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Jan Broersen

From:  "Scandinavian Immigrants in New York" 1630-1674, John O. Evjen, page 164-167

Jan Broersen was from Husum, in Denmark.  As early as 1644, he, as a young man, served Jacob Hay (Huys) in the West Indies.  He later came to New Netherland.  We find him at Esopus in May, 1658, when he and other settlers of this place made an agreement to remove their dwellings and form a village.

About the same time he and six others sent a letter to the Council of New Netherland, complaining of the Indians, and asking for assistance.  The letter states that there were 990 schepels of seed-grain in the ground, that the country was fine, that between sixty and seventy Christian people were living there and were in the habit of attending divine services “on all the proper days,” and that they maintained their [church-] reader at their own expense.  To protect them against the ravages of the Indians, the subscribers ask “for help and succor of about forty to fifty men.”

On August 17, 1659, he, with a number of others, signed a petition requesting that the Rev. Bloem be appointed their minister.  In 1661 he subscribed, at one occasion, fifteen florins for the support of Rev. Bloem, who in response to the petition had been appointed preacher at Esopus.

In March, 1660, Broersen served as a soldier at Esopus.  On account of the Indian raids it was necessary that all who could carry arms should belong to the local militia.  In September, 1659, a letter signed by the settlers at Esopus, including Broersen, was sent to Stuyvesant relating that they were besieged in the fort by Indians.

Signature of Jan Broersen

Broersen visited New Amsterdam as occasion required.  He was there in 1659.  Not long afterward Aeltje Bickers, wife of Nicholas Velthuysen, sued him for a debt of fl. 44.  She claimed that “Reinert Jansen Hoorn had promised to pay her in four days for Jan Broersen, and that she thereupon allowed Jan Broersen to depart and that Hoorn will not pay the sum, but gave her ill words.”  Hoorn admitted that he had promised to pay for Broersen, but as Aeltje Bickers and her husband were quarreling, he claimed that he had reasons for not paying her.

Broersen was again in New Amsterdam in November, 1661, when he sued a Norwegian woman, the daughter of Dirck Holgersen and widow of Jacob Huys for labor he had done for here husband in the West Indies.  We shall let the court minutes relate the details of the case.

[November 15, 1661]

“Jan Broerzen, pltf. v|s Christyntie Capoens, deft.  Pltf. demand from deft. sixty guilders Holland currency for wages earned in the West Indies from deft’s. late husband.  Deft. says she does not owe the pltf., and full fifteen years is passed, and if pltf. can bring proof that she owes it, she will pay.  Pltf. was asked if he had ever spoken to deft’s. late husband about the matter?  Answers, Yes and was to him at Breukelen with Albert Cornelissen’s wife, when he gave for answer that he did not owe him and must bring proof.  The W: Court order pltf. to bring proof, that something is due him by the deft.”

[November 20, 1661.]  “Jan Broerzen, pltf. v|s Christyntje Capoen, deft.  Deft in default.  In pursuance to the order of the last court day, pltf. produces a declaration of Adrian Huybersen Sterrevelt, who states, it is within his knowledge that Jan Broersen served Jacob Hay as a boy about seventeen years ago in the West Indies, both at Santa Cruz and Curacao, without having received, to his knowledge, any pay therfor:  Also a declaration of Tryn Herders declaring that she had been with him to Jacob Hay, and speaking about money was refused any by him.  Burgomasters and Schepens order the pltf. to summon Christyntje Capoens and Tryn Herders by the next Court day.”

[November 29.]  “Jan Breoerzen, pltf. v|s Christyntje Capoens and Tryn Herders as witnesses, defts.  Whereas Tryn Herders is not present, the matter is postponed to the next court day and she is ordered to be summoned again.”

Evidently the case was dropped or adjusted out of court.

Jan Broersen married Heltje Jacobs.  They had children:  Gaerleff, baptized at Kingston (Esopus), February 26, 1662;  Grietje, August 31, 1664; Maddelen, June 27, 1666;  Fitie, June 18, 1671.

His wife deceased December 24, 1679, when Broersen married Willemtje Jacobs, who had been married to Albert Geritsen and to Jan Cornelissen, a Swede from Göteborg.

In 1673, Jan Broersen was nominated magistrate by the inhabitants of Horly and Marble.  The Governor accordingly appointed him a magistrate and notified the inhabitants of it in a letter of October 6, 1673.  Besides being the magistrate Broersen was also lieutenant of the militia.


November 17, 2002