Freese Family of Medina County, Ohio


The genealogy of the Freese family which settled in Brunswick, Medina County, Ohio in the early 1800s isn't very clear to me. I've created this web page in the hopes that others may be able to correct the information so that we can achieve a definitive understanding of all the relationships. Much of the information here is speculative, especially for the earlier generations, although apparently family bibles verifying the information did exist at one time. Their whereabouts are now unknown.

In 1817 Bill Williams Freese Sr. settled in Brunswick along with his brothers John and Abram. Both Abram and Bill surveyed the land around what would become Brunswick and Hinckley for landowners in Massachusetts. They became so enamored of the area they decided to move there.

The Freese family was of Dutch descent -- perhaps ultimately from Friesland -- and among the first to settle Lunenburgh (later Athens), New York before moving to Lee, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. The first person surnamed Freese whom we know for sure was related to the Freeses of Brunswick, Medina County, Ohio was John Freese, born 1741. The parentage of this John Freese is not known for certain. From the Lee, Massachusetts town death records we know that John Freese was born in 1741. Mary Freese Warrell suggested John was the son of Jacob Freese and Rebecca Van Loon, since they had a son John born in that year. An old Dutch bible which was in the hands of members of the Freese family a hundred years ago, and whose whereabouts are now unknown, apparently gave Jacob and Rebecca as parents of the John who married Desire.

John Freese and Dorothy Carr

Fannie Freese, granddaughter of Abram Freese who married Melissa Deming (see below), writes that John Freese was an immigrant from Holland, settling in Salisbury, Massachusetts. He married Dorothy Carr in 1696. They had two children.

Fannie Freese also quotes L. S. Rowland, for many years pastor of the Congregational Church in Lee, Berkshire County, Massachusetts as saying: "With true Dutch thrift and foresight -- they brought with them their mahagony coffins and satin grave-clothes." and "They were large landowners -- their land extending from Cornhill to Beartown Mountain."

At this time there does not seem to be any evidence that John Freese and Dorothy Carr were the parents of the Jacob Freese who married Rebecca Van Loon.

Jacob Freese and Rebecca Van Loon

Jacob Freese and Rebecca Van Loon married November 14, 1740, probably in Albany, New York. Rebecca was born to Jan Van Loon and Rebecca Halenbek (Hallenbeck, Hollenbeck) on February 18, 1719. Rebecca may have been Jacob's second wife. I do not know the name of his first wife, nor whether they had any children.

Jacob and Rebecca had the following children, according to an old Dutch Bible quoted in Mrs. Warrell's book Freese families in America:

Jacob Freeze died April 19, 1789. Rebecca died February 14, 1799. The spellings Freese and Freeze were interchangeable, as were other such as Vries, Frees, Freeze, and Fries.

John Freese and Desire Williams

The immediate ancestors of the Freeses who moved to Brunswick, Medina County, Ohio were John Freese and Desire Williams. John married Desire in 1762. Desire's name was probably pronounced "Dez'-er-ray". The Williams family was prominent in Berkshire Country, giving their name to a river (the Williams River), a town (Williamstown), and a school (Williams College). Williams was a middle name for several of John and Desire's descendants. Lee was also the home of my ancestors Samuel and Sarah Partridge Tillotson before they moved to Brunswick.

Desire may have been the daughter of John and Mary Williams, whose daughter Desire was christened in Sheffield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts on June 2, 1742. Alternatively she may have been the daughter of Solomon Williams of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

The History of Lee, Mass published in 1888 says this about John and Desire.

John Freese, who m Desire Williams of Stockbridge, & thus was allied to the blue blood of Berkshire Co., was a tailor & Tavern keeper in Egremont. in 1776. He came to this town during the Rev. War & became a very large land owner. The house he first occupied stood near the present brick school house (ca 1877) of the first District in the Hoplands. He afterwards lived on the spot where is now (1877) Mr. Henry Smith's house. He owned that farm, & South across the river to the top of Peartown Mountain. --The Freese family were of Dutch descent, among early settlers of Lunenburgh, now Athens, N.Y. The family name has entirely disappeared from the town, since their removal in 1814 to Brunswick, Ohio. Miss Sarah Goodspeed is the only immediate descendant left.

John and Desire had at least the following six children.

John Freese died March 25, 1814 in Lee, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He was 72 years old at the time of his death. His wife Desire Williams Freese died September 17, 1817 at the age of 75.

Bill Williams Freese, Sr. and Sarah Beaumont

Bill Williams Freese, Sr. married Sarah "Sally" Beaumont on March 19, 1809. There is a church record for the marriage in the Reformed Dutch Church in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York. Sarah was born in New York according to the census records. We know nothing further about Sally's family, although it is possible that she was the Sarah Beaumont born to Oliver Beaumont and Lucinda Fitch of Kinderhook. This is where Bill's brother John Freese was teaching before the move to Brunswick, Medina County, Ohio. A Wright Beaumont also lived next to Bill's brother Abram Freese in the 1820s. Possibly Wright and Sally were related.

Bill Williams Freese, Sr. and his wife Sally Beaumont had the following children.

Carl Davidson provided the information about the descendants of William Barrett and Lucinda Freese.

Margaret Freese Heath provided information about the family of Abram Freese. Other information about Abram Freese comes from Fanny Freese's manuscript Freese Family History written around 1920. Fanny was a granddaughter of Abram and Melissa Freese. Terri Mulliken Allen provided information about Charles Edwin Freese.

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Last modified by pib on October 7, 2006.