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Article Number 20 - The Loveridge Patent No. 1 - Jan Andriesen and the Early Records

Originally published in the Catskill Examiner by Henry Brace between the years 1876 and 1879. Article 20 was published on December 22, 1877. Extracted from the microfilm copies of the Catskill Examiner located at the Vedder Research Library. Transcribed by Barbara Bartley.

Local Sketches.--No. 20 An Outline of The History of the Town of Catskill, To The Year 1783. By Henry Brace. 

I now pass to the history of that portion of the town of Catskill, which lies between the Catskill and the Katerskill and the bay in the Hudson known by the Dutch as the Inbogt. This region is included within the ancient grant called the Loveridge Patent.

It should seem from a careful study of the distances and of the land-marks in Juet’s journal, that, during the evening of September, 1609, Hudson anchored the Half-Moon near the mouth of the Catskill. “At night,” are the simple words of the chronicle, “wee came to other mountains which lie from the Rivere side. There wee found very loving people and very old men, where wee were well used. Our boat went to fish and caught great store of very good fish. The sixteenth faire and very hot weather. In the morning, our Boat went again to fishing, but could catch but few by reason their Canoes had been there all night. This morning the people came aboord and brought us eares of Indian Corne and Pompions and Tobacco, which wee bought for trifles. We rode still all day and filled fresh water.”

These friendly Indians probably belonged to the hamlet, which once stood at the foot of the south-eastern slope of the Hopenose, between the house and the barn or a little beyond the barn of John Dubois. Forty years ago, the site of this little village could be easily traced, as, to this day, it probably can be. In the garden near the house, the soil was black to the depth of a foot or more, the result evidently of the fires of the Indian households, and the plough and spade seldom failed to bring to the surface charred bones, pipes, axes, and arrow-heads. Beyond the barn and at the head of the first bend of the Ulenkill, or John Dubois’s Creek, is the Roefenje* [*The meaning, perhaps, is Little-Roof, from the shape of the hillock.] a rocky mound, which was once covered with savins of great size and of great age. This mound seems to have been used as a manufactory of implements. The ground, within the remembrance of men now living, was strewn with arrowheads and with chips or flakes of flint. On the opposite side of the Catskill, at Femmen Hoek, was the grave-yard of these Indians. In 180-, when the Long Dock was being built, excavations at its northwestern extremity in the bank uncovered many skeletons, with the weapons of chase and of warfare which had been buried with the bodies.

The site of the hamlet was well chosen. It was sheltered from the northerly gales by the hill and the forests, and, to this day, there is no spot in the town to which the spring comes earlier than to this. The soil was fertile and was easily worked by the squaws, with their rude implements of stone. The river near by abounded in fish, as Hudson declares, and the forests in game.

The inhabitants, says Juet, were a loving people. They, and their kinsmen upon the Catskill, seem to have maintained this character until their dispersion. They remained neutral in the wars between their neighbors of the Esopus and the Dutch, and were always staunch friends of the English. It may be that the virtue of peaceableness ran into the vice of cowardice. This people paid tribute to the Iroquois, and one reads in an old record of the seventeenth century, that, upon an expedition to Lake Champlain, when it arrived in sight of the enemy, the “three Catskill Indians ran away.”

Thirty years after the discovery of the Hudson, that is to say, towards the end of April, in the year 1640, David Pieteryen de Vries of Hoorn, found the Indians planting maize upon the banks of the Catskill. †[†De Vries, Historical Notes, (N.Y. Historical Coll’s N.S., Vol. 3, 580.) The record is important only because it is the first known occurrence of the word Catskill. De Vries writes it, as if it were already in common use, but who conferred the name, what seller of duffels or what rude trader in beaver-skins, no one now knows.

Neither can any one certainly tell why this name was bestowed. Three guesses, however, have been made in the matter:

1. An antiquarian of a past generation asserts that the Catskill takes its name from the number of catamounts which were found upon its banks.

2. In 1795, the Duke de la Rochefoucault was the guest of Jacob Bogardus, in the stone house which now forms a portion of the dwelling of Mr. Caleb Hopkins.--”Katskill,” he says in his book of travels in the United States, “so denominated by the Dutch, who made the first settlement upon the spot, was, by the Indians, called Katsketed, which, in their language, signified a fortified place.” “No foundation for that name,” he continues, “can be discovered in the appearance of the country, and it is moreover well known that the Indians, especially at that time, erected no fortifications. The great quantity of human bones, hatchets, tomahawks and arrows found buried in the earth around Catskill, proves at least that this place formerly was the principal seat of some considerable tribe.” Fifteen years ago, I made enquiry of old men then living in the town, respecting their knowledge of this derivation of the name. They all told me that they had never heard of such an interpretation. Moreover, Mr. J. T. Trumbull, of Hartford, Conn., an accomplished scholar of the Algonkin tongue, has assured me that he knows “of no Algonkin name like Katsketed, meaning fortress or anything else.”

3. The Catskill may have been thus named in honor of Jacob Kats, a Dutch statesman and poet during the first half of the seventeenth century. His name is, perhaps, perpetuated in Holland, in the places known as Kattendyk, Kattenburg, Kats and Katwyk. --But this is a digression‡ [‡ I would mention here that Katskil is the proper spelling, Catskill being a corruption and Kaatskill an affectation.]

The first white man who settled upon the west bank of the Catskill was Claes Teunisse, or, as he was nick-named, Claes Uylen-spiegel. He was, perhaps, one of the colonists whom the Patroon sent down from Rensselaer’s Wyck to till the fertile low-lands which Pewasck, “a squaw and chief of Catskill,” had sold to him. Uylen-spiegel’s farm was on the site of the Indian village, the south-eastern slope of the Hopenose. How long he remained there I have been unable to discover, but it was long enough to affix his name to several localities. In ancient deeds and wills, the stream which we now call John Dubois’s Creek is described as Uylen-spiegels-Kil; the Vly as Uylen-Vly, and the projection of this swamp into the Hudson as Uylen-Hoek.

But, as I have said in a preceding article, the claim of the Patroon to the lands upon the Catskill was annulled by the colonial government. In 1653, a patent for a tract of land on the south side of the Catskill was granted to Pieter Teunisse Van Bronswik. This tract contained “about forty-four acres or twenty-two morgens,” and is the plain which lies nearly opposite the Van Vechten house, below the site of the railway bridge. Van Bronswik died soon after obtaining his patent; his widow quickly married Andreas de Tersman, who, “by virtue of which intermarryage,” says an old record, “and according to then custom and practise of the countrey,” became the owner of Van Bronswik’s estate.

Andreas de Tersman, being interpreted, means Anderson, the Irishman. His true name was John Anderson, but the Dutch records at Albany call him Jan Andriessen van Dublin, Janje, or Johnny the Irishman, and Andreas de Tarsman. He was at Beverwyk so early as 1645, and in 1649 was the lessee of a bouwery near Albany. In January, 1657, he was dwelling at Catskill, and had farmed the tapsters’ excise upon beer and spirits to be sold in that neighborhood, for one hundred and fifty guilders or sixty dollars a year. § [§”The excise on wine and spirits,” says Pearson, in the first volume of his Early Records of Albany. “was a source of considerable revenue to the authorities of Beverwyk. This impost was of two kinds. The burgher excise was a tax on liquors bought from the importers by the colonists for use at home. The tapsters’ excise was a tax on liquors bought by inn and dram-shop keepers. The excise was farmed, being sold every year at auction to the highest bidder, ‘in pursuance of the laudable customs of our father-land’ and ‘in accordance with the ordinances of their High-Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Netherlands.’”

“In 1657, the burghers’ excise for Beverwyk, Catskill, Esopus, and adjacent places, brought 2115 guilders, or about $845, and the tapsters’ excise 4250 guilders, or about $1,700.”] At this time, there were probably about twenty white persons within Anderson’s jurisdiction. The tax upon beer sold by the tapsters was about one dollar for every hogshead, and upon spirits sold by them was about three dollars for every anker or keg of ten gallons. The arithmetical calculation in very simple. If Anderson’s speculation involved him in no loss, each man, woman and child upon the Catskill drank at least three hogsheads of beer a year, or ten gallons of brandy. I suspect, however, that, in spite of the severe laws passed to prohibit the sale, a large portion of the liquor was sold to the Indians. The infractions of these laws were frequent and the Dutch records at Albany are full of complaints against offenders. Anderson himself was once accused by Hans Vos of the illegal traffic. And one month later, Vos was in turn charged with a like offence, was tried at Fort Orange, and, as my readers will remember, was found guilty, chiefly upon the testimony of Mistress Femmetje Albertsen, the sister-in-law of Anderson.

In 1660, Anderson sold his land on the south side of the Catskill to Eldert Gerbertsen Cruyf and Harmen Ganesvoort, removing perhaps to Coxsackie, where he had bought one hundred and forty acres of land from Pieter Bronck. In March, 1654, he hired a bouwery on the river, now known as Stockport Creek, from Abraham Staats. In the autumn, the Indians burnt Anderson’s house and killed him. The brief record of the attack is preserved in the records of the province of Albany. Cornelis Jacobsen appeared in court and declared that about sunset of the evening of the 10th of November, 1664, he was at Claverack, and saw the body of Jan Andriessen lying half burnt in the cellar among the ruins of his house. Stephens, a lad of about the age of sixteen years, also deposed that he recognized the body “by a rag of the breeches still fastened to the corpse.” But he saw nothing of Anderson’s wife or of the negro. Such is the meagre history of the first Irishman who ever came to Catskill. [At Coxsackie, late in November, 1664, the personal estate, the horses, cows, one bull-calf and a copper kettle, of Jantje, the Irishman, deceased, were sold, and in March, 1665, his real estate at Coxsackie was advertised for sale.]

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