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.
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
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.