The New York Colonists Part II

Some of the Old Records Swept Away by Newly Discovered Historical Facts.
First Settlers were Dutch: They Established Themselves in Albany early in 1624_The First English Colony settled on Long island Sixteen Years Later.

Her Memory Defective

"Now, if we had only the first deposition of this aged lady we should learn that five women only came over in this ship, four of whom were married on the way over, and that about three weeks after their arrival in Manhatan Bay the first four families, with eight men, went to the region of Delaware Bay and settled; that Catalina Trico herself remained in Manhatan, and that all this was in 1623 or 1624.

"If we now turn to the second deposition three years later, when she was eighty-three years of age, we find that her memory fixes on 1623 for the landing at Manhatan. She now adds the name of the ship, the Eendraght, or Unity, as the ship that brought them over, in command of Ariaen Jorissen, and adds that the vessel was in the service of the West India Company, and that this was the fi9rst ship that came here for that company. Then as to the disposal of the colonists, she says that two families and six men were sent to Hartford River, that two families and eight men went to the Delaware, and eight men were left on Manhatan Island, and that the rest of the passengers went up to Fort Orange or Albany, and about eighteen families aboard settled themselves at Albany. Now, the deponent does not say whether there were any married men with their wives among the eight men left at Manhatan to hold the place. Nor does she state whether among the passengers who went up to Albany there were some families with women and children who returned to Manhatan to settle after leaving the eighteen families up the river. But she mentions in all Twenty-two families specifically, and several unattached men to be used as occasion required.

"It is impossible to reconcile her story with facts. Of course her memory at four-score and over was not to be depended on to recall accurately events that happened sixty-four years previously. What is most essential to our study at this time, the date of the voyage, is wrong by one year. It was in 1624, as we shall see, when the first shipload of families came here to settle and establish a colony. The names of the ship and her Commander are both incorrect if she is describing the first ship that came with settlers. There is a work in the State Library entitled "An Historical Account of All the Memorable Events in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, happening from 1621 to 1632. Written by Nicholas de Wassenaer, Physician at Amsterdam, published in annual volumes, each
relating the history of the preceding year. There are twenty-one volumes or parts bound in five thick, small quartos, and a generous amount of narrative, about 700 pages to a year, is thus devoted to the current history of the world. Part 7 of Vol. 2, from which I quote, in its dedication to the Councilors and Magistrates of Amsterdam, bears the date of Dec. 1, 1624, and was published at Amsterdam in 1625, and covers the events of six months from April to October, 1624. So that the author is telling a story to his countrymen of what was fresh in his and their own memory. The author was an educated man and his books are standard history
and, as it were, eye-witnesses of the events therein portrayed."

First Settlement in Delaware

Dr. Howell gives some translations of documents, and then continues:

"Now, as to some incidental confirmation of this. We have on record the deposition of the sachem Mattehoorn, taken by Gov. Stuyvesant, to the effect that the first European settlement on the Delaware was brought there by Cornelis May in 1624. To show that he remembered and identified Capt. May, the Indian stated some peculiarity of his person which made it impossible to mistake the identity of the Captain.

"Now, as to the name of the vessel. The only vessel of the name at that time of the Unity, or Eendraght, was, according to a statement of Wassenaer, one of a fleet of twenty-five vessels in an engagement in the Bay of All Saints, on the South American coast, in May, 1624, so that she could not have been at the same time in the Hudson River. In fact, no mention is found of the Unity as bringing passengers or freight to New Amsterdam until the year 1630. And the Holland Society of New York has also published the fact that the Unity came here several years later than the New Netherland.

"The next mention of ships bound for New Netherland was of four ships sailing in April, 1625, under Pieter Evertsen Hulst, of which two brought 103 cattle; among which were breeding horses, cows, sheep, and hogs: a third ship accompanied them with extra provisions and water; and the fourth carried over six families and some freemen (that is, men who were neither employes of the West India Company nor under the patroon.) forty-five colonists in all, to make permanent homes in the new country. This was followed soon after by other vessels with cattle, sheep, hogs, wagons, plows, and agricultural implements, and perhaps other colonists, but if so, they are not mentioned. These few colonists and supply ships must have come in the Summer of 1625, and all have gone to Fort Orange, later Albany."

Settlement of Manhattan.

In conclusion the historian says: "The settlement on Manhatan island seems to have been in the Spring of 1626, although it must always be understood that it was a trading post both for the French and the Dutch for many years previous to this. New York was  invested with a municipal government as an incorporated city by Gov. Stuyvesant in February, 1652, and thus has the distinction of being the first city of European origin on the western continent. The powers bestowed by Gov. Stuyvesant were confirmed and enlarged by Gov. Dongan on April 2, 1686, in a formal charter of that date. Albany received from the same Governor its first
city charter July 23, 1686. In 1626 some indiscreet conduct of the authorities at Fort orange or Albany led to serious trouble with the Indians, and the colonists, excepting a small garrison at the fort, were taken to New Amsterdam, where they appear to have remained until 1630, when Kilian Va n Rensselaer sent his first shipload of colonists to New Netherland. Wassenaer makes no mention of any accessions of colonists in 1627, and says all the families in 1628 were still living in New Amsterdam to the number of 270 souls.

"So, therefore, the first colony established by the Dutch in the limits of our State was at Albany in the first half of May, 1624. And the first settlement by the English within the same limits was made at Southampton, on Long Island, in May or June, 1640. These colonists were of the Pilgrim Fathers of New England, mostly from Lynn. Mass., who received a charter from the English authorities and immediately on their arrival arranged for a friendly purchase of the land from the Indians."

Note:   All spelling of words have been  transcribed as written in article.
Website: The History
Article Name: The New York Colonists Part II
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


 The New York Times  May 2, 1897
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