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Information on

the Immigrant
Renssalearswyck, New Netherlands
Albany & Papscanee, New York


Settlers of Renssalearswyck

First Settlers of Albany County, New York

History of New Netherland

The New-England Historical and Genealogical Register

Minutes of the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwyck Vol. I 1652–1656




“Settlers of Renssalearswyck”



Jan Thomasz is first mentioned about 1644, and in 1646 is referred to as the former servant of Adriaen van der Donck. On June 11, 1646, while Antony de Hooges (assistant to the Patroons agent, Arent Van Curler) was at “the Manhatans”, he was engaged by Pieter Hartgers as farmer on de Vlackte, in place of Jan Barentsz Wemp, at yearly wages of ƒ250, cloth for a suit, one pair of shoes and two shirts. March 25, 1649, Director van Slichtenhorst ended his contract. In 1648 he had a house built by Thomas Chambers, and from 1653 to 1658 he, Pieter Hartgers, and Volckert Jansz appear as lessees of the farm on Papscanee Island formerly occupied by Juriaen Bestval. He bought this farm, jointly with Volckert Jansz, in 1658 and on November 3, 1663, obtained a patent from Stuyvesant for land at Schodack, including Schotac or Aepjes island, for which the receive a confirmatory patent on May 4, 1667. The same day, May 4, 1667, Vockert Jansz received a patent for land at the Esopus adjoining land belonging to Jan Thomasz. He continued to pay tithes on the farm at Papscanee until 1684, from which date until 1688 tithes were paid by his widow.

Indian deed to Volckert Jansen and Jan Thomassen for Nanoseck island and the half of another island lying before their farm
On this day, the 25th of January 1661, Volckert Jansz and Jan Thomasz acknowledged and declared that they had agreed and contracted with the Indians named Syme, Capachick and Nachonan, for themselves as well as for their kinsmen and coowners, about the purchase of the half of, or such right as they have hitherto possessed in, the island lying to the eastward on the binnen kil 2 before the farm of the aforesaid Folkert Jansz and Jan Thomasz, together with a little island Iying thereby, called by the Indians Nanoseck and by the Dutch het cleyne cuypers cylantie 3, in manner following:
The aforesaid Folckert Jansz and Jan Thomasz shall henceforth have the full ownership, possession and use of the entire aforesaid island and the little island, without said Indians making any further claim whatsoever thereto they, the said Indians, acknowledging they have received full satisfaction and payment therefor and promising nevermore to do nor cause to be done anything contrary hereto, nor allow anything to be done hereagainst either by themselves or any of theirs. In witness of the truth of which, the contents hereof having been clearly translated to the aforesaid Indians by Mr Abraham Staets and Mr Ruth Jacobsz, and they the buyers have confirmed the same by their signatures, in the colony of Renselaerswyck, dated as above.

This mark X was made by the Indian Syme, aforesaid
This mark X was made by the Indian Capachick, aforenamed
This mark X was made by the Indian Nachonan, aforenamed

Abram Staas: Volkert Jansz
Rutger Jacobsz Jan Thomasz

In my presence,
D.V. Schelluyne, Secretary 1661

Bill of sale of a negress from Cornelis van Borsum to Jan Thomassen
On this 27th day of September 1678 appeared before me, Adriaen van Ilpendam, notary public residing in New Albany, and before the herinafter named witnesses, the honorable magistrate Jan Thomasz, of the one part, and the worthy Cornelis van Borsum, of the other part, who acknowledge that in all love and friendship they have agreed and contracted in manner following, to wit: Said Mr Cornelis van Borsum acknowledges that he has sold to said Mr. Jan Thomasz the youngest of his negresses which he has at present here in New Albany and delivers the same over to the buyer hale and sound and without any injury; for which said buyer promises to pay in hand to the aforenamed seller immediately thirteen whole, salable beaver skins and twenty-five skipples of peas in hand, and in addition two hundred skipples of winter wheat, to wit, one hundred skipples in the spring of 1679 and the other hundred skipples of wheat in the spring of 1680, by the first sloops, said wheat to be delivered free on board to this Van Borsum or his order; for which this buyer binds his person and estate, nothing excepted, subject to all lords, courts, tribunals and judges, and in case of failure the worthy Jacob Sandersz Glen and the worthy Meyndert Harmensz for the aforesaid sum as principals remain sureties, also under pledge of their respective persons and estates, nothing excepted, subject to all lords, courts, tribunals and judges, In confirmation whereof they have subscribed this with their own hands in New Albany, dated as aforesaid, in presence of the honorable Sheriff Johannes Provost and surgeon Cornelis van Dyck, call as witnesses hereto.

Cornelis van Borsum
Jan Thomansz
Jacob Sanderse Glen
Meyndert Harmensz
As witnesses:
Joh: Provoost
Corn. van Dyck

Quod attestor
Adrian van Ilpendam, Not. Pub.



for the
Genealogies of the First Settlers
of the
Ancient County of Albany, From 1630 to 1800”
by Prof. Jonathan Pearson


From 1652 when Beverwyck was laid out to 1678, he was the most considerable dealer in house lots in the village. In 1664 in company with Volkert Janse Dow he bought he whole of Apje's island or Schotack and the mainland opposite on the east side of Hudson river, from the natives.

“O’Callahan, History of New Netherland, ii, 176”

Form of Oath to the Patroon
The following is the form of oath of allegiance to the Patroon and Co-directors, taken by the colonists. It is from a manuscript found by Dr. O’Callaghan among the papers in the Patroon’s office, and translated by him for his History of New Netherland.
“I, N. N., promise and swear that I shall be true and faithful to the noble Patroon and Co-directors, or those who represent them here, and to the Hon’ble Director, Commissioners and Council, subjecting myself to the Court of the Colonie; and I promise to demean myself as a good and faithful inhabitant or Burgher, without exciting any opposition, tumult or noise; but on the contrary, as a loyal Inhabitant, to maintain and support offensively and defensively, against every one, the Right and Jurisdiction of the Colonie. And with reverence and fear of the Lord, and uplifting of both the first fingers of the right hand, I say — So Truly help me God almighty.”
This date, 15th July, 1649, hath Steven Jansen carpenter taken the Oath of allegiance from the hands of the Honorable Director before the commissioners of the colonie. Witness, A. de Hooges, Secretary.
23d Nov., 1651. Resolved, that all Householders and Freemen of this Colonie shall appear on the 28th day of November of this year, being Tuesday, at the house of the Honorable Director, and there take the Burgerlyke oath of Allegiance.
The following persons have taken the Oath at the appointed time, according to the foregoing formulary: —

Mons’r Arendt van Curler, Everardus Sansz,
Mons’r Johan Baptist van Rensselaer Adriaen Pietersz. van Alkmaer
Pieter Hartgers, Jochim Wessels Backer,
Jan Verbeeck, Jacob Luyersz,
Sander Leendersz, (Glen.) Thomas Sandersz Smith
Gysbert Cornelisz. van Weesp, Evert Pels,
Willem Fredericksz, —— Hendricksz. Verbeeck,
Jan Michelz, [One name defaced here,]
Rutger Jacobszen, —— Van Es,
Goosen Gerritsz, Hendrick Westercamp,
Andries Herbertsz, Thomas Keuningh,
Cornelis Cornelisz. Vos, Cornelis Segersz,
Jan van Hoesem, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Voorhout
Jan Thomasz  
Pieter Bronck, Jan Ryersz,
Jacob Jansz. van Nostrandt, Jan Helms,
Harmen Bastiacnsz, Aert Jacobsz,
Teunis Cornelisz, Guysbert Cornelisz. aende Berg
Jacob Adriaensz. Raedmacker  
Teunis Jacobsz, Evert Jansen Kleermaker,
Rutger Adriaensz, Dirck Jansen Croon,
Casper Jacobsz, Jacob Simons Klomp
Abraham Pietersz. Vosburg, Mocker Jansz.
Thomas Jansz,  

21st May, 1653.

“The New-England Historical and Genealogical Register”
1897, Volume LI

Translation of one of the earliest papers in the possession of the Douw family of Albany
This letter is to be delivered in New Netherland at Fort Orange to Johan Thomssen from Witbeck.

Johan Thomssen:—
If it is possible we would like to hear from you again. We have received your former letter in good time and thank you kindly for it, as you have written us how it goes with you. Now I am telling you again what you know already, to wit—that in 1651 I, Thoms Jenssen, wanted to send my son Jans Thomssen to you with a letter, that is in the spring of 1651; but when he came to Holland the ships for New Netherland had sailed and he gave the letter for you to somebody to forward. I should be glad to know that you have received it. You will have learned that a great war of the Swedish people has been going on here during the last years, thro which we have suffered great damages and losses of horses, cattle and goods. After the Swedish war we had so many heavy hailstorms during two years, just when the grain was in full blossom, that we could harvest only a few sheaves, the hail having beaten it down so. In consequence everything has been very dear during the last six years, the stup (a measure of 2 quarts) of rye costing 18 to 24 marks, so that most families in our village have become very poor, but we may thank God for having kept us in good health.
(p2) My daughter Viecke (Sophie), who is the wife of Peter Malissen, has four children, a boy and three girls. My daughter Catryna became the wife of Henrich Petersen, but he died last year, leaving her with three children, a boy and two girls. My three sons are still with me and God be praised in good health. All three are crazy to see New Netherland, God permitting. If you will write whether it is feasible (all three being still unmarried) they will ask that you come here if you can with your wife and children; but if not, that you would write so that I could send one of my sons to you with instructions, and if it is in your power he might thus be given a chance to see with God’s help and blessing some good land and woods, for what land is left here is constantly ruined by the frequent marching and counter-marching over it of the soldiers.
(p3) I hope that with God’s help there will be nothing to hinder and if you do not write again I shall pray and trust that God will keep my dear son Johan Thomssen in His Fatherly protection. I commend you and your family to His care, and hope that he will keep you—as well as us here—in good health, so that you might surprise us by a happy return.

Witbeck, 27 February, 1653.

Thoms Jenssen
(written by my own hand)

My oldest son Jens would like to return with you if—with God’s help and the assistance of the Holy Spirit—you and your family could pay us a visit. May the good God long keep you in his Fatherly protection. Now you know that we are all still alive.

(The translator of the above, Berthold Fernow—formerly archivist of the State of New York—writes: “It has taken me a day to translate one page, for the language is neither German nor Dutch, but a mixture of both with a liberal addition of Nether-Saxon, as spoken even to-day in Schleswig-Holstein, where you need an interpreter in speaking to a native.”)

“Minutes of the Court
Fort Orange and Beverwyck”
Vol. I 1652–1656
Translated and edited by A. J. F. Van Lear

Ordinary Session, October 22, 1652

A petition was read of Jan Thomasz and Laurens Jansz, burghers of Beverswyck, setting forth that shots are frequently fired at night by the Christians themselves, notwithstanding the ordinances against it, and requesting for the sake of preventing many accidents in the future that a warning may be issued by this court.
Whereupon, after deliberation, it is resolved to note that proper provision in the matter will be made by the court for the future, and to request the president to make inquiries as to the persons who are guilty.

Tuesday, February 10, 1654
The Hon. Jacob Jansz Schermerhoren and Jan Thomasz, magistrates of this court, are authorized to lay out for Hendrick Marcelis a lot on the hill, or wherever it may be most convenient and to make a report thereof to this court.

Tuesday, March 17, 1654
As on the 8th of April next three of the magistrates will have been for two years in consecutive service and the term which they agreed to serve will therefore expire and the time arrive for others to take their places, we have below nominated a double number of five persons, from whom three are to be chosen by your honors to fill the vacancies.
Abraham Staets
Volckert Jansz
Jan Labatie
left the service last year
Rutger Jacobsz
Andries Herpertsen
Cornelis Theunisz
whose time expired on the 8th of April
Jan Verbeeck
Jacob Schermerhoren
Jan Thomasz
have served one year

Tuesday, February 2, 1655
Claes Gerritsz being summoned by the court and being asked whether he knew who was guilty of bestowing the [nick] names that are in circulation, declares that some time ago, sitting in the evening at the house of Cornelis Vos, he heard out of his own mouth that he had given the following names:

First, the house of Jan Thomasz, “The Cuckoo’s Nest” (het Koeckoeck Nest)
Goosen Gerritsen’s house he gave the name of “Concord” (de Eendracht)
Rut Jacopsz’ house “The Whistling Wind” (Soesende Wint), to the best of his knowledge
The house of Jan van Aecken, “The Finch’s Nest” (het Vincknest)
The house of Andryes Herpertsz, “The House of Ill Manners” (’t Huys Onbeschoft)
The house of Philip Pietersz Schuldert, “Fly like the Wind” (Vliegende Wint)
Evert Wendel, “The Griffin” (de Vogel Grijp, literally, the Grasping Bird)
The house of Gerrit Jansz, “The House of Discord” (Haspel in de Sack op het Dack)40
The house of Dirck Jansz Kroon, “The Savingsbank” (de Spaerpot)
He also declared having heard the house of Mr de Hooges mentioned, but that the exact name had escaped him.
Mother Bogaerdus’s house, “The Vulture World” (de Gierswerelt)
The house of Volckert Jansz is called “The Bird Song” (de Vogelsanck)40a
Mr Renselaer’s house, “Spoiled early” (Vroegh bedorven)
Pieter Hertgerts’s house, he named “The little sparrow” [het Huysmusgen, used figuratively for a home body, a stay at home]
Claes Gerritsz has with uplifted fingers confirmed the foregoing oath.

Tuesday, April 18, 1656
Jan Verbeecq, Jan Tomasz, Jochem Keteluyn, Auckes Bruynsen and Arien Jansz from Leyden are ordered to build on their vacant lots within one month, or at least to put them in such shape that the work can to all appearances not be stopped but must necessarily proceed, on pain of being deprived of their lots which shall be placed at the disposal of the court, to which end an inspection will then be made. All this without prejudice to the rights already acquired or to be acquired by the officer. It is furthermore decided that all those who this day have not registered their lots in conformity with the order brought to everyone’s knowledge by the notices that have been posted, shall be and remain deprived and divested of the same. Done as above.

Extraordinary Session, Wednesday, April 19, 1656
Pr. Hertgers, Jan Tomasz and Volckert Jansz, plaintiffs and parties arresting, against Herman Bamboes, defendant and person arrested.
They demand that the arrest, etc. and furthermore that the defendant be condemned to pay the sum of fl.1408:–, one-third part to be paid in beavers or grain, on account of the delivery of beer, according to the tally kept thereof, declining settlement.
The defendant admits the debt, except what he paid on it, and requests that payment of the balance may be delayed until the coming month of June, offering meanwhile to leave as a pledge and deliver into the hands of the plaintiffs the sum of one thousand guilders, upon condition that if he, the defendant, does not make any payment before that time, they, the plaintiffs, shall be at liberty to satisfy themselves out of the aforesaid money and that in case he make payment meanwhile, they, the plaintiffs, shall be bound to deliver to him, the defendant, one hundred beavers in lieu of the aforesaid one thousand guilders.
The plaintiffs accept the offer as it stands, provided that the thousand guilders be this day delivered into their hands.
The court accordingly condemn the defendant to pay the sum demanded, provided that he may deduct therefrom what he shall prove having paid thereon. Furthermore, they order him to deliver this day the thousand guilders offered by him into the hands of the plaintiffs, under the conditions specified and aforementioned, and condemn him to pay one-half of the costs of this court.

Wednesday, October 14, Anno 1656
The 12th of October the officer arrested a certain drunken savage, committing insolence, and brought him on a brewer’s wagon to the fort where he was place in confinement.

The 13th of October Anno 1656, at the request of the officer of Fort Orange, the savage named Macheck Sipoeti, a Mahican, was examined by Jan Tomassen, well acquainted with the Mahican language, in the presence of the Hon. J. B. Rencelaer, director of the colony of Renselaerswyck, and the Hon. Ruth Jacobsen and Anderies Herbertsen, magistrates of the court of Fort Orange and the village of Beverwyck.

He was asked first where he had been drinking, whereupon he answered, in an Indian house, situated near the Gojer’s kill.

He was then asked where the savages had obtained the brandy, whereupon he answered, on the east side of the river, from the Dutch, who lived there.

Thirdly, he was asked the names of the Dutch who had sold or given them the brandy, whereupon he answered that he did not know their names.

Finally, he was asked how large the cask was, whereupon he indicated the size in such a way that one was able to judge that it must have been an anker.


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