Geertruy Pieterse Coeymans

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Geertruy Pieterse Coeymans

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Holland, Utrecht, Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden
Death: 1695 (67)
Kinderhook, Dutchess County, Province of New York
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Pieter Barentse Coeymans and Jannetje Coeymans
Wife of Abraham Pieterse Pieterse Vosburgh and Albert Andriessen Bradt
Mother of Pieter Abrahamse Vosburgh; Jacob Abrahamse Vosburg; Marietje Abrahamse Van Alstyne; Isaac Abrahanse Vosburgh and Abraham Vosburg
Sister of Margrietje Pieterse Coeymans; Barent Pietersz Coeymans; David Coeymans; Arent Coeymans; Jacob Coeymans and 3 others

Managed by: Kenneth Bennett Van Alstyne, III
Last Updated:

About Geertruy Pieterse Coeymans

Abraham Pieterse Vosburgh was born in Holland, circa 1620. By August 1649 he was a settler in the Colony of Rensselaerswyck near Albany, New York, a surveyor, carpenter, and bridge builder by trade. He died circa September 21, 1659, when killed by Indians. His son Jacob Abraham would have been five years old at the time. A great deal more about Abraham Pieterse Vosburgh, his wife, and his fate at the hands of indians, is available on a separate page.

Abraham married circa 1651 to Geertruy (Gertrude) Pieterse Coeymans, who was born before 1636, the daughter of Pieter Coeymans (Koijemans, Kuijmans, or Kooijmans, which is Dutch for cattleman) of Utrecht, Holland. She subsequently remarried (Albert Andriessen Bradt) and died at Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York. Her will was probated February 28, 1688, in that county.

Geertruy Pieterse Coeymans

Although Abraham Pietersen Vosburgh met his death in the prime of manhood, and probably when under the age of forty years, his family was not destined to become extinct. The task of raising his three sons, who became progenitors of the thousands bearing the name Vosburgh in this country fell to his widow, Geertruy Pieterse, a sister of Barent Pieterse Coeyman, the miller of Norman's Kil. The story of her life as it comes down to us is gleaned principally from the Fort Orange Court records. Her name appears before the Court many times, both as plaintiff and defendant. The causes of the suits are often trivial and many of them are not alluded to here; Geertruy was perhaps too zealous in preserving her rights, and in so doing she seems to have made more enemies than friends. The life of the early settlers was not an easy one under the most favorable conditions. She was left a widow with four or five small children, all under the age of ten years; she had to fight her way with this burden in a community where hard manual labor was almost the sole means of livelihood. Her husband's estate consisted of a partnership in the sawmill at Wynant's Kil with Wynant Gerritsen Van der Poel, which was more or less encumbered with outstanding accounts, some being assets and some being liabilities. Her husband kept a book of accounts to which reference is made in one of her suits in the Kingston Court records. As she was robbed of the sheltering arm of a husband, it is not surprising that Geertruy resorted often to the Courts as her only means of protection.

She did not marry again within a year or two as was usually the custom with the early settlers, but remained a widow for nearly ten years and fought her battles unaided. Her second marriage, with Albert Andriessen Bratt, was short-lived and ended in divorce. . . . After her divorce, Geertruy continued to use the name Vosburgh; in fact, as far as the evidence in the records is concerned, it is probable that she never used the name Bratt at any time. This whole unfortunate matrimonial venture can hardly have occupied more than a year and a half.

Translations of two court actions follow. While the events are of trivial importance, they still throw an interesting light on the everyday occurrences in the lives of the early settlers at Kinderhook.

   July 5, 1681. Pr. Borsie, from Kinderhook, plaintiff, vs. Geertruy Vosburgh, defendant.  Plaintiff says that defendant has accused his wife of theft of her chickens and that she has proofs of it (the accusation).  Defendant says that some of her chickens remain with the plaintiff (that is to say, Geertruy's chickens are in the plaintiff's yard) but, he denies having accused her of theft.  The Hon. Court, having heard the case, threw it out of court, as being too unimportant to be dealt with, and condemns both parties to pay the costs.
   September 5, 1682. Andries Jacobse Gardenier, plaintiff, vs. Geertruy Vosburgh, defendant. Plaintiff complains that one of his pigs has been bitten to death on the land of Geertruy Vosburgh and that her land lies open unfenced.  Plaintiff asks for damages.  Defendant denies that she has caused his pig to be bitten to death and says that her land is not open.  The Court orders that the plaintiff's demand be dismissed as there is no proof.  Plaintiff to pay the costs.

Both these cases show that Geertruy was a woman of sharp wits and well able to look out for herself, when appearing in court. She had evidently profited by her long experience in other cases, and had learned most of the legal tricks.

Source for the following:

New Netherland Register, Volume I, Special Number No. 6, Pioneers and Founders of New Netherland, The Vosburgh Family, by Royden Woodward Vosburgh.

The closing years of Geertruy Vosburgh's life were spent at Kinderhook, surrounded by the families of her sons, whom she saw become men of affairs in that community, and in their success in life she must have felt that her early struggles and trials were well repaid.

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Geertruy Pieterse Coeymans's Timeline

Holland, Utrecht, Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden
Age 24
Beverwyck, Albany, New York, USA
Age 26
Rennsselaerwyk, Albany, NY, United States
Age 28
Kinderhook, Columbia, New York, USA
Age 31
Albany, Albany County, New York
Age 67
Kinderhook, Dutchess County, Province of New York