Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Faulkners Of Ulster|Orange Co NY: A Proof Argument

William Faulkner, it is said, came to the Colony of New York from Scotland as a young man. This is family lore, and as yet is unproved.

William Faulkner was in New York as early as 1738. He was listed among the men serving under Captain John Byard in the company of militia of the "Wall a Kill" in Ulster County.(1)

It is reported by several historians that he resided at Stony Ford. In the book The History of Orange Co (2) it is said that "the Faulkner family made an early settlement" of the area.  From The Bull/Wells Family genealogy(3) it is reported that William served as Captain in the Ulster Co militia during the French and Indian war. His name appears in a 1763 muster roll as such.(4)  In an area rich with early pioneer stories, it is quite difficult to uncover much more on William, or other Faulkners of that time.

There has been much confusion as to the identity of William. Most of it stems from the numerous spelling variations of his surname found in the area surrounding Wallkill. Variations include Faulkener, Faulkender, Falkener, Falkner and Faulkner. His will has proved the biggest stumbling block. Spelled Faulkender, this will has been attached to many the incorrect family, in a variety of states surrounding New York.

After examining the records I have found to date, I feel I am able to make a convincing argument tying William Faulkner to his sons, William*, James and Samuel; and further establish lineage from Samuel to his sons Robert, John and James. (*William the son is a recognized DAR patriot, for the sake of clarity I will refer to him as Col. William when necessary,  from here forward) 

This direct evidence has come to light since the Record of Wills Recorded At Albany, New York, 1629 - 1802(5) has been digitized. We can now read the entire probate papers packet that establishes this tie.

William Faulkner died sometime between the writing of his will, dated 11 Sept 1783, Ulster County New York, and 23 Dec 1784, Ulster County New York, when it was entered into probate. William's will reveals that he was a landowner, and owned over 1000 acres of land plus several farms in Wallkill, Ulster Co, New York.

While the family surname is spelled Faulkender throughout the will, it is discovered that William was illiterate, merely 'making his mark' to sign his will. In examining the probate papers and bond of administration letter that follow the will it is further discovered that the three sons did actually sign their names, and in fact spelled their surname either Faulkner or Faulknor.(5)

Final page of William Faulkender's will papers showing William's surname spelled Faulkner along with the original signatures of his three sons, William, James and Samuel, inheritors named in the will.
(My own thought on this is that if William was a Scottish immigrant he may have spoken with a heavy accent. He may have been saying Faulkner (or Falconer), but it sounded like Faulkender! Consistent spelling remember, is a fairly new phenomenon)

To son William, he gives "the farm adjoining the Wallkill which I now live upon (...), one fifty acre lott on the long hill and two hundred acres of my undivided part of the lott of one thousand acres lying in or about the pine swamp". To son James, he gives "the farm he now lives upon (...) and providing that he shall convey to his youngest son when he shall arrive to the age of twenty one years that part of said farm formerly occupied by my son Joseph, while alive". To son Samuel, his gives "the farm he now lives upon, together with one fifty acre lott on the long hill and also two hundred acres of my undivided part of that lott of one thousand acres in or about the pine swamp".(5)

By this will we know that in 1784 there were at least three Faulkner males living in Wallkill.

In the 1790 census of Wallkill, Ulster Co, New York there are 3 Faulkner heads of household. The name is spelled Falkener in this record(6)  Samuel, William and James' oldest son, also named William.

There is only one Samuel listed in the town of Wallkill in the census years 1790 through 1810.(6)(7)(8)

In 1807 Samuel deeds some of his land and farm to his son, David, and names his other sons, James, John and Robert, in the transaction. "(...)being a part of that farm or lot of land upon which the said Samuel Faulkner now lives which is bounded as follows (to wit) Northerly by a lot of land sold by the said Samuel Faulkner to his son John Faulkner, Westerly by lands sold by the said Samuel Faulkner to his son Robert Faulkner, southerly by lands of Col. William Faulkner, easterly by the patent line of said tract of one thousand acres containing one hundred and thirty acres (...)" "if the said David Faulkner should die without lawful issue of his body begotten then the remainder over to Robert Faulkner, James Faulkner and John Faulkner, sons of the said Samuel Faulkner (...)"(9) 

By this we learn that some of Samuel's land was adjacent to Col. William's land. This evidence strongly suggests that this is the same Samuel and William as recorded in the will of William Faulkender, above.(5)

Col. William Faulkner died in 1831 and in his will leaves land to his son William J. and his daughters Susan McBride, Jane and Martha Faulkner. "First, I give and bequeath unto my son William J the farm on which I live situated in the said town of Wallkill and containing about two hundred acres. Also a fifty acre lot situated in said town of Wallkill on the Long Hill (...) to my daughters Susan McBride, Jane Faulkner and Martha Faulkner (...) I give and bequeath a lot in the pine swamp in the said town of Wallkill containing about forty acres of land"(10)

The description of the land owned by Col. Faulkner is similar enough to the description of the land given to William the son of William Faulkender as to draw a reasonable conclusion that Col. Faulkner is the son. Further, William Faulkner is a proved DAR patriot, ancestor # A039331 and his descendant listings associated with him are the very surnames listed in his will(10)

  • Looking at the 1800 census, again there are 3 Falkener (note spelling) heads of household.(7) Samuel, Agnes who is William's widow and John who is Agnes' son.

  • 1810 shows 5 Faulkner heads of household.(8) Samuel, Robert who is Samuel's son, Col. William, John and Mathew who are sons of James

  • 1820 4 Faulkner heads (11) Col. William, James and John M who are Samuel's sons, and Mathew.

  • 1830 2 Faulkner (12) Col. William and William J., his son.

In 1839 There is a land sale recorded in Orange Co New York between David, James, John and Robert Faulkner and David Woodruff "This indenture made the fifth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine, between David Faulkner, James Faulkner and Martha Faulkner, wife of the said James, all of the town of Grass Lake, county of Jackson and state of Michigan, and Robert Faulkner and Sally, his wife, of of the town of Ontario, county of Wayne, and state of New York, and John M Faulkner and Catherine, his wife, of the town of Benton, county of Tioga, and state of New York, all parties of the first part and David Woodruff of the town of Wallkill, county of Orange, state of New York, party of the second part (...) for consideration of five thousand dollars lawful money (...) northerly by a lot of land formerly owned by John M Faulkner westerly by a lot of land formerly owned by Robert Faulkner southerly by land formerly owned by Col Wm Faulkner easterly by the patent line of the Elinor Tract of which this is a part containing one hundred and thirty acres of land " This document was witnessed by Antonette Faulkner, James and Martha's daughter.(13)

Although there is no known documents to prove this William and Samuel are the same William and Samuel named in the will of William Faulkender, the evidence is compelling and backed by the census records showing that they were the only likely candidates, and thus we can conclude that Samuel and William are the sons of William Faulkender.

In conclusion, although the evidence presented is indirect I feel it is conclusive, and sufficient to tie William Faulkender to Samuel, James and William and to further tie William to Samuel and thusly tie Samuel to Robert, David, John and James.

©Copyright 2016 Anne Faulkner -, All Rights Reserved

(1)New York Colonial Muster Rolls, 1664-1775, Vol 1, Report of the State Historian of the State of New York, Appendix H, Muster Rolls of a Century, pg. 608 [database on-line]
(2)Ruttenber, E.M. and Clark, L.H., History of Orange Co New York with Illustrations, Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1881 [pg 431]
(3)McWhorter, Emma, Seaman, Phillip and Booth, Dolly, The history and genealogy of the William Bull and Sarah Wells family of Orange County, New York: the first six generations in America and Canada, T.E. Henderson, 1974 [pg 131]
(4)New York Colonial Muster Rolls, 1664-1775, Vol II, Report of the State Historian of the State of New York, Appendix M, Colonial Muster Rolls, pg 735 [database on-line]
(5)Will of "William Faulkender", dated 11 Sept 1783,  Albany, NY, Wills, Ad - Af 1629 - 1802, New York Surrogate's Court, Albany Co, [New York Wills and Probate Records, 1659 - 1999 database on-line] 
(6)Year: 1790; Census Place: Wallkill, Ulster, New York; Series: M637; Roll: 6; Page: 213; Image: 479; Family History Library Film: 0568146 
(7)Year: 1800; Census Place: Wallkill, Orange, New York; Roll: 21; Page: 337; Image: 344; Family History Library Film: 193709 
(8)Year: 1810; Census Place: Wallkill, Orange, New York; Roll: 29; Page: 467; Image: 0181383; Family History Library Film: 00259
(9)"New York Land Records, 1630-1975," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 April 2016), Orange > Deeds 1812-1814 vol O-P > image 11 of 534; county courthouses, New York. 
(10)New York Probate Records, 1629-1971," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 April 2016), Orange > Wills 1830-1837 and 1787-1797 vol 1-2 and A > image 247 of 687; county courthouses, New York. 
(11)1820 U S Census; Census Place: Wallkill, Orange, New York; Page: 344; NARA Roll: M33_64; Image: 357 
(12)1830; Census Place: Wallkill, Orange, New York; Series: M19; Roll: 113; Page: 145; Family History Library Film: 0017173 
(13)"New York Land Records, 1630-1975," images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Orange > Deeds 1839-1840 vol 66-67 > image 8 of 664; county courthouses, New York.

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