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Exploration in the area that would become New Amsterdam began with Henry Hudson who claimed the area for the Dutch Republic. The Dutch had not followed a policy of colonization, but rather had built fortifications in order to insure their trade with the local people. The Dutch Republic was a well to do country and there was little, if any push to colonize a new area. Amsterdam was the center of world trade and riches from all over the world poured into the Republic. The Republic's lenient policy towards all religious factions other than Catholic, had not led to a desire for religious freedom. In addition, the Republic had a liberal freedom of speech policy, witnessed by the many books published in Amsterdam during the period. The State did not initiate nor control trade, but rather, it was handled through private companies. In addition, the Netherlands was not a densely populated area. The Dutch East and West India Companies had many employees from Germany and Scandinavia. The financial returns of quick trade were far more appealing than the long, slow return from agricultural pursuits.
The Dutch West India Company, modeled upon the successful East India Company, was given control over trade on the American Continent.The Dutch West India Company was only interested in trade so far as it was necessary to insure safe and reliable trade. The area had to protected by soldiers who had to be fed, so a minimal number of farmers were needed to provide the food supplies for the soldiers.
On March 31, 1624, the Nieuw Nederland left Holland with thirty settlers and anchored near Fort Nassau in the Hudson. That same year, another fortress, Fort Orange was built on the shore near where the ship landed at a place called Maeykans 'Home of the Mohicans.' In 1625, another fort, completed with a moat, was erected on Manhattan Island and more farmers, all in the employment of the Dutch West India Company, arrived from Holland. Five farms were established on the island and the fort would be christened Amsterdam, while the town surrounding it would be Nieuw Amsterdam.
In 1626, Governor Pieter Minuit purchased the island for sixty guilders of merchandise. Though the area had already been settled, the business-minded men of the Company wanted their ownership of the land in writing.
The settlement in North America was not the primary concern of the Dutch West India Company, as Holland, or rather the Company, was still at war with Spain. The Company privately conquered Curacao and other Caribbean islands as well as stretches of Brazil, which had previously belonged to the Spanish throne. The riches of North America paled against the rich treasures taken from the Spanish ships and flotilla.
In 1629, new life was given to the northern colony. The West India Company promised 'Liberties and Exemptions' to anyone who would ship fifty colonists to America at his own expense. This 'patroon' could then buy a stretch of land along the Hudson from the Company which could extend 12 miles along the river and an unlimited distance inland. The patroon and his heirs, received extensive trade privileges on his land, though not for fur. This plan was similar to European feudalism which had disappeared in the Dutch Republic. Very few of these patroons had any plans to stay on the new continent, but rather to exploit the resources to accumulate wealth rapidly and return to Holland. Because the Company had exempted fur from the patroon's profits, he was reliant upon the slower returns from other trades.
Shipwrecks were common, as were the losses from Indian raids, brought on by the Indian's realization that the settlers were colonizing their land. By 1635, the Company had purchased four of the five patroonships originally registered. The one remaining was Rensselaerswyck, a patroonship taken out by Kiliaen van Rensselaer, who never actually even visited his property. Rensselaerswyck, located near Fort Nassau, stood on both sides of the Hudson.
Anneke Jans married Roeloff Janssoon on the 1st of April 1623 at the age of eighteen. On the 21st of March 1630, Anneke Jans and her husband, Roeloff Janssoon along their two surviving children, (Lijntje having died on board ship), Sara and Trijntje, and Anneke's mother, Trijn Roeloffs, arrived in Nieuw Amsterdam aboard the Eendracht. They would settle in Rennselaerswyck. They would have two more children, Sitje and Jan in Rennselaerswyck.. In 1634 they moved from Rennselaerswyck to Nieuw Amsterdam where their sixth child was born, Annetje who probably died before 1642. Roeloff was granted 31 morgens (62 acres) of land along North River (Canal Street and West Broadway). Roeloff died shortly thereafter. Anneke was born in 1605 in Vleckere, Norway. Though it is known that her mother was Trijn Roeloffs, the name of her father is unknown. Anneke died in Nieuw Amsterdam in 1663. Anneke's mother, Trijn Roeloffs (also referred to as Catherine Tryntje Jonas) was born in 1566 in Masterlandt, Holland (now Sweden). She died 1644-47 in Beverwyck.
In 1638, Domine (Reverend) Everadus Bogardus was called to New Amsterdam by the Dutch West India Company to serve as the second Dutch Reform minister. He arrived aboard de Sontberg to succeed the ministry of Domine Jonas Michaelis. That same year, in Nieuw Amsterdam, Everadus met and married Anneke Jans, widow of Roeloff Janssoon. They would have four sons: Jonas, Pieter, William, and Cornelius. Our line descends through Cornelius who was born in 1640. Everadus was born in 1607 in Woerden, Holland and was the son of Willem Jansz (Janse) Bogaert and Susana Adrieaslr Vavryteveld.
Everadus had attended school in Woerden, Holland and later attended the University of Leyden (Leiden) in 1627. On September 9, 1630, he was sent by the Consistory of Amsterdam to Guinea, Africa as a "Comforter to the Sick." He had returned to Amsterdam in 1632 whereupon he became an ordained minister. In 1632, he signed his name as Everhardus Boghaerdus, having Latinized his name from Evert Bogaert.
Following his father's death before 1616, Evert had lived in an orphanage at Woerden where he became a tailor. On the 13th of June 1622, he was stricken by a serious illnes which for some time deprived him of speech, hearing and sight. He miraculously regained his speech the 17th of September 1622 and declared that he would become a minister should he fully recover.
During his ministry in New Amsterdam, Everadus encountered many difficutlties with the Director's General, Wouter van Twiller as well as his successor, William Kieft. Following many charges and counter-charges, the Director General and council offered to submit their charges to impartial judges in Amsterdam. Everadus, preferring to defend himself before the Classis of Amsterdam, sailed along with the Director General Kieft on the 17th of August 1647 aboard the Princess for Amsterdam. In a violent storm off the coast of Wales in the Bristol Channel, the ship was wrecked. Though there were some survivors, both Everadus and Director General Kieft were drowned.
There have been many stories about Anneke Jans being the daughter of Wolfert Webber, the illegitimate son of William, Prince of Orange and of a fortune which is being held for the descendants of Anneke. This line of descent has been disproven. There have been lawsuits by the descendants of Everadus Bogardus and Anneke Jans concerning the land on which now stands Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. The land which Anneke inherited from her first husband, Roeloff, came to be called "Domine's Bouwerie" which was united in English days to another "Company's Bouwerie and granted a patent by the Colonel Governor, Lord Corbury in 1705. It was this questionable conveyance which has served as the grounds for the lawsuit, which has been unsuccessful and was last attempted in the early 1900's. Another story regarding the lawsuit is that Cornelius, son of Everadus, died in 1666 at the age of twenty-six, three years after the death of his mother, Anneke Jans Bogardus, before her will could be settled.
Pieter Bogardus, son of Everadus and Anneke was born in New Amsterdam in 1645. He married Wyntjie Cornelise Bosch/ Basch 10 Jun 1665 in Albany, NY. Wyntje, daughter of Cornelis Teunise Bosch of Westbroeck, Utrecht, Netherlands, was born in Coxsackie, Greene Co., NY. Pieter was a mariner and lived in Albany until late in life when he moved to Kingston, Ulster, NY. He died in 1703. He was one of the magistrates in Albany in 1673 and was commissioned to treat with the "Five Nations" and to oversee the defenses of the town.
Cornelis Teunise Bosch or Bos arrived in New Amsterdam in 1638 from Westbroeck, Utrecht, Netherlands to Rensselaerswyck having suffered an unusually long sea voyage which began in Amsterdam September 25, 1636 and sailing from Texel on October 8, 1637. When not beset by severe storms, still, calm, windless days in which the ship would drift for days. For seventeen days, the ship was off course near the coast of Spain as the food supply dwindled and the people were growing ill. The ship finally arrived at Manhattan on March 4, 1638 but found the Hudson River still closed due to ice making it impossible to travel up the riverr to Fort Orange. The ship finally arrived at Fort Orange on April 7, 1638. On the ship passenger's list, Cornelis signs his name, "Cornelis thonisen bos". (Olive Tree Genealogy- Ruth Piwonka). Cornelius married Maritje Thomas Mingael, daughter of Jan Thomas Mingael of Wedbeck, Holstein and Jannetje Martense van Alstyne, daughter of Marten van Alstyne of Meppel, Drenthe, Netherlands.
In 1639, the Company relinquished its monopoly on the fur trade in an attempt to stimulate the growth of the North American settlement. New patroonships, under a less severe feudal character, were registered in 1640. These settlements began in the valley of the Hackensack River, on Staten Island and the present Bronx area. Each of these new settlements suffered heavy losses in the Indian War of 1643, though some of the bonded servants remained in these areas as independent farmers.
Harmon Bastiaense Visscher was born about 1619 in Hoorne, Holland. He immigrated to New Amsterdam about 1649 along with his wife, Hester Tjerkse Hendricks. Harmon was the son of Bastiaen Visscher of Hoorne, Holland and Dirkje Teunise. Shortly after Harmon arrived in New Amsterdam, he relocated to Beverwyck where he owned considerable property. Near the Hudson River, he kept a garden though his home was on Pearl Street. Harmon was a surveyor in New Amsterdam and held various offices in Beverwyck. He and Hester had five sons and perhaps three daughters. Harmon's son, Frederick wrote his name as Fisher, the Latinized form of Visscher.
Nanning Harmense Visscher was the son of Harmon and Hester Visscher. Harmon was born about 1665 in Beverwyck and died bef 8 Apr 1730 in NY. Nanning married Alida Vinhagen in January of 1686/86 in the Albany Dutch Church in Beverwyck. Nanning was a sailor and businessman. Ten children of Nanning and Alida were baptized in the Albany Dutch Church by 1705. Nanning desired to trade furs and was a part of Patrick McGregorie's Expedition into the Indian lands in 1687 where he was arrested and imprisoned by the French. After that experience, Nanning operated his business from the safety of his Beverwyck home. He signed the Oath of Allegiance in 1699, swearing allegiance to the King of England. Nanning's home was on Pearl Street. He was elected as an alderman from Ward 2 in 1708. He was identified as "master" of the sloop Mary in 1711. He served in the militia and held land in northern Albany that eventually became part of Cifton Park. Nanning died in April of 1730 and was buried in the Albany Dutch Church Cemetery. His wife, Alida died in June of 1748 and is also buried at the Albany Dutch Church Cemetery.
Germans Lutherans also sought religious freedom in New Amsterdam and many later became a part of the Dutch Reformed Church. Caspar Jacobse Hallenbeck and his wife, Lysbeth, arrived in New Amsterdam sometime before 1651 when their first child, Katherin was born in Beverwyck, New Amsterdam. Jacob was born in Hollenbek, Schleswig, Germany.
Caspar and his wife, Lysbeth, lived on Renssalaer land. They were Lutherans. We first find Caspar in 1651 when he took the Oath of Allegiance and leased a homestead from Renssalaer. He was probably a newlywed or soon to be married at the time. 30 April 1652 he received a lot in Beverwyck and in the 1650's he was among buyers at sales of personal effects of several individuals. 22 Jan 1657 he sold his house and his lot in Beverwyck with the sale confirmed to Harmens Jacobse. 10 Sept 1658 Caspar sued Cloes Hendrickse and he, in turn was sued by Harmen Vedder. He received another lot in 1663 and 3 Apr 1677 he was granted an extra rod of land up on the hill. He made his will in 1685, at which time he owned two lots and a total of less than four acres. It could be that he had already settled his property on his children. Though it is said he died in 1703, he cannot be identified in he 1697 census.
Jacob Tyssen Van Der Heyden arrived in New Amsterdam before 1653, when he was a member of the Burgher Militia Corps of New Amsterdam. After purchasing property in New Amsterdam, he returned to Holland where he married Anna Hals, daughter of the Dutch painter, Dirk Hals and niece of the famous Dutch artist, Frans Hals. Jacob was a tailor in New Amsterdam and was involved in the fur business, employing Indians to purchase furs for his business. Jacob is noted as siginig and Oath of Allegiance to the King of England in 1678 and before 1709 moved to Maryland where he served in the legislature. Jacob was active in the real estate business in Albany and is noted in several land transactions. It is possible this Jacob was related to Jan Van der Heyden, a very well-known architectural painter in Amsterdam. A William Van der Heyden was a member of the Assembly of the General incorporated West India Company representing Zealand in 1660. One of his sons built a castle in Albany, having the materials brought over from Holland. He was the director of the Bank of Albany. (Richard Schermerhorn, Jr.)
Jacob Casperse Hallenbeck, son of Caspar Jacobse Hallenbeck was born about 1654 in the Loonenburg Settlement of New Netherlands. He married Hendrickje Hans Dreeper, daugher of Hans Dreeper and Marytie Pieters. Jacob was involved in several land transactions including a transaction for a farm in Schenectady. He was constable and collector for the Coxsackie-Catskill area and in 1697 is listed in Rensselaerwyck. On 24 Jul 1682, two of Jacob's children, as well as his father-in-law, Hans Dreeper, were murdered by Jacob's Negro, who slit the children's throats and cut the throat of Hans Dreeper so deeply he was not expected to live. (It is assumed he did not.)The Negro was found dead near the Mohawk River. Jacob and his wife, Hendrickje had ten children including the first two, which were murdered. The last three of Jacob and Hendrickje's children were baptized in the Albany Dutch Church.
In 1677, Jacob purchased a lot in Schenectady, exchanging his Albany Normankill farm for the property. In 1685, Jacob held a barnraising at the Schenectady property. He was said to be unable to manage the renting of his pasture and this was taken over by his son in 1687. Jacob died between 1685 and 1703. His wife, Hendrickje, died before 1685.
Hans Dreeper is located on the Dutch map as being granted land on Block F 20 Jun 1656.
Mathys Coenratsen Houghtaling is first seen 27 May 1655 on a list of children from the almshouse in Amsterdam that were being sent to New Amsterdam by the Dutch West India Company where appears the name, "Mathys Coenratsen, 16 years of age." The age discrepancy is probably a clerical error. Mathys married Maria Hendrikse/ Hendricks in 1666 in Coxsackie. Maria Hendricks is the daughter of Hendricks Marseilis and Catryn Van den Berg. On 8 Nov 1667 when he appears in court in Kingston in a suit for wages due him from Reynr Van Coelen. After 1668, we find him in the area of Albany. Mathys was probably a farmer, residing behind Kinderhook, sharing a farm with his father-in-law, Hendrik Marseli (Hendricks Marselis) until he leased a farm for six years (1675-1681) lying at "Kochxhachkin-h". At the end of the lease, Mathys returned to Kinderhook until 1683 when he moved to Coxsackie. In 1697, he is listed as the head of the household with two men, one woman and three children. In 1699, he took the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown.
Mathys purchased a piece of woodland behind Koxhaghkye from three Mohawk Indians in 1691 for three cloth duffels. In 1697, he received a grant for this same land consisting of 3,500 acres of heavily wooded land in the Kalkeberg Hills west of Coxsackie, which included part of present day New Baltimore. Mathys and Maria were, in 1683, members of the Albany Dutch Church as "Mathys and Maria Hoogteeling." Mathys died in 1706 and was probably survived by his wife, Maria. No probate records have been located but it appears as though Mathys had a will in which Maria is named as his wife and executrix, inheriting his estate as long as she remains a widow, in which case, his estate is to go to his children: Conrad, Johannes and Jacob Hooghtelinck and Trentje Van den Berg, Rachel Oooghtelinck and Marga Morris, with his daughter Styje being the eldest. One half os his land was bequeathed to his son, Matthews "about 12 years old, because he is a cripple."
The Company's control was gradually reduced as trade between the colony and Holland was opened to individuals, though all trade was funnelled through either Nieuw Amsterdam or Amsterdam with the company receiving duties and fees. In 1655, the Company adoped the policy that all mechanics and farmers how could prove their ability to earn a living would receive free passage for themselves and for their families. As the wealthy land speculators decreased their purchase of the land, the Company, in 1656, began to grant private individuals as much land as they were able to cultivate resulting in a population explosion from an estimated 2,000 in 1648 to 10,000 in 1660, though the British on either side of New Netherland, outnumbered the Dutch by at least four to one.
Because the scattered farms were difficult to defend against the Indians, the Company repeatedly tried to force the colonists to build towns and forts. In return, the citizens of the towns were allowed to have their own court of justice. Still, growth within the towns was extremely slow.
Nieuw Amsterdam was, due to its location, destined to become the trading center of the colony. In 1647, the town was estimated to have a population of some seven hundred, though, it was said that no more than one hundred people actually lived there. Secured by palisaded protection against Indian attack, the Dutch called these de wal, which has become present day Wall Street.
Nieuw Amsterdam continued to grow and in 1664 fifteen hundred people lived in the capital city. The city boasted three hundred and fifty houses, a separate jurisdiction from that of the Governor's court, two windmills, a church and many inns. The citizens were not all Dutch and some eighteen languages were spoken in the city streets, and this in a population of only one thousand people. The Company, in keeping with the policy of the Dutch Republic, did not allow discrimination, thereby allowing the settlement of Lutherans, Quakers, and Jews and provided a long-lasting, tolerant spirit in the city.
Unlike the intolerant settlements of New England, New Amsterdam offered large numbers of places to eat, drink and dance. Sports were also popular, especially boat and carriage races.
The oldest settlement in New Netherland was Fort Nassau which, after several floods, was abandoned in 1617. Nearby Fort Orange had been built and was incorporated into the town of Beverwyck in 1652. Beverwyck would later become present Albany. Halfway between Nieuw Amsterdam and Beverwyck, a settler from Rensselaerwyck founded the colony of Wiltwyck, later known as Kingston. It is believed that a small trading post had been established near Kingston in 1614. In 1652, settlers from Holland moved there from near Albany. They settled the fertile flood plains of the Esopus Creek in 1653 and arranged to purchase the land from the Esopus, a Delaware Nation. They built houses on a promontory overlooking the flood plains and first called the area Esopus and later Wiltwyck (Dutch for wild woods).
After several skirmishes with the Esopus Indians, Governor Pieter Stuyvesant built a stockade for the settlers with eight foot palisades. In 1664, after the English occupation, the colony was renamed Kingston. Kingston was an area of wheat farmers and boasted one of the first college prep schools in the colony, Kingston Academy. Descendants of Domine Everadus Bogardus and Anneke Jans taught at this school.
Farmers surviving the destruction of settlements in the Hackensack Valley, founded Bergen which was incorporated in 1661, later known as Jersey City. The Dutch also founded Hackensack or present Ridgewood. On Long Island, the oldest settlement was Nieuw Amersfoort, later Flatlands, dating from 1636. More famous was Breukukelen (Brooklyn), founded in 1646 and in 1661 counted 130 inhabitants.
The inevitable English-Dutch confrontation began in 1654 when a Dutch admiral, in what the English declared to be English waters, refused to salute the English flag. The result was two years of fighting at sea, ending in a compromise. In 1664, trouble was renewed, this time in the colonies. The English had seized a Dutch settlement on the African coast. The Dutch dispatched a fleet to Africa to take revenge, resulting in the English declaring war on The Netherlands. Meanwhile, in 1664, an English fleet, appearing off Nieuw Amsterdam, had forced Governor Pieter Stuyvesant to surrender the Dutch colony. Stuyvesant stalled for time for ten days while attempting to gather a defense, but when his attempt failed, Stuyvesant submitted to the English Colonel Nicolls. Nieuw Amsterdam was renamed New York until 1673 when it again became Dutch and was renamed Nieuw Oranje, 'New Orange', in honor of the Dutch Prince of Orange, who would later become King William of England. The Dutch reinvestment was accomplished when two Dutch admirals with a fleet of twenty-three ships appeared in New York harbor and began to land troops. The English commander was forced to surrender. The Dutch control was only to last one year as the Treaty of Westminster in 1674 stipulated that the territory revert to the British.
French Huguenots also sought the religious freedom of New Amsterdam. Over a million Huguenots fled France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which had guaranteed freedom of worship. Though it is unprove, it is believed that Peter DeGarmeaux was born in Bretagne and escaped to Albany before 1680. He married in Albany in 1682 to Caatje Vanderheyden. Together, Peter de Garmo and Caatje (Catharina) would have ten children, most of whom were baptized in the Albany Dutch Church. Nicknamed "Pieter the Frenchman" Pieter DeGarmeaux was a French trader. He was also identified as a French vagabond, hence the nickname, Villeroy or "Viela Roy." Pierre Villeroy was in Albany as early as 1665. He purchased Samuel Wilson's house in Albany in 1682. He was a fur trader based near Saratoga and is frequently seen in the Albany court records for illegal trading and was, at one time, fined for taking a "considerable sum of money" from the governor of Canada. He was later accused of being a French agent and as such was held in custody for a time. There were many who were accused of being French spies in Albany.
Peter was unable to take the Oath of Allegiance in 1699 because he was a Papist..His name was changed from Villeroy to de Garmeaux between 1689 and 1692 and he appears on the List of Debtors from June 17, 1665 as "Pieter the Frenchman". Pierre (Peter) supplemented his income from trade as a laborer. He purchased land along Foxes Creek in 1719 and a few months later purchased a lot at the foot of Gallows Hill. It is this location that he seems to have moved his family by 1720. Pierre was buried in the Dutch Church Cemetery in Albany, NY following his death in March 1741.
Foxes Creek marked an east-flowing stream or creek that cut a deep ravine as it flowed through the north side of the city and emptied into the Hudson. The New Amsterdam Dutch had called it Vozenkill and by the early 1800's it was a mud-and-dust road known as Fox Street, which ran alongside the stream. This was an area of working class homes. Gallow's Hill during the 1700's was an area in which new residents purchased lots and built homes. In the 1720's this area was also the site of a brickyard. In the 1700's there is no record that this was an execution site, as the name would seem to imply.
Even Caatje was not exempt from the problems that followed her husband and she was frequently called upon by the Albany court to answer complaints against her husband. She was called before the Albany court in a law suit in which she was sued for slandering another Albany woman. Caatje was a lifelong member of the Albany Dutch Church. It is possible that she inherited land from her family, as in 1709 she is shown in the third ward as an owner of property.
It would seem necessary to give some information about the Albany Dutch Church, as so many of our immigrants were members of this church located in the city's main intersection from 1650-1806. The Dutch church was enlarged in 1715 and was the largest building in colonial Albany. It was obvious that this church was Albany's most important social institution. The church was staffed continuously by a European born dominie or minister. The first dominie of the Albany Dutch Church was Johannes Megapolensis, Jr in 1642. The deacons were the most prominent of Albany's businessmen and officials, a veritable who's who of Albany. The church provided for relief for the poor, burial for the dead and sponsored missionary work among the Indian natives. The church was torn down in 1806 after having been replaced by the new church built on North Pearl Street in 1798.
In 1689, tension between the English landowners and the early settlers exploded and the Dutch militia captain, Jacob Leisler temporarily seized the City from the English land owners.
known Ancestors to New Amsterdam include:
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