Jan Jansen Postmael

Jan Jansen POSTMAEL (1655 – 1693) was Alex’s 10th Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Jan Jansen Postmael was born in 1655 in Harlingen, Harlingen, Friesland, Netherlands. His parents were Jan BARENTSENand Nieltje Von BRENCKELEN. He married Jannetje LOZIER in 1675 in Haarlem, New Amsterdam. Jan died in 1693 in Kingston, NY.

Jan Postmael , was born at Harlingen, in Friesland and he was a Postman by trade.  At the baptism of his first child ( Jan Post) , he was known as Jan Janszen Van Harlingen.  When he was confused with another person of the same name, people fell into the habit of calling him Postmaelm which he seems to have accepted without demur.  Jan decided to adopt the name of his profession.   After the birth of his second son, he removed to Kingston from Harlem ( New York)  and in the record of the baptism of his other children, his name was there recorded, except that the last two letters  of his name were omitted so he was called”Postma” . Later, the family shortened their name to “Post”.

Jannetje Lozier (Lesier) was born 22 Aug 1660 in Ulster, NY.  Her parents were Francios LeSUEUR and Jannatie Hildebrand PIETERSEN.  After Jan died, she married Thomas Ennis  after 1688. Most genealogies say Jannetje died in 1789, but that does leave time for her children to be born.  She died  after 1700.

Thomas Ennis was born about 1664 in Taunton, Bristol County, Mass. His parents were Alexander Ennis   b: BEF 1632 in Scotland and Catherine Ennes b: 1635 in Ireland. (See their dramatic story below)

Thomas’ brother William Ennis married Jannetje Lozier’s cousin Cornelia Viervant

Children of Jan and Jannetje:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Jan POST 27 Mar 1680 Harlem, NY Cornelia Martinsen VAN YSSELSTEYN
29 Mar 1702 Kingston, NY
New York
2. Abraham Post 3 Mar 1682
New York
Elizabeth Van Dans
3. Annetje (Anna Catryn) Post 6 Apr 1684
Jan Peersen (Son of Peer Jan HENDRICKS )
4. Elsie Post 1686
5. Anthony Post 9 Sep 1688


Children of Jannetje and Thomas Innis (Ennist):

Name Born Married Departed
6. Jannetje Ennis 18 Aug 1695
Kingston, NY
Hendrick Cortright
6 Nov 1724
7. Rachel Ennis bapt.
9 Jan 1698
Kingston, NY
8. Helena Ennis bapt.
3 Mar 1700
Kingston, NY


The Harlem waterfront as it appeared in 1765. The steeple of the Reformed Low Dutch Church can be seen at the far right. Just below are what appear to be headstones.

Jan first settled in Haarlem, New York where he leased a farm from Laurens Jansen on 23 Apr 1679, and in 1684 moved to Kingston, New York where his wife‘s family lived and remained there until his death.

Battle of Dunbar

Alexander Ennis, the father of Jannetje Lozier’s second husband, came to America as a prisoner of war after the Battle of Dunbar. The Battle of Dunbar (3 Sep 1650) was a battle of the Third English Civil War. The English Parliamentarian forces under Oliver Cromwell defeated a Scottish army commanded by David Leslie which was loyal to King Charles II, who had been proclaimed King of Scots on 5 February 1649.

As a result of the destruction of the Scottish army, Cromwell was able to march unopposed to Edinburgh. He quickly captured the Scottish capital, although Edinburgh Castle held out until the end of December. The prisoners taken at Dunbar were force-marched south towards England in order to prevent any attempt to rescue them. The conditions on the march were so appalling that many of them died of starvation, illness or exhaustion.

By 11 September, when the remnants arrived at Durham Cathedral where they were to be imprisoned, only 3,000 Scottish soldiers were still alive. If Sir Edward Walker’s statement that 6,000 prisoners were taken and 5,000 of them were marched south was correct, then 2,000 captives perished on the way to Durham.

Once Alexander and the other prisoners reached Durham, they were shut up in the city’s cathedral. They were starving and exhausted but the ordeal was not over.

Hasselrigge later wrote,

“I wrote to the mayor and desired him to take care that they wanted for nothing that was fit for prisoners. I also sent them a daily supply of bread from Newcastle . . . but their bodies being infected, the flux increased.”

He wrote to the Parliament that the prisoners were given“pottage made with oatmeal, beef and cabbage—a full quart at a meal for every prisoner” and that his officers set up a hospital, where the wounded were fed “very good mutton broth, and sometimes veal broth, and beef and mutton boiled together. I confidently say that there was never the like of such care taken for any such number of prisoners in England.”

It may have been that this was what he was told by his officers, he being back in Newcastle and not actually in Durham. The general consensus among historians is that he believed what he wrote and had no idea what was really going on. However, whether or not he knew the true situation in the cathedral, his information was false.

The jailers blackmailed the prisoners, withholding the food and coal meant for the Scots. Desperate for warmth and food, the prisoners resorted to anything they could. They traded anything valuable that they had actually retained. The Neville family tomb was ransacked, probably mainly by those looking for valuables to trade. The woodwork in the church, some of it dating from medieval times, was torn down and broken into bits for firewood. Murders were also reported to have taken place. Apparently informed of the prisoners’ and not the guards’ behavior, Hasselrigge reported, “They were so unruly, sluttish and nasty that it is not to be believed. They acted like beasts rather than men.”

The death rate was at an average of 30 men a day and may have reached over a hundred a day. The dead were unceremoniously buried in a mass grave outside the church without coffins or Christian burial. At the end of October, 1,400 of the original 5,000 prisoners were still alive. More had died on the march and in the cathedral than had died fighting at Dunbar.

While thousands of Scotish prisoners died in Durham Cathedral, Alexander Ennes survived

It is not known exactly how long Alexander stayed in the cathedral. It may have been little over a week. However, he certainly left before 23 October as will be seen below.

While the prisoners were dying at alarming rates, the Parliament was discussing what to do about them. Stephen P. Carlson, in the Scots of Hammersmith, reported, “The disposition of such a large number of prisoners presented the English authorities with a dilemma: to maintain them as prisoners would prove costly, and to release them could prove dangerous to the security of the Commonwealth.” A committee appointed by the English governing body, the Council of State informed Hasselrigge that he was to send a number of prisoners to the coal mines. Hasselrigge sold some of the Scots as workers in various trades.

Petitions were sent to the Council to send prisoners overseas to be sold as indentured servants. On 18 Sep 1650, Hasselrigge was ordered to send 150 Scots, “well and sound, and free from wounds,” (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1650) to John Becx and Joshua Foote to be shipped to New England. Becx and Foote would be allowed to sell or consign the Scots in America at a cost to them of about £5 per man. The Scots were to be indentured (involuntarily) for a term of seven years. These men were mainly between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five in 1650, according depositions made during their lifetimes. Although these 150 men all seemed healthy, Hasselrigge shipped them to London by water, fearing “they are all infected”.

According to Carlson, “By October 23, when the Council ordered the project stopped ‘until assurance be given of their not being carried where they may be dangerous,’ the Scots were awaiting passage to America in the Thames.” On November 11, Augustine Walker of the Unity received sailing orders from the Council “as their ship is ready and the place is without danger”.

What followed was probably an unpleasant ocean voyage that would have taken about six weeks. Carlson stated that while the Unity’s size is not known, it “would have been far from spacious” for the prisoners. It is also unknown how many did not make the journey from London to Boston, as no lists survive. The death rate is estimated at ten percent.

Becx and Foote consigned seventy-seven to eighty-seven men to two businesses in Maine and Massachusetts in which Becx had interest. The rest were sold to local residents for £20-30. Sixty-two of the consigned men, including Alexander Ennis, were sent to the Saugus Ironworks at Lynn, Massachusetts.

Saugus Ironworks was the first ironworks in North America, a great technological achievement in that time and place. It was built about 1646, closed by 1675, and was built near some ore deposits, as well as the Saugus River, which provided power to the ironworks. The site included a dam that provided power for forging, a blast furnace with a bellows, a reverbatory furnace, a trip-hammer forge, and rolling and slitting mills. It produced both cast and wrought iron.  One item produced there was nails, which were especially vital because so many new settlements were being built in the wilderness. They milled thin strips of wrought iron, slit these strips, and sold them. The customers then cut the nails and shaped the heads and points. The ironworkers formed a community there known as Hammersmith.

Saugus Iron Works, Saugus, MA

The Scots arrived in Lynn from Boston by boat. The initial payments for food for the Scots is recorded in the record books of John Giffard, the agent for the undertakers of the iron works, in April of 1651. This indicates that they arrived there around that time. There were also payments recorded for medicine and medical help, suggesting that they were in poor health. One death was recorded.

Once there, some were sold elsewhere. Alexander Ennis was evidently among those who remained at Saugus. He was listed on an inventory of the iron works dated November 1653. The inventory was a result of lawsuits resulting from financial diffulties. The Scots were valued at £10 each, though Giffard protested that they were worth twice that amount and some of the Scots more than that.

The indentured Scots were employed in a variety of tasks, including acting as forge hands, assisting the colliers (who produced the charcoal for the iron works), and even keeping Hammersmith’s cattle. Giffard was directed to use most of the Scots as woodcutters to supply the colliers. Some were taught the trades of “smiths, colliers, carpenters, sawyers, finers, and hammerman” (according to Carlson). Giffard stated that these men “would neare have managed the Compa(ny’s) business themselves, and have saved them many hundreds of pounds in a yeare.” Carlson stated, “The Scots of Hammersmith were for the most part unskilled laborers. Yet, they played a major role in the support of the skilled iron workers.” If not for the debts that affected business, he says, these Scots would have taken over more and more of the skilled positions there.

Working Forge Hammer at Saugus Ironworks (cover your ears!)

Most of the Scots lived in the “Scotchmen’s house”, a single building one mile from the iron works. This house is believed to have had two rooms around a central chimney with a cellar oven. There were eleven beds and bolsters there and twice that number of coverlets and blankets, suggesting that the Scots slept two to a bed. Others lived with non-Scottish workers, although there is some indication that the company may have had other quarters built for them beside the house.

The company provided the Scots with food, clothing, and tools. Payments were recorded as having been received by local craftsmen and ironworker’s wives for shoes and clothing. Food was either grown on the company farm or purchased by Giffard for the Scots. The latter consisted of “malt, hops, bread, mackerel, wheat, peas, beef, and pork”, according to Carlson. Apparently, the undertakers thought that Giffard fed the Scots too well. They complained, “As for the dietting of the Scotts men:I have advised with some of the Company and they tell me that 3s. 6d. per weeke is a sufficient allowance for every man: Considering the cheapnes of provision thaire…you haveing ther plenty of fish, both fresh and salte and pidgions and venison and corne and pease at a very cheape Rate.” (A Collection of Papers Relating to the Iron Works at Lynn…, Baker Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA) Apparently, he was spending 6s. a week for each man on food. Some of the tools used by the Scots had been shipped with the Scots. Others were made by a local blacksmith. They were even supplied with “strong Waters” and tobacco at the expense of the Company.

Tools in Saugus Ironworks Forge Building

Meanwhile, some claimed the Scots were not receiving their full portion. There were complaints that food and soap meant for the Scots went to other workers and even to the Giffard family.

The Scottish workers were not isolated from Lynn’s community, though it was an “alien environment”. Many married local women both before and after their indentures were finished. In addition, “all Scotchmen, Negroes, and Indians inhabiting with or servants to the English” were to be included in military training, by the order of the colony’s General Court in May 1652. (Dow, George Francis, ed., The Probate Records of Essex County, Massachusetts, Salem, MA, 1920, I, p. 354-5, also A Collection of Papers Relating to the Iron Works at Lynn.

However, William Saxbe, Jr. noted in his article that, “Relations with the surrounding Puritan communities were not always smooth:a local observer noted that ‘At the Iron Works wee founde all the men wth smutty faces and bare armes working lustily…The headmen be of substance and godlie lives. But some of the workmen be young, and fond of frolicking, and sometimes doe frolicke to such purpose that they get before the magistrates. And it be said, much to their discredit that one or two hath done naughtie workes with the maidens living thereabouts.’

Financial difficulties at the iron works led it to be handed over to creditors. The Scots were transferred over along with all of the iron works’ property. Most served the remainder of their terms at Lynn “in a plant that saw little activity conducted until the latter part of the decade” (Carlson).

Catherine Ennis

Carlson records that Alexander Ennis “had moved to Taunton by late 1656, later moving to Block Island, Rhode Island.” By this time, Alexander married a woman by the name of Catherine either in the area of Lynn or in Taunton. Her last name and date and place have not been found but her country of origin is known:“an Irish woman named Katheren Aines (Innes)”, according to Plymouth records found by Saxbe. Saxbe also put forth the theory that she was captured and deported by Cromwell and sent with several hundred other Irish to Marblehead, near Lynn, in 1654.

According to Catherine O’Donovan, “Cromwell and his army of well trained and experienced soldiers, called Ironsides, came to Ireland in August 1649 with the intention of subduing the rebellion and stamping out all opposition to parliament. Cromwell, a Puritan, ‘believed he was an instrument of divine retribution for (alleged) atrocities committed by Catholics against Protestants in 1641 and he accordingly gave orders to deny mercy to Catholics.’ His campaign was savage and is remembered for the slaughter of women and children as well as unarmed captives.” Cromwell returned to England in May of 1650 and his son-in-law and another general continued the campaign. The Irish surrendered in 1652.

Several historians have noted that after the wars, the English exiled large numbers of Irish to the colonies in America and the West Indies. Robert West wrote, “At the end of the war, vast numbers of Irish men, women and children were forcibly transported to the American colonies by the English government. (Sir William Petty, Political Anatomy of Ireland, London, 1719, p. 19) These people were rounded up like cattle, and, as Prendergast reports on Thurloe’s State Papers (John Thurloe, Letter of Henry Cromwell, 4th Thurloe’s State Papers, London, 1742), “In clearing the ground for the adventurers and soldiers (the English capitalists of that day)… To be transported to Barbados and the English plantations in America…J. Williams provides additional evidence of the attitude of the English government towards the Irish in an English law of June 26, 1657:‘Those who fail to transplant themselves into Connaught (Ireland’s Western Province) or (County) Clare within six months… Shall be attained of high treason… Are to be sent into America or some other parts beyond the seas…’ (Joseph J. Williams) Those thus banished who return are to ‘suffer the pains of death as felons by virtue of this act, without benefit of Clergy.’ (Ibid.)…Emmet asserts that during this time, more that ‘100,000 young children who were orphans or had been taken from their Catholic parents, were sent abroad into slavery in the West Indies, Virginia and New England, that they might lose their faith and all knowledge of their nationality, for in most instances even their names were changed… Moreover, the contemporary writers assert between 20,000 and 30,000 men and women who were taken prisoner were sold in the American colonies as slaves, with no respect to their former station in life.’ (Thomas Addis Emmet, Ireland Under English Rule, NY & London, Putnam, 1903)”

Life in Taunton – The Irish Catherine and Scottish Alexander clashed with the Puritans of Taunton on at least one occasion. Saxbe writes, “‘an Irish woman named Katheren Aines’ was brought before the court at Plymouth in February, 1656/57, ‘vpon suspision of comiting adultery.’ The trial was the following month, and justice was swift and harsh:‘Att this Court, William Paule, Scotchman, for his vnclean and filthy behauiour with the wife of Alexander Aines, is centanced by the Court to bee forthwith publickly whipt…which accordingly was p(er)formed…Katheren Aines, for her vnclean and laciuiouse behauior with the abouesaid William Paule, and for the blasphemos words that shee hath spoken, is centanced by the Court to bee forthwith publickly whipt heer att Plymouth, and afterwards att Taunton, on a publicke training day, and to were a Roman B cutt out of ridd cloth and sowed to her vper garment on her right arme [for blaspheme]; and if shee shalbee euer found without it soe worne whil shee is in the gou(vern)ment, to bee forthwith publickly whipt…Alexander Anis, for his leauing his family, and exposing his wife to such temptations, and being as baud to her therin, is centanced by the Court for the p(re)sent to sitt in the stockes the time the said Paule and Katheren Ainis are whipt, which was p(er)formed…’

Rhode Island -Understandably, the Innes family moved sometime within the next few years. In 1659, Alexander is found in the records buying land in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, fifteen miles south of Taunton (Clarence S. Brigham, Early Records of the Town of Portsmouth (Providence: E.L. Freeman &Sons, 1901), 379). In 1664, Block Island became part of Rhode Island and a group of Scots settled there.

Robert Guthrie, whom the Scots saw as a leader, wrote a letter which is believed by Saxbe to have been addressed to Alexander (as it began with the greeting “Country Man” and was found in the New Shoreham (Block Island) Town Book with two deeds having Alexander as grantee; also a deed in 1678/79 with Alexander as grantor called his land “a gift from the Propriators & Inhabitants of Blockisland.”. In this letter, he promised six acres of free land and the option to buy 40 more and a home lot.

Alexander Innes died in 1679 at the home of his supposed daughter Elizabeth “Enos”, the wife of William Harris, on Block Island, Rhode Island. He made a nuncupative will  in the presence of Robert Guthrie and two others from Block Island, naming William Harris as his heir (New Shoreham Town Book 1:52). Catherine most likely died between 1664 and 1679.


1. Jan POST (See his page)

2. Abraham Post

Abraham’s baptism sponsors were Joost Van Borsunm and Sara Roelofs Cammais.

His wife Elizabeth Van Dans (Dansich?)  was born in 18 Apr 1683.  Elizabeth died after 1710.

Abraham returned from Kintston to Harlem before he was  twenty and was known as Abraham Postmael, but before or about 1709 he was commonly known as Abraham Post. Weschester Posts are descended from Abraham.

3. Annetje (Anna Catryn) Post

Annetje’s husband Jan Peersen was born 2 Sep 1683 Kingston.  His parents were Peer Jan HENDRICKS and Annetje Matthyssen Jansen Van KEUREN.  Jan died 1750 Kingston.

5. Anthony Post

Anthony’s baptism sponsors were Klaes Legier and Rachel Smedes







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