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A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times
7: Adult Freeholders — Isaac Cornelise Swits

Prof. Jonathan Pearson

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[This information is from pp. 147-149 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.)]

Two sons of Cornelis Claese Swits (147-3) of New Amsterdam, settled in Schenectady in 1663, to wit, Claas and Isaac. (147-4)

Claas Cornelise Swits was hired Jan. 13, 1663, by Willem Teller to work on his farm No. 5 as bouwknecht. (147-5) Adjoining to this bouwery on the northeast side, was bouwery No. 2, owned by Philip Hendrickse Brouwer. In September, 1663, Claas was plowing his master's land, when Brouwer came along with his gun loaded with shot to shoot ducks, and forbade his ploughing there, ordering him off as he had repeatedly done before.

Thereupon they had some words and finally Brouwer threatened if he did not leave the land, he would shoot him; which he did, and Swits receiving the shot, died about three or four hours later. It was claimed by Brouwer that the injury was greater than he intended, and Swits himself before he died and later all his near relatives, absolved him from the legal consequences of his rash act, as appears by a formal release over their hands and seals executed March 1, 1664/5, and afterwards confirmed by Governor Nichols. (148-1)

It would seem that the cause of this sad accident was a disputed line between the two farms.

Isaac Cornelise Swits alias Kleyn Isaack, was born in New Amsterdam in 1642, and came to Schenectady in 1663 with his brother Claas. The year following, in company with Claas Frederickse Van Petten, he hired of Willem Teller a "bouwerye gelegen op schanechtede bestaende in woonhuys, schuer, bergh en bouwlandt in twee parcelles genomeneert van den lantmeter, No. 5, &c." (148-2)

He married Susanna, daughter of Symon Groot and had nine children, eight of whom were living in 1701 when he made his will. (148-3)

His home lot in the village was on the west side of Washington street opposite the west end of State street, extending to the Binnè kil and southwesterly towards Mill creek.

In 1690 when the village was burned, he and his eldest son Cornelis were carried captive to Canada, but returned the following summer. (148-4) During his absence the Governor ordered his home lot in the village to be taken for the site of a new fort. [Probably one angle of stockade.]

He repeatedly petitioned (148-5) the Governor and Council for remuneration in money (30 pounds) or land, and finally on the 16 April, 1707, was allowed the privilege of receiving from the Indian proprietors a deed for 1,000 acres of land lying along the south side of the Mohawk river, extending from the Aal plaats to Rosendaal, for which a patent was granted Oct. 2, 1708, under the following description, "a tract of woodland on the south side of Canastegione [Mohawk] river, bounded west by the bounds of the woodland of the town of Schenectady, east by the bounds of Canastegione aforesaid, containing 1000 acres from said river southward between the bounds aforesaid." (148-6)

Isaac Swits also had a parcel of woodland south-east of the village, bounded south-west by State street from the Coehorne creek to the easterly side of Nott Terrace, northerly and easterly by the Coehorn kit nearly, and south-easterly by the south-easterly side of Nott Terrace nearly. Portions of this large parcel of land remained in the family until the present generation, when it was divided into house lots and sold.

When Juffrouw's land came into market, after the death of the widow of Arent Van Curler, Isaac Swits purchased a portion thereof, commencing on the Binnè kil a little to the south-east of the late John Myer's farm House on the flats, and extending thence southerly.

In 1702 he purchased of Evert Bancker of Albany, the foremost bouwery No. 6 on the Great Flat, for £183-12; a portion of this farm remained in the family nearly 100 years. (149-1)


(147-3) Dutch MSS., X3 37; Patents G. G., 129; H. H., 23; Gen. Ent., XXIII, 72.

(147-4) See Schenectady Families. — Albany Records, I, 72.

(147-5) [Bouwknecht = farm laborer. — M'M.]

(148-1) Notarial Papers, I, 1, 410.

(148-2) Notarial Papers, I, 439.

(148-3) Will, Court of Appeals office; date of Will April 1, 1701; proved Oct. 4, 1707.

(148-4) Doc. Hist., II, 153, 200.

(148-5) Once Nov. 2, 1704, and again Oct. 21, 1706.

(148-6) Coun. Min., X, 62; Land Papers, IV, 28, 120; Patents, 1638.

(149-1) See Bancker; Patents, 382-3; Deeds, V, 107, 154; and Isaac Swits' Will in Court of Appeals office.

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