Article Number 21 - The Loveridge Patent No. 2 - Eldert Geiberten Cruyff and William Loveridge

Originally published in the Catskill Examiner by Henry Brace between the years 1876 and 1879. Article 21 was published on January 19,1878. Extracted from the microfilm copies of the Catskill Examiner located at the Vedder Research Library. Transcribed by Barbara Bartley.


Local Sketches--No. 21. An Outline of the History of the Town of Catskill, To The Year 1783. By Henry Brace.  

In 1660, a single house stood on the right or south bank of the Catskill, about thirty paces from the water and near the spot at which the second bridge of the Canajoharie railway was afterwards erected. Except, possibly, the rude cabin of Claes Teunisse, nicknamed Uylenspiegel, which stood, as my readers will remember, on the south eastern slope of the Hopenose, this house was the first dwelling built by a white man in the southern portion of the township. The owner was Eldert Gerbertsen Cruyff, but the house itself was probably built in 1651, by Van Bronswyk, and had probably been occupied by Jan Andriessen, the Irishman. It was a structure of timber and roughly hewn planks, was one story high, was thatched with straw or with rushes, and had foundations and a great chimney of stone. At the west,--the exact location is along the Catskill, just above the embankment of the railway,--was an orchard of young apple trees. At the east were maize or wheat fields, the produce of which the Indians in the neighborhood sometimes aided Cruyff in harvesting. In 1815 a few of the apple trees were standing, and one of them has been described to me as having a trunk as large around as a hogshead. At this time, also, the foundations of the house were visible.

Cruyff is spoken of in ancient deeds as a sawyer. His saw-mill was at Bethlehem, on the Normankill, near Albany. He also owned a brewery and a distillery. His beer, known as “strong Albany Ale,” and his whiskey were sold by the tapsters from the Esopus to Schenectady. At one time a part of his possessions consisted of a bull and fourteen cows, heifers and oxen, and he thus became known, like the patriarch Job, as “as man of great substance.” In 1663, when the Esopus war broke out, he rendered the civil authorities good service by keeping the Catskill Indians quiet and by various messages of timely information. In later days, he was always spoken of at Catskill as Elder de Gooijer, that is, Eldert, the Thrower. The tradition still exists among us that he could cast a stone from the southern edge of the plain, afterwards known as Jefferson Flats, over the Van Vechten House into the Catskill, a distance, I should judge, of about a thousand yards.

About the year 1671 Cruyff fell into debt. He conveyed his interest in the farm on the south bank of the Catskill to his associate, Gansevoort, who in turn, in April 1678, sold the land to John Conel, and the growing wheat upon the land to Helme Janse. Two years afterwards, on the 27th day of July, 1680, Conel conveyed the premises to William Loveridge, hatter, of Beverwyk.

I infer, from a recital in an ancient record, that, for some time before his purchase, Loveridge had taken possession of a tract of arable land on the Catskill, had built upon it, and had begun to clear it. This tract, which he called De Kampe, that is, The Field, lies between the main Street through West Catskill and the ridge of clay and rock near the house of Richard Martin. But the possession of this farm and of the farm between the Devil’s Aspect and the hill at the mill-dam of the Van Vechtens did not satisfy his desire of ownership. On the 19th day of July, 1682, he made an addition to his estate of more than six thousand acres. The deed of purchase is in Dutch, and is recorded in the third volume of deeds in the office of the clerk of the county of Albany.

The sellers are described as Esopus Indians, and were, men and women, eight in number. Mahak-Niminaw, sachem of Catskill, was not present when the deed was signed, but it was stipulated that, when he should come home, he should receive two pieces of duffels and six cans of rum. The price paid was chiefly in clothing, guns and tools, the whole worth not more than a hundred dollars. The description of the land, translated into English, I transcribe from the record:

“A certain parcel of woodland, lying at Katskil, extending from the mouth of the kil, where his, Loveridge’s house and barn stand, southwards along the North alias Hudson’s river to the middle of the great bend where the trees are marked WL, and runs from the river up westwards to where it comes to a fall on the Katerskil named Quatawichnack, and so along the east side of the Katerskil to where the same empties into the Katskil, and so along the Katskil to the house and barn of William Loveridge aforesaid, and so to the great river, excepting the arable land which said Loveridge bought of Jan Conell, whereof a patent has been already granted.”

A few words of explanation and comment may not be superfluous:

1. The house of William Loveridge was the second, or perhaps the third, house built in the southern portion of the town of Catskill. It stood a few feet north of and in a line with the cottage which Benjamin Dubois built about the year 1740, and in which Benjamin P. Dubois now lives. Its foundations, about fifty years ago, were discovered by a chance digging.

2. In the Dutch of the original deed, the great bend is written d’groote Imbocht. If, however, I am rightly informed, the proper spelling of the word is Inbogt. The place designated, as my readers know, is the broad and shallow bay, which opens out of the Hudson below Green Point, the residence of one of the sons of the late Henry Van Orden.

3. The work Katerskil appears in this deed for the first time in any record. While kat is in Dutch the generic name for cat, kater is the specific name for he-cat.

4. The spot where the trees were “marked WL” was called by the Indians Pes-qua-nach-qua, by the Dutch, Maquaas Hoek, and by the English, Stony Point, and also De Witt’s Point.

5. The water-fall, Quat-a-wich-nach, lies below the bridge which crosses the Katerskil on the road to High Falls, at the place where, according to an old record, “the water runs into a hole in a dry season.” The Indian names of places in the township are in a very corrupt condition; this name should probably be Ket-itchuan-ock, that is to say, the “place of the greatest water flow.”

The older Loveridge died, perhaps, at Perth Amboy, in New Jersey, between the 19th day of July, 1682, and the 6th day of January, 1684. In February, 1686, a patent for the tract of land of which I have copied the description was granted to his son William, who lived on his estate in Catskill until he died. His will bears date of February, 1702, by which the testator devises his lands to his wife for life, with remainder to his five children, William, Waldron, Hannah, who became the wife of Gdysbert Lane, Margaret, who became the wife of Alexander McDowall, and Temperance, who became the wife of William Van Orden.

Benjamin P. Dubois once told me, that while digging on the lawn a few feet south of his house, he dug up two skeletons, or the fragments of two skeletons.

These may have been the remains of the Loveridges, or of members of their family. It was evident from the mode of burial, that the bones were not the bones of Indians.

In October, 1718, the land within the Loveridge Patent was surveyed and was divided, by lot, into five portions. The first portion fell to Alexander McDowall, the husband of Margaret Loveridge, the second to Hannah, the wife of Gdysbert Lane, the third and fifth to Michiel the brother of Dirk Teunisse Van Vechten, as a purchaser from William and Waldron Loveridge, and the fourth to Temperance, who became the wife of William Van Orden.

The colonists and first inhabitants of Catskill seem to have been little better than boors. The younger Loveridge was imprisoned in Fort Orange, for setting up a scandalous tree before a neighbor’s door, a heinous offence [sic] apparently, but to me of unknown nature. Cruyff was twice criminally prosecuted, once for calling old Kettlehuyn a thief, and again for aspersing the good name of Ulderivck Kluyn’s wife. Andriessen was accused of selling spirits to the Indians, Hans Vos, for a like offence,[sic] was put into prison, Jan Van Bremen, though employed to read a homily, on the Lord’s day, to his neighbors, was complained of for swearing, Jacob Lockerman was fined three hundred guilders for splitting open, with a heavy knife, the face of one Hoogenboom, from the forehead to the upper lip. The successors of these men, the Salisburys, the Van Vechtens, the Duboises and the Van Ordens, were of a different and higher character.


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