Dutch colonial council minutes, 17 May - 6 June 1644

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On the 17th of May 1644

Elsjen Jans, widow of Jan Pitersz, plaintiff, vs. Willem Harlo, defendant. Plaintiff produces a shilling in court which she says the defendant gave her as a pledge of his troth, which she confirms on oath. Ordered that the defendant shall prove within ten days that Elsjen has behaved improperly since he has been betrothed to her.

Jan Schepmoes, plaintiff, vs. Claes Calf, defendant, as husband of Brant Palen's daughter, defendant. Plaintiff demands in writing that Aeltje Claes, daughter of Marrltjen Piters, be allowed her maintenance out of the estate of Brant Pelen, according to the marriage articles. As the defendant denies jurisdiction of the court and appeals to his competent iudges of the colony of Mr. Renselaer, the case is referred to the court there and if no decision is rendered within two months in the aforesaid colony the case shall be argued here.

On the 25th of May 1644

Sybet Clasen, plaintiff, vs. Aeltjen Brackoenje about payment of six boards. Plaintiff having turned the work over to boss Jeuriaen, the latter is ordered to pay for the boards and the further claim of the half-barrel of beer is denied. If boss Jeuriaen has any claim, he may institute his action against the defendant.

On the petition of Philip Gerritsz the fiscal is ordered to have Jan Onderhil give satisfaction to the petitioner and the case is further adjourned until Onderhil shall have returned.

On the 1st of June 1643[1]

Whereas we, the director and council of New Netherland, have granted to Willem Albertsen Blauvelt a commission to go privateering from here to the West Indies or the islands thereof in the frigate La Garce, against the enemies of the High and Mighty Lords the States General of the United Netherlands, and this especially in virtue of the charter granted by their High Mightinesses to the honorable directors of the General Chartered West India Company, the aforesaid Captain Blauvelt and his accompanying crew, on the seventh of January last past, with the help of God, by force of arms, captured a Spanish bark, laden with sugar, tobacco and ebony wood, of which bark Franck Creolie of Havana was captain and commander, coming from Santiago de Cuba and intending to unload his cargo at Cartagena, which was his destination. Also, on the eleventh of March following, the aforesaid captain captured in the river of Matique bay a bark laden with wines, the captain of which was Croisie of Biscaye, coming from New Spain and destined to go to Witte Male,[2] which above-mentioned barks were brought in and arrived here in New Netherland on the 29th of May in company of the frigate La Garce;

Therefore, we, the director and council aforesaid, make known to all and every one who may show cause why the above mentioned brought-in barks should not be declared good prizes, to present themselves here in fort Amsterdam within a fortnight after the proclamation hereof or, in default thereof, we shall declare the above-mentioned captured barks good prizes at the demand of the fiscal, and they shall thereafter remain debarred from any action or claim which they might or could set up as owners. Thus published in fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the day and year above written.

6 June, Monday

The fiscal, plaintiff, vs. Michiel Cristoffelsen, a prisoner, because he, the prisoner, wounded and stabbed the Negroes of the Company, according to the fiscal's complaint. The fiscal demands that the defendant receive corporal punishment and be put in the chain gang in the stead of the Negroes.

The defendant acknowledges voluntarily that he wantonly stabbed to death a goat belonging to Tryn Jonas and wilfully wounded two of the Company’s Negroes, so that one of them apparently will remain maimed for life.

Whereas Michiel Christoffelsen from Gottenborch[3] in Sweden, a former soldier, has heretofore repeatedly committed many acts of insolence, has wantonly stabbed to death a gravid goat of Tryn Jonas and, without knowledge or consent, has absented himself for a month and not rendered the Company any service and whereas, furthermore, the fiscal in his written complaint against the aforesaid Michiel Christoffelsen shows that on last Sunday, being the 29th of May, without any reason or cause, he wilfully wounded two of the Company's Negroes who were sitting quietly, one in such a way that he is in danger of death and the other that he will remain maimed for life; all of which he, Michiel Christoffelsen, free from torture or irons, has voluntarily confessed;

Therefore, we, the director and high court martial of New Netherland, doing justice in the matter, condemn the delinquent, as we do hereby, to labor for twelve consecutive months for the Prince with the Company's Negroes and to be put in the chain gang, reserving his execution if the Negro come to die. Thus done the 6th of June 1644, in Fort Amsterdam.

6 June

Symon Pos, plaintiff, vs. Adriaen vander Donck, defendant, in a case of appeal. Having heard the demand and proposition of the plaintiff, it is resolved in council that he shall first protest before the colony of Renselaerswyc and in case he, the plaintiff, do not obtain justice there, he shall appeal to this court.

Cornelis Volckersen, plaintiff, vs. Jacob Wolphersz, defendant. Plaintiff demands of the defendant payment of fl. 12, due to him by balance of account from Jan Brent, which money was attached by the court messenger in the hands of the defendant and which fl. 12, in spite of the attachment, were paid by the latter to Jan Brent, which the defendant acknowledges. The defendant is condemned to pay the plaintiff fl. 12.

Henry Sately, plaintiff, vs. Adam Mat, defendant, for payment of fl. 50. Defendant says that he never received the lumber for which the plaintiff claims fl. 50. Parties are referred to Jan Onderhil, Bacxter and Mr. Smith, who are to settle their differences, if possible.

Elsje Jans, widow of the late Jan Pitersz, plaintiff, vs. Willem Harlo, defendant. 1st Default.


Intended for 1644.
Goteborg, Sweden.


Translation: Scott, K., & Stryker-Rodda, K. (Ed.). New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vol. 4, Council Minutes, 1638-1649 (A. Van Laer, Trans.). Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.: 1974.A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.