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Montgomery Clift

his cousinship with
Jean Margaret (Kennedy) Mitchelson
through the Quick family

Montgomery Clift Montgomery Blair   
Montgomery Clift
Montgomery Blair
great-grandfather of
Montgomery Clift
Although Montgomery Clift was primarily of New England ancestry, through the Wendell family he was also descended from the Quick family of New York City, whence he was a 9th cousin once removed of my grandmother, Jean Margaret (Kennedy) Mitchelson.
     The distinguished Quincy-Wendell clan were also ancestors of Dorothy Quincy, wife of John Hancock, of Louisa May Alcott, the novelist, and of Barrett Wendell, the literary critic. On the somewhat humbler Kranckheyt side of the table, interesting descendants include the brothers Mark and Carl Van Doren, literary critics, and Walter Cronkhite, the television journalist.
     The founder of the Quicks probably had not settled on this surname when he came from Naarden in the Netherlands to New York, as it never appears in the earliest records in which he is mentioned. He appears to have been of quite humble social status, and is often called simply called “Theunis the mason” (Theunis de metselaer) instead of by his patronymic (Thomasz.). This has caused confusion in the literature with at least one other Theunis who happened to be a mason.

  Theunis Thomasz. Quick = Belitje Jacobs van Vleckensteyn
       (living 1670)     |         (living 1673)
     of New York City    |
           |                              |
  Wyntje Theunisse                Hillegond Theunisse
   (1628-1681+)                      (1640-1707)
= Herck Syboutszen               = Jacob Theuniszen
 (ancestor of the                  de Key (d. 1691)
 Kranckheyt family)                of New York City
        |                                 |
 Catryntje Hercks                 The Hon. (Captain)
 = Ryck Abrahamse                Teunis Jacobs De Key
    van Lent                        (1659-1702/05)
   of Newtown                      of New York City
        |                        = Helena van Brugh
        |                                 |
   Abraham Lent                    Catharina De Key
   (1674-1749)                      (1681-1722/35)
of Tarrytown, N.Y.                = Abraham Wendell
= Anna Catharina                     (1678-1734)
      Meyer                         of Boston, Mass.
        |                                 |
    Isaac Lent                     Elizabeth Wendell
   (1707-1771)                       (1704-1769)
   of Fishkill,                  = Edmund Quincy (IV)
 Dutchess Co., N.Y.                  (1703-1788)
  = Sara Luyster                 of Boston, merchant,
    (1714-1767)                   grad. Harvard 1722
         |                                |
   Catharina Lent                 Dr. Jacob Quincy
  (say 1743-1767+)                  (1734?-1773)
  = Francis Harris           of Boston, grad. Harvard 1753,
     (1740-1816),           Surgeon to Col. Joseph Dwight’s 
   of Sandy Cove,              regiment at Crown Point
 Digby Tp., Annapolis            = Elizabeth Williams
 (now Digby) Co., N.S.                     |
         |                                 |
  Catherine Harris              Elizabeth Wendell Quincy
    (1767-1846)                       (1763-1853)   
  = John Comfort                 = The Hon. Asa G. Clapp
  (ca. 1755-1830)                     (1762-1848)
  of Clinton Tp.,                 of Portland, Maine,
    Lincoln Co.,         Deleg. to the Constitutional Convention
   Upper Canada            of 1819; Rep. in State Legislature;
         |                        said to have been the 
         |                       wealthiest man in Maine
         |                                 | 
  Francis Comfort               Elizabeth Williams Clapp
    (1800-1880)                        (1796-1873)
   of Beamsville,           = (Judge) The Hon. Levi Woodbury
Clinton Tp., Lincoln Co.              (1789-1851) 
 = Jemima Wilcox              of Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
    (1801-1876)                 governor, state senator,
          |                      secretary of the navy,
          |                    secretary of the treasury,
          |             Assoc. Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
          |                                 |
   Margaret Comfort          Mary Elizabeth ("Minna") Woodbury       
    (1833-1916)                        (1821-1887)
 = John Kennedy (IV)           = The Hon. Montgomery Blair
     (1832-1897),                      (1813-1883)
    of St. Anns,                  of St. Louis, Missouri
   Gainsborough Tp.,           Postmaster-General of the U.S.,
     Lincoln Co.                   lawyer, abolitionist
          |                                 |
    John Kennedy (V)                 Woodbury Blair
     (1862-1939)                       (1852-1933)
  of Melita, Manitoba,            1st Postmaster-General 
       Canada                      of Lincoln, Nebraska
  = Susanna Samantha             ~ Maria Latham Anderson
     Helena Young                    (ca. 1856-     )
     (1882-1937)                            /
          |                                 \
          |                          (illegitimate)
Jean Margaret Kennedy              Ethel Anderson Fogg
     (1917-2000)                (adopted by Fogg family)
   = Richard Harry                     (1888-1972?)
   Mitchelson, Jr.               = William Brooks Clift
     (1914-1998),                      (1886-1964)
 of Winnipeg, Manitoba                      |
     (my natural                            |
    grandparents)                           |
                                 (Edward) Montgomery Clift
                                       film actor

Sources: Our sources for the left-hand side of the table, and for the early Quick-De Key-Wendell-Quincy lineage, are the same as for our table of Quincy descendants. Gary Boyd Roberts deserves credit for noticing the revelation of Clift’s illegitimate descent from the Blairs mentioned in Patricia Bosworth’s Montgomery Clift, and developing the line from Theunis DeKey and Helena van Brugh in his Notable Kin, 2 vols. (Santa Clarita, California, 1998-99), 2:160-1, 163-4. Clift’s paternal ancestry is treated in a Clift Family History by Charlene (Clift) Robertson, and recent studies by John Camp, The New Netherland Ancestors of Edward Montgomery Clift, at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~nnnotables/zemc.html, and The New Netherland Ancestors of Elizabeth Wendell Clapp, the wife of Levi Woodbury, at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~nnnotables/zlewo.html, trace their entire known New York ancestry. There is substantial biographical material at Stephen Clift’s Montgomery Clift Shrine, at http://montyclift.com/shrine/. Working from the top downward, additional published secondary sources bearing on Clift’s ancestral lines include:

  • William S. Pattee, M.D., A history of Old Braintree and Quincy… (Quincy, Mass., 1878), 586-91 (Quincy), especially p. 589, where an account is given of the somewhat elusive Dr. Jacob Quincy (he is presumably treated in Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, to which we do not have access).
  • “Clapp, Asa,” National Cyclopaedia of American Biography 5:409-10 (with engraved portrait).
  • “Cornelia Van Ness,” in Phebe A. Hanaford, Daughters of America; or, Women of the Century (Augusta, Maine, 1882), p. 124, which briefly mentions Asa G. Clapp and his daughter Elizabeth.
  • The Levi Woodbury family: a register of its papers in the Library of Congress, prepared by Lyman Heine and Paul Schmidt, revised by Karen Linn Femia (Washington: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, 1997), available online at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/faid/FaidCollList.html.
  • Charles Levi Woodbury, Genealogical Sketches of the Woodbury Family, its intermarriages and connections (Manchester, N.H., 1904), 117 (Woodbury), 167-71 (Clapp), 179-96 (Quincy), 197-204 (Wendell), 205-6 (De Key). The author was a son of Levi Woodbury and Elizabeth Clapp, but incredibly, the book does not give the birth dates of any of their children.
  • Mrs. E.E. Ellet [Elizabeth Fries (Lummis) Ellet], The court circles of the Republic, or the beauties and celebrities of the nation; illustrating life and society under eighteen presidents… (Hartford, Conn., 1869), 226-33, 466, 532, 560, for mention of Elizabeth (Clapp) Woodbury, to whom the book is dedicated.
  • Charles A. Hazlett, History of Rockingham County, New Hampshire and Representative Citizens (Chicago, 1915), 50-53 (Levi Woodbury).
  • Articles on Levi Woodbury and Montgomery Blair in the Dictionary of American Biography and in the new American National Biography.
  • Blair and Lee Family Papers, 1764-1946 … a finding aid, by Judith Golden (Princeton University Library, Manuscripts Division, 1992), available online at http://libweb.princeton.edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/aids/blairlee/, which supplied the elusive dates of Mary Elizabeth (Woodbury) Blair and of her son, Woodbury Blair.
  • The Blair family: a register of its papers in the Library of Congress, prepared by Paul Ledvina, revised and expanded by Margaret McAleer (Washington: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, 1997), available online at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/faid/FaidCollList.html.
  • Patricia Bosworth, Montgomery Clift: A biography (New York, 1978).

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This document is from the Genealogy Page of John Blythe Dobson at johnblythedobson.org/genealogy/famous/Clift.html
Written 30 December 2000
Last revised 21 March 2004