BREESE-L ArchivesArchiver > BREESE > 1998-03 > 0890844182
From: MABII <>
Subject: Re: some links to breese pages
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 11:43:02 EST
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Attached to this e-mail is my Bresee family background, not the Breese you are
looking for. If you can link this to your study, please let me know.
THE BRESEE FAMILY
Bresees in France
The name Bresee has not always been spelled as it is today. The
family was originally French and their name was spelled de Bressoc.
They were a large family and lived in France as Protestant
There is a Brissac Chateau, in the town of Brissac, France, which
may represent the early members of our family. It was built in
1455 by Pierre de Breze, minister to Charles VII and Louis XI. The
castle was bought by Rene de Cosse, Count of Brissac, who was one
of the leaders of the League, the catholic party which supported
the Guises in the 16th Century. In 1594, as Governor of Paris, he
handed the keys of the city to Henry IV, who had just converted to
the Roman Church and was encamped outside the city. In gratitude
the king raised him to a dukedom (see cover page and map).
The Huguenot revolt against the established Catholic Church began
in 1520 when the people began to read the Bible for the first time.
The Bible was printed in French and secretly circulated. It was
then a capital offense to read the Bible as this was reserved
exclusively for the Clergy who must in turn explain it to the
parishioners. To read the Bible meant decapitation or burning at
the stake and the prisoners property confiscated. However, when
the people began to read the Bible for themselves they were shaken
by the difference between the practices of the Church and doctrine
expounded in the New Testament. Calvin fed the revolt by printing
the Bibles in Switzerland and smuggling them into France. The de
Bressocs, who as Huguenots, were of the new class as self-reliant
burgers, businessmen and artisans who had education, money and
their own new creed. The mass of the people were illiterate
peasants, brutalized and jealous.
At the death of her husband, Henry II, Catherine de Medici became
the power behind the throne of France for 42 years. It was she who
began the persecution of the Huguenots aided by the Clergy and the
The Huguenots first fought with their faith and then with their
armies. In 1598 Henry IV guaranteed their rights by the Edict of
Nantes. However the effect was only temporary and the persecution
began again. When the Edict of Nantes was finally revoked by Louis
XIV in 1685 the persecution was intensified and 50,000 Huguenots
fled the country under penalty of death to Belgium, England and
Holland. It is believed that the main body of the de Bressoc
family fled at this time to both England and Holland. The name of
the family then began to change because of the many phonetic
spellings that took place.
Page 1 of 5
The Immigrant Ancestor
The immigrant ancestor, Christopher Bresee, already had moved to
America prior to the revoking of the Edict of Nantes, probably in
the year of 1666. Where Christopher Bresee and Christina Klaussen
were married is not known. However five of their children were
born in Albany County, New York prior to the 1685 date.
By the time Christopher and Christina and their families were
settled in America, other Bresees from Holland and England began to
arrive and settle in Massachusetts and the New York areas. The de
Bressoc name and its variations continued to change. It appears
that many of the early families were illiterate and were forced to
rely on Clerks of the Courts and Churches to record their name.
These Clerks spelled the name phonetically which accounts for the
different spellings that occurred within an immediate family. This
is most noticeable in the family of Christopher Bresee and
Christina Klaussen in the late 1600's where the following spellings
occur for their children's family name: Bresie, Breis, Brusey,
Bressie. As time went on Brazie and Brase were added. However, as
the years went by the family learned to write and the name was
finally spelled Bresee. This was noticed in the estate settlement
of Christopher Bresee of West Stockbridge, Mass. in 1790. The
Clerk spelled his name Brase in the document whereas the heirs
signed their names Bresee in acknowledgement.
Christopher and Christina first came to Salem, Mass., then to
Albany County, New York. Later they moved to Ruephian Kill near
Livingston Manor, Columbia Co., New York, on the Hudson River.
If the Bresee family had been wealthy in their native France, it is
evident that their money was gone when they reached America, for
Christopher Bresee made an agreement with Jan Van Loon for the
lease of a farm called Loonenburgh (now Athens, New York) on March
11, 1684. This probably was not renewed, for Jan Van Loon sold
some property (600 acres) to Robert Livingston and the section
became known as Livingston Manor. The property was expanded and
ultimately contained 160,240 acres. It extended about twelve miles
along the Hudson River from what is now Trivoli, to the southern
line of Rensaelaerwyck.
Our branch of the family lived for nearly a hundred years in and
near Livingston Manor, N.Y. as tenant farmers, a system resembling
the old feudal system in England. Finally, after a fight, members
of the family went over to Bershire County, Mass. and bought
considerable land from the Indians.
Page 2 of 5
Andrew Bresee of Livingston Manor
It was during this period that Andrew (Andries) Bresee was born,
abt. 1683. With his wife, Elizabeth Claw, they lived in the
Livingston Manor area for many years. It was their son,
Christopher Bresee, with his wife, Agnes Rossman, who moved to
Massachusetts and became embroiled in the land controversy between
Massachusetts and New York.
Christopher Bresee and Agnes Rossman
West Stockbridge, Mass.
In 1753 Christopher Bresee, who was born January 26, 1709 (another
Christopher was born June 15, 1707 from the parents Nicholas Bresee
and Catarina Bont and Dr. Bangs uses this line in error in his book
on Phineas F. Bresee) and wife, Agnes Rossman, with his brother,
Hendrick Bresee and wife Elizabeth Schurtz, lived west of Sheffield
on Mount Washington in the disputed area called the Gore. It was
a strip of land between the boundaries of Massachusetts and New
York that both claimed.
The New York colony had made a grant to certain Dutchmen of New
York for the same lands that the Massachusetts Bay Colony granted
to the English, known as the Patent of Westenbook (the New York
Colony's name for the Housantonic River). The Dutch claimed the
territory as far east as the Housantonic River. This land between
the Housantonic and Hudson Rivers was in dispute for nearly a
On May 7,1757 a party of men from Livingston Manor, New York pulled
down and burned the buildings of six families including those of
brothers Christopher and Hendrick Bresee. This may have been done
for the lack of payment of rent. After the burning most of the
families moved and settled on the easterly side of the Taconic
Range. Christopher and Hendrick Bresee came to West Stockbridge,
Mass. where in 1766 Christopher purchased land from the Indian,
Mhtocksin, on the uppermost banks of the Seekonk River (now Alford
Brook) that extended south and east. In 1785 Hendrick died to be
followed by Christopher in 1789.
John C. Bresee
Delaware Co., New York
The probate of Christopher Bresee's estate shows his death in 1789
in West Stockbridge, Bershire Co., Mass. His heirs, including John
C. Bresee, acknowledge by signing the probate document.
Page 3 of 5
From the book The Remarkable Records of the Reverend Gideon
Bostwick we learn that Reverend Bostwick ministered to the people
of Bershire Co., Mass. where Christopher and Agness had moved about
1757. Bostwick's baptismal records show the children of John C.
Bresee and wife Elizabeth which include a Jeremiah who was christen
on July 4, 1779 in Gt. Barrington, Bershire Co., Mass. It appears
that John C. had at least 6 children in Mass. before moving to
Hillsdale, New York, where he had 3 more before moving west to
Delaware Co., NY with his brother Andrew.
Davenport,Delaware Co., New York
In 1794 Jeremiah and his brother Christopher I. purchased Lot 34 of
Fitch's Patent in Davenport, NY, a former holding of John Jacob
To settle the estate of Jeremiah Brezie of Davenport, NY, Letters
of Administration were granted to Melinda Brezee, his widow, and
Stephen Olmstead (who's wife was a Bresee) and was recorded in
April 1827. It has been suggested that Stephen may have been
LDS records establish the family of Jeremiah and Melinda in
Davenport. There was a Phineas P. child born in 1806 to this
family. The question is was this Jeremiah the father of Phineas
Philips Bresee, who in turn was the father of the minister, Phineas
Phineas Philips Bresee
Franklin, Delaware Co. NY
Phineas Philips Bresee's death certificate shows he was born in
December 1812. The book A Prince in Israel has Phineas Philips
Bresee born in 1813 in Schoharie Co., New York and not in Davenport
as suggested above. The book also states that he was raised by his
Aunt, his father's sister, who had married a Phineas Philips and
who named the child after her husband. Schoharie Co. is east of
Delaware Co. and is where Tunis Bresee and his wife Lena Benn
Page 4 of 5
Because of the discrepancy as to the place and date of birth for
Phineas Philips Bresee, additional work is needed to prove that
Jeremiah of Davenport was his blood father. It would also be
interesting to determine who was the aunt that raised him.
Dr. Phineas F. Bresee
Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Carl Bangs book Phineas F. Bresee, His Life in Methodism, The
Holiness Movement, and The Church of the Nazarene has a collection
of genealogical works that support the above line, subject to the
minor error noted above. Therefore there is a very good chance
that the above line is correct.
Ernest Hebbard Bresee
Los Angeles, CA
E.H., as he was known by the family, graduated from the Simpson
Centenary College. He and his brothers, Melvin Arthur and Phineas
Wright, started the Bresee Brother's Mortuary in 1892, by beginning
as lumber merchants who manufactured coffins. They were active
Masons and were often on the newspaper society page. The brothers
remained Methodists but did attend their father's Nazarene church.
Phineas Johnson Bresee
Los Angeles, CA
E.H. had two children, the first was Rebecca from his first wife
Elma Reed, and Phineas Johnson Bresee, from his second wife Grace
Johnson. P.J. was the second generation management for the
mortuary, Past High Priest for his Masonic lodge and a great lover
of model trains. He pasted on to his son his collection of Lionel
trains and 1.5" scale model train equipment at the LA Live Steamers
in Griffith Park.
Melvin Arthur Bresee II
Los Angeles, CA
P.J. had two children, Jane and Melvin who both graduated from USC.
Mel became a commercial banker after a brief employment in the
family mortuary. After 28 years in the industry, corporate
downsizing and mergers required a change in his career. In 1996,
he was enjoying the success of his wife Virginia and their two
children, Catherine Jane and Phineas Scott.
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