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A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times
7: Adult Freeholders — Jan Pieterse Mebie

Prof. Jonathan Pearson

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[This information is from pp. 130-133 of A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times; being contributions toward a history of the lower Mohawk Valley by Jonathan Pearson, A. M. and others, edited by J. W. MacMurray, A. M., U. S. A. (Albany, NY: J. Munsell's Sons, Printers, 1883). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 974.744 P36, and copies are also available for borrowing.]

[Copies of this book are available from the Schenectady County Historical Society.]

[The original version uses assorted typographical symbols to represent footnotes. To improve legibility, the online version uses the form (page number - note number.)]

Jan Pieterse, of the Woestyne, married Anna, daughter of Pieter Jacobse Borsboom. His home lot in the village was on the east side of Church street, to the north of the Dutch church, and had a breadth in front and rear of 108 feet, and depth of 206 feet.

He was in possession of this lot before 1690, having purchased it, probably, from the administrators of Jan Janse Jonckers. (130-3) His son Abraham inherited it after him. On the 6th April, 1708, the trustees of Schenectady, to wit, Johannes Sanderse Glen, Adam Vrooman, Gysbert Marselis and Arent Vedder, gave a new conveyance to Jan Mebie, in the following words; — "Whereas Jan Mebie to our knowledge was in quiet possession of a lot in Schenectady at the destruction of the town in February 1689/90 lying on the street called Cross street [Church], having to the north the heirs of Hendrick Brouwer deceased, on ye south ye town lott [Dutch Church lot], on the east the lot of the heirs of Jan Pootman deceased containing in breadth at ye street 108 feet and behind 107 feet, in length "on ye north and south sides 206 feet wood measure," … "and since the writings are lost or consumed in the destruction of said town, said trustees confirm said lot to said Mebie."

This lot is now divided into two lots and owned by Mrs. Washington and Mrs. Benjamin.

His farm was on the Third flat on the south side of the river about eight miles above the village. The whole flat, consisting of 127 acres of lowland, was patented in 1680, to Daniel Janse Van Antwerpen by Governor Andros, and in 1706 Daniel Janse sold the westerly half, comprising 63 acres, 79 rods, to Jan Pieterse (131-1), who, by his will made in 1725, bequeathed it to his son Jacob. It was then described as lying between lands of Jacobus Peek on the east, and of Pieter Vrooman on the west. (131-2) The descendants of Jan Pieterse still occupy this farm. (131-3)

In 1697, Rodè, a Mohawk sachem, called by the christians, Dirk, with consent of all the other Indians, granted a parcel of land on both sides of Tionnondorogoes [Schoharie] creek, commonly known by the name of Kadaroda, to Jan Pieterse in consideration that his wife "is something related to the christian castle." (132-1)

His wife likewise inherited from her father (Borsboom) a quarter part of bouwery No. 7 of the hindmost allotment on the Bouwland, and a portion of Borsboom's lots on the southerly and easterly corners, of Front and Washington streets. (132-2)

Mebie also owned the easterly half of the Fifth or Wolf flat, lying opposite to his farm on the north side of the river, which by his will made April 3, 1725, he devised to his eldest son Pieter. This flat, separated from the Fourth flat by Jan Mebie's or Fifth flat kil, consisted of 25 to 30 (acres ?) morgens of land. It was conveyed to Jan Mebie, 23 May, 1716, by the patentees of Schenectady for 300 pounds, and a reserved rent of 15 skipples of wheat, which was paid by all successive owners until 1854, when it was commuted. (133-1)

On the 3d Feb., 1715/6, Cornelis Teunise, eldest son and heir of Teunis Swart, conveyed to Jan Mebie "a pasture bounded west [east] by land of "late belonging to Gerrit Bancker deceased, now unto Willem Abrahamse [Tietsoort] of Dutchess county, east [west] by lands lately belonging to Barent Janse [Van Ditmars] deceased now unto Harmanus Vedder, length 92 rods, — breadth by the river 15 rods and by the highway 17 rods by virtue of a patent granted by Governor Lovelace to said Teunis Cornelise [Swart] dated Sept. 10, 1670. (133-2) Jan Mebie also received conveyance of another parcel of pasture ground on the north side of Front street, Feb. 12, 1710/1, "having to the west the lot of Johannes Teller, east the lot of Harmanus Vedder, south the highway [Front street], north the Mohawk river," by virtue of a conveyance from Jan Van Eps and Evert Bancker, 15th Aug., 1698. This conveyance was from Marten Cregier and Jannetie his wife, heirs of Maritie Damens. This lot commenced 114 feet Eng., east of North street and had a front on Front street of 395 feet. In 1714, the west half of this pasture was in occupation of Marten Van Benthuysen brother-in-law of Jan Mebie, who sold the easterly half to Willem Claase Van Coppernol. (133-3)

Besides the bequests above mentioned to his sons Jacob and Pieter, he left to his youngest son Abraham, his house and lot on Church street, one of his pasture lots on Front street and his quarter of bouwery No. 7, — to his daughter the half of his land at Kadoritha for life, afterwards to his sons Pieter and Jacob; the three sons to pay to their seven sisters, 650 pounds. (133-4)

Notes

(130-3) Deeds, V, 80.

(131-1) Deeds, V, 79; VI, 215; Will in Court of Appeals office.

(131-2) Subsequently he removed and settled to the eastward of Daniel Janse.

(131-3) [The Mebee house is doubtless the oldest house in the Mohawk valley, if not in the State of New York.

It was in existence in 1706, the year that Jan Mebee purchased a portion of the Third flat from Daniel Janse Van Antwerpen. Its walls are of heavy stones, drawn from the neighboring mountain side, laid up without mortar but with joints pointed on outside and plastered inside. The roof is in the pointed gable style so easy to build and so common in the early settlements in New Netherlands. The principal door is at the east end. It is ancient as the heavy iron hinges and latch and its construction indicate. It is in two parts common to old Dutch doors which were said to let the light in while the pigs were kept out.

The window frames are heavy timbers and the sashes are of the strong hand-made kind with very heavy sash bars holding quite small glass.

The interior consists of a first and second floor and attic space in the peak of the roof, being floored on the "hammer beams." This attic having doubtless been in frequent use as a spy loft during the Indian wars which the old house has seen.

The ceiling of the lower story is formed by the planed underside of the second floor — this and the heavy joints are discolored by age but are polished by careful rubbing for nearly two centuries.

The house is situated on a bluff at the edge of the Mohawk and at the concave side of a bend commanding a view of the river for a considerable distance in either direction.

It is the writer's belief that this house, at least its stone walls, date from 1670-80 when Daniel Janse Van Antwerp occupied and received a patent for the land in the centre of which it stands.

Other buildings have been added near to it (within a few yards) to suit present needs and there have been rumors that the old house is to give place to a more modern and convenient structure. In view of the fact that a brick or stone wing across the end would connect the detached brick building and afford increased space with all modern conveniences and yet preserve unaltered this old hofstede to the Mebee family, and a time honored land mark in the Mohawk valley — its destruction would be regretted. — M'M.]

(132-1) Patents, 1579; Deeds, VI, 215.

(132-2) See Borsboom.

(133-1) Col. MSS, XXVIII; Toll Papers; Will, Court of Appeals; Deeds, XVII, 312.

(133-2) Toll Papers.

(133-3) Deeds, V, 232.

(133-4) Will of Jan Pieterse Mebie.

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