Was Jacob Kollock Found Under A Cabbage Leaf?

   When I was growing up in the 1940s, it was not unusual for the mother of an exasperating child to say something like, "I didn't give birth to you. We found you under a cabbage leaf!"  This disclaimer was (usually) temporary, giving the parent momentary relief from having to acknowledge that such a little monster could have anything to do with her genes. The actual origin of the child was left in question - abandoned by another exasperated parent, an extra-terrestrial, or something that just sprouted in place?

   Jacob Kollock  may be one of those "Cabbage Patch" people. Apparently, he is the source of all Kollocks in North America (at least, before 1900), yet he was not even "found" until 1690, some 32 years after his presumed "birth." Did he have parents? Nobody knows. The only "facts" we know are:

He was born ca 1657 (tombstone inscription says he died at age 63 in 1721).

He married Mary Lawerson before 1691 (Horle, C. W. 1991. Record of the Courts of Sussex County, Delaware, 1677-1710. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press: Between June and December 1691, allegation that Jacob Kollock and Mary Lawerson were not married; apparently, no final decision or action taken).

He was first identified in Sussex County, Delaware, in 1690, when he was appointed to the grand jury, and also applied for a land grant (Horle, C. W. 1991. Record of the Courts of Sussex County, Delaware, 1677-1710. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press: pages 677 and 699).

He lived at Lewes, Sussex County, Delaware, the rest of his life; identified as a cooper [barrel and cask maker] and merchant; regularly bought and sold property, served on grand and petit juries, represented himself and others in court ([1] Horle, C. W. 1991. Record of the Courts of Sussex County, Delaware, 1677-1710. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press; [2] Sellers, E. J. 1897. Genealogy of Kollock family, Sussex County, Delaware, 1657-1897. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Self-published).

He died at Lewes 26 February 1720 [1721 modern calendar], age 63; buried at St. Peter's Episcopal Church (tombstone photo and inscription).

His will, recorded 30 December 1720 and probated 14 March 1721, named wife Mary and seven living children  (Sellers, E. J. 1897. Genealogy of Kollock family, Sussex County, Delaware, 1657-1897. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Self-published).

Every other bit of information I have seen and investigated about him has proven to be incorrect, a misinterpretation of the facts presented above, or so far unsubstantiated. In the latter category is the regularly repeated "family tradition" that (1) the Kollocks lived in southern France, and their family name was originally Colloque, or De Colloque; (2) they were Huguenots, Protestants living in a predominantly Catholic country, where they suffered religious persecution; and (3) after the Edict of Nantes (which had given Protestants some religious freedom) was revoked in 1685, the family fled France, and eventually changed their name.

   The claim that the Kollocks were Huguenots is so specific that it seems likely to have been true. However, neither the Huguenot Society of America nor the National Huguenot Society recognize any proven Huguenot ancestor named Colloque, Kollock, Collock, or any other similar name. Also, there are no family files on Kollock or Kollock-related names in the Huguenot Library in London. Over the years, there have been various Kollock members in the societies, but apparently they were granted membership as "associates" (people interested in the Kollock name), rather than full members (people with proven Kollock ancestors). Nevertheless, to say a specific ancestry hasn't been proven is not the same as saying there wasn't one.

   There are other problems with the family story, however. One might expect some questions, considering that the earliest I found reference to the tradition is 1850, nearly 200 years after Jacob's birth. 

With pretty careful searching, I couldn't find any records of a Colloque family in early  France, or elsewhere in Europe. Neither could I find any place name in France that could account for "De Colloque," i.e., a family of or from Colloque.

The idea that the Colloques/Kollocks fled France after revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 appears to be a later addition to the family story. The earliest I have found it mentioned is in 1907. Actually, the Huguenots were being strongly persecuted in the 1500s; many had fled France before the semi-protection of the Edict came into effect in 1598, and many more left during the "safe" years. Searching for Kollock ancestors in Europe shouldn't be limited to late 17th Century France; they could have been long-gone by then.

The idea of where the Kollocks fled also changed over the years. In accounts published in 1850 and 1892, they were said to have moved to Germany. A 1907 report has them traveling to England, but narratives in 1930, 1960 and 1975 give Holland as their place of refuge. As no new information surfaced during the 1850 to 1975 period, there isn't an obvious reason for the changes. Huguenot refugees did settle in all three countries, but they also moved to other European localities, as well. So far, there is no one logical place to start the search for Kollock ancestors.

*   *   *

 If I was to continue the search for Jacob Kollock's family and ancestry (I won't be able to, at least for a year or so), here are a few things I'd consider.

Nobody has found any "Kollock" names (including known variations) in early America that are not those of Jacob's immediate family and descendants. That leads me to believe that he came from Europe as an adult, alone, or perhaps with relatives having other surnames. The year 1690, when he first petitioned for land in Delaware and when he first began appearing in Sussex County records, may be close to the time he actually arrived in America.

It has been assumed that, because the legitimacy of Jacob's marriage to Mary Lawerson was questioned in 1691, the marriage had occurred in America about that same time. That may not be true. Jacob would have been about 33 in 1690, not too old to be getting married for the first time, but leaving a lot of room for an earlier marriage. Lawerson is an extremely rare surname in early America, but was common in England in the 1600s. All of their children have been assumed to have been born in America, but there appears to be no birth (or death) information for their eldest child, Simon. Hannah, probably their second child, by one account was born ca 1684 (but I haven't seen the documentation). Two of their youngest children, Hester and Jacob, may have been born ca 1692 and 1698, if tombstone inscriptions are near accurate. All in all, an overseas wedding is not out of the question.

Because there are so many places in Europe where Jacob might have come from, and a number of surnames that sound "close enough" to have become Collock/Kollock, it won't be easy deciding where to invest research time. My favorite at the moment is the Dutch family, Coelhoeck. My (very) limited research has shown that there were Coelhoecks in the Netherlands in the 1600s. That's where I would start.

I hope that someday, someone will be able to show that Jacob was not just a "cabbage patch person."


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