Rev. John Duryea



Rev. John Duryea was a Dutch Reformed minister who served in the American Revolution. He is buried in the Old Burying Ground at the First Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, NJ.

John Duryea was born on August 1, 1752, in Kings County, New York. His parents were Joost Duryea and Catherine Schenk, both born in Queens, NY.

He married Mary Lee Brinkerhoff in 1777. They had six children, Catherine Schuyler, John Lee Duryea, George Duryea, Henry Brinkerhoff Duryea, Elizabeth Harrison, and Jane Crane. Mary Lee died in 1823 and he married Eleanor Colyer in 1828.

He moved to Hackensack, NJ in 1776 to pursue his ministry studies under Dr. Peter Wilson. During this time his land and property was plundered and he found himself doing his part for the patriot cause.

Rev. Duryea’s service in the war is well documented in a Pension Application he filed October 31, 1832. US Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen was his sponsor. Congress passed a law on June 7, 1832 allowing veterans to apply for pension benefits.

Rev. Duryea volunteered as a militia Private in Captain Outwater’s Company in Colonel Dey’s Regiment. He fought in New York and Long Island. He was probably at the Battle of Brooklyn. He was part of the evacuation across the Hudson and came to Hackensack. He reported that he was part of an escort for Mrs. Washington from Newark through Hackensack to Tappan. Later, his company went to Morristown under Colonel Peter Fell, where he served as a Sergeant and minister of the Gospel. He was called to service again in 1781 and taken prisoner in March 1781 and held in the infamous Sugar House jail in New York until a prisoner exchange that September. He reports that, in 1832, his only asset was his family Bible given to him by his father.

He was a Reformed Protestant Dutch Church minister and lived in Somerset, NJ for 15 years, then 10 years in Essex County. Messler’s Eight Memorial Sermons details his work in Raritan and Bedminister following his Calling in 1785 at Raritan. He preached in Dutch and English. Some time after 1799, he was called to preach in Great Notch, where he died in 1836.

He left a Will written on September 5, 1828, naming his wife, Eleanor and 6 children, two of whom, Catherine and Jane were deceased at that time. Among his other possessions, he left a “colored woman named Dinah” to his daughter Elizabeth.

Rev. Duryea was buried in Caldwell with his daughter, Jane Lee Durye Crane, who died at 28, in 1820. She was the wife of Nathaniel Crane, the son of Samuel Crane, another Revolutionary War soldier and prominent Caldwell citizen, buried in the same burial ground.