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

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Jochem Pietersen Kuyter

Schepen in 1654

Mr. Kuyter was originally from Darmstadt, and had been in the Danish service in the East Indies. He was persuaded by the West India Company to emigrate to this country, and brought hither his family in 1639. The town then being a mere hamlet, with a few hundred inhabitants.

 He was the first deacon of the new church, built in 1642. This was the second church erected in the city, the first having been "a mere barn," and having fallen into complete decay. "It is a shame," such was the argument for the new edifice, "that the English should see, when they pass, nothing but a mean barn, in which public worship is performed. The first thing they did, in New England, when they raised some dwellings, was to build a fine church. We ought to do the same. We have good materials, fine oak wood, fine building stone, good lime, made from oyster shells, which is better than the lime in Holland." This church was built within the walls of the fort. It was built of rock-stone, seventy-two feet long, fifty-two feet broad, and sixteen feet in height, the cost being about one thousand dollars.

On the arrival of Stuyvesant Kuyter, who superseded Governor Keft in 1647, and Cornelius Melyn, who had been among the most active opponents of the former governor, presented his conduct to the consideration of the new government. These inquiries, however, found little favor with Stuyvesant, who was a strong stickler for the rights of those in authority, and was despotic in his own character. Accordingly the petition was rejected. The tables were now turned upon Kuyter and his associates. Kieft accused them of being the authors of certain calumnies and lies against him, and demanded that they should be banished as pestilent and seditious persons.

The accused were arraigned for trial. The charge against Kuyter was that he had compared Kieft to Saul, whose passions were soothed by music; of having charged him with proposing to throw an Indian sachem into the cellar while negotiating a treaty of peace, and threatening to pinch him with a red-hot tongs. Other charges were also made, and the trial was allowed to go on. Kuyter denied comparing Kieft to Saul, but said that, while the popular council, of which Kuyter were deliberating on one occasion, they were unexpectedly interrupted by Kieft who cried out, "Yes, there be many among you who say that I have more ready cash in my house than four horses can draw," whereupon he, Kuyter, became excited and exclaimed, "What signifieth all this, sir? We are convened here to deliberate on the interests of our country, and not on the private affairs of individuals," with other words, at which the director became enraged, and flung himself out of the room, saying, "Thou art an ungrateful fellow!" It was proved, however, that Kuyter threatened Kieft with his finger. Stuyvesant, in his judgment in the case of Kuyter, relied upon scriptural and civil law. "He, who slanders God, the magistrate, or his parents, must be stoned to death." Bern de Muscatel: "Ye shall not curse your judges, neither shall ye calumniate the chiefs of the nation." Exod. xx. 2. The sentence against Kuyter was that he be banished for three years, and pay a fine of one hundred and fifty guilders.

The influence of Kuyter with the government in Holland, was not, however, impaired by these proceedings. In 1654, a commission was sent out to him as sheriff, but it reached New Amsterdam after his death, which happened July 21st of this year. Although a friend of the savage race, and conspicuous in his efforts to maintain peace with the surrounding nations, he became the victim of their animosity to his people, and was murdered by a party of Indians.

His family, it is believed, returned soon after this event to Holland, and none of his name remained in this city. Kuyter had a considerable farm near Harlem, bordering on the Harlem river. His town residence was on the "Heere graaft," now Broad street.

Issac Greveraat

Schepen in 1664

Isaac Greveraat was a son of Metje Greveraat, a resident of this city. Isaac kept a dry goods store. He inherited considerable real estate from his mother. A good house for its day, in Broadway, brought him a rent of 220 guilders ($75) per annum in 1666. Here he afterward resided.

Nicholas de Meyer

Schepen in 1664. Alderman in 1669, 1670, 1675. Mayor in 1676.

This gentleman was one of the wealthiest citizens of New Amsterdam. The first mention made of him in the public records is in 1658, when he purchased of Jacob Van Couwenhoven "his stone house, mill and lot." De Meyer also owned a farm on the Harlem river, which he had worked by a farmer. His own residence was on Pearl street, near Broad, where he continued to reside for many years. His descendants are numerous in this state.

Martin Krigier

Burgomaster in 1653, 1654, 1659, 1660, 1663.

This was an active and conspicuous man in his day, not so much for his wealth and personal prosperity, as for his public spirit and ready appropriation of himself to the call of his country in time of need. He was an innkeeper, occupying, for his tavern, a site opposite the Bowling Green. That open space was then used as the public parade ground, being opposite the gate of the fort, and was likewise occupied as a market place on certain days in the week. The lot was purchased by Krigier in 1643, before any names were given to the thinly populated thoroughfares of this city. The houses of the inhabitants were then scattered hither and thither, according to the convenience of hill, dale and meadow.

The military expeditions, in which Krigier was engaged, were numerous. He was captain of one of two militia companies, organized in the city for mutual defense against the savages and other enemies. In 1657, he commanded a company of forty men on an expedition to settle difficulties which had arisen in the Dutch colony at the mouth of the Delaware river.

In 1659, he commanded a force of sixty soldiers to the same region, to repel a party of English who had invaded that country. In 1663, he commanded the force sent to Esopus to punish the savages for an inhuman massacre of the Dutch settlers there. Of this expedition we have given some particulars in the biographical sketch of Pieter Wolfessen Van Couwenhoven the lieutenant. Stuyvesant, the governor, designated Kregier to this command, with many encomiums. Stuyvesant himself had, a year or two previous, commanded a party of citizens who went to Esopus for a similar purpose of chastising the savages, or bringing them to submission. On that occasion the Indians made a treaty with the Dutch governor, and the forces were about to return with a bloodless victory to New Amsterdam, and were waiting on the shore for boats from the ships to embark, when a dog was heard to bark, which occasioned such embarrassment among the citizen-soldiers, from fear that the treacherous savages were at hand, that many swam off to the vessels. The alarm was false, but the governor reports the circumstance with the remark that he "blushes while he mentions it."

Kregier still held his favorite office of Captain of the "Burghery," or Citizens Company, until after the capture of the city by the English. The last military duty we find performed by him was superintending the fortifications, in anticipation of the coming of a new English force in 1674.

At an advanced age, still indulging his taste for frontier duty, he removed with his family to the remote country called by the Indians Canastagione, (now Niskayunna,) on the banks of the Mohawk, in the State of New York, a place "where the Indians carried their canoes across the stones." In this wild country he lived until a century had nearly passed over his head, when he died in 1713. Many of his descendants still remain in this country.


Website: The History
Article Name: Biographical Sketches of All The Magistrates of New Amsterdam 1653-1678 Part III
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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