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July 19, 2010

Thank you Hendrick!

346 years ago my 9th great grandfather, Hendrick Meesen Vrooman, set sail from Amsterdam Netherlands to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in the New Netherland Colony. He was 47 years old and with him were his five children including his daughter, my 8th great grandmother Eva Hendrickse Vroomn. Eva was 14 years old.

Hendrick was a widower, his youngest child was only 5 years old. Their ship, De Eendracht, arrived in the harbour 19 July 1664.

Six months after his arrival, Hendrik wrote a letter to his family in Leiden: his brother Jacob, his sister Maartje and his mother Ariaantje. In it he describes the new land he has come to, and asks for items from home such as silk thread.

The year in which Hendrick arrived in New Netherland (1664) is the year in which New Netherland was taken by the English. Hendrik writes of this in his letter:

Furthermore I let you know that there have arrived three English ships at the Manhattans with soldiers and they have claimed the land and they say that it belongs to their king. And Stuyvesant has given it to them without one shot, with an agreement.

In 1690 Hendrick, his son Bartholmew aged 30, his son Adam with his wife Engeltie and their six childre (Barent 11, Wouter 9, Peter 5, Christina 4, Hendrick 3 and a male infant) were living in Schenectady. Then came the Indian and French attack on Schenectady on the cold snowy evening of Saturday February 9, 1690.

On 9 February 1690, in the total of 60 people killed at the Schenectady Massacre, were Hendrick, his son Bartholomew aka Bartol, and two black slaves who were killed and burned by Indians. His two remaining sons, Adam and Jan, were left to inherit his estate. Hendrick's grandsons Barent and Wouter were taken captive to Canada but later recovered. Hendrick's son Adam escaped with his three children Peter, Christina and Hendrick.

The report of the investigating party sent out from Albany states:

"Hend. Meese Vrooman and Bartholomeus Vrooman kild & burnt....Item 2 Negroes of Hend Meese ye same death....Engel the wife of Adam Vrooman shot & burnt, her childe the brains dashed out against ye wall...."

It was a hard life but I am grateful to Hendrick for making the journey with his family and helping to settle a new country.


Joan Miller (Luxegen) said...

My husband's Aumack family had a similar story except his Dutch ancestor (who was living in Denmark at the time) sailed with the Dutch fleet in an attempt to save New Amsterdam from the English. He stayed, married, had 9 children who went on to have large families. Our story is here:

I enjoyed your story. Thanks!

Barbara Poole said...

Nice piece, and through it, I discovered we share the VanValkenburg line, so we are distant cousins. Love your site.

Flowers said...

Fascinating! I love reading history in someone's own words, it makes it so real.