Week 14: #52 Ancestors – Great
By Eilene Lyon
“The record of the Rockefellers in America is that of a vital, dynamic, active race, possessed of resourcefulness, shrewdness in business affairs, and executive ability. In some lines, too, they have been known for their imagination, love of beauty, and literary talents.” – Media Research Bureau of Washington, D.C.
I just realized I married into one of this country’s greatest family dynasties – the Rockefellers. That strikes me as a bit, um, rich. Yes, The Putterer’s great-great-grandmother is a Rockefeller and 3rd cousin of John D. Rockefeller. John D. founded Standard Oil and is widely considered to have been the richest American of all time.1
The information in this post comes primarily from an official genealogy compiled by Henry Oscar Rockefeller, M.D. and published by the Rockefeller Family Association, Inc. (downloaded from Family Search).2 I have not verified every fact, but the genealogy includes The Putterer’s line down to his great-grandmother, Emma Elizabeth (Pierson) Lyon, daughter of Clarinda (Rockefeller) and Samuel C. Pierson.
(No, we’re not listed, but then it was published in the early 20th century – a little before our time.)
The Rockefellers of America trace their lineage back to Goddard Rockenfeller of Germany. A grandson and a great-grandson emigrated to America in the early 1700s. The grandson, Johann Peter Rockenfeller, settled in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
Johann Peter’s grandson, John Rockefeller, served as a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War, which I will delve into in a later post. This John is also one of The Putterer’s ancestors.
“With the mighty names and minds of our Revolutionary ancestors we can now only converse in history, and review their deeds of valor and patriotism, but they still live in the hearts of the nation. Our heritage is a prized possession.” – Henry O. Rockefeller
John’s brother, William, is the ancestor of the aforementioned John D. Rockefeller. In other words, my husband is from the “poor” side of the family. Actually, John D. came from a poor family, too, and could claim to be a self-made man.
Following down the line from John, the patriot, is his eldest son, Godfrey Rockefeller and his wife, Annie Gordon. Little is known about their lives in New Jersey. His estate upon his death in 1814 was worth a little over $1,000.3 Next is his son, Agesilaus Jesse Rockafeller [sic].
Agesilaus and his first wife, Parmelia Young, grew up and married in New Jersey, but later moved to Indiana.4 In 1848, Agesilaus purchased land from the government in Bureau County, Illinois, where he relocated his family in 1854.5 Parmelia died the same year as their move.6 She and Agesilaus are the parents of Clarinda Rockefeller Pierson.
Though Clarinda remained in Bureau County (where The Putterer was born), her father eventually had two other wives and moved to Kansas, where he died in 1892.7
Now that I’ve established our bonafides as part of the Rockefeller clan, the question is: When do we get our lifetime passes to the Rockefeller Center?
Feature image: Sunset view of Manhattan, including the Rockefeller Center (Wikimedia Commons)
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Rockefeller ↩
- Rockefeller Genealogy. Undated. Compiled by Henry Oscar Rockefeller, M.D., Historian of the Rockefeller Family Association, Inc. Brooklyn, N.Y. ↩
- Godfrey Rockafellar. New Jersey, U.S., Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817. New Jersey State Archives. New Jersey, Published Archives Series, First Series. Trenton, New Jersey: John L Murphy Publishing Company. – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- History of Labette County, Kansas, and Representative Citizens. 1901. Hon. Nelson Case, editor. Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, p. 638. ↩
- Agesilaus Rockafeller. U.S., General Land Office Records, 1776-2015. United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes. http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/. Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007 – via Ancestry.com. ↩
- See note 2, p. 77. ↩
- See note 5. ↩