Gambar halaman

naturally favorable to the important business of courtship, and there were several places of pleasant resort famed for this business, even at that early day. The Locust- Trees was one, upon a bluff on the shore of the North River, a little back of the present Trinity Church-yard. From this commanding and shady eminence, the eye could wander over an extensive vista of river, bay, islands, and the bold, distant hills of New Jersey. Here, too, was the West India Company's beautiful garden, on . the site of the present Trinity Church, with its rich flowers and vegetable productions. A little beyond the town was Maiden's Valley, now Maiden Lane, a rural, shady walk, with a charming little rivulet meandering through it. The original name of this rustic walk was T'Maagde Paatje, or the “ Maiden's Path.” South of this lane stretched the Clover Waytie, or “Pasture Field ;” and from the present Gold street, hidden in the foliage, a little stream, fed by a living spring, came tumbling down the rocks. From John, near Gold, a longer walk led to the enchanting lakelet, the Kolch, or Collect, nestling within a circle of forest hills. Like many such ponds in the vicinity of old villages, this, traditionally, had no bottom, and was said to be haunted by the spirits of some old native sachems, the paddles of whose canoes could be heard at night, though nothing was seen visibly to disturb the crystal waters. All these spots were famous trysting-places of the youthful New Netherlanders. But how changed the scene! Where those sparkling and beautiful waters once flowed, and the morning carols of the birds were heard, the dark, sorrowful, and sinful abodes of the “Five Points” now stand in close proximity to the gloomy prison-cells of the “ Tombs.”

But although New York City, two hundred years ago, passed over to British rule, still the inhabitants remained Dutch in their manners, costumes, modes of thought, and religious ideas, for many subsequent years. Sleighing was a fashionable amusement; and a ride to Harlem became the longest drive among the “city folk.” Parties, however, often turned aside to visit “Hell Gate,” influenced, doubtless, by the fact that on this road, over the Tamkill (a little stream emptying into the East River, opposite Blackwell's Island), was the “Kissing Bridge," so laid down on the old maps, and named from the old Dutch custom of the gentlemen saluting their lady companions whenever they crossed the bridge. That was the day also of the “cocked hats” and “cues," which stuck out from behind the head “stiff as a poker.” The most fashionable gentleman made his appearance before the fair one who was to be his companion in the ride, in a large camlet cloak with a very large cape, snuff-colored coat and small clothes, and stockings drawn over the shoes to keep out the snow. In addition, a woolen tippet warmly protected his neck, and domestic-knit mittens his hands. People then showed their good sense by dressing according to the weather.

An old chronicle tell us that an Ethiopian, named Cæsar, had great

fame as a driver, fiddler, and waiter. The ladies, once upon a time, appeared in linsey-woolsey cardinals, with hoods of immense size; and at noon away went the party in high glee, to the jingle of sleigh-bells, to take a dish of tea and a dance at Harlem. Reaching there, Cæsar tuned his three-stringed fiddle; and the gentlemen appeared in their snare-toed shoes, and the ladies in peak-toed, high-heeled slippers. Dancing and skipping the “light, fantastic toe” immediately begun, and continued until eight o'clock in the evening, when they again hastened back to the city; for “to be out” after nine, on common occasions, was considered a certain sign of bad morals. . To sum up, the earliest Dutch emigrants to New York left their deep impress' upon the city and upon the State. Far-reaching commerce, which immortalized Old Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, soon provoked the envy of New Amsterdam's neighbors, and in the end made our city the emporium of the Western World. Our ancestors left children and children's children, who were well fitted to act important parts in the great work of opening the American continent to European and Christian civilization. They brought with them honest maxims, industry, and the liberal ideas of their Fatherlandtheir schoolmasters, their dominies, and their BIBLES. In the course of events, however, New Netherland passed over to British rule, when new customs, new relationships, and new habits of thought, were introduced.*

* It may be amusing to many of the present generation, so little accustomed to the old Dutch names, to read some titles once very familiar in New Amsterdam and New York, but now so seldom thought of or understood :

De Herr-Oficer; or Hoofd-Schout, High-Sheriff.
De Fiscoll-Attorney-General.

Groot Bingenecht, and Klein Bingenecht, the great and small citizenship, early marking the two orders of society.

The Schout (Sheriff), Burgomeesters, and Schepens, then ruled the city," as in all cities of the Fatherland.

Geheim Schuyner-Recorder of Secrets.
Wees-Meesters—Guardians of Orphans.
Roy-Meester-Regulator of Fences.
Eyck-Meester-The Weigh-Master.

The word Bos still in use, a century ago was written Baas, and literally means “master”—not a very popular name for Democrats to use, though they all greatly desire to become a Bos.


1674-1783. From the English Conquest to the Revolutionary War and the Termination of

British Rule.

BEFORE entering upon the history of this period, it seems desirable to take a ramble about the limits of New Amsterdam and see for ourselves how it appeared at the time that the Dutch surrendered it to the English. In our walk we will take as our guide a map of the “ Towne of Wambados, or New Amsterdam, as it was in September, 1661,” a copy of which now lies before us. This is, so far as known, the only plan of the city executed in the early Dutch times, and was found a few years since in the British Museum.

The town wind-mill stood on a bluff, within our present Battery, opposite Greenwich street. On Water, between Whitehall and Moore streets, was the “ Government House," built, by Stuyvesant, of stone, and the best edifice in the town. When Governor Dongan became its owner he changed its name from the “ Government House” to “ Whitehall," and hence the name of the street. It was surrounded by a large inclosure, one side of which, with the garden, was washed by the river. A little dock for pleasure-boats ran into the stream at this point. Here, also, was located the Governor's house, between which, and the canal in Broad street, was the present Pearl street, then the great center of tradeknown as the “ Water-side," and sometimes as the “Strand." Near the Governor's house was the “ Way-House,” or Weigh-House, at the head of the public wharf at the foot of the present Moore street. A very short distance off, and parallel with Pearl, ran the Burgh Straat (the present Bridge street), so named from the fact of its leading to the bridge across the canal in Broad. There was a small passage-way running through this block and along the side of the “Old Church,” for convenient access to a row of houses, laid down on the map. These, five in number, belonged to the Company, and were built of stone. In front of them was a beautiful sloping green. The canal in Broad street was, in truth, but a narrow stream, running toward Wall street for a quarter of a mile. Both sides were dyked with posts, in the fashion of Fatherland, at the distance of twelve feet from the houses. On each side, as houses line a canal in Holland, stood a row of buildings in the ultra Dutch style, low, high-peaked, and very neat, with their gables toward the street. Each had its stoop, a vane or weather-cock, and its dormer-window. From the roof of one, a little iron crane projected, with a small boat at its end, as a sign of this being the “ Ferry-House.” The landing was at the head of the canal, in Broad street, at the point where Garden united with it. This canal or little stream originally went up to“ Verlettenberg Hill” (Exchange Place), afterward corrupted into “Flottenbanck.” This was the head of tide-water; and here the country people from Brooklyn, Gowanus, and Bergen brought their marketing to the center of the city. Many of the market-boats were rowed by stout women, without hats or bonnets, but wearing in their place close caps. There were generally two rowers to each craft.

Further along the East River or “Water-side" a building of considerable pretension appeared—the Stadt Huys or City Hall, first erected as a tavern, but afterward taken by the municipal government. In front of the Stadt Huys was placed a battery of three guns. Proceeding along the river-shore we pass Hanover Square, where two boats are lying, and approach the “ City Gate,” at the foot of Wall street, sometimes called the “ Water Gate,” to distinguish it from the “ Land Gate” at that end of the road on the Sheera Straat (Broadway). The Water Gate seems to have been quite an imposing structure, doubtless because Pearl street was the great thoroughfare and main entrance to the town. Most of the strangers or visitors to New Amsterdam came from Long Island.

Continuing our walk toward Long Island Ferry, or “Passage-Place,'' and passing by Maiden Lane, we come to another public way, leading to “ Shoemakers' Land” and “Vandercliff's Orchard," both places of noted resort. This was the present John street, from Pearl to Cliff.

At a very early day the tanneries in Broad street were declared a nuisance, and their owners ordered to remove beyond the city limits. This they did, and established themselves along Maiden Lane, then a marshy valley. Four of the number, shoemakers by trade, purchased a tract of land bounded by Broadway, Ann, William, and Gold streets, and here commenced their business. This region was thenceforth known as the Shoemakers' Land, a name which it retained so late as 1696, when it was divided into town-lots. The tanners were next driven from this locality into what is even now known as the “ Swamp.The Vandercliff's Orchard was bounded by the East River, Shoemakers' Land, and Maiden Lane. Its original owner was Hendrick Ryker, who sold it in 1680 to Dirck Vandercliff. During the Revolution this tract received the more pleasant-sounding name of Golden Hill, so named, it is said, from the fine wheat grown on it. Cliff street yet preserves a part of the old title. Proceeding past Golden Hill we come to a large edifice, close to

the present site of Fulton Market, and marked on the map as “ Alderton's Buildings," surrounded by a fence. This is supposed to be the store-house of Isaac Allerton, who resided at New Amsterdam and carried on an extensive trade with the New England colonies. He was one of the emigrants in the May Flower, and a notable character in our early history. His business was the importation of tobacco from Virginia, and this edifice was probably his great tobacco depot.

Continuing our tour we reach the “Passage-Place,” the present Peck Slip, known for a long time as the “ Old Ferry." This was the earliest Brooklyn ferry, the city authorities in 1654 regulating its rates at three stivers for foot-passengers, except Indians, who paid six, unless there were two or more. Here Cornelis Dircksen, the ferryman, who owned a farm near by, at the sound of a horn hanging on the tree from the passengers, ferried them over in his little skiff. Still further on there was a little stream, on the bank of which stood a water-mill. This brook ran into Walphat's Meadow, which covered the present Roosevelt street and vicinity. This stream, known as “Old Wreck Brook,” ran from the meadow into the Kolch (Collect), a bridge crossing it on the highway in Chatham near Pearl.

The “ Commons(the present Park) was a well-known spot in early New York. Through it passed the post-road to Boston, the present Chatham street, and for many years this was the place for public executions. North of the Commons, or the Plackte (the “Flat”), lay the FreshWater Pond (to which allusion has already been made) with its neighboring district Kolch Hook, or Collect, below the Commons.* Near the Collect rose Potter's Hill. At its foot followed the “ Owl's Kill,” leading the waters of that pond through the marshes of " Wolfert's Valley” to the East River. Toward the river was the Swamp, the present Ferry street and neighborhood, a low marshy place, covered with bushes and briars.t

* As the city gradually extended its limits, the powder-house, at first built on the Commons, was considered unsafe, and a new magazine was built in 1728 upon a secluded little island in the Fresh-Water Pond. Not far from this place, in the course of the following year, Noe Willey, of London, gave to his three sons in New York the ground for a Jewish cemetery. It was bounded by Chatham, Catherine, and Oliver streets, and was to be held forever as a burial-place for the Israelites. But the wishes of the old Hebrew have been violated long since, for Chatham street now runs through the sacred enclosure, and Mammon has erected a bank and stores upon the spot. Some tomb-stones, however, still stand, like grim sentinels, to keep guard over this once hallowed and venerable grave-yard.

+ In 1744, this tract was sold for £200 to Jacobus Roosevelt, who divided it into fifty lots and established on them several tanneries. This indicated its future destiny, and ever since it has been the center of the large leather trade of the city. More immense fortunes have been made about that region than any other of the same extent in the city. It was originally called Beekman's Swamp, and leased to Rip Van Dam, a member of the Council, for twenty-one years, at a yearly rent of twenty shillings.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »