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March 3, 2014

Women's History Month: Clara Moockers Post, Strong Female Ancestor

Women's History Month: Clara Moockers Post, Strong Female Ancestor
In honour of Women's History Month (March 2014) I issued a challenge to all geneabloggers to write a  minimum of 10 blog posts this month about women who have made a difference.

Clara Moockers Post, born ca 1621 in Holland was my 9th great-grandmother.  Here is her story:

For 24 years, from 1630 to 1654, Recife, a Northeastern city in  Brazil, was held by the WIC (West India Company).

My 9th great grandparents Captain Adriaen Crijnen Post and his wife Clara Moockers, were stationed in Recife during this time. They had 3 children born in Recife between 1644 and 1648.  I  often think of Clara and how strong she must have been to raise a family in the jungle with the heat, the dangers of various illnesses such as malaria, and the poisonous snakes and other dangerous wildlife.

Adriaen and Clara's daughter Maria (my 8th great-grandmother) was baptised in Recife Brazil in June 1649 [Doopregister der Hollanders in Brazilie 1633 - 1654]. By the time Brazil fell to the Portuguese in 1654, the family had left for the Netherlands and then on to New Netherland (present day New York state).

On 30 June 1650 the ship "New Netherland's Fortune" sailed, arriving in New Netherland on 19 December 1650.

Adriaen and his family were on Staten Island by 1655. Adriaen was a representative of Baron Hendrick van der Capellen, the owner of one-third of Staten Island. As the superintendent of a group of twenty people who were to farm Staten Island, Adriaen set up a colony which flourished.

In the summer of 1655 the Peach Tree War began over Hendrick Van Dyke's shooting of a Native woman taking peaches from his trees in his orchard in Manhatten. As a result, the settlements on the lower Hudson River and around New York were destroyed by Iroquois attackers. On 15 September 1655, the colony on Staten Island was burned to the ground by the Natives from Hackensack. Twenty-three people were killed and sixty-seven taken prisoner, among them Adrien, his wife Clara, their five children, and two servants.

In October 1655, Adriaen was released by the Hackensack chief Penneckeck to bargain with Petrus Stuyvessant for the release of prisoners. Adriaen made the journey between Manhattan and the Native headquarters at Paulus Hook, New Jersey several times before an agreement was reached. Fifty-six captives were released in exchange for powder, lead, guns, blankets and wampum. Among those freed were Adrian's wife and children.

Returning to Staten Island Adrian was ordered by Van der Capellan to gather survivors and erect a fort. Trying to keep the group fed, he found a few cattle that the Natives had overlooked roaming in the woods  That winter Adrian and his family camped in the company of some soldiers  in the burnt-out settlement.  They butchered some of the cattle they had found and obtained milk from others. They survived the winter with  little food and rough shelters. Stuyvessant recommended to Post that he and "his people" and cattle move to the stockade on Long Island but Adrian and Clara refused. They stayed on Staten Island virtually alone. 

By Spring of 1656 Adrian was ill and unable to perform his duties, so Clara requested that someone else be appointed as van der Capellen's agent. In April of 1656 Clara petitioned Stuyvessant asking that the soldiers be allowed to stay, but Stuyvessant decided that since there were only 6 or 7 people on the island, a garrison was not required and they should all move to Long Island.

Adriaen and Clara eventually left Staten Island and settled on the mainland of present-day Bergen, New Jersey. Adriaen died in 1675 but it is not known what happened to Clara. She was a strong female, mother to 9 children, who endured much and adapted well to whatever difficult conditions she faced. I'm so proud to have her as my ancestor.

Credit: Image from Fotolia


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, Lorine. Clara is also my ancestor (through her daughter Margrietje, who married Johannes De Hooges), but I knew nothing about her prior to your blog entry today. What fascinating and harrowing experiences to have in life! Have any articles on the Post family been published in any journals?

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi Justin

I am not aware of any articles on Clara and Adriaen.

If you follow the link in my blog post (click on Adriaen's name) you will find a great deal more information plus sources.

I published my research on my site Olive Tree Genealogy many years ago :-) I hope it is of interest to you.

I also have a document from the Amsterdam archives re Clara but have not scanned it. One day....