Johannes De DECKERS (1626 – ) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Miller line.
Johannes De Deckers was born Jun 1626 in Dordrecht, Holland. His parents were David De DECKERS and Maeyken Gisbrechtsdr MELCEN. He arrived in New Amsterdam in Apr 1655 on the ship Swarte Arent. He was sent back to Holland in 1657 and married Margaret Van BELCAMP on 27 Oct 1657 in Dordrecht Holland. Alternatively or in addition, they were married in the New Church in Amsterdam on 13 Nov 1657.
Margaret (Margreta) Van Belcamp was born about 1636 in Amsterdam, Holland. Her parents were Jacob Van BELCAMP and Hester BACHER. Margaret died in Staten Island.
Children of Johannes and Margaret:
|1.||Jacob De Deckers||17 Nov 1658
New York Dutch Reformed Church
|May have returned to Holland, for he does not appear in NY or Staten Island records|
|2.||Matthew De DECKERS||c. 1670 in Amsterdam, Holland||Aefte Eve MESSECAR
c. 1687 in Staten Island, NY
|Between 1715 and 1718
Carles Neck, NY
Johannes may have been baptized in the Groot Kerk (Great church) in Dordrecht. He lived for awhile with his uncle Abraham de Deckere, and he may have known the famous artist Rembrandt, who was a friend of his uncle’s.
On 07 Oct., 1647 he was a Notary in Dordrecht, and in 1650, 1653, and 1654 a Notary in Shiedam, Holland. He was also listed in town records of Shiedam in 1654 as that states Attorney. That he was a well placed, and educated man there can be no doubt, he could write very well, Judaical, and was a leader.
In April, 1655 he arrived in New Amsterdam on the ship “Swarte Arent“. He served as the Supercargo on this voyage, and he bore a letter dated 23 Nov., 1654 from the Director of the Amsterdam Charter of the Dutch West Indies Company, addressing his fine qualities, and great abilities. This letter was addressed to Pieter Stuyvesant, the Governor of the New Amsterdam colony.
Upon his arrival in New Amsterdam he soon came into contact with this famous Statesman, and Pieter liked him, and made him a State Attorney in New Amsterdam, as shown in the Colonial Documents of this period. Other letters dated 23 Nov., 1654, and 26 May, 1655 also spoke of Johannes good qualities, and that he was a good financial man.
Shortly after his arrival in New Amsterdam, Johannes was sent to Fort Orange in Albany, New York to become their Commissary Manager. He appears in this role on 16 June, 1655. From 13 July, 1655 until 17 July, 1656 the court records of Albany shows a conflict between Johannes, and members of the Albany court. Pieter Stuyvesant sided with Johannes, and made him both the Commissary, and the Inspector of Goods, and on 13 March, 1656 he was appointed a member of the Fort Orange Council. He shortly after became the Vice-Director of Operations for the Dutch West Indies Company in Fort Orange.
On 19 Dec., 1656 Johannes was sent back to Holland by the company to procure supplies. At this time he received as compensation 25 Florins monthly, and 50 Florins for being Councilor, and 200 Florins for rations. He published his marriage banns in Amsterdam, Holland on 27 Oct., 1657. Just before his marriage he stayed with his uncle Abraham, and with his wife’s father Jacob Van Belcamp who lived on the Keizergracht in Amsterdam.
In December, 1657, he and his new wife left Holland and sailed back to New Amsterdam, but in early 1658 he once again made the journey back to Amsterdam on company business. In the spring of 1658 he returned to New Amsterdam to join his wife, and on 28 May, 1658 he received a license to operate a Ferry with Nicassius de Sille.
On 13 Feb 1659 he received as compensation from the West Indies company 300 Florins for rations . In 1659 Johannes, and his wife Margreta made another journey to Amsterdam, Holland on the ship “Trouw” This gave Margreta a chance to visit her parents, and family. Johannes returned to New Amsterdam on 14 April, 1660 as the colonies new Councilor, and Superintendent of Finances, and the name of his ship was the “Golden Otter”
On 21 July, 1659 Johannes acquired from Hendrick Jans de Boer a lot which he resold on 10 Oct., 1663 to Johannes de Witt in New Amsterdam. It was located by the old Dutch church, which is now located on Pearl street.
In April, 1662 he left the employ of the Dutch West Indies company, and he visited Esopus, New York, now located in Ulster county.
On 20 Jan., 1664 he was asked once again by the Dutch West Indies company to help them out. Just after this date he went to Virginia with the new Commissary Verlet, because of the seizure by a Portuguese privateer the ship “T Waepen van Amsterdam“. He left with Verlet, and a cargo of slaves. He was given a send off in New York Bay by the Governor, with a cannonade of 18 pounds of powder. He was gone 6 months, but the trip was unsuccessful.
He returned to New Amsterdam, and was one of the first signatories to the articles of surrender of the Dutch Colony to the British forces under Col. Nicolls on 27 August, 1664. However, soon after this date Nicolls accused Johannes of fermenting discord. No doubt Johannes wanted the Dutch rule back, but Nicolls saw differently. Johannes was charged by Nicolls of transporting, and selling gun powder, and slaves in Albany, New York, and other settlements along the Hudson. The then newly elected Governor Nicolls ordered Johannes to leave the New York colony, and on 08 Oct., 1664 (Johannes sailed with 8 Negroes for any of the French Plantations of Martinique, Guadaloupe, or St. Christophers, and then he went to Holland.
On 15 May, 1664 before he left the colony he secured a patent for 60 morgens of land on Staten Island. (The size of a morgen varies from 1/2 to 2½ acres,) He was owed 7,350 Florins by the Dutch West Indies company, and he secured such, and then wrote a letter to the newly elected Governor of New York, Mr. Lovelace, asking him if he could return to New York. On 21 Dec 1670, and on 09 Jan., 1671 he was living now on his property in Staten Island. The New York council decided against him moving to New York City, but they let him live on his land in Staten Island. New York.
History of Richmond County (Staten Island), New York from its discovery to the present time. Richard Mather Bayles. 1883
In 1661 Melyn returned to Holland, having, in consideration of fifteen hundred guilders (six hundred dollars), conveyed all his interest in Staten Island to the West India Company. The deed was dated June 14, 1659. He was also granted an amnesty for all offenses which had been charged upon him by either Stuyvesant or his predecessor. Van Cappelan being dead, the company also purchased all the title he had to any part of the island during his life time, and thus became the possessors of the whole of it.
About this time Johannes de Decker, who first came to New Amsterdam in 1655, acquired title to one hundred and twenty acres of land on Staten Island. He was a young man of good reputation, and for a time occupied important official trusts.
By what steps he obtained possession of the land mentioned, or where it was located, we have not learned. By some disagreement with Stuyvesant he fell into discord with that turbulent official and was dispossessed and banished. The sentence was, however, in all probability reversed, since he was back in the colony again at the time of the conquest of 1664. Among the last of the Dutch patents was one granted to him for this land, dated January 15, 1664. During the administration of JSTicolls, however, his Dutch patriotism made him offensive to the English government, and he was again banished from the province.
Some time after the peace of Breda, he applied to the Duke of York for a redress of his grievances and a restitution of his property. This application the duke referred to Lovelace, with instructions to do in the premises what might be just and proper ; the result was that de Becker was restored to all his rights and privileges, and he retired to private life on his arm on Staten Island.
He was the progenitor of a numerous family now residing on the island, by the name of Decker, and further notice of him will be found in connection with the history of that family.
Soon after the sale of the island by Melyn and Van Cappelan’s heirs to the West India company, the latter made grants of land to several French Waldenses, and a still greater number of Huguenots from Rochelle [Including our ancestors Jean PERLIER II andAnne REZEAU], the descendants of whom are still residents here, and in a few instances still occupying the identical grants made to their ancestors. About a dozen families commenced a settlement south of the Narrows. In 1663 they built a block-house as a defense against the Indians, and placed within it a garrison of ten men, and armed it with two small cannons. At the request of these settlers, Dominie Drisius, of New Amsterdam, visited them every two months and preached to them in French, performing also the other functions of his calling. Rev. Samuel Drisius was sent to America by the Classis of Amsterdam, in 1654, at the request of the people, who desired a minister who could preach to them either in Dutch or French, which he was able to do. On his arrival at New Amsterdam he was at once installed as the colleague of the Rev. Johannes Megapolensis, who had resided in the country since 1642. Drisius continued to officiate at New Amsterdam and on Staten Island until 1671. From about 1660 his visits to the island were more frequent, being made once each month.
The English claimed to have discovered, through their representative, Sebastian Cabot, as early as 1497, the coast of North America. Their claim extended from thirty to fifty-eight degrees north latitude. Voyages were made to different parts of the coast by English navigators before the year 1606. On the 12th of March. 1664, Charles II. of England, by virtue of the claim just stated, made a grant of land to his brother James, Duke of York, which included within its liberal boundaries the territory then occupied by the Dutch at New Amsterdam and vicinity, of which Staten Island formed a part.
The duke immediately fitted out an expedition to take possession of the field covered by this patent. Richard Nicolls was commissioned deputy governor of this colony, and his associates in the government were Robert Carr, George Cartwright and Samuel Maverick. Four ships composed the fleet. and they together carried nearly one hundred guns and some six hundred men. The fleet arrived in New York bay in August of the same year, and Colonel Nicolls sent a demand to Governor Stuyvesant for the surrender of the fort and the government. The latter at first stoutly refused to comply with the demand, but after a few days spent in consultation with the burgomasters and people of the city, and finding the latter strongly in favor of such a course, he was forced to yield to the popular sentiment, and with much reluctance agreed to a surrender. This was accomplished on the 26th of August, and the sceptre of New Netherlands passed from the wooden-legged warrior to the representatives of the Duke of York.
It is worthy of remark that when the English fleet arrived in the bay the first Dutch property seized by them was on Staten Island, where the block house was taken and occupied.
Stuyvesant appointed six commissioners, among whom was Dom. Megapolensis and Johannes de Decker, to meet a like number on the part of the English, to arrange the terms of the capitulation. These were just and reasonable, under the circumstances; no change was to be made in the condition of the people but all were to be permitted to enjoy their property and their religion to the fullest extent. As the individual rights and privileges of no one were to be molested, the people submitted to a change of rulers, not only with a good grace, but many with satisfaction, as it released them from the overbearing and arbitrary tyranny of the director.
Though de Decker had been one of the commissioners who agreed to and signed the articles of surrender, yet, when the English began to change the names of places, and appoint new officers in place of those who had become obnoxious to them; in short, when everything began to assume an English aspect, his patriotism began to revolt, and he endeavored in some instances to oppose the work of reform which the conquerors had initiated. This brought him to the notice of Nicolls, who, to rid himself of a troublesome subject, ordered him to leave the colony within ten days. In the course of a few months everything became quiet, and the people seemed to be content with the new order of things. Unappropriated lands now began to be parcelled out to English proprietors, by English authority. Staten island, already settled by the Dutch and French, was now to receive acquisition of another nationality.