52 Ancestors: # 25  Grietje Cornelis Van NESS ~ The Pieter Wyckoff House

“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 Wyckoff, Peter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, VIEW FROM NORTHWEST. - Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY This image or media file contains material based on a work of a National Park Service employee, created as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, such work is in the public domain. See the NPS website and NPS copyright policy for more information.
Wyckoff, Peter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, VIEW FROM NORTHWEST. – Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY

I’ve always felt that it would have been a wonderful feeling to know that there was an old homestead somewhere that had been in my family for generations and that there was still a part of my family living there, but that isn’t the case with any of my direct family lines. With the exception, of course, of the Pieter Claessen Wyckoff House which is the old homestead of the thousands of Pieter Claessen Wyckoff’s descendants that are scattered across these states (and world).

So far, I have not personally visited this place in Brooklyn as my grandmother did, but I have read a lot about it. This would have been the home of my ninth great-grandmother, Grietje Van Ness, and that of her husband, Pieter Claessen Wyckoff, and of my eighth great-grandfather, Nicholas Wyckoff, until he married. Much has been written about this house and the land that it lies on and I have not gleaned any new information to add to its story, but for those unfamiliar with it – a much abbreviated bit of information.

By Nicolaas Visscher II (1649-1702) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Nederlands: Vervaardigd in ca. 1684. This map of the current New England was published by Nicolaes Visscher II (1649-1702). Visscher copied first a map byJan Janssonius (1588-1664) from 1651 and added a view of New Amsterdam, the current Manhattan. The map is very accurate: each European town which existed at the time has been represented.
By Nicolaas Visscher II (1649-1702) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Nederlands: Vervaardigd in ca. 1684. This map of the current New England was published by Nicolaes Visscher II (1649-1702). Visscher copied first a map byJan Janssonius (1588-1664) from 1651 and added a view of New Amsterdam, the current Manhattan. The map is very accurate: each European town which existed at the time has been represented.

As near as can be determined, this house was constructed in 1652, and amazingly, still stands today. This date was determined, in part, by pottery shards dating to 1660 excavated on the property. Many additions were built onto the home over the years, including what was probably the first addition, a large kitchen wing built onto the west side of the home.

Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, DETAIL OF MANTEL AND CHINA CLOSET (WEST WALL-DINING ROOM). - Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY
Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, DETAIL OF MANTEL AND CHINA CLOSET (WEST WALL-DINING ROOM). – Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY

Architectural evidence maintains that the original roof was of the “salt-box” type. Although the original roof was removed during later additions, it is thought that this particular roof was developed by the settlers of New Netherlands, probably evolving from storage sheds that had been added to the back of previously built, symmetrically gabled houses. 17th century Dutch moldings that were found within the original part of the house also support the fact that the house dates to the early years of the third quarter of the 17th century.

This image or media file contains material based on a work of a National Park Service employee, created as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, such work is in the public domain. See the NPS website and NPS copyright policy for more information.
By Related names: Wyckoff, Peter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It is believed that this house on Carnarsie Lane was built on part of a large tract of land purchased by Govenor Wouter Van Twiller (Director-General of New Netherland). In the 1652, the land was seized by the Dutch West Indie Company and when Van Twiller was recalled to Holland, he claimed that he had built houses on all of his holdings. The property then went to the Duke of York when New Netherland was ceded to the English.

By http://www.geographicus.com/mm5/cartographers/sestiles.txt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By http://www.geographicus.com/mm5/cartographers/sestiles.txt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pieter Wyckoff’s descendants owned and occupied the house until about 1901 when it ended up sold to Brooklyn Realty Company. The homestead went into a rapid state of decline and was scheduled for demolition when Borough Historian, James Kelly, helped to block that action. The Wyckoff family and The Wyckoff House Association then acquired the property with the intent of gifting the house to the city to establish a city park and, hopefully, for the restoration of the house. The city accepted this gift in 1970 and now the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered the oldest home in New York City.

Wyckoff Google Earth Image 2015
Wyckoff Google Earth Image 2015

The house, now a museum, is located in Milton Fidler Park at 5816 Clarendon Road in the Canarsie area of Brooklyn on Long Island and was denoted as a National Historic Landmark in 1968. It is the oldest surviving example of a Dutch saltbox frame house in the United States and was one of the first structures built on Long Island by Europeans.

2014 Google Street View
2014 Google Street View. Wyckoff House and Milton Fidler Park to the left.

Although the city does own the home, it is operated by The Wyckoff House & Association. And it was to this home, a bowery once owned by the Dutch West India Company, that Grietje, and her husband, Pieter, brought their two young children when Pieter agreed to superintend the bowery of Peter Stuyvesant and where they continued to raise their growing family.

Grietje Cornelis Van Ness was born to Cornelis Hendrick Van Ness and Maycke Hendrieux van der BURCHGRAEFF around 1629 (or sometime between 1624 and 1630), probably in the Netherlands. Grietje and Pieter Claessen were married about 1646 in Beverwyck, New York.

Born to them were 11 children and those children were:

Nicholas, born circa 1646, at Beverwyck. (my line)

Margrietje, born circa 1648, at Beverwyck.

Annetje, baptized 27 November 1650, at New Amsterdam.

Mayken, baptized 19 October 1653. Sponsored by Judith Bayard, wife of Peter Stuyvesant.

Cornelius, born circa 1656.

Hendrick, born circa 1658.

Geertje, born circa 1660.

Garret, born in 1662.

Marten, born in 1663.

Jan, born 16 February 1665.

Willemptje.

Grietje died between 1699 and 1703 and was buried beside her husband, Pieter, who had died between June of 1694 and 1697.

http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/category/52-ancestors-challenge/

This is my Week #25 post for Amy Johnson Crow’s

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Challenge.

The optional theme for week 25 was “Homestead”.

Lineage Notecard

Name: Grietje Cornelis Van Ness
Parents: Cornelis Hendrick Van Ness and Maycke Hendrieux van der Burchgraeff
Spouse: Pieter Claessen Wyckoff
Surnames: WYCKOFF, Van NESS, Van der BURCHGRAEFF, PAISLEY
Relationship to Hollie: maternal 9th great grandmother

  1. Grietje Cornelis Van Ness
  2. Nicholas Wyckoff
  3. Peter Wyckoff
  4. Jacobus Wikoff
  5. Joachim Wycoff
  6. Cornelius Wycoff
  7. Levi Wycuff
  8. Jane “Jennie” Wyckoff
  9. Florence “Flora” Paisley
  10. Elsie Marcella Hackathorn
  11. Darlene Lois Moore
  12. Hollie Ann Henke

SOURCES:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/Peter_Wyckoff_House%2C_5902_Canarsie_Lane%2C_Brooklyn%2C_Kings_County%2C_NY_HABS_NY%2C24-BROK%2C32-_%28sheet_4_of_9%29.tif

Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, VIEW FROM NORTHWEST. – Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY

These images or media files contain material based on a work of a National Park Service employee, created as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, such work is in the public domain. See the NPS website and NPS copyright policy for more information.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ac/Historic_American_Buildings_Survey%2C_E.P._MacFarland%2C_Photographer_May_8%2C_1934%2C_VIEW_FROM_NORTHWEST._-_Peter_Wyckoff_House%2C_5902_Canarsie_Lane%2C_Brooklyn%2C_Kings_County%2C_NY_HABS_NY%2C24-BROK%2C32-1.tif

Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, VIEW FROM EAST. – Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/Historic_American_Buildings_Survey%2C_E.P._MacFarland%2C_Photographer_May_8%2C_1934%2C_DETAIL_OF_MANTEL_AND_CHINA_CLOSET_%28WEST_WALL-DINING_ROOM%29._-_Peter_Wyckoff_House%2C_5902_Canarsie_Lane_HABS_NY%2C24-BROK%2C32-3.tif

Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, DETAIL OF MANTEL AND CHINA CLOSET (WEST WALL-DINING ROOM). – Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/New_Netherland_%27NOVI_BELGII_NOVAEQUE_ANGLIAE_NEC_NON_PARTIS_VIRGINIAE_TABULA%27.jpg

Nederlands: Vervaardigd in ca. 1684. This map of the current New England was published by Nicolaes Visscher II (1649-1702). Visscher copied first a map byJan Janssonius (1588-1664) from 1651 and added a view of New Amsterdam, the current Manhattan. The map is very accurate: each European town which existed at the time has been represented.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/1867_Stiles_Map_of_Brooklyn%2C_New_York_-_Geographicus_-_BrooklynTwn-stiles-1867.jpg

By http://www.geographicus.com/mm5/cartographers/sestiles.txt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Genealogical Notes Of New York And New England Families, By Sebastian V. Talcott

http://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/Town/dutch/wyckoff.html

OLD  DUTCH  HOUSES  OF  BROOKLYN; By Maud Esther Dillard; 1945

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.6449599,-73.9210102,3a,78.8y,150.64h,90.65t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sQJJVM4CbgQ35lEeJL1kgHA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Settlers of Rensselaerswyck, 1630-1658;  By New York State Library, Arnold Johan Ferdinand Van Laer;

Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts: Being the Letters of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, 1630-1643, and Other Documents Relating to the Colony of Rensselaerswyck; New York State Library Kiliaen van Rensselaer January 1, 1908; University of the state of New York

The Pieter Claessen Wyckoff House, Brooklyn, New York: An Analysis of its History and Development and a Record of its Present Condition Preparatory to Restoration...Oppenheimer, Brady & Associations, Architects. NY,NY.

52 Ancestors: #5 Pieter Claessen WYCKOFF – Plowing Through

For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the un-climbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that is sleeping in the un-plowed ground.

~ Lyndon B. Johnson

The optional theme for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Challenge, “Plowing Through”, brings to mind the many generations of farmers that grace my family tree. Pieter Claessen Wyckoff, my 9th great-grandfather, fits this bill rather nicely.

Ansicht auf Marienhafe um 1400, oil painting by Gerhard H. Janssen.  Wykoff, M. William. What's in a Name?: History and Meaning of Wyckoff. Rochester, N.Y.: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2014. 23. Print.
Ansicht auf Marienhafe um 1400, oil painting by Gerhard H. Janssen.
Wykoff, M. William. What’s in a Name?: History and Meaning of Wyckoff. Rochester, N.Y.: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2014. 23. Print.

Pieter Claessen was born circa 1623 in Norden, Ostfriesland (East Frisia) near Marienhafe. Pieter’s birth would have taken place during The Thirty Years War time, a time of great unrest and changing of borders in Europe. Marienhafe was located not far from the bay of the Ems River near the southeastern shores of the North Sea. East Frisia has long been associated with the sea-faring trade and with farming (think Holstein cows). This area now lies in the Lower Saxony region of Germany.

Map of Ostfriesland, 1600. Public Domain, because of age.
Map of Ostfriesland, 1600. Public Domain, because of age.

Meanwhile, back in the New World, Kiliaen van Rensselaer, diamond merchant and director of the Dutch West India Company, had his eye on the area around Fort Orange (now present day Albany, New York) and after a deal was struck with a handful of Mohican Indians, Kiliaen commenced to setting up a patroonship (of which he had control) on that newly acquired land. After hostilities with the natives and many set-backs and delays concerning the company, the patroonship of Rensselaerswijck was ready to be farmed and settled. When Kiliaen had not obtained the required fifty people to settle the colony by 1633, it seemed as if Rensselaerswijck might cease to be. In 1636, with three farms within Rensselaerswijck producing and Kiliaen needing supplies and the balance of the required number of people to settle, he and two other merchants, purchased, financed, and equipped a ship – De Rensselaerswijck.

This is where our very own Pieter Claessen enters the picture. Pieter is among the passengers and supplies that set sail from Texel on 8 October 1636 bound for the New World and, in particular, Rensselaerswijck, along with Simon Walischez – who would be overseeing Pieter as a laborer in the patroonship. The journey did not go as well as planned and after stormy weather and five weeks of floating, the ship finally arrived at Plymouth where it was forced to remain until January 9th. By March 4th, the ship had reached Manhattan, where it lingered for three more weeks until the ice in the river had broken up enough for passage up the Hudson. The ship finally arrived at Rensselaerswijck on 9 April 1637.

New Amsterdam -Nicolaes Visscher (I) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
New Amsterdam -Nicolaes Visscher (I) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

After Pieter worked off his contract, approximately six years, he rented a farm for himself and his new bride, Grietje Cornelis van Ness, in that area where their first two children were born. It appears that Pieter and Grietje relocated south to New Amsterdam during the years 1649 through 1655 after which time they signed a contract with Peter Stuyvesant (yes, THAT Peter Stuyvesant!) fellow Frisian and last  Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherland, infamous for his wooden leg and handing New Netherland over to the British in 1664.

Rensselaerswyck Original Map - By Unknown (but most likely not Gillis van Schendel, as is typically assumed) [Public domain] Copyright has Expired, via Wikimedia Commons.
Rensselaerswyck Original Map – By Unknown (but most likely not Gillis van Schendel, as is typically assumed) [Public domain] Copyright has Expired, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Fall of New Amsterdam - Jean Leon Gerome Ferris [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Fall of New Amsterdam – Jean Leon Gerome Ferris [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pieter’s contract with Stuyvesant was for superintending the bowery (farm) belonging to Stuyvesant in New Amersfoort, an area located currently in Flatlands, Brooklyn. The home that they moved into is currently known as the Wyckoff Homestead and is a National Historic Landmark. This is where Pieter and Grietje raised their family of eleven children (6 boys and 5 girls) and where they lived out the remainder of their lives. Pieter never owned the house that the family lived in, but he did purchase and own other land in the area.

Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, VIEW FROM NORTHWEST. - Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Historic American Buildings Survey, E.P. MacFarland, Photographer May 8, 1934, VIEW FROM NORTHWEST. – Peter Wyckoff House, 5902 Canarsie Lane, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

At the time of the British take-over and the renaming of New Netherland to New York. It was required that families take surnames that they could be identified with. It was at this time that Pieter Claessen and family assumed the surname of Wyckoff. The why of how this particular surname was chosen, contrary to popular belief, can be explained no better than by M. William Wyckoff in his book “What’s in a Name? History and Meaning of Wyckoff”.

 “If one looks for the history of the compound wyck  + hof, only in Dutch, it will not even be found. It will be found in Swedish and Frisian. Unfortunately, the false etymology for Wyckoff is the one that is most frequently encountered in the literature of 20th-century America and now on internet. It has been accepted by many, but it is false. The surname actually came from Friesland and was not created in America. Whether the immediate proximal meaning was a household, or settlement on a bay or waterway, or a place of refuge, it was surely not located in the Netherlands, but in Friesland where it was usually written Wyk- (not Wijc-, Wijk, or Wyck-). As all types of evidence indicate, the name Wykhof, no matter how it is spelled or how it is interpreted, is Frisian rather than Dutch. The fabricated meaning of Wijk + hof being a Dutch word interpreted as a “town clerk” was neither an established meaning in any speech community nor a correct and true meaning.”

The above passage excerpted, with permission, from:

Wykoff, M. William. What’s in a Name?: History and Meaning of Wyckoff. Rochester, N.Y.: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2014. 44-45. Print.

It is quite clear that Pieter Claessen Wyckoff’s origins are Frisian and, at this point in time, his parentage is not known. It is quite probable that Pieter was an orphan given the history of war and disease at the time of his birth. It is also quite likely that he may have been an illegitimate child. What we do have a lot of documentation of are his descendants here in The United States. His and Grietje’s marriage record is believed to have been lost in a fire, but they were probably married in Beverwyck before 1646. Their first born son, Nicholas, was born circa 1646 in Beverwyck. This is the line that I am descended from. Pieter died on or before 30 June 1694. Grietje died between 1699 and 1703. Both are buried in Flatlands, Long Island.

There are thousands of Pieter and Grietje Wyckoff descendants spread across The United States today. I suggest that you might check out the blog of one the descendants, Denise Dahn, at:

http://www.dahndesign.com/2014/06/04/the-pieter-claesen-wyckoff-story/

Here you will find her striking watercolor renditions of the history of the Wyckoff story. For those of you who would like to know more about the very well-researched and documented history of the Wyckoff surname, I highly recommend M. William Wyckoff’s book, “What’s in a Name? History and Meaning of Wyckoff” that can be found at Amazon. This little book is a treasure!

http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/posts/category/52-ancestors-challenge/

Lineage Notecard

Name: Peiter Claessen Wyckoff

Parents:

Spouse: Grietje Cornelis van Ness

Surnames: WYCKOFF, VAN NESS, WYCOFF, PAISLEY, HACKATHORN, MOORE, SCHRADER

Relationship to Hollie: 9th great-grandfather

  1. Pieter Claessen Wyckoff
  2. Nicholas Wyckoff
  3. Pieter Wyckoff
  4. Jacobus Wyckoff
  5. Joachim Wycoff
  6. Cornelius Wycoff
  7. Levi Wycoff
  8. Jane Wyckoff
  9. Florence D. Paisley
  10. Elsie Marcella Hackathorn
  11. Darlene Lois Moore
  12. Hollie Ann Schrader

SOURCES:

Wykoff, M. William. What’s in a Name?: History and Meaning of Wyckoff. Rochester, N.Y.: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2014. 23;44-45. Print.

Venema, Janny. Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652-1664. Hilversum, the Netherlands: Verloren, 2003. Print.

Venema, Janny. Kiliaen Van Rensselaer (1586-1643): Designing a New World. Hilversum, the Netherlands: Uitgeverij Verloren, 2010. Print.

Shorto, Russell. The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America. New York: Doubleday, 2004. Electronic, Kindle.

The Wyckoff Family in America: A Genealogy in Two Volumes. Third ed. Vol. One. Baltimore, MD.: Gateway, 1980. Print.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMap-Novi_Belgii_Nov%C3%A6que_Angli%C3%A6_(Amsterdam%2C_1685).jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AThe_fall_of_New_Amsterdam_cph.3g12217.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHistoric_American_Buildings_Survey%2C_E.P._MacFarland%2C_Photographer_May_8%2C_1934%2C_VIEW_FROM_NORTHWEST._-_Peter_Wyckoff_House%2C_5902_Canarsie_Lane%2C_Brooklyn%2C_Kings_County%2C_NY_HABS_NY%2C24-BROK%2C32-1.tif

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARensselaerswyck_Original_Map_Small.png

http://www.library.ucla.edu/yrl/reference/maps/blaeu/frisiae.jpg

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14648b.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manor_of_Rensselaerswyck