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In the name of the LORD—Amen. Description of the Founding or Beginning of New Utrecht, for the information of us and our successors. Together with their Grants and Privileges likewise the names of their officers and magistrates thereunto added and that from the year Sixteen hundred seven and fifty, also the names of the first Patentees and farmers, for the encouragement and information of their posterity. A.D. 1657 1658 1659 1660 The beginning and progress ofJ\ew Utrecht, This land was originally granted to the Heer Cornells Van Werckhoven, who was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands, and who here personally undertook to plant a colonic After some years he returned to his Fatherland, where he died. On his return to the Netherlands he left in his place as his agent one Jacques Cortelliau. After the death of his late Lord, Cortilliau having no means in his hands to procure settlers to plant and found the colonic was advised not to allow the beautiful land to lie unfruitful and without inhabitants, and as he was assured that such a course was in direct opposition to the orders and placards of the Noble and Right Honorable Lords Directors of the West India Company at Amsterdam, our Patrons, as also of the Noble Lord Director General Petrus Stuyvesant and the Counsellors Nicasius DeSille, and Johan Montagne Senor., he concluded to present to the Director General and Counsellors the following Petition:—
To the Noble and Right Honorable Lord Director General and Council of New Netherland: Whereas no lands here can be laid out and settled except with your Honors' approbation and consent, therefore the petitioner addresses himself to your Honors for consent to found a Town on
Long Island on the Bay of the North River.
was signed Ja. Cortelliau.
Agent for the heirs of the deceased Cornells Van Werckhoven.
In the margin stood "let the petition be granted, provided that they deliver by the first opportunity, a map thereof, to the Director General and Council. Dated fortress Amterdam in New Netherland, this 16th January A. D. 1657.
Underneath which was written, By Order of the Right Honorable Director General and Council of New Netherland. Subscribed by C. V. Ruyven, Secretary.
Liberty being thus given to commence the settlement, Jacques Cortelliau laid out and surveyed the place, and divided it into 20 lots containing 25 morgen (50 acres) each, which lots were granted to the following patentees who were desirous of making a settlement ;—
Jacques Cortelliau Albert Albertsen
The Lord Councillor & Fiscal Nicasius de Sille William Willemsen
PieterBuys Huybert Hoock
Jacob Hellickers alias Swart Pieter Jansen
Joncker Jacobus Corlaer Jan Jacobson
Johan Tomasse Jacobus Backer
Rutgert Joosten Jacob Pietersen,
Pieter Roeloffse Claes Claessen,
Cornells Beeckman Teunis Joosten.
The above named individuals having received their lots, came together so as speedily to advance the place by sowing, planting and building on their lots. Whereof the first was Jacob Hellekeers Swart, he having a small square house made of clapboards standing in Gravesend which he tore down and removed to the town. On this because they could not begin altogether and alike and for the purpose of setting a good example to the common people and for their encouragement, the Lord Councillor and fiscal (Attorney General) Nicasius De Sille, Peter Buys and Rutgert Joosten on the 8th of November 1657 sent for the above named Jacob Swart, who was a master builder, for the purpose of having each a house built, and warranted completed in May 1658. This could not be accomplished, because the house of the Heer de Sille was designed to be 36 feet in length, but afterwards on the 31st of May 1658, he directed 6 feet to be added, making it 42 feet, and this was the first house in the town which was covered with red tiles. It was, including the garden, enclosed with high palisades set close together. After the above 3 houses, Johnckeer Jacob Corlaer also erected a house, and then Cornells Beeckman with his companion Willem Willemse erected one which shortly after was burnt.
Some of the above named 20 settlers abandoned their lots, and others came in their places by whom the cultivating and building were undertaken.
In 1659 it was evident that the village did not prosper in its buildings and agriculture; this induced the wellwishers of the same to employ Jacques Cortelliau, the surveyor, to carry to the Director General and his council, in the name of all of them, the following petition:
To the Noble and Right Honorable Lord and Director General and Council of New-Netherland:
1. The town of New Utrecht, with your consent, at the great cost and expense of some, having been begun and founded, we therefore humbly desire that those who as yet have only gone to the expense of fencing their lots, may be warned also to build on the same, on pain of forfeiture of said lots.
2. That those wTho have sold their lots for considerable money, without having been subject to any cost except the simple fencing, may be ordered to restore the money received over and above the cost of same.
3. That every lot should be bound to have a man who shall keep the front of the lot in repair and remove whatever falls, so that men should not be bound to look after absentees, which cannot be done without incurring expense.
4. That Antony Jansen Van Sale may be warned to drive in the woods his horses, hogs, and cattle, the same as is practiced by others, so as to prevent their spoiling and eating the pasture from the meadows by wrhich the whole Town is injured, and we ask for power to place them in the pound when found in said meadows.
5. That Antony Jansen, maintaining the meadows to be his which he had bought of the Indians which could not be done without the approbation of you noble and right Honorable Lords, and he not having this, may be ordered to allow us the peaceable use of said meadows commenced by us with your consent, and peaceable possession of which was promised to the inhabitants of the town; the said Antony however, having dwelt many years in the place, to enjoy his lots and portion as well as others, but at the same time to be liable to bear his share of the costs and expenses.
6. That the meadow we have commenced using when divided in 23 or 24 lots, is not half enough to keep the cattle ; we therefore petition you, noble and right Honorable Lords, for another place to be given us at Canarisy and immediately used.
7. That the inhabitants of the Town may have the benefit of the same exemptions and freedom that other new towns have.
Waiting hereupon for a favorable answer from you, noble and right Honorable Lords, I remain your humble servant Jacques Cortelliau; and this the community seek*
On this petition to the Noble and right Honorable Lord Director General Petrus Stuyvesant and Council, Nicasius de Sille first councillor, and Petrus Tonneman and Johan de Decker on the 12th of May 1659 gave the following answer:
On the above request being received and read, the following answer was returned:
The answer to the 1st point will be found published in the order of the 30th of January last, by which it is ordained that every one of what condition or quality soever he may be should cultivate, build, and live on the lot he had obtained, or cause the same to be cultivated and dwelt upon, within the period of six weeks, on penalty of forfeiture of his lot: and the Fiscal is authorized in the name of the Director General and Council, at the expiration of six days after proof of the delinquency of any person to assign his lands to such other individual as may be willing to comply with these regulations and to pay the first owner or occupant what his fencing and other improvements may appear to be worth.
The answer to the second is intermixed in the above; but further, no man may enjoy more than the true value of his fencing, and what he has expended in his cultivation of his lot including the value of his own labour: All received above the ascertained value shall be paid back to his successor. The Director General and Council are by no means however to be understood as authorizing the first occupants, who have neglected either personally or by others, to build, cultivate and labour on their lands, to seek for pay or profit in such manner as to retard cultivation.
On the 3d point it is ordered that every man, as well in the new begun Town of Utrecht as in other begun Towns consisting of one dwelling or a hamlet, who obtains a lot or building plot, also that all and every one from now forth who has sought or obtained lands, must seek and obtain therefor proper patents, and there obtained lands they must speedily undertake to plant and cultivate, and at the least from the proceedings of the patent have residing and kept .thereon one able bodied man.
On the 4th and 5th points; the Fiscal was ordered to notify Anthony Van Zalee to keep his cattle and hogs out of the common meadows, and that if he claimed any more right to the meadows to make the same known to the Director General and Council: the Fiscal is directed to impound all cattle and hogs found on the meadows.
An answer to the 6th point will be taken into consideration.
On what is sought in the 7th point, consent is given, as in other towns, to an exemption from the payment of the tenth for the space of 10 years, with the exception of the plantation of the Heer Werckhoven.
Done in Fort Amsterdam in New-Netherland on the 12th of May 1659. Against the above
stands, By order of the Noble and Right Honorable Lord and Director General and Council of the
Witness, C. V Ruyven, Secretary.
The order of the 30th of January 1659 referred to in the answer to the 1st, is as follows:
Proclamation. All persons are hereby notified and informed, that those who have obtained lots or plantations in the newly settled Town of Utrecht, are hereby directed within six weeks from the date hereof, to prepare to plant and fence the same, also to seek and obtain of the Secretary of the Director General and Council proper Deeds, on penalty of forfeiture of the lots, which will be given to others who may desire them. Of this all are hereby warned.
Done by order of the Right Honorable Director General and Council of New Nether land, at Fort Amsterdam in New-Netherland this 30th January 1659.
C. V Ruyven, Secretary.
After the preceding there was another Proclamation applying to the town of Utrecht, first published by the Director General and Council on the 9th of October 1655, republished and renewed on the 30th December 1658 at Fort Amsterdam, and again on the 7th of January 1659 proclaimed from the Stadt-house at Fort Amsterdam for the benefit of the farmers.
The Director General and Council of New Netherland daily hear great complaints that the posts, rails, clapboards, and other fencing, made with great cost and trouble of the inhabitants (for the preservation of the crops) around their sowed lands and gardens, are stolen during both night and day, the effect of which is that the cattle come in and destroy the crops, which discourages future planting and sowing, and we also fear that it will happen that in consequence of all the lands and gardens being bare of fencing during the coming winter, the sowed grain will not flourish, and that next season the crops will not be worth mowing: Therefore the Lord Director General and Council notify the Burgomasters and Schepens of their Towns not to allow and expressly to forbid injuries of this kind, and they also hereby notify all of what state or condition they may be, that they are hereby warned and expressly forbid from this time forth, not to make bare or strip any gardens, sowed, or planted places, of posts, rails, clapboards, or other fencing, on pain when found doing the same in part or in whole, for the first offence of being whipped and branded, and for the second offence of being hung with a cord till death follows, without favor to any person: and whoever after the date hereof shall give information of any person guilty of robbing the land of posts, rails, or clapboards, shall be rewarded therefor and his name concealed : every one is hereby warned.
All done in the Assembly at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherlands on the 9^ 0f October 1655.
The inhabitants of the Town being diligent in the observance of the foregoing order or command, the Fiscal thereupon drew out of the Company's book the following copy concerning the meadow land, not knowing in whom it was lodged;
Petrus Stuyvesant Representative of the Noble High and Mighty the Lords States General of the United Netherlands, and the Lord Administrator of the Privileged West India Company, Director General of New Netherland, Curagao, Bonayre Aruba, and the appendages thereunto belonging, hath with the consent of the Council, on the petition and supplication made to us on the date underneath written, showing the need of the inhabitants of the new begun Town of Utrecht and of those who might hereafter dwell there, allowed unto them as to others a parcel of meadow land lying on Long Island by the easterly Hook of the Bay of the North River, over against Conyen Island, including the kills, creeks, ponds, reeds, drowned and sand lands within its bounds, Containing 130 morgen (260 acres) Bounded on the westerly side by land of Antony Jansen Van Sale north-easterly by the kill on which Gravesend mill is situated, East south-easterly by the same kill, and south-westerly by the Bay of the North River. Hereunto witness my hand and seal (in red wax) in Amsterdam in New Netherland this 27 August 1657.
Thereupon having assembled together in the Town of Utrecht in May A. D. 1659, for the purpose of drawing for the meadows, it being understood that the Director General and Council directed that the plantation of the Lord Werckhoven should draw two lots, and also Antony Jansen Van Sale two, and having divided the same into 24 lots, they were drawn as follows:
1. Jonker Jacob Curler, 13. Nicasius De Sille, Fiscal,
2. Albert Albertse, 14. Pieter Roeloffe,
3. Jan ZGlen, 15. Jaques Cortilliau,
4. Jacob Backker, 16. Teunis Joosten,
5. Willem Willemse, 17. Ruth Joosten,
6. Hupbert Hook, 18. Pieter Buys,
7. Peter Jansen, 19. Werckhoven,
8. Jacob Pieterse, 20. Ruth Joosten,
9. Jacob Swart, 21. Werckhoven,
10. Jan Tomasse, 22. Cornelius Beekman,
11. Klaes Blassen, 23. . , T Tt o i
5 Antony Jansen Van Sale.
12. JanJacobse, 24.
In the meantime the inhabitants often disagreeing and disputing about their plantations, houses, and about the watch, the Director General, and Council ordained as follows:
The Director General and Council notify the inhabitants of the Town of New Utrecht to keep good watch, and for the purpose of keeping better order they have appointed and set, as in other cases, the person Jan Tomassen to the office of Serjeant: they therefore order the inhabitants of the Town to obey and acknowledge as Serjeant, the above named Jan Tomassen.
Done at Port Amsterdam, the 2d of October A D. 1659.
Hereupon did the Fiscal N. DeSille send a Halberd.
Shortly thereafter the inhabitants of the Town complained, that they were badly provided with powder and lead, and also that some of them had no guns, they desired that the Fiscal would provide them at their own cost with the same, they having recourse to him inasmuch as they had heard the Director General and Council had appointed him Scout (Sheriff) over the Town of Utrecht.
The Lord General on the 6th cf October 1659, with many soldiers who were volunteers, a company of Citizens with the Orange banner, and a company of English wellwishers, wTent to Esopus to fight the Indians. Thereupon having charge of the Town on behalf of the company, I Sent out of my own armoury as follows:
10 light muskets, 25 lb balls,
25 lb powder, 10 cartridge boxes,
2 bunches gun matches.
The Town therefore is charged at the following rate:—1 lb powder, one guilder in bevers, or 30 stuyvers in wampum, or 25 stuyvers in wheat; 1 lb lead, 6 stuyvers; 1 musket and cartridge box, 8 guilders in wampum and a match in proportion; also with one hour glass and a writing book.
Thereafter it happened that the inhabitants disputed, quarreled, and disagreed among one and another, in consequence of which Albert Albertse, Harmen Courten, Jan Sely, Jan Van Cleef, Teunis Ydessen, Cornells Beeckman, Claes Claessen Smit, Jacob Hellekerse Swart, Huibert Jansen Hook, Willelm Willemse, Pieter Hesselse, and Jacob Van Curlaer, on the 11th of October 1659 united in a petition to the Director General and Counsel for relief, which they handed to the Fiscal for safe keeping, not being able to send it in consequence of the season and the Indians.
The Fiskal then gave orders to fortify and surround his house, which alone had a tile roof, with palisades for the safety of the inhabitants and as a place of refuge, which immediately was done and finished.
In consequence of many persons neglecting properly fencing their lots, keeping them in proper order, or keeping watch either personally or by deputy, dissatisfaction arose, so that Jan Tomasse, Huybert Janson Hoock, Cornells Beeckman, Willem WilJiamse, and J. Van Curlaer, again on the 26th of January 1660, wrote to the Fiscal complaining of the damage daily done by the hogs, in consequence of the insufficiency of the fences, so that they had also had a mind to be neglectful if nothing was done to abate the evil.
The above and similar difficulties and disturbances caused the Fiscal much running about and made him weary, so that he did not know what immediately to do, and doubted whether or not to accept the office of Sheriff of the Town of Utrecht; he did as much as he could to make peace,
[vol. I.J 53