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House of Stephanus Tietsoort (Titsworth)

Houses in Sussex and Warren Counties

Road to Port Jervis, north of Sussex, Wantage Township

Extracted from "Pre-Revolutionary Dutch Houses and Families in Northern N.J. and Southern N.Y.," by Rosalie Fellows Bailey, 1968; pages 543-545 and 578.

Plate 168

The Minisink territory in the interior back of the present Port Jervis was settled at an early date, before the nearby village of Sussex (which was founded in 1734 by Peter Decker and called Deckertown until recently).  One descendent of the Titsworth family states that the house was built in 1701, another descendent states that the original log house was built in 1701 and the present stone house about 1710, and also that it was built by William Tietsoort who married Sara Decker.  As this particular William was not born until 1706, he is naturally eliminated as the builder in 1710; he is the first known owner, but his father Stephanus lived in this general vicinity and probably built it at the tradional date, for construction of the house shows it to belong to the very beginning of the eighteenth century.

Abraham Willemszen van Amsterdam married in the Dutch church in New Amsterdam April 27, 1647 Aechtje Jans van Naerden, and had a son Willem bap. Aug. 2, 1648.  The latter is undoubtably the Willem Abrahamse Tietsoort who is the ancestor of the Titsworth family.  Willem settled in Schenectady by 1676, where he was a landowner and blacksmith, and was wounded in the frightful Indian massacre.  He located at the Forks of the Delaware River, now Port Jervis, before 1698, when he obtained a government license to purchase his lands from the Indians.  In a petition to the Governor and Council of New York on April 10, 1708, William Tietsoort stated that he was a blacksmith living in Ulster County (this region was then considered a part of Ulster County in New York), that he formerly lived in Schenectady and barely escaped from the massacre of that village in 1689, that as he had friends in the Esopus country he removed there and was invited by some friendly Indians to settle in the Minisink, his Indian friend voluntarily giving him a tract of land; that he sought a legal title for this gift by obtaining a governement license to purchase on Oct. 15, 1698, and so purchased it, which land had been subsequently assumed to be included in the Matthew Ling patent, from which he now sought protection.  On June 30, 1700 he obtained the legal deed from the Indians above referred to for land on the Delaware River at Machachemack (now Port Jervis) and at Schacheackaminck, and received a patent for the tract.  In another affidavit, Willem Tietsoort, then of Dutchess County, declared in 1717 that he had sold two parcels of land at Port Jervis to Jan Decker in 1713.  Shortly after this sale he evidently removed to Dutchess County in New York, where he is recorded in the 1714 Census with a household consisting of himself (over 60 years of age), two younger males, and three females.  In his will, made in Dutchess County in 1716 and probated in Albany in 1722, he mentioned his wife Neeltje, daughter of Teunis Swart, four sons and six daughters.  Two of the sons settled in Poughkeepsie and one in Middletown, New Jersey.

The remaining son was Stephanus W. Tietsoort, b. about 1680 at Schenectady.  He was living in Minisink when he married at Kingston Oct. 18, 1702 Sara Hoornbeck.  She was born at Hurley, bap. April 24, 1681 at Kingston, a daughter of Warnaer Hoornbeck of Hurley.  They had at least four children, Anna, William, Maria, and Jacobus; the first three were baptized at Kingston and the fourth was the first child baptized in the newly organized church at Machachemack nearby.  Thus Stephanus had removed to the back country Minisink before his marriage, probably built the log hut in 1701 and the stone house about 1710.  In an affidavit concerning a quarrel at Machachemack (now Port Jervis), he signed himself in 1722 as a resident of Orange County, a juryman of Tappan, about 42 years of age, innholder.  (This region was then claimed by Orange Co., N. Y.).  In 1739 he and his son Willem were taxed at Minisink, for building a gaol at Goshen, Orange County.

Stephanus' son Wilem S. Tietsoort, bap. Sept. 22, 1706 at Kingston, d. March 4, 1791*, is the first of the family definitely connected with the family homestead.  He married Sara Decker and had six children, including Stephanus Tietsoort, b. April 8, 1734*, d. April 17, 1777*, married Catrina Kuykendal, b. May 28, 1737*, d. Nov. 17, 1805*.  The house was inherited by their son Wlliam Titsworth, b. Aug. 12, 1758* in Wantage Township, d. March 3, 1837*; he married Margaret Middagh, b. Oct. 8, 1757*, d. March 31, 1841*.  Their son Dr. John Titsworth, b. April 19, 1793, d. Feb 1, 1873*, married May 31, 1819* Abigail, daughter of Deacon Nathan Beers, b. April 10, 1795, d. Dec. 27, 1863.  Dr. John Titsworth inherited the homestead and built the large house in the rear.  The property passed to his son William Titsworth, b. July 12, 1824, and it was sold by William's widow Kate about 1902 to Jason House.  The present owner is E. Korn of Hackensack; the old stone house is rented out as a refreshment stand.

It is one and a half story house of rough slaty stone rubble, with a steep gable roof and very small windows.  As it stands on a hill slope, a basement story of white-washed stone is exposed on one side.  In the interior at one end there is a panelled fireplace wall with a huge cupboard.  Very wide floor boards, exposed beams, low ceilings, old hinges and doors, are authentic details.  Although now used as a refreshment stand, the exterior has not been marred, nor the interior very much altered.  The house stands above Clove Creek on the northeast side of the road to Port Jervis.  It is two and a half miles northwest of Sussex in Wantage Township, and less than ten miles from the state border.  The original log house formerly stood a short distance northward, and the first church in this section was built on a hill near the stone house.

* Taken from family bible.

Plate 168

This house is believed to have been built about 1710.  It was probably erected by Stephanus W. Tietsoort, who lived in this vicinity, and whose son William is the first known owner.  It remained in the family until about 1902.  It is typical of a frontier house of thise early period.  Built of very irregular stone rubble, it is covered by a steep gable roof which extends in a long, straight slope to form an overhang beyond the front wall.  As it is on a hill, a low bsement story is exposed on the south front.  The early plan was followed, the main floor consisting of two adjoining rooms each with its outside door.  Notice the sparsity andsmall size of the windows, for better protection against the Indians.  The east wall of the interior is panelled.


July 5, 2002