Biographical Sketches of All The Magistrates of New Amsterdam 1653-1678 Part I

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Jan Vigne:

Schepen, in 1655, 1656, 1661, 1663

This individual was a son of Guleyn Vigne and his wife, Ariantje Cuvilje. He either was born in this place, or came hither with his parents at a very early age. His mother owned a farm on the present site of Wall and Pearl streets, and the adjacent parts. On this farm was a wind-mill, standing upon a hill near the corner of Wall and Pearl streets.

The widow of Guleyn Vigne died about the year 1648, leaving one son, the subject of our sketch, and three daughters, Maria, (who married Abram Verplank,) Christiana (married Dirck Volckeeson, of Bushwick,) and Rachel
(married Cornelius Van Tienhoven).

The homestead farm, which was the nearest farm of any extent to the city, and was undoubtedly one of the oldest cultivated sections in this state, was occupied by Jan Vigne, where, in addition to the cultivation of his lands, he carried on the brewing business and kept the ancient windmill at work.

The history of Jan Vigne is mostly curious from its associations with the early condition of our city. The following extracts from the court records, exhibit a country farmer in actual every day operation, on the present thriving precincts of Wall, Pearl, Pine and adjacent streets.


"Jan Vigne against Daniel Litschoe. The plaintiff complains that defendant's pigs have been in his corn-grounds, and done considerable damage. Defendant does not deny that his pigs were in there, but says that it was owing to the fences being bad. He says, moreover, that he cautioned the plaintiff about his fences before, to which no attention was paid, and now his pigs have
been in again, and one of them, worth about thirty guilders, had its legs broken. He therefore desires to know if he should not be paid her value."

This case was referred to arbitrators.


"Jan Vigne appears in court complaining of the damage sustained by him in consequence of the erection of the city walls," a line of palisades and banked earth which had been constructed in the present year on the present line of Wall street. "He further says, that his land has been thrown open, and the cattle destroyed his planted crops. He requests that he may be reimbursed
for damage. Referred."


A similar application is made by Vigne, in conjunction with the other heirs of Ariantje Cuvilje.


"Jan Vigne against Frans Clasen

Plaintiff says that the defendant's son, with three or four other school-boys, were found among his peas and corn, where they did much damage with their foot-prints, &c. Having spoken to the defendant about it, he found him surly and abusive.

"Defendant says that his boy came home, black and blue from a beating given him by the plaintiff. That he believes three or four children were coming from school, and might have been in the field, but not maliciously; and he does not believe they damaged the worth of a pea's pod.

"Plaintiff says he could not catch the other boys, or he would have served them the same." In this case the court considered that plaintiff had lost his remedy for damage by having beaten the boy.

Jan Vigne died in 1691, in this city. It is believed that he left no children, but many descendants of his sisters still live among us.

Arent Van Hattem

Burgomaster in 1653, 1654

Arent Van Hattem was an intelligent trader, who had been for some years in the peltry trade, traveling up the Hudson river, and through other Indian country. He amassed a considerable fortune, and was one of the pioneers in the trading business in this part of the world. He was the first burgomaster of this city, and the head of the municipality. His resident here was not constant, as his occupation called him often into other parts. In 1653 he was sent, in company with Cornelius Van Tienhoven, to Virginia, to negotiate a treaty with the authorities there. He was captain of the citizen's company, organized in 1653, for the defense of the city against the people of New England. A year or two after he departed from this country for Holland. He had no family here, but left an illegitimate child at Fort Orange, Albany, the mother of which afterwards married one Hans Vos. The child was bound out to Jacob Van Colaer, (a man of some note) for five years, then to be returned to Van Hattem, or to be subject to his orders. The father, however, never claimed it after his departure, and it was delivered to the mother. Van Hattem left some property in this country, which was left in charge of Jaques Cortelyou.

Johannes De Peyster,

Schepen in 1655, 1657, 1658, 1662, 1665.
Alderman in 1666, 1669, 1673, 1676.
Burgomaster in 1674.
Deputy Mayor in 1677.

This magistrate was a merchant, in good circumstances, residing and doing business in the "Winckel," or shop street, now Whitehall street, opposite the Bowling Green. The nature of the business pursued by Mr. De Peyster, was a general trading business. We find the records speak of his fitting out the stores of a ship; at another place of dealing in tobacco. He also sells wine by the cask, and trades with one De Kemper for an ox.

From this De Peyster are descended the numerous and respectable citizens of that name of the present day. In former times the members of that family appear to have been members of the city government almost continually until the Revolutionary war.

Abraham De Peyster was Alderman in 1685. Mayor in 1691, 1692, 1693, and 1694.
Johannes De Peyster was Assistant in 1694, 1695, 1701. Mayor in 1698.
Cornelius De Peyster was Assistant in 1735, 1736, 1737, 1738, 1739, 1740, 1741, 1742, 1743,
1744, 1745, 1746, 1747, 1748, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1753, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1759.
William De Peyster was Assistant in 1750, 1751, 1752, 1753, 1754.

Johannes Pietersen Van Bruggh

Schepen in 1655, 1656, 1659, 1661, 1662, 1665
Alderman in 1665, 1671, 1672.
Burgomaster in 1674, 1679, 1680, 1682, 1686.

This highly respectable and intelligent burgher, of New Amsterdam, was, at his first coming to this country, (we believe about the year 1640,) a commissary in the employment of the West India Company. He soon left the public service and engaged in trade, amassing a considerable fortune, and maintaining, until his death, an influential position in the community of the city. His city residence was in the "Hoogh straat," now Pearl street, near the Battery. As a farm, he owned and occupied Domine's Hook on this island.


Website: The History
Article Name: Biographical Sketches of All The Magistrates of New Amsterdam 1653-1678 Part I
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: My collection of Books: Manual of the Common Council of New York 1852 by D.T. Valentine
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