Early Indentured Settlers

History of the Flatts
People of the Flatts
The Flatts Archeology
Living at the Flatts
Town of Colonie Park


indentured.gif (429111 bytes) Chaff Cutter with a Woman Spinning and a Young Boy

(Photo depicts typical 17th century working class attire.)

(Photo Courtesy of Crailo State Historic Site)


Earliest Dutch Settlers at the "Groote Vlackte"

According to the patroonship scheme Killean Van Rensselaer hoped to entice Dutch farmers and craftsmen over the age of fifteen to his domain by providing passage to New Netherlands and the means for getting established.  In turn, the settler would promise a period of indentured labor on the manor.  Many who accepted this offer were hired to work on the farm at the Flatts.

The record indicates that for those like Jan Barentz Wemp (nicknamed the "Poest") this offer was the ticket to a new life.  Among those who worked at the Flatts employment records from the "Van Rensselaer Manor Papers" note:


William Jurianensz who sailed from Texel on September 25, 1638 on the ship “de Lifte”. He became a baker at the Flatts.

Cloes Gerritz who sailed in July of 1640 on “den Waterhondt”. He was hired as a farmer by the Patroon for twelve years.

Lucas Smit from Prussia who sailed on “den Coninck” on July 23, 1641. Smit worked as a farm laborer at the Flatts, for two years and ultimately became a salaried clerk.

Jachim Kettelheym sailed in June 1640 on “den Haulluy”. Ketteleheym went to work on de vlacte farm on September 20, 1646 and stayed on until April 20, 1648 as a salaried worker.  (f120 per year)  Click here to view a document from his account record held by the Van Rensselaer overseer.

Jan Barentsz Wemp (dePoest) eventual owner of the tract of land on which the Poestenkill creek lies, also sailed on the "denHautluyn" along with his wife. He was put in charge of the farm on April 10, 1645 for f300 a year. The records indicate that because of "trouble with the Indians" he was relieved of his duties. 

Jan Thomasz sailed in September of 1643 on detWopen van Rensselaers. Thomasz replaced Wemp for f250 and the following: "clothe for a suit; one pair of shoes; and two shirts." 

Barent Gerritsz sailed on the same ship in 1646 and worked for seven and a half months.

William Leendertsz arrived with Gerritsz in 1646 and ultimately earned f150 at deVlachte from July 1, 1647 to May 1, 1648.

Simon deGroote arrived in 1647 and was hired at f28 for work at the Flatts.

(Records from the Van Rensselaer Bouwerie Manuscripts, NY State Library)


Last Updated 9/21/00        Copyright © 2000 Watervliet City School District - All Rights Reserved