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Guide to the Anthony Jansen (Janszoon) Van Salee deed 2019.013

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Collection processed by Maggie Schreiner

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on December 19, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Stuyvesant, Peter
Title: Anthony Jansen (Janszoon) Van Salee deed
Dates: 1643
Abstract: One deed documenting Anthony Jansen (Janszoon) Van Salee's purchase of 100 morgens of land near Coney Island, which was appoved by Director-General Kieft. Anthony Jansen (Janszoon) Van Salee (1607 – 1667), also called Anthony from Salee, Vaes, or Fez, was the known person of Muslim origin in the Americas. Arriving in New Netherland in 1630, Jansen was one of the earliest settlers and landowners in the Dutch West India Company colony and one of the largest landowners in what is today Brooklyn.
Quantity: .001 Linear Feet in one folder
Mixed Materials [Box]: A0143
Call Phrase: 2019.013

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Biographical / Historical

Anthony Jansen (Janszoon) Van Salee (1607 – 1667), also called Anthony from Salee, Vaes, or Fez, was the first known person of Muslim origin in the Americas. Arriving in New Netherland in 1630, he was one of the earliest settlers and landowners in the Dutch West India Company colony and one of the largest landowners in what is today Brooklyn. Anthony's father, Jan Jansen, was a Dutch privateer who married a Moorish woman in Cartagena, Spain. Anthony was their fourth son. In 1618, Jan Jansen was captured by one of the Moorish states along the Barbary coast. During his captivity in Algiers, Jan Jansen reportedly converted to Islam, possibly by force, and, renamed Admiral Murat Reis, became one of the famed Barbary pirates. During this time, Jansen moved his family to Salé, then Algiers, and then Amsterdam.

At the end of 1629, a 22-year old Anthony Jansen Van Salee set sail for the New World from Amsterdam. With him was his new wife, Grietje Reyniers, a 27 year-old woman of German descent. By 1638, the couple had established a bouwery (farm) just north of the city wall, also known as Wall Street. A year later, they would enter into a series of legal disputes with significant ramifications in a small community in which justice was often determined by personal connections, accusations, and slander.

What began as an accusation of debt by Domine Bogardus of the Dutch Reform Church escalated into a series of allegations centering on the lasciviousness of Grietje. Anthony fought back with countersuits and threats, while Grietje turned the tables, accusing Bogardus' wife of similarly scandalous behavior. Resident after resident, many of them friends with Domine Bogardus and members of the Dutch Reform Church, swore petitions against Grietje and Anthony. Ultimately, Director-General Kieft made an unusual decision – he gave the couple six months to leave New Amsterdam forever.

On August 3, 1639, Director-General Kieft approved Van Salee his petition for 100 morgens on the western end of Long Island, near Coney Island in the present-day area of New Utrecht and Gravesend. Anthony and Grietje left New Amsterdam, crossing the river to the largely unsettled area at the western tip of Long Island. Over the next several decades, they established themselves as one of the most prosperous landowning families in the area. Despite their banishment, Anthony continued to own property in New Amsterdam and to serve as a prosperous merchant and creditor in the small but growing city. The couple had several daughters, who went on to marry into prominent merchant families. Many families, including the Vanderbilts, proudly trace their lineage back to the Van Salees.

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Scope and Contents

One deed documenting Anthony Jansen (Janszoon) Van Salee's purchase of 100 morgens of land near Coney Island, which was appoved by Director-General Kieft. Anthony Jansen (Janszoon) Van Salee (1607 – 1667), also called Anthony from Salee, Vaes, or Fez. The document is written in Old Dutch, and was translated by Charles Gerhing in 1980:

We, Willem Kieft, etc... herewith testify and declare that on the first of August 1939 we have given and granted to Antony Jansen van Salee 100 morgens of land lying on the bay of the North River upon Long Island opposite Conynen Island, extending along the shore 253 rods, N. N. W., from the shore about N. E. by E. 236 rods, again along a bluff 124 rods about S. E. E., S. W. by W. 174 rods, with some points of land lying on the souht side; containing 87 morgens, 49 1/2 rods, also a point of land extending southward from the house, surrounded on three sides by marshland, reaching S. W. by W. 72 rods, S. E. by S. 90 rods being oblong with some protruding points containing 12 morgens 550 1/2 rods; comprising altogether 100 morgens, under the express condition and stipulation etc...

Done at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland this 27 May 1643.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Van Salee, Anthony Jansen (Janszoon), 1607 – 1667

Subject Topics

  • Deeds -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Muslims -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

This material is in the public domain.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Anthony Jansen (Janszoon) Van Salee deed, 2019.013, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Related Materials

Gehring, Charles. New York historical manuscripts,: Dutch. Baltimore : Genealogical Pub. Co. 1980. Available at the Othmer Library, Main Collection F122.1 .V24 1974 Non-circulating.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased at auction from Christie's in 2019.

Processing Information

The deed was rehoused in a mylar sleeve.

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