Number 1 - The Lindesay Patent No. 1 -
Gnysbert nyt Bogaert, Hans Vos and Early Catskill
Originally published in the Catskill Examiner by Henry Brace between the years
1876 and 1879. Article 1 was published on January 15, 1876. Extracted from the microfilm copies of the Catskill Examiner
located at the Vedder
Research Library. Transcribed by Barbara Bartley.
Saturday, January 15, 1876. An Outline of The History of the Town
of Catskill, To the Year 1783. By Henry Brace
The price paid in May, 1684, for what is now that portion of the village of
Catskill which lies east of the Catskill and the Hans Vosen Kill was, with a few
other trifles, a gun, two shirts, a kettle, two kegs of beer, and, as usual, a
little rum. The sellers were a band of Esopus Indians, through their headman,
Curpuwaen. The buyer was Gnysbert nyt den Bogaert.
Bogaert had occupied a portion of this tract of land for several years before
his purchase. His house, built of logs and probably thatched with rushes, as the
custom then was, stood about a hundred feet from the Catskill. Its site, as
nearly as I can determine, is now within the lumber yard of Mr. GILBERT. The
barn of Bogaert was south of his house, but somewhat nearer the Catskill.
Between these buildings were a rocky ledge and a rivulet. These were covered up
thirty or thirty-five years ago, as the older residents of Catskill will
remember, when the extension of the steamboat wharf was built. Near by, were
Bogaert’s orchard and garden.
The name nyt den Bogaert was borne by Hollanders of note in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. One of these men was Jean Uyten Bogaert, Minister of the
Remonstrants. Another was Receiver General of the Dutch Provinces, and is now
remembered as the subject of a famous etching by Rembrandt known as “The Gold
Weigher.” In this country, the name is still preserved in the English form of
Bogart and in the Latin form of Bogardus.
In the deed given by the Indians, the land bought by Bogaert is bounded with
precision. The place of beginning is Boompje's Hook. The boundary lines then
run up the Hudson to a rivulet, opposite Vastrick's Island, and called Stuck;
from Stuck westerly to a point below Dirk Teunniss's Mill, where the first
rook empties into the Hans Vosen Kill; from this point down the Hans Vosen Kill
and the Catskill to the place of beginning.
The names of the places, and the places themselves which are given in this deed,
perhaps need explanation.
Boompje means a small tree, and Boompje's Hook is now known as The
Point or as
Catskill Landing. Before this Hook was filled in, it was a little island covered
by small trees, and was above the water at high tide only where HALLENBECK'S
Tavern -- now HUNTLEY'S -- stands.
Vastrick's Island was named for Garret Vastrick, a merchant of New Netherlands
and a friend of Gov. Peter Stuyvesant. This island was afterwards called Tien
Pondt's --Ten Pounds’--Island, but sometime during the latter half of the
last century received its present name of Roger’s Island.
Stuck should, perhaps, be spelled Stuk. This word, when it is applied to land,
signifies a piece or portion. Het groote stuck--the great plot--is a name
which occurs not unfrequently in old deeds. Stoc, in Anglo-Saxon, also
means a place, and in England was applied to land which had been cleared of
timber. The familiar names of Stockbridge, Stoke Pogis and Blasingstoke, are
cousins-german of the Dutch name Stuck. The name, then referred probably to the
land around the brook, although it is given to the brook itself.
Stuck takes its rise on the side of the hill near THOMPSON’S Grove, and falls
into the Hudson between Dieper Hook and PENFIELD’S cottage. In the olden time,
this rivulet flowed in a pretty, babbling stream, all the year round. But now it
is dry, except when heavy rains have fallen or when the winter snows are
The mill spoken of in Curpuwaen’s deed was a grist and saw mill, and was built
between the years 1681 and 1686, by Dirck Teunnisse Van Vechten, the ancestor of
the VAN VECHTENS of Catskill. It stood about a hundred rods from the mouth of
the Hans Vosen Kill, and was used until about the middle of the last century,
when Teunis Van Vechten built a new mill upon the Catskill. It is of the first
mill that Robert Livingston wrote in 1712, “a little mill at Catskill grinds
so coarse it cannot be bolted.” No traces of the mill or of the adjoining dam
Hans Vosen Kill--that is, John Fox’s Brook--keeps alive the name of Hans Vos.
The scanty history of this man is deeply buried in the musty and defaced records
of Rensselaer’s Wyck in the State Offices at Albany. He was a German and was a
subject of the Margrave of Baden. At home, Vos was a poacher--though, if we can
take his own word for it, he had some experience as a wood-chopper, and a good
knowledge of husbandry. In 1642--being then twenty-five years old--he came to
Rensselaer’s Wyck in the ship Houyttyn. From that colony, he was sent
by Van Schlectenhorst, its Director, to the Patroon’s lands at Catskill.
For a time Vos was in the service of the Patroon, and was, perhaps, employed in
“killing game to supply food.” He certainly aided Jan Van Bremen in building
a house and a barn on the Patroon’s Bouwery, near the spot where the VAN
VECHTEN house now stands. Afterwards Vos seems to have built for himself a log
cabin, of which the site is now unknown, and to have had a servant, Michiel, and
perhaps another, Jacob.
In April 1657, Vos was summoned to Fort Orange and was tried at “an
extraordinary session” of the Colonial Court, for the crime of selling spirits
to the Indians at Catskill. Under oath he denied the charge; denied, in answer
to the questions put to him, that he had carried two or any ankers of
anise-water from “the rifts at Catskill” to his house; denied that he had
ever had any spirits in his house, except an anker and a half, a mere trifle,
that is, of fifteen gallons, and flatly denied that he had ever said “in the
presence of Long Gysbert” that he would tie a rope, with a stone fastened to
it, about the neck of any man who should reveal his illegal sale of liquor, and
throw him into the “Kill.” But Femmetje Albertsen testified (quite in the
manner of Mrs. Cluppins,) that she had heard her brother-in-law, Johnny
Anderson, the Irishman, say that the Indians had told him that they had paid
Hans Vos for a bottle of brandy. This evidence convinced the Court. Vos was
found guilty, was fined five hundred guilders, (about two hundred dollars,) and
was banished for three years from the jurisdiction of the Court “as an example
to others.” I think that he paid his fine, for I find that on the day on which
he was found guilty he borrowed three hundred guilders from three men, one of
whom was Pieter Bronck, of Coxsackie. One further reads of Vos that he broke
jail, and that seven months later, on his own petition and on that of his wife,
he was released from prison. The Colonial ordinances were very severe with
regard to the offense of selling spirits to the Indians. Yet the offense seems
not to have involved, in the minds of the magistrates or of the inhabitants of
Rensselaer’s Wyck, any great degree of moral turpitude. At any rate, in 1661,
Vos was appointed court-messenger and deputy-sheriff. With this record, further
mention of him ceases.
Returning now to Bogaert; he four years after his purchase from the Indians,
conveyed his land at Catskill to his son-in-law, Helmer Janse, who, in 1703,
obtained a patent of confirmation for the tract. He lived in his
father-in-law’s house until his death. But he left no heirs, and his estate
escheated to the Province.
In 1738, John Lindesay, a large land-holder at Cherry Valley, obtained a patent
for this tract, and soon afterwards sold it to five persons of whom George
Clarke, Lieutenant Governor of the Province, was one. They, in 1741, made
partition of the western portion of their lands; the portion, that is, which
now, for the most part, lies between Main Street and the Catskill. It was agreed
in the deed of partition, that a road sixty-six feet wide, should be laid out
through the land thus divided, from the Hans Vosen Kill to the mouth of the
Catskill. This road, however, which is now known as Main Street, was not
actually laid out until about the year 1773, when the division of the eastern
portion of the Lindesay Patent took place.
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