Thursday, December 23, 2010

Flemish American Origins of Santa Claus



It is the night before Christmas Eve. I had hoped to have completed for you a post that points to the Flemish Contributions to the idea and dissemination of Sinterklaas - as "Santa Claus" would have been known to our Flemish ancestors. Unfortunately, I have not fleshed out the references and the prose to the standard I aspire to, so this quick sketch will have to do.

It is worth recalling a few quick facts. Santa Claus as a concept did not gain broad acceptance in the U.S. until well into the 19th century. Most historians trace that back to three change agents: Clement Clarke Moore, John Pintard, and Washington Irving.

First, Washington Irving, while not descended from the settlers of New Netherland himself, resurrected the enthusiasm for the lives and history of those early settlers with his 1809 book A History of New York From the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty. While intended as a satire, the book was remarkably detailed on New Netherland history, Dutch language and customs to pass as legitimate history to the masses. Moreover, Irving's prose (then and even today) was engaging enough to become a best-seller of the time (and to remain popular well into the 20th century).

Irving's story popularized St. Nicholas - pronounced Sinterklaas - from an obscure ethnic holiday celebrated by a shrinking circle of ethnic Dutch-speakers to something tied into New York's Dutch origins. In particular, and as it pertains to our story here, Irving focused on the interaction between St. Nicholas and the patriarch of the Van Courtlandt [although he spelled it "Van Kortlandt"] family. [1]


Next. John Pintard, a merchant of untiring energy, proposed St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, as an alternate family holiday to the revelry on New Year's Eve. A friend of Washington Irving - and founder of the New York Historical Society - Pintard began the revival of St. Nicholas with a St. Nicholas Society Dinner on December 6th, 1810 (the year after Irving's publication). Later, this evolved into the St. Nicholas Society of New York. [2]


The final rung in this climb back to our Netherlandic roots came through another friend of Pintard's: Clement Clarke Moore. Moore was himself not a descendant either of the settlers of New Netherland. However, his wife, Catherine Elizabeth Taylor, was. Although I am unaware of Moore explicitly crediting his wife, it seems unlikely that she did not - as wives are often likely to do - inspire her husband's work. And from whence did her wife derive inspiration? Likely through maternal family traditions.

Catherine Elizabeth Taylor's mother, Elizabeth Van Cortlandt, was the great-great-great grand daughter of Oloff Van Courtlandt and Annetje Loockermans. [3] It was Annetje Van Courtlandt who, as Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer has noted, brought culture and civilization to New Amsterdam after marrying Oloff Van Courtlandt in early 1642. [4]

For forty years Annetje Van Courtlandt nee Loockerman's home was the center of social life and she led the observance of holidays and customs from the Dutch-speaking part of the Low Countries. These traditions were transmitted through her direct descendants - which include Presidents (Teddy and Franklin D. Roosevelt), actors (the Fonda family, Montgomery Cliff), movie directors (Cecil B. DeMille), authors (Herman Melville), Chief Justices (John Jay), the wealthiest Americans (John Jacob Astor), Fathers of the Country (Alexander Hamilton and Hamilton Fish), as well as assorted governors, senators, congressmen, ambassadors, mayors and other luminaries. The Van Courtlandt family tradition of Sinterklaas became the Santa Claus tradition of today. It has now been passed on to later generations and is inseparably blended with the fabric of America.


The best part of all this was that this strong, fearless pioneer woman of taste and culture (who deserves to be numbered in the first tier of Flemish Mothers of America) was from Flanders. Annetje Loockermans was born in the town of Turnhout in the province of Antwerp in the land of Flanders on the 17th March, 1618. [5] Little did she realize the legacy she would leave for 21st century America and indeed the world. [6]





With that as backdrop, Gentle Reader, it seems only fitting that I leave you with the stanzas and illustrations that inspired the adoption by first American and then world popular culture of Santa Claus. The below text is courtesy of a superb website on the poem: "Account of a Visit From St. Nicholas"


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;



The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc'd in their heads,

And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,



When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.



The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a minature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,


With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name:


"Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
"On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;

"To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

"Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"



As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of Toys - and St. Nicholas too:


And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:



He was dress'd all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish'd with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys was flung on his back,

And he look'd like a peddler just opening his pack:



His eyes - how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;



The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face, and a little round belly

That shook when he laugh'd, like a bowl full of jelly:



He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh'd when I saw him in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.



He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill'd all the stockings; then turn'd with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.



He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.




Endnotes
[1] Washington Irving, Knickerbocker's History of New York, edited by Anne Carroll Moore, (New York: Doubleday, 1959). See especially pp. 27, 49-51, 58, etc. [where St. Nicholas appears in dreams to Van Kortlandt] and pp. 95-100 [description of St. Nicholas' Feast Day as celebrated by the Dutch-speakers of New Netherland. Curiously, his only nods to Flanders are to redundantly claim that each of the pear-shaped characters in the story wore "Flemish hose" and reckon that the fines they received were in Flemish pounds (1 Flemish pound = 6 Dutch Guilders).

[2] Edwin G. Burroughs & Mike Wallace,"The Domestication of Christmas," in Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 462-463. While this is an excellent account of Pintard's involvement - and the only one I am aware of - Burroughs & Wallace fail to tie the story back to New Netherland.

[3] Catherine Elizabeth Taylor (1794-1830)'s mother was Elizabeth Van Cortlandt (d. July 22, 1816) and her father was William Taylor, Lord Chief Justice of Jamaica. Elizabeth Van Cortlandt's parents were Philip Van Cortlandt (November 10, 1739-May 1, 1814) and Catherine Ogden. Philip's parents were Stephen Van Cortlandt (October 26, 1710-October 17, 1756) and Mary Walter Ricketts. Stephen's parents were Philip Van Cortlandt (August 9, 1683-August 21, 1746) and Catherine De Peyster. Philip's parents were Stephanus Van Cortlandt (May 7, 1643-November 25, 1700) and Gertrudj Van Schuyler. Stephanus' parents were Oloff Stevenszn Van Courtlandt and Annetje Loockermans. Annetje was born in Turnhout, Flanders. For the genealogy please see John Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume II M-Z, (London: Henry Colburn, 1867), pp. 1360-1363; and John Thomas Scharf, History of Westchester County, New York, Volume I, Part I, (Philadelphia: L.E. Preston & Co., 1886), pp.115-138.

[4] Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer, The Goede Vrouw of Mana-ha-ta: At Home and in Society, 1609-1760, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898), p. 32 discusses how Annetje Van Cortlandt's home was the "center of the petticoat government" of New Netherland; p. 133 how others followed Mrs. Van Cortlandt's example with St. Nicholas Day; and p. 140 discusses how the Van Cortlandt's and other notable Dutch-speaking families perpetuated the St. Nicholas Day (and other) tradition through subsequent generations. Esther Singleton, Dutch New York, (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1909), pp.297-301 discusses the observance of St. Nicholas Day in the Netherlands but with little concrete reference to New Netherland. However, she does suggest that the wife of the Flemish Reformed minister Drisius played a role [p.301].

[5] "In Turnhout worden de doopregisters bewaard van Godefridus Lokermans (2 juli 1612) en zijn zuster Anna (17 maart 1618), kinderen van Jacob Lokermans en Maria Nicasius. Ook hun broer Pieter (geboren 5 oktober 1614) liet sporen na in zijn geboorteplaats. In de Sint-Pieterskerk op de Grote Markt van Turnhout, waar Anna en Godfridus (De Latijnse naam Godefridus werd in het protestantse Noorden al snel Govert) gedoopt werden, rust nog steeds een van hun nazaten." My grateful thanks to Karl Van Den Broeck for this reference [e-mail dialogue October 10, 2010].

[6] Note that, to produce a sobering counterpoint, that the current historian of New Netherland, Jaap Jacobs, believes there is no evidence in the historical record to support the idea that Sinterklaas was celebrated in New Netherland. See Jaap Jacobs, New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America, (Leiden: Brill, 2005), p.471. To the esteemed Dr. Jacobs (whose work I admire a great deal - even though he ignores the Flemish contribution to Nieuw Nederland), my only retort is "Bah Humbug!"


Copyright 2010 by David Baeckelandt. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without my express, written consent.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Beaver Peltries and Le Bâtard Flamand Part 1 - An Early Flemish American



A few months ago (September 8th) at Flanders House New York I gave a talk on “The Flemish Contribution to the Discovery and Settlement of America”. The talk offered historical flashes of Flemish involvement from the official birth of Flanders (864 AD) up to and including the English takeover of Nieuw Nederland on September 8th, 1664. One of the ladies in the audience, who claimed (if I remember correctly) a metis ancestry, asked if there were notable examples of interracial offspring of Flemings and other ethnicities in Nieuw Nederland sine Nova Belgica.

Unthinkingly, I mumbled a few obscure examples of unions between the Pernambuco refugees (Jewish and African inhabitants of a Dutch outpost expelled when the Portuguese retook Brazil from the West India Company in 1654) and the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of New Netherlands. However, I failed to cite good cases. For example, well before the arrival of the Pernambuco refugees in the 1650s, there was the union between a Flemish emigrant from Gent, Ferdinand Van Sycklin, and Eva Van Salee, a young lady of North African or Moroccan ancestry (see my “Gentenaars in Nieuw Nederland for a slightly broader bio here:
http://flemishamerican.blogspot.com/2009/07/gentenaars-of-nieuw-nederland.html ).

Later, reflecting further on the talk, I could have kicked myself. For in fact a far more intriguing story of the offspring of interracial love is recorded for Flemish America. This love child was a fully hyphenated Flemish American – a unique product of two cultures, Flemish and Native American. Curiously, our best source for information about him is from those whom he initially viewed as his enemies: native French speakers in North America. As a resident of 17th century New York, he is a direct link to the Flemish Protestants who settled Nieuw Nederland sine Nova Belgica.

Although modern text books rarely mention his name or story, America’s Pilgrim Fathers knew this man. The English speakers in the colonies sometimes referred to him as John Smith/Jan Smits. The residents of New Netherlands who had daily contact with him mostly called this vigorous Flemish American their version of a Mohawk name: Canaquesee [1]. Many of the French in Canada simply called this Flemish American, "Le Bâtard Flamand": The Flemish Bastard.

To understand his story we will have to get there via a circuitous route. Because to understand this man we must understand the circumstances around his birth, the Europeans there, and their raison d’etre. My post here – in two parts – then, is an attempt to memorialize the life and times of Le Bâtard Flamand/The Flemish Bastard, one of the first, true Flemish Americans.


Beavers and the Fur Trade
“’The beaver is the main foundation and means why or through which this beautiful land was first occupied by people from Europe’, wrote Adriaen van der Donck in 1655.” [2] As New Netherlands historian, Jaap Jacobs, distilled it: “Originally, desire for beaver pelts had drawn the Dutch to New Netherland.” [3] De Laet mentioned that even in 1614 Adriaen Block went “in quest of beaver & fox skins”. [4]

Furs, in fact, were the reason for the exploration by Henry Hudson – Van Meteren, and the other Flemish employers of Henry Hudson (Dirck Van Os, Petrus Plancius, Judocus Hondius, and Emmanuel Van Meteren) [5] had intended for him to seek furs in Siberia on his way to China [6]. In the Middle Atlantic region of what is now the United States, the dominant and most marketable furs were beavers. [7] Perhaps most importantly, the chance to play a role in the illegal beaver fur trade motivated a number of Flemings, notably Cornelis Melyn the Patroon of Staten Island, to emigrate to New Netherland. [8]

Unlike the hunt for the buffalo hides in the 19th century, no part of the beaver went to waste. The Native Americans viewed beaver as a delicacy – so they rarely if ever sold beaver meat to the Dutch. [9] Although New Netherland exports went to Amsterdam, ultimately beaver hides and fur ended up in two primary markets: Muscovy (where the fur was highly prized) and France (as felt for hats). [10] The fame of the French made beaver hats was such that even English sovereigns – such as King Charles II in 1660 – purchased their custom made beaver felt hats from Paris chapeliers (hat makers). [11]

Beavers occupied rivers and streams. Their tail made excellent steaks and in Europe since medieval times beaver testicles had been used for medicinal purposes. [12] But of course their fur and hide – the pelt turned into felt, such as what was used to make the Pilgrims’ broad, black felt hats – was the real prize.

Native Americans also depended heavily upon the beaver. One Chief was quoted as saying: “The beaver does everything well. He makes us kettles, axes, swords, knives, and gives us drink and food without the trouble of cultivating the ground.” [13] Nearly every flowing water between the Rio Grande River and the Arctic Circle was home to beavers in 1600, it was estimated that between 60 million and 400 million of the intelligent, chomping rodents populated North America. [14]

For the Europeans, trapping beaver was more efficient than the pursuit of literally any other fur-bearing game of the region. In part, this was because – at least for the residents of Beverwijck [15] [now Albany] – the Europeans did not actually trap the beaver themselves but rather traded goods they had for the pelts that the Maqua/Mohawk brought in. “Everyone’s life [was] arranged around the seasonal movements of the beaver, the natives, and the trade.” [16]



As a Dutch historian of New Netherlands so aptly described it, “In New Netherland, every colonist was somehow a trader.” [17]

However, as in many events in history, the strongest link between these peoples had much to do with wealth and its acquisition. The form wealth took in the European transactions with the Native Americans was in the exchange of European goods (textiles, knives, liquor and muskets) for furs (beavers, otters, etc.). All of the European colonies were chartered monopolies run with the profit motive foremost. Of course, this included the Dutch West India Company. “In the mid 1630s an ordinary seaman earned only ten guilders a month, a little over the value of one beaver pelt.” [18]

Shipments back to the Fatherland were substantial. “The ship which has returned home this month [November, 1626] brings samples of all sorts of produce growing there, the cargo being 7,246 beaver skins, 675 otter skins, 48 mink, 36 wild cat, and various other sorts; [also] many pieces of oak timber and hickory.” [19]

Officially (until 1630) the beaver fur trade in Nieuw Nederland was a West India Company (WIC) monopoly [20] . But inevitably, individuals sought to undercut this trade through private dealings with individual Indians. And well before – and certainly after – the Europeans (who numbered only 270 souls in 1630 [21] ) engaged in frenzied trading for the lucrative beaver.

In the early years, the New Netherlands traders would journey out in small bands across country and literally drop in on the Maqua/Mohawk villagers. For example, in late 1634, in a manuscript attributed to the Flemish surgeon of Fort Orange, Harmen Mendertsz van den Bogaert, we learn that “the Maquas [Mohawk] wished to trade for their skins, because the Maquas Indians wanted to receive just as much for their skins as the French Indians [Mohicans] did.” [22]


As early as 1609 the French allied themselves with the Hurons against the Iroquois. [23] The practice took time to be accepted back in France but certainly by 1640 the French viewed hostility to the Iroquois as inevitable and a key part of policy for New France. Jerome Lalemant wrote to Cardinal Richelieu on March 28, 1640, of the successes and the hindrances of the Huron mission, and advising that that the authorities of New France intend to “interfere, in behalf of the savage allies of the French, to check the hostile advances of the Iroquois, who are encouraged and incited by the English and Flemish (Dutch) colonists on the coast.” If they do not act vigorously, the French missionaries feared the extinction of the Hurons, and the consequent cessation of the mission work [to convert Native Americans to Catholicism]. [24]
In short, the French saw trade with the Native Americans as key to their survival in North America. That trade required access to Indians willing to sell them beaver pelts. In part for altruistic reasons (everlasting salvation) the French viewed the conversion of the aboriginal peoples – especially the Huron Indians – to be part of this intricate relationship with trade. Only one thing stood in their way of attaining these multiple goals: the Mohawks and their “Dutch” allies. This could only mean war. “The motive for this conflict was clearly economic and was connected to the fur trade.” [25]





Maqua, Mohawks, Iroquois, and Others
A leading historian on New Netherland, Willem Nijhoff, wrote. “The Indians were the principal suppliers of the precious beaver skins, the furs for which the West India Company established trading posts in New Netherland and which were so important in the creation of the enormous hats and other fashion articles that we still admire in so many seventeenth-century pictures.” [26] For the Dutch that meant primarily the Mohawk Indians at Fort Orange (Albany).

The Mohawks, as many may be aware, were not the largest tribe of the Iroquois confederation (although they are now) [27] . But in Colonial times they were certainly the most feared. The Iroquois confederation consisted of five Native American tribes, [28] autonomous in governance but linked by language and cultural affinity.

The Maqua/Mohawks were also among the first Native Americans to come into contact with Henry Hudson in 1609 when he sailed up the Hudson River to land near modern day Albany, New York. The man who first passed along in print the findings of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage, the Flemish historian (and Dutch Consul in London, 1583-1612), Emanuel Van Meteren, wrote (in 1610) this about Hudson’s encounter with the Maqua/Mohawk: “In the upper part [of the Hudson River] they [Hudson and his crew] found friendly and polite people, who had an abundance of provisions, skins, and furs, of martens and foxes, and many other commodities, as birds and fruit, even white and red grapes, and they [Hudson and his crew] traded amicably with the [Mohawk] people.” [29]


The Mohawks may have been friendly to Henry Hudson in 1609 in part because of concurrent geopolitical events in North America. For at least 100 years before Henry Hudson sailed up the Great River, Iroquois Indians had bartered animal furs for European goods in chance, coastal meetings. [30] “It was the Mohawk [among the Iroquois] who were to undertake aggressive action to secure trading privileges with Europeans.” [31]

More importantly, the Algonquin-speaking tribes [32] had early on allied themselves with the French. In 1609 the Hurons with their new French allies launched a series of unexpected attacks upon Iroquois villages. [33] Literally, as Hudson was sailing up the river to explore and trade, the French and Hurons were paddling down Lake Champlain and other Canadian waterways [34] to attack and burn Iroquois longhouses. [35]

The Iroquois’ military prowess and diplomatic guile made them a force to be reckoned with during North America’s colonial period (circa 1500-1800). While the Six Nations (an additional tribe joined later) of the Iroquois Confederation now occupy bits of upstate New York, their swathe of regional influence in the 1600s was much greater than it is today. Either directly or through their projected power, the Iroquois dominated a territory that stretched from the Great Lakes in the west to the St. Lawrence River in the north, east to the Atlantic seaboard and south to the Delaware River. Within this region, the Maqua/Mohawk territory primarily included the western bank of the Hudson River nearly from its mouth up to Lake Huron (please see map).



The enemies of this confederation were a medley of Native American tribes surrounding the Iroquois: the Algonquins, Hurons and Mohicans. [36] As Johannes De Laet of Antwerp [37], a Founding member of the West India Company (and the father and grandfather of New Netherland settlers) [38] , described it in 1624, “On the west side of the [Hudson] river, where dwell the Mackwaes [Maquas/Mohawks], the enemies of the Mohicans. Almost all those who live on the west side [of the Hudson River], are enemies of those on the east, and cultivate more intercourse and friendship with our countrymen than the latter.” [39]

Besides the Mohicans, the Mohawk viewed an Iroquois tribe called the Hurons as arch enemies. The Hurons and Algonquin sought out the French as allies. The French referred to the Huron as the “good Iroquois”. [40] The Hurons were “good” because they traded beaver (and other furs) exclusively with the French and submitted to Christian baptism. The Hurons also were competitors for the fur trade trade between the French and the Iroquois. [An absolute must see flick on this subject for those of you who have not yet is "The Black Robe" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Robe_(film)]


Firearms, Firewater and Females
The acquisition of European finished goods were the reason the Mohawks traded. Perched at the edge of a vast wilderness, with smaller numbers and unsettled posts but claiming a broad patch of land, the New Netherlanders looked for an edge and they found it in the weapons trade.

Nicolas Van Wassenaer, writing in February, 1624 noted that for the Maqua/Mohawk, “Their trade consists mostly in peltries [furs], which they measure by the hand or by the finger….In exchange for peltries they receive beads, with which they decorate their persons; knives, adzes, axes, chopping knives, kettles and all sorts of iron work, which they require for house-keeping.” [41]
Of course he neglected to mention the most important and lucrative of the ‘iron work required for house-keeping’: muskets. As the meticulous and uncharitable Reformed Church minister Megapolensis observed (in 1644): “Their weapons in war were formerly a bow and arrow, with a stone axe and mallets; but now they get from our people guns, swords, iron axes and mallets.” [42]

Although the New Netherlanders were the most reliable source of highly coveted muskets, the trade was unregulated and ad hoc. As Father Isaac Jogues, a French Jesuit who rescued by Dutch traders [43] , spent some time in New Netherlands in 1643 wrote: “Trade is free to all; this gives the Indians all things cheap, each of the Hollanders outbidding his neighbor, and being satisfied he can gain some little profit.” [44]

The primary – although not the only way – that Native Americans obtained European goods they desired was through trade. However, there were instances when they traded their labor for payment in kind. In 1625, when the Flemish Director General Verhulst was building a fort on Manhattan and short of laborers, the WIC Directors suggested that he employ local Indians at reduced wages (compared to Europeans) of 2 stuivers per day. At the end of seven days work the Indians could then purchase an ax – at inflated prices with their subpar wages. [45]


The actual trading period occurred from roughly May through November – what the locals of the time called the trading time (handelstijd). Indians would make their way – singly or in groups – to various homes and barter the pelts they carried for sewant (wampum – threaded black, white and sometimes colored shells or beads [46] ) and European goods. Native American women also traded for goods – although I am unaware of any recorded instance of them trading for weapons, they did trade sex for wampum and goods (more on which below).




Hungry Women and Lonely Men
In general, trade relationships between Native Americans and Europeans implied alliances. The Native Americans in general did not trade with those they did not trust. As an Iroquois leader later stated during negotiations at Albany: “Trade and Peace we take to be one thing.” [47]

Trade relationships between the races were cemented through trade, religion, and in some cases – especially between the French and the Hurons – through interracial relationships. The West India Company, on the other hand, did not pursue an official policy of intermarriage with de wilden (the savages) – as the Nieuw Nederlanders often referred to them..

Some of these Indian traders were, of course Maqua/Mohawk women. Johannes De Laet, a Patroon and a Director of the West India Company, (but without first-hand experience) called the Native Americans “extremely well-looking.” [48] De Laet also quoted Adriaen Block (with whom he almost certainly had direct contact) as describing the Native Americans as “strong of limb”. [49]
The keen observer Van Wassenaer, in April, 1625 (just after De Laet’s book was first published) reported: “Chastity appears, on further enquiry, to hold a place among them, they being unwilling to cohabit with ours, through fear of their husbands. But those who are single, evince only too friendly a disposition.” [50]



It is inevitable, given the close proximity of lonely Dutch-speaking men and relatively uninhibited young Native American women that some contact went beyond simple barter for beaver pelts. After all, in a wilderness where distractions were few and as late as 1630, there were not more than 270 Europeans in all of New Netherland – and the overwhelming majority were male – these young Dutch-speaking men were likely to feel the absence of companionship acutely.

On the frontier between isolated European posts and Native American villages there was a process that transcended fluency in spoken language. “A man and woman join themselves together without any particular ceremony other than that the man by previous agreement with the woman gives her some zeewant or cloth, which on their separation, if it happens soon, he often takes again. Both men and women are utterly unchaste and shamelessly promiscuous.” [51]

The aforementioned Van Wassenaer may have been thinking of a certain rendezvous point in particular, when he described the Indian maidens’ “friendly disposition”. “In the early days of the colony [New Netherland] there was certainly some racial mixture, as evidenced by the ‘Whores’ channel’ (Hoeren-kill) given to a locality where ‘the Indians were generous enough to give their young women and daughters to our Netherlanders there.’” [52]


Sometimes, it seems, circumstances conspired to bring New Netherlanders and Native American women together in situations almost certain to result in forced intimacy. On 1634 December 12th, the Flemish surgeon of Fort Orange wrote (10 years after Van Wassenaer): “After we had been marching about eleven leagues, we arrived at one o’clock in the evening half a league from the first castle at a little house. We found only Indian women inside…so we slept there.” [53]

The priggish Dutch minister in New Netherlands, Johannes Megapolensis, writing 10 years later, in 1644, made the following claim about the Native American women. “The women are exceedingly addicted to whoring; they will lie with a man for the value of one, two, or three schillings [i.e., 12 cents, 24 cents or 36 cents], and our Dutchmen run after them very much.” [54]


By the next decade, however, it appears that Netherlandic men and Native women found ways to ‘hook up’, despite daunting obstacles of language, social convention and locale. ”Jacob Van Leeuwen, a trader who visited New Netherland in the 1650s, certainly did not feel any ties with the kin of a ‘certain Indian woman of beautiful figure.’ After they had sexual intercourse in the attic of the court house during church [services on Sunday morning], he gave her a necklace of blue and red beads that she was wearing when they came down the staircase, and which she often wore later.” [55]

It is in the context of these liaisons, amidst the milieu of trade, Christianity, and warfare, that our hero, Le Bâtard Flamande, came into the world.

Part 2 will discuss The Flemish Bastard’s Life and Accomplishments – Stay Tuned!


Endnotes
[1] The Mohawk word "Canaque", or rather "Khanake", means "along the water" The ending "ees(e)" could be the Dutch suffix for someone coming from a place called ‘Canaque’.” Peter Lowensteyn, “The Role of Canaquese in the Iroquois Wars,” downloaded 04/10/2009 19:06:20 http://www.lowensteyn.com/iroquois/canaqueese.html Note that the name of the Mohawk in their own language is Kanien’keha:ka which reportedly means “People of the Flint” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohawk_nation
[2] Jaap Jacobs, New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America, (Boston: Brill, 2005), p. 197. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate the origin of this quote in J. Franklin Jameson’s translation of Van Der Donck’s “Representation of New Netherlands” [from whence the quote is sourced].
[3] Jaap Jacobs, New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America, (Boston: Brill, 2005), p. 20.
[4] John De Laet, Extracts From The New World or A Description of the West Indies, J. Franklin Jameson, ed. & trans., (no date or place of publication), Cornell University facsimile reproduction, 1993. p. 294
[5] Van Meteren, the “Dutch Consul” at London, and Van Os, the head of the VOC, were both natives of Antwerp. Plantius was a native of Dranouter, near Ieper (Ypres) in West Flanders and Hondius was a native of Wakkene near Ghent. They were Dutch in speech and Dutch in allegiance to the fight of Protestants viewing the occupying Spaniards as the enemy, but they were Flemish in origin. See my recent posting that discusses the heavy, overwhelming Flemish involvement here: http://flemishamerican.blogspot.com/2010/12/flemish-influence-on-henry-hudson.html
[6] Joannes de Laet, Extracts From the New World – Or, A Description of the West Indies, (Translated from the original Dutch by The Editor), Cornell University Reproduction, p.290.
[7] For an interesting modern review of beaver trapping techniques see
http://www.flemingoutdoors.com/beaver-trapping-tips.html [and, for the record, there is no connection whatsoever between “Fleming Outdoors .com and the Flemish American blogspot].
[8] Dr. Jan Kupp and Dr. Simon Hart, “The Early Cornelis Melyn and the Illegal Fur Trade”, in De Halve Maen, Vol. 60, No. 3 (October, 1975), pp. 7-8, 15. The notarial records that Dr. Hart had access to tell a very interesting story. The details behind Cornelis Melyn and the overwhelming involvement of Antwerpenaars in New Netherland is grist for a future post.
[9] Jaap Jacobs, New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America, (Boston: Brill, 2005), p. 20.
[10] Jaap Jacobs, New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America, (Boston: Brill, 2005), pp. 20. The untreated fur sent to Muscovy was called castor sec. The treatment for the furs that became felt was called castor gras. The treatment, incidentally, of castor gras, was somewhat unscientific. After a period of roughly 18 to 24 months, an untreated fur worn close to the body of a Native American became soft and oily as the outer fur was worn away. It was this product that was turned into felt hats in France.
[11] Antonia Fraser, Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration, (New York: Dell Publishing, 1979), p.269.
[12] See the excellent medieval manuscript illustration on this subject:
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/bestiary/comment/11r.hti . Peter C. Newman, Empire of the Bay: The Company of Adventurers That Seized a Continent, (New York: Penguin, 1998), pp. 44-45, offered this excellent excerpt of a 1685 medical expert: “Castoreum [the orange-brown alkaloid substance found in the beaver’s scent glands] does much good to mad people, and those who are attacked with pleurisy give proof of its effect every day…Castoreum destroys fleas; it is an excellent stomachic; stops hiccough; induces sleep; strengthens the sight, and taken up the nose it causes sneezing and clears the brain…in order to acquire a prodigious memory…it [is] only necessary to wear a hat of the beaver’s skin.” Parenthetically, my wife, who is a food scientist, tells me that beaver testicles in ground form are used today as a flavoring for beverages!
[13] Peter C. Newman, Empire of the Bay: The Company of Adventurers That Seized a Continent, (New York: Penguin, 1998), pp.43-44
[14] Peter C. Newman, Empire of the Bay: The Company of Adventurers That Seized a Continent, (New York: Penguin, 1998), p.45. Newman quotes MIT biologist Robert J. Naiman as stating that in 1670, the time when the Flemish Bastard moved up to Canada, there were approximately 10 million beavers within the boundaries of present day Canada.
[15] Beverwijck was literally an outpost whose population went from approximately 150 (overwhelmingly male) inhabitants in 1642 to 200+ by 1652 and more than 1,000 by 1660. Janny Venema, Beverwijk: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664, (Albany: SUNY Press, 2003), Appendix I, pp.428-429.
[16] Donna Merwick, The Shame and the Sorrow: Dutch-Amerindian Encounters in New Netherland, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), p.13. NOTE: Although chock full of interesting facts, the source citation should be double checked. Mis-citations occasionally appear in this otherwise fine work. For example: the citation on page 293, footnote 8 states a certain quote (“The VOC urged its personnel and burghers to marry indigenous women ‘after the Roman and Portuguese precedents.’”) as coming from Charles Ralph Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire. Merwick states she found the quote in this book on p. 242 and that she found it in the 1965 Penguin edition. Since the book was published by Alfred Knopf in 1965 and the citation she mentioned is actually on page 216 (and, in my opinion, somewhat taken out of context – she says the VOC advocated inter-racial marriage when in fact Boxer says that one of the officials in the East Indies wrote to his superiors in Holland seeking this in a letter). In short, I would double check all sources Ms. Merwick cites.
[17] Willem Nijhoff, “New Views on the Dutch Period of New York”de Halve Maen: The Magazine of the Dutch Colonial Period, Vol LXXI, Summer 1998, No. 2, p.30 EDIT
[18] Donna Merwick, The Shame and the Sorrow: Dutch-Amerindian Encounters in New Netherland, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), p.115. NOTE: Although chock full of interesting facts, the source citation should be double checked. Mis-citations occasionally appear in this otherwise fine work. For example: the citation on page 293, footnote 8 states a certain quote (“The VOC urged its personnel and burghers to marry indigenous women ‘after the Roman and Portuguese precedents.’”) as coming from Charles Ralph Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire. Merwick states she found the quote in this book on p. 242 and that she found it in the 1965 Penguin edition. Since the book was published by Alfred Knopf in 1965 and the citation she mentioned is actually on page 216 (and, in my opinion, somewhat taken out of context – she says the VOC advocated inter-racial marriage when in fact Boxer says that one of the officials in the East Indies wrote to his superiors in Holland seeking this in a letter). In short, I would double check all sources Ms. Merwick cites.
[19] From the ‘Historisch Verhael,’by Nicolaes Van Wassenaer, 1624-1630 in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.83. Since beaver skins weighed between 10 and 15 pounds each, this was a fully loaded ship. That said, this was likely a substantial part of the furs sent back for the year, since the trading season ended in November.
[20] “The fur or other trade remains in the [exclusive hands of the] West India Company, others being forbidden to trade there [New Netherlands].” From the ‘Historisch Verhael,’by Nicolaes Van Wassenaer, 1624-1630 in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.78.Van Wassenaer wrote that in December, 1624, but although official policy, it was a difficult to enforce policy.
[21] Donna Merwick, The Shame and the Sorrow: Dutch-Amerindian Encounters in New Netherland, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), p.64 and pp.185-186. NOTE: Although chock full of interesting facts, the source citation should be double checked. Mis-citations occasionally appear in this otherwise fine work. For example: the citation on page 293, footnote 8 states a certain quote (“The VOC urged its personnel and burghers to marry indigenous women ‘after the Roman and Portuguese precedents.’”) as coming from Charles Ralph Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire. Merwick states she found the quote in this book on p. 242 and that she found it in the 1965 Penguin edition. Since the book was published by Alfred Knopf in 1965 and the citation she mentioned is actually on page 216 (and, in my opinion, somewhat taken out of context – she says the VOC advocated inter-racial marriage when in fact Boxer says that one of the officials in the East Indies wrote to his superiors in Holland seeking this in a letter). In short, I would double check all sources Ms. Merwick cites.
See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_the_United_States
[22] “Narrative of a Journey Into the Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635” in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.139.
[23] Thomas B. Costain, The White and the Gold: The French Regime in Canada, An Intimate, living Story of the Making of Canada, (Garden City, NY: The Country Life Press, 1954), 1st Edition, p.66.
[24] Please see Book XXX of the Jesuit Relations – in English here:
www.puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/relations/relations_17.html . Jerome Lalement was the Superior of the mission in New France.
[25] Bruce G. Trigger, The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660, (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1976) First paperback edition, 1987, p. 223.
[26] Willem Nijhoff, “New Views on the Dutch Period of New York”, de Halve Maen: The Magazine of the Dutch Colonial Period, Vol LXXI, Summer 1998, No. 2, p.23
[27] Although they were not the largest Iroquois nation in the 17th century, Wikipedia lists more official members today than for any of the other Iroquois nations.
[28] These tribes are the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca. The Tuscarora joined the Confederation in 1722, thus becoming the Six Nations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iroquois_League . However, one historian whose expertise is specifically that of the Native American tribes of this period states that, “it is unclear when, and under what circumstances, the Iroquois confederacy developed.” Bruce G. Trigger, The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660, (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1976) First paperback edition, 1987, p. 224.
[29] The original is in the 31st book of Emanuel Van Meteren’s Belgische ofte Nederlantsche Oorlogen ende Geschiedenissen/Histoire der Neder-landscher ende haerder Naburen Oorlogen ende Geschiednissen, (1st edition at Delft in 1599; our version Utrecht in 1611). The English translation quoted here is from the 1611 edition and found in J. Franklin Jameson, Ed., Narratives of New Netherland, (New York, 1909), Elibron Reprint, 2005, p.7.
[30] It is likely – although not proven by any record – that Flemish See Bruce G. Trigger, SOURCE p.178
[31] Bruce G. Trigger, The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660, (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1976) First paperback edition, 1987, p. 224.
[32] Actually, the Hurons were an Iroquois-speaking tribe but for a variety of reasons largely to do with trade and political alliances had become more allied with the Algonquins and against the Iroquois.
[33] Thomas B. Costain, The White and the Gold: The French Regime in Canada, An Intimate, Living Story of the Making of Canada, (Garden City, NY: The Country Life Press, 1954), 1st Edition, p.66.
[34] “Judging from appearances, this river [the Hudso River] extends to the great river St. Lawrence, or Canada, since our people assure us that the natives come to the fort [Fort Orange/Albany] from that river, and from Quebec.” Joannes de Laet, Extracts From the New World – Or, A Description of the West Indies, (Translated from the original Dutch by The Editor), Cornell University Reproduction, p.299.
[35] Thomas B. Costain, The White and the Gold: The French Regime in Canada, An Intimate, Living Story of the Making of Canada, (Garden City, NY: The Country Life Press, 1954), 1st Edition, p.66 ff.
[36] However, as Peter Lowensteyn has pointed out (“The Role of the Dutch in The Iroquois Wars”
http://www.lowensteyn.com/iroquois/), ethnic and linguistic self-identification were not the sole determinants of which side each tribe aligned with. Still, until the mass-migrations and the added strategic factor of European trade reared its head, blood/clan ties were strong.
[37] Joannes De Laet deserves a biography. The Antwerpenaar was fluent in Dutch, French, Latin and English (at least). He was a protégé of Emmanuel Van Meteren and spent some time with Van Meteren in London. Besides being a prolific correspondent – see, for example, his correspondence with John Morris [cf, J.A.F. Bekkers, Correspondence of John Morris With Johannes De Laet (1634-1649), ('s-Gravenhage: Van Gorcum, 1971)] – De Laet was also a successful scholar-merchant. A recognized authority on the voyages to America, his published work was printed in multiple languages and ran through several revised editions between 1625 and 1640. De Laet was also an ardent Protestant and participated in the Dordrecht Synod. De Laet’s daughter eventually became a settler in New Netherland after De Laet’s death in 1649. As far as I am aware, there is no published biography on De Laet in any language.
[38] It was De Laet’s daughter, curiously named Joanne, who settled in New Netherland from before 1659 to 1676. Married twice, she had several children. One of whom, a slight girl of 13 named Mary, died a horrible death from the plague. Likely heartbroken after this death and the death of her second husband, (whom she married 2/22/1659 in Nieuw Amsterdam), the German Jeronimus Ebbing, she returned to Amsterdam in 1676 to be near her grown children from her previous marriage to Johannes de Hulter. See, Jaap Jacobs, New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America, (Boston: Brill, 2005). Parenthetically, De Laet's son and namesake, Johannes De Laet, Jr., moved to England and was naturalized there in 1656. J.A.F. Bekkers, Correspondence of John Morris With Johannes De Laet (1634-1649), ('s-Gravenhage: Van Gorcum, 1971), p. xiv.
[39] John De Laet, Extracts From The New World or A Description of the West Indies, J. Franklin Jameson, ed. & trans., (no date or place of publication), Cornell University facsimile reproduction, 1993. p. 299
[40] Bruce G. Trigger, The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660, (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1976) First paperback edition, 1987, p. 245. This was how the Huron were described to Champlain, during his early contact with them circa 1600.
[41] “From the ‘Historisch Verhael,’by Nicolaes Van Wassenaer, 1624-1630 in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.71.
[42] Letter written by Reverend Johannes Megapolensis the Younger, August 26, 1644 in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.176
[43] Later declared a saint, Fr. Jogues was captured by the Maqua/Mohawks August 2, 1642 and tortured for a year in captivity. Letter written by Reverend Johannes Megapolensis the Younger, August 26, 1644 in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.175, n1. Megapolensis also wrote that “Though they [Maqua/Mohawks] are so very cruel to their enemies, they are very friendly to us, and we have no dread of them.”
[44] Letter written August 3, 1646 from Trois Rivieres, New France in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.262
[45] Donna Merwick, The Shame and the Sorrow: Dutch-Amerindian Encounters in New Netherland, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), p.118. NOTE: Although chock full of interesting facts, the source citation should be double checked. Mis-citations occasionally appear in this otherwise fine work. For example: the citation on page 293, footnote 8 states a certain quote (“The VOC urged its personnel and burghers to marry indigenous women ‘after the Roman and Portuguese precedents.’”) as coming from Charles Ralph Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire. Merwick states she found the quote in this book on p. 242 and that she found it in the 1965 Penguin edition. Since the book was published by Alfred Knopf in 1965 and the citation she mentioned is actually on page 216 (and, in my opinion, somewhat taken out of context – she says the VOC advocated inter-racial marriage when in fact Boxer says that one of the officials in the East Indies wrote to his superiors in Holland seeking this in a letter). In short, I would double check all sources Ms. Merwick cites.
[46] “Their money consists of certain little bones, made of shells or cockles, which are found on the sea-beach; a hole is drilkled through the middle of the little bones, and these they string upon thread, or they make of them belts as broad as a hand or broader, and hang them on their necks, or around their bodies. …They value these little bones as highly as many Christians do gold, silver and pearls; but they do not like our money, and esteem it no better than iron.” Letter written by Reverend Johannes Megapolensis the Younger, August 26, 1644 in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.176.
[47] Peter Wraxell, An Abridgement of the Indian Affairs Contained in Four Folio Volumes, Transacted in the Colony of New York, from the Year 1678 to the Year 1751, ed. Charles Howard McIlwain (1915; New York: Benjamin Blom, 1968), p. 195. Quoted in Timothy J. Shannon, Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier, (New York: Viking, 2008), p.22
[48] John De Laet, Extracts From The New World or A Description of the West Indies, J. Franklin Jameson, ed. & trans., (no date or place of publication), Cornell University facsimile reproduction, 1993. p. 292
[49] John De Laet, Extracts From The New World or A Description of the West Indies, J. Franklin Jameson, ed. & trans., (no date or place of publication), Cornell University facsimile reproduction, 1993. p. 294
[50] From the ‘Historisch Verhael,’by Nicolaes Van Wassenaer, 1624-1630 in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.81.
[51] “Representation of New Netherland” in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.302. This was the Remonstrance, signed by Loockermans, his brothers in law Van Couwenhoven and Van Courtlandt on October 13, 1649.
[52] Charles Ralph Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire, (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1970), 2nd Edition, p.229.
[53] “Narrative of a Journey Into the Mohawk and Oneida Country, 1634-1635” in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.140
[54] Letter written by Reverend Johannes Megapolensis the Younger, August 26, 1644 in J. Franklin Jameson, Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elbiron, 2005) [reprint of 1909 edition], p.174. Certainly, the good Reverend’s detailed knowledge of such a subject makes one wonder whether this was acquired through first-hand experience.
[55] Janny Venema, Beverwijk: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664, (Albany: SUNY Press, 2003), p.168.

Copyright 2010 by David Baeckelandt. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without my express, written consent.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Emigrants From Koekelare W VL to the US


Although my father was born in Gent, our family's origin is a small village in West Flanders called Koekelare. While genealogy is not the reason for this website, my intent below is to show that on a micro basis official statistics may understate the true scale of the Flemish diaspora in America. And if that is the case in the United States for one Flemish village it may well be the case not only for the same village's diaspora in Canada, the U.K., France, Wallonia and Australia, but indeed for all Flemish diasporas globally.


If you, Gentle Reader, count yourself among the Flemish Diaspora, then I urge you to track and document these kind of statistics. If you only do so for genealogical purposes that is fantastic. But if you also feel that tug for our ancestral homeland than so much the better. When the Flemish Republic calls upon the Diaspora for assistance, we may all be counted for the challenge.

Early Records
It is uncertain when the very first native of Koekelare arrived in America. Certainly there were Flemish fishermen off the coast of NewFoundland in the late 1400s and early 1500s. Flemish medieval coins have been found in Conception Bay, near St. John’s in archaelogical digs. This was a time when Koekelare was closer to the coast and also a time of course when Flanders was under foreign rule – as it has been for most of its history. Later, Flemish priests are recorded as arriving with the Spanish in Florida in 1502, with the French and Spanish later in the 1500s at Fort Caroline (interestingly on both sides).


The first ‘Dutch’ explorers to the New England coast in the very early part of the 1600s included Flemish sailors, gunners and ship captains. Henry Hudson’s exploratory visits to what is now New York in 1609 included at least three Flemings, but we do not know their local places of birth. And, of course, both the very first arrivals to Jamestown (1607), Plymouth (1620), and Nieuw Nederlandt (1624) all included Flemish settlers. These Flemish settlers sometimes had offspring that rose to the top in the English colonies. One such man was Benjamin Franlkin, whose maternal grandfather was a Flemish protestant who had originally fled to England in the 1600s.


However, the earliest reference I have been able to uncover hinting at a direct connection between Koekelare and the United States is an 1836 travel account written by the Jesuit priest Pierre Joseph Arnoudt, SJ (1811-1865). Father Arnoudt had traveled with the better known Father Pierre DeSmedt from Antwerp to New York and from there through Buffalo, NY; Pittsburgh, PA; Cincinnati, OH; finally onto St. Louis, MO and then the hinterland, to work at a mission devoted to the Indians (see http://www.antiqbook.be/boox/goe/16695.shtml ). At that time Missouri was the frontier, and in Koekelare (I will use current spelling here for all names) was of course in the midst of the turmoil between the new Belgian state, the purges of Orangists, and the international tension between the Dutch Republic and France over the status of the newly created Belgian state. Since at this time the famines of the 1840s had yet to afflict Flanders, it is difficult to imagine many if any Koekelaars heading toward the wild and untamed American frontier as described in Father Arnoudt’s letter.


That said, there may well have been some emigrants from Koekelare who were compelled to leave. Twenty years later, in the 1850s, it was just such a letter that inspired tens of thousands of Walloons (and some Flemings) to emigrate from Namur and Brussels to the Door County region of Wisconsin (where even today one can find references to their ethnic roots). Later still, in the 1880s, there were such a significant number of Flemings in Moline, Illinois, that a reporter would write: “A private letter from C.L. DeWaele, shows him to be finely located at Moline, Ill…. That city claims among its population 4,000 Belgians, and that alone will give Mr. DeWaele an inside tract [sic], as he is perfectly familiar with their language and customs.” [The Avalanche, Crawford County, MI newspaper, April 7, 1892].


Records of Koekelaars
Unfortunately and as far as this writer is aware of, there is no one source for those interested in knowing about the Koekelaar emigrants to America. The Ellis Island portal (
www.ellisisland.com ) is generally the best national source on immigrants to the United States.

Utilizing only the Ellis Island source only produces 22 individuals of 7 families with records that clearly state the have emigrated to the U.S. from “Koekelare” (or “Couckelaere”) during the 1892-1923 period. We can clearly state that Koekelare emigrants came to the U.S. in four ‘waves’: 1909 (6 individuals from the Cuylle, DeHaemer, Van Hevel and Willaert families); 1912-3 (3 from the Lalenbien and Van Hevel families); 1919-20 (12 from the Hendryckx and Vantyyhem [sic] and Willaert families) , and one in 1923 (Julia Willaert).




Family Individual Year(s) Recorded At Ellis Island
Cuylle Ernest 1909 (33 years old)
Dehaemers Jules 1909 (25y)
Mathilde 1909 (23y)
Hendryckx Auguste 1919 (43y)
Sidonie 1919 (33y)
Maurice 1919 (6y)
Zulma 1919 (5y)
Maria 1919 (3y)
Lalenbien Arthur 1913 (28y)
Van Hevel August 1909 (33y) – also w/ his family in 1912 at 37y
Julina 1912 (28y)
Maria 1912 (5y)
Vantyyhem Achiel 1920 (23y)
Bertha 1920 (24y)
Willaert Cyriel 1909 (19)
Pharilde 1909 (19)
Lucie 1919 (26)
Irma 1919 (22)
Maurice 1919 (19)
Serome 1919 (16)
Julia 1923 (44)

Adapted from: http://ellisisland.jewishgen.org/


Altogether, the above table suggests only 19 individuals from Koekelare emigrated to the United States during the 1892-1924 period. However, if we conduct a broader search of the records to account for various mis-spellings of Koekelare (eg, not only ‘Couckelaere’, but also ‘Cochelaire’, ‘Coclars’, ‘Kooklaars’, etc.) we arrive at a total of 77 individuals arriving at Ellis Island alone during that period. The breakdown looks thus:


77 Individual Entries 1892-1924
(27Females + 39Males)

Year Number Percent Destinations

1923 1 1.30% NYC

1920 12 15.58% Kansas-2; Metamore, OH-2;


1919 17 22.08%

1914 16 20.78% Mankato, MN

1913 10 12.99%

1912 7 9.09%

1910 2 2.60% Mankato, MN

1909 6 7.79%

1907 3 3.90%

1906 1 1.30%

1903 2 2.60%

Total 77

Adapted from:
http://ellieisland.jewishgen.org/

The average age of the 77 Koekelare emigrants was 24 years old. This group included 39 males and 27 females. The ages ranged from the 50s (1 of the 77 equal to 1.3%) to preteens (12 of the total equal to 15.80%) but the bulk of the U.S. immigrants from Koekelare – 32 of the 77 – (41.56%) were in their 20s, followed by 16 (20.78%) in their 30s and 40s.

Knowing the failure of many immigration control staff to accurately record not only surnames but also origin information (town, country, etc.) I undertook a wider search of the data. To this I added information from my own family members with proven birth in Koekelare as well as other U.S. government records (WW 1 Draft Cards) and in Belgium (such as Venesoen interviews of Belgian emigrants conducted at Antwerp). What I uncovered is a broader list of at least 100 individuals born in Koekelare and proven to have lived in North America during the 75 year period from 1890 to 1965.

Family Individual Year(s) Recorded in The U.S. Source

Cuylle Ernest 1909 (33 years old) EIR
Dehaemers Jules 1909 (25y) EIR
Dehaemers Mathilde 1909 (23y) EIR
Hendryckx Auguste 1919 (43y) EIR
Hendryckx Sidonie 1919 (33y) EIR
Hendryckx Maurice 1919 (6y) EIR
Hendryckx Zulma 1919 (5y) EIR
Hendryckx Maria 1919 (3y) EIR
Lalenbien Arthur 1913 (28y) EIR
Van Hevel August 1909 (33y) – also in 1912 at 37y EIR
Van Hevel Julina 1912 (28y) EIR
Van Hevel Maria 1912 (5y) EIR
Vantyyhem Achiel 1920 (23y) EIR
Vantyyhem Bertha 1920 (24y) EIR
Willaert Cyriel 1909 (19) EIR
Willaert Pharilde 1909 (19) EIR
Willaert Lucie 1919 (26) EIR
Willaert Irma 1919 (22) EIR
Willaert Maurice 1919 (19) EIR
Willaert Serome 1919 (16) EIR
Willaert Julia 1923 (44) EIR

Adapted from:
http://ellieisland.jewishgen.org/

Note that these numbers only capture immigrants for one of the many ports through which immigrants entered the United States during this time. Besides New York City, immigrants arrived in the U.S. from Europe through the port cities of Baltimore. Boston, Charleston, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. Flemish immigrants to Chicago and Detroit (two large centers of Flemish immigrants in America) also arrived from Canada by simply crossing the border at Niagara/Buffalo, Sarnia/Port Huron and Windsor/Detroit.

The table above also fails to capture Ellis Island immigrants entering New York before 1892 or thru Ellis Island after 1923 since that information has not yet been posted to the website. The data itself is also handicapped by quality: the regimen followed by the transcribers apparently is not strict, since there appear to be a high number of transcription errors. Of course this may be in part because handwriting legibility of the Ellis Island inspectors varies. Thus there may be Koekelaars who did immigrate during that time and through Ellis Island who do not appear above through mistranscription and faulty data.

One area of obvious mistranscription (besides the individual’s surnames) is the name of Koekelare itself. The village name has undergone a great degree of evolution over the 1500 plus years of its formal existence.

Variations of Spellings Found in the Ellis Island Registrar for Immigrants 1892-1924

Cockelaere
Cockelaire
Cocrb...lare
Coucelaire
Coucheiare
Couckel...e
Couckelacre
Couckelaen
Couckelaere
Couckelaere
Couckelaers
Couckelaire
Couckelasre
Couckelasse
Couckeleore
Couckelere
Couckelocere
Couckeluere
Couikelaere
Coukchare
Coukelaere
Coutkelaere
Kochelaar
Kockelaere
Koekelaere
Adapted from:
http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/eidb/ellisgold.html


Other Sources
The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. However, the machinery and infrastructure necessary to mobilize the vast resources of the country for the war effort took some time to put in place. After all, in 1913 when Belgium, a country of 7 million, had 150,000 men under arms the United States with a population of 100 million had 200,000. Fortunately for those of us looking for information such as this, the draft records for World War 1 are a superb source for genealogists and ethnic historians. Under this approach we discover a number of hitherto undeclared immigrants from Koekelare.




Young Flemish Men From Koekelare in the USA Registered for the Draft in 1918
(sorted by State)

Name Age in 1918 Bovekerke/Koekelare State

Van Thuyne, Arthur 26 Bovekerke CO
Vandepoele, Emile 28 Bovekerke CO
Vanthuyne, Victor 28 Bovekerke KS
Vanhee, Alidor 30 Koekelare KS
Volbrecht, Henry 29 Koekelare KS
Delanghe, Cesar 28 Koekelare MI
Devreker, Alfons 27 Bovekerke MI
Mortier, Benjamin 27 Koekelare MI
Salenbien, Odiel 24 Koekelare MI
Salenbien, Prosper 28 Koekelare MI
Staelens, Rene J 28 Bovekerke MI
Vanhee, Herman 28 Koekelare MI
Vanslembrouck, Edmond 31 Bovekerke MI
Vanwalleghen, Cyriel 30 Koekelare MI
Verlinde, Victor 28 Koekelare MI
Casier, Rene 31 Koekelare MI
Dhooghe, Lawrence 32 Koekelare MN
Syer, Henry 32 Koekelare MN
Willaert, Cyrille Henrie 28 Koekelare MN
Willert, Allie 30 Koekelare MN
Youngbloedt, Alois 32 Koekelare MN
Vanthuyne, Maurits 22 Bovekerke ND
Vanthuyne, Oscar 25 Bovekerke ND
De Vreker, Raymond 22 Koekelare WA



The average age of these 24 young Flemish American men was 28 years when they registered for the national draft. Of which nearly half (11/24) were married although only three had children. Two of the twenty-four were supporting parents. So altogether it might be fair to say that our group of 24 Koekelare immigrants has grown to at least 40 (24 plus 11 wives, at least 7 children - 2 had 3 children each - and at least 2 parents). In terms of careers, more than half (13/24) were farmers, 1/6th (4/24) were laborers, 1/8th (3) were moulders and the final four included a fireman, machinist, mechanic, and sewer digger.


So the numbers of immigrants entering the U.S. from Koekelare may well be understated, perhaps dramatically so. Recall that Koekelare was the birthplace of the Flemish migrant workers in the sugar beet fields of northern France (aka, “Fransman”). At any one point in time during the late 19th and early 20th centuries there were as many as 1,000 of these “Fransman” workers abroad. Mostly they worked seasonally in northern France but they could also be found in South Africa, London, North and South America, and likely even in Australasia.




Here then is my final tally of confirmed emigrants from Koekelare in the United States (alphabetical listing of name only).

Alphabetical List of Emigrants to the United States Born in Koekelare By Surname (note: there may be some duplication due to mistranscription by Ellis Island staff)

Baeckelandt, Edgard
Baeckelandt, Guido
Baeckelandt, Julien
Boom, Jordaen
Borra, Richard
Casier, Rene
Casteleyn, Charles
Compernolle, Madeleine
Compernolle, Maurice
Compernolle, Oliva
Compernolle, Remi
Compernolle, Rimi
Cuylle, Ernest
Cuylle, Francois
De Maegdt, Mathilde
De Vreker, Raymond Gaston
Declerck, Oscar
Decoene, Andre
Dehaemers, Elisa
Dehaemers, Jules
Dehaemers, Mathilde
DeKesel, Auguste
DeKesel, Marie Josephe
Delanghe, Angele
Delanghe, Cesar
Delanghe, Lucien
Demuynck, Elisca
Denys, Reni
Denys, Urbanie
Devreker, Alfons
Devreker, Judith
Dewulf, Camiel
D'Hooghe, Laurent
Dhooghe, Lawrence
Germain, Clementine
Germain, Henry
Hansebout, Andre
Hendryckx, Andre
Hendryckx, Auguste
Hendryckx, Maria
Hendryckx, Maurice
Hendryckx, Sidonie
Hendryckx, Zulma
Lalenbien, Arthur
Laure, Hubert
Locters, Prelic
Locters, Rudolf
Longbloet, Julien
Lydon, Alfons
Margedt, Emma
Mortier, Benjamen
Mortier, Benjamin
Mortier, Madeline
Mortier, Mathilde
Pauwels, Emile
Peper, Jules
Plisson, Antonetta
Plisson, Eliza
Plisson, Theophile
Plyson, Felix
Plyson, Theophile
Robbelin, Emile
Salenbien, Benjamin
Salenbien, Eliza
Salenbien, Maria
Salenbien, Odiel
Salenbien, Prosper
Seys, August
Seys, Emma
Seys, Hector
Seys, Henri
Seys, Julia
Sinnaeve, Louise
Sinnesael, Alois
Sinnesael, Camiel
Staelens, Rene J
Syer, Henry
Van Hee, Aidler
Van Hevel, August
Van Hevel, Julina
Van Hevel, Maria
Van Thuyne, Arthur
Vandepoele, Emile
Vandooren, Rachel Magdalene
Vanhee, Alidor
Vanhee, Herman
Vanoverbeke, Edward
Vanslembrouck, Edmond
Vanthuyne, Maurits
Vanthuyne, Oscar
Vanthuyne, Victor
Vantyyhem, Achiel
Vantyyhem, Bertha
Vanwalleghen, Cyriel
Verlinde, Victor
Volbrecht, Clemence
Volbrecht, Henry
Volbrecht, Leonie
Vollerecht, Henri
Wauters, Jerome
Willaert, Andre
Willaert, Cyriel
Willaert, Cyrille Henrie
Willaert, Irma
Willaert, Jerome
Willaert, Julia
Willaert, Lucie
Willaert, Maurice
Willaert, Pharailde
Willaert, Richard
Willert, Allie
Youngbloedt, Alois
Sources: Studie Yolande Lammerant (no date or publication);
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~inbr/WWIdrafts/WWIdraftEntete.htm;
http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/eidb/ellisgold.html


Further study of Flemish enclaves in the U.S. and indeed the broader diaspora is needed and warranted. Areas of study that would be helpful include details around their lives (reasons for emigration) as well as confirmation about who these hardy souls were. But the fact remains that the flow of emigrants from Koekelare to the United States while small, has probably resulted in perhaps as many as several thousand Flemish American descendants. For a village of only a few thousand souls today, that diaspora is significant.



Copyright 2010 by David Baeckelandt. All Rights reserved. No reproduction in any format is permitted without my express, written consent.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Flemish Influence on Henry Hudson



Recently I spotted an article by a Mr. James Kaplan entitled "Henry Hudson: The Failed Entrepeneur Who Founded New York". Mr. Kaplan's article follows the common, albeit mistaken, presumption that Henry Hudson is the underappreciated genius behind the settlement of New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. Further, the article follows contemporary Anglo-American scholarship in ignoring the direct and overwhelming contribution of the Flemish emigres to the conception, financing, and exploitation of Henry Hudson's "discovery" of New York.

Of course, one cannot fault Mr. Kaplan: there is no comprehensive, scholarly treatment in English (or Dutch, for that matter) of the direct involvement of Flemings in Henry Hudson's third voyage. Moreover, no constituency up until this time has had reason to assert the claims of the Flemish Protestant emigres: the Anglo-Saxon world had no reason to diminish the supposed stature of Henry Hudson; the Dutch scholarly community had no reason to underscore the key role of Zuid Nederlanders in their Golden Century; and the Flemish Catholics had no reason to extol the success of emigre Flemish Protestants. I mean to transcend these barriers with this piece. It is my hope that a proper scholar pick up the baton from these pages. Until that time, I submit these findings to you, Gentle Reader, for review and consideration of the Flemish involvement in Henry Hudson's "discovery" of the Hudson River Valley and its subsequent settlement.



It Started in Antwerp

Shortly after Henry Hudson returned to England in late 1609, he met with and explained his findings to the man who had initially recruited him for the job, Emanuel Van Meteren. Van Meteren, although born in Antwerp in 1535, had moved to London with his father in 1550. By 1583 his standing with both the English and the Dutch-speaking Protestant elite in the Netherlands was such that he had been named Dutch Consul (in 1583), a position he was to hold until his death in 1611. Van Meteren, a Flemish Father of America although largely ignored today, deserves more than a passing mention in the history of Nieuw Nederland. [1]


Van Meteren was a confidant of the Prince of Orange and a first cousin of Willem Ortels, the Antwerp-born, “Dutch” cartographer better known as Ortelius, who created the world’s first atlas (sample page pictured above). [2] Another first cousin was Daniel Rogers, Queen Elizabeth’s personal envoy in the Netherlands as well as the translator (into English from Dutch) of the English navigator’s bible, “The Mariners Mirror” (Dutch version pictured below). Both Ortelius’ Atlas and Rogers’ “Mirror” were critical tools for transatlantic voyages to the New World by Netherlandic and English seafarers until well into the 1700s. [3]




Van Meteren, then, in his day was a very connected person. Moreover, it had been he who had hired and sent Henry Hudson to Amsterdam. At Amsterdam, for six months from the late months of 1608 until his departure in April, 1609, Hudson consulted with Petrus Plancius (Flemish cartographer born at Dranouter, near Ieper, who created all the maps for the “Dutch” East India Company). Plancius was aided by the interpreting skills of another Flemish cartographer, Judocus Hondius (born at Wakkene near Gent and a confidant of Sir Francis Drake).[4] Their discussions were formalized by a contract with the Dutch East India Company. Hudson’s engagement contract was actually signed by Dirck Van Os, the head of the VOC (Dutch East India Company), also a Fleming (born in Antwerp) and witnessed by Judocus Hondius who signed as well. In short Henry Hudson’s enterprise was literally conceived of, guided by, and financed by, and authorized by Flemings.

Henry Hudson, then, when he returned from his voyage, owed Emanuel Van Meteren an explanation for his activities and voyage. Van Meteren, who wrote the authoritative history of the momentous (for Europe at that time) struggle of the Dutch-speaking Protestants against the Spanish Catholics [5] (title page below), believed that trade and war went hand in hand. Thus, he believed that Hudson’s discoveries – to the extent that they offered new channels for trade – aided the battle against the Spanish (a theme we will return to later in a subsequent post).



With Henry Hudson nearby and Hudson’s journals literally in front of him, Van Meteren wrote the first account of Henry Hudson discovery of Manhattan and the Hudson River Valley, in 1610 (published in 1611).[6] Van Meteren wrote a detailed description which recounted the actual journey – including the specific navigational markers. The actual book and excerpts are pictured below, here.



More to the point, Van Meteren described the economic importance of this discovery. Henry Hudson and his crew “found this a good place for cod-fishing, as also for traffic in good skins and furs, which were to be got there at a very low price.”[7] This statement resonated with the Flemish émigré merchants in Amsterdam (as Van Meteren knew it would). After all, they made their money on trade and especially the high value-added cod-fishing and fur trade.[8]



Up until this time, Amsterdam-based merchants (many of them Flemish émigrés), had sourced their furs in Muscovy.[9] Furs were in demand not only for winter coats but also for hats, lining, and a myriad of other uses. As early as 1566 two Flemish merchants from Antwerp had journeyed to Muscovy.[10] Olivier Brunel of Leuven had been the first to open that trade between northern Europe and what we today call Russia.[11] The fact that he had also reached Chinese merchants overland through Muscovy had excited Petrus Plancius (and other Protestant Flemish merchants in Amsterdam) as early as the 1580s. It was that tidbit – eyewitness reports by Brunel, which Hudson also acknowledged [12] – that made the effort less of a gamble and more of a calculated business risk. Consequently, they sent Henry Hudson off in April, 1609 searching for a Northeast (a sea route to China through the Arctic waters north of the Russian landmass) or Northwest (north over the top of Canada) Passage.

When upon Hudson’s return the Flemish merchants at Amsterdam realized that Hudson had uncovered a new source for furs, so much the better. Merchants purchasing furs in Muscovy incurred a 5% duty on both the goods they imported to trade and on the furs they exported.[13] In an era of little insurance and great risk, every % paid to someone else raised not only the cost of conducting business but the risks as well. So the chance to simultaneously exploit rich fishing grounds and trade for inexpensive yet high quality furs was a 17th century entrepeneur’s dream. Luckily, Hudson’s landfall was in the “no-man’s land” between the fast-growing English colonies of Virginia (Jamestown) and New England (Plymouth) along the coasts and the expanding French trading posts of New France to the northwest and west.

The émigré Antwerpenaars wasted no time following up on this opportunity. Within weeks of the news hitting the quays of Amsterdam, in 1610, the Antwerpenaar Arnout Vogels, dispatched a ship to duplicate Henry Hudson’s route.[14] Other Flemings followed, sometimes literally in their wake. Oftentimes there were so many Flemish ships trading with the Indians in the same waters of the Hudson River at the same time that gunbattles between the ships broke out. At least once that we know of (from the notarial record) Petrus Plancius had to be called in to arbitrate an agreement between these Antwerp natives.[15]



By 1613, Adriaen Block, possibly a native of Dendermonde, and in the service of Antwerpenaars, had sufficiently mapped the area after three voyages to the area.[16] In 1614 the Block map of Nieuw Nederland (the first written record of the name “Nieuw Nederland”) had been submitted to the States General of the United Netherlands as part of a petition for the establishment of the New Netherland Company (Nieuw Nederland Compagnie).[17] The States General granted a monopoly of trading rights to the company for three years. This company was the origin of the so-called “Dutch” colony of North America.

Other Flemings, such as Hendrik Hunthum [18] (also of Antwerp) – a man with fur trading experience in Muscovy and Paris – who later assumed command of Fort Nassau (the small fortified trading post set up near present day Albany) played prominent roles. At the end of the New Netherland Company’s three years’ license (e.g., in 1618), their official rights to a monopoly had ended[19] but the voyages (by the company and others) had not stopped. It was at this point in time (1618) that the “Dutch” – as the Pilgrims referred to the Flemish emigres in Leiden and Amsterdam – approached the group of Separatist Englishmen located in the Pieterskerk about colonizing the trading area. [20]

The approach to the Pilgrims was likely carried by Matthew Slade, an Englishman who also happened to be the son-in-law of Petrus Plancius, the VOC cartographer and the fellow who had coached Henry Hudson and supplied him with the latest cartographic information. Unknown to either Petrus Plancius or to the Pilgrims, Slade was also a spy for the English Ambassador.[21] Thus not only were all movements and activities of the Separatists at Leiden diligently reported to King James’ court, but the London merchants close to King James, such as Sir Edwin Sandys and Sir Thomas Smith, investors in the Virginia Company running Jamestown, were also well-informed.


As students of Pilgrim history may well recall, the Pilgrims were soon (but secretly) approached with a counter offer from English merchants of the London Company. By 1619 more than 100 English Separatists at Leiden had begun the process of disposing of their worldly possessions, preparing for a life in the New World, and hiring two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. Within a year of those preparations, in 1620, the Pilgrims had set off for what we now call the Hudson River. Their intent – and the intent of their backers at the London Company – was to claim the territory that Henry Hudson’s third voyage – conceived of by Flemings, financed by Flemings, managed by Flemings, charted by Flemings, and ultimately publicized by Flemings – had “discovered” for the Flemish-dominated United Netherlands.

The London merchants saw natural riches to be exploited. The Separatist colonists saw a chance to separate themselves from what they viewed as indifferent or hostile administrations. Both groups saw a chance to profit from the peltries of North American mammals. Of course, both groups – and Henry Hudson as well – profited from the contributions – economic, political, cartographic, navigational, etc. – of the Flemish Protestant émigrés at Amsterdam. It remains to be seen whether the Flemish profited at all.







Subsequent posts will discuss prominent Flemings and Flemish Americans in 17th century North America.


Endnotes
[1] Despite his immense contribution to the discovery and settlement of North America – let alone his contributions to Anglo-Dutch relations, his important role in the Dutch Reformed Church in England, and his uncountable contributions to the struggle for the independence of the Netherlands against Spain, there is no scholarly treatment of Emanuel Van Meteren in English. I have drafted a very brief bio sketch of Van Meteren here: http://flemishamerican.blogspot.com/2009/07/flemish-fathers-of-america-emanuel-van.html . There is also a brief biographical sketch of Van Meteren in English in the introduction of John Parker, Van Meteren’s Virginia, 1607-1612, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1961), pp.8-9. However, for those who can read Dutch, the two books worth perusing are W.D. Verduyn, Emanuel Van Meteren, (‘s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1926) and Dr. L. Brummel, Twee Balingen’s Lands Tijdens Onze Opstand Tegen Spanje, (‘s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1972), especially p.81ff.

[2] The authoritative book on Ortelius, his life and his maps is Marcel Van den Broecke, Ortelius Atlas Maps: An Illustrated Guide, (Marcel Van den Broecke, 1996). http://www.orteliusmaps.com/publications.html See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Ortelius .

[3] "The Mariner’s Mirror” was a translation of “Spieghel der Zeevaart” by Lucas Waghenaer. The first copies in English were printed by Judocus Hondius in England in 1588. These became so popular that for a long time “Waggonners” was a synonym for “atlas” in England. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucas_Janszoon_Waghenaer . It is almost certain that every English ship that set sail in the1600s and 1700s carried a “Waggonner”. See also Stanford University’s page here: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/pubs/icfa/logo.html

[4] See my earlier post, “Flemish Fathers of America – Judocus Hondius” here: http://flemishamerican.blogspot.com/2009/10/flemish-fathers-of-america-judocus.html

[5] Emanuel Van Meteren's book, called, Historie der Neder- landscher ende haerder Naburen Oorlogen ende Geschiedenissen, Tot den. Jare mvicxii (‘s Graven Haghe,1614 – see a copy here http://www.antiquariat.de/angebote/GID675382.html ) was widely read. It was one of the few books besides the Bible that William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony, owned. Some of the Pilgrims actually used it as a reference for religious debates (e.g., Matthew Slade). The book went through many editions in various languages and was completely sold out year after year (see here for a list of the various editions: http://dutchrevolt.leiden.edu/dutch/geschiedschrijvers/Pages/Meteren.aspx ). It appeared in translation in French, German, Latin and English. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the American John Lathrop Motley offered a new English translation (in 1855) which became the basis of his best-selling history called “The Rise of the Dutch Republic”.

[6] The most recent, full length English translation of Van Meteren’s account of Henry Hudson’s voyage can be found in Kenneth T. Jackson & David S. Dunbar, Empire City: New York Through the Centuries, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), pp. 23-25.

[7] J. Franklin Jameson, Ed., Narratives of New Netherland, (New York, 1909), Elibron Reprint, 2005, p.89.

[8] For Flemish pre-eminence in cod fishing note that as early as the late 1300s Flemings had been involved with improving technology in cod fishing. This included everything from vessels (the ‘Flemish Buss’), to hooks (the ‘Flemish hook’), lines (the ‘Flemish knot’), and pickling (e.g. by Willem Beuckelszoon). See my “800 Year Chronology of the Flemish Contribution to the Discovery and Settlement of America: 864 AD – 1664 AD” here: http://flemishamerican.blogspot.com/2010/09/chronology-of-flemish-contribution-to.html

[9] See Donald S. Johnson, Charting the Sea of Darkness: The Four Voyages of Henry Hudson, (New York: Kodansha International, 1993).

[10] Gerrit De Veer, The Three Voyages of William Barents to the Arctic Regions (1594, 1595, and 1596), Ed., Charles T. Beke 1853, (London: The Hackluyt Society, 1876), 2nd Edition, pp.vi-vii. The earlier (pre-Brunel) Antwerpenaars were Simon van Salingen and Cornelis de Meyer.

[11] Olivier Bruneel (or Brunel) was a native of either Leuven or Brussel – both are given as his hometown http://www.win.tue.nl/~engels/discovery/brunel.html. Specifically, however, he is the direct link between the initial interest among the Dutch speakers and the Russian fur trade. He is the direct link between fur, the Flemish émigré merchants in Amsterdam, and Petrus Plancius’ ideas for reaching China and the east via a northern route. Ideas that Henry Hudson put into action at the direction of Van Meteren, Plancius, Hondius and Van Os.

[12] See Donald S. Johnson, Charting the Sea of Darkness: The Four Voyages of Henry Hudson, (New York: Kodansha International, 1993), p.69. Incidentally, this is a superb book for understanding the scope, origin and impact of Henry Hudson’s voyages.

[13] Thomas E. Burke, Jr., Mohawk Frontier: The Dutch Community of Schenectady, New York, 1661-1710, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2009), 2nd Edition, p.3.

[14] Vogel’s voyage to the Hudson River Valley departed Amsterdam July 26, 1610. Van Cleaf Bachman, Peltries or Plantations: The Economic Policies of the Dutch West India Company in New Netherland 1623-1639, (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1969), p.4. Note that there is strong documentary evidence of earlier voyages to the Hudson Valley region by ships owned and chartered by Southern Netherlanders (Flemings and Walloons) but departing from Amsterdam back to 1591. See Simon Hart, The Prehistory of the New Netherland Company, (Amsterdam: City of Amsterdam Press, 1959), pp.7-10. Parenthetically, Professor Gustaaf Asaert, in his excellent (and absolutely indispensable) 1585: De Val van Antwerpen en de Uittocht van Vlamingen en Brabanders, (Tielt: Lannoo, 2004), pages 219, 223, 225, mentions de Familie De Vogelaers (and especially Marcus De Vogelaers). It is unclear to me (although circumstances suggest it) whether they are connected.

[15] See Simon Hart, The Prehistory of the New Netherland Company, (Amsterdam: City of Amsterdam Press, 1959), pp.74-97. The specific reference to Petrus Plancius’ efforts at arbitration can be found in ibid, p.77. Just as with the VOC, the WIC was formed from the combination of competing merchant companies. The Flemish dominance of both the VOC (The Dutch East India Company) and the WIC (The Dutch West India Company) will be addressed in a future posting.

[16] Block’s ship was owned by Arnout (or Aert) Vogels up until April 29, 1613, according to the Amsterdam notarial record. See Simon Hart, The Prehistory of the New Netherland Company, (Amsterdam: City of Amsterdam Press, 1959), p.73.

[17] Interestingly, these Flemish merchants, when referring to the area around the Hudson River in their notarial statements before 1614, frequently called the area “New Virginia”. See Simon Hart, The Prehistory of the New Netherland Company, (Amsterdam: City of Amsterdam Press, 1959), p.75

[18] Hunthum was a Fleming but with a reputation for cruelty to the natives (mutilating an Indian chief’s genitalia when he did not receive beaver peltries quickly enough) was hardly a credit to the reputation of Flanders. For references to Huntum’s “black reputation”, see Van Cleaf Bachman, Peltries or Plantations: The Economic Policies of the Dutch West India Company in New Netherland, 1623-1639, (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1969), p. 131 and p. 131, n.35. That reputation hurt the Netherlanders’ trading opportunities with the Mohawks. For at least 20 years (1613-1633) Hunthum traded and lived in Nieuw Nederland. He was a ship captain and fur trader, later in the service of the WIC. Hunthum was killed by Cornelius vander Vorst in a quarrel in April, 1634 at Rennsselaerwyck. Hunthum’s father's name was Joris. Hunthum married Ibel Hendricks,the widow of Adriaen Mathyszen vander Put, on May 8th, 1618 at Amsterdam and his son Hans born 5/2/1619 in Amsterdam. Hans Jr. was first a clerk and later a cashier for the WIC in the 1630s. See Simon Hart, The Prehistory of the New Netherland Company, (Amsterdam: City of Amsterdam Press, 1959), pp.60-61.

[19] The patent was granted by the States General of the United Netherlands on March 27, 1614 and expired January 1, 1618. See Simon Hart, The Prehistory of the New Netherland Company, (Amsterdam: City of Amsterdam Press, 1959), pp.35-36. The owners of the New Netherland Company were all merchants who had trafficked to the region between 1610 and 1614. A large number of them were Flemish Lutheran émigrés from Antwerp such as the Pelgrom brothers, the Hunthum brothers, Jan Kindt (nephew of the Pelgroms and supercargo on Adriaen Block’s ship, which his uncles owned), etc. See Simon Hart, The Prehistory of the New Netherland Company, (Amsterdam: City of Amsterdam Press, 1959), p.41 ff.

[20] In the Pieterskerk area the Pilgrims-to-be had continued and overwhelming contact with Flemish émigrés. First, Leiden was overwhelmingly Flemish – more than 67% of all inhabitants of Leiden in 1622 came from the Southern Netherlands. See Dr. J. Briels, Zuid-Nederlanders in de Republiek, 1572-1630: Een Demografische en Cultuurhistorische Studie, (Sint-Niklaas, Uitgeverij Danthe), Tabel XXI: Immigratie in de Noordelijke Nederlanden – Samenvatting, p. 214. For a breakdown of the origin of the elite in Leiden from Flanders, see ibid, Tabel VI: Immigratie in Leiden – 1575-1619. Bron: Poorterboeken.p.133.

[21] Slade’s perfidy is well documented in his own letters which have been published as Mathew Slade, 1569-1628: Letters to the English Ambassador, Ed., Willem Nijenhuis, (Leiden: Leiden University Press, 1986).

Copyright 2010 by David Baeckelandt. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any format permitted without my express, written consent.