Charles Lang Freer’s Ancestry

Information given below comes from: The Freer Family, Volume I (1968) and

Volume II (1993) published by The Huguenot Historical society, New Paltz, N.Y., Inc.

(This information has been contributed by Terri Wilson, our Freer Huguenot Researcher, Thanks Terri!)

To Hugo the Patentee and 2nd wife Jannetje was born son Jean b. 4-16-1682 at Marbletown, m. Kingston 1704 Rebekka Van Wagenen b. 4-11-1685, dau. of Jacob Aartsen Van Wagenen and Sarah Pels. He sold his share in the Paltz Patent in 1713 for 80 pounds, and moved to Kingston. Probably died at Wagondale. He had 8 ch ildren. Gerritt was the 3rd.

Gerritt b. 9-23-1711 Kingston, M. 11-1-1735 Elizabeth Van Vliet, dau. of Arie Van Vliet and Grietje Masten. Had six children, Jan was the 4th. Jan bp. Kingston 3-15-1747, d. 12-27-1817, m. Lydia van Vliet bp. 11-8-1741, d. 4-11-1818, dau. of William Van Vliet and Sarah Van Keuren. Three children, Gerritt was the first. Gerritt, b. 1768 d. 2-22-1827, married at Kingston 1786 Gerretje Van Vliet, b. 1763, d. 1845. Eight children, Jan was the third. Jan b. Kingston 3-29-1793, d. 12-2-1866, married 1813 at New Paltz Dina h Roosa, b. 1793, d. 1873. He was a farmer. Built stone house at Esopus 1826. Owned the Eddyville Ferry. Had ten children, Jacob was the 3rd. Jacob Roosa Freer, b. 8-4-1819, d. 12-8-1875, married at Hyde Park 1201845 Phoebe Townsend, b. 1826, d. 1868. His tombstone gives dates as b. 8-20-1818, d. 12-7-1875. Eight children, Charles was the 4th. Charles Lang Freer b. 2-25-1854, d. 9-25-1919 at Detroit and never married.

The most widely renowned descendant of Hugo Freer is Charles Lang Freer. He was a capitalist, philanthropist, and above all, art patron. Delightful character sketches are to be found in art histories and belles lettres in any good library. We confine our biographical notes to the obituary from the Kingston Leader and the Merrill Palmer News. "When a young man, Charles L. Freer, who was employed at the offices of the Rondout and Oswego Railroad, went to Detroit with Frank L. Hecker, who had been the superintendent of the road, and together they went into the railway service business and manufacturing, being principals in the Michigan Peninsular Car Works, and both attained great wealth. In recent years, Mr. Freer became president of the Parke, Davis Co., manufacturers of druggists' and physicians' supplies. He was a connoisseur of art, and his collection of paintings and panels were considered the finest in the country, especially his Whistlers. He made a present of his art collection to the Smithsonian Institute at Wash ington, D. C. and also $1,000,000 for a building in which they are to be placed on exhibition for the benefit of the people of the United States". Since 1921, his home at 71 East Ferry Avenue has been the site of the Merrill Palmer School for the st udy of human development and family life. This architectural gem of the 1890's is described as follows: " Many a story is extant about the meticulous habit of Mr. Freer as man and art collector. As an architect, the builder of his house Wilson Eyre of Philadelphia, was a match for him. A phrase he used in specifications, "to the satisfaction of the architect", aroused terror and the defence of higher bidding among contractors. Like Freer himself, Eyre was an individualist and a perfectionist in his art. Most of Eyre's domestic architecture is to be seen in the environs of Philadelphia. The Freer house is his only Detroit work. Its essentially contemporary look, some 70 years after it was built in 1890, its distinguished appearance at a time when a renaissance in American architecture has made so many buildings of its time appear outmoded, speaks well for Eyre and for Freer's acumen in choosing an architect. Added to the demands of architect and client was another difficulty. Besides Eyre's preoccupation with texture and craftsmanship, Freer's love of his home town, Kingston, New York was to be reckoned with. The stone used in the Freer house is said to have been quarried from the old Freer Farm near Kingston The famous building stone of that region is so hard that Det roit stone masons could not work it. Accordingly, men who could had to be imported from Ulster County along with the stone. The Freer Gallery in Washington with its outstanding collection of Whistler and of Oriental art, and its choice library, is in its elf the best biography of the man. He is buried in Wiltwyck Cemetery, Kingston.