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Joost de la Grange and Tinicum Island

Page history last edited by Liz Johnson 12 years, 8 months ago


Joost de la Grange and Family, and the Island of Tinicum

Elizabeth A. Johnson 



Joost de la Grange, born in December 1623,1 was a member of a Dutch family that lived in Leiden, Holland. His wife was Margareta Persijn, whom he married in 1651.2 In 1662, Joost brought his wife and their children, Arnoldus, Hester and Christina, to the Dutch colony of New Netherland in North America, settling on an island estate in the Delaware River, located just south of the future site of the city of Philadelphia.


The de la Grange family of Leiden were prosperous merchants and real estate owners. Along with other family members, Joost inherited a share of a substantial sum from his grandparents, which generated continual income. As a young man, Joost became a collector of art, in particular patronizing a painter known as Pieter de Hoogh, whom de la Grange also employed in his house for several years.2 But notwithstanding the comfortable inheritance, Joost was often embarassed for cash and dunned by his creditors. In October 1661, it was agreed with the family financial controllers and his creditors that he would move with his wife and children to Tobago, in the West Indies, where he would set up a mercantile business.4 A sum of 37,000 florins was released for this venture, two-thirds of which would pay his outstanding debts and moving expenses, with the remainder for the new business.5


Joost de la Grange apparently changed his plans to settle in Tobago, instead choosing to emigrate to the Dutch colonies in North America. He sailed to New Amsterdam with "his wife, three children, six servants, and two maids," aboard the Gulden Arent, which departed from Texel on 18 January 1662 and arrived at New Amsterdam on 2 May, 1662.6


Once in New Netherland, de la Grange made an agreement to purchase Tinicum Island and "Printzhof", the estate of Johan Printz, previously the governor of the former New Sweden colony. Tinicum, a large, flat and fertile island on a major river and located next to trade routes converging from inland, was then in the hands of Printz's daughter, Armegot, who was offering it for sale before her intended return to Sweden. Probably one of de la Grange's intentions was to grow grain and raise livestock for sale to the local Dutch colonists, whose supply of food had regularly been in short supply.


Upon de la Grange's arrival, Pieter Stuyvesant, Director of the New Netherland colonies, apparently had learned (or recommended) that de La Grange settle at Tinicum. Stuyvesant appointed de la Grange as a member of the governing council of the South River colonies, and instructed him to arrange a reconciliation between Willem Beeckman, director for the WIC at Ft. Altena, and his bitter enemy, Alexander d'Hinojossa, director of the New Amstel colony. Letters from de la Grange to Stuyvesant reveal that Joost had made several attempts to forge a friendship between these two, but had been unsuccessful.7 Possibly Stuyvesant also hoped that, by settling a Dutchman at Tinicum, he could strengthen the upper end of the southern Dutch colonies against the English in Maryland, who had been threatening to invade New Netherlands for several years.


On the 29 of May, Armegot Printz, wife of Johan Papegoja, sold Tinicum (patented to her father, Johan Printz, by Queen Christina of Sweden)8 to Joost de la Grange for 6,000 guilders. Printz's plantation on this island, previously known as Printzhof, was renamed "New Leyden" by de la Grange. Having recieved the down payment for the island, Armegot Printz sailed to Europe, collecting 2,000 guilders from de la Grange's bankers in Amsterdam on 31 July, 1662.


The estate of Printzhof, built up by Johan Printz over several years starting in 1643, consisted of "a stately house, a blockhouse fort and warehouse, a barn, a brewhouse, a palisade, and, in all probability, a bathhouse sauna".9 It it believed that there was also a church here. The fort, strategically located near the confluence of the Schuylkil River and the Delaware, near the place where several Indian paths from the west came together, also served as a trading-post, where Indians from lands to the north and west were accustomed to bring furs for trade.




De la Grange attempted to grow grain crops on Tinicum, but met with various difficulties. His harvest of 1662 was unsuccessful.10 Shortly it was learned in New Netherland that bills of exchange for the subsequent payments for Tinicum Island, drawn on banks in Holland, had been contested. Through her local agents, Hendrich Huygen and Jacob Swenson, Armegot Printz attempted to collect the next payment for Tinicum, first by exerting pressure upon the Dutch directors in the Delaware, and then in the courts. Willem Beeckman, who was on friendly terms with de la Grange, attempted to solve the problem. In a letter to Pieter Stuyvesant dated 23 December 1662, written at "New Leyden", Beeckman reported that Joost de la Grange "cannot move because of an injury to his leg," therefore he was meeting with de la Grange at his residence "New Leyden" on Tinicum Island, concerning the protested bill of exchange (for Tinicum) that Armegot Printz's agents had brought to his attention.11 An earlier translation of the same report was made as follows: "After the arrival of Claes de Ruyter, Mr. Huygen addressed himself to me and showed a protested bill of exchange given by Mr. la Grange to Miss Printz, on which he asked for an extraordinary meeting, which took place here yesterday, out of regard for Mr. la Grange, who was disabled by an accident to his leg and therefore could not come to Altena."12


Beeckman reported on 1 Jan. 1663 that Printz's agent, Hendrick Huygen was "determined to move the gentlemen of New Leyden out of there as soon as there is open water."13 But by the end of March, Huygen had determined that it was best not to eject de la Grange. He writes to Beeckman:


As to La Grange, he asked me and Jacob Swenson, to talk it over and informed us of his situation and resolution, with which I was acquainted before. I have therefore consulted with Jacob, what we ought to do, whether it was advisable to leave him the place or take possession of it. Jacob answered, that there was much to remit and that, if he was got rid of, the people being there had to follow and who of us two would advance the money to maintain them further and what could we expect for the damage sustained, especially as nothing could be got from him and it was clear, that we could only suffer loss, when we ejected him, neither did one of us wish to continue him any longer. He offered to proceed with one of us to Holland and give us satisfaction, he has never thought of leaving the place and requests, that we might believe that he was imposed upon by his friends, but this I leave for what it is worth; in short, we consented to his remaining and using the land, until further advices had been received from Holland or Sweden and thus the matter remained.14


See also Gehring, NY Historical Manuscripts, Dutch (Delaware papers, Dutch), p. 318, in which Gehring's translation states that de la Grange said he had been "deceived by his friends" (italics mine).15


Finally, in the end of August 1663, leaving his wife and children at Tinicum, Joost de la Grange departed for Holland, again aboard the Gulden Arent,16 where in Leiden he was to finally resolve the debt to Armegot Printz. Jacob Swenson, authorized to collect payments for Tinicum on behalf of Armegot Printz, was aboard the same ship, which arrived at Amsterdam in early October, 1663.17


Although later events reveal that the remaining payments for Tinicum were still outstanding, by the end of March, 1664, Joost de la Grange was thought by persons in Leiden to be again residing at Tinicum.18 Yet whether or not he had indeed returned, he did not survive much longer, for a document in the Oud Notarieel Archief of Leiden reported him as having died on 26 April, 1664:


"Staet van de gooderen die de wettige kinderen van sa. Justus de la Grange mit last van seecker conditionele fideicommis, opgecomen ende aenbesturen syn van Christina du Pree haer over grootmoeder sa : in haer leven wedue wylen Joost Berten. Ende waer van Justus de la Grange voornt. zyn leeven lang geduyrende, ende mit dien tot syn sterfdach toe hebben synde den xxvien april xvi vierentsestich". (The document continues, discussing inheritance payments for Joost's children).19


In September 1664, the Dutch colonies were attacked by an English naval fleet, and the Dutch were forced to surrender. All of the New Netherland territories, including those in the Delaware, were taken over by the English. New Amsterdam was renamed New York, and New Amstel on the Delaware became New Castle. Joost de la Grange's widow, Margaret Persijn, soon remarried with an Englishman, Andrew Carr, who had been a member of the English invading force. On 1 Oct 1669, Andrew Carr was granted a patent for Tinicum Island (on behalf of Margaret) by Governor Francis Lovelace of New York.20


Determined to either collect the money still due, or else repossess Tinicum Island and sell it to another party, Armegot Printz returned to North America. On 8 March, 1671/2 Printz filed a petition in the New Castle Court, noting that Carr and his wife were planning to leave for Holland, and praying that Carr be required to pay the outstanding balance of 3,000 guilders, or else forfeit Tinicum Island to her. The case was referred to the New York Court of Assizes, where on 14 Oct 1672, Armegot Printz (Mrs. Papagoja) was awarded judgement for the unpaid principal, with costs of suit and damages.21 On 23 Apr 1673, Peter Alrichs, William Tom, Walter Wharton, and Edmond Cantwell took an inventory of Tinicum Island, finding that its total value (2145 guilders, Holland money) was less than the amount of the judgement that Armegot Printz had obtained. At the end of this inventory was the following notation: "Memorandum that Albert (who is the husbandman) is to perform his condition formerly made with Mr. Andrew Carr to Jufroe Popegay (Mrs. Papegoja)." The husbandman was Albert Hendrickssen, one of the six servants de la Grange had originally brought to Tinicum.22


In 1675, Armegot Printz sold the island of Tinicum to Otto Ernest Kock "for fifteen hundred guilders in zeewant”.23


Joost's widow, Margareta Persijn, with her second husband, Andrew Carr, and their children removed from the Delaware and went to live at his native home at Swarland, Easthouse (near Morperth), in the county of Northumberland, England. Notarial records in Leiden concerning Joost's inheritance provide the names of his daughters' husbands.24 Hester de la Grange (born in 1656) was married on 25 June 1678, in Felton, Northumberland, England, to James aka Jacob Carr, her step-brother,25 and Christina de la Grange (born ca. 1659), although engaged to one John Kerr, eloped with John Unthanke in April 1679.26 Letters of family members reveal that Unthanke, apparently a fortune-hunter who desired to obtain Christina's inheritance, had seduced Christina, then convinced her to marry him in order to save the honor of her family. On the day of their marriage, Unthanke required Christina to give him a power of attorney, authorizing him to administer her affairs (inheritance) in Leiden.27 Over a period of years, Unthanke regularly withdrew sums of money from her account.28


Joost's only son, Arnoldus de la Grange, became a merchant in Amsterdam. He married Cornelia de la Fontaine, a daughter of Philip de la Fontaine and Cornelia Hartmanns, in 1675.29 By 1679 he had emigrated to New York, and soon thereafter began attempts to reclaim Tinicum Island from Otto Kock. He moved his family to New Castle on the Delaware (formerly New Amstel), buying several lots in the town and other tracts nearby, and set up shop as a merchant there.30 In 1683 he succeeded in reclaiming Tinicum, partly due to the sympathy the new owner had for the rights of the de la Grange children.31 Arnoldus de la Grange sold the entire Tinicum property to another party in 1684.32 In the same year, Arnoldus became involved in a purchase of land farther south, on behalf of the Labadist leaders, Pieter Sluyter and Jasper Danckaerts, who were founding a religious commune. The commune was located on a 3,000-acre tract, taken out of Augustine Herman's huge Bohemia Manor grant in eastern Maryland. Along with Danckaerts and Sluyter, and with Pieter Bayard of New York, Arnoldus de la Grange was naturalized in Maryland at the end of April, 1684.33 He and his family may have lived as members of the Labadist commune for about five years,34 but in 1687, he bought a plantation called "Middle Way",35 located halfway between New Castle (on the Delaware River) and the Elkton, at the forks of the Elk River in Maryland, which flows into the Chesapeake.The property was near the future site of Glasgow, Delaware, was situated along a main east-west road between New Castle and settlements in Maryland, and not far from a major north-south route.





But before the end of 1689, Arnoldus de la Grange had ended his colonial adventure. He sold off his Delaware properties and brought his family back to Holland. On 6 November 1689, Arnoldus and Cornelia's four youngest children, daughters then aged six, five, two, and eight months, were baptized in the Amstel Kerk of Amsterdam.36


Just as his father's final resting place is unknown, so is the date and place of death of Arnoldus de la Grange yet undiscovered. A probate file was filed in New Castle County, Delaware in 1747,37 nearly a hundred years after Arnoldus' birth, possibly by some of the children, finalizing details of any remaining de la Grange property in Delaware. Arnoldus' widow, Cornelia de la Fontaine, and their children, Daniel, Cornelia, Margrieta, Maria, Agata and Susanna Catarina, eventually moved to Rotterdam, where they had a residence there on the Hoogstraat. Daniel died in 1703.38 Arnoldus' wife Cornelia de la Fontaine died in 1735.39 The daughters Cornelia, Maria and Agata de la Grange never married, and died in 1746, 1749 and 1760.40 Margrieta de la Grange, married twice, died in 1769 as the widow of Pieter de Wind and of Gerrit Blankenbijl.41 The fate of Susanna Catarina de la Grange, second wife of Adriaan Kock of Delft,42 is unknown. She probably died before June 1635, since her mother was survived by only four children.





1. Joost, son of Pieter de la Grange and Hester Bertens, baptized 7 December 1623 in the Hooglandsche Kerk of Leiden; witnesses Joost Bertens (maternal grandfather) and Agniesgen Mangelaers (paternal grandmother). DTB Leiden Dopen NH Hooglandsche Kerk.

2. DTB Leiden N.H. ondertrouw (1575-1712), folio O-205v, Datum ondertrouw (date of marriage agreement) 21-02-1651 .

3. A. Bredius, "Bijdragen tot de Biographie van Pieter de Hoogh" in Oud-Holland Vol. 7(1889), pp. 162-165 (hereafter Bredius).

4. Bredius, p. 164, citing notarial act of K. Outerman, notary of Leiden, unspecified act number.

5. Bredius, p. 164, citing notarial act of K. Outerman, notary of Leiden, unspecified act number.

6. "New Netherland 1621-1664: Immigrants to New Netherland" online at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nycoloni/shge2.html - citing sources: a. "List of Passengers, 1654 to 1664", Year Book of the Holland Society of New York, 1902, 5-37. From New York Colonial MSS xiii 75, 88, 106 xiv, 83-123.; b. Early Immigrants to New Netherland; 1657-1664, Documentary History of the State of New York, E. B. O'Callaghan, 1850, Vol. III, pages 33-42.

7. Charles Gehring, New York Historical Manuscripts, Dutch, Vol. XVIII, Delaware Papers, 1648-1660, pp. 300-302. (Hereafter Delaware Papers, Dutch).

8. Delaware Papers, Dutch, p. 315; Amandus Johnson, The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, 1911, vol. I, 347-49; Dahlgren and Norman, The Rise and Fall of New Sweden, 1988, 65-66.

9. David A. Furlow, "The Archaeology of Power along the Seventeenth Century Delaware: From Forts to Courts", p. 36, online at http://www.bpl.com/resources/documents/HOUSTON_697826_2.pdf]

10. Records of the Courts of Chester County, Vol. 1 1681-1696 1:28-30, 40; Ashmead, History of Delaware County, XXVIII “The Township Of Tinicum”

11. Delaware Papers, Dutch, p. 314.

12. Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. VII, p. 695.

13. Delaware Papers, Dutch, p. 317.

14. Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. VII, p. 699 .

15. Delaware Papers, Dutch, p. p. 318.

16. Berthold Fernow, Waleyn Van der Veen, The Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amsterdam, 1655 to 1663, pp 57-61.

17. Jaap Jacobs, De scheepvaart en handel van de Nederlandse Republiek op Nieuw-Nederland 1609-1675, p. 132.

18. Bredius, p. 164.

19. The du Pre Weeskamer Dossier in Regionaal Archief Leiden (Netherlands): Toegang: 518 Inventaris van het archief van de Weeskamer te Leiden, (1343) 1437 - 1860 (1866): Rubriek: Sociale zorg. Archiefvormer: Weesmeesters, 1397-1860: Nr: 3312 F, pp. 1-2. (hereafter: Leiden - du Pre Weeskamer). Transcribed and translated by E Johnson and Cor Snabel.

20. Original Land Titles in Delaware Commonly Known as the Duke of York Record, p. 141.

21. Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. VII, pp. 626-28; Henry Graham Ashmead, History of Delaware County, p. 279.

22. Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig, 1671 Census of the Delaware, p. 30fn (citing A.R. Dunlap, "Three Lists of Passengers to New Amstel" in Delaware History 8 (1959): 310-311).

23. Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. VII. p. 666.

24. "Twee adviezen over de rechten van de weduwe en kinderen van Joost de la Grange op de nalatenschap, 16 en 17 juli 1670." (Two advisories concerning the rights of the widow and children of Joost de la Grange in the inheritance.) In Leiden - du Pre Weeskamer 3312L. Transcribed and translated by E Johnson and Cor Snabel.

25. a: "Stukken betreffende Hester de la Grange, getrowd met Jacob Carr." (papers concerning Hester de la Grange, married with Jacob Carr) in Leiden - du Pre Weeskamer 3312LL, Transcribed and translated by E Johnson and Cor Snabel; b: IGI Batch No.: M002822 Dates: 1656 - 1837 Source Call No.: 0991792 Type: Film.

26. "Stukken betreffende Christina de la Grange, getrouwd met Joannes Unthanke" (papers concerning the marriage of Christina de la Grange and Johannes Unthanke), and Andrew Carr, of Swarland, Easthouse (near Morperth), Northumberland,- letter concerning the elopement of his sister,Christina de la Grange, with John Unthanke, on 27 April 1679. In Leiden - du Pre Weeskamer 3312MM. Transcribed and translated by E Johnson and Cor Snabel.
27. "Stukken betreffende Christina de la Grange, getrouwd met Joannes Unthanke" (papers concerning the marriage of Christina de la Grange and Johannes Unthanke), in Leiden - du Pre Weeskamer 3312MM. Transcribed and translated by E Johnson and Cor Snabel.  

28. ibid. Transcribed and translated by E Johnson and Cor Snablel.  

29. Stadsarchief Amsterdam DTB 502-192, translation by Pim Nieuwenhuis in article "Catalina Trico, from Namur (1605-1689), and her Nephew, Arnoldus de la Grange" in New Netherland Connections Vol. 1 no. 3 (1996), p. 61.

30. Records of the Court of New Castle on Delaware, 1676-1681: 489, 474-475, 492-494, 489-90; New Castle County, Delaware Deed Book B; p. 62; Brown, Abstracts of Cecil County, Maryland Land Records 1673-1751, pp. 12, 13.

31. Record of the Courts of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1681-1697, p.33.

32. ibid., p. 40.

33. Maryland Archives, XIII: 27, 42, 88, 108, 126 .

34. Maryland Archives, XIII, p. 163 . In 1692 Lord Nottingham, then Secretary of State of England, wrote from Whitehall to Governor Copley of Maryland that "the King being informed that Mr. Vorsman, Moll, Danckers, De la Grange, Bayert, and some others ... do live peaceably and religiously together upon a plantation on Bohemia River, and the said persons being in some Respect strangers may at one time or other stand in need of your particular protection and favour, His Majesty directs that such protection and favor be accorded." --NOTE that Lord Nottingham's information on de la Grange's whereabouts is obsolete by about 3 years.

35. Bryant, New Castle County, Delaware Land Records 1673-1710, p. 60:

Deed. On 10 Sep 1687. Joseph Boll of Elke River in the County of Cecil in the province of Maryland to Arnoldus DeLagrange, merchant. Joseph Boll for a certain sum of money granted to Arnoldus DeLagrange a tract of land called Middle Way being between Christina Creek & Elke River bounded by the swamp, the run called Back Run containing 300 acres, granted to Joseph Boll by warrant of the court of New Castle dated 20 Oct 1882. Signed Joseph Boll. Delivered in the presence of William Guest & John Granton. Recorded 18 Oct. 1687. (B2:27).

36. Baptisms 6 November 1689 - Amstel Kerk, Amsterdam. Children: Margrieta "out 6 Jaer 7m", Maria "out 5 Jaer", Agata "out 3 Jaer 2m", and Susanna Catarina "out 8 m". Witnesses: Pieter Dee, Abraham de la Fontaine, Jan Douville, Maria de la Fontaine, Phillip de la Fontaine, Agatha de la Fontaine, and Susanna de la Fontaine. SAA 120 p. 257. Earlier children were Arnoldus Jr. (two by this name, who died as infants) and Daniel, probably the one baptized (again as Arnoldus) in New Amsterdam on Jan. 22, 1679.

37. http://probatesearch.archives.delaware.gov/ [input "Delagrange" result: Delagrange, Arnoldus 1747 New Castle County. (I have not yet seen this file --EJ)].

38. DTB Rotterdam inv. 44 Begraven. The indeentry reads:

Overledene: Daniel de la Gransje, weduwnaar van Marija Danoel

Plaats: Rotterdam

Datum begraven: 12-02-1703

Opmerkingen: Nieuwekerkhof; Hoogstraat b/ Weesestraat [residence was the Hoogstraat, by the Weesestraat].

39. Archief DTB Rotterdam begraven (indexed entries are not numbered). Comments: "op de Hoogstraat naast de Kloe; overledene liet na 4 meerderjarige kinderen" (on the Hoogstraat next to the Kloe; deceased left behind 4 adult children)

40. All three: Archief DTB Rotterdam begraven (indexed entries are not numbered). For Cornelia: buried 17 November 1746 in the Nieuwe Kerk, Rotterdam, comments: "overledene was een bejaarde dochter" (deceased was an adult unmarried woman); for Maria: buried 10 December 1760 in the Nieuwe Kerk, Rotterdam, comments "overledene was een bejaarde dochter" (deceased was an adult unmarried woman); for Agata: buried 10 May 1749 in Rotterdam, comments: "overledene was een bejaarde jongedochter" (deceased was an adult unmarried woman).

41. Both marriages: DTB Rotterdam Trouw gereformeerd (these two indexed entries are not numbered).

42. DTB Rotterdam Trouw gereformeerd , index nr 082; DTB Delft inv. 2635; DTB Delft inv. 8232v.


© 2011 Elizabeth A. Johnson. Free use can be made of the above for personal genealogical research, BUT commercial or for-profit use is strictly prohibited. For more information, genealogical queries, or for publishing permissions, contact the author: irisDOTgatesATgmailDOTcom

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