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A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times
7: Adult Freeholders — Gysbert Gerritse Van Brakelen

Prof. Jonathan Pearson

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[This information is from pp. 164-167 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.)]

Before coming to Schenectady he was a resident of Albany; his first wife was Reyntje Stephens; on the 23d July, 1693, he married Elizabeth, widow of Jan Van Eps, who outlived him and made her will in 1734. (164-3) Van Brakel made his will Dec. 10, 1709. (164-4)

His lands are particularly described and bounded in a new conveyance to him made Feb. 11, 1702/3 by the trustees of Schenectady, to replace "his writings which were lost when Schenectady was burned."

First. A lot "on the north [east] of said town between Jan Vrooman to the east and Jan Luykase to the west; — in length on the west side 29 rods 4 feet [352 feet], on the east 28 rods 11 feet [374 feet], breadth on the south 50 feet, on the north 59 feet." This lot lies next east of Givens' hotel lot and is now owned by the New York Central Railroad Company.

Second. "A pasture containing five morgens [10 acres] lying behind the lots [on State street] of several people, now improved, — to the west, north and south the commons or vacant land."

This pasture so obscurely described, was bounded by Ferry, Union, Centre and very nearly Liberty streets, which latter was not then in existence.

Third. "A lot bounded east by Goosen Van Oort, south by the highway [State street] north and west by said Gysbert's pasture [last above described and by Ferry street], in length on the north 18 rods 7 1/2 feet [223 1/2 feet], west 14 rods 9 feet [177 feet], and south [on State street] 9 rods 11 feet [119 feet]." (165-1)

This lot was on the east corner of State and Ferry streets, and here Van Brakel lived, just without the south gate, on the fatal night of Feb. 8, 1690, when his son Sander was killed and Stephen was carried away to Canada and probably never returned. It had a front of 119 feet Amsterdam measure, or, say 107 feet English, measured from the palisades which stood in Ferry street, and is now comprised in the property of Messrs. Furman, Steinfuhrer and P. Levi, — Nos. 77 to No. 91, having a front altogether of 98 feet English, the remaining 9 feet being taken by Ferry street.

Van Brakel left two sons living, — Gerrit the eldest and Gysbert; the former by right of primogeniture inheriting the estate, conveyed on Sept. 24, 1716, "to my loving brother-in-law [i, e., half-brother] Gysbert Gysbertse" two of the above lots of ground described as follows:

First. "A lot fronting the street [State] southward that leads from the "eastern (165-2] gate of said town to Albany, 9 rods 11 feet, — to the west the street [Ferry], to the east the lot now in possession of Robert Yates, to the north the pasture ground; — together with the half of said pasture ground behind said lot containing about 2 1/2 morgens or 5 acres, butting the street [Union] northly that leads by Adam Vrooman's brewhouse (165-3) toward Niskayuna, easterly butts the land of the aforementioned Gerrit Van Brakel's half — to the southward by the lots of Lawrence Van der Volgen, Claas Van der Volgen [now lots of Meyer's Stores and Van Horne Hall], Abraham De Graaf, Daniel Danielse [Van Antwerpen], Cornelis Pootman, Jonathan Dyer and the lot above mentioned [hereby conveyed] to said Gysbert Gysbertse Van Brakel." (165-4) Gerrit Van Brakel retained for his share of his father's estate, the lot on State street next east of the Givens' hotel lot, and the easterly half of the before mentioned pasture lot, extending from Centre street to a point a little west of Canal street. These parcels of land Gerrit was entitled to by virtue of his father's will, made 10 Dec., 1709, in which he devised to his son Gerrit, "his lot where Gerrit's house now stands, lying next the lots of Jan Vrooman [on the east] and Arent Danielse [Van Antwerpen] on the west; also his piece of land named Juffrouwsland and half of the pasture [on Union street]." (166-1)

This parcel on Juffrouwsland containing two morgens, lay north-east of the car works upon the lane and was sold by Gerrit 17 April, 1741, to Robert Yates, merchant.

Gysbert Gerritse also received a conveyance Jan. 2, 1698/9 from the justice of the peace, Johannes Sanderse Glen and the gemeenmannen of Schenectady, of an island on the north side of the river, called Kruysbessen (Gooseberry] island lying west of Spuyten Duyvel [island], consideration 32 beavers at 6 guilders each, to be paid within three years; bondsmen his son Gerrit Gysbertse [Van Brakel] and Volckert Symonse [Veeder]. (166-2)

He probably did not long retain possession of this island, for on the 10th April, 1702, Reyer Schermerhorn by virtue of the Dongan patent, conveyed it to Jillis Fonda, who transferred it Sept. 22, 1706, to Hendrick Vrooman and Arent Danielse Antwerpen, comprising two morgens more or less of land, and they sold it to Barent Vrooman Mar. 11, 1708/9 for 21 pounds [$52.50]. (166-3) On the 6th June, 1750, Isaac Swits, mariner, and Maria his wife, by virtue of the will of Barent Vrooman, made 6 Sept., 1748, sold this island to Jacob Glen, since which time it has remained in the Sanders family. (166-4)

In 1702 Gysbert Gerritse also owned bouwery No. 7 on the second piece of land on the Great flat.

On the 10th Mar., 1706/7 the trustees of Schenectady conveyed to Gerrit, son of Gysbert Gerritse Van Brakel, "a piece of woodland on both sides of "Hansen kil [College brook], beginning 15 rods [180 feet] west of Symon Groot's bridge, and runs up said creek the breadth of 24 rods [288 feet], 75 rods [900 feet] making 3 morgens." (166-5)

Simon Groot's bridge over the College brook, or as it was then called Hansen kil, from Hendrick Hansen of Albany, was on the west side of Romeyn street, just within the fence of the Schenectady locomotive works; about one-fifth of the above parcel was within the locomotive works' yard and the adjacent lands north of it and four-fifths was south-east of Romeyn street reaching within the college grounds.


(164-3) This will made Sept. 13, 1734, was proved 22 May, 1735; by it she bequeathed to "my eldest son Jan Baptist Van Eps six shillings for his primogeniture;" "to my son Gysbert Van Brakel 2 3/4 morgens of land of lot No. 7, of hindmost land, beginning by the wood lot of heirs of Evert Van Eps, from thence running in my lot untill he shall include or take in 2 3/4 morgens;" — "to my daughter Maria Brat widow of Dirk Bratt 1 1/2 morgens adjoining the lands of my daughter Elizabeth above mentioned;" "to my daughter Elizabeth Van Vorst the wife of Gillis Van Vorst 1 3/4 morgens of land adjoining Gysbert's above mentioned;" — "to my daughter Sarah Van Antwerpen 3 morgens adjoining the land of my daughter Maria Brat for which she is to pay 50 pounds to my daughter Anna Ten Eyck, widow of Conraet Ten Eyck, viz. £8, 6s. 8d., yearly after my decease untill all is paid." Will in hands of Abm. Van Antwerp, of Swagertown.

(164-4) Wills, I, 129.

(165-1) Deeds, VI, 191.

(165-2) [Southern Gate. — M'M.]

(165-3) This brewhouse stood about where the New York Central Railroad and the Erie Canal cross each other.

(165-4) These lots extend from the east line of Samuel Meyer's lot to Ferry street; — Deeds, VI, 191, 192.

(166-1) Wills, I, 129.

(166-2) Toll Papers.

(166-3) Deeds, V, 97; Sanders Papers.

(166-4) Barent Vrooman's will in Court of Appeals office and Sanders Papers.

(166-5) Dutch Church Papers.

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