The church, which you can see in the background of the photo, was built in 1697 in what was then called Phillips Burgh. It is now located in Tarrytown, New York, north of New York City on the east bank of the Hudson river. Sleepy hollow was made famous by Washington Irving, who is buried in this cemetery [The Legend of Sleepy Hollow].
From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his pow-wows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs; are subject to trances and visions; and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.Phillips Burgh was settled in the late 1600s, mostly by Dutch settlers from New York (New Amsterdam). The original Dutch colony was lost to the English in the Second Anglo-Dutch war, which ended in 1667 and the Dutch territory was permanently ceded to England after the Third Anglo-Dutch war ending in 1674.
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head.
One group of settlers were not Dutch but Canadian. The David sibship consisted of Carel David, David David, Angelica David, Mathys David, Margaret David, and Daniel David. They were born in Laval, Quebec (Canada) and moved to New York with their parents Guillaume David and Marie (Armand) David. As the children reached adulthood they migrated north to become farmers in Phillips Burgh and they joined the Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow.
The David family was originally from France and their ancestors can be traced back to Julien David of St. Etienne who was born about 1200. By the time they emigrated to Canada they were Hugenots.
I am directly descended from Margaret David who married a French soldier named Pierre Montras (Montrose). They moved to Kingston, New York, just up the river from Phillips Burgh. That's where their daughter Margaret Montras was born in 1691. Pierre died in 1703 leaving Margaret with several children who she farmed out to her brothers and sisters in Phillips Burgh. Many of the Montras (Montrose) children also joined the Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow.
Margaret Montras was probably living with her uncle Carel Davids (name change) when she met and married Harmen Harmse, the son of the Dutch settler Capt. Jan Harmse and his wife Aeltje (Abrahams) Harmse. Jan Harmse was an elder in the Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow. We can trace Aeltje Abrahams' ancestors (and mine) back to 1555 in Holland.
When Harman married Margaret Montras he took her name as his surname and became known as Harmen Montras. Their fourth child, Peter (Petrus) Montras, was baptized on March 6, 1715 in the Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow. He is my great- great- great- great- great- great-grandfather. Peter's descendants changed their last name to Montrose or Montross.
Harmen Montras and his wife Margaret Montras are almost certainly buried in the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow cemetery in unmarked graves and so are Harmen's parents Jan Harmse and Aeltje. That's four direct ancestors of mine. Part of the house built by Jan Harmse is still standing in Irvington, New York.