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New Netherland and Beyond
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Delaware River
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Historical Documents
Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts

The Colony of Rensselaerswyck 1630-1634
Memoramdum to the Chamber of Amsterdam from Kilean Van Rensselaer
July 20, 1634

     paragraph 1-7: Description of the territory, purchase of land from the Indians.
     paragraph 8-21: Growth of the colony and farms;
                                 Colonists sent in 1630, 1631, 1632, 1634.
     paragraph 22: West India Company; concerns about the colony.

Chief Monnemin, Chief Paapsickenekas, Abantzenee, Casehot, Kamkebock, Kaunamoack, Keraptac, Kottomack, Nankoutamhat, Nawanemith, Noseanae, Ochcock, Onhaseme, Sagiskua, Sickenosen, Sickewope

Abraham Jacobssen Planck
Albertus Coenradi Burch
Annetgen Jans
Bastiaen Janssen Krol
Beerent Jansen van Esen (en?)
Berent Thonissen van Heyligensont
Brant Peelen vander Nieckarck
Claes Claesen van Vlecker
Cornelis Maessen van Buermalsen
Cornelis Thonissen van Breuckel
Cornelis Thonissen van Meerkerck
Daniel van Krieckenbeeck
Divertgen Cornelis
Gerrit Matheussen de reux
Gerrit Theusen de Reux
Hendrick Frederich van bunnick
Hendrick Karstenssen van Norden
Jacob Alberttsen Planck
Jacob Planck
Jacob Goyuerttsen van Vlecker
Jan Thyerts van Franicker
Jasper Ferlyn vander Gouw
Johan Ray
Kiliaen van Rensselaer
Lourens Lourenssen van Coppenhaegen
Lubbert Gysberttsen van Blarcom and sons Gysbert, Theus, Jan.
Lysbet Thysen
Marcus Meussen van Cuylenborch
Marijn Adriaensz
Maryn Adriaensen vander Veere
Michael Pauw
Pieter Minnuit
Pieter Pietersz Bilevelt
Roeloff Jansen van Masterlant
Rutger Hendricksen van Soest
Sara and Trintgen Roeloffs
Wolffaert Gerrittsen
Wouter van Twiller
Zeeger Janssen Vander Nieckarck

Account of the jurisdictions, management and condition of the territories named Rensselaerswyck, situated in New Netherland on the river of the Prince Mauritius; communicated in writing upon express condition de non praejudicando.¹

This 20th of July 1634.

Comprising the whole district with all the land formerly inhabited by and belonging to the free, rich and well known nation named the Mahicans, who had a language of their own and in the year 1625 would not give up or sell any of the aforesaid lands even at the request of the Chartered West India Company.

But since Daniel van Krieckenbeeck, former commis at Fort Orange, involved and engaged these same Manhykans in needless wars with the warlike nation of the Maquaes, their former friends and neighbors, they lost in the beginning their general chief named Monnemin, and subsequently were so hard pressed from time to time, especially by the defeat they suffered in 1629, that they resolved in the years 1630 and 1631 to sell and transfer their said lands with all their rights, jurisdiction and authority to and for the behoof of Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the present owner and lawful possessor of the before mentioned regions, according to the respective deeds of cession and transfer of date August 13, 1630, and May 1631.

First, the free lordship and jurisdiction named Sanckhagag, lying on the west side of the river, beginning from Beeren Island and extending up to Smax Island, having along the shore of the river about 210 morgens of cleared land now ready to put animals on, for raising hay and cultivating with the plow, and extending two days' journey inland, bought from their Chief Paapsickenekas with his accompanying councillors and co-owners, Keraptac, Nankoutamhat and Sickenosen. Which aforesaid and other further to be named lordships are endowed with such prerogatives and privileges as the honorable Michael Pauw has stated in his declaration which, for brevity's sake, it is needless to repeat here, reference being made to this declaration for them and such other prerogatives as may especially belong to these lordships.

Secondly and thirdly, the free lordships and jurisdictions named Petanock and Negagonse, the first including all the territory to the south and north of mill creek, comprising also the West Island, containing in all more than 240 morgens of cleared land and fertile soil, with three farms named as follows, Renselaers-Burch, Welys-Burch and Godijns-Burch; that of Negagonse, including all the land and two parcels up to Monnemin's Castle containing much over 350 morgens of cleared land as above, with the following farm called Blommaerts-Burch, everything along the west side of the river, and inland indefinitely; bought of the respective chiefs, councillors and owners Kottomack, Nawanemith, Abantzenee, Sagiskua, Kaunamoack.

Fourthly, the free lordship and jurisdiction named Semezeeck, lying on the east side of the river, bought by the aforesaid Nawanemith, having belonged exclusively to him; containing a watermill and farm called de Laets-Burch with a crystal rock and several beautiful groves, to which must be added the lands which Paapsickenekas at present sill possesses and which are ordered to be bought, the same containing together 400 morgens of cleared land.

Fifthly², the islands of Paapsickenekas with the mainland lying on the east shore, bought by Jacob Planck, the 23rd of April 1637, from the following chiefs and owners, Casehot, Onhaseme, Kamkebock, Sickewope, Noseanae and Ochcock, and payment made with seawan, duffels, axes, knives and other merchandise.

So that the territory of the Mahicans, who in their time were over 1600 strong, has all together over 1200 morgens of cleared land and far more than 16,000 morgans of mountain and valley, forest and marsh, with all kinds of game and fowl, the 1200 cleared morgens being not only fat, clay soil of itself but yearly enriched by the overflow of high water there when the ice breaks and jams. The same lies ordinarily from three to five feet above the water, according as the tide runs high or low (and yet it is fresh water) and ships of over 120 lasts can sail up there from the sea.

The lands described above having been bought, all possible diligence was applied to populate the same with Christians, to purchase animals and to send them thither all kinds of tools and necessaries, namely, in the year 1630, in charge of the farm overseer Wolffaert Gerrittsen, besides those who deserted him.

Rutger Hendricksen van Soest
Brant Peelen vander Nieckarck
Beerent Jansen van Esen (en?)
Roeloff Jansen van Masterlant
and Annetgen Jans, his wife.
Sara and Trintgen Roeloffs, his daughters with another child born before in that country
Claes Claesen van Vlecker
Jacob Goyuerttsen van Ditto (Vlecker)
Zeeger Janssen Vander Nieckarck
Besides sending 12 ewes with lamb, orders were given to buy all kinds of animals in the country there, so that the aforesaid persons had in the year 1631 established two fine farms, one on West Island, named Rensselaersburgh, provided with a convenient dwelling, the sides and gable built up with brick, long and wide as required; in addition two hay barracks, each of five poles fifty feet high; also a barn and sheepcote and other necessaries. Eight morgens of land were plowed in the year 1632. On the 14th of April 1633, there were to be found thereon:

6 horses, including 2 mares with foal
5 head of cattle, including 2 cows with calf
6 hogs
16 sheep
and in the same year were raised 14 morgens of fine winter wheat
2 morgens ditto rye
4 morgens of summer seed, oats, peas, etc.

The house was furnished with all kinds of farm implements and necessaries for the animals and for the comfort and support of the people and what further was needful.

The above mentioned persons further established another farm in the lordship of Semelzeeck, named de Laetsburch, on the east side of the river; but as this house was burned by accident, they built another brick house, 80 feet long, the threshing floor 25 feet wide and thee beams 12 feet high, up to the ceiling; further, a hay barrack of 4 poles, 50 feet above the ground, with barn and sheepcote. They were also provided with a sailing vessel, etc., as mentioned above, and in the year 1632 cultivated 5 morgens of land, and in April 1633, the farm was found to contain:

6 horses, including 2 yearlings
4 head of cattle, including one ox and one bull
5 hogs
22 sheep
6 morgens winter wheat
1 ditto rye
3 ditto summer grain

Again in the year 1631, there were sent thither from here:

Lourens Lourenssen van Coppenhaegen, millwright
Berent Thonissen van Heyligensont
Maryn Adriaensen vander Veere
and Lysbet Thysen his wife, a son born before in that country.
Jasper Ferlyn vander Gouw
Jan Thyerts van Franicker
Cornelis Maessen van Buermalsen

Besides the above mentioned persons, all kinds of necessaries for man and beast were sent over, including eight heifer calves, of which seven arrived alive, also millstones, all kinds of ironwork and the like for the erection of a saw and grist-mill, tobacco planting and farming purposes; whereof is still in existence the gristmill where grain is ground for Fort Orange and the country around.

Item, another dwelling house stands outside of Fort Orange in which Marijn Adriaensz is living with his family. They have prepared an enclosed plot of two morgens in which to sow tobacco.

In the year 1632, with the knowledge and consent of the Company, were bought from Pieter Pietersz Bilevelt and paid for:

3 horses
9 head of cattle
3 bull calves and all his farming implements including wagons, plows, etc.

Ditto, bought from Pieter Minnuit aside from the animals belonging to his farm, which he sold to the director Wouter van Twiller
3 horses
8 head of cattle and several hogs

Ditto, taken over from Gerrit Theusen de Reux, the animals belonging to his farm, namely:
4 horses
4 head of cattle
2 young heifers
4 sheep
4 hogs
with all the farm stock of wagons, plows, etc., needful for farming, and in addition, of the increase of animals belonging to him, also purchased,
1 stallion colt, 1 young ox, 2 heifers and 50 guilders consideration paid in exchange of a cow for a heifer.

In addition to this, in the aforesaid year 1632, the following persons were sent over:

Gerrit Matheussen de reux
Hendrick Frederich van bunnick
Cornelis Thonissen van Meerkerck
Marcus Meussen van Cuylenborch

Also two or three laborers to be engaged there from those who have served out their time, in order to establish with the aforesaid animals and their increase three farms, namely, Wellys-Burch on the West Island, Godijns-burch near the mill creek, both in the lordship of Petanock, and Blommaerts-Burch near the fourth creek, in the lordship of Negagonse. All these three farms would have been established in the year 1633 but that, through a misunderstanding of Director Bastiaen Janssen Krol who raised the objection that he had no instructions from the lords (directors), they were detained at the Manhatans. However, as further advice has now come over, the said animals and implements will be sent to Rensselaerswyck, in order this present year with God's help to establish the three farms before named, which was prevented in the year 1633.

With which firm confidence, the following have been sent thither this year 1634:

Lubbert Gysberttsen van Blarcom, wheelwright and
Divertgen Cornelis, his wife and
Gysbert, Theus, and Jan, their three sons.
Cornelis Thonissen van Breuckel, carpenter-mason
Hendrick Karstenssen van Norden
Abraham Jacobssen Planck

and as the officer of Renselaers comes home, sent in his place Jacob Alberttsen Planck, to fill the said place and to administer proper justice.

All the above mentioned persons have been supplied with their proper necessities, as clothing, provisions and tools, firelocks and other needful weapons for themselves, and for the people in that country, so that this last outfitting, with messenger hire and other expenses, will alone amount to nearly 3,000 guilders.

From the preceding account, it will be sufficiently perceived to what trouble and expense the said patroon has been, what efforts he has made, what perils his people and his animals have withstood, in what condition the respective lordships of Rensselaerswyck now are, with prospects of annual improvements, and what a quantity of grain and animals could be raised on the 1,200 morgens of cleared land, as good as here the Betuwe (the fertile district in Gelderland) or the Beemster (district in north Purmerend) may be, there being no doubt but that this present year he will seed enough land to produce over 40 lasts of grain, mostly wheat, whereto may Almighty God lend his gracious blessing. Amen.

The said patroon therefore, considering all the prerogatives and benefits, only touched upon here in passing and in a general way, is most highly inclined to carry on the work he has begun and expects the gracious blessing of the Lord upon it in case he is allowed quickly and peacefully to enjoy the granted Freedoms and Exemptions according to their right meaning and content. But if he should be hindered therein, he would rather negotiate about the undertaking with the Chartered West India Company than oppose himself to the Company, if it will agree to offer him such a sum of money as he has mentioned before the honorable committee; with this reservation, that in case the Company should give the undertaking up again, he should have the preference in accordance with conditions further to be expressed; if not, that the original of this memorandum shall be handed back to him without keeping any copy thereof or making further publication. And in order that the honorable committee may have still further enlightenment, he refers to the map and drawing of the aforesaid jurisdictions and regions heretofore delivered to the honorable director Albertus Coenradi Burch and the duplicate thereof which remains with the said patroon.
This memorandum was sent with a letter to the Hague to the honorable Johan Ray, director of the West India Company, and member of the committee in charge of this matter, to be returned by his honor in case no action is taken thereon. And in testimony of the truth, signed by my own hand.
Date as above.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

¹This important memorandum was prepared by Kiliaen van Rensselaer for the use of a commmittee of the Chamber of Amsterdam, which was considering the purchase of the colonies as a means of settling the disputes which had arisen between the patroons and th Company regarding the interpretation to be given to the charter of Freedoms and Exemptions.
² This paragraph was inserted later by Kiliaen Van Rensselaer.

Van Rensselaer Bower Manuscripts, A.J. Van Laer, (1908), p 306-312.

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