Old Bergen

Chapter VIII.

Daniel Van Winkle

Published 1902

Web version, edited by GET NJ
Copyright 2002

ON the recall of Minuit, in 1632, Wouter Van Twiller was appointed Director General, and arrived at New Amsterdam in the spring of 1633. His administration seems to have been singularly unfortunate; he was wanting in executive ability, being unable to control or direct others. He was finally removed, and was succeeded by William Kieft, in 1637.

Kieft was a politician of the more advanced type, whose peculiar talents would have received instant recognition in this present century. He was very energetic, with unbounded confidence in his own opinion and judgment, and but little respect for the advice of others. On his arrival he found matters in an unsatisfactory state, a general demoralization prevailing. He at once organized a Council, of which he retained entire control, and granted many favors, in the shape of offices and lands, by this means surrounding himself with obsequious and unscrupulous advisers, who were not only willing but eager, to support and advocate any measures that were pleasing to him. He was thus enabled to govern the colonies in an arbitrary manner, and ruled all with an iron hand. Being authorized to make all necessary expenditures and improvements at the fur-trading centers, he built extensive works at Manhatta, and ordered two houses to be built at Pavonia. One was built at Aharsimus (near Henderson and 5th streets), and occupied by Cornelis Van Vorst, and the other at Communipau by Jan Evertsen Bout.

The property occupied by Bout, when he was superintendent of Pauw, was, on the acquisition of the same by the Company, leased to him for six years from June 20, 1638, "at a yearly rent of one. fourth of the crops, whether of corn or produce, and every year two tuns of strong Beer, and twelve Capons free of expense." The property was described as follows:

A piece of land lying on the North River westward from Fort Amsterdam, before there pastured, and tilled by Jan Evertsen, named Gamoenapoeu, and Jan de Lacher's Hoeck (so named from the occupant who was called John the Laugher, because of his mirth-loving propensities, author's note), with the meadows as the same lay without the post and rail fence, containing 84 morgens.
This is the property known as Communipaw, signifying Pauw's community, or settlement, comprising the territory, south of the Mill Creek Point. Bout leased the land near Mill Creek Point to Egbert Wouterson, who resided there with his family.

Kieft's first conveyance of land in what is now Hudson County, was to Abraham Isaacsen Verplanck, dated May 1, 1638, of a tract at Paulus Hoeck, situated westward of the Island of Manhatta, and eastward of Aharsirnus, extending from the North River into the valley, which runs around it there. The plot of ground now known as Hoboken was leased by Kieft to Aert Teunisen Van Putten, for twelve years from January 1, 1641, at a rental of the " fourth sheaf with which God Almighty shall favor the field." He formed here a bouerie, and erected a brew house. Thus was established an industry that has been successfully prosecuted at this place down to the present time. Although Van Putten was killed by Indians in 1643, and his bouerie destroyed, the brew house remained standing. February 5, 1663, this property was granted by Gov. Stuyvesant to Nicholas Verlett, who settled before 1656 on a tract called Hobuck. His title was confirmed by Gov. Carteret by a new grant, May, 12, 1668.

In 1641, Myndert Meyndertson was Patroon over a colony from Newark Bay to Tappan. With the exception of a bouerie west of Cavan Point, occupied by Dirck Straatmaker, these seem to have been the only settlements in what was the territory of Bergen, in 1643. What is now known as Jersey City Heights was covered with dense forests and frequented by native tribes and wild beasts, with possibly one or two clearings used for the cultivation of maize by the Indians; while in place of the crowded tenements and teeming industries of lower Jersey City, there were three islands or mounds, surrounded by lagoons and marshes, which at high tide, were covered with the water of the bay. One of these mounds was located in the territory south of York Street and east of Warren, and contained the trading post and fort of early days, already alluded to, and was afterward, in the Revolutionary times, the site of the battle of Paulus Hook. Another was located west of Barrow Street and between York Street and Railroad Avenue, extending to about the present line of Monmouth Street; while the third was the site in early days of Van Vorst's bouerie, where Dominic Bogardus and his friends were entertained, extending from about the present 6th Street to above Hamilton Square, and east of Cole Street to about Henderson.

Paulus Hook (hook meaning point) was the name by which in early days the southeasternmost section of Jersey City was known. Its name was due to the fact that one Michael Paulaz was stationed there by the West India Company to protect its interests.

De Vries states in his account of his voyages that, as he was about to return to Amsterdam (May, 1633), "coming to the boat on Long Island, night came on and the tide began to turn, so that we rowed to Pavonia; we were there well received by Michael Paulaz, an officer in the service of the Company."