Digitized by http://www.jrbooksonline.com HTML version
English named the Indians, who occupied the greater part of
They proudly called themselves Lenni‑Lenape (original or pre‑eminent men). Their Totem was the wolf from which the French called them Loups (wolves).
The Indians, inhabiting
The other bands were the Catskills, Mamekotings, Warwarsinks, Waoranecs, and Warranawonkongs.
They were called the five tribes of the Esopus country.
These were the "Esopus Indians," whose war‑whoops terrified the Dutchmen at Esopus; who laid Wildwyck in ashes and who battled for their hunting grounds against the troops of Martin Cregier. The Catskills had their principal village just north of the Esopus creek. In all probability they were the Indians mentioned in the journal of Henry Hudson:‑-"At night we came to other mountaines, which lie from the river's side. There wee found very loving people, and very old men; where wee were well used."
Warwarsinks were located in the town of
Waoranecs were located at the mouth of
names of the two last above bands are probably derived from a word signifying:-‑"hollowing,
concave site." "Cove." "Bay." Descriptive of
Each of these bands had its main village where their forts were erected. These were defended by three rows of palisades and the houses in the fort encircled by thick cleft palisades with port holes in them, and covered with the bark of trees. During the summer and fall they roamed over the surrounding country in search of game and built their temporary huts wherever trade, the chase or fancy called them.
main trails led from the
paths led from the one trail to the other, traces of these remain to this day.
Long before the advent of the white‑man the Indian warriors silently trod
these trails in search of their enemy and beside these paths they lay in
ambuscade awaiting their foe. It was at the end of these trails, at the mouth
of the Esopus and the Rondout, that they stood gazing
in fear and in wonder at the ship of
In the valleys through which ran these trails they pitched their wigwams, planted and cultivated their crops and pursued the deer and the bear in the surrounding forest.
Down these trails came the Indian Braves armed with gun and with hatchet to lay in ruins the settlement of the white‑man at Esopus, and over them they fled back to their mountain fastness.
The mode of life, the habits and customs of the Indians are too well‑known to require description here. Only those disclosed by the records as characteristic of the Esopus tribes are here alluded to.
tribes were divided into clans or families, each having its chief. The names of
some of these families have been preserved, as the Amogarickakan family, the
Kettsypowy family, the
They did not subsist upon the chase alone. They cultivated their fields. They raised large quantities of corn and vegetables, which they stored in the ground for winter use. Monianac (Indian corn or Maize) was their main food supply.
Martin Cregier, who destroyed their villages after the burning of Wildwyck in 1663, states that his troops cut down, near one of their forts, about two hundred and fifteen acres of growing maize and burnt above [i.e.; more than] a hundred pits full of corn and beans. Here is a description of their management of the corn crop and the uses to which they put it, written in 1628.
"At the end of March they begin to break up the earth with mattocks, which they buy from us for the skins of beavers or otters, or for sewan. They make heaps like molehills, each about two and a half feet from the others, which they sow or plant in April with maize, in each heap five or six grains; in the middle of May, when the maize is the height of a finger or more, they plant in each heap three or four Turkish beans, which then grow up with and against the maize, which serves for props, for the maize grows on stalks similar to the sugar cane. It is a grain to which much labor must be given, with weeding and earthing‑up, or it does not thrive; and to this the women must attend very closely. Those stalks which are low and bear no ears, they pluck up in August, and suck out the sap, which is as sweet as if it were sugar‑cane. When they wish to make use of the grain for bread or porridge, which they call Sappaen, they first boil it and then beat it flat upon a stone; then they put it into a wooden mortar, which they know how to hollow out by fire; and then they have a stone pestle, which they know how to make themselves, with which they pound it small, and sift it through a small basket, which they understand how to weave of the rushes before mentioned. The finest meal they mix with lukewarm water, and knead it into dough, then they make round, flat little cakes of it, of the thickness of an inch or a little more, which they bury in hot ashes, and so bake into bread; and when these are baked they have some fresh water by them in which they wash them while hot, one after another, and it is good bread, but heavy. The coarsest meal they boil into a porridge, as is before mentioned, and it is good eating when there is butter over it, but a food which is very soon digested. The grain being dried, they put it into baskets woven of rushes or wild hemp, and bury it into the earth, where they let it lie, and go with their husbands and children in October to hunt deer, leaving at home with their maize the old people who cannot follow; in December they return home, and the flesh which they have not been able to eat while fresh, they smoke on the way, and bring it back with them. They come home as fat as moles."
The Dutch called the Indians who were not chiefs "Barebacks," alluding to the fact that during the summer season they wore no clothing on the upper part of the body. To return the compliment the Indians called the Dutch "Schwonnacks," signifying "people of the salt water," because the Dutch had come over the sea.
had their festivals, social gatherings, dances and general jollifications,
called "cantico" or "kintacoy." The use of this word,
descriptive of a dance, any social gathering or a drunken carouse, lingers
among the descendants of the Dutch in
Indians had a "Tennis‑Court" near the corner of Hone and Pierpont
streets in the city of
of the favorite games of all the Eastern tribes was played with a small ball of
deerskin stuffed with hair or moss, or a round piece of wood, with one or two
netted rackets somewhat like tennis rackets. Two goals were set up at a
distance of several hundred yards from each other, and the abject of each party
was to drive the ball under the goal of the opposing party by means of the
racket, without touching it with the hand. Two families or two tribes played
against each other. The game was attended with dancing and feasting,
and the stakes ran high. This undoubtedly was the game played at the Tennis‑Court
mentioned by Chambers. The Indians used this game as a stratagem to obtain
misapprehension exists as to the status of the Indian woman. She is usually
pictured as a mere beast of burden, a hewer of wood and a drawer of water for
her husband and the family. It is true, she did the household work, tilled the
fields and gathered the crops, but to no greater extent than do the peasant
of the clans had a chieftainess who ruled and governed them. Her word was law.
One of these, Nipapoa, held sway over a band of the Catskills. On her wigwam
was painted the figure of a wolf, the totemic emblem of her tribe. She was part
The women had a voice in the council of the tribe. Even in the weighty matters of war or peace they were consulted.
1660 the Esopus chief, Seweckenamo, while engaged in negotiating a treaty of
peace with the council at
Women's rights and the rights of women were well recognized. It was not necessary for the squaws to organize a suffragette party. They usually got what they wanted. The secret of their great influence probably lay in the fact that each of them was an excellent cook and each wife became the mother of a lusty brood of papooses.
The names of a number of the chiefs appear of record. Occasionally a fact or incident concerning them lights up these old Dutch annals.
Preumaecker. He, with other chiefs, ceded lands at Wildwyck to Governor Stuyvesant in 1658. He was the oldest Esopus Sachem.
Seweckenamo. He was one of the chiefs in 1658 at the time of the cession of lands at Esopus to Stuyvesant. He signed the treaties of peace of 1660 and 1664.
In 1665, with other chiefs, he executed a deed conveying lands at Esopus to Governor Nicolls. As evidence of the execution of the deed the chiefs delivered to the governor two small sticks and in the name of their "subjects," one of the "subjects" delivered to Nicolls, "two other small, round sticks in token of their assent." In return Nicolls delivered to the chiefs "three Laced Redd Coates." He was one of the Esopus Sachems who conveyed lands at New Paltz, sixteen miles south of Wildwyck, to Lewis DuBois and his associates in 1677.
was instrumental in having the prisoners taken at Wildwyck in 1663 returned to
their homes. After the war of 1664 he appeared before the council at
Kaelcop. (Baldhead.) In 1659 he warned "Kit" Davis to move away from the strand as the Indians intended to attack the whites. He was a party to the above treaty of 1660. In 1677 he, for himself and the Amogarickakan family, and Ankerop for himself and the Kettsypowy family, executed a deed of the remaining lands of the Indians at Esopus to Governor Andros.
evidently was cautious in executing deeds or binding himself by treaties, for
his name seldom appears appended to such instruments. He owned lands in the
1677 Governor Andros granted a patent to Lewis DuBois and his partners of a
tract of land at New Paltz which they had purchased of the Indians in the same
year. Some doubt arose as to the exact location of one of the corners of the
patent. So in 1722 the justices of the county asked Ankerop to point it out.
The old Indian took the magistrates "to the high mountain, which is named
'Maggrnapogh,' now the famous summer resort, '
What a spectacle. There on the mountain summit stood the old chief. Beneath him, on the one side, the valley of the Wallkill. On the other, the valley of the Rondout and the Esopus. There had stood the villages of his people. There, waving, tossing in the summer breezes, their fields of maize. There, the women had tilled the fields and the children laughed and played amid the daises and the flowers. Over the trails, crossing these very mountains, he had led his braves to the chase and to war. Gone. All gone now. The white man had taken them all. What must have been his thoughts as the sun went down, and hill and valley, forest and stream, slowly faded into the shadows.
the destruction of their villages in 1663 the Indians lived in peace with the
whites. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War but few were left in
of them had left the valley of the
Few memorials of them remain in
Here and there, a locality, stream and mountain, still bear the names the red men gave them.
Esopus is from Sepu, "river" and ‑es "small."
a village in the town of
Kill, a stream in the town of
Lackawack, a settlement in the town of
Meenahga, the name of a hotel on the Shawangunk mountains, a forced rendering of Mih'n‑acki, "Huckleberry land."
Napanoch, a village, from a word meaning "Water land, or land overflowed with water."
Shandaken, a town, from "Schindak," "Hemlock Woods," Schindaking‑-"At the hemlock woods," or place of hemlocks.
a village in the town of
Warwarsing, from a word meaning "At a place where the stream winds, bends, twists, or eddies around a point."
Mohunk, the famous summer resort on the Shawangunk mountains, is probably from Magonck or Magunk, "a great tree." The word appears in various forms: Moggoneck, Maggonck, Moggonock, Maggrnapogh. A great tree may have stood on or at the foot of the mountain where Ankerop stood when he pointed out the boundaries of the new Paltz patent.
Shawangunk, now the name of a town, a stream, and the mountain range extending through the southern part of the county, was originally applied to an indefinite tract of land situated in the present towns of Gardiner and Shawangunk, lying between the Shawangunk Kill and the mountains. It is probably from Shawan, "South." South mountain. South water. South place, or from Shaw, "Side" ‑ong, "hill" and ‑unk "At" (or on) the hill side.
many years an old Indian lived in a shanty on the bank of the Rondout creek, a
mile or so above the city of
A monument has been erected to the memory of Thomas Chambers, the first white settler in the land of the Esopus.
Why should not a shaft be reared to the memory of the Indians? To perpetuate the names of Preumaecker; Seweckenamo; Ankerop; and that old baldhead, Kaelcop. They were pure Americans. They were the first settlers. They owned the land. They battled for their homes, though they were but wigwams. They fought for their wives, though they were but squaws. With dauntless courage, they faced death for their children, though they were but papooses. All honor to them. To every one of them.
first settlement within the limits of the present
1614 some merchants of
In 1624, Nicolaes van Wassenaer, writing of the Indians
In 1625, Johannes de Laet, of Leydon, a director of the
West India Company, published his "
ship Rensselaerswyck left
Der Doncks map of 1656, of
is from the Indian Sepu, "River" and ‑es, "small." As
first used it was applied to an indefinite territory on the east side of the
The date of the first white settlement at Esopus has been a much mooted question. As the matter is of considerable interest the evidence relating to it is here given.
Indian trails from the head waters of the
Neither the Figurative Map of 1614 or Van Der Donck's of 1656 show any settlement. Neither Wassenaer, de Vries, de Laet, or the French woman Trico, mention a settlement or use language from which it can be inferred that there was one. This is also true of the log book of the ship Rensselaerswyck. From 1646 to 1654 Chambers occupied a farm in Rensselaerswyck Manor which he leased from van Rensselaer, the Patroon. His account with the Patroon runs from 1646 to 1666. It contains the following entry:‑-"This day, 14 July, 1654, Thomas Chambers has delivered to me his farm with house, hay barracks and barn and have I released him from his contract. Thomas Chambers in the Esopus."
There are but very few entries in the account after the
A deed from Abraham de Lametter to Wilhelmus Hoghtiling
conveying twelve acres "at or near the Rondout upon the strand of the
Esopus Creek," states that Johannis Dykmand bought it from the Indians and
conveyed it to Christopher Davis,
The order of Governor Stuyvesant made May, 1661, erecting the settlement at "the Esopus" into a village states that it had been inhabited six or seven years.
1654 a patent for about sixty‑five acres at Esopus was granted to Juriaen
September, 1655, the Indians made an attack on
That there were settlers at Esopus at this time and
that they joined in the general exodus is evidenced by a letter from Jacob
Jansen Stoll to Stuyvesant, dated
all the above it may be safely asserted that the first settlement in
Many of these pioneers came from the Manor of Rensselaerswyck. That princely domain, embracing most of the present counties of Rensselaer, Columbia and Albany except Fort Orange and the land lying immediately about it; over which the Patroon, Kilian van Rensselaer, ruled a feudal lord.
Why did they come? Mayhap it was the wanderlust that lay in the blood. Perhaps the fertile valley of the Esopus Creek, ready for the plow, attracted them. Perchance there was a broader, a deeper reason. The patroon was the chief magistrate of his estate. From the decrees of his courts there was practically no appeal. He had the first right to purchase the products raised by his tenants who must grind their grist at his mill and could not hunt or fish without his license. The tenants of the manor farms were, in large measure, but the vassals of the patroon. Perhaps it was to escape all this, to own themselves, that they left Rensselaerswyck.
Perhaps it was their desire to be able to put their foot down upon a spot of ground and say to all the world, this is mine, that induced them to come to the land of the Esopus.
the fact that its inhabitants had abandoned their homes at the time of the
attack by the Indians on
They had then built
their houses and barns and cultivated the fields. They were ready to battle
with the wilderness, with its wild beasts and with the Indians. In this year
their troubles with the red men began. On
They reached the mouth of the Rondout Creek the next day. It was low water and the yacht of Stuyvesant ran aground. A messenger was sent to several Indians whose huts stood on the bank of the creek, asking them to come aboard the yacht and another to tell the settlers of the arrival of the governor.
Chambers and Andries van der Sluys, who had been anxiously looking for the
arrival of the governor, came on the yacht accompanied by two of the Indians.
Stuyvesant assured them that he meant none of them any harm. He had come to
ascertain the cause of the trouble between the Indians and the whites. Induced
by some presents, they promised to go notify their chiefs to meet the governor
the next day at the house of Jacob Jansen Stoll to talk matters over. Then
Chambers told the governor of all the depredations of the Indians, mournfully
concluding that since they had written him the savages had killed "two
sows, being with pig" belonging to Stoll. By this time the yachts bearing
the soldiers had arrived. They quietly disembarked, and headed by Chambers, all
marched to his house, where they remained over night. We may be sure that the
keen eyes of the Indians were watching them as silently, without the beat of
drum, they climbed the hill. The same hill down whose slope, over two centuries
later, marched the boys in blue of
next day, May 30, the troops marched to the home of Stoll, it being nearer the
huts of the Indians. It being Ascension Day, divine service was held. In the
afternoon Stuyvesant met the settlers. He talked straight to the point. The
harvest season was coming on. It was no time to make matters worse by attacking
the Indians. He could not protect them as long as they lived separately, their
dwellings scattered here and there contrary to the orders of the company. It
was absolutely necessary that they at once move together where he could assist
them with a few soldiers. They must either do this or move to
the undersigned, all inhabitants of the Aesopus, having from time to time
experienced very distressing calamities and felt and discovered, to our loss,
the unreliable and unbearable audacity of the savage barbarous natives, how
unsafe it is to trust to their promises, how dangerous and full of anxiety to
live at separate places away from each other, among so faithless and mischevious
tribes, have resolved (upon the proposition and promise made by the Director‑General,
the Honble Petrus Stuyvesant, that he will give us a safe‑guard and
further help and assist us in future emergencies) and deemed it necessary for
the greater safety of our wives and children, to pull down our scattered
habitations in the most convenient manner immediately after signing this
agreement and to move close to each other to the place indicated by the Honble
General, to enclose the place with Palisades of proper length with the assistance
provided thereto by the Honble General, so that we may protect ourselves and
our property by such means, to which the All‑Good God may give His blessing,
against a sudden attack of the savages; while we bind ourselves, after
imploring God and His divine blessing on all lawful means, to carry out
directly, unanimously and without opposition the foregoing agreement and to
accomplish it as quick as possible under a penalty of one thousand guilders to
be paid for the benefit of the settlement by him, who should hereafter make any
opposition by word or deed. To insure this still more, we have signed this
agreement with our own hands in presence of the Honble Director‑General
and Sr Goovert Loockermans on board the Ship 'Stede Amsterdam' in
It is signed.
"Govert Loockerman "Jacob Jansen Stoll
"Cornelis Barentsen Slecht
"Dirck Hendricksen Graaff
The place selected by Stuyvesant was staked out in the afternoon.
Rondout Creek forms the southerly, the
Approximately it began on the westerly edge of the plateau at about the junction of the present Green and North Front Streets; then ran along the northerly edge of the plateau, the present North Front Street, to about the present junction of that street with Clinton Avenue; then along the easterly edge of the plateau, the present Clinton Avenue, to the junction of that avenue with Main Street; then along the southerly side of the plateau, the present Main Street, to the junction of that street with Green Street; then along the westerly edge of the plateau along the Tannery Brook, along Green Street, to the junction of that street with North Front Street, the place of beginning.
In 1695, John Miller, an Episcopal clergyman, who had been a surveyor, made a visit to Kingston with governor Fletcher and made a map of the stockade as it then existed. This shows its location as above stated. At the time of the building of the stockade, the settlers were between sixty and seventy in number. They could muster thirty fighting men. They had over three hundred acres sown to grain. Here, as disclosed by the records, are the names of the settlers and of those who had received patents for lands up to and including the year 1658:
Thomas Chambers, Christopher Davids, Jacob Jansen Stoll or Hap, Harmen Jacobsen alias Bamboes, Jacob Andriesen, Pieter Dircksen, Hendrick Cornelissen, Andries van der Sluys, Cornelis Barentsen Slecht, Willem Jansen, Jan Jansen, Jan Broersen, Dirck Hendricksen Graaff, Jan Lootman, Johanna de Hulter, Juriaen Westphael, Jan Verbeck, Francis Pietersen, Marten Metselaer, Peter Wolphertsen, Pieter Cornelissen van der Veen, Augustyn Heermans, Jacob Neus.
The location of their dwellings before they removed to the site selected by Stuyvesant cannot be exactly fixed. They were on the low lands on each side of the Esopus Creek.
There, squatting upon the ground, wrapt in their blankets, carefully guarding the children, the old squaws with wondering eyes watch the white men.
And there, too, we may be sure, are the belles of the tribe, with their sharp black eyes glancing admiringly at the brilliantly clothed soldiers. They are decked out in all their finery. A coat of finely dressed skin or bright cloth, girth around the waist, the skirt decorated with wampum, extends to the ankles. The long black hair hangs in a braid down the back into which strings of wampum are twisted. A head band around the forehead is fastened behind in a beaus knot. Bracelets of wampum are twisted about the wrists and a necklace of the same around the throat.
were the pioneers. Redheaded Tom Chambers, Stoll, van der Sluys, and the rest
of them, scowling at their foes. And there, sword by
his side, dressed in slashed hose fastened at the knee by a knotted scarf; a
velvet jacket with slashed sleeves over a full puffed shirt, knee breeches,
rosettes upon his shoes, standing firmly on his wooden leg with silver bands,
is the governor of
Stuyvesant, speaking through Stoll, who acted as interpreter, told the Indians that they had asked the whites to come to Esopus. They did not own or desire to own a foot of land they did not pay for. No harm had been done to them since he had been governor. He asked them why they had killed the hogs and destroyed the property of the settlers. Why they had set fire to their houses, killed Jacobsen and continually threatened to kill them all. He had come to learn the truth. He did not desire to make war or punish the innocent if the murderer was delivered up and the house paid for. One of the chiefs replied that the Dutch sold the "boisson" (brandy) to his people which made them "cacheus" (drunk). That then the young men could not be controlled. It was a Neversink Indian who had committed the murder and he was now living near Haverstroo. The Indian who had fired the house had run away.
They had not harmed the whites. They did not intend to fight but could not control the young men. At this the anger of the governor blazed up. If the young braves wanted to fight they could do it then and there. He would match them man with man, twenty against thirty or even forty. Now was the time for them to fight instead of injuring the farmers, their wives and children who could not fight. If they did not stop he would destroy their crops, kill all of them and capture their women and children. He did not want to do that but they must pay the owner for his house, surrender up the murderer if he again came among them and do no more evil in the future. The people were going to move together and live in one place. It would be best if they sold him all their land in that vicinity and moved inland. To all of this the Indians said they would consider it, and "as the day was sinking" the meeting broke up. Stuyvesant again met them. They said they were ashamed of what had happened, but more because their young men had not dared to accept his challenge to fight. They would harm no one in the future and gave the governor six or seven strings of wampum and he in return gave them "two coats and two pieces of duffel," and again asked them to sell him the land where the settlement was to be formed which they promised to do. On the fourth of June, they came to him and stated that they had agreed to give him the land on which the settlement was being made "to grease his feet" because of the long journey he had made to come to see them. In the future they would not harm the Dutch but would live like brothers. To which the governor replied that they would do the same if they kept their promises.
the meantime the inhabitants and the soldiers had been constructing the
stockade and digging the moat. On the 6th of June Stuyvesant, finding that he
was out of gun powder and needed some plank for a guard house, sailed away to
On the 12th he returned, bringing with him "160 hemlock boards, 100 five and six inch, iron pins and an anker of brandy for the people working at the Esopus, as none had been put aboard or sent to me nor had I any for my own private use."
found everyone at work and two sides of the stockade completed. On Sunday, the
16th, he looked over the land not yet purchased "and found it suitable for
fifty bouweries." He was so pleased with the Esopus that he set the
carpenters at work getting out lumber to build him a barn, for he had long
intended to begin the cultivation of his land there. On the 17th and the 18th
the palisades on the north side were put up, which was harder work because it
could not be made so straight as the others. A guard house, made of boards,
twenty-three feet long and sixteen feet wide, was built in the northeast corner
of the enclosure. The carpenters engaged by Mrs. de Hulter to remove her
house, barns, and sheds and others to build a bridge over the kill began their
work. The stockade was completed on the 20th. On the 21st and the 22nd the
houses of Chambers and Stoll were torn down and removed to the stockade and the
beams for their barns put up. On the 25th, leaving twenty‑four soldiers
under Sergeant Andries Lourensen as a guard, the governor and the rest of the
troops sailed for
Then they went back to their unfinished homes within the stockade. There was a merry time in Esopus that night, in which the anker of brandy played its part. But by and by the revels ceased. Sleep fell upon the settlement. Outside the stockade, wrapped in their blankets, were the Indians. What dreams came to them. Slowly the night stole along. The pioneers slept soundly that night. Not a sound was heard save now and then the howl of a wolf in the thicket and the occasional scream of a panther falling on the startled night wind like the cry of a human being lost and wandering in the forest, while the stars looked down upon the new made village in the land of the Esopus.
THE summer of 1658 was a hard one on the farmers. The continual rain spoilt the crops. The "worm" destroyed the oats. A freshet carried away the bridge over the kill.
The work of erecting the houses went on but was delayed because some of the people over the creek had not yet moved their dwellings. Although the hatchet had been buried with all due solemnity the Indians continued troublesome. They killed the horses of Mrs. de Hulter, a mare of Stoll, and worse than all, stole the "duffels and shirts" of van der Sluys. Early in August over five hundred of them appeared about the settlement, but after a few days disappeared, to the great relief of the inhabitants.
said they would consult the other chiefs and give an answer the next day. On
the morrow, after a long talk, they agreed that Mrs. de Hulter could have her
land for the killing of her horses. They had given Stoll seventy strings of
wampum for his mare. That as for the land, Kaelcop was absent and Poenap, their
greatest land owner, was at
They did not appear the next day, so Stuyvesant sent Stoll and Marten Metselaer (the mason) to them, who returned with the report that the chiefs had "made game of them," that they did not intend to make satisfaction, "as they considered what they had done of no consequence."
Stuyvesant left in disgust, leaving Ensign Dirck Smith in supreme command with twenty‑five men to be added to the present garrison of twenty‑five. The ensign was instructed to give out the countersign and keep everything in good order. With the assistance of the inhabitants he should at once secure the settlement, mount a guard at the two gates and the guard house day and night, allow no Indian to enter the inclosure without the permission of Stoll and Chambers. No hostile act should be committed against the Indians unless they were the aggressors and then only in defense. The plowing and sowing should be kept up only when a guard of twenty of twenty‑five men could be given, all of the inhabitants must work together taking their arms with them.
Stoll, Chambers and Ensign Smith wrote all this to Stuyvesant. They told him he ought to give the Indians some presents in return. "The proverb says, a child's hand is soon filled, your Honor could easily fill their hands, upon which they sincerely rely, and say as before, they will see thereby your Honor's good heart and be assured, that your Honor forgives them their misconduct and say, quits." Those worthy Dutchmen conclude their letter with this most important postscript:--"All this talking has been done with dry lips. Your Honor may imagine, how zealously we have set here with these kings, but we hope, your Honor will remember his servants and give us something good for our lungs, which we could apply ourselves, if we had it."
It was a fair, square deal. Those Indians gave the land on the promise that they should receive some presents in return. White men, your representatives' Governor, made that promise. You had better see that it is kept, Governor. Look out. Be careful. Do not lie to them. If you do they may take payment in the blood of those Dutchmen at Esopus.
All was quiet during the winter of 1658‑9. The Indians had gone to their villages. Esopus lay under the snow. The creek was frozen over. The great trees groaned and creaked as the icy wind swept through their branches. The oxen waded slowly through the snow drifts hauling fire wood to the village. The logs blazed in the huge fireplaces, while the smoke floated up through the hole in the thatched roof. The hogs had been butchered and turned into salt pork, hams and sausage. Wild turkeys were plentiful. Bear and venison steak could be had for a gun shot. They were a good‑natured, merry people. We may be sure many a good dinner was served, many a frolic held. At Christmas time Santa Claus did not forget the children in the Esopus. On Sunday divine service was held. Led by van de Sluys they sang the same hymns their fathers had sung in the land across the water. So the winter wore away and then came the spring and summer of 1659. A summer long to be remembered in the Esopus.
The settlers were early at work getting the seed sown. George Westphael fenced Stuyvesant's land, got the oats planted but the seed wheat came too late. The governor's oxen "drew well" and the plowing went merrily on. The farmers agreed to work together, each helping the other, so that a guard of soldiers could be given. Cornelis Slecht and William Jansen broke this agreement without giving notice to anyone.
laborers, who earned high wages, refused to do guard duty, so this fell upon the
shoulders of the few inhabitants. They wanted some kind of a court so that
everybody "could be made to go along." They intended to build a
redoubt of sods near the guard house. All this was written Stuyvesant. They
requested him to send them "the little bell from
was short of drums, so he immediately wrote to the directors of the company in
The Indians were quiet, but each side was distrustful and suspicious of the other. Danger lurked in the air. The Indians were sullen. They murmured because they had not received the presents for their land. They believed they had been lied to. That the promise had been made to keep them quiet and then unexpectedly attack them. They complained that their corn pits had been robbed, some beaver skins taken and that Boertsen had beaten one of them and pointing a knife at his breast had threatened to kill him.
There were rumors that they intended to build a fort on the land they had given Stuyvesant. They were making bows and arrows day and night. Sergeant Lourissen was warned by a Mohawk "Amiros" to be on his guard because the Indians intended to attack them at harvest time. Claes de Ruyter was told not to settle in the Esopus because the savages intended to go to war. The chief Kaelcop told "Kit Davids" he had better move away from the strand. This same "Kit" continued "at his old tricks" of selling liquor to the Indians and telling them lies as to the intentions of the soldiers.
September Stuyvesant sent additional troops under Ensign Dirck Smith with three
light cannons. On
At his request the Classis of Amsterdam sent over the Rev. Hermannus Blom. He and dominie Megapolensis of New Amsterdam came to Esopus, and on Sunday, the 17th of August, Blom preached two sermons. So well did the people like him that on the very same day they "called" him to become their pastor. On the afternoon of that day Megapolensis had an interview with the Indians. They told him they had no evil intentions toward the whites. There was no truth in such reports. They had patiently borne the blows given them. They had quietly suffered four of their corn heaps to be taken. They showed seventeen staves of wood by which they signified that they had been wrongfully beaten that number of times. They were willing to keep the peace. They would prefer to submit to many things but they expected Stuyvesant would keep his promises as to the presents, for so long as that was not done they would think the general did not intend to remain at peace. The only reply the good dominie could make was that Stuyvesant was sick. As soon as he was well he would visit them.
On the 17th of September, 1659, Jacob Jansen Stoll sent Stuyvesant six bushels of seed wheat and asked him to send him "a piece of good linen for shirts." He says:-‑"What regards the savages, they are very quiet, but we do not know, what intentions the Almighty has concerning us."
Yes, they are quiet. Perhaps they will remain so if those presents come and if you keep the "boisson" from their lips. You had better do it Stoll. There is danger in the air.
was autumn in the Esopus. The summer was dying. The grain had all been
gathered. The corn cut and shocked. Now and then a breeze, sweeping down from
the mountains, foretold the colder blasts that were to come. The air, hazy and
tremulous, wrapped valley and mountain in a thin, transparent curtain of gold.
The mill stream and the creek ran drowsily as if ready for their winter's
sleep. The birds were winging their way southward. The first light frosts had
touched the wild flowers and the leaves. Every tree was a rainbow of color.
The Catskills glowed with splendor never laid on canvas. All was quiet in the
Esopus. It was
Back to his comrades he went. They were lying on the ground crying, maudlin drunk. "Why do you cry, I have brought brandy?" he said. At that they began to laugh and clap their hands. Around went the bottle. Then a fight started. At this two of the eight left. Around went the bottle. One of them fired off his gun charged with powder only. It was ten or . The yells of the Indians, the noise of the gun, had alarmed those in the fort.
Ensign Smith ordered Sergeant Lourissen to take nine or ten men, to go out one gate of the fort, return by the other and4see what was the matter. He was ordered not to fight or molest anyone. In a little while one of the soldiers returned and reported that the commotion was caused by some Indians. Meanwhile, Jacob Jansen Stoll, although undressed to go to bed, appeared at the fort, gun in hand, followed by some of the inhabitants. The ensign ordered more men to go out. Stoll volunteered to accompany them and he, with Jacob Jansen van Stoutenburgh, Thomas Higgins, Gysbert Pjilipsen Van Velthuysen, Evert Pels, Jan Artsen and Berent Hermansen left the fort with the soldiers. The Indians lay about their camp fire in a drunken stupor. Suddenly one of them staggered to his feet. He was not quite as drunk as the others. He stood as if listening. Turning to the others he said:--"Come let us go away, I feel it in my body that we shall all be killed." They laughed at him and replied:-‑"You are crazy, who would kill us? We would not kill the Dutch, we have done them no harm, why, then, should they kill us and we have nothing to fear from other Indians?" "Yes," said the other, "that is true, but I am nevertheless so heavy hearted. Come, let us go, we shall surely be killed, may it come from whatever side it pleases, my heart is full of fears." Then he went off, hid his goods, and came back for one more drink. Ah, that last drink, for just then they heard the bushes crackle. They started to run. Too late. The white men were there. Crack went the guns. A sheet of flame lit up the darkness. One Indian was shot in the head. Another captured. At one poor wretch they fired continually, nearly taking his clothes from the body. They tried to take him prisoner. Drunk as he was, all the courage of his race came back to him: "Come, kill me, I am not afraid," he defiantly shouted and bounded away in the bushes. By the fire lay another, asleep, dead drunk. They cut him in the head with a sword. He jumped up, ran away a little distance "and the Dutch then ran back to the fort" and reported that the Indians had fired first.
was no justification for this dastardly deed. It was a cold blooded murder.
Stuyvesant wrote to the directors of the company in
Jeremias van Rensselaer, writing from Rensselaerswyck to his brother, speaking of the war that followed, says, "It was commenced in a wholly disorderly manner, and the Dutch are most to blame, for they first shot an Indian."
reading all the evidence, the directors of the West India Company in
Smith was very angry that his order not to fight or molest anyone had been
disobeyed. He knew the consequences of what had been done. It meant war to the
knife. He had already received orders from Stuyvesant to come to
The news of what had occurred had spread among the Indians. They had already taken up the hatchet to avenge their slaughtered brother. On the return of the party they were surrounded by a large body of Indians. Jacob Jansen Stoll was mortally wounded. Lewies, the Frenchman, was killed. Resistance was useless. Thirteen in all, including the sergeant, surrendered and were carried off prisoners. Here are their names. Sergeant Andries Lourissen, Thomas Chambers, a son of Evert Pels, Abraham Vosburgh, Jacob Jansen Stoll, Pieter Hillebrant, Abraham Pieterze, William Carpenter, Pieter Lamertzen, Pieter de Buer, Pieter Dircks and his "man," a carpenter, by name Abraham.
died from his wounds in October. Chambers was exchanged for an Indian prisoner.
Pieter Hillebrant and Pieter Lamertzen were returned by the Indians in November,
1659. Sergeant Lourissen either escaped or was ransomed, for he returned to
farmers living in the outlying settlements, fearing another Indian uprising,
began fleeing to
two days rat‑a‑tat, rat‑a‑tat, rat‑a‑tat
sounded the drums in the crooked streets of
daunted Stuyvesant who drafted the workmen from his farms and even the clerks
in his office. To these he added six soldiers from New Haerlem and three from
Sunday the company of citizens, numbering about one hundred, with the office
clerks and trainmen and twenty‑four or twenty‑six Englishmen
accompanied by about as many friendly Indians from
Mohawks had heard of the attack at Esopus. In October, 1659, two of their
chiefs appeared before the council at
The winter of 1659‑1660 passed without further trouble. Occasionally some of the Indians visited the settlement and traded deer and wild turkey for powder.
Each party distrusted the other. Stuyvesant wrote Ensign Smith to be on his guard. Not to allow any of the Indians further into the fort than the house of Thomas Chambers "between the palisades." If possible to capture some of them but not to do so unless it could be immediately followed up by an attack on their nearest village.
propositions were communicated by the magistrates at
May, 1660, Stuyvesant sent Claes de Ruyter to Esopus to negotiate with the
Indians. He instructed him to endeavor to obtain an interview with them and
inform them that they must come to
these endeavors of the Indians to bring about a peace were going on a desultory
war was being waged. In March, 1660, an attack was made on one of their
villages, during which three or four of them were killed. Stuyvesant,
who was then at Esopus, sent twelve prisoners to
In April, 1660, Ensign Smith with forty‑five men lay in ambush for the Indians a short distance from the fort, but the Indians discovered them and fled. One was killed and one prisoner taken. Three of the whites had their horses killed under them.
On a May morning in 1660, Ensign Smith with seventy‑five men marched up the Rondout Creek to raid an Indian village. The Indians disappeared in the woods. All but one. All but Preumaecker the oldest chief of the Esopus. There he stood confronting the officer and his seventy‑five men. Let Ensign Smith describe the scene. "As he was a very old man and spoke arrogant words to our men, saying, 'what are you doing here, you dogs,' and aimed his gun at us, we took away his gun and six knives and a hatchet, and as it was a great distance we could not take him along and therefore gave him a whack with his own hatchet." A brave deed, O Ensign Smith. You already held his son captive. You had disarmed him. But he was a very old man, and it was a long distance back to Esopus so--you killed him. A dastardly deed, O Ensign Smith. You will hear of it once again when the toma‑hawk spatters the brains of the men, women and children upon the ground and the flames of their homes light up the sky.
June, 1660, Stuyvesant dispatched Claes de Ruyter to Esopus to receive the proposals
of peace made by the Indians. He reported to Stuyvesant that they wished chiefs
would meet him. Stuyvesant, accompanied by Marten Cregier and Oloff Stevenson
van Cortland, left New Amsterdam for Esopus
Kaelcop, Seewackemano, Neskahewan and Paniyruways appear for their people of whom a large number were present.
The settlers were all there. Stuyvesant told the Indians that they had burned houses of the Dutch, attacked the village, killed the prisoners taken by them and stole the ransom that was ready for them. Nevertheless, he was willing to forgive all this, and at the solicitation of the other tribes make a lasting peace with them. The chief of the Maquas then addressed the Esopus. He said that the whole country was assembled on their account to solicit and conclude a peace for them. If a treaty was not made and they began war he and the other chiefs would not intercede for them. They must not kill any horses or cattle, nor steal anything, but they must buy or earn it and live with the Dutch like brothers. Addressing the settlers he admonished them that they should not begin war and should not box the ears of the Indians and then ridicule them. Taking a hatchet from one of the Esopus chiefs he threw it upon the ground and trampled it into the earth, saying:--"Now they shall not begin again for their lives" to which the Esopus chiefs responded, "Now we have let the hatchet be taken from us and trampled into the ground, we shall not take it up again in eternity."
The terms of the treaty were then discussed and agreed upon. In token of its acceptance Stuyvesant presented each of the Esopus chiefs with a "piece of cloth" and delivered them three of their number who had been taken prisoners. He gave each of the chiefs of the other tribes a piece of cloth. The treaty provided that all hostilities should cease, and all injuries forgotten and forgiven by either side.
The Esopus Indians promised to convey to Stuyvesant all the territory of the Esopus and remove to a distance from there, without ever returning again to plant. This tract of land was the low lands bordering the village and extending two or three miles on each side of the Esopus Creek.
They also promised to pay Stuyvesant in return for the ransom taken for the captured whites five hundred schepels of corn. They agreed to keep the treaty inviolable, not to kill any animals of the Dutch or if it should happen to be done the chiefs were to pay for it, and in case of their refusal one of them was to be kept a prisoner or under arrest until the loss was paid or made good. The Dutch were to do them no harm. If the Dutch should kill a savage or the savages a Dutchman war should not be immediately commenced on that account but complaint should be made and the murderers delivered up to be punished as they deserved. The Indians should not come armed to the Dutch farms or houses but might come and go and trade as before. As the last war was caused by drunken people no savage should be allowed to drink brandy or strong liquor in or near the Dutch settlements but must go with it to their land or to some distant place in the woods. The old annals quaintly state that the treaty was agreed upon "under the blue sky."
But a cloud hung on the horizon. It grew and expanded, black and portentous. In the years to come it blotted out the heavens and its folds were crimsoned by the flames roaring upward from the ruins of Wildwyck.
few days before he left for Esopus to conclude the treaty, Stuyvesant had the
Indian prisoners held by him transported to
The Indians never forgot and never forgave it. It was in revenge for this, more than for any other reason, that they laid Wildwyck in ashes in 1663.
Stuyvesant owned land at Esopus from which he derived considerable revenue. The rich meadows bordering the Esopus Creek were the most productive in the colony. There was no forest. They were ready for the plow. Stuyvesant tried to obtain them from the Indians in 1658 but failed.
and the settlers at Esopus looked upon them with covetous eyes. The attacks of
the whites upon the Indians; the repeated refusal of Stuyvesant to listen to
any proposals for peace unless the chiefs came to New Amsterdam; and the
declaration of war were prompted more by a desire to obtain these fertile
fields for nothing than by a desire to punish the Indians for wrongs committed
by them. The boast of some of the historians of
Several causes lay at the bottom of all the trouble between the whites and the Indians. To the Dutch the red men were but savages. They stood in their way. They had no rights which they were bound to respect. They were outside the pale of justice and of law. To kill one was no crime. The Dutch failed to keep the promises made them, stole their property, beat them, and generally treated them with derision and contempt. The Indians were certain to avenge such acts as the deliberate killing of the old chief, Preumaecker, and the murder of their drunken brethren at Esopus. Nearly every injury done to the whites by the Indians was in retaliation for offences against them by the Dutch. Still those Dutchmen were no worse than other men of that day. No worse than the men of this day and generation. The same story has been written whenever and wherever the civilized man confronts the uncivilized.
root of all the trouble was the traffic in intoxicating liquor carried on with
them by the Dutch. When the red man was himself he was quiet, inclined to
peace, well satisfied with a piece of gay cloth, a trinket, an axe, or a little
powder. When brandy took possession of him he became, as his white brother
became, a maudlin, reeling fool, a stupid, ugly brute, or a demon incarnate.
Every one recognized the evil. The council at
DURING the years 1661 and 1662 life in the village ebbed peaceably along. Its quiet was unbroken save by an occasional row between some of its contentious citizens. The Indians made no disturbance. In May, 1661, grants of land were made, by lot, to Hendrick Hartensen, Harmen Hendrick, Jan Jansen from Amesfoort, Jacob Barentsen, Jan Lootman, Jacob Joosten, Willem Jansen, Pieter van Haelen, Matthys Roeleffs, Jan Willemse, Anthony Creupel, and Gerret Jansen van Campen.
The inhabitants of Esopus were ordered to have their land surveyed by the sworn surveyor within six months. Have it marked and divided by proper signs and, upon certificate of the survey, were to receive a deed for it.
settlement had grown in numbers and importance. The time had arrived when some
form of government should be established. On
"Peter Stuyvesant, Governor and Director‑General, commissioned and authorized in the control of all matters relating to the public good of all the territories of New Netherland, by virtue of the authority and permission of the Honorable Lords, the Directors of the Privileged West India Company, Greeting:‑-The aforesaid valiant Director‑General, Peter Stuyvesant, observing the situation and condition of the place called 'Esopus' already inhabited six or seven years, and pleased thereat, hath, in consideration of its state and population, erected our place into a village, and honored it with the name of Wildwyck by which name it shall hereafter be called."
In the records the name Wildwyck is variously spelled Wildwyck, Wiltwyck, Wildtwyck, Wildwijck. The letters "ij" of the Dutch in names have usually been transcribed as "y" in English. While Swartwout kept the Wildwyck records he wrote the word "Wildtwyck" afterward the more scholarly Capito, "Wildwyck" and I have followed his spelling. Wilt is an old spelling of Wild meaning "wild," "savage." The final "d" in Dutch words is not pronounced as in English like a soft "d" but hard like "t" so that the singular of "wilden" "savages" in Dutch records is written "wilt" instead of "wild." "Wyck" is an old form for modern "wijk" and means "retreat," "refuge," "quarter." The authorities differ as to the meaning of the word. Some give it as "A village or fort, a refuge from the savages." "Wilt" also means "game" and therefore others give it the meaning as "a place where game is abundant," as Beaverwyck means a place where beavers are plenty.
jurisdiction, power and authority of the court will be hereafter given. It held
its first session
Swartwout had a hard time getting his job. He was appointed
by the directors of the West India Company,
The directors replied that they
were astonished at Stuyvesant's objections. Their judgment was sufficient in
the matter. He was old enough to be fit. If he was deficient in that respect he
had time enough to outgrow it. They wished their orders strictly obeyed.
Although the doughty old governor did not like it he thought it better to obey
the orders of the company and so commissioned Swartwout sheriff,
No person should perform any work at his ordinary business on Sunday, whether plowing, winnowing, transporting wood, hay, straw or grain, threshing, grinding or conveying any goods to or from the strand, on the penalty of one pound Flemish ($2.40) for the first offense, double as much for the second and four times double as much for the third. No one should give entertainment in taverns, or sell or give away beer, wine or any strong drink on Sunday under the above fine. If any person was found drunk on Sunday he was fined one pound Flemish, for the benefit of the officer, and be confined in the watch house during the pleasure of the court. In order to prevent fires no person should construct any plastered or wooden chimneys or kindle any fire in houses with walls or gables made of straw, or in the center on the floors of other houses covered with thatch unless there be a good, solid plank ceiling in the house.
The court should appoint two fire wardens. They should every fourteen days or three weeks inspect all houses and chimneys and see that they were properly constructed and cleaned. The negligent should be fined as above mentioned.
In order to prevent damage to the cornfields by horses, cattle and hogs everyone must keep tight his fences and gates. A pound, in which the animals doing damage were to be restrained was ordered erected. The owner of the animals should be fined for the damage done. Every person must fence his lot within four months and build on the same within one year, without selling or conveying to others, in default of which the court must grant the lot to others "who are better disposed and more industrious." As the stockade had begun to decay and openings had been made in the same which remained unclosed during the night, "to the imminent danger of the place and advantage of the enemy" the sergeant was commanded to repair it. All openings must be closed at night. If anyone did not close and shut at night what he had opened during the day he should be fined for the first offense three guilders, for the second double as much and for the third two pounds Flemish.
Dominie Blom took charge of the
congregation at Wildwyck in September, 1660. In 1661 a parsonage was erected.
In order to pay its cost the court, on
The following were the persons assessed and the amounts expressed in guilders:
Cornelis Barentsen Slecht, tenant on the bouwery
of Mrs. d'Hulter, 64 morgens 160.00
which he has neither survey nor patent estimated
at 25 morgens 62.10
Mrs. de Hulter's unsurveyed pasture land, estimated
at 25 morgens 62.10
Michiel Foure, 4 morgens 10.00
The following house lots of those who have no farmlands:
Andries van der Sluys, lot 10.00
Jan Aerts, smith, voluntarily offers 20.00
Michiel Fouree 12.00
Jan Broese 10.00
Andries Baerents 12.00
Hendrick Cornelisse assessed 20.00
Hendrick jochemse, offers 20.00
Jan Jansen, carpenter, assessed 10.00
Jacob Barents, offers 12.00
Jacob Joosten, offers 12.00
Pieter van Aelen, assessed 10.00
Matthys Roelofse, offers 15.00
Jacob Burhamse, offers 20.00
Gerrit van Campen 10.00
Jan de Backer offers 1000 bricks.
Willem Jansen 12.00
The amount realized from the
foregoing tax not being sufficient to cover the cost of the parsonage
The names of those who paid the tax and the sum paid, expressed in guilders (a guilder 40 cents), are as follows:
Pieter Hillebrantz 2 Jan Barentz Snyder 14
Aelbert Gyssbertz 12 Michiel Verbruggen 1
Jacob Burhams 71‑ 14 Jan Pierssen 12
Gerret Forcken 12 Wouter Aelbertz 24
Walraeff du Mont 24 Thomas Swartwout 12
man 1 De jonge Gesellen 2
bander 14 Arent Jacobs 4
Jan Barentz Backer 6 Dom. Herm. Blom 58
Michiel Verre 3 Jan van
Gertruyd Andriessen 14 Jan Aertsen Smit 17
sawyer 13 Dirck Wilmssen 9
Evert Pelsen 40 Schout Swartwout 32
Hendrick Hendrix 4 Pieter Martensen 2
Claes Pietersen 2 Pieter Jellissen 2
Sergeant Christiaen 23 Jonas Rantzoo 5
Ariaen Huyberts 1 Tjarck Glaessen 8
Maryken Huygen 6 Kerst Kerstensen 2
Pieter, the miller 2 Gerrit van Campen 2
Bart Siebrantz 22 Hendrick Jansen Loo‑
Wilm. Jansen Stoll 4 Jan du Parcq 2
Wilm. van Vreden‑ Marten Harmsen 17
A total of 1111.15 guilders, a little over $444.
In order that the cornfields
might not be damaged by animals running at large on the road the same should be
travelled only with wagons or horses under bridle or in traces. Loose cattle or
foals beside the mares should not be driven over the road under penalty of one
pound Flemish for each animal so driven. A swing gate should be erected at the
beginning of the road and always kept closed by a person appointed by the court
for that purpose. He should receive for opening and closing the gate such sum
as the owners of the farms should agree upon. From others and those with whom
he could not agree he should receive one stiver for each opening, two stivers
for each freight or pleasure wagon and one stiver for each person therein. Some
of those taxed for the building of the parsonage failed to pay. The salary of
dominie Blom was in arrears. There was a short crop of grain. Not sufficient
for the garrison. For these reasons Stuyvesant, on
On the same day all persons were forbidden from receiving any articles in pawn from the soldiers at the garrison, under a penalty of twenty‑five guilders for the benefit of the garrison and in addition of restoring the pledged articles without the redemption money.
Nearly all the buildings in the
village had thatched roofs of reeds or straw. The people were in the habit of
burning straw and other refuse in the streets, thus exposing the buildings to
damage or destruction by fire. On
The dangerous practice was continued as late as 1664, for on November 14, of that year, the court ordered that all straw and rubbish should be carted across the mill dam.
Each person must clean the street in front of his own lot within four days, under a penalty of ten guilders.
It appearing in November, 1662,
that openings had again been made in the stockade the same were ordered to be
closed within twice twenty‑four hours with palisades or proper doors
with locks, provided the key be returned every night to the guard house. Every
person offending was to be fined one pound Flemish.
In the same month Sergeant
Christian Niessen applied for an increase in pay, saying that his present
salary was not enough to live on. He was allowed twenty guilders per month. The
rich valley of the Esopus was known to the residents about
Schuyler came from
Volckert Hanz, after 1651,
usually referred to as Volekert janz and Volckert Janz Douw, is first mentioned
as working at Rensselaerswyck in 1647. He was a farmer and a trader. The
petitioners stated that as the prosperity of the province rested principally
upon agriculture and commerce they desired to establish a new village at the
Great Esopus, "where a great deal of uncultivated land lies." They
asked that a survey for a new village be made and that it be laid out in lots.
That forty or fifty morgens of land be granted them. They promised to
immediately enter upon the same, cultivate and build houses and barns on the
They must also begin to cultivate and fence the same or forfeit the land. All persons who had applied for or received lots in the new village must fence them within six months or forfeit the lots and a fine of twenty‑five guilders. Albert Heymans Roose, Jan Joosten and Jan Gerrets were appointed overseers to see that the work was done and the fines exacted.
April, 1663, the proprietors of
land at the new village petitioned the council at
The records of Wildwyck contain two papers of great interest. One is a list of the persons to whom lots had been granted prior to 1661 and during that year and 1662. The other shows the financial condition of the village. They are here given entire.
No. 8. Henry Zeewant ryger.
1. Thomas Chambers. 9. Andries the weaver.
2. Evert Pels. 10. Jan Brabanter.
3. Balthazar Laser Stuy‑ 11. Jan Brouwersen.
vesant. 12. Michiel the first.
4. Preachers house and 13. Michiel Verre.
lot. 14. Jan the smith.
5. Mrs. de Hulter. 15. Andries van der Sluys.
6. Jacob Haps' little 16. House and lot of
bouwery. Gertrey Hansen lying
7. Jacob Haps' second opposite to Nos. 6
bouwery. and 7.
No. 16. Dirck Adriaen.
1. Hendrick Jochemsen. 17. Matthys Capito.
2. Hendrick Martensen. 18. Jan Lammersen.
3. Harmen Hendricksen. 19. Carsten de Noorman.
4. Jan Jansen Timmer‑ 20. Barent Gerretsen.
man. 21. The Church Yard.
5. Jacob Barentsen. 22. Jan Barensen.
6. Jan de Backer. 23.
7. Jacob Joosten. 24. Alert Heymansen.
8. Willem Jansen. 25. Juriaen Westvael.
9. Pieter van Alen. 26. Nicolaes Willem Stuy
10. Matthys Roeloflsen. vesant.
11. Jacob Beerhans. 27. Albert Gysbertsen.
12. Gerrit van Campen. 28. Tjerick Glaesen.
13. Anthony Crupel. 29. Aert Jacobsen.
14. Albert Gerretsen. 30. Jan Schoon.
15. Meerten Gysbert. 31. Aert Pietersen Tach.
"Revenue and Expenditure
including the Building of the Ministers House.
From 525 morgens.
The land pays fl 2.10 st. per morgen in general,
which computed gives a total of . . . . . . fl 1312.10 coin
The house lots, not paying land tax, have
In wampum ....................................... 272. f1
In coin ................................................ 136.
In coin ..................................................................... 136.
The excise on wine and beer, farmed
out, has fetched so far, that is to the
21st of November, 1662 1003.18
In wampum 1505.17
The Outlays for the Ministers House.
Bricks, tiles, lime, boards, wainscoting,
slating, iron, hinges, locks and nails, and
everything required for it
In wampum ............................................ 680.50
In coin ..................................................... 953.13
Paid for wages of the carpenters and
masons, hod carrier, for freight of bricks,
tiles, boards to this place
In wampum ................................................ 1387.5
In coin ......................................................... 570.
Reduced to coin .......................................................... 1263.12.8
Board for the carpenters, masons and hod
In coin ............................................................................ 450.
The wampum reduced and added to the
coin makes it ........................................................... fl 3007.8
"Besides the above there must be paid to the Court Messenger for the making and keeping in repair of the gates, to Juriaen Westvael for hire of the house of Domine Blom, who lived in his upper room, 80 florins."
New‑Year's day, 1663, was
ushered in with a parade of the trainband. Very brave and formidable they
looked marching through the snowy streets. At the open door
of every house stood mother and the children. The little ones, afraid at
the unusual sight, clung tight to her ample skirts. The boys ran along with the
troops, pelting each other with snowballs as they ran. Through the little
streets, around the stockade, they marched, trying to keep step with the drum
that had come from over the sea, while the colors of
After the parade the Citizen's Council of War adopted and posted up an ordinance regulating the conduct of the troops. Each one appearing for training without proper side and hand‑arms, powder and lead, should, for the first time, be fined twelve guilders; for the second time double that sum; and the third time according to the judgment of the court‑martial. Each one absent or coming late was to be fined two guilders, sergeants, corporals, and lancepesades double that sum. In case of an alarm of fire the members of the captain's squad were to assemble at Barent Gerretsen's, the brandy distiller; the lieutenants squad near Albert Gysbertsen's, the wheelwright; and the third squad at Hendrick Jochemsen's. No one should appear while intoxicated. Any one swearing or profaning God's holy name and sacraments should be fined twenty‑five guilders. The magistrates thinking that these regulations infringed upon their prerogative of enacting ordinances tore down the same which does not seem to have caused any bad blood between the parties.
The day ended with an
entertainment given the soldiers by some of the villagers. What a feast they
must have had. Lucullus would have given his villa at
No disturbance broke the peace of the village during the winter. Then spring came and the farmers were early at work in the fields preparing the land for the seed. The Indians had been quiet, very quiet. Still doubt and mistrust hung in the air. The sale of brandy to them continued. It was certain to breed trouble. The traffic was carried on at the new village. The magistrates wrote Stuyvesant that they had found half an anker of "distilled water" at the house of Loweys Dubo (Louis DuBois), a Walloon which had not been reported. They confiscated it "because some mischief might result from it," and asked that an order be made that the residents of the new village should pay the excise to the collector, Jacob Boorhans, at Wildwyck, "for the liquor distilled here is not to the taste of the savages which is for the advantage of the savages and to the loss of the country."
The presents which had been
promised the Indians for the land at the new village had not been made. Early
in April, 1663, Stuyvesant was warned that if this were not done at once
trouble would ensue. But above and beyond all the captives
whom Stuyvesant had banished to the far off isle of
The hatchet remained buried in the earth. No one thought of danger. Through the streets strolled the Indians, offering corn and beans for sale. They chattered with the women and laughed at the children at play. Suddenly a horseman dashed through the mill gate, shouting as he rode, "The Indians have destroyed the new village." Instantly the dread war whoop of the red men was heard. Then a scream, wild and piercing, the scream of a woman rang out. An Indian had snatched the little girl of Jan Albert's and buried his hatchet in her head. Crack, crack went the guns. Fire, some one shouted. A house on the south side of the village burst into flame. The wind was blowing from that direction. The Indians had fired the village. In a moment pandemonium reigned. Another house caught fire. Then another and another. The smoke rolled in red billows through the streets. The sparks fell in showers. The flames roared upward. The shrieks of the women and the wail of the children never ceased. Above it all rang out the wild yells of the Indians as they ran through the streets, slaughtering as they went. Through the palisades rushed Chambers. "Lock the gates." "Clear the gun," he shouted. In a few moments the handful of men turned on the Indians. It was too late. They were already outside the stockade driving the women and children before them. Mothers clasped their babes in their arms, shrieking, crying as they were forced along. On, on to the woods the Indians drove them. Their piteous wails floated back ever faint and fainter until the forest shut them from the sight of the helpless men in the village. The wind changed to the west. This was all that saved the village from being entirely consumed. The men began to return from the fields. What a scene of desolation greeted them. The homes of many were burned. The dead lay in the streets. The half burned bodies of wife and child smoked in the hot ashes of their homes. Well did Dominie Blom say:‑-"I am he who hath seen misery in the day of the wrath of the Lord. O my Bowels‑-my Bowels. I am pained at my very heart, and with Jeremiah, O that my head were water, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep for the slain of my people; for the dead lay as sheaves behind the mower."
Here is the record of that day, written many, many years ago. No pen can give a more graphic picture.
of the Soldiers and Settlers, killed, wounded, or taken prisoners by the
Indians at Wildwyck, on
Barent Gerretsen, murdered in front of his house.
Jan Alberts, murdered in his house.
Lichten Dirrick, murdered on the farm.
Willem Jansen Seba, murdered before his door.
Willem Jansen Hap, murdered in Pieter van Hael's house.
Jan the Smith, murdered in his house.
Hendrick Jansen Looman, murdered on the farm.
Thomas Chamber's negro, murdered on the farm.
Hey Olferts, murdered in the gunner's house.
Hendrick Martensen, on the farm.
Dominicus, in Jan Alberts' house.
Christiaen Andriessen, on the street.
Lichten Dirrecks' wife burnt, with her lost fruit, behind Barent Gerretsen's house.
Mattys Capito's wife killed and burnt in the house.
Jan Albertsen's wife, big with child, killed in front of her house.
Pieter van Hael's wife shot and burnt in her house.
Jan Alberts' little girl murdered with her mother.
Willem Hap's child burned alive in the house.
Master Gysbert's wife. (She
was the wife of Gysbert van Imbroach, a surgeon, and the daughter of La Montagne,
vice director at
Sara, the daughter of Hester Douwe.
Grietje, Dominie Laer's wife. (The wife of a Luthern dominie.)
Femmetje, sister of Hilletje, being recently married to Joost Ariaens.
Tjerck Claessen de Witt's oldest daughter.
Dominie Laer's child.
Ariaen Gerritsen's daughter.
Two little boys of Mattys Roeloffsen.
Marten Harmensen found dead and stript naked behind the wagon.
Jacques Tyseen beside Barent's house.
Derrick Ariaensen shot in his house.
Jan Gerritsen on Volckert's bouwery.
Of Lowis du Bois ......................................... . 1 3
Of Mattheu Blanchan ................................................... 1 2
Of Antoni Crupel .......................................................... 1 1
Of Lambert Huybertsen ............................................... 1 3
Of Marten Harmensen . ............................. .. 1 4
Of Jan Joosten ................................................................ 1 2
Of Barent Harmensen .................................. 1 1
Of Jan Barents ................................................................ 1 1
Of Michiel Ferre . ................................... ....................... . 2
Of Hendrick Jochems ................................................... . 1
Of Hendrick Martensen ............................................... . 1
Of Albert Heymans ....................................................... . 2
Women‑Children .......................................................... 8* 26
[* sic; this column adds to 9! -- JR]
HOUSES BURNT IN WILDWYCK
Of Mattys Roeloffsen 1 Of Jacob Boerhans 2
The new village is entirely destroyed, except a new uncovered barn, one rick and a little stack of reed.
WOUNDED IN WILDWYCK
Thomas Chambers, shot in the woods.
Henderick Jochemsen, shot in his house.
Michiel Ferre, shot in front of
his house. (Died of his wounds
Albert Gerretsen, shot in front of his house.
Andries Barents, shot in front of his house.
Jan du Parck, shot in the house of Aert Pietersen Tack.
Henderick, the Heer Director General's servant, in the street in front of Aert Jacobsen.
Paulus the Noorman, in the street."
It will be observed from the above that most of the persons taken prisoners came from the new village. (Hurley.)
News of the massacre reached
On the 14th he was at Wildwyck.
Christiaen Niessen, the commander of the militia; Thomas Chambers, the captain
of the train band; Hendrick Jochemsen, the lieutenant; Swartwout, the Schout;
and Albert Gysbertsen, Tjrick Cleassen de Witt, Gysbert van Imbrogh, the
magistrates, were appointed a council to take charge of all matters. The people
were commanded to obey its orders. Matheus Capito was appointed secretary. The
Johan de Decker, one of the
council, was sent to
Decker did not meet with much success. The Senecas were at war with the Minquas. The settlers were panic stricken at the news from Wildwyck and flocked to the fort for protection. All was in confusion and nothing could be done.
At last an Indian, "Smiths Jan," accompanied by several Mohawks and "Jan Dirck," a Dutchman, were prevailed upon to visit the Esopus Indians.
These Mohawks reached the fort
of the Indians. One of them by a present of a piece of wampum got one of the
Esopus chiefs, who had Mrs. van Imbroch in charge, to promise to deliver her to
him in the morning. But at dawn the Esopus and his captive had gone. The other
chiefs offered to return the wampum which the Mohawks indignantly refused,
saying that if they had their arms with them they would take the woman by
force. The party returned to Wildwyck and reported that the Indians cared not
so much for the captured savages as for payment for the land
taken for the
A creek, not deep, and which could be easily crossed washed one corner. There were two rows of palisades and a third was being erected. The fort had two gates, one to the north and the other to the south. About thirty men were in the fort. They manifested great anxiety concerning their women and children and lodged them with the prisoners outside the fort during the night.
On June 25th Stuyvesant issued a call for volunteers for an attack on the Esopus Indians. They were offered "free plundering and all the barbarians who are captured." For the term of one year they were to be exempt from guardmounting, firewatch and chimney tax. The owners of bouweries were exempt from tithes for six years and those having no bouweries to have the same exemption when they established bouweries in addition to the ten years commonly allowed. Those wounded were to be properly treated by the surgeon.
For the loss of the right arm they would receive eight hundred florins, for the left arm five hundred florins, for the loss of a leg four hundred and fifty florins, for the loss of both legs eight hundred florins, for the loss of an eye three hundred florins, for both eyes nine hundred florins, for the loss of the right hand six hundred florins, for the left hand four hundred florins, and for both hands one thousand florins.
Volunteers came in slowly. Only five or six from the English villages on
Cregier arrived at Wildwyck
Cregier seems to have had considerable trouble with the people of the village. They did not manifest a lively disposition to assist him. Some refused to furnish teams and wagons to bring up supplies from the river. "Some refused to work for the company; some gave for answer if another will cart I also shall cart; some said, my horses are poor, I cannot cart; others said, my horses have sore backs, and other such frivolous answers." Tjerck Classen de Wit, although a magistrate, threatened to turn some soldiers out of a small house they occupied. He said he had hired it, although he neither had possession "nor procuration for it." Cregier told him that the soldiers would be removed on condition that he, "as a magistrate, would have them billetted in other houses as the men could not lie under the blue sky, and as they had been sent here by the chief government for the defense of the settlers. But he made no answer to this and so there are other ringleaders and refractory people in this place."
While Cregier and the magistrates were examining the Wappinger Indians at the house of Chambers as to the whereabouts of the Esopus Albert Heymans Roose (Roosa) and Jan Hendrickensen appeared at the door and threatened to shoot the Indians. Cregier told them they must not do it. To which they replied, "We will do it though you stand by." "I told them in return to go home and keep quiet or I should send such disturbers to the Manhattans. They then retorted I might do what I pleased, they would shoot the savages to the ground, even though they should hang for it." Roosa, nothing daunted, came into the room and told the magistrates that one of them should step out. Cregier naively adds, "What his intention with him was I can't say." To our mind it is very clear. Albert was a fighter. He thought he could lick the entire court, at least one of its members.
It was now determined to attack
the Indian fort. The expedition, led by Cregier, started from Wildwyck on the
The Indians still lurked in the woods about the village. To venture forth without protection was dangerous. On August 4th, the Council of War adopted an ordinance forbidding either large or small parties to leave the village without the consent of the Captain Lieutenant and only under proper convoy of soldiers. To stop the waste of powder and ball, every one unnecessarily discharging any firearm was to be fined three guilders for each shot. The court was kept quite busy imposing fines upon persons who violated these ordinances. The soldiers would get drunk even on Sunday. Every member of the militia was, by ordinance, forbidden from selling or pawning the goods advanced to him for liquor. All those engaged in selling strong drink were prohibited from receiving such property for liquor and from furnishing drinks on Sunday.
During the month of August the farmers were busily engaged in getting in the grain. A great rain interfered with the harvest and carried away several of the palisades of the fort.
Some of the Esopus were hiding
with the Wappinger Indians just north of
With one of the Wappinger Indians as a guide, and Christoffel Davids as interpreter, Cregier and his force left Wildwyck September 3, 1663, at one o'clock in the afternoon, and marched three miles to the creek, "which runs past the Redoubt." Here they passed the night. It rained very hard. The creek was high, the current very swift. They got across by holding on to a rope they had thrown across the stream. After a march of about four miles they camped for the night. They set out at daybreak, on the morning of the 5th, and about came to the first corn field of the Indians, where they saw two squaws and a Dutchwoman who had come from the fort to gather corn. About in the afternoon they came within sight of the fort. It was situated on a lofty plain. It was not as large as the one previously destroyed. It was a perfect square with one row of palisades set all around, being about fifteen feet above and three feet under ground. Two angles of stout palisades, as thick as a man's body, having two rows of portholes, one above the other, had been completed and the Indians were busy at the third angle. When near the fort, the attacking party was seen by a squaw who at once let forth a terrible scream. "The Indians rushed forthwith through the fort towards their houses, which stood about a stone's throw from the fort, in order to secure their arms, and thus hastily picked up a few guns and bows and arrows, but we were so hot at their heels that they were forced to leave many of them behind. We kept up a sharp fire on them and pursued them so closely that they leaped into the creek which ran in front of the lower part of their maize land. On reaching the opposite side of the hill, they courageously returned our fire, which we sent back, so that we were obliged to send a party across to dislodge them. In this attack the Indians lost their chief, named Papequanaehen, fourteen other warriors, four women and three children, whom we saw lying on this and on the other side of the creek, but probably many more were wounded when rushing from the fort to the houses, when we did give them a brave charge. On our side, three were killed and six wounded and we have recovered three and twenty Christian prisoners out of their hands. We have also taken thirteen of them prisoners, both men and women, besides an old man who accompanied us about half an hour, but would go no further. We took him aside and gave him his last meal. A captive Indian child died on the way, so that there remained eleven of them still our prisoners." It was necessary to get the wounded home as soon as possible, for which reason the growing corn was allowed to stand for the present. The wigwams contained a considerable quantity of bear and deer skins, blankets, elk hides, guns, powder and belts and strings of wampum. Placing the wounded upon horses, one upon a litter, loaded with booty, accompanied by their prisoners and the rescued captives, the little army took up the march back to Wildwyck, which they safely reached September 7th at about noon. An additional force of forty Marsepingh Indians arrived under van Couwenhoven. On October 1st, Cregier and his troops started for the scene of their late victory. The fort was deserted. Not an Indian was seen. The dead braves had been thrown into large pits. These the wolves had rooted up and devoured some of the bodies. The corn was pulled up and thrown into the creek. The fort and wigwams tore down, piled in a heap and burned to ashes. The fort was about twelve miles from Wildwyck on a course of South, Southwest. The way was very bad and hilly. Several large creeks had to be crossed. In some places there was very fine land.
The fort destroyed was situated
in the town of
Demon rum still held sway. Some of the villagers got so drunk "that they cannot distinguish even the door of the house." Fights and brawls disturbed the peace. Something must be done. So, on September 26th, the "valiant Council of War" directed Schout Swartwout "to notify and forbid the tappers and retailers of strong drink who follow the profession of selling liquor in this village, that they do not under present circumstances sell strong drink to any one, be he Christian or Indian, under forfeiture of the liquor that may be found in his house."
October 7th, a girl who had
been held captive by an Indian at his but in the mountain on the other‑
side of the creek, escaped and returned to the village. On the 9th, forty of
the militia and the Marseping Indians (from
The stockade was in need of repair. The Court ordered that each farmer should set up new palisades in front of his lot. The others, being inhabitants or burghers, occupying thirty‑nine lots in the village, should repair and place new palisades "from the water gate along the curtains unto the lot of Arent Pietersen Tack." They must be at least two feet in circumference and thirteen feet in length. Every person must appear on Monday, October 22, at "at the gate near Hendrick Jochemsen's, to proceed with the work."
November 7th, Lieutenant van
Couwenhoven returned from
On November 29th he was back again, bringing six of the captives with him. For these he was given a captive squaw and two children, thirty strings of wampum, one piece of cloth, two cans of brandy, one-half an anker of brandy, fifteen strings of wampum, three yards of duffel, and ten pounds of powder. He said that he had given wampum to another Indian to look up the child of Albert Heymans (Roosa) and would bring all the other prisoners within three days. He returned on December 2nd, having two children with him, for which he was given an Indian child and three pieces of cloth. He could not return the remaining captives, five in number, because they were at the hunting grounds of the Esopus and he could not find them, but he had an Indian looking for them. Two were in his vicinity. The squaw who kept them would not let them go because she was sick, had no children and expected to die when he would get them and Roosa's daughter, who was also at the hunting grounds.
On the last day of the year,
During December, 1663, the
chiefs of the Hackingkesaky and Staten Island Indians appeared before the
Old Seweckenamo, holding a stick in his hand, his arms folded, said: I have asked my God Dachtamo that I may do some good here. Let a treaty be made here as solid as this stick. The chiefs here are well pleased that peace be made between my people and the Dutch. It shall include the Marsepingh. I come to ask for peace for my people. A peace as firm and as binding as my folded arms. The other chiefs of the Esopus cannot be here. One is a very old man and blind. The others are friends of mine. I speak for them.
After much talk the terms of the peace was agreed upon. The treaty provided that all that had happened should be forgiven and forgotten. All the land that had previously been given to the Dutch and that which they had taken in the late war as far as the two captured forts should remain the property of the Dutch. The Indians should not plant this land again nor come into the villages at Esopus. In order that they might not be entirely deprived of their land they might during this year plant around the old and new fort. No Indian should come upon land which the Dutch were cultivating or using for pasture. They might come to the Redoubt to sell their corn. They must not come with more than two or three canoes at once and must send a flag of truce ahead to tell that they were coming. For their accommodation a house should be built over the hill. If a Dutchman should kill an, Indian or an Indian a Dutchman war should not be immediately begun. A meeting should be first held over it and the murderer punished by death in the presence of the Indians and the Dutch. If the Indians should happen to kill any of the live stock of the Dutch the chiefs should pay for it. If they refused one of them should be kept in prison until the animal killed was paid for. No Dutchman should do any damage to the Indians.
treaty marks the passing of the Indian. He was no longer a menace or a terror.
The Esopus were scattered among the other tribes. Their forts and villages had
been burned. Their corn fields destroyed. Once again, in July, 1664,
Seweckenamo appeared at
On May 31st, he issued a proclamation to all the magistrates of the colony designating June 4th a general day of thanksgiving for the conclusion of the peace with the Indians and the return of the captives. The magistrates were directed to deliver the same "to the reverend ministers of God's word, that it may be by them communicated from the altar to the community."
DURING the war and the negotiations for peace and the return of the captives, little else of interest occurred at Wildwyck. During the fall of 1663 the magistrates of the court on the one side and dominie Blom and the consistory of the church on the other, got into an angry controversy. Each claimed the right to administer upon the estates of persons dying without heirs. Tjerck Claesen de Wit, curator of the estate of William Jansen Seba, was enjoined by the consistory from rendering his account, and Cornelis Barentsen Slecht from paying any of the bills of Seba. The dominie sent a letter to the magistrates telling them that the consistory could not legally release the estate because they came to it ecclesiastically, "not that it was seized by the consistory as the Honorable Court dares falsely to assert."
Then the good dominie raps the court by saying that the consistory "is really astonished that the Honorable Court meets on Sunday, as there are enough other days in the week, and this is the reason why the Magistrates pew in the church is vacant Sunday morning and afternoon." The court referred the whole matter to Stuyvesant. Stuyvesant wrote the consistory that it was the duty of the magistrates to appoint administrators and orphanmasters, have estates inventoried and properly administered. The consistory had nothing to do with such matters. If the consistory or overseers of the poor had a claim against an estate they should proceed according to law and get an order of attachment. As to the complaint of the dominie that the magistrates claimed the right to dispose of what was collected in the community for the church or the poor, he tells the consistory and the magistrates that such funds should remain in the hands of the consistory. He admonished both parties "to remain within the bounderies of their respective positions and to continue, as well officially as privately, to live together in mutual friendship and harmony." To this Blom made answer that the consistory had done no more than to send its clerk to Slecht to request him not to give up the surplus of estates before the consistory had examined whether the overseers of the poor were authorized to receive it. That they maintained that position. They had no desire to meddle in matters belonging to the civil authorities, as they had enough to do in attending to their own duties.
Schout Swartwout and Magistrates Gybertsen, deWit, Chambers and van Imbroch then undertook to lecture Stuyvesant. They wrote him that they were "highly astonished" that he had taken away the small privileges of the village and destroyed their authority by directing that the surplus of estates should be placed in the hands of the overseers of the poor. If such order was to stand they asked that he would: "transfer not only part, but all the duties and rights of the commissioners to Dominie Blom and his consistory, Albert Heymansen, for before or during our time no deacon has been elected who could either read or write, except the Dominie alone, who sides with Albert Heymansen, who has shown himself more than once as an instigator of quarrels."
This letter aroused the ire of
the governor. He immediately,
The magistrates did not resign.
Swartwout stood it being out of office until
In January, 1664, Ensign Niessen wrote Stuyvesant that a "strange disease afflicted the people but the Almighty's will be done."
In April, 1664, Chambers and
van Imbroch petition that the jurisdiction of the court be enlarged to the same
extent as the court at
To encourage the people to
In July, 1664, Stuyvesant and his council, deeming it necessary to have a representative at Wildwyck, who should have general charge of all matters, appointed Wilhelm Beeckman commissary. Every person at Wildwyck was directed to obey his orders. He was to make an inventory of all property belonging to the company and receive the balance there might be in the hands of Ensign Niessen, Matthys Capito, the clerk, and Jacob Burhans, the collector. All goods sent for the garrison were to be consigned and charged to him. He was to convene the Schepens, preside at the meetings of the court and in case of a tie have the casting vote. Whenever he was a party to a suit or acted for the Lords Patroons or on behalf of the law for the Hon. Fiscall, he must leave the bench and have no vote. In his place one of the Schepens should preside. In the absence of the governor or his deputy he had supreme command. He must uphold the law to the best of his knowledge in both civil and military matters. He was to take care that the provisions of the late treaty with the Indians were enforced. He should, at the first opportunity, let out the tapsters' excise.
Beeckman first sat as presiding
officer of the court on
The affairs of
The convention met in the city
In accordance with Dutch custom the excise was "farmed out." That is the right to collect and receive the tax imposed on those using liquors was sold at auction to the highest bidder, who was called the "farmer of the excise." The lowest bid that would be received was stated by the auctioneer, who began with a high price and gradually reduced the same until a bid was received. The profit of the farmer was the difference between the amount he received for taxes and the sum bid by him.
This was the last judicial and
legislative act of the court under Dutch domination.
not the place to discuss the justice of the claim
Articles of capitulation were
signed by Nicolls on September 6th, and ratified by Stuyvesant and his council
on the 8th. The Dutch troops, headed by Stuyvesant, with "arms fixed,
colors flying, drum beating and matches lighted," marched out of
The articles of capitulation provided that all people should continue free denizens and enjoy their lands, houses and goods and dispose of them as they pleased. Those desiring to remove from the country were given a year and six weeks in which to do so. The Dutch should continue to enjoy the liberty of conscience in divine worship and church discipline, and have their own customs concerning inheritances. No judgment that had been given by any court should be questioned. All contracts and bargains made before the surrender should be determined according to the manner of the Dutch. All inferior civil officers and magistrates should, if they pleased, continue until the customary time of election and then new ones to be chosen by themselves.
In September, Nicolls sent
Colonel George Cartwright with a detachment of troops to take possession of
A little settlement had grown
up southwest of the
On September 25th, the
commission changed the name of Wildwyck to "
Nine years under Dutch rule
The following proclamation was issued: "We, the magistrates, burghers and residents of the village of Kingston and jurisdiction of the same, declare under oath that owing to the surrender of the country, hitherto called New York, on account of which we have been discharged from the oath of allegiance taken to his majesty of Great Britain, we absolutely submit to the authority of their High Mightinesses the Lords States General of the United Netherlands and his serene highness the prince of Orange, to be true and faithful to them and at the least written notice of him who shall be here in authority, or should be authorized by him for said purpose, to keep ourselves in readiness against all enemies whoever they may be, for the purpose of assisting to protect the rights of their High Mightinesses as it is the duty of all pious and faithful subjects. But, whereas, there are several people living here who are native‑born Englishmen, therefore, they are permitted, in case it should happen that we should be inimically attacked here by the order of his royal majesty of Great Britain to remain quiet and to remain unarmed without in any manner taking part in it. But in case with the aforesaid English any enemies of whatever other nation should be allied then the English residents here shall be obliged to defend themselves against them by every possible means without being permitted to take the least exception."
August 26th, the magistrates
requested some of the oldest burghers to give their views in writing
"within twice twenty‑four hours" as to what matters concerning
the village should be made to the "vigorous council of war" at New
York, and Joost Adriaensen and the secretary, W. Montagne, were dispatched to
New York for that purpose. These representatives appeared before the council
of war which, on
From the nominees so made the
For magistrates of Swaenenburg, Cornelis Wyncoop, Roeloff Kierstede, Wessell Ten Broeck, Jan Burhans.
For officers of the militia, Captain Mathys Mathysen, Lieutenant Jan Willemsen, Ensign Mathys Barentsen.
For magistrates of Hurley and Marble town, Louis DuBois, Roeloff Hendricksen, Jan Joosten, Jan Broersen.
For officers of the militia, Captain Albert Heymans, Lieutenant Jan Broersen, Ensign Gerrit Adriaensen.
For secretary of the three towns, William Lamontagne.
William Beeckman, who had been
nominated for Schout, had removed to
The council of war made but few orders relating to the three villages. The inhabitants of Hurley were commanded "not to remove their dwellings outside the village" unless they obtain special consent. The schout was refused a salary because none had ever been allowed. He was to act as auctioneer and with the secretary collect the excise. The .Burgher Watch was to assist him "in arresting evildoers." The magistrates must see to it that good watch be kept "to which end some of the burghers should repair every evening, about sunset, to the usual guard house, and not leave before sunrise." They should see that the officers of the militia were respected and obeyed by their men. Their arms must be inspected and they must be supplied with ammunition. During this brief period of Dutch rule little of interest happened in the villages. The courts found little to do. The stockade was ordered repaired. Roelof Kierstede and Alberdt Jansen were appointed fire wardens and directed to inspect all chimneys every two weeks and see that they were kept clean. Every person must clean the street in front of his house of refuse and dirt.
Hendrick van Wyen was fined one
hundred guilders for assaulting Gretje Westercam and, in addition, was
condemned to pay the fees and expenses of the doctor. One‑fourth of the
fine went to the poor, one‑fourth for the village and one‑half to
the officers. Anna Nottingham was fined one hundred guilders for calling
Schout Grevenraet a "hungry cur" and a "hungry raven."
Klaes Tysen sued Cornelis Wynkoop for four hundred schepels of wheat, the price
of a negro sold him. Wynkoop defended on the ground
that the negro was represented to be "hale and
sound" whereas he had lost a finger and another finger and a thumb were
stiff. The court referred the matter to arbitrators who reported that the negro was not sound and Tysen must take him back. The
decision was approved by the court. Robberdt Biggerstab brought an action
against Jan Gerretsen for damage for running over his pig. "Defendant
says that when he was passing with his wagon he heard a pig squeal. His wife,
going to the spot, found no pig." Plaintiff was ordered to prove his case.
What became of the litigation or of the pig the record does not disclose. Dutch
supremacy continued but for a brief period. A treaty of peace between
Schout Grevenraet presented an order of Governor Andros relieving the magistrates from the oath of allegiance they had taken to the State's General and the Prince of Orange. The order reinstating the old magistrates was published. They immediately took the oath of allegiance to King James.
The new court convened
FOR a correct understanding of
the character of the government under which the people of Wildwyck lived a
brief sketch of the legislative and judicial history of
He became sole owner of the
territory with the right to dispose of it by will. He was chief magistrate of
his estate. He could create courts from which, if the matter in dispute
involved more than fifty guilders, an appeal could be taken to the Director‑General
and Council. Kiliaen van Rensselaer, one of the directors of the company, in
1629 and 1630 purchased large tracks of land from the Indians lying on both
sides of the river near
No appeal was allowed to the
Director General and Council at
The "Great Burgher Right" was granted:‑-
First. To those Who had been or were in the high or supreme government of the country and their descendants in the male line.
all former and actual Burgomasters and Schepens of
Third. To all former ministers of the gospel and those then in office and their descendants in the male line.
Fourth. To the commissioned officers of the militia, including the ensign, and their descendants in the male line, provided that they or their descendants in the male line had not lost or forfeited burgher right by not keeping "fire and light" agreeable to the custom of the city of Amsterdam.
Fifth. To all others on payment of the sum of fifty guilders.
The "Small Burgher Right" was given:‑-
First. To all those who had resided and kept fire and light within the city for one year and six weeks.
Second. To all born within the city.
Third. To all who had or should marry native born daughters of burghers, provided the burgher right had not been lost or forfeited by absence from the city or by not keeping fire and light within the city for one year and six weeks.
All persons who now or hereafter keep any shop, "however it may be called," in the city or its jurisdiction were bound to apply to the Burgomasters for the "Small Right" and pay twenty guilders for the same.
All servants of the company under wages, all passengers and new comers who settled elsewhere, provided they did so within six weeks were exempt from applying for the right for the exercise of "all sorts of handicraft and the practice thereof." It was refused to the Jews.
this ordinance was first proclaimed only twenty persons applied for the
"Great Right." Among them was Rachel Van Tienhoven, the widow or
deserted wife of Cornelis Van Tienhoven. By an ordinance adopted in 1660 it was
provided : "That no newly arrived traders,
Scotch factors or merchants shall be at liberty to transport or to send their
goods from here to
The government of the city of
Although the order of the West
India Company directed that the Schout, Burgomasters and Schepens, who should
constitute the government and court for
The Director General and Council
reserved the right "to make ordinances or publish particular interdicts
Such was the government of
These ordinances embraced a wide range of subjects and touched the daily life of the citizen at almost every point. Banns of marriage must be published or proclaimed in the place where the parties resided. Stuyvesant would not allow the flimsy excuses or squeamishness of prospective bridegroom or bride to interfere with the rapid populating of the colony; neither would he stand for anything save the marital relation. So, it was enacted that after the third proclamation of banns the parties should, "if no lawful impediment occurs, cause their marriages to be solemnized within one month at the furthest, after the last proclamation, or within that time, appear and show cause where they ought, for refusing; and that on pain of forfeiting ten guilders for the first week of the aforesaid month, and for the succeeding weeks twenty guilders for each week, until they have made known the reasons for refusing." Dominie Blom notified his congregation at Wildwyck that he would enforce this ordinance. No man and woman should be at liberty, "to keep house as married persons before and until they are lawfully married, on pain of forfeiting one hundred guilders, more or less, as their quality shall be found to warrant, and all such persons may be amerced every month by the officer, according to the order and custom of our Fatherland."
None but legal weights and
measures could be used and those were the ones in use in the city of
To prevent damage to growing crops by animals running at large three persons should be appointed fence viewers for each village. They must inspect all fences and see that all persons who did not keep them tight were fined. A pound must be established in each village in which any person could impound all cattle found in the corn fields. Before they could be released the owner must pay six florins for a horse, four for an ox or cow, two for a calf, hog or sheep; one‑half of which went to the pound keeper, the other half to the impounder or whoever made the complaint. If the animals were not released by sunset the fines were doubled and if not released on the second day, they were sold at public auction to the highest bidder.
Smuggling was strictly
prohibited. Ordinance after ordinance prohibiting the sale of intoxicating
liquors to the Indians was passed. Although every one recognized that this
traffic was at the bottom of most of the troubles with the red men it could not
be stopped. Slavery existed in
All fighting, wounding, drawing of knives and assaults were forbidden under heavy penalties.
The observance of Sunday was strictly enjoined. No beer or liquor could be sold. No ordinary labor performed. No sports or games allowed. In order to prevent the waste of powder, carousing and accidents, all firing of guns, beating of drums, planting of May poles and the retailing of beer or liquor on New Year or May days was prohibited. No liquor or beer could be sold without license and payment of the excise. No tavern keeper could brew beer or liquor and no brewer sell at retail. In 1658 the maximum price that could be charged by brewers was fixed at, for a ton (about 40 gallons) of strong beer, ten guilders in silver, 15 in beaver, 22 in wampum. A ton of small beer, 3 guilders in silver, 4 and one‑half in beaver, 6 in wampum. By tavern keepers one‑half gallon of beer, 6 stivers in silver, 9 in beaver, 12 in wampum. A can of French wine, 18 stivers in silver, 22 in beaver, 36 in wampum. A can of Spanish wine, 24 stivers in silver, 36 in beaver, 50 in wampum. A gill of brandy, 5 stivers in silver, 7 in beaver, 10 in wampum.
In the same year the price of bread was fixed at a coarse wheat loaf, eight pounds, 7 stivers in silver, 10 in beaver, 14 in wampum. A rye loaf, eight pounds, 6 stivers in silver, 9 in beaver, 12 in wampum. A white loaf, two pounds, 4 stivers in silver, 6 in beaver, 8 in wampum.
Little, if any, coin circulated in the colony. The zeawan or wampum of the Indians was the circulating medium. Wheat and other grain was also used as a medium of exchange. Fines and penalties were imposed and debts paid in either. Wampum was made by the Indians from the inner surface of the shell of the clam and periwinkle. They were worked out into beads, mostly of two colors, white and a very dark purple, or black. They were generally cylindrical, being about ⅛ to 7/16 in. in length and about ⅛ to 3/16 in. in diameter. They were strung upon cords, these fastened together made a belt. Wampum was highly prized by the Indians. Necklaces of the same were used for personal adornment. Belts as a badge of rank and official dignity and in the ratification of treaties and solemn agreements. Many ordinances were passed regulating the use and value of wampum as currency. In 1641 six strung beads passed for one stiver. In 1650 six white and three black strung for a stiver. In 1658 eight white and four black for a stiver. In 1663 eight white or four black for a stiver. During the same year the price of a beaver in silver was eight guilders and a muddle and a half of wheat was worth one beaver, or about thirty cents a bushel.
The revenue for the colony was derived from an export duty on furs, duties on imported goods and the tenths of argricultural products reserved by the government as a consideration for lands granted. The revenue for the villages was obtained from an excise tax on liquors and beer, a tax on slaughtered cattle, and all or a part of the fines imposed on individuals for the violation of ordinances. A land tax was also imposed for various purposes.
As early as 1659 the people of
Wildwyck had asked that a court be established so that everybody "could be
made to go along." Their request was not complied with until
During the existence of the
court the Schepens were:‑-May, 1661, to May,
1662, Evert Pels, Cornelis Barentsen Sleght, Elbert Heymans Rose. May, 1662, to
May, 1663, Pels, Rose, Albert Gysbertsen, Tjirick deWit. May, 1663, to May,
1664, Gysbertsen, deWit, Thomas Chambers, Gysbert van Imbrogh. 1664, Chambers, van Imbrogh, Henderick Jochemsen, Jan Willemsen
Hoochteylingh. The West India Company, on
Extraordinary meetings should not be held except upon the request of both parties to a cause who must deposit the costs of the court, three guilders for the president and fifty stivers for each Schepen. The court messenger gave twenty‑four hours' notice to the Schepens of the time of holding each session. If any failed to appear, unless excused by sickness or absence, they were fined twenty stivers each and the president forty. Those late in arriving were fined twenty stivers for the benefit of those on time. A Schepen could not sit if he were a party to a suit or related to a party by consanguinity, "such as brothers, brothers‑in‑law or cousins in the first or direct line." In case of disagreement the minority must coincide with the majority, but could have their opinions entered on the record which must not be made public. The clerk kept the minutes of the proceedings, copies of which were transmitted to the council. He was allowed sixteen stivers for drawing a petition in civil proceedings, twenty in a suit for injuries and criminal cases "of the middle degree," and for a certificate and a copy twenty‑four stivers. All judgments rendered by the court were subject to reversal by the Director‑General and Council and to them all appeals were taken. The court was given jurisdiction of "all matters touching civil affairs" and could give judgment to the amount of fifty guilders without appeal. If the sum involved was greater the aggrieved party could appeal within ten days after judgment on giving security for the principal and costs of the action. All cases of crime must be referred to the Director‑General and Council. The court must take information concerning the offense, arrest and detain the party charged, and send him and the information to the council. "Minor offenses, such as brawls, injuries, scolding, striking with fist, threats, simple drawing of a knife or sword without bloodshed" were left to the decision of the court, the condemned party to have the right of appeal. "All cases of major crimes, and delinquents charged with wounding and bloodshedding, whoredom and adultery, public and notorious theft, robberies, smuggling of contraband articles, blaspheming and profaning God's holy name and religion, slandering and caluminating the Supreme Government or its representatives, shall, after information, affidavits and testimony have been taken, be referred to the Director‑General and Council of New Netherland." The grand jury was unknown. The party accused had the right to give bail in all cases except murder, treason, arson and rape.
Two modes of trial existed in criminal matters. One an ordinary public trial in which the ordinary rules of evidence prevailed; the other, an examination before two Schouts, upon written questions. The penalties were fines, imprisonment, whipping, the pillory and death. The court was given no power to enact ordinances, rules or regulations even for village affairs. If they thought any such necessary they must be submitted to the council for its approval. In 1664 this provision was so far modified as to allow the court to enact "Provisional Ordinances," provided the same, with the reasons for their necessity, be first submitted to the council and its approval obtained. If this could not be done during the winter season or by reason of other inconvenience the court might execute such ordinances in an emergency on condition that they be submitted for confirmation at the first opportunity.
During the Indian war of 1663 Stuyvesant appointed the Schout, Schepens, the commander and lieutenant of the militia, and the captain of the train band, a council of war to take charge of all matters. Acting together they constituted the court during the war. In 1664 Wilhelm Beeckman was appointed commissary for Wildwyck. He also acted as Schout. He presided at the meetings of the court and in case of a tie had the casting vote. In the absence of the governor or his deputy he had supreme command.
The practice in the court was simple. A summons commanding the party to appear at the next session of the court was served on the defendant at least one day before the meeting. "In case of arrest, or difference between strangers, when it may be served on the very day of the session." If defendant did not appear he could not thereafter question the jurisdiction of the court and was condemned to pay the cost of the summons. A second summons was then served and if defendant still failed to appear he was subject to additional costs. A third summons was then served and upon default judgment was rendered. If defendants presence was necessary a warrant of arrest was issued. Each party stated his case and could be sworn as a witness. If the court required further proof an adjournment was had and the testimony of witnesses taken either before the court or by written depositions made before a notary. Documents in the handwriting of a party were presumed to be genuine. Books of account, itemized and correctly kept, were received in evidence.
All affidavits, interrogatories, contracts, testaments, agreements, and other important documents in order to be used as evidence must be written by the secretary "or other authorized person unless by necessity it should be impossible to call on such person." Documentory evidence, dying declarations, and testimony supported by two witnesses was termed full proof. The testimony of one witness, half proof. Hearsay testimony was received as half proof and as corrobative evidence.
Matters in controversy were very frequently referred by the court to arbitrators to hear and decide.
Judgments were rendered payable in wampum, wheat or other grain. A specified time in which to pay was usually given. If not paid an execution was issued to the court messenger who demanded payment by the debtor in twenty‑four hours. If not paid the messenger, in the presence of two of the Schepens, seized the personal property of the debtor and made an inventory of the same. The property was kept for six days and after notice had been given at one session of the court it was sold the next court day to the highest bidder. If sufficient personal property to pay the judgment could not be found the real estate of the debtor was sold upon four days' notice. Debts due the debtor could be attached and sold.
According to Dutch custom auction sales were continued during the burning of a candle, as it flickered out the property was struck off to the highest bidder.
The court administered the estates of deceased persons and had control of the property of minors in much the same manner as our Surrogates court, by administrators and guardians appointed by it. Deeds, mortgages and other instruments were acknowledged before the court and recorded in its minutes.
The court at Wildwyck held its
In October, 1661, the court fixed the price that Pieter Jacobsen could charge for grinding corn at eight stivers a bushel in wampum. As to those who had no wampum he could deduct a tenth part of the corn. Each of the parties to a suit were required to pay thirty‑six stivers, to be advanced by the plaintiff, and collected from the defeated party, for rent of the court room: Tjerck Claesen deWit, although a Schepen, in a suit against Corenlis Bartensen Slecht, refused to put up the money, whereupon his colleagues on the bench informed him that his witnesses would not be admitted in the court room.
In February, 1664, the court ordered the collector to pay Aert Martensen Doorn forty‑two guilders in wampum for rent of the court room. The litigation brought before the court was pretty much of the same nature as that of today. Actions for debt injury to property and slander were frequent. During the Indian war of 1663 a number of persons were fined for going to the fields to work without a guard of troops. The Sunday laws were strictly enforced and fines imposed for violations of the excise ordinances. The court was quite sensitive as to any criticism of its proceedings. Barent Gerretsen and his wife were placed under arrest for having said that the magistrates did not give them justice and because they "have several times poked fun at the court."
Hendrick Jochemse was fined twenty‑five guilders and Elsjen Jans and Annetjen Aerts six guilders each, to go the poor, "for having used vile and nasty language before the court."
Aeltje Sybrants, wife of Mattys Roelofsen, was fined one hundred guilders for using vile and indecent language to the Schout on his going to her house with the order of the court notifying all persons not to sell strong drink to the Indians. Two‑thirds of the fine went to the Schout and one‑third to Dominie Blom for the church. Cornelis Barentsen Slecht was confined in the guard house for refusing to render his account in the matter of the estate of William Jansen Seba.
In reading these old records one is impressed with the wonderful perspicuity of the legal documents and papers. All the acumen and sophistry of the modern lawyer could not twist their language into anything but its obvious meaning to any one of ordinary intelligence. The court was not troubled with the interpretation of obscure statutes or the reconciliation of conflicting authorities. Their decisions are clear cut and direct to the point.
They rendered justice, rough
and ready perhaps, but exact justice. Here is the complete record of one case,
famous in the annals of
"Most upright judge." "O, upright judge." "O, learned judge." "A second Daniel, a Daniel."
This sad romance had, however, a happy sequel. The records of baptisms and marriages of the Dutch church at Wildwyck kept by Dominie Blom contain the following:--
"1661, October 1
"miller here" Pieter Saertje Staets
Jan Gerretsen, j. m. (young
man) of Heerden and Grietjen Hendricks Westercamp, of
"Dst nec virgo nec vidua." First publication of banns, 9 March; second, 16 March; third, 23 March."
Good for you, Dominie Blom. You reversed the judgment of the court. You placed the hand of the church upon the head of the child and named him after him who Grietje declared was the father. Good for you, dominie, but you might have stretched a point and left that Latin off the record.
And Grietje, as the record
shows, married the very best fellow in all the world
and they lived happily together forever and a day. During the entire period
covered by this history Stuyvesant was not only Director‑General but as
matter of fact he was the council. Its members were subservient to his
commands. He ruled the colony. His will was law. He was obstinate, hasty, quick to anger, would not brook opposition and held a poor
opinion of the people. Their voice did not weigh with him. They were meant to
be governed and he was meant to govern them. "We derive our authority
from God and the company, not from a few ignorant subjects," he declared,
and he believed it and meant it. He was a devout member and a strong supporter
of the Dutch Reformed Church. He would tolerate no other form of worship. He
persecuted the Lutherans, the Baptists and the Quakers, and endeavored to drive
them from the colony. He was a brave man, not moved by popular clamor or abuse.
He knew the people and had their welfare at heart. He was an educated man, the
son of a Dutch dominie. He believed in the education of the people and founded
a public school. He was a thorough Dutchman. He was deeply interested both
personally and officially in the welfare of
A government by a commercial monopoly could not last in
tenets of Calvinism as established by the Synod of Dordrecht for the Reformed Protestant
Dutch Church was the national religion of
Dutchmen for near a century had
waged a war to achieve liberty of conscience. What they had obtained for
themselves they were willing to grant to all men.
Stuyvesant was a bigot. On
Proclamations appointing days of fasting, prayer and thanksgiving were usually issued once a year. On such days, "all exercises of playing tennis or ball, hunting, fishing, driving, ploughing, mowing, all illicit amusements as dicing and hard drinking during divine service" were prohibited. Capito, the Schout, demanded that the court punish Mattheu Blanshan because, "after the second beating of the drum, he churned some milk on the day of fasting and prayer. Defendant answers that the drum beat only once, and that he had no milk for his calf, and he never in his life did this before." His plea was of no avail. He was fined six guilders, one‑half for the church. An ordinance provided that whereas, it was necessary that the youth from childhood up be instructed "in the principles and fundamentals of the Reformed religion," the children should after divine service, in the presence of the dominie and elders, be examined, "as to what they have committed to memory of the Christian commandments and Catechism, and what progress they have made; after which performance, the children shall be dismissed for that day, and allowed a decent recreation." With all the world calling to them to come out of doors and play, think of those children, sitting there on the butt end of a log, trying to answer questions such as these:‑-
"What is thy only comfort in life and death?"
"Whence knowest thou thy misery?"
"What dost thou believe concerning the Holy Ghost?"
O poor little kids. O poor little kids.
They were pious people down there in Esopus. Away back in 1658, in appealing to Stuyvesant for aid against the Indians, they exclaim:--"Christ did not desert us, but assisted and saved us and gave his own blood for us, Christ has gathered us in one sheepfold, therefore let us not desert each other, but rather help each other to alleviate our sufferings." They met on Sundays at the house of Jacob Jansen Stoll, where the scriptures were read, psalms sung, and prayers offered. Andries van der Sluys was precentor, i.e., leader, reader, chorister. In 1660 Jacob Joosten, the court messenger, acted in that capacity. There must have been trouble in getting van der Sluys paid for his services for in 1664 Aert Martensen Doorn sues Cornelis Barentsen Slecht for fifty guilders, "his share of the salary of the former reader, Andries van der Sluys."
During Stuyvesant's visit to
Esopus in 1658 he had promised the people that their request for a dominie
would be complied with. He entered into correspondence with the directors of
the West India Company with the result, that the Rev.
Hermanus Blom, who had been received into the Classis of Amsterdam
Blom returned to
The Classis liked the sermon and having passed the examination he was duly ordained "to the ministry with the laying on of hands" and sent to Esopus with the prayer, "the Almighty God, who has called this minister to the service of his church enrich him more and more with all talents and the blessings of his Holy Ghost, so that his labors may be crowned with abundant success, to the glory of his name, and salvation of men, and reward and adorn him, at the appearance of the great Shepherd of Sheep with the never fading crown of eternal glory."
leaving Amsterdam Blom married Anna Broeckhuysen. Blom
The directors of the company wrote Stuyvesant that Blom was sent over, "at a yearly salary of six hundred guilders, the balance up to one thousand or twelve hundred guilders, which is to be raised by the community must not be counted and paid to him by them, but by your honors, as chief magistrates, for reasons which your honors will easily comprehend; the proper manner in which this is to be carried out is left to your honors judgment."
crafty. The company wanted Blom to understand that he was not
only a servant of the Lord but their servant, as they did the paying. Blom
arrived at Esopus
The first baptism recorded is
that of Sophia, the child of Hendrick Martensen, of Coppenhage, soldier, and
Margriet Meyringh or Meyers, his wife, on
In 1661 the village built a
parsonage for the dominie. It cost 3007.8 guilders ($1,202.96). Stuyvesant purchased
six thousand bricks for it at
bergh 50 Jan Broersen 15
Blom's path at Wildwyck was not
strewn with flowers. As we have seen, he got into a row with the magistrates
as to whether they or the church should administer the estates of persons
dying without heirs, in which controversy Stuyvesant decided against him. In
those old days, as in the present, the dominie's salary was always in arrears.
Then, as now, the people desired spiritual food but were backward in furnishing
material provender to he who served it. In December, 1663, Deacon Roosa asked
the court that the dominie be paid his salary because the consistory had made
default. The magistrates held that as the contract of
Dominie Blom was a brave man. An honest, conscientious man. None other would take his new‑made wife out in the wilderness to preach the gospel of the Lord. He proclaimed the faith that was in him. A rare trait in these days. He fought with his people amid the smoke and flame of their homes in the Indian uprising of 1663 and, among the ruins, tenderly gave the consolation of his faith to the stricken. All honor to him and his memory. Here is a specimen of his eloquence:
"The Lord our God will make all turn out to the best for his church, and for the peace and quiet of the whole land. The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be and remain with you, my worthy colleagues forever; and may the Triune God give us all together after this strife, the crown of immortal glory; and should we no more behold each other here, may we see each other hereafter in our Bridegroom's chamber, securely sheltered behind the blue curtains of the Heavens‑-in the third Heaven of Abraham's bosom, where shall be joy without sorrow, and a never ending gladness, always and forever; and receive altogether the hearty greeting of me who am one of the least of the servants of Christ Jesus in the work of the Lord."
THE Indians gave names to localities, mountains and streams descriptive of the same. In 1655, Stuyvesant called Esopus Waerinnewangh, evidently after the tribe Waerranawongs, who frequented the mouth of the Rondout Creek. The word probably means "hollowing," "concave site," "cove," "bay," descriptive of that locality.
Dominie Megapolensis, writing
in 1657, says that eighteen miles up the North River there is a place called by
the Dutch "Esopus or Sypous," by the Indians "Atharhacton."
The word probably means, a large field, an extent of country, land cleared and
ready for tillage, descriptive of the land about Esopus. The deed from the
Indians to Thomas Chambers,
The location of the stockade,
as built in 1658, has been given in a previous chapter. The Rev. John Miller,
who visited in
Dominie Blom, in his
description of the Indian attack upon Wildwyck in 1663, says, "The houses
were converted into heaps of stone." The dominie is speaking
metaphorically. He was writing only five years after the building of the
village in 1658. It is entirely clear from the records of the village that the
dwellings of the people were log or board cabins of
one story with a loft or garret. They had a chimney of stone or brick on the
outside and a large open fireplace within. Some had wooden chimneys and others
none, the fire being built on the floor, the smoke floating up through an
opening in the roof. The houses were thatched with straw or reeds, which grew
in inexhaustible quantities along the creek. At the time of the building of the
stockade in 1658 the houses of the settlers, which were on both sides of the
Esopus Creek, were torn down and moved within the stockade. This could hardly
be if they were built of stone. The ordinances passed relating to dwellings
clearly show how they were constructed. In 1659, the people of Wildwyck asked
Stuyvesant that some order be made "regarding the thatch‑roofs of
houses, in which people live and make fires without chimneys." In 1661, an
ordinance relating to Wildwyck was passed which provides that no person shall
have any plastered or wooden chimneys, or kindle any fire in houses with walls
or gables made of straw, or in the center on the floor of other houses covered
with thatch, unless there be a good, solid plank ceiling and directs that fire
wardens be appointed to inspect all chimneys. Brick and tile were used in
building the parsonage, probably for the chimney and fireplace. This building,
which was also used for the church and other public purposes, was thatched with
straw or reeds. In July, 1669, the court ordered it be repaired and that it be
covered with "straw or reed." In September of the same year this was
reconsidered and it was ordered to be roofed with tiles. In 1662, Pieter de
Rexmer sued Willem Jansen Stoll for "panes of glass sold and set" and
in 1663 Huybrecht Bruyn brought an action against Jan Jansen for plastering
walls, showing that conditions were improving. From all this it is clear that
the old stone houses of which
The low lands bordering the
Esopus Creek were devoid of forest and ready for the plow. For years they were
the granary of the colony and the State. Even now their fertility is
unsurpassed. As early as 1658 the farmers had sown nine hundred and ninety
schepels (about 722 bushels) of wheat. A grist mill was necessary and one was
built about 1661. It stood near the northwest corner of the stockade, the junction
of the present Green and North Front streets. The power was furnished by what
has since been known as the Tannery Brook, across which a dam was constructed.
There was a gate in the stockade at this point and a road over the dam led to
At the time of building the
stockade in 1658, three carpenters came from
In March, 1662, Cornelis
Barentsen Slecht sued Geertruyt Andrisse for one hundred forty‑six
guilders, ten stivers, "heavy money" advanced for building "the
bridge." In 1663 Schout Swartwout complained that Aert Jacobsen had spoken
disrespectfully of the court "at the bridge." In the same year the
Schout asked the court to fine Henderick Jochemsen for having violated the
The records furnish no
testimony that there were any residents within the present limits of
The mystery that surrounds the
"old sawyer" is not whether such a person existed but whether he
carried on the business of a sawyer, had a saw mill on
the Saw creek as early as the time he is first mentioned. According to the
above deed the establishment of Volge was an extensive one. If it existed the
settlers at Wildwyck must have known of it. If there was a mill why did
Stuyvesant, in 1658, go to the trouble to go away up to
Wherever a Dutchman went the
bell of a school house soon rang. At a time when half the population of
The population of Wildwyck and
Lots at Wildwyck were granted to forty‑five different persons. Up to the time of the surrender to the English in 1664 land patents had been issued to sixteen persons other than those to whom lots had been granted. The excise tax of 1661 was levied against sixty‑seven persons and the land tax of the same year against thirty‑four. From all the data the total population at the time of the surrender to the English in 1664 was between two hundred and two hundred and fifty. The population was a cosmopolitan one. There were Dutch, English, French and German. The representatives of the last three wielded the greater influence in affairs.
Up to the time of the surrender to the English in 1664 the following patents or grants of land had been made to the below mentioned persons. A morgen is a little over two acres.
1653, Nov. 8, Thomas Chambers, Esopus, 38 morgens.
1654, Aug. 29, Juriaen Westphael, Esopus, 32 1/2 morgens.
1656, Sept. 25, Christoffel Davits, Esopus, 36 morgens.
1657, March 27, Johan de Laet, widow of Johan de Hulter, Esopus, 500 morgens.
1662, March 10, Thomas Chambers, "Pissemans Hoek," Esopus, 4 1/2 morgens.
1662, Dec. 7, Cornelis Barentsen Slecht, Esopus, 25 morgens.
1663, April 16, G. G. van Schaick and others, a new town, Esopus, 33 morgens.
1663, April 20, Philip Pieterse Schuyler, a new town, Esopus, 34 morgens.
1663, April 25, Jan Broersen and others, Wildwyck, 25 morgens.
1663, April 25, Jan de Wever, Esopus, 21 morgens.
1663, April 25, Anthony Crepel (Crispell), Kaelacp's land, Esopus, 8 morgens.
1663, J. Jans Oesterout, a lot, Wildwyck.
1663, Matys Blanchan, a lot, Wildwyck.
1663, April 25, Cornelis Wynkoop, near Esopus, 12 morgens.
1663, April 25, Louis DuBois, near Esopus, 20 morgens.
1663, April 25, Roeloff Swartwout, near Esopus, 20 morgens.
1663, April 25, Henderick Cornelise, van Holsteyn, near Esopus, 2 morgens.
1663, April 25, Lambert Huyberts (Brink), near Esopus, 21 morgens.
1663, April 26, Jan Tomassen, near Esopus, 33 morgens.
1663, April 28, Volckert Jans, 33 morgens.
1663, Dec. 10, Nicolaes Varleth, Esopus, 21 morgens.
1664, April 22, Thomas Chambers, Esopus, 22 morgens.
1664, May 12, Margaret, wife of Chambers, 48 morgens.
1664, May 17. Fredrick Philips, lot, Wildwyck.
1664, Aug. 19, Petrus Bavard, Esopus, 130 morgens.
1664, Aug. 19, Albert Heymans Roose (Roosa), a plantation, Esopus.
The patent to Johan de Laet was
claimed to cover the
The patents to van Schaick,
Schuyler, Crepel, Wynkoop, DuBois, Swartwout, van Holsteyn, Brink, Tomassen,
and Volokert Jans were for land at the
The cows were pastured in one common herd under the charge of a "cowherder." Catelyn, the Walloon, complained to the court that the cowherder did not drive her cows home in time and that he did not drive them home for two days. He replied that as she did not drive her cows to the herd, he could not take care of them. The court rendered the very sensible judgment that, "Catelyn shall drive her cows to the herd and that the defendant shall then take care of them."
Many of these pioneers could not write. They signed by making their mark. In this connection it should be remembered that each person chose a particular mark and always used it in signing instruments. His mark was synonymous with his name and is the most certain way of identifying persons bearing the same name.
Some of the people indulged in the luxury of linen shirts, the boys wore "leather breeches," while the women decked themselves with ribbons.
In 1657 the directors of the West India Company wrote Stuyvesant that "a redoubt at the Esopus" would be advantageous but the finances of the company would not permit it. Stuyvesant, however, went ahead and in 1660 a redoubt or fort was built on the Rondout creek, near its mouth.
Some soldiers were kept there
and an officer to see that no liquors went to the village until they were
entered with Jacob Burhans, the collector of the excise. After its erection the
Dutch called the place "Rondhout." Authorities differ as to the
meaning of the word Rondout. One that it means "standing timber."
Another that it is a commercial term for "masts" or round timber, but
is never applied to standing timber. That. the Dutch used the term palisades
for logs set in the ground to form a stockade and also used the word
"blockhuys" for a blockhouse so that there is no reason for thinking
that the fort was called Rondout because it was built of logs or protected by
palisades. That there is no Dutch word corresponding to
redoubt. That the Dutch used the French term "redoute,"
pronounced in the French way. Another that the word has
sometimes been derived from the Dutch "rondeel," meaning a round
tower at the corner of a fortification. Another eminent Dutch scholar
that the word would seem to be derived from the Dutch "rounduit,"
meaning "roundly out" or "out round," but what connection
that could have with a fort on the creek it is difficult to see. Whatever may
be the meaning of the word it has been perpetuated in the name of the former
Nearly every one drank brandy and beer. The excise tax which was collected from all who purchased liquors was levied against sixty‑seven persons, nearly all the adult male population. Dominie Blom paid fifty florins, only exceeded by Hendrick Jochems, seventy‑five florins; Jacob Burhans, seventy‑one florins; Barent Gerritzen, sixty‑five florins; Cornelis Barentsen Slecht, seventy florins; and Thomas Chambers, eighty‑four florins.
Barent Gerritsen and Mattheu Blanchan ran brandy distilleries, and Slecht a brewery. Mathys Roelefsen sued Aert Aertson Otterspoor; Jonas Ransou sued Evert Pals; Storm Albertsen sued Baerent Gerritsen; Elassjan Ransou sued Pieter Hillebrantss for brandy sold to them. Jonas Ransou owned up that he owed Elsjen Jans for "one can of brandy, one turkey, and three musjens (half pints) of brandy." Pieter van Alen was fined for selling brandy "during the sermon." Jan Baronse Amersfort and Sara Gilliasen were fined for smuggling liquors.
The Schout charged Mattheu
Blanchan, who had a distillery, with violating the ordinance forbidding distillers
from selling at retail in that he had sold, "a half anker of brandy to his
brother‑in‑law, Lowys Dubo" (DuBois). The entire court went on
horseback to the
Here is an inventory, taken in 1663, of the property left by Hendrick Leoman. One gelden, one large brewing kettle, one sword and belt, one trunk without key, wherein was found, one letter case containing letters, and a note book with memoranda of outstanding debts and accounts, one old gray suit, one old gray colored pair of breeches, one new gray suit, two pair black woolen stockings, one new black hat and hat box, one bar lead, four small pieces of Haarlem cloth, one clothes brush, one trunk, two cravats, three handkerchiefs, one package containing about a pound of lead, one wagon frame, with iron tires."
The people of Wildwyck were rather sensitive as to their reputation. Barent Gerritsen pommeled Hey Olfersen because he called him a scoundrel. Hey Olfersen charged Hester Douwens with calling him a thief. She told the court: "This is plain enough, because he took out of my house at night some flour and some pieces of meat, as set forth in the summons. I also miss a beaver, an otter, and a half beaver, as well as an anker of small beer, and the person who stole the one I guess must also have taken the other." Hey said he had taken some meat and flour at night because he was hungry "as she would not give me food and I was working for her I tried to procure it, since there was little or no food for sale here." The court let Hey out on bail that he might prepare his case and suspended judgment until the arrival of the "Noble Lord General." Hester pursued Hey even in his grave, for in September, 1663, she appeared in court, demanding seven schepels of wheat that his estate owed her.
Gysbert van Imbrogh sued Altsen Sybrants for calling him a Jew and a sucker. She defended upon the ground that he had called her a heap of dung.
Tryntje, the wife of Slecht, told the court that she was sorry that she had called the "Noble Lord Johan de Decker a bloodsucker." "She spoke while depressed and discouraged because of the many misfortunes that had befallen her through the savages." The court preferred "mercy to the severity of justice" and therefore fined her only twenty‑five guilders in wampum, "for the benefit of the church."
Paulus Paulusen sued Eva Swartwout for saying he stole twelve chickens. Gerret Fooken and Pieter Cornelissen testified that they "did not personally hear that plaintiff stole twelve chickens from her, but that they heard that she said, while plaintiff chased a hen out of the barn, 'Whoever would do the one would do the other.'"
The wife of Cornelis Barentsen Slecht was midwife of the village.
The court records are almost entirely free of complaints for criminal offenses. None of the graver crimes, murder, arson, rape, or burglary appear. Those that were made were almost all for assault and it is evident that the parties charged were simply "on a spree." This is a most remarkable fact and speaks volumes for the character of the people.
Thomas Chambers was charged with wounding Jan Jansen, his brother‑in‑law, with a knife.
Jonas Ransou charged Mathys
Roeloofsen with "murderously attacking him at night." Hey Olfersen
complained that Barent Gerretsen "beat and kicked him and trampled upon
him." The defendant admitted it and said that he did it because Hey called
him a scoundrel. The court referred the matter to arbitrators. The Schout
charged Paulus Tomassen with assaulting him and threatening to shoot him. The
defendant said he was drunk and does not know what occurred. The court ordered
defendants to settle with the Schout "or to work one month on the dam, at
his own expense, and to pay all costs that have been incurred; and in case he
cannot arrive at a settlement with the Schout, that he shall give bail to the
court against running away, or shall be chained while working on the dam."
The following are the values and quantities of the Dutch coin, weights and measures referred to in this work: A stiver, two cents. A guilder, forty cents. A pound Flemish, two dollars and forty cents. A daelder, sixty cents. A Dutch mile, 4.611 statute miles. A morgen, 2.103 acres. An anker, 10 gallons. A schepel, 0.764 bushels, about three pecks. A muddle, four schepels. A musjen, a half pint. A vim, a stack of 104 to 108 sheaves of grain.
As we have seen in the chapter
devoted to "Government," little if any coin circulated in the
colony. A beaver was the standard of value, and was worth about eight guilders,
$3.40. Wampum was the circulating medium. Its value was fixed by ordinance and
constantly fluctuated between six or eight white and three or four black beads
for a stiver. All financial transactions were carried on in wampum, wheat or
other grain. Wheat in 1663 was worth about thirty cents a bushel; at Wildwyck,
in 1664, ninety cents. Three schepels of oats were worth one of wheat. The
following are some of the prices paid at Wildwyck: Two cows, two hundred
guilders in corn. One cow, one hundred and fifteen guilders.
A pig, five and six schepels of wheat. A team of horses, four hundred guilders in wheat. Another
team, six hundred guilders, beaver value. One horse, one
hundred and six schepels of wheat. An anker of brandy,
forty schepels in oats. An anker of wine, eighty
guilders in wampum. A hat, six schepels of wheat.
A pair of shoes, one half schepel of wheat. Three
blankets, eleven guilders each. Two and one quarter ells
duffels, seven guilders, four stivers. Two thousand brick, two muddle of
wheat. Rent of a farm for five years, two thousand guilders. Rent of a house,
four guilders per month. Rent of a house for a year, forty guilders. A house,
barn and lot sold for seven hundred guilders in wheat and oats. Land sold for
ten or twelve guilders per morgen. Interest ranged from ten to twelve per cent.
Two days mowing grass, two schepels of wheat. One day's work,
two guilders in wampum. Putting up two brandy stills,
an axle with which to grind, and a malt kiln, fourteen schepels of wheat.
Threshing per day, one guilder, ten stivers in wampum.
Harvesting, two guilders, ten stivers in wampum. Making a plow, three beavers. Wages of a
boy for the first year, ten schepels of wheat and a pair of "leather
breeches." For the second year, fifteen schepels
of wheat. Thirteen days' carpenter work, ten schepels of wheat. The
Sergeant of the militia got twenty guilders per month, the soldiers eight to
ten guilders. The fare from
Gysbert van Imborch sued Gerret Fooken for "a quantity of thirty‑three and one‑half schepels of wheat due him from defendant and his partner, Jan Gerretsen, in which sums are included six schepels of wheat for shaving and doctor's bill for Jan Gerrets, for a whole year. He also demands from defendant two schepels of wheat for doctor's fee during his sickness after said time."
Here is Doctor Imboroch's
library: In folio, a Dutch Bible. History of Emanuel Van
Meteren. Titus Livinus, in Dutch. Medicine book of Christopher Wirtsungh. Medicine
book of Johannes DeVigo. Medicine book of Ambrosius
Paree. Book on the mixing of wine. A Versaly & Valuerda Anatomy. Frederick
School books in quarto, 8 Stories of David. 3 last wills. 17 beautiful proofs of man's misery. 3 General Epistles.
School books in octavo, 100 Catechisms. 23 Stories of Joseph. 102 A. B. C. Books. 27 Arts of Letters. 19 large "Succinct Ideas." 20 small "Succinct Ideas."
9 "steps" of youth. 13 proofs of human misery. 8 books of the Gospel and the Epistles. 48 "Succinct Ideas," by Jacobus Borstius. 1 "Short Way," by Megapolensis.
Among other effects left by the doctor were, a barber's saw, a wig with a wreath, a wine glass with pewter foot, a barber's grindstone and a blue shaving towel.
At the auction of his property in 1665 a schepel of wheat was valued at six guilders, of rye at four and one‑half guilders, buckwheat, three guilders; oats, two guilders; barley, four guilders; white peas, four guilders; gray peas, five guilders; a milch cow sold for one hundred and fifty guilders; two milch goats and a young buck sixty‑four guilders; three winter hogs, two males and one female, twenty‑one guilders.
THE city of
While it does not fall within
the period covered by this history, it may be well to briefly relate the story
of the planting of the village of New Paltz, about sixteen miles south of
Kingston, as it concerns many of the first settlers of Wildwyck. In the Indian
war of 1663, when Wildwyck and the New Village (Hurley) were burned, among
those carried away captives by the Indians were the wife and three children of
Louis DuBois, two children of Matthew Blanschan and the wife and child of
Anthony Crispell. The story of the expedition led by Captain Kregier to rescue
the captives has been told in Chapter
Between this time and 1677,
Jean and Abraham Hasbrouck, Louis Bevier, Hugo Freer, Christian Deyo and others
had settled at
to those who are interested in tracing their descent from the Dutch.
Because the name you bear appears in the Dutch records and sounds Dutch, do not
be sure that it is so. The Dutchmen who kept the records spelled an English,
French or German name phonetically, thus making it appear to be a Dutch name.
In using the records the system of nomenclature employed by the Dutch should
be kept in mind. They had, except in few instances, no surnames. Those who had seldom used them. A person's name was simply
John, or Peter or Hendrick. John had a son who was named Cornelis and it would
be written Cornelis Johnsen. That is, "sen" or "se" would
be added to the name of the father, signifying the son of. Cornelis would have
a son named Martin. His name would not be written Marten Johnsen but Martin
Cornelisen or Cornelise. You would search the records in vain for a Martin
Johnson. The Dutch "van" means "of" or "from" and
was used to designate the place from whence the person came or the place of his
residence or nativity. Thus the name of the first Van Buren who came to this
country was Cornelis Maesen, that is Cornelis the son
of Maes, the Dutch for Thomas. He sailed from
This is true of all the
"Vans." It does not follow that the particular "Van" whose
name you bear was a Dutchman.
But few of the Dutch settlers could write. They signed documents by making their mark. Each person had his own particular mark. The most certain way of identifying one person from another who has the same name is by a comparison of such marks.
The Dutch were a strong people.
They had spent centuries in wresting their half‑submerged land from the
waters of the ocean. Over a century in a struggle with the
most powerful nation in
In order to know the real history of Wildwyck we must know who and what its people were. What did they do. How did they live. What were their beliefs and their ideals. What were they striving to accomplish. These matters I have endeavored to portray in the preceding pages. Let us briefly recapitulate. Why did they come to the Esopus. I have told you that the first settlers came from Rensselaerswyck. Go read the lease between Kiliaen van Rensselaer, its patroon, and Thomas Chambers and you will receive your answer. His tenants were his serfs, his slaves, his chattels. The blood of an Englishman ran in the veins of Chambers. For generations his fathers had asserted that across the threshold of their homes even the King of England could not pass without permission. And those Dutchmen up there. They were the descendents of the men and women who for over a hundred years had battled for freedom, for the right to govern themselves without the aid of prince, king or emperor. And so, to attain liberty, freedom, for the right to plant their feet upon a spot of ground and to say to all the world hands off, this is mine, they braved every danger, faced every peril and came down to the land of the Esopus.
They lived in small log huts
thatched with straw or reeds. They wore coarse clothes and in winter were
clothed in skins. They subsisted upon a little grain, pork, beef, game and
fish. They were afraid of neither man, God or the
devil, but they laid deep the foundation of the
At a time when over one‑half the population of
These pioneers were Godfearing men and women. To them the Bible was really the word of God. Higher criticism had not yet appeared. To them the Dominie was really the servant of God. He was reverenced and obeyed. His opinions were respected and upon nearly every question turned the scale. He was the leading man of the community and guided and in part controlled all that was done. The church and this old faith moulded and fashioned their lives. It lifted them to a nobler level and a higher plane. It made them better, purer men and women. It sustained them in every hour of trial and every hour of peril and to its influence we can trace nearly all the good they accomplished.
Some of these pioneers brought
their wives with them. Others married here. The record contains but little
concerning the woman of Wildwyck. From scattered data in the records and musty
old papers her portrait may be truly painted. She had large hands, large feet
and was usually of very ample proportions. She never dreamed of trying to
reduce fat. Go down to
by http://www.jrbooksonline.com HTML version