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New Netherland and Beyond
New Netherland
Delaware River
Colonial New York
New York State

Casualties of War, Military Lists

1655 Surprise Attack at
New Amsterdam, Pavonia and Staten Island

Sept 15, 1655
A party of savages, Mohegans, Pachamis, with others from Esopus, Hackingsaac, Tappan, Stamford and Onkeway, as far east as Connecticut, estimated by some, to amount to nineteen hundred in number, from five to eighteen hundred of whom were armed, landed suddenly before daybreak, in sixty-four canoes, at New Amsterdam, and whilst the greater part of the inhabitants were still buried in sleep, scattered themselves through the streets, and burst into several of the houses, on pretense of looking for "Indians from the North," but in reality to avenge the death of a squaw, whom Van Dyck, the late Attorney-general, had killed for stealing a few peaches from his garden.

The Council, magistrates and principal citizens assembled in the fort, and calling the chief Sachems before them, enquired the cause of this irruption. They succeeded in prevailing on them to quit the place by sundown, and to retire to Nut Island. Instead, however, of observing their promise, when evening arrived they became bolder, shot Van Dyck in the breast with an arrow, and felled Captain Leendertsen to the ground with an axe. "The hue and cry of murder now rang through the streets."

Urged on by Van Tienhoven, the military and burgher corps rushed from the fort, attacked the Indians, and forced them to take to their canoes, leaving three of their men dead on the shore. The Dutch lost Cornelis van Loon and Jan de Vischer. Three others were wounded.

The savages now crossed over to the western side of the river. "In a moment a house at Hoboken was on fire, and the whole of Pavonia was wrapt in flames." With the exception of Michel Jansen's family, every man was killed*, together with all the cattle. A large number of women and children were taken prisoners.

Elated by success and maddened by an increased thirst for blood, the savages next passed over to Staten Island, the population of which now amounted to ninety souls, by whose industry eleven bouweries had been brought into a high state of cultivation. Of all these, sixty-seven escaped.

During the three days that this storm raged, the Dutch lost one hundred people, one hundred and fifty were taken into captivity, and more than three hundred persons, besides, were deprived of house, home, clothes and food. Twenty-eight bouweries and a number of plantations were burned, twelve to fifteen thousand schepels of grain destroyed, and from five to six hundred head of cattle killed or driven off. The damages inflicted on the colonists were estimated at two hundred thousand florins, or eighty thousand dollars.

* * * *


List of yeomanry, men, women and children, men and maid servants, sent to New Netherland on Staten Island, since May, 1650; by Baron Hendrik van de Capelle tot Ryssel in the West Indies; and who survived that cruel and bloody destruction by the Indians, in September, 1655. In all 67 living souls.
Recorded in this manner at Zutphen, on the 14th November, 1657, by the wife of Capt. Post, and by the farmer Jan Aertsen van Heerde.

1. Capt. Adriaen Post, with wife, five children, one servant, one girl; reside yet on the Island.

2.Hendrik Swerinck, with wife, two children, and one servant; reside on Manhattans.

3. Paul Derricks, wife, one child, and one servant; reside at Fort Orange.

4. Hendrik Marcellis, wife, two children, one servant; reside at Fort Orange.

5. Jan Aertsen van Heerde, with wife and eight children, reside at Manhattans.

6. Albert Gysbertsen van Heerde, wife, four children, one servant; reside at Fort Orange.

7. The wife of Arent van Hengel was married to one Severyn, with three children, lives at the Manhattans. He has stepped into the contract of Aerent van Hengel, whose widow has a son doing all kind of farm labor.

8. The Widow of John van Oldenseel, named Elfken or Elsken, , married to a basketmaker, with three children; lives on Long Island.

9. The widow of Jan Wesselinck, married to an Englishman, being a carter, living at the Manhattans, with her three children.

10. Gylart, servant of the deceased farmer, Jan Wesselinck, resides at Mespachkil.

11. The wife of a wheelwright, who was engaged at Zutphen, named Herminken, resides at Fort Orange, and married a carpenter with two children.

12. Three children of Corporal Gerrit Janssen van Steenwyck, transported hither at the Baron's expense.

13. Wynott, servant of the deceased Hans Barentsen van Osnabrugge, was taken north by Melyn, but has returned and became an apprentice to a ship carpenter.

14. A boy of Barent Driessen van Oosterveng, lives with a farmer on Long Island.

15. The smith van Steeaderen, called the "crooked smith" resides at Breukelen, opposite Manhattans.

*(See List of Pavonia Land Patents (now Bergen N.J.) issued before 1655 for further information on Pavonia residents.)

From History of New Netherland, by E. B. O'Callaghan, (c)1855, Vol II, p 291

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