Friday, August 31, 2012

Samuel Clowes My 7G Grandfather

Samuel Clowes, mathematician, astronomer, mariner, lawyer, surveyor, and government official was born in Derbyshire, England, 16 Mar 1674.

The Clowes surname:  This interesting name, with the variants Cluse, Closs, Clowes and Clowser, is of early medieval English origin, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be a topographical surname for someone living in an enclosed place, such as (in towns) a courtyard set back from the main street, or (in country districts) a farmyard. The derivation is from the Middle English "clos(e)", from the Old French "clos", from the Late Latin "clausum", a derivative of "claudere", to close, shut. Secondly, the name may have developed from a nickname for someone considered to be secretive, reticent, or reserved, derived from the Middle English "clos(e)", secret. The first recording of the surname (below) is from this source; early recordings of the name include: Thomas del Close (1327, Yorkshire) and John Cloos (1409, London). London Church Registers record the marriage of Peter Close and Mary Thomas at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, on June 5th 1569, and of William Close and Avis Wimsoll at St. Mary Aldermary, on November 30th 1572. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Clos, which was dated 1214, in the "Curia Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.

Samuel Clowes (1674-1760) was in the employ of  Dr. John Flamsteed from the age of 17 until he turned 21, prior to his immigration to the American colonies. Fortunately for him, Dr. Flamsteed [the first British Astronomer Royal and for whom the Greenwich Royal Observatory was built] of the Royal Observatory, who cataloged over 3,000 stars, had need of  assistance in his task of recording fixes of stars and planets. So he employed and instructed promising youths. One of these was Samuel Clowes.
                                               Dr. John Flamsteed

Records from the Royal Observatory (Greenwich) show that Samuel made astronomical observations on a number of dates between 1691 and 1695. Samuel started this phase of his learning at the rage of 17. It appears that Samuel was employed by Dr. Flamsteed from 1691 to 1695 although there is no record of Samuel doing observations between December, 1691, and February, 1695.
On April 23rd, 1695, at the age of 21, he was recorded on board HMS Queen as an Able Seaman . He remained in the employ of the Royal Navy until his discharge on September 24th, 1698. Samuel was on board the following ships: HMS Queen April 23rd to June 13th, 1695 Position - Able Seaman; HMS Fubbs Yaught June 13 to June 16, 1695 Position – Able Seaman; HMS Maidstone June 17, 1695 to November 3, 1696 Position -Captain's Clerk; HMS Fowey November 4, 1696 to September 24, 1698 Position - Captain's Clerk.

After his marriage he stayed in the Colony of New York. It may be noted also that while Samuel was in the Royal Navy, portions of his pay were sent to Dr. Flamsteed. Apparently Samuel left without fulfilling his obligation to Flamsteed and left owing money to him.

The following is excerpted from The Clowes Family of Long Island compiled by Charles J. Werner mainly from records left by Benjamin F. Thompson, Historian of Long Island. This was published by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume L, 1919.

Samuel Clowes, Counselor-At-Law, was born in Derbyshire, England, 16 March 1674. He received instruction in mathematics from the celebrated Dr. John Flamsteed, for whose use, Greenwich Observatory was erected. Samuel arrived in New York in 1698 and in 1702 moved to Jamaica, Long Island, in the company of the scandal-plagued Lord Cornbury, Governor of the Province of New York, who left New York City temporarily to escape the ravages of a malignant fever then prevailing in the metropolis.

It is alleged that Samuel was the first Lawyer to settle and practice on Long Island. Whether this is so or not, it is certain that he was an able practitioner and was connected with many important cases. The first mention of Samuel in Jamaica Town records is under the date of January 31, 1703/04, when the Town gave to “Mr. Samuel Clowes free liberty for getting some clay for brick, timbers, shells for lime sofitiaur for building upon a piece of land that he was buying from Samuel Mills to be gotten upon the Commons.” It would seem as if this was the building of a dwelling. On April 4, 1704, he was spoken of as Clerk of the Peace and he was chosen Clerk of the County and officiated as such until 1710 when his legal business grew so large that he was forced to relinquish the office.

During the time of his residence at Jamaica, there was hardly a deed recorded in the Town Records which did not contain his name as witness and conveyancer. He was also a qualified surveyor and his surveys of land are met with in both the Jamaica and Hempstead Town Records. In fact, he did quite a lot of professional work which is spread throughout the Records of the Hempstead.

On the tax list of 1708/09, he was assessed 4 shillings, 10 pence, 2 farthings and 4 wampum belts. He was spoken of as “Mr.” and was one of only two so mentioned on this list. On tax lists of another date in the same year, Samuel Clowes, Clerk, is assessed 7 shillings, 6 pence. At a town meeting on April 4th, 1727, Samuel Clowes was appointed a Trustee of Highways.

Two negros belonging to Samuel were baptized on May 23, 1714. Their names were James and Sarah. Samuel was prominently identified with the Episcopal Church of Jamaica. In fact, Samuel was one of the founders of the congregation in 1702 when Lord Cornbury dispossessed the Presbyterians from their building and gave it to the Church of England. In 1734, the Episcopalians completed a building of their own and on April 5, 1734, the dedication service was held. After this date, the church became known as Grace Church which is still in existence in downtown Jamaica today. On this occasion, Samuel provided an entertainment for the visiting dignitaries. It was described as follows: “At its dedication, governor Crosby, his Lady and Family, the council with many Ladies and Gentlemen from the City honoured the occasion with their presence, when a splendid entertainment was given by Samuel Clowes, an eminent Lawyer residing in the village. The Militia were under arms to attend to his Excellency and the concourse of citizens was great.”

Thirteen years later,on October 19th, 1747, 1300 lottery tickets of chance, at 8 shillings each, were sold to defray the cost of a bell for the church. Again Samuel officiated and he, together with Jacob Ogden, drew the winning tickets. Many members of the Clowes family remained members of the Church of England. It is interesting to note that many years later, Samuel Clowes' Great-Great Grandson, Reverend Timothy Bagley Clowes, was rector or Grace church for a short time.

On April 17, 1712, Samuel completed a survey of the Commons Lands of the Town of Hempstead, situated on the “Great Plains”. These lands at the time consisted of 6,213 acres and a copy of the survey, signed by Samuel, was included in the Town Records, where it may be seen today. The original trees and other boundary marks are allocated on the survey. The Commons Lands or Commons, used for grazing domestic animals, agriculture, and other purposes, were important adjuncts to the early settlements of Long Island.

Samuel did most of the surveying in Jamaica and Hempstead, indeed, he seems to have been the only surveyor employed during his lifetime. At the age of 73, Samuel was still drawing deeds and practicing law. Both he and his wife were buried in Grace Churchyard in Jamaica. His pews in Grace Church were No. 9 and No. 21. The latter pew was most likely used by members of the family. This was in 1737 and he paid 16 shillings, 10 pence and 14 shillings, 6 pence for the two pews respectively..

Abstracts of Wills Vol V 1754-1760 Page 203.--In the name of God, Amen. "I, SAMUEL CLOWES, of Jamaica, in Queens County, Gent., being now 85 years and 5 months old, and infirm of body, but, Praised be God, of sound mind." I leave to my wife Mary her bed, completely furnished, and all other things and goods that she brought with her, Also my riding chair and her choice of my horses, And my executors are to pay her 12 yearly during her life, Also my easy chair and 6 best other chairs, and the Sconce which hangs in my bed chamber. I leave to Samuel Clowes, eldest son of my cousin, Samuel Clowes, "who now does, or lately did, belong to the Custom House in London, 25 Stirling." I leave to Rev. Samuel Seabury, minister of Hempstead, 5, and to his son, Rev. Samuel Seabury, of the town of Jamaica, 10. "I order my executors to lay out the sum of 15 in Bibles, to be given to all my grand children and great grand children which shall be alive at the time of my decease. I leave to my son John 50, To my son Peter 100, as a recompense and reward for their particular pains and trouble they will be at as executors. All the rest of my estate I leave to my two sons, John and Peter, and my daughters, Alletta, wife of Edward Willett, Melicent, wife of Joseph Sackett, Catharine, wife of Nathaniel Mills, Mary, wife of Daniel Thorne, and Juliana Clowes. My estate is to be divided as follows: The tract of 600 acres which I have given to my son in law, Edward Willett, and 400 acres which I have given to my son-in-law, Joseph Sackett, and a certain tract of land which I have given to my son Peter at the place where he now lives, shall be reckoned as part of their shares. And because the boundaries of the Patents of Wawayanda and Minissink, where the chief part of my land now is, are not yet perfectly settled, if any of the said tracts fall short, it is to be made up. I make my sons John and Peter executors, and in case of their death, my 4 sons-in-law, And if they die before the estate is settled, then my grand sons, Timothy Clowes, son of my late son Gerardus, and John Clowes, son of my son John, and they shall have so much of the undivided lands as shall be adjudged to them by the Chief Justice of New York. "Written with my own hand this 24 July,1750." Witnesses, Benjamin Hinchman, James Cebra, Jacob Ogden. Proved before Thomas Braine, Surrogate, August 28, 1760.

NOTE.--Samuel Clowes, Jr., who was for many years Surrogate of Queens County, died about January, 1760, and Letters of Administration were granted to his father, Samuel Clowes, February 20, 1760. He was probably son of the testator. A bill of sale signed by Casper Kimber, weaver, of Goshen, Orange Co., NY to Samuel Clowes of Queens Co. dated 1748 was written about in a newspaper article published by the Wantage Recorder. At that time, the bill of sale was in the possession of Mrs. Minnie Topping, a Kimber descendant. "This indenture made the first day of (this figure or figures are faded) in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty-eight, between Casper Kimber of Wirkesworth near Goshen in Orange County, in the colony of New York, Weaver, of the one part and Samuel Clowes, of Jamaica in Queens County, on Long Island, Gent, of the second part, witnesseth that the said Casper Kimber for and in consideration of the sum of 55 pounds lawful money of New York to him paid at or before the ensealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof is duly acknowledged to be paid by the said Samuel Clowes wherewith the said Casper Kimber doth declare himself to be fully paid and satisfied, Hath bargained and sold and the said Casper Kimber doth bargain and sell unto him the said Samuel Clowes all and every of the horses, cattle, and other goods now in the possession of the said Casper Kimber he conveys to said Clowes, to witt: "One rhone mare, one black stalyon three-years-old with a blaze in his face and down his nose; one yearling horse colt, black with a blaze in his face and branded C. C.; four cows one a black one, one white and two red ones, with different marks, some of them have a ha panny piece nick under each ear; one steer three years old; one steer two years old; three yearlingsand two calves, that have no marks or are marked with a half nick under ear of each; twenty five sheep on foot, one pewter dish and one pewter spoon; one black horse and one bay branded F. C. B." Then follows the usual bill of sale guarantees and legal conditions drawn up with legal precision, and evidently by a lawyer. To it written a clear bold hand is the signature "Casparus Kimber". "Sealed and delivered and quiet possession given by the delivery of the said above mentioned pewter spoon part of the properties answering to the purport of this present writing in the presence of John Sackett, Jr., George Kimber".[Wantage Recorder June 20, 1924 Issue 'Where Was Wirkesworth?'] 

Relationship: Edward David ROCKSTEIN to Samuel CLOWES
Samuel CLOWES is the 7th great grandfather of Edward David ROCKSTEIN

7th great grandfather


Catherine (Mary C DOUWE

Mar 1674


Derbyshire, England

Derbyshire, England

Aug 1760

07 Aug 1740

Jamaica, Queens, New York, US

Jamaica, Queens, New York, US

6th great grandfather

Gerardus CLOWES

Apr 1699

Jamaica, Queens, New York, US

Oct 1752

Hempstead, Queens, NY

5th great grandmother

Catherine (Katherine) CLOWES


Hempstead, Nassau, NY

Aug 1779

Jamaica, Queens, New York, US

4th great grandfather

John Langdon

Sep 1754

Hempstead, Nassau, New York,

Nov 1848

Boston, Suffolk, MA

3rd great grandfather

Benjamin Seaman LANGDON

Apr 1784

Long Island City, Queens, New Y

Sep 1862


2nd great grandfather

John Abyathis LANGDON

Mar 1828

New York, NY

Mar 1896

Stony Point, Rockland, New York

Samuel CLOWES is the 7th great grandfather of Edward David ROCKSTEIN
Great grandfather
Charles David LANGDON
b:      09 Nov 1848

Brooklyn, Kings, New York

d:      10 Jul 1908

Brooklyn, Kings, New York
Maternal grandfather
Edward Joseph P LANGDON
b:      19 Aug 1877

Brooklyn, Kings, New York

d:      07 Jun 1961 New York
Teresa Margaret Langdon
b:      20 Aug 1910

Brooklyn, Kings, New York

d:      25 Jul 1988 Columbia, Howard, MD
Edward David ROCKSTEIN
b:      14 Oct 1941

Riverside, Burlington, New Jersey


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