Dutch Colonial Roots
New York City's and America's history is the history of
our Old Dutch Church and our Staten Island Congregation.
“Our backward look reveals . . . that . . .the soul lives by invisible things which cannot be supplied by material resources.”
-- Rev. Cornelius Vander Naald 1952
Henry Hudson Anchors off
Staaten Eylandt in 1609
In September, 1609 a Dutch ship, The Half Moon, captained by Englishman, Henry Hudson, anchored off Staten Island. Hudson named this new land for the Dutch legislature "Staaten Eylant."
The Dutch in Europe already enjoyed the ideals embodied in the Reformed Church: wide freedom of religion; much freedom of expression; high employment. There were wide disparities in wealth, true, but the taste to avoid tactless display. So they lacked the emigrating impulse.
Many of those who came to the colonies starting in 1625 may have been the peasants half-forced by their landlords to vacate their property and adventure overseas, often so countrified that they still lacked surnames.
Photo courtesy of the Staten Island
Borough President's Office/ Michael Falco
Seal City of New York
They were often called "Kitchen Dutch"
If the same roster included two men named Jan Jans (John, son of John) they were distinguished by the names of their native villages as Jan Jans van Aalst and Jan Jans van Eysden, say, so their modern American descendants have names implying a dignity in the new world never enjoyed in the old.
Van de Bilt became Vanderbilt.
From The Voorlezer's Book
Recording of Births
Earliest Vanderbilt entry
is dated 1713.
Oct 21. Rem Van de Bilt
his Daughter Hilletie,
Witnesses: Jacob Van de Bilt
The Dutch were almost outnumbered in their own colony.
Of the first 300 persons married in the official Reformed church in New Amsterdam, only 163 were Dutch.
June 7, 1629
The Dutch Staats General passed the Charter of Freedoms and Exemptions which established patroonships which provided land grants to populate the colonies. Established for trade purposes, they entitled settlers to live by and freely practice their religious beliefs. As the predominate influx of settlers came from Holland they were assimilated into the Dutch Church.
The Dutch West India Company required a competent teacher and a member of the church
to be included in every group of emigrants who went to America.
Petrus Stuyvesant 1660 New York Historical Society
The Fall of New Amsterdam by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
August 27, 1664 New Netherland ceded to the English
While England and the Dutch Republic were at peace, four English frigates sailed into New Amsterdam's harbor and demanded New Netherland's surrender. Peter Stuyvesant (left of center, with wooden leg) stands on shore among residents of New Amsterdam who plead with him not to fire on the English warships. He provisionally ceded New Netherland including Staten Island. The English King, Charles II, made a grant to his brother James, the Duke of York.
The first Dutch property seized by the English fleet was on Staten Island,
where the block house was taken and occupied.
On Staten Island, settled by Dutch and French, everything began to take on an English aspect.
However Stuyvesant had systematically, deliberately, and at every opportunity
firmly planted Dutch ideals into the colony
by his nurturing promotion of the Dutch Reformed Church, with its Waldensian ideals.