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Henry Jacobs Falkinburg I & Mary Jacobs

In Dankers’ account, Henry Jacobs Falkinburg (Jacob Hendricks) is living near the village of Burlington5. This was about twenty miles upriver from Deer Point, the location reported in the 1671 Census of the Delaware. It appears that Henry is already actively engaged with the Quaker community at the time the journal was recorded (1679).

Henry Jacobs Falkinburg was successful as an Indian interpreter and gained the respect of the indigenous inhabitants along the Delaware. He was sought by the arriving Quakers to negotiate land purchases from the natives. The role that Henry Jacobs Falkinburg played in the Quaker community is documented in Samuel Smith’s History of Nova Caesarea published in 1797. Here we read:

[The Quaker Commissioners] “applied to the Swedes for interpreters between them and the Indians...they got Henric Jacobson Falconbre, and purchased land [from the indians between] Rankokas Creek [and] Assunpink.” [2.11]

The purchase from the Lenape was made in 1676 and may well be the date at which Henry moved to the area near Burlington. The deed, to which the Indian chieftains Katanas, Sokappie, Enequato, Rennowighwan, and Jackickon affixed their marks, was signed by the Quaker Commissioners6. Here we see yet another spelling of the name of our ancestor. At this point in time Henry had likely begun using the the surname Falkinburg and Falconbre is likely either a phonetic spelling based on what a recorder heard, or an anglicized form of the name. Many names were either latinized (Henricus) or anglicized (Henrie or Henry).

Historic marker Ockanickon's grave

Historic Marker Ockanickon’s Grave

Tradition suggests that Henry Jacobs Falkinburg was the preeminent intermediary between the Quakers and the Lenape. While history records little regard by Europeans in dealing with native people, the Quakers by dint of their faith believed they should treat all persons fairly. Henry, in particular, seems to have developed a special relationship with the Lenape. In one story we read that in 1681 the great Chief Ockanikon died in the home of Henry Jacobs Falkinburg. That fact alone points to a level of mutual respect between the shaman and the interpreter. In participating in the act of dying, Falkinburg along with a small band of Quakers became witness to the transfer of power from Ockanikon to his nephew Jahcoursoe. [2.13] The author provides interesting commentary on the cultural differences between the Europeans and the natives as they may have interpreted the events. Although Ockanikon did not convert to the faith of the Quakers, he was buried near a large Sycamore tree behind the Friends Meeting House. The last words of this friend of the Quakers were: “Be plain and fair to all, both Indian and Christian as I have been.”

Dr. Peter S. Craig, states that “By his first marriage to Sinnick's daughter, Hendrick had at least one son, Henry Falkenberg, who was living in Cecil County, Maryland, by 1710. He later moved with his several sons to Orange (now Frederick) County, Virginia, and then moved to Bladen County, North Carolina, by 1746. His descendants use the surnames of Faulkenberry and Fortenberry.” [2.12]



Deed records indicate that Henry Jacobs Falkinburg had several properties near Burlington. According to Craig, “He.... formed a partnership with Pierre Jegou, a French Huguenot, and moved to "Lazy Point," north of present Burlington, New Jersey, where he operated an inn for travelers and native Indians. Becoming well versed in the language of the Lenape... As late as 1689 he was still listed as a member of the Swedish Church at Wicaco.” [2.12].

In consideration of this agreement the Lenape received:  “Thirty blankets, 150 pounds of powder, thirty ‘gunns,’ thirty kettles, 7 anchors of brandy, 36 rings, 100 fish hooks, 1 gross of pipes, 10 spoonfuls of paint, 30 each of small bows, bells, knives, bracelets, tobacco ‘toungs’, flints, looking glasses, Jews harps, and awl; thirty pair of stockings, thirty pair of ‘sissurs’ and 46 fordone and Duffelds.”
Smith, Samuel, History of Nova Caesarea, original publication 1765. Reprinted as The Colonial History of New Jersey by the State of New Jersey (Trenton, 1890) p. 80.
Craig, Peter S., Sinnick Broer the Finn and his Sinex, Sinnickson & Falkenberg Descendants, Swedish Colonial News vol.2, no 7 (Fall 2002) p. 12.

Last updated 1/23/11
© 2011 Donald R. Falkenburg

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