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A History of the Schenectady Patent in the Dutch and English Times
7: Adult Freeholders — Jan Baptist Van Eps

Prof. Jonathan Pearson

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[This information is from pp. 177-179 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 the eldest son of Jan Dirkse Van Eps; was born in 1673, and married Helena, daughter of Johannes Sanderse Glen, in 1699, and had eleven children, five sons and six daughters, all of whom save one, reached mature age and had families.

When Schenectady was destroyed in 1690, he was carried away to Canada, where he remained three years but finally escaped in the following manner:

"1692/3 Feb. 8, Wed. about 2 o'clock afternoon we had the alarm from Schenectady that the French and their Indians had taken the Maqas castles; soon after we had the news that a young man named Jan Baptist Van Eps (taken at Schenectady 3 years ago), was run over from the French, as they were to attack the first castle of the Mohogs, and came to Schenectady, who related that the French were 350 Christian and 200 Indians." (177-3)

During his captivity with the Indians he had acquired a knowledge of the Indian language and was subsequently often employed as interpreter and embassador to the Five nations. (177-4)

"In 1701, the Mohawk sachems granted five small islands at Canastagiowne to Jan Baptist Van Eps and Laurens Claes [Van der Volgen], to be equally divided between them." (177-5)

In 1706 he was living on the east corner of State and Jay streets, the latter being his private lane leading to his land in the rear and along Coehorne creek upon which he had a corn mill, situated a few rods above Lafayette street. His ample lot on the north corner of State and Church streets and hindmost bouwery No. 2, he subsequently sold to Arent Bratt and Jacobus Van Dyck. (178-1)

In Feb., 1701/2 the trustees of Schenectady conveyed to Jan Baptist Van Eps, his deed being lost, "a lot at the east end of Schenectady bounded south by the high street [State] in breadth 9 rods, west by Symon Groot Jr., and the commons as far as Niskayuna high road [Union Street], and so upward eastwardly to a great pine, and from thence south east to ye hill [Prospect] to another marked tree, and from thence south to a kil [Coehorne], which is his east [west] boundary, containing seven morgens." (178-2)

The portion of this parcel fronting upon State street, extended from the west side of Jay street to Coehorne kil, nine rods or 108 feet; on Union Street it extended from the lot of Mrs. Jackson No. 152, along the old Niskayuna road to the foot of Prospect Hill. That portion of this land fronting upon Union street came into possession of Isaac Quackenbos from whom it descended to his late son, Johannes and through his daughter to Abraham O. Clute.

There was also conveyed to him another "lot on the south side and west end of the town over the town bridge [in Water street], in length on the "south side 126 ft. bounded with the highroad [Water street], on the west also the highroad, to ye north a small creek, to ye east Claas Van Boekhoven." (178-3) This lot was on the east corner of Water and Washington streets; in 1729, it belonged to Annatie, daughter of Jan Baptist Van Eps, wife of Ahasuerus Wendel. (178-4)

At the same time the trustees conveyed to him a third lot of ground near the last, "having to ye north the highroad [Water street] being 133 feet, — the west side also ye high road 153 ft. — south Symon Groot being 133 ft., — east Claas Van Boekhoven 153 ft." (178-5) This lot was probably on the south corner of Water street and the old river road, which at that time occupied the place now covered by the Binnè kil. (179-1)

On the 14 Oct., 1762, Edward Collins, innkeeper, gave to John Baptist Van Eps (perhaps son of the above Jan Baptist), "a house and lot on the south end of Schenectady on the north-easterly side of a street leading from where the Old Church stood to Albany [State street], on the northerly side of a road that leads from said road to the grist-mill of said John Baptist Van Eps [Jay street], — in breadth in front 55 feet, — in rear one chain 60 links, — in length on both sides 6 chains." (179-2) The front portion of this lot is now covered by Union Hall.

In addition to the above parcels of ground in the village, Jan Baptist also owned the foremost farm No. 8, on the bouwland. This was originally patented to Marten Cornelise Van Isselsteyn by whom it was sold Oct. 23, 1668, to Claas Frederickse Van Petten and Cornelis Cornelise Vielè; the former immediately sold his moiety, being the foremost bouwery, to Jan Dirkse Van Eps, and in Feb., 1701/2, the trustees of Schenectady gave a confirmatory deed of the same to his son and heir Jan Baptist, (179-3) his deed being lost, in which it is described as "a lot containing 12 morgens, bounded north by ye path, or highway [river road], south by ye hills, or woods, east by Pieter Jacobsen's [Borsboom] lot now in occupation of Gysbert Gerritse [Van Brakel], and west by a small kil or creek [Poenties kil], all wood measure."

This farm has remained in the family till this day.

He had also another village lot at the north end and on the east side of Washington street, bought of Myndert Van Guyseling July 5, 1728, extending from Pieter Mebie's lot to the river. (179-4)


(177-3) Col. Doc. IV, 16, 370, 497, 499, 559, etc.; Col. MSS., XXXIX, 73.

(177-4) Col. MSS., XLII, 167.

(177-5) Col. Doc., IV, 906. [See ante, p. 77, Five small islands — M'M.]

(178-1) See Bratt and Van Dyck; Deeds, V, 217.

(178-2) Deeds, IV, 332; V, 217.

(178-3) Deeds, IV, 332.

(178-4) Old deed.

(178-5) Deeds, IV, 332.

(179-1) [Rotterdam street (Frog Alley), did not then exist. The road up the river left the gate at south end Church street, followed Water street to the present line of the Binnè kil — thence to the westward along the former bank of the stream. The wearing of the east bank of the Binnè kil by floods, gradually pushed the road back, and finally Rotterdam street — an extension of Handalaers (now Washington) street, was carried across Mill creek and a new line of road was carried back a distance from the river. It was afterwards made to conform to the line of the Erie canal, as at present. — M'M.]

(179-2) Deeds, VII.

(179-3) Patents, 527; Deeds, II, 741; Deeds, IV, 332.

(179-4) Deeds, III, 99; XIX, 193.

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