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Dirck Storm (1630–1716) was an early colonial American famous for composing the history of the Dutch community at Sleepy Hollow and beginning the community's records. His book "Het Notite Boeck der Christelyckes Kercke op de Manner of Philips Burgh" is one of the nation's most valuable historical documents. Sometimes referred to as "Het Notite Boeck", the five-part book is a rare surviving record of Dutch Colonial American village life in English-occupied New York province.
Birth and early life
One line of research provides that Dirck Storm was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands, in 1630 and that his family resided in Leyden, Holland, where they dealt in fine cloth. One source states that historical records carry this proposed Storm line back to Dederick Storm, who lived in Wyck, near Delft, in 1390. The family may have been of Viking stock since so many settled in the province of North Brabant when the Vikings overran the Low Countries before the year 1000.
At the age of eighteen Dirck went to Den Bosch to be clerk in his uncle's commercial office. On May 13, 1656 he married, in the church of St. Gertrude in 's-Hertogenbosch, Maria van Montfoort, daughter of Pieter van Montfoort, an old family of Delft and Leyden. By 1660, Dirck was named Town Clerk of Ossch in the Mayorate of 's-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch). Public service was part of the Storm family history, as Dirck's father was the City Clerk of Leiden and his grandfather was a lawyer in the Court of Justice of Holland, West Friesland and Zealand. When Protestant Holland was hit by a recession after the overthrow of Cromwell in England, Dirck set sail for the New World.
Another line of research, based on records consulted in North Brabant, including records of the town of Oss, suggests that the subject Dirck Storm's ancestors may have been from the Oss area instead, and that he was born there. The town of Oss (aka Osch) lies in the Eastern part of the Province of North Brabant. Oss is a suburb of the city of Den Bosch, separated by hamlets such as Lith and Lithoijen. This second line of reasoning might still be consistent with his activities immediately prior to his immigration, but calls into question his roots suggested in the first line in what is now the province of Zuid Holland.
In the fall of 1662 he emigrated, with his wife Maria and three children, ages six, four and one from the Mayory of Den Bosch to New Amsterdam in New Netherland onboard De Vos, which translates to The Fox. During the voyage, Maria Storm gave birth to a daughter. The ship landed at the foot of Wall Street in mid-November 1662, in what is now Manhattan.
Town clerk and farmer
Storm held real estate, owned a tavern on Beaver Street, and dabbled in inn-keeping. Later he was appointed Town Clerk in several communities in Breuckelen; New Utrecht, Bedford, and Flatbush. Many land titles and hundreds of genealogies are based on the clear, fine script of his records. He also served as a teacher in some of these communities. He farmed land in Bedford and New Lots, and served as precantor to two of the Dutch churches in Breuckelen. In 1670, he was appointed Secretary of the Colony.
In 1691 he was sent to Tappan by the British, who were setting up new governments at the time. There, he became the first Secretary and Clerk of the Sessions for Orange County, New York. He was also the Voorleser of the Tappan Church. In 1693, he joined his old friend Frederick Philipse, and acted as tax collector for the vast manor held by Philipse. Dirck and his wife were recorded as members of the Old Dutch Church at Sleepy Hollow as early as 1697, soon after the church was constructed.
On November 3, 1715, the church members selected Dirck Storm to begin recording the history of the church retroactively from 1697. Historic records show that they decided that Dirck was "the best informed and most competent member be chosen to make up a statement of events that led to the founding of the church." Abraham de Revier, Sr. was the first elder of the church and evidently kept a private memorandum book that is now lost to history. However, it was heavily drawn upon by Dirck Storm in composing "Het Notite Boeck."
Dirck was of the yeoman class and under Dutch law, was allowed to buy his farmland in Sleepy Hollow outright from the lord of the Manor, his friend, Frederick Philipse. All his sons were farmers but many descendants were captains of their own boats on the Hudson River. Descendant Capt. Jacob Storm lived in the Philipse Manor house which is now a museum. The old mill house was once his office.
Dirck Storm is the ancestor of many notable Americans, including the famous clergyman David Storm, deacon and elder of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow. Many Americans with the last name "Storm" or "Storms" can trace their ancestry to Dirck Storm.
- The Storm Family, by Maureen McKernan as printed in The Daily Argus, Mount Vernon, N.Y., Tuesday, September 11, 1951
- Old Dirck's Book, by Raymond W. Storm, originally published in 1949, reprinted in 1987 by Selby Publishing.