Adrienne Cuvellier

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Adrienne Cuvellier

Dutch: Ariaentje Cuvijle
Also Known As: "Adriana CUVEILLE", "Ariantje CUEVILLIER", "Ariantje CUVILIERS", "Adrienne CUVELIER", "Adrianna CUVILJE", "Adriana CUVALJE", "Adrianne Cuville", "Ariaenjte Cuvijle", "Adrianne", "Adrianna", "Cuvaego", "Cuveille", "Ariaentje Vigne (born Cuvellier", "Ariaentje Vigne (born Cuvilje)"
Birthdate: (66)
Birthplace: Valenciennes, Comté de Hainaut, (modern day France)
Death: May 1655 (66)
Beverwijk, Nieuw-Nederland
Place of Burial: New York, New York County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Jean Cuvellier and Ariaentje Cevelyn
Wife of William Vigne and "Old Jan" Jansen Damen
Mother of Maria de la Vigne; Christina Guleyne Vigne; Rachel Vigne; Abraham Vigne, (twin of Sara); Sara Vigne, (twin of Abraham) and 3 others
Sister of Cornelis Janszen Cuvelier

Managed by: Private User
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About Adrienne Cuvellier

Tradition says that Guleyn VIGNE's wife, Ariaentje CUVILJE, had been endowed by her schismatic forbears with a violently rebellious streak, and it was reported in Holland that she played football with Indians' heads brought to Fort Amsterdam after KIEFT's unholy attacks in 1643. Following the massacre of the Indians by the Dutch soldiers at Pavonia, Ariaentje CUVILJE,

"Van TIENHOVEN's mother-in-law, forgetful of those finer feelings which do honor to her sex, amused herself, it is stated, in kicking about the heads of the dead men which had been brought in, as bloody trophies of that midnight slaughter." E. B. O'Callaghan, HISTORY OF NEW NETHERLAND, v.I, p.269.

Her first husband's Will: "We, the underwritten, William WYMAN, blacksmith and Jan Thomaisen GROEN, as good men do attest and certify that before us appeared Dirck VOLCKERSON, the Norman and Ariantje CEVELYN, his wife's mother in order to agree with her children by her lawful husband, deceased; she gives to Maria VIGNE and Christine VIENJE, both married persons each the sum of 200 guilders as their share of their father's estate. To Rachel VIENJE and Jan VIENJE both minor children, each the sum of 33 guilders, under the condition that with her future husband, Jan Jansen DAMEN, she shall be held to keep the said two children in good support, until the come of age, and that she shall be obliged to clothe and feed them and make them go to school as good parents are bound to do."


Adrienne CUVELIER (VIGNE) and her husband Jan Jansen DAMEN owned Manhattan from Pine Street north to Maiden Lane, and from the East River to the Hudson River.

[New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Volume 1, ed. and trans. by Arnold J. F. Van Laer. Baltimore, 1974, The editor, Van Laer, was of the opinion that the year 1632, given as the date of the document, is probably wrong and should be 1635 or later. The document was certified by William Wyman, blacksmith, and Jan Thomaisen Groen, and witnessed by Jacob Albertsen Planck who arrived in New Amsterdam in 1634 on the "Eendracht."]

Adrienne was also a refugee from France. Her last name in Holland was known as "Cuvilje." Known to the Dutch as "Ariantje," she lived until 1655. She married, second, Jan Jansen "Old Jan" Damen (Dumont), another Walloon who had first come to Virginia with the English, and later, in 1624, came north to the Dutch settlement. Jan and Ariantje had no children, and later, when he had built up the family fortune, by land grants and shrewd trading, his wife was his sole heir.


The mother of the first white male child born in the New Netherlands, if we are to believe the testimony of Labadist missionaries Danker and Sluyter, was Ariantje Cuvilje, otherwise Adrienne Cuvellier, a native of Valenciennes, France. Sometime before 1614 she had become the wife of Willem Vinje (Guillaume or Gulian Vigne), an early trader between the cities of the European continent and the Indians of the Americas; and their son, Jean, was born in the future New Netherlands in 1614. Ariantje was in any event one of the earliest settlers of Nieuw Amsterdam, and was in that settlement before even the Rapaljes and the De La Granges.

At first Adrienne Cuvellier resided on a farm near the present Wall and Pearl Streets in New York; but after the death of Guillaume Vigne she was living outside the Wall (het Cingel) in the larger of two houses on the east side of the present Broadway, and which were the fifth and sixth houses portrayed on the Castello plan of 1660. In this place she resided continuously from at least 1632 until her death in 1655.

Guillaume Vigne died before 30 April, 1632, on which date a report was filed by William Weyman and Jan Tomaszen Groen, referees, as to the settlement of the estate made by "Ariantje Cevely" (sic) upon her children. The same day she married Jan Janszen Damen, a prominent burgher of New Amsterdam, and a friend of the Director Willem Kieft. Kieft leased two parcels of land to Jan Janszen Damen 19 April 1638, for 6 years (Ca. Hist. MSS. Dutch, I. A fuller transcript of this Dutch record is contained in Bulletin, Bibliography 46 issued by the New York State Education Department, Albany, N.Y., 1910).

During this time Jan Janszen Damen had trouble with his step-children, which assumed somewhat violent proportions. He instituted court proceedings 21 July 1638 against Abraham Isaacszen ver Planck and Dirck Volkertszen (Holgersen), to have them ordered to quit his house, and to leave him master thereof. Volkertszen countered with a suit for assault, and was ordered by the court to give proof. On the next day, 22 July 1638, Morrits Janszen and Peter de Mey testified before the court regarding an attempt of Jan Damen to throw Dirck Volkertszen's wife "out of doors." This was Adrienne's daughter, Christina. However, as Christina was a sponsor with her step-father 25 May 1642 at the baptism of Susanna, daughter of her brother-in-law Abraham Isaacszen ver Planck, these family differences appear to have been resolved.

Nevertheless Adrienne Cuvellier lived in stormy surroundings. One of her sons-in-law was Cornelis van Tienhoven, who upon the advent of Willem Kieft to the governorship of the New Netherlands, had been made Secretary of the colony, in 1638. In 1640 the governor developed a policy of free trade, designed to encourage immigration; but the manner in which the policy was executed, together with the indiscretions of the stupidly undiplomatic governor, promoted dangerous relations with the Indians. Kieft's attempt to collect a tribute from the Algonkin tribes in the vicinity of Manhattan island provoked the Indian hostilities of 1641-1645. Adrienne, living in her stone house outside of the Wall, must have been concerned for the safety of her relatives and friends, if not for herself, many a night.

The colonists, perceiving that Kieft's methods were leading to disaster, organized a movement whereby they would havea voice in the government. In August, 1641 the governor called an assembly of the heads of families in the neighborhood of Fort Amsterdam to consider the problems of relationships with the Indians. This assembly chose a board of twelve men to represent it, and Jan Janszen Damen served thereon as one of the Great Burghers. Subsequently the board demanded certain reforms, but Kieft later denied its authority to exact promises from him, and discharged them. At another crises in 1643, Kieft was obliged to call a second assembly of the inhabitants. This time a board of eight men, of which Jan Janszen Damen was again a member, was chosen to confer and advise with the governor. It denied his right to levy certain war taxes, and when it had in vain protested to him against his arbitrary measures, it sent a petition in 1644 to the States-General for his recall, and this was granted.

However, high feeling existed between the Dutch and the Indians; and it has been said of Adrienne Cuvellier that when one of her sons-in-law returned from the massacre of the Pavonia Indians in February, 1643, with thirty prisoners and also heads of several of the defunct enemy, she "forgetful of those finer feelings that do honor to her sex, amused herself in kicking about the heads of the dead men which had been brought in a bloody trophies of the midnight slaughter."

During this time, Jan Janszen Damen had become one of the wealthy townsmen of New Amsterdam. He was one of the owners of the privateer, La Garce; and on 25 April 1644 his property is described as bounded by Wall street south, except for a small amount at the corner of Broadway and Wall (northeast ; and on the west side of Broadway, north of the churchyard -Thames St. boundary- to Fulton street; and to Maiden Lane on the east side and falling just short of the East River. He also had extensive land beginning approximately at Duane street and extending as far north as Lispenard, of irregular form, from roughly West Broadway to Elm street) (See Liber GG, p. 91, Albany, New York).

On 5 August 1638 Cornelis Dirckszen was plaintiff against Adriaene Cuvelzeers as the entry was given in the records; judgement was given for the plaintiff. This variant of the surname, so given in the printed record, was undoubtedly actually written as Cuveljeers, although as the original record has been destroyed, we cannot prove it. Nevertheless, this affords definite indication of the actual maiden name of this ancestress. Under the name of Ariaentje Jans she was sponsor in the Reformed Dutch church in Manhattan, 6 September 1643 to the baptism of Jacob Wolfertszen; on 10 June 1646, her name misprinted as Adriane Nuvielle (sic!), together with the governor, Willem Kieft and Jannetje Adrians, she was sponsor at the baptism of Jannetje, daughter of Cornelis van Tienhoven; as Adriaentje Kuypers (for an explanation of this see NOTES following), together with her husband Jan Janszen Damen and Adriaen van Tienhoven she was sponsor, 17 January 1649 to the baptism of Lucas, son of Cornelis van Tienhoven; as Ariaentje Dames, with Dirck Volkertszen and Rachel van Tienhoven, she was sponsor at the baptism, 23 April 1651 of Fytje, daughter of Jan Hermanszen Schut; and this seems to have been the last time she was a sponsor.

On 12 December 1649, Jan Janszen Damen made his will. He mentions his wife, but not by name; the son of his deceased sister Hendrickje Jans, now living with the testator and called Jan Corneliszen Buys, alias Jan Damen; brothers (that is, of the testator), Cornelis Janszen Buyper, Cornelis Janszen Damen and William Janszen Damen; sister, Neltje Jans Damen; mentions the poor of Bunnick in the diocese of Utrecht; real estate and personal property. On 21 June 1651, is recorded the appointment of Areantje Cuvilje, widow of Jan Janszen Damen, of curators of her estate. Subsequently on 13 Septmenber 1651 of the same year, Jan Vinje bought a lot of the estate on the east side of Broadway.

We read no more of Adrienne Cuvellier except that she died in 1655; on 25 November 1658, Anthony Moore, burgher of New Amsterdam, acknowledged to owe Jan Vigne, son of the deceased Adriane Cuvilie; Abraham ver Planck, who married Maria Vigne; and Augustyn Heermans, attorney for Dirck Volkertszen who married Christina Vigne, and also Rachel Vigne, wife of Cornelis van Tienhoven, joint heirs of the said Adriana Cuvilie, their deceased mother, the amount of 1,031 gulders and 5 stuyvers; for the purchase of a certain brewery and lot, situated on Maiden Lane. A dispute arose as to the partition of the estate among the heirs, which was settled 23 January 1660.

New Amsterdam and Its People by John H. Innes, p. 306 :

In an article entitled Peter Minuit, and published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 59, at p. 60, by Louis P. De Boer, the following is written : Valenciennes, a city in the extreme southern part of the Walloon provinces of the Netherlands was the first Netherland city to rebel against the unconstitutional infringement of private rights on the part of the King of Spain. The rebellion of this city took place in 1567, and in that year, before even the whole country became engaged in the rebellion (1568) Valenciennes was devastated and its liberty loving inhabitants scattered….People of Valenciennes' ancestry whose more remote ancestors were originally from Cambray (sic) and from the land of Cambray, called Cambrensis, were numerous among the earliest New Netherlanders. From Valenciennes (originally from Cambray) were the parents of Jean de la Vigne (sic), named Guillaume de la Vigne and Adrienne Cuvilier, who were on Manhattan Island as early as 1614, when it was nothing but a small trading post.

It will be observed, therefore, that Mr. de Boer had determined correctly the maiden name of Adrienne Cuvellier, as shall be demonstrated. In a considerable number of publications, the maiden name of Adrienne has been given as Cuville. This interpretation of the surname disregards utterly the significance of the terminal -je or -ie which almost invariably appears in Dutch records of her surname; it also disregards the form Cuvelzeers (Cuveljeers) which was listed at one time (see ante). The equivalent in pronunciation is the French surname Cuvellier, which has as its variants Cuvelliers, Cuvillier(s), and possibly Cuvillies. Reference is made to Origine des Noms Partonymiques Francais, by Paul Chapuy, which on pp. 48, 78 and 148 recites variants of this name as Cuvelier, Cuvellier, Cuvilier, Cuvillier, Cuvillies; "faiseur de cuves, tonnielier." The root of the word is the Latin cuba, cube, box, whence cuvier in French, a maker of tubs and casks (e.g. a cooper), the diminutive of which is cuvellier, i.e a maker of small tubs or casks. The Dutch in New Amsterdam recognized that to have been her name, for on one occasion she was called Adriaentje Kuypers. As Kuip means in Dutch a small vat (cask or tub), and as Kuiper would mean the maker of tubs or casks (i.e. cooper), it is proved without any doubt that this was her correct surname.


1658 November 25 Anthony Moore, burgher of New Amsterdam, acknowledges to owe Jan Vigne, son of deceased Adriane Cuvilie, Abraham Verplanck, who married Maria Vigne, and Augustyn Heermans, attorney for Dirck Bolcker, who married Kristyn Vigne, and also Rachel Vigne, wife of Cornelis van Tienhoven, joint heirs of the said Adriana Cuvilie, their deceased mother, the amount of 1031 guilders 5 stivers, for purchase of certain brewery and lot, situated on the Maagde Paatje; to the East, South and West, the lot of said heirs. Mortagages said brewery and lot.


Curators of the estate of Jan Damen, deceased, plaintiffs, v/s Aryaentie Cuvelje, deft. both in default, 25 Aug. 1653.

Tuesday, 23 Sept 1659, Rachel van Tienhoven requests by petition, that Abraham Verplanck and Augustyn Heermans her adversaries shall be ordered to furnish her the petitioner, authentic copy of the compromise made by Dirck van Schelluyne regarding the settlement of the dispute between her husband and the heirs of Adriana Cuvilje deceased.

Whereupon it is ordered: Petition is granted and adverse parties shall be ordered to communicate to petitioner authentic copy of the compromise.

On the written petition of Raghel van Tienhoven, Abr. Verplanck and Augustyn Heermans are hereby ordered by the Court to communicate to Raghel van Tienhoven authentic copy of the compromise, made by the Notary Dirck van Schelluyne in the dispute between Cornelis Van Tienhoven and Abraham Verplanck, Dirck Volkersen and Jan Vigne all heirs of deceased Adriaana Cuvilje, relative to the award of Adriaen ver der Donck, Joannes van Brugh, and Joannes de Decker, all arbitrators in the above named questions. Actum.

Friday 23 January 1660, Burgermaster and Schepens of the City of Amsterdam in New Netherland having considered and read the papers, documents and vouchers produced on both sides in the suit between Raghel van Tienhoven, pltf., against Abraham Verplanck, Jan Vigne and Augustyn Heermans, debts., for satisfaction and payment of two thousand forty one gulden forty stivers, which the pltf. demands from debts according to a/c and obligation signed in the presence of arbitrators.

was also known as:

  • Adriana CUVEILLE
  • Ariantje CUEVILLIER
  • Ariantje CUVILIERS
  • Adrienne CUVELIER
  • Adrianna CUVILJE
  • Adriana CUVALJE

view all 14

Adrienne Cuvellier's Timeline

Valenciennes, Comté de Hainaut, (modern day France)
Age 24
Probably Saint-Waast-la-Haut, Valenciennes, Prevote de Valenciennes (Present département du Nord), Comté de Hainaut (Present région Nord-Pas-de-Calais), France
Age 26
St Waast La Haut, Vallenciennes, Nord, France
September 1618
Age 29
Leiden, Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands
September 26, 1619
Age 30
Leiden, Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands
Age 30
Leiden, Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands
Age 32
Leiden, Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands
March 16, 1623
Age 34
Leiden, Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands
Age 34