The Dutch Reformed Church was the dominant religion in the city of New Amsterdam and throughout the rest of the Dutch colony of New Netherland during the 1600’s …when my great grandparents (x6), Abraham Martensen Klock and Tryntje Alberts Klock lived in New Amsterdam (NYC today). Records show that Abraham & Tryntje were both church members and their 4 children were all baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church. 

Note: The Klocks appear to have changed their name to Clock by the 3rd generation in America ….John Clock in the early 1700’s.  Probably it occurred soon after the British took over the old Dutch colony.  And the English version of our name just made more sense.



-Sarah Klock baptized Dec 10, 1651

-Tryntje Klock baptized Sept 26, 1654  (NOTE: Tryntje is the Dutch version of “Catherine”)

-Marten Klock baptized Sept 19, 1656

-Albertus Klock baptized Sept 16, 1660 … great grandfather (x5)
Undoubtably the Dutch Reformed Church had a very significant impact on the earliest Clocks who came to America. How long their descendants continued to be part of that church is unknown. What we do know is that down the road, during the 1700’s, our branch of the Clocks eventually turned to the Presbyterian Church. But in the late 1820’s Jacob Wilkie Clock (my great grandfather) converted to the young, upstart Methodist Church. He devoted the remaining 60 years of his life to it, as a minister. So did his son, Wilkie.

(*The above information was located by Karon Clock Lemming in “The Baptismal Records of the Dutch Reform Church of New Amsterdam 1639-1730”. Great job, Karon. Amazing!)


Reformed Church in America

(From Wikipedia)



The RCA began in 1628. The early settlers in the Dutch colony of New Netherland held informal meetings for worship until Jonas Michaelius organized the first Dutch Reformed congregation inNew Amsterdam, now New York City, in 1628 called the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, now the Marble Collegiate Church. During Dutch rule, the Reformed Church was the established church of the colony and was under the authority of the classis of Amsterdam.

Even after the British captured the colony in 1664, all Dutch Reformed ministers were still trained in the Netherlands, and services in the Reformed Church remained in the Dutch language until 1764. (Dutch language use faded thereafter until the new wave of Dutch immigration in the mid-19th century, which prompted a temporary revival of it.) In 1747, the church in the Netherlands gave permission to form an assembly in America which in 1754 declared itself independent of the classis of Amsterdam. This American classis secured a charter in 1766 for Queens College (now Rutgers University) in New Jersey.

The First Reformed Church in Albanystarted in 1642 to serve the patroonship of Rensselaerswyck. The current church was built in 1798.

The Dutch-speaking community prospered in the former New Netherland as farmers and traders, dominating New York CIty, the Hudson Valley and parts of New Jersey and maintaining a significant presence in southeastern Pennsylvania, southwestern Connecticut, and Long Island.

In the early 18th century, nearly 3,000 Palatine German refugees came to New York. Most worked first in English camps along the Hudson River to pay off their passage (paid by Queen Anne‘s government) before they were allowed land in the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys. There they created numerous German-speakingLutheran and Reformed churches, such as those at Fort Herkimer and German Flatts. They used German as the language in their churches and schools for nearly 100 years and recruited some of their ministers from Germany. By the early 20th century, most of their churches had joined the RCA.[1]

During the American Revolution a bitter internal struggle broke out in the Dutch church, with lines of division which followed ecclesiastical battles that had gone on for twenty years between the “coetus” and “conferentie” factions[citation needed]. A spirit of amnesty made possible the church’s survival after the war. The divisiveness was also healed when the church immersed itself in an intensive foreign missions program in the early 19th century.

In 1792, a formal constitution was adopted; in 1794 the Reformed Church held its first general synod; and in 1867 formally adopted the name “Reformed Church in America”. In the nineteenth century, in New York and New Jersey, the descendants of the original Dutch settlers struggled to preserve their European standards and traditions while developing a taste for revivalism and an American identity.

19th century

Some members owned slaves—the most famous of whom was Sojourner Truth–and the church was not supportive of abolitionism. In rural areas ministers preached in Dutch until about 1830-1850, then switched to English and dropped old Dutch clothing and customs.[2] Although some ministers favored revivals, generally the church did not support either the First or the Second Great Awakening, which created much evangelical fervor.


Fresh immigration from the Netherlands in the mid-19th century led to the development of the Church in the Midwest. Hope College and Western Theological Seminary were founded in Holland, Michigan; Central College at Pella, Iowa; and Northwestern College at Orange City, Iowa. In the 1857 Secession, a group of more conservative members in Michigan led by Gijsbert Haan separated from the Reformed Church and organized the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), and other churches followed. In 1882 another group of churches left for the CRCNA, mirroring developments in the church in the Netherlands.

Post-World War II

After 1945, the Church expanded in Canada which was the destination of a large group of Dutch emigrants. Between 1949 and 1958, the Church opened 120 churches among non-Dutch suburban communities.

Recent decline

Like other mainline denominations, the Church has experienced a declining membership during the last thirty years. In 2010, the total membership was 250,000, down from about 300,000 in 2000, and about 360,000 in 1980. In the last thirty years, the Church has lost more than 1/2 of its membership.


The Reformed Church is generally opposed to abortion rights. The official stance, approved by the General Synod in 1973, affirms that: “We believe the Bible teaches the sanctity of human life. Men are given the precious gift of life from God and are created in the image of God. Therefore, we believe, in principle, that abortion ought not to be practiced at all. However, in this complex society, where many times one form of evil is pitted against another form of evil, there could be exceptions. It is our Christian conviction that abortion performed for personal reasons to insure individual convenience ought not to be permitted.

The Reformed Church opposes euthanasia. A fundamental conviction Christians have is that they do not belong to themselves. Life, despite its circumstances, is a gift from God, and each individual is its steward… Contemporary arguments for the ‘right’ to assistance to commit suicide are based on ideas of each individual’s autonomy over his or her life. Christians cannot claim such autonomy; Christians acknowledge that they belong to God.

The Reformed Church also condemns the death penalty. The General Synod in 2000 expressed seven reasons why the Church opposes it:

  • Capital punishment is incompatible with the Spirit of Christ and the ethic of love.
  • Capital punishment is of doubtful value as a deterrent.
  • Capital punishment results in inequities of application.
  • Capital punishment is a method open to irremediable mistakes. The increasing number of innocent defendants being found on death row is a clear sign that the process for sentencing people to death is fraught with fundamental errors.
  • Capital punishment ignores corporate and community guilt.
  • Capital punishment perpetuates the concepts of vengeance and retaliation.
  • Capital punishment ignores the entire concept of rehabilitation. The Christian faith should be concerned not with retribution, but with redemption. Any method which closes the door to all forgiveness, and to any hope of redemption, cannot stand the test of our faith.

The General synod resolution expressed is will “to urge members of the Reformed Church in America to contact their elected officials, urging them to advocate for the abolition of capital punishment and to call for an immediate moratorium on executions.”[7]

Colleges and seminaries

The Dimnent Chapel at Hope College, in Holland, Michigan


Seminaries [10]

Certification agencies [11]

  • For students who do not attend or receive their Master of Divinity degree from one of the two seminaries operated by the Reformed Church in America, they are certified and credentialed for ministry in the Reformed Church in America through the Ministerial Formation Certification Agency in Paramount, California.

Notable members

John Scudder, Sr., a Dutch Reformed minister, started a family of missionaries in India in 1819


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JOHN CLOCK (1696-1746)

JOHN CLOCK: Includes: List of his children. Birth/christening of John & Deborah Clock’s son Jacob (my gt gt gt grandfather). Admission to Stamford, CT. And his will. 

 John is my gt gt gt gt (x4) grandfather.  He moved from New York colony to Connecticut colony …where a number of the other Clock relatives lived.  They actually lived in the community of Noroton, which was absorbed into Stamford, then later on, it was absorbed into Darien …where it remains today.  Many of the other Clocks remained in CT for generations, but John’s son, Jacob, moved back to NY.  And his descendants then continued to push further west.





1738 …BIRTH or CHRISTENING OF JOHN and DEBORAH CLOCK’s SON, JACOB.  (My gt gt gt grandfather).  


“John Clock appears in Stamford, Connecticut records, probably the son of Albertus & Tryntje Clock. Supported by the fact that his oldest son was named Albert. John Clock was admitted an inhabitant of Stamford, March 21, 1725. Children: Catherine (1725), Deborah (married Nathan Weed), Albert, Sarah, Jacob, Peter and Jonathan.”






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A large number of Clocks once lived in SW Connecticut …dozens and dozens …at least 73 are known to be buried there. All were close relatives of our family …brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins.  John Clock, from our direct branch of the family, is buried somewhere in Noroton.  But I could not locate exactly where …probably in a small Clock family cemetery that is now long gone. Quite typical for old family cemeteries that were on private property …once it sold, the new owners didn’t want a cemetery right next to their house.  John moved to Connecticut colony, from NYC in 1725 and married Deborah Scofield, from one of the prominent families in town. His son Jacob was born there, but later he moved to NY. So our branch of the Clocks only lived in CT for 35 years or so. After searching in 2017, it appears there there are no Clocks at all still living in the Darien, CT area …or even in Fairfield County.  Surprising, considering how many Clocks lived there for 125+ years.  

Actually the Clocks lived in Noroton, which was originally called Middlesex. Then Noroton was absorbed into Stamford and finally into Darien now. Numerous generations of Clocks lived in this community after leaving NYC. Our branch of the family lived in CT for just two generations, …John and Jacob. Then Abraham’s dad, Jacob, took his family just across the state line to North Castle, NY ….in the late 1700’s. Abraham was born in North Castle in 1783.  

The rest of the Clock families remained in Connecticut. There are many places in Darien, today, named after the Clock family. A landing, two historic houses, a hill, a lane, a condominium complex, a street and many headstones in the cemeteries (especially River Cemetery). Today, Darien is one of the wealthiest towns in America. As a number of financial institutions, rather recently, moved into town from NYC.


(New condos on “our hill”!

(*Note …the mill in the town seal was once owned by the Clocks.  They also owned a large tannery in town …the ledger still exists at the Darien Historical Museum …ask Ken Reiss there.  The Clocks did leather working …shoes, etc, for several generations.)

(Clock family members buried in River Cemetery, Noroton/Darien, CT)

((Plaque where the Clock grist mill was located …at Clock’s Landing.  Darien, CT)

(The old Clock-Turner House)

(Clocks Lane, Darien, CT …2017.  Look at the size of those new houses/mansions!)

(Clock-Bruggerhof old house & barn …on the property of the Noroton Presbyterian Church, Darien, CT. Both are still in use by the church. Photos by Rosemary Mace, church member, 2017 …thanks so much!)


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JACOB CLOCK (1738-1811)

JACOB CLOCK was my gt gt gt (x3) grandfather.  Born in Stamford, Connecticut colony.  Actually he probably lived in Noroton.  Long story.  But Noroton was absorbed into Stamford for a while, then absorbed into Darien …where it remains today.  And just to add to the confusion, originally the community was called Middlesex.  Later on in life, before the Revolutionary War began in 1776, he moved just across the line to North Castle, NY.  Jacob’s son was Abraham, my gt gt grandfather and he was born in North Castle, NY in 1783.



IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR ….”Jacob Clock was a Revolutionary War soldier (Daughters of the American Revolution …DAR #A066096). As a private in the NY militia under Colonel Thomas.”

ABOVE: Proof from the DAR that Jacob Clock served in the Revolutionary War, in NY. Caroline Clock, was the eldest daughter of Abraham & Margaret Clock (1st wife) ….also JWC’s older sister. Caroline’s branch of the Clock family (the Clough’s) today has the silver AMC wedding spoon. The Isabella mentioned above was Caroline Clock Clough’s daughter …and so, she was JWC’s niece. *The term “LEVIES” (above) generally refers to those drafted to serve in the NY state militia during the Revolutionary War.

BELOW:  Is this our Jacob? I have no idea, but I have my doubts …never known him to use a middle initial. And as far as I know, I don’t think he even had a middle name. If he did, I’ve never seen it anywhere. Middle names are a more recent thing, other than the early Dutch simply using their father’s first name with “sen” or “szen” attached at the end. Such as the original person in our family to come to the New World …Abraham Martenszen Clock. His father was certainly Marten.  So perhaps after all, the J initial on the document below, was for Jacob’s father, John???



Probably living in North Castle, NY ….close to the Connecticut state line and Darien, where many other Clock relatives lived.  His name is 7th from the bottom.  Jacob was 72 years old at the time and died the next year.

His son, Abraham was living in NYC at the time of the 1810 census.





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ABRAHAM CLOCK (1783-1857)

Abraham Clock was my great, great grandfather …Jacob W. Clock’s dad. In April 2017 Judy Dixon from Illinois discovered this 1804 proof of citizenship document for Abraham ….in her home and sent it to me. AMAZING!  Thanks so much Judy & Gwen.   IT’S PRICELESS!


******************************** ABRAHAM CLOCK ***********************************

Abraham Clock is my gt gt grandfather and his son was Jacob Wilkie Clock (JWC).  The upper part of this post on Abraham Clock includes:

1.-A Biographical Sketch (3 pages) of Abraham Clock* (1783-1857).  Done by Ruth Pickard in the 1990’s.

2.-A Biographical Sketch (1 page) of Margaret Dodge Clock* (1787-1814), his first wife. Together they had 5 children, including JWC. She died when she was 27 and little Jacob was only 3. Abraham remarried, Sarah Wamsley, and they had 5 children together.

(*NOTE: There are 2 Abrahams in our lineage & 3 Margarets in a ROW!!  It can be confusing …so don’t get bucked off, pardner.)

3.-Three photos of Abraham & Margaret Clock’s silver wedding spoon (with a copy of the original tag), provided by Ruth Pickard of Morgantown, Indiana, and kindly shared with the Charles Clock Family. Ruth is a descendant of Caroline Clock (Clough), Jacob W Clock’s (my great grandfather) sister. Caroline was the oldest child in the family of Abraham & Margaret Clock …which might explain why Ruth, out of all JWC’s descendants, has the spoon today.





THIS SPOON is undoubtably one of the two most impressive surviving items in the heritage of the Clock family.  Incredible that it’s still around today ….over 200 YEARS LATER!  Abraham gave it as a wedding present to his wife Margaret in 1806, in NYC …made out of Spanish silver dollars and engraved with their initials in cursive “AMC”.  As well as the name of the jeweler in NYC that made it ….”J Boutier”, on the back side.

There was a tag attached to the spoon with these words: “(Original tag from the Clock spoon): This spoon was made to order from Spanish silver dollars for Abraham Clock, in New York City, in the year 1806.  Belongs to Mrs A.H. Powers.  Grandfather and grandmother of Mrs HA Powers on mother’s side …Abraham and Margaret Clock 1806”.  

Added later:  “The spoon now in the possession of the applicant Ruth Gormley Pickard, is engraved AMC.  Was  probably made at the time of their marriage.”  

Ruth passed away in about 2013.  She was an outstanding researcher and voice of the family past.  Much of the work she did was done the hard way …before the use of computers and computerized records.  I’ve never found her to make a mistake, even once!  She lived in Indiana ….unfortunately we never met, but we did communicate, off and on, in the 1980’s.  Her son, Hank, sent the photos to me.

“These large handled bowls were used as ceremonial bowls and were filled with brandy and raisins on special occasions. The Dutch custom was that each guest had a silver spoon and helped himself to the liquor and then passed the bowl on to the next person. It is this social custom which explains why in America ceremonial spoons were made in New York, for weddings, christenings and funerals, following closely Dutch examples of the mid-seventeenth century.”

Martha Gandy Fales’ book, Early American Silver, (New York, E. P. Dutton & Co., 1973)


Signed by NYC Mayor DeWitt …also NY Gov, US Senator. Opponent of Van Buren & Hamilton. Saw the Erie Canal project through from start to finish.


WHY THE CITIZENSHIP DOCUMENT WAS NEEDED BY ABRAHAM CLOCK?  (above)   Some possibilities from the New York City Library Manuscripts & Documents Dept.

*So, it seems most likely that Abraham needed this document to vote, since voting law had just changed in NY that year, 1804.  And he was 21 years old.  Makes sense.  But …how many of these documents would Mayor Clinton have had to do that year?  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Still kinda puzzling, huh?


ABRAHAM CLOCK: 1810 CENSUS ….his name is on the bottom. Living in NYC, NY at that time and 26 years old.  (Abraham Clock is my gt gt grandfather.)


ABRAHAM CLOCK: 1850 CENSUS RECORDS …and TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTIONS for Abraham & his wife Sarah …and 2 of their children, Sarah & William ….and 1 grandson, William.


ABRAHAM CLOCK FAMILY TREE  (my great great grandpa).  Abraham was father of Jacob Wilkie Clock, grandfather of Wilkie Clyde Clock, great grandfather of Charles Lewis Clock, great great grandfather of Barry Mark Clock, great great great grandfather of Kevin Charles Clock.  And so on.



GRAVES OF ABRAHAM and SARAH WAMSLEY CLOCK …Caroline, Tompkins Co, Upstate NY


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THAT’S US? …The German Palatines of New York (1700’s)

The only reason I included this article was because of something I heard a couple of years ago from an ex-student of mine that married a Klock. I asked about the possible family connection, since I knew our name was often spelled that way, instead of ” Clock”, several centuries ago. The way my student heard the story was: that ALL Clocks and Klocks in America are related. Another reason I listened to the story was because my Dad (Charles L Clock) always said that our ancestors were from Germany (not Holland). And my great grandfather’s autobiography says that he believes our family came from Germany.  So I listened to the history of the German Palatines that moved from Germany, down the Rhine River, to The Netherlands, to Britain, then on to New York. I was thinking that just might be us. It also explained the town of Clockville/Klockville, NY which I noticed when I was doing my research on Jacob Wilkie Clock (my great grandfather) in 1986 …when I could not tie the town to our family. And if I remember correctly, Klockville/Clockville is in the Mohawk Valley region of NY…. right where large numbers of Palatine German immigrants settled!

But after reading this article (below) and comparing it to all that is presently known about our Clock/Klock ancestors …it doesn’t really add up that they were German Palatines. For numerous reasons, perhaps the most important being …the year of their arrival in Br America was decades after my family did.  Read the article below and see if you agree with me ….or my old student from Newport High School. Which? Why?


German Palatines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The German Palatines were natives of the Electoral Palatinate region of Germany, although a few had come to Germany from Switzerland, the Alsace, and probably other parts of Europe. Towards the end of the 17th century and into the 18th, the wealthy region was repeatedly invaded by French troops, which resulted in continuous military requisitions, widespread devastation and famine. The “Poor Palatines” were some 13,000 Germans who came to England between May and November 1709. Their arrival in England, and the inability of the British Government to integrate them, caused a highly politicized debate over the merits of immigration. The English tried to settle them in England, Ireland, and the Colonies. The English transported nearly 3,000 in ten ships to New York in 1710. Many of them first were assigned to work camps along the Hudson River to work off their passage. Close to 850 families settled in the Hudson River Valley, primarily in what are nowGermantown and Saugerties, New York. In 1723 100 heads of families from the work camps were the first Europeans to acquire land west of Little Falls, New York, in present-day Herkimer County on both the north and south sides along the Mohawk River. Later additional Palatine Germans settled along the Mohawk Riverfor several miles, founding towns such as Palatine Bridge, and in the Schoharie Valley.


1875 MAP OF CLOCKVILLE, upstate NY (near Oneda & Syracuse):








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BOOK: “The Autobiography of Jacob Wilkie Clock”

This autobiography of JWC (my great grandfather) covers much of his life …from his youthful years in New York City, then to upstate NY, Ohio, Indiana, on to Iowa ….and when he was an older man, living out in Kansas.  But there are some fairly large gaps in the years as well.
Should you want a copy from the Methodist Church Archives, the contact information is at the end of this section on the autobiography.
I chose to use this passage (see below) as the introduction, since it explains why JWC (my great great grandfather) wrote this autobiography …and also why he wrote such an incredible amount during his entire life. Plus this introduction mentions my grandfather (Wilkie Clyde Clock) as well, so I couldn’t resist. The passage is actually taken from near the end of the autobiography. I debated it, but decided to only put the first chapter of it in this blog, for the sake of being concise. But I would highly recommend reading the entire booklet, it is fascinating, insightful and often humorous. What a guy!

On a personal note ….It also, for the first time in my life, helped me understand why I write so much. Why I’ve always written so much, just like he did. It was always like something that drove me on. Almost like it was out of my control, pushing me on and on …ever since I was a boy of 12, filling out the diary on Ladd Hill, that my dad gave me in 1961. Then the next year he gave me another, and then another. Since then I have written books, travel journals, booklets, gathered collections of quotes and written countless letters & emails. Thousands and thousands of pages altogether. (Yes, I’ve kept them all.) I always enjoyed it, and for some reason, never saw it as a task. Now, at 62, I finally understand why I am like that. My great grandfather just said it …in this passage ….EXACTLY!!!


(NOTE: Simply click on any page to enlarge to full size)
















Jacob Wilkie Clock’s “Autobiography” is full of both serious and humorous recollections …important and not so important. It is well worth the read. Coupled with reading his “Diaries”, you can not help but know this man, my great grandfather. Many of his traits you can see in members of the Clock family to this day. All of us have contributed to what it means to be a Clock, but in my opinion ….none so much as him.

(His “Autobiography” is on file at the United Methodist Church Archives, PO Box 127, Madison, NJ. 07940 and they will make reprints for sale.  I hope “The Church” doesn’t get all mad about me borrowing back my great grandfathers’s life story to use in this blog, for all of us to see!


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