Tracing back from my Norwegian ancestors (see graphic below), a line of Larson’s who settled in Northwestern Minnesota, including my maternal grandfather Oscar whose father and family had taken the name Akre because they were from Akra (also known as Akrahamn), Karmoy, Rogaland, Norway, my genealogy-curious cousins have identified a noble ancestor: Ahasverus de Créqui, dit la Roche, a born in the Netherlands, and connected to earlier ancestors based in Crequy, Pas-de-Calais, France. The noble family is of interest to enough people that an International Society for the Study of the Créqui family (Société International des Etudes de Créqui; SIEC)1 has formed to support genealogical research. Here I will try to summarize what the SIEC has found about Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche.1 Most interesting is this ancestor’s effort to fight for the Norwegians against the Swedes in the 1st and 2nd King Gustav Wars, and then eventually to settle in Stravange, Rogaland, Norway.
Jean de Créqui dit la Roche and Gjertrud de Leys Rengers were married July 3rd 1612 in the Dutch church in The Hague, South Holland, Netherlands. This couple had three children:
- Johan de Créqui dit la Roche,
- Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche (born 1620 in South Holland, Netherlands, and
- Judith de Créqui.
One curiosity is their connection to the de Créqui family from Crequy, Pas-de-Calais, France, which, with some interest to me, was proximate in medieval times to English-controlled Calais until French reacquired it in 1558. The de Crequi family, which can be traced back to Norman times in the 9th and 10th centuries, may have had associations with the Normans, the English, as well as the French. SEIC doesn’t have good information showing a clear connection of Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche or his father Jean de Créqui dit la Roche to the Pas-de-Calais family, but the name and coat of arms, shared with the French families, clearly indicate a connection.
Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche immigrated to Norway shortly after the 30 Year War which ended in 1648, and probably included efforts Jean de Créqui dit la Roche who was a protestant in the iron foundry business, and could have been a supplier of cannons to the protestant side of this War.1 The 30 Years War probably made Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche an experienced Dutch officer, He and his first wife came to Norway in 1657 in response to the Denmark-Norway need for officers for the Danish-Norwegian king, Frederik III to support his plans for an attack on Sweden. Sweden had gained Norwegian Jamtland and Herjedalen and Danish Halland in 1645. King Frederik III wanted these territories back. This war in 1657-58, the so-called Krabbe War, was the first assignment of Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche in Norway.1
Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche was a captain in Trondhjems infantry regiment. Researchers believe that he returned to Netherlands in June 1657 to bring back the first mortar used in Norway, which may have been one reason why the Norwegians were successful against Swedish defenses. Apparently, between December 1657 and 10th May 1658 he was also artillery captain in Trondhjems, and he led the artillery in the siege of a small fortress at Froso Skanse. Following this Krabbe War he was taken by boat to Bergen, Norway as noted on 12th July 1658.1
King Frederik III failed in his mission and lost further country to Sweden, including Bohuslen and Trondelag. The loss was not due to Norway’s successful efforts in the Krabbe War, but rather due to the Swedish strategy to bring to war to Denmark, which eventually acquiesced to the strength of the Swedish army, considering its experience and numbers that grew during the 30 Years War (1618-1648). In 1660 Trondelag was regained by Norway, but the rest remain parts of Sweden even today.1
In 1659 Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche was in Fredrikshald (Halden), taking part in defensive actions against Swedish attackers. On 6th February 1660 he fought with 250 men against the Swedes at Borge church close to Fredrikstad.
Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche apparently in 1665 he had settled his family in Stavanger to a farm called Hapnes in the Leranger at Vikedal parish in the northern part of Rogaland. Akrahamn from where my family’s Norwegian ancestors migrated, is in Rogaland on Karmoy, across the Bokna Fjord from Stavanger.
In 1676 he participated in the Gyldenlove War with Sweden. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in the Ryfylkeske regiment, he left Stavanger and began preparing for this war by 12 September 1675. During this war he occupied Marstrand in July 1677, and in August 1677, participated in the Battle of Uddevalla, the most successful battle fought by a Norwegian army. He was in Colonel Wyllem Coucherons staff at the Carlsten Fort on 4 October 1977 after it was taken on 23 July 1677 during the Battle of Uddevalla.
Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche had children by two wives. His first wife, Judith Sweers (baptized: 17 April 1933) who he married in The Hague, Holland on 1 August 1648 before immigrating to Norway. Their five children were:
- Johanna (Jeanne de Créqui), married in 1682 to Christian Clausen Jaeger (1655-1691), vicar to Helleland, Norway.
- Alida (baptized: 22 October 1951, s-Gravensande, The Hague, Holland), married to Herman Garman, Notary at Mjelde.
- Catharina (baptized: 1 February 1954, s-Gravensande, The Hague, Holland; dead: 1703, Bergen, Norway), married about 1683 to Peder Pedersen Lem, owner of a manor and merchant.
- Frederik Henrik (born: 17 June 1661, Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway), Cadet at Indre Sogn, Norway.
Apparently shortly after Judith Sweer died in Stavanger, Norway about 1669, Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche married Mette Riisbrich (born: 1645) with whom he had five more children:
- Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche (born: 1971), Cadet, married Anne Knutsdatter Urne on 19 May 1695 in Kvitsoy, Norway. This son by his second wife is my Norwegian 5th great grandfather, an ancestor of Lars Larson Akre who immigrated to Newfolden, Minnesota where he established a homestead and had five children, one, Oscar Akre who would be my mother’s father.
- Judith (born: abt. 1673), married twice, first to Pastor Peder Arctander and second to Pastor Peter Scavenius.
- Karen, married to Captain Christian von Alst.
- Antonette Augusta, married the Commandant of Tranquebar, India, Claus Voigt
- Gertrude (born: abt. 1676), married in March 1693 Danish Captain Wentzel Rothkirch Kaas, Baron in Stavanger Cathedral, after which they returned to Denmark and their descendents became prominent in the Government of Denmark, including Niels Kaas, Chancellor of the Kingdom and Guardian for the minor King Christian IV, while other descendents included a prime minister and 6 Knights of the Elephant.
Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche died in 1678 .
- Berg, Carsten. “Descendants of Ahasverus de Créqui dit la Roche with Judith Sweers.” Societe Internationale des Etudes de Créqui, March 31, 2007. https://mail.winnem.com/siec/nsiec1_0.htm.