Our family journey begins in the small fishing village of Petten, Noord
(North) Holland, Netherlands in the year 1641 (Petten is now home of a
large nuclear reactor and research center). This is the year that Frederick
Albertse was born a son whom he called Claas Frederickse. The younger
years of Claas are not known and whether he was a fisherman, sailor, or
was persecuted for his religious beliefs (many were at that time), but by
the year 1664, he is already recorded in business dealings in the small
Dutch trading village of Schenectady, New York, 150 miles north of New
Amsterdam (New York City).
In the late 1680's, the English took control of this region from the Dutch
and had all their Dutch citizenry take up formal surnames as was the
English custom (and for taxes). Claas took the surname of Van Petten
(meaning From Petten).
After the Revolutionary War, the Van Petten name branched off as did the
children. Land Bounty Rights were given to the gallant soldiers who
fought for the new United States against the English Crown and as the
western frontier was tamed of its hostile Indians, the Van Petten and Van
Patten families headed west (almost all the way to Buffalo, New York)
and the Van Patter branch settled in Canada.
Years passed and more land was "tamed" and soon our families were
pioneering the vast western wilderness of the Ohio Valley. Some even
went south to seek their fortunes in Virginia and the Carolina's (some
using the Van Patton spelling over time. A few even ended up in Texas
and the New Mexico Territory.
By the time of the Civil War, it was truly brother against brother and
cousin against cousin, as the brave Van Petten/Van Patten/Van Patter men
fought for their respective states. After the Civil War, almost the whole of
the United States opened up with new territories just begging for settlers.
Many Van Patten's died on their journey west, either by disease or by
Indians or the harsh frontier life itself, but many more were stronger and
as we enter a new millennium, the Van Petten, Van Patten and Van Patter
and Van Patton name can be found in almost every phone book around this
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