In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Nicole Maskiell, an associate professor of History at the University of South Carolina and the author of Bound By Bondage: Slavery and the Creation of the Northern Gentry (Cornell Univ. Press, 2022) joins Liz Covart to investigate the practice of slavery in Dutch New Netherland and how the colony’s elite families built their wealth and power on the labor, skills, and bodies of enslaved Africans and African Americans. [Read more…] about Wealth and Slavery in New Netherland
Stephen Van Rensselaer III: The Last Patroon
Stephen Van Rensselaer III (1764-1839), was orphaned at the age of ten. His father had died when he was five and his mother remarried Reverend Eilardus Westerlo, minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in Albany. She died five years later and Stephen was raised by Abraham Ten Broeck (later Brigadier General) and his wife (Stephen’s aunt) Elizabeth Van Rensselaer.
Stephen attended the John Water’s School in Albany, grammar school in Elizabeth Town, New Jersey and Classical School in Kingston. He then attended college at Princeton, but withdrew to Harvard because of the dangers in Northern New Jersey during the Revolutionary War. In 1776, Stephen’s grandfather Philip Livingston (who had married Ten Broeck’s sister Christina) had signed the Declaration of Independence. [Read more…] about Stephen Van Rensselaer III: The Last Patroon
Berne’s West Mountain Methodist Episcopal Church: Some History
The 1609 voyage by Henry Hudson up the river that bears his name caused the Dutch to claim the adjacent land. In 1621 these lands, the home of the Mohawk and Mohican people, were granted to the Dutch West India Company. The company established the Patroon System to attract settlers. A Patroon was given a large tract of land to sponsor settlers to colonize their land.
In 1629 the new Patroon, Killaen Van Rensselaer, was granted land to create the Manor of Rensselaerswyck in exchange for helping settle the land with Europeans. It incorporated most of the area in Albany, Rensselaer, Greene, and Columbia counties. Fort Orange (later the city of Albany), became the center of the Dutch fur trade. [Read more…] about Berne’s West Mountain Methodist Episcopal Church: Some History
Colonial Conflict, Native People, Anti-Catholicism & The Burning of Schenectady
In 1652, New Netherland Director General Peter Stuyvesant declared that Fort Orange and everything around it, including the village outside the fort, often called Oranje after the fort, was independent of the ownership of the Van Rensselaer family. He named the small mostly Dutch village “Beverwyck.”
Possibly at the urging of the Van Rensselaers, their earlier manager Arendt Van Curler (Corlear) began planning the construction of a new village. [Read more…] about Colonial Conflict, Native People, Anti-Catholicism & The Burning of Schenectady
Life In Dutch Albany When The English Took Over
In 1664, Charles II, King of England, bequeathed to his brother, James, Duke of York and Albany, all the land in the Hudson River Valley and Long Island from the west side of Connecticut to the east side of Delaware Bay, in short, all of Dutch New Netherland.
He also bequeathed four men-of-war and 300 soldiers under the command of Colonel Richard Nicolls to take possession of New Netherland from the Dutch. Learning of this, the Dutch in New Netherland appealed to the Dutch West India Company asking for a loan of five or six thousand guilders to prepare fortifications. No loan or assistance appeared. [Read more…] about Life In Dutch Albany When The English Took Over
Palatines In The Helderbergs: The Zeh and Warner Sawmill
The people we call Palatines were displaced during the turmoil of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). More than 13,000 mostly, though exclusively, Protestant Germans from the Middle Rhine region of the Holy Roman Empire first fled to England.
Known then as “Poor Palatines,” opposition to their immigration resulted in nearly 3,000 of them (about a third the size of the population of the city of New York) being sent to the colonial Province of New York in 1710. Many were forced to work off their passages at at work camps on Livingston Manor. In 1712, more than a hundred other families, sought new lives in the Schoharie Valley, then a frontier between the English, French, and Native People. From there, some moved to the Helderberg Escarpment, in what is now Western Albany County. [Read more…] about Palatines In The Helderbergs: The Zeh and Warner Sawmill
The Third Patroon & The English Take-Over of New York
The third patroon was Kiliaen Van Rensselaer II (1655-1687) son of Johannes, who was the first patroon to live at Rensselaerswyck, the van Rensselaer Patroonship in most of what is now Albany and Rensselaer Counties, along with parts of Columbia and Greene Counties.
Kiliaen II was only seven years old when his father died however, so his uncles continued to manage the colony. Jeremias was director in 1664 when the English seized New Netherland and renamed Beverwyck “Albany.”
Jeremias’ constant conflict with Stuyvesant and his possible establishment of overland fur trade with the English in Massachusetts, avoiding Peter Stuyvesant’s tax collections in New Amsterdam (New York City), may have facilitated the English take-over. [Read more…] about The Third Patroon & The English Take-Over of New York
Rensselaerswyck, Beverwyck & Schenectady: The Stuyvesant, Van Rensselaer and Van Slichtenhorst Conflict
In spite of his involvement and investment, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer never visited his new patroonship Rensselaerswyck; it was managed by his agent, and cousin, Arendt van Curler, commissioner general of the colony of New Netherland.
The second patroon, Johannes Van Rensselaer (1625–1662) succeeded his father after his father’s death in 1643 but also never came to America. He governed through an agent, Brant van Slichtenhorst. [Read more…] about Rensselaerswyck, Beverwyck & Schenectady: The Stuyvesant, Van Rensselaer and Van Slichtenhorst Conflict
Early Settlers at Albany: The Founding of Rensselaerswyck
In 1620, the English Puritans landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts and the following year the Dutch West India Company was chartered and given the exclusive right to conduct trade in New Netherland.
In 1624, eight families joined the Dutch traders at Albany arriving on the ship New Netherland captained by Cornelis May.
These settlers built homes and cultivated farms; they also constructed Fort Oranje (Fort Orange) on the west bank of the Hudson River. [Read more…] about Early Settlers at Albany: The Founding of Rensselaerswyck
Early Settlement Above The Helderberg Escarpment
From 1630 until the Anti-Rent Movement of the 1840s, most of what is now Albany and Rensselaer Counties, along with parts of Columbia and Greene Counties, was part of the estate of the van Rensselaer family. They leased the land, but did not generally sell it.
Running north-south through Albany County is the Helderberg Escarpment, a vertical limestone cliff hundreds of feet high (Thatcher Park forms a part of this geologic feature) that separates the Hudson Valley lands in the eastern part of the county from the lands to the west, above the cliffs. Because the land above was difficult to reach, and the soils poorer, that area was settled somewhat later by Europeans. [Read more…] about Early Settlement Above The Helderberg Escarpment