Challenge for you...

Started by George J. Homs on Thursday, June 23, 2011


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6/23/2011 at 10:19 AM

I throw a challenge to this group :-)
Today, I added very brief profiles of the settlements in New Netherland that actually developed as cities: New York and Albany. In fact, both places were incorporated as cities (New Amsterdam and Beverwyck, respectively) within our timeframe (1609-1674). I'm not sure if incorporation is the right criterium.
So, my challenge to you is to find other places :-) New Haarlem? Kingston? Bergen?
I don't know. Did they become formal cities in the 17th century? Perhaps we need another criterium?
What I find particularly interesting, is if we can give numbers for the homes/people in those places in the 17th century - simply because it gives us some perspective. Plus, for both NY and Albany I found lists of the families living there (admittedly, Albany quite late in the century - but it certainly helps).

6/23/2011 at 10:30 AM


Yes, incorporation is the correct term.

We could make a list of the municipalities and a timeline?


On May 27, 1647, Peter Stuyvesant was inaugurated as director general upon his arrival, and ruled as a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. The colony was granted self-government in 1652 and New Amsterdam was formally incorporated as a city February 2, 1653.[10]

[10] Ellis, Edward Robb (1966). The Epic of New York City. Old Town Books. p. 57.

6/23/2011 at 10:35 AM

Thanks Erica. What I was wondering is whether incorporation would be a good criterium. Perhaps we need to so which settlements really had the nucleus already to become a city?
I just like to refer to New York City. Though incorporated in 1653, New York today considers 1625 as the year of foundation - basically because of the construction of Fort Amsterdam.
Perhaps we need to have a look at the other historical places and see if they do the same? For instance, what does Bergen NJ say as its year of foundation, etc...
Probably all those modern cities must give a year for their 'official' foundation. Perhaps our New Amsterdam project may be the place where we honor that?

6/23/2011 at 10:44 AM

They do do the same! i.e., refer to separate dates for "founding" and "incorporation as a municipality."

The terminology in English varies depending on the legal structure of the entity. In the South and New England, they refer to "Original Planters" for the "first settlers" -- they "planted" the "plantation" in this quaint and antiquated use of English.

In New England, where the town structure was democratic, there's no reference to "original planters." Instead the legal term was "freeman" (which has nothing to do with "slavery" -- don't ask how long that one confused me. :) )

Now with Bergen, be careful. It's a "county" in New Jersey but a "township" of NORTH Bergen. (There is no SOUTH Bergen).

6/23/2011 at 10:51 AM

n.b. here's a nice history of Bergen County:

A town I am familiar with that I'd like to work on is Bayonne, New Jersey. There is an enchanting novel called "A Winter's Tale"

A child of an immigrant couple denied admission at Governors Island, Peter Lake arrives in America on a miniature model ship called City of Justice. He is found and adopted by the Baymen of the Bayonne Marsh, who send him off to Manhattan when he comes of age.

So -- I've been fascinated by "The Baymen of the Bayonne Marsh" and wanted to find out any historic basis every since!

6/23/2011 at 11:27 AM

Bayonne? Sounds so French to me. And, damn, now I want to read about Peter Lake too!

6/23/2011 at 12:29 PM

Butting in here since this showed up on my Connecticut, we separate by "settled," "founded," and "incorporated." My town was settled in the 1600s (that's when the first English people moved in), founded in the 1700s (that's when it received a distinct legal identity as a named parish), and incorporated in the 1800s (that's when it became its own town). So as you're getting more familiar with American records, George, those are terms you might come across.

6/23/2011 at 1:50 PM


"Settled," "Founded" and "Incorporated" are great terms and I would love there to be consistency across all of colonial America. Does it apply to the Southern Colonies, do you know? For my out West family they used the term "Pioneer" for families but I don't know what they used for the town entities (and yes I'm an Idaho and Oregon Pioneer descendant, feel free to make potato jokes in my direction ...)

6/23/2011 at 1:54 PM

Here's history of Bayonne NJ:

The first reference to Bayonne in history is in 1609 when Henry Hudson stopped there before proceeding on his journey up the river which would later bear his name. He called this tip of the peninsula which jutted out into Newark Bay, "Bird's Point". The Dutch as part of New Amsterdam later claimed this land, along with New York and the rest of New Jersey. In 1646, the land was granted to Jacob Jacobson Roy, a gunner at the fort in New Amsterdam (now Manhattan), and named "Konstapel's Hoeck" (Gunner's Point in Dutch).

As for the name "Bayonne," I had always assumed it was named somehow after the town of Bayonne in France. I had also assumed it would be easy to check. I may be wrong on the first assumption, and definitely wrong on the second. Although I have many references to Bayonne history at my disposal, none mention how it was named.

5/26/2017 at 10:39 PM

How's the challenge going ;)

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