This page I hope will be a repository of information on John Van Gilder and his descendants. John Van Gilder was the "Indian patriarch" of Gilder Hollow, the Town of Egremont, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. No proof has been found to support that he was either a full-blood who lived with a Dutch family and took their last name or he had a Dutch parent or took the last name of a Dutch person he knew and respected.
John was Indian, though. Recent evidence indicates that he was born a Catskill, or Mohican,Indian. His Indian name was Toanunck, the meaning presently unknown. Later he would move to southern Berkshire County and become associated with the mission at Stockbridge. He was born ca 1698 and died 1758. In 1719 in the Dutch Reformed Church at Kingston, he married Anna Maria Koerner, daughter of German Palatine immigrants Jan Nicholas and Anna Magdalena Koerner, born ca 1700 in Germany. The banns for John and Anna Maria's marriage were registered on June 28, 1719. Anna Maria was also known as Mary Karner.
John and Mary lived in Gilder Hollow with her brothers Andrew and Lodowick and their families. Andrew married Elizabeth Stiever/Stuber.
John and his sons, along with other Mohican people, defended white settlers in Berkshire County from the incursions of New York State patroon Robert Livingston in what has been called the border wars. John was jailed for six months in Albany, New York, for the accidental killing of a sheriff's deputy. He was released in May 1757 and died the next year.
His sons and grandsons later joined American Patriots in the American Revolution.
Descendants of John Van Gilder and Mary Karner
Van Gilder Descendants in the American Revolution
Photos of Van Gilder Descendants
Marilyn Van Dyke
Carol Ann Van Galder
I am deeply in debt to James Kellogg who researched the families and whose work was published by the Berkshire Family History Assocation. Another important source is the Town of Egremont history. All this information is available publicly.