Thursday, June 14, 2012

William Abrahamze Tietsoort

Information from AWT #g1147


He is generally recognized as the emigrant, son of Abraham, and husband of Neeltje Swart, was in Schenectady as early as 1676. Some items of his history appear from later papers. In a petition, now a record, (N.Y. Land Papers, v.4,p.104), not dated, but acted upon 10 Sep. 1707, Willem Tietsoort describes himself of Ulster Co. N.Y., a blacksmith, and states that in the year 1698, he was, with others, surprised at the fearful massacre by the French and Indians at "Skenecticut" i.e. Schenectady, which is so well described in Pearson's History of the Schenectady Patent. The massacre almost wiped out Schenectady and it's settlers, and occurred during a period of fearful cold. At Schenectady, Willem had lived among the Indians for about 22 years indicating that he had arrived about 1676.

For this period he had exercised his calling as blacksmith, a most important trade for an early settlement, when the repair of the simplest tools involved a long dangerous trip through primeval forests to the nearest forge, generally many miles distant.

At the massacre, Willem was severely wounded, but fled with his daughter to Esopus, or the modern Kingston, Ulster Co., N.Y. From exposure to the extreme cold, the daughter lost the use of her legs, up to the time of the petition. A list of all the grandchildren shows that all the daughters, except Geertrudy, did well for the country. At Esopus, Willem was well received by the Indians and seemed to have travelled over to the Minisink, or Port Jervis portion of the Delaware, a neighborhood served by the Kingston D. Ch. Pastors. The Indians gave him a tract of land at Maughaghkemek (Mahackamack), commonly called Schackeackaninck, in an elbow of the Delaware, for which he received a license to purchase from the Earl of Bellomont, 15 Oct. 1698, and a deed from the Indians on 30June 1700. Willem complained that the land had subsequently, by error, been included in a patent to Mathew Ling and associates, and prayed that the said patentees might be compelled to give him a deed for the land. The petition, signed Willem Tietsoort, was read on 10 Sept. 1707, the entry reading: "The petitions of Wm. Tietscoort read and ordered to lye on the Table". This petition refers land at Minisink near Port Jervis, and the patent to Tietsoort is of record at Orange Co., N.Y., County Clerk's Office. I know of no earlier white settler at Minisink than Willem Tietsoort, and it is probable he was a pioneer there, although several earlier petitions for land are of record.

The petition fixed Willem at the village fort of Scenectady as early as1676. There he md. Neeltje, a daughter of the well known Theunis (i.e.Anthony) Corneliszen Swart, whose wife was Elizabetrh van der Linden, and who as early as 11 Aug. 1676 had been appointed Magistrate there, by Governor Andros. (N.Y. Col. Hist. Documents, v.13, p.500). All the Schenectady early church records, prior to 1700, as well as the early church records of Beverwyck, or Albany, are lost; but subsequent marriage entries show that several of Willem's children were born at Schenectady, and there he early appears as a landowner. In 1687 he borrowed 600florins of the Church Funds, at interest, such loans being made by the elders as a safe investment of surplus monies. After the massacre in1690, he sold his lot on the present State St. to Wm. Appel, an inn keeper, but as late as 1715, he acquired a new lot from Evert Bancker.(See Pearson's "Schenectady Patent", 87, 155, 156, 384, and 386). In1695, June 7, he had a daughter Helena, (#10), baptized at Kingston, and in 1699, May 7, another daughter, Marytje, #12. A daughter, Ariaentje was baptized at Albany 2 Aug. 1685.

His relations to the Minisink Indians were early as on 10 Oct. 1698, he and Arian "Rosaert", i.e. Roosa, petitioned the Governor to set a hearing at which several Indian Sachems, of Little Minisink, might make some propositions. It is signed "Willem Titsvoort" (N.Y. Col. ManuscriptsV.42,p.71). Later Willem seems to have settled in Dutchess Co. N.Y., the people of which resorted to Kingston for baptisms. Poughkeepsie then was a hamlet of some dozen or twenty families, and Smth's "History of Dutchess Co.," gives illustrations of the need of a good blacksmith, even plough shares being carried to Kingston for repair. See Smith's "History of  Dutchess County", p.79.

In 1713, Pieter U. Ziele (Viele?) deeds land to William Titsoor, a blacksmith of Dutchess Co., and 1714 in the Dutchess Co. 1st list of Residents, William Tetsvort appears as the head of a Family of 1 male above 60, 2 males between 16 and 60, 2 females between 16 and 60, and 1female under 16. (See Orange Co. Hist. p.14,15) In 1717-18 in the Dutchess Co., 1st Tax List, William Titsor was taxed on a valuation of13.0.0 Pounds, and was assessed 15 shillings, 81/2 pence.

Willem's Will was in Dutch, and is of record. It is dated 11 Dec. 1716,and recites him as of Dutchess Co. It was proved 29 Oct. 1722. (See New York Calendar of Wills, p.382). It mentions the wife and the 10 children in order, the sons Abraham, Stephanus, Jacob and Isaac, and the daughters Elizabeth, Eghie, Rebecca, Marytje, Helena and Ariaentje. The witnesses were Henry Van Der Burgh, Elias Van Bunschooten and Leonard Lewis.

For the history of Neeltje Swart's father, Theunis Cornelisze Sward, consult my manuscript volume, uniform with this, entitled "Some Notes as to the Early Descendants of Thunis Cornelisze Swart", soon to be presented to the Lenox Library, N.Y. City.

"William Tietsoor" was assessed 13.0.0 Pounds, 1717-18, (1st Supervisors Book, Dutchess Co. folio 3, 11, 26 and of the same book: "De Estate of William Titsoort, deceased" was taxed 6 Pounds, 9 Aug. 1722, (id. "Page57").

Consult the magnificent "Swarthout Chronicles" pp. 140,145, which call Wiliiam the earliest New York Settler on a Minisink farm.


Fernow's "New York Calendar of Wills" 1626-1836 lists not 10 but 11children of Willem. The difference is the appearance of daughter "Maragrieta" in Fernow's list. Also, Fernow states the executors were wife, son Jacob and Capt. Barent van Kleeck.

---T.R. Behm

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