The Enigma of Philip Crouse

Just for the record: Enigma – a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand

How can Philip Crouse, my 4X great grandfather be an enigma? He was born about 1761 and hailed from the province of Zeeland, Netherlands, in the southwestern portion of the country.

Zeeland, Netherlands
Source: Google Maps

Philip Crouse, a Loyalist, married Sarah Burt, daughter of Connecticut Loyalist Benjamin Burt, about 1790, and settled in Keswick, York, New Brunswick, Canada.

Philip lived a good long life, passing away on 21 February 1857 in Keswick. He and Sarah were the parents of about 17 children and have hundreds and hundreds of descendants.

So, back to the opening statement – why is he an enigma?

Well, I know virtually nothing about him that I can document before he arrived in Canada.

Here is the family lore:

1. Philip came to the United States as a young child (presumably with parents who have never been identified).

2. He supposedly arrived in Philadelphia and made his way south and settled in Lincoln County, North Carolina. It is said he lived near Beaverdam Creek, near what is today the town of Crouse (named for a later Crouse.)

3. He might have two brothers, John and Peter.

Well, that about sums it up. I haven’t found a single record in the United States that even hints of a relationship with my Philip.

Part of the problem is his age. Being born in 1761, he would have been only 22 when the American Revolution ended. With Tory tendencies, Philip certainly hasn’t been found on any militia lists or military-type records. He was unmarried, so even if taxed, would probably only show up as a male over 16.

Philip and Sarah appear to have named children after themselves and Sarah’s parents (Benjamin, who died in 1785 and Rebecca), so it seems reasonable to believe that two might be named for Philip’s mother and father.

In birth order, we have: Philip, Sarah, Rebecca, John, Darius, Elizabeth, Peter, Huldah, Gould, Thomas, Amy, Urial (known as Royal), Jonas, Richard, Mary, James, Benjamin and Mary again.

We can account for Philip, Sarah, Rebecca, and way down the child list Benjamin (Perhaps because Benjamin died before Sarah was even married, there wasn’t the pressure to name a child for him?)

The less common names of Darius, Huldah and Gould are names of Rebecca’s sibling.

The next three sons after Rebecca are John, Darius – an unusual given name – and Peter.

That still leaves quite a potential named-for-a-relative list with John, Elizabeth, Peter, Thomas, Amy, Urial, Jonas, Richard, Mary and James.  Near the beginning of that list come John and Peter, reportedly possible brothers’ names and tied to the Crouse family.

Looking at the 1790 census, I found a Peter Crouse in Lincoln County, North Carolina:

Lincoln County, North Carolina, 1790 Census
Source: Ancestry

Peter is either an older man with only two children left at home or a young man with a wife and two little boys. However, he is gone in 1800.

Instead, I find John “Corouze”, aged 26-44, in Lincoln County:

Lincoln County, North Carolina, 1800 Census

Having researched Lincoln County, North Carolina in the past, I’ve found evidence of Peter’s death and of John Crouse living there, but absolutely no clues pointing to Philip.

What would certainly help with this mystery would be to know some of Philip’s FAN club. However, few clues are found in that arena. Although he was Dutch, he married a colonial English young lady.

Exactly how Philip got to Canada and when he arrived isn’t known either. He doesn’t surface in records until 1789, when a land petition was denied. Philip Crouse, along with reputed North Carolinians Philip Henry, Christian Knai (Nigh), Jacob Knai and Jacob Ham were co-signers together asking for land. The only Loyalist Philip Henry I can find is a man who served under Col. John Butler, who was from New York. As for the Knais, the only mention of them to be found is in the land petitions.  The Ham/m family appears to have been centered around Rowan County, North Carolina, so it is unlikely that Philip Crouse would have known him during his life there. So, while his co-petitioners are of German or Dutch background, with the exception of Philip Henry, they don’t seem to have been neighbors in North Carolina.

To add the cherry on top of this mess of a sundae, Crouse is not a typically Dutch name, at least not with that spelling. It occasionally appears in Dutch records as Kroeze or Kroes, Kruijsse or more commonly as Krause.

Viewing the limited hits on FamilySearch, there are no John, Philip or Peter Krause, by any spelling, born in the time period before the Revolutionary War.

Given that Zeeland borders Belgium, which in turn shares a border with Germany, is it possible that Philip’s family migrated from Germany through Belgium or even from Germany directly through the Netherlands to the coast? I don’t know.

So. . . . . . . . is Philip Crouse to remain my enigma or am I missing a research avenue? I’d love suggestions.


7 thoughts on “The Enigma of Philip Crouse”

  1. I’m a descendant of Phillip Crouse. I have run across the name Crauss in some of my research. My grandmother Bealuh Crouse knew a lot about him and could rattle off all of the names of all of his children.

  2. Hi Linda, as a descendant of Philip Crouse, there is not much evidence about Philip and his siblings that came to the USA. Philip settled in Stonebridge out out on the present day Crouse Road. It’s a nice place on the banks of the Madam Keswick River. My ggggrandfather James was born there as were the rest of Philips children. I am curious as to what ever happened to Philips Dutch Bible. A mystery up here. There is no mention of Philips parents or siblings other than a John &, Peter. Rumor has it they died as young men. Possible in war or sickness. I keep plugging away online looking for info. There are so many Crouse spellings it’s hard to find anything. But it’s fun.

  3. There are many clues that bare some additional attention. Most in plain sight. they all point to a common source. I have located a few documents that may be relevant. Would be interesting to discuss. Great work Linda. 2 Thumbs up. PM.

  4. I believe your Phillip Crouse is on a 1778 list of those refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance to the State of NC: He was too young to owe taxes, but not too young to fight–thus the required oath, which I think you had to take at age 16. The list is for residents of Capt. Lopp’s District, of Abbott’s Creek, NC. (The actual creek, located between Lexington and Thomasville.) I haven’t seen the original, just 2 transcriptions. One says “Phillip Cross,” the other says “Phillip Crose.” Also on the list are Phillip Henry and Jacob “Noy” and his brothers Phillip and Barney. “Noy” was spelled “Knai” in NB and Knoy or Noy or Kanoy or Kenoy in NC and other places. I think Christian “Knai” was likely a younger brother to Jacob.
    I’ve been researching this 1789 petition group because I descend from Jacob Ham Jr’s brother Malachi Ham (see the Old UEL list), who is later listed on a 1791 NB land petition. I think that Phillip Crouse probably was a neighbor at Abbott’s Creek, because I can connect the rest of them on the petition there.
    Jacob Hamm and another brother Andrew Hamm (UEL) and this Phillip Henry and Jacob “Knai’s” brother Phillip “Coiney” or Knoy or Noy–all got taken prisoner at Yorktown, VA. I found them in “Loyalists of the Southern Campaign,” so if you haven’t already you might check there for Phillip Crouse.
    After the war they settled in St Mary’s Parish, York Co, NB: Phillip Henry (also German/Dutch) and his wife Elizabeth Hamm (a sister) lived on his granted land at lot 24. Jacob “Knai” and his wife Susannah (probably a Hamm sister) owned lots 25 & 26, and Jacob Ham Jr and wife Magdalen owned lot 27–all near Burtt’s Corner. (They didn’t stay long. Philip sold up in 1792, Jacob Knai in 1794 and Jacob Ham Jr in 1795. Philip Henry moved to ON, as did Malachi Hamm by 1806. The two Jacobs moved to KY then Knox Co, TN. Only Andrew Hamm remained in NB.)
    I found records for all of them in Abbott’s Creek. You might start with the McCubbins Collection at the Rowan County Library, Salisbury, NC, which is accessible online. Folders of info are sorted by surname or you can try the surname index. This is where I found one of the copies of the 1778 Oaths list–under a folder for “Lopp.”
    I would suggest widening your scope of spellings. Spelling at the time was anything but regularized. Plus, in this area at the time most record-keepers were English speakers, so they had both foreign spelling and foreign pronunciation to deal with. They got a little creative, “Blanketpickler” being one that stuck with me. Add to this modern transcribers trying to decipher old/poor handwriting, and it gets tricky. If you think outside the box, you might find evidence of Crouse relations in Rowan Co, NC.

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