The Coxsackie Declaration
Donated by the Durham Center Museum
Written by Olive N. Woodworth


On May 17, 1775, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence was presented in Philadelphia, the inhabitants of Coxsackie signed a Declaration of Independence of their own. The faded yellow parchment, found in an Albany attic some years ago, bears the names of 225 signers, most of them Dutch names of freeholders from the Coxsackie District of the Colony of New York.

Within a month after this historic event on the Hudson, the Battles of Concord and Lexington had been fought, the British force had attacked Bunker Hill, and Washington had been summoned to lead the American army surrounding Boston. Much of the excitement of the times can be felt when this document is read; and history records that the revolutionary fever reached a peak thirteen months later, at Philadelphia, the Declaration of Independence was signed by all the colonies.

The Coxsackie Declaration was discovered by Mr. John M. Clark, then president of the Albany Institute and History and Art Society, who presented it to the Institution, where it remains. The document was pronounced authentic by Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Wyer, who served, respectively, as State Historian and State Librarian at that time, and by the State Archivist. It was displayed among other selected material on the New York Freedom Train when it toured the State. Over the years, the writing on the document, faded and somewhat illegible; of the 225 signatures, only 211 are decipherable and presumed accurate. Some of the patriots, unable to write their names, signed with an "+" . The first signer, John (Johannes) Schuneman, was undoubtedly the fighting "Dutch Dominie of the Catskills", for the letters V.D.S., meaning Verbum Dei Servus (Minister of the Word of God) appear after his name. And there is enough authentic data on the Dominie to provide assurance that he drew up the Declaration personally.

Anthony Van Bergen, the eighth signer, and Henry Van Bergen, the fourth signer, were Colonel and captain, respectively, of the Coxsackie militia during the Revolution.


The Declaration

Persuaded that the Salvation of the Rights and Liberties of America, depends, under God, on the firm union of its Inhabitants, in a vigorous prosecution of the Measures necessary for its Safety, and convinced of the Necessity of preventing the Anarchy and confusion which attend the Dissolution of the Powers of Government:

THAT the Freeholders and Inhabitants of Coxsackie District, in the County of Albany, being greatly alarmed at the avowed Design of the Ministry to raise a Revenue in America, are shocked by the bloody Scene acting in the Massachusetts Bay; Do in the most solemn manner, resolve never to become Slaves; and do also associate under the Ties of Religion, Honor and Love of our Country to adopt and endeavor to carry into Execution whatever Measures may be rendered by our Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention for the purpose of preserving our Constitution and apposing the Execution of several arbitrary and oppressive Acts of the British Parliament, until a reconciliation between Great Britain and America or constitutional principles (which we most ardently desire) can be obtained; and that we will, in all Things, follow the advice of our general Committee, respecting the purpose aforesaid, the preservation of Peace and good Order, and the Safety of Individuals and private property.

Dated at Coxsackie the Seventeenth of May in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand seven hundred and seventy five. (signed by 225 citizens of Coxsackie)

John Schuneman V.D.S.
Theunis Van Vechten
James Barker
Henry Van Bergen
John L. Bronck
Jacob + Hallenbeck
William + Hallenbeck
Anthony Van Bergen
John A Whitbeck
Samuel Van Vechten
Pieteer Conyne
Thomas Hoghtelen
Michael + Collyer
Francis Salisbry Jr.
Johannes + Jansen
Lambert Van Valkenburgh
Casper Hollenbeck
Myndert V. Schaick
William Van Bergen
Casperse Hallenbeck
Peter Bronck
Leonard Bronck
Abraham Hallenbeck
Peter + Vanette
Wilhelmus Vandenburg
John Vanette
Wessel Salisbury
Carperse Halenbeck
John Groog
Abraham Salisbury
Reychert Van den Berk
Richard Johnson
John Vosburgh
Richard + Vandenberg
Henry Wabber
Arout Van Schaick
Jacob Van Loon
Jacob Hallenbeck
A. Doonhalten
Ebenezer Stanton
William Brandow Jr.
Edward Groom
Haedirick + Schram
Clement Overbagh
Benjamin van Gerdener
Frederick Schram
William Jones
Reuben Stanton
Reuben van der Berk
Wilhelme Sammon
Jno Moore + John
John + Goes
Cornelius Connine
Richard Ten + Broeck
John + Hallenbeck
John + Munday
James Donney
Joseph Groom
Albert Van Loon
Joachim + Ryal
David Rose
Gererdus Neukirk
Matthias + Hallenbeck
Storm Prosa
Christian Blodaar
John Persaly
Burent Albartsen
Benjamin Cornelius Dubois
Benjam Dubois
Henry Irison
Nikasas Yare
Matthias Van Con Jan
Caspar Pare
John Romear
Benjamin+ Essex
John van Steinburg
Gared Peresen
John C. Claus
Jeremiah + Steenbergh
John + Wall
James + White
John + Snyder
Nicholas Van Loon
Martin Hallenbeck
John V. Schake
John W. Bught
Nickolas V. Schake
Peter Van Burgan
John Parree
Isaac + Collyer
Jacob + Livingston
Thomas + Templar
Joseph Nesbit
William Groom
Henry Knoll
Isaac Witbeck
William Wells
Samuel Stogles Salisbury
Hendrick + Smith
William + Smith
George Rosa
Martin G. van Bergen
Wilhelmus + Dederick
Jary Van Loon
Johan Wesdernich
Solomon Schut
Nicholas V. Scake
Dirk Van Veghten
John + Vosburgh
Frederick Dederick
Johan Niew
J. Wood
Wilhelmus + Oorbagh
Laurance Dubois
John Van Housen
William + Klauw
Jon Spoor
Johannis Sousa
Petrus Van Loon
Albertus Van Loon
John Rouge
Pet + Schram
Dirck Spoor
Andres + Eaghler
William + Cudney
Frederick Scheck
John Bronck
John Van Loon
Casper Hallenbeck
Matthias + Boom
Pete + Janson
John H Schurmerhorn
Hugh Denniston
Laurence Winney
Stephen Haight
Thomas Garnett
John Ellis
John + Lampman
Mod. Van Sand
Henry Oothoudt
Samuel Allen
Abraham Camer
Wilhelmus Lampman
Herman + Becker
Casper Hallenbeck
Nicholas Van Loon
Robert Thomas
Jacob + Shoup
Peter Van Loon Jr
Abraham Van Loon
Hendrick + Rose
William Rea
Philip Conyne
Reychert van den Berk
John + Schrader
Arent + Cooss
Philip Conine Jr
John van den Berk
Peter Conine
Jam. Hearn
Benjamin Smith
Peter Smith
John + Curby
Francis Salisbury
Cornelius Dubois
John Dubois
Thouny D. van Veghten
Cornelius Schermerhorn
Jacob Egbertsen Jun.
Thomas Fish
Peter Bogardus
Thomas Aston
Johannes + Brandow
John Casper + Van Hoefer
Thomas Burdick
Arent + Fedder
Peter Soufer
William Schutt
Jacob + Cook
Coenrad Flaake
Coenraet + Hoghtaline
Richard + Houghtaline
Baltus Van Slyk
Jeremiah + Conine
Peter Van Slyk
Philip Bronck
Martin V. Bargen
Petrus + Brandow
Jacob Van Vechten
Abraham Salisbury
Heiybartus Dubois
Benjamin Dubois
William + Brandow
Gysbort Oosterhoudt
Garret P. + Steenbergh
Egbert Bogardus
Johannes + Van Garde
John Person
Johannis Conyn
Nicholas + Planke
Abraham Van Garde
Jam. C. Van Waganen
Richard Conways
John Taylor
Goefrie Brandow


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