Wednesday, August 20, 2008


There are quite a few LaGrange's in the Berne Families Genealogy. Some of them lived on the Hill and many married into Berne area families. I have many LaGrange cousins. So when my brother, Ralph, Town of Berne Historian, forwarded me an email the other day from Sandra Lee Blake, I decided to devote a posting to her LaGrange ancestors.

From Sandra Lee Blake, Herndon, VA

I am the great great niece of Menzo Haverly of Berne. My mother is Dorothea LaGrange, daughter of Ethel Martha Truax LaGrange and Schuyler LaGrange. My mother is the last living LaGrange who actually spent much of her childhood on the LaGrange homestead on LaGrange Lane off Ostrander Rd. in Guilderland. My grandmother, Ethel LaGrange is one of the three daughters of Elva Haverly and William Truax. My grandmother, Ethel Truax, took care of Uncle Menzo in his home in East Berne during the 1950s and 1960's until he passed away. I clearly recall visiting his home every Sunday and talking with "Uncle Menzo" as a child. At the time he was blind and spent his days sitting in a platform rocker in the darkened living room of his home. I remember the sleigh bed, coal fired kitchen stove my grandmother cooked on, and heavy empire style furniture in the dining room. Most of all, I remember the one time I was allowed in the barn and saw a fabulous horse drawn sleigh. I also remember his neighbor just down the road, a woman named Lillian Westfall. I would very much like to contact Marilyn Miller Figel who submitted the obituary clipping of Elva and William Truax. I have much geneaology info on the LaGranges, but until a few days ago I had only sketchy information on the Haverly/Truax branch. I do have two original photos of Elva and William Truax and their three daughters. I would be happy to share any information and photos I have with any interested parties.

When my sister and I cleaned out my mother's house in Glenmont, NY about 5 years ago, there were boxes and notebooks and photographs of LaGrange geneaology that my mother had collected and traced. We donated these items and an antique dress of Ethel Truax's to the Albany County Historical Society. (My mother is still living but in the late stages of Altzheimer's; she is in a skilled nursing home near my sister in Carmel, CA.
I sent Sandra a report on hundreds of Berne ancestors of Dorothea LaGrange. Here is her reply:
Good Grief! OUR FAMILY TREE IS MORE OF A THICKET THAN A TREE! My mother had told me that cousins married cousins and that there were double
cousins in the family.

I am still printing the volume on the Berne area ancestors of Dorothea LaGrange. Reading through it I can fill in a coupe of bits of info now:

Ref. 1

Dorothea LaGrange was born on November 9, 1917 and married George Albert
Lee (b. Oct 22 1916 in Atlanta, GA to Rev. William Arthur and Emma Gertrude Brown Lee) on August 22, 1941. He just died on July 16, 2008. They later divorced and my mother took back her maiden name and moved from Watertown to Glenmont, NY in the early 1980s. They had two children: Sandra Mae Lee born Oct 10, 1947, and Glenda Rae Lee, born June 9, 1953. Sandra married Mark Addison
Fowler (b. Knoxille, TN on June 30, 1947). They divorced in 1989. They had three children: Erika Allison (b. Oct 19, 1969); Christian Addison (born Nov. 19, 1972), and Matthew Everly (born Oct 18, 1980).

Ref. 6
Ethel Martha Truax died on July 2, 1972 in Watertown, NY. She married Schuyler LaGrange on October 23, 1912. Schulyer passed away on Dec. 19, 1948 from Parkinson's Disease. Their two children were Dorothea and Clayton.

Ref. 8 & 9
Jacobus LaGrange's wife's maiden name was Engeltie Veeder. In addition to Myndert, they also had a daughter, Antje, born April 21, 1728. On Aug. 10, 1748 she married Jellis LaGrange, son of Christian LaGrange & Catalynte Dumont LaGrange. They had 3 children- Peter, Margert and John.

There is some crazy stuff going on back here - first cousins marrying, names repeating to the point of distraction....
In the next exchange, Sandra replied:
Thanks for the info and explanations. I am going to forward some of the Berne area information to a contact in Texas who actually stared all of this. Out of the blue last week I received a letter from a Richard E. Smith of Richmond TX asking for info on
his ancestors Gillis de la Grange, Omie de la Grange and Johannes de la Grange. I called him, and it turns out he is a Truax also. He plans to visit the Albany, NY area. I mentioned Berne and Guilderland as family places.

The Truax family and the LaGrange family were intermarrying in the 1700s, then again in the 1900s. Small world.

He had contacted the Dutch Settlers Society in Albany, who gave him my address. My mother was/is a lifetime member and gave me the same as a birthday gift one year. After sending him some LaGrange info, I got curious and began poking around on line. I googled "Menzo Haverly" at 3AM. My jaw dropped when I hit the Hudson-Mohwak Genealogical and Family Memoirs: Tuax site through - and there on the third page was my grandmother's name. then followed the Haverly family info - and there was what I was looking for - Josiah, son of John Haverly, married Esther, daughter of Jacob and Mary Saddlemire, and their children were: 1. Livernus; 2. Menzo; 3. Elva, aforementioned as the wife of William J. Truax, and 4. Etta.

Also - Olive Truax, who married Roy Crounse - I remember both of them well - Olive was blind when I knew her as a child, but I remember visiting them at their farm, which I believe was in Altamont. They had a daughter, Esther, who married Otto Schultz. They had two sons, Carl and David. Otto and Esther have passed away within the past ten years. They lived in the area, but I don't remember the town.

My parents moved to Voorheesille in 1950. We lived in the house that my grandmother, Ethel Truax LaGrange, had built for herself However, she wound up caring for Menzo Haverly and moved "up on the hill" The house is still there, and was relatively unchanged as of 5 years ago. It is a white bungalow with a detached garage and sits just before the "Y" in the road (either rte 85 or 185 I think) where the Altamont Rd forks to the left. If you continue straight, you head toward the Army depot and Guilderland. The house is about 1/4 mile from the old Voorheesville
Central School. Heading toward Altamont it was (perhaps still is) the first house on the right. There are houses on the hill behind it. The land to the right of the house as you face it used to be an old apple orchard owned by Belle and Allen Hurst who lived in the white farmhouse on the right by the bridge over Vly Creek at the school. He was a justice of the peace and had an active orchard just up the Altamont Rd.
In the winter the Hursts would flood the low spot at the lower end of the old apple orchard so the kids could ice skate there. Coming from Berne, you'd take New Salem Rd., then turn left onto 85 or 185 just past the school. House is on the right as described above - in case you want to see some Truax property that you probably never knew existed.
And in the next email:
Nicholas and Mary Ann's daughter Mary married Franklin Clikeman (not Clickman). For more info on this family offshoot go to:

Nicholas and Mary Ann's daughter Catherine married Myndert LaGrange on Nov. 17, 1880. Their son, Schuyler married Ethel Truax. My mother often spoke of how much she admired her petite and pretty grandmother, Catherine LaGrange. I have a picture of her feeding chickens and another of her at the LaGrange home (not the homestead,but another one on LaGrange Lane in Guilderland) with her husband, two children, Schulyer and Viola, and a horse handler with a horse. Apparently the LaGranges were breeders of Morgan horses...