More (and more) William Knickerbocker

So in a previous post I went through my process of determaning how William Knickerbocker(1801-1838)was the son of William Knickerbocker(1780-1858) In that post one of the ‘proofs’ was a really bad copy of a newspaper notice and an educated guess as to what it said.

I was able to find a real nice researcher in the area who was able to take a trip to the library and find a LEGIBLE copy of that newspaper death notice. Virginia Marcellus ( is a wonderful researcher in the Albany New York area and if you’re looking for a contact there, she is well worth it!

Here’s  copy of the legible newspaper notice

William Knick newspaper death Notice

Albany Evening Journal
Feb 9, 1859
Page 2
Column 8
A better transcription is as follows:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, to Henry Knickerbocker, Cameron Knickerbocker, James H. Knickerbocker, severally residing at Smithville, in the county of Chenango, N.Y. Mary A.  wife of Amos Wade, residing at Norwich, in the county aforesaid, Amelia Burgess wife of K. S. Burgess, residing at Greene, in the county aforesaid: Henry Van Der Lyn jr., residing at Oxford, in the county aforesaid, special guardian of Evaline Knickerbocker, Charlotte Bradley wife of Timothy Bradley, Susan A. Towsley and Jane A. Towsley, minors, having no general guardian. Densy Haight, wife of Mark Haight, Lydia Wilcox, wife of Thurston Wilcox, severally residing at Portland, in the county of Chautauqua, N.Y. Betsy Wilcox, wife of Paris Wilcox, residing at Troupsbergh, in the county of Steuben, N.Y.: Fanny Barnes residing at Jasper, in the county last aforesaid; Harriet Terrell, wife of Nelson Terrell residing at Cortland in the county of De Kalb and state of Illinois, and William H. Knickerbocker, residing at Empire, in the county of Fond du Lac, and state of Wisconsin being at law and next to kin to William Knickerbocker, late of Smithville, aforesaid, deceased, greeting:

Whereas, Jared Knickerbocker and John T. Knickerbocker, the executors named in the last will and testament of William Knickerbocker, late of the town of Smithville, in the county of Chenango, deceased, have applied to our county judge, discharging the option of surrogate of the county of Chenango, to have the will of the said William Knickerbocker, deceased, which relates to both real and personal estate, proved and admitted to probate, you and each of you are therefore hereby cited and ordered to appear before the said county judge, at his office in Oxford, in said county, on the 19th day of March 1859 at ten o’clock, in the forenoon of that day, to attend the proof and probate of said will.

In testimony whereof, we have caused the seal of the surrogate’s  court of said county of Chenango to be hereunto affixed. (L.S.)  Witness, Dwight H. Clarke, surrogate of our said county, at the village of Oxford, the 19th day of January, A.D. 1859. 

Dwight H. Clarke, surrogate.



Anyone who knows me knows I like trees. And mountains. Mountain forests. Costal forests too. Maybe just forests in general. As long as I can remember I’ve really enjoyed going to forests, which I’ve always found strange since I’ve grown up and still live in a place the opposite of a forest. A land of cement and asphalt: Los Angeles County.

My earliest memory of a forest was going to Yosemite with my Aunt Helen (Knickerbocker) Vesterby and her husband, Uncle John Vesterby (my Mom, Dad, and Cousin Jim too) when I was about four (maybe three?) years old (1967 or 1968).  Here’s a few blurry pictures camping in Yosemite.

For whatever reason, the magic of camping under the trees in Yosemite has stayed with me all my life.


Uncle John Vesterby, me, Aunt Helen (Knickerbocker) Vesterby


Me, with a book ( another common sight)

A Cabin in Maine

In the early and mid 1970’s my parents owned a cabin on McGrath Pond in Maine. For two or three summers my mother, brother Bill and myself would fly out to Maine and spend about a month there in the summer. Dad would be able to come out for about a week or two depending on his work schedule. I have great memories of these summers with my Wainer ( and a few Knickerbocker) relatives at the cabin. Here’s a few pictures of the cabin and the family.

This is the part of the cabin that faced the lake. The large screened in porch had a huge table for dinner( lots of lobster eaten at that table):


This is the room where I generally slept while there, next to the huge stone fireplace. The curtain separated the bedroom from the living room.


Brother Bill and I trying to catch something. My buck teeth/huge overbite is really showing at this point. Not real sure what’s on Bill’s head. I think I learned how to catch whatever this was we were trying to catch from Elmer Fudd.


This is the beginning of the ‘beach’. From left to right: Uncle Stephen Wainer, Mom, Aunt Dot Wainer, Uncle Bob Knickerbocker,me, Dad, Bill.


This is Aunt Dot, My mom and Bill on Uncle Stephens boat fishing. ( I love this photo; three of my favorite people)


Uncle Bob Knickerbocker and Bill on our boat dock with Uncle Steve’s boat looking out over McGrath Pond.


More Christmas Past

I found a new app that scans old photos pretty well. It’s called PhotoScan and is made by Google. The photos I have are fairly yellowed and glued down in an album with unremovable plastic sheets across the tops of the pictures. I used this app to scan a few old Christmas pictures from the album and they came out pretty good so I thought I’d share them here.

My Mom and Dad ( Peter R. Wainer and Majorie A. Knickerbocker) in front of thier Christmas tree. They look pretty happy, must of been before my brother and I were born. 😉


Here’s one of my brother William (Bill) and myself, looks to be around 1969 at our house in Inglewood in the picture:


William Knickerbocker (1780-1858) father of WIlliam Knickerbocker (1801-1838)

There is absolutely no shortage of William Knickerbockers over time. Sometimes it’s very hard, genealogically, to distinguish one from the other or know which William is the parent and which is the child. This is one of these stories. It’s pretty convoluted and I doubt very many people will be interested in reading the details, but I thought it was pretty interesting so I’m recording it here.

William Knickerbocker (1780-1858) (I’ll call him William #1)and his son William Knickerbocker (1801-1838)( I’ll call him William #2) presented a pretty difficult problem since William #2 died before his father. How could I know, for sure,  that William #2 was REALLY the son of William #1? In the Smithville, New York area where William #1 and his wife Arpita lived in the 1800’s there were no birth certificates. Census records of that time only list the name of the head of the household and no other names, just counts of others in the household.

This link ( or lack of link) had become very important to one of my cousins, but why it’s important, I’ll leave for another post. ( a very exciting post)

So William #1, when he passed away, left a will, a New York Probate record and had a probate notice published in the newspaper of record. All these things helped in establishing William #2 as son of WIlliam #1.

Here’s William #1’s Will:

William Knickerbocker Will

It lists the following people as his children:

  1. Jarad Knickerbocker
  2. John T Knickerbocker
  3. Harvey Knickerbocker
  4. Cameron K. Knickerbocker
  5. Charles E. Knickerbocker
  6. Harriet Tyrel
  7. Densy Haight
  8. Lydia Wilcox
  9. Betsey Wilcox

So no William #2 there, which makes sense since he is one of two suspected children who passed away prior to William #1’s death ( his suspected sons William and Reuben died previously)

However there are multiple hints of William # 2 in William #1’s probate record shown here:

William Knickerbocker Probate

This document lists the people to be contacted that might have some claim on WIlliam #1’s property. It lists the following people:

  1. Jarad Knickerbocker (same as #1 above)
  2. John T Knickerbocker (same as #2 above)
  3. Henry Van Der Lyn Jr. ( Special guardian of Densy Haight)
  4. Densy Haight (Same as #7 above)
  5. Lydia Wilcox (Same as #8 above)
  6. Betsey Wilcox (Same as #9 above)
  7. Fanny Barnes
  8. Mary Adelia Wade
  9. James H. Knickerbocker
  10. Cameron Knickerbocker (Same as #4 above)
  11. Charles E. Knickerbocker (Same as #5 above)
  12. Amelia Burgess
  13. Harvey Knickerbocker (Same as #3 above)

I know, via the Knickerbocker family bible, that Mary Adelia Wade and James H. Knickerbocker are children of William #2. If William #1 was not thier grandfather, why would they need to be contacted? More hints were available in the notice published in the Albany Evening Journal of William #1’s death. This notice was totally illegible to me but cousin Frank Corbella has a brilliant idea. Feed the unreadable notice through some OCR software and see what happened. What happened was this, and it’s wonderful:

The people of the state of New York, to Henry Knickerbocker, Cameron Knickerbocker, James H. Knickerbocker currently residing at Smithville in the county of Chenango, N.Y.  Mary A. wife of Amos Wade living in Norwich in the county of Chenango; Amelia Burgess wife of ___________ Burgess residing at Greene in the county of Chenango; Henry Vanderlyn residing in Oxford in the county of Chenango, perennial guardian of _____________ Knickerbocker, Charlotte Bradley wife of Timothy Bradley, Susan A. Towsley and Jane R. Towsley having the general guardian, Denny Haight wife of Mark Haight, Lydia Wilcox wife  of Chautauqu, N.Y., Betsey Wilcox wife of Paris Wilcox residing in Trouphsburgh, N.Y., in the county of Steuben, N.Y., Fanny Barnes residing in Jasper, N.Y. in the county of Steuben, Harriet Tyrrel wife of Nelson Tyrrel residing in Cortland in the county of Dekalb, and the state of Illinois and William H. Knickerbocker residing at Empire, county of Fond du lac of state of Wisconsin heirs of law and relationship to William Knickerbocker estate in town of Smithville deceased meeting whereas Jared Knickerbocker and John T. Knickerbocker the executrix  named in the last will and testament of William Knickerbocker estate of the town of Smithville in the county of Chenango. Deceased have applied in our county of Chenango to have the will of the said William Knickerbocker deceased which releases both real and personal estate provide and administered probate, you and each of you are therefore hereby cited and required to appear before the said county judge in his office in Oxford in said county on the 10 day of March at 1, o’clock in the afternoon of that day to attend the proof and probate of said will.

In testimony where of we have earned the seal of the magistrate court office of said county of Chenango to be here and to attend.

Witness Dwight H. Clark surrogate’s office said county at village of Oxford the 19th day of 1859 January A.D. 

So this lists, again, a whole bunch of people who may have some sort of claim on William #1, including a long list of William #2’s children:

  1. Henry Knickerbocker of Smithville, Chenango, N.Y (  son of William #1 )
  2. Cameron Knickerbocker of Smithville, Chenango, N.Y (son of William #1 )
  3. James H. Knickerbocker of Smithville, Chenango, N.Y ( son of William #2 )
  4. Mary A. Wade wife of Amos of Norwich, Chenango, N. Y. (daughter of William #2 )
  5. Amelia Burgess wife of _____ Burgess of Greene,Chenango, N.Y. (unknown)
  6. Unknown Burgess
  7. Amos Wade husband of Mary A. of Norwich, Chenango, N. Y.
  8. Henry Van der Lyn of Oxford, Chenango, N.Y. Guardian of unknown Knickerbocker
  9. Unknown Knickerbocker ( Maybe Emeline daughter of William #2?)
  10. Charlotte Bradley wife of Timothy Bradley (daughter of William #2 )
  11. Timothy Bradley
  12. Susan A. Towsley (could these be daughters of Lydia J daughter of Willaim #2?)
  13. Jane R. Towsley
  14. Densy Haight wife of Mark Haight ( daughter of William #1)
  15. Mark Haight
  16. Lydia Wilcox wife of Unknown Wilcox (daughter of William #1)
  17. Unknown Wilcox
  18. Betsey Wilcox wife of Paris Wilcox of Trouphsburgh, Steuben, N.Y. ( daughter of William #1)
  19. Paris Wilcox of Trouphsburgh, Steuben, N.Y.
  20. Fanny Barnes of Jasper,Steuben, N.Y. ( unknown)
  21. Harriet Tyrrel wife of Nelson Tyrrel of Cortland, Ill ( daughter of William #1)
  22. Nelson Tyrrel of Cortland, Ill
  23. William H. Knickerbocker of Fond Du Loc, Wis ( son of William #2, and my great grandfather) ( I think this should be William R. not H.)
  24. Jarad Knickerbocker ( son of William #1)
  25. John T. Knickerbocker ( son of William #1)

Anyway, it’s pretty easy ( well, sort of) to prove that the sons and daughters of William #2 are present in this notice, therefore  William #1 must be the father of William #2.

Thinking of my mom today

Thinking about my mom today;she was born Dec 9th 1928 and died September 21th, 1988.  Since my birthday is in December as well, we’d always celebrate out birthdays at the same time. Usually this involved going out to dinner at Lawrey’s Restaurant in Los Angeles; it was her favorite. (Mine too)

Lawrey’s has since moved down the street and in it’s old spot is a new restaurant called “The Stinking Rose”. It servers garlic infused meals and is my son’s favorite place to have his birthday dinner. Funny how things work like that sometimes.

Here’s a picture of my mom on her wedding day, Dec 9th 1960 (dad was no dummy, always easier to remember one date and not two) in Las Vegas, Nevada.



Who are you? (Knickerbocker version 1)

Here’s an old picture ( maybe late 1960’s early 1970’s?) at Uncle Bob and Aunt Loraine Knickerbocker’s house in Minnesota. I’m the kid in the plaid shorts on the left, Uncle Dude is sitting in the chair surrounded by kids. Are YOU in this picture? Which one are you?What Knickerbocker