraham op den Graff, as well as ourselves, in the care of Francis Daniel Pastorius, at Philadelphia, did cast lots for the respective lots which they and we then began to settle in Germantown; and the said Graffs (three brothers) have sold their several lots, each by himself, no less than if a division in writing had been made by them. Witness our hands this 29th Nov., A.D. 1709.
Lenart Arets 

Thones Kunder 
Abraham Tunes
Jan Lensen

William Streygert
Jan Lucken
Reiner Tysen”

Abraham and his brothers transferred their weaving industry to Germantown and were largely responsible for making it famous and it was claimed that Abraham was the most skilled of all Germantown's "High German People and Low Dutch" trading in weaving linen cloth. Abraham won a Governor's prize of 1500 Lire for the first and finest piece of linen woven in the State of Pennsylvania.
In 1688, Abraham and Herman Op den Graeff, another man, and Pastorius, met at Thone Kunder's home to draft a resolution in opposition to salvery, supposedly put in writing by Pastorius. They presented it at their monthly meeting, which refered it up the Quaker chain of meetings as too weighty to deal with until it reached the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

The Original Signatures

A slave ship had sailed into Philadelphia, and the slaves were bought up by wealthy Philadelphia Quakers.  Allegedly, most wealthy Englishmen in Philadelphia owned slaves, and the Germans at Germantown all opposed slavery, because of their history of having been oppressed in Germany.

In 1689 he was one of eleven men to whom Penn granted a charter for Germantown, where he is called "Abraham Isaacs Op de Graef" and in that charter he was one of the six men appointed to serve as the first "committeemen". He served as town burgess in 1692 and was a member of the colonial assembly in 1689, 1690 and 1692.
His last years were marked by trouble; his fences over which he had quarrelled with his neighbors were condmened as insufficient.  He quarrelled with the sheriff over how much he had to pay for the legal costs associated with his son's unauthorized appropriation of a neighbor's horse.  He was sued in 1704 by a neighbor for money due on purchased goods- and he was hardly a poor man.  "That same year, an old Krefeld neighbor and fellow-pilgrim, Veit, or David Scherkes, declared that 'no honest man woud be in Abraham's company' and when Abraham sued him for slander, David was acquitted."  (Dutch Quakers)

"Over the years there seems to have been a decline in the respect held towards him by Germantown settlers.  His personality, which seems to have been difficult, as is evident from his increasing appearances in the Germantown court, may have been mostly responsible for this development.  Excepting the recording of deeds two appearances as a juror, in 1702 and 1703, and a debt case in 1704, most of Op den Graef's court appearances involved personal infringements  of the law. Thus he was twice cited and fined for neglecting his fences, he was deemed responsible for the repeated misdeeds of his children, he let his hogs run loose, and he verbally abused people, who then abused him in return.  ...In March 1704 Op de Graef was convicted of abusing the bailiff in open court..."  (House of Representatives, Pennsylvania, 1991, "Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania:  A Biographical Dictionary".

He sold his house at  Germantown on May 16, 1704, and thereafter lived in "The Dutch township"  along the Perkionen. Hwas the only one of the family to return to the Mennonite faith, which he did sometime after 1708.  He was also the only one to have children.
He died before Mar 27, 1731, when his tract of  530 acres was divided among his surviving children.  He lies buried in Skippack Memorial Cemetary in Pennsylvania.

Penn's Invitation

(Abraham Isaac Op den Graeff is my first cousin 10 times removed. Our common ancestors are Hermann Op den Graeff & Gretjen Driessen Pletjes and Pieter Dohrs & Lysgen Grietes.)
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