Herman Op Den Graeff (b. 26 Nov 1585, d. 27 Dec 1642)
Herman Op Den Graeff was born 26 Nov 1585 in Aldekerk, Muir, Germany, and died 27 Dec 1642 in Krefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.He married Grietje Pletjes on 16 Aug 1605 in Alderkerk, Muir, Germany, daughter of Dries Pleges and Alet Göbels Syllys. Notes for Herman Op Den Graeff: Herman Op de Graeff was born on 26 November 1585 in Aldekerk, Muir.546 He married Gritgen Pletges, daughter of Dries Pleges and Alet Göbels Syllys, on 08 August 1605.547 He died on 27 November 1642 in Krefeld, Duchy of Cleves, at age 57 years and 1 day.548 The founder of the Opdengraeff line, Herman, was a wealthy weaver and merchant and a Mennonite leader and bishop, one of the signers of the 1632 Mennonite Confession of Faith. He appears to have been an extreme mystic with more than a touch of egomania. Both he and his wife were born to Mennonite families as yet few in number in a group of villages on the border between Germany and Holland, these families were closely interrelated. Oddly for a prosperous and religiously ascetic merchant's family able to put stained glass windows in their house which stood for a very long time, almost half of his eighteen children did not live long enough to see age two; most of those who died did not live to see age one. There was not just the pattern of children dying young but at any age that reflects some susceptibility to contagious disease, in people who ate poorly, took poor care of themselves or had allergies or the pattern of several people dying together that marks an epidemic when alot of people were dying, and it was a prosperous little village and not the ghetto of a city. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Herman and his wife moved to Krefeld in 1609. Herman was one of two delegates of the Krefeld Mennonite Church to sign the Dordrecht Confession in 1632 and served as preacher in the congregation at Krefeld. A certain Reformed member in the Morses Synod bitterly complained that "some simple non-Mennonites felt themselves drawn". In 1637, contributions were requested for the oppressed Reformed Church in Sweebrucke, Herman contributed from his own means in the name of the small Krefeld congregation 25 Reich Thanker, while the Reformed Congregation in Krefeld contributed only 22. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From the vast forest of Genealogyland, there is new evidence that Hermen Op Den Graff (1585 - 1642), the celebrated Bishop of the Krefeld Mennonites and a Signer of the Dordrecht Confession of 1632, was a Morganatic (or natural son) of John William De La Marck (1562 - 1609), the Graeff Von Alten (Count of Altena). This particular John William De La Marck is listed as the younger son and heir of William V of Cleves (1516 - 1592) and Mary of Habsburg (1530 - 1584), who was the Princess Imperial, Princess of the Romans and Duchess of Cleves, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand I of Habsburg (1503 - 1564), niece of Charles V of Habsburg (1500 - 1558), the Holy Roman Emperor who presided over the sufferings of the Reformation. It was before 1609 when the armistice between the Netherlands and Spain took place, when the Mennonite family op den Graefff left Kempen and Aldekerk (Lower Rhine) and settled at Krefeld, where they were tolerated under the reign of Prince Moritz of Orange. Alderkerk, GE (about 12 miles from Krefeld). Krefeld, GE (a small town of handicraftmen). Herman was a Linen weaver and merchant. He was born at Aldekirk/Allekirche some 12 miles from Krefeld. He was a burher of Kempen in 1605 where he married. He moved to Krefeld by about 1608. He is the first Mennonite preacher known by name. Eighteen children. DeGraeff was formerly the VonGROBER/GROBEN family. this family today shows the same coat-of-arms as the DeGraeff's. Herman was a dealer in linens. Sources: Letter, Dorothea Schweiger (file); Krefeld Imm V 4 #1 pg 10; Op Den Graeff, v 1 LKS film 1036920 #3; Pennsylvania Folk Life V3 #8 Herman Op den Graeff b Aldekerk or Adekerry, a village near Crefeld, 11/26/1585 (Jordan, doesn't give source). Moved to Crefeld. Died Crefeld 12/27/1642 (Jordan) married 8/16/1605 at Aldekerk (Jordan), or 1615 (Wm Penn and the Dutch Quakers) Grietje Pletjes. m her in Kempen (Miller and Sholder) after becoming a burger of Kempen in 1605.Another version of her name is Greitgen Pletjes Driessen. "Dutch Quakers" has her father's name Pletjes Driessen of Kempen, a small town halfwy between Krefeld and Aldekirk. Records show he was in Krefeld by 1608 (Miller). He d 12/27/1642 Krefeld. (stained glass windows web site.) Greitgen Pletjes was b 11/26/1588 Kempen, HOlland or poss in Germany, to Mr. Driessen, who was b abt 1550 and d 12/27/1645, (Jacobs) or 1/7/1643 (Niepoth). and Alet Go bels Pletjes who d on 1/7/1640. (Miller) (Niepoth): she was dau of Dures Pleges and Alet Gobels Syllys According to stained glass window page, after giving exact place and dates of birth and marriage with no source and no questions, "Many believe that hthis Herman could have been a son of Abraham Graeff, but it has never been proven. Herman was a linen weaver and merchant, born of Mennonite parents of Aldekirk..." (the identity of the parents' is is unproven, is not consistent with how is it known his date of birth, the place of birth, and that his parents were Mennonite.) Herman was a linen weaver and a merchant in cloth and linen; an extremely wealthy one. In additon to being one of two delegates from Krefeld Mennonite Church to sign the Dordrecht Confession in 1632, he served as preacher in the Krefeld congregation. There were ties to the Reformed Church, which apparently was also persecuted. Herman Op den Graeff was a Mennonite bishop, and delegate form Crefeld to Council of Dordrecht, 1632, signed lst Mennonite Confession of Faith. There is new evidence (but not proven) that HERMAN OP DEN GRAFF (1585-1642), the celebrated Brishop of Krefeld Mennonites and a Signer of the Dordrecht Confession of 1632, was a morganatic (or natural son) of JOHN WILLIAM DE LA MARCH (1562-1609), the GRAFF VON ALTEN (COUNT OF ALTENA). This particular John William de la March is listed as the younger son and heir of WILLIAM V of Cleves (1516-1592) and MARY OF HABSBURG (1530-1584), who was the PRINCESS IMPERIAL, PRINCESS OF THE ROMANS and DUCHESS OF CLEVES, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, FERDINAND I OF HABSBURG (1503-1564), niece of CHARLES V OF HABSBURG (1500-1558, the Holy Roman Emperor who presided over the sufferings of the Reformation. William V of Cleves parents were JOHN III CLEVES (1490-1539) and MARY OF JULICH-BERG (1491-1543). The morganatic mother of Herman has be TENTATIVELY identified as ANNA VAN ALDEKERK (Dutch) or ANNE DE ALDEKERK (French) or ANNA CLOISTER of ALDEKERK, perhaps a former nun. From: KREFELD IMMIGRANTS, Vol 8 #1 pgs. 9, 10, 16 Born Muir, Germany. Nineteen children. Donna N. Basinger, Clymer Connections, RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project, 22 May 2000. Herman Isaacs op den Graf. Born Aldekirk, Rheinland, Germany. Marriage in Aldekirk. Signatory of the 1632 Dordrecht Confession of Faith (Mennonite Articles of Faith) as one of the two delegates from Krefeld. Mennonite Bishop in Krefeld. Occupation: cloth and linen dealer. June (Shaull) Lutz 1988, History of the Op den Graef/Updegraff Family, p. U-2. Married (6) August 1605 at Krefeld, Germany. Linen weaver and merchant. He was born at Aldekirk/Allekirche some 12 miles from Krefeld. He was a burher of Kempen in 1605 where he married. He moved to Krefeld by about 1608. He is the first Mennonite preacher known by name. Eighteen children. Father often given (WITHOUT PROOF) as Abraham op den Graf, with family lineages as follows: 1) FREDERIKUS DE GROBEN, m. 1359 CATHARINE DE SOMMEROCK 2) LEONARDUS DE GROBEN, m. 1441 MARIA DE NORTHEIN 3) Ernetus DE GROBEN (d. 1510), m. 1508 Margarethe DE RITSCHES 3) Virgilina DE GROBEN (1467 - 1507) 3) WOLFGANGUS DE GROBEN 4) Pieter OP DEN GRAEFF (aft 1483 - ), m. Grietz Pietrazs BERENTS 4) ABRAHAM OP DEN GRAF (1490 - 1561 Dusseldorf, Germany) Cf. Donna N. Basinger, Clymer Connections, RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project, 22 May 2000. Cf. June (Shaull) Lutz 1988, History of the Op den Graef/Updegraff Family, pp. U-1/U-2. From a 17th century document. Unproven as father of Herman op den Graeff. Abraham was a Protestant reformer (1561) of Zwammerdam, Holland, whose lands were seized by the Catholic church. He and his family escaped to Antwerp, but persecution of Protestants drove them to Germany. After his death his widow moved to Krefeld. Family name apparently was originally VonGrober. The VonGrobers or DeGraeffs/Op den Graeffs were part of the royal family of Holland (but this is not verified). http://sml.simplenet.com/reunion/haller/ps23/ps23_213.htm. Hillekin op den Graeff. Also gives a child 1606-1606 and Sophia (Teiken) 1628 - ?. Two painted glass windows, circa 1630, from the home of Herman op den Graeff are preserved in the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld. G. W. Miller 1991, "Reconstructing the Op Den Graff windows of 1630 A.D. to fit the Lohengrin Genealogy of the House of Cleves," Krefeld Immigrants and Their Descendants, vol. 8, #1, pp. 9-28. Interpretation of heraldic symbols on the op den Graff windows implies that Herman op den Graeff was the son of John William de la Marck, Count of Altena, and a woman not of the nobility. 1605, registered as Hermann zu Graff in his marriage to Grietje Pletjes. He became a linen merchant and a leader of the Mennonite Community in Krefeld, under the jurisdiction of the Protestant House of Orange. 1616, he presented a sum of money to the Monsatery of Meer (Moers) so that four nuns (the sister von Brackel and sister Gudula von Arfft who were living in his home in Krefeld) could live in the Monastery of the Franciscan Nuns in Krefeld. 1637, termed Der Hiesigen Mennisten Herrn Bischoff (Local Mennonite Lord Bishop). G. W. Miller 1996, "The Transfiguration of the Windows," Krefeld Immigrants and Their Descendants, vol. 13, #2, pp. 51-67. A second discussion of the thesis presented in 1991. While these discussions are suggestive (and provisionally accepted here), there is no real proof that identification of Herman's parents is correct. It is not apparent that the two stained glass windows which form a major part of the argument have actually been seen. Dora Smith, Doors (Thiessen, Tyson) Family of Krefeld, http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Acres/5127/Webster/doors.html, 17 July 2000. Also Dora Smith, Op Den Graeff Ancestry, http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Acres/5127/Webster/herman.html, 17 July 2000. Much of the genealogy of the op den Graeffs stems from the Scheuten Manuscripts, a private Scheuten family history allegedly written by Adam Scheuten (1639-1668) or his son [sic] Abraham Scheuten (1707-1789), though the actual authorship appears unknown. This history exists in several versions without any documentation or sources named to support the genealogy. It suggests that Herman's grandmother was a Habsburg princess, his father was an Abraham Graeff of Kempden, his mother a Catholic nun, and his wife was a Plantagenet member of the English Norman royal family. There is the suspicion that this manuscript was contrived to invent a royal ancestry for the op den Graeff family. Eighteen children are suggested, but various sources differ. Much of this genealogy stems from the undocumented Scheuten Manuscripts in their several forms. Dora Smith, Archive for The Original Germantown Settlers, message #538, 4 June 1999. Herman op den Graeff was an extreme mystic -- the supposed genealogical material of the Krefeld stained glass windows is actually mystical religious symbolism borrowed from several faiths and sects. The links of the op den Graeff family to other Krefeld families with noble linkages has not been established and traces back to one of the versions of the Scheuten Manuscript. Wilhelm Niepoth, The Ancestry of the Thirteen Krefeld Emigrants of 1683. Townsman in Kemper 1605. To Krefeld about 1609 where he died 27 November 1642. Death: 27 DEC 1642 in Krefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany More About Herman Op Den Graeff and Grietje Pletjes: Marriage: 16 Aug 1605, Alderkerk, Muir, Germany. Children of Herman Op Den Graeff and Grietje Pletjes are:
+Isaac Herman Op Den Graeff, b. 28 Dec 1615, Krefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, d. 17 Jan 1668/69, Krefeld, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.