1664 Schenectady

             From the History of Schenectady©188- by J. Munsell


This map is from The numbers represent the land assigned to the various patrons. I am related to the Van Slyck family that owned Van Slyck’s Island and to many of the other settlers.


Some of the Proprietors of Schenectady were:

Pieter Janse Boorsboom, brick maker

Arent Andriese Bratt

Philip Hendrickse Brouwer, brewer

Reyer Schermerhorn – One of 1684 Patentees

Teunise Cornelise Swart

Willem Teller  





Schenectady Massacre of February 8, 1690  

Robert Livingston wrote:

This sad story should not pass from our memory but remain engraved on it and we should grieve over our sins rather than bewail our loss, for it is clearly shown that when the measure of our iniquities is full, we are cut down and almost exterminated, of which the present smoking ruins of houses and barns bear ample witness before the eyes of our few remaining people. As to the causes of this bloody war, which they pretend originated with us, jealousy arising from the trading of our people...seems to be the principal one, for the Indians, that is to say, the Five Nations, were very friendly disposed toward us. The French begrudged us this and therefore made every effort to make them hostile to us.... The French...invited several Indians to come into the[ir]...fort to be entertained...but they met with a different reception, for as soon as they entered the fort they were bound securely and carried off to Cubeck [Quebec], to the number of 60.... Having at once assembled an army, [the French]...marched against the Indians...with the intention of destroying them, but this failed. The Indians were so embittered by this that like madmen they fell upon the French farmers, murdering and burning to revenge this breach of faith, so that many suffered great loss and damage. Showing themselves greatly perturbed about this and holding us responsible for it...they [the French] found and cruelly murdered the Dutch, saying: "The Dutch are urging you to fight against us, therefore we shall excuse you"....


The bloodthirsty people [the French and their Indian allies], then, to accomplish their evil purpose, according to their own statement made the journey from Canada to this place in 11 days.... They divided themselves into three troops and after they had everything well spied out and found that the gates were open and that nowhere there was any sentinel on duty and that on account of the heavy snow which had fallen the day before no one had been in the woods by whom they could have been detected, the full wrath of God was poured out over us. Having posted three or four men before every house, they attacked simultaneously at the signal of a gun. They first set fire to the house of Adam Vroman, who when he offered resistance was shot through the hand. After several shots had been fired, his wife, hoping to find an opportunity to get away, opened the back door, whereupon she was immediately shot dead and devoured by the flames.... His eldest daughter...had her mother's child on her arm.... Asked...whether the child was heavy...she said yes, whereupon [one of the invaders]...took the child form her and taking it by the legs dashed its head against the sill of the house, so that the brains scattered over the bystanders....  

The women and children fled mostly into the woods, almost naked and there many froze to death.... Oh, we poor, miserable people, how we were scattered during that dreadful night, the husband being separated from his wife and the children from both, one hiding for 2 or 3 days in the woods and in swampy and marshy land, where God in His mercy nevertheless did not forget them....  

The rest, then, who escaped the bloody sword, were condemned to be prisoners, but here again God's guiding hand clearly appears, for many sorrowful women and children and some old men, seeing this dreadful journey ahead of them, which meant practically death, doubtless offered up their prayers to God, who from the depths of their woe granted them delivery.... Considering that the old men and children and also the women would be a hindrance to them in their flight, they [the French and their allies] discharged them from their place of confinement to the great joy of all....  

In all as many as 60 people have been murdered by these fiends and 40 houses and 22 barns, all filled with cattle, have been almost completely destroyed.


There is more information about the Massacre at:


Many of my ancestors suffered during this massacre. Many died, others were taken to Quebec. This Ballad provides a history of what happened. It is in 17th Century English.  




"In which is set forth the horrid cruellties practised by the French and Indians on the night
of the 8th of last February. The which I did compose last night, in the space of one hour,
and am now writing the morning of Fryday, June 12, 1690. W.W."


God prosper long our King and Queen,

Our lives safeties all,

A sad misfortune once there did

Schenectady befall.  

From forth the woods of Canada

The Frenchmen tooke their way

The people of Schenectady

To captivate and slay.


They march'd for two twenty dais

All thro' the deepest snow

And on dismal Winter Night

They strucke the Cruel Blow.


The lightsome sun that rules the Day

Had gone down in the West;

And eke the drowsy Villagers

Had sought and found their reste.  


They thought They were in Safetie all,

And dreampt not of the Foe;

But att Midnight They all awoke,

In Wonderment Woe.  


For They were in their pleasant Beddies,

And soundelie sleeping, when

Each door was sudden open broke

By six or seven Men.


The Men and Women, Younge Olde,

And weke the Girls and Boys,

All started up in great Affright,

Att the alarming Noise.


They then were murther'd in their Beddes,

Without shame or remorse;

And soon the Floores and Streets were strew'd

With many a bleeding corse.


The Village soon began to Blaze

Which shew'd the horrid sight--

But, O, I scarce can Beare to Tell

The Mis'ries of that Night.

They threw the Infants in the Fire,

The Men they did not spare;

but killed All which they could find

Tho' Aged or tho' Fair.

O Christe! In the still Midnight air,

It sounded dismally,

The Women's Prayers and the loud screams

Of their great Agony.


Methinks as if I hear them now

All ringing in my ear;

The Shrieks and Groanes and Woefull sighs,

They utter'd in their Fear


But some ran off to Albany ,

And told the dolefull Tale;

Yett tho' We gave our cheerful aid,

It did not much avail.


And we were horribly afraid,

And shook with Terror, when

They told us that the Frenchmen were

More than a Thousand Men.

The news came on the Sabbath morn

Just att the Break of Day,

and with a companie of Horse

I galloped away  

But soone We found the French were gone

With all their great Booty;

And then their Trail We did pursue

As was our true Dutye.


Our soldiers fell upon their Reare,

And killed twenty-five,

Our Young Men were so much enrag'd

They took scarce One alive.


D'Aillebout Then did commande,

Which were but Theevish Rogues,

Else why did they consent and goe

With Bloodye Indian Dogges?

 And Here I end the long BALLAD

The Which you just have redde;

I wish that it may stay on earth,

Long after I am dead


Walter Wilie - Albany, 12th of June, 1690

(So it shall Mr. Wilie, and may you rest in peace.)




In addition to the soldiers in the fort those recorded as being killed in the massacre were: Myndert Wemp, Jan Dirkse Van Eps and three children, Barent Janse Van Ditmars and his son, Cornelis, Andries Arentse Bradt and one child,

Maria Viele (wife of Douw Aukes), two children, Mary Aloff (wife of Cornelis Viele, Jr.) Sweer Teunises Van Velsen, his wife, Antje Janse Spoor, Hendrick Meese Vrooman, Bartholomew Vrooman (father and brother of Adam), Gerrit Marcellis, wife and child, Robert Hesselingh, Sander Van Brakel, Jan Roeloffse, David Christoffalse, his wife and four children, Joris Aertse Van der Bast, Willem Pieterse, Jan Poetman and wife, Domine Thessenmaecker, Frans Harmense Van de Bogart, Engeltje Vrooman and infant child, Rynier Shaets and son, Johannes son of Symon Schermerhoorn.


The following are recorded as having been taken prisoners:


Isaac Swits and son Cornelis, Johannes Teller, John Wemp (son of Myndert Wemp, above), Symon, Abraham, Philip, Dyrck and Claas Groot, all five sons of Symon Groot Sr. Jan Baptist Van Eps son of Jan Dirkse Van Eps, Albert and Johannes Vedder, sons of Harmon Vedder, Arnout Janse, Barent Vrooman, so of Adam. Claas son of Harmens Van de Bogart. Most of the captives were returned to the valley from one to seven years captivity.  




Buerkendaal Massacre

      An account, written by Giles F Yates, Esq., and published in the Schenectady Democrat and Reflector, April 22, 1836,   

     was gathered from tradition then floating about among the aged people of that day, with whom Mr. Yates had an

     extended acquaintance.

"In the beginning of the month of July, 1748, Mr. Daniel (Toll) and his favorite servant Ryckert, went in search of some stray horses at Beukendahl, a locality about three miles from this city. They soon heard, as they supposed, the tramping of horses; but on nearer approach the sound they mistook for that made by horses hoofs on the clayey ground, proceeded from the quoits with which some Indians were playing.

Mr. Toll discovered his danger too late, and fell pierced by the bullets of the French savages, for such they were. Ryckert, more fortunate, took to his heels and fled. He reached Schenectady in safety and told the dreadful news of the death of his master and the presence of the enemy.

In less than an hour about sixty volunteers were on the march to Beukendahl. The greater part of these were young men and such was their zeal that they would not wait until the proper authorities had called out the militia. Without discipline or experience and even without a leader, they hastened to the Indian camp.

Those in advance of the main body, before they reached the enemy, were attracted by a singular sight. They saw a man resembling Mr. Toll sitting near a fence in an adjoining field, and a crow flying up and down before him.

On coming nearer they discovered it to be the corpse of Mr. Toll with a crow attached to it by a string.

This proved to be a stratagem of the Indians to decoy their adversaries. the Schenectadians fell, alas, too easily into the snare laid for them, and were in a few moments surrounded by the Indians who had been lying in ambush. Thus taken by surprise, they lost many of their number, and some were taken prisoners before they could make good their retreat.

They however, succeeded in reaching the house of Mr. DeGraff in the neighborhood, which had been for some time deserted. But while retreating they continued to fire upon their enemy. On reaching Mr. DeGraff's house they entered, bolted the doors, and ascended to the second floor. Here they tore off all the boards near the eaves, and through the opening thus made, fired with success at the savages and succeeded in keeping them at bay. In the meantime Dirck van Vorst, who had been left in the charge of two young Indians, effected his escape.

The 2 youngsters were anxious to see the fight and secured their prisoner by tieing him to a tree and left him alone. He succeeded in getting his knife from his pocket and cutting the cord with which he was bound. On the approach of the Schenectady militia under Col Jacob Glen the party in Mr. DeGraff's house were relieved from their perious situation, and the enemy took up their line of march from Canada.

On this occasion there were 32 citizens killed. Of these we are able to give the names of Jacob Glen, (cousin of Col. Glen), Peter Vrooman, John Darling, Adam Conde, Van Antwerpen, Cornelius Viele, Nicholas DeGraff and Adrian Van Slyck; wounded, Ryer Wemp, Robinson and Wilson; prisoners, Abraham DeGraff and his son William, John Phelps, Harmen Veeder and Lewis Groot.

The bodies of DeGraff and Glen were found lying in a close contact with their savage antagonists, with whom they had wrestled in deadly strife.

The corpses were brought to Schenectady the evening of the massacre and deposited in the large barn of Abraham Mabee, in the rear of the building lately occupied by Mrs. Churchill on Washington Avenue. The barn was removed only a few years ago. The relatives of the deceased repaired thither to claim their departed kindred and remove them for interment."

  The De Graaf House, Beukendaal


The following persons were a part of the 20 persons killed by the Indians

Daniel Toll b. 11 Jul 1691, 1st Cousin

Frans van der Bogart, Jr. bp. 13 Jan 1717 at Schenectady Reformed

Jacob Glen, Jr. (cousin of Col. Glen) b.1679, 2nd Cousin

Peter Vrooman, b. 10 Oct 1688, 1st Cousin

Adam Conde, b. ca 1710, No relation

Daniel van Antwerpen, bp. 16 Oct 1707, 3rd cousin

J. P. van Antwerpen,, bp. 11 Nov 1721, 3rd Cousin

Cornelius Viele, b. 21 Jan 1705 , 2nd Cousin

Nicholas DeGraff, b. 26 May 1726, 3rd Cousin

Adrian Van Slyck, bp. 9 Feb 1701 , 2nd Cousin

John A Bradt , bp 15 Sep 1717, 3rd Cousin

John Marinus, bp 13 Feb 1712, No relation

Lt. John Darling, no relation, 6 of his men were killed  

13 or 14 men were taken prisoner

5 of Lt. Darling’s men were taken prisoner


Missing persons

Dirk Van Vorst probably died, bp. 25 Aug 1705, 1st & 2nd Cousin

Isaac Truax possibly related bp. 24 Nov 1734

Ryer Wemp, bp bp 17 Oct 1703, 3rd Cousin (Wounded)

Johannes Seyer Vrooman Unknown

Albert John Vedder after 21 Feb 1730 , 3rd & 4th Cousin

Frank Conner, No relation

John Phelps, Unknown

Harmon Veeder, Unknown

Lewis Groot b. 29 Nov 1712, 2nd cousin

Robertson & Wilson Wounded

Additional information about the persons I have referenced above may be found in My Ancestors section of this web site.  




The Baptism Record of Schenectady Reformed Church, Schenectady, NY 1694-1811 and the Marriage Record of Schenectady Reformed Church, Schenectady, NY 1694-1852 are the sources for the names of many persons found in my ancestry. Both books were transcribed by Donald A. Keefer and compiled by Arthur C. M. Kelly. I would estimate that 75% of the people who lived in Schenectady between 1694 and 1750 are related to me.

Baptisms at the Dutch Reformed Church in Schenectady, 1694-1723, are found on this website:

History of Schenectady

Schenectady County Church Records



Schenectady County Political Graveyard

Schenectady County Digital History Archive

First Reformed Church of Scotia

Baptisms at the Schenectady Dutch Reformed Church 1694-1726  





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This page was last revised on18 August 2010