THE TANKARD MAUS (MORSE) STORY
(Revised 19 August 2006 by HWS)
Following is a combination of facts and conjectures that result in a hypothesis of the ancestry and family history of Tankard MAUS and his early descendants in Herkimer County, New York.
John Tankard MAUS was born in about 1751 probably, in Germany.When very young he came to America with his parents (Hardin, 1893).When he was seven years old, in 1758-1759, his paremts, his sister, and he were captured by Indians and his parents were massacred (Thomson, 1998; Hardiin, 1893).This probably occurred somewhere in New York State, associated with massacres & captures in the French & Indian War.Soon thereafter, Tankard was redeemed from the Indians, in Detroit, by Henry VAN SCHAACK, a Dutch trader from Albany, New York, who gave the Indians a silver tankard for him.“The boy grew up to manhood, was established in business by Mr. Van Schaack, and was known throughout his life by the name of Tankard.” (Ellis, 1878).Presumably the boy was old enough to know his own name, so he was called John Tankard MAUS.(He is called William MAUS in Babcock, 1964.)Hemarried Mercy.Mercy and their daughter Jinny were baptized in Jan. 1780 in NewCanaan, Columbia Co., NY.He may have later married Lydia VAN SCHAACK according to several personal memories, which also said that Lydia was a daughter of Tankard’s rescuer, Henry VAN SCHAACK.However, Henry had no grown children.Lydia may have been a niece of Henry, but his brothers Peter, David, and Cornelius had no daughter named Lydia (Piwonka 2004).
Tankard had four sons (Hardin 1893).He moved to Herkimer County, NY sometime between 1807 and 1823 when his sons moved there.He was known as “Tankard MORSE” (Hardin 1893) and died there in Norway Township in 1830.Following are what we know of Tankard’s children, including the four sons, Henry V.S., William, George, and Daniel.
On 13 April 1783, Henry Van Schaack MAUS was baptized in New Concord, Columbia Co., NY, as the “son of John Tankard MAUS and Mercy his wife.” (Columbia, 1998).It seems obvious that Tankard named his first son after his benefactor. Henry married Aurilla BUNNELL in June 1804, probably in Herkimer Co. because Jairus BUNNELL owned land there.He moved to Herkimer Co.and had his second child, Mercy, there in 1807.She was named probably for his mother.Henry V.S. and family moved to Dumfries, Ontario, Canada in 1817 (Kohler 1967).He prospered there and has many descendants, described in “Stones” (Babcock 1964).
William was baptized in Lanesboro, Berkshire Co., MA on 27 August 1786 (“son of John Tankard MOSS & Mercy his wife)(Berkshire, 1999).Hemoved to Herkimer Co. in about 1808 and married Lydia BUNNELL.This linking of Lydia & William may be the origin of the erroneous belief that Tankard was named William and married Lydia.Lydia BUNNELL bore him 5 sons and died in 1823.William married Ann COOK in about 1825.She had Lydia (naned for his first wife?) and three sons.Ann died in 1835, probably at the birth of Elijah.William later married Charlotte.He died in 1869 in Norway, Herkimer Co.Little is known, by this writer, of his descendants.
Although we lack birth records, I believe that another son of Tankard & Mercy was George (b.1799). He was in Herkimer Co. by 1822, orobably earlier.George was a brother of William (Brown, 1905).Henry V.S., William, and George, were all contemporaries in Norway Township, Herkimer Co., NY in censuses in the 1800s.All used the name MAUS, at least sporadically, and especially on land records (Steinhoff, 1997).Henry V.S. always called himself MAUS, and he moved to Ontario, Canada in about 1817.William and George remained in Herkimer County, and spelled their name MORSE quite consistently after 1835, as have their descendants.George married Rachel IVES in 1822.She bore Watts C., Lydia (married William BULLOCK), and Amos Ives MORSE.Descendants of the two sons are quite well documented in the computer data base of the writer.
The fourth son probably was Daniel MAUS, who was born in Columbia Co., NY on August 24, 1800.No other logical MAUS family was nearby then.Descendants of Daniel have a similar Indian capture story and they too believed by family tradition that Daniel’s father’s name was William.He moved to Dumfries, Ontario in 1817, probably with Henry V.S. (Kohler 1967).Daniel married Elizabeth ROSE in 1824 In Wareloo, Ontario.They had three sons and seven daughters.The family moved to western New York in 1830 (Kohler 1967).Descendants are quite well known.
There may have been a sister, Adaline.An A. MORSE (age 63) was with Nathaniel MORSE (son of William) in the 1855 census of Norway Twp.She is listed as an “aunt”, so she was probably a sister of William MORSE.Nathaniel named one of his daughters “Adaline”.We have no ther records of Adaline MORSE/MAUS.
Jinny MAUS, daughter of Tankard, was baptized at the same time as Mercy.We have no further record of her.
Compiled by Harold Steinhoff, 2705 N. College Dr., Durango, CO81301.Revision of 19 August 2006.
1. Berkshire Family History Assoc., Inc.1999.Letter quoting birth record from Conregational Church for William MOSS.
2. Babcock, Frederick A.1964.‘Stones’. A ‘Who’s Who’ of the Maus family..
3 Brown, Ann Morse.1905.Affidavit in support of Civil War pension claim of Amos Morse.U.S. National Archives, Military File of Amos Morse.
4. Columbia County Historical Society. 1998. Letter quoting from Germantown Reformed Church records
in Columbia County, NY, concerning baptism of Henry V.S. MAUS.
5.Ellis. 1878. History of Columbia County, New York.p. 100.
6.Hardin, George A. & Frank H. Willard.1893.History of Herkimer County, New York.p. 72.
7.Kohler, Oneta D.1967.Letter in writer’s files.3pp.
8.Morse, Rev. Abner. 1850. Memorial of the Morses.P. 72.
9.Piwonka, Ruth. 2004. Letter in writer’s files.1p.
8. Steinhoff, Harold.1997.A chronology of certain MAUS-MOSS-MORSE lines in Herkimer Co., NY, inthe 1800’s.
9. Thomson, Susan.1998.E-mail letter describing MAUS family tradition of Indian capture & massacre.