Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Calendar of Historical Manuscripts, Part I, Dutch Manuscripts, 1630-1664

The complete title is Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, N. Y. It is the work of E. B. (Edmund Bailey) O'Callaghan, and was published in 1865 and 1866, in two parts. Part I, published in 1865, is a calendar of manuscripts from New York's Dutch period of 1630 to 1664. Part II, published in 1866, is a calendar of manuscripts from the English period, covering the years 1664 to 1776. The work is often referenced simply as Calendar. This post focuses on Part I. Digital versions can be found online at Internet Archives.


E. B. O'Callaghan was the archivist for the State of New York when, in about 1850, it took up the task of organizing and assuring the preservation of the records and papers found in the Secretary of State's office in Albany. In essence what he did was gather the records together, reorganize them, and bind them in new volumes. His reorganization and the titles bestowed upon the volumes he created are the framework for the later complete translations by A. J. F. van Laer, Charles T. Gehring, and others, published in series under the titles "New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch," "New York Historical Manuscripts: English," and "New Netherland Documents". Part of O'Callaghan's effort was the creation of a calendar of the documents which serves us today as a convenient, "one stop," place to search for documents relating to any one specific person or event from the New Netherland period. For details on just what O'Callaghan did, how he went about doing it, and the history of the records and papers, it is suggested that you consult Arnold J. F. van Laer's, Translation and Publication of the Manuscript Dutch Records of New Netherland, With an Account of Previous Attempts at Translation (1910); Charles T. Gehring's Introduction (2010?) to the New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch and New Netherland Documents series, and to the introduction in Laws and Writs of Appeal (New Netherland Document Series, Vol. 16), translated and edited by Charles T. Gehring (1991), starting at page xix.

Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan (1797-1880) (Wikimedia Commons via IHM)


The Calendar is indexed and there are entries for four different men named Brouwer found there. 

Entries for Adam Brouwer can be found at pages 32 (twice), 34, 94, 245 and 372. The entries on pages 32, and 34 are found in their entirety in Register of the Provincial Secretary, New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 2. The entry at page 94 is found in Council Minutes, 1638-1649, New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 4.

The entry for Adam Brouwer found at page 245 is from Volume 10, Council Minutes, 1661-1665, which has not yet been translated and published by the New Netherland Research Center (see page III of Introduction). This is a petition by "William Williamsen Bennet, Thomas Verdon, Adam Brouwer and Adriaen Willemsen, coheirs of Thomas Vardon (sic) praying that Paulus van der Beeq, husband of said Vardon's widow, may be obliged to account for their paternal estate." The widow being spoken of here is of course Maria Badie, who was first married to Jacob Verdon (not Thomas Vardon), secondly to Willem Adriaensen, and thirdly to Paulus van der Beeck. The "coheirs" here are Thomas Verdon and Adam Brouwer, the husband of Magdalena Verdon, children of Maria Badie's first husband, and William Willemsz Bennet and Adriaen Willemsen (Bennet) children of Maria's second husband. They are asking Maria's third husband for their share of the inheritance attributed to her first husband. The entry here is listed with the date 1 March 1663. As mentioned, we do not yet have a modern translation of this entire petition in print.  In The Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam, 1655 to 1663, by Berthold Fernow (digital editions online at Internet Archives), pages 229-230, with a date of 8 February 1663, is "Adam Brouwer, Tomas Verdon and Arien Willemsen appearing produce an extract from the Record or Resolutions of the Court of Breuckelen, dated January 24, 1663, and having been referred by said Court to this Board, as the extract shows, they request that Master Paulus be ordered to let them have their fathers property..."The Orphanmasters decision is that the persons and property involved are not within their jurisdiction and the petitioners are told to take the matter to the Director General and Council of New Netherland. Also relating to this matter is a deposition of Maritie Tomas (this being Maria Badie recorded with her patronymic) dated 15 February 1663. An annotated transcription by Wilson V. Ledley can be found in his series on the Bennet family, "Willem Adriaense Bennet of Brooklyn, N. Y., and Some of His Descendants," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 93, no. 4 (Oct. 1962), pages 196-197. Space prevents a complete transcription here, but the deposition is interesting in that Maria states that her house was burned and destroyed "in the war with the savages about 19 years ago." That would be about 1644, the year Adam Brouwer likely came to New Amsterdam. Maria describes her remaining estate after the destruction, and this includes a "Bouwery (farm) and valley at Gouwanes, and a lot and a house on Beaver Street in New Amsterdam, also a "handmill" with belongings sold by her husband Paulus van der Beeck to Albert Pietersen Molenaer (miller), and so on. The deposition was taken by Wal van der Veen. The author, Wilson V. Ledley, gives is source as "OM:II:33-34." This would be Berthold Fernow's The Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam, 1655 to 1663 (Vol. II, 1907) which includes Minutes of the Executive Boards of the Burgomasters of New Amsterdam and The Records of Walewyn Van Der Veen, Notary Public, 1662-1664. Digital versions can be found online at Internet Archive. See pages 33-34 for the translation transcribed by Ledley. Maria Badie's deposition is not cataloged in O'Callaghan's Calendar.

The entry for Adam Brouwer found on page 372 is the patent he received for his lot on Manhattan Island. It is dated 8 February 1647, and the full translation is found in Land Papers, New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vols. GG, HH & II.

There is an entry for Jan Brouwer at page 67. This is the court case (19 May 1639) in which Jan Brouwer sued George Homs (Holmes) for a debt. It is found in Council Minutes, NYHM:Dutch, Vol. 4.

Philip Hendricks Brouwer is found on page 304. Philip Hendricksen Brouwer lived at Beverwijck (now Albany) and was mistakenly presumed to be a brother of Willem Brouwer (below) by Jonathan Pearson. Philip Hendricks Brouwer's is known for having accidentally killed Claes Cornelissen Swits. This entry dated 15 November 1663, is a letter from Vice-Director La Montagne (Jean de la Montagne) to Director Stuyvesant, in which a request is made to the "magistrates to pronounce judgement on Philip Hendricksen Brouwer, for the murder of Claes Cornellissen Swits." This letter is found in Correspondence, 1663-1664, Vol. 15, which has not yet been translated or published (see page III of Introduction).

Entries for William Brouwer can be found at pages 175, 185, 281, 322, 323 and 324. The entries on pages 175 and 185 are found in Council Minutes, volume 8, which has not been translated and published. At page 175, with a date of 27 Sep 1656, is an order, on a complaint by the fiscal, for William Brouwer, shoemaker, to "pay duty on Russia leather, etc., imported by him, and to make a pair of shoes for the fiscal." (A "fiscal" would be equivalent to a treasurer). At page 185, date of 20 April 1657, is "Proceedings and judgment in the city court, in the case of William Brouwer, attorney for Jan le Febre vs. Adriaen Vincent. We won't know the particulars of this case until a complete translation is published.

The entry at page 281 is found in Correspondence, 1654-1658, New Netherland Document Series, Volume 12, translated by Charles T. Gehring and published in 2003. A PDF version has been placed online by the New Netherland Institute. Here we find the full translation at page 62. In the post script of a letter from the Directors of the West India Company to Petrus Stuyvesant, dated 26 May 1655, is "We have here given permission to Willem Brouwer, to go over with his wife and three children without paying passage money, on condition he act as reader or comforter of the sick on board the Waegh, until arrival there, but no longer." This is the record that gives us the date of Willem Brouwer's emigration to New Netherland. It tells us that his wife and three of his children came with him, and we can infer from the letter, that Willem Brouwer was literate.

The entries found in the Calendar at pages 322, 323 and 324, are all found in Fort Orange Court Minutes, 1652-1660, New Netherland Documents Series, Volume 16, part two, translated and edited by Charles T. Gehring, published by Syracuse University Press in 1990 (PDF version online courtesy of the New Netherland Institute). The three entries for William Brouwer were organized by O'Callaghan in his Volume 16, part 3, and they pertain to a petition signed by a number of men, including William Brouwer, regarding the regulating of trade with the Indians; a complaint against William Brouwer, Volkert Jansen and Jan van Aken for employing an Indian to "bring other Indians to sell their furs to them"; and a complaint against a number of men, including William Brouwer, "for going to the woods or employing Dutchman as brokers to trade there with Indians." Along with these three entries there are other records involving Willem Brouwer in Fort Orange Court Minutes, 1652-1660, and they will be covered in a future post.

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