History From America's Most Famous Valleys
The Mohawk Dutch and the Palatines
by Milo Nellis
Their background and their influence in the
The United States of America
This book is presented as so many others are on the Fort Klock site, without making any judgment call on the correctness of the information. There is careful research contained within the book and perhaps the reader might derive some insight into their family research from the information contained herein.
This brings us naturally to the consideration of the works of another able researcher and writer, the Reverend William Elliott Griftis, whose Story of New Netherland and Story of The Walloons entitle him to lasting memory and gratitude of everyone interested in learning the truth about the origin and the influence of the Dutch on America.
The Introduction to the first named work has this to say of him.
"Although not of Dutch descent and therefore free from the charge of race prejudice in their favor, he spent five years in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the Dutch American educational capital, and for nine years, as Dominie of the Dutch Church at Schenectady, served a congregation uniquely rich in heirlooms and documents of the pioneers of 1661."
His preface to this work should be sought by all interested in Mohawk Valley pioneers. However like so many of our earlier records, its printing having never been large, it is scarce and hard to find. For this reason the following extensive quotations therefrom are herewith presented. "When the Spanish Duke of Alva in 1567 marched with his terrible Black Beards towards the Netherlands to subdue the Dutch people to the ideas of Philip II the boy that grew up to found the Dutch West India Company was born.
"One Hundred Thousand Walloons, or French speaking inhabitants of the Low Countries fled at once to foreign lands. Within fifty years half a million refugees from the Belgic Netherlands were dwelling in England, Holland, Germany or Switzerland, and enriching those countries by their talents, character and industry.
"Instead of fewer than a million people living in 1567 on four thousand square miles of poor soil, the Dutch Republic had in 1609 a population of three and a half million, on one as large as that of England. The Dutch end of the sea route to Manhattan had been prepared before Columbus made landfall. William Usselix, born in Antwerp, founder of the Dutch and Swedish West India Companies that began the settlements of New York and Delaware became interested in American enterprise by being in the Azores. These islands had been re-discovered by Dutch sailors in 1431 and colonized, becoming a New Netherland. From this point the ships bound for the New World began their westward voyages. Lying eight hundred miles west of Portugal, these nine islands emerge from the ocean on nearly the parallel of our Middle States. England lies in high latitudes. Cabot, Davis and Frobisher, starting directly west, entered sub-polar regions. From the Azores to Sandy Hook is almost a straight line. In our day the German submarine cable connects Continental Europe with America by way of the Azores and Embden. When both Orient and Occident were opened to trade the islands rose directly in the path of commerce. Here as to a school, one must come to learn about colonial business. For a long time the Azores were associated with America, but after the Spaniards occupied them, the Canaries became the base of supplies and point of departure across the Atlantic.
"In 1591, when the transplanted Dutch Republic was twelve years old, Usselix returned and began to agitate in favor of trade with America. He kept up the work of arousing public opinion until his death at eighty, leaving fifty printed works behind him. In 1602 the Dutch East India Company was formed, but the Great Truce of 1609 compelled postponement of schemes for a West India Company, which was not organized until 1621. Meanwhile however, the offers of the States-General of twenty-five thousand guilders to any one who should discover the northwestern route to China and Japan was a lure. So some Amsterdam merchants fitted out the flyboat Half Moon, with a crew of sixteen men, half English and half Dutch. It was named the Half Moon, after the victorious flagship, in which, in 1602, Vice Admiral Kant had beaten the Spaniards in a great naval battle. Five days before the signing of the truce, April 4, 1690, Hudson weighed anchor and sailed for Nova Zembla.
"In Arctic seas, amid icebergs and blizzards, he had to face a mutiny. The sailors, not relishing the idea of being frozen fast among polar bears, demanded that he go back. Hudson flanked the mutineers by steering westward across the Atlantic.
"Other pathfinders were then on the Inland waters of America, all looking for the Chinese gate and 'the needles eye.' Champlain at the northern lake side was meddling with firearms in Indian quarrels. John Smith on the lower Susquehanna kept hunting for that open sea in which he believed. Hudson, and later LaSalle, was soon to join them, searching for the same mythical water. The 'China rapids' in the St. Lawrence River, called in jest La Chine, tell how LaSalle also sought but found not.
"This Idea of an inland ocean, called Verrazano's Sea, then filled men's minds. Even to the end of the nineteenth century it dominated English fiction.
"Before leaving the homeland. Smith had written to Hudson telling him of this water somewhere near the fortieth parallel, and extending perhaps to the Pacific. Hudson, besides having his head full of this notion, carried Smith's letter in his pocket. Notwithstanding that entrance into America meant a virtual breaking of Holland's truce with Spain, Hudson hoped to find the route to China.
"Over the indigo blue of the Gulf Stream Hudson reached in Mid-July the Maine coast, stopped to remast his ship, and then moved southward. In August he passed "The Kings river in Virginia" where he wrote 'our Englishmen' were. On the 28th he put into Delaware Bay, but a strong current and much sand forbade the idea of an immediate route to China. On the 3rd of September he doubled Sandy Hook. Here, near the fortieth parallel, so often talked about with Smith, was a great opening. What might it not lead to? Anchor was cast for the night, and the orange, white and blue flag, with the initials O.I.C., was mirrored on the receding tide.
"We must put away twentieth-century ideas and think with Hudson and his sailors. Neither he nor they were wise in modern science. "Naturefaking" of the most exaggerated kind was then in vogue. Mythical zoology was represented on maps and in books. In the Leyden Museum, among the curiosities catalogued was, 'the hand of a Mermaide,' and Hudson's sailors had seen 'Mermaldes' near the Russian icebergs, where we should find seals Near the Catskills, they ate 'Dog,' which would be 'coon' to our taste and eye, for all Indian dogs were then very small. Neither the big hounds of Europe nor the white daisies, now so common in the Hudson valley and brought from beyond the sea, were then known in America. The sailors enjoyed "Turkish wheat,' where we relish corn in ear. Happy the release, if they, like some British tourists eating today, bit too far into the cob and got their teeth out safely. If they found 'gold,' or discovered what seemed valuable minerals, because of colors of the rocks, they were only like other explorers. The beautiful New World was full of awe, wonder and mystery. Nothing is more evident than the Dutchmens' delight in nature.
"The Half Moon lay at anchor for a week in the lower bay. 'Three great rivers' were noticed two of them being the Passaic and the Hackensack. Though the strangers were welcomed by the red men, yet before long arrows and bullets were shot in hostile exchange. John Colman filled the first white man's grave.
"For thirteen miles they sailed along the majestic Palisade Rocks, from which the mythical 'Norumbega' probably got its name. Through the broadened stream forming Haverstraw and Tappan bays, and in view of the landmarks later named Tidious, Stony, and Verplanck's points, past islands now the bases of lighthouses, and around Dunderberg, they reached the narrower and deeper river flanked by lordly mountains. They cast anchor under the splendid plateau of West Point. Anchorage was -made at night and strict watch was kept, for what could fifteen men do, if thousands of red warriors should attack? In one case, twenty-eight canoes filled with people came out to trade pumpkins and corn for kitchen ware, axes, beads, and copper kettles. More than once, native thieves climbed into or escaped from the stern windows with loot, and some of these were shot dead. There were other disturbances, and the fault was not all on one side. Gunpowder, firearms, alcohol, and iron came thus at one time into the Indian world.
"The gorgeous hues of the maple and of the 'American calico plant', the splendor of the scenery, especially after their late sub-polar experiences, made this seem to the Dutchmen the fairest land eyes had ever feasted upon. As they emerged into a tamer foreground of flat stretches, there rose towards the western horizon the Catskills, out of which flow the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers.
"Invited to dinner, Hudson was paddled ashore in an Indian canoe. He landed and partook of American refreshments with a chief who was head of a village of forty males and seventeen females.
"Their roundhouse was of oak bark with an arched roof. Great stores of corn and beans, provision for the winter's succotash, piled up and amounting to three shiploads, lay near the house, besides what was growing in the fields. These showed the provident habits of these agricultural Indians, who as yet knew nothing of horses or cows. Cooked food was served in 'well made red wooden bowls.' With shell knives the red women skinned 'a fat dog' for a further feast, for they supposed their guests would stay overnight; but life in the Stone Age is a bore to civilized men. A short visit was enough, and Hudson returned to his floating home.
"The little ship beat her way northward, but the water shoaled. No open sea, or China, or any Pacific Ocean, was in sight. Juet, the mate, penetrated in a boat beyond what are now Watervliet, Waterford, and Troy. They saw not a tide water river in lordly flood, but many rapids and shallows. Even had they reached the river's source, in the Tear-of-the-Clouds Lake at the top of Mount Marcy, they would have been no nearer, but farther off from Japan.
"Back and down the Half Moon moved to the ocean, her crew killing not a few natives, and staining land and water with needless blood. The 'falconet' or little cannon of two inches bore, throwing a two-pound shot, was more than once fired to sink a canoe. Evidently this was what the sailors dub 'an unhappy ship,' nor can the intruders be acquitted of the charge of murder and of making drunkards.
"On the 4th of October the Half Moon was at sea again. Yet where should the crew go? To return to Holland might mean the gallows, for they had mutinied. The ship was pointed towards Ireland for the winter, but how or why we know not, the Half Moon cast anchor at Dartmouth on the 7th of November, 1609, and the English sailors forced Hudson to land. King James sent orders to hold the vessel. He actually forbade Hudson to leave England, hoping to get the full benefit of his discovery. The captain, however, had sent on his report to Amsterdam, asking for good sailors in place of bad ones.
"The problem was solved by the Muscovy Company again Impressing Hudson into its service, and the Half Moon was released. Hudson, intent on solving the world's mystery, recrossed the Atlantic. After discovering America's greatest inland sea, though not the way to China, he met lonely death in 1610 by starvation. Under the veil of apparent failure, Hudson's life was a success that shines with splendor as the ages roll on. For Holland he opened a great door ot opportunity."
Lossing in his Field Book Of The Revolution, p. 386, gives the following account of the early Dutch and Huguenots:
"The Dutch settlement at Kingston received a valuable accession toward the close of the century, by the arrival of a company of Huguenots, who after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, fled from persecution to America. These people occupy a conspicuous place in the history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and ..... formed an essential element in the machinery of our Revolution...........
"On the 26th of August, 1572, the festival of St. Bartholomew, seventy thousand Protestants were butchered in France by royal and papal authority. Terrible persecutions continued until 1598, when Henry IV issued an edict, called the Edict of Nantes, granting toleration to his Protestant subjects, For nearly a century this edict was in force, but in 1685 Louis XIV revoked it, and persecutions began anew. This cruel and injudicious policy lost France eight hundred thousand of her best subjects, who were Protestants, fifty thousand of whom made their way to England, where they introduced silk weaving, the manufacture of jewelry, and other elegant employments then monopolized by France. Of those who settled in Ulster County the names of twelve are preserved, whose descendants are numerous and among the most respectable of Orange County.''
Macaulay (History Of England, III, p. 123) thus refers to the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes:
"The French commander announced to nearly one half million of human beings that he granted them three days of grace, and that within that time they must shift for themselves. Soon the roads and fields which then lay deep in snow were blackened by innumerable men, women, and children flying from their homes. Many died of cold and hunger, but enough survived to fill the streets of all the cities of Europe with lean and squalid beggars, who had once been thriving farmers and shop-keepers."
To which Sanford H. Cobb in his Story Of The Palatines, p. 40, adds:
"Every great city on the Rhine, above Cologne, was taken and sacked. Worms, Spires, Andemach, Kuckheim, Krenznach, were laid in ashes. The fortress of Phillipsburg was completely destroyed. Villages without number were given to flames. The Elector Philip, looking from the walls of Manheim counted, in one day, no less than twenty-three towns and villages in flames. Heidelberg suffered to some extent, but its castle escaped for a few years only the violence which in 1692 made it the most picturesque ruin in Europe. Many of the unoffending inhabitants were butchered. Many were carried into France and compelled to recant..... The whole valley of the Rhine, on both its banks from Drachenfels to Phillipsberg, were made the prey of the demon of rapine and destruction. The crumbling walls, the deserted castles fallen into ruin, the isolated towers, ivy covered, which today interest the traveller on the Rhine, giving association of historic beauty to almost every hill washed by its waters, are the marks, as yet indelible, of the wrath of Louis and the rapacity of his army. These ruins still remain, softened and beautified by time, but they tell a tale of fearful atrocity, And in reality, far worse than aught they witness to, was the unspeakable barbarity suffered by the people. In the midst of the destruction of the towns and villages, such of the poor villagers as endeavored to rescue their goods were slain. Everywhere in the fields were found the corpses of wretched people frozen to death. The citizens of Mannheim, were compelled to assist in destroying their fortifications, and then driven out, hungry and naked, into the winter cold, while their city was burned."
But for the real story of the Walloons who had earlier suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Duke of Alva we must again turn to William Elliott Griffis. He says:
"The first permanent settlers who, in any number came with wives and Aildren to make homes and to till the soil in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, were Walloons, or French speaking people, from the Belgic Netherlands. Who were they and why did they come? Few people from northern Europe, three hundred years ago, wanted to go and live in America, when it was a howling wilderness full of savage beasts and men. A great, wide, stormy ocean had first to be crossed, and many who made the ittempt died on the way or were massacred when on land. In most cases, colonization meant starvation. That was the reason, most probably, why in 1620 the captain of the Speedwell, which contained by far the better company of the Plymouth settlers, made a pretext of leaks and turned back; for the store of provisions was on the Mayflower. By most people in Europe the Atlantic had long been considered a Sea of Darkness, and North America the Land of Wild Men. It was only the West Indies, or South America, where the soil was rich and food plenty, that attracted colonists; but there dwelt the Spaniard, who persecuted. Between the Inquisition and the cannibals there was little choice. So it was that before men would come with families to what is now the best of all countries, they had to be pushed or driven out from their home lands, like fledglings from the nest. Cruel kings or church rulers must force them to leave their own towns and cities, houses and gardens, before they could think of exile. With most of the first pioneers, it was a choice between prison and torture, being burned alive, or having their heads chopped off.
"In distant America were red hunters with tomahawks and scalping knives, who might treat strangers as wild game. Such Americans as then lived here were as ready to roast men alive as were the kings, bishops and judges of Europe of that day to send innocent people to the axe, the sword, and the flames.....
"Their Most Christian Majesties were often worse than Turks or heathen in treating even their own subjects. That is the reason why the braveNetherlanders, called Beggars of the Sea - many of whom were Walloons -wore a silver crescent, or half moon, with the motto 'Better Turk Than Pope.' Henry Hudson in a ship named from the Beggars' badge and underthe seven-red-and-white-striped flag of the Dutch Republic, entered therivers Delaware and Hudson, between which are the four Middle States ofNew York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, constituting Distinctive America;..... because while from the first it was more like Europe than any other part of the United States, it was very different also. Other colonies followed Old World ideas, denied freedom of conscience and kept Church and State united; but religion was free in this central region. It was less like England or France, but more like the Republic of the UnitedNetherlands, where any one could worship God in the way he wished.
"The people of the Middle States were not from one state or country as were those from the British Isles who made New England. Before the Revolution, they numbered no fewer than fourteen distinct nationalities differing in language and forms of religion; but these four colonies formed the first group that was united under one government and in which there was a toleration for all..... It was in this Middle Region that the first idea of a union of all the colonies arose; and here was the home of the First Colonial and the First Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence, the national flag, the Constitution, and most of the ideas and influences that tended to bind the separated colonies in federal union under one government, infused with one soul as a nation........
"William the Silent, called the Father of his Country, and the ancestor of Queen Wilhelmina hoped that all seventeen provinces of the Netherlands would be united in one republic and under one flag, with liberal ideas as to religion, that is, freedom of conscience guaranteed to all; and he very nearly succeeded in realizing it. The Dutch federal flag, from which we borrowed the stripes in ours, consisted of seven alternate bands of color, white and red, representing commonwealths, not individual rulers.
"William wanted seventeen stripes, as earnestly as our forefathers in 1775, led by George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, hoped for fourteen stripes in ours, by having Canada in the federation, for this province had been represented in the first Continental Congress of 1774. In America,Puritan New England opposed toleration in Canada. We need not wonder at this, when politics and religion were considered as one and inseparable. In Ghent, fanatics on one side were just as bad as those on the other, for the Calvanists burnt monks and priests alive.
"In the Union of Arras (now in France), in 1578, the Belgic Netherlands separated from the Dutch* Then the flag of the Republic had only seven *After the Duke of Alva scourged the country (1567).
It Is both fact and truth to assert that those who most persecuted men for their conscience' sake helped powerfully to effect the colonization of America. This is confessed even in memorials to the persecutors. For example, some English people put up a stained glass window in the church at Stratford-on-Avon in which Shakespeare is buried. The inscription says that Archbishop Land "promoted the colonization of America." But how? In the same way that Philip II, the King of France did......
"Land thought that people who did not think as he did should be robbed, imprisoned, put to death, or driven out of the country. So did Louis XIV, the King of France. So also did the Queens, Mary and Elizabeth. Exiled from their home land, English fathers and mothers, as early as 1555, called themselves pilgrims and gave to more than one child the name Perigrene, as was later done on the Mayflower. King James I and his feudal bishops drove out thinking people, thousands of whom took refuge first in the Dutch Republic, where religion was free to all men -- later enriching America at the expense of England. Thus the monarch of Spain, France, and England promoted the colonization of America.
''On the islands of the Manhattan archipelago, and at places along the Hudson and Delaware rivers, the Walloons made their settlements, beginning in 1624. As pious and high-souled as the Pilgrims, they had on board their vessel a church officer, who led song and worship. In later years, thousands more of these Belgian people came over in the ships. Probably two thirds of the inhabitants of New Netherland, called 'Dutch,' were from the southern or Belgic part of the seventeen provinces -- Flemings who spoke Dutch and Walloons whose speech was French...... In religion, the 'Walloons' from Belgium and the 'Huguenots' from France were one, as were the Pilgrims and Puritans.
"As to the territory of the Walloons, in the political shiftings of feudal and later times, part of it was sometimes in France, again in Belgium, and still again in France. This may explain why the spiritual life of Belgic Walloons and French Huguenots was much the same.....
"In 1668, by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, confirmed in 1713 by that of Utrecht, a large part of Walloon Belgium, or the Spanish Netherlands, was ceded to France, and from this district, now in the Department du Nord, came a large part of the Huguenot emigration, which after this date helped to people America.
"In the new American province of the Dutch Republic, the hardy male pioneers who fished in the waters, or with the Indians bartered trinkets for furs, guns, and textiles, or explored the land, during the fifteen years from Henry Hudson's time, or from 1609 until 1624, (and it may be added till 1724 in the Mohawk Valley and westward) were almost wholly Dutch. They had no homes, for they were without wives or children, nor did they till the soil ..... No guaranteed legal land tenure or ownership of the soil was possible until after the West India Company was formed in 1621.
"The Walloons made of the wilderness a new home land......
"These people were probably among the descendants of the Belgae, of whose ancestors Caesar, the Roman general, tells us. He declared that they were the bravest of all the tribes. They were proud of being one of the oldest people in northern Europe...... Their history is well worthy of study."
It seems proper to here digress to observe that (on p. 99) Mr. Griffis refers to 'Carolus Nellius/ pastor of the Walloon church of Utrecht, thereby undeniably confirming the identity of the Nellis family as Walloons whose American pioneers evidently fled first to the German Palatines to escape the wrath of the Duke of Alva and later to America with the first mass Palatine migration of 1710 to escape the wrath of Louis XIV. They thereby became erroneously identified, as were many others, as of German extraction from the fact that their residence in the Palatines had forced the German language upon them. It is also interesting to note that the Nellis coat of arms as we know it at present, had its origin in Belgium. Also, that during the world war of 1914-18 an American soldier from Schenectady was billeted in Alsace-Lorraine with a Nellis family still living there, as reported to the present writer by a 'buddy' of said soldier on his return to America. Other mention of this family later makes this identification here desirable.
"On the first official seal used on New York soil, we read Sigillum NoviBelgic, and Terra Nova Belgica was the name of the land...... The settlement on Manhattan..... was called by them...... New Avesnes, or Avennes,the birthplace of their leader Jesse de Forest. Moreover, the first language spoken in the homes of Distinctive America, or the Middle Region, was French."
(p. 11) "Take the map of Belgium and draw a line from west to east, through Brussels. South of this are the provinces of Hainault, Namur, Luxembourg, and Liege. These are called the Walloon provinces, or of late, 'Walloonia'; for now the people and the government have accepted and are proud of the name, just as we are of that of the once unknown 'Pilgrim Fathers.' The name Walloon helps us to distinguish these people from the Flemings, of the northern half of Belgium -- the country which has two races, two languages, two centers of Industry, two landscapes, and two varieties of religion. Today, the old Walloon district includes also the Department du Nord in France, which was once part of Belgium....... Yet from the first beginnings of language, the root-word wal, with its variations in spelling and pronunciation, meant alien, stranger, foreigner. The Romans called all the northern people by such a word (Wealsh, or Welsh) even as the Germans so speak of the Italians to this day. In Belgle Land, while 'the Franks settled in the North, the Romanized Celts or 'Walas' occupied the south...,. When we look further into the use of this root-word, we find it not only in Switzerland in the canton of Wallis, in the Netherlands in the island of Walcheren, in Britain applied to the Cymric Land of Wales, but we also discern it in hundreds of English and American place-names, such as Walton, Wallingford, etc. In Dutch, to say of a man 'he speaks Waalsch' (Welsh) means he is a Walloon, or he speaks French."
From still another source, Dutch Village Communities of the Hudson River by Irving Biting, A.B., (The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, January 1886), we have the following:
"100 miles north of New Amsterdam, the first Dutch adventurers had erected, in 1614, on the western bank of the Hudson River, a small block house called the 'Ronduit' - (now Rondout, recently incorporated with Kingston. - It was the Dutch word meaning 'small fort'.- In Documents Relating to Colonial History, XIII, p. 149, it is called 'Redout'; on p. 157 it is called 'Redoubt'.) The land about it remained unsettled til the year 1652 or 3, when a few persons who had been members of the colony of Rensselaerwyck, desiring to escape the feudal restrictions of the manor, settled upon the Indian tract called Atkarkarton, in the region known as the Esopus.* In 1661, this Dutch settlement had grown to an extent which Induced the inhabitants to desire separation from Ft. Orange, of which it had hitherto been an appendage, so as to obtain a local court of justice and a settled ministry. Stuyvesant, 'accordingly conferred a charter on the Esopus, to which place, in commemoration of the fact that the woil was a free gift from the Indians, he gave the name Wiltwick.* Rolloff Swartuout, was soon after appointed the first sheriff at Wiltwick. Among his instructions is the following: 'He shall take rank of the Burgomasters and Schepens and sit in their meetings, also to exhort the culprits, sentenced by the Court, before sentence is passed on behalf of the magistrates. (Documents Relating to Colonial History, XIII, p. 158). Also on p. 42 - October 11, 1786, an affidavit was made by Johannes Swartout and Samuel Curry ...... that they are two of the owners and proprietors of that certain tract ...... in the precinct of Poughkeepsie, just west of the town of Kingston, and adjoining it, lies the present town of Hurley, including land of which there were some grants to Dutch settlers who moved back from Wiltwyck as early as 1662. In distinction from the latter, and much older place, the early settlers called it 'Niew Dorp' (New Village). (Documents Relating _to Colonial History, XIII, p. 412) The grants made by the Dutch government were confirmed after the English occupation, and in 1669, the same year in which Wiltwyck became Kingston, the "Niew Dorp' was named Hurley from the paternal estate of the English governor, Lovelace. There in Niew Dorp it was, that Louis Du Bols, the Walloon, who afterwards became the leader of the pioneer band that settled at New Paltz, had established himself...... He was born in Wicres in Flanders in 1627, went to the
*O. Callaghan's History of New Netherlands II, p. 356, 357.
*City of Albany Records, XIX, p. 32, 112, 114, 137, 140.
Palatinate about 1647, and was married at Manheim in 1655. The name Wallkill, given to the stream whose rich border-lands attracted Louis Du Bois, is by some derived from his traditional title of Louis the 'Wall.' "
In the Ulster County Records (Library AA of Deeds, p. 494) at Kingston is an indenture bearing date the 15th of August, 1709, signed by nine proprietors, eight of them Dutch and one of them a Huguenot, reciting that they had purchased, together with others, a "certain tract of land near ye toun of hurley afores'dj' and extending south to the New Paltz patent. It refers to a patent of October 19, 1708, to "Cornelius Cool" and his associates........
The town of New Paltz, lying south of Hurley and the Esopus, also claims special attention...... The pleasanter way for one to gain his first impressions of New Paltz, is to cross the Hudson from Poughkeepsie and drive directly westward over an excellent turnpike road, lying wholly within the territory of the original grant. Eight miles from the river a point is reached which commands a fine view of the surrounding country. In the north-west the Catskill peaks stand out boldly against the horizon; and in front, the nearer Shawangunk range stretches north and south, - a natural barrier beyond which the earlier settlers did not venture. Sky-Top, its most prominent point, marks the location of Lake Mohouk, and is the grand boundary stone at the south-west corner of the New Paltz patent. Between this ancient landmark and the view-point of the spectator, is the valley of the Walkill, whose cultivated fields present in summer an appearance strikingly unusual. Almost everywhere the boundary lines seem to be rectangular, and the fields, on the slope of the opposite mountains, sown with different kinds of grain or left as meadow land, look like the regular blocks of a variegated patchwork. Just below, in the valley, a mile away, on the east side of the stream, may be seen the church steeples and scattered houses of New Paltz......... and today one may discover, here and there, the steep-roofed houses of colonial times, one of which shows the old port holes, and displays in iron letters the date 1705.
"Tradition attributes the settlement at New Paltz to one of the Incidents connected with the Indian massacre at Esopus in June 1663. Catherine Blaushan, the wife of Louis Du Bols, was one of the captives carried away into the wilderness. Du Bois, with a band of the settlers, started in pursuit, and, in following the stream which was afterwards called the Wallkill, they noticed the rich lands in the vicinity of the present village of New Paltz. The search was successful, the prisoners were rescued from captivity, and in the more leisurely return to Esopus, Louis Du Bois and his companions examined carefully the land which, by its beauty and apparent fertility, had before attracted their attention. Some years afterwards (May 1677) he and his associates purchased from the Indians the large tract of land, estimated to contain some 36,000 acres, including part of the present townships of New Paltz, Rosendale, and Esopus, and the whole of LLoyd, - bounded on the west by the Shawangunk mountains and on the east by the Hudson river....... This purchase was soon confirmed by a patent signed by Governor Andross, dated September 29, 1677, granting to Louis Du Bois and partners, the land described for the yearly rent of 'five Bushels of good Winter Wheat.' The instrument now in the Huguenot Bank at New Paltz, names the twelve patentees as follows:- Louis Du Bois, Christian Doyo, Abraham Haesbrooq, Andries Lefevre, Joan Broocq, Pierre Doyo, Laurens Bivere, Anthony Crospell, Abraham Du Bois, Hugo Frere, Isaack Du Bois, and Symeon Le Fevre, their heyres and Assigns. All were Huguenots, who fleeing from kingly and church persecution in France, had found an asylum in the Lower Palatinate at Manheim, and had probably spent some time in Holland also, whence they had come with the Dutch to Esopus.
"After their settlement, (New Paltz), almost at once, the community erected a rough log house to serve both for school and church. These Huguenot pioneers at New Paltz, having been driven from France to the Palatines of Germany, as a temporary asylum from the fires of persecution which were everywhere lighted in France, even before the formal Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, brought with them to their 'new Palatinate' that fervor of religious life born only of martyrdom, --a fervor quite as strong as, and more tolerant than, that which inspired the early settlers of New England. It is not strange, therefore, that within six years the Huguenots at New Paltz obtained a minister (January 22, 1683), the Reverend Pierre Daillie, 'and formed themselves into a congregation by the name of the Walloon Protestant Church, after the manner and discipline of the Church of Geneva." (Hasbrouck, M.S. -- see Life & Times of Louis Du Bois, by Anson Du Bois, Du Bois Reunion 1876, Proceedings, p. 67).
"This Eglise de Nouveau Palatinate, as it was early called, is probably the only church in America whose records are written successively in three languages, each period illustrating a different epoch in the church life and government. Approximately, they may be said to have been kept fifty years in French, seventy in Dutch, and since the beginning of this century in English. Within twenty years after the election of the first church officers, the records appear to have been partly in Dutch, and this language was chiefly in use throughout the eighteenth century, a fact which shows the dominating character of Dutch influence in colonial New York, even in a settlement which, like new Paltz, was at first entirely Huguenot.
"In marked contrast with the religious intolerance of the New England colonists, was the broad Christian liberality of the Dutch and Huguenots who laid the foundations of New York State. Often when their own French church was without a pastor, the Huguenot settlers of the New Paltz went with their Dutch church at Kingston to attend the communion service, or to have the right of baptism administered to their children; and, in turn, the increasing Dutch population at New Paltz not only worshipped in the French church of the Huguenots, but even acted as its officers and wrote its records in their native language. (In the early settlements of New Amsterdam, some seventy or eighty years before the time with which we are dealing, 'for many years Huguenot and Dutch worshipped together.' (Proceedings of Huguenot Society of America, I, p. 27)...... So close, indeed, was the agreement between the Huguenots and the Dutch at New Paltz, that we find the former,... held... that their ministers must be ordained in Holland by the classis of Amsterdam...... A writer, as late as 1750, (Rev. Dr. Burnaby, Valentine's History of New York City, p. 296) says that more than half the inhabitants of New York were Dutch, and not until the close of the last century did Dutch give way to English as the prevailing language among the people. The long prevalence of the Dutch language, which has been noted in the New Paltz church records, was not merely local, but general throughout the colony. Smith, in his History of New York, writing in 1756, (more than ninety years after the English possession,) says that 'the sheriffs find it difficult to obtain persons sufficiently acquainted with the English tongue to serve as jurors In courts of law.'
"Dutch manners and customs, Dutch forms of government, civil and ecclesiastical, prevailed not only in the early settlements, but persisted and remained dominant long after English rule supplanted that of Holland.
''These outward forms of Dutch influence in early New York are interesting chiefly as exponents of the character of the colonists. It was the spirit of the United Netherlands, which in the Fatherland had, through centuries, kept the feudal system from gaining there the foothold it obtained in France and England, and had at last thrown off the Spanish yoke, --it was this spirit which, prevailing in the colonies along the Hudson river, contended persistently for the rights of popular representative government, until theywere attained in the General Assembly of 1664, just at the downfall of the Dutch West India Company's monopoly, and which again, after twenty years of arbitrary English rule, forced from an unwilling government the Representative Assembly of 1683.
"If one traces the origin and growth of this liberty-loving sentiment of the Dutch people, one is carried back to the earliest ages of north Europe history, -- to a time, a century or more before the Christian era, when a hardy race called by Caesar the Menapii, occupied the country between the Rhine and the Meuse, and the Schelde and the ocean. They (the Menapii) held alliance with the Romans, but never submitted to their yoke at all nor permitted them to introduce their language, but retained in perpetual use the Teutonic (Theotiscam) dialect, now Dutch. Therefore, on this account they called themselves France (Free Men) from the liberty they enjoyed. These early inhabitants of the Netherlands seem to have been not only free-men, but also, as their name imparts, (it being derived from two German words Meen - Afft, Dutch, Gemeen - Schap,) a community of nations or a confederation. (Gen. J. Watts de Peyster, Nederlanders, p. 19, 23, & 24). If this be so, one may trace from this earliest alliance of independent Teutonic tribes, those ideas of government which, sixteen hundred years later (in 1579), were embodied in the union of Utrecht; and, in turn, from this more recent confederation of States in the Netherlands, one may derive by a continuous race-tradition, through the Dutch village communities on the Hudson River, that principle of the union of sovereign powers which gave form to our United States. Broadhead, History of New York, p. 362, bears out this theory."
The foregoing quotations clearly establish that the Dutch and Walloons were one people, of Netherland stock and that they dominated this middle area which included New York State for more than one hundred years following Hudson's discovery. It has also been shown that the Palatines of the Rhine had been largely populated by these same people from the time that the Duke of Alva (1567) spread his fury over their ancient homes. Further research shows that a large part of the Palatines who fled from the wrath of Louis XIV in 1710 to America to become our first mass white settlers in the Mohawk Valley in 1722-23 were also from this original Netherland stock, although bearing the stamp of the German language from their temporary, though lengthy, stay in the Palatines under German rule, whereby that language was forced upon them by law. These then, combined with the Dutch traders already in the valley, united to form the original and genuine "Mohawk Dutch." With the arrival of the Palatines those educated in the German language so far outnumbered the Dutch speaking element that the Dutch origin of many became so submerged as to confuse their own children as to whether they were of Dutch or German origin.
To the Nellis family already mentioned in this category may be added Flanders, Wiles, Chawgo, Clock, Cool, Swartwout, Wendell, Sanders, Snell, and others. In the first four named of these families a tradition of French origin has persisted to this day, but was hitherto unexplained. The early French spelling Clocq, in the Dutch records, sometimes transformed to Clock, Cloeck, and Klock in a single indenture, indicates that the Klocks probably were originally of the French speaking Walloons, also. Certainly the close union of the KLocks and Nellises in marriage, on arrival in the Mohawk Valley, and continuing through all the years down to the present, bespeaks an undisputable common heritage and mutual understanding of each other which can hardly be accounted for in any other way.
There has been, particularly in recent years, and especially at the hand of a certain individual, M.Q. von Klock of Boston, Massachusetts, (now deceased), who identified himself as council for the Peruvian Government and devoted much time, energy, and money to collecting Klock records, a determined effort to give the Mohawk Valley Klock family a distinctive German origin based on the fact that Hendrick Clock, the pioneer in these parts, became so closely allied with the Nellis pioneers, who, arriving with the 1710 Palatine contingent, and speaking the German language were also erroneously identified as of pure German stock. So persistent and effectual was the effort put forth, to that end, that, under this man's stealthy guidance, printed pamphlets were produced and placed in the files of the Government at Washington, whereby genealogical inquirers are directed to them, and thereby given the "information" that Hendrick Klock -- who died in 1760, age 97, and who is buried in the old church yard of Klock's Church, one half mile east of St. Johnsville, New York - "was born in Soberheim, Ehenish Prussia." (Beitrage zur geschichtes der familien V. Klock, by Maximilian O.J.H. Klock Boston - The Bradbury Press, 1906). While a family Bible record, understood to have been made about 1820, by a great-great-grandson of Hendrick Klock, by the name of John Beekman Klock, says the pioneer was born in Hesse Kassell. Still another Bible record made by a great grandson, Joseph G. Klock, who was also father-in-law of said John Beekman Klock, records that"Hendrick Klock"came to America in 1704, but fails to state the source of that information, or from whence he came, and quotes the tombstone record to confirm his age and the date of his birth. Consideration of the time of making and the personnel of the makers bespeaks for them a condition of uncertainty as to their accuracy. Certain it is that no member of this family considers himself to be, nor do their heirlooms and traditions point to any origin other than Dutch; and in confirmation of that belief we have only to turn to such meager records as the Dutch have left, to be convinced that this is correct. Let us consult the following:
A - Colonial Documents
B - Catalogue of Dutch Manuscripts
C - Catalogue of Land Papers
B - p 18 Abraham Clock, Feb. 21, 1647. Contract to build, etc.
B - p 48 Peter Clock, Aug. 13, 1649. Purchaser of a lot on Manhattan.
C - p 382 Abraham Clock, Aug. 26, 1655. Patent to a lot in New Amsterdam.
A - II- p 215 & 245 - Peter Cloeck, Oct. 24, 1663. At Amsterdam, Holland. July 8, 1864. Commissioner of the City and Director of the city's colony in New Amsterdam.
A - II - p 249 - Abraham Klock, Sept. 5, 1664. Signs remonstrance of the people of New Amsterdam.
A - III - p 75 - Abraham Klock, Oct. 21-26, 1665. Among the names of the inhabitants of New York who swore allegiance to the English after the surrender by Peter Stuyvesant.
A - II -p 473 - C. V. Ruyven, Manhattan, Aug. 17, 1666. Wrote to Peter Stuyvesant, since you left here have died by my knowledge Abraham Klock (and others)
A - II - p 403 - Pilgrim Klock, a notary resideing at Midwont, L.I., Jan. 23, 1664.
A - II - p 480, 81, 82 - Acknowledgements taken Jan. 15, Feb. 14, Feb. 19, 1664, signed P. Clocq, Not. Pub. Also spelled Pelgrom Klock in the same paper (p 480).
Additional references will be found in A, I, p 606, n, p 600 and 648, IV, p 810.
Also from the Annals of Newtown. (L.I.) by James Riker, Jr., published by D. Fenshaw, 180 Nassau St., N.Y., 1852: Daniel Rapalje married May 27, 1674, Sara, daughter of Abraham Klock, an elder of the Brooklyn church who died on Feb. 26, 1725; his widow died Feb. 28, 1731. Daniel Kapalje was born in New York City, Dec. 29, 1650, and was the youngest son of Joris Jansen de Rapelle (one of the proscribed Huguenot race), from Rochelle in France and was the common ancestor of all the American families of that name. He came to this country in 1623 and settled at Ft. Orange, now Albany, remaining there 3 years. In 1626 he removed to New Amsterdam.
From other sources we learn that Daniel Rapalje and wife Sara Klock removed to Kingston, N. Y., where we have shown the Dutch built a fort in 1614, and where many of .the Huguenots located early in the 18th century. Here also came the Beekmans and others from the New York Dutch, and from Kingston via Schoharie these families reached the Mohawk Valley centering around St. Johnsville. In Block's Church Yard adjacent to Hendrick Klock's grave we find his son-in-law, Christian Nellis Senior, and on the same lot, Elizabetha Rapolje. At St. Johnsville still dwell many Flanders and Wiles; the intermarriage of these families with the Klock and Nellis families has been in a lesser degree, but quite as common as among the two first named. Do not the records bespeak a common but ancient tie of these families with "Flanders field where poppies grow, between the crosses, row on row"?
Do they not also indicate that the fifty thousand of the refugees who reached England not only comprised a part and an influence among the Engligh-American refugees known as Puritans and Pilgrims, but by their residence in England paralleling that of their kin in the German Palatines also exerted a powerful influence in English history?
In our art galleries we find a famous painting known as "Baby Stewart," which, unless you know your English History, may mean only a beautiful baby, but when identified becomes the same person for whom, as the Duke of York, our metropolis was named, New York, and who later, as James II, undertook to force the Catholic Religion in England, by the same methods as those employed by the Duke of Alva under Charles V of Spain and by Louis XIV of France in the Palatines, but met such powerful resistance that he was forced to abdicate his throne in 1688 and give to the English people their famous Bill of Rights, one provision of which forbade a Catholic to inherit or occupy the English throne. Can we not see in this famous document a reflection of the earlier Dutch Declaration of Rights at the Hague, July 26, 1581, borne hither by those Netherlanders banished from their former ancient homes when the promulgators of that declaration were fighting and dying to maintain its assertions.
These records are so extensively quoted because without actually including our St. Johnsville pioneer Hendrick Clock, they reveal that his background was identical with these early settlers of the vicinity of Kingston, and they portray it so vividly as to make a lasting impression regarding the origin of these people in the ancient United Netherlands. Hendrick Clock may have been of the party associated with Louis Du Bois or with Cornelius Cool, whose patent of Oct. 19, 1708, was dated four years after Hendrick Clock is reputed, by the family Bibles of Joseph G. Klock, and the family history of Solomon Klock, to have arrived in America (1704), but all other records point to confirm the belief that if any actual records of his parentage or place of birth ever come to light they will connect him with the Clocqs of Amsterdam, Holland, and New Amsterdam in America, who, as the previously quoted authorities of indisputable authenticity prove, were closely identified with both the government of those places and the management of the Dutch West India Company before the surrender of Manhattan to the English.
The presence of Abraham Clock and Peter Clock in New Netherland as early as 1647-49, the presence of the latter in Holland in 1663, the death of the former in 1666, together with the birth of Hendrick Clock in 1663 in the critical days of Stuyvesant's career, and the marriage of Abraham's daughter, Sara, in 1674, and her removal and that of Abraham Martinsen Clock to Kingston point to stirring events at the time of Hendrick Clock's birth that tended to obscure the recording of that event by a people notorious for their scanty records; while his presence in Schoharie and the Mohawk Valley in 1725, added to the other records, point to his Dutch-Walloon ancestry and his path to the Mohawk via New Netherland, Kingston, Albany, and Schoharie.
The prompt erection of a log structure for church and school purposes at New Paltz, as soon as they were settled there, reveals the importance these people attached to those matters and confirms the tradition and belief expressed by the present writer that the log church known to have existed on the lot reserved in Hendrick Clock's original deed of 1725 was built about that year instead of 25 years later, and that he and it were of genuine Dutch origin rather than German, as some later local historians seem wont to insist. -- Real Germans have not elsewhere erected, supported and continued to the present time "Dutch Reformed" Churches, nor is it tenable that they made a singular exception in the first church at St. Johnsville.
(The church was organized as a German Reformed according to the records, and remained so until 1829 when it merged with the Dutch Church. ajb)
This also brings to mind that when the late Sheldon E. KLock purchased and moved to the Colonel Jacob Klock home about 1892, he unearthed an old foundation near the line fence of his next door neighbor, Edward Nellis (born 1813, and therefore nearly 80 years old), who informed him it marked the site of an old school house* in which said Nellis had attended school when a small boy. So here we confirm the early school house along with the church on the pioneers lands as was done at New Paltz.
*See Appendix - "Our First School" - also "Our First Church*
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