Now it is time to look at my husband's spooky heritage!
All of you know the story of Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman.
Sleepy Hollow is a real place in the town of Tarrytown, in Westchester County, New York. Every time we would drive by it during our frequent road trips from Delaware, home to Massachusetts, I wanted desperately to go see it. Why? Not just morbid curiosity about whether or not there is a headless horseman, but also that unceasing interest in genealogy!
My husband's ancestors, who would have been contemporaries of Washington Irving and the inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow on whom characters may have been based, are:
Johannis Yerxa, 5th-great-grandfather, born before October 8, 1751 in Tarrytown, baptized in the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow on October 8, 1751. Died June 11, 1828 at Keswick Ridge, York County, New Brunswick.
His parents were Abraham Jurckse and Engeltje Storm (descendant of Dirck Storm, whose book chronicles early life in the area), who were married on October 24, 1750 in Tarrytown (this marriage is recorded in the first record book of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow).
As Washington Irving was a visitor to Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow in 1798, he may have met Johannis, or his mother Engeltje, or any of Johannis's siblings (my husband's distant cousins).
Washington Irving's story is a part of the American subconscious; I can't help but feel a little thrill when I hear of or pass by Sleepy Hollow, New York.
I know that when I finally visit the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground, where the Yerxas and Storms, and other ancestors of my husband are buried, I will remember that this is not far from the area where the final events of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow occurred.
May the idea be as thrilling in the future as it is to me now.