Grietje Reyniers (1602 - 1666) MP

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Birthplace: Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Death: Died in Gravesend, NY, USA
Managed by: Phillip William Dodge
Last Updated:

About Grietje Reyniers

Grietje Reyniers was born 1602 in Amsterdam, Estates-General of the United Provinces (Netherlands) to Johannes Rieniers and Jannetje. Some sources have her first name spelled Grietjen or Grietse. She married first Aelbert Egberts. Later, she married Anthony Jansen Van Salee on board ship. Some sources say this marriage date was 16 Dec 1629.

Most stories claim Grietje and Anthony got married enroute across the Atlantic, though some say they met in New Amsterdam and simply went aboard to get married. Those that claim they met in New Amsterdam say she came aboard the Soutberg but even these stories contradict themselves with some saying she filled suit against two sailors who used 'crude' languague at her, while others (the Van der Zee's) say "... she was not mean with her favors, so I assume she travelled first class and a witness testified that as the Soutberg left to return to Amsterdam he had heard the crew call out to Grietse, "Whore, Whore two pound's butter whore" whereupon she lifted up her petticoat and [turning to] the crew pointed to her behind and slapped her backside saying: "Blaes my daer achterin."

Other stories of testimonials say that Grietse had previously entered Fort Amsterdam and announced: "I have long enough been the whore of the nobility; from now on I shall be the whore of the rabble, and having two children with her said: I shall take these bastards right away and dash their brains out against the wall."

Francis Ferraro at GenForum writes:

"The marriage certificate describes Grietje as "from Wesel, Germany", although her parents were both from the Netherlands. Various authors insinuate that she used her wiles on him, being older than he, but he never seemed to mind. She apparently worked in a tavern in the Netherlands as a young woman, but she was fired for acting inappropriately. Given the reputations of taverns in the Renaissance, one wonders what she did that was so bad as to get her fired. She was also an argumentative woman, so perhaps was the perfect match for Anthony, who enjoyed a good lawsuit against his neighbors."

Anthony and Grietje had four children together. Grietje possibly had two more children not from marriage.

Children of Grietje and Anthony Jansen Van Salee:

  • Annica Antonise Jansen b. about 1632 in New Amsterdam. m. Thomas Southard
  • Cornelia Jansen b. before 1638. m. William Jansen Van Borkelo
  • Sara Jansen
  • Eva Jansen b. before 1640. m. Ferdinandus Van Sickelen in 1660.

•~> worth further research (?) Who was his mother? Confirmation needed...The profile of his father contends that Anthony's mother wasn't "the Concubine" but yet another person... (note of Jan. 2014) died 1669 or before in Gravesend, Kings Co., New York. One source showed April 24, 1666.

-Grietje Reyniers-

Fancifully described as the first prostitute of New Amsterdam. "Manhattan's first and most famous prostitute." (See "Sex and the City: The Early Years. A bawdy look at Dutch Manhattan." It paints a picture of her being less a woman of ill repute and more a liberated woman. Also see "The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of the Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America?)

Historical literature dealing with the Dutch settlements on Long Island describes Grietje as “a disagreeable foul mouthed old woman”.

May 11, 1647 at the celebrations of Kieft's replacement: "Anthony "The Turk" van Salee and his wife Griet Reyniers - both respectable now, but still cantankerous - and their four daughters" (pg 165)

Recommended Reading

The fictional novel, "The Drowning Room" by Michael Pye (Penguin Books, NY 1995), Is based on her. It was an excellent, if at times confusing (in a good way) story, I would recomend it for any mature reader unless you are going to be researching her yourself. The only reason for that caveat is because he did such an excellent job of blending fictional elements with historically confirmable facts, that makes it dificult after reading it to keep straight which parts were fiction and which facts. The story begins after the death of Anthony "The Turk" (though he actually outlived her in reality, but it makes for an interesting psychological starting point) and the wait for the spring thaw to bury him, during which she tells her life story.

Sources

  • "Sex and the City: The Early Years" (see sources tab)
  • "New York Genealogical and Biographical Record" by Hazel Van Dyke Roberts (see documents under media tab)
  • "The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan atd the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America" by Russel Shorto (see documents under media tab for excerpt)

•~> There is a series of historical anecdotes in Shorto's book that studies the relationship between Grietje Reyniers and New Amsterdam Director Wouter Van Twillers. This is perhaps a more sobering rendition of exaggerations surrounding this colorful individual.

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Grietje Reyniers's Timeline

1602
1602
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
1626
September 26, 1626
Age 24
1629
December 15, 1629
Age 27
New Amsterdam
1632
1632
Age 30
New York, Kings, New York, United States
1635
1635
Age 33
1638
1638
Age 36
New Amsterdam, New York, United States
1639
1639
Age 37
New York, USA
1641
1641
Age 39
Gravesend,Kings,New York,USA
1666
April 24, 1666
Age 64
Gravesend, NY, USA
1669
1669
Age 64
Hempstead, New York, United States