First Low Dutch Settlers of Kentucky

First Low Dutch
Settlers of Kentucky

Early records show names of Dutchmen nearly 20 years before Kentucky became a state and 7 years before the Duree and Banta groups of the Low Dutch Company made their way to the frontier. Many shared common ancestors who had arrived in New Netherland in the 1600s. Dozens of Dutch families followed between 1780 and 1800.


HITE:  Isaac, Abraham and Abraham Jr. As early as 1773. Allied Dutch families of Eltinge and Van Meter.

HOAGLAND:  Cornelius by 1780.

KUYKENDALL:  Moses. By 1780.

SWEARINGEN:  Van, Thomas and Benoni. By 1780.

VAN CLEAVE:  Aaron, Benjamin, Jane (wife of Squire Boone), John, and William. Probably at Boonesborough as early as 1775.

VAN METER:  Abraham and Jacob. Abraham by 1775. Jacob by 1780.


Samuel Duree, from Shephedstown, Berkeley Co., VA, and Hendrick Banta, Sr., from Conewago, York Co., PA., led the 1780 migrations to Kentucky in two separate groups.

In March 1779 Samuel Duree, from Shepherstown, Berkeley Co., VA, went to Kentucky with a scouting party which included:

William Morgan
Ralph Morgan
Thomas Swearingen
Benoni Swearingen
John Taylor
John Strode
George M. Bedinger
John Constant

In spite of difficulites with the Indians, 56 year old Samuel joined the Swearingen company from Boonesborough later that spring to make land claims. The company which was probably led by Capt. Holder included:

Thomas Swearingen
Benoni Swearingen
John Holder
William Morgan
Ralph Morgan
George M. Bedinger
Joseph Donather
John Constant
John Taylor

On May 5, 1779 Samuel Duree claimed the place he wanted as a mill seat on upper Muddy Creek and another further up the creek which he called DeBan's (DeBaun) Run after his son-in-law. Duree told Thomas Swearingen that he planned to take up the Muddy Creek lands for the Low Dutch Company. They spent the spring and summer there raising corn and Duree returned to his Shepherdstown settlement in the fall.

THE DUREE GROUP:  This group consisted of the following families and single men:

Samuel Duree:  led the first group of families and single men for a total of about 30 persons from Sheperdstown, Berkeley County, Virginia over the Wilderness Road - Cumberland Gap route arriving at White Oak Springs Station in Kentucky in March of 1780. His wife, Weintje Banta, was the sister of Hendrick 'Father Henry' Banta.

Peter Duree:

Henry Duree:

Peter Cosart:

Frederick Ripperdan:

John Bullock:

Cornelius Bogart:

David Banta:   Note:  David was killed by Indians at Powell Valley, VA.

Single Men:

Daniel Duree:

Albert Duree:

Albert Voris:

John Voris:

Daniel Banta

Peter Banta:

THE BANTA GROUP:  The following families and single men were in this party:

Hendrick Banta, Sr.:  Known as 'Father Henry Banta' led the group from Conewago, York County, Pennsylvania over the Appalachian Mountains to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) late in 1779. In the spring they traveled the Ohio River route arriving at the Falls in March or April 1780. This group numbered at least 75 persons 1/2 of which were children age 12 or under.

Abraham Banta:

Albert Banta:

Simon Van Arsdale:

Samuel Demaree, Sr.

Peter Demaree:

John Demaree:

Gerardus Riker:

John Westerfield:

Christopher Westerfield:

Sophia Voris:

Catharine Dorland:

Single Men:

Henry Banta:

John Banta:

Cornelius Banta:

Jacob Banta:

John Demaree:

Samuel Demaree:

Samuel Demaree:

Jacob Demaree:

John Riker:

Samuel Westerfield:

James Voris:

John Voris:

Francis Voris:

Cornelius Voris:

Luke Voris:

John Dorland:

Lambert Dorland:

Abraham Brewer:

Notes and Sources

Note: Page 4 of Vince Akers' The Low Dutch Company was used to compile the list of men in the two Low Dutch Company groups.

Akers, Vincent; The Low Dutch Company : a history of the Holland Dutch settlements of the Kentucky frontier; Bargersville, IN 6683 W. Division Rd., Bargersville 46106; 1982.

Cartmell, T. K.; Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants; 1909.

Collins, Lewis and Richard H.; History of Kentucky; Covington, Kentucky; 1874.

Demarest, Rev. Dr.; "History of the Low Dutch Colony of Conowago". Typescript and mimeograph edition originally published as a series in the Gettysburg Star beginning Jan. 1884.; The Gettysburg Times; 1925.

Durie, Howard I.; The Durie Family. Jean Durier of the Huguenot Colony in Bergen County New Jersey and Some of his Duree, DuRee, Durie, DuRie and Duryea Descendants; Pomona, New York; 1985.

Holland Society; Records of the Reformed Dutch Churches of Hackensack and Schraalengurgh, New Jersey, With the Registers of Members, Marriages, Baptisms, and the Consistories, to the beginning of the Nineteenth Century.; printed for the Society 1891.

Honeyman, A. Van Doren; "The Conewago Colony Baptisms 1769-1793". Somerset County Historical Quarterly Volume IV; 1915.

Jillson, Willard Rouse; Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds; Baltimore, 1969.

Jones, Henry Z., Jr.; The Palatine Familes of New York; Universal City, California, 1985.

Kuykendall, George Benson; History of the Kuykendall Family; 1919.

Pecquet du Bellet, Louise; Some Prominent Virginia Families ; Lynchburg, Virginia, 1907.

Smyth, Samuel Gordon; A Genealogy of the Duke-Shepherd-Van Metre Family; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; 1909.

Spraker, Hazel Atterbury; Boone Family; 1922.

Swearingen, Henry Hartwell; Family Historical Register; Washington, 1884.

Van Metre, Frances C.; A Van Metre Family Record; 1934.

Weaner, Arthur; Taxables. The Low Dutch Settlement of the Conewago York County, Pa. 1762-1799; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; 1983. And Volume II, 1984.

Willis, Geo. L.; History of Shelby County, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky; 1929.

Wisda, Georgia Gosney; Gosney Family Records; Corydon, Indiana; 1940.

Although every effort has been made to be accurate, please consult the original source cited.

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