The DeVere Family

The story of the De Vere family, and our Family relationship relation to them.

The De Vere family has a great history as royalty in the English government going way back in time. Almost all (in our line) served as the Earls of Oxford, and several also served as the Lord Great Chamberlain of England.

Per the UK Parliament website, today “The Lord Great Chamberlain is the hereditary Officer of State to whom the Sovereign entrusts the custody and control of those parts of the Palace of Westminster not assigned to the two Houses, principally, the Queen’s Robing Room and the Royal Gallery.” In the past, The Lord Chamberlain is always a peer and a privy councillor, and before 1782 was of cabinet rank. Until 1924 the position was a political one. The Lord Chamberlain is the chief functionary of the court, and is generally responsible for organizing all court functions.

The Earl of Oxford was defined like this: Earl of Oxford is a dormant title in the Peerage of England, first created for Edgar the Atheling and held by him from 1066 to 1068, and later offered to Aubrey III de Vere by the empress Matilda in 1141, one of four counties he could choose if Cambridgeshire was held by the king of Scotland. On Aubrey’s acceptance, his family was to hold the title for more than five and a half centuries, until the death of the 20th Earl in 1703. The de Veres were also hereditary holders of the office of Master Chamberlain of England from 1133 until the death of the 18th Earl in 1625. Their primary seat was Castle Hedingham in Essex, but they held lands in southern England and the Midlands, particularly in eastern England. The actual earldom was called ‘Oxenford’ until at least the end of the 17th century. Medieval sources thus refer to ‘my lord of Oxenford’ when speaking of the earl. Source Earl Of Oxford

This is the linage of the Devere’s down to us

Sir Richard The 3rd, 11th Earl of Oxford de Vere (1385 - 1417)

17th great-grandfather

Sir (John) Robert De Vere (1408 - 1462)

Son of Sir Richard The 3rd, 11th Earl of Oxford de Vere

JOHN De VERE 14th Earl of Oxford (1433 - 1537)

Son of Sir (John) Robert De Vere

JOHN DeVERE 15th Earl of Oxford (1490 - 1540)

Son of JOHN De VERE 14th Earl of Oxford

John de Vere 16th Earl of Oxford, Lord Bolebec (1516 - 1562)

Son of JOHN DeVERE 15th Earl of Oxford

Edward 17th Earl of Oxford De Vere Lord Great Chamberlain of England (1550 - 1604)

Son of John de Vere 16th Earl of Oxford, Lord Bolebec

Countess Elizabeth DeVere (1575 - 1626)

Daughter of Edward 17th Earl of Oxford De Vere Lord Great Chamberlain of England

John Wakefield (1591 - 1631)

Son of Countess Elizabeth DeVere

John Wakefield (1615 - 1667)

Son of John Wakefield

Mary WAKEFIELD (1645 - 1698)

Daughter of John Wakefield

James Hillyer (1683 - 1769)


Capt. James Hillyer (1711 - 1808)

Son of James Hillyer

Rev. Asa HILLYER (1738 - 1820)

Son of Capt. James Hillyer

Horace Melancton Hillyer (1767 - 1813)

Son of Rev. Asa HILLYER

Shaler Justin Hillyer (1799 - 1865)

Son of Horace Melancton Hillyer

Eunice Catharine Hillyer (1839 - 1908)

Daughter of Shaler Justin Hillyer

Alice A. Clay (1860 - )

Daughter of Eunice Catharine Hillyer

Daisy Laretta Hunt (1887 - 1962)

Daughter of Alice A. Clay

Donald Eugene VanHorn (1923 - 2014)

Son of Daisy Laretta Hunt

Another Beginning

I have recently had another DNA test done on a particular Allele that sets us apart from everyone else.

This test was to see if I was related to a man who lived in Norway about 2200 years ago. I got the idea to do this from Marlene VanHorne, who is a far-fetched relative. While our family line comes from Abraham Van Horn, her’s comes from Cornelius who was Abraham’s brother. If you remember Abraham and Cornelius were the first to men in our family to use the name VanHorn.  Marlene also runs the VanHorn project at 23 And Me, and she was the one who used my DNA to prove Matthys Corneliussen was our ancestor.

This is what I got from Marlene:

If you are interested, you might consider testing at for the Terminal SNP I-Y10633 T+.  It is the terminal SNP for our family.  The Walker’s, the Christensen’s and my brother have tested positive for it.  This TS is believed to have originated in a man in Scandinavia about 2200 years ago, and is what separates our male ancestors from the rest of the male human family tree.

So I have tested positive for it as well.  That means every male from Dad’s family also possesses that same gene going back 2200 years.  Billy Ben, Larry Lee and every male VanHorn cousin we have is included. I find this quite exciting, being able to narrow it down to this one person who is the father of several families.

Abraham Matthysen VanHorn

The story of our first Ancestor to use the VanHorn name, and his family.

Abraham Van Horne, son of Matthys Corneliussen and Fytie Brouwer, was baptized in the Dutch Reform Church, Brooklyn on 15 Jan 1699; died at Whitehouse N.J. in Nov of 1759. He married at Freehold N.J. in 1719 to Annetje (Ann) Covenhoven. Annetje was born ca. 1702. She died at Whitehouse N.J. on 12 Dec, 1759.  They both died of Chicken Pox.

Abraham Matthysen VanHorn is our first ancestor to use the VanHorn name. His father Matthyse Corneliussen came from Denmark in 1663 about the age of 23.

White House got its name from the Inn of Abraham Van Horne who came here in 1733. Van Horne’s Inn was located along an important Indian path and was the only place of rest for travelers for many miles. The building had white walls and eventually became known as “the White House”. The whole area took its name from the little pre-Revolutionary tavern.

The earliest of these taverns was built by Abraham Van Horn Sr. about 1750 and was on the road from Clinton to Somerville where it crossed Rockaway Creek. (Now Route 22) Because of its WHITE plastered walls it became known as the “WHITE HOUSE,” a name also given to the village which sprang up around the tavern. It’s location on this early trail immediately led to its being a favorite stopping place for travelers and later for stage coaches of the Easton-New Brunswick Turnpike, so by the time of the Revolution, its popularity had become well established. Van Horn kept this tavern until he died in November 1759, after which it was carried on by his youngest son, Abraham Jr.”

The Abraham Van Horn Homestead which is still lived in, is only about 100 yards farther down Rockaway Creek from the site of the Tavern and dates from 1757.[13]

Abraham Jr. must have operated the tavern through 1776, because his “Petition to keep a Tavern”, dated May 1776, still remains in the New Jersey Archives in Trenton. The long list of witnesses required to prove a properly run establishment is very interesting.

All this must have been good training for Abraham Jr. when he became Forage Master for Washington’s Army during the encampment at Morristown, New Jersey.

Abraham married the beautiful Annetje Covenhoven, daughter of Cornelius W. Covenhoven and Margaretta Schenck who also came from Long Island.  Abraham and Annetje were blessed with 3 sons and 4 daughters, all of whom married into fine local families.

Abraham Sr. died in November 1759 and Annetje a month later. Here are the notes the minister made after conducting Annetje’s funeral service, “17 December (1759) had to bury the deceased wife of Abraham van Horn, who himself died only recently. Both died of a contagious kind of pox. The youngest son, his wife, and his negroes are still sick with the pox. I preached at the home in English on Psalm 90:12 and read the customary prayers in English at the grave. I also prayed for the sick in the home. On the way home I visited the aged Ludewig Schmidt.”

Abraham Sr’s Will dated 29 December 1758 and probated 5 December 1759, distributes his expanded land holdings saw mill and grist mill among his children and grandchildren.

The family line started by this wonderful couple, now numbers many hundreds scattered throughout this country and Canada. One of the most notable members is Sir William C. Van Horn whose branch of the family moved to Illinois. He started as a telegrapher with the Milwaukee Road. He progressed with the Company and was eventually selected to build the Canadian Pacific Rail Road across the Western Plains and through the Canadian Rockies. His amazing exploits were crowned with success and he became President of the Canadian Pacific and was knighted.

The Runnings

A short story about our connections to the Runnings

We are related to the Runnings by marriage to Rosetta VanHorn 1880 - 1938. She married William Runnings. Rosetta was the daughter of our great grandfather Benjamin VanHorn. She grew up in a family of 12 siblings. Her sister Belle VanHorn is our link to P. Waugh family.

They were married in 1901, and had 6 children. Rosetta is buried in Stiles Cemetery under the name of Rosetta Runnings.