Sarah Rapelje

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Medallion given to Sarah Rapelje on occasion of her marriage to Hans Hansen Bergen, 1639. Later inserted into tankard, donated by descendants to Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1926

Sarah Rapelje (July 9, 1625, Fort Orange - 1685, Bushwick, New York) was the first European Christian female born in New Netherland.[1]


Sarah Rapelje was the daughter of Joris Jansen Rapelje (1604-1663) and Catalina Trico (1605-1689).[2] Joris Rapalje and Catalina Trico were Walloon Calvinists who sailed onboard the ship Eendracht from The Netherlands in 1624. They arrived at a site on the Hudson River where they helped built the settlement at Fort Orange in what would eventually become Beverwyck, and later Albany, New York. This is where Sarah Rapalje was born. After Manhattan Island was bought from local Indians, Joris Rapalje and Catalina Trico and their family were sent to Manhattan Island to help with the settlement of New Amsterdam. Joris Rapalje later bought land in Brooklyn, and eventually moved to Wallabout Bay [3]

Sarah Rapelje was first married to Hans Hansen Bergen in 1639. She had eight children with Hans Bergen of which seven children lived into adulthood. Hans Bergen died in 1653. After his death, she was married a second time in 1654 to Teunis Gysbertse Bogaert and had an additional seven children.


Rapelje's chair is in the permanent collection of the Museum of the City of New York, a gift of her Brinckerhoff descendants.[4] Brooklyn's Rapelye Street is named for the family.[5] Sarah Rapalje herself was granted a large tract of land in the Wallabout in Brooklyn by Dutch authorities for being the first European Christian female to be born in the New Netherland. The family owned extensive property in the area of present-day Red Hook.[6]


  1. ^ 14 Generations: New Yorkers
  2. ^ The Bogart Family: the descendants of Tunis Gysbertse Bogaert, by John Bogaert
  3. ^ Island at the center of the world, by Russell Shorto
  4. ^ Russell Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World. The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan, the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America (Doubleday, 2004.)
  5. ^ Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges, and More Got Their Names, By Leonard Benardo, Jennifer Weiss, Published by NYU Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8147-9946-9
  6. ^ Winter Scene in Brooklyn, Museum of the City of New York

External links[edit]

Related Reading[edit]

  • Bergen, Teunis G, (1866) The Bergen Family: or The Descendants of Hans Hansen Bergen, One of the Early Settlers of New York and Brooklyn (New York City: Bergen & Tripp)
  • Fosdick, Lucian John (1906) The French Blood in America (Boston, Mass.: R. G. Badger)
  • Ross, Peter (1902) A History of Long Island: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 2 (Lewis publishing Company - Long Island, N.Y.)
  • Stiles, Henry Reed (1867) A History of the City of Brooklyn, Volume 1 (Published by subscription in Brooklyn, NY)