I have always been fascinated with New York City. Not the tourist perspective, but the perspective of people who live there... and go to the restaurants... and go to the theatre and the museums... and don't rely on their own vehicles for transportation. The way that city functions just amazes me.
I'm even more fascinated with the history of New York City... building the subway system, the Tenement Museum, Ellis Island (which I didn't get to visit but still would like to)... I love seeing old photos of NYC and knowing where the original boundaries of Manhattan were.
The deeper I dig into my family genealogy, the more branches I find that go through New York. There's a measure of sorrow and sadness for me when I come across my Southern ancestors that participated in the abomination of slavery. I was of the perspective that my Northern ancestors were lily white and pure as the driven snow as far as guilt of crimes against humanity. That may not be accurate. It seems that there were many, many accounts of crimes against the native Americans, driving them out, taking their land from them. And one, particularly haunting account that my 11th great-grandfather took part in.
The article below is incredibly interesting to me and for those of you who are interested in History or love New York, you will appreciate this view back to the past. Also, in Beacon, NY there is a historic site that has preserved the family home site. I would love to go there. If you're near there and have been, I'd love to hear your insights. http://www.mountgulian.org/verplanck.html
This article is copied from ancestry.com - I believe it is copied from some other source but I have been unable to find it and therefore can't credit it. I've added links for additional information where possible. There is SO much information out there, I tried to condense this article but I didn't want to leave anything out. If you're reading just to see the New York landmark/locations, I've tried to make them into links.
In 1626 a peaceable Indian from Westchester, accompanied by his son, a young boy, started for the Dutch fort to barter some beaver-skins, and was met upon his way, in the vicinity of "the Collect," by three of the inhabitants, who robbed him of his peltries, and, to conceal what they had done, murdered him. The boy, however, escaped, to remember the deed and to avenge it in the manner of his race. When he had arrived at the age of manhood, fifteen years afterward, he went to New Amsterdam, and, entering the house of an humble mechanic, struck him dead with the blow of an axe. This open and daring act, perpetrated under the very walls of the fort, filled the whole settlement with consternation and alarm. The governor demanded the murderer, but his tribe, approving of what he had done, refused to give him up, upon which the heads of families in Manhattan and its vicinity were summoned to the fort, and, upon the governor apprising them of his design to make a general war upon the Indians, they selected twelve of their number as a representative body to confer with him. The " Twelve Men " decided against the war, evasively advising the governor to wait for a fitting opportunity; and, having in this way been called into existence as representatives, they proceeded to recommend a remodelling of the government, so as to secure to the inhabitants the rights and privileges they had enjoyed in Holland, which resulted in an ordinance of Governor Kief dissolving that body and forbidding any future assemblage of the people, as " dangerous and tending to the great injury of the country and of his authority." Very soon afterward Abraham Verplanck was arrested " for slandering the authorities and maliciously tearing down an ordinance posted on the gate of the fort," possibly the one dissolving the popular body, for which he was fined three hundred guilders. The imposition of this fine, a very heavy one at the time, appears to have wrought a thorough change in his sentiments j for in the following year, with two others who had served with him in the Council of the Twelve Men, he went to Kief, and, falsely professing to represent the wishes of the inhabitants, proposed that an attack should be made upon the unsuspecting savages, he and his two associates offering to guide the soldiers and to assist them in making it. The proposition was eagerly accepted, and led to the perpetration of the darkest deed that stains the annals of New Netherland. One hundred and twenty Indians at Pavonia and Corlear's Hook were massacred in cold blood in their wigwams at midnight. Forty were murdered in their beds. Infants, torn from their mothers' breasts, were chopped into pieces with axes, and the fragments thrown into the fire. Neither age nor sex was spared; and the cries of the unhappy wretches, borne across the waters of the Hudson, were heard on the ramparts of the fort at New Amsterdam, by the navigator De Vries, who has recorded the incident.
In 1655 his name appears upon the list of those upon whom a compulsory tax was imposed for the defences of the city, and it may be mentioned as a characteristic, that it does not appear upon the list of those who had previously made voluntary loans for the building of the wall from which Wall Street takes its name. Ten years afterward he appears as a witness to a treaty which Stuyvesanteffected with the Indians for the acquisition of lands upon the South River, in Delaware, of which he became one of the grantees. He appears by the records to have been no respecter of the ordinances, where the disregard of them was attended by any advantage in trading, and to have been very litigious, involved in lawsuits with his mother-inlaw and his wife's relations respecting the lands surrounding " the Collect," and with others. In 1664 he was one of the signers of the remonstrance urging the inexorable Stuyvesant to capitulate to the English; and we can imagine the temper with which the indignant governor read the passage advising him not " to call down the vengeance of Heaven for all the innocent blood which may be shed by reason of your honor's obstinacy." Upon the capitulation of the city,Abraham Verplanck was one of the two hundred and seventy-two who swore allegiance to the English, and with that act his name disappears from our records.
Gulian - my 11x great-uncle
A few years afterward he united with others in a purchase from the Indians of a large tract of land upon the Hudson, which was followed shortly thereafter by the location of Fishkill, of which he was one of the founders— the first settlement made in Dutchess County. It was by this act chiefly that he laid the foundation of the future wealth and social influence of the family; his descendants having managed, amid the mutations, revolutions, and changes, that have occurred in our history, to retain, to a very great extent, what he had the forethought to acquire. A family homestead, built about the commencement of the last century, was Mr. Verplanck's country residence, which, together with the lands around it, has passed, by his death, to his only surviving son, William S. Verplanck, Esq., the father of a numerous family.
Jim Gant is my daddy.