m. 27 Apr 1737
Facts and Events
Christopher Ring (Abt. 1715 - Abt. 1787) was a Palatine German immigrant who settled at Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York, about 1735. The original spelling of Christopher's surname may have been Rinck. That spelling is used in early New York church records, as well as German church records associated with this family by genealogist Henry Z. Jones. Later documents consistently refer to Christopher as Christopher Ring, Christoffel Ring, or Stoffel Ring. The Ring surname was consistently used by Christopher's sons and it remains the standard spelling down to the present day.
Early Years, 1715-1735
According to New York church records, Christopher Ring was born in the Pfaltz region of Germany about 1715, a son of Conrad Rinck. Two documents hint at other details of his early life, but neither can be directly tied to Christopher Ring of Rhinebeck.
Genealogist Henry Z. Jones mentions a Conrad Rinck who lived at Langenlonsheim in the Bad Kreuznach district in 1701 and 1707. An indirect link between Christopher and this region is found in a baptism record from 1741, when Christopher and his wife sponsored Magdalena, daughter of Anthony Michael, a linenweaver whose family came from Meisenheim in Bad Kreuznach.
On August 16, 1731, a Christopher Rink arrived at the port of Philadelphia aboard the ship Samuel. The Samuel’s register includes the names of "Thirty nine Palatines," aged sixteen years and upwards, "who with their Families, making in all One hundred & seven Persons, were imported here...from Rotterdam." The register's entry for Christopher Rink is a crudely scrawled cross with the notation “Christ. Rink, his mark" added by the hand of another person.
Marriage and Family, 1736-1776
Events leading up to Christopher's marriage place him in Rhinebeck by the end of 1735. Christopher Rinck, age 20, was admitted to membership in the Lutheran church by Wilhelm Christoph Berkenmeyer at Theerbosch, Columbia County, New York, on 21 January 1735/1736. Berkenmeyer was pastor of the Lutheran church at Loonenburg (now Athens, Greene County, New York), but some Lutherans on the east bank of the Hudson had become unhappy with their minister, Johannes Spahler, so they had asked Berkenmeyer to preach to them. On November 28, 1735, Berkenmeyer noted in his diary that
Christoffel Rink, who lives at Rhynbek, and Mr. Jacob Scheffer arrived [at Loonenburg]. The first asked to be admitted to membership in the Lutheran Church. The second had been commissioned to request me, if possible, to come to Theerbosch to hold service there for those people from the Camp and from Rhynbeck who had been offended by Spahler's stubbornness and peculiar ways. The Pastor's decision was put in writing for Mr. Jacob Scheffer, namely, that I was willing to preach for them next January 21st or 28th, whichever day they might decide upon.
Christopher's trip to Loonenburg and his confirmation at Theerbosch may have been prompted by his desire to marry Maria Magdalena Deter, daughter of George Deter and Anna Maria Meyer. George Deter was a leader in the group of Lutheran families that supported Pastor Berkenmeyer over Johannes Spahler. Berkenmeyer stayed at the Deter home when he visited Rhinebeck in 1736 and 1737, and Spahler eventually filed charges against both men to stop them from speaking against him. On April 25 and 26, 1736, Berkenmeyer held Easter services at West Camp, Greene County, New York. According to Berkenmeyer's diary, "When the service was ended..., Christoph Rinck came to take me across the River.... Messrs. Haneman Saalbach and Hannes Kurtz went with me on horseback, and toward evening we arrived at Rhynbeck. We stayed with Jurge Deter." On April 27, Berkemeyer held Easter services at George Deter's barn. Afterwards, he noted in his diary, Christopher and Maria Magdalena "were married, followed by the wedding party."
Christopher and Maria Magdalena Ring continued their association with Berkenmeyer after the wedding. Their names appear eight times in church records at Loonenburg, Greene County, New York, and at Germantown, Columbia County, New York, between 1741 and 1746. These church records document the baptisms of four daughters, all of whom died in infancy. The family Bible also notes the birth and baptism of a son, Conrad, in 1746, but this event is not recorded in any local Lutheran churchbooks.
Christopher and Maria Magdalena appear in church records at Rhinebeck from 1748 to 1776. The baptisms of three children -- Anna Maria, Catharina, and Georg – appear at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Rhinebeck. The birth of a third son, Johannes, is mentioned in the family Bible, but not in local church records. The baptism of daughter Elizabeth is recorded at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Red Hook. Youngest son David was baptized by the pastor of the Reformed Church at Rhinebeck.
Christopher purchased or leased the farm of Johannas Whiteman at Rhinebeck sometime before May 1754, when it was named in the lease for a neighboring property. Based on a description of the neighboring property from the July 14, 1846 edition of The Rhinebeck Gazette, and comparison to local maps of that time, it appears that Christopher's farm was located north of Route 308 between New York 9G and Pilgrim's Progress Road. Christopher's son George lived at this site after 1800. An illustration of his house can be seen on the 1802 survey map for the Salisbury turnpike. Christopher may have been the original proprietor of a tannery operated there.
By 1776, Christopher was well-established in civil records at Rhinebeck. He is named in an account book of the proprietor, Henry Beekman, Jr., that dates to the period of October 1736 to May 1737; he became a naturalized citizen of the Colony of New York in 1755; and he is listed in local Rhinebeck tax records from 1753 to 1778.
Most of the surviving children of Christopher and Maria Magdalena Ring were married between 1771 and 1776. None of these marriages are recorded in local church records, but they are documented in baptism records at St. Peter's Lutheran Church and other congregations. Conrad Ring and his wife Anna Maria Krantz moved to Claverack in Columbia County, New York, sometime before 1774. Church records document that the other children were still living at Rhinebeck in 1775 and 1776.
The American Revolution, 1775-1783
After the battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, the Patriot forces of New York circulated an oath of allegiance known as the "Articles of Association." Meetings were held in every town and all adult males were required to sign. Stopping short of a call for independence, the oath was a promise to obey the new Patriot government:
Persuaded that the salvation of the rights and liberties of America depend, under God, on the firm union of its inhabitants in a vigorous prosecution of the measures necessary for its safety, and convinced of the necessity of preventing anarchy and confusion which attend a disolution of the powers of government. We, the Freeman, Freeholders, and Inhabitants of Dutchess, being greatly alarmed at the avowed design of the Ministry to raise a revue in America, and shocked by the bloody scene now acting in Massachusetts Bay, do in the most solemn manner resolve never to become slaves, and do associate, under all the ties of religion, honor, and love to our country, to adopt and endeavor to carry into execution whatsoever measures may be recommended by the Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention, for the purpose of preserving our constitution and of opposing the several arbitrary acts of the British Parliament, until a reconciliation between Great Britain and America, on constitutional principles (which we most ardently desire) can be obtained, and that we will in all things follow the advice of our General Committee respecting the purposes aforesaid, the preservation of peace and good order and the safety of individuals and property.
The Articles of Association was circulated at Rhinebeck in June and July. It was signed by fifty-six percent of the eligible men in Rhinebeck, but German residents were less enthusiastic. Two out of three men with German surnames refused to sign (106 of 176), while only one of three men with English or Dutch surnames refused (91 of 277). Among the names of those who refused, we find Christopher Ring, his sons George, Johannes and David, and his sons-in-law, George Pultz and Philip Traver.
Two years later, Christopher again refused to sign an oath of allegiance. By that time, British forces had captured and occupied Long Island, George Washington had been driven from Manhattan, and the Provisional Congress of New York had been forced to flee up the Hudson. Fearing a Loyalist uprising in areas still under their own control, the Provisional Congress created the Committee and First Commission for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies, granting it the power to subpoena anyone suspected of dangerous intentions against the Patriot government. On April 15, 1777, the Committee met at Rhinebeck and interviewed several local men with German surnames:
Christian Bergh, Johannis Becker, Johannis Eckert, Christohper Ring, Christian Dederick & Lodowick Stryt, persons comprehended within the Resolution of Convention, appeared before the Board and refused to take the Oath of Allegiance. Ordered that they severally return to their respective Places of Abode til the further Order of this Board.
The British army began its assault on the Hudson in June 1777, when General Burgoyne set out from Canada with 8,000 soldiers. Faced with this imminent threat, the Committee intensified its work at Rhinebeck. On August 12, 1777, it heard testimony against Henning Nicholas Kister, "Clark to the Lutheran Church at Rhinebeck" and "a person of very dangerous & suspicious Character Violently opposed to the measures pursuing by these States," resulting in an order for Kister's immediate arrest.
On October 6, Sir Henry Clinton landed 4,000 troops on the western shore of the Hudson, several miles north of Tarrytown, capturing Fort Montgomery and Fort Clinton. These forts guarded an iron chain that had been stretched across the river to prevent enemy ships from sailing north. British forces promptly severed the chain and an invasion fleet sailed up the Hudson, plundering and burning on both sides of the river. In panic, the Committee scrambled to secure the loyalty of disaffected citizens before the invasion fleet arrived. On October 10, twenty-six men were summoned to appear before the committee in Rhinebeck to swear an oath "that they will not during the present War, take up Arms against any of the United States of America, or in any other respect, aid or Assist it's Enemies." This group included Christopher's son Conrad. After taking the oath, he was ordered to "remain with his Father, not to depart thence till the further order of this Board or other proper authority of this State."
On October 16, the British fleet arrived at Kingston, just across the Hudson from Rhinebeck. Governor George Clinton made a brief attempt to defend the city, but he was forced to retreat when reinforcements did not arrive. The British burned Kingston, and several days later they landed on the eastern shore, burning several buildings before they were recalled. Learning of General Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga on October 17, the British deserted Kingston and retreated to New York City.
Final Years, 1783-1787
Stoffel Ring is named in account book entries at Rhinebeck dated January, May, and July 1784. These notations are apparently the last documentation from Christopher's lifetime. According to a nineteenth-century genealogy, Christopher died in 1787, but there is no record of this death in Maria Magdalena's Bible or in Rhinebeck church records. Systematic surveys of local cemeteries have failed to find any sign of gravestone's for Christopher or Maria Magdalena.