Thomas Trapp

From England To Martha's Vinyard

There are two theories as to the origination of the English Trapp name in the United States. Both, based on Marthas Vineyard, revolve around a Thomas Trapp. One account has a Thomas Trapp sailing on a ship from England to Virginia in the early 1630's. For a variety of reasons, Trapp and three other families requested to be put ashore near present Edgartown. Here they became the first settlers of Marthas Vineyard. The second account, which is historically supported, is that Thomas Trapp arrived at the Vineyard in 1659 on the ship Exchange. He was about 25 years of age. While it is possible that the 1659 Thomas is the son of the first, the first theory needs to be proven through future research.


Pioneer Trapps

The Thomas Trapp that arrived in 1659 quickly became entrenched in the Vineyard?s affairs. Besides acquiring land holdings on the island, he served as a marshal, water bailiff and crier in 1667, a juryman in 1679, a deputy sheriff from 1694 to 1700 and town clerk from 1700 until his death. He married a woman named Mary around 1674, and they had nine children: John, Samuel, Simon, Ann, Thomas, Mary, Jabez, Mercy and Hannah. Thomas died in 1719, and is buried in Tower Hill Cemetery in Edgartown, on Martha?s Vineyard.


Thomas' Children - The 1st American Generation

During the lives of Thomas and Mary's children, the migration westward started. While John, Ann, Samuel and Jabez stayed on the Vineyard, Thomas and Mercy migrated to Connecticut. The eventual whereabouts of Simon, Mary and Hannah are not known.

Of the children remaining on Marthas Vineyard, John, born in 1675, married Sarah Lathrop in 1708. She was the widow of Joseph Huckins. No children are known. John, who died in 1717, and Sarah who departed in 1718 are both buried in Tower Hill Cemetery.

Ann, born in 1681, married Joseph Norton in 1702. Joseph was an outstanding citizen of the Vineyard, and held such civil offices as representative to the General Court of Massachusetts, county sheriff and Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. Joseph died in 1741 and Ann in 1753. They had three children: Sylvanus (1703-1720), Ann (c1704-c1735) and Eunice (b1714).

Samuel, born in 1677, married Thankful Pease in 1713. He lived in Edgartown where he was a master mariner, captain, fisherman and pilot. His wife died before 1727, and he around 1742. They had four children: Samuel (b1717) became a master mariner and tavern keeper. He was living in Norwich, Connecticut in 1755; Ephraim(1719?c1755) was in the mahogany trade and in Honduras, married a native woman named Clorinda and had one child. He died around 1755. Both Jane (b1723) and Thankful (b1726), were still living in 1755.

Jabez, born in 1688, married Hepsibah Daggett in 1716. It is known that he was a farmer, and lived in Edgartown. Both Jabez and Hepsidah died in 1750. They had four children: John (b1717), Beulah (1718-1779), William (b1720) and Sarah (b1722).

Both Thomas and Mercy migrated to Connecticut. Thomas married twice. His first wife, Abigail Eddy, died in 1718 after two years of marriage, and bore him one son, Eddy (1718-1751). She is buried in Tower Hill Cemetery. He then married Jane Cathcart in 1719. Thomas was probably living in Norwich, Connecticut as early as 1746. Together they had five children: Mary (b1726), Abigail (b1724) died early, Thomas (b1728), Pethuel (b1731) and another Abigail (b1735). While Thomas died in 1766, the date of death for his second wife is not known.

Mercy, born in 1690, married Samuel Pease in 1710. They probably lived in Enfield, Connecticut. Together they had four children: Benjamin (b1712), Abigail (1716-1798), John (1720-1747) and Mercy (b1723). One of Abigail's descendants was Henry L. Dawes, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Mercy died in 1765, and her husband in 1770.

There are several Trapps buried in the Cemetery at Oak and Arcadia Streets in Norwich. However, proof of their relation has yet to be determined.

Not much is known about Simon, Mary and Hannah. Simon, born in 1679, was probably unmarried, and still living in 1752. Mary, born in 1685, married William Coles in 1716. Hannah, born in 1692, was still living in 1735.

At the close of the 1700's, all the Trapps were gone from Marthas Vineyard. Besides civil records, the only remnant is the existence of Trapp's Pond, on the north end of the island.


New York Trapps

During the mid 1700's, the children of the Connecticut Trapps settled near Montgomery, New York, on the west side of the Hudson. There is evidence that they pursued the occupations of cooper and wheelwright. At this time, four Trapps, James, William, Martha and Ruth are found in this area.

Not much is known about William, except that he was born before 1755 and lived at least until 1810 in Ulster County, New York. He had a son, also named William, who was born in 1775. This William married Catherine B. Lewis in 1800 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Shawangunk, Ulster County. They had eleven children, and migrated to central New York around 1810. There he worked as a cooper, and died in Dryden, New York in 1847. Both he and his wife, who died in 1838, are buried in the Old Cemetery in Dryden, New York.

His son, also named William (1803-1867), was a cooper in Malloryville, New York. There is a New York State Historical marker in Malloryville that states that "in 1845, William Trapp invented the first successful barrel making machine." Because of this, the town became a cooperage center.

The marriages of both Martha and Ruth Trapp are found in the records of the Dutch Reformed Church in Shawangunk. Martha (b1773) married Daniel Youngblood in 1794, and Ruth married Joseph Franz in 1800. They may have been sisters of James and/or William.


James Trapp - Revolutionary Soldier

James Trapp, born in 1760 in Montgomery, Ulster County, became the progenitor of what was to become a branch of the family that would eventually stretch to New Jersey, Ohio, Iowa and California.

According to his Revolutionary War pension papers filed in 1832, he enlisted for service in New York five times during the war, usually serving from spring to fall. During these enlistments, he was present at Fort Montgomery, West Point, a "skirmish at King's Bridge", the Battle of White Plains and performed various duties including "holding back the savages" on the New York frontier. It is even noted that one time he "served as a waiter" to General Washington. He is also noted in the "Public Papers of George Clinton", who was a general during the revolution. In this book, the general, in a note regarding supplies, states that James Trape was "in need of a tumbler". After the war, James continued to live in Ulster County as a wheelwright and cooper until at least 1800. After that, he migrated to the central counties of New York, ending up in Lansing, Tompkins County in 1832.

It is not known whom he married, but there is strong evidence that it may have been a sister of Jonathan Odell. Apparently, Jonathan and James knew each other during the Revolution, appeared together in the 1790 Federal Census for Montgomery, New York and eventually lived in the same general area in Tompkins County. It appears that James had seven children: Justus Odell (1784-1870), Abram J. (c1791-1876), Uriah (1797-1871), Jabez, Patience, Rachel and an unknown daughter.

Justus was a wheelwright, and lived in Waterburg, New York. According to papers filed by him with the government, he served in the War of 1812 during 1813 and 1814. He married Joanna Bartholomew in 1811, and had eight children. His son Uriah (1836-1914) migrated to Iowa. In 1998, descendants of Justus went to Waterburg and found remnants of the foundation of his house.

James' other son Uriah, also served in the War of 1812, his enlistment being during 1814. He later moved to Wayne County, Ohio. He married twice. His wives were Sarah Sarlls, then Sarah Crontz in 1842. Between both marriages he had eighteen children.

Not much is known about Patience and Rachel, other than they may have settled in Barton, Tioga County, New York.


Abram J. Trapp

According to family lore, at the age of 21, James gave his son Abram J. "250 dollars, a horse, saddle and a bridle" to start his way into the world. Abram eventually settled in Smoky Hollow, a section in the village of Baldwinsville in the town of Lysander in Onondaga County, New York. He married Polly Marie Bishop (b1800), the daughter of Samuel and Jerusha Bishop. Samuel was a Liverpool saltmaker. As did his brothers, Abram served in the military during the War of 1812, and returned to Baldwinsville.

Abram and Polly had five children: Samuel (1831-1851), Helen (1832-1903), Uriah (1834-1903), Martin Van Buren (1837-1932), and Edward Dunn Allen (1839-1881). Abram died in 1876, and Polly in 1886, and are buried in Chase Cemetery in Lysander, New York.


Trapp Brothers Rally Round The Flag

During the Civil War, Uriah, Martin and Edward enlisted for service. Uriah served as a private in Company A, 122nd New York Volunteers ("Onondagas"), from July 28th, 1862 to July 3rd, 1865. He saw much action, and was wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor on the afternoon of June 1st, 1864. During this battle, one of the bloodiest of the war, while lying on his right side loading his rifle, he was struck three times by bullets in his left leg. One went through the back of his ankle, crushing his big toe, one hit above the knee, and one below the knee. After spending over four months in hospitals, he returned to duty on October 16th, 1864. According to his pension papers, he never quite recovered, suffering residual effects from his wounds the rest of his life.

Both Martin and Edward enlisted as privates in the 1st New York Light Artillery, Battery B ("Petti's Battery") from February 6th, 1864 to June 18th, 1865.

Uriah married Amy Woodcock in 1855, and together they had eight children: Uriah (b1869), Amy, Fred, Ida, Martin, May, Polly and Rachel. His wife Amy died in 1882, and Uriah in 1903. Uriah is buried in Chase Cemetery.

Martin married Mary Patchet in 1866, and had two daughters: Lydia May (1873-1874), and Mary Eliza (1869-1957). Martin lived to the ripe old age of 95, and at the time of his death was the oldest surviving member of his Civil War regiment. Mary died in 1926. Both are buried in Chase Cemetery.

Edward married Mary's sister Harriet. They had four children: Emmett (b1872), Flora (1875-1877), Mary Viola (b1880) and Maud (b1878). Edward died in 1881, and Harriet in 1915. They are also buried in Chase Cemetery.

Uriah's son Uriah Jr. married Mary Hicks and had eleven children. Many of Uriah Jr's descendants continue to live in central New York, with the one branch in New Jersey, which constitutes my family.



As Trapp researchers know, the name is not a common one, which makes speculation regarding the relation of one to another an easy thing to assume. However, from my research, I have come across only one Trapp family from England. In addition to communicating with newly found cousins in past years, I have discovered a few other possible links that are in the process of being explored.

A Captain Trapp, who was a whaler from Massachusetts, settled in New Zealand in the early 1800?s, and married a woman named Korotere from the Maori family in Dunedin, on the east coast of the South Island in that country. Currently, there are descendants are on the island.

In addition, there are numerous branches in the southern and western part of the United States that trace their ancestry to a Martin Trapp from 1700?s Virginia. Several researchers, including myself, have come across a legend that a member of the Martha?s Vineyard Trapp?s migrated to Virginia. This has yet to be documented or substantiated, but is being researched.


This history was a contribution from Jim Kucharski . If you want to contribute to this history or want some information send an email