The New York Colonists Part I

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.

Albany, April 24.__George Rogers Howell, State Archivist, before the new York Society of Founders and Patriots, recently overthrew the credited authorities on the date of the first colonization of the State of New York in modern history. In opening his remarks, which are shortly to be printed in pamphlet form, Mr. Howell says:

"It is a little remarkable that the only contemporary witnesses on this side of the ocean who have left evidence of the settlement of New York by the Dutch are an old Frenchwoman and an Indian. The woman made two affidavits on the question, one at the age of eighty and a second at the age of eighty-three. Her two statements are contradictory on essential points, and, without charging intention to deceive, both are unreliable. One would suppose that even if no one on this side had recorded either directly, or incidentally in some narrative, the time of the settlement, that certainly in Holland there would be in the archives of the West
India Company or in the State papers some record of this important event. It is quite doubtful if any such will ever be found, as all the papers of the West India Company were sold at public auction by direction of the Government of the Netherlands twenty years before Brodhead's visit to Holland to procure historical documents for the State of New York in 1841.

"The West India Company was chartered on the 3d of June, 1621, with three main objects in view by the statesmen of Hollden who issued the Charter.

These objects were, first, an immediate source of revenue to the State to aid in supporting the war then waging with Spain; second, to colonize the lands from which were promised so many advantages by the United Netherlands Trading Company, which had ceased to exist on the 1st of January, 1618, by the limits of its charter; and third, the colony was to be a permanent offset as a colony to the American colonies of Spain, and a place of ambush from which to pounce on the rich galleons from her provinces in America. Willem Usselinex, a far-sighted statesman and patriot, but of less influence, owing to his want of wealth and high rank, had been for ten years urging the immediate colonization of the fair land visited by Henry Hudson, who had given glowing reports to the
West India Company of its riches and productiveness.

John Cabot's Voyage

"John Cabot, in his second voyage to America, in 1498, had sailed from Labrador along and down the coast, probably to Florida and by right of discovery had pre-empted that portion of the continent to England. In 1524 Giovanni Verrazzano, a Florentine in the service of Francis I. of France, sailed into the mouth of the Hudson River. it is a matter of record in the archives of France that from this time on to 1624 the French were in the habit of fishing for codfish from the coast of New Foundland southward, and that they traded with the Indians is shown in a remarkable statement which was written on the map probably used by Henry Hudson in his voyage of so-called discovery of the river that bears his name, and written by the side of the river, just above Albany: "As well
as one can understand from the words and explanation of the Mohawks, the French come with sloops as high up as their country to trade with them." Thus Hudson, on his voyage of discovery in 1609, had a map with him of the country he was discovering, showing the interior up to the inflow of the Mohawk, a map made also before he was born. Still another discoverer, Estevan Gomez, in the Spanish service, as narrated by Peter Martyr, also found this river before Hudson. But no matter.

"The Dutch came here and colonized, and their thrift and industry turned the wilderness to a garden. The claims of England and of France, if she had any, were in abeyance. it is a matter of record that the Dutch visited these shores from 1614 to 1624, for trading with the natives. But only for trade. No passengers came, and when the cargo was ready, all who came in the ship returned with the ship to Holland. It is said they built a fort at Manhattan, and another at Albany on Castle Island. The gateway of their new colony would have needed the protection of a fort if the Indians had happened to have had rifled cannon to prevent the passage
of a vessel by Manhattan island and up the river. But the Dutch settlers were few in numbers, the Indians on Manhattan hostile, and the seat of the fur trade was in the heart of the interior among more friendly tribes. hence it happened that the fort was not built at the mouth of the Hudson River until a few years later. They built an earthwork in Albany, near the river, crowned with an abattis of sharpened logs. A similar one ore or less out of repair the Dutch found already on Castle Island, built by their trading predecessors the French, and they used it, they occupied it for their security. Castle island was as inaccessible to an enemy except by boats, as a castle on the Rhine except by wings. It made an ideal trading post. In fact Castle island made Albany, or Castle Island and the Mohawk River together; the one was a natural site for a defense from all foes, the other a natural and easy highway by boats to the heart of a country rich in furs and peltry. And Albany is the military key to the eastern half of the continent, as the Mohawk Valley is the easiest gradient to the valley of the Mississippi north of the Carolinas, and therefore the strategic line of this half of the continent.

Catalina Trico's Deposition

"Now let us hear the deposition of the Frenchwoman, Catalina Trico:

                                                                                                                                         "New York. Feb. 14, 1684-5.

"The deposicon of Catalina Trico aged four score yeares or thereabouts taken before the right Hon. Collo. Thomas Dongan Lieut. Governour under his Royal Highness James Duke of Yorke and Albany, etc. of New York and its Dependencyes in America, who saith and Declares in the presence of God as followeth:

"That she came to this province either in the yeare one thousand six hundred and twenty-three or twenty-foure to the best of her remembrance, and that foure women came along with her in the same shipp the Governor Arian Jorissen came alsoe over, which foure women were married at sea and that they and their husbands stayed about three weekes at this place and they with eight seamen more went in a vessell by order of the Dutch Governor to Dellaware River and there settled: This I certifie under my
hand and ye seale of this province.
                                                                                                                                                 THOMAS DONGAN

"Her second deposition, sixty-four years after the events happened, is given in N.Y. Col. MSS., vol. 35; 182, as follows:

                                                                                                                            "Oath of testimony, dated October 17, 1688.

"Catalyn Trico, aged about eighty-three years born in Paris, doth testify & declare that in ye year 1623 she came into this country with a ship called the Unity, whereof was Commander Arien Jorisse, belonging to ye West India Company being ye first ship ye come here for ye sd company: as soon as they came to Manhatans now called N. York they sent two families & six men to Harford river, and 8 men they left att N. Yorke to take possession and ye rest of ye passengers went with ye ship up as farr as Albany which they then called Fort Orangie. When ye ship came as far as Sopus (Esopus, i.e. Kingston), which is half way to Albany, they lightened ye ship with some boats yt were left there by ye Dutch that had been there ye year before a trading with ye Indians upon there owne
accompts & gone back again to Holland & so brought ye vessell up: there were about 18 families aboard who settled themselves att Albany and made a small fort: and as soon as they had built themselves some hutts of bark, ye Mahikanders (Mohegans) or river Indians: ye Maquase (Mohawks): Oneydas: Onnondages, Cayougas & Sinnekes, with ye Mahawawa or Ottawawaes Indians came & made covenants of friendship with ye sd Arien Jorise there Commander. Bringing him great presents of Bever or other Peltry & desyred that they might come & have a constant free trade with thenm wch was concluded upon & ye sd nations came dayly with gread multitude of Bever & traded with ye Christians, there sd Commander Arien Jorise staid with them all winter and sent his sonne home with ye ship: ye sd Deponent lived in Albany three years all which time ye sd Indians were all as quiet as Lambs & came & traded with all ye freedom imaginable. In ye year 1626 ye Deponent came from Albany & settled at N. Yorke where she lived
afterwards for many years and then came to Long Island where she now lives."

"The sd Catalyn Trico made oath of ye sd Depositior before me at her house on Long Island,in ye Wale Bought [on Wallabout bay] ye 17th of October, 1688.

                                                                                                                     WILLIAM MORRIS, "Justice of ye Pece."

Note:   All spelling of words have been  transcribed as written in article.

Website: The History
Article Name: The New York Colonists Part I
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


 The New York Times  May 2, 1897
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