Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The History of Montgomery Classis, R.C.A.
by W.N.P. Dailey,
Recorder Press, Amsterdam, NY 1916
To which is added sketches of Mohawk Valley men and events of early days, the Iroquois, Palatines, Indian Missions, Tryon County, committee of Safety, Sir Wm. Johnson, Joseph Brant, Arendt Van Curler, Gen. Herkimer, Reformed Church in America, Doctrine and Progress, Revolutionary Residences, Etc.

Arendt Van Curler

Arendt Van Curler was one of the earliest Europeans to visit the valley of the Mohawk, and had the confidence and respect of the Indian, as perhaps no one else, not even Sir William Johnson, ever held. So great was the regard of the Indian for him that we find them addressing the Governors of New York as "Corlaers" long after -his death. The Iroquois word "Kora" comes from Corlaer, a term applied to the Dutch Governors of Orange and New Amsterdam, and to the English Governors of Albany and New York, and to all the Governors of New England, The Mohawks of Canada still refer to the Governor-general as "Corl," and they were accustomed to speak of Queen Victoria as "Kora-Kowa," i. e. the "great Corlaer." Van Curler came to America in 1638 as an agent for his cousin, Kilian Van Rensselaer, who, tho be owned some seven hundred thousand acres of land, including all of Albany, and most of Columbia and Rensselaer counties, and considerable in the Black River country, never left his home in the Netherlands. That this Van Rensselaer manor was the only successful of the several manors laid out was due to the genius of Van Curler, born of noble blood, a sterling character, of great strength, physical and mental, and of a high moral nature all of which combined to win him the love of the civilized European as well of the uncivilized Indian. There were three Van Curlers, the least important one being immortalized by Washington Irving-- a Jacobus Van Curler, a New Netherlands school master, and Arendt.

It was Van Curler's broad statesmanship and his practical common sense wisdom that won him the esteem of the Iroquois, the most powerful confederacy of Indians ever known; it was his high ideals of peace and friendship that acted as a defense against French aggression, it was the Dutch blood coursing in his veins that led the colonists finally to liberty and self-government, and away forever from the French ideals and traditions; it was Van Curler who prevented the French from over possessing the Hudson and Mohawk valleys, gateways alike to the ocean and the great west. Van Curler was a true humanitarian. He was opposed to the feudal system imposed on all land sales by the Van Rensselaers. In 1642 he leaves Albany and goes as far west as Fonda-apparently to save the French Jesuits who were marked for martyrdom by the fierce Mohawks. And he succeeded. In his letter to the patroon, June 16, 1643, he describes the Valley of the Mohawk as "the fairest land the eyes of man ever rested upon." In July 1661 he bought a great tract of land of the Mohawks and founded the present city of Schenectady. In 1667, while crossing Lake Champlain to visit Gov. Tracy of Canada, he was drowned. His widow continued to live in Schenectady until her death in 1675.

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