WILLHELM COONRADT
FAMILY TREE
HEINRICH COONRADT
FAMILY TREE
PHILIPP COONRADT
FAMILY TREE


A HISTORY OF THE COONRADT FAMILIES

The name "Coonradt", (Latin Coonradus), with its varied spellings, is Germanic in origin. The meaning of the name is "Wise in Council". It was at first used only as a title or personal name, but by the close of the tenth century, when surnames were first adopted among European peoples, we find it used as a family name. In time the name spread to all parts of the continent, though of course with varied spellings in the different languages. In the Germanic countries it is Coonrad, Conrad and Kunrad, each with a t, e, or i as an ending. Our present history concerns itself only with the New York family of Coonradts whose forebearors fled the Bavarian Palatinate at the beginning of the eighteenth century, coming via Holland to the colony of Rensselaerswack. The names of the first three forefathers were Wilhelm, Heinrich and Philipp Coonradt. While many of the descendants of these forefathers are now residents in or near the origional Rennselaerswack settlements, a major part of us are scattered among the various states from coast to coast.

HISTORIC BACKGROUND
The coming of the first Coonradts to American shores dates back into the early colonial history of New York. In the year 1609 Henry Hudson and his body of explorers had discovered the lands at the mouth of the Hudson River. They sailed up this extensive body of inland waters as far north as where the city of Albany now stands. There on Dunn's Island, in the heart of a vast woodland they built a fort, the first effort toward a white man's settlement in all New York. In 1614 the colony of New Amsterdam (now New York) was established, and seven years later the States General of the Netherlands granted to that colony the exclusive right of trade and settlement in all that region now comprising eastern New York, New Jersey and Vermont.

The Dutch West India Company then began offering every inducement for prospective immigrants to come, settle and help develop their lands. With such inducements a great influx of adventurors, traders and trappers swarmed into the new Dutch colony, which became known as New Netherlands.

COMING OF VAN RENSSELAER
Among the early merchants who came at this time was one Kalean Van Rensselaer of Amsterdam, a wealthy pearl broker, and one of the founders of the Dutch West India Company. This man sent agents up the great North River to explore the forest lands around Hudson's fort, and if possible, to purchase from the Indians there suitable lands for founding his own colony. These men succeeded in obtaining by barter a very extensive tract of heavily wooded lands. At first they procured only a district on the west bank of the river, but later the holding was extended until it included the greater part of what is now Albany, Rensselaer and Columbia Counties. And for a further right to the lands he obtained a patent from the West India Company. To this territory he gave the name "Rensselaerswack".

THE FIRST SETTLEMENT
After obtaining this patent Van Rensselaer began at once to Holland to enlist and organize his own body of emigrants for settling and developing his own lands. Even more liberal inducements were offered through the West India Company, whereby, for a normal fee, whole families, together with their farming implements and some livestock, would be transported by sailboat from Amsterdam to their place of landing in the wilderness. Thus with the first shipment of immigrants the settlement of Schodack was established (1630) at a place called Schodack Landing, 15 miles south of Rensselaer. The Mohican squaws were then cultivating their corn patches on the fertile lands where the cities of Albany and Troy now stand.

For some time the little colony enjoyed peace and prospered. Van Rensselaer appointed a member of his own family as the first "patroon", or govornor, and also commissioned a Dutch Reformed minister as the "Dominie Magapolensis" to be the spiritual and educational preceptor of the colony. Each family there was alloted a holding of timberland on terms of semi-feudal lease, which land he was expected to clear for planting and on which he could build his own log cabin. The rental was paid in lumber, woodash and grain. The patroon was responsible for rentals as well as the general management of the government.

Schools and churches were established, and even Mohawk and Mohegan Indian neighbors were welcome to share in the divine worship. Some of the more venturesome fathers traveled with indian guides through the forests, learning from their friendly preceptors the art of hunting, tracking and fishing, for the creeks and forests offered bounteous fishing and hunting.

In time peace in the little colony was broken. The warpath of the great chief, Graylock passed through these parts, and some of his savage warriors from distant tribes began to harass the settlers. Thus in 1642, under the first patroon, the colony built Fort Crello, the first enduring structure in this part of the New World. That old fort stands today, an historic landmark on the east side of the river, across from Albany. History tells us that, seated on the curb of the well by this fort, a British soldier wrote as a satire the words of "Yankee Doodle".

COMING OF THE COONRADTS
It was into this situation that our Coonradt forebearors came as immigrants from the Bavarian Palatinate. In 1671, and again in 1677 the ardent Quaker evangelist, William Penn visited both Holland and Germany, bringing comfort and hope to his fellow Protestant Christians of those lands, especially of those suffering and oppressed in the Palatinate, among whom were our Coonradt forebearers. These found comfort in the Christian message Penn brought, and incidentally caught glimmers of hope of a Promised Land for them in the American colonies. In the meantime the British had gained control of New Amsterdam, and by the Treaty of Westminster in 1674, were granted all New Netherlands, including Rensselaerswak.

Thus at the turn of the century when the Protestant Queen Ann promised asylum in England to all continental refugees, especially those who might go on to her American colonies, thousands of families from Germany fled to her. In the winter of 1769 alone some 13,000 destitute Palatinates crossed into England. And of these some 3,000 were taken by the newly appointed governor of New York, Col. Robert Hunter, for labor in a pine tar project in Livingstone Manor, just south of Rensselaerswack. Among these was one young man, Heinrich Coonradt, the first of that name to reach American shores. Hunter's project was largely a failure and many of his immigrants scattered. Henry, however, obtained a plot of woodland, and for a time he .... ... .otel . in Livingstone Manor.


WILLHELM COONRADT
FAMILY TREE
HEINRICH COONRADT
FAMILY TREE
PHILIPP COONRADT
FAMILY TREE


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