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The Op Dyck Genealogy

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The Op Dyck genealogy, containing the Opdyck--Opdycke--Updyke--Updike American descendents of the Wesel and Holland families. 1889. p. 136-150.

Louris Jansen Opdyck may have been the Louwre Jansen that baptized a daughter at Elburg on Dec. 10, 1635; and may have been a son of the Johan Louwrensen who was a witness in Elburg court on Sept, 18, 1603, -or a son of Jan Lauren Dyck who baptized a daughter at Elburg on Oct. 3, 1636. We know positively that he was a Hollander, from his Gravesend petition complaining that "the English inhabitants were determined "that no Dutchman should get into the Magistracy there," -and by his widow's laying down "Holland's law." From what part of Holland he came, has not been discovered from the records in this country, because the Albany county records before 1654 are missing, as are those of the churches at Albany and on Long Island before 1660 when he was dead. He always wrote his name with only the patronymic, according to the Dutch usage at that time, - Louris Jansen, meaning Louris the son of Jan. To one not familiar with it, this custom seems strange, but it was persistently followed for a century by most Hollanders whose family names are now, and were then, perfectly well known. It is this prevailing custom during the seventeenth century in Holland, of substituting the father's name for the family name, that has made it difficult for Dutch families to trace back their ancestors beyond that period.
Holland blood is a fit subject for pride. To Netherland belonged the brave Nervii who so nearly defeated Julius Caesar and his legions, - their memory kept forever green by Shakespeare. Hollanders were the Batavians described by Tacitus, the boldest tribe of all the Germans, men of huge bodies and muscular limbs. "Others go to battle, these go to war." Rome made them her friends and allies. The Batavian cavalry turned the tide of battle at Pharsalia; the Batavian legion was the imperial lifeguard, made and unmade emperors, and down to the fourth century saved the Koman legions from defeat in many battles. In the middle ages they were the "free Frisians." Charlemagne left them their ownership of their lands; they never had feudal tenure. "The Frisians," said their statute book "shall be free as long as the wind blows out of the clouds and the world stands."
The Count Dirk of Holland and his line, and the Bishops of Utrecht, governed them 400 turbulent years. Commerce plucked up half-drowned Holland and poured gold into her lap; fishermen and needy raftsmen became ocean adventurers and merchant princes. Clusters of hovels became cities. The burghers handled the cross-bow and grew formidable. In 1217 began their city charters and governments under their own Schout and Shepens. In the next century, six chief cities sent their deputies regularly to the Estates.
Then the House of Burgundy absorbed them; but Charles the Bold died and the Netherlands wrested from his successor the Magna Charta of Holland. Nowhere else upon earth at that day was there half so much liberty as this gave. Austrian Arch-Duke and Spanish Emperor curtailed these privileges again and again, but the struggle was always renewed by the brave Dutch Burghers.
In 1500, when the Netherlands included Belgium as well as Holland, Antwerp became the commercial capital of the world, the most beautiful, next to the largest, city in Europe. Its harbor often contained 2,500 vessels; 500 daily came and went. Schools were excellent and cheap. Children wrote and spoke at least two languages. The cattle of Holland, grazing on the bottom of the sea, were the finest in Europe, its farm products the most valuable, its navigators the boldest, its mercantile marine the most powerful. Where of old were swamps and thickets, now dwelt three millions of people, the most industrious, the most prosperous, perhaps the most intelligent, under the sun; their love of liberty indomitable; their pugnacity proverbial; peaceful and phlegmatic, they were yet the most irascible and belligerent men of Europe. The Netherlands contained 208 walled cities, 150 chartered towns, 6,300 villages; the whole guarded by 60 fortresses. Out of the five millions of gold which Charles V derived annually from all his subjects, the Netherlands furnished two millions; the commerce and manufactures of the ancient morass contributed four times as much as all the boasted wealth of Mexico and Peru.
Then came the Reformation. Erasmus of Rotterdam "showed the road" and Luther sent out his 95 propositions which flew in a few weeks through Europe. Charles V made peace with Protestants in Germany that he might root them out of his paternal inheritance, the Netherlands; fearing that the new faith would carry the seeds of civil freedom, he sent Spanish priests with troops to introduce the Inquisition. It was only among the burghers that Protestantism was to be found, but it was not in their Dutch blood to change their religious convictions through fear; and the Dutch nobles would not consent to surrender their country's chartered rights and liberties, possessed from time immemorial, -freedom from taxation except by consent of the Estates, independent Judicature, exclusion of foreign officials and troops. A Spanish army at once occupied, and thenceforth held, the Belgian half of the Netherlands; but the seven provinces of Holland declared themselves "The Dutch Republic," and waged 80 years war with the most powerful empire on earth.
Thus Holland fought, alone for Europe, the fight of Protestantism against Catholicism, of freedom of conscience against the devilish Inquisition, of universal manhood against tyranny. The whole world expected her defeat. The veteran Spanish generals, Alva and Parma, with trained Spanish and Italian troops, enforced the edicts of Charles and of his still more fanatical son Philip, burning the obstinate Netherlanders, beheading repentant males, burying alive repentant females, putting to death 100,000 in twenty years. But all the armies Spain could send failed to conquer Holland. The little republic declared Calvinism the religion of the State, chose William of Orange for their Stadtholder, and when " William the Silent" was assassinated through Spanish gold and priestly fanaticism, filled his place with his son Maurice. When hard pressed, they raised the sieges of their cities by cutting their dykes and letting in the sea. The Dutch admirals swept the ocean, crushing Spanish navies and capturing the rich fleets from the Indies.
The Dutch had no natural advantages. All the corn raised in Holland was not sufficient to feed the men employed in keeping her dykes in repair. But year by year she grew stronger, while Spain grew weaker. The Dutch granted entire religious freedom to strangers of every race and creed. There came to Holland religious refugees from all countries of Europe, the most industrious and enlightened of their nations. The indefatigable people became the richest in the world, in manufacture, trade, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, - all the while waging fierce war. Its territory, only a little larger than Wales, was a busy and populous hive, whose rich cultivation, canals, barges, shipping, mills, mansions, towns, picture galleries, astonished English travelers. Her manufactures were unrivalled, her universities and scholars unsurpassed. Enterprise and courage made her people the carriers of Europe; honesty made them the bankers of the world. After 40 years of war had made of Holland a great nation, Spain was so crippled as to be forced to sign in 1609 a twelve year truce, admitting the Dutch to trade with the East Indies; at the end of the truce, hostilities were renewed, but were ended in 1648 by the full acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the "United States of Holland." The Republic dictated decrees to the Empire of Spain. It had its dependencies in Asia, America, Africa, Australia;-in Brazil, Guiana, the West Indies, New York, at the Cape of Good Hope, in Hindoostan, Ceylon, Java, Sumatra, New Holland; for a century it continued to sway the balance of European politics. It is to its constitution that we owe the model of our United States of America.
Louris sailed from Holland at about the date when peace had been made with Spain. His country's soldiers had become a terror to their enemies, a Dutch private being fit to be captain of a Spanish company, and a Spanish captain inferior to a Dutch common soldier. Maurice of Orange, Stadtholder, had taught Europe how to handle cannon, and generals of all nations attended his sieges to learn the art of war. The tide of war had ebbed from the shores of the hard-fighting Dutch and overflowed Germany in its terrible Thirty Years War, although the heroic Gustavus Adolphus and wise Richelieu had turned the current there in favor of the Protestants. Holland too had lent an occasional hand to the ravaged Rhine provinces, surprised the Spanish garrison of Wesel at night and restored the town to its citizens. Probably then, if not before, the Wesel op den Dycks had quit the broken fortunes and ruined trade of their ancestral city, for prosperous Holland, where perhaps they had sought their Dutch kindred and had known their relationship. Gysbert may have preceded Louris to New Netherland and have written back to him glowing accounts, as others wrote, of the climate and country, of the abundance of deer, the many kinds of wild fowls, fish and fruit, and the soil well fitted to grow all kinds of grain and vegetables.
At all events Louris joined with friends and neighbors in the movement Westward Ho! Theirs was no such emigration as peopled the Spanish Main, Virginia or Massachusetts;-it was no armed chase for Indian gold and slaves, no fleeing from debts, no mournful exchange of religious persecution and prison for a rock-bound wilderness. They went to join friends under the Dutch flag, to seek sure fortunes in trade in the pleasant new country discovered and governed by wealthy Dutch merchants, to send back rich furs and fine tobacco, to do their share in sustaining the greatness of Holland. The most experienced men of their province gave full advice what to take with them; the magistrates congratulated them on their prospects and bade them treat the Indians kindly but to let no Spaniard whom they met escape, to be tolerant of all things but intolerance; the Domine prayed for them and preached to them like children, in the outspoken Dutch fashion, promising to send them ministers and schoolmasters. The town crier daily announced their approaching departure; crowds of friends accompanied them to the vessel and down the river; the wind-mills waved their long arms in gracious farewell as the broad prow of the bark curtsied to the swell of the ocean. In Louris' strong boxes in the hold of the ship, were doubtless the pictures mentioned as part of his effects in 1659. The voyage generally took eight weeks, sailing by the Canary Islands and Virginia to avoid the North Atlantic gales, stopping to refit at the West Indies if necessary.
To the Dutch, water was their native element, and the time passed quickly with tales of their experience in fights by sea and land, perhaps closing with such remarks as: "I tell you, those Spaniards are rank cowards, as all bullies are." "They pray to a woman, the idolatrous rascals, and no wonder they fight like women." "Oh! for such luck as to sight on the horizon a Spanish West Indian;" it would be their own fault if they did not "sweep it out as empty as a stock-fish."
As they sailed up New York Bay, the Captain doubtless pointed out the flourishing "bouweries (farms) as well stocked with cattle as any in Europe," Governor's Island which Director van Twiller had bought for himself, the fort at the Battery, and the wooden house of the town. They must have been enchanted by the novelty of the rolling land, the magnificent forests, the bright sky and clear air. It was indeed a "brave country." They already lost desire ever to go back. As Louris and Christina looked over the taffrail, did they imagine that their descendants within 250 years would be numbered by thousands, scattered over a thickly settled country from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, knowing not the language of their ancestors, citizens of a country more populous than was then, not Holland alone, but all Europe combined.
The new-comers must have been welcomed by the Governor with much dignity at the fort, where, though the walls were out of repair, the new stone church and the stone warehouses and offices of the company were impressive. The citizens crowded forward for the pleasure of entertaining the strangers at home, where they might leisurely over pipe and bowl hear the latest news from the fatherland, and tell in return how the colony was prosperous, excepting only for the Indian troubles due to the mistakes of Kieft. They were the same industrious, frugal, honest and modest people as at home, and more hopeful in the glorious possibilities of a new country.
Louris was a well-educated man, possessed of some means, and his settlement would naturally be watched with interest. He decided to enter into the fur-trade at Beverwyck, the head of navigation of the North River, where the Dutch had built Fort Orange at their first discovery, and where is now Albany. As the most advanced post in the wilderness, it offered the best facilities for trading with the Indians, the Iroquois, "Five-Nations," bravest of the North American Savages, masters of all other tribes, yet never attacking the Dutch. The Indian war of 1643-5 spared Beverwyck alone of all the Dutch settlements. Thither went Louris up the mighty Hudson, meeting no settlement between Yonkers and Albany, but finding scenery as beautiful as the Rhine and far grander, and without the robber castles hated by the Dutch. We, who view the Hudson from the swift steamboat or railway car, can have no idea how Louris's heart swelled within him as day after day his little vessel crept up the noble river. In its fresh and untamed wildness, before its virgin banks had been desecrated by modern improvements, the sensation must have been as stronger and finer, as were the native Indians, at whose wigwams Louris sometimes smoked the pipe of peace, in comparison to their present degenerate descendants.
A Dutch fort had been established at Albany in 1614, and here had been made the first formal treaty between the red man and the Hollander, often renewed and never violated, although the fort was a poor affair of logs "with five cannon and as many swivels." Van Rensselaer, an Amsterdam pearl-merchant, had obtained patents for a large part of the present counties of Albany, Rensselaer, and Columbia, and brought out some settlers to colonize it. The little hamlet of Beverwyck had begun to cluster around the walls of Fort Orange. The fertile soil yielded abundant crops, deer and wild turkeys filled the forests, pike and sturgeon abounded in the waters, and the happy settlers wrote home Joyous letters which brought fresh colonists of substantial means from Holland in 1636. The Classis of Amsterdam had sent out Domine Megapolensis in 1642 with plans for a church and parsonage, and the next year the church was built, 34 feet long and 19 wide, within range of the guns of the fort. The pulpit was sent out from Holland and is still preserved. The Domine studied the Mohawk language and conversed with the Indians who attended his services, standing with long tobacco pipes in their mouths. The colony, through their friendship with the savages, were able to save the lives of several French missionaries about to be put to torture and death. In 1643 Beverwyck contained about 100 persons, living in 25 or 30 wooden houses along the river, buying of the Indians beaver skins and selling them fire-arms and powder, - forbidden to go into the bush to trade, but continually doing so. In 1650 a school-house was built and the first schoolmaster appointed; in 1652 a Court of Justice was established. The importance of the fur trade of the colony may be seen from the fact that in 1656 it sent 35,000 beaver and otter skins to Holland. In 1653 "Lourens Janse"(Opdyck) received from Governor Stuyvesant a ground brief for a lot 92½ - feet square on the northwest corner of the intersection of what are now State Street and Broadway, - opposite the new church erected in the middle of the square three years later, rebuilt in 1715 on the same ground, and standing until 1806. Louris's valuable corner now faces the Post Office and is in the very heart and business centre of Albany. He had a house upon this lot, but in 1655 he made over his groundbrief to himself and Cornelius Steenwyck for the use of a third party. This Cornelius Steenwyck afterward became Burgomaster of New Amsterdam, Councilor of War over the Dutch ships at their recapture of New Netherland from the English in 1673, and one of the Common Council of New York after the second surrender to the English.
Our Louris is also found in 1653 buying lot No. 34 at Gravesend, Long Island, where two years later we find numerous proofs of his presence and activity. The patent for Gravesend had been granted in 1645 to a colony of English, under the leadership of Lady Deborah Moody, a woman of wealth and education who left England to avoid despotism, emigrated to Massachusetts, and was excommunicated at Salem for her views on baptism. The soil, though somewhat light and sandy, is yet very productive, the climate remarkably healthful and agreeable in summer and winter from its ocean breezes. It was hoped, from its situation at the mouth of the Narrows, with the ocean on one side and the flourishing village of New Amsterdam on the other, to make Gravesend an important centre of commerce, "a city by the sea," with Gravesend Bay for a harbor. On a favorable site near the centre of the grant a square was measured off containing about sixteen acres of ground, and a street opened around it. This large square was afterwards divided into blocks of four acres each, by opening two streets at right angles through the centre. The whole was then enclosed by a palisade-fence of half-trees standing seven feet above ground, as a protection both against hostile Indians and the depredations of wolves and other wild animals which were then common upon Coney Island. Each of the four blocks was divided into ten equal sections, laid off around the outside and facing the outer street. This gave forty sections in all; and thus one section was allotted to each of the forty patentees. By this arrangement every family could reside within the village, and share its palisade defense. In the centre of each block was reserved a large public yard, where the cattle of the inhabitants were brought in from the commons, and herded for the night for their better protection. On one of the four blocks was the church, on another was the school-house, on another the town hall, and on the fourth the burying ground. The original plan of the town is preserved in its main features to this day, after almost 250 years. The 40 planters' farms radiated from the village in diverging lines like the spokes of a wheel, enabling each owner to go from his house within the village defenses directly to his farm; and several of the farms have retained this outline to the present time. Scarcely had the first house of the new settlement been completed when the savages, exasperated by the unwise policy of Director Kieft, rushed from their destruction of the Mespath colony to attack the newly begun village of Gravesend. But the settlers, under the command of Nicholas Stillwell, silently awaited their night approach in the rude log house, and received them with such well directed volleys of musket-shots as to slay a large number and drive the rest to retreat in panic. Apart from Fort Amsterdam, Gravesend was the only colony that successfully defended itself.
The English of that day frequently called Fort Orange (Albany) "Fort Aurania;"and hence, never very particular about the spelling of names, wrote on the records "Lowrace Johnson of fforte of Arren" at his first purchase of land in Gravesend. Two years later, 1655, Louris joined with seven other Dutch residents in a letter to the Council, protesting against the confirmation of the magistrates nominated by the English of the town, saying that these English had allowed traitors, absentees, and men under confinement, to vote, but had refused to honest Dutchmen both votes and office; and also that these English were endeavoring to enforce the orders of their chief traitors, Baxter and Hubbard, who were then in Fort Amsterdam prison for hoisting the British flag and asserting the sovereignty of England. The Council from motives of policy confirmed the election; the West India Company however sent strict instructions "to avoid bestowing any office of trust upon foreigners who are not interested in the country and who but seldom can deserve our confidence."
In the autumn of 1655, the second Indian war broke out. A large body of savages, -having swept Manhattan Island down to Fort Amsterdam, killed or captured most of the settlers at Hoboken and Pavonia, laid waste the Jersey shore, killed 67 colonists on Staten Island and destroyed their bouweries, - thereupon crossed the Narrows and made a fierce attack upon Gravesend; its inhabitants were unable to drive away the invading foe, but bravely stood their ground. Louris and five other Dutch residents wrote an urgent letter to Governor Stuyvesant for assistance; in reply, the Director and Council immediately sent a force of Dutch soldiers from Fort Amsterdam, with whose aid the town drove off the savages.
During the years 1656-7 Louris resided in New Amsterdam (New York). There is in 1656, upon the books of the Burgomaster and Schepens' Court, a record of "Lourans Jansen's wife" defending a suit there brought for supplies of meat, amounting to 28 Pounds Sterling of money, which she opposed "according to the account of the year 1653." The same year 1656 we find a minute of a suit brought by "Lourens Jansen of New Amsterdam" before the Director and Council, against George Baxter of Gravesend. Among the early Dutch Books of New York Deeds, at the City Hall, is recorded the purchase by "Lourens Jansen" in the same year, of a house and lot on the south side of the present Pearl Street between State and Whitehall Streets, and its sale by him the following year. The terrible massacres by the Indians in the previous year probably led him to withdraw his family temporarily from Gravesend. The location of his New York house was close to the fort, the favorite building locality from the time the fort was first laid out. Pearl Street originally formed the edge of the river a little east of Louris' house, and was selected as a residence by many wealthy burghers on account of its fine river prospect. Whitehall Street was also on the line of the fort and took its name from the large white residence of the Governor. Here were the Company's five storehouses built of stone, and the parsonage with its garden of variegated tulips and alleys of clipped box-wood and cedars; nearby were the bakery, brewery, and the first market-house. Above these was Bowling Green, the village park, - used for Maypoles, holiday dancing festivals, and as a parade ground of the soldiers from the fort.
We find also on the records of Flatbush a reference to "Louweres Janse" in 1659; and to "Lourens Jansen" in 1661 as then deceased but as having owned previously two stone-houses and lots in that village. These records afford additional evidence that he was a man of enterprise and means, and interested in many ventures.
Flatbush, settled by the Dutch in 1651, was now the most thriving Dutch colonv on Long Island, and contained more people than Brooklyn. It bounded Gravesend on the northeast, and the direct road from New Amsterdam to Gravesend ran through it. It was here that the first Dutch Church on Long Island was organized. Louris no doubt attended service in the church edifice which was then begun, although not entirely completed until 1660, after his death. It was of wood and built in form of a cross, 28 by 60 feet, and 12 or 14 feet between beams, the rear used as the minister's dwelling. A portion of old Flatbush is now included in Prospect Park of Brooklyn.
We conclude that Louris' wife and children resided in New Amsterdam (New York) the greater part of the time from 1653 to 1657, while he frequently left them to trade in furs at Albany or to see to the cultivation of his Gravesend farm and the improvement of his Flatbush property. No doubt they enjoyed an occasional trip with him up the North River in pleasant weather, and occupied at times the house at Albany. The elder sons must have assisted on the Gravesend farm in the summer season, and attended in winter at Fort Amsterdam the flourishing Latin school presided over by Dr. Curtius who had just been sent out from Holland at the request of many citizens. On holidays they would resort to the "Locust Trees" on a bluff of the North River, a little south of the present Trinity church-yard which was then the West India Company's garden. Or they would roam in the shady valleys, Maiden Lane and others, surrounding the village; or follow the neighboring roads leading quickly into forest wilds almost as solitary as the native wilderness. On such occasions they would not fail to invite some of the fair maidens for whom the town was celebrated, the daughters of the early settlers, now just coming into womanhood, with their fair Dutch complexion beautified by the American climate. In those days a lady wore no. hat. Her dress was a bright colored petticoat, short to give freedom in walking, a waist of different material, colored stockings of homespun wool, high-heeled and thick-soled shoes suitable to streets without sidewalks or pavements, - and all the jewelry she could afford.
The men wore their hair very long. Their dress was a soft hat with broad brim and tapering crown adorned with a feather, a short sleeveless doublet girt at the waist with a stout leather belt or wide sash with hanging ends, very full short breeches tied just below the knee with bow-knots, long woolen or linen stockings, high boots with flaring or reversed tops, wide turned-over linen collar and cuffs; in cold weather, a cloak hanging loose from the shoulders; for full dress, silk stockings, broad ruffs or lace at the neck and wrists, sometimes at the knee.
The town lots were large enough for gardens and orchards. Each resident kept his cows, and the city herdsman collected them every morning, blowing a horn to give notice of his approach, and drove them through the town gate at Wall Street to the public pasture at the present City Hall Park. It must have been the ambition of the little Johannes to let down the rail for his father's cattle to join the herd. He it was who brought the water from the well in the street. He could amuse himself tumbling in the hay barrack which was permitted to stand in the highway in front of the house; or watching the dark and taciturn Indians in their dress of skins or feathers, in single file, coming occasionally to the fort. Sometimes no doubt he would steal away to the never-failing spring at what is now John Street, and linger along its brook as it bubbled down the rocks on the present line of Gold Street; or in winter he would play truant and dare to venture to the far-distant lake at what is now Canal Street, for a day of skating. At other times he would inspect the 250 fire-buckets with hooks and ladders, just imported from the fatherland for the "rattle watch" of eight men; or he would watch the boats in the canal which is now Broad Street, and hear the neighbors talk of making the whole city so, "to be like Holland."
On the Sabbath the whole family, arrayed in their best, would proceed to church, Christina carrying her handsomely bound Bible and psalm book, with silver edging and clasp, hung to her girdle by a silver chain. The sexton, having rung the bell, formed a procession of himself and his assistants to carry the cushions of the burgomaster and schepens from the City Hall, to furnish the church pew appropriated to the city magistrates. The schout at the same hour went his rounds to observe that quiet was kept in the streets during service, and to stop the games of the negro and Indian slaves, who were allowed recreations on Sunday except during church time. As the church was within the walls of the fort, the adjoining open field, now Bowling Green, displayed a numerous concourse of country wagons arranged in order, while the horses were let loose to graze on the shady hillside which led west of Broadway down to the water at what is now Greenwich Street.
Christina would sometimes accompany Louris to Gravesend, mounted behind him on horseback upon a pillow or padded cushion. Their road took them along Pearl Street, which was then the river shore, halting a moment at the inn to chat with Gysbert, to the ferry at Peck Slip; the ferryman owned a farm hard by and came at sound of the horn that hung against a tree, to row them over the river in a little skiff, for three stivers in wampum, to what is now Fulton Street in Brooklyn, -although Brooklyn was then a mere hamlet containing only a few scattered farms. A ride of seven miles, winding through woods and miniature prairies, took them past Louris' lots and stone houses in Flatbush to Gravesend. Some of the giant trees now just beyond Prospect Park may have seen them passing. Or they would take the whole family in the lumber wagon, or in the sleigh running upon split saplings, drawn by pot-bellied nags which were bred wild in the woods on the upper part of the island, and which seldom quit a dog-trot. In the summer Johannes would beg to go along to bathe in the surf at Coney Island, and to gather a large basket of wild strawberries in the woods. Or, if the wind was fair, they would make the trip almost from door to door in their boat on the bay, for the boys must have been natural sailors like all the Dutch. To appreciate the beauty of this sail, it must still be made in a small yacht.
Their home, if like the average New York house of that day, was worth less than 0, including the lot. Its "great room" was both parlor and dining-room, and contained also the guest's bed, built in the house like a cupboard in a partition, to save space, with doors closing upon it when unoccupied; two ample feather-beds upon it, one to sleep on and the other for a covering, made up in comfort what they lacked in display. Here too was the cupboard on which were displayed the pewter and earthenware with a few pieces of silver; for ordinary use, wooden and pewter table-ware were good enough; the blue and white china was kept for company. The round dining-table had folding leaves, in order to economize space. The best chair was covered with leather and adorned with brass nails. Carpet there was none, but the well-scrubbed floor was carefully sanded. Some engravings in narrow black frames adorned the walls, and the window was curtained with a strip of the cheapest cloth run upon a string. It was before the era of tall eight-day clocks, and the small clock was not so trustworthy as the hour-glass. There were not half a dozen watches in the Dutch Colony, and those had brass or silver cases and were generally out of order. The great fireplace could easily contain the three boys in its corners. An extensive store of linen, the pride of Christina, was kept in the iron-bound chest. Linen was cheaper then than cotton. Books were rare; life in the new country was more exciting than fiction; and as for history, -they were making it. The house contained several stories above the eaves, with dormer windows for each story, the roof being higher than the walls. First was the garret containing the sleeping rooms and bins for storing grain; next was the loft, used for lumber and articles of only occasional need; next the cock-loft, the receptacle for rubbish. The beams were ornamented with some carving, and were used for hanging household articles, guns, powder-horns or hats. The ceilings were seven or eight feet high.
The family used a pestle and mortar to grind their own grain into flour for domestic use. Their table saw little of the fruits, sweets or spices of the tropics. Its food was furnished from the farm and surrounding forests or waters. The family clothing was the product of the farm, spun and woven by Christina.
Louris was a man of standing, as we have seen. But, except good character, there were no social distinctions in that day when all could remember their recent coming hither in search of fortune, bringing but little with them. The roystering young farmer danced with the daughter of the city magistrate; for she was herself her father's dairy-maid. The household work and the farm work were done by the family, with perhaps the assistance of a worthless slave or two. The worst trait of character was thought to be idleness. It was the arcadian age of New York. We must recollect that money was so rare that purchases were made largely with beaver skins, either wholes or halves. The first brickyard was just started and the first street Just paved; sidewalks were not yet in contemplation; the average price of the best city lots had reached only , and houses rented at from to 0 per year; there was but one wharf; the whole population of the city was only 1,000, of whom one fourth lived on Pearl Street.
Louris must have finally removed his family back again to the Gravesend house, for we find them residing there at his death. The records ascribe to him only twelve acres in cultivation, but in those days the ground was cultivated like a garden, as in Holland. Rotation of crops was not practiced until a century later. Pasture and hay were obtained from permanent "meadows" which were never ploughed. The meadow of Gravesend was Coney Island, since included in the boundaries of the town.
The town records of Gravesend were kept in the English language, and are still preserved from the year 1645. They contain wills, inventories, contracts, sales, and lawsuits. Town-meetings, called by a beating of a drum, were held monthly in a private house, and all failing to be present were fined five guilders. The town elected one magistrate, who chose a second; these two a third, and so on until six had been chosen, all to be approved by the town. Every man was required to maintain his own share of the palisade at the head of his lot, to provide himself with a ladder 20 feet long, and with a gun, powder and lead, under penalties of heavy fines. The following vote was passed: "ye pastures att ye end of ye lotts shall be for ye use of any of ye inhabitants for a calf or cow yt is sick, or for a horse in case a stranger comes to ye town." The town hired a man to herd the calves three months on Coney Island, for 60 guilders "to be paid in money, tobacco, or corn and some bitters, if desired." It was voted "that all who tapp or drawe out stronnge beare to sell, shall provide that ye sd beare bee as good yt wch is usually sould att the Manhattoes;"and the price was regulated. It was forbidden to sell liquor to Indians; also to indulge on Sundays in trading, amusements, or excessive drinking. Marriages were performed by a magistrate, after publication of the banns at the nearest church, and were entered in the town records, as were also burials. The Court records are full of trials for slander, and the cases became so common that a fine of 50 guilders was imposed upon those who brought such actions without good proof; in cases of conviction, the punishment was fine, imprisonment, stocking or standing at a public post. There are those still living in Gravesend who remember well the old stocks, which were placed near the town-hall, where prisoners convicted of petty crimes were made a public show and were hooted at and pelted by the boys of the neighborhood. This custom was introduced from England; in a list of 70 male inhabitants in 1656, there do not appear more than a dozen Dutch names, including Louris Jansen. Among the settlers appear Richard Stout, Samuel Holmes, and others whose descendants in New York and New Jersey have been numbered by thousands. The famous Penelope Prince appears on the records as having remarked that "the wife of Ambrose London did milk the cows of Thomas Applegate;" she, "being questioned, acknowledged her fault in soe speaking, and being sorrie for her words, she spoke satisfaction on both sides."
There is no good reason to believe that there was a Dutch Church organization in Gravesend before 1763. The people were inclined to strong freethinking; they rejected infant baptism, the Sabbath, the office of preacher, and the teachers of God's word, saying that "through these have come all sorts of contention into the world." Whenever they met together, one or other "read something for them." Here was held the first Quaker meeting in America, in 1657; they were regularly held from that time at the house of Lady Moody, and from 1659 the town became the "Mecca of Quakerism," in spite of much persecution from Director Stuyvesant.
The early houses were simple; we find "1 house framed upon sills of 26 foote long, and 16 foote broad and 10 foote stoode, with 2 chimneys in ye middle and 2 doors and two windows, and to clapboard only ye roof and dobe the rest parte;" the price was 110 guilders, or instead, "one Dutch cow." Furniture and personal effects were also simple; an inventory in 1651 of a deceased, signed by Lady Moody as witness, shows: "1 Kettle, 1 Frying pan, 1 Traye, 1 Jarre, 1 pair breeches, 1 Bonett, 1 Jackett, 1 Paile, 2 Shirts, 1 Tubbe, 1 Pair shoes, 2 pair ould stockings, 9 ould goats, money in chest, 32 guilders." Yet Gravesend was sufficiently important to hold the Court of Sessions from 1668 to 1685, when it was removed back to Flatbush, whence it was finally changed to Brooklyn. The farmers raised all kinds of grain, tobacco, hemp, flax, pumpkins, melons, &c.; growing wild were found mulberries, persimmons, grapes large and small, huckleberries, cranberries, plums, raspberries, and such abundance of strawberries " that in June the fields and woods were dyed red;" wild roses and other flowers bedecked the landscape and perfumed the air all the summer. Imagine all of these by the sea. Such we learn was Gravesend when Louris there lived and died.
In the new world, people married not only early, but often. The Dutch church records are full of second and third marriages. It was required by the laws of New Netherland that any widow, or widower, about to contract a second marriage and having already children, should apply for the appointment of guardians of the children, in order that their share of the state under the Dutch rules might first be set aside for them. On March 16, 1660, we find on the records that "Stincha (Christina) Loras widow" (of Louris Jansen Opdyck deceased) had such guardians appointed for her children, Peter, Otto, and Johannes. The estate was appraised at 3,100 guilders (a considerable sum in those days), of which she received one half upon her declaration to the English of Gravesend that this was the law of Holland; a pretty strong proof that she was a woman of force of character and of consideration. Six days earlier Lourens Petersen, from Tonsbergen in Norway, a widower, also states that his wife Annetie is deceased, that he is now engaged to marry "Styntie Laurens" of Gravesend, and desires trustees appointed for a division of a proper share of their mother's estate to his two daughters; which is accordingly done, as recorded in the minutes of the Council at Fort Amsterdam. Lourens Petersen had been married at New Amsterdam in 1641, and had there baptized his daughter Sytie in 1642 and his daughter Engeltie in 1646; Sytie had been married at 16 years to Barent Joosten, a "ridder"(knight) from Witmont in Emberland, and afterward a magistrate of Bushwick. In 1661 Engeltie, then in her 15th year, married Jan van Cleef, a settler at Gravesend and later an official of New Utrecht. Lourens Petersen, after living some years in New Amsterdam, where he sold his house and lot in 1656, had taken up his residence in Gravesend, and there signed a petition for a minister. He had been spoken of some years before as "of good report amongst the English" in and near New Amsterdam.
Peter, (eldest son of Louris Jansen Opdyck,) upon the occasion of the above division of his father's estate, voluntarily surrenders to "his mother Stincha Loras" the interest of his portion, "for the bringing up his younger brother," to whom he leaves the principal in case he die first; "his young brother" also leaving to Peter his whole portion in case of death; - a pleasing evidence of mutual affection. The following year, Lourens Petersen conveys lot number 34 at Gravesend, with farming implements, to Peter and Otto, for their shares of the estate. Peter and Otto at the same time acknowledge the receipt, from their "father-in-law" (a very common expression in those days for step-father) Lourens Petersen, of 300 guilders, the portion of "their brother Johannes Loras, according to the dividend of the estate of their deceased father Loras Johnson." They also agree to pay to "their mother Stincha Loras" interest on Johannes' portion, for his support. Two years later Christina, "in behalf of her sons Otto Loras and Johannes Loras," ratifies a sale of the farm made by her son Peter. Thus their relationships are distinctly and repeatedly acknowledged. These various acknowledgements also show that Peter was of legal age in 1664, and that therefore his father was born before 1620 and married before 1643.

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