Monday, December 26, 2011

Jan Van Husum and the Patron Rensselaer

The story of the Rensselaerwyck Colony in America is well known.*

In 1629, the Dutch West India Company deeded to Killiaen van Rensselaer, one of the company's original organizers, an area of land centered on the present day city of Albany, and extending both west and east of the Hudson River. Van Renssalaer had made his fortune as a Dutch merchant engaged in the pearl and diamond trade, and, in the process, became one of Holland's wealthiest citizens. Before his death in 1643, the "first patroon" as van Rennselaer came to be called, engaged hundreds of settlers and sent them to Rensselaerswyck to be his tenants. Jan Fransse Van Husum was among them.

The conditions of the land grant required Rennsalaer to appease the original Indian owners of the land and to transport "fifty souls upwards of the age of 15, one-forth to be sent during the first year, and the remainder before the expiration of the fourth year." To this end, van Rennselaer's agent, Sebastiaen Jansen Crol, an officer in charge of Fort Orange, present day Albany, in a series of purchases from 1630 to 1639, purchased all the land on the west side of the Hudson from Albany 12 miles south to Smack's Island, "at the mouth of the Mohawk River stretching two days' journey inland", and also a tract of land to the east of the Hudson and Fort Orange, north and south, at a similar distance.The title Patron was one which passed down from father to son for 200 years, after the death of Killaen van Rensselaer in 1642.

See the original map of Rennsselaerwyck from Wikipedia.

Jan Fransse Van Husum

In 1639, Jan Van Husum and his wife Volkje Juriens sailed from Amsterdam aboard the ship Den Harlinck, having agreed to settle in the colony of Rensselaerwyck for four years. They settled at Fort Orange, formerly a fur trading post established in 1624, and, over the years Jan made several purchases of land. Eventually a tiny community called Beverwyck would grow around the old fort.

In 1652, Jan purchased a lot now located on the corner of Broadway and State Street. The next year he received a grant of land above the town's stockade with an adjoining garden.

On June 5, 1662, Jan Van Husum, as had Kiliaen van Rensselaer years before, became a freeholder of land, purchasing from the Mohicans several hundred acres of the Claverack land to the north of Rensselaerwyck. The purchase price was 500 guilders in beaver skins. Jan's purchase included the present day city of Hudson and part of Greenport. It extended along the Hudson Riveron the north from Stockport Creek to the mouth of Keshna's Kill on the south, which empties into the South Bay near Mount Merino, and on the east of Claverack Creek. At this point, it met the boundary of Rennsalaerwyck.

In 1664,  New Netherlands fell to the British and Beverwyck was renamed Albany.

Jan Van Husum and the Patron Renssalaer would meet in a court of law, as van Rennselaer contested Jan's land patent. After Jan Van Husum's death, the case would be decided in his favor.

There are two principal sources for the article - first Van Rensselaer Family, and, second, New Netherlands and Jan Van Husum. Of course, one also should always consult Joyce Lindstrom's book, Vanhoose, Van Hooser, Van Huss Family in America.

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