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VAN LEUVEN, Claess
DE WITT, Nicholas Claes
(Abt 1588-)
VAN LEUVEN, Taatje (Ta Altie)
(1592-)
DE WITT, Tjerch Claessen
(1620-1700)

 

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Spouses/Children:
ANDRIESSEN, Barbara

DE WITT, Tjerch Claessen

  • Born: 1620, Grootholdt And Zunderlandt, Westphalia, Prussia
  • Marriage: ANDRIESSEN, Barbara on 24 Apr 1656 in New Amsterdam (New York), New York, New York, United States
  • Died: 17 Feb 1700, Kingston, Ulster, New York, United States aged 80
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bullet  General Notes:

Source: http://www.mrjumbo.com/contents/genealogy/dewitt/tjerck/index.html

There is much to write about Tjerck Claessen DeWitt, progenitor of most DeWitts in North America. I haven’t had time to put together as much as I’d like, but for now, here’s a very quick rundown:

He probably emigrated from near Esens in Ostfriesland (northern coast of Germany) in the early or mid-1650s. (See related page of discussion on his origins.) He married Barbara Andriessen in Manhattan on April 24, 1656. Apparently, though, they never baptized any children there. (Some say Tjerck and Barbara baptized their first son, Andries, in New York, and lived there until spring 1657, but no record exists of Andries’ baptism in Manhattan. When Andries posts wedding banns in Kingston, on March 4, 1682, he’s listed as born in New York.)

We know that as early as February 1656 Tjerck was in court in Albany (Fort Orange) for fighting and for keeping company with Lutherans; we also know he lived there after he was married. (On June 25, 1657, he declares in court there that he’s made a payment in relation to the sale of a stallion.) It seems likely that Tjerck and Barbara baptized their first children in Albany. Marriage and baptism records from Albany before 1683 have been lost.

On November 20, 1658, Tjerck arranged to lease his house in Beverwyck (Albany) to Arent Isacksz from May 1, 1659, to May 1, 1660. In September 1660 he traded his Albany property with a Madame de Hutter (or Madame Johanna De Laldt and her husband, Hon. Jeronimus Ebbink?), in exchange for land in Wiltwyck (Kingston), “possession to be given May 1, 1661” (or for two pieces of land in the Esopus?).

In 1661 Tjerck was taxed for the erection of a church in Hurley, not far from Kingston. By September 1661 Tjerck had already appeared in court in Wiltwyck (this time as a plaintiff; he won his case). On February 12, 1662, Tjerck and Barbara baptized a daughter, Jannetjen, in the Kingston Dutch Reform Church (they already had Andries and another daughter, Taatje, born in 1659). By 1662 they owned No. 28 of the “New Lots” at Kingston. On May 28, 1663, Tjerck also bought a lot in Beverwyck from Harman Tomassen, though he doesn’t seem to have moved there (it sounds like it was very near the property he’d traded away in 1660). On June 7, 1663, Kingston and Hurley were almost entirely destroyed by the Indians; Tjerck fought valiantly in their defense, and his daughter Taatje was kidnapped, along with three other children. She was soon rescued.

Between then and 1668, Tjerck and Barbara baptized three more children in Kingston, where they apparently continued to live in town. In September 1664 the British took control of New Amsterdam and renamed it after the Duke of York; Colonel Richard Nicolls took over as Governor. In 1667 Tjerck opposed the British occupation of Kingston and “refused to keep Christmas on the day according to the English observation, but according to the Dutch.” (The Dutch used the old Julian calendar, which was about two weeks off from the modern Gregorian calendar used by the British.) For his recalcitrance he was beaten. In 1668 (?) Tjerck refused to sign the oath of allegiance administered by the British, though a “John” DeWitt (perhaps his brother Jan?) and Andries DeWitt (probably Tjerck’s 10-year-old son) did sign it.

On January 24, 1669-70 (or on April 8, 1669?), the new British Governor, Colonel Francis Lovelace, issued a permit to Tjerck to let him “erect a house and barne with convenient outhouses for his cattle upon his own land at Esopus, lying betwixt Hurley and Kingston,” noting that Tjerck previously had permission from Governor Nicolls to do this and on that
promise had provided all the materials to get started. This land was on the Kingston-Hurley road; the house still stands today, with a beautiful view of the valley of the Esopus Creek.

On June 25, 1672, Governor Lovelace officially deeded Tjerck the “parcel of bush land, together with a house, lot, orchard and calves’ pasture, lying near Kingston in Esopus.” The deed was a confirmation of Tjerck’s title to the land, now that he had built on it. New Amsterdam was recaptured by the Dutch on August 7, 1673, but in February 1674 the Dutch agreed to give the colony back, and on October 11, 1674, Captain Antony Colve officially handed over control to the new English Governor, Major Edmond Andros. On October 8, 1677, Governor Andros deeded Tjerck a piece of woodland, containing about fifty acres, at Kingston in Esopus, “to the west of the towne.” He had other property too.

Tjerck and Barbara had six other children whose baptisms were not recorded in Manhattan or Kingston. It seems likely they were baptized in Hurley, in the church he had helped pay to buildvnot too far from the house and farm he built around 1670. Their last daughter, Aefje, was baptized in Kingston on January 14, 1684.

This account has been pieced together from several sources, which are not listed here yet, though I hope to post an exhaustive list soon. All that will have to wait until there's more time to write it (do watch this space). For a closer look at where Tjerck came from, have a look at my 1998 trip to Ostfriesland, Germany, in search of his Old World roots. (This set of pages includes a page with links to lots of other sites for research into Tjerck, Ostfriesland and other Dutch ancestors.)

For a closer discussion of some of Tjerck’s family relations, have a look at my excerpts from the record of baptisms in early Manhattan (the page will take a few moments to load; it's big) and at my very cursory excerpt of public records from Albany, NY, regarding Tjerck Claessen DeWitt and possible relatives.

Meantime, a few notes from more recent relatives:

E-mail excerpt, June 28, 1999, from Mary Sarah Bradley to Doug Bradley:

I've really got to stop opening big envelopes with lots of letters inside. I went into
a plastic box in my closet, which at one time was the only repository of family
information that I had. I was looking for the story about Marcus' demise and
came across an envelope marked, "Oradell". It was late at night, but I still could
not resist looking inside and reading some of the letters from Aunt Dot, Aunt
Mae, my mother, Aunt Mary, etc. In a letter that Aunt Mary wrote from
Kingston on August 29, 1967 she said,

"Tjerck Claessen was a contemporary of John and Cornelius
DeWitt of Dordrecht. He was born in Friesland and came to
Dordrecht later so does not appear in the Dordrecht archives. I've
found a distant cousin of ours here in Kingston who has been
working on this problem on her own. . . . I've asked her to do the
research to really prove exactly the relationship of Tjerck Claessen
to the Dordrecht. He was a cousin but I think we should get his
lineage as far as it is possible to do so. . . . I've compiled records of
eleven generations in this country . . . and I have a folder on file for
each of the families on the fan-chart . . ."

She did not tell me the last name of the distant cousin, only that she was a writer
and had an apartment in NYC.

Pix

The house that Tjerck built:



Click on the picture to see a larger version.

The corner nearest the came ra is the oldest part of the house, dating from the late 1600s. The original house was one story high and went only as far as the first bench next to what's now the front door. You can see where the front wall caved in at some point and was rebuilt using a different color of stone. If you walk around the house, you can see seams in the stonework where it was extended at various points in its history.

Sources

I’m just beginning to list sources here. Apologies for not being more complete. I will continue to add to this list as I have time. There are many sources of information on Tjerck Claessen DeWitt, some better than others.

Printed sources:

Record of baptisms and marriages from Kingston, New York.

Online sources:

Tjerck Claessen DeWitt in Court

Record of early marriages in the Dutch Reform Church in Manhattan, available in printed form or online

Record of early baptisms in the Dutch Reform Church in Manhattan, available online

Reproduced herein:

Wills of Tjerck Claessen DeWitt and his brother Jan, who died unmarried in Kingston, 1699 (1906 Anjou edition)

Very cursory look at public records from Albany, NY, regarding Tjerck Claessen DeWitt and possible relatives.

The Peltz Record (1948)

The History of Ulster County, New York

The Oberholtzer Genealogy

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Source: http://www.mrjumbo.com/contents/genealogy/baptisms.new.amst.html

Tjerck Claessen DeWitt

My particular focus right now is Tjerck Claessen DeWitt. He married Barbara Andriessen in Manhattan on April 24, 1656. Apparently, though, they never baptized any children there. (Some say Tjerck and Barbara baptized their first son, Andries, in New York, and lived there until spring 1657, but no record exists of Andries’ baptism in Manhattan. When Andries posts wedding banns in Kingston, on March 4, 1682, he’s listed as born in New York.)

We know that as early as February 1656 Tjerck was in court in Albany (Fort Orange) for fighting and for keeping company with Lutherans; we also know he lived there after he was married. (On June 25, 1657, he declares in court there that he’s made a payment in relation to the sale of a stallion.) It seems likely that Tjerck and Barbara baptized their first children in Albany. Marriage and baptism records from Albany before 1683 have been lost.

On November 20, 1658, Tjerck arranged to lease his house in Beverwyck (Albany) to Arent Isacksz from May 1, 1659, to May 1, 1660. In September 1660 he traded his Albany property with a Madame de Hutter (or Madame Johanna De Laldt and her husband, Hon. Jeronimus Ebbink?), in exchange for land in Wiltwyck (Kingston), “possession to be given May 1, 1661” (or for two pieces of land in the Esopus?).

In 1661 Tjerck was taxed for the erection of a church in Hurley, not far from Kingston. By September 1661 Tjerck had already appeared in court in Wiltwyck (this time as a plaintiff; he won his case). On February 12, 1662, Tjerck and Barbara baptized a daughter, Jannetjen, in the Kingston Dutch Reform Church (they already had Andries and another daughter, Taatje, born in 1659). By 1662 they owned No. 28 of the “New Lots” at Kingston. On May 28, 1663, Tjerck also bought a lot in Beverwyck from Harman Tomassen, though he doesn’t seem to have moved there (it sounds like it was very near the property he’d traded away in 1660). On June 7, 1663, Kingston and Hurley were almost entirely destroyed by the Indians; Tjerck fought valiantly in their defense, and his daughter Taatje was kidnapped, along with three other children. She was soon rescued.

Between then and 1668, Tjerck and Barbara baptized three more children in Kingston, where they apparently continued to live in town. In September 1664 the British took control of New Amsterdam and renamed it after the Duke of York; Colonel Richard Nicolls took over as Governor. In 1667 Tjerck opposed the British occupation of Kingston and “refused to keep Christmas on the day according to the English observation, but according to the Dutch.” (The Dutch used the old Julian calendar, which was about two weeks off from the modern Gregorian calendar used by the British.) For his recalcitrance he was beaten. In 1668 (?) Tjerck refused to sign the oath of allegiance administered by the British, though a “John” DeWitt (perhaps his brother Jan?) and Andries DeWitt (probably Tjerck’s 10-year-old son) did sign it.

On January 24, 1669-70 (or on April 8, 1669?), the new British Governor, Colonel Francis Lovelace, issued a permit to Tjerck to let him “erect a house and barne with convenient outhouses for his cattle upon his own land at Esopus, lying betwixt Hurley and Kingston,” noting that Tjerck previously had permission from Governor Nicolls to do this and on that promise had provided all the materials to get started. This land was on the Kingston-Hurley road; the house still stands today, with a beautiful view of the valley of the Esopus Creek.

On June 25, 1672, Governor Lovelace officially deeded Tjerck the “parcel of bush land, together with a house, lot, orchard and calves’ pasture, lying near Kingston in Esopus.” The deed was a confirmation of Tjerck’s title to the land, now that he had built on it. New Amsterdam was recaptured by the Dutch on August 7, 1673, but in February 1674 the Dutch agreed to give the colony back, and on October 11, 1674, Captain Antony Colve officially handed over control to the new English Governor, Major Edmond Andros. On October 8, 1677, Governor Andros deeded Tjerck a piece of woodland, containing about fifty acres, at Kingston in Esopus, “to the west of the towne.” He had other property too.

Tjerck and Barbara had six other children whose baptisms were not recorded in Manhattan or Kingston. It seems likely they were baptized in Hurley, in the church he had helped pay to buildvnot too far from the house and farm he built around 1670. Their last daughter, Aefje, was baptized in Kingston on January 14, 1684.

In hunting for more information on Tjerck, it is helpful to learn more about his relatives in North America.

-------------

Source: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~markfreeman/dewitt.html

In 1639, Tjerck Claessen DeWitt, with his brother Jan Claessen and his sister Emmerentie emigrated to New Amsterdam (now New York).


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Tjerch married Barbara ANDRIESSEN, daughter of Andries LUYCASZEN and Jannetje SEBYNS, on 24 Apr 1656 in New Amsterdam (New York), New York, New York, United States. (Barbara ANDRIESSEN was born in 1630 in Amsterdam, , Noord-Holland, Netherlands and died on 6 Jul 1714 in Kingston, Ulster, New York, United States.)


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