He married Geertje Creles Cornelis 11 AUG 1647 in New Amsterdam, New Netherlands.(4) Geertje was born about 1626 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.(5) Geertje(6) was the daughter of Cornelis Trommels. Geertje died after 1680 at age unknown.(7) PHILIP JANSZEN RINGO, the first of this name to come to America, is found with some frequency in the early records of New Amsterdam and New Netherlands, the Dutch colony set up under the West India Company in 1626 on Manhattan Island.
The first written evidence of his presence is contained in a deposition made by him before the Court at New Amsterdam on October 13, 1643, although there is reason to believe that he may have been here as early as 1638. His will in 1646 and marriage bans in 1647 disclose that his birthplace was in the town of Vlissingen (Flushing) in the state of Zeeland, one of the seventeen northern provinces in the Low Countries that declared their independence from Spain in 1581.
It is now estimated that his date of birth was about 1615. All that is known of his parents is that his father’s name is written by the scribes of that time as “Jan” by the Dutch. Had the clerk been French it would have been written as “Jean,” or if English as “John.”
In the records of the West India Company and its directors in New Amsterdam (New York City) Philip is frequently referred to by use of the Dutch patronymic, Philip Jansen or Janazen (Philip, son of Jan), but in most of the twenty-two or more items his family name of Ringo is constantly found.
While last century’s translators sometimes missread it as Rongo and Ringoa, the original documents clearly show it as Ringo. In at least several cases, since Ringo could write, he carefully spelled it out in that manner. In a society where most people were known in Dutch fashion as “Philip, son of Jan,” or “Philip Jansen Van Vlissingen” (Philip, son of Jan from Vlissingen), Philip Ringo was one of the few in New Amsterdam who carried a family name, and one of some indicated antiquity.
Louis P. de Boer, the Dutch genealogist, after a study of Ringo’s signature on a manuscript, wrote giving this opinion of him.
“He [Ringo] was a strong, vigourous young man of firm and straight-forward character, who wanted to do, and did the right thing by others. He had a good schooling in his boyhood years. He practiced very little penmanship during his life in the American wilderness and never lived long at one place in the New Netherlands at a time. Whenever he wrote it was the marking of wares, packing boxes and bundles in printed script with chalk or paint. You can see from the particular signature that he had not had pen in hand for a long time before, and that he was not used to a stranger’s pen. He put too much ink on it, as if it had been a paintbrush and after he dropped a blot of ink, he simply wrote the remaining letter right after it. Most documents at that time were signed by a mark, as Philip did on several occasions, but to the others, he affixed his signature as Philip Jansen or Philip Jansen Ringo.”
Ringo was obviously associated with seafaring from the time he was old enough to do so. The first mention of him in the New World in 1643 was a declaration regarding the ship, “Seven Stars” and a privateer, “La Garce” (the Wench), with which he was connected in several other entries. As de Boer says of him in another observation, “Ringo was not a settled fat Dutch magistrate, but just a ‘young buck’ out on his luck in the wilderness.”
In November 1644 there was a flurry of activity among the partners of La Garce, which was to leave shortly under a commission from the Director and Council of the New Netherlands to cruise as a privateer in the Caribbean against the enemies (Spain) of the High and Mighty Lords States General of the United Netherlands.
On the 18th, Anthoni Crol, aged 29, and Philip Jansen Ringo, part owners of “La Garce” appeared before Cornelis van Tienhoven, Secretary of the Colony, to make a joint will, as was customary under such circumstances. It provided that in the event of the death of either of the “friends and partners,” the survivor should receive “the ship’s share and the other captures, which they may make on the voyage.” It further specified that with regard to their joint holdings left in New Netherlands, Crol’s part shall go to his brother, while that of Ringo, in the event of his death, was to go to Crol on condition that he give two hundred Builders to “the Poor.”
Indications point to the probability that by this date both Philip’s parents were dead and that he had no other close relatives.
Both men returned safely from what must have been a very dangerous mission, and apparently participated in another and more successful such venture in the winter of 1645-1646. A bark, “St. Antonio of Havana,” laden with sugar and tobacco was taken in the Bay of Campeachy near the Mexican coast.
It was probably in this action that Ringo personally overcame by force of arms one Manuel, the Spaniard, who, in order to save his life, accepted the usual conditions of servitude under his conquered until ransom might be paid. The bark was brought back to New Amsterdam, where it was subsequently declared a proper prize, and Manuel obviously returned there with his new master.
The partnership of Ringo and Crol apparently spent the summers sailing the rivers and waterways of the colony in what was usually a less hazardous pursuit of trading with the Indians for beaver skins.
By October 1646 when CroL was making preparations to make a trip to Holland, they showed a joint stock of 1460 pounds of sugar in packing cases, 7 barrels of syrup, 278 whole beaver skins, 130 half beaver skins and 52 threelings (1/3 beaver skins). By a contract signed then, Crol was to take all the beaver skins save 33, while Ringo was to keep with him in New Amsterdam all the sugar and syrup plus 490 florins in outstanding debt and 421 florins in wampum.
In addition to drawing up a contract to cover their business dealing, both partners made new wills on October 18, 1646, which were nearly identical in content and made each the heir of the other. If Crol died first, Ringo was also to have a debt of 300 guilders owed by Peter Willemsen of Korteley Street, Mount of Olives, Amsterdam but was required to make payment of 100 guilders to “the Poor.” In the event of Ringo’s death, Crol was obliged to make a payment of 200 Builders to the same charity.
Before Crol left the country the two men, along with the six other owners and the captain, Willem Albertsen Blauvelt, sold “La Garce” to Christiaen Petersen Rams and Company. The privateer, with new owners and crew but with the same skipper, was soon off on another cruise to prey on Spanish shipping.
With Crol on the high seas en route to his native land, Ringo bought an interest in a two massed yacht, well suited for trading purposes, and with which the two partners were to be associated in one way or another for the next two years. Its name, “Love,” was prophetic and the spring of 1647 brought romance into Ringo’s life in the form of Geertje Cornelis, the widow of a Dutchman, Jan Philipsen, from Amsterdam. On August 11th of that year they were married in the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam.
Ringo continued to pursue his new trade and before Crol’s return was involved in a suit with Adriaen van der Donck and gave a note to Isbrandt Dircksen Goethardt for 1250 guilders for wampum, used as a medium.of exchange with the Indians, for furs. It provided that Goethardt should be repaid on the basis of one whole beaver skin being worth 9 guilders and 10 stivers in Dutch money.
Anthony Crol apparently did not return until the summer of 1648 after a momentous event had taken place in his partner’s life. On June 1st of that year the couple’s first born child, named Janneken, after Philip’s father, was baptized in the same Dutch church. Present as godparents were Philip Gerardy and his wife Marie Pollet, close friends of both the partners and the owners of the “White Horse Inn,” where genealogist de Boer suggested the parents may have made their home. The others in attendance at the ceremonies were Hester Simons and Jacob Leendertszen.
Meantimes the little ship “Love” must have had hard usage for in the summer of 1648 the Director General and Council at New Amsterdam declared it to be leaky and requiring new equipment and resheathing to be made seaworthy. This work was apparently done in the fall and with the Dutch West India Company now in full ownership, Anthony Crol was commissioned the Master.
This arrangement lasted less than two months before the same group in December, complaining that Crol had “scarcely once looked after said ship, whereby the Company’s affairs and service were greatly neglected,” dismissed him as Skipper. By the next year Crol’s dissatisfaction with the “Company” became apparent and on August 20, 1649 he appeared before Jacob Hendricksen Kip, stating that he was about to depart for “Patria” and wished to appoint Philip Gerardy as his representative to receive 155 guilders due him from Philip Jansen Ringo, who was away at the time.
Anthony Crol apparently never returned to the Colony. In April 1652 he went before a Notary in Amsterdam and stated that he was a resident there and wished to authorize Anthony Hardenbergh, who was going to New Netherlands as a free man, to collect from Philip Janszen Ringo, a free man there, the sum of 600 guilders, which was owed him under a bond from Philip Gerardy. Crol appears to have spent the rest of his life in the Netherlands.
The year 1648 was also a momentous one for the colonists. Word was received in January that the long war with Spain had been concluded and Council appointed February 1st as a day of thanks giving. Sixteen days later Ringo appeared before the Secretary of New Netherland and made deposition that he, of his own free will, was releasing Manuel, the Spaniard, from servitude and slavery. The release though, was predicated on the payment by the Spaniard of 100 guilders then and the balance of 200 over the next two years, a customary requirement.
In 1649 when the Domine of the Dutch church on Manhattan drew up his parishioners list, he considered Philip Janszen Ringo to be an old member. He also must have presided over the baptism on November 14th of his second son, Cornelis (Cornelius), named for the wife’s father. Appearing at the church as witnesses and godparents were Govert Loockersman and Marritje Jans. Loockersman was a free trader, and a free spirit with whom Ringo had frequent dealings.
In 1650 began a period of over five years during which the Ringos were away from New Amsterdam and living along the South (Delaware) River, which was a better location for his fur trading and a mid-point for coastal voyages to Virginia or New Amsterdam. It did, however, have one serious drawback in that while the territory was part of that claimed by New Netherland, a Swedish “New South Company” had transported several hundred Swedes and Finns there as early as 1638 and they were contending with the Dutch for its ownership.
To attempt to offset the encroachments, the Dutch in the summer of 1651 had established several outposts along the Delaware River, the chief of which was Fort Casimir (now Newcastle, Delaware). Another small settlement located further upstream on the Schuylkill River near where it met the Delaware was Fort Beversreede. It was from there on July 18th of the same year that Philip Janszen, as one of a group of Dutch settlers living there, wrote to their Director Pieter Stuyvesant at New Amsterdam complaining and strongly protesting against the depredations of the Swedes on their property there.
While the harassment by the Swedes continued to be stepped up, the Dutch under a monolithic government, requiring approval for any action both in New Amsterdam and Amsterdam, continued to discuss the problem without taking action. This encouraged the Swedes, who moved against Fort Casimir on Trinity Sunday, 1654. The Dutch garrison surrendered and the conquerors changed its name to Fort Trinity.
This aroused the Dutch authorities, who after lengthy conferences and preparations, finally assembled a small force of ships and citizen-soldiers, who arrived at the fort and took it on September 1, 1655. Ringo must have been actively involved in the efforts to oust the Swedes for on September 12, 1656 “Petrus Stuyvesant on behalf of their High Mightinesses the Lord States General of the United West India Company & Director General of New Netherland, Curacao, Bonayro, Aruba and the dependences thereof, together with the Noble Lords of the Council” granted to Philip Jansen Ringo, a large lot for a house and garden lying on the Delaware east of Fort Casimir and above the “Brickmaker’s Corner.”
In the meantime, Ringo had moved his wife and family back to New Amsterdam, and while he obviously continued to make trips to the Delaware, there is no evidence that he ever built on the property since he made his home in Manhattan from then on.
Records of these early days on the Delaware River area are practically nonexistent and accordingly it is not known how many children were born to the Ringos during their stay there. There could have been at least two but if so, only one would appear to have survived. This was a son, Jan, born, it is estimated, about 1652 perhaps at Fort Beversreede. He is later found in New York as Jan Philipszen, and later thought to be in New Jersey as John Ringo.
His younger brother, who appears throughout as Albertus (the Latin form of Albert) Ringo was baptized on July 9, 1656 at the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam, where the witnesses were Henrick Hendricksen, Jan Schryver and Aettie Schryvers. He was the male child of the family through whom the name survived in this country.
Philip Janazen Ringo continued to be away from home frequently but was back in New Amsterdam on May 3, 1657 when he took the Burgher’s Oath, as a resident, after explaining that he had been unable to do so sooner because of traveling. The couple’s last known child, Pieter, was baptized in New Amsterdam October 23, 1658 with Hillegond Megapolensis, wife of Cornelis Van Ruyven, as the godmother.
The father was back on the Delaware on October 26, 1659 when a company dispatch mentions him being on his yacht at Fort Amstel, the new name given to Fort Casimir, when the South River colony was taken over by the City of Amsterdam from the West India Company.
From that time until his death Philip Janszen Ringo seems to be associated with the small ship “New Netherland Indian,” which prior to 1660 had been known by the name of the “Flying Hart” (Deer). Its Skipper was Dirck Jansen Oldenburg and it appears to have been privately owned but was frequently used in the service of the West India Company, as when in 1660 it was at Esopus (Kingston) for ten days at the time of the troubles with the Esopus Indians.
It ranged far and wide and was apparently armed with some cannon to protect itself against predators. Voyages were made to Guadaloupe for sugar, to Virginia for tobacco, to Bermuda for oranges, lemons and hides, to Curacao in the Company’s service for negro slaves, and in the winter of 1661-1662, one fateful trip back to the Netherlands.
The little vessel was apparently crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the eastbound half of its journey, when Philip Janszen Ringo “fell overboard and perished and was drowned.” Word of the accident must have come from Amsterdam by other ships since the New Netherland Indian was still abroad when Martin Cregier, a merchant, on March 14, 1662 went into the Court of New Amsterdam and asked for an attachment on tobacco held by Govert Loockersmans belonging to the widow of Philip Janszen Ringo and cited a debt of longstanding as a basis for such action. The Court in its wisdom decided that no debtor should have precedence over any other and instructed Loockersmans to continue to hold any assets of the deceased until some further determination should be made.
The widow, Geertje Creles (Cornelis), appeared at the next court on Tuesday, one week later. She explained the circumstances of her husband’s death and stated that she “found herself burdened with more debts than she with all her means can pay.” She was advised to surrender to the creditors all her goods, actions and credits, so as to discharge her from the debts. Accordingly she renounced the estate and “pushes it aside with her foot” (an ancient custom in which the person literally pushes some item of the estate toward the court as a means of giving up all rights thereto). The court then appointed Martin Cregier and Govert Loockersmans as curators of the intestate estate of Philip Jansen Ringo to manage it for the advantage of the creditors.
Geertje Ringo, widowed for the second-time, was in 1662 thus faced with the prospect of fending for herself with the help of her children, the oldest of which was less than fourteen years of age. She was still alive in 1680 when she witnessed the baptism of one of her grandchildren in New York City.
Philip Janszen Ringo and Geertje Creles Cornelis had the following children:
2 i. Jannaken2 Ringo(8) was born before 1 JUN 1648.(9) She was baptized 1 JUN 1648 in New Amsterdam, New York.(10) JANNAKEN (Jannake, Jannetje, Jannetie) RINGO was baptized on June 1, 1648 at the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam with Philip Gerardy and his wife, Marie Pollet, Hester Simons and Jacob Leendertsen, as witnesses. She was the first child and daughter of Philip Janszen Ringo and Geertje Cornelis. Little is known of her or whether she survived childhood.
3 ii. Cornelis (Cornelius) Ringo(11) was born in New Amsterdam before 14 NOV 1649.(12) He was baptized 14 NOV 1649 in New Amsterdam, New York.(13) CORNELIS (Cornelius) RINGO was baptized on November 14, 1649 at the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam with Covert Loockersman and his wife, Marritje Jans, as witnesses. He was the son of Philip Janszen Ringo and Geertje Cornelis. Little is known of him or whether he survived childhood.
4 iii. Jan Philipszen Ringo(14) was born in Fort Beversreede(?) about 1652.(15) John died about 1725 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, at age unknown.(16) JAN PHILIPSZEN (John, the 1st) RINGO was probably born about 1652 when his parents, Philip Janszen Ringo and Geertje Cornelis, were living at Fort Beversreede on the Schuylkill River near its confluence with the Delaware. (This fort was located on the river bank in what is now part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania southeast of the Walt Whitman Bridge.) He apparently returned with his parents to New Amsterdam and there is irrefutable proof that he lived through boyhood and became a sailor at an early age.
He first appears in the records of New York on Thursday, June 30, 1671 at the Court of Albany, Rensselaerawyck and Schenectady, where under the name of Jan Ringo, he gave a deposition that he and Jacob Wybensz were sailors on the yacht of Pieter Jacobsz., Master, which had brought shipments there from Boston, and that they had carried all the goods of Mr. van Bael from their ship to the yacht of Luycas Andriesz.
He shows up in the records of the Court of New Amsterdam during the brief period of returned Dutch rule, when he filed suit as Jan Philipszen Ringo against Captain Martin Cregier, one of the curators of his father’s estate. He alleged that Cregier owed him florin 54; 15 for earned monthly wages as a sailor. The defendant claimed to have made the payments and after two sessions and various testimony the suit was dismissed with Ringo having to pay costs.
The only remaining record of John Ringo (the 1st), in New York is his appearance there on November 15, 1682 at the Dutch Reformed Church to act as the Godfather of Philip, first son of his brother, Albertus, and his wife, Jannetje Stoutenburg.
The remainder of John Ringo’s life becomes more difficult to chronicle and must depend on family tradition and old stories of the early days of the Amwell Valley in what is now Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
At a picnic of the Ringo-Morgan-Bryan Reunion (largely descendants of a fifth generation Ringo - Cornelius (lD2B3), held on a Sunday in mid-September 1933, your writer, attending for the first time, met and talked with a fascinating elderly lady, known to all there as Aunt Sally Ringo. She was in her 90’s, physically feeble but still of good memory and full possession of her mental capacities. Considering the fact that none of the documentation on John Ringo, shown earlier, had at that point in time been discovered, she told a remarkable story regarding him. It had, according to her, been handed down by word of mouth in the Ringo family and was this.
“John Ringo returned to the sea and about 1684 his ship anchored in a small port on the Spanish Coast. After the affairs of landing had been settled, Ringo was strolling along the seashore on-the outskirts of the small village, when suddenly he was attacked by pirates, who overpowered him. He was thrown in the bottom of a small boat and rowed out to the pirates ship. The ship, a rather small one manned only by four pirates and two negro slaves, weighed anchor and sailed toward Gibraltar.
Later the pirates attempted to get ransom money for Ringo from his ship but were unable to do so. Ringo was kept a prisoner aboard the ship, but secretly gained the confidence of the two negroes. One day the pirates cast anchor off the mainland and leaving the ship in charge of the negroes, started to row ashore. As soon as they were some distance away, the slaves released John Ringo, and under his guidance succeeded in sailing away.
Ringo and his two aides sailed down the West Coast of Africa and took on a cargo of “wild negroes.” They then turned the prow of the little vessel toward America. They reached the Carolinas, a British Colony in the southern part of North America, where they disposed of the captured negroes at a good price.
They sailed from there to New York City, where Ringo sold all the cargo that the pirates had except a heavy chest. After much trouble, he finally succeeded in opening the chest and discovered it to be full of GOLD.
He sold the ship and bought land for the two negroes, who had helped him, but he was afraid to stay in New York for fear of the pirates. He was quite well off due to his business deals and the gold was added fortune; however, Ringo realized that this treasure had been taken from people, who were murdered by the pirates and therefore determined never to use it.”
Tradition has it that he decided to settle far back in the wilds of New Jersey, miles from civilization. There he lived to a ripe old age but never during his lifetime used any of the gold, which he had found in the chest. He buried it in the deep of night and died without disclosing the hiding place because he did not want any of his family to taint their hands with this “blood money.”
Early tales of New Jersey say that when surveyors for the West Jersey Proprietors first came through this part of the country to lay out tracts, they found a John Ringo living in a log cabin at the crossing of the Indian trails, which forded the Delaware at what is now New Hope, Pennsylvania and led to Newark Bay, while the other ran from present Phillipsburg, New Jersey to the mouth of the Assunpink Creek at Trenton.
The surveyors are supposed to have had stayed with him and accepted his offer of shelter, food and drink. Later travelers to this remote area are said to have done the same. No positive records exist of his presence there but stories persist that he did. In any event he appears to have died single, and without issue, in the area of the year 1725, just as civilization began to come to the crossing of the trails, which were now becoming crude roads.
Only a few years later as the frontier of Hunterdon County began to move north and government took hold, a license was given by the new authorities to Theophilis Ketchum to keep an inn and “tap” at the same crossroads. This venture was cut short by his death, and interestingly enough Philip Ringo (1D2), nephew and Godson of John Ringo, gave up a lucrative business as a miller in Hopewell, some eight miles south, and moved to the same crossroads, where he set up a tavern opposite Ketchum’s former stand.
Nearly thirty years later Philip Ringo was succeeded as the tavernkeeper at this location by his son, John Ringo, the 2nd (1D2D), which caused great confusion amongst later day Jersey historians, who melded many of the stories of both Johns (including that of the buried gold) into a single John Ringo, who was supposed to have lived to the age of one hundred and twenty years.
Dr. C. W. Larison, a local historian, wrote of the composite John Ringo frequently in his own quaint phonetic spelling in the periodicals “Amwell” and “Ringos.”
“What was the business ov the man or upon what he livd, no man telz. Mentioningz ov him made me believ that he waz a quick-wited fellow, above the average in mentality and wel-formed az to anatomic elementz—an athlete—a sagacious man—bold, daring, cool, deliberate, and wel-pozzest ov the belief that he was wel able to take care ov John Ringo in any company in which John Ringo might happen to be.”
“Az late az fifty years ago, the air, hereabout, waz ful ov the adventures, the doings and the saying ov John Ringo, the first. The oldest citizens ov this place, when in 1863 I came here to liv, told stories ov him, hiz adventures, and talks ov him az any one would ov a man with whom he waz wel acquainted, tho he had died long yearz before they were born.”
6 v. Pieter Philipszen Ringo(18) was born in New Amsterdam before 23 OCT 1658.(19) Pieter died after 1674 at age unknown.(20) He was baptized 23 OCT 1658 in New Amsterdam, New York.(21) PIETER PHILIPSZEN RINGO, the last known child of Philip Janszen Ringo and Geertje Cornelis, was baptized October 23, 1658 at the Dutch Reformed Church at New Amsterdam. Hillegond Megapolensis, wife of Cornelis Van Ruyven, as witness and Godmother. He lived to, at least, young manhood for on September 4, 1674 as “Pieter Philipszen,” along with Hendrick Gabriellsen, another sailor, appeared in the proceedings of the Court of New Amsterdam, suing John Thompson, skipper of the “Galiot” for an order requiring the master to pay them their monthly wages. The court, in its wisdom, ordered both parties “to conduct themselves on both sides as they ought to” and told the plaintiffs that they “shall return on board (the ship) to complete their voyage” or that they should supply two other sailors to take their places. Pieter was not yet sixteen years of age at the time. No more is known of his life or death, but it has been determined that the Pieter Ringo found at a later date in the Netherlands is not the same person.