Hermann Isaac op den Graeff

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Hermann Isaac op den Graeff

Also Known As: "Graeff"
Birthplace: Aldekerk, Herzogtum Kleve, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
Death: Died in Krefeld, Herzogtum Kleve, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
Immediate Family:

Husband of Margaret Pletjes
Father of child op den Graeff; Trinkin op den Graeff; Hester op Graeff; Abraham op den Graeff; Trinken op den Graeff and 12 others

Occupation: Was a cloth and linen dealer; Called "The Bishop of the Mennonites", Became a burgher 1605 at Kempen, Rheinland, PRUSSIA, Settled 1609 at Krefeld, Rhenish Prussia, GERMANY, Was one of two delegates from Krefeld to Council of Dordrecht, which set forth the
Managed by: Jennifer Horton
Last Updated:

About Hermann Isaac op den Graeff

Note: For genealogists who expect confirmed sourcing

The identity of his parents is is unproven

Bishop Herman Isaacks Op Den GRAEFF was born on 26 Nov 1585 in Aldekerk, Lower Rhine, Germany.(3755) He died on 27 Dec 1642 in Krefeld, Lower Rhineland, Germany.(3756) If Herman's mother's marriage can be proven, it would have been considered a morganatic marriage. That means that Herman had no title or right of inheritance to his father's estate or titles. In fact, his father died without a legal heir to his title despite two other marriages. Parents: John Wilhelm De La MARCK Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg and Anna Van ALDEKERK.

He was married to Grietjen Gobels PLETJES on 16 Aug 1605 in Germany.(3757) Children were: Hester Pletjes Op Den GRAEFF .

Additional background:

Imperial Delegate at the Synod of Dort:

Johann Wilhelm de la Marck Graf van Altena of Kleves.13 Born on 28 May 1562. Johann Wilhelm died on 25 Mar 1609; he was 46.

Sixth and last Duke of Cleves, Count of Moers, Lord of Krefeld, Graff van Altena, Graff van de Alderkerk. 1584 Catholic Canon of Cologne who became 1592 the Protestant Bishop of Munster and Comte de la Marck. Considered that son Herman was the result of marriage to a woman not of the nobility, and hence not entitled to royal succession or privileges.

G. W. Miller 1991, "Reconstructing the Op Den Graff windows of 1630 A.D. to fit the Lohengrin Genealogy of the House of Cleves," Krefeld Immigrants and Their Descendants, vol. 8, #1, pp. 9-28. Graeff von Alten (Count of Altena).

  • 1585, married Jacobea of Baden-Baden.
  • 1592, became Protestant Bishop of Muenster and the last Duke (Herzog) of Cleves of the House of La Marck (a branch of the House of Boulogne, itself a branch of the Lohengrin family which allegedly can be traced back to the fifth century) upon the death of his father.
  • 1599, married Antonia of Lorraine.
  • 1609, died without an heir to his feudal title. No non-royal children mentioned, but it is argued that they would have been given the patronymic "op den Graff" (of the Count), "zu Graff" (belonging to the Count), van de Graff (of the Count), "de Graff" (of Count) while he was Graff or Count, or later when he has been elevated to Duke or Herzog, "op den Herzog" or "de Hartog". At this time the multiple dukedom of Cleves-Julich-Berg was divided and invaded by armies from the Houses of Brandenburg, Zweibrucken and Wittelsbach, all relatives of the House of Cleves. Their 9 year family dispute was followed by the Thirty Years War driven by religious differences.

Johann Wilhelm first married Anna van Aldekerk [13]. Born in 1565 in Aldekerk, Muir, Germany. Anna died in Aldekerk, Muir, Germany.

They had one child:

  • 1. 4 i. Herman (1585-1642)

In 1585 when Johann Wilhelm was 22, he second married Jacobea of Baden-Baden13. Born in 1558. Jacobea died in Dusseldorf, Germany, in Sep 1597; she was 39.

In 1599 when Johann Wilhelm was 36, he third married Antonia of Lorraine Princess of Lorraine13. Born in 1568. Antonia died in 1610; she was 42.

Notes for HERMAN MENNONITE OP-DEN-GRAEFF: HERMEN OP DEN GRAAF VAN DE ALDEKERK (1585--1642); from a Dutch version of the Scheuten manuscript in Krefeld, Germany; THE BEND-SINISTER (nonhereditary son) OF THE CRESCENT (second nobleborn son) OF CLEVES; whose Cologne Glass Panes (AD 1630) in their current format (1983) display the Holy Mary of the Arms of Julich, the Lohengrin Swan of the Arms of Cleves, the Woestenraedt Swan of the Arms of Aldekerk and Burtscheid van Aken (Aachen), the Triple Lilies of the Arms of the Bishop of Munster, as an alleged BEND-SINISTER (nonhereditary son) of John William of Cleves (1562--1609); in the 19th generation of descent from Lohengrin of Lorraine (AD 1000), Guardian of the Holy Grail (before its return to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 1099 by Godfrey of Bouillon);

Alleged grandnephew of Anne of Cleves (1515--1557), the 1540 Queen of England; nonhereditary Baron in the Order of the Holy Roman Empire, displaying the batons of Altena and Geldern in the form of the BEND-SINISTER over the Lohengrin Swan of the Arms of Cleves.

Signer of the Mennonite CONFESSION OF DORDRECHT (1632); Cloth merchant and linen dealer; the Mennonite Lord Bishop (Mennisten Herr Bischoff) of Krefeld, Germany; Guardian (1615) of the four Franciscan Nuns (the three Sisters von Brackel and Sister Gudula von Arft) and their Lay Companion, believed to be his mother, ANNA VAN DE ALDEKERK, buried at the Aldekerk Cloister Woestenraedt (or Aldekerk Cloister West) as a morganatic widow and nun.

Survived by 3 sons and 6 daughters in 1642 (taken from composite charts in English, Dutch, and German, listing some 19 names of infants, respelled in three languages, called the Scheuten manuscripts of Cologne and Krefeld and Weirhof). (Note posted April 2005).



  • 1. i. HESTER OP-DEN-GRAEFF, born 1609 in Krefeld, Germany; died 1643 in Krefeld, Germany; married ISAAC VAN-BEBBER; born Abt. 1609 in Krefeld, Germany.
  • 2. ii. ABRAHAM HERMANS OP-DEN-GRAEFF, born 1610; died 1656; married EVA VAN-DER-LEYEN; born Abt. 1610.
  • 3. iii. CATHARINA TRINKEN OP-DEN-GRAEFF, born 1612 in Krefeld, Germany; died 1658 in Gladbach, Germany.
  • 4. 1055 iv. AGNES HILLEKEN OP-DEN-GRAEFF, born 1614 in Krefeld, Germany; died 1691 in Krefeld, Germany; married THEIS PETERS DOORS.
  • 5. v. ISAAK HERMANS OP-DEN-GRAEFF80,81, born 1616 in Europe, Germany, Krefeld; died 1679 in Europe, Germany, Krefeld; married MARGARET PETERS DOORS; born Abt. 1620 in Europe; died 1683 in Pennsylvania.
  • 6. vi. DERRICK HERMANS OP-DEN-GRAEFF, born 1621; died 1655.
  • 7. vii. ADELHEID ALLETGEN OP-DEN-GRAEFF, born 1623 in Krefeld, Germany; died 1706 in Rheindahlen, Germany; married WILHELM THER-MEER LUCKENS; born Abt. 1623 in Rheindahlen, Germany; died in Rheindahlen, Germany.
  • 8. viii. SOPHIA TEIKEN OP-DEN-GRAEFF, born 1628; married EVERT LUCASSEN; born Abt. 1628.
  • 9. ix. SUSANNA OP-DEN-GRAEFF, born 1629; died 1714.


Herman Baron Op-den-Graeff (1585--1642), himself PERHAPS descending from THREE lines of the House of Cleves, as the UNREGISTERED and nonhereditary son (perhaps morganatic) of John William of Cleves (1562--1609) and Baroness Op-den-Graeff (Anna van Aldekerk; an alleged NUN of the Order of the Ermine (Hermen) of the Sisters of Saint Ursula of Brittany, under the Archepiscopal Court of Cologne, headed by the Monastic Canon of Cologne, John William of Cleves; Anna van Aldekerk, the alleged daughter of Abraham Op-den-Graeff auf Aldekerk; Himself ALLEGED son of Herman Baron Op-den-Graeff or Herman Baron Aldekerk (married to the MYSTERIOUS AND UNACCOUNTED FOR Amelia of Cleves, forgotten SIBLING SISTER of Anne of Cleves, the 1540 Queen of England.

13.. All alleged descendants of Lohengrin of Lorraine (born in AD 1000), and the earlier Lohengrin de Nijmegen de Graeff of the seventh century; following the founding of the Septimanian dynasty through the intermarriage of the legendary lines of Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus of Bethany, Mary of Magdala, Jesus bar-Joseph of Gamala; all lines fro

Herman Baron Op-Den-Graeff (1585--1642) the Mennonite Lord Bishop (Mennisten Herrn Bischoff) of Krefeld

Bishop Herman op den Graef was linen weaver and merchant. He was Mennonite. He and Margaret Greitjen Pletjes had 14 children. Bishop Herman op den Graef was born on 15 November 1585 at Aldekerk, Westphalia, DE.1 He married Margaret Greitjen Pletjes, daughter of Driessen Pletjes and Adelheid Goebels, on 16 August 1605 at Aldekerk, Westphalia, DE. Bishop Herman op den Graef Signer the Dortrecht Confession of Faith in 1632. He died on 27 December 1642 at Krefeld, Westphalia, DE, at age 57.



  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 26 NOV 1585 in Aldekerk, Rheinland, Prussia [1]
  • Burial: DEC 1642 Krefeld, Germany [1]
  • Occupation: Cloth and Linen dealer [1]
  • Religion: Mennonite
  • Event: Comment 1 Herman was one of two delegates of the Krefeld Mennonite Church to sign the Dordrecht Confession in 1632 and served as preacher in the congregation at Krefeld.
  • Event: AKA (Facts Pg) "The Bishop of the Mennonites"
  • Event: AFN: ZS09-KS
  • Death: 27 DEC 1642 in Crefeld, Rhineland, Prussia 1
  • Note: Is Herman Op Den Graeff (b. 1585) the son of Abraham Op Den Graeff or John William of Cleves?

Expressed an interest in the attempt to align the Scheuten family, the Scheuten manuscripts, and the alleged Scheuten estate of the house of Cleves in the 103 year effort (1885--1988) to trace the ancestry of Hermen Op den Graeff (1585--1642) to his alleged Great-great-grandfather Johann II der Kindermacher von Kleve(1458--1521), either through the direct ducal line of the house of Cleves, or through one of the 60 some nonhereditary Kindermacherlines.

The Estate auf Scheuten ACCORDING TO MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE DATA was the estate of the nonhereditary and the forbidden and the shunned (scheuten) for social or religious or political purposes (within the order of the Holy Roman Empire) under the house of Cleves (1481--1609).

My 40 years of attempted research for the documentation of the Scheuten mystery still stands on a platform of speculation---with only hints from Genealogyland that part of this long sought documentation is STILL EXTANT BUT UNPUBLISHED.

I believe the CONTRADICTIONS IN THE OP DEN GRAEFF DATA are not necessarily the results of WILD SPECULATION but rather tangible evidence that the Mennonite lord bishop of Krefeld, (with his alleged triple surname OP DEN GRAEFF and ZU GRAFF and DE GRAAF) one Hermen op den Graeff van de Aldekerk (1585--1642) was HIS OWN THIRD COUSIN, that both of his parents were second cousins or descendants of Johann IIder Kindermacher von Kleve (1458--1521)---perhaps one line Roman Catholic and the other line Protestant (Mennonite or Calvinist or Lutheran), with the alleged Protestant line related to the Scheuten family and recited in the multiple copies of the Scheuten manuscripts and registered in the records of the Estate auf Scheuten.

I believe the ORIGINAL AUTHOR of Part One of the Thesis Fragment(1963) had already aligned the heraldry of the Op den Graff Windows of Krefeld (AD 1630) to the house of Cleves (Kleve)---and that it was his(or her) intent to recite or to document the direct paternal line through Johann Wilhelm von Kleve (1562--1609) who is also known in English sources as John William de la Marck (1562--1609), the last duke of Cleves (Kleve) of the house of Mark.

My current understanding (or misunderstanding) of the data---is that the house of Mark (de la Marck) was the FOURTH HOUSE OF CLEVES as a cadet branch of the house of Altena, the THIRD HOUSE OF CLEVES whose founder married the Heiress of the SECOND HOUSE OF CLEVES founded by Lohengrin of Nijmegen (AD 675--732) who married Beatrix of Teisterbant (died 734), the Heiress of the alleged FIRST HOUSE OF CLEVE (Cleves).

The roglo workcharts of the GeneWeb displays on the Internet show several lines of intermarriage.


I should be content with that little piece of evidence here (the first extant window) and that little piece of evidence there (the second extant window) that indeed HERMEN OP DEN GRAFF (1585--1642) is portrayed as the non-hereditary crescent son of JOHANN WILHELM VON KLEVE (1562--1609) and the NUN DE ALDEKERK.

Hermann (Bish) Isaacks OP DEN GRAEFF, b. 26 November 1585 at Aldekirk,Rheinland, PRUSSIA, d. 27 December 1642 at Krefeld, Rhenish Prussia,GERMANY, Was a cloth and linen dealer; Called "The Bishop of the Mennonites", Became a burgher 1605 at Kempen, Rheinland, PRUSSIA, Settled 1609 at Krefeld, Rhenish Prussia, GERMANY, Was one of two delegates from Krefeld to Council of Dordrecht, which set forth the Articles of Confession of Faith of the Mennonite Church 21 April 1632 at Dordrecht.

Upstream With the Andersons- Gary Anderson's Research.

Reconstructing the OP DEN GRAFF Windows of 1630 A.D.

LOHENGRIN Genealogy of the House of Cleves

A Thesis for the Reading Public to Help Validate or Repudiate by Glenn Wayne Miller 1988

Readers of this Thesis are encouraged to discuss it with Mr. Miller.Commentary, documentation and even logical speculation are welcome.You may write to: Glenn Wayne Miller, 136 West Price Street,Philadelphia, PA 19144.

Originally published by Links Genealogy Publications, 7677 Abaline Way, Sacramento, CA 95823-4224. Iris Carter Jones, Editor. (ISSN0883-7961) Miller, Glenn Wayne; Part One, "Reconstructing the Op Den Graff windows of 1630 A.D. to fit the Lohengrin Genealogy of the House of Cleves," Krefeld Immigrants and Their Descendants, Volume 8, #1(1991), pp 9 - 28.

From the vast forest of Genealogyland, there is new evidence that Hermen Op Den Graff (1585 - 1642), the celebrated Bishop of the Krefeld Mennonites and a Signer of the Dordrecht Confession of 1632,was a Morganatic (or natural son) of John William De La Marck (1562 -1609), the Graeff Von Alten (Count of Altena). This particular John William De La Marck is listed as the younger son and heir of William V of Cleves (1516 - 1592) and Mary of Habsburg (1530 - 1584), who was the Princess Imperial, Princess of the Romans and Duchess of Cleves,daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand I of Habsburg (1503 -1564), niece of Charles V of Habsburg (1500 - 1558), the Holy Roman Emperor who presided over the sufferings of the Reformation.

The recitation of this evidence follows in order to be validated or repudiated by the dialogue of the authorities cited and by the contributions from YOU, THE READING PUBLIC, in the form of newsletter entries. From our latest information concerning the multiple formats,transcription and handwriting styles of the SCHEUTEN manuscript we have been challenged, not only to reconstruct the two extant Op Den Graff windows, but also to reconstruct the fragments of an unpublished thesis, from the inter war period of the 1930's, when the two extant Op Den Graff Windows of 1630 of Krefeld, Germany came to the attention of Dr. Rissler and other researchers in Mennonite - Anabaptist History. The fragments of this thesis were reassembled in part as an OP DEN GRAFF - PLETGES mimeograph seen in 1963 by myself in Central Pennsylvania. Perhaps the Pro-Dutch, Pro-French and Anti-German feelings of the World Wars kept part of this thesis in limbo and out of publication.

We now believe that this "unpublished Thesis" attempted to reconstruct a Genealogical Opera (LOHENGRIN, if you will, although the name or territory of Lohengrin may have been listed as LOTHARINGIA or LORRAINE) by combining two triangles in the 1605 marriage of one Hermen Op Den Graff Van De Aldekerk (1585 - 1642) to his Mennonite bride Greitgen Pletges De Kempen (1588 -1643). The triangle of an Op Den Graff - De La Marck - Lohengrin genealogy under the reputed name of Altena (Van Alten/Von Elten) was united with a second triangle of Pletges - Plantagenet - Pennwood genealogy under the name of Kempen (AKempis/De Kempen/Te Kempen).

On the two extant Op Den Graff windows of 1630 A.D., we are confronted by multiple yellow panes. Are these yellow panes of the gold of Geldern - De La Mark - Op Den Graff, or the straw yellow of Plantagenet - Pletges -Pennwood, or a combination of both? By analogy, in the Miller's Tale of Rumpelstiltskin, the Miller's daughter is commanded to spin pure gold from pure straw for the King. You, the reader, are asked to judge whether this Genealogical Opera of Lohengrin concerning an Anabaptist - Mennonite family of Linen Weavers in the town of Krefeld in the days of the Thirty Years War (1618 -1648) is an authentic reconstruction of the facts, and if so, which parts have been correctly woven from pure gold or mistakenly spun from pure straw?

Because of the demanding and overbearing details of this thesis, we thought it only fair to you, to share our preliminary conclusions at the outset:

  • (A) The morganatic father of Hermen Op Den Graff (1585 - 1642) has been tentatively identified as John William of La Marck (1562 - 1609),who in 1585, the year of Hermen's birth, wed Jacobea of Baden-Baden(1558 - 1597). In 1592 John William of La Marck became Protestant Bishop of Muenster and the last HERZOG (Duke) of Cleves of the House of La Marck, upon the death of his father, William V of Cleves (1516 -1592). In 1599 John William of La Marck wed Antonia of Lorraine (1568- 1610). John William is listed as WITHOUT POSTERITY in the feudal succession. There appears to be a total silence on morganatic or natural issue attributed to him unless the documentation appears in EUPHEMISTIC form in the church records of birth and baptism. Any morganatic issue attributed to him while he was Graff (Count) would have been given the patronymic Op Den Graff (Of The Count) or Zu Graff (Belonging To The Count) or Van De Graff (Of The Count) or De Graff (Of Count). Any morganatic issue attributed to him while he was Herzog (Duke) would have been given the patronymic Op Den Herzog (Of The Duke) or De Hartog (Of Duke). The polyglot phrase combinations represent mixtures of German/Dutch and French/Dutch and French/German in the multi-linguistic area of the Rhine Valley.
  • (B) The Morganatic mother of Hermen Op Den Graff (1585 - 1642) has been tentatively identified as Anna Van Aldekerk (Dutch spelling),Anne De Aldekerk (French spelling) or Anna Altenkirchen (German spelling), a woman somehow connected with the Village, Church or Cloister of Aldekerk(1), perhaps a former nun, whose surviving male offspring received the Euphemistic patronymic Op Den Graff (Of The Count). This Anna Van Aldekerk or Anne De Aldekerk may have died in childbirth. Her name may have been confused with the Van De Aldekerk (Of The Old Church) or with Aan De Aldekerk (At The Old Church) or with the pet name for Antonia as in Antonia of Lorraine (1568 -1610). If this Anna Van Aldekerk or Anne De Aldekerk survived childbirth, she may have still been living in the year 1616, when four noble born nuns, the three sisters Von Brackel and Sister Gudula Von Arfft, were living in the Mennonite home of Hermen Op Den Graff in the City of Krefeld under the jurisdiction of the Protestant House of Orange and the Electorate of Bonn. Perhaps in 1616, the four noble born nuns attended her deathbed as well as the deathbed, in 1615, of Hermen's Mennonite mother-in-law, Alet Goebels Pletjes, widow of Drissen Pletjes of the City of Kempen, mother of Greitje Pletjes Op Den Graff (1588 - 1643).
  • (C) Our third preliminary conclusion concerns the widowed Duchess ofCleves. We thought the Anna or Anne in the Aldekerk name was an abbreviation or pet name for Antonia as in Antonia of Lorraine (1568 -1610), who in 1599 finally became the second noble born wife of John William of La Marck, the last Duke of Cleves. The Lorraine/Lotharingia/Lohengrin connection with the Lohengrin Swan Seal on the Op Den Graff windows becomes very tempting to pursue. However, Antonia of Lorraine as the legitimate, feudal and last Duchess of Cleves would not have had any trouble having and of her morganatic offspring elevated to the level of feudal or noble born issue, since she herself was recognized as a legitimate Princess of Lorraine. We therefore, believe that Anna Van Aldekerk or Anne De Aldekerk was a separate personage, of a more humble origin, almost lost in the drama of recorded history.
  • (D) Our forth preliminary conclusion concerns the paternal grandparents of Hermen Op Den Graff, the Graff and Graffin (Countess)of Altena. We believe the Lohengrin picture on the second extant window portrays the Graff and Graffin of Altena in their Marriage/Peace Treaty of 1546 (the year of Luther's death), wherein,the Graffin, the Catholic Princess, Mary of Habsburg (1530 - 1584) is seen making her oath of faith at the ancient court of Altena to her Protestant husband, the Graff of Altena, the Duke of Cleves, William V De La Marck (1516 - 1592), the brother of Anne of Cleves (1515 -1557) who in 1540 became the forth wife of Henry VIII of England (1491-1547). The Graff and Graffin of Altena were the parents of at least seven children, including John William De La Marck (1562 - 1609), the last Duke of Cleves of the House of Marck, a cadet branch of the House of Bouillon (Boulogne), a branch of the Lohengrin family, whose origins predate the Crusades and (in some forms of the legend) go back to the claimed sovereignty over the lands of the Rhine Valley.

Regardless of the genealogical truth, we suspect that both Mennonite Bishops, William Rittenhouse (1644 - 1708) of Germantown, Pennsylvaniaand Hermen Op Den Graff (1585 - 1642) of Krefeld, Germany, perceived the crowns of their authentic royalty to be at the feet of the King of Israel.

3) There are several thousand family trees who go back to an original Graff (Count, County, Gravel, Brook, Mill Stream or Stream Bed). On the American side, there are the family trees of Updegraff, Updegrave,Updegrove and their myriad branches of re-spelling. On the European side there are the family trees Van De Graff, Op Den Graff, Zu Graff and their fascinating re-spelling and roots in other languages such as Van Der Graff (Dutch) and De La Comte (French). Op Den Graff has been translated as Above the Brook (Gravel, Stream Bed or Mill Stream) and Of The Count. Zu Graff has been translated as At The Brook and Belonging To The Count. Many of the Counts were Millers (Mill Owners).The Mills, Millers and Mill Owners were all literally At The Brook. Hence, the association and the confusion of the Counts and Commonersof Millers and Merchants and Noblemen.

4) One of the more fascinating paintings of Op Den Graff (Above The Brook, Of The Count) occurred in 1585 in Germany, in the little townof Aldekerk. The issue of this Graff (Count) was named Hermen Op Den Graff (Hermann Op Den Graeff) and his name could be translated as Lord-Man Above The Brook or as Lord-Man Of The Count. In 1605 in the City of Kempen, this Hermen registered as Hermann Zu Graff (Hermen Belonging To The Count) in his marriage to Grietje Pletjes (Margaret Weaver). This Hermen became a linen merchant and a leader of the Mennonite Community of the City of Krefeld under the jurisdiction ofthe Protestant House of Orange. In 1616, this Hermann Op Den Graeff presented an invoice of money to the Monastery of Meer (Moers) so that four noble born nuns (Three sisters Von Brackel and Sister Gudula Von Arfft(2)), who were living in his Mennonite home and being clothed by him, could live in the Monastery of Franciscan Nuns in Krefeld. In1637 in the minutes of the Reformed Consistory of Krefeld, this Hermann Op Den Graeff is called Der Hiesigen Mennisten Herrn Bischoff (The Local Mennonite Lord Bishop) which the letter of Karl Friedrich Von Frank (1972) calls "A designation which was very rarely used by Mennonites(3)."

   5) In the phrase Hermann Op Den Graeff (Lord-Man Of The Count), are we dealing with the baptized name of a personage, or with a morganatic title of paternity (a patronymic), or with a public title of state (an office or rank) under the feudal system? We are probably dealing with all three situations in the documents united in one person. This one and the same Hermann (Lord-Man) is Hermann Van Der Graff, Hermen Op Den Graeff, Hermann Zu Graff and perhaps Segneur De La Comte. With this strange combination of facts, Mennonites and Monasteries and Reformed Consistories, Noble-Born Franciscan Nuns living with Mennonite linen weavers in the Calvinist City of Krefeld under the jurisdiction of the House of Orange and the Electorate of Bonn, we are now ready to examine the two extant windows of 1630 A.D., with the first window displaying the statement: Hermen Op Den Graff Und Greitgen Sein Hosfrow Ao 1630 (Lord-Man Of The Count and Margaret His Housewife Anno 1630).

Among the oldest Mennonites of Krefeld, the Op den Graeff family is one of the best known, since Herman Op den Graeff was the first preacher of the Mennonite community who is known by name. He is believed to be from Aldekirk and became a burger of Kempen in 1605, where he married Greitgen Pletjes Driessen in the same year. In 1608, records show that he was in Krefeld, where he died in 1642. During the Conference of Leading Mennonites in Dordrecht, he and another delegatefrom Krefeld signed the 18 Articles of their religious faith.

It is thought that most of those spelling their names currently as Updegraff, Updegraph, Updegrove, Uptegraff, Uptegraph, Uptegrave,Updegrove, Upthegrove, etc. are all probably descended from this Herman and Greitjen, the physical and mental characteristics of these persons seem to be persistent.


From: Dora Smith

Does anyone have any of the following sources? I am looking for documentation and information on the parents of Herman Op den Graeff, Mennonite leader of Krefeld, who was the grandfather of the three Op den graeff brothers who helped found Germantown. These were given to me as the sources of the idea that "The Updegraff family has a long history of social activism beginning in 1561, when Dutch Reformer, Abraham Op den Graeff, left the Roman Catholic Church to join the rebel protestants at Swammerdam, Holland. As persecution intensified, Abraham was forced to divide and disguise his family in order to escape to Antwerp,Netherlands.

He remained a fugtive until his death in Duesseldorf, Germany. His widow and their married son moved to Krefeld..." (Mrs. Mark Updegraff, on Lycoming Co Gen Soc web site, "The Updegraff Family").and also the notion that Herman's wife's sister was the mother of William Penn.

For some 38 years (1963--2001) we have attempted to trace our UPDEGRAVE---MILLER line as follows---THE GRAAF VAN DE ALDEKERK (the count of the old church) of the Scheuten family manuscript---his natural or morganatic or illegitimate son, one HERMEN OP DEN GRAAF VANDE ALDEKERK (1585--1642) (Herman off(spring of) the count of the old church) listed in 1605 as HERMANN ZU GRAFF (Hermann belonging to the count), husband of Greitje Pletjes de Kempen (1588--1643) daughter of Pletjes Driessen or Driessen Pletjes or Andreas Pletges or Andrew Pletgen---listed in 1618 at the beginning of the Thirty Years War (1618--1648) as the guardian of the three sisters VON BRACKEL and sister Gudula von ARFFT (von Erft), listed as four noble born nuns,and their alleged common companion nun (Anna??) AN DE ALDEKERK---listed in 1630 as HERMEN OP DEN GRAFF UND GRIETGEN SEINHOSFROW (Hermen off(spring of) the count and Margaret his housewife (not noble born wife)---listed in 1632 as HERMANN OP DEN GRAFF of Krefeld, signer of the Mennonite Confession of Dordrecht---listed in1635 as DER HIESIGEN MENNISTEN HERRN BISHCOFF VON KREFELD (the local Mennonite lord bishop of Krefeld)---listed subsequently as HERMANN OPDEN GRAFF THE ELDER or THE EDLER (the noble) with the rank of baron or lord or herr (one level under the rank of graf or graaf or count or comte or earl in the order of the Holy Roman Empire)---His male line descendants in European and North American documents have been listed with both the patronymic and geographic surname

Glenn Wayne Miller Research

The founder of the Opdengraeff line, Herman, was a wealthy weaver and merchant and a Mennonite leader and bishop, one of the signers of the1632 Mennonite Confession of Faith. He appears to have been an extreme mystic with more than a touch of egomania. Both he and his wife were born to Mennonite families as yet few in number in a group of villages on the border between Germany and Holland, these families were closely interrelated. Oddly for a prosperous and religiously ascetic merchant's family able to put stained glass windows in their house which stood for a very long time, almost half of his eighteen children did not live long enough to see age two; most of those who died did not live to see age one. There was not just the pattern of children dying young but at any age that reflects some susceptibility to contagious disease, in people who ate poorly, took poor care of themselves or had allergies or the pattern of several people dying together that marks an epidemic when a lot ofpeople were dying, and it was a prosperous little village and not the ghetto of a city.


Herman and his wife moved to Krefeld in 1609. Herman was one of two delegates of the Krefeld Mennonite Church to sign the Dordrecht Confession in 1632 and served as preacher in the congregation at Krefeld. A certain Reformed member in the Morses Synod bitterly complained that "some simple non-Mennonites felt themselves drawn". In 1637, contributions were requested for the oppressed Reformed Church in Sweebrucke, Herman contributed from his own means in the name of the small Krefeld congregation 25 Reich Thanker, while the Reformed Congregation in Krefeld contributed only 22.


From the vast forest of Genealogyland, there is new evidence that Hermen Op Den Graff (1585 - 1642), the celebrated Bishop of theKrefeld Mennonites and a Signer of the Dordrecht Confession of 1632,was a Morganatic (or natural son) of John William De La Marck (1562 -1609), the Graeff Von Alten (Count of Altena). This particular John William De La Marck is listed as the younger son and heir of William V of Cleves (1516 - 1592) and Mary of Habsburg (1530 - 1584), who was the Princess Imperial, Princess of the Romans and Duchess of Cleves, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand I of Habsburg (1503 - 1564), niece of Charles V of Habsburg (1500 - 1558), the Holy Roman Emperor who presided over the sufferings of the Reformation.- Judy Douglas Research forms.



  • 1 possible matches found on Ancestry.com Ancestry.com
    • Father: ABRAHAM OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1490 in Aldekerk, Germany
      • Married: 08 AUG 1605 in Aldekerk, Rheinland, Prussia
      • Event: Marriage- 16 AUG 1605 in Aldekerk, Rheineland, Prussia


  • 1. Has No Children Child OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1606 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 2. Has No Children TRINKEN DRINKEN PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 18 AUG 1607 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 3. Has Children HESTER PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 05 MAR 1609 in Krefeld, Rhenish Prussia, Germany
  • 4. Has Children ABRAHAM PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 15 JUL 1610 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 5. Has No Children TRINKEN PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 15 FEB 1612 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 6. Has No Children JACOB PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 17 SEP 1617 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 7. Has No Children ALLETJIN PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1619 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 8. Has No Children Child PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1620 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 9. Has No Children ALETGEN PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1623 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 10. Has No Children FEIKEN SOPHIE PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 01 APR 1628 in Crefeld, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 11. Has No Children ANDREAS PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1625 in Crefield, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 12. Has No Children FRINKEN PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 01 APR 1628
  • 13. Has No Children SUSANNA PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 15 OCT 1629 in Crefield, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 14. Has No Children DIRK DERICK PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: OCT 1621 in Crefield, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 15. Has No Children INFANT PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1622 in Crefield, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 16. Has Children ISAAKISAAC (Imm) HERMANS PLETGENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 28 FEB 1616 in Aldekerk, Germany
  • 17. Has No Children JACOB 2ND PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1634 in Crefield, Rheinland, Prussia
  • 18. Has No Children ANDREAS PLEJENS OP DEN GRAEFF b: 1631
  • 19. Has Children HILLIKREN HALLERKEN AGNES OP DEN GRAEFF b: 01 JUL 1614 in Kaldenkirchen, Rheinland, Germany

He was born of Mennonite paretns of Aldekirk - supposedly. He was a wealthy linen weaver and merchant, lived in a very long-standing house with notorious stained glass windows full of hymns (partly to himself) and mystical religious symbolism, some of it Catholic, in Crefeld. He was a Mennonite bishop, one of two representatives from Krefeld to sign the Dordrecht Confession (First Mennonite confession of faith) at Council of Dordrecht in 1632. Nearly half of his 18 children died in their first year of life. (Not because he couldn't feed or care for them.) Born at Aldekerk, he established himself in Kempen as a burger in 1605, married in 1605 or 1615. In Crefeld by 1608.

He is said to have had 18 children; by the time I compiled everyone's variously complete and partial lists of them, I have 19 listed. Not impossible there were more!

According to some sources including I think Jordan, they had 18 children. Four emigrated to Pennsylvania. It is unclear to me whether both Herman the bishop and Isaac Herman had 18 children, at least one person on the Original13 list thinks that is the case. Norris Saunders (Original 13 list cited a chart by June Lutz, sent him in 1993, of "A tentative Reconstruction of the Opdengraff-Pletjes Lines" She thinks Isaac and his wife Greietjen Pieters had just Adolphus, Dirck, Herman, Abraham, Mararite, and Vonder.


Op Den Graeff Ancestry

  • To Webster line
  • To Kester line
  • To Doors/ Thiessen/ Tyson family

Herman Op den Graeff b Aldekerk or Adekerry, a village near Crefeld, 11/26/1585 (Jordan, doesn't give source).

Moved to Crefeld. Died Crefeld 12/27/1642 (Jordan) married 8/16/1605 at Aldekerk (Jordan), or 1615 (Wm Penn and the Dutch Quakers) Grietje Pletjes. m her in Kempen (Miller and Sholder) after becoming a burger of Kempen in 1605. Another version of her name is Greitgen Pletjes Driessen. "Dutch Quakers" has her father's name Pletjes Driessen of Kempen, a small town halfway between Krefeld and Aldekirk. Records show he was in Krefeld by 1608 (Miller). He d 12/27/1642 Krefeld. (stained glass windows web site.) Greitgen Pletjes was b 11/26/1588 Kempen, Holland or poss in Germany, to Mr. Driessen, who was b abt 1550 and d 12/27/1645, (Jacobs) or 1/7/1643 (Niepoth). and Alet Gobels Pletjes who d on 1/7/1640. (Miller) (Niepoth): she was dau of Dures Pleges and Alet Gobels Syllys According to stained glass window page, after giving exact place and dates of birth and marriage with no source and no questions, "Many believe that this Herman could have been a son of Abraham Graeff, but it has never been proven. Herman was a linen weaver and merchant, born of Mennonite parents of Aldekirk..." (the identity of the parents' is is unproven, is not consistent with how is it known his date of birth, the place of birth, and that his parents were Mennonite.)

Herman was a linen weaver and a merchant in cloth and linen; an extremely wealthy one. In addition to being one of two delegates from Krefeld Mennonite Church to sign the Dordrecht Confession in 1632, he served as preacher in the Krefeld congregation. There were ties to the Reformed Church, which apparently was also persecuted.

Herman Op den Graeff was a Mennonite bishop, and delegate from Crefeld to Council of Dordrecht, 1632, signed lst Mennonite Confession of Faith. Two stained glass windows were in Herman Op den Graeff's house in Krefeld; from the time when he lived there, according to the windows themselves, and features on the windows, hymns on the windows, and a fantastic argument by Glenn Wayne MIller (http://) about them, present critical early evidence of the emotional character of the Op den Graeff family. Miller says that the stained glass windows "had been" preserved in the Kaiser-Wilhelm Museum from 1894. It appears very questionable that Miller and Sholder have ever seen the windows or complete pictures or drawings of them, or even of the recent Mennonite thesis he tries to reconstruct.

The words to the hymns are from a book published in 1940 by Nieper, an individual he doesn't identify, who MIGHT be Niepoth, but probably isn't, and I don't want to give Niepoth a reason to shoot me, who had been in touch with the Mennonite historians who wrote the thesis that Miller has apparently seen only fragments of. He has a complete set of references after his presentation, but I can't find one for Nieper's book.

The stained glass windows do apparently really exist; someone who is trying to get photographs of them from the people who currently privately own them in I think Germany wrote to me. Miller often refers to the Scheuten manuscripts as a partial source, but tells us nothing at all about the Scheuten manuscripts; not who wrote them or where they came from or how they turned up. He states that several copies of them exist and they contain differences, further, each has plainly been added to by other people. He doesn't say whether these manuscripts are the source of his interpretations of the stained glass windows, though from the other article he wrote in the fall 1997 issue of Krefeld Immigrants that appears likely.

He and Iris Jones, the editor (author) of that newsletter, try in two articles to provide updates on the status of research on the alleged links between the Op den Graeff family and the other emigrant Krefeld families. They present copies of the actual genealogical charts from the Scheuten Manuscripts, showing that the Scheuten Manuscripts do claim the same lineages for Herman and his wife that Miller uses the stained glass windows to support; they are therefore the original source of that idea. The charts provide no evidence or sources at all for a single thing on them, and neither MIller nor Irene Jones present any evidence from the manuscripts. Neither of them tell the reader who wrote the Scheuten Manuscripts or any of their history beyond the fact that they have clearly been altered over the years in not easy to discern ways. Since Irene Jones appears both to be a careful and thorough researcher and has a reputation for being one, and since her goal was to bring her readers up to date on ALL of the current research on the links between the Op den Graeff and other families and those charts contain some rather remarkable notions about that, as well, for which no other evidence has been found, I find it reasonable to conclude that the author and origin of the Scheuten Manuscripts is unknown, and the manuscripts themselves don't include any evidence in support of the genealogical claims they make or the info they present (like where did the approximate dates of birth for Herman's children most esp Hillekrin come from?) that Jones left out in her excitement over the notion that Herman and his wife were royalty.

In the Fall 1998 issue of Krefeld Immigrants, Jones presents some evidence on the origins of the Scheuten Manuscripts that several people who had done research in them had provided her with. The "original in the possession of Dr. Gerhard Scheuten". Its title was "Ancestry of the Family Scheuten". Either three or two copies were made and three of copies total now exist, all in Germany. The original appears to have turned up in the possession of a member of the Scheuten family in 1928. Before that, the only known reference to it is in several of Samuel Pennypacker's writings from 1892 and 1899.

The Mennonite Encyclopedia, 1955, credits Adam Scheuten (1639-68), a Mennonite lay preacher in Crefeld with it; he made a 'valuable family register'. But it looks like it may actually have been his son Abraham (1707-1789) who "began" it! In this issue, Jones also presents the same tables as in th fall 1997 articles from a different copy of the Scheuten manuscripts; and these have important differences from what is in the copy she cited from before, especially regarding the identity of Isaac Hermans wife, and dates and marriage info on Hilleken Op den Graeff.

The Hymns:

  • God is fruitful, devout
  • and good to all sides,
  • talked cheerfully
  • and kind
  • -
  • I am christian and
  • appeal to the Lord.
  • I bring affection,
  • and one grants great
  • honor to me.

Herman op Den Graff and Greigen his wife. Anno 1630.


Someone wrote to me that she has a different, and more normal, sounding translation of "one grants great honor to me". She said she is trying to get an actual transcription of the hymns (in their original low-Dutch- German polyglot dialect), and I said if she does, I'd like a copy. The stained glass windows still exist and currently reside in a private home in Germany, I believe.

  • Who will take from us God's
  • love, sorrow or fear or
  • persecution or execution or sword?
  • As written in your will,
  • we are being destroyed all day
  • lng. We are looked up on as
  • sheep to be slaughtered. But we
  • overcome all for the one will who
  • has loved us.

Romans Chapter 8, Verse 35 (word for word, the above problem in choosing words is Herman Op den Graef's and not the translator's).

For the original as well as the complete argument that Herman was of noble birth and Habsburg royal blood, Go to Glenn Miller's and Kevin Sholder's web site

According to Glenn Miller and Kevin Sholder, "the physical and mental features [of the descendents of Herman and Greitjen] are seem to be persistent. They seem to be tall and spare in physique and have strongly marked features. Some say the family is French-German, but the name sounds more like Dutch? A hand Bible that was printed in Amsterdam in 1633 was located in Newberrytown, PA by Clyde Updegraff Shank," who placed it in the York Co PA Historical Society in 1957. "The Bible ws at one time in the possession of Peter Updegraff son of Isaac."

Dehaven descendents of Abraham Op den Graef have told me that they thought the emotional intensity, obstinacy and tendency to alcoholism found throughout the entire Dehaven family group came from the Op den Graeff's, as these are notoriously characteristic traits of that family group. He presents a case that "Hermen Op Den Graff...was a Morganatic (or natural son) of John William De La Aarck (1562-1609), the Graeff Von Alten (Count of Altena.) This particular John William De Law Marck is listed as the younger son and heir of William V of Cleves (1516-1592) and Mary of Habsburg (1530-1584), who was the Princess Imperial, ...daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand I of Habsburg (1503-1564), niece of Charles V of Habsburg (1500-1558), the Holy Roman Emperor who presided over the sufferings of the Reformation."

This is based partly on an unpublished thesis on the stained glass windows by Dr. Rissler and others in Mennonite- Anabaptist history. This is part of an Op den Graff-Pletges mimeograph "seen in 1963 by myself in Central Pennsylvania". (?????) Also, only fragments of the thesis apparently exist. He belives that they attempted to reconstruct a "Genealogical Opera (Lohengrin)"? He puts geometric shapes together from the window to come up with symbols of the different parties to his theory, and calls one of the "triangles" that of " Pletges-Plantagenet-Pennwood". Plantagenet is the dynastic name of the Norman kings of England. The argument appears fantastic and crazy.

Actual facts that support this thesis are that John William of La Marck was Protestant Bishop of Muenster, though only "EUPHEMISTIC" evidence that he ever had natural children, "The Morganatic mother of Hermen Op Den Graff has been tentatively identified as Anna Van Aldekerk (Dutch spelling), Anne De Aldekerk (French Spelling) or Anna Altenkirchen (German spelling), a woman somehow connected with the Village, Church or Cloister of Aldekerk perhaps a former nun, whose surviving male offspring receved the Euphemistic patronymic Op Den Graff (Of the Count), four noble born nuns lived in the Mennonite home of Hermen Op Den Graff in the City of Krefeld, and Anna or Anne in the Aldekerk name could have been an abbreviation or pet name for Antonia of Lorraine, who was John William of La Marck's second wife!

He also argues that "Any morganatic issue attributed to him while he was Graff (count) would have been given the patronymic Op Den Graff (of The Count) or Zu Graff (Belonging to the Count) etc. I simply strongly doubt that that is the case, he'd have either been given a name that reflected his father's, or given a different name altogether. He also points to some idiosyncrasies of the pictures in the stained glass windows. I think that, like some idiosyncrasies in the hymns in the stained glass windows (assuming they are translated correctly), they probably point to very odd things in Herman Op den Graef's character.

"Why does a seemingly Roman Catholic picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary appear on the first window of a Mennonite family of linen weavers in the town of Krefeld, Germany under the jurisdiction of the House of Orange?" (The last part of that isn't inconsistent, there were Catholics around, a granddaughter of Herman's married one and became my direct ancestor. And note the presence of nuns in his house.) "Why does a seal of a multiple Dukedom with a figure wearing a crown of nobility appear on the second window?" (I think this could possibly be religious symbolism, these authors consistently misinterpret mystical religious symbolism as code pointing to Herman's and his wife's noble births.)

"The 1935 letter of Richard Wolferts to Dr. Rissler stated that he saw the Coat of Arms pane with a white swan ascending a blue field. The white swan was the ancient Lohengrin Coat of Arms inherited by the Count (Graf, etc) and Duke (Herzog) of Cleves (Kleve) from the ancient House of Altena (Alten). The Swan appeared on the Schwanenburg Castle of the House of Cleves." (Do I take it that though the stained glass windows still exist and are preserved, our author of the stained glass window site has never seen even a picture of them? Or has he seen them but not himself seen the swan?)

Somehow in the course of the argument the swan turns into the Lohengrin Swan Seal and appears in BOTH windows, in one under the Op den Graff family motto, and in the other facing in such a way as to represnt the "Committal Dignity, the dignity of the Graff (Count) De La Marck", etc. He also thinks that Pletjes (Pletges) is a form of the name Plantagenet, as well as Pletjes means weaver and explains how the Op den Graeff family got into the linen industry. He further thinks that flax is linguistically the same word. Somewhere in all of this, he admits that the name "Op den graeff", in addition to meaning "of the count", means "of the stone". Graeff means stone. And he says it is believed though not proven that Stone ws the surname of Herman's father. In English Stone is certainly a common enough surname, and "At a stone" was a common surname at one time.

She says only that they exist at Cologne, Krefeld, and have been variously recopied and translated a number of times, that the existing copies of it differ substantially, and one cannot tell how much in them is the product of later "interpretation". Miller says that they contain some sort of outline tables, and hints that they have to do with the German nobility.

I think that the truth is that Herman Op den Graef the founder of a notoriously intense and egotistical family with some tendency to mental health problems, was a religious mystic, who drew an awful lot into his Mennonite faith, including Catholic, noble and royal symbolism. This author admits that most of it can be interpreted as religious symbolism, much of it extremely mystical; mystical abstract symbols for the Trinity, for instance.

We will have to wait and see what this phrase looks like in its original dialect, but certainly the translation provided of the phrase "one does great honor to me" in the hymn on one of the stained glass windows suggests that a greatly overblown view of himself was part of his faith. And the author of the stained glass window site is a fully worthy descendant of this man. One thing that is not the case, though, is he was trying to make out Herman Op den Graeff to be crazy; therefore it is reasonable to think this translation is made the way he or the person who translated it saw it. He can't have failed to realize this is something a madman would write!

I'm finding seeming inconsistency in especially the numbers of children born to Herman the bishop and to his son Isaac Herman. Some have Herman having 18 children and name them, some name a few of the bishop's children, quite a number have Isaac Herman the bishop's only known child, and at least one person on the Original 13 list has both Herman and his son Isaac Herman each had 18 children.

Lutz' chart, cited by Norris Saunders in e-mail to me, said "Herman, 1585-1642, Bishop of Mennonites and Greitje Pletjes 1588-1643 had a son Isaac Op den Graff and '17 more children'." Norris Saunders cited to me from a book, "Op den Graeff, Updegraf, Updegrove, Indices and Pedigrees of Known Descendants of Herman Op den Graeff", compiled by Catherine Berger, from Iris Carter Jones, Links Genealogy Publications, in Sacramento CA, the following list;

  • 1. Child
  • 2. Trinken (Dinken) (1607-~1608)
  • 3. Hester (~1609-1657)
  • 4. Abraham (~1610-1656)
  • 5. Trinken (1612-~1658)
  • 6. Hallerkin (Hillekin?) (~1614-~1691)
  • 7. Isaac (1616-1679)
  • 8. Jacob (~1617-~1618)
  • 9. Alletjen (1619-1619)
  • 10. Child (1620-1620)
  • 11. Dirck (Derek) (1621-~1655)
  • 12. Daughter (1622-1622)
  • 13. Alletjen
  • 14. Andreas (1625-)
  • 15. Fricken (Frinken)
  • 16. Susanna (~1629-~1714)
  • 17. Andreas (1631-)
  • 18. Jacob (1634-1634)

Herman's pedigree chart from the OTHER copy of the Scheuten manuscripts:

  • Herman Op den Graff b 11/26/1585 Aldekerke, Germany, m 8/16/1605, d 12/27/1642.
  • Grietje Pletjes, dau of Dreissen Pletjes and Alet Gobels, b 11/26/1588, d 1/7/1643

Father;" prob Abraham since oldest son was so named"


  • 1. child b 1606 d 1606
  • 2. Trinken (Catherine) b 6/18/1607 d 4/25/1608
  • 3. Hester b 11/5/1609 d 12/11/____
  • 4. Abraham b 5/15/1610 d 10/13/1656 m Eva Van Der Legen (Leyen) m 2 Aret Salden (she did?)
  • 5. Trinken (Catherine) b 12/15/1611-12 d 10/15/1658
  • 6. Hallerkin (Hilleken) b 7/1/1614 d 6/20/1691 (an addition 1st Hlleken b and d 1613)
  • 7. Isaac b 12/28/1615-16 d 11/17/1578 (that's what it says) m Gertjen, 'Margret' Gritjen in italics.
  • 8. Jacob b 7/17/1617 d 12/1618-19
  • 9. Alljen Aletjen added in italics b and d 1619, these dates altered by Shank from original
  • 10. infant b and d 1620
  • 11. Dirck Derk in italics b 8/6/1620 d 2/14/1655 (the name of who is omitted?)
  • 12. daughter b and d 1622
  • 13. Alletjen Aletjen, TAfel 41 (Dr. Keussen added Adelheid, b 1623, d Feb 1706.)
  • 14. Andreas Andris b 1625 d young
  • 15. Fricken (Teiken, Tafel 41) (Feiken) (Dr. Keussen in Collection of Freemen's Families of Krefeld added (Sophia, b 1628)
  • 16. Susanna b 8/15/1629 appr d 1/9/1714 appr (Dr. Keussen adds b 10/15/1629 d 3/1714)
  • 17. Andreas Andris b 1631 d 1634
  • 18. Jacob b and d 1634.

Tafel 41 has Feiken Op den Graaf Hern's daughter of tafel 38 geb 1.4.1628, m Evert Luckassen, four children.

Has Aletjen Op den Graaf Herman's daughter Tafel 38 geb 1623 d Apr 1706, m N. Ten Boom.

TAfel 38 has Herman b 17-12-1647 m Hester van Bebber the son of Abraham the son of Herman. He m 2 Katherina Lamerts van der Leyen 1622.

Anneken dau of Abraham b 1610 to Herman m 1 Hendrik Simons m 2 Derk Janssen.

More children of thie Abraham provided; total 9.

The ultimate source of this turns out to be the pedigree tables in the Scheuten Manuscripts, copies of which Irene Jones provided in the Fall 1997 issue of Krefeld Immigrants. The tables provide no sources at all, and Irene Jones, in her two articles intended to update people on the state of research on linkages between the Op den Graeff family and the other families that founded Germantown, doesn't cite or discuss any sources for what is on those tables that the Scheuten Manuscripts provide, and she provides no other source material relevant to it. Since Irene Jones appears to be a careful and thorough researcher and has looked very hard for evidence linking these families, in fact, I'm told she was previously a reporter, I think that no other sources for this exist. Irene states that surely the sources once existed, but I find it suspicious that none are cited.

Further, those genealogical tables in the Scheuten Manuscripts are also the source of the notion that Herman Op den Graeff was the son of nobility and grandson of a Habsburg princess and his wife was a Plantagenet, discussed above. No sources given for this, either, unless they cite the stained glass windows, that part isn't clear. The authors of that article certainly mention the Scheuten Manuscripts enough times. In the Fall 1998 issue of Krefeld Immigrants, it turns out that the Scheuten Manuscripts were produced by some member of the Scheuten family sometime between the mid-17th century and 1892, when they are first mentioned by Samuel Pennypacker, and the "original" copy was found in the possession of a member of the Scheuten family in 1929 and may have been no older than 1929 as that was the date on it. Three copies of it in Germany now exist, and the two versions of the pedigree of Herman's family above demonstrate the substantial versions between them.

Notice that the second set of tafels lists Herman's father as Abraham Graeff (of Adekirk and not Kempden as I had thought); it is not apparent whether this version of the Scheuten manuscripts gives two versions of Herman's parentage, one version having him the morganatic son of a count, or if the two copies of the Scheuten Manuscripts differ entirely on Herman's parentage! I wonder what is the reason for at least seven or eight of the eighteen children to have failed to survive their first two years of life in such a well-off family? This was very unusual when reasonably good care was given children unless there was genetic disease usually affecting both parents, as happened, for instance, with the royal lines. Norris stated he doesn't know if the repeated names are typos or a child died, another was given that child's name.

Michael Doors ( http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/simunye) adds dates to essentially the same names. Norris had dates only for Issaac and Abraham. Shirley Webb lists children for Herman Op Den Graeff and Greitjen Pletjes in addition to those below: Hester Op Den Graeff b 1609 Krefeld, Germany m Isaac Van Bebber Was he ancestor of Lisbet and Deborah of Germantown, m Herman Isaacks Opdengraeff? I am informed that he was the ancestor of the Van Bebber's who settled in Germantown. The name Jacob tells us his father was named Isaac. Pennypacker's "Historical and Biographical Sketches" says "The Van Bebbers were undoubtedly men of standing, ability, enterprise and means. The father, JACOB ISAACS (implies his father was Isaac) moved into Philadelphia bef 1698, being described as a merchant in High Street, and died ther before 1711.

Matthias, who is frequently mentioned by James Logan, made a trip to Holland in 1701...returned to Philadelphia bef 4/13/1702. He remained in that city until 1704, when HE AND HIS ELDER BROTHER, ISAAC JACOBS, [and others] removed to Bohemia Manor, Cecil County, Maryland. There he was a Justice of the Peace, and is described in the deeds as a merchant and a gentleman. Their descendants, like many others, soon fell away from the simple habits and strict creed of their fathers; the Van Bebbers of Maryland have been distinguished in all the wars and at the bar." A Van Bebber founded "Van Bebber's Township", a Mennonite settlement, by buying more than 6000 acres there, and also others among the settlers served as agents for their affairs, which makes it pretty clear that they had substantial affairs.

Abraham Op Den Graeff b 1610 Crefeld,Germany m Eva Vanderleyen Trinken Op Den Graeff b 1612 Germany d 1653 Germany

Agnes/Nessgen/Hillikren/Nie/Nees/Neessgen Op Den Graef b 1614 Germany d 1691 m Theis/Matthias Doors, parents of Gertrude Doors married Paulus Kester, son of a Roman Catholic who had converted to the Reformed faith (Niepoth). *** My ancestor. *** Go to my Doors/ Kester (Kusters) page

According to Shirley Webb, some of Theiss Doors' children used the surname "Theisson" (Tyson) while others retain Doors and variations. References to Streypers brothers fooled people about Gertrude's identity for a long time; they were brothers in law. Hillikren is allegedly the form in which this name appears on assorted peoples' lists of the 18 children of Herman the bishop. The entire source of this idea turns out to be the Scheuten Manuscripts; it is presented on the genealogical tables of the Op den Graeff family, along with Herman's noble parentage and the notion that his wife was a Plantagenet, all with no evidence to support it whatsoever. It is not even clear that the dates the author of the Scheuten manuscripts provides for the birth and death of Hillekren are not borrowed from the known at least approximate dates of birth and death of Agnes/ Nees Doors!

Not everyone pays any attention at all to ANY of the information in the Scheuten manuscripts, including most scholars of the Krefeld emigrants, and White, author of the Castor genealogy. I think it's an interesting idea, there are important reasons to check into it, such as Herman's temperament and Gertrude Doors' attack of serious mental illness following the birth of her son Reinard; notice the accompanying idea that a sister of the father of Gertrude Doors married Isaac Hermans Op den Graeff and thus became the ancestor of all who bear the Op den graeff name in this country with their legendary temperament and mental health problems. But nothing exists to support it.

As far as linguistic analysis, I'm having trouble getting from Agnes/ Neess/ Nys/ Nes to Hillekren; the only possible path I can see is via the name Helen, and this isn't among the myriad forms of that name that I know of. Certainly there are probably a very limited number of girls the right age who COULD have married Herman, but on the other hand Mennonites were migrating during that time and they also occasionally came over to the Krefeld area from nearby towns like Goch. From addenda in the fall 1998 issue of Krefeld Immigrants, it becomes evident that this connection is made only on one or two VERSIONS of the Scheuten Manuscripts! Iris Jones presents the tables of Herman's immediate family from a different copy of the manuscripts; specific rather than vague dates are provided for HIllekrin, and WHO SHE MARRIED IS UNKNOWN - on all three charts dealing with her.

The following incident cited by Charles E Custer in The Kusters and Doors of Kaldenkirchen, Germany, has an obvious clear bearing on the mental health of this family: "Reiner (son of Paulus Custer and Gertrude Doors, who was Agnes' daughter) was baptized (in the Reformed Church, apptly) December 2, 1674. The baptismal record states that Reiner's father was Roman Catholic, that his mother had been a member of the Reformed Church, and that she 'FOR A PERIOD OF TIME WAS UNABLE TO USE HER MENTAL FACULTIES.' It is an unusual bit of information to be included in the record. Gertrude's parents, Theiss and Agnes Doors, promised to assume responsibility for the child in her behalf."

(Custer argues that one can't be sure what the term that describes her mental condition meant, that "probably" "she was emotionally distraught or upset or under psychological stress at the time", which simply doesn't wash as an explanation for any part of this. I find the description of Gertrude's mental state quite clear and unequivocal. In fact, it's relatively unusual for a seriously depressed new mother to not manage at least physically to care for her baby; this woman was outright psychotic, and relatives had to come in and care for the child. The clergyman at the church was concerned about the child's welfare, which, given how much it took for the authorities to become actively interested in childrens' welfare, again requires that something was very seriously and quite dramatically wrong, and people knew it. The family certainly WAS under serious stress, which is recognized to be a major trigger of clinical depression and other mental illness in people susceptible to that condition, just as is childbirth, and sometimes, pregancy. If Gertrude's child was being baptized, she had recently given birth to a child. It sounds more like Charles Custer doesn't want to know there was mental illness in an ancestor of his, that being the case, I suppose we should be grateful he included this snippet of information in his article at all.)

Aletgen Op Den Graeff b 1623 Crefeld,Germany d 17706 GErmany m Wilhelm L. VonBonn.

Sophia Op Den Graeff b 1628 Germany m Evert Lucassen (Not on Berger's chart)

Susanna Op Den Graeff b 1629 Germany d 1714.

Another: Vonder Op Den Graeff (I think this was a son of Isaac Hermans, following.)

Isaac Hermans or Op Den Graeff, Herman's only known son (according to Jordan) b Crefeld, Germany, 2/28/1616 (Jordan) m date unknown (Jordan) to Unknown (Jordan) d 1679, "Dutch Quakers" d 1/17/1669 (Niepoth).

"Dutch Quakers" has him married Greitijen Peters. This from the wedding certificate of his son Derick in Crefeld, she also came to PA with her children, and died in Philadelphia 11/19/1683. Then her son, Herman, wrote to a correspondent in Holland in Feb 1684 with the news of his mother's death, and Pastorius mentions her death, too, though doesn't name her.

Greietjen Pieters. There is considerable speculation that Greitjen Peters was a sister of Theiss Doors. Her name tells us that her father was named Peter. Not only one Peter around. The source of this turns out to be that this is on the pedigree charts on the Scheuten Manuscripts, too. It is more likely than the notion that Hillekrin Op den Graeff was Agnes/ Ness Doors; because there weren't that many Peter's around. Someone wrote me she is often referred to in source material as Greitjen Peters Doors, this is supposed to be in the Fall 1997 and Fall 1998 issues of Krefeld Immigrants. In the fall 1997 issue in her article on the current status of research on the Op den Graeff family, Jones raises the question as a footnote.

In an addendum in the Fall 1998 issue of Krefeld Immigrants, Jones presents new information that clarifies much; see above for the actual origins of the Scheuten manuscripts (the Scheuten family's version of its pedigree, prob written between the mid-17th and end 19th century). She provides the substantially different pedigree tables for the Op den Graeff family in another copy of the Scheuten Manuscripts; this one doesn't list a spouse for Hillekrin, does give definite rather than approximate sates of birth and death for her and the other children, lists more than 18 children, and also lists Isaac's wife only as Grietjen, with their four children who went to Pennsylvania in 1683. In another table, she is called Gertjen, "Margret" or Gritjen.

Jones traces the notion that she was named Grietjen Peters let alone Grietjen Peters Doors, and finds the first source appears to be Hull (WIlliam Penn and the Dutch Quaker MIgration to PA), Niepoth appears to get the idea from Hull who appears to be his reference for it, and Hull never says where he got it, according to Jones. Hull had a whole discussion of the Quaker wedding certificate from Krefeld, for those who haven't seen it. It is available in every large library. Jones doesn't have it quite right, though; I checked in Hull and Niepoth; both cite the Krefeld Quaker wedding certificate as their source. On the Quaker wedding certificate, Grietjen signs her name, Greitjen Peters. So that is the source. No Doors yet.

Wherever the name Grietjen Peters came from, people probably tacked "Grietjen Peters Doors" onto that! Niepoth writes that Agnes was born in Kaldekirchen and cites no reason why he thinks that is true. If she was born in Kaldekirchen, she could not be the daughter of Herman Op den Graeff whose children were all born in Krefeld. Charles Kester in Kesters and Doors of Kaldenkirchen cites no parents for Agnes; he wrote after Niepoth and used Niepoth for a source, and he had access to the original church registers and school records, and other relevant records, in Kaldekirchen. Isaac Hermans converted himself and his family to Quakerism. One source has them and other Krefeld families unable to decide if they were Mennonte or Quaker, sometimes one thing, sometimes the other, just as in Pennsylvania.

He and Hendrik Jansz wrote in 1680 in Rotterdam and Amasterdam, in Dutch, a pamphlet to the leaders of Crefeld detailing their persecution. According to some sources including I think Jordan, they had 18 children. Four immigrated to Pennsylvania. It is unclear to me whether both Herman the bishop and Isaac Herman had 18 children, at least one person on the Original 13 list thinks that is the case. Norris Saunders (Original 13 list cited a chart by June Lutz, sent him in 1993, of "A tentative Reconstruction of the Opdengraff-Pletjes Lines" She thinks Isaac and his wife Greietjen Pieters had just Adolphus, Dirck, Herman, Abraham, Mararite, and Vonder. (Other children of Isaac Op den Graeff from Shirley Webb's site )

  • 1. Margaretha Op Den Graeff b 1651
  • 2. Jacob Op Den Graeff b 1653
  • 3. Adolphus Op den Graeff, He and a brother didn't come to Germantown, but took refuge in Coblenz under protection of the elector of Brandenburg, apparently at his invitation. He had Frederick Opdengraff, father of his grandson, Johan Wilhelm, came to PA in late 1740's and settled near Reading, in Berks Co. (Robin Kornides, kornides@usaor.net) Robin also writes he arrived in Philadelphia about 1753, stopped at Germantown to say hello to his cousins, and settled near Reading, which was just getting started; he was a locksmith and a gunsmith.
  • 4. Johann Wilhelm Opdengraff b 2/24/1732 Germany m Anna Elizabeth Benfield b 4/1/1729 d 2/23/1804 Berks Co.
  • 5. Fronica Updegrove b /9/10/1756
  • 6. Anna Magdalena Updegrove b 3/9/1759
  • 7. Peter Updegrove b 5/1/1766 m Catharine?
  • 8. Conrad Updegrove b 11/27/1771 d 1865 PA m E. Angst b 1778 PA
  • 9. Edward Updegrove b 11/27/1771 Berks Co PA d bef 1850 m
  • 10. Elizabeth Miller (Muller) b abt 1774 d 2/23/1858 Berks Co (Robin Kornides' ancestor)
  • 11. Margit Isaaks op den Graeff imigr w the others in 1683.
  • 12. Margaret, m Peter Shoemaker, Jr., son of Peter Shoemaker (Schumaker) 2/6/1696/7 at Abington Mtg (Annette Allen from Original 13 list on date and place. She has her b abt 1657, d 7/14/1748 in Germantown, PA. She lists one son, Issac, b abt 1732, m Hannah.) Peter Shoemaker Sr. from Kreigsheim Germany, sided w the Keithians. They have numerous descendents in Bucks and Montgomery Co. Nieboldt, who fails to mention what happened to Margaret, has this marriage to a dau of Herman, and many people have picked up on that. Judge Harold D. Saylor in "early Germantown" says Margaret sister of Benjamin Shoemaker III also says the same in his book "Shoemaker Pioneers". "William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Immigration to Pennsyvania" p 211 states that, too.
  • 13. Hermann (also called Isaacs) b 1644 d 1708 (Shirley Webb) m Liesbet ("Dutch Quakers"), Liesbet Isaaks (Van Bebber); (Niepoth). Married again, Deborah Van Bebber Liesbet's sister. Germantown settler, sailed on the Concord in 1683, one of the original 13. He took part in his family's linen industry and farmed his own land, was agent for the large land houldings of Jacob Telner and Dirck Slipman. One of the 11 men to whom Penn granted the charter of Germantown in 1689, named town president, and also one of the town's first four burgesses. He removed to Kent Co, now in Delaware (state), d there 1704 (Jordan) No male issue, one daughter.

All three Op de Graeff brothers who came to PA were weavers, their sister Margaret came, too. Went with the Keithians and reverted to being Mennonite. He suffered disfavor by the other colonists like Abraham after siding with the Keithians, who became Mennonite again and then worshipped at some odd church. His fences were condemned in 1691 as insufficient and he ceased to hold public offices. He did serve on a jury in a homicide case in 1701. Died in 1701 or 1702. "Dutch Quakers". Sources differ on if he had ANY children.

Robin Kornides, of Original 13 list, has in addition to most of Abraham's children listed as those of Herman by his first wife, by his second wife:

Syltge (Psyche) Updegrove b abat 1690 m Jan Krey b abt 1677 d abt 1720.

Niepoth wrongly has a daughter Margaret m Peter Shoemarker, Jr, see above, that was Margaret Herman's SISTER. Someone sent me who this Margaret really married, but I don't have it.

One of the Op den Graeff brothers, prob Hermann, wrote the following letter from Germantown, 12 Feb 1684. "'We sailed from England to America in six weeks. The blessings of the Lord did attend us so that we had a wonderfully prosperous voyage. Upon our whole voyage we did not experience as much inconvenience as between Holland and England... Our number did not decrease upon the ocean, but was increased by two, a son and a daughter. The mothers were easy in labor and were soon well again'." "There follows some account of the infant Philadelphia, its religions, buildings, laborers ('with Blacks or Moors also as slaves to labor'). The land is described..." (William Penn and the Dutch Quaker Immigration to Pennsylvania, p 215)

Dirck (Derek) Isaacs Op de Graeff Krefeld wedding cert id's him of a native burger's son of Krevel, d 1697, apparently Germantown (Jordan), m 1681, Krefeld Nelcken, Noleken Vijten (marr cert) she d 1719. Her name Nolken Vyten, b Kempen, m date 3/20/1681 (Niepoth). "Dutch Quakers" cites it changing to "Nilcken or Nieltje" in Germantown. (Nieholdt): she was sister of Johan Jansen who married Endtgen, from a land purchase document. He kept his father's given name as his surname. In the Dutch custom. Also one of the original 13, arrived on the Concord. He was the leader of the 13 families. Unlike his brothers, he remained Quaker, to which they had converted in Crefeld, until his death in 1697. He was representative of Germantown Mtg in the Monthly Mtg at Abington, and to Quarterly Mtg at Philadelphia, 1697. A signer of the first religious protest against human slavery, presented to Monthly Mtg at Lower Dublin, 1688. A bailiff and a Burgess of Germantown. Died without issue.

Abraham (also called Isacks) (youngest son) best weaver of the three b abt 1660, (Shirley Webb) b. 1647 (Shank, cited by Joe Patterson) c. 1651 (Lutz, cited by Joe Patterson of Dehaven list at Rootsweb and Original 13 list) d 1719. d 3/25/1731? (Shirley Webb) m Catherine or Tryntje. (Jordan) published bans at Reformed Ch (it was required) 7/23/1679, to Trentgen Jansen of Gladbach. m Trintgen Katarina Jansen (Shirley Webb). She d bef 1710, from when her name stops appearing on the deeds for her husband's frequent land transfers. (Jordan) He is the ancestor of all who bear his name in Pennsylvania. One of his two sons and one of his two daughters who left issue married Dehaven siblings. One of the first Burgesses and Bailiffs of Germantown in addition to being on the Concord in 1683. A member of Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania in 1689-90-92. Also town executive, committeeman etc. In 1709 he purchased a large tract of land in "van Bebber's Township", in the Perkiomen region of Philadelphia County, part of 6,616 acres taken up there by Matthias Van Bebber in 1704. Later partitioned among a number of the Germantown families and later German immigrants. Abraham's land was in what became Perkiomen and Skippack twp in 1725. He died there and was buried in the old Mennonite bural ground at Skippackville. Also described as near Evansburg, PA.

It looks like the Op den Graeff brothers had land both in Germantown, and possibly 2000 acres in Perkiomen and Skippack, from their arrival. They purchased the 2000 acres from Jacob Telner, agent for the Frankfort Co, in Amsterdam in 1683, and drew lots for land in Germantown which they later sold. "Dutch Quakers" says it was 2000 acres. Also they settled next to each other in Germantown and took up weaving and public affairs. "Dutch Quakers had him conveyed his 50 acres in Germantown to Jacob Shoemaker, who gave it to the Germantown Quakers for a meeting house. They never divided the original 1000 acres but each conveyed some of it, the remainder came to Abraham as surviving brother

"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".)

His last years were marked by trouble; his fences over which he had quarrelled with neighbors were condemned 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 would be in Abraham's company'; and when Abraham sued him for slander, David was acquitted." ("Dutch Quakers") The fact that Abraham with Pastorus were the only two from Germantown who served as provincial assemblymen during the colony’s first three decades has been interpreted to suggest that they both spoke English well, and were the only residents of Germantown who did so. (PA House of Representatives, "Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania)

In 1688, Abraham and Herman op den Graeff and another man, and Pastorus, met at Conrad Kunder's home to draft a resolution in opposition to slavery, supposedly put in writing by Pastorus; they presented it at their monthly meeting, which referred it up the Quaker chain of meetings until it reached the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. So far I am unclear on the details and background of this. A slave ship had sailed into Philadelphia, allegedly 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, allegedly because of their history of having been oppressed in Germany! If only such a history led people to oppose slavery, it could never have happened in this country.

I so far know that the Mennonites and Quakers have for some time fought for credit of the Germantown petition. People have written to me that there was ferocious conflict of some sort between the Germans of Germantown and the English Quakers of Philadelphia, which was founded in 1682, a year before Germantown, by 500 families who Penn brought over in 23 ships. Telner described Philadelphia in Dec 1684 growing rapidly, with already several hundred houses of stone and wood and cottages, and planned to move there in the spring. He did, and lived there for thirteen years, "a pillar of support in many ways", and the largest landowner in the Germantown Settlement.

"He was in close touch and cooperation w the leading men in Philadelphia, where also he maintained a residence. He appears to have kept in touch with people and affairs in New York also, and this for religious as well as mercantile reasons." (Dutch Reformed found Tellner, a would-be Dutch Quaker preacher, busting into their worship services and disrupting them. )

(Wm Penn and the Dutch Quakers) Telner, who was trying to convince the Reformed congregations that the Quaker religious way was the correct one, sided in the Keithian split w the Orthodox Quakers. I can plainly see that most of the signers of the anti- slavery petition became Mennonites, but they were not Mennonites yet, nor had the Keithian split happened yet; it happened abt 1692. Yet Abraham and Herman, who became Keithians and Mennonites, led this petition, and their brother, Dirk, who they had not split with yet, did not.

The Keithian controversy, which is described in ways that focus on Germantown and the stories of its settlers, involved Quakers as a whole, and on a theological level appears to have been about the growing distance of the Quaker sect from Christianity; While the Quakers saw this as a natural outgrowth of their focus on "inner light" or intuitive ways of knowing God and his will, Keith blamed it on lax teaching and favored a return to formal commitment to Christian doctrine, and the group that split with him from the Quakers were sometimes termed Keithian Baptists; between this and that they were Mennonites and then worshipped at some "odd" church off some place, I infer that probably Keith was of a radically evangelical persuasion, consistent with that of the Mennonites, who were Anabaptists, and the Baptists (who developed from the Anabaptists and were extremely radically evangelical).

The history of the Mennonites was, (William Penn and the Dutch Quakers): Lutherans Mennonites and Papists all opposed to the Quakers meet w a Mennonite, Dirck Keyser from Amsterdam, he reads a sermon from a book by Joost Harmensen. Jacob Gottschalk was the second Mennonite preacher in Germantown, and the first Mennonite bishop in this country, he was formerly of Goch, from 1702. Hans Neuss of Crefeld also chosen to preach. In 1707, more Mennonites from Palatinate arrived. To 1702, all of the Mennonites of Dutch descent. Bef 1708, 34 members. By 1712, 99 members.

Keithian split in early 1690's caused some of the Dutch Quakers in Germantown to secede; most of those who seceded ended up re-joining or joining the Mennonite Church. With arrival of German Pietists in 1694 under Johannes Kelpius, the Keithans met with them in the home of Jacob Isaacs Van Bebber, where H. B. Koster preached to them in German and English, until some moved their meetings to Philadelphia.

In 1694, Henrich Berhard Koster (no immediate relation to Kusters) persuaded a number of the Quaker seceders to join his own peculiar sect, "The Society of the Woman in the Wilderness", or "The Contented of the God-Loving Soul". In 1700 he returned to Europe to recruit there, and a number of Mennonites removed to "Van Bebber's Township".

That these Mennonites had a human and charitable side becomes clear from this tale from Pennypacker's Historical and Biographical Sketches: "In 1662, twenty years before the landing of Penn, the city of Amsterdam sent a little colony of 25 Mennonites to New Netherlands under the leadership of Pieter Cornelisz Plckhoy, of Zierik Zee...They settled at Horskill, on the Delaware, and there lived on peaceful terms with the Indians. When Sir Robert Carr took possession of the Delaware on behalf of the English he sent a boat in 1664 to the Horekill, and his men utterly demolished the settlement, and destroyed and carried off all of the property, "even to a naile". What became of the people has always been a mystery. ...In the year 1694 there came an old blind man and his wife to Germantown. His miserable condition awakened the tender sympathies of the Mennonites there. They gave him the citizenship free of charge. They set apart for him at the end street of the village by Peter Klever's corner a lot twelve rods long and one rod broad, whereon to build a little house and make a garden, which should be his as long as he and his wife should live. In front of it they planted a tree. Jan Doeden and Willem Rittinghuysen were appointed to take up "a free will offering", and to have the little house built. This is all we know, but it is surely a satisfaction to see a ray of sunlight thrown upon the brow of the helpless old man as he neared his grave.... His name was Cornelis Plockhoy."


  • 1. Jacob b Germantown (marriage record, Jordan), d Skippack, 1750; will dated 9/21/1750, proved at Philadelphia, 10/1/1750. m at Dutch Reformed Ch in Bensalem, 4/29/1712 (ch rcd), Anneken In de Hoffe, b Muelheim, Germany, son of Evert, Eberhart or Edward In den Hoffin. (For Dehaven history, See Dehaven pages at the page on my father's ancestry. Jacob appears in record in 1701 in Germantown, when he was fined for "taking a horse out of custody."or "Borrowing a neighbor's horse w/o permission". Abraham had to pay the costs of the legal action involved. He was a petitioner for the formation of the town of Skippack and Perkiomen, 1725. He purchased land there in 1721 from Van Bebber, and conveyed it to his son, Abraham, and conveyed other land there to his son, Edward. The deeds suggest that he had married again, someone named Susannah. (Jordan) His children cited in his will included Abraham, Edward, Elizabeth, Cathrina, Margret and Eneken, and son-in-law Richard Gable.
  • 2. .Abraham Updegrave elsdest son of Jacaob and Annecken Op de Graeff, b. Skippack, abt 1714, d Skippack, winter, 1787-8. m Christine. Mennonite denomination to which he belonged kept no record of marriages, marriage date and maiden name of his wife unknown. (Jordan) In 1740 his father conveyed to him a farm of 100 acres in Perkiomen and Skippack Township, he died there intestate, his eldest son was granted letters of administration 1/5/1788 Henry purchased the homestead of the Hotehr heirs in 1791 Edward b about 1740 in Perkiomen and Skippack twp, Philadelphia, now Montgomery Co, rem to Plumstead twp, Bucks Co at about age 21. Owned at different periods several tracts of land there, owned and operated a distillery there. In 1776 he was arrested for uttering "expressions 'disrespectful to Congress and the Associators" but when investigated it was found that "his remarks had been nothing more than a reflection upon the character of some of the Plumstead Associators" and on taking the oath and making the declaration that he meant no disrespect to Congress, he was discharged. He died in old age, year not recorded. He was living in 1815. He was an expert violinist, and often performed at local gatherings as a musician. He is described as "a typical 'Dutchman', in personal appearance, rather short of stature, but heavily built, with short neck, peculiar to those of Holland descent." (all from Jordan) He m (1) abt 1767 Sarah, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Harmer) Mitchell of Buckingham, and (2) Elizabeth, supposed to have been Elizabeth's sister. William Harner, her grandfather, was son of George Harmer, of Mounden, Parish of Redboren-Chiney, co of Wilts, England, and with his brother George came to Philadelphia 1682, and became a large owner in the city. (Jordan)
  • 3. Beredina m John Smith
  • 4. Hannah m Joseph Tyson
  • 5. Susannah m John Tyson
  • 6. Elizabeth unm in 1791
  • 7. Mary, m Nicholas Johnston
  • 8. Edward younger son, named for his Dehaven grandfather. b Perkiomen and Skippack.

Other children of Abraham:

  • 1. Isaac m Mary Basilher, removed to Chester Co 1732, and is supposed to be the ancestor of the Updegraves, later prominent in York Co.
  • 2. Margaret m Thomas Howe, tailor, of Germantown, later Perkiomen.
  • 3. Anneken m 2/6/1710-11, Herman in de Hoffen, brother of Annecken, wife of her brother, Jacob, they settled at Skippack w his brother, Eberhardt in de Hoffen, both buried in old Skippack burial ground.
  • 4. Elizabeth m Peter Von, but d prior to 1711 w/o issue. He remarried Gerritje Jansen 4/1/1711 at Dutch Reformed Chuch of Bensalem. Elizabeth's identity actually isn't certain, but Jordan places her in this family. Her existence seems to be inferred from the fact that her widower's marriage record mentions her name "Elizabeth Op de Graef". Shirley Webb doesn't have Elizabeth, does have her own ancestor,
  • 5. Gertian Op Den Graeff b 1680 Krefeld, Germany, d bef 1747, PA m Richard Addams. (She gave one of her sources as an Addams family genealogy).


Coming: Kusters book from Castor Society, Custer, Chester E., "The Kusters and the Doors of Kaldenkirchen, Germany" PA Mennonite Heritage Vol IX, No 3, July 1986.

Need: listing of the Theiss Doors - Agnes OpDenGraeff family in the fall 1997 issue of "Krefeld Immigrants and their descendants".


Herman OP DEN GRAEFF(2528) was born on 26 Nov 1585 in Aldekerk, Holland (Germany?).(1013) Alderkerk is about 12 miles from Krefeld, Germany, according to Bosley. He died on 27 Dec 1642 in Crefeld, Germany. According to Pennypacker, "Herman Op den Greaff (was) the delegate from Crefeld (Germany) to the Council which met at Dordrecht in 1632, and adopted a Confession of Faith."

From Aldekerk, he moved to Crefeld, Germany, where he married a Mennonite girl, Grietjen Pletjes, according to Pennypacker.

Further from Pennypacker, page 148 "In the Council of the Mennonite Church, which set forth the eighteen articles of thier confession of faith at the city of Dordrecht, april 21, 1632, one of the two delegates from Krevelt, or Crefeld, was Hermann Op den Graeff."

Krefeld was a small town of handicraftmen. He was a delegate to the 1632 Mennonite Convention in Dordrecht, and thre signed the Confession of Faith, according to Bosley.

He was married to Grietjen PLETJES on 16 Aug 1605 in Krefeld, Germany.(1013) Children were: Trinken OP DEN GRAEFF, Hester OP DEN GRAEFF, Abraham OP DEN GRAEFF , Trinken OP DEN GRAEFF, Hallerkin OP DEN GRAEFF, Isaac Hermans OP DEN GRAEFF , Jacob OP DEN GRAEFF, Alletjen OP DEN GRAEFF, Andreas OP DEN GRAEFF , Fricken OP DEN GRAEFF, Susanna OP DEN GRAEFF, Andreas OP DEN GRAEFF , Jacob OP DEN GRAEFF.

Herman op den Graeff was a wealthy linen weaver and merchant. In 1605 he removed to Kempen where he met and married on August 6, 1605 Greitgen Pletjes (or Greitje Pletjes) (1588–1643).

In Krefeld Op den Graeff became a leader and of the Mennonite community, and in 1632 was one of two Krefeld Mennonite Church delegates to sign the Confessions of Faith

Some of Herman op den Graeff's descendents migrated to the United States. They are among the thirteen families often referred to as the Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Founders, who arrived on the ship Concord on October 6, 1683. Among these families were three op den Graeff brothers, including grandson Abraham op den Graeff, a cousin of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Governor Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker was Herman's sixth-great grandson

The Legend of the Lohengrin Swan A fictional book published in 2011 by Nancy Dellinger entitled the "The Legend of the Lohengrin Swan" plots Op den Graeff as a central figure leading during the tumultuous religious divisions and wars of the period.

Herman Op Den Graff

view all 21

Hermann Isaac op den Graeff's Timeline

November 26, 1585
Aldekerk, Herzogtum Kleve, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
August 16, 1605
Age 19
Kempen, Erzstift und Kurfürstentum Köln, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
Age 20
Krefeld, Herzogtum Kleve, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
July 18, 1607
Age 21
Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
January 18, 1609
Age 23
Krefeld, Herzogtum Kleve, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
May 15, 1610
Age 24
Krefeld, Herzogtum Kleve, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
December 15, 1611
Age 26
Krefeld, Herzogtum Kleve, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
July 1, 1614
Age 28
Kaldenkirchen, Viersen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
February 28, 1615
Age 29
Krefeld, Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
February 28, 1616
Age 30
Krefeld, Herzogtum Kleve, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation