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The Putman Family--And the Pottery

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The Putman Family--And the Pottery

Posted: 1371852368000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1371935273000
Surnames: Putman, Putnam, Pootman, Potman, Pottman
In delving into the ancient history of the Dutch-American Putman family once known as Pootman, I encountered some interesting facts and deductions:

The immigrant ancestor of the Putman family was Johannes Pootman who seems to have been the son of Victor Pootman of Aalburg, Gelderland. Victor was a member of the Lutheran Church in Aalburg whose services were conducted likely in German, so Victor's family seems to have been from Germany.

I am intrigued by the fact that the Latin word for potter's clay is "argilla" and for eel is "anguilla". In Latin "gula" means gullet and is from "gluttio" meaning to glue or paste. In German "aal" means eel but also to be slippery. The name Gelder is said to mean swampy, but I think is more correctly to be connected with slippery. "Gel" in German and Dutch means to be like gel or jelly. But, I digress so quickly.

The Pootman or Putman family Y-DNA is close to that of the Broel de Plater family. Clay tiles are sometimes called platten although usually plater means armourer. The Broel de Plater family comes from West Hemmerde, Germany, which is just below Flierich, Germany. The small town of Broel is next to a pond that also has the name Broel.

There was a Victor Poet, Poit, or Pott, he used all those names, who had children baptized at the Flierich Evangelical Church near Hamm, Germany, in the 1680-90's. I understand from my research that the family may also have used the name Poth.

Nearby in Schwerte, Germany, there was also a Victor Boetterling whose name might mean bottle maker or possibly butter maker.

In the area about Flierich, Germany, such as Schwerte and Werle, is where a number of Potman's lived in the 1600's and earlier.

The Broel de Plater family was from West Hemmerde, which is only a couple of miles south of Flierich, Germany. Flierich is suppose to mean swampland, but German "Fliese" means tile, which I think is more in line. Platten or "plater" may also mean roofing or other types of tile.

In the area about Flierich, there are a number of places called Kletterpoth.

The family by the name of Poth and possibly our Pootman's or Potman's, now Putman's, may have been residents of a Poth or small pool or pond.

The name Kletterpoth is attested to in 1656 and is said to mean a puddle in which you spot, stain, or smear oneself. There is a street named Kletterpoth in the southern part of Bonen northwest of Flierich. The same street name is seen in Soest, Deilinghofen, Unna, and Werle, which are nearby places that are around Broel and Flierich.

The German source on the Internet for the above definition of Kletterpoth used the words "sich beschmulzt" for "kletter". "Beschmultzen" means to sully, dirty, or stain. One meaning of the German word "klette" is to stick together like burdock or a bur. The root of "kletter" may be to smear with mud or clay. Swedish "klet" means to daub, scribble, smear, be a mess, or be mucky.

I wonder if the boar's heads on the Pootman/Putman coat of arms might indicated a place or occupation in which one might work in a slough or clay pond.

The Dutch word "klei" means clay while in German clay is now lehm or ton. The German word "klebe" means to stick or paste.

To daub in Dutch is "klodder", "kladder".

To daub in German is "besmiermen" and "kleckern".

There is a Kletterpoth just northwest of Flierich between Flierich and Bonen, Germany, near Hamm and the Lippe River. It was there that bricks were once made at an early date from clay that was found nearby.

Kletterpoth seems really to mean the potter's clay puddle, pool, or pond.

Clay is used for pots, pantiles, and bricks. To plaster in German is "putzen". Worked clay from a clay pit is called pug.

Everyone also knows the meaning of putty . . ..

In Latin, Puteo, or Puteus, is a drinking well. The early name for Poth is said to be "de Poto". The early name for a Putman or Puettman seems to have been de Puteo. The ancestor of the Dutch American Putman family Johannes Pootman used the names Pootman and Potman, so he would seem to descend from de Poto or a resident of a clay pit or pond. Perhaps, Johannes Pootman's name was early on Pothman, Poth, or de Poto.

In the rain forests and the grassfields of Africa, poto-poto is earthen plaster formed on a wooden frame to make a house. The word poto-poto was also transported to the Jamaican language with the same meaning, clay mud.

The Connecticut Indian place name "Podunk" means the place where you sink in mire or a backwater town. Both poto-poto and Podunk seems to have origins in the German language. Poto[r] in Latin means drinker or tippler.

Johannes Pootman of Schenectady, NY, was close to the Pieter Jacobuse Borsboom family. Pieter was the brick baker of Albany and Schenectady. NY.

While Johannes Pootman's name does not appear often in the early records, October 1686, Johannes Pootman witnessed the will of Pieter Jacobse Borsboom the "stein baker" or stone baker [one who would be called today a brick maker]. Reynier Skaats and Ludovicus Coler were also witnesses at the signing of the will.

The early records of the Court of Albany state: [In 1662] The administrators of the estate of Anderies Herbersen proposed to sell at public sale to the highest bidder the pantile bakery and the lot of Anderies Herbersen lying in the colony of Rensselaerswyck— the buyer will receive the pantile bakery [roofing tile bakery] and lot and all the fixtures except a little point (hoeckjen), on the south side of the brick kiln (steenbackerij) of Pieter Bont [or Quackenbush], which is sold to said Pieter Bont; also, Kees Pott, the tile baker, is to remain in possession one year and to work according to contract made between him and Anderies Herbersen.

The name Quackenbush means quagmire woods.

Anderies Herbersen was also, I understand, a partner of Philip Hendrickson Brouwer who apprenticed Johannes Pootman, or Potman, in 1661, in Albany, NY. Peter Bont, or Quackenbosch, also may have been a grandfather-in-law of David Pottman, the son of Johannes Pootman, while Kees or Cornelius Pott the tile baker may possibly have been connected with the Pootman family in Europe.

Johannes Pootman had a son named Cornelius Pootman or Potman.

Kees Pott is said to have been the first tile or pot-maker in the valley of the Upper Hudson River.

History of the Schenectady Patent says: Dutch steen backers (briekmakers) had brickyards in Albany prior to 1650, and there were a number of brickyards and pantile (rooting tile), bakeries as it appeared by their sale in Notarial Papers . . . Brick clay of good quality and quantity was exposed on the hillsides—wood for burning was near the clay—the bricks were small and were largely the hard burned arch bricks made in small kilns especially kilns built to make a small number of bricks. Many of the so-called Holland Dutch bricks contain the gravels of this region [mostly argillaceous potter's clay shales . . . nearly all the old Dutch brick houses were not built of brick but of strong yellow pine timber and had only brick fronts, which were added in later years of prosperity.

Putnam Road just west of Schenectady, NY, was named after the Putman children of Johannes Pootman who lived there. Putnam Road is next to Plotter's Kill and Poentic Kill. Plotter Kill is said to mean Platte Kill or Flat Creek. Perhaps, it really means Tile Makers Creek or Plate Makers Creek. "Poen" in Dutch means money . . . dough or dosh and may have roots in the word "pan" that means plate.

The first born child of Johannes Pootman was Victor Pootman who when writing his name spelled it Fictoor Pootman. The closest English word to Fictoor is “fictile”, which means to shape, mould, or figure with a soft material such as clay. It means pottery or earthenware. In Latin a potter is a “figularus”. Latin “fictilis” means made of clay. A “fictor” is to a [clay] image maker. So, the name Fictoor Pootman seems to be a doublet meaning Potter Potter.

At the baptism of Anna, the daughter of Maria Potman, Johannes Pootman's first daughter, Abraham de Metselaer was a witness along with Maria's sister Catherine Potman. De Metslaar in Dutch means the bricklayer.

David Pottman, the son of Johannes Pootman, was one of the first settlers in Potterstown, NJ. The town seems to have been named for David Pottman. The history of the town says that it was founded on an early pottery.

Potterstown and David Pottman's homestead are just west of the confluence of the South and North Branches of Rockaway Creek. On the whole, the drift of the valley is more clayey than that along the North Branch of the Raritan River. Potterstown, NJ, is located near Rockaway Creek while Pottersville is located in a nearby valley next east on the Lamington River. The Latin word "lamina" means plate.

Between the North and South branches of Rockaway creek, north-northwest of White House station, the drift-covered area is composed almost wholly of reddish clay derived principally from the red shale. The clay is stiff and gritty, and erodes in sharp little ridges, similar to those developed in the erosion of lacustrine clay. In the northern part of the area, stony material is rather abundant on the surface. South of the summit the clayey texture is more prominent.

David Pottman seems to have married first Helena Evertse Van Gelder the sister of Jacob Van Gelder. The Van Gelders may have been from Gelre, or Geldern, Germany. "Gel" in Dutch and German means gel or jelly. Jacob Van Gelder married the widow of Thomas Bricker who was closely associated with Garret Lydeker whose name [leidekker] means Slater or Slate Roofer. Bricker may mean a person from the swamp or "bruch" [the related word is brook], or possibly simply it may mean bricklayer.

Helena Van Gelder's half brother Abraham Van Horne established White House, NJ, a town that was based on his tavern or inn that was plastered white with lime water or whiting. Previously, David Potman lived on the Van Horne property in Centerville, NJ, before 1730, but removed to Potterstown and the White House area after that time. White House and Potterstown are about four miles apart, and both are on Rockaway Creek.

David Pottman's aunt-in-law, by his assumed second wife Lidia or Elizabeth Henderickse Beekman, Engeltje Martinse Beeckman married Teunis Egbertse Metslear . . . the brick maker. David Pottman's assumed father-law Hendrick Martinse Beeckman a brother to the above Engeltje married Annatje Pieterse Quackenbosh whose father Pieter was the brick baker who worked next to Kees Pott in Albany, NY. The Henry Beekman family removed from Schodack, NY, to Raritan, NJ.

David Pottman had a daughter Cornelia Potman who married first Roloff Traphagen and second Christopher Voght. By Roloff Traphagen, Cornelia had a daughter Sarah who married Garret Conover and had among their sons were David, Garret, and Cornelius Covenhoven who in the 1793 Military Census, NJ, were next to Lucas and Cornelius Metselaer. Cornelius Metslaer was the son of Johannes Metselaer the son of Abraham Metselaer who was the witness with David Potman at the baptism of Anna Potman in [Brooklyn] NY. There seems to have been a strong connection between the Potman and the Metselaer families that may have been connected with their occupations and the soil they owned that contained clay.

David Pottman's son--Victor Pottman--lived about 1740-60 in or near Slateford, PA, along the Delaware River. Slate was used at an early date for roofing material or tile. Perhaps, Victor Pottman may have pit-mined slate at this time. A witness to the baptism of one of Victor Pottman's daughters was Jacob Van der Roof . . . whose name may however only be a coincidence.

Victor Pottman married Margaret Wies, or Wiser: Margaret may be connected with the Johann Weisz family of Light Street, Columbia Co., PA, who married into the Brittain family that also once lived near Slateford. PA. The latter White or Wiesz family were lime burners. Burning lime was done with a oven or kiln to produce quicklime that was used to make whiten, mortar, plaster, and other products.

Wiesen in German means to whiten or whitewash with lime and water. There is a possibility that the White family may also have been known as Whiting or Whiten. Peter Potman or Putman , Victor and Margaret Wies Potman's son had a number of lawsuits between him and John Clay. Peter Putman lived in Sandyston, Sussex Co., NJ. Peter Potman likely lived near Elijah Whiting in Sandyston.

Pots, pantiles, and bricks are all items that seem to be associated with a poto-poto, kletterpoth, poth, and a potter's clay pond, and we seem to see occupations associated with these products connected with the early Putman or Pootman family in America and in Europe. There seems to be a connection between the Pootman name and a clay puddle, pool, or pond.

To complement this, my grandfather Claude A. Putnam, a descendant of David Pottman, and many of Claude's sons, my uncles, were once stone, brick, and block masons!

Those occupations continue in the family even today!
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Mark Putnam 1371852368000 
Bill Putman 1371895742000 
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