Tag Archives: Rensselaerswijck

Enslaved in Rensselaer County: Slavery at Crailo


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SK-A-285On Saturday, February 22nd from 11:00am-4:00pm Crailo in Rensselaer, NY will explore the lesser-known world of those who were enslaved by the Van Rensselaers and the history of slavery in New Netherland and New York.

Crailo will be open for special open-house style tours, featuring new interpretation of the cellar kitchen focusing on the role that enslaved people played at Crailo.  Continue reading

Historic Cherry Hill to Conserve Rare Receipt books


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MVR receipt bookHistoric Cherry Hill has been awarded funding from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York for the conservation, rehousing, and select digitization of the museum’s collection of Van Rensselaer family receipt books and related clippings.

In all, there are 13 receipt books and numerous clippings and recipe fragments (in both manuscript and printed form) dating from the mid-eighteenth century through the early 20th century. The receipt books belonged to members of the Cherry Hill household.  Continue reading

Halloween History: New York’s Anti-Mask Law


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murray249The approach of Halloween together with recent news that the last scheduled criminal case stemming from the arrests of hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protestors had been dismissed, has swung the spotlight of history back on New York’s anti-mask law.

It was one of the first tools used by New York City police to break up the Occupy Wall Street protest when it began in September, two years ago. Within days of donning Guy Fawkes masks, demonstrators were charged by police for violating the anti-mask law, section 240.35(4) of the New York Penal Law. Its origins go back to a statute passed in 1845 to suppress armed uprisings by tenant farmers in the Hudson Valley who were using disguises to attack law enforcement officers. Continue reading

Dramatic Tours Recapture Harrowing Night at Cherry Hill


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murder graphicOn Thursday, Friday and Saturday – October 31 through November 2 -  Historic Cherry Hill will present a dramatic tour reliving the infamous 1827 murder that occurred at the Cherry Hill mansion, one-time home of the Van Rensselaer family.

The public is invited to step into the experiences of the Cherry Hill household on the evening of May 7, 1827, when a hired hand murdered a household member.  The dramatic tour will investigate the scene of the crime and the differing perspectives of those who were there on that fateful evening.  Continue reading

Hidden History: Knickerbocker Mansion, Crailo Events


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The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) announces their September and October Hidden History programs. Which will focus on the Knickerbocker Mansion, Schaghticoke, NY (on Tuesday, Sept 5) and Crailo, the Museum of the Colonial Dutch, in Rensselaer, NY (Tuesday, October 30).

The Rensselaer County Historical Society and Museum is a dynamic not-for-profit educational organization established in 1927 to connect local history and heritage with contemporary life. We strive to enrich the present and advocate for the future by bringing the region’s past to life, recognizing every face and every story.  RCHS is located at 57 Second Street, in Troy.

Reservations can be made by calling 518-272-7232 x12 or email ilenefrank@rchsonline.org

Knickerbocker Mansion, Schaghticoke, NY
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
4:30pm
$15 per person, $12 for RCHS members
The Knickerbocker Mansion located in Schaghticoke was built by Johannes Knickerbaacker III around 1780. The house was lived in by generations of the Knickerbocker family but fell into disrepair in the 20th century. A dedicated group of volunteers began restoration and after decades of work the building has been almost completely restored. Join Rensselaer County Historian, Kathryn Sheehan, on this special tour of one of Rensselaer County’s oldest buildings.

Crailo, Museum of the Colonial Dutch, Rensselaer, NY
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
4:30pm
$15 per person, $12 for RCHS members
Rensselaer County Historian, Kathryn Sheehan, will lead our visit to Crailo, a State Historic, which tells the story of the early Dutch inhabitants of the upper Hudson Valley through exhibits highlighting archeological finds from the Albany Fort Orange excavation and guided tours of the museum. Originally part of the vast landholding called the Manor or Patroonship of Rensselaerswyck, the Crailo farm was named after the Van Rensselaer’s estate in the Netherlands, variously spelled Crayloo or Cralo in the 17th century, and meaning “crows’ wood” in Dutch. Tour includes viewing the award winning short-film, Keeping Order: A Fort Orange Court Record.

12th Annual Algonquian Peoples Seminar Saturday


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The Native American Institute of the Hudson River Valley and The New York State Museum are hosting the 12th Mohican/Algonquian Peoples Seminar at the NYS Museum in Albany this Saturday, September 15, 2012. A complete list of topics related to Northeastern Native American culture from prehistory to present is included below, along with the days itinerary.

9:00 – 9:30 Registration -
9:30 – 10:00 Welcome & Board Introduction: Mariann Mantzouris & Kevin Fuerst
Presentation of Colors by the Mohican Veterans

10:00 – 10:30 JoAnn Schedler
Mohicans in the Civil War
JoAnn Schedler, BSN, MSM, RN and a Major, US Army Nurse Corps Reserves (Retired). She served over twenty years with the 452 Combat Support Hospitals (CSH) of Wisconsin. She is a life member of the Mohican Veterans and Reserve Officers Association and a member of the American Legion in Gresham, WI. In 1985 to present she serves as a founding board member for Indian Summer Festival. She serves on the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Tribal Historic Preservation Committee and the Constitution Committee and is a Peacemaker for the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Court. She was the first Nursing Instructor for the Associate Degree Program at the College of the Menominee Nation 2008/ 2009 and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nurses since 1992.This continues a presentation given last year on this subject.

10:30 – 11:00 Judy Hartley
Mohican Diet and Disease in Pre-contact America.
Written information by early Dutch explorers as well as oral histories transcribed by missionaries has provided insight into both the diet and general health of the Mohican Indians at the time of the arrival of
Henry Hudson in the early 17th century. From these sources as well as current-day research, it is possible to capture the essence of Mohican daily life before the arrival of Europeans.

Judith Hartley grew up on the Stockbridge-Munsee/Band of the Mohicans reservation in northern Wisconsin. Her mother was a Mohican who was active in tribal governance—serving for years as the elected tribal treasurer. Judith left the reservation upon high school graduation to attend college. She has a B.S. degree in biology and worked for years in pharmaceutical research. Currently she has obtained an MBA and has worked for the past 22 years for Roche Diagnostics Corporation, a global pharmaceutical and health care company. As retirement approaches, Judith endeavors to give something back to the tribe by way of historical research, poetry and speeches concerning her people.

11:00 – 11:30 John M. Smith
Esopus Indians and the Ulster County Trader
Findings from a recently discovered Dutch account book of the fur trade in Ulster County are discussed that provide new insights into the lives of Esopus individuals and their families in the early eighteenth
century.

John M. Smith is an independent historian and contributing author to New York State Museum bulletins, the Hudson River Valley Review, and co-editor with Dutch Historian and translator Kees Waterman in the forth coming book Munsee Indian Trade in Ulster County, New York, 1711-1732.

11:30 – 12:00 Katy L. Chiles
Hendrick Aupaumut: An Eighteenth-Century Mohican Diplomat
This paper provides an introduction to the work of Hendrick Aupaumut, an eighteenth-century Mohican diplomat. A sachem who fought on the American side of the Revolutionary War, Captain Aupaumut was tapped by President Washington to serve as a diplomat to the British-allied Miami and Shawnee leaders who fought against white settlers. Aupaumut’s 1792 manuscript, a record written for U.S. governmental officials, was printed in the 1827 Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. This talk muses over Aupaumut’s “errors” in spelling and grammar, including one interesting clause: “these white people was” (sic). One might be tempted to assume, like his original interlocuters, that Aupaumut, as a Native American who had yet to master the English language, constructed a sentence with flawed subject-verb agreement. However, unlike U.S. officials who wrote that the manuscript contained  many “incorrectnesses” (sic), Chiles argues that Aupaumut’s peculiar locution astutely explored the most contemplated concerns of early America: could the many former white British subjects ever become one  people? What would the process of becoming “E Pluribus Unum” actually look like? Could people be both singular (denoted by the number of the verb was) and plural (denoted by the number of the demonstrative adjective these), and, most importantly for Aupaumut, how would all this effect how white settlers would interact with both his own and other Native American tribes? Furthermore, by comparing Aupaumut’s manuscript with the Society’s Memoirs, this presentation illustrates how editorial practices used by Aupaumut’s publishers conditioned the “original” text and allows us to consider Aupaumut’s intellectual sovereignty.

Katy L. Chiles teaches and writes about Native American and African-American literature, early American literature and culture, and critical race theory at the University of Tennessee. Her work has
appeared in journals such as PMLA and American Literature and has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Transformable Race and the Literatures of Early America. This summer she was honored to do research at the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation in Bowler, Wisconsin. There she was able to share her work with and to learn from Sherry White, Nathalee Kristiansen, Leah Miller, and Betty Groh, all of
the Mohican Nation, Stockbridge-Munsee Band.

12:00 -1:30 Lunch on your own. Eating areas are located in the museum  should you want to bring your own lunch. There are three restaurants within two blocks of the Museum.

1:30 – 2:00 Karen Hess
The Coeymans Family and the Mohicans
One of the largest 17th century land transactions between the River Indians and European settlers was transacted in 1672 by Maghshapeet, sachem of the Katskill Indians, to Barent Coeymans, Dutch colonial
miller. Confirmed as a patent in 1673, and awarded a royal confirmation in 1714, this vast tract of ancient tribal lands south of Albany stretched foreleven miles along the west bank of the Hudson River and westward twelve miles into the wilderness. The history of this patent, the home of two divergent cultures, and the relationships of Barent Coeymans and the Katskill Mohicans, will be explored in this
presentation.

Karen Hess is preparing a book about Ariaantje Coeymans whose portrait hangs at the Albany Institute of History & Art where Mrs. Hess is a docent. She has presented her research at a NYS Historical Association conference as well as other historical societies. An essential element of the story of this colonial woman is her family’s intriguing relationship with the Mohican Indians.

2:00 – 2:45 Eric Ruijssenaars
A Dutch Founding Father: Abraham Staats
In 1642, surgeon Abraham Staats and his wife Trijntje Jochems emigrated from Amsterdam to Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s vast estate, Rensselaerswijck (now part of Albany and Rensselaer counties). Staats’s job was not simply to treat ailing residents but also to advise the Patroon. He  served as a magistrate of the court. Outside of court, he was often called on to resolve disputes between his neighbors. Well respected  within Rensselaerswijck, Staats was also something of a diplomat. Entitled to trade in beavers, he learned the Algonquin Indian language and was, therefore, able to act as an intermediary between colonists and Native Americans. The sloop Staats purchased to further his commercial  interests placed him in contact with leaders in New Amsterdam (New York City) and allowed him to develop a personal relationship with Peter Stuyvesant.

Eric Ruijssenaars studied history at Leiden University graduating in 1988. He has written two books about Brussels and the Brontës (published in 2000 and 2003), is co-founder of Brussels Brontë Group in 2005. He started a bureau for historical research in Dutch Archives, in 2002. In 2011/2012 Eric was chosen Senior Scholar in Residence at the New Netherland Research Center in Albany.

2:45 – 3:15 William Staats
Hoogeberg, the Staats Family, and the Mohicans.
Staats Island (or the Hoogeberg: the “high hill.”) has been in the Staats family since the mid-17th century. The Joachim Staats homestead, dating from 1696, remains a family residence. Many generations of the family are interred here overlooking the beautiful Hudson River. This is  where Colonel Philip Staats saved the life of the Mohican, Ben Pie, in the late 1700s. It is no longer an island but remains a place of great history with many stories to tell.

William Staats graduated from SUNY Albany with an MS in Education in 1957. Bill grew up at Staats Island near Castleton-on-Hudson, NY in the 1696 Joachim Staats homestead. He taught in 1965-66 at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and also taught for several years in Hudson High School and for 35 years in the accounting and computer areas at Hudson Valley Community College. In 2009 he authored Three Centuries on the Hudson River.

3:15 – 3:45 Francis “Jess” Robinson
Ceremonialism and Inter-Regional Exchange Two Millennia before the Fur Trade: a View from the East Creek Site
The East Creek cemetery was excavated between 1933 and 1935 on the southeastern shore of Lake Champlain by representatives of the Museum of the American Indian- Heye Foundation. Despite its unfortunate desecration, the site contains rare and remarkable evidence of the elaborate ceremonialism and long distance exchange obtaining during the Early Woodland period (ca. 3,000-2,000 cal yr BP). While the presentation will concentrate on some of the more salient aspects of the site and what it suggests about the Native groups participating in the Early Woodland interaction sphere, mention will also be made of the analogies that one may cautiously advance regarding trade and exchange during the contact era.

Francis “Jess” Robinson is a PhD Candidate at the University at Albany-SUNY, a Research Supervisor at the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program, and a current adjunct faculty member in
the Anthropology Department at UVM.

3:45 – 4:00 Kevin Fuerst
The Lebanon Spring: A Work in Progress
Kevin Fuerst, NAI President, long-time board member, and New Lebanon Town Historian will provide a status update on his efforts to preserve the famous curative Lebanon Spring and interpret its Native American associations.

4:00 – 4:15 Closing Remarks and Retreat of the Colors” by Mohican Veterans to conclude the conference.

Silver Stories at the New-York Historical Society


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The pharaohs commissioned their pyramids, the wealthy and powerful today emblazon their names on buildings, philanthropies and great estates. But in earlier times in America, a convenient way to stamp your ambitions and achievements in the permanent record was to call on the silversmith.

The silver collection at the New-York Historical Society has taste, ornament, style, luxury, sparkle – and permanence. But it also has some quirky and memorable tales associated with its dazzling objects. The exhibition Stories in Sterling showcases some outstanding pieces, with richly detailed annotations in the accompanying catalog by curators Margaret K. Hofer and Debra Schmidt Bach. Continue reading

Albany Institute ‘Lives of Abraham Staats’ Sunday


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This Sunday, January 29 at 2 PM the Albany Institute of History & Art will host Dr. Eric Ruijssenaars as he tells the life story of Abraham Staats, a Dutch founding father of Albany. Ruijssenaars is a Senior Scholar in Residence at the New Netherland Institute, and operates the research firm Dutch Archives. The event will be FREE with museum admission.

The lecture will examine Abraham Staats’ varied roles in the Capital Region, beginning with Staats’ 1642 emigration from Amsterdam to Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s vast estate, Rensselaerswijck (now part of Albany and Rensselaer counties). As a surgeon, Staats not only treated ailing residents, but also acted as advisor to the Patroon. He served as a magistrate of the court; and outside the court, he was often called on to resolve disputes between his neighbors. Well-respected within Rensselaerswijck, Staats was also something of a diplomat. Entitled to trade in beavers, he learned the Algonquin Indian language and was therefore able to act as an intermediary between colonists and Native Americans. The sloop Staats purchased to further his commercial interests placed him in contact with leaders in New Amsterdam and allowed him to develop a personal relationship with Peter Stuyvesant.

Following the talk, guests are invited to explore Albany’s Dutch colonial history by visiting the permanent exhibition Traders and Culture: Colonial Albany and the Formation of American Identity, located on the third floor of the museum. The Albany Institute of History & Art is located at 125 Washington Avenue, Albany. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with a valid ID, $6 for children 6-12, and FREE for members and children under 6.

Photo: The Abraham Staats house, which he built, is currently the oldest home in Columbia County.

Books: Selected Rensselaerwijck Papers


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Papers from the New Netherland Institute’s annual Rensselaerswijck Seminar has long served as a platform for local historians to present their latest research on the only successful patroonship in New Netherland.

A Beautiful and Fruitful Place: Selected Rensselaerswijck Papers, vol. 2 (SUNY Press, 2011) includes papers delivered at the seminar from 1988 to 1997 and features New Netherland’s distinctive regional history as well as the colony’s many relationships with Europe, the seventeenth-century Atlantic world, and New England, these cogent and informative papers are an indispensable source toward a better understanding of New Netherland life and legacy.

Leading scholars from both sides of the Atlantic critique and offer research on a dynamic range of topics: the age of exploration, domestic life in New Netherland, the history and significance of the West India Company, the complex era of Jacob Leisler, the southern frontier lands of the colony, relations with New England, Hudson Valley foodways and Dutch beer production, the endurance of the Dutch legacy into nineteenth-century New York, and contemporary genealogical research on colonial Dutch ancestors.

Edited by Elisabeth Paling Funk and Martha Dickinson Shattuck, the newest volume of papers includes chapters from Rensselaerswijck Seminars on domestic life in New Netherland, the Age of Leisler, New Netherland and the Frontier, The Persistence of the Dutch after 1664, The Dutch in the Age of Exploration, Manor Life and Culture in the Hudson Valley, Family History, Relations between New Netherland and New England, The West India Company and the Atlantic World, and more.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Shirley Dunn: Early Dutch House Rediscovered


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What follows is a guest essay by Shirley Dunn, a historian of Rensselaerwijck and the Mohican.

A surprise “Dutch” house dating to about 1700 (or just before), located on Route 9J near the Teller Crossing, is for sale. The bricks have been covered with siding and the roof slope has been changed so you would not know it is that old. The original walls, cellar fireplace support, and beams in the cellar, as well as vlechtingen at roofline in the attic, remain in place. All bricks used to build the house were of the thin pre -1703 size.

The house appears on mid-1700 maps and belonged to the farm called “Cost Verlooren” leased by the Abraham Van Deusen family in the late 1600s and passed down through daughter Jannetje into the Witbeck family. Although it is probably the oldest house in the East Greenbush area, excepting for Staats house, it was hidden by early 20th century siding and missed by the Historic American Buildings Survey of the 1930s.

In the early 1900s or before, the slope of the roof of this old Dutch-style house on the river road below the present City of Rensselaer was raised so a second floor could be developed. The newly built second floor portion was covered with white siding on the outside and the bricks on the south gable and the first floor were painted white. This is apparently why the house was bypassed by the Historic American Buildings Survey in the 1930s. Since then, the brick house was completely covered with modern siding late in the 20th century, to preserve the brick.

In the 17th century, the managers of Rensselaerswyck, which was a colony begun by Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, leased out farms along the river below the present City of Rensselaer. A valuable farm near the present-day Hayes Road intersection was leased to Teunis Dirckse Van Vechten. His son, Gerrit Teunis Van Vechten, sold the lease to Claes Van Petten. In 1696, the Claes Van Petten-Teunis Dirckse farm was obtained by speculators Samuel Staats, Barent Rynders, and Joachim Staats. In May, 1699, these men sold the farm lease back to Gerrit Teunis Van Vechten and Jonas Douw, the brother-in-law of Gerrit.

North of the Van Vechten property, another farm had been established in 1639. In 1640 its combination barn-with-residence attached burned down. Later leased by Cornelis Van Nes, who had little success, the farm earned the nickname Kost Verloren, or “Money Thrown Away.” (For details, see Dunn, “Settlement Patterns in Rensselaerswijck,” de Halve Maen Magazine (Holland Society, Lxvii, Fall 1994).

Despite this history, in 1687, a lease for this Kost Verloren farm was obtained by Melgert Abrahamse Van Deusen, a carpenter. Van Deusen had been working in the area as a farmer on rented land which was no longer available at Fort Crailo (Correspondence MVR 181-182). In the nineteenth century, part of the Kost Verloren farm was owned by the Teller family. On this latter site, immediately beside a railroad crossing still known as Teller’s Crossing, a gambrel-roofed brick house survived until the 1920s. It was known as the Teller Farmhouse. The gambrel-roofed houses of our area were generally built in the decades after the late 1750s, after the French War wound down. The farmhouse, of which a photograph exists, was probably built in the 1760s. This date is based on a map of the 1750s, which showed only one house in the area. (For photo, see Reynolds, Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley before 1776 (1928) pages 84-85, photo 143). The gambrel-roofed Teller farmhouse therefore was not the earliest house on the Kost Verloren farm. Maps indicate it appeared between 1757 and 1767.

An earlier existing house on this farm was mentioned in the renewed lease of 1709 given to Melgert Abrahamse Van Vechten. According to Reynolds, in Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley, page 84, Melgert Abrahamse Van Deusen, (First Settlers p. 124) conveyed part of his farm to his daughter, Widow Jannetje Van Deusen Witbeck in 1733. As the stated north boundary line of the land of Johannes Van Vechten, a son of Gerrit Teunis Van Vechten, adjoined Jannetje Van Deusen’s land, we know that Jannetje’s portion was the south part of the Kost Verloren farm. She was his daughter, although not listed in Pearson’s First Settlers. Jannetje was the widow of Thomas Janse Witbeck who had been buried two years earlier on Papscanee Island in 1731.

Jannetje Van Deusen had married Thomas Janse Witbeck at the house of her brother, Rutger Van Deusen, in 1702. Since Rutger Van Deusen was a son of Melgert Abrahamse Van Deusen, we know that Jannetje was his sister.. Rutger had married Wyntje Harmense in 1692 (Pearson, First Settlers of Albany Co.) Rutger is identified as a linen weaver. Can I speculate? Possibly Widow Jannetje agreed to take care of her father in his declining years, in exchange for title to the land she already lived on. Melgert Abrahamse Van Deusen was buried on Papscanee Island in 1742.

A map of 1757 shows one house in the area of Kost Verloren. This house is most likely today’s surviving Hurley house obliquely opposite the former Teller Crossing and Teller Farmhouse (now gone). According to evidence remaining in the Hurley house attic and cellar, it was a one-and-a half story steep-roofed Van Rensselaer-style tenant house, possibly built at the time of Jannetje’s 1702 marriage. Alternately, this could be her father’s house from before 1700, or an unidentified early house on Kost Verloren. It is unlikely it is her brother, Rutger’s house, since he may have lived in Albany (1702 list).

Jannetje Van Deusen Witbeck’s house and farm passed to an Abraham Witbeck, probably her son, who passed it to his daughter, Jannetje, married to James Cole. He is most likely the Abraham Witbeck who appears at number 45 on the 1767 Bleeker map of house sites. A Melgert Abramse Witbeck is listed on the 1767 map at number 44. He appears to be a son of Lucas Janse Witbeck who in 1692 married Catrina, another daughter of Melgert Abrahamse Van Deusen. (Pearson, First Settlers, page 153). By the time of the 1767 map, apparently his gambrel-roofed house known as the Teller farmhouse had been erected, probably number 44 on the map. The two houses were not far apart on Kost Verloren.

According to Reynolds’ research, Jannetje Witbeck’s farm later belonged to Coles, Nortons and Tellers (Dutch Houses, page 84). However, her research related to the gambrel–roofed Teller Farmhouse of the 1760s, which she thought was an older house, possibly Jannetje’s. Thus, this ownership research might apply only until the two properties were separated.

Deeds to the property could be checked at Troy. Earliest deeds might be at the Albany County Hall of Records. In the 20th century, the still standing older house on Kost Verloren belonged to the Hurley family beginning about 1950.

In a landscaped setting, the Hurley house hides its age under white siding and a changed roofline. It has a one-story frame rear kitchen addition. The old interior has been modernized. Stairs lead to the added second floor. However, the house’s age quickly appears. A wall of early bricks lines the steps to the cellar (bricks about 7.5 inches long x 1 ½ high by 3 ½ to 4 across, in various shades of red). Hewn chamfered beams cross the cellar in the Dutch style from wall to wall. The present owner has supported the old beams with jack posts.

The cellar holds proof the house had jambless fireplaces. At the south end of the cellar is a well-preserved, 89 inch long brick arch which once had trimmers at each end. The arch is constructed of the same thin bricks noted above, the arch resting on a row of flat stones protruding a few inches from the cellar wall. The arch extends 33 inches into the cellar to the first beam. This arch once supported the hearth which was above on the first floor. At the north end of the cellar, one projecting support stone remains in the cellar wall, enough to indicate there once was a similar arch there. The other support stones apparently were broken or removed from the north cellar wall to make room for a modern heating unit. An added outside entrance into to the cellar, located beside the south arch, is trimmed with larger bricks from a later date. That there was an earlier rear wing before the present kitchen wing is suggested by the foundation.

The outline of the former tapering chimney (above the former first floor jambless fireplace and the existing cellar arch) is visible on the south gable wall of the attic. A rebuilt chimney (made of thin old bricks) rises to the ridge. The original gable end roof framing, showing the steep slope of the former roof, is visible in this south end of the attic. Along the top of the former gable end wall are vlechtingen (inverted brick triangles) in the Dutch style. They once were part of a standing gable which projected above the roof. The inside of the visible original south gable wall is laid in the thin, early bricks, (now covered on the outside), which remain within the old framing. Above the old wall, 20th century brick laid to fill space under the new roofline can be seen in the gable. A fire in the north gable, which gable has been rebuilt, has removed early attic evidence at that end.

The impression is that this two-room house when built was constructed with early small bricks and had jambless fireplaces at each end. The bricks suggest the house very likely dates to c.1700, give or take a few years. If so, this Van Deusen-Hurley house is a remarkable previously unrecognized survivor of the late seventeenth century or very early eighteenth century.

The existing house with large lot is in good shape is for sale, the asking price $229,900. Those interested in purchasing the home should contact Carla Bakerian of Heartland Properties at (518) 479-5434.

Photos courtesy Shirley Dunn: Above, the Hurley-Van Deusen house in the 1950s (note the beam anchors in the gable); Middle, the hearth support, a brick arch under the original first floor hearth of a jambless fireplace, remains in the south end of the cellar. Note the small size of the early bricks, which are similar to those used throughout the house. Below, the old, small bricks of the Hurley-Van Deusen House at present are covered with siding to protect them. Note the beam anchors, now used for decoration.

Killaen van Rensselaer: Designing a New World


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A biography by New Netherland scholar Janny Venema of one of the founding directors of the Dutch West India Company and a leading figure in the establishment of the New Netherland colony Kiliaen van Rensselaer has been published by SUNY Press.

As one of the founding directors of the Dutch West India Company, he was instrumental in the establishment of the New Netherland colony on the East Coast of North America, becoming one of its first patroons. Although he never actually set foot in the New World, his patroonship, Rensselaerswyck, encompassed much of what is now New York State’s Capital District and survived as a legal entity up until the 1840s.

During the early 1600s, as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands was locked in a war with Spain that would last for eighty years, thousands of immigrants came to Amsterdam and greatly influenced the development of the Republic. Among them was Kiliaen van Rensselaer, a young man from a small eastern town on the war front.

Young Kiliaen quickly became part of the culture of the rapidly developing city, where he was trained as a jeweler and merchant by wealthy relatives. He would work within this family network for the rest of his life, to great success.

In this biography, Venema examines the time in which Kiliaen van Rensselaer lived, his surroundings, the rapidly expanding city of Amsterdam, the great trading companies, the jewelry business, and the people in his network. Along the way, she explores his motivations and the powerful role he played in helping to establish a Dutch presence in the New World.

Janny Venema is Assistant Director of the New Netherland Research Center, which is responsible for translating the official records of the Dutch colony and promoting awareness of the Dutch role in American history. She is the author of Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652–1664, also published by SUNY Press in cooperation with Uitgeverij Verloren.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Rensselaerswijck: Life on the Hudson’s East Bank


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The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) and the New Netherland Research Center (NNRC) are partnering to present a day of lectures and a tour of a private home to highlight the history of Rensselaerswijck, the colonial estate owned by the van Rensselaer family that was located in what is now mainly the Capital District.

The program will be held on Saturday November 5, 2011. Lectures will take place at the RCHS, 57 Second Street, Troy NY. Cost is $25 for the day, $23 for RCHS and NNRC members. For more information or to make your reservation, call 518-244-6853 or email ilenefrank@rchsonline.org. Space is limited for the house tour.

Highlights of the day include an address by Dr. Eric Ruijssenaars and a chance to tour one of the oldest homes in Rensselaer County, Hoogebergh. Dr. Ruijssenaars, the New Netherland Research Center’s first Senior Scholar in Residence, is the founder of Dutch Archives, a historical research firm in Leiden, the Netherlands. Although a specialist in the history of Russia and the Netherlands, he is also a scholar of the Brontë sisters in Brussels and has published two books on the subject. Currently he is researching the life of Abraham Staats. Hoogebergh is a private, family owned property in which eleven generations of the Staats family have lived. The earliest sections of the home date to the 1690s.

SCHEDULE

9:00am – Coffee and Registration at RCHS, 57 Second Street, Troy NY

9:30 am – Welcome
Ilene Frank, Executive Director, RCHS & Charly Gehring, Director, NNRC

9:45 am – Native Americans Along the Hudson
Andy Krievs, Project Director, Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc.

Through the years, Hartgen Archeological Associates has conducted several excavations that include Native American sites. Mr. Krievs will talk about several sites found along the Hudson River that date back to the Woodland time period and even earlier.

10:30am – A Dutch Founding Father: Abraham Staats
Dr. Eric Ruijssenaars, Senior Scholar in Residence, NNRC

In 1642, surgeon Abraham Staats and his wife emigrated from Amsterdam to Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s estate, Rensselaerswijck. Staats’s not only treated ailing residents but he also advised the Patroon and served as a magistrate of the court, resolving disputes both inside and outside of court. Well respected, Staats was also something of a diplomat. Entitled to trade in beavers, he learned the Algonquian Indian language and acted as an intermediary between colonists and Native Americans. His commercial interests placed him in contact with New Amsterdam’s leaders, such as Peter Stuyvesant.

11:30am – Going Dutch: The Influence of Dutch Culture in the Upper Hudson Valley
John Scherer, Historian Emeritus, New York State Museum

New York’s unique Dutch heritage was reflected in its material culture long after the colony was taken by the English in 1664. By that time New York, formerly known as New Netherland had been heavily settled by the Dutch and new settlers continued to arrive from the Netherlands. These early settlers and their descendants attempted to replicate their native land in the new world. This Dutch influence continued to exist in the Upper Hudson Valley well in to the nineteenth century.

1:00pm – Tour Hoogebergh
Join us for a special tour of Hoogebergh, a private, family owned property that has remained in the Staats family for eleven generations. The stone house was begun in the 1690s or before and lengthened in 1722. Other additions have been made, but the older parts are little changed. Space is limited, book early.

Illustration: The Hudson River Valley c 1635.

Meet New Netherland Center’s Resident Scholar


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Dr. Eric Ruijssenaars, the New Netherland Research Center’s first Senior Scholar in Residence and founder of Dutch Archives, a historical research firm in Leiden, will discuss his research at a luncheon on Wednesday, October 5 at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany, 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street. The buffet lunch will begin at 12:00 noon, with the presentation commencing at 12:30 p.m., followed by a question and answer period.

Although a specialist in the history of Russia and the Netherlands, he is also a scholar of the Brontë sisters’ time in Brussels and has published two books on the subject.

He is currently researching the life of Abraham Staats. In 1642, Staats arrived in the Dutch colony of New Netherland to serve as a surgeon on patroon Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s vast estate, Rensselaerswijck, which is now part of Albany and Rensselaer counties. Over the course of his life, Staats became a magistrate of the court, a captain of the burgher guard, the owner of a sloop that made regular trips to New Amsterdam (New York City), and an Indian language translator. Something of an oddity in rough-and-tumble New Netherland, he remained a very respectable man and was, for that reason, regularly called on to mediate disputes between his less respectable and more litigious neighbors.

The New Netherland Research Center is a partnership of the New Netherland Institute and the New York State Office of Cultural Education. It continues and extends the work of the New York State Library’s New Netherland Project, which since 1974 has preserved, transcribed, translated, and published 17th century documents in order to make the history of the Dutch colonial presence in North America more broadly accessible for study.

The University Club of Albany Foundation, Inc. is presenting this event, and one need not be a member of the University Club to attend. The cost for the luncheon and lecture is $25. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the University Club at 518-463-1151.

Photo: The Abraham Staats House, one of the finest surviving buildings from the Dutch Settlement of the Raritan Valley in New Jersey.

Albany County Hall of Records Open House


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In honor of the Albany County Hall of Records (ACHOR) 10th Anniversary at 95 Tivoli Street, Albany County Clerk Thomas G. Clingan has announced that there will be an open house at the Hall of Records on April 27, 2011 from 2-4 PM. This current location is the third home of the Hall of Records; the first was the Albany High School Annex at 27 Western Avenue from 1982 -1986, followed by 250 South Pearl Street from 1986-2001.

Exhibits and tours of the Hall of Records will be available, including areas normally off-limits to visitors. ACHOR presently holds 12,890 cubic feet of archival records and 75,025 cubic feet of inactive records, all stored in a secure warehouse setting that is significantly more cost-effective for records storage than regular office space. A 992 square-foot concrete vault located within the building stores the most rare and valuable records, including the original 1686 Dongan Charter of the City of Albany.

ACHOR is a joint program of the County and City of Albany, making records available to the public in a state-of-the-art facility. Among the items on special display on April 27 will be: Albany County Sheriff’s Department Bertillon Mug Shots, 1896; Civil War Allotments and Bounty Records, 1862-1864; Register of Manumitted Slaves, 1800-1828 and the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwijck Minutes, 1652-1656.

Further information about the Albany County Hall of Records and directions to the facility can be found online.

If you are interested in attending the open house or a tour of the Hall of Records, please contact Deputy Director Craig Carlson at 436-3663 ext. 204 or ccarlson@albanycounty.com

Met Curator to Speak at Historic Huguenot Street


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On Saturday, March 12th and Sunday, March 13th, the focus at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz will be decorative arts. Peter M. Kenny, Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will present “Rensselaerwyck Revisitus,” an insider’s glimpse of the acquisition and installation of a quintessential New York Dutch room in the context of the most comprehensive collection of American historic interiors in any art museum in the country.

The Met’s New York Dutch Room comes from an 18th century house built by Daniel Peter Winne (1720–1800) on the famed Van Rensselaer Manor outside of present-day Albany. The architecture of furnishing of this room shares much with the museum houses at Historic Huguenot Street. Kenny, who is currently working on a book about Duncan Phyfe, is the Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator and Administrator for American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kenny’s talk, which is part of the Second Saturdays series, will be offered on Saturday, March 12th at 7pm. There is an $15 charge ($12 for Friends of Huguenot Street).

On Sunday, March 13th, from 1 to 3pm, Sanford Levy, owner of Jenkinstown Antiques in New Paltz, will be joining Leslie LeFevre-Stratton, Curator of Collections at Historic Huguenot Street, for a special “Coverlets Roadshow” Evaluation. Do you have a coverlet tucked away in your home? Perhaps a family heirloom or a treasured antique store find? Ever wonder how old it is, how or where it was made and even what it is worth? Levy and LeFevre-Stratton are the folks to ask. Together, they will examine coverlets brought in by the public and share their expertise. All are invited. There is a $10 suggested donation. This event is offered in conjunction with Binary Visions: 19th-Century Woven Coverlets from the Collection of Historic Huguenot Street, which is on exhibit at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz through March 18th.

Both events will be held in the LeFevre House at 54 Huguenot Street in New Paltz. For more information about these events or about Historic Huguenot Street, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call (845) 255-1660.

Tracing Your Ancestors to the Dutch Settlers


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Theodore P. Wright, Jr., Ph.D., Vice President of the Dutch Settlers Society of Albany and a trustee of the New Netherland Institute, will discuss resources to aid in tracing your ancestors to the Dutch Settlers, specifically in an area under the jurisdiction of the Court of Rensselaerswijck prior to the year 1665 or in Esopus (Kingston, NY) prior to the year 1661. The program will be held in Librarians Room, New York State Library, Cultural Education Center, 7th floor 310 Madison Avenue, Albany 12230 on Thursday, June 17th, 12:15 – 1:15 PM Online registration is available.

The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany was founded in 1924, in connection with the celebration of the tercentenary of the settlement of the City, and was instituted to: perpetuate the memory and virtues of the individuals who resided here during the time it was a Dutch colony; and to collect and preserve records and information concerning the history and settlement of Albany and its vicinity, including genealogical records of the settlers and their descendants without regard to race, creed, or country of origin.

For more information about this program, contact Sheldon Wein or Mary Beth Bobish at NYSLTRN@mail.nysed.gov, or call at 518-474-2274.

Presentation On The Poesten Kill Thursday


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John Warren (yours truly) has written the first history of the Poestenkill ­which flows through the center of Rensselaer County and enters the Hudson River at Troy, will offer a book talk and signing this Thursday (October 22nd, 6:30 to­ 8 pm) at the Rensselaer County Historical Society in Troy (57 Second Street, Troy). The event is free and open to the public. Copies of The Poesten Kill will be available for purchase at the event. The Poestenkill has been home to American Indians who hunted, gathered, fished and farmed along its shores, frontier Dutch farmers and traders, colonial tradesmen, merchants, millers, and lumbermen, and nineteenth century iron, steel, textile, and paper workers.

Shirley Dunn To Speak On Mohicans And Dutch


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Shirley W. Dunn, who has published two books about the Mohicans (The Mohicans and Their Land 1609-1730 and The Mohican World, 1680-1750) and has one in press, will speak on October 22nd at the Smithsonian Institution’s Heye Museum in Manhattan (a branch of the Museum of the American Indian) beginning at 6:00 pm. Her topic will be the Mohicans and the Dutch, and the she will deal with contributions of the Mohican Indians to Dutch settlement and to the Colony of Rensselaerswijck. The talk is free and open to the public.

Rensselaerswijck Seminar Scheduled For Oct 1-3


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The Rensselaerswijck Seminar, this year themed “Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s Colonie: The Beginning of European Settlement of the Upper Hudson,” will be held in the New York State Museum’s Carole Huxley Theatre October 2nd and 3rd. Scholars and historians from this country and the Netherlands will present seminar topics over the two days, giving current information about the origins and history of Rensselaerwijck, a million acres that encompassed what is now Albany, Rensselaer and Columbia counties. Admission to the seminar is $75 for both days, $50 for one day, and $25 for students.

Noted author Russell Shorto will speak on “Oh, Henry: What Has the Hudson Year Wrought?” at the opening reception of the 32nd Annual Rensselaerswijck Seminar, Thursday, Oct. 1, at 5:30 p.m. at the NYS Museum, Albany. Admission to Shorto’s talk is free.

The New Netherland Institute’s conference theme is a return to its roots as a platform for local historians to present their latest research on the only successful patroonship in New Netherland.

The members of the New Netherland Project staff will all take part. Charles T. Gehring, Ph.D., director of the project, Janny Venema, Ph.D., assistant director, and Martha D. Shattuck, Ph.D., editor, will present new information from their research specialty areas.

Shorto will also take part on a panel of authors Friday at 10:30 a.m., with other contributors to the institute’s recent publication, “Explorers, Fortunes & Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland.” Martha D. Shattuck, Ph.D., editor, will be moderator.

More detailed information and registration forms are available at the New Netherland Institute website at www.nnp.org.

State Archaeologist Paul Huey on Crailo Historic Site


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State Archaeologist Paul Huey from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will speak at at East Greenbush Community Library, 10 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY, Sunday, April 19 at 2:00 pm. Huey will concentrate on Crailo in the 17th century, explaining what archaeological excavations and documents have revealed.


Important archaeological discoveries have been made at Crailo at various times recently. According to Huey, “In 1974 when the sewer line was installed under Riverside Avenue and in 2007 and 2008 when we excavated for a gas line from the street to the house. We have discovered that Indians lived on the site as early as the 1400s. Dutch pottery and other artifacts discovered in 1990 and in 2008 support the interpretation that this was the location of the home of Domine Megapolensis in 1642, which was a different, earlier structure from the present house.”

Call the State Library at 518-477-7476 to register for this free talk.