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A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times
7: Adult Freeholders — Laurens Claese Van der Volgen

Prof. Jonathan Pearson

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[This information is from pp. 174-175 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.)]

He was son of Claes Laurense Van der Volgen; at the destruction of the village in 1690, he was carried away captive to Canada by the Indians, with whom he remained several years, acquiring a perfect knowledge of their language and customs.

He was thirteen years of age when adopted by the Indians. Having obtained permission to visit Schenectady, with the promise of returning, his relatives remonstrated with him, but he was firmly determined to go back until his sister cut off his scalp-lock in his sleep. When he awoke and found his lock gone, he asked who had done it. "I," said his sister. "I am disgraced," said he, "and must remain till it is grown." Before that time he became reconciled to the white man's mode of life, and never again resumed his Indian habits. (174-1)

He became an expert and trusted interpreter for the Province, which office he held until his death in 1742. In 1701, Abraham Governeur, speaker of the Provincial Assembly, prayed Gov. Nanfan to use no interpreter for the Indians but Lawrence Claessen, the sworn interpreter. (174-2) His salary was 30 pounds until 1734, when it was raised to 60 pounds. He married first Geertruy, daughter of Claas Van Patten, and secondly Susanna Welleven Sept. 18, 1722. His will was made Aug. 30, 1739, — proved October, 1742 (174-3), and he died Jan. 10, 1742, leaving ten children living.

His village lot was the eastern half of his father's lot; now the site of the Myers' block, he also owned "the hindmost [west] part of the five plains [Fifth flat] containing 12 morgens more or less situate in the Woestyne on the north side of the Mohawk river come to me by the trustees of Schonegteday," — valued at 200 pounds, which farm he bequeathed to his eldest son Claas.

The natives also gave him the half of "five small islands in the Maquase river att Canastagiowne containing about five or six acres between Rosendaal & Cornelis Tymesen's," the lower half, — "in consideration because "he takes much pains in interpreting." (174-4)

Laurens Claese was employed by Domine Freerman in translating passages from the Holy Scriptures and from the liturgy of the Dutch church for the use of the Mohawks. (175-1)


(174-1) Tradition in the family.

(174-2) Legislative Coun., 161, 385, 516; Col. MSS., XLVII, 166, 168.

(174-3) To his eldest son Claas he left "my good [gold] seal ring;" to Neeltie "the silver cup marked L. V. V."; to Maritie "one silver spoon come from the deceased Jannitie Kroon," etc. Will, Court of Appeals office.

(174-4) Col. Doc. IV, 906, 574. [See Five Small Islands; Van Eps.]

(175-1) A copy of this work is in possession of one of his descendants now living in Indiana.

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