Thursday, February 16, 2012

Revolutionary War Veteran – Christopher B. Van Arsdalen

B. 20 Apr 1760 in Somerset County, New Jersey
M. 30 Apr 1789 in Somerset County, New Jersey
Wife: Sarah Dumont
D. 1 Jun 1840 in Somerset County, New Jersey

Christopher B. Van Arsdalen was born April 20, 1760 to Hendrick Van Arsdalen and Catherine Brokaw in Somerset County, New Jersey. He was one of seven children.

Christopher served in the Revolutionary War, enlisting in the army during every year of the war for a month or two at a time. The total time he served was about two years. His first enlistment was when he was only 16 and he may have been taking the place of his father. During 1776, he marched all over the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, and was stationed within sight of New York City when the British burned it. He “saw the tall steeple fall,” which was when the tallest church in the city collapsed in the fire. The only action Christopher was involved in during the war was a winter raid of some British wagons near Millstone, New Jersey, and he recalled that two men were killed.

After the war, Christopher settled down in Somerset County and married his third cousin Sarah Dumont on April 30, 1789, the very day that George Washington was sworn in as the nation’s first president. They had six children born between 1790 and 1803. Christopher was a farmer, but also may have been involved in some legal work in his community, as his name turned up on several wills as executor and inventory taker. The inventory of his estate after he died showed that he owned at least one law book. Christopher's will, written in the 1830s, was in his own handwriting.

Christopher Van Arsdalen's signature from his will

In 1832, after the act of Congress was passed that granted pensions to Revolutionary War veterans, Christopher testified to his own service in order to qualify for a payment of $30 per year. He died on June 1, 1840. His estate was worth over $4,200 and much of that was in the form of outstanding loans to friends and family members. Although he was listed in the 1840 census as owning one slave (an elderly man), there were no slaves on the inventory taken in connection with his will.

1. Sarah Ann Van Arsdalen – B. 7 Mar 1790, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 12 Mar 1858; M. Jacobus Voorhees (1789-?), 7 Jul 1810, Somerset County, New Jersey

2. Henry Christopher Van Arsdalen – B. 1 Jun 1792; D. 6 Nov 1860; M. Maria Van Pelt (1790-1867), 20 Mar 1815, Somerset County, New Jersey

3. Peter Christopher Van Arsdalen – B. 4 Nov 1794, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 20 Oct 1886; M. (1) Maria Van Middleswart (1798-bef 1828), 31 Dec 1815, Somerset County, New Jersey; (2) Ann Nancy Oppie (1793-1875), 5 Oct 1828, Somerset County, New Jersey

4. Ann Van Arsdalen – B. 29 Jun 1797, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 29 Oct 1831, Bridge Point, New Jersey; M. John Oppie (1798-1836), 20 Nov 1822, Somerset County, New Jersey

5. Catherine Van Arsdalen – B. 20 Oct 1799, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 3 Aug 1888, Somerset County, New Jersey; M. Jacob J. Quick (1800-1875), 23 Dec 1823, Somerset County, New Jersey

6. Alletta Van Arsdalen – B. 7 May 1803, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 13 May 1886, South Branch, New Jersey; M. James S. Ross (1803-1878), 29 Mar 1826, Boundbrook, New Jersey 

Family Bible of Christopher and Sarah Van Arsdalen
Military pension file of Christopher Van Arsdalen, 1832
Will of Christopher Van Arsdalen, 1840
Somerset County (New Jersey) Historical Quarterly, Vol I-8, 1912-1919
Death certificate of James Ross, 27 Jul 1878, Jerseyville, Illinois
Death certificate of Alletta Ross, 13 May 1886, South Branch, New Jersey
New Jersey marriages, 1682-1956

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