Wolphert Gerretse

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Wolphert Gerretse
New Netherlands Seal Vector.svg
Seal of New Netherlands
Schepen of New Amsterdam
In office
1654–1654
Commissioner for New Netherlands to the States-General
In office
1653–1653
Personal details
Born 1 May 1579
Died 1662

Wolphert Gerretse (1 May 1579–1662), also known as Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven and Wolfert Gerritsen Van Couwenhoven, was an original patentee, director of bouweries (farms), and a founder of the New Netherlands colony;[1] founder of the first European settlement on Long Island, New Amersfoort,[2] and a Schepen of New Amsterdam in 1654. "He played an active role in laying the foundations of the communities of Manhattan, Albany, Rensselaer, and Brooklyn."[3]

Some descendants of Wolphert anglicized the surname "Van Kouwenhoven" to "Conover," as well as "Crownover", with Benjamin Conover (born 1822) being the first direct descendent (7th generation) to use "'Conover'" as his surname.[4]

Early life[edit]

Wolphert was born on 1 May 1579 in Amersfoort, Netherlands,[5] one of three sons of Gerrit Wolfert Suype Van Kouwenhoven and his wife, Styne Sara Roberts.[6]

Dutch West India Company[edit]

Gerretse ran a baking and clothes bleaching business, when in 1625 he was assigned as one of the first settlers to cultivate farms in the New Netherlands colony by the Dutch West India Company.[5]

Director of Bouweries for Kiliaen van Rensselaer[edit]

Following that service, in 1630 he returned to the Netherlands, where he entered into a contract with Kiliaen Van Rensselaer to return to the colony to manage his farms. Wolphert arrived back in the colony aboard the ship "Eendracht",[7] where he proceeded in his duties as director for van Rensselaer's farms in Rensselaerwyck and Fort Orange.[8] His contract was to run through 1636, but Gerretse requested it cancelled early so he could pursue his own interests. Rensselaer agreed. In 1632, Gerretse was released from his contractual obligations.[7]

New Amersfoort[edit]

Shortly thereafter, he leased a bouwerie in New Amsterdam[8] and managed it until 1636, when he was granted a patent of several hundred acres on Long Island. He called his plantation "Achervelt"; later it served as the founding of the town of New Amersfoort, named after Gerretse's original home.[2] Today the area is known as Flatlands. His plantation was located near the current intersection of King's Highway and Flatbush Avenue.

In 2007 the deed of the granted land in Long Island was sold to a private collector for $156,000 becoming “one of the oldest Dutch documents in private hands.” The deed dated June 6th, 1663 is written in Dutch and outlines the purchase of the land (3,600-acre) from the Lenape Indians. [9]

Public service[edit]

In 1637, he became a Freeholder in Midwout, and again in 1641.[6] In 1653, he was sent by the colony to the States-General in the Netherlands as a Commissioner. In 1654, Wolphert served as a Schepen of New Amsterdam,[10] and in 1657 was made a Burgher.[11] He served on the citizens council of Eight Men.

Marriage and children[edit]

Gerretse died in 1662. A member of the Dutch Reformed Church, on 17 January 1605, he married Neeltje Jacobsdochter at the church in Amersfoort, Netherlands. With her he had three sons:

  • Jacob (b. 1612–1670)-assistant to Gov. Woulter Van Twiller, Representative at the Board of Nine in 1647, 1649–1650,[12] sat on the Court of Arbitrators between 1649–1650, Delegate of New Netherlands to the Hague in Holland[12][13]
  • Pieter (b. 1614-d. 1699)-one of the first magistrates of New Netherlands, member of the Schepens Court 1653–1654, 1658–1659, 1661 and 1663, Delegate from New Amsterdam to the Convention of 1653, Lieutenant in the Esopus War, signer of the peace treaty 1664 with the Esopus Indians[12]

Notable descendants[edit]

Legacy[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A century of banking in New York", p. 82; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Scannell New Jersey's First Citizens", p. 99; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Wolfert Gerritsen Van Couwenhoven and the Founding of New York," Journal of Long Island History 15:5–22, by Morton Wagman, 1979.
  4. ^ Rhinebeck Lutheran Church Records, Rhinebeck, NJ and Tombstone Records of Cazenovia Cemetery, NY
  5. ^ a b c d e "Keeping Up With The Joneses", Jones NY History; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  6. ^ a b "First Record Book", Society of the Daughters of Holland Dames, p. 103; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Manhattan 1624–1639", p. 5; retrieved 25 Oct 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Conover Family", p. 7; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  9. ^ Dutch deed fetches more than a handful of beads, cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com; 1 November 2007; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Hollanders who helped build America". Bernard Hubertus Maria Vlekke, Henry Beets. American Biographical Company, 1942. p. 196
  11. ^ "Leaves From The Tree", p. 336; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  12. ^ a b c d "Courts and Lawyers of New York: A History, 1609–1925". Alden Chester, E. Melvin Williams. The Lawbook Exchange, 2005. p. 235.
  13. ^ "The Bronx in the frontier era", p. 46; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Descendants of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven", p. 292; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  15. ^ "Descendants of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven", p. 417; retrieved 26 July 2012.
  16. ^ "Descendants of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven", p. 1280; retrieved 25 October 2009.
  17. ^ a b c "Descendants of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven", p. 1005; retrieved 25 October 2009.