Maria de la Vigne

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Maria de la Vigne

Also Known As: "Maria Roos"
Birthdate: (58)
Birthplace: Probably Saint-Waast-la-Haut, Valenciennes, Prevote de Valenciennes (Present département du Nord), Comté de Hainaut (Present région Nord-Pas-de-Calais), France
Death: 1671 (54-62)
Albany, Albany County, Province of New York
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Vigne and Adrienne Cuvellier
Wife of Jan Roos and Abraham Isaacsen ver Planck
Mother of Gerrit Jansen Roos; Abigail Ver Planck; Gelyn Verplanck; Catalyntje (Catalina) Schuyler; Isaac ver Planck and 5 others
Sister of Christina Guleyne Vigne; Rachel Vigne; Abraham Vigne, (twin of Sara); Sara Vigne, (twin of Abraham); Abraham Vigne and 2 others

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About Maria de la Vigne

Maria's parents were GUILLAUME VIGNE and ADRIENNE A. {CUVELLIER} VIGNE, each of whom was born sometime between 1580 and 1590. Guillaume, whose name was customarily rendered as Guleyn in Dutch, is thought by one researcher also to have been born in St. Waast-la-Haute, Valenciennes, France, in 1586 to a family that may have come from nearby Cambrai. Although Guillaume and Adrienne were married in France in 1608, they were in actuality Walloons – a Calvinist Gallic-Teutonic, French-speaking group that lived on both sides of the present border area between France and Belgium, since Valenciennes was heavily Walloon in composition.25 Many of the "French" immigrants to New Amsterdam were actually Walloon Calvinists, although others came to the Dutch outpost from northern France.

Valenciennes (previously in both the Netherlands and Belgium but now in northeast France, near the Belgian border) was in the southern portion of the Spanish-controlled Walloon provinces of the Netherlands. When Philip II of Spain ascended to the throne in 1556, he began to take action against what he saw as religious heresy in the Low Countries, which as we have seen began to attract those, like the Walloons, who were seeking asylum from religious persecution. Valenciennes had in fact been the first Dutch city to offer resistance to the Spanish rulers of the Netherlands, in 1567, and it had suffered severe destruction as a result. Many of its inhabitants had taken refuge elsewhere; others, apparently including members of the Vigne and Cuvellier families, fell victim to Spanish repression.

The twelve-year truce between the Spanish and the Dutch rebels neared an end in 1621. As it came to a close, some Walloons and French who were living temporarily in England decided that immigration to America would be preferable to returning to their home territory, since it was likely to be the scene of renewed fighting between the Spanish and the Dutch. They asked the English to let them go to Virginia, then persuaded the new West India Company to permit them to immigrate to New Amsterdam instead. The Vignes were living in the tolerant and safe city of Leyden by early 1623, for their youngest daughter was baptized there on March 16 of that year. We do not know if they were among those who lived briefly in England, but we are fairly sure that they were part of the body of Walloons who departed for New Netherland at this time.

One Vigne researcher has identified a Cuvellier woman who was married to a Dutch merchant instrumental in the Van Tweenhuysen Company that sent to North America the very first Dutch trading expedition, headed by Captain Adriaen Block, and so it is possible the Vignes had learned about the opportunities for settlement through a family connection. As a group the Walloons were drawn not only by the prospect of freedom of worship but also by promises of livestock and land ownership after they had worked six years for the West India Company. About thirty Walloon families, well over 100 persons in all, volunteered to be among those immigrating to New Netherland.

After formally swearing allegiance to the Dutch West Indies Company and to the Dutch government, an advance party of Walloons and others sailed on the Eendracht on January 25, 1624; its captain was Cornelius May (after whom Cape May is named). When the ship arrived in what is New York Harbor it had to drive off a French vessel that was there to claim the area for France. The main body of Walloons followed two months later aboard the Nieuw Nederlandt (New Netherland). We do not know which group included the Vignes, presuming that they were among the Walloons who came to New Netherland at this time. Some of the Walloons were deposited on what is now Governor's Island, just off Manhattan Island; others were placed in locations in what is today New Jersey and Connecticut, on an island in the Delaware River, and at Fort Orange (already ten years old in 1624) nearly one hundred miles up the Hudson River. This dispersion of families was in keeping with the Dutch concept of claiming land by having persons actually inhabit it – the land, in this case, being the area adjoining the three key rivers that the Dutch intended to control: the Fresh (Connecticut), North (Hudson), and South (Delaware) Rivers.26

We do not know whether the Vigne family lived for a brief time in one of these other locations or remained in what would become New York City the entire time, but since most of the couples were sent someplace other than Manhattan it seems possible the Vignes began their lives in New Netherland at one of the outposts.27 Within a few years, between 1626 and 1628, hostile Indians had led to a Dutch decision to consolidate all of these weak and scattered settlements on Manhattan Island, which as we have seen Peter Minuit "purchased" from the local Indian tribes. Discouraged, more than half of the Walloons had by now returned to Europe, but the Vigne family stayed. They are the first of my ancestors to have come to America.

An old tradition is worth recounting here. This tradition holds that the Vignes were living in what would soon become New Amsterdam by 1614, even before Manhattan Island began to be settled. Indeed, they are sometimes credited – by a plaque at City Hall in New York City, for instance – with being the parents of the first child of European origins born in Manhattan, in 1614: their son Jan Vigne (Maria's younger brother), whom we have already met. Some of the speculation has the Vignes traveling with Captain Block, who after his ship burned wintered on Manhattan Island during 1613-1614.28 According to this story, Guillaume Vigne was an early trader for the United New Netherland Company and had his family with him during his stays on Manhattan Island. Recent research, though, has unearthed the fact that several Vigne children were baptized in Leyden between 1618 and 1622, and so the weight of evidence supports 1624 for the family's arrival in New Amsterdam.29

Moreover, the date of 1614 for Jan Vigne's birth depends on a casual estimate of his age (as "about sixty-five") many years later, and the estimate itself may in fact have been written as "fifty-five." Jan Vigne seems to have been in school, and so a minor, even as late as 1635, which also argues for considering 1624 as the year of his birth. (Although it is true that his contemporaries often regarded Jan as the first European child born on the island, this could have been so even if the Vigne family arrived in 1624; the point at issue is which year they arrived.)

Whatever year the Vignes arrived, and whether or not Guillaume was once a trader, we know that once they were definitely residing on Manhattan Island he was engaged primarily in agriculture. He was in fact the first tenant on the six farms north of what would be Wall Street (near Pearl Street) that the West India Company owned, laid out, and rented in its effort to produce foodstuffs for its soldiers and employees in New Amsterdam.30 In time he like so many others undoubtedly took up the production of tobacco. But Guillaume did not live for long: he died in New Amsterdam no later than April 30, 1632, when his will was recorded.

A few years later, Adrienne married a man named Jan Jansen Damen, a prominent and relatively wealthy resident of New Amsterdam; Maria, already married herself by this time, is listed as one of the four children of Guillaume and Adrienne. The Damen-Vigne marriage, which took place as early as 1635 but no later than May 7, 1638, brought together two families that owned a large share of the property of the young town.31 Damen was well-connected – he too was a member of the Twelve – and the churchwarden. The combined property (known as the Kolk Hook farm), just outside the city wall, was largely on the east side of Broadway (near present-day Maiden Lane, Pine Street, and William Street) but also ran westward to what was then the shore of the Hudson (North) River – very near to where the World Trade Center would later be built upon landfill. The Damen farmhouse was on Broadway near Cedar Street, and Adrienne seems to have kept a smaller house about where 112 Broadway is today.32

The court minutes record some of the details of an embarrassing public spectacle, a disagreement of some sort between Damen and his new wife's family – including son-in-law Abraham Verplanck. Damen filed suit to throw these relatives out of his house. There was a countersuit, but eventually harmony was restored. Damen died as early as 1651 and certainly by 1653, when the court minutes refer to Adrienne as his widow.

Adrienne herself died in 1655, almost certainly in New Amsterdam. Unfortunately, we do not know anything about her Cuvellier family, except that it was originally probably French.33 As for the Vigne line, we know only that Guillaume's father was named JEAN DE LA VIGNE. One research describes Jean as the Walloon dominie (minister) in Amsterdam from 1585 until his death in 1622, but I have not been able to confirm that this man was the Jean de la Vigne who was Guillaume's father. This Jean who served as dominie was born about 1560 in Valenciennes, France, and so a link does seem plausible.

There are grounds for doubting such a link, however. We can presume that Jean de la Vigne had fled France at some point during the 1580s for the haven of the Netherlands. If Maria Vigne was born in France about 1608-1610, however, we can date the immigration of her parents Guillaume and Adrienne to the Netherlands much later – between then and the early 1620s. In addition, one source suggests that Guillaume and Adrienne joined Leyden's Walloon church in October 1619, which makes one wonder why they would flee there rather than to Amsterdam if Jean was the dominie in Amsterdam. In the end, without more evidence we cannot be positive that Guillaume was related to the Jean de la Vigne who went to Amsterdam during the 1580s.

From My Family Through History, by Donn C. Neal: Chapter XI: Van der Poel – Verplanck – Vigne:

Paraphrasing the chapter:

Melgert Wynantse van der Poel's wife, Ariaantje (Verplank) van der Poel [4] was likely born in New Amsterdam. Her birth date is supposed as 2 December 1646, though this is unconfirmed. Still, her parents, Abraham Isaacse Verplanck and Maria (Vigne) Verplanck were in New Netherlands by this time, marrying in New Amsterdam in 1634, two years after her first husband died. [5]

Abraham Verplanck was born in the Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden (present The Netherlands) in 1606. Maria Vigne was born 1608-1610 near the Huguenot (and French lace-making) center of Valenciennes, possibly St-Waast-la-Haut (about 12 miles east of Valenciennes, likely where her father was born). Both parents of Ariaantje died in Albany (Maria d. 1670/1671, Abraham d. c1691). [6]

Abraham is first referred to in 1638/1639 on a map that shows his tract of land at Pouwells Hoek (Paulus Hook, within present Jersey City and Hoboken). This was the point where several Indian trails came together at a launch point for crossing over to Manhattan Island. At the time, it was patented to Pauw, for whom the crossing point and Pavonia was given its name. When Pauw failed to become a patroon of the New Netherlands colony, he sold his rights over to the West India Company, and the company sold his land to different individuals. [7]

Abraham Verplanck was the first post-Pauw landowner in Pavonia, having obtained a patent for his land from Director Willem Kieft on 1 May 1638. His family likely remained there until the settlements in that area were destroyed as a result of Kieft's War in the early 1640s, the family having moved back to Manhattan. By 1643, Abraham rented out his land and took out a mortgage on it, which he later defaulted on when Kieft's War demonstrated that it was untenable to defend it from Indian raids.

In 1646, the West India Company either granted, or traded for his rights in Pavonia, a small but greatly desired lot next to the Company's business headquarters (housed in five stone buildings built around 1635 around 200 feet east of the Dutch fort [8]). The 1-2 block lane on which his house and lot were on was (and still is) called Bridge Street (from its bridge over a drainage canal), and the location of the home was northeast of present Whitehall Street and southwest of present Broad Street. [9]

In 1649, Abraham purchased property on The Strand (present Pearl Street), probably around the time that his Bridge Street home was taken by eminent domain to create a marketplace. The property fronted Pearl Street and went back to higher ground away from the East River in a section that was called The Ferry or Smith's Valley [10] (present intersection of Pearl and Fulton Streets). [11]

Court and other records leave definite timelines of where Abraham and family lived difficult to trace. Court minutes have listed him residing at Bridge Street when he apparently lived in Smith's Valley. His son Isaac was born in Albany in 1651, so he may have spent time there, or been involved with trade along the Hudson River or the South River (present Delaware River).

In 1653, he was among the 40 citizens who contributed funds toward building the wall for which Wall Street was named. The contributions took the form of loans at 10 percent interest - for which no record has been found of repayment.

In 1659, the Verplanck home was one of nine that hung a dozen leather fire buckets each for use in case of fire, "the first systematic attempt to create a fire department in New Amsterdam." Abraham was also one of 93 residents who, five years later, signed a remonstrance urging Director Peter Stuyvesant to surrender the city to the English rather than risk the city's destruction; he was also one of 272 who swore allegiance to England after the city surrendered. In 1665, he was among the many residents who refused on record the English governor's request to billet troops at his home.

Records place the Verplanck family in Smith's Valley in 1665 and 1674 (received compensation for loss of property resulting from strengthening the fort in the form of a new house), and Abraham died there in 1691.

In 1642, he removed ordinances posted somewhere in the city, and as a result of his contempt toward the authorities as well as his actions, he was heavily fined. [12]

Abraham was a farmer, likely of tobacco, an easily grown and profitable crop, rather than other agricultural products as the company would have wanted him to pursue. Court records show that he eventually became a trader and a merchant of some sort (he was listed in disputes over commercial transactions resulting from trading). In one case, his wife Maria was listed as defendant, indicating that the whole family was carrying out business, possibly land speculation or rental.

In 1646, Abraham, Jan Vigne, and two others obtained from Director Willem Kieft sizable land grants on the west bank of the South River (present Delaware River) in present Pennsylvania, a move intended to counter Swedish attempts to create a competing colony there. The Verplanck family grant is about where the present Walt Whitman Bridge lands on the Pennsylvania shore. [13]

In July 1655, Abraham was one of 120 men who boarded 11 ships to accompany Director Stuyvesant in an expedition against the Swedes at Fort Christiana on the South (Delaware) River (near present Wilmington). The Swedes surrendered and Stuyvesant carried out further secret negotiations to acquire rights to the land from the local tribes. The Verplanck family later claimed some of this land for itself.

Still, the Verplancks were not the most prominent of burgher families in New Amsterdam. Abraham was, in 1657, one of 238 people who obtained "small burgher" rights (by qualification or payment), enabling them to engage in trade and hold minor office [14]. Only 19 qualified or paid to become Great Burghers, who could hold higher offices.

Abraham lost several properties over his career, mostly for debts or mortgages he owed (which he held for most of his properties). In his waning years, his financial circumstances diminished, and indeed, his neighborhood in Smith's Valley was occupied mostly by low-income laborers. Neal speculates that he may have become enfeebled in his later years because at some point he no longer signed his name on documents, but rather put his mark on them. His children, though, became quite wealthy and well-connected, becoming some of the more prominent families in Provincial New York history. [15]

Abraham Verplanck took a significant part in the Kieft War. By 1640, the Dutch began to settle in areas occupied by the Lenape, who were subsequently driven into a smaller territory between these settlements and the more powerful tribes to the north. Director Willem Kieft pressured the tribe to pay for "protection" by the West Indies Company and its private army, effectively extortion money.

In 1641, the Pig War broke out when settlers accused the Raritans of killing marauding swine that belonged to them. Director Kieft used this clash to increase pressure on the Lenape, creating an advisory war council called "The Twelve", who composed a more aggressive policy against the tribe. Abraham was a member of The Twelve, and was regarded as something of a militant, possibly pushing for something more than restraint that the council had advised early on. They later sanctioned a limited punitive expedition against the Lenape, in return for hearing a petition to make The Twelve a more permanent body with a say in colonial governance. After thanking the council for their support in the punitive action, he dismissed them, ignoring further arguments toward the petition.

The Dutch-Indian war built up through1642, and in February 1643, four members of The Twelve (including Abraham, who was reportedly one of three plied with alcohol before being presented the document) signed a petition urging an attack on the Wechquaskeek tribe camped in Pavonia. The attack killed more than 100 Wechquaskeek and Hackensack men, women, and children. Abraham likely took part in the raid on 25 February 1643, as he was militant, and held property nearby. An 1897 book describes Abraham as the commander of the attack, possibly selected because of his knowledge of the area.

The result of this attack was large scale retaliation - the Dutch were greatly outnumbered and depended heavily on Indians for the pelts that were the economic justification for the colony. By 1644, much of Pavonia was in ruins, as were many outlying Dutch settlements. It was likely because of this that Abraham walked away from the mortgage on his property near Paulus Hook. About half of the colony returned to Europe as a result of Kieft's War, the rest of those who survive assaults on the outlying settlements crowded themselves in New Amsterdam's fort.

One anecdote suggests that Maria's mother Adrienne (Cuvellier) Damen, remarried to Jan Damen, another member of The Twelve, in the 1630s after the death of her first husband, took part in a rather gruesome act worthy of note even after four centuries. Following a raid on the Canarsie tribe, numerous prisoners were taken, and the heads of other warriors were carried back to New Amsterdam on long poles, to be displayed as trophies. When the prisoners were marched into town, the Dutch women abused the captives. Adrienne gained notoriety when one of the heads fell off a pole, and she carried on kicking it around as if it were a soccer ball. Again, this is an anecdote, as no contemporary document identifies her as carrying out this act.

After a peace settlement was negotiated, Kieft's enemies pointed blame at him, while Kieft tried to find scapegoats to give over to West Indies Company investigators. Abraham was one of three who were summoned to be examined back in the Netherlands, but he may never have actually returned there to face investigation. [16]

The Twelve became, nonetheless, the foundation for popular government in the colony, and the investigation into Kieft's War finally replaced him with Petrus Stuyvesant, without whom New Amsterdam might not have survived much longer as a colony.


4. The name is usually spelled Verplanck in court records, but was later transcribed as Ver Planck in the 1700s. By the 1800s, it was again Verplanck. "Ver" is a Dutch abbreviation for "Vander" or "of" or "from the". Verplanck meant "of the plank," but what this alluded to is unclear. When he was young, Abraham simply used "Planck" as a last name, much like patroon agent Jacob Planck, possibly Abraham's uncle. In the Netherlands, the name may have originally been Ver Plancken (ver being lower case when preceded by a first name). There may have also been a French family by this name, but no known links between Abraham and this family exist.

5. Maria's first husband died in 1632. Her marriage with Abraham shows how different nationalities would intermarry once on Manhattan Island, particularly the two largest groups, the Dutch and the French from Flanders. Through one of their daughters, Abraham and Maria were ancestors of Thomas Alva Edison.

6. The last definite reference to the Verplancks was in 1672, and related to the will that Maria left dated 9 August 1670. At this point, she was dead, as indicated by the phrase "late wife Maria". Abraham remained alive at this point. Not much more later, court records ceased to exist (likely lost), and so Abraham's death cannot be inferred from them. Maria remained alive in 1671 as she was one of the principal heirs to the estate of her stepfather Jan Damen, whose estate was partitioned that year. Abraham became owner of about 1/4 of all property along present Wall Street, but sold his interests a few years later.

7. Pavonia was centered at Henderson and Fifth Streets in Jersey City.

8. The Dutch fort is now covered by the U.S. Customs House in New York.

9. The Verplanck property on Bridge Street is presently at 25 Pearl Street (running parallel to Bridge Street). Nearby famous New Yorkers who owned property near here include Mayor Cornelius Steenwyck and the Morris family. In the conflagration that engulfed New York City after General George Washington evacuated the city on 21 September 1776, Bridge Street likewise fell victim. In 1961, an office building was built where his house once stood. As early as the 1600s, the Dutch streets began to be shifted by the British, but extensive reconstruction likewise took place in the 20th century. Nonetheless, the street plan remained similar to what was originally there in the oldest portion of New Amsterdam.

10. A ferry to Brooklyn landed at the foot of Fulton Street at the time, and continued to do so until the Brooklyn Bridge was finished in the 1800s.

11. In 1665, Abraham Verplanck and Maria's brother Jan Vigne are listed in court minutes as living in Smith's Valley in lower-lying land extending from Pearl Street northward from Maiden Lane (present Fulton Street).

12. In one case, Verplanck lost because his adversary convinced Director Petrus Stuyvesant to intervene on his behalf.

13. Trader Juriaen Planck is mentioned in accounts of this affair, which may mean Abraham and this Planck were somehow related. But this is speculative.

14. Jan Vigne, Maria's brother, became one of 19 persons to become a Great Burgher.

15. Guley Verplanck had a store on Pearl Street between Broad and Whitehall Streets, and a residence on Wall Street near present Federal Hall. Guleyn would later receive a patent on a large part of present Dutchess County near Fishkill, which held a manor house until it was destroyed by British ships on the Hudson during the Revolutionary War. Guleyn was a principal in perhaps the first instance of court-ordered child support in New York. The later Verplancks, mostly merchants used their land and inlaw connections to become wealth Hudson River families. They were likely slave-owners (most families were). A point across from Stony Point was named for the family. Prominent Tory Gulian Verplanck lost his home during the Revolution, and this became the location where the Society of the Cincinnati formed in 1783. A later Gulian Verplanck (1786-1870) was a descendant of this Tory, and was elected member of Congress. In 1834, he lost to the Whig candidate in New York City by only 180 votes out of 35,000 cast. He also wrote on public affairs, literature, law, and other topics. He was perhaps a "spokesman" for the Dutch community in New York City. The Verplanck Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art contains furnishings from the Verplanck house at 3 Wall Street that dated to the time of Samuel Verplanck in the 1700s. One of Abraham's grandsons married a Van der Poel.

16. Director Kieft was recalled, but died at sea before he could face investigation in the Netherlands.


Ben M. Angel notes: There was a code placed in the burial place slot that read: Igi, 17/17, F/f, 1991. Not sure what this meant. Maria's burial place was not described in any online page that I read about her.


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Maria de la Vigne's Timeline

Probably Saint-Waast-la-Haut, Valenciennes, Prevote de Valenciennes (Present département du Nord), Comté de Hainaut (Present région Nord-Pas-de-Calais), France
Age 17
Haarlem, Holland, Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden
Age 22
New Amsterdam, New Netherland Colony
January 1, 1637
Age 24
New Netherland
February 1639
Age 26
New Amsterdam, New Netherlands
June 1641
Age 28
Albany, Albany, NY, USA
May 25, 1642
Age 29
Beverwyck, Nieuw-Nederland
July 1644
Age 31
Albany, Albany, New York, USA