Thursday, March 17, 2011

Annetje Loockermans - Flemish Mother of America



Today, March 17th, is the birthday of Annetje Loockermans. In her day (the 1640s to the 1680s), in Nieuw Nederland, she was the supreme arbiter of fashion, taste, and polite society. It is thanks to her that we today celebrate Christmas with the tradition of Santa Claus. But she was much more than simply a purveyor of popular customs or the colonial equivalent of Ms. Manners. Annetje Loockermans brought civilization to New Netherland. More importantly, she literally gave birth to the elite of America. As such she deserves first rank recognition as a Flemish Mother of America.



Turnhout and the Loockermans


Next year, 2012, the Flemish city of Turnhout celebrates 800 years of municipal existence. Plagued by wars, civil unrest and emigration, Turnhout has yet retained a history worth recording. Yet, despite all the hoopla attendant to its long existence, Turnhout strangely seems to have forgotten the contributions of some of its sons and daughters to the world stage. (Although the Knack Editor Karl Van Den Broeck is working to correct this.) One of those daughters, Annetje Loockermans, was the pre-eminent lady of New Netherland society from the 1640s until her death in 1684.


As Mrs. Van Cortlandt (she married an ex-enlisted soldier with that fine surname and made him a man of stature) Annetje Loockermans is credited with having brought the Netherlandic tradition of celebrating Sinter Klaas (Saint Nicholas) to America – and this at a time when the Puritans of New England had outlawed the celebration of Christmas. [1] More importantly, her North American offspring today literally number in the millions and include the elite of business, government and academia from the past four centuries. [2]


What do we know of this “Flemish Mother of America”?



Sint Pieterskerk in Turnhout where Anna Lokermans (Annetje Loockermans) was baptized a Catholic in 1618

New Netherland


Anna/Annetje was born March 17, 1618 and was baptized a Catholic in Sint-Pieterskerk in Turnhout. [3] At the time, many Flemish Protestants outwardly conformed to Roman Catholic Church practice while clandestinely observing some version of “reformed” Christianity. It is possible – given her family’s later prominence in the (Calvinist) Dutch Reformed Church in New Netherland (something not easy to attain [4] ) – that her family had long been crypto-Calvinists whose worship and beliefs were kept hidden from their neighbors and the authorities. [5]


Regardless of their Roman Catholic baptisms, her Flemish siblings and half-Flemish children would later become prominent members of the Dutch Reformed Church in the North American Dutch outpost called New Netherland. [6]





Like her brother Govert Loockermans, part of Annetje’s success must be attributed to her force of character. Later the strength of familial ties through her brother Govert’s wife, the noted and respected widow of Jan de Water [7] , Adriantje, (who was a niece of Gillis Verbrugge, head of the largest trading house in Amsterdam doing business in New Netherland and her brother’s boss) also helped. But in the end it was Annetje alone who carved herself a place as the leading lady of Nieuw Nederland.


It is uncertain when Annetje first came to America. My suspicion is that she joined her brother Govert Loockermans when he returned to New Netherland late in 1641. For it is not until she had married in 1642 that we begin to read about her in New Netherland chronicles.


Annetje’s husband was a rising merchant known as Oloff Van Cortlandt. Van Cortlandt was a first-generation Netherlander (his parents were Scandinavians), who had been a common WIC soldier for at least a few years before striking out as a “freeman” [someone who was neither employed by nor contractually tied to the West India Company]. Their first introduction may have come through Annetje’s brother Govert, who was a successful merchant, a fighting man, and of similar age (more about Govert to come in a future post).



By the early 1640s Van Cortlandt was a man destined for great things. “Oloff Stevensz van Cortlant" [8] had been [the] store-keeper for the Company and deacon of the church [but not until after marrying Annetje Loockermans in 1642]; later he was burgomaster of New Amsterdam.” [9] It is difficult to know how much of Van Cortlandt’s success can be attributed to Annetje. But perhaps like all good marriages, their strengths were complementary and the sum of the two was greater than individually they could have hoped to accomplish. [10]




But Annetje did not need a marriage to further her family connections. If anything she already had a strong network. Annetje’s brother, Govert’s wife’s sister (in other words, Annetje’s sister-in-law by marriage through her brother Govert) had married Jacob van Couwenhoven. [11] “Jacob van Couwenhoven had come out in 1633 [on the same ship as brother Govert's first voyage] and resided at first at Rensselaerswyck; he was afterward of note as a speculator and a brewer in New Amsterdam.” [12]


Incidentally, both Van Couwenhoven and Loockermans worked as agents for the Verbrugges. Nor were they alone. “Family ties linked most of these factors to their masters in Amsterdam. Johannes de Peijster, dispatched by the Verbrugges to New Netherland to assist Govert Loockermans, was described by Seth Verbrugge as ‘my wife’s uncle’s sister’s son, of good background’.” [13] So through Govert’s wife, Annetje was also connected to a powerful Amsterdam merchant family (of Flemish origin).




While Netherlandic society – and of course the norms of New Netherland itself – allowed a great deal more equality between the genders, at the end of the day 17th century colonial society did make gender distinctions. Later descendants, regardless of whether they echoed wishful beliefs or family lore, believed Annetje held first place among the women of New Netherland. “There was an unwritten law among the Dutch women, that some member of the family should be acknowledged as a leader, whose influence was unbounded and whose dictates were obeyed without question. The sister of Govert Loockermans [Annetje Loockermans] was one of these autocrats, and it was mainly due to her energy that her entire family emigrated to America.” [14]



For me at least, the documentary evidence of Annetje prodding Govert onto a privateering vessel to cross the Atlantic (or, even more unlikely, taking ship for New Amsterdam before Govert in 1633) does not exist. Still, Annetje was someone who at least among her descendants is remembered as a person who got things done. For example, Annetje Loockermans is credited by her myriad descendants as having been the driving force behind the first municipal improvements in New York City: the paving of the dirt streets with cobblestones. [15] Her descendants likewise credit her with other domestic innovations such as a space-saving folding bed. [16] Modest accomplishments to be sure but still indications of intelligence, drive and resourcefulness.



If snippets of information are any standard to go by, Annetje Van Cortlandt nee Loockermans was close to her half-Flemish daughter, Maria Van Rensselaer nee Van Cortlandt. Both were married to men considered two of the most powerful in New Netherland. Still, both women exerted influence in their own right as well as behind the scenes. It may very well be, as a late 19th century descendant claimed, that Annetje Loockermans and her peers “governed their husbands…” [17] However, if they did, they showed exceptionally strong wills: neither husband ever struck his contemporaries as 'hen-pecked' or weak-willed. While Annetje’s daughter Maria Van Rensselaer is worthy of a bio in her own right, together, mother and daughter were clearly a force to be reckoned with. Jointly they are anecdotally credited with helping to avert a bloodbath by convincing their husbands not to forward monies to a useless battle against the mercenaries and English freebooters who captured New Netherland in 1664. [18]






After Annetje


The documentary and historical trail left by Annetje Loockermans the person is sparse. But I think it is fair to say that Annetje Loockermans did more than act as a spur to her husband. Nor was she simply an ornament for polite society, a 17th century version of an Upper East Side socialite, or even an innovative pioneer woman (although she was all of those too).



One measure of any person’s mark in this world is how their children and grandchildren have fared in the world. Annetje Loockerman’s real legacy (to me at least) is the contribution her offspring have made to society and history. On that basis this Turnhoutse lass did quite well in fact. First, Anna’s female offspring married well.


First and foremost among Annetje’s female descendants in both accomplishments and affinity was her daughter Maria Van Courtlandt. The half-Flemish Maria married the equally part Flemish Jeremias Van Rensselaer, grandson of the patron of Rensselaerwijck. Their patroonship was in fact the only real feudal estate to survive the Revolutionary War (up until 1839). More importantly, Maria proved her mettle as a 27 year-old-widow, raising 6 young children on a huge estate, dealing with every aspect of the business while literally fighting off conniving relatives, hostile Indians, and French invasions. All this while crippled with a debilitating handicap. Truly a model of the “pioneer woman”. [19]


Margaret Kemble Gates, Great-grand-daughter of Annetje Loockermans and wife of the British General who started the American Revolutionary War by attacking Lexington & Concord in April, 1775



Later generations found equal prominence. Margaret Kemble (great grand-daughter) married General Thomas Gage (British general at the start of the Revolutionary War). Gage is best known perhaps as the British general who ordered the redcoats to march on Lexington and Concord, thereby triggering 'the shot heard around the world' and the opening of the American War of Independence. While choosing a losing side in a war is not much of an accomplishment. Sticking with someone whose fortunes have waned, “’Til death do us part” certainly is.



Elizabeth Schuyler 3rd great grand daughter of Annetje Loockermans and wife of Alexander Hamilton


The elegant and intelligent Elizabeth Schuyler (3rd great grand-daughter) married Alexander Hamilton (aide-de-camp to George Washington, Founding Father of the United States, 1st Secretary of the Treasury, etc.). As the bastard son of a distant relative, she might have easily rejected his proposal for marriage but weathered considerable societal criticism to marry the man. Elizabeth Schuyler not only ‘stuck by her man’ when he was illicitly meeting other women (including her sister) but when Aaron Burr’s dueling pistol felled her husband in 1804, she raised their eleven children alone.




Elizabeth’s contemporary, Harriet Livingston (3rd great grand-daughter) married Robert Fulton (inventor of the steam engine and protege of Benjamin Franklin), while not as well known, had perhaps a more tranquil life. But it was several generations before a family tradition known as Sinter Klaas (and today Santa Claus) was transmitted through several generations to the world.






Catherine Eliza Taylor (5th great grand-daughter) married Clement Clarke Moore (author of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”). Arguably one of the things Flemish women have given the world yet, with traditional Flemish modesty, avoiding acclaim for their contribution to world culture.




Last here (although by no means least in the line), Anna Livingston Street (6th great grand-daughter) married Levi Parsons Morton (22nd Vice President of the United States under Benjamin Harrison). Morton was also the Ambassador to France during the construction of the Statue of Liberty and drove in the first rivet. Of course at this level of remove it is hard to judge whether any generational memory of Annetje Loockermans remained. But this nicely ties back to my roots. The village of Morton Grove, IL, just a few miles south of where I live, is named after him. [20]





And what of the male line? Of Annetje Loockermans’ immediate male descendants, two deserve special notice. One son, Stephanus Van Cortlandt became the 1st native born mayor of New York City. A second son, Jacobus, followed Stephanus footsteps and became only the 2nd native born mayor of New York City.





In subsequent generations other remarkable men were born of her line. John Jay (2nd great-grandson - thru Jacobus' line - pictured above) negotiated the end of the Revolutionary War and became the 1st Chief Justice of the United States. James Fenimore Cooper (4th great-grandson), perhaps with some inkling of the contact his ancestors had with the Native Americans, was the author of a best-selling book of the American Frontier (and perhaps the first popular literature to portray Native Americans in a sympathetic light). The book was called “The Last of the Mohicans”. Another descendant of the same generation, Stephen Watts Kearney (4th great-grandson), became not only a hero of the Mexican War (1847-8) but also the liberator of California.




In the next generation another author surfaced. Herman Melville (5th great-grandson) became the author of “Moby Dick”. This book, like “The Last of the Mohicans”, was a “bestseller” of the 19th century and is considered a classic today. Three generations later, in a curious return to a trade dominant in New Netherland (furs) another descendant, John Jacob Astor (7th great-grandson) ran the American Fur Trading Company. Like his 7th great grand uncle Govert Loockermans, Astor turned his fur riches into landed wealth. One of the richest man in mid-19th century America (and the first multi-millionaire) his name remains a synonym for wealth.



Annetje’s descendants also pursued other paths. Montgomery Clift (8th great-grandson), a name largely unknown by today’s Generations X, Y, and Z was a leading man movie actor from the 1940s-1960s. Another descendant of that same generation was the globally known Cyrus Vance (8th great-grandson). As the Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter he sought peace in the Middle East.






The extended Loockermans family did not do too poorly either. In New Netherland Anna’s niece and namesake Anna Loockermans (Anna senior’s brother Pieter’s daughter) married Adam Winne (the son of Gentenaar Pieter Winne/Winnen – see my post on the Gentenaars of New Netherland). [21] Perhaps because of the unique combination of two Flemish ancestries (!), their offspring proved the most illustrious: Theodore Roosevelt (President of the United States - pictured above) and Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady of the United States and wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt).



Just as Annetje led New Netherland’s “society”, her brother, Govert Loockermans (1612-1671), was a leader in the political, economic and military circles of the colony. Govert Loockermans rose from very modest beginnings, attained great financial success, held numerous offices (civil, military, and religious), and died the richest man in New Netherland – if not of all of North America. [22] But his story is for a later post.




Anna Lokermans was born March 17th, 1618 in Turnhout. Annetje Loockermans was married February 26th, 1642 in New Amsterdam. Anna Van Courtlandt nee Annetje Lokermans/ Loockermans died April 4th, 1684 in New York City, surrounded by her family at the end of a life well lived. The fact that she and her husband passed away within months of each other underscores the close tie between them and the example of a married couple who became “one flesh”.



So if you visit New York City and pass a street, a train station, or a manor house with the Dutch name “Van Cortlandt”, remember that it was a woman from Turnhout who at made an equal if not greater contribution to the propagation of that family name and to the great fortune of America. My next post will bring us back to New Netherland and reconnect the Loockermans, the Mohawks, and the Flemish Protestant émigrés.




Endnotes


[1] See http://www.pilgrimhall.org/bradfordjournalchristmas.htm Downloaded March 17, 2011.



[2] See the excellent online outline of the descendants of Govert’s father, Jan Loockermans here: http://lunar.arc.nasa.gov/printerready/science/geography_items/carters/craters_r.html December 10, 2010. This data was presumably culled from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.



[3] "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." E-mail correspondence from Karl Van Den Broeck dated October 10, 2010.



[4] Church membership was not something easily attained. “Those who were members [of the Dutch Reformed Church] upon their emigration to New Netherland, or when they removed within the colony, had to produce a certificate of membership from their previous congregation.” Jaap Jacobs, New Netherland: a Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America, (Leiden: Brill, 2005), p.290. Please note that this was a fairly elite group. “Although the Reformed Church was the public church [of New Netherland], its membership remained low at less than 20 percent of the [European] population.” Ibid, p.478. The total European population at 1664 has been variously estimated at between 9,000 and 10,000 individuals. Thus, less than 2,000 of the European inhabitants were members of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1664.



[5] Just for the record, whether the Loockermans were crypto-Calvinists while in Turnhout or simply converted later when in Amsterdam, practice of Roman Catholicism in the (northern) Netherlands would have proved difficult. To quote the eminent historian Charles Ralph Boxer: “For over a hundred and fifty years after the relative triumph of militant Calvinism at the Synod of Dordrecht [1618-1619], Roman Catholics could not legally worship in public or in private, nor could they belegally christened nor married by a Roman Catholic priest. They were forbidden to give their children a Roman Catholic education, or even to send them abroad for the purpose of receiving one there. The wearing of crucifixes, rosaries or Roman Catholic insignia of any kind, the buying and selling of Roman Catholic religious books, devotional literature, prints and engravings, the saying or reciting of Roman Catholic hymns and songs, the celebration of Roman Catholic feast-days and holidays, were all forbidden by law. No Roman Catholic could hold an official post, whether municipal, university, legal, naval or military. Unmarried Roman Catholic women were not allowed to make a will; and any bequest to a Roman Catholic foundation was held to be null and void in law. In most places, the children of mixed marriages had to be brought up as [p. 138] Protestants, and there were so many other vexatious legal hindrances in the way of practising the Roman Catholic faith that, if these penal laws had been properly enforced, the liberty of conscience which was grudgingly allowed to Roman Catholics would have been almost valueless by itself. In addition to all these civil disabilities from which the Dutch Roman Catholics suffered, they were for long regarded by many of their Protestant compatriots as being real or potential traitors – from 1568 to 1648 in the interests of Spain , and from 1648 to 1748 in that of France.” C.R. Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1600-1800, (London: Penguin Books, 1990), pp. 137-138.



[6] Although baptized Catholic in Turnhout, Loockermans must have had some affidavit of his Reformed Church credentials (and they must have been deemed legitimate.) since he was married in a Reformed Church in Amsterdam and later became a prominent member of the church in New Amsterdam (e.g. churchwarden from 1655-1656). Interestingly, from 1624 (the first WIC settlers in New Netherland) to 1664 (when New Netherland fell to the English) 13 Dutch Reformed Ministers – including the Fleming Samuel Drisius – served in New Netherland. Of course only a fraction of those at any time served concurrently – even though there were 11 churches in New Netherland in 1664. For the source of this information and further details behind this, please see “Gerald F. De Jong, “The Education and Training of Dutch Ministers”, pp. 9-16 in Charles T. Gehring & Nancy Anne McClure Zeller, Education in New Netherland and the Middle Colonies: Papers of the 7th Rensselaerswyck Seminar of the New Netherland Project, (Albany: New York State Library, 1985). Of course, this does not include the hidden Lutherans, Catholics, Quakers, and others who either followed their conscience in private or met secretly in home services. A list of the clergymen – Dutch Reformed, Independent, and including Jesuit missionaries to the Iroquois – can be found in E.B. O’Callaghan, The Register of New Netherland 1626 to 1674, (originally published at Albany, 1865; Genealogical Company reprint at Baltimore, 1998), pp. 118-122.



[7] “Jan de Water, had been active with his brothers Isaack and Jacob in the Arctic trade…[and his family was] among the financial backers to a Swedish colony on the Delaware River promoted by disillusioned Dutch West India Company director Samuel Blommaert….[but he] subsequently disappeared at sea during a hurricane, [as captain of] the Kalmar Nyckel, lead ship of the two vessels the Swedish South Sea Company sent to the Delaware in 1637.” David William Voorhees, “Family and Faction: The Dutch Roots of Colonial New York’s Factional Politics,” pp.129-147 in Martha Dickinson Shattuck, Explorers, Fortunes & Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland, (Albany: Mount Ida Press, 2009), p.132.



[8] The spellings of “Van Cortlant” are also variable. I will use the most common version: Van Courtlandt.



[9] J. Franklin Jameson, “The Representation of New Netherland, 1650,” in Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elibron Classics Reprint, 2005), pp.285-354; p. 290.


[10] “A common soldier in the employ of the West India Company [when he arrived in New Netherland circa 1637-1638], Oloff soon added the patronymic “Van Cortlandt” to his name and began a meteoric rise to a position of prominence in [p.4] the nascent colony. Starting his office-holding career as an inspector of tobacco in 1640, Oloff, some six years later, became a member of the short-lived legislative unit known as The Nine Men. Oloff filled many posts on the municipal and provincial levels between 1640 and his death in 1684. He did not forget his military past, because among his various capacities he served as a colonel in the Burghers’ Corps, or municipal militia, helped improve the fortifications of Fort Amsterdam, and became a commissioner of Indian affairs for the province. While performing these duties, he acquired one of the great fortunes in the colony through his brewery activities.” Jacob Judd, The Revolutionary War Memoir and Selected Correspondence of Philip Van Cortlandt, (Tarrytown: Sleepy Hollow, 1976), pp.3-4.


[11] This Van Couwenhoven may have been part of the same extended family from which sprung the Vancouver family – of which “Van Couwenhoven” is an Anglicized version. Please see my “Was George Vancouver Flemish” http://flemishamerican.blogspot.com/2010/01/was-george-vancouver-flemish.html


[12] J. Franklin Jameson, “The Representation of New Netherland, 1650,” in Narratives of New Netherland, 1609-1664, (New York: Elibron Classics Reprint, 2005), pp.285-354; p. 290.


[13] Jaap Jacobs, New Netherland: A Dutch Colony in Seventeenth-Century America, (Leiden: Brill, 2005), p.70.


[14] 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), pp, 23-24.


[15] “It will be interesting at this point to pause a moment and to take a hasty survey of New Amsterdam at this period. The town was clustered about the fort, which faced Bowling Green, and is now occupied by a row of trans-Atlantic steamship offices. The northern limit of the city was at Wall street, where a fence of wooden palisades stretched across the island from river to river. Two gates, one at Broadway, the other close to the East River, were the only means of egress. These gates were guarded by sentries and were closed every evening, precisely at nine o'clock. Seventeen streets traversed the settlement, but of these all but three were little crooked lanes, determined, in all likelihood, by cows, that had their own notions regarding the nature of thoroughfares. The principal path was Pearl street, which skirted the [p. 143] shore, (Water, Front and South streets, at this period being still under water). Broad street, a ditch, extending almost to the present Sub-treasury, was crossed by two bridges and in appearance was a reminder of the Water streets of Old Amsterdam. Broadway was the relic of an old Indian trail and was not of much importance. Its western side was a stretch of farm land and the east was occupied by small houses, tenanted by tailors, bakers and other small tradesmen. None of the roads were paved at this time. A few years later, Madame Van Courtlandt, wife of Oloff Van Courtlandt, the Brewer, a worthy dame of Old Holland, who abhorred dust, began a series of complaints that resulted in a pavement of cobble stones along the lane in which she lived. People came from far and near to see the great improvement and laughingly called it "the Stone Street," which name it still retains at the present day.” The Judaens Society Addresses, 1897-1899, (New York: The Judaean Society, 1899), pp. 142-143


[16] “The houses were built of yellow and black Dutch bricks, giving the place the appearance of a city of checker boards. The gable ends faced the street and the roofs showed a series of "crow-steps" leading up to the chimneys, thus enabling the "sweeps" to reach without trouble, their destination. There were no stoves in the town, but the open fire-places bordered with tiles containing biblical scenes, offered abundant comfort and genial warmth. No carpets adorned the rooms but the parlor floor was covered with a layer of sand in which the "Goede Vrow" [Annetje Loockermans] drew all sorts of fancy tracings, this being one of her proudest accomplishments. In the reception room, there was a closet, built into the wall which, on being opened, disclosed a shelf and bedding, that were always [p. 144] ready for the sudden guest. This, no doubt, was the prototype of our modern Yankee folding bed. The Judaens Society Addresses, 1897-1899, (New York: The Judaean Society, 1899), pp. 143-144.


[17] 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.131


[18] 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), pp.117-118.


[19] “Maria Van Cortlandt Van Rensselaer (July 20, 1645-January 24, 1688/89) was born in New Amsterdam. Her mother was “well-connected” and her father was wealthy. When she was only 17 [April 27, 1662], Maria married Jeremais Van Rensselaer and moved to his landed estate near Albany. In their ten-year marriage they had four sons and two daughters. In 1624 [sic – actually 1674], her husband died and Maria had to assume responsibility of running and managing gristmills and sawmills on the 24-mile square [actually it was 528 square miles – 24 miles by 24 miles] property. In addition she had to hire workers and pay all the bills. She succeeded in getting a clear title to the property after the English ousted the Dutch in 1673. She was harassed by male family members who wanted to take over her land and business, but she prevailed. In 1685, a settlement was reached and she remained in charge of her estate as well as securing it for her children. Maria Van Rensselaer died at age 43. She had gained for her children the richest land patent in the colony. Marriages of her children created alliances with other important clans and established one of the most important families of early New York. She is an early model of a widow learning business skills to secure a future for her children.” The author of this piece somehow missed the fact that she suffered from a debilitating handicap that made it difficult for her to walk and confined her to bed for long periods on top of all the above. See http://www.nwhp.org/resourcecenter/pathbreakers.php downloaded March 17, 2011.


[20] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_P._Morton


[21] Please see my earlier post on the Gentenaars of New Netherland here: http://flemishamerican.blogspot.com/2009/07/gentenaars-of-nieuw-nederland.html


[22] The exact amount of his wealth varies dramatically. “Gouvert Loockermans died in 1670, reputed the richest individual in North America. He was worth 520,000 Dutch guilders, an immense sum for the period in which he lived.” See the Biographical and Genealogical History of the State of Delaware, Volume 1, (Chambersburg, PA: J.M. Runk & Co., 1899), p. 93. More recently: “Merchant Govert Loockermans from Turnhout, Antwerp Province (Belgium), whose 52,702-guilder estate at the time of his death in 1671 made him New York’s wealthiest merchant.” David William Voorhees, “Family and Faction: The Dutch Roots of Colonial New York’s Factional Politics,” pp.129-147 in Martha Dickinson Shattuck, Explorers, Fortunes & Love Letters: A Window on New Netherland, (Albany: Mount Ida Press, 2009), p.131.


Copyright 2011 by David Baeckelandt. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without my express, written consent.

3 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this link!! I am descended from the Van Rensselaers (it is my grandmother's maiden name in fact)and I have grown up hearing about them and the Dutch history of the US. However, I never realized that Annetje Loookermans had such influence! It was always just one of my "other" xxx-great-grandparents on the tree, I didn't even realize she was Flemish! Off to explore other neglected ancestors....

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  2. I am a direct descendent of General Thomas George Gage and Margaret Kemble. My name is Vaundalyn Judith Gage. I live in Sherwood Park, Alberta Canada. My email is vjgage@shaw.ca Margaret Kemble's son went to Toronto Canada and started the Gage Printing Company. They printed all of our text books and dictionary's for the past 250 or so years. If you have more info, great.

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  3. I like to at some time come and visit the Gage Printing Company and even get some printing work done when I get better situated. My 7th great grandfather married Anne van Cortlandt. I read somewhere that the Cortlandt's are cousins to Rembrandt.

    www.DavidGeorgeDeLancey.net

    8:51 A.M. E.S.T. 7/13/2013

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