Mathijs Jansen Van Keulen

Mathijs Jansen Van KEULEN (1602 -1648) was Alex’s 10th Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Van Kuelen Coat of Arms – As a part of the creation of the Zwaanendal Colony, Matthys was “granted the armorial bearings of an earl”.

Mathijs  (Matthys) Jansen Van Keulen (Ceulen) was born  during a family trip to London and was baptized on 2 Feb 1601/02 in the Austin Friars Dutch Reformed Church in London, England. His parents were both from the Netherlands; Jan Mathijs Van KEULEN and Annetje JANS. His Residence before 1639 was Recife, Brazil. He Immigrated in Jun 1639 to New Amsterdam and married  Margriet HENDRICKSE about 1640 in New Amsterdam.  Mathijs died on 16 Oct 1648 in Fort Orange, NY.

Mathijs was baptized in the Austin Friars Dutch Reformed Church in London, England, said to be the oldest Dutch language Protestant church in the world.

Margriet (Margarita) Hendrickse was born about 1622 in The Netherlands. Her parents were Hendrick HENDRICKS Van Gouts and Kiis [__?__].  After Matijs died,  Margariet married again before 16 Dec 1648 to Capt. Thomas “Clapboard” Chambers, the “lord of the Manor of Foxhall” at Kingston, NY.

Margriet Hendricks died about 1675, and her second husband Thomas Chambers married a second time to Laurentin Kellenaer, Widow of Dom. Van Gaasbeeck in 1681, who had children by her previous marriage. Thomas and Laurentia had no children together; he died and Laurentia married Wessel Ten Broeck in September 1694. She died in 1703 and Wessel in 1704.

Children of Mathij and Margriet:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Catryntje (Katryn) Matthyssen 1640
Fort Orange (Albany), NY
Jan Jansen Van Amesfoort
3 Oct 1660
Kingston Dutch Reformed Church.
c. 1678
2. Annetje Matthyssen (Mattesen) Jansen Van KEUREN 1645
Fort Orange, NY
PEER Jan Hendricks
11 Mar 1667/1668 Kingston Dutch Reformed Church
3 Feb 1722
Kingston, NY
3. Jan Matthyssen Jansen 1646
Fort Orange, NY
Magdalena Blanchan
28 Sep  1667
Kingston Dutch Reformed Church
Nov 1727
4. Capt. Matthys Matthyssen 1648
Fort Orange, NY
Tjatte Charity DeWitt (Rescued from Indians by PEER Jan Hendricks)
Kingston, NY

Van Cuelen Coat of Arms — Courtesy

This is the Coat of arms used by the van Ceulens/van Keulens living in Amsterdam in the early 1600s, and believed to be the one described by the Dutch West Indies Charter, which empowered the Lord-Director Mathij Jansen van Ceulen with the “ARMORIAL BEARINGS OF AN EARL”. The family had a close association with the prince of Orange, who, technically, was the authority behind the colonization of New Netherlandt. The top left quarter is a red background behind a gold crown of five florets(alludes to family wealth). The bottom left quarter is a black background behind a golden cask(black for fur lined robes of Nobility, and the family were also wine merchants). The right half is a gold background behind a red rampant lion, pawing the air(denotes courage and intellect in loyal service to the crown). Mathij van Ceulen had four children. His sons, Matthys and Jan are progenitors of the Van Keuren(also spelled Van Kuren and Van Curen) and Jansen(also Jonson, Johnson) families in America. The daughters, Katryn and Annetje became the maternal progenitors of the Van Steenberghen(also Van Steenbergh, Steenbergh) and Peersen(also Person, Pearson) families.

The first Van Keuren in America was Matthys Jansen van Keulen, the Patroon of Zwaanendal. (The name was sometimes also spelled “Ceulen”.) He was a young lord-directors of the Dutch West Indies Company (GWC), which bought Manhattan Island from the Indians.

Like the VOC, the company had five offices, called chambers (kamers), in AmsterdamRotterdamHoornMiddelburg and Groningen, of which the chambers in Amsterdam and Middelburg contributed most to the company. The board consisted of 19 members, known as the Heeren XIX (the Lords Nineteen).  The company was initially relatively successful; in the 1620s and 1630s, many trade posts or colonies were established.

This association was divided in four chambers for convenience, established in different cities of the Netherlands, the managers of which were called Lord-Directors. Of these, Amsterdam was the most important, and to this Chamber was entrusted the management of the New Netherlands. Of the 19 delegates who constituted the board of managers, Amsterdam furnished nine. Each director had to have 6000 Guilders of his own money invested in the company, and his pay was one percent commissions on the outfit and returns, and prizes, with one half percent on the gold and silver. Commissions on prizes were an important part of a managers fees, as on Sep 9th, 1628, Admiral Pieter Pietersen Heyn proceeded to the West Indies, and captured the Mantanzas, the entire spanish plate fleet, with cargos valued at 5,000,000 Guilders.

Amoung the names of these Lord-Directors who served the company from the Chamber at Amsterdam, we find five who are designated as Principal Partner Directors. These are Pieter Ranst, Carel Looten, Jehan Raye, Killaen Van Rensselaer, and Matthys Van Ceulen. On the 16th of Oct, 1630, Van Rensselaer, Bloomer, deLaet, Van Ceulen, Hendrick Hamel, and other directors formed an association for planting a colony on the South Delaware River. Equalizing all expected advantages, they equipped a ship and a yacht for that quarter, where they designed to raise tobacco, and grain, and to prosecute the whaling industry.

In the meantime, such had been the activity of the agents employed by the Patroons to purchase their colonies, that the titles from the Indians were laid, duly authenticated, by the Director-General and the council at Fort Amsterdam, before the Assembly of 19, on Nov 28 of 1630, when the new Patroons received the congratulations of the other Directors of the company. The formal registration of the Patens followed a few days afterward and on Dec 2, 1630, they were sealed with the seal of New Netherland. Fourteen days after, complete lists of the several Patroonships were delivered to the companies solicitor, and the whole transactions were unanimously confirmed by the Assembly of 19, at the meeting of that body in Zeeland, in the beginning of the following Year (Jan 8, 1631)

3 June 1621- Mathijs, at the age of 20, signed the Dutch West India Charter  as a Principal Partner, Lord-Director. Under the Charter Agreement, the Principal Partners were “empowered with the Armorial Bearing of an Earl” The newly incorporated Dutch West India Company (Geoctroyeerde Westindische Compagnie or GWC) obtained a twenty four year trading monopoly in America and Africa and sought to have the New Netherland area formally recognized as a province.

It looks like Matthys got in on the ground floor of a good thing.  I haven’t figured out how he managed this appointment at such a young age as I haven’t found any evidence his parents were wealthy or connected to power.

When we read of the Dutch West India Company in school, it is generally portrayed as a trading company, securing raw materials from the New World for Dutch Manufaturing. In reality, 75% of the company’s profit in the first 10 years was from the pirating of Spanish and Portugese cargo ships. One such, the capture of the Spanish Plate Fleet in September of 1628, yielded a ‘take’ of some $5,000,000 worth of gold, silver, and trade goods. The “trading” fleet of the West Indies company in 1631 consisted of 14 new warships (32 cannon each) and 7 fully armed Yachts (17 cannon each).

Mathijs was payed on commission, 1% of trade and 1/2% of new gold/silver. He received a commission of 50,000 guilders on a cargoe that Admiral Piet Heyn relieved from the Spanish Plate Fleet, which he caught in the mid Atlantic, the largest success for the GWC in its history. Privateering was at first the most profitable activity.

Nautical chart of Zwaanendael, 1639

1631 – Mathijs and Killaen van Rennsalaer were given Patroonship of Zwaanendael Colony (Swan Valley, a 12 mile stretch of the Delaware River.  (See details below)

In the United States, a patroon (from Dutch patroon, owner or head of a company) was a landholder with manorial rights to large tracts of land in the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland in North America.  Through the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions of 1629, the Dutch West India Company first started to grant this title and land to some of its invested members. These inducements to foster immigration (also known as the “Rights and Exemptions”), are the basis for the patroon system.

The deeded tracts were called patroonships and could span 16 miles in length on one side of a major river, or 8 miles if spanning both sides. In 1640 the charter was revised to cut new plot sizes in half, and to allow any Dutch American in good standing to purchase an estate.

The title of patroon came with powerful rights and privileges, similar to a lord in the feudal period. A patroon could create civil and criminal courts, appoint local officials and hold land in perpetuity. In return, he was commissioned by the Dutch West India Company to establish a settlement of at least 50 families within four years on the land. Astenants working for the patroon, these first settlers were relieved of the duty of public taxes for ten years, but were required to pay the patroon in money, goods, or services in kind. A patroonship had its own village and other infrastructure, including churches which recorded births, baptisms, and marriages.

5 Oct 1632 – He sailed From Texel to Reciffe, Brazil

5 Dec 1632  – He landed at Reciffe, aboard Schip de Fama (Faith)

15 Dec 1632 – He assumed Command of the Brazil armed Forces.  His decisive victory in 1633 secured his standing in The Netherlands.  Some documents mention him helping defend the Dutch forts on the coast of Brazil. One fort was named Van Keuren Fort.

Feb 1633 – The fort on the Rio Formoso was conquered by the Dutch

Mar 1633  – The “arraial” of Afogados was also conquered and a fort was built there.

Jun 1633  – The island of Itamaracá was occupied and a settlement was found there


Dec 1633 – Mathijs captured the Fort of Reis Magos (Dutch Fort Ceulen) at the mouth of the Rio Grande.  He renamed the fort after himself as “Ceulens Foort”.   Forte de Reis Magos, or Three Wise Men Fort, stands at the mouth of the Potengi River, separated from Natal by a sand bar that is covered by high tides. Construction of the fort started on 6 Jan 1598, a day when Catholic Portugal celebrated Epiphany, hence the name.  Construction of the fort preceded the foundation of Natal (“Christmas”), on 25 Dec 1599.   In 1633, the fort was taken by Mathijs’ Dutch forces who invaded northeastern Brazil.  It was recovered by the Portuguese colonizers in 1654.  Natal today is a city of 800,000 inhabitants and is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Forte de Reis Magos (Ceulen’s Foort 1633 – 1654)

Sep 1634 – Mathijs returned to Amsterdam, where his name is found almost daily in the records of the Amsterdam Camer, Dutch West Indische Compagnie.

1636 – Mathijs was appointed to the Hooghen Secreten Raad (High and Secret Council) and became a co-Governor of the Dutch South American Holdings, under a 5 year contract.

20 Nov 1636 –  Mathijs left Texel Island for Recife to take his place on “Hoogh Secreeten Raad”(the South American Governing Council).

Dutch Brazil, also known as New Holland, was the northern portion of Brazil, ruled by the Dutch during the Dutch colonization of the Americas between 1630 and 1654. The term ‘New Holland’ should not be confused with the later term for present-day Western Australia.

From 1630 onward, the Dutch Republic came to control almost half of Brazil, with their capital in Recife. The Dutch West India Company (GWC) set up their headquarters in Recife. The governor, Johan Maurits, invited artists and scientists to the colony to help promote Brazil and increase immigration.

Mauritsstad (or Mauritiopolis) was the capital of Dutch Brazil, and is now a part of the Brazilian city of Recife. The city was built on the island of Antonio Vaz opposite Recife, and designed by architect Pieter Post. It was named after Governor Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, who had founded the city and palace Vrijburgh. Mauritsstad was the cultural center of the New World, with the first botanical garden and the first zoo in America, and a museum with three hundred stuffed monkeys. The city’s Jewish population constructed the first American synagogue.

The GWC gained control of Olinda by 16 Feb 1630, and Recife and António Vaz by 3 Mar.  Matias de Albuquerque, the Portuguese governor, led a strong Portuguese resistance which hindered the Dutch from developing their forts on the lands which they had captured. By 1631, the Dutch left Olinda and tried to gain control of the Fort of Cabedello on Paraíba, the Rio Grande, Rio Formoso, and Cabo de Santo Agostinho. These attempts were also unsuccessful.

Still in control of António Vaz and Recife, the Dutch later gained a foothold at Cabo Santo Agostinho.  (Maybe this was Matthys’ battle) However, after the Portuguese regained Porto Calvo, the GWC gave control of Nieuw Holland to Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen due to the great advantage the Portuguese had over the Dutch by controlling Porto Calvo. By 1634 the Dutch controlled from the coastline of the Rio Grande do Norte to Pernambuco’s Cabo de Santo Agostinho. They still maintained control of the seas as well. By 1635 many Portuguese settlers were choosing Dutch-occupied land over Portuguese-controlled land. The Dutch offered freedom of worship and security of property.

July 1639 – Mathijs is found listed on the manifest of the West Indies Raven (Harbor manifest, Court of New Amsterdam) that travelled from Recife, Brazil to New Amsterdam, New York. Along with him is Willem Hendrickse, brother of Margriet Hendrickse. They are believed to be children of Hendrick HENDRICKSE Van Gouts, a company accountant.

Aug 1639 – Mathijs is recorded on the land of brother, Conraet Jansen van Ceulen (aka van Keulen) in North Harlem…a plot called “Keulens Hook”(History of Harlem).

Van Keulen’s Hook – In 1639, Conraet van Keulen secured a Patens for 100 Morgens at Otterspoor, renamed Van Keulens Hook. This being located between present day 108th and 125th Streets, along the River, in Harlem. He was also named as a Lessor on a parcel called Bestevears Kreupelbosch(Leather Swamp) in a document dated 14 December, 1640.    – Mathijs Jansen van Ceulen received a land Patens for 50 Morgens of land at the North East tip of Manhattan Island in August, 1646, which was named Van Keulens Bouwerie. Today that land is occupied by Columbia University, Bakers field, and lands to the East of route 9. Route 9 is approxiamitely where the ferry to the mainland was located in the 1600s.

By Oct 1639 – Mathijs returned to Recife.   Mathijs and Margriet appear numerous times in the records of the Recife DRC.

Jul 1641 – Mathijs term on the council was up, and he then moved to Fort Orange (Albany).

Back to the story of Zwaanendael 

Zwaanendael or Swaanendael,  a Dutch colonial settlement in Delaware,  was built in 1631. The name is archaic Dutch spelling for “swan valley”. The site of the settlement later became the town of Lewes, Delaware.

Zwaanendael Colony Location

On 6 Oct 1630 as a Lord-Director Principle Partner of the Dutch West Indies Charter from the beginning of the company, Matthys joined with Killaen Van Rennsalaer and others to introduce a tenant farming colony along the Delaware River. Numerous entries in Van Rennsalaer’s personal journals relate to Mathij Van Kulen.  Matthys traveled to America, possibly several times, around 1630-35, apparently with two of his brothers.  In America in about 1630, with about ten other investors, he helped found a colony which they named “Zwaanendal”,  Indians destroyed the colony a year later. It was rebuilt later on, and became the basis for the existence of Delaware as an independent state. As a part of the creation of the colony, Matthys was “granted the armorial bearings of an earl”. Matthys eventually settled around the Hudson River near what is now Kingston, NY.

Two directors of the Amsterdam chamber of the Dutch West India Company, Samuel Blommaert and Samuel Godyn, bargained with the natives for a tract of land reaching from Cape Henlopen to the mouth of Delaware River. This was in 1629, three years before the charter of Maryland, and is the oldest deed for land in Delaware. Its water-front nearly coincides with the coast of Kent and Sussex Counties. The purchase was ratified in 1630 by Peter Minuit and his council at Fort Amsterdam.

A company including, besides the two original proprietors, Kiliaen van Rensselaer (Patroon of Rensselaerswyck), Johannes De Laet (the geographer), and David Pietersen de Vries was formed to colonize the tract. A ship of eighteen guns was fitted out to bring over the colonists and subsequently defend the coast, with incidental whaling to help defray expenses. A colony of more than thirty people was planted on Lewes creek, a little north of Cape Henlopen, and its governorship was entrusted to Gillis Hosset. This settlement antedated by several years any in Pennsylvania, and the colony at Lewes practically laid the foundation and defined the singularly limited area of the state of Delaware, the major part of which was included in the purchase. A palisaded fort was built, with the “red lion, rampant,” of Holland affixed to its gate, and the country was named Swaanendael or Zwaanendael Colony, while the water was called Godyn’s bay. The estate was further extended, on 5 May 1630, by the purchase of a tract twelve miles square on the coast of Cape May opposite, and the transaction was duly attested at Fort Amsterdam.

The existence of the little colony was short, for the Indians came down upon it in revenge for an arbitrary act on the part of Hosset, and it was destroyed, with no Dutch escaping to tell the tale.  Our Matthys must have been elsewhere.  The details of the attack were recounted to Dutch observers by Nanticoke Indians:

“He then showed us the place where our people had set up a column to which was fastened a piece of tin, whereon the arms of Holland were painted. One of their chiefs took this off, for the purpose of making tobacco-pipes, not knowing that he was doing amiss. Those in command at the house made such an ado about it that the Indians, not knowing how it was, went away and slew the chief who had done it, and brought a token of the dead to the house to those in command, who told them that they wished that they had not done it; that they should have brought him to them, as they wished to have forbidden him not to do the like again. They went away, and the friends of the murdered chief incited their friends, as they are a people like the Indians, who are very revengeful, to set about the work of vengeance. Observing our people out of the house, each one at his work, that there was not more than one inside, who was lying sick, and a large mastiff, who was chained, – had he been loose they would not have dared to approach the house, – and the man who had command standing near the house, three of the stoutest Indians, who were to do the deed, bringing a lot of bear-skins with them to exchange, sought to enter the house. The man in charge went in with them to make the barter, which being done, he went to the loft where the stores lay, and in descending the stairs one of the Indians seized an axe and cleft his head so that he fell down dead. They also relieved the sick man of life, and shot into the dog, who was chained fast, and whom they most feared, twenty-five arrows before they could dispatch him. They then proceeded towards the rest of the men, who were at work, and, going amongst them with pretensions of friendship, struck them down. Thus was our young colony destroyed, causing us serious loss.”

In 1633, de Vries negotiated a treaty with the Indians and sailed up the Delaware River, attempting to trade for beans and corn. Failing his objective there, de Vries sailed to Virginia, where was successful in obtaining provisions for the colonists in Zwaanendael, to which he returned.

1635 – Mathij became the second Patroon of Zawaanendal in 1635, after the death of Sam Godyn. He arrived in New York between 1635 and 1638. His name appears on a shipping manifest of the West Indies Raven, 27 Jun, 1639. 2 of his brothers were crew aboard the Raven

Google Maps Satellite View  of Mathijis’ Haarlem Patent at the extreme northern tip of Manhattan Island

12 Aug 1646 – Mathijs  received a land Patens in Harlem, NY for 50 Morgens of land near Conraet’s land on Manhattan. This was known as Van Ceulens Bouwerie. The land today is located at the point where 9W crosses the Harlem River at Columbia University’s Baker’s Field.  I wonder what these 100 acres of land in Manhattan are worth today?    Said land was confirmed to his heirs, including Matthys Mathyssen, in 1667.

Here’s today’s Street View looking back from the 220th Street Bridge (Highway 9)

2 Jul 1667 – (page 665, Court records of New Netherlandt)

Land valuation and division of the patromonial estate of Mathijs Jansen van Keulen to his children. Case identifies land in the Esopus belonging to this estate, suggesting Mathijs had a land patens in the Esopus prior to his death in 1648. Matthys received: 20 Morgens of land (about 40 acres), previously owned by Evert PELS (our ancestor) , with house, barn and outbuildings, valued at 900 sch. Also, a horse identified as a grey stallionand a plow valued at 180 guilders. Matthys to pay his sister Anna 167 sch, 60 guilders, and 267 sch, 60 guilders to brother Jan, to equalize the shares. Notes the undivided land in the pappermemmins (Man Hats, Manhattan)”

Margriet’s second husband, Thomas Chambers, willed his coat of arms to his two stepsons, so the Van Keuren family has a second coat of arms in addition to an earlier coat of arms from Holland. The blazon for this second coat of arms is:

Argent, a chamber piece fesswise sable, fired proper (a small cannon pointed horizontally, black with colored fire coming out of it) There are two crests above the shield that have been associated with the coat of arms.  A demi-eagle displayed, per pale argent and sable, the heads counterchanged imperially crowned or (an eagle with only wings and two heads, colored silver and black in four quadrants, with a gold crown on each head)

15 Oct, 1648 -A court case between Margriet, listed as “widow of Mattys Jansz”, and Willem Jeuriansz was put over to the next court day.

22 Oct, 1648 – The director promises to “help the widow” recover the 50 florins owed her by Willem Juriaensz.

Chambers Coat of Arms — Courtesey

16 Dec 1648 – A court proceeding over 2 ankers of Brandy on that date showed Margriet married to Thomas Chambers showing Thomas as “husband and guardian of his wife”.

Margriet took Mathijs’ lands at Wildwyck after his death. She was one of the 17 original communicants at the Old Dutch Church, Kingston.  Mrs Van Keuren Chambers was one of the first settlers of Kingston, by virtue of an Indian deed dated 5 June 1652. A Dutch patent for 76 acres was issued to her by Gov. Peter Stuyvesant on 8 Nov, 1653.

Jan 1656 –  Margriet and Thomas were granted a house lot on wagon road outside Albany. The last record of Margriet and Thomas in Albany was July, 1656.

1656 – Suit was filed against “Margriet Clabborts” for beer and other liquors fetched at the tavern of Herman Bamboes. Clabborts, or Clapboard, was a commonly used reference for Thomas Chambers.

Either late 1656, or sometime during 1657, Thomas and Margriet moved to Esopus

First Esopus War

May 1658 – In a letter from Thomas Chambers to Governor Stuyvesant, he writes in substance:  “I saw that the Indians had an anker (ten-gallon keg) of brandy lying under a tree.  I tasted myself and found it was pure brandy.  About dusk they fired at and killed Harmen Jacobsen, who was standing in a yacht in the river; and during the night  they set fire to the house of  Jacob Adrijansa, and the people were compelled to flee for their lives.  Once before we were driven away and expelled from our property; as long as we are under the jurisdiction of the West India Company we ask your assistance, as Esopus could feed the whole of New Netherland.  I have informed myself among the Indians who killed Harmen, and they have promised to deliver the guilty party in bonds.  Please do not begin the war too suddenly, and not until we have constructed a stronghold for defense.”

Oct 1658 – Eight Esopus Indians broke off corn ears for Thomas Chambers. When they finished work the Indians said, “Come give us brandy.” Chambers replied, ” When it is dark.” When evening was come he gave a large bottle with brandy to the Indians. They retired to a place at no great distance from the fort and sat down to drink. The eight Indians drank there until midnight; by that time they were drunk, and they began to yell. At length the brandy came to an end. One Indian said, “Buy more brandy; we still have wampum.” The Indian who was afterwards killed went to Chambers‘ house to get more brandy. Chambers said, ” I have given you all I had.”

The Indian then went to where the soldiers were, taking with him the bottle which he hid under his cloak. “Have you any brandy?” said the Indian. “Yes, I have brandy,” answered a soldier. ” Here is wampum, give me brandy for it.” “What is wampum, and what can I do with it? where is your kettle?” said the soldier. “I have no kettle, but I have a bottle here under my cloak,” replied the Indian. The soldier filled the bottle, but would take nothing for the brandy.

The Indian came to his comrades who were lying about and crying, and asked them, “Why do you cry? I have brought brandy!” Whereupon they changed their cry, and asked if he had given all the wampum. “No, a soldier gave it to me.” They replied “that is very good,” and began to drink lustily from the bottle, because they had no goblet or ladle. When the bottle was passed around the Indians began to wrangle and fight. Two of them presently said to each other, “We have no cause to fight, let us go away;” so they went away, leaving six. After a little time one of the remaining Indians said, “Come let us go away; I feel that we shall be killed.” Said the other, “You are crazy; who should kill us? We would not kill the Dutch, and have nothing to fear from them or the other Indians.” “Yes,” replied he, “but I nevertheless am so heavy-hearted.”

The bottle was passed twice, and the Indian said again, “Come, let us go; my heart is full of fears.” He went off and hid his goods in the bushes at a little distance. Coming back once more they heard the bushes crackle as the Dutch came there, without knowing who it was. Then this Indian went away, saying “Come, let us go, for we all shall be killed;” and the rest laid down together, whereupon the Dutch came and all of them fired into the Indians, shooting one in the head and capturing another. One drunken Indian was continually moving about, whereupon the Dutch fired upon him repeatedly, nearly taking his dress from his body.

Ensign Smith knew what the consequences of this outbreak would be, and he sought to ascertain who ordered the firing contrary to his express instructions. The Dutch cast all the blame on the Indians, saying that the latter fired first. The affairs of the colony being in such an unsatisfactory state, and finding the people would not respect his authority, Smith announced his intention of leaving for New Amsterdam next day. Great excitement was manifested when this became known. The people tried to dissuade him from his purpose by representing their exposed condition, and making assurances of future obedience on their part. Smith was intractable, and continued making preparations for his departure; but by an adroit measure of Stohl and Chambers, who hired all the boats in the neighborhood, he found himself unable to carry out his resolution. It was deemed expedient, however, to acquaint the Governor of the state of affairs, and accordingly Christopher Davis was dispatched down the river in a canoe for that purpose.

Davis was escorted to the river by a company of eight soldiers and ten citizens, under Sergeant Lawrentsen, Sept. 21st, 1659. On the return of the escort to the village they fell into an ambuscade near where now stands the City Hall; the Sergeant and thirteen men surrendered without firing a shot, the rest making their escape. War now began in earnest. More than five hundred Indians were in the vicinity of the fort, who kept up a constant skirmish with settlers. By means of firebrands they set fire to the House of Jacob Gebers; numbers of barracks, stacks and barns were in like manner destroyed. One day they made a desperate assault on the palisades which came near being successful. Failing in this, the Indians slaughtered all the horses, cattle and hogs they could find outside the defenses. Three weeks was a constant siege kept up so that “none dare go abroad.” Unable to take the town they vented their fury on the unfortunate prisoners.

Jacob Jansen Van Stoutenburgh, Abram Vosburg, a son of Cornelius B. Sleight, and five or six other were compelled to run the gauntlet; they were next tied to stakes, and, after being beaten and cut in the most cruel manner, were burned alive. Thomas Clapboard [Chambers], William the carpenter, Peter Hillebrants [son of Hildebrand PIETERSEN] and Evert PELS‘ son were among the captives.

These are the only names mentioned in the early records. Clapboard was taken by six warriors down the Esopus kill. At night he removed the cords by which he was bound, and successively knocked five of his captors in the head while they were asleep, killing the sixth before he could fly, and making good his escape. Another prisoner, a soldier, got home safely after a somewhat rough experience. Peter Laurentsen and Peter Hillebrants were ransomed; Hendrick Vosberg Pel, then a mere youth, was adopted into the tribe and married among them. Overtures were afterwards made to the Indians by the friends of the lad for his return; but the Indians answered that he “wished to stay with his squaw and pappoose, and he ought to.”

News of these events filled the whole colony with fear and forebodings. Stuyvesant had only six or seven soldiers in garrison at New Amsterdam, and they were sick and unqualified for duty. He then sent to Fort Orange and Rensselaerwyck for reinforcements; but the inhabitants of Fort Orange could not succor without leaving their own homes defenseless. The Governor asked for volunteers, offering Indians as prizes; only six or seven responded, lie then conscripted all the garrison at Amsterdam, the Company’s servants, the hands in his brewery and the clerks. The people made great opposition to this, averring that “they were not liable to go abroad and fight savages.”

Notwithstanding these hindrances Governor Stuyvesant set sail October 9th with about 160 men, and reached Esopus next day. Here he found the siege had been raised thirty-six hours before, and that the Indians had retreated to their homes whither the Governor’s troops could not follow them, for the country was then innundated with nearly a foot of water from the frequent rains.

In the spring of 1660, there was a renewal of hostilities; an Indian castle having been plundered, and several Indians taken captive, the Indians sued for peace and proposed an exchange of prisoners. Stuyvesant declined their overtures, and prosecuted the war with vigor, sending some of the captive chiefs, then in his hands, to Curaçao  as slaves to the Dutch.

The clans now held a council. Said Sewackenamo, the Esopus chief, “What will you do?” “We will fight no more,” said the warriors. “We wish to plant in peace,” replied the squaws. “We will kill no more hogs,” answered the young men.

Stuyvesant met their propositions with an extravagant demand for land. The fertile corn-planting grounds of the Walkill and Rondout valleys had excited the cupidity of the colonists. The Indians were loath to give up so much of their territory, but they finally acceded to the Governor’s demand. During the negotiations the Indians plead for the restoration of their enslaved chiefs. But in pursuance of Stuyvesant’s policy, those ancient sachems had become the chattels of Dutchmen, and were toiling, under the lash, in the maize and bean-fields among the islands of the far-off Caribbean Sea; so the Governor replied that they must be considered dead. Although deeply grieved at this, the chiefs agreed to the treaty, and departed.

Second Esopus War

Some acts of crimination and recrimination having occurred between the Dutch settlers of Kingston and Hurley and their Indian neighbors, growing out of a misunderstanding in regard to some lands, the feud finally terminated  the “Massacre at the Esopus.” To be more certain of success the Esopus clans endeavored to get the Wappinger Indians of Duchess, and other of the neighboring clans, to join them, and succeeded partially. To lull the suspicions of the whites, a proposition for a new treaty was made only two days before the attack.

7 Jun 1663 – A band of two hundred Indians entered Wildwyck and New Diep (now Kingston and Hurley) in the morning, from different points, and dispersed themselves among the dwellings in a friendly manner, having with them a little maize and a few beans; under pretense of selling these they went about from place to place to discover the strength of the men. After they had been in Kingston about a quarter of an hour, some people on horseback rushed through the mill-gate crying out-‘ “The Indians have destroyed the New Village!”  And with these words the Indians immediately fired their guns, and made a general attack on the village from the rear, hewing down the whites with their axes and tomahawks. They seized what women and children they could and carried them prisoners outside the gates, plundered the houses, and set the village on fire to windward, it blowing at the time from the south. The remaining Indians commanded all the streets, firing from the corner houses which they occupied, and through the curtains outside along the highways, so that some of the inhabitants while on their way to their houses to get their arms were wounded and slain. When the flames had reached their height the wind veered to the west, otherwise the flames would have been much more destructive.  The attack was so rapdi that those in different parts of the village were not aware of what was transpiring until they happened to meet the wounded in the streets. Few of the men were in the village, the rest being abroad at their field labors.

Capt. Thomas Chambers, who was wounded on coming in from the fields, issued immediate orders to secure the gates, to clear the gun and drive off the Indians, which was accordingly done. After the few men in the village had been collected, and by degrees others arriving from different quarters, being attracted by the columns of smoke and the firing, they mustered in the evening sixty-nine efficient men. The burnt palisades were immediately replaced with new ones, and the people distributed, during the night, along the bastions and curtains to keep watch.

In this attack on the two villages fifteen men, four women and two children were killed. Most of the women and children killed were burned to death. Of the prisoners taken by the Indians at this outbreak there were thirteen women, thirty children, and one man. At Kingston twelve houses were burned, while the New Village was entirely destroyed.

Soldiers including PEER Jan Hendricks  were now sent up from New York, and the Indians were hunted from mountain to mountain.  The rescued children included Tjerck Claessen en de Witt’s oldest daughter. (Mathijs Jansen Van KEULEN’s future daughter-in-law) Peer Jan Hendrick married Mathijs’ daughter Annetje.  See his  page for details about the rescue.

Among those killed was “Thomas Chambers’ negro murdered on the farm”

Three thousand guilders was taken from the estate of Mathijs Jansen van Ceulen were used to build the Original First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kingston as it appeared before 1721

1663 – Three thousand guilders was taken from the estate of Mathijs Jansen van Ceulen at the direction of Margriet Hendrickse, for the building of the Dutch Reformed Church of Kingston.

2 Jul  1667 – The Court of New Amsterdam confirmed Van Ceulens Bouwerie to the heirs, Katryn, Annetje, Jan & Matthys, stepfather Thomas Chambers acting on their behalf.

Will of Thomas Chambers

THOMAS CHAMBERS. In the name of God, Amen, the 5 April, 1694. I, Thomas Chambers, Lord of the Manor of Fox Hall, in the County of Ulster, being sick in body. I leave to my wife’s daughter, Jacomintie Gaasbeck, and to her heirs and assigns, a certain tract of land, situate, lying and being in the Manor of Fox Hall, called and known by the name of Brandywynes Hoek, and likewise out of my estate herein bequeathed unto Abraham Gaasbeck Chambers, a corn mill is to be built for the use of her and her heirs, where I have already begun to make a dam. And all the water out of my meadow or Vly is to be drawn there to drive said mill. Also a free path to said mill and land. Also 2 acres of land to the southward of said dam, where it may be most convenient to build a house on.

I leave to my wife’s daughter, Maria Salisbury, and to her heirs and assigns, all that certain tract of land now in possession of Dirck Hendricks de Gayer, and commonly called and known by the name of Wiggwansinck.

I leave to my wife’s son Abraham Gaasbeck Chambers all my other estate, to wit, the Manor of Fox Hall, with all the appurtenances (except what is above bequeathed), likewise my mill and house at the Strand, with all that wood or upland as it is mentioned in my General Patent, for the Lordship of Fox Hall. And all the movable goods. My will is that the said estate shall be kept whole and entire, to the next heir of him the said Abraham Gaasbeck Chambers, (He and his heirs always using the surname of Chambers,) and to be entailed from generation to generation.

In default of male heirs the estate is to go to his eldest sister Jacyntie Gaasbeck, with this proviso, that she take the name of Chambers, and whoever marries her shall take the name of Chambers. If she should die without issue, then the estate is to go to her sister, Maria Salisbury, on the same conditions. My wife is to remain in full possession of all the estate until her son Abraham Gaasbeck Chambers is of age, and then she is to have the use of one half for life.

I will that Dirck Hendricks shall have the use of the tract of land called Wiggwansinck, he paying 65 scheppels of wheat yearly, as long as he or his wife lives. But if he goes off, then the house and barn are to be valued, and the value allowed to him.

I will that Cornelius Wouterse shall have maintenance during his life, out of my estate, likewise lodging, and whatever else is needful for a man of his quality. I leave to my wife Laurentia my house and lot in Kingston, for life, and then to her children. I appoint my wife Laurentia executor, and William De Meyer, of Kingston, to be her assistant. In testimony I have set my hand and seal in Fox Hall.

Witnesses, Henry Beekman, Wessell Ten Broeck, W. De Meyer. Sworn to by Colonel Henry Beekman, Captain Wessell Ten Broeck, Justice of the Peace, and Mr. William De Meyer, before Teunis Gorton, Judge of Common Pleas, May 18, 1694. Entered in Records of Ulster County, No. A, fol. 301-5 by me, W. De Meyer, Clerk. Proved before Governor Hunter, May 23, 1713, upon oath of Henry Beekman, the other witnesses being deceased, the original will being in the handwriting of William De Meyer, And Letters of administration are granted to Abraham Gaasbeck Chambers, the widow of Thomas Chambers having died without having proved the will.


“Van Keuren” has no direct Dutch/German meaning, as it is a corruption of the original name, meaning “Of Cologne”. The family left Cologne in the 1540s, and added the van suffix at that time.  Mathijs’ children all used the patronymic “Matthyssen”, but in 1715, his grandsons decided to abandon the patronymic and begin using the “Van” name, adopting the spelling “Van Keuren”.  It is thought that the long time period between the death of Mathijs Jansen van Ceulen in 1648 and the attempt to revive the name in 1715 is likely the cause of the spelling variation. Virtually all Van Curens, Van Kurens, Van Kurins, Van Kurans, Van Curons, and Van Keurens in America are direct descendants of Mathijs van Ceulen

Matthys’s son Jan Matthysen took the patrynomic Jansen and his descendants use that name today.

Of the two sons, Matthys Matthysen was the ancestor of the Van Keuren family and Jan Matthysen the ancestor of Ulster County’s Jansen family.

After Matthys’s death,  the surname was not used by the family for 68 years.  It was revived when his grandsons through his son  Matthys Matthysen attempted to reclaim the name of nobility in 1716, they were unsure of the spelling. Van Keuren is what they ended up with.  There are several different spellings of the name, including “Keulen”, “Kuren”, and “Curen”, but all people that we have found are descended from Matthys Matthysen Van Keuren.

1. Catryntje (Katryn) Matthyssen

Catyrntje’s husband Jan Jansen Van Amesfoort was born 1630 in Amersfoort, Utrecht, Holland. Jan died 1688 in Kingston, Ulster, New York.

Thoomas Chambers sued Van Amesfoort for calling Thoomas’ wife (Van Amesfoort’s mother-in-law)  a whore, a hog, and a beast. Several times he appeared in court for physically abusing his wife and/or mother-in-law. Finally, in February of 1668, he was exiled from the colony, while still being required to pay the support of his family. Perhaps this is the first case of New York Alimony.

His children all bore the surname Van Steenberghen, probably changed as a result of said legal action. It is uncertain where the Van Steenberghen name came from, or why they began using it.

As an added note, the name of Matthys’ son-in-law “Van Steinburgh” is also a corruption. His daughter Catryn  married Jan Jansen van Amersfoort in 1660. Jan had numerous appearances in court (theft, spouse abuse, drunkenness, etc) and was exiled from the colony in 1667. In 1684, their children adopted the surname Van Steenberghen, which eventually became Van Steenbergh, Van Steenburgh, and Van Steinburgh.

2. Annetje Matthyssen (Mattesen) Jansen Van KEUREN (See PEER Jan Hendricks‘ page)

3. Jan Matthyssen Jansen

Son Jan, who preferred to use the patronymic “Jan Tyssen”, is the progenitor of the Ulster County Jansens.

Jan’s wife Magdalena Blanchan was born 7 Mar 1646 in Manheim, Baden, Germany.  Her parents were Matthys Blanchan (1600 – 1688) and Magdalena Brissen Joire or Jorisse (1611 – 1688).Magdalena died 9 Jul 1757 in New York.

Magdalena’s father Matthew was born about 1610. In his testamentary deposition in 1665, he stated that he was born in the village of Noeuville o corne in the parish Ricame in the province of Artois France.  Before 1633, Matthew moved to Armentieres, France and married about 15 Oct 1633 Magdeline Joire (1611-?).

Magdeline  Joire was born on October 27, 1611 in Armentierres, France. She may have been the daughter of Petrus Joire and Jacoba Le Blanc. Or, she may have been Magdeline Jorise, the daughter of Joris Serge. Further research needs to be undertaken to resolve her parentage.

Before 1647, the couple moved to England.  By 1651 they resided in Mannheim Germany, probably persuaded to go there by the new tax laws and provisions made to induce Huguenot merchants and manufacturers to help rebuild this territory.

On 26 Apr 1660, they arrived at New Amsterdam on the Gilded Otter listed as Mattheus Blanchand, farmer, from Artois, wife and three children 12, 9, and 5 years old. Matthew was granted a Deed of Confirmation by Governor Nicholls 18 June 1664 “for a house and lot of ground lying and being at Wiltwyck, at Esopus.” Matthew was there as early as Oct 1661 when he was levied an excise tax for wine and beer. He acquired considerable property at Esopus. Sometime prior to 25 April 1663 they went to New Dorp which was destroyed by the Esopus Indians in June of 1663. Two of his children were carried away into captivity by the Indians and were rescued months later.

4. Matthys Matthyssen

Mattys’ wife Tjatte Charity DeWitt was born in 1659 in Albany New York. Her parents were Tjerk Claessen DeWitt b. 1620 in Saterland, Netherlands and Barbara Andriessen. Tjatte died before 1724 in Kingston, Ulster, New York.  (Rescued from Indians by her future brother in law PEER Jan Hendricks (See his page for details)

Tjerck Claeszn DeWitt, son of Claes DeWitt, immigrant ancestor of the family in this country, first appears in the records of New Amsterdam in 1656, when he married , Barbara Andriessen, who came from Amsterdam, Holland. He resided in New Amsterdam until 1657, when he re- moved to Albany, and he finally located, in 1661, at Wiltwyck (now Kingston), Ulster county. New York, where he resided until he died, 17 Feb 1700. His widow, Barbara, died July 6, 1714.

In 1667, when the British sent Captain Broadhead and thirteen soldiers to take possession of Kingston, DeWitt was one of those who opposed British occupation and among the complaints made afterward by the Burghers was the following: “Captain

Broadhead has beaten Tjerick Claeszen DeWitt without reason and brought him to prison. Ye reason why Capy. Broadhead abused Tjerick DeWitt was because he would keep Christmas day on ye day according to ye Dutch and not on ye day according to ye English observation.” The remonstrance of the burghers sent to the governor against the imprisonment of Tarentson Slight, was signed among others by DeWitt. He was granted leave, April 8. 16()q. to build a house, barn and stables on land between Kingston and Hurley. He appears to have been well-to-do and brought servants with him to Kingston. Complaint was made by an Indian before the court that DeWitt had refused to pay wages due and the court appears to have taken a rather absurd snap judgment, ordering DeWitt’s banishment and fining him six hundred guilders, upon appeal, the order of banishment was rescinded and the fine remitted, and DeWitt was ordered, instead, to pay a reasonable sum for his services to the complaining Indian — about eighty cents. DeWitt was granted the right to occupy a mill site about five miles from Kingston and to erect and operate a mill there and a tract of seventy acres a mile farther distant, known as”Dead Men’s Bones,” was added for his subsistence.

Matthys should have been named Hendrick, in honor of his maternal grandmother. When his father, Mathijs, died in Oct, 1648, Matthys had not yet been born, so following a Dutch tradition, he was named for his dead father instead.

28 May 1667 – Manhattan land grant confirmed to Matthys and Jan, as rightful heirs. Confirmation was later overturned and land transferred to new owners.

2 Jul 1667 – (page 665, Court records of New Netherlandt) Land valuation and division of the patromonial estate of Mathijs Jansen van Keulen to his children. Case identifies land in the Esopus belonging to this estate, suggesting Mathijs had a land patens in the Esopus prior to his death in 1648. Matthys received: 20 Morgens of land(@@ 40 acres), previously owned by Evert PELS (our ancestor) , with house, barn and outbuildings, valued at 900 sch. Also, a horse identified as a grey stallion and a plow valued at 180 guilders. Matthys to pay his sister Anna 167 sch, 60 guilders, and 267 sch, 60 guilders to brother Jan, to equalize the shares. Notes the undivided land in the pappermemmins (Man Hats, Manhattan)

Jan 1675 – Gave up Dutch commission as Captain to accept a British rank of Sargent. By 1687, he would have the rank of Captain in the British Army

13 Aug  1680 – Grant of the court of Kingston to John and William Demeyer and Mathys Matthyssen of 6 acres of land under the falls at the Plattekill. Also the woodland, for as far as they need to cut wood for the sawmill.

2 Nov 1680 – Certificate of ownership showing that brothers, Mathys and Jan Matthyssen, are in partnership in the ownership in a mill and kiln, known as the “Plattekill”

16 Jun 1685 – Land survey for 83 Acres on the south side of the Esopus Kill and the House lot in Kingston, by Phillip Welles, surveyor. Indicates Matthys’ home was already built, although it fails to note exact location.


Olde Ulster; an Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Volume 9 By Benjamin Myer Brink pages 305-309, October,1910

This entry was posted in 12th Generation, Immigrant - Continent, Immigrant Coat of Arms, Line - Shaw, Place Names, Public Office, Storied, Veteran and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Mathijs Jansen Van Keulen

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  14. markeminer says:

    Paul says: (
    July 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    Mark, I’m wondering where you obtained the coat of arms on the Mathijs Jansen Van KEULEN page. I’ve only ever seen a version that had a rampant red lion on the right of the crown and cask.

    markeminer says:
    July 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm (Edit)
    Hi Paul,

    This is the image used by coat of arm memorabilia dealers. I don’t know where they got it.

    I found the version with the red lion you are talking about at

    I think the image with the red lion is from the book VAN KEULEN / VAN KEUREN / VAN KUREN / VAN CUREN A FAMILY HISTORY by D G Van Curen

    If you find out how Mathijs, signed the Dutch West India Charter 3 June 1621 as a Principal Partner, Lord-Director at the tender age of 20, let me know. Even if his family was very wealthy, it doesn’t seem probable to become a Lord-Director at such a young age. Maybe the DWC wasn’t such a big thing at the beginning.

    Paul says:
    July 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm (Edit)
    I’ve combed D G’s pages a bit, and have sent him a message, on the page he lists his source as “Source: Olde Vlster, date unk.” Olde Vlster is an old magazine of some kind and I think I have found a version of it and the date here:,%20pages%20305-309,%20October,1910&f=false

    Paul says:
    July 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm (Edit)
    Here’s DG’s article:

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  21. Misty Van Kuren says:

    This is so cool. I have learned far more than I’ve ever known. The one question I still have is what our last name means.

  22. My name is Russell Zimmer. My mother was Marguerite E. Zimmer, nee Rearick. My grand mother was Maud Van Curen, wife of Jacob Rearick and daughter of Miner Van Curen and Arminda Agnes Chaney. Thus making my great grandfather Miner Van Curen. I have a family tree on (Zimmer Family Tree) with a picture of my mother, her mother, Maud and Miner’s wife, my great-grandmother, Arminda (Minda).

  23. Carol Todd says:

    This information is remarkable! Do I have permission to use your research and attach it to my family tree?

  24. Kathy McCurdy says:

    Mark, We have just found your site, your work is amazing! As a favor for a friend, we are presently working to put together an ancestry for the wife. Her ancestry leads back to Matthys Mattyssen and his wife Tjatte Charity DeWit. We would like have your permission to include a document of your work as being written and compiled by you. I can guarantee that the recipients will enjoy and appreciate your work. We would greatly appreciate having your permission

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