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

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Cornelius Steenwyck

Schepen in 1658, 1660.
Burgomaster in 1662, 1664, 1665, 1666.
Mayor in 1668, 1669, 1670, 1682, 1683.

This magistrate was one of the most intelligent and wealthy merchants of New Amsterdam. Like many others of those who afterward became the principal citizens, Steenwyck came to this city in government employment, while a young man, and after gaining a foothold, embarked in trade on his own account. He married a daughter of Lysbet Greveraat, who resided in this city, and established his residence and place of business near the corner of Whitehall and Bridge streets. His business was of that general character peculiar to country storekeepers, and he enlarged it so as to engage in foreign trade, and owned interests in several ships. His connection with the Holland trade became more extensive than that of any other merchant of his time.

His influential position was such, that in the time of the anticipated arrival of an English expedition against the city, in 1663, he was unanimously called on by the government and magistrates to proceed to Holland for the purpose of soliciting aid in maintaining the possession of the city by the Dutch. His mercantile interests were such, however, as to oblige him to decline until it was too late. He died in the city full of years and honors.

Cloff Stevensen Van Cortland

Burgomaster in 1655, 1656, 1658, 1659, 1662, 1663, 1665.
Alderman in 1666, 1667, 1671.

This was one of the prominent citizens of New Amsterdam. He came to this city in the year 1637, attached to a military company. In the summer of that year he was transferred to the civil service as Commissary of Cargoes, at a salary of thirty guilders, or about twelve dollars per month. In 1648 he left the Company's service and embarked in the brewing business having built a brewery near the fort, in what was afterwards called the "Brouwer" or Brewer street, since called Stone street, from the circumstance of its being the first street paved with stone in this city.

Van Cortland was a politician of influence. In 1650 he was president of a body called "the nine men," being the people's representatives. As such, he opposed the policy of Governor Stuyvesant with considerable effect. Stuyvesant retaliated by turning the nine men out of their pew in church, and tearing up the seats. Van Cortland, as president, protested against this affront, and was charged in turn by Stuyvesant, with making 100,000 guilders out of his office of Commissary, on a salary of 30 guilders per month. The parties soon after became reconciled, and in 1660 he accompanied the governor to the Esopus, and concluded a treaty with the Mohawk, Mohegan, Wappinger, Minqua and Esopus Indians.

In 1663, Van Cortland was one of the Commissioners for treating with the authorities of New England respecting the boundaries between the Dutch and English territories.

In the following year he was one of the Commissioners on the part of the Dutch to settle the terms of the capitulation of the city to the English, which event took place on the 6th September, 1664. The English fleet consisted of the Guinea, 36 guns, commanded by Captain Hugh Hyde; the Elias, 30 guns, Captain William Hill; the Martin, 18 guns, Captain Edward Groves, and the William and Nicholas, 10 guns. The whole of the force on board this fleet was commanded by Colonel Richard Nichols. On Monday, 8th September, the Dutch soldiers, led by Stuyvesant, marched out of the fort with the honors of war.

Van Cortland died some time subsequent to 1683, at an advanced age. He had seven children, Stephanus, who married Gertrude Schuyler; Maria, who married Jeremias Van Rensselaer in 1662; Catharine, who married, first, John Derval, and secondly Frederick Philipse; Cornelia, who married Brant Schuyler; Jacob, who married Eva Philipse; Sophia, who married Andrew Teller, and John, who died unmarried.

The city residence of Van Cortland was, as before-mentioned, in "Brouwer," now Stone street. His farm, of about 80 acres, was on the North river, near "Sapocanichan," now in the Eighth Ward, above Canal street. His farm was purchased by him in 1647.

The descendants of Van Cortland were prominent citizens in this city for many years subsequent.

His son, Stephanus, was Schepen in 1674 and 1675; Alderman in 1676; Mayor in 1677, 1686, 1687.

His son, Jacobus, was Alderman in 1686, 1694, 1695, 1696, 1698, 1699, 1700, 1702, 1703; Mayor in 1710, 1719.

His son, Johannes (John,) was Assistant in 1686.

His grandson, Philip, was Assistant in 1715, 1716, Alderman in 1717, 1718, 1719, 1720, 1721, 1722, 1723, 1724, 1725, 1726, 1727, 1728, 1729.

His grandson, Stephen, was Alderman in 1743, 1744, 1745, 1746, 1747, 1748, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1753, 1754.

Nicasius D'Sille

Schout (or Sheriff) in 1658, 1659, 1660

Mr. D'Sille arrived in this colony in 1653, bearing the following commission from the Directors in Holland, directed to Governor Stuyvesant: "We have deemed it advisable for the better administration of the government in New Netherland to strengthen your council with another expert and able statesman: and whereas Nicasius D'Sille, the bearer of these open letters, did apply to us for the appointment, so we have, trusting in the good reports of his character, and confiding in his talents, appointed him First Councilor to the Director, to reside as such at Fort Amsterdam, and deliberate with you on all affairs relating to war, police, and national force."

D'Sille accompanied Governor Stuyvesant in 1655, in his expedition against the Swedes, on the Delaware River, in which the Dutch were successful.

It was a part of the Schout D'Sille's duty to go round the town at night to see that order was kept. He complains on one occasion in the following terms to the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens: "That when he goes his rounds at night, the dogs make dangerous attacks upon him." He says, moreover, that there is much hallooing of the Indians in the streets and cutting of hoekies by the boys, all which, being against good order, should be remedied. We can understand the matter of his complaint, except the Dutch term "hoekies," which cannot, we believe, be now translated, although tradition has handed down a similar term among truant boys in some of the villages on the Hudson River.

Although D'Sille was confided in as an expert and able statesman, he, nevertheless, could not control his wife. He goes so far as to complain of her in 1659, to the magistrates, as habitually intoxicated and of squandering his property in the most lavish manner. In 1668, the Governor, through the mediation of some of the principal citizens, attempted to reconcile these parties, but found their mutual animosity so great that interference was useless. They separated, and the property was divided equally between them.

After the surrender of the country to the English, D'Sille resided at New Utrecht. He built the first stone house in that town.

Mrs. D'Sille survived her husband, and died in 1694, leaving by her will all her property to her cousin, Jacobus Croeger.

D'Sille left one son and two daughters, by a former marriage, but no issue by his last wife.


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