From Historic Homes and Institutions
and Genealogical and Family History of New York
by William S. Pelletreau. A. M., Volume 1
Published New York 1907
William Nellis, immigrant ancestor of this family, was born in Germany and came with the early Palatine settlers, landing in New York in 1710. He settled in Schoharie, New York, and his son Andrew was born there in 1715, and died in 1779; was one of the principle founders of the Palatine Church, the oldest church in the Mohawk Valley. Andrew was a farmer; was confirmed by the Lutheran pastor, at Schoharie, in 1735; married Catherine Fox, of German Flatts; their son Philip was born December 1, 1746, in Fairfield, New York, and died in 1818, a soldier in the revolution, and father of Peter Phillip Nellis, to whom various distinguished descendants traced their ancestry. In 1790 the first federal census shows as heads of family, all living in Montgomery county, Mohawk Valley, and mostly in the town of Palatine: George, Adam Christian, David, George, Henry, Henry W., John (2) John D., Ludman, Peter F., Philip, Robert, William and David Yost.
Of the emigration of the Palatines, John Fox, the great historian of the Reformation wrote: "In the meantime the Protestants of Heidelberg (a city in the province of the Palatinate) sank into poverty, and many of them became so distressed as to quit their native country and seek an asylum in Protestant States. A great number of these coming into England in the time of Queen Anne, were cordially received here, and met with a most humane assistance, both by public and private donations." Three thousand of these refugees embarked at Leith, Scotland, in ten ships, early in 1710, bound for America. Seven of these ships arrived here safely, having buried four hundred and seventy of their number at sea. They landed at Governor's Island, June 13, 1710. Among them were three brothers--William, Christian, and Johannes Nellis. They first settled on a tract in Dutchess county, but in 1712, with other Palatines, they hewed a road across the Catskills and came to Schoharie river. Afterwards Johannes Nellis went to Pennsylvania and settled in the vicinity of Gettysburg, and in 1720 William and Christian Nellis settled in the Mohawk Valley, near Palatine Church. William Nellis and twenty-six other Palatines received a patent dated October 19, 1723, designated as the Stone Arabia patent, and afterward nellis and George Klock procured a smaller tract, afterward known as the klock and Nellis patent. On the subscription list for the funds to erect a church edifice for the "Lutheran congregation of Canajoharie on the north side of the Mohawk River," Christian Nellis Jr. was one of the four managers appointed to have charge of the church and funds. The date of the list is December 30, 1768; the land was given by Hendrick W. Nellis, and the church was completed August 18, 1770. On the list were the names of William Nellis Jr., Andrew Nellis, Johannes Nellis and Henry Nellis paid for making the church spire.
Several of the Nellis family held offices of profit and trust under the English crown. Hendrick W. Nellis's son Henry and his son Robert were loyalists during the revolution, removed to Canada and joined the British army at the commencement of the revolution, and their property was confiscated. Children of william Nellis: Andrew; Ludwig; Henry; Johannes; William, mentioned below.
(II) William (2), son of William (1) Nellis, 1710-20. He was a farmer at Palatine. Children: 1. Peter I., 2. Joseph, born at Palatine, then Canajoharie, April 17, 1759; died February 24, 1834; married Mary Lantman; children: Joseph I., born May 23, 1787, died September 21, 1862; Mary, born 1792, died age thirteen. Joseph I. Nellis was an officer in the war of 1812, married when he was eighteen years old. Magdalen, daughter of David Bellinger, St. Johnsville, and had eight children : Charles, Benjamin J., Josiah, Catherine, Aaron, Stephen, Abraham, and Horatio, who was born at St. Johnsville, February 25, 1827, married, January 9, 1849, Katherine 25, 1827, married, January 9, 1849, Katherine, daughter of Jacob and Mary (Keller) Sanders, of Minden, and had four children. 3. William. 4. John I., mentioned below.
(III) John I., son of William (2) Nellis, was born in 1769, and died in 1854. He was a leading citizen, a Democrat in politics, and held various town offices. He married ____ Weaver. Children: John, David DeWitt, Simeon, Nancy and Lena.
(IV) David, son of John I. Nellis, was born in Palatine, in 1800, and died in Fultonville in 1860. he married (first) Catherine, daughter of Peter Fox, who was a soldier in the revolution; he married (second) Mrs. Orstrom. Children of first wife: Maria: Edward: Peter F., mentioned below; Alfred.
(V) Peter F., son of David Nellis, was born August 19, 1831, in Palatine, and was educated there in the district schools. When a young man he was clerk in a store at Charleston, South Carolina, for a time. since 1851 he has resided at St. Johnsville. He has been a very successful farmer. In politics he is a Democrat. He married, May 1861, Anna M., daughter of Peter P. and Lena (Nellis) Fox. She died in July 1890. children: Lena and Catherina M.
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