Thursday, May 3, 2018

Making dough in America

They came by ship from Amsterdam to America, signed on for four years as indentured farmers, and in some cases as laborers and workers, to the wealthy Dutch diamond merchant, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer. They were on their way to a settlement called Rensselaerswyck.

Willem Juriaensz, the Baker

One such person was Willem Juriaensz, commonly called Willem the Baker (Bakker). Once, called Capitaijn, in 1646 and again, in 1650, Capiteijn Willem Jeuriaens, no doubt a reference to his prior career as a sea captain. Arriving in Rensselaer's colony in 1638, he worked on various farms as a baker, but beginning in 1644, was sentenced to banishment for misdeeds, and then reprieved.

One story goes something like this. Jochem Becker accused the old captain of stealing his hens. Jacob Willemz took up the captain's side in this story, saying, "What do you mean, they are the old captain's hens?" Becker called to Willemz to come out of the house. Willemz refused, and promptly Becker rushed in and giving him a sound beating and grabbing him by the throat, called him an "old dog". Willemz fought back as he could, and called Becker "a dog and a son of a bitch".

Whether the old captain stole the chickens was not, this time, a question for the court.

In 1647, he was again sentenced to banishment for attacking one, de Hooges with a knife. (This de Hooges, is presumably Antony de Hooges, business manager of Rensselaer's colony.) In 1650, despite his multiple reprieves, he was again sentenced to banishment to the Manhatans, but released to settle his affairs.

He struck up a relationship with Jan van Hoesen, and entered into a contract as baker dated Jan. 30, 1650. In November of 1651, Old Man Juriaensz (he was now 72), refused to honor the contract, and by January of 1652, the court gave Jan van Hoesen "permission to occupy the erf" (lot, or bakery) on the condition that the Old Man could live in the adjoining house "ofte de gelegenheijt," as long as he lived.
 O'Callaghan, History of New Netherland, 1, pages 437 and 438;
Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts, page 820

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