• Born before 1 May 1579 - Amersfoort, Utrecht, Nederland
  • Baptized 1 May 1579 - Amersfoort, Utrecht, Nederland
  • Deceased between 2 March 1662 and 24 June 1662 - Nieuw Amersfoort, Breukelen, Nieuw Nederland
  • Buried - T Lange Eylandt, Nieuw Nederland
  • Baker

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 Spouses and children

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 Events


 Notes

Individual Note

He was one of the founders of Nieuw Amsterdam and the founder of our family in America. He was one of five "head farmers" first sent by the Dutch West India Company to Nieuw Nederland in 1625.

He immigrated between 1624 and 1625 to Nieuw Amsterdam, Nassau. Wolfert returned to the Nederland in 1629.

Until his return to Holland in 1629, Wolfert farmed Bouwerie (farm) No. 3 in Nieuw Amsterdam and, through his wife, engaged in the profitable fur trade.

While in Holland, Wolfert signed a six year lease with the Dutch West India Company for Bouwerie No. 6 (about 91 acres). He also contracted with Kiliaen van Rensselar, patroon of Rensselarwyck (comprised of many thousands of acres along the Hudson including most of present day Albany) as a factor or director and to be in charge of Bouwerie No. 7 in Nieuw Amsterdam. All this bore tribute to Wolfert's reputation for competence and dependability.

Upon his return from the Nederland 24 May 1630 on de Eendracht (The Unity), Wolfert farmed Bouwerie No. 6, and for about two years served under contract with Kiliaen van Rensselar. He purchased "Keskateuw" located on Long Island from the Indians. Here was established the first known white settlement on Long Island. Wolfert called his "plantation" Achterveldt, shown on the Manatu Map of Nieuw Nederland as farm No. 36 near the Indian long house to the Kestachau tribe. Wolfert's house, surrounded by palisades, was the focal point of the village of Nieuw Amersfoort, later called Flatlands, on 30 June 1636. He got "Smal Civil Rights" on 18 April 1657. He died between 2 March 1662 and 24 June 1662 at Nieuw Amersfoort.
David K. Conover:
"The first reference to WOLFERT GERRITSE was when Wulphert Gerrits signed an agreement with his stylized 'A.' According to the terms of that document, he agreed to assume the property and debts of the parents of his wife Neeltgen Jacobsdr from the other heirs for 100 guilders. Her brother Herman Jacobsz also signed this document, as well as her brother-in-law Willem Dircz who was married to Aeltgen Jacobs Petergen Petersdr, the underage daughter of her brother Peter Jacobsz, [who] had already received 50 guilders.

[On] April 14, 1615, Wulphert Gerritsz and his wife Neeltgen Jacobsdochter sold a bleach camp outside the Coppelpoort of Amersfoort to Hendrick Jansz and his wife Hasgen Thonis for 1,200 Carolus guilders, the occupation of Wolfert is not disclosed in this document on Mar 22, 1612. In the settlement of the estate of Wolfert's wife in Amersfoort, it was declared before the court that his profession... was baker on Aug 8, 1612 at Amersfoort, Nederland. Wolphert took part in a curious agreement with Herman Zieboltz of Amsterdam, before Johan van Ingen an officer of the court of Utrecht. The name of the Amsterdammer suggests that he was a German or that he was of German descent. His name is also spelled Syboelt and Zyeboltz in those documents. According to a "donatiaq iner vivos" (gift to a living person) Zieboltz gave Wolphert two morgans of turf ground near Cologne in recognition of services rendered (but not payment for them). No monetary amount is mentioned for the services or the turf ground. In a second document of the same date issued by the same officer of the court of Utrecht, Ayeboliz made a debt owed by him by Henrick Adrianesz and Adriaen Adriansz over to Wulpher Gerrits, baker, and Cornelis Wynantsz, innkeeper. This second document authorized Wulpher Gerritss and Cornelis Wynantsz to assume ownership of the two morgans of turf ground mentioned in the first document. These documents create the impression that Zieboltz was unable to pay Wolfert money that he owed him, that the Amsterdammer made over a debt on which he had not been able to collect, and that Wolfert may have agreed to these vague terms because he would otherwise not be able to retrieve anything from his business dealings with the Zieboltz.

Between February 1617 and July 1617, Wulpher Gerritss, baker, appeared as a witness before Johan van Ingen officer of the court of Utrecht, in a case in which Willem Gerritz, miller, testified that Griet Maes was evading the city grain tax. The document does not specify that Wulpher and Willem were brothers, and if such were the case, it is likely that this would have been discussed in the document on May 16, 1616. Hendrick Jansz and Hasgen Thonis made the last payment on the bleach camp which they had purchased from Wolfert Gerretse and Neeltge Jacobsdochter, and the property was made over to them on Oct 28, 1616. He purchased from Aert van Schayck and his wife Anna Barents a house on the Langegraft in Amersfoort, which lay between the house of the aforesaid Aert on the one side and that for Henrickgen Barents widow of Aelbert Conrneiss on the other side, while the breadth of the house lay on the Lievevrouwestraet (Dear Lady Street). Wolphert was listed as a baker on Jan 30, 1617 at Langegraft, Amersfoort, Nederland. Within a short time, Wolphert placed three mortgages on this house. Perhaps the transactions with Zieboltz were unprofitable, and this was one of the causes for his need for money. On February 15, 1617, Wulpher Gerritss baker and his wife Neeltgen Jacobsdr borrowed 100 guilders from the Armen te Amersfoort on which he agreed to pay 6 guilders per year. On May 16, 1617, Wulphert Gerritss, baker, and his wife Neeltgen borrowed 200 guilders from Cornelis Baecx van der Tommen at a yearly interest of 12 guilders. On Jul 25, 1617, Wulphert Gerritss baker and his wife Neeltgen Jacobsdochter borrowed 250 guilders from Anna Goerts widow of Franck Frandkss at 15 guilders interest per year.

On January 3, 1618, Wulphert Gerritsz and his wife Neeltgen Jacobs purchased a bleach camp outside the Coppelpoort of Amersfoort with Hubert Lambertsz Moll and his wife Geertgen Cornisdochter as their partners. They borrowed 500 Carolus Guilders from Ghijsbert Cornelisz van Cuijlenburch, a citizen of the city of Utrecht, at an annual interest of 25 guilders and 20 slivers. In addition, Hubert Lamberts and his wife Geertje Cornelisdochter contracted a special mortgage of 400 Carolus guilders with the consent of Wulffert Gerritsz and his wife. On the north side of the property lay the River Eem, on the east the city moat and on the south and west the heirs of Gerrit van Speulde. This propety came with two other mortgages: 200 guilders to the Poth and 600 guilders to Jo. Catharina van Morendael not yet conveyed to her. In a codicil, Wulpher Gerritsz baker and his wife Neeltgen Jacobs become party to the mortgage of Hubert Lambertsz Moll and his wife Geertge Cornelis for 400 guilders with interest on Ghijsbert Cornelisz van Culenborch, with restriction that Wulpher would pay 150 guilders in the year 1618 and thereafter be free of obligation. In the margin is a notation that Dirck van Cullenburch as heir of his father Gysbert van Culenburch acknowledged that the obligation on the mortgage was fully paid on Mar 5, 1628.

In the seventeenth century, a bleach camp was a capital intensive, seasonal business which required the labor of relatively many workers. Profits were meager because the buyers of the finished product and the suppliers of raw matierials such as lye were generally the same persons, and they acted to keep their costs and thus the profits of the bleachers low. There were three types of bleaching activities, and the skills and experience reqiuired of workers was generally so high that each bleachery specialized in but one sort of material: Yarn (garenblekerij), woven cloth (lijnwaadblekerij), or clothing (klerenblekerij). In all three cases, the material was first generally cooked in a lye solution and later sleach house where it was kept damp. Later, it was cooked in a solution ood, the entire process requiring about three months. The consequences of this long procedure was that only wealthy people were the customers of clothing bleachers because only they could afford to part with many items of clothing for so long a time.

No equipment of the bleach camp listed in the purchase document for Wolphert are given. So no indication of what type of bleachery Wolphert purchased. The bleach camp he sold in 1612 included a bleach table, meaning it may have been a cloth bleach camp. Wulphert Gerritss baker and his wife Neeltge Jacobs contracted a mortgage with Coenraet Fransz, former mayor of the city of Amersfoort, for 100 guilders at an annual interest of 6 guilders, with the house of Wulphert on the Langegracht as security, which house lay between the house of Aert van Schayck and that of Hendrickgen Speldemaeckster.

It does not appear that Wolfert's endeavor as bleacher met with great success, and this may have been caused by a general malaise in the weavers trade in Amersfoort in this period, which in turn lay on a lack of capital. Because Wolfert's work was dependent on this industry, he was limited as a businessman by the lack of success of the parent industry. On September 17, 1618. Wolphert was appointed guardian over the five under aged children of Willem Gerritsz Couwenhoven."

From NYGBR, issues October 1997 and January 1998:

"Wulffer Geridtz, bleacher residing by the Coppelpoort and Harman Willemsz citizen of Amersfoort as "bloetvoochden" (blood guardians) of the five sons of Willem Gerridsz Couwenhoven, namely Gerridt, Willem, Jan, Harmen, and Willem the Younger, none of whom had yet reached the age of majority, made an agreement with the mother of the children Neeltgen Willemsdochter the widow of Willem Gerridtsz assisted by the owner of Cowenhoven the honorable Johan de Wijs.

This document indicates that Wolfert Gerritse had a brother Willem and that he was the tenant of the farm which was owned by Johan de Wijs. This document indicates that Wolfert is connected to the Couwenhoven by Hoogland. It is at the same time possible that he was also linked to the Couwenhoven near Woudenberg because he was a son of Gerrit Willemsz van Couwenhoven, but documentation for this has not been discovered on Nov 5, 1622. Beermt van Munster made a deposition under oath before the lieutenant, the schout, and the schepenen Dam and Bronchorst at the request of the (police) officer. He stated that the previous Saturday afternoon he had caught a bucket of fish by the Coppelpoort bridge and had given half of it to Wulphert the bleacher according to an agreement which they had made, and that Beernt had caught a small number of fish threafter. Wulpher and Harmen Teut then took these fish from Beernt, and they would not divide them with him. Wulpher took the net and tried to give it to his wife. Harman hit Beernt in the eye with a weight in the net, but by then, it was ripped. Beernt then went to the defense of his wife, and Wulpher drew his knife and threatened him without harming him. Dirck Gerritsz, stevedore, using well-chosen words, separated the people from each other. On April 1 1623, Dirch Gerrisz was heard at the request of the officer and made a similar deposition under oath on Mar 24, 1623. Hubert Moll and his wife Geertgen Cornelis sold a bleach camp to Wulpher Gerritsz bleacher and his wife in which they had been residing. This was situated in Amersfoort outside the Coppelpoort. The property description differs slightly from that given for the land transaction of 1618, but the mortgages are the same. It is likely that this is the same ground that Wulpher Gerritsz and Hubert Moll purchased then. On the date of purchase in 1623, Wulpher Gerritss sold this property to Monsieur Jacques Chiese Cuirass(ier) of the company of his Princely Excellency (Maurits?) and the purchaser assumed the mortgages.

This is the last document pertaining to Wolfert Gerritse that has been discovered in the archives of Amersfoort.

He immigrated between 1624 and 1625 to New Amsterdam, New York. He and Neeltgen Jacobsdochter immigrated in June, 1625 to New Nederland; or July 1625, with his wife and family on a ship of the Dutch West India Company which sailed in the expedition that was comprised of the ships Mackerel, Horse, Cow and Sheep. Wolfert returned to the Nederland in 1629. He returned from the Nederland on board "de Endracht" (the Unity) on May 24, 1630. There exists a letter from Kiliaen van Rensselaer to Wolfert which I have to get from sources. At this time Wolfert was in the Netherlands and the letter had to do with terminating Wolfert's contract with van Rensselaer and mentions that Wolfert's wife was unhappy living in New Nederland. In the letter Van Rensselaer states he would not want someone who was not happy working for him to remain in his employ under the circumstances. It was a friendly letter. According to the source there are several letters for Wolfert from van Rensselaer.

He purchased "Keskateuw" located on Long Island from the Indians. Here was established the first known white settlement on Long Island. Wolphert called his "plantation" Achterveldt, shown on the Manatu Map of New Netherlands as farm No. 36 near the Indian long house to the Kestachau tribe. Wolphert's house surrounded by palisades, was the focal pont of the village of New Amersfoort, later called Flatlands on Jun 30, 1636. He got "Smal Civil Rights" on Apr 18, 1657. Wolfert Gerritsen van Couwenhoven was named in a suit filed by Frans Jansen regarding a dispute over a contract in which Jansen was to buy land from Wolfert. This was the first time the name van Couwenhoven was mentioned in reference to Wolfert, on Oct 20, 1661."

[Copyright 1999 by David Kipp Conover -All Rights Reserved]

There is conflicting information regarding some aspects of Wolfert Gerritz van Couwenhoven, as evidenced from the following by S.R. Durand:

"In the marriage records of the Reformed Dutch Church in Amersfoort, Holland, the first entry for the year 1605 is the banns on January 9 of Wolfert Gerrit's son and Neltgen Jan's daughter, both from Amersfoort. The daughter's name was Neeltje, and they were married January 17, 1605. Wolfert Gerritsz van Couwenhoven first came to America in 1625, where he was "head farmer" until 1629, when he returned to Holland. His father was Gerrit Wolferts Suype, who married Styne Roberts. He was a prominent citizen of Nykerk, and was buried under the chancel of the church there on December 12, 1604. His descendants adopted the name "van Couwenhoven." On June 16, 1630, Wolfert Gerritsz van Couwenhoven, having already been in America, signed a contract to manage the van Rensselaer estates. He sailed back to America on March 21, 1630 on the ship "Eendracht" and arrived at New Amsterdam on May 24, 1630. For several years, he managed the Patroon van Rensselaer estates in the vicinity of what is now Albany, New York, and also in Manhattan. He resided in New Amsterdam on a farm known as Bouwerie number 6. On June 16, 1637, he, with Andrus Hudde, received a patent for property on Long Island at Flatlands. Two years later he bought out Andrus Hudde's rights in this estate, and bought other lands. He named the early name of Flatlands, Nieuw Amersfoort, commemorating his birthplace. His estate comprised 3,600 acres and was first called "Kesateuw" from an Indian deed. Later it was named "Achterveldt" before it became Nieuw Amersfoort. In 1653, Wolfert Gerritsz van Couwenhoven was sent as a commissioner to Holland. On April 18, 1657, he received the Burgher right, one of the first in New Nederland to receive this honor. He died between March 2 and June 4, 1662, his wife Neeltje having died before him."
Alt. Death: 1662 Amersfoort, Utrecht, Nederland

DEATH: Also shown as Died Bet 2 Mar 1662 and 24 Jun 1662

Family Note

MARRIAGE: Reformed Dutch

 Sources

  • Individual:
    - Kemp, M.S.F. (Central Bureau Voor Genealogie (The Hague: Part 50, Dec. 16, 1996).6, 1996). - Kemp, M.S.F. (Central Bureau Voor Genealogie (The Hague: Part 50, Dec. 16, 1996). - Kemp, M.S.F. (Central Bureau Voor Genealogie (The Hague: Part 50, Dec. 16, 1996). - 0 - Footnote - Kemp, M.S.F. (Central Bureau Voor Genealogie (The Hague: Part 50, Dec. 16, 1996). - ShortFootnote - Kemp, M.S.F. (Central Bureau Voor Genealogie (The Hague: Part 50, Dec. 16, 1996). - Bibliography - Kemp, M.S.F. (Central Bureau Voor Genealogie (The Hague: Part 50, Dec. 16, 1996).
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    - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com. - 0 - Footnote - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com - ShortFootnote - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com - Bibliography - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com.
  • Birth, death: Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com. - 0 - Footnote - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com - ShortFootnote - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com - Bibliography - Conover, David Kipp davidconover.ged www.worldconnect.rootsweb.com.

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Jan Couwenhoven ? ? Wolfert x ? ?
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Gerrit Jansz Couwenhoven ca 1533-1604 ? Wolfertsdochter x
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Wolfert Gerritsen van Couwenhoven /1579-1662