Monday, May 6, 2013

Van Hoesen vs. Becker

The court meetings of Fort Orange and Beverwyck reveal an ongoing feud with Jan Van Hoesem and his wife Volkje on one side, and their neighbors, Jochem Becker (a baker) and his wife Gertrude on the other. It might have rivaled the later feud of the Hatfields and McCoys, if Jan and Volkje had not wisely purchased land in 1662 at Claverack and moved on.

This feud took up much of the court's time during the years 1652 and 1653. Fists were thrown,  slanders spoken, tempers frayed as the two couples went at each other. Certainly one of the most annoying acts by the Becker's had to be the construction of a pigsty adjacent to the entrance of the Van Hoesem lot. Becker would counter that Van Hoesem and his wife  threw hot embers against clapboard of his house in an attempt to burn it down.

The court attempted to keep the peace, but to little avail as the ongoing court meetings reveal.

I am going through the court meeting now. I find them an interesting insight into early life in Beverwyck and highly recommend them.

Then I stumbled across a map of Rennsalaerwick Manor dated 1762 which surrounded the independent city of  the Beverwyck. And, though it is one hundred years later, one can find a Milburn Van Hoesen living on a lot adjacent to Andries Becker and Albartus Becker.

Could it be?

detail map of 1767 of Beverwyck (Albany)
Above is a portion of the map. The settlements on lots numbered as 131, 132, and 133 belong to Albartus Becker, Areanlie Becker, and Milburn Van Hoesen. As the Hudson River flows from the north to the south, the map should be rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise to get a true perspective. The highlighted property is south of the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson rivers, and on the west side.

Beverwyck, later Albany, was a settlement outside of Fort Orange which thrived on trade with the Indians for beaver pelt. It was established independent of the larger colony of Rennsalaerwyck. In 1652, the Dutch authorities, recognizing the need to administer Beverwyck established a court system and minutes were kept documenting the day to day lives of the citizens of Beverwyck. In 1664, Dutch rule ended when four British frigates sailed into the port of New Amsterdam unopposed.

Court Meetings of Beverwyck and Fort Orange 1652 -1656.

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