Hendrick Thomasse Van DYKE (1610 – 1688) commanded an attack in Kieft’s War in 1643, occupied several high official positions in the colony of the New Netherlands, While his unenviable reputation for starting the Peach Tree War (1655-1660) by shooting a Native American woman picking peaches on his property may be an exaggeration of the actual events, he did have a gruff personality and was often involved in controversy both with Director General Stuyvesant and the Indians. He was Alex’s 11th Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.
Hendrick Thomasse Van Dyke was born in 1609 in Holland, Reusel-de Mierden, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands. His parents were Thomas Janse Van DYKE and Sytie DIRKS. He married Duvertje Cornelisse BOTJAGERS about 1635 in Utrecht, Holland. Hendrick died in 1687 in New York City, NY. He is burried at Old St. Marks Cemetery, New Amsterdam, New York.
Hendrick sailed from Amsterdam, 25 May 1640, in the ship ‘WATERHONDT‘, bearing a commission of ‘Ensign Commandant’ in the service of The Dutch West India Company, and accompanied by a company of foot-soldiers to reinforce the garrison of Fort Amsterdam. Hendrick was also accompanied by his wife and daughter, Ryckie [our ancestor]. Due to a disaffection arising between him and Director Kieft, he returned home with his family in 1644. The West India Company, in response to complaints of the New Netherland colonists, eventually recalled Director Kieft, and reorganized the colonial government by appointing Petrus Stuyvesant, First Director; Lubbertus Van Dincklagen, Vice Director; and Hendrick Van Dyck, “Schout Fiscal“, a combination of Sheriff and District Attorney.. Hendrick and his family thus returned to New Netherland on 11 May 1647. Hendrick and Stuyvesant were instant enemies starting on the passage over. (See the story below.)
After Duvertje died, Hendrick married Magdalena Jacobse Rysens on 30 May 1675 in New York City. He married a third time to Neeltje Adriaens, widow of Jan Lauwrensz, of New Utrecht on 7 Sep 1679.
Duvertje Cornelisse (Dwertje Cornelise) Botjagers was born about 1615 in Utrecht, The Neterlands. Duvertje died about 1673 in New York City, NY.
Magdalena Jacobse Rysens was born about 1640 and died in New Amsterdam before Sep 1679.
Children of Hendrick and Duvertje:
|1||Ryckje Ulrica Van DYCK||c. 1636 in Utrecht, Holland||Jan DARETH
1 Nov 1654
Reformed Dutch Church New Amsterdam
Jacob de Hinsse
|2.||Dr. Cornelis Van Dyck||10 Mar 1641/42 New Amsterdam||Elisabeth Laekens
New York City DRC
|1686 in Beaverwyck (Albany), NY|
|3.||Lydia Van Dyck||c. 1646||Nicolaas de Meyer
(9th Mayor of New York Wikipedia)
06 Jun 1655, New Amsterdam DRC
|4.||Jannetje Van Dyck||1646, Euckhuysen on the Zuider Sea or
22 Mar 1664/65 in New York DRC
The Dutch surname of VAN DYK was a locational name ‘the dweller by the ditch or dyke’ from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The medieval dyke was larger and more prominent than the modern ditch, and was usually constructed for purposes of defence rather than drainage.
“Colonial New York,” by George W. Schuyler (2 vols., New York, 1885). –
VAN DYKE, Hendrick, pioneer, born in Holland about 1599; died in New York in 1688. He came to this country in 1636 or in 1640, in the service of the West India company, as ensign commander of their troops. He, was sent by Governor William Kieft on several expeditions against the Indians, and in 1643, under his orders, destroyed a large Indian village on Long Island sound, killing about 500 persons. He returned to Holland on 25 June, 1645, was appointed fiscal or attorney-general of the New Netherlands, and in 1646 sailed for New Amsterdam with Peter Stuyvesant, the new governor of the province. During the voyage he offended Stuyvesant, and when they reached New Amsterdam the governor excluded him from the council for twenty-nine months, and succeeded in depriving him of all his influence and dignities. In 1650 he made an earnest protest to the home government “against the excesses of Director Stuyvesant,” but the latter influenced his dismissal in March, 1652. In 1655, at a time when the citizens were entirely unprepared for an attack, the Indian tribes that surrounded New Amsterdam landed within the city limits with 500 warriors, broke into houses, abused the people, and among others wounded Van Dyke, who was seated peacefully in his garden. The citizens rushed to the fort, a struggle ensued, and three Indians were killed. The say-ages took to their boats, but in revenge laid waste the farms on the New Jersey coast, killed 50 of the inhabitants of Staten island, and took 100 prisoners. This uprising is almost universally explained by historians on the theory that Van Dyke had killed an Indian woman who was stealing fruit from his garden” but the statement is not substantiated by the earliest and most reliable authorities. His closing years were passed in retirement. He is described as a “thrifty man, dealing in real estate, and loaning money.” In 1675 he married the widow of Jacob Van Couwenhoven.
Colonial New York: Philip Schuyler and his family By George Washington Schuyler 1885 [In a 21st Century edit to this 19th Century text, I replace the word “savages” with “Indians” except for one direct quote.]
Came to New Netherland, in 1639 or 1640, in the service of the West India Company as ensign commandant of their troops. Under the unwise administration of Kieft, the Indians became very troublesome and hostile. Early in the year 1642, Kieft determined to chastise them, and for that purpose organized an expedition to penetrate their country and destroy their villages. Van Dyck was placed in command of eighty men, and with a guide marched into what is now Westchester County, where he was assured that he should find the enemy. Before he reached the Indian village, a dark and stormy night closed around him. The guide lost his way, and Van Dyck his temper; a halt was ordered, and finally a retreat. He returned to New Amsterdam without having seen an Indian, and apparently without result. Not so, however, for the Indians soon discovered how narrowly they had escaped destruction, and made overtures for peace.
Kieft was not satisfied with his abortive attempt to chastise the Indians for their alleged perfidy and atrocities. The next year these same Indians, and others living farther north, were driven from their villages by a raid of the Mohawks. They fled to the Dutch for safety, and encamped at Corlaer’s Hook and at Pavonia. Kieft, believing that his time had come for vengeance, without giving any notice to the farmers and outlying settlements, and against the advice of the best men in New Amsterdam, directed two detachments of citizens and soldiers to fall on the unsuspecting Indians in the night and butcher them in their sleep. A large number of Indians—men, women, and children—were killed at both encampments. This perfidy against a people who in time of peace had sought protection and safety, aroused the anger of the neighboring tribes, and they combined to exterminate the Dutch. In a brief time the farms and plantations were burned, and the people who were not killed or captured fled for safety under the guns of Fort Amsterdam. The Indians were bold and watchful, keeping their enemies shut up in narrow limits. Van Dyck, while stationing the guard not far from the fort, was shot and wounded in in the arm, narrowly escaping death, the bullet having grazed his breast.
The next year, 1644, was made memorable by the slaughter of large numbers of the Indians on Long Island and on the eastern borders of Westchester County.
After a raid against the Indians on Long Island, in which over a hundred of them were killed, one hundred and thirty troops were put under the command of Captain Underhill, of New England, now in the Dutch service, as he had been years before in Holland, and of Ensign Van Dyck, with orders to penetrate into the country on the borders of this province and Connecticut, and to destroy a large Indian village said to be situated a few miles north of the sound. They landed at Greenwich, and the next day took up their line of march to the interior. Their guide was faithful, and conducted them straight to the Indian camp. They cautiously approached it on a bright, moonlight night, but, being discovered, they rushed forward and completely surrounded it before the Indians had time to fly. The Indians fought with desperation, and in a brief time one hundred and eighty of their warriors lay dead upon the snow outside their cabins. The torch was then applied, and the village, with its living occupants—men, women, and children—was burned to the ground. Five hundred Indians were killed—some writers place the number at seven hundred ; only eight escaped. The loss of the Dutch was slight, fifteen being wounded.
This severe chastisement lowered the pride of the Indians , and they sued for peace. Kieft lent a willing ear to their solicitations, and in the following year concluded with all the Indian tribes a peace which continued until 1655. Meantime Van Dyck returned to Holland, and on June 28, 1645, was appointed fiscal of New Netherland. Kieft had proved himself incompetent, and the Company resolved to recall him. Petrus Stuyvesant was appointed to his place. But there were various delays, and the new officials did not sail from Holland until the close of the year 1646. On the voyage, for some unknown reason, Stuyvesant treated Van Dyck rudely and impolitely. At one time, when Van Dyck proposed to take his seat with the Council on shipboard, Stuyvesant repulsed him with the remark, “Get out! When I want you I’ll call you.” At Curacoa he confined him on board the ship for three weeks, while others, even the meanest soldiers, were allowed to land. Van Dyck believed that this was done, lest he, by virtue of his office and according to his instructions, should interfere in some business which Stuyvesant preferred to do alone. On their arrival at Manhattan the director-general pursued the same course of treatment. He did not consult him as member of Council, except when it suited his pleasure or convenience. He interfered with the higher duties of his office, and assigned him work which a slave could perform, and in various other ways made his official life a burden.
When Adrian Van der Donck was in Holland, as representative of the people of New Netherland, to solicit a better government, he sharply assailed the acts and characters of the colonial officials—none more than those of Stuyvesant and his secretary, Van Tienhoven, and said of Van Dyck, in July, 1649:
“Director Stuyvesant excluded him twenty-nine months from the Council board, for the reason among others, as his Honor stated, that he could not keep a secret. He also declared that he was a villain, a scoundrel, a thief. All this is well known to the Fiscal, but he dare not adopt the right course in the matter; and in our opinion, ’tis not advisable for him to do so ; for he is a man wholly intolerable alike in words and deeds. His head is a trouble to him, and his Screw is loose, especially when surrounded by a little sap in the wood.”
Stuyvesant, apparently to justify his treatment of Van Dyck, accused him of drunkenness and inattention to the duties of his office, which called out a rebuke from the Company, in which they allude to his ” respectable friends.” Van Dyck, forbearing as he was, and, above all things, desiring peace and harmony in the official family, at last began to feel that he was being pushed to the wall by his enemies without cause. He had held aloof from the opposition against the director-general, and had not united with Van der Donck and other leading men in their celebrated remonstrance on the condition and misgovernment of New Netherland. But now, in 1650, he joined the vice-director, Van Dincklage, in an energetic protest against the “excesses of Director Stuyvesant.” For this, although other reasons are assigned, he was arbitrarily dismissed from his office on March 29, 1692.
The long-suffering fiscal was now fairly aroused. In his Defence, a very able paper, addressed to the States General, he assails the administration of Stuyvesant as autocratic and arbitrary to the last degree. With bitter sarcasm he exposes Stuyvesant’s pretensions of having dismissed him “for the good of his Lords Superiors,” and then having appointed such a man as his secretary, Van Tienhoven, in his place. He denies that he was the author of the lampoon which was made the excuse for his dismissal, and asserts that it was concocted in the office of Van Tienhoven by himself and clerk for this very purpose. He denies the testimony of certain witnesses against him, and charges, as can be proven, that they were the creatures of the director-general and his secretary, and unworthy of belief. As Stuyvesant had reported that he was dismissed on account of misbehavior, by the advice and consent of the select-men whose names were signed to the paper notifying him of his dismissal, he asserted that the select-men had held a meeting in August, at which they declared by resolution that “no complaints were ever made to them by the commonalty of misbehavior, and they themselves had nothing to say against him or his conversation.” They also said that they refused their consent to his dismissal, and did not sign the paper.
Van Dyck sent with his Defence sworn statements as to the immorality and general bad character of Van Tienhoven, which must have made a profound impression on the Lords Superiors. They directed Stuyvesant to dismiss him from office, and when at a later period they found that he was still retained, they wrote to Stuyvesant: “We are greatly surprised you can plead his cause so earnestly. This has displeased us; and our displeasure must increase, if, contrary to our instructions and orders, you continue to employ him for any purpose whatever.” Van Tienhoven soon after disappeared. It is supposed that he drowned himself.
Van Dyck closes his defence with a letter from the Company to him, written before their knowledge of Stuyvesant’s action in his case, in which they give him some sharp rebukes for his alleged delinquencies; and his reply. In this letter he gives conclusive evidence that his “screw” was not loose, or surrounded by “sappy wood.” It is keen, incisive, ironical. His Defence is long and able. It shows him to have been a man of more than ordinary ability and of good education. He does not deny that he has faults, but exonerates himself from the charges preferred against him, and places Stuyvesant and his friend, Van Tienhoven, on their defence. The proofs against the latter were so full and convincing that the Company ordered him to be dismissed from his employments. Stuyvesant was retained, and Van Dyck was not restored. Henceforth he did not ” trouble himself with the cares of office,” but lived many years in private life as an “honorable gentleman.”
The Indian invasion of New Amsterdam in 1655 was the occasion of bringing Van Dyck‘s name again into prominence. Historians, from O’Callighan and Brodhead to Mrs. Booth and Mrs. Lamb, in their narratives of that disastrous war, have made him the responsible cause. While Stuyvesant was on his expedition against the Swedes of Delaware, the Indians living on the river to the north formed an encampment on Manhattan Island, and early in the morning of September 15, 1655, five hundred warriors landed from sixty-four canoes near the fort, within the city limits, and began a search for ” Indians from the North.” (More likely they were searching for rum.) They broke into houses before the occupants were out of their beds, and in some instances abused the people by words and blows.
La Montagne and Van Tienhoven, to whom Stuyvesant had committed the government in his absence, sent for the chiefs to meet them in the fort. During the conference, which does not seem to have been unfriendly or exciting, the Indians promised to withdraw to Nutten Island, that collisions with the citizens might be avoided. But, being joined by another detachment of two hundred, they did not keep their promise, but lingered in the streets and on the river-shore until evening. It is quite certain that they did not remain a whole day, in a town where rum was kept in every house and place of business, without getting more or less intoxicated.
Between eight and nine o’clock they made a rush up Broadway, and passing the house of Paulus Leendertsen Van der Grist, who was standing with his wife before the door, threatened to kill him, but passing on they wounded Van Dyck with an arrow, as he was standing in his garden gate. They were evidently on a drunken frolic, caring little for consequences. Their assault on Van Dyck and his neighbor caused an alarm, and the cry was raised, “The savages are murdering the Dutch !” when the citizens, seizing their arms, hastily assembled at the fort. The Indians, after their rush through the streets, returned to their landing-place. The armed citizens were then permitted to leave the fort and assault them, and in the conflict which ensued two Dutchmen and three Indians were killed. The Indians took to their canoes, and, smarting under their loss, they passed over the river and attacked the Dutch, whom they now looked upon as enemies. They laid waste the farms on the New Jersey shore and on Staten Island, killing fifty of the inhabitants and making more than an hundred prisoners. The loss in property of the Dutch was estimated at more than 200,000 guilders.
Several historians, in their narratives of these events, apparently without consulting the original records, attribute the invasion to Hendrick Van Dyck as the cause, but cite no authority. They say that he killed a squaw whom he caught stealing peaches from his garden, and that he shot her as he would a dog. The story is embellished with incidents according to the imaginations of the several writers. Some relate that the Indians, to the number of nineteen hundred or two thousand, landed from sixty-four canoes, for the purpose of taking vengeance on Van Dyck for the murder of the Indian woman. Most confine themselves to the fact of wounding him with an arrow, but one, more daring than the rest, says that they killed him.
1 Not one of the numerous authors telling the story, whose books I have read, give their authority; not one refers to the records. The charge against Van Dyck may be true, but I have failed to find the proof.
2 These canoes must have been much larger than the average to hold thirty persons each. Few would accommodate more than ten individuals each ; the more usual size would not hold as many. “Two thousand warriors in sixty-four canoes” discredits the story.
The accounts given by the actors and their contemporaries are doubtless more trustworthy than those of writers two hundred years afterwards. La Montagne and Van Tienhoven, members of the Council, were on the spot, and active participants in all that occurred before the Indians passed to the west shore of the river. The latter was a bitter enemy of Van Dyck’s, and had no reason to shield him from blame or responsibility. In their letter to the director-general, written the day after the affair, they say that many Indians from the upper and lower Hudson had made an assault on the Dutch, and had “wounded Hendrick Van Dyck, standing in his gardengate, with an arrow, but not mortally, and came very near cleaving Paulus Leendertsen’s head with an axe as he stood by his wife.” No reason is assigned for the sudden outbreak or for the assault. If they were seeking Van Dyck to kill him, why did they try to kill his innocent neighbor, and only slightly wound him, the offender? If it were Van Dyck they were after, why did they not seek him out during the day, and after killing him depart? He did not seem conscious of their hate or of his own danger, or he was brave thus to expose his person at his garden-gate. Perhaps he was watching his peaches!
On receipt of this disastrous intelligence, Stuyvesant hastened his return from the Delaware to console and encourage the poor people, “his subjects.” After he had had abundant time to investigate all the circumstances relating to the invasion on October 31st, he and his Council wrote to the States-General and the Company, giving a detailed statememt of the irruption, in which they say: “On September 15th, at a very early hour, sixty-four canoes full of Indians arrived in the neighborhood of the city,” and then go on to relate the occurrences of the day, including the wounding of Van Dyck and the threatening of Leendertsen, but do not refer to the number of the Indians or the cause of the sudden outbreak, except that it was “in keeping with their insolence and treachery ever since the peace of 1645, having killed ten persons and destroyed much property.”
A few days later the director-general submitted to the Council, for their written opinions, the question of immediate war against the Indians, the community being divided on the subject—some urging a war of extermination to begin at once, while others were in favor of delay for thorough preparation. Stuyvesant, as was his custom, gave his own views and conclusions on the questions submitted, in which he says: “We agree with the general opinion, that the Indians upon their first arrival had no other intentions than to fight the Indians on the east end of Long Island, and that careless watching and all too hasty inconsiderateness of some hot-headed individuals diverted them and gave them a cause for their subsequent actions.”
La Montagne thought that there was sufficient cause for war, “by the unseasonable gathering here of nineteen hundred Indians, of whom eight hundred were already here, to attack fifty or sixty,” but they had “given more than sufficient cause heretofore by murdering ten of our people.”
Van Tienhoven believed there was cause for war for several reasons, but more especially “because that on September 15th, early in the morning, five hundred of them, all in arms, landed from sixty-four canoes within the city limits, and, being joined during the day by two hundred more, they ran through the streets in crowds, searching houses, beating the people, wounding Van Dyck, and threatening to kill Paulus Leendertsen.”
De Sille was absent with the Delaware expedition, and had little to say except to agree with the director-general in his opinion. All agree, however, that it was not a fitting time to begin hostilities, as there should be time given in which to make preparations and receive an answer to their appeal to the States-General and the Company. There is not an intimation by any one, that the Indians came to wreak their vengeance on Van Dyck, or that he was the cause of a visitation which proved so disastrous. Considering his relations with Stuyvesant and Van Tienhoven, it is remarkably strange that, had he been the responsible cause, they should not have arraigned him in their letters, or in their own confidential communications with each other.
That Stuyvesant did not hold him culpable further appears from a letter of the Company in reply to one of his, under date of December 19, 1656. Referring to Van Tienhoven, they say: “Any one who will reflect upon his late transactions as to the Indians will confess that, being very drunk, he was the chief cause of that doleful massacre. It is quite clear he might have prevented it.” How should the Company have spoken so emphatically, unless they had received reliable information from Stuyvesant or some one else? Such must have been the sentiment of the community at the time.
In a postscript to the same letter, they write: “We understand, from letters and oral reports brought to us by private persons, that the late Attorney-General (Fiscal) Van Dyck was the first cause of this deplorable massacre, by murdering a squaw who stole some peaches or other fruits from his garden. If this is the truth, then we are greatly surprised it was not mentioned in your letters, not even with a single word—much more so, that he was not punished as a murderer. To this we call your prompt attention, and recommend his execution.” It will be noticed that the Company say, if these reports are true, Van Dyck should be punished, but they do not recall or modify their charge against Van Tienhoven as the responsible party.
In the light thrown upon the subject by these letters and records, there can be little doubt that the Indians did not visit New Amsterdam with hostile intentions, but merely stopped on the war-path against their enemies on Long Island for refreshments or other purposes. Van Dyck may have killed a squaw, as charged, for Indian life, from the beginning, in New England and elsewhere on the continent, until now, has been considered cheap; nor could the Indians have seriously blamed him, judging him by their own law of retaliation. They would have been likely to have thought the woman’s death was some compensation for the ten lives of Dutch men and women they had wantonly taken since the peace. I cannot but think that the accusation against Van Dyck was an afterthought of the real culprit to shift the responsibility from his own shoulders.
As to the number of the invaders, it is clear that the authors who have placed them at nineteen hundred or two thousand are in error, and particularly those who term them warriors all armed. It is true, La Montague says “nineteen hundred gathered here, of whom nearly eight hundred were already here.” This sentence can only be explained or understood by supposing the “here” first used to mean Manhattan Island, and the second “here ” to mean New Amsterdam. This interpretation is sustained by Van Tienhoven, who expressly declared “there landed from sixty-four canoes about five hundred men,” and adds, “in the evening they were joined by two hundred more,” making the whole number “nearlyeight hundred,” as estimated by La Montagne. The conclusion is, that they formed an encampment on the island of Manhattan belonging to the Dutch, “without previous notice,” of nineteen hundred men, women, and children, whence their warriors, in detachments of five hundred and two hundred, started on an expedition against the Long Island Indians. It is surprising that anyone should have put the number of the invaders at ” about two thousand armed warriors in sixty-four canoes;” equally marvellous that, in the face of the records and all other authors, it should be said that they “killed Van Dyck.” One cannot but wonder that, if there were nineteen hundred, coming with hostile intent, they should have been driven off by ” fifty or sixty” citizens; for these were all, capable of bearing arms, who had been left by Stuyvesant to defend the city.
Van Dyck was living at least thirty years afterward, having survived his great opponent, Stuyvesant, many years, and nearly all the associates of his early life. After the death of his wife, Deivertje, he married, in May, 1675, the widow of Jacob Van Couwenhoven. In 1680 he made a deed of a part of his Broadway property to his son Cornells. He was not idle when out of politics, but was known as a thrifty man, dealing in real estate and loaning money. If he had loved the bottle, as Stuyvesant charged, he reformed and became a good citizen, living to a good old age. In his will, dated August 13, 1685, and proved March 20, 1688, he mentioned one son and three daughters. His son Cornelis was a physician, and settled in Albany. He died at an early age, leaving two sons, both of whom adopted the profession of their father. Their descendants are numerous, and it is now difficult to distinguish them from those of the same name, whose ancestors settled, one in Delaware, and another on Long Island. Vol. IL—20
Kieft’s War, also known as the Wappinger War, was a conflict (1643–1645) between settlers to the nascent colony of New Netherland and the native Lenape population in what would later become the New York metropolitan area. It is named for Director of New Netherland Willem Kieft, who had ordered an attack without approval of his advisory council and against the wishes of the colonists.Dutch soldiers attacked camps and carried out a massacre of native inhabitants, giving rise to unification among the regional Algonquian tribes against the Dutch, and precipitating waves of attacks on both sides. This was one of the earliest conflicts between Native Americans and European settlers. Because of the continuing threat by the Algonquians, numerous Dutch settlers returned to the Netherlands, and growth of the colony slowed.
Displeased with Kieft, the Dutch West India Company recalled him. He died on the journey and was succeeded by Peter Stuyvesant. As noted above, Hendrick returned home with his family in 1644 due to a disaffection arising between him and Director Kieft, and returned to New Netherland on 11 May 1647 taking part in the Stuyvesant administration as Fiscaal, or Treasurer, and Attorney General.
Kieft War Background
Appointed director by the Dutch West India Company, Willem Kieft arrived in New Netherland in April 1638. Without obvious experience or qualifications for the job, Kieft may have been appointed through family political connections. The year before, the English colonies Massachusetts Bay, Providence Plantation, and Hartford, allied with the Mohegan and Narragansett nations, had annihilated the Dutch-allied Pequot Nation. (see: Pequot War and Mystic Massacre) The Pequot defeat eased the way for an English takeover of the northern reaches of New Netherland, along what is now called the Connecticut River. Two weeks before Kieft’s arrival, Peter Minuit, a former director-general of New Netherland, established a rogue Swedish settlement (New Sweden) in the poorly developed southern reaches of the colony, along what is now called the Delaware River.
Along the Hudson, New Netherland had begun to flourish despite years of being hamstrung by the West India Company’s monopoly and mismanagement.The company continued to run the settlement chiefly for trading, with the director-general exercising unchecked corporate fiat backed by soldiers [including a company commanded by Hendrick.] New Amsterdam and the other settlements of the Hudson Valley had developed beyond company towns to a growing colony. In 1640, the company finally surrendered its trade monopoly on the colony and declared New Netherlands a free-trade zone. Suddenly Kieft was governor of a booming economy.
The directors of the Dutch West India Company were unhappy. Largely due to their mismanagement, the New Netherlands project had never been profitable. The company’s efforts elsewhere, by contrast, had paid handsome returns. The directors were anxious to reduce administrative costs, chief among which was providing for defense of the colonies. Within this category were land “purchase” agreements with the Native American nations who historically had inhabited the lands. (These were payments for recognition of common rights to use of the land, in return for friendly relations and mutual defense.)
Kieft’s first plan to reduce costs was to raise taxes on the tribes living in the region. Long-time colonists warned him against this course, but he pursued it, to outright rejection by the local chiefs. Determined to force more deference, Kieft seized on the pretext of pigs stolen from the farm of David de Vries to send soldiers to raid a Raritan village. His forces killed several Raritan. When the band retaliated by burning down de Vries’ farmhouse and killing four of his employees, Kieft “put a price on their heads”. He offered bounty payment to rival Native American tribes for the heads of Raritan.(Later, colonists determined de Vries’ pigs were stolen by other Dutch colonists.)
In August 1641, Claes Swits, an elderly Swiss immigrant, was killed by a Weckquaesgeek of his long acquaintance.Swits ran a popular public house, frequented by Europeans and Native Americans. It was in what is today the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan [Site of the UN and the Chrysler Buildings]. The murder was said to be a matter of the native’s paying a “blood debt” for the murder of his uncle. He had been the sole survivor of an ambush of Weckquaesgeek traders by Europeans 15 years before. Kieft was determined to use the event as a pretext for a war of extermination against the tribe.
The colonists resisted Kieft’s Indian initiatives and he tried to use the Swits incident to build popular support for war. He created the Council of Twelve Men, the first popularly elected body in the New Netherlands colony, to advise him on retaliation. But, the council rejected Kieft’s proposal to massacre the Weckquaesgeek village if they refused to produce the murderer. The colonists had lived in peace with the Native Americans for nearly two decades, becoming friends, business partners, employees, employers, drinking buddies, and bed partners. The Council was alarmed about the predictable consequences of Kieft’s proposed crusade.
The Native Americans were far more numerous than the Europeans and could easily take reprisals against European life and property. As importantly, the Native Americans supplied the furs and pelts that were the economic lifeblood and the raison d’etre of the colony. With David de Vries as its President, the council sought to persuade Kieft away from war. They also began to advise on other matters, using the new Council as a means to press colonist interests with their corporate rulers. They called for establishing a permanent representative body to manage local affairs (as was traditional by then in the Netherlands). Kieft responded by dissolving the council and issuing a decree forbidding them to meet or assemble.
Kieft sent a punitive expedition to attack the fugitive’s village, but the militia got lost. He accepted the peace offerings of Weckquaesgeek elders.On 23 Feb 1643, two weeks after dismissing the Council, Kieft launched an attack on camps of refugee Weckquaesgeek and Tappan. Expansionist Mahican and Mohawk in the North, armed with guns traded by the French and English, had driven them south the year before, where they sought protection from the Dutch. Kieft refused aid despite the company’s previous guarantees to the tribes to provide it. The refugees made camp at Communipaw (in today’s Jersey City) and Corlaers Hook (Lower East Side Manhattan). In the initial strike, since called the Pavonia Massacre, 129 Dutch soldiers descended on the camps and killed 120 Native Americans, including women and children. Having opposed the attack, de Vries described the events in his journal:
“Infants were torn form their mother’s breasts, and hacked to pieces in the presence of their parents, and pieces thrown into the fire and in the water, and other sucklings, being bound to small boards, were cut, stuck, and pierced, and miserably massacred in a manner to move a heart of stone. Some were thrown into the river, and when the fathers and mothers endeavored to save them, the soldiers would not let them come on land but made both parents and children drown…”
Historians differ on whether Kieft had directed the massacre or a more contained raid. All sources agree that he rewarded the soldiers for their deeds. The attacks united the Algonquian peoples in the surrounding areas against the Dutch to an extent not previously seen. I
In the fall of 1643, a force of 1,500 natives invaded New Netherland, where they killed many, including Anne Hutchinson, the notable dissident preacher and sister of our ancestor Katherine Marbury SCOTT. They destroyed villages and farms, the work of two decades of settlement. In retaliation that winter, Dutch forces killed 500 Weckquaesgeek. Because Hendrick was rewarded after the war and Kieft was disgraced, Hendrick probably did not participate in the initial massacre, though I found a record that he commanded an attack on the Weckquaesgeek. As New Amsterdam became crowded with destitute refugees, the colony moved to open revolt against Kieft.
They flouted paying new taxes he ordered, and many people began to leave by ship. Kieft hired the military commander Underhill, who recruited militia on Long Island to go against the Natives there and in Connecticut. His forces killed more than 1,000 Natives. After their private letters requesting intervention by the directors of the Dutch West India Company and the Republic produced no result, the colonists banded together to formally petition for the removal of Kieft.
We sit here among thousands of wild and barbarian people, in whom neither consolation nor mercy can be found; we left our dear fatherland, and if God the Lord were not our comfort we would perish in our misery.
– Excerpt from the petition
For the next two years, the united tribes harassed settlers all across New Netherland. The sparse colonial forces were helpless to stop the attacks, but the natives were too spread out to mount more effective strikes. The two sides finally agreed to a truce when the last of the eleven united tribes joined in August of 1645.
Kieft’s War Outcome
The native attacks caused many Dutch settlers to return to Europe. The Dutch West India Company’s confidence in its ability to control its territory in the New World was shaken. Recalled in 1647 to the Netherlands to answer for his conduct, Kieft died in a shipwreck near Swansea, England before he reached the Netherlands. The company named Peter Stuyvesant as his successor, and he managed New Netherland until it was ceded to the British.
In proportion to the colonial population at the time, Kieft’s War had a high rate of fatalities: the militia and mercenary soldiers killed hundreds of natives. In 1642 New Amsterdam had a population of only about 800, estimated to be half Dutch.A relative peace lasted until the 1650s. Growing competition for resources contributed to the Esopus Wars.
Council of Nine
In May 1645 Peter Stuyvesant was selected by the Dutch West India Company to replace Willem Kieft. He arrived in New Amsterdam on 11 May 1647. Stuyvesant was a company man, selected to protect the interests of the WIC. The approach of ruling firmly for the profit of the WIC came in direct conflict with the New Netherlanders. In August 1647 Stuyvesant authorized the election of eighteen men, from whom he chose the Board of Nine Select Men. Three were chosen from among the merchants, three from among the general citizens, and three from among the farmers. The board of Nine Men had some legislative authority—it was to be consulted in matters of taxation and had an advisory role in any civil matters. The board also functioned as a court, with three of the Nine Men, in regular rotation, forming a court of arbitration in civil cases. The court’s decisions were binding upon the parties, with an appeal to the Director and Council.
The Council of six included Vice Director Dincklage, La Montagne, and the schout-fiscal Hendrick Van Dyck, who was usually ignored by Stuyvesant and drank heavily. Stuyvesant retained the unpopular Van Tienhoven as secretary and George Baxter as secretary for English affairs. The Nine rejected Stuyvesant’s first request for money to repair the fort. They wanted a school and believed the fort was the Company’s business. The Indian chiefs called Stuyvesant the big sachem with the wooden leg and confirmed their peace treaty with him.
Within two years, Stuyvesant was in open conflict with not only the board of Nine Men, but also with the schout fiscal, Van Dyck, and the Vice-Director,Van Dinclage. Adrian Van der Donck, president of the Board of Nine Men started a journal documenting the conditions in the colony and the actions of the Director-General. Stuyvesant seized the journal and had Van der Donck jailed. On March 15, 1649, the Council, acting as a Court of Impeachment, released Van der Donck but expelled him from the board of Nine Men.
In Sep 1650, Stuyvesant attended a conference at Hartford and agreed to a border between New England and New Netherland that recognized territories according to who was living in them. The eastern portion of Long Island thus became part of New England. Because he had given up territory, Stuyvesant refused to speak of the agreement and delayed sending a copy to the States for years. The next year he would not allow fifty English settlers from New Haven passing through New Amsterdam to go to Delaware. Stuyvesant disregarded the Nine and refused to publish the order from the States General.
When Van Dyck joined Van Dincklage and Van der Donck in writing a long protest of the General’s policies in 1651, Stuyvesant expelled Van Dincklage from the Council and put him in the guardhouse for several days. Van Tienhoven, who was married and had three children, returned to America with a woman he had told he was single. Stuyvesant dismissed Van Dyck and made the hated Van Tienhoven sheriff. In 1652 the States ordered New Amsterdam to elect a municipal government. Stuyvesant was recalled, but the Amsterdam directors got this order revoked in May.
However, the protest letter was signed, and three of the signers sailed to Holland to deliver it to the States General. Upon his arrival in Holland, Van der Donck appeared before the States General “at great length and with great effect.” Stuyvesant sent Cornelis van Tienhoven, the secretary of the province, to present his side of the controversy to the Company. He took with him a large number of exculpatory documents. Under pressure from the States General, the Company agreed to establish “burgher government” in New Amsterdam.
With the introduction of burgher government, New Amsterdam officially became the
City of New Amsterdam, and had municipal officers and a municipal court of justice. The
Company order mandated that the citizens of New Amsterdam elect a schout, two burgomasters and five schepens. In addition to their work as legislators, these officials were to sit as a municipal Court of Justice. Stuyvesant complied with the order, but instead of allowing elections, he appointed the burgomasters and schepens and delegated the Company’s New Netherland schout to act for the city.
Peach Tree War
Hendrick is also notable for starting the Peach Tree War (1655-1660) by shooting a Native American woman picking peaches on his property. The shooting was the pretext for the Susquehannock attack, but the recapture of New Sweden by the Dutch at the direction of Peter Stuyvesant was the deeper cause of the war. The Indians were allies of the Swedes, who were their trading partner. The Indians wanted to take revenge on the Dutch for their lost trading partner who they thought of as being the weaker and needing Indian protection. Patroon Adriaen van der Donck is believed to have been killed at the outset of this war, so ironically Stuvesant’s actions directly led to his nemesis, van der Donck’s death, although Stuvesant did not connect his actions with the Swedes with the Indian attacks.
The Peach Tree War, is the name given to a large scale attack on the Dutch colony of Pavonia, across from New Amsterdam, and surrounding settlements by the Susquehannock Nation and allied Native American tribes on 15 Sep 1655.
In March 1638 colonists led by Peter Minuit and sailing for the Swedish crown landed in what is today Wilmington, Delaware proclaiming the west bank of the Delaware River to be “New Sweden.” The area had previously been claimed by both the English and the Dutch but, in part because of their inability to come to terms with the dominant power in the area, the Susquehannock Nation, neither had managed more than marginal occupation. As the founding (but dismissed) director-general of the Dutch West India Company’s New Netherland colony, Minuit was familiar with the terrain and with Native American customs and quickly “purchased” the land (really, the right to settle) from the Susquehannock. At the time, the Susquehannock, who had always been mistrustful of the Dutch due to their close alliance with the Susquehonnock’s rivals The Iroquois Confederation, had lost their English trading partner when the new colony of Maryland had forced out William Claiborne trading network centered on Kent Island. The Susquehannock quickly became New Sweden’s main customers for European and imported goods and the colony’s main suppliers of furs and pelts. In the process New Sweden became a protectorate and tributory of the Susquehonnock nation, which was perhaps the leading power on the Eastern seaboard at the time.
The English and the Dutch both rejected Sweden’s right to their colony, but the Dutch had greater reason for concern since they had already discovered that the Delaware River ran north to a latitude above their New Amsterdam colony.When Sweden opened the Second Northern War in the Baltic by attacking the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Dutch moved to take advantage of the moment and sent an armed squadron of ships to seize New Sweden. A few weeks later, the Susquehannock retaliated with “The Peach War” assault on New Amsterdam and environs.
Peach Tree Attack
The Susquehannock’s dominant political and military position among the Native American Nations of the area allowed it to assemble an army of warriors from multiple allied and neighboring tribes. An army of six hundred warriors landed in New Amsterdam itself, wreaking havoc through the narrow streets of the town which was mostly undefended as the bulk of the garrison was in New Sweden. Homesteds at Pavonia (Jersey City), on Staten Island, throughout Manhattan and on the mainland above were raided and burned, forcing settlers there to abandon their farms.One hundred fifty hostages were taken and held at Paulus Hook (Jersey City) and ransomed a few weeks later by New Netherlands director-general Peter Stuyvesant who had led the assault on New Sweden but had hurried back to his capital on news of the attack. When later ransomed most of the hostages moved to New Amsterdam and the settlements on the west shore of the river were de-populated.
Impact and Aftermath of the Peach Tree War
Ironically, the Susquehannock’s retaliation may not have been understood as such by the New Amsterdam colony at the time, (although the records show that the Swedes of the Zuydt Rivier (Delaware Bay) did). The attack was motivated by the murder of a young Munsee woman who was killed by Hendrick Van Dyke for stealing a peach from his tree, an incident that had raised inter-cultural tensions shortly before the attack.
The Indians killed more than forty colonists, capturing a hundred women and children, destroying 28 farms and killing or taking 600 cattle. Forty houses on Staten Island were burned down. By the end of October 1655 seventy captives were returned, but the rest were ransomed over the next two years. Stuyvesant came back and blamed Van Tienhoven for having attacked Indians after Van Dyck was wounded. The attorney Nicasius de Sille had been sent as a possible successor to Stuyvesant, and he was appointed to the Council. However, Stuyvesant and Van Tienhoven had three votes each while De Sille and La Montagne had only two each. De Sille wrote to his friend, the Company director Hans Bontemantel, that Stuyvesant should be replaced by an unselfish governor. Van Tienhoven was dismissed, and De Sille became sheriff. After ransoming the hostages at Paulus Hook, Stuyvesant re-purchased the right to settle the area between the what is now the Hudson and Hackensack rivers from the Native Americans and established the fortified hamlet of Bergen.
One of the farms known to have been raided and burned was that of democratic reformer and champion of local self-rule Adriaen van der Donck (at the sight of present day Van Cortland Park in Bronx, NY). Records show Van der Donck to have been alive in August and dead by the following January and indicate that there was some sort of inquiry into the sacking of his home in the raids. As a consequence, it has been speculated that he may have died in, or as a consequence of the “war,” although there is no definitive record of his manner of death. If so, this would be ironic both because Van der Donck was a respectful pioneer in Native American ethnography and linguistics and because he was the political nemesis of director-general Stuyvesant (who led the capture of New Sweden in the first place).
1. Ryckje Ulrica Van DYCK (see Jan DARETH‘s page)
2. Dr. Cornelis Van Dyck
Cornelis’ first wife Elisabeth Laekens was born about. 1638 in New York, and died before 1682 in Beaverwyck (Albany), Albany County, New York
Cornelis’ second wife Elizabeth Beck (Beeck) was born about 1636 in Albany, Albany County, New York. Her parents were Pieter Beech and Aaltje Wilkins. She was the widow of [__?__] Salisbury. After Cornelis died, she married a third time. Elizabeth died 1701 in New York.
Cornelis received a surgeon’s certificate in 1661 from Dr. Jacob D’Hinse, with whom he studied for four years. Cornelis is referred to by many genealogists as the founder of the Albany or Up-State branch of the family. He came from New Amsterdam to Beaverwyck at the early age of fifteen; there he married, raised a family, and continued to reside until the end of his days.
About 1663, he married Elizabeth Lakens. The marriage produced at least two sons before her death. In April 1682, he married the widow Elizabeth Beeck Salisbury at the New York City Dutch Reformed church. That marriage produced at least two daughters who were baptized in the Albany Dutch church where he was a member
His basic education came under Adrian Janse Van Ilpendam. Then he was trained in medical practice. By 1661, he had served a four year apprenticeship under Jacob D’Hinsse – the surgeon at Beverwyck and husband of Van Dyck’s sister.
Although only twenty-three-years-old, in 1665 Cornelis Van Dyck was accepting his own apprentice surgeons. Dr. Van Dyck
He was also was known as a merchant and magistrate. He served for many years as the physician for the almshouse. By 1679, his house was an Albany landmark. He was active on the Albany real estate market and also acquired acreage beyond the stockade.
Cornelis Van Dyck died in 1686 and his widow re-married. His son succeeded him in medical practice in Albany
3. Lydia Van Dyck
Lydia’s husband Nicolaas de Meyer was born 10 Jul 1635 in Hamburg Germany. He is known to have been married twice, once to Lydia Van Dyck and once to Sarah Kellnar. Nicolaas died 19 Mar 1690/91 in New York City.
He was one of the most enterprising traders of the province. At one time, DeMayer was described as “the second wealthiest man in the New Netherlands” He and Lydia were members of the Reformed Church of Harlem. Their 1655 wedding was a most notable event. The Van Dyck mansion, on Broadway, was brilliantly lighted and filled with the elite of the city
Nicholas was the 9th Mayor of New York (Wikipedia) serving from 1676 to 1677.
Due to the various means of spelling his name, and the nonstandard bookkeeping practices of the time, DeMayer’s name has been found in many forms:
- Nicholaes DeMeyer
- Nicholas de Meyer
- Nicholas de Meyer Van Holstein
- Nicholas Meyer Van Hamborg
- Nicholas DeMayer
- Nicholas Meyer
- Nicholas DeMeirt
- Nicholas Demeyrt
- N.D. Meijer
Will of Nicholas De Meyer,
Page 355.–NICHOLAS DE MEYER. “In the name of God, Amen. I, Nicholas De Meyer, merchant in New York, being in good health, do make and declare this to be my last will and testament. I leave to Wilhelminus De Meyer in full of consideration that he is my eldest son. I leave to my wife Sarah, late widow of John Weekstein, all that I have signed to in our marriage contract. I leave to my 5 children, Wilhelminus, Henricus, Anna Catharine, Deborah and Elizabeth, all the rest of my estate that I have or in England or Holland or elsewhere. Makes his son Henricus, and “my son-in-law Thomas Crundell, husband of my daughter Deborah,” and my trusty friend Jacob De Key, executors. Proved before Governor Richard Ingoldsby, March 30, 1692, by oaths of Samuel Staats and Jacobus Provost, witnesses.
Nicholas’ house and lot is now No. 41, 43, 45, Stone Street. [Google Satellite View] He also owned a windmill and lot, which are very conspicuous in early maps and views of the city, and stood very near the site of the Baptist Church on Oliver street [now Mariner’s Temple is a Baptist church at 3 Henry Street, a mile northeast of Nicholas’ house now in the Five Points Neighborhood]. The Jews burying ground was bounded on one side by it. The daughter Anna Catherine married Jan Williense Neering of New Castle, Delaware, and afterwards John Williams. Elizabeth married Philip Schuyler. Deborah married Thomas Crundell, and afterwards Thomas Tyndall, and afterwards Wm. Anderson. He also owned a lot on Queen Street (now Pearl). Platt Street now occupies this lot.–W. S. P.]
4. Jannetje Van Dyck
Jannetje’s husband Johannes Coely was born about 1645 in The City of London, London, England. His will was dated 22 January 1688 and proved 22 March 1709 in New York City.
Johannes was a blacksmith. They had eleven children, at least six of whom grew to marry.
Williamje Van Dyck
Sometimes another daughter, Williamje Van Dyck is attributed to Hendrick and his second wife Magdalena Jacobse Rysens. Williamje Van Dyck was born 1681 Albany, NY and married Christiansen Barentsen van Horn.
Actually, Williamje was the daughter of Hendrick’s nephew, son of his brother Jans. Her real parents were Hendrick Jans Van Dyck b. 02 Jul 1653, New Utrecht, Long Island, New York; d. Aft. 1701, Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and Jannetje Hermanse Van Borklow b. Abt. 1655 who were married 29 Feb 1679/80,
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I like very much what you have done. I’m looking to do the same for my family… that is, share some history with them through the lives of their ancestors.
I would now like to ask you for your opinion on something. After the “Peach Tree War” the infighting among the council members of New Netherland seems to have surfaced in their writings back to the directors at the Netherlands. I would like your opinion regarding the letters written by de Sille and Stuyvesant, wherein each complains about the other. They also write of councilor La Montagne, who is my ancestor. I’m having a hard time understanding >de Sille’s letter where he first states that Stuyvesant and Van Tienhoven are in league, and that La Montagne is in the “cabal”… then he goes on to say that Stuyvesant and Van Tienhoven with three votes between them out number the two votes held by himself and La Montagne, whereby he (de Sille) and La Montagne, being out voted, are forced to accept, for good or bad, whatever Stuyvesant and Van Tienhoven enact.
To me it first sounds like he was saying that La Montagne was in league with Stuyvesant, but then it seems like he was saying that he (de Sille) and La Montagne were dissenters in much of what Stuyvesant wanted to enact.
Then we have the > abstract of Stuyvesant’s letter in which he bad mouths both de Sille and La Montagne.
I would very much like your opinion on the matter since I think you have a understanding of what was going on at the time and some of the relationships between these individuals.
Thanks in advance for any opinion you might have on the matter!
I did’t see mention of Hendrick Van Dyke being shot with an arrow to the chest during the Peach Tree War, which appears to be the case from the account of Van Tienhoven.
Thanks for the kind words, but I’m not an expert on the colonial Dutch. Before I started working on this genealogy, I had never heard of Kieft’s War or the Peach Tree War. Based on your comment, I went looking for more about Hendrick and found a detail biography by By George Washington Schuyler published in 1885. Van Dyke was indeed wounded both in 1643 and 1655. He became a mortal enemy of Petrus Stuyvesant early on their voyage to New Amsterdam to take charge. I wonder what started their antipathy.
According to Schuyler, none of the original reports include mention of Van Dyke killing an Indian girl over peaches, just that he was wounded when the Indians rampaged through town. He argues that since Stuyvesant and his secretary Van Tienhoven hated Van Dyke with a passion, they would not have hesitated to give him the blame.
Adrian Van der Donck was in Holland, as representative of the people of New Netherland, to solicit a better government, said of Van Dyck, in July, 1649:
“Director Stuyvesant excluded him twenty-nine months from the Council board, for the reason among others, as his Honor stated, that he could not keep a secret. He also declared that he was a villain, a scoundrel, a thief. All this is well known to the Fiscal, but he dare not adopt the right course in the matter; and in our opinion, ’tis not advisable for him to do so ; for he is a man wholly intolerable alike in words and deeds. His head is a trouble to him, and his Screw is loose, especially when surrounded by a little sap in the wood.”
I did see one contempory account, I think it was by Stuyvesant, who stated that Van Dyke had beat an Indian. I myself have over 200 ancestors that lived in New York City. To me the early history of Dutch New York is like a Shakespearian tragedy with characters that only the great bard himself could invent—Especially van Tienhoven, that evil puppet master who, along with Keift, brought New Amsterdam to near ruin, and whose supposed death was most befitting. I wish I had some talent in writing as I’m sure this would make a Broadway hit. Anyway, you did a great job that surely would make your ancestor proud. Happy Hunting!— Jim M.
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Hendrick shortly after his first arrival acquired a considerable size bouwerie (farm) located on the west side of Broadway, between The Battery and Rector Street, near the site of Trinity Church; the Tax List of 1674 shows him still occupying this property. He is also shown as owner of farm lands further north on the island.
After arrival in New Amsterdam the second time, as Fiscal, the records of the Dutch Reformed Church indicate the birth of another daughter, Jannetje. She was born in the year 1647. In a statement made by Hendrick in 1652, he wrote “he was burthened with a wife Duvertje Cornelise and four children”.
It is evident, that his first wife, Duvertje died between 1652 and1657. By his second marriage there was but one issue, a daughter Williamje, born in the year 1681.
The colonial records indicate that Hendrick led a peaceful life as a prominent Burgher and farmer, after his dismissal as Fiscal, for the balance of his worldly days, entering into eternal rest in the year 1687. He was buried in the Old St. Mark’s Cemetery in the city he had so long served.
Old St. Mark’s Cemetery was in New Amsterdam not Albany
The Dutch Settlers Society of Albany
Vols. XXXII and XXXIII
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