Margaret Mattice

ID # 1433, (1759-)
BirthMargaret Mattice was born on 11 May 1759. 
MarriageShe married Adam Vrooman, son of Jacob Vrooman and Rachel Van Woert
NoteA brief story of Margaret Mattice Vrooman is told on page 164 of the Vrooman Family book. It is said that Col. James Vrooman spoke of his mother Margaret Mattice and how she had been taken prisoner. It goes on to say that she was rescued by his father, Adam Vrooman, and that they were married.

This story is further elaborated in The Mattice Family History, Rex G. Mattice, 1961. Hendrick Mattice and Maria Magdelena Ingoldt are named as the parents of Margarath Depeyster Mattice (see pages 568 & 569) and the story is told (see page 734) that Hendrick's fourth daughter, Margaret Depeyster Mattice, was made a prisoner on August 9, 1780, the same date her father was supposed to have gone to Canada of his own accord. The story goes on to tell that at the age of 21 she was sold into slavery in Canada to one or more Indians and that Adam Vrooman, who had known her in Schoharie, purchased her freedom with a few 'pocket trinkets' and that they were married.

If the above story is true, we do not know what caused Margaret to be taken prisoner and used in such a manner. She may have covered for her father's escape in the face of his persecutors. The American Revolution was in many respects a civil war. Thomas B. Allen's book Tories makes this plain and is an interesting, if grim, view of the conflict.

Another source for this story appears in the 1889 Chapman Bros. Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson County, Iowa. A transcription is available from IowaGenWeb and, essentially, the same tale is told. This is to be found under the biography of Henry Haner, the husband of Charlotte Vrooman. The story in this source is garbled (there are several problems), Margaret and her family being presented as Jacksons and not with the name Mattice.

We may take the Mattice Family History to be definitive on this point. See page 323, headed Church Records. It reads:

St. Paul's Ch. Vol. 1, pg. 37
1759 born May 11: Margareth, dau. of Henrich Matthes & Maria Madelena (Ingold). Sponsors Anton Widmer and his wife.

The Mattice book questions Hendrick Mattice's Loyalist passion, and on page 568, it tells how his 6th child, Maria Magdalena, married David Brass and that she made a claim for 200 acres as the wife of David Brass. (This is apparently the same David Brass who was a lieutenant in Butler's Rangers.)

Here, we have a bit more to work with, for there is clear documentation showing Maria (Mary) as having petitioned for a grant as the daughter of a Loyalist. (See C-1620 images 398-406). The documentation is spread out from 1797 to 1818, the latter having to do with survey fees, but included is a reference penned at Kingston on September 29th, 1797, by a Richard Cartwright. He certifies that Henry Mathise, father of Mrs. Mary Brass, formerly resided at 'Schohary', and later served in Col. Butler's Rangers at Niagara. (Note that other pages in the documentation clearly identify Mary's maiden name as Mattice. They also identify her with the full name of Mary Magdalin Brass and her husband as David Brass.)

With this, it's clear enough that whatever was the attitude of Hendrick Mattice with the Revolution at the outbreak of the war, whether by choice or by force of events, he was a soldier for the British cause in Butler's Rangers.

Certainly several Mattice family connections were in Butler's Rangers. See, Roster of Butler's Rangers, which is taken from a 1900 article by A.H. Van Dusen in New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. It shows the following members of the Rangers with the name Mattice: Henry, Abraham, Adam, Nicholas, John and William. All these names appear in Early Ontario Settlers, A Source Book, Norman K. Crowder, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1993. This is in large measure a transcription of the victualing lists of the British Army in Upper Canada from 1783 to 1786.

Given the baptism record mentioned, and the story with which we are presented in the Mattice Family History, and the confirmation that we receive in the petition for land of Margaret's presumed sister, and the story told by Col. James Vrooman, Margaret Depeyster Mattice Vrooman, we may safely say, is the daughter of Hendrick Mattice.

Also that Margaret was the daughter of a Loyalist, we can be in no doubt. See Library and Archives Canada (LAC) microfilm reel C-14027, Volume 6, page 85. Here, both Adam and Margaret appear, though on separate lines. For Margaret, it simply states:
Margaret Vrooman - daughter of a Ranger obtained a certificate for 200 acres.
This is for the Nassau District and is dated 1794.

Then on Archives of Ontario microfilm reel MS81 volume 50, page 56, Land Assigns, we find both Adam and Margaret, again on separate lines. She is shown as the daughter of a Loyalist U.E. and she is to receive lot 20 of the second concession of Gainsborough Township. This is dated 30 August, 1794. (Adam receives lot 20 on the 1st concession of the same township. Gainsborough township is in the Niagara Peninsula - presently part of the Niagara Region. Gainsborough includes the villages of Wellandport, Bismark, and St. Ann's.) Unfortunately, and unlike the documentation we have for her sister Maria Magdalena Brass, Margaret's father's name is not given. It may be that a petition to the old Quebec Land Board still exists, one which shows that Margaret's claim to 200 acres is based on her claim as the daughter of an enrolled United Empire Loyalist and then goes on to provide us with his name. Still, as mentioned above, we are on safe ground stating that Margaret's father was indeed Hendrick Mattice.

At this point, a bit of history.

During the War of 1812, Niagara Town was destroyed by fire by American forces and land records for the Niagara District were destroyed with it. After the war, commissioners went around to property holders to confirm ownership and their efforts were recorded in two volumes. A modern edition can be found in Commissioners' Books, A Reconstruction of Land Records Destroyed in the War of 1812, Mayholme Foundation, publication 0019, 2012. Keep in mind that this was all post-War of 1812, though, evidently, something called a Patent Book must have survived, for it is referred to for original patents as they appear in the Abstract Indexes. After these original patents, there is a break where we then pick up the current owner of the property (post War of 1812) based on their own documentation. The commissioners entered these records in two volumes. (Note that the Mayholme book is a precise of the transactions. The full commissioners' books' documentation can be found on microfilm GSU170143. This is useful to view as the handwriting for the name Vrooman is mistranscribed in the Mayholme book.)

Here we jump to Abstract Index records (see microfilm GSU170114 Grimsby & Gainsborough Abstract Indexes.) Bear in mind that the Abstract Index books were not made up until 1867 in response to a law of the day. At the best of times, though generally useful, the Abstract Indexes can cause confusion and we certainly run into this with the Gainsborough records. Abstract Index information is missing for lots 19, 20, and 21 on the 1st concession. This at first seems to preclude any information we may find for Adam Vrooman's grant, however we find Adam's grant as being Broken Front lot 22. This will be the missing concession one and along the Chippawa Creek/Welland River.

Lot 20 on the 2nd concession does not mention Margaret at all, but shows the lot as being granted to Adam Vrooman in 1798. Again, a patent book is referred to.

Here, however, we get some information in the Abstract Index that is probably correct, for it then shows Adam Vrooman, in a transaction dated 1823, selling the property to a Jacob Reece. Note that in 1823, Adam Vrooman, sergeant of Butler's Rangers, Loyalist, is dead some 13 years. The grantor in this case can only be his son, Adam Vrooman Jr.

Also, and to muddy our vision of just what happened, bear in mind that this was originally assigned by the Crown to Margaret Vrooman. Was Adam Vrooman Jr. selling the property on his own behalf? Possibly. We know that Adam's father, Adam Vrooman the Loyalist, was long dead. Was Margaret, at this point, dead as well? It's evident that Margaret's son Arents had independent funds, possibly from his patrimony, when he purchased lot 4 of the 1st concession in Beverly in 1811. The Gainsborough property mentioned above may have been Adam Vrooman Jr's allottment of the family's inheritance, or he may have been selling the property on behalf of family members.

A further historic note with at least some relevance: Prior to the burning of Niagara Town, the public buildings at York (Toronto) were burned by American forces under General Dearborn. Numbers of private buildings were damaged and looted. At the time, Thomas Ridout was the Surveyor-General, and he somehow prevailed upon General Dearborn to let him get away the surveyors' papers before the destruction. He managed to gain a pass for this from General Dearborn and this appears in the Ridout Papers on MS537 reel 1 F 43-1-153, dated 29 April, 1813: A Letter from General H. Dearborn, Headquarters, York, to Thomas Ridout, Surveyor General of Upper Canada. Ridout must have been persuasive, for stories have Dearborn in ill-humour. 200 of his soldiers had been killed or wounded when they entered Fort York just as the British detonated the powder magazine. Considering all else that is available to us today, Ridout got away with more than the surveyors' papers. It would appear that historians and genealogists owe Ridout a great deal.

So far as Margaret Mattice is concerned, this brings us to a series of microfilm reels known as the Township Papers. The Township papers are set out by concession and lot numbers. Each of these appears in a folder and some, not all, contain the surveyor's page which describes the township lot and has annotated the name of the person to whom the lot has been granted and, often, with the name of the Loyalist upon whom the claim is based. For example, Margaret's daughter Rachel Vrooman Skinner, received for her claim as the daughter of Adam Vrooman, sergeant of Butler's Rangers, lot 2 of the 4th concession of King Township. Indeed, the surveyor's page is the only piece of paper appearing in that folder. The Township Papers folder for C2-L20 in Gainsborough also has the surveyor's page describing the lot and Margaret Vrooman's name is entered thereon. The paper was foxed and deteriorated at the time of microfilming, but it's clear enough that only her name appears upon it and that of no one else. See MS658 reel 153.

A Patent Book for Gainsborough has been found. This appears on MS1 reel 2 and is at the end of the reel. It's entirely unhelpful in that it shows concession 2, lot 20 of Gainsborough as being assigned to Adam Vrooman & Wife. Her name doesn't get a mention, but it is probably the reason that in later years the Abstract Index for this lot was made up showing Adam as the patent holder.

When the government of Upper Canada was moved from Newark (later known as Niagara Town and still later Niagara-on-the-Lake) to York by John Graves Simcoe, the Surveyor General's office moved with it and this would have included such documentation as surveyor's pages and patent books.

The one other item of note that we may mention with regard to Margaret Mattice Vrooman is that the Mattice history tells us that after Adam Vrooman's death she married Adam Brown. A search for such a record has been made, but nothing has been found to confirm or deny this. No record for Margaret's death or burial has been found.

Rex Mattice in his 1961 work, The Mattice Family History, must have had some sources for Margaret, for he provides us with a baptism date, 11 May, 1759. He does not, however, provide us with a date or location for a second marriage such as he states was to Adam Brown. There is room for confusion here, as it is evident in the Upper Canada Land Petitions (see C-1624 Niagara 1818, Mary Mattice Brown, Vol. 39, bundle B 11, petition 99) a Mary Mattice was married to an Adam Brown of Niagara and that she petitioned the crown for land based on her being the daughter of a Loyalist. She, however, names her father as William Mattice. 

Children of Margaret Mattice and Adam Vrooman

Last Edited27 Oct 2018