Writ that Cornelis van Gezel, Anna Catarina Ram and Peter Alrichs are to take possession of the estate of Jacob Alrichs

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Petrus Stuyvesant, on behalf of the high and mighty lords States General of the United Netherlands and the honorable lords directors of the Chartered West India Company, director general of N. Netherland, Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba and dependencies thereof, together with the lords councilors, greetings to all who see this or hear it read.[1]

Let it be known that we have received the humble petition of Cornelis van Gezel, Anna Catarina Ram and Pieter Alrichs, stating how their uncle Jacob Alrichs, former director of the colony of New Amstel on the South River of this world, died there, leaving behind possessions assigned to the petitioners according to testament.[2] Apprehensive that the estate of their deceased uncle might be a burden with many debts or claims so that the mere acceptance of it might be detrimental to the petitioners, they deemed it inadvisable to accept the inheritance, other than by benefit of inventory (so they say). For this reason they humbly request to be granted an open letter from us which will serve this purpose.

Therefore, having taken the aforesaid matter into consideration, we have given the petitioners leave and permission, as we give leave and permission by this our letter, that they, the petitioners, shall under benefit of inventory be allowed to install themselves as heirs in the aforesaid house of the deceased Jacob Alrichs, their uncle, and in this capacity take possession and acceptance of the aforesaid house of the deceased together with the chattels, securities, debts and credits left behind by the aforesaid Jacob Alrichs, provided that one of the appropriate officers of the region, where most of the deceased’s possessions are located, be called in to make a good and honest inventory, with the express condition that the petitioners shall be obligated to pledge good and sufficient security from which to pay all the debts, bequests and legacies of the aforesaid deceased, as much as the aforesaid possessions may cover, without the petitioners being obligated to pay for any of the amount in excess thereof; unless there still be a relative who has simply installed himself or intends to install himself as heir, then summon and order the officer of the place where the house of the deceased is located, and, in addition, all other magistrates and officers, each one as far as it may concern him, that the aforesaid inventory be honestly completed, and the security posted by the petitioners, and received and registered by the secretary here or in the colony of New Amstel; making sure that the petitioners are delivered of all assignable and inheritable possessions left behind by the aforesaid Jacob Alrichs, and allowing them to enjoy and use in peace and freedom the contents of this our present letter of benefit of inventory in the aforesaid manner and under the aforesaid limitations and modifications, without causing them any impediments or trouble; on the contrary, we hereby summon, command and commission our sergeant in the South River (hereto requested by the aforesaid petitioners and appellants of this our open letter) to go to the persons or residences of all creditors of the aforesaid house of the deceased, in addition to beneficiaries residing within this province, and to summon them on behalf of the high authorities of this province to appear, or to send deputies, before the court of the colony of New Amstel, where the house of the deceased is located, in order to see, there or wherever necessary, all the possessions left behind by the aforesaid deceased property inventoried and to see them appraised according to the ordinance[3] and the contents of this, and to post security by the aforesaid petitioners as is appropriate. In addition, we hereby authorize and commission him to summon all the same creditors and legatees, and all others who shall intend to oppose them, to appear, or to send deputies, before the court of the aforesaid colony in order to see them confirm the aforesaid letter of benefit of inventory with an explanation to them, with notification if they appear or send deputies; if not then proceedings shall still be instituted by the aforesaid court both for confirmation of the aforesaid letter of benefit of inventory, as otherwise according to the law. He is to relate his encounters with those of the aforesaid court whom we hereby expressly recommend (having heard the parties) to execute justice in a swift and equitable manner.

Thus done and issued in Fort Amsterdam in N. Netherland, the 25th of February 1660.


See appendix for additional papers related to this case.
Jacob Alrichs died December 30,1659. See NYHM, Delaware Papers, 18:184. The colony of New Amstel was under the administration of the mayors of Amsterdam from 1657 to 1664. Its jurisdiction eventually included the entire South River region of New Netherland along the Delaware River, with an administrative center at New Amstel (formerly Fort Casimir) now the city of New Castle, Delaware.
For this ordinance see LO, 281.


Translation: Gehring, C., trans./ed., New Netherland Documents Series: Vol. 16, part 1, Laws and Writs of Appeal, 1647-1663 (Syracuse: 1991).A complete copy of this publication is available on the New Netherland Institute website.