The Second David Clarkson (1694-1751): Trans-Atlantic Trade and Civic Duty
David Clarkson and his siblings, Matthew, Levinus and Anne, were raised in the Dutch culture by the Freemans. To further their education, they were sent to family in both the Netherlands and England. One relative in London was Rev. David Clarkson’s unmarried sister; another was a daughter of Charles Lodwick. Lodwick had returned to England in 1710. His daughter Elizabeth, married George Streatfeild (Anon., “Vol. 1,” 115), a name that became important in later generations of the Clarkson family. As adults, Levinus and Anne remained in Amsterdam (222); David stayed in London and Matthew returned to Manhattan (145). Having family in each port was vital for success, since merchants needed to be able to trust the purveyors, ship captains and agents throughout their networks (Matson, 154). London, Amsterdam and Manhattan were the key ports in the trans-Atlantic mercantile trade of the time. The colonies sent natural resources to the colonial powers, which processed the raw material and sold the products, like clothing and carriages back to the colonists.
Matthew, however, did not remain in Manhattan. He married Cornelia De Peyster and had 10 children, becoming the progenitor of the Philadelphia branch of the Clarksons (Anon., “Vol. 1,” 160). Levinus and Anne remained unmarried at their home called Hellspont and never returned to Manhattan (161). David returned to Manhattan from London. He married his cousin Ann Margaret Freeman and inherited the Flatbush estate, which remained in the family for generations. He also maintained his father’s Manhattan property on Whitehall and Pearl Streets and an office in The Strand. The Clarkson brothers had several houses and large real estate holdings, especially in Westchester, New York (198).
David was an active member of the civic community. He was a vestryman at Trinity Church, as well as a member of the New York Assembly from 1737, in which he vigorously protected citizens’ liberty from encroachment by the crown (171) and was concerned about “revenue and its disposition” (164).
David and Ann Margaret had four children: Freeman, David, Matthew and Levinus, all of whom were sent to England for their education (175). Freeman never married, remaining at the Flatbush estate as a gentleman farmer (197). David’s story continues in the following section. Matthew married Elizabeth De Peyster. He ran a company, Clarkson and Sebring, on Dock Street in Manhattan, but apparently without much success. Upon Freeman’s death, he retired to Flatbush (“Matthew”). His son, David M. Clarkson, went into business with Gerrit Van Horne, becoming an owner of the Potsdam township. Levinus married Mary Van Horne. Their descendants became the Westchester branch of the family (198).